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'Uncanonical Orthodoxy'


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#1 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 12 May 2005 - 05:29 PM

This morning I was reading an article in which there was a reference to 'uncanonical Orthodoxy'. This phrase is now so common that we often do not give any further thought to how much sense this phrase makes or whether it even represents an Orthodox way of putting things.
First of all what do we mean when we say 'uncanonical Orthodoxy'? Often we mean that a particular Orthodox group has no legitimate right to independently exist. Or that its Orthodox praxis is questionable. And in some cases we even mean that the group is hardly Orthodox at all. Obviously then we are using one word to refer to a number of different things. In many cases however the phrase 'noncanonical Orthodoxy' seems to have become a general term to refer to a group calling itself part of the Orthodox Church which we feel has no legitimate right to exist as such.
But what does the word 'canonical' actually mean? If you read the canons of the Church you soon discover that a canon is simply the rule of the Church. In the canons almost every aspect of Church life is dealt with from doctrine to basic matters of morality & discipline. Canons specify this & then state what should be done in regards to those who do not follow what the canon says.
What is instructive here is that in regards to those who do not follow the canons is specified a whole range of actions from excommunication all the way to admonition. It is non-canonical to reject the Divinity of Christ & if one does one may be excommunicated or separated from the Church- but it is also non-canonical to not read properly in the church. Obviously the significance of these two actions is vastly different. Whereas in the first example one could truly claim the result is that one is not Orthodox one could hardly claim this (although at times one would like to!) about those who chant or sing badly in the church. So in the eyes of the Church 'noncanonical' actually does not have the meaning which we often give it of being somehow or almost separated from the Church. Rather it just means that such and such is not according to the rule of the Church but the actual significance of this varies greatly. In many cases according to the canons themselves to say that something is 'not canonical' would just be saying that it is not correct according to the Church's life- which is a far cry from the recent use of the phrase which can challenge one's very Orthodoxy. So just making the claim 'non-canonical Orthodox' does not really mean very much unless we stop to explain in what way we mean this.
The danger of the phrase 'uncanonical Orthodoxy' at its worst extreme is that it is an oxymoron and makes no sense in its own right. If by the phrase we are questioning the very Orthodox legitimacy of the group then the phrase is a contradiction in terms and should simply be replaced with 'not Orthodox'. But if we mean by the phrase a disagreement about Orthodox praxis then this is a very different matter as shown by the witness of the canons themselves. Then it would be better to just say that we don't think such and such is correct Orthodox praxis rather than calling into question someone else's Orthodoxy.
The use of this phrase points to how questions of praxis have become confused with issues equal to that of the Faith itself. And like when a person throws up a red flag we suspect extreme danger ahead so the use of this phrase has become a common way of expressing fundamental disagreement with someone else's Orthodox praxis regardless of how or whether this praxis really goes against the actual inner 'logic' of the canons. If such is the case then we would do well to question whether such a way of thinking is itself canonical.
In Christ- Fr Raphael


#2 Olga

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Posted 13 May 2005 - 06:01 AM

Fr Raphael
I'm sure many would agree that the word "non-canonical" is too broad, covering everything from outright heresies to relatively minor transgressions. On the subject of church singing, I came across this gem some time ago, from http://www.angelfire...ypikon/TOC.html:

The Typikon of the Russian Orthodox Church

Chapter 28: On disorderly cries

Disorderly cries by the church singers ought not to be allowed in church singing. And those who make them are not allowed either. Let them be removed from their ministry and sing in the church no more. For it is proper to sing according to the order, and with one accord to glorify the Master and Lord of all, as if coming from our hearts through one mouth. Those who disobey are condemned to eternal torture since they do not follow the tradition and rules of the holy Fathers.

Should be useful for church choirmasters to help them keep unruly singers in line... Posted Image


#3 Edward Henderson

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Posted 13 May 2005 - 07:35 AM

I know I sound like a broken record, but the best explanation I have read about canonicity and non-canonicity, comes from Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos. As the Church is a spiritual hospital and sin a spiritual disease, the canons of the Church are cures to the sickness of sin. Just as a doctor must prescribe the right medicine (both which medicine and what amount) to his patient, so a Bishop and/or Priest must discern how to apply the canons with his spiritual children. Thus, we are highly mistaken when we view the canons as laws. This leads to either viewing them as archaic and irrelevant or legalism. This tends to be the case with many non-canonical, pseudo-orthodox groups. The Greek Old Calendarists, the Russian Old Believers fall into the legalistic group and by putting themselves above the Church, have found themselves outside the Church. There are also many other splinter, pseudo-orthodox groups these so called "Celtic Orthodox Church", "Kievan Patriarchate", "Independent Greek Orthodox Church of America", etc. The number of these such groups is huge. All of these groups, for various reasons, have found themselves in schism and therefore have no canonical status in the Orthodox Church.
Then we face the problem of "World Orthodoxy", that is the official Patriarchates and National Churches. Certain hierarchs, even synods of bishops, in these churches, have violated the canons. However, they are still the Orthodox Church because the maintain a clear apostolic succession. Also, the Church functions in a concilliar manner. Throughout Church history, heretics such as Arius, Nestorius, and others were not outside the Church until they were excommunicated and anathematized by an Ecclesiastical Synod. This is how I personally view contemporary deviations such as the New Calendar, or Orthodox participation in Ecumenism. These things are wrong and those clergy who preach religious syncretism (ie the 'branch' theory) are preaching heresy. However, the Church has not yet condemned them. The canons would allow this and perhaps it will happen one day. I have notice a rise in traditionalism in these official Churches. So, their actions maybe uncanonical, yet until they are condemned by an ecclesiastical synod, they are still in the Church.


#4 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 13 May 2005 - 02:26 PM

Edward H wrote:

I know I sound like a broken record, but the best explanation I have read about canonicity and non-canonicity, comes from Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos. As the Church is a spiritual hospital and sin a spiritual disease, the canons of the Church are cures to the sickness of sin. Just as a doctor must prescribe the right medicine (both which medicine and what amount) to his patient, so a Bishop and/or Priest must discern how to apply the canons with his spiritual children. Thus, we are highly mistaken when we view the canons as laws.


This is a very important point. Reading through the canons carefully one sees that the diseases & cures are different- some have a cold, others bronchitis & others a potentially terminal cancer. We can say, "they are sick", but we still need to keep in mind that the canons themselves are much more specific than this. So much the more then do we need to be careful when the phrase 'noncanonical Orthodoxy' has become a catch-all to mean "he's a leper stay away from him!"

The analogy of an illness is useful in discerning about several Orthodox groups. A person can have an illness after all and still have many other positive qualities. When we make the claim 'noncanonical' without care and as an over-all condemnation then we overlook this. For example a number of national churches such as the Bulgarian had an 'uncanonical' beginning in the eyes of the Mother Church (in this case Constantinople). Obviously the Bulgarians felt that any uncanonical actions they had taken in the formation of their church were far out weighed by the legitimate canonical reasons for establishing an independent church. In this case it is the canonical legitimicy not as a legal category that is important but rather as reflecting the authentic life of the Church. It seems that at least in the long run this out weighs any administrative irregularities.

Another instructive example of how this can work is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Canada & the USA. Basically no one except (some of) the Ukrainians accepted their canonical status in Canada & America because they had been founded not only in open rebellion against the Mother Church (Church of Russia) but also their bishops were 'self-consecrated' by the laying on of hands by priests instead of by bishops. As time went on their bishops became regularised (ie consecrated by canonical bishops) and so the clergy they ordained were no longer suspect. Then in the last decade both groups went under the omophor of Constantinople. What is interesting is that at least in Canada the Ukrainians are really getting their house in order compared to the past. On the one hand we could say that this is because now they are canonical. But on the other hand it also shows that the charge of being noncanonical does not really add up to a death sentence in the eyes of the Church. After all- the Ukrainians have ended up obtaining for the most part exactly what was the noncanonical bone of contention in the first place- a high level of independence. And a number of Orthodox churches in North America were formed in this way.

A last example about being 'noncanonical'. The Russian Church Abroad is now talking about possible reconciliation with the Moscow Patriarchate and the rest of Orthodoxy. It would be instructive for those within SCOBA to be a fly on the wall on a rocor list as those most adamantly vs reconciliation try to explain how all of these Orthodox churches are 'noncanonical' in the way they were founded or in their Orthodox praxis. Here I think that Edward's point is very important. In fact there are always aspects of Orthodox life within each church & jurisdiction which are 'noncanonical'. But we must discern whether what we are calling noncanonical is a potential terminal cancer, a serious disease, the flu or just a nick on a finger.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

PS: "Disorderly cries by the church singers ought not to be allowed in church singing... Those who disobey are condemned to eternal torture since they do not follow the tradition and rules of the holy Fathers."
Oh lead me not into temptation! Posted Image

#5 Ken McRae

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Posted 13 May 2005 - 11:51 PM

Fr Raphael originally posted:-

>> "The Russian Church Abroad is now talking about possible reconciliation with the Moscow Patriarchate and the rest of Orthodoxy ... we must discern whether what we are calling noncanonical is a potential terminal cancer, a serious disease, the flu or just a nick on a finger." <<

Dear Fr Raphael,

On this past Good Friday (Old Calendar), I set out in my car for the ROCA Toronto Church, only to later realize I had forgotten how to get there, since it was about 7 years since I was last there. I ended up turning around disappointed, unable to find it. When home, I checked its location on the Net, (which I should've done before setting out, but neglected to,) and came across the following.

1 - Russian Orthodox Church in Exile - Masonville, Ontario, Canada. This jurisdiction was formed in late 2001 by Metropolitan Vitaly soon after he was retired as first hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR). Metropolitan Vitaly's action is most likely a protest over the thaw in relations between ROCOR and the Moscow Patriarchate. Metropolitan Vitaly is vehemently against ROCOR's rapprochement with Moscow.

2 - Declaration of the ROCE Synod Of Bishops - 26 October / 8 November 2001

The first link above is actually to a list of non-canonical Churches that refer to themselves as "Orthodox". The canonical problems with all the different "Orthodox" jurisdictions, both in America and abroad, has been the single biggest obstruction for me, in my journey, second only to the question of papal primacy.

According to METROPOLITAN VIYALY, (of the old "canonical" jurisdiction of the ROCA,) the Moscow Patriarchate is "terminal", which is to say, "graceless". Whether he thinks it'll always be in a graceless and irreconcilable state is unclear to me.

How does one, though, like myself, looking from the outside in, find the "true" Church in the midst of all the confusion and 'in-fighting'? I'd say this is the single biggest obstruction to the spread and advancement of the Orthodox cause (faith) in the West. These difficulties appear to multiply with each passing year, or is that just the devil toying with my imagination?

in humility,
Theophilus


#6 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 14 May 2005 - 12:25 AM

Dear Theophilus,

You really don't need to get too worked up over it, other than to pray for Metropolitan Vitaly who is being seriously medicated and exploited by those he trusts for very political purposes. These things happen. Families have spats and sometimes they don't acknowledge each other or even talk to each other for periods, but sometimes they do make up. Even the Catholic Church has their "Old Catholic" contingents, every group is going to have their reactionaries.


#7 Owen Jones

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Posted 14 May 2005 - 12:38 AM

The presence of the True Church is not dependent on natinoalistic arguments over jurisdiction, as troubling as that might be. The problem with the Russian Church is political and spiritual to be sure, because it's hierarchy is controlled by the KGB, and it has not repented for that. But how about we blame the communists for that, and not the Church. There is no perfect Church home. Imagine what it was like when the overwhelming body of the faithful were Arians, or Donatists. Today, there are no fundamental theological disagreements among all of the jurisdictions. The arguments by traditionalists against some Greeks has more to do with laxity than anything. Laxity is not heresy or sectarianism.


#8 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 14 May 2005 - 01:21 AM

Dear Theophilus,

You asked,

How does one, though, like myself, looking from the outside in, find the "true" Church in the midst of all the confusion and 'in-fighting'? I'd say this is the single biggest obstruction to the spread and advancement of the Orthodox cause (faith) in the West. These difficulties appear to multiply with each passing year, or is that just the devil toying with my imagination?


I think that God leads a person into the Church through a real parish with real people. It is in this way that we can find Christ. This does not mean that we will be free of struggle for Christ Himself allows the struggle in order that we find Him.

I'm not sure if there are really more conflicts within Orthodoxy now or not. We have just come through a period in which there was division within the Church as to how we were to face the political & moral trauma of the 20th century. When we consider how traumatic this experience was for all of humanity (Two World Wars, political & moral revolutions, etc) it is no surprise that this affected the Church & its people so deeply. Now however there is more unity of mind & heart within the Church as a whole and for many people the most important question is how to heal the divisions. So although conflict and division still remain part of this arises over the question of how these divisions should be healed.

If we can manage to find our place within the Church then the many challenges that lie ahead of us will not be stumbling blocks but will rather be doors through which we can find Christ Who is the Head of the Church.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#9 Owen Jones

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Posted 14 May 2005 - 02:25 AM

Let's not forget the Church represents all of creation, all of humanity. The true Church is that which fully represents God's image, on behalf of all, for all. This is a mystical concept, with practical consequences and practical allegiances and the right attitudes and customs and rules and disciplines and beliefs. All of that, including, most importantly, the right spirit and tone. While canonicity is an important factor, it is not the only factor in determining the True Church.


#10 Vasilis Kirikos

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Posted 14 May 2005 - 04:36 AM

> I thought the KGB was a thing of the past. If it isn't the KGB of today certainly is doing a very poor job of controlling the so called Russian mafia (actually it is a Jewish mafia; their leader, a Russian/Jewish guy who is called "Tarzan" now resides back and forth between the USA, Russia and Israel....that is if he is still alive!). Vasilis


#11 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 14 May 2005 - 01:36 PM

The problem with the Russian Church is political and spiritual to be sure, because it's hierarchy is controlled by the KGB, and it has not repented for that.


Two logical problems with this statement:

1. If it is STILL "controlled" by the KGB, how would they be expected to "repent" until they are no longer "controlled"?

2. Last I heard, communism has collapsed and the KGB no longer exists, unless you want to believe the propoganda of certain reactionary elements who fear the change that accepting the present reality represents.

Another issue I have with this statement is that the MP HAS already expressed regret for what happened under the communist domination, so I am not sure how much more is going to be required. Perhaps the MP should dress in rags and cover himself with ashes and parade himself through the streets of Moscow inviting lashes from passersby and loudly proclaiming "forgive me!"?

#12 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 14 May 2005 - 02:06 PM

I had more of a chance this morning to take a look at the webpage "Religious groups that use 'Orthodox' in their names but are not canonical Eastern Orthodox Churches."
Most of the groups listed are really far out of the field. They are close to being or are actually cults and are not even to be called Christian denominations, little lone Orthodox.
A few others have begun within the mainstream Orthodox Church and for various reasons have chosen to witness to the Faith by walling themselves off from the rest of mainline Orthodoxy. As one of these groups puts it (not however on the list) this is to protect themselves from compromise while still having some positive relationship with the rest of Orthodoxy. Such groups although seperate are usually not Matthewite.
As to how one sorts all of this out I have no clear answer. Of course if one knows better at the beginning then we should have a general picture of where the Orthodox Church is and isn't. Here one needs to avoid being hyper-critical on the one hand and being easily manipulated by something which is really only a cult on the other. Since discernment and humble obedience are stressed in Orthodoxy however one can still fall into various traps mistaking the false coin for the real. If we are honest with ourselves we will acknowledge that there are fallen aspects of ourselves which can thrive, even willingly, in the most distorted environments and the most twisted versions of what the Church really is. So at times we should just acknowledge that within such groups we simply see falleness attracted to falleness. There is little one can do about this except to watch, pray and be careful oneself.
One the other hand within such groups (I am not talking of those groups way out of the field) there are also many of good will who are truly seeking to be faithful to Christ and His Church. I have met one person in such a group who said he was with them 'not over politics' (his phrase) but because he felt that he had been pastorally abandoned in the mainline group where he was before and that he was more cared for where he was now. I met another mother who was taking her family to what many would consider a schismatic church because she said she wanted for her family something both in English & traditional. Such considerations are important and even if such would not be our choice they show that there are those of good will among such groups. Often they do provide an important witness to mainstream Orthodoxy. Here is a struggle between self-will taking such a group completely over the edge and the struggle for faithfulness which can change the character of such groups. The most critical factor though in this is the leadership- if they are really open to how the Holy Spirit works within the Church then they can humbly change course. If not, the leadership will perceive any fundamental change as a threat to their power & influence (and maybe it is!) and will dig in their heels and try to manipulate the faithful into obeying them and resisting change. Here the most extreme examples of psychological manipulation can be found- the group is then on the knife edge of deciding whether they want to be part of Christ's Church or not. If they reject this the extreme danger is that any good in the spirit of the group dries up and they really do become a cult. In this dynamic although it is very difficult for the faithful (you really have to put God above men which destroys a lot of close relationships) they are culpable if they choose human over Godly considerations and do not break free from something which is harmful to them.
Most times however God leads people into the Orthodox Church through 'normal' Orthodox parishes
long before they know anything of the above confusion. A normal amount of discernment accompanied by a healthy dose of reading about the Orthodox Church helps keep most on course.
In Christ- Fr Raphael


#13 Owen Jones

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Posted 14 May 2005 - 02:15 PM

In answer to Mr. Blaydoe's question, a resounding "YES!" The KGB still runs Russia, only not under that name. Under the Soviet State, one could not be Patriarch without KGB approval and some bishops were actually KGB agents. This is why many Orthodox Christians did not and still do not actually attend Church. I fear the Patriarchate is still in many ways a tool of the state in Russia (which is run by a former KGB agent). Now, this is an historical problem, not a theological problem per se, and it will take a long time to sort it all out.


#14 Guest_Fabio Lins

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Posted 14 May 2005 - 02:58 PM

The KGB just changed it name. No state, under no revolution, would ever dismantle such a useful and far-reaching intelligence service but only redirect it to its new interests. I doubt that control of religion would ever cease to be an interest of any political elite and all the political elite of Russia today is somehow related to "ex"-KGB, including Putin himself. Putin said recently that he USSR's fall was the greatest geopolitical loss of the XX century, showing that he admires the "way things were" and thus that he strives to make things as closer as possible to that.
As for the fall of Communism, it is just a misrepresentation. The largest communist *state* fell, not the ideal. Here in Brazil and in all Latin-America communist Theology of Libertation is the largest ideological trend in Roman Catholicism and they *would* try to infiltrate Orthodoxy should it grow here.
As for the relations of the Russian intelligence service and the Russia mafia they have diverging and converging interests (the Russia mafia may destabilize opposing governments in other countries, may pay huge bribes and be source of money, may serve for cover-up operations). One cannot think of them in black-and-white terms.

Notice that none of this is paranoia, but just some geopolitical awareness. To think that the Church in Russia is not under these influences is counterproductive. If anything, the other jurisdictions should help the Russian clergy in getting less and less influenced by that country's geopolitical interests.


#15 Andrew Williams

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Posted 14 May 2005 - 03:10 PM

The KGB still runs Russia, only not under that name. Under the Soviet State, one could not be Patriarch without KGB approval and some bishops were actually KGB agents. This is why many Orthodox Christians did not and still do not actually attend Church.


Leaving aside the question as to whether one could be said to be an Orthodox Christian and not 'attend' Church, I'm not entirely clear whether you are suggesting that all priests in Russia are in some way either affiliated to the FSB (new name for KGB) or tainted by its past infiltration of church structures. I have to say that KGB infiltration of the Patriarchate, if such still exists in any really meaningful form, is not a problem that has a great deal of impact on the everyday life of most Orthodox Christians in Russia, or of most parishes, in my experience, except for a few conspiracy theorists.

As for the KGB still running Russia, what does this mean nowadays except that there is a certain "old boys' club" of power-hungry politicians and their associates in the various federal power structures who like to keep as much power and wealth as possible "in the family" as it were -- is this so different from many other countries?

Yes of course Russia has a particular history, and there are many ways things could have gone better in dealing with the Soviet legacy (there are also many ways in which things could have gone worse), and the impact of many aspects of Soviet life will take a long time to die away completely (although the incredible changes over the last 15 years have to be seen to be believed), but as I stand in Church in the liturgy with the saints around I am rather reminded of how the Church is still here and the Soviet Union is not. The altar was desecrated, the church was misused for decades, but now the liturgy goes on as it did before -- the icons and church furnishings are new, the church itself is old, and the Church and its liturgy are timeless; the Soviet Union has already passed away.

#16 Owen Jones

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Posted 14 May 2005 - 03:49 PM

The Patriarchate is tainted. It will take a long time to overcome that legacy. So the mere fact that the Russian Patriarchate is canonical, which is the subject here, does not mean that it should be given a pass. There are many good bishops and priests in Russia that are not tainted. But it is the Patriarchate that represents the totality of the Church. I am not saying that ROCOR should not merge with the Patriarchate. Maybe that's a good thing. I don't know. I am simply saying that canonicity alone is not a sufficient definition of the True Church.

As for the communists, they are basically thugs. So when you remove some of the ideology, you still have thugs. You have the same people running Russia and Eastern Europe as before -- thugs. But you will not see much criticism of that from the Patriarch. Also, look at the money trail. How much money is the Patriarchate getting out of all this new thuggery?


#17 Matthew Panchisin

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Posted 14 May 2005 - 03:54 PM

Dear all,

There is much good news as well and it is often transmitted through the leadership of monastics.

Here is a good example.

http://www.chicagodi...bb8f63123fdba98

On March 23, His Grace Bishop Longin addressed the clergy of the Chicago and Detroit Diocese on the reconciliation of the Serbian Church. His Grace stated, in part, the following:

"The Serbian Church, in the period after the war, passed through one of the greatest temptations in her history. In 1963, the 'American Schism' occurred, brought about firstly as the result of our spiritual state, and greatly helped along by the communist regime in the Fatherland.

"This conflict in the Church, in part due to the political state of our people, grew into a serious ecclesiastical problem. This can be seen in the fact that the Bishop of America and Canada, Dionisije, along with a good portion of the clergy, was defrocked; they, being separated from the Church, created the 'Free American-Canadian Diocese.' Their excuse for remaining outside the embrace of the Church was the communist regime. They stated that they would not listen to any orders coming from Belgrade, because they were under the influence of the godless regime. I remind you that this was an administrative schism, which did not involve any heretical teachings of the church. The Assembly of the Serbian Church did not accurately evaluate the spiritual and political reality of those times. When things began to take the wrong course, it was all very difficult to stop. Unfortunately, our people in America, Australia, and Canada, and in some parts of Europe, went through unbelievable difficulties. They became disunited, estranged, spiritually crippled. The schism divided households and families. Thus, there were cases where a father would be on one side, and his son on the other; one brother on one side, and the other in the oppositionÉ

"During the course of the schism, there were attempts to resolve this problem, but they all paled in the attempt, and, of course, did not bear fruit. Both sides of the schism felt greatly insulted, all made accusations, and it seemed as though this would never come to an end. The American court system benefited from our quarrels. Imagine, we brought about one of the longest and most expensive court cases in the United States. It lasted a full 17 years. Millions of dollars were spent, and thousands of insults and accusations were made. The Serbian Church ultimately won the case, but this was no longer of any use to anybody. The situation remained the same. We were disunited, with a large portion of the people remaining outside of the Church, and not even aware of it.

"After all of this failure of useless attempts to reunite, the things we were not able to do, God did. God Himself helped us by, at the appropriate time, bringing Patriarch Pavle to the head of the Church. Patriarch Pavle is the personification of sainthood. He is spiritual, pious, and humble. These are the virtues that adorn a true servant of God. Metropolitan Irinej, who headed the 'Free Diocese of America and Canada,' soon to be the 'Metropolitanate of New Gracanica,' joined to help him in the great task of resolving the question of the schism in such a manner that even today we are not fully aware of the meaning and greatness of this moment. The Patriarch covered all our sins with his love. He was ready to 'kneel' before the people of the former 'Free Diocese' and to tell them: 'come, brothers, under the wings of the Church.' The Patriarch was not demanding justice, he did not try to place blame, he did not become fixated on any minute details, but rather filled with true pastoral concern for the faithful members of the Church, he protected them all in a fatherly manner.

"The Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, at the suggestion of the Patriarch and the Holy Synod, returned the dignity to the bishops and majority of the clergy, as well as that of the people, the former 'Free Diocese of America and Canada,' and this was crowned with the Holy Liturgy on the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord in Belgrade in 1992.

"With the achievement of Eucharistic unity, not all of the problems were resolved in regard to administration, but we are working on that. Ultimately, that is not a key question in the Church. Pastorally it is first important to be united through the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are really spiritually united, ecclesiastical order has been established, and everything else will be accomplished in due time. The wound on the body of the Church and people has been healed. Now we are gradually solving the problem of the reorganization of the diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church on this continent.

"I consider this to be a great success in our Church and a definite act of God. I feel that nobody else could have so successfully accomplished this task, as did Patriarch Pavle. The implementation of a purely judicial method in this case would have left us disunited for a long time, considering the character of the Serbian people.

"Keeping all this in mind, the case of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and the Moscow Patriarchate appears quite simple. As far as I know, nobody was been defrocked in this conflict. Because of this fact, this division in many ways does not seem to be as serious a conflict. In any case, it does not even minimally have the same characteristics as the Serbian schism.

"In my opinion, it would be a blessing in the true sense of that word, for the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, to confirm the unity at their Assemblies. After all, in the spiritual sense, that unity always existed. This would be the most dignified way to resolve this important question. And believe me this would have a positive effect on all Orthodoxy. The Russian Orthodox Church today has an important mission in the role of strengthening the Church amongst our Russian Orthodox brothers. Without a doubt, this would also help to strengthen us Serbs as well as other Orthodox peoples. With such an act, a brighter future and role of the Orthodox Church would arise throughout the world. For that we pray to God, and in the spirit of brotherly love, we greet all of you gathered here today.

+Bishop Longin"


#18 Guest_Fabio Lins

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Posted 14 May 2005 - 05:04 PM

KGB employed at least 400 thousand people directly, not counting all who were unofficially employed which some claim to have reached almost a million people internationally. To say that such power, influence, contacts and structure would simply vanish into thin air is misconceiving. It´s like "Oh, I have the money, the power, the status, the influence, the contacts, but, oh no, we lost the cold war, I´ll give it all away right now, distribute the money among the poor, stop talking to my allies and stop bullying those bellow me...." happened 400 thousand times with all those involved. It´s not an "old´s boy club". It´s a *very* powerful political elite, not only in Russia but in the world.

Besides, what happened in the socialist-communist world with the fall of its greates state was not giving up, but change of strategies from an onver-centralized approach to a descentralized one:
Political activist and philosopher wanna-be, Antonio Gramsci, Italian, with weak health and with an appearence truly fragile, had one of these grotesque minds that, attached to its innermost values, develops all sorts of ingenuities and processes to make these values universal at any cost.

When noticing the unsustainable level of violence that the Bolshevik party had to use to maintain the sour fruits of revolution in Russia and the later defeat of revolutionary groups in countries that were economically and socially developed, Gramsci realized that the structure of power in society is not supported by mere economic factors only – as Marx had described – but by the interpretation that the classes gave to those factors, that it was an essentially cultural phenomena – which Marx had described and social superstructure of secondary importance.

By this inversion of concepts – affirming the superiority of superstructure over structure – Gramsci recreated the revolutionary process without abandoning its marxist fundaments: what moves History is still the fight between classes, capitalism is still a system based on the exploitation of the weaker – carrying in itself contradictions that will lead it to ruins, and men are still mere pieces in greater collectivity. Nevertheless, power, so strongly desired, must exist in a two-fold nature: one formal and objective, essencially structural, the State. The second is inprecise and abstract, with a conjectural basis relative to civil society; this face is called hegemony.

To grasp power, according to Gramsci’s concepts, it is necessary first to grasp hegemony, making social institutions mere mechanisms of party propaganda, to destroy society from inside in a slow but mortal attack to all forms of resistance.

Gramsci’s strategy, it is good to remember, cannot be compared to a cancer that feeds on the body until consuming all its strength and health. It is more like an Imunodefficiency Syndrome, which destroys the body through the slow neutralization against opportunistic invaders.(...)
Gramsci’s concern with revolutionary violence is not moral, but instrumental.. His strategy of taking power through positions taking – trench war – uses a lot of violent resources previously used by orthodox revolutionaries, like misinformation, ideological manipulation of the masses, enlarging State (in an advanced stage of the revolution) and, at last, rupture, which would not refuse, if necessary, traditional violence as in revolutionary movements being but the a last fatal and efficient strike.

Gramscian thinking is a totalitarian force that not even Hitler or Stalin dared to dream. The hegemony Gramsci writes about has never existed in any society – much less in the bourgois society. For if hegemony is the absolute control of collective conscience, how would this bourgeois society – which, according to Gramsci is hegemonic – allow the growing in its midst of forces that almost took it to near extinction: with Marxism, Communism, Fascism and Nazism? When blaming bourgeois society of having a never-thought-before force, Gramsci is simply legitimizing the strugle for this same force, giving to the members of the party license to act above all conceivable morals.


In what concerns the Church, Gramscian "trench war" strategy consists of "do not face it, join it!" In fact, not even joining it is that much necessary so long as through media and pressure groups church members are "forced" to think in "social" patterns that are, in fact, socialist/communist patterns. That is what Theology of Liberation is about in Latin-American countries and I doubt that Russian "ex"-KGB strategists are unaware of the this strategy of taking over by cultural trench war and they sure have the resources and influence to put it forward.


#19 Guest_Fabio Lins

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Posted 14 May 2005 - 05:24 PM

About KGB, it is better to listen to the specialists. Here is a link to a symposium with 3 of them:

Ion Mihai Pacepa, the former acting chief of Communist Romania’s espionage service, whose book Red Horizons was republished in 24 countries;

James Woolsey, director of the CIA from 1993-95 and a former Navy undersecretary and arms-control negotiator;

Vladimir Bukovsky, a former leading Soviet dissident who spent twelve years in Soviet prisons, labor camps and psychiatric hospitals for his fight for freedom, and whose works include To Build a Castle and Judgement in Moscow.

Symposium on KGB

And here, the first lines:

Frontpage Magazine: Gentlemen, welcome to Frontpage Symposium. It is a privilege to be in the company of three distinguished titans.



Mr. Bukovsky, perhaps I will begin with you. Could you kindly get us started on this discussion of the resurrection of the KGB in Russia? How real is this development and what are its main ingredients?



Bukovsky: Our national tragedy (as well as the tragedy of all other former communist countries) is that there was no clear defeat of the ruling communist system, no Nuremberg-style trial of its crimes, no vigorous lustration (de-communisation) process. The West was quick to celebrate the end of the Cold War and the victory of democracy in the former Iron Curtained countries, but in reality there was no change of "elites" there. The former communist "nomenklatura" has remained in the position of power in all branches of the government, albeit under a different name.


#20 Owen Jones

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Posted 14 May 2005 - 05:40 PM

I would add to the above, the Patriarchate.





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