My sorrowful response to this pathetic pro-schism declaration-
Fri, Oct 14, 2016 at 2:07 PM
Dear poor confused Vicky,
I have delayed sending this to you, out of both my utter surprise and dismay with you, but also remembering our past friendly rapport.
Almost everything you state here, both about Orthodox church government, or history,... or your misquoting scripture, out of context, or the multiple libelous and slanderous LIES, you have gullibly swallowed against our very soundly Orthodox metropolitan, AND WHICH untrue garbage, YOU ARE ALSO PUBLICLY PROCLAIMING! ...are very disappointing for me to read, and also for others here, who KNOW the facts on these matters... which you do not.
It is as if, for all of your life, when you thought of yourself as a loyal Orthodox Christian, that in stark reality, you have NOT been this.
You rather have been sort of a half-Orthodox person, knowing certain elements of the faith....mostly the ritual and external things.
The services and the church singing, that you know...but that is not all there is to the Sacred Orthodox Tradition, the fullness of Orthodoxy, which clearly you have never studied.
Perhaps, you have had no time for such things?
You are not a 'church canon-law lawyer', not in the least.
Your proud announcing that you are a 'lawyer', is meaningless, as modern secular law, of any country, has very little, really virtually nothing, to do with Orthodox Church laws or governance.
Our church, a Divine-Human Holy Institution, is closer in its structure and life, to a monarchal government, ruled and run by the THEOCRATIC successors of the 12 Apostles, AT ITS HEAD, not by any worldly secular/humanist civil laws or ways of doing things. It has never been a 'democracy' of any sort.
It has always been ruled and run by our BISHOPS!... not by the lower clergy or laity.... to which bishops, we need to be respectful to and OBEDIENT to, as long as they are, themselves, obedient to Sacred Orthodox Tradition and Canons, and have not betrayed the Faith or gone into heresy or apostasy.
I throw up my hands on you! You exasperate me.
I pray that God will strike you with a lightening bolt, of some sort, to wake you up from your delusions and impiety.
Best for you to flee renegade schismatic Fr. Andrei, and just pray at your home.
Vicky, you, by your own arrogant and conceited convicting ignorant words here, are NOT AN ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN!
I have gone out of my way to send you, to enlighten you, for you to read, in both Russian and English, [ as you are bi-lingual], the best FACTS of this matter...but clearly you have not read or believed what I have sent to you....nor what our metropolitan or other bishops have posted.
Clearly also, you seem to blindly obey the off-balanced miss-guidance of your sectarian minded Fr. Andrei, who by his own posted pathetic declarations is NOT soundly Orthodox himself, but a church dissembler and destroyer.
Thus, is being repeated now, what happened in 2006-2007, when so many members of the old free ROCA, blindly...'obeyed' [ like non-rational sheep to the slaughter and the lemmings going over the cliff to their mass deaths], their betraying of Orthodoxy and all that the old free anti-communist ROCOR stood for, bishops and priests, and bowed to antichrist and his false-church, the Stalin created Sergianist MP.
That 2007 betrayal you wisely rejected, but now you participate in this current effort and war to destroy our remnant of that old ROCA.
St. Metropolitan Filaret predicted this.
But liars and deceivers, and vicious slanderers of righteous Orthodox bishops, as our Vl. Agafangel and his Synod are,.... them you believe whole-heartedly. UNBELIEVABLE~!
I had previously assumed, [ naive me!] that you were far too intelligent and far too piously Orthodox, to fall into that dumb ditch.
Vicky, there are not 'two sides' or 'two groups' , ..or two ROCA'S, there is: THE Orthodox Lawful Hierarchy, of the ONE united ...ROCA, headed by our honorable and wise and solidly ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN, Vladyka Agafangel and our other Bishops [all validly consecrated!] ....and those who have left Christ's Church, the church destroyers, these schismatics.... which current lawless and renegade and impious, 'group' you have declared your affiliation and loyalty to.
SHAME ON YOU, and THEM!
For your slandering and repeating libelous calumny against a righteous Orthodox metropolitan and bishops, for that alone, God will for sure punish you, in this world and the next, in HIS legal courts. Spreading calumny is akin to being a murderer.
What clever legal defense will you, after your soul has left your mortal body...., then give to the Righteous Judge of the Living and the Dead, at His Dreadful Judgement Throne?
You are thus helping to destroy the last remnant of the once free ROCA, and aiding the MP.
You are no better than the many fools, who bowed to the MP in 2007.
And, yes, I do not want to surprise you, but with schismatics and other heretics, [ from the rank of patriarchs, to metropolitans, bishops, to priests, to laity] they HAVE lost Apostolic Succession, and all of their pretend 'sacraments' are invalid, and graceless.... and they are indeed OUTSIDE of the Church.
Their originally valid and grace-filled Orthodox consecrations and ordinations, THEY CANNOT TAKE WITH THEM, when they leave the Orthodox Church!
Your schismatic clerical leaders are indeed , leaving The Church, without their former valid ordinations and consecrations.
You all are persecutors of The Church, not its reformers or saviours.
Your schism, IS leaving ROCA ...and The Orthodox Church and Faith!... not creating a new separate but co-equal rival, 'group'.
And thus you all are giving your agreement to the heretical, 'branch theory' of The Church, which means you fall under the Anathema against Ecumenists.
You are both schismatics and heretics, BOTH.
Nothing in Orthodox Church Law, permits or blesses what you rebels are doing, NOTHING!
But then, that is Orthodox Church law, not Australian secular law. SURPRISE!
And this is the ruinous path, the 'broad-way', mentioned by Christ in His Gospel you are choosing, totally on your own volition.
You and your fellow schism makers are spitting on the Russian Holy New Martyrs!
But my conscience is clean, as I have, repeatedly, tried to awaken you and your fellow church destroyers, but you listen to other voices, ignorant ones and ill-willed demonic ones. Some of leaders and inspirers of your schism, these are for sure, direct or indirect agents of the FSB and the MP.
Truly, I feel pity and sorrow for you and them.
It is too bad, that you have had no time to read and to digest the copious truthful facts, which totally support our Metropolitan's side of these matters, and especially so, as you are able to read such in the original Russian language. English translations, you do not even need.
And finally, it is not our Metropolitan who is 'driving you out', but yourselves who are leaving our church, and attacking and slandering us all as you depart, throwing mud in our faces, on your own and under your own rebellious anti-Orthodox excuses.
As Holy Scripture puts it: "Inherit the whirlwind!"...unless you first turn and repent.
May you repent! God grant this!... but your words here, prove that your pride is enormous, and that prevents any true repentance.
And I am sorry that our friendship has died. But you formerly fooled me. Now, your words have opened my eyes.
Rd. Daniel Everiss in Oregon
Subject: Re: PATHETIC!- From my former-Orthodox & former-friend in Melbourne, a mixed up, secular-lawyer and disciple of Fr. Andrei Erastov
Date: Wed, 12 Oct 2016 18:49:24 -0400
It was painful to read something so ill-informed about the Orthodox Church as this piece. If this is the best that the schismatics can come up with, that in itself is a pretty sad commentary?
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Dutikow" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Oct 12, 2016 1:57 PM
Subject: FW: www.rocana.org
To: "Dutikow" <email@example.com>
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, October 12, 2016 12:17 AM
12 Октября 2016
Статья "Мысли о Разделение в РПЦЗ" написано адвокатом и регентом хора Виктории Щерба (на английском языке)
October 12, 2016
Article "Thoughts on ROCA Separation", written by lawyer and choir conductor Victoria Sherba
WHAT IF THE ROCA DIVIDES INTO TWO GROUPS? - SOME THOUGHTS FROM A CHOIR DIRECTOR AND LAWYER
I hope and pray that the ROCA does not split into two parts and this article should not be taken as advocating any division. However, if Metropolitan Agafangel keeps imposing harsh punishments, it appears quite likely that the ROCA will divide into two groups, possibly in the very near future.
I have been asked to write down my thoughts as to why I will be supporting the Archbishop Andronik/Archbishop Sophrony group (VA/VS group) if such a division occurs.
THE TWO GROUPS
The VA/VS group will have two, possibly three bishops, while the Metropolitan Agafangel group (“MA group”) will have more bishops (although at least two of his “bishops” may not have been properly ordained and may lack apostolic succession).
Will the sacraments or liturgical services of the VA/VS group be devoid of the Holy Spirit?
The VA/VS group has properly ordained bishops and clergymen with apostolic succession. Not one of their bishops or clergymen is preaching any heresy or strange non-traditional teaching. This jurisdiction will have a proper church structure with bishops as its leaders, and priests commemorating these bishops. So the bishops and clergymen will be serving valid sacraments and proper divine services.
But the VA/VS group has declared themselves as autonomous and are not obeying the Metropolitan’s demands, doesn’t that make their services and sacraments devoid of the Holy Spirit?
But the Church Canons give each bishop full autonomy over his diocese and the North Americans are trying to enforce this against the interfering Metropolitan!
We do not belong to the Papacy where one bishop (the Pope) has supreme authority over all the other bishops. In Orthodoxy the Metropolitan is viewed as the “first amongst equals”, but only first in the sense of being an administrative chairman of the bishops. In spiritual questions he is not the sole arbiter, but ALL the bishops have an equal say and spiritual decisions should be made in a conciliar way by all.
But in administrative matters, a bishop has full sovereignty over his own diocese. The Canons prohibit one bishop from interfering in the affairs of another diocese.
The VA/VS group disagrees with MA's insistence that only his will be followed in various administrative matters. These disagreements are not over spiritual teachings. MA should not be forcing his will onto his brother bishops since we do not have an infallible mini-pope leading us.
Is the MA group spiritually better because it has more bishops?
The size of a church jurisdiction or how many bishops it has, does not determine whether Our Lord grants it His Holy Spirit. If it was a question of numbers then we should all convert to Catholicism or join the MP since on the basis of pure numbers these are the jurisdictions with the largest numbers.
Is the VA/VS group creating a schism?
This is a completely illogical statement. A simple comparison: a husband abuses a wife over many years. She finally reaches the point where she can’t cope any more, so she leaves. Is she the cause of the divorce purely because she separated from her abusive husband? She is the victim not the cause. Clearly the husband, who created the abusive conditions, is the cause of the divorce. Blaming who separates as being the cause is illogical. A much more in-depth analysis is required.
MA and his bishops have created an abusive environment so the cause of any possible split are MA's harsh actions.
Some people are arguing, yes MA acts as a tyrant, but the church members should just accept this and submit to his demands to avoid a split in the Church.
This is a question of degree. How much damage is enough?
MA's actions have already pushed out several thousands of people out of our Church, and he is still very aggressive.
Archbishop Andronik was forcibly retired by MA purely because he questioned Met Agafangel's harsh treatment of others. Similarly, we have had other bishops forcibly retired, others silenced, priests suspended, nuns close to defrocked, and laity prohibited from taking the sacraments, just for questioning Met Agafangel's actions.
How much more damage should our Church sustain? The VA/VS group are close to saying that they have had enough, and do not wish to lose yet more people. Is a division motivated by a desire to protect the remaining Church members and to keep what is left of the Church intact, a spiritually bad thing? Of course not! Or do we need to wait for yet more destruction of our Church, until possibly everyone is so disillusioned that a recovery from the destruction becomes almost impossible?
Some people are arguing, yes MA is acting very badly but we should all just accept this, and try some other method to avoid a split in the Church.
Upon being asked “what other method are you suggesting?” such people don't have ANY suggestions. Vague comments about “speaking to the Metropolitan” or “writing to him”, or some other action (completely vague and unspecified) is the best answer they can come up with. But ALL of this has ALREADY been tried. Numerous times.
For example, the whole US/Canadian Diocese wrote a letter with dozens of signatures, asking for this letter to be read at the Bishops' Council. The Metropolitan ignored this request, and instead insisted that this letter was written by “the enemies of the Church”. So according to the Metropolitan, the senior archbishop and clergy, (as well as laity) in North America, are “the enemies of the Church”. If so, then how can more letters or discussions be viewed as a solution?
Some assert that we cannot leave MA because he is not preaching any heresy.
The Canons state that clergy and laity can only leave a bishop if he is preaching a heresy.
But NEITHER group is preaching a heresy, so according to the Canons we can stay with Archbishops Andronik and Sophrony since they definitely are not heretics and are only teaching very traditional Orthodoxy. Similarly, all of their clergymen are only following traditional non-heretical teaching. So no need to separate from the clergy either.
But MA has retired VA/VS and prohibited them from serving anywhere apart from their monasteries, so their sacraments/services are not spiritually beneficial since they are serving in disobedience of MA. AND
What if MA suspends or even defrocks any of the clergymen who disagree with him? Doesn’t that mean their sacraments or services are no longer spiritually salvific?
On what basis were the punishments handed down? Oh they wrote letters and spoke out against MA’s harsh treatment of various people. Does speaking out against a bishop’s harshness or even against the harshness of a group of bishops (the Bishops' Council or Synod) make a bishop’s or clergyman’s sacraments or services devoid of grace?
God is the One who sends down the Holy Spirit. How does our Lord judge? Superficially according to some paper signed by an angry bishop or bishops when he/they were being criticised or asked to stay out of another bishop’s diocese? Or by the substance and by taking into account every smallest detail, weighing everything up and making His RIGHTFUL judgement?
Clearly our Lord is the Perfect Judge. Our Lord is the Truth. He is Love and Mercy. The spiritual effect of a piece of paper imposing a harsh unfair judgement is to increase the spiritual condemnation of the bishop who signed it and to attract the Holy Spirit to strengthen the one being unfairly condemned. Spiritual laws are not made up by Metropolitan Agafangel, but by the Scriptures, and Holy Tradition.
Where in the Scriptures was someone denied the Holy Spirit because he stood up against the harsh treatment of others? Actually the reverse: “God protects the orphans and the widows”, i.e. the powerless, so may even grant MORE grace to such clergymen.
Only a fanatic can argue that a clergyman’s sacraments are invalid if the clergyman was punished for defending someone being harshly treated.
But the VA/VS group won’t be in communion with the GOC, Bulgarians and Romanians? Won’t that mean that the VA/VS jurisdiction is now outside the True Church?
Was the Russian Catacomb Church in the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s devoid of the Holy Spirit? This Church was almost completely underground (hidden) and cut off from all other Churches. Services were served with tiny numbers of people, in fields, in small rooms, forests, often without even proper service books and church items. Yet Professor Andreyev in his book about the Russian New Martyrs (Russia’s Catacomb Saints: Lives of the New Martyrs) wrote that he never felt the presence of the Holy Spirit so strongly as in the catacomb services. A martyr cannot complete his martyrdom without the strength of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was clearly in abundance in the Russian Catacomb Church as millions of its followers joined the ranks of the New Martyrs and testified the fervency of their faith by dying for it. The Invisible Church is one. Being in communion with the other Churches is a good thing, but it is not essential for one’s salvation. Bishops from different countries disagree and agree for all sorts of reasons, not all of which are purely spiritual, some are purely political or worldly.
Won’t these disagreements amongst the bishops/clergy badly affect the salvation of my soul? Will I no longer be part of the True Church?
Our Lord does not expect the impossible. If bishops and clergy disagree, the laity have to make the best choice possible.
A person falls away from the True Church if through his life or beliefs he does not follow the teachings of the Holy Scriptures and of Holy Tradition, and if he joins a church jurisdiction without apostolic succession, or one which teaches heresy/false teachings.
This is not the case here. What is an Orthodox person to do when bishops disagree with each other?
Stay with bishops and clergymen who are validly ordained, have apostolic succession and are teaching traditional Orthodoxy. And choose between the two groups by applying the Scriptures.
On one hand in the West we have a Bishop (VA) who is trying to follow the Scriptures, is innocent and treats people with Christian kindness. On the other hand we have a Metropolitan who doles out harsh punishments, lies, slanders others very maliciously, manipulates, and controls his brother bishops through fear.
Just use your conscience to decide which bishop is more worthy of being followed?
Our Lord never expects the impossible. He just wants us to make the best choice in any set of circumstances.
History has plenty of examples of bishops disagreeing with each other, and the future is likely to provide yet more examples.
But won't this division result in the complete destruction of our ROCA?
No one can predict the future.
ROCA's survival depends first and foremost on God's Help. Throughout history God has helped and empowered those who tried to follow His teachings (even if they were initially very weak), and struck down those who did not (even if they were initially very powerful!).
ROCA (A) started in 2007 with only one bishop (MA). God helped and it grew into a larger Church. VA/VS will have at least two bishops, possibly more. This is more than we had in May 2007. And most importantly, this is enough to ordain other bishops and to ordain priests.
Only God knows if this new Church jurisdiction will grow or shrink. With God nothing is impossible!