This current rendition [their ever changing, ever metamorphosising uncanonical and utterly un-Orthodox concocted jurisdiction] of this vagante bogus Western Rite, 'Milan Synod' needs for us to know its true bizarre roots and unbelievable un-Orthodox history.
All true Orthodox need to avoid this group, and its main internet electronic mouthpiece, Joseph Suaiden's blog, a jumble of half-truths and lies, NFTU, which pretends to be bringing all of us, 'fragments' together (!)
Yet. Mr. Suaiden's constant underlying theme is to belittle and denigrate our Met. Agafangel and our ROCA and our sister churches.
Here is much of their convoluted and weird history and roots:
Rd. Daniel...sharing this, solely for TRUTH'S sake, not at all to further any useless inter-jurisdictional arguments.... which is the stuff that Mr. 'Deacon' Joseph Suaiden loves to engage in.
• This is the first knowledgeable & fuller description & accurate history of the vagante Milan synod and its sundry current adherents, [still active today, and still attacking our ROCA].
A profound investigation of the nonsense of the 'Western Rite', of their connection to the revivified Latin heresy, from the mold of the centuries 'Name-Worshipping Heresy', – AND among other valuable pieces of information, an absolute rebuttal of many of these bizarre people, which among their various bogus claims: that Met. Philaret knew of them and blessed them, etc...i.e. that they have had a solid canonical connection to ROCOR, etc.
Here is also given the western, Roman Catholic roots of this Name-Worshipping heresy,
which heresy the Milan Synod has rightly recently condemned, but one wonders why..
Could this righteous sounding condemnation of this long ago prohibited heresy, both in the Catholic west and in our Orthodox church, be for show purposes..i.e. to make themselves look very soundly Orthodox?...when they are not, in so many other fundamental ways?
– Reader Daniel
Portal Credo.ru article on 'Milan Synod' history
(Non-professional translation kindly provided by Vladimir Djambov)
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|September 5, 2014, 19:58|
THOUGHT: Father Alexander Pavpertov. To Make Oneself a Name by rebelling against the Name of God...
Among the ecclesiastical events of this past year, standing out, no doubt, was the statement by the hitherto virtually unknown to the Orthodox world, Metropolitan of New York, John (LoBue) (John LoBue) on the commencement of his "crusade" against the [heretics] Orthodox Name of God worshipers. On August 4, this statement was been confirmed by an official decree of The Autonomous Orthodox Metropolia of North and South America and the British Isles, that he heads, wherein the Orthodox veneration of the Name of God as Divine Energy, has been declared a heresy, and all who follow such a teaching, are (to be) excommunicated from holy communion and ecclesial communicaton. At that, Metropolitan John referred to recommendations, allegedly given to him in 1978 by Saint Filaret (Voznesensky), Metropolitan of New York, (the then) First Hierarch of the ROCOR, and by Protopresbyter George Grabbe.
Undoubtedly, such a statement on behalf of the dwarfish “Western Rite” jurisdiction, whose number of parishioners has in recent years grown so much that it almost approached the current number of its clergy, could not but raise some questions. What is the origin of that group and (what is) the history of its relations with the ROCOR? After all, it is not the first time Metropolitan John refers to the authoritative opinion of two venerable ROCOR hierarchs, in confirmation of his assessment of Name-worshipping as utterly negative and blasphemous.
The community led by Metropolitan John is known to the world to a narrow circle of specialists in religious studies, and even that only because entering in communion with them a few years ago was the GOC (R) under the omofor of Metropolitan Raphail (Prokopev-Motovilov). In the United States, however, it turned out that they know a little more about this community – but generally not because of its spiritual ministry, but thanks to the NFTU Internet portal, owned by a Deacon of Metropolitan John’s – the bigamist Joseph Suaiden (whose real family name is Mohamond). While he was in ROAC he left a family with four children and then married a ROCA parishioner with three children; and she who for the sake of this (2nd marriage) left (in turn) her 1st husband and her 1st church marriage. A case, as this case of Joseph Suaiden, generally makes him not (suitable) for the diaconate.
So our readers may judge for themselves how much one could trust the referrals by Metropolitan John to a certain opinion of St. Philaret and (of) Bishop Gregory (Grabbe), which suddenly opened up [has revealed itself] after 36 years of being kept in total silence, we offer to get acquainted in greater detail with our hero and his jurisdiction.
Photo [Bishop William Henry Francis Vagante Brazerz]
Ironical as this may be, this jurisdiction which refers [connects] itself to Genuine [True] Orthodoxy, has as a source of its origin the independent Benedictine Congregation, led by the old-Catholic Vagante bishop William Henry Francis Brothers. He is well known within the "left" political sector of the United States for his pro-active cooperation with the Catholic Labor Movement and (also) thanks to the assistance of his abbey of St. Dunstan, he provided help to the holding of the hippies’ festivals in Woodstock. Ordained a bishop in 1934 in New York by the bishops Theophan (Noli) [the Albanian Orthodox bishop] and Christopher (Kontogeorge), Brothers created his “The Old-Catholic Church in America – The Western Orthodox Catholic Church in America”.
Photo [Bishop William Brothers wed-crowned two barefoot hippies out in the nature in Woodstock]
After Brothers was defrocked in 1944 by the National Old-Catholic Church in America for schism and co-liturgizing with Monophysites, in 1962 he was adopted “in the [same] existing rank”, together with his Benedictine monastic communities by the Moscow Patriarchate Bishop of Brooklyn Dositheus (Ivanchenko). A condition for Brothers’ communities entering the ROC MP was the mandatory preservation on their part of the Western Rite in liturgy and – initially – [also] the opportunity to litgurgize using the Gregorian calendar. For liturgical purposes they were availed the use of a chapel at the [MP] St. Nicholas Cathedral Church in New York.
But soon Brothers faced the persistent appeals by the Moscow Patriarchate to come [over] to Moscow for re-ordination. He regarded [judged] these to be attempts by KGB agents to recruit him, and two years later he broke off relations with the ROC MP, joining the Ukrainian refugee Metropolitan Palladium (Vidybida-Rudenko).
However, he retained the right to perform liturgies in the Western Rite and formed within the “UAOC in exile” a certain autonomous church structure with the name “The Synod of Orthodox Bishops of the Western Rite”. At that time the UAOC-E created by Metropolitan Palladium together with Archbishop Igor (Guba) not only was in communion with the new calendarist Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (on the territorial rights of its Ukrainian Exarchate in America), but also became the initiator of the setting up in the United States in 1960 of (SCOBA) – Ecumenical Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in America.
It is here that we first find mention of the Jesuit expelled from his Order, John LoBue in his capacity of a resident monk – then of the Benedictine old-Catholic abbey of St. Dunstan of Canterbury and a spiritual son of 'Metropolitan' Brothers who had received his title from UAOC-E. Unfortunately, neither the Metropolitan William Brothers, nor his monastic fraternity were not in the least embarrased either with the new-calendaristness and the ecumenism of their new Patriarch Athenagoras, nor with the fact that in 1965 he announced on behalf of the entire Orthodox Church, the cancellation of the patristic anathemas on Latinism, and entered communion with Rome.
On April 14, 1966, metropolitans Palladium and William Brothers ordained as a bishop of the Western Rite for San Francisco, Joseph (McCormack) (Joseph A. McCormack). After the death of Archbishop Palladium in 1969 among the Benedictine oblatur [dependencies] of Metropolitan Brothers there started discontent, which in 1971 formed into an open schism. The more conservatively disposed part of the brethren [monks], helmed by the then abbot Augustine (Whitfield) (Dom Augustine Whitfield) of the St. Dunstan monastery (which after the fire had moved from Woodstock to Overlow Mountain), insisted on a complete break-away from Constantinople and on accession of the Western Rite communities into the ROCOR Synod. Archbishop Joseph, in his turn, wanted to preserve the status quo. Then McCormack and Brothers gave up communion with Constantinople, but actually became isolated from the UAOC-E, as well, existing autonomously ever since – as “the Synod of the Orthodox Bishops of the Western Rite.” But, only a year later, in 1972, within that community there was a split, which resulted in most of the Benedictine monks following the abbot Augustine and leaving the abbey of St. Dunstan and settling in the monastery of the Assumption of the Blessed Theotokos “Mount Royal” (Mount Royal, Jacksonville, Florida), where in 1975 they converted to Orthodoxy and went over into ROCOR under the omophorion of the Archbishop of Washington, Nikon (Rklitsky).
But John LoBue did not go along with them into the ROCOR. In that conflict, the Brotherhood of St. Dunstan sided with Archbishop Joseph (McCormack) and abandoned the appellation, “Catholic.”
In 1973, with the blessing by Metropolitan William Brothers, the brotherhood elected as its new abbot, the monk John (LoBue). He transferred the monastery to a new location – to West Milford (West Milford, New Jersey). That same year, “the Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Western Rite” came into communion with one of the independent Old-Catholic Vagante bishops, Robert Williams (Robert Lloyd Williams), ordained by William Daw (William Daw) in 1972. In 1977, Brothers and Joseph re- ordained him with the name of Hilarion for the Archdiocese of Texas, where he had a small monastery of St. Hilarion in Austin.
Photo [The Abbot John Lo Bue at the Abbey of St. Dunstan of Canterbury]
In 1978, abbot John (LoBue) after failed attempts to enter into communion with any Orthodox jurisdiction that has apostolic succession of its ordinations, renamed his Abbey of St. Dunstan, which was then [is now?] housing the administrative and publishing centers of his grouping, into the Abbey of the Holy Name. It was then that there arose disorganizations because of its relationship with the Greek GOC(-s) and because of the experiments that ended in a failure with the “Western Rite” communities in America and Europe. Therefore, the ROCOR Synod categorically prohibited with a decision of its, the “Western Rite”, [that they] no longer accepted [any] community and Western Rite clergy and refused to negotiate with those in the future.
In the “Definition of the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia of 5/18 September 1978 on the so-called Western Rite” in this occasion the following was stated: “Resolved: The Western rite in its present form was introduced after the falling away of the West from Orthodoxy and does not accord with the liturgical life of the Orthodox Church, established in the course of many centuries. It does not reflect Her liturgical tradition. Therefore, it does not satisfy those accepting Orthodoxy when they grow more deeply accustomed to it, and it had success nowhere. Due to the foregoing, the Council of Bishops does not recognize it possible to allow the Western Rite into the Russian Church” (“Holy Russia” [Православная Русь], 1978. #21. p. 5. Reprinted after the text: “Law [Jurisdiction] of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. 1921-2007”, D. P. Anashkin comp.[Moscow] PSTGU, 2013).
Archimandrite Augustine (Whitfield) with his Monastery in Mount Royal proved to be the only priest, [in ROCOR] for whom – as an exception – the right was granted to conduct liturgies by the order of the pre-Trident Latin rite. This remained so until 1993 when the ROCOR bishop Hilarion of Australia and New Zealand (Kapral) adopted [into ROCOR] Fr. James (Desten) with the Christminster Monastery.
In 1979, Metropolitan William Brothers died and the “Synod of Bishops of the Western Rite" he created ventured into “all the heavy” [experiences?], [by] entering into communion with the infamous [for the numerous scandals and criminal prosecutions for moral crimes] of, The “Vasilupolsky Missionary Archdiocese” led by Pancratios (Vrionis), a former EP New Calendar American Greek Archdiocese defrocked, priest) residing in Queens, New York.
On September 21st, 1980 abbot John (LoBue) was ordained by Metropolitan Joseph (McCormack) and Archbishop Hilarion (Williams) a Bishop of New York, and “The Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Western Rite” was finally formed in the form under which it is now known to students of religion.
After the death in 1990 of Metropolitan Joseph (McCormack), through whom “The Synod of Bishops of the Western Rite” had managed to maintain good relations with several independent Ukrainian parishes, remaining after the collapse of UAOC-E (where they had been allowed to co-serve), and the French Western-Rite community of bishop Herman [Germain] of Paris (ECOF), Metropolitan John and Hilarion did actually remain on their own. It was so not until 1997, when they managed by repeated (already third in their lifetime) ordination to all the holy ranks to be accepted under the omophorion of the Milan Synod of Metropolitan Eulogius (Hessler). That Synod was at that time in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarche of Kiev, headed by Vladimir (Romaniuk).
The then newly-ordained, according to the Orthodox rite, bishops John and Hilarion, could position themselves in America and Canada as representatives already of the Genuine Orthodox Church. It was here for the first time (in 1997, and not at all in 1978, as it is represented according to the LoBue version!) that we come across the self-calling of that exotic community as a Genuine Orthodox Church. Not later, and not earlier.
Bishops Hilarion and John arranged for themselves two Archdioceses – the “Archdiocese of Texas and the West of the United States” and the “Archbishop of New York, New Jersey and all the Eastern States”. The bishops took the titles of archbishops and created the so-called “American Provincial Synod”; and elected as its chairman was the Archbishop of Texas, Hilarion (Williams).
On 14/27 February 2011 the two American dioceses of the Milan Synod were granted autonomy, and they were transformed into a community with its current name – “The Autonomous Orthodox Metropolia of North and South America and the British Isles.” Archbishop John (LoBue) became the Primate of the Archdiocese, endowed with the title of “Metropolitan of North and South America and the British Isles” and [with] the right to wear a white hood. Immediately upon receipt of formal autonomy, on 9/22 March 2011, the communication between the Milan Synod and the American Metropolia has been severed [disconnected]. At that, the ones who had just nominally become Orthodox bishops immediately proved “holier than the Pope” and immediately accused the bishops of the Synod of Milan who ordained them in ecumenism, because of which they instantly seceded from..as 'deposed'.
Let us make an interim conclusion of our little historical excursus [perspective]. As is known, St. Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky) was the chairman of the ROCOR Synod between 27 May 1964 and 21 November 1985. The Former Roman-Catholic abbot John (LoBue) became the abbot of the Abbey of St. Dunstan (that he renamed in 1978 [as] the Abbey of the Holy Name) in the 1973 year, and he was never a clergy of the ROCOR. Throughout his life in the abbey he served only by the Western Rite (and at first – also after the new Papist style [calendar]). In 1978, the ROCOR Synod declared inadmissible in its decision the use of the Western Rite, and up [all the time] until 1993, it did not accept into communion priests of the Western Rite. St. Filaret and Bishop Gregory (Grabbe) never visited the Abbey of the Holy Name. It was visited only by Bishop Hilarion (Kapral), but that was well after the death of Metropolitan Filaret, in 1992 or in 1993, after the acceptance of Fr. James Desten of Cristminster, as well as [visited?] by Metropolitan Herman of Paris.
Question: where, when and in what manner could St. Philaret of New York or Protopresbyter George Grabbe, who – according to the witness of still living contemporaries of theirs – never even privately raised the issue of Name worshipping, officially advise a certain canonically dubious Western Rite bishop to support one another on the issue of worshipping the Name of God of 'the lawless decree of the Russian Synod of 1913'? And why on this issue did the allegedly being in their council, Metropolitan John (Lo Bue) keep silent for full 36 years? He kept silent until the prevailing conditions prompted him – in the wake of theologically illiterate Name-worshipping-machist statements by Bishop Demetrius (Kiriakou) – the easiest possible way to present oneself into the market of idling American Vagante bishops of indefinite denominations [religion].
I was personally acquainted with the late daughter and personal secretary to Bishop Gregory (Grabbe) - Countess A. G. Shatilova-Grabbe – and for many years maintained correspondence with her, cooperating in the publication of the “Church News” anthology. And so, despite the fact that Bishop Gregory and all his family deeply venerated the memory of their Abba – Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), and indeed Anastasia Georgievna herself treated the Name-worshipping [heresy] far from a very friendly way, she [nowhere and] never ever said that this issue was at all discussed within the ROCOR. On the contrary, taking into account, judging by the indirect evidence of close relatives, [to the effect] that Metropolitan Anthony himself towards the end of his life did largely revise his erroneous views of the early XX century, – an unspoken “taboo” was imposed upon discussions on this topic in the ROCOR. Which [fact] is also confirmed by the delicate side-stepping of this issue by Archbishop Nikon (Rklitsky) in his multi-volume “Life of Metropolitan Anthony,” and the personal recent evidence to myself by ROCOR priests in response to my bewilderment with the recent Name-worshipping statements of Metropolitan John (Lo Bue). So I’ll dare put to doubt, the alleged, 'fact', that Metropolitan Filaret or Bishop Gregory had in fact EVER... spoken to Metropolitan John those supposed quoted words of Met. Philaret, exactly are, what he has [now] circulated [blatantly] in his latest letters and official statements.
However, an attentive reader – if one has not yet tired of the jurisdictional details around the adventures of Metropolitan John (Lo Bue) – will undoubtedly ask oneself the question: where does the Abbey of the Holy Name stand in this, and whether it does not refer in any way to the Russian theological dispute about the Name of God, judging by the title [name of it]? Maybe it was its settlers who were capable of finding those golden wordings [word formulations] on this issue, which allow to lead into agreement in the Truth about the Name-worshipping-machists and the Orthodox? We shall grieve the high-hopeful [it would seem] reader. There is no relation, and nothing to do at all [no link at all], and it was not possible [and it failed (grossly)]...
But why, indeed, was the Benedictine Abbey of St. Dunstan of Canterbury renamed by its new Abbot John (Lo Bue) in 1978 into the Abbey of the Holy Name? Was that renaming connected with the disputes around the Name worshipping that took place in the Russian Church at the beginning of the XX century? Alas, no. In fact, the cult of the Holy Name in Catholicism, natives of which were all, with no exception, bishops and priests of the “Synod of Bishops of the Western Rite,” came to be, thanks to the famous preacher of the Middle Ages, Bernard of Siena, and represented itself, as a factual idolatry of the “Western Rite”, quite strongly mixed up with the yeast of Kabbalistic numerology.
Photo [Metropolitan John at the Monastery of the Holy Name]
In the photo: Metropolitan John in those same Royal doors, just as in the previous photo, but now it is the Monastery of the Holy Name
Bernard of Siena (1380-1444) is known for having developed a specific set of homiletical techniques with the use of a variety of images to excite in his audience spiritual ecstasy in devotional practices. The psycho-techniques he has developed were used both as mental and physical images, which did actually cause his accusation on the part of the See of Rome and the inquisition, of inciting people to idolatry.
In 1402, Bernard of Siena, having abandoned his exploit of asceticism, which he spent a few years in, returned to the world and entered the Franciscan Congregation of “observants”, where he devoted himself to pastoral and preaching activities. It was largely due to his work devoted to prayerful contemplation, to achieving religious ecstasy and to theology (“On the Christian faith,” “On the Eternal Gospel,” “On the Inspiration From On High” – 1422-43) that all the Franciscan movement was radically reformed. He quite quickly became a popular preacher in Umbria and Tuscany, in Lombardy, in Venice, and even in Rome, spreading everywhere with success his teachings. In 1427, in Siena, Bernard made forty five sermons that were recorded by an eyewitness, thanks to which they have come down in exactitude to us.
So there you are, it was exactly Bernard of Siena who suggested and widely popularized for achieving spiritual sensations in prayer to use the so-called “Chrism” – a medallion sign with the name of Christ [Christ the Savior?] (IHS) inscribed on it as a monogram, placed in the center of a sun shining with golden rays against an azure background. That sun shines with twelve great rays, and in between them, [there are] 144 small ones. Inscribed at the edge of the medallion is a quote from Paul's epistle to the Philippians: “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; (In nomine Jesu omne genu flectatur, celestium, terrestrium et infernorum)” (Phil. 2:10). It is exactly this outward sign and worship of Him, according to the teachings of Bernard, that is the key to understanding the Holy Scripture and [the key to] meditation, which leads to contemplation. He said that his “Chrism” contained the whole of Scripture (the Old and the New Testaments), and allowed everyone to attain salvation. In addition, Bernard has repeatedly stressed that the name of Christ had four meanings: literal, allegorical, anagogical and moral. In this teaching, the sun as the source of light and heat, becomes a symbol of Divine justice and enlightenment. The twelve great rays associated for him with the twelve apostles and the twelve points of the Creed, and the 144 small rays in between them – with the 144,000 elected for the Apocalypse, with whom “his Father's name [is] written on their foreheads.” (Rev. 14:1). The three letters, in his words, are the image for the audience of the Holy Trinity, and the five letters of the full name of Jesus (Иисус) mean the five wounds received by Christ on the Cross, and the five pieces of the Cross itself. This monogram of the name of the Savior, with the light hand of Bernard’s, began to be displayed against the background of the Virgin Mary’s heart with a hole, and on each of the twenty-four leaves of the Eden Tree of Life (Lignum vitae). It is also associated by Bernard with the medallions “Agnus Dei” (Lamb of God), which the Pope consecrated every year on Thomas’ Sunday, Antipascha.
Gradually, the cult introduced by Bernard, was transformed into the most banal of idolatry. The “Chrism” turned into a kind of magical artifact, saving the one who possessed it from troubles and diseases. Having started a play in delight with prayerful states (i.e. – in the Orthodox tradition – with the state of charm [Prelest]), the means to achieve them gradually turned into an object of worship. Bernard called the merchants going on a sailing venture and the soldiers – on a campaign, to wear the image of “Chrism” for protection against dangers. He said that his medallion would help a woman save her husband from death and betrayal, or [would help her] to conceive an heir, and besides – [it would help] to cure diseases and release people tormented by demons from being possessed. Worshipping God proved [to (have) been] replaced (especially in the popular [folk] mind) by worshiping the the image (the drawing) of His Name, and – in conclusion – this led to banal magic rituals.
Thanks to the works of the Augustinian monk André Bilia who tried to fight against this cult and decisively condemned it in front of the See of Rome, Latins then did manage to give up the excesses of idolatry for the letters of the Name of Christ. Bernard of Siena was subjected to the Inquisition court. But the disciple of Bernard’s, John Kapistrian by preaching worshipping of the “Chrism" stirred up a crowd of commoners, whom he led to Rome. As a result, Bernard was released from prison, avoided the fire [burning], and was sent under house arrest to his monastery with the prohibition to preach. But in modern times, as well, as we see, there is a sustainable tradition of spiritual practices, which has as its source the teaching of Bernard of Siena on the worshipping of letters and symbols rather than of the Creator. It is this cult exactly that was – along with the Western Rite and the typically Latin theologizing – adopted by the abbey of the Holy Name and its Rector [Abbot] in the attempt at reconciling within the spiritual life what is irreconcilable.
So why has the esteemed Metropolitan John (Lo Bue) raised a “storm in a teacup,” touching upon issues, which he was not involved in historically and which he was incompetent theologically? Even still, refer at that to a non-substantiated statement by hierarchs of ROCOR, to which he never belonged himself? Alas – only for the purpose of making for himself – an outspoken name and to obtain better conditions for accession to the process.
“And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name..." (Gen., 11: 4)
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