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Florida ROCOR Church, Monastery Clergy Defect to Constantinople

Saxon

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With this open letter, we respectfully inform the hierarchs of the Canonical Churches of the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, their clergymen and faithful, of the following painful situation taking place in Dania Beach, FL, and North Fort Myers, FL.

A clergyman of the Eastern American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Archimandrite Alexander (Belya), betraying the trust and love of his archpastors, led the Cathedral of Blessed Matrona of Moscow in Dania Beach, FL, and St. Nicholas Monastery in North Fort Myers, FL, out of the structure of the canonical authority of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Having been suspended from performing his priestly functions, Archimandrite Alexander has not submitted to the decrees of his Ruling Bishop, and is not responding to summonses to be questioned by a special diocesan investigative committee appointed to examine his activities and those of his younger brother, Ivan Alexandrovich Belya.

Representatives of the special diocesan investigative committee in clerical rank, having been granted by the blessing of the Ruling Bishop with special authorities, were not permitted into the Cathedral of Blessed Matrona of Moscow, blocked by armed guards, which is an unheard-of occurrence in the Orthodox community of the United States.

It became known to us that the suspended Archimandrite Alexander, on Sunday, October 13 (n.s.) 2019, ignoring his suspension from priestly duties imposed by his Ruling Bishop, brazenly performed Divine Liturgy, commemorating His All-Holiness the Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros, Archbishop of America, Exarch of the Atlantic & Pacific Oceans.
Story continues at link.

https://eadiocese.org/news_191016_1
 

isxodnik

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Like to like.
I've never been able to understand people who go to such divisive churches.
 

Ainnir

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Lord, have mercy.
 

platypus

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Schism, hostile takeovers, armed guards! These are exciting times we live in.

Representatives of the special diocesan investigative committee in clerical rank, having been granted by the blessing of the Ruling Bishop with special authorities, were not permitted into the Cathedral of Blessed Matrona of Moscow, blocked by armed guards, which is an unheard-of occurrence in the Orthodox community of the United States.
Does that mean it's something that does occur amongst the Orthodox community in other countries?
 

platypus

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isxodnik said:
Like to like.
I've never been able to understand people who go to such divisive churches.
Outside majority-Orthodox countries, many people have very limited options for Orthodox parishes, and a divisive one might be the only one around.

For example, I live about 700 miles from the nearest Orthodox parish. If some reasonably Orthodox-looking schismatics opened up shop next door, I'd probably attend.
 

isxodnik

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platypus said:
Does that mean it's something that does occur amongst the Orthodox community in other countries?
Ukraine.
 

hecma925

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platypus said:
Schism, hostile takeovers, armed guards! These are exciting times we live in.

Representatives of the special diocesan investigative committee in clerical rank, having been granted by the blessing of the Ruling Bishop with special authorities, were not permitted into the Cathedral of Blessed Matrona of Moscow, blocked by armed guards, which is an unheard-of occurrence in the Orthodox community of the United States.
Does that mean it's something that does occur amongst the Orthodox community in other countries?
Ukraine.  Maybe not guards, but thugs that beat priests and the faithful.
 

isxodnik

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platypus said:
For example, I live about 700 miles from the nearest Orthodox parish. If some reasonably Orthodox-looking schismatics opened up shop next door, I'd probably attend.
But why are you doing this?/What's good for you in this? After all, in such a Church there is no salvation, but there is a purely/double perdition.
 

Opus118

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ICXCNIKA said:
I am assuming this has been published because GOARCH will not rectify the situation.
I read Metropolitan Hillarion's 09-14-19 letter (https://eadiocese.org/files/09.76.19-Belya-Clarification-EN.pdf) and I do not know what is going on. Why should GOARCH know more than what is in the prior letter?
 

Saxon

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Opus118 said:
ICXCNIKA said:
I am assuming this has been published because GOARCH will not rectify the situation.
I read Metropolitan Hillarion's 09-14-19 letter (https://eadiocese.org/files/09.76.19-Belya-Clarification-EN.pdf) and I do not know what is going on. Why should GOARCH know more than what is in the prior letter?
Because they and their mother church, the EP, seems to have accepted them into the fold, and at this point neither GOARCH nor the EP can pretend the defection was properly approved or in any way legitimate.
 

Asteriktos

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When you're the eternal wellspring of Orthodoxy, all things are legitimate.
 

Opus118

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Saxon said:
Opus118 said:
ICXCNIKA said:
I am assuming this has been published because GOARCH will not rectify the situation.
I read Metropolitan Hillarion's 09-14-19 letter (https://eadiocese.org/files/09.76.19-Belya-Clarification-EN.pdf) and I do not know what is going on. Why should GOARCH know more than what is in the prior letter?
Because they and their mother church, the EP, seems to have accepted them into the fold, and at this point neither GOARCH nor the EP can pretend the defection was properly approved or in any way legitimate.
I saw this:October 13 (n.s.) 2019, ignoring his suspension from priestly duties imposed by his Ruling Bishop, brazenly performed Divine Liturgy, commemorating His All-Holiness the Archbishop of Constantinople.......
And this:We can only surmise, unfortunately, that the hierarchs of the Constantinople Patriarchate, against the background of her complicated and unfortunate relationship with the Russian Orthodox Church.........
Can you explain to me why surmise is a fact? The renegade Archmandrite can commemorate without asking for permission first. I suspect  there are either facts that are not being stated or the writer's opinion is just that.

 

StanislavU

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There are differing accounts of this on the Web, and neither side looks good. At least, it looks like Belya brothers did essentially build a thriving community, and there did not seem to be sufficient grounds for the Bishop to mess with it. Anyhoo, we do not know enough to really tell what's going on.

Different question: seeing how MP just accepted clerics of the former Rue Daru Exarchate, what exactly are their objections *IF* EP *did* accept these guys (to be clear: I seriously doubt they did)? Pot, meet kettle.
 

isxodnik

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Are you have a program in your head: whatever it is, we must blame Russia?
 

isxodnik

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The pastoral word of Archimandrite Alexander to the parishioners. (Sunday, October 13, 2019)

I am very worried; pain and fear; humiliating unjust interrogation; KGB; lawlessness dashing 90's; humiliating procedure; These people are only people, though they wear robes.; There were tears in my eyes when I read the decree in which you, the faithful, were forbidden freedom of Assembly and freedom of speech under the threat of anathema.; You are my children. You are the children of Christ; there Were days when I was ready to go to Athos as a simple monk and forget this filth and slander with which I was poured...
Sapienti sat.
 

ICXCNIKA

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StanislavU said:
There are differing accounts of this on the Web, and neither side looks good. At least, it looks like Belya brothers did essentially build a thriving community, and there did not seem to be sufficient grounds for the Bishop to mess with it. Anyhoo, we do not know enough to really tell what's going on.

Different question: seeing how MP just accepted clerics of the former Rue Daru Exarchate, what exactly are their objections *IF* EP *did* accept these guys (to be clear: I seriously doubt they did)? Pot, meet kettle.
The Archdiocese was a Russian Archdiocese. It's status as an Exarchate connecting it to the Phanar was ended by the Phanar.
 

kijabeboy03

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So according to that they have been received by Constantinople.

isxodnik said:
The pastoral word of Archimandrite Alexander to the parishioners. (Sunday, October 13, 2019)

I am very worried; pain and fear; humiliating unjust interrogation; KGB; lawlessness dashing 90's; humiliating procedure; These people are only people, though they wear robes.; There were tears in my eyes when I read the decree in which you, the faithful, were forbidden freedom of Assembly and freedom of speech under the threat of anathema.; You are my children. You are the children of Christ; there Were days when I was ready to go to Athos as a simple monk and forget this filth and slander with which I was poured...
Sapienti sat.
 

kijabeboy03

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Its status was, but not Constantinople's jurisdiction over its constituent parishes. And the ROCOR received Exarchate parishes prior to the Exarchate going under Moscow, the Synod Abroad really can't get upset about other Orthodox Churches taking its parishes when it jumped at the chance to do the same as soon as the drama between Constantinople and Moscow started...

ICXCNIKA said:
StanislavU said:
There are differing accounts of this on the Web, and neither side looks good. At least, it looks like Belya brothers did essentially build a thriving community, and there did not seem to be sufficient grounds for the Bishop to mess with it. Anyhoo, we do not know enough to really tell what's going on.

Different question: seeing how MP just accepted clerics of the former Rue Daru Exarchate, what exactly are their objections *IF* EP *did* accept these guys (to be clear: I seriously doubt they did)? Pot, meet kettle.
The Archdiocese was a Russian Archdiocese. It's status as an Exarchate connecting it to the Phanar was ended by the Phanar.
 

IreneOlinyk

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isxodnik said:
The pastoral word of Archimandrite Alexander to the parishioners. (Sunday, October 13, 2019)

I am very worried; pain and fear; humiliating unjust interrogation; KGB; lawlessness dashing 90's; humiliating procedure; These people are only people, though they wear robes.; There were tears in my eyes when I read the decree in which you, the faithful, were forbidden freedom of Assembly and freedom of speech under the threat of anathema.; You are my children. You are the children of Christ; there Were days when I was ready to go to Athos as a simple monk and forget this filth and slander with which I was poured...
Maybe Fr.Alexander decided to leave the ROCOR/MP  because like the priests who signed petition in Sept. because the Church in Russia:
the resurgent Orthodox Church has developed a close relationship with the Kremlin. ...."A state devoid of justice is no better than a band of robbers," he said.
https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/09/19/russian-priest-who-signed-open-letter-in-support-of-protesters-says-government-threats-not-the-answer-a67345

You can read more here:https://www.rferl.org/a/why-russian-priest-joined-public-condemnation-of-kremlin-crackdown-on-protests/30185120.html

MOSCOW -- In his 26 years of service to the Russian Orthodox Church, Father Andrei Lorgus has heard the confessions of believers from all walks of life.
But as a crackdown on Russia's opposition continued, with prison sentences and raids of protesters' homes, Lorgus said the officials he counsels at Moscow's St. Nicholas Church - among them judges, investigators, and law enforcement officers - were torn between their Christian conscience and their duties to the Russian state.
"I can feel tension inside them, that they're reflecting on things and have pangs of conscience," he said in a telephone interview. "I simply tell them, 'We will all answer before God.'"
Last week, Lorgus was one of more than 180 Russian Orthodox priests who signed an open letter urging the authorities to scale back their clampdown and free many activists sentenced to prison for attending protests. It was an intervention in politics that church scholars say is unprecedented in Russia since the 1991 Soviet collapse.

 

isxodnik

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And also I can go outside and eat cow dung ;)
The scandal in Florida has begun, when in Moscow has rejected the candidacy of fr. Alexander to the bishops.
 

ICXCNIKA

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kijabeboy03 said:
Its status was, but not Constantinople's jurisdiction over its constituent parishes.
ICXCNIKA said:
StanislavU said:
There are differing accounts of this on the Web, and neither side looks good. At least, it looks like Belya brothers did essentially build a thriving community, and there did not seem to be sufficient grounds for the Bishop to mess with it. Anyhoo, we do not know enough to really tell what's going on.

Different question: seeing how MP just accepted clerics of the former Rue Daru Exarchate, what exactly are their objections *IF* EP *did* accept these guys (to be clear: I seriously doubt they did)? Pot, meet kettle.
The Archdiocese was a Russian Archdiocese. It's status as an Exarchate connecting it to the Phanar was ended by the Phanar.
Obviously, the Archbishop and the vast majority of the clergy disagree with the bolded portion.

ROCOR indeed should not be surprised if the EP accepted one of their parishes in Europe. However, I think all Orthodox in N. America should be concerned that the EP has brought this war to our shores.
 

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isxodnik said:
platypus said:
For example, I live about 700 miles from the nearest Orthodox parish. If some reasonably Orthodox-looking schismatics opened up shop next door, I'd probably attend.
But why are you doing this?/What's good for you in this? After all, in such a Church there is no salvation, but there is a purely/double perdition.
I'm not; I don't have the option.

But what would be good about attending Church with schismatics? Off the top of my head, praying with other believers is pretty good. A century ago an Orthodox clergyman would have instructed me to not only attend but also commune at the local Episcopalian parish, so I struggle to imagine that attending the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom with people I'm not in communion with would lead to double(?) perdition. Actually, the local Roman Catholic priest claims to commune Orthodox travelers all the time; apparently a lot of priests (not mine though) are telling their parishioners to take RC communion when they're away from Orthodox churches.
 

isxodnik

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platypus said:
double(?) perdition
A literal but incomplete translation of the word "сугубый." The receiver of the sacraments from the forbidden or defrocked not only does not receive salvation (1), but also receives additional condemnation (2).

platypus said:
Actually, the local Roman Catholic priest claims to commune Orthodox travelers all the time; apparently a lot of priests (not mine though) are telling their parishioners to take RC communion when they're away from Orthodox churches.
If this is true, then some of them - Orthodox priests or travelers - sin.

In general, you consider that "partitions between people do not reach the sky".
 

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Most recent overview of events:

https://orthochristian.com/124812.html
 

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PorphyriosK said:
Most recent overview of events:

https://orthochristian.com/124812.html
From the source:

From the point of view of the Russian Church Abroad, the Sacraments and prayers performed there do not lead to salvation into Eternal Life,” the statement reads.
Quite an interesting statement. While I believe that schism is a sin how can they know that God doesn't hear their prayer?
 

Ainnir

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Lord, have mercy.
 

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According to sources in ROCOR, this is not the first time the Belya brothers have caused problems. Fr. Alexander is known to dodge diocesan dues and bring clergy to America without the proper paperwork. Ivan has even been implicated in the trafficking of women.
And Belya notes an interesting connection: “You and I have been granted not only the protection of the Patriarchate in which Mt. Athos is located, but also the protection of the government of the United States.”
What a lovely bunch they sound like.

 

Saxon

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I just find it interesting that, in light of past conduct of the Belya brothers, ROCOR only took action when it started threatening their finances. Seems to be a common theme.
 

isxodnik

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You read the article? "The investigation against the Belyas began when..."
 

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ROCOR gonna ROCOR even if it means they can't ROCOR any more.
 

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Alpo2 said:
From the source:

From the point of view of the Russian Church Abroad, the Sacraments and prayers performed there do not lead to salvation into Eternal Life,” the statement reads.
Quite an interesting statement. While I believe that schism is a sin how can they know that God doesn't hear their prayer?
Because they believe (or try to imply) that the Holy Spirit obeys administrative pronouncements of the MP and valid designates. Not even remotely the first time they say the thing like that; goes to at least Patr. Sergius even before the Sergianism. This is actually mild; Met. Pavel of Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra can kill people at great distances with prayer (or so he claims).

Having said that, the Archimandrite comes across as a con artist. It appears he managed to get confirmed as a Bishop Elect without actually being selected by ROCOR (if they did select him and later reversed the course, he'd say that outright - and he did not). I strongly suspect that he actually wasn't accepted by GOARCH; if he did con them into accepting him, chances are he'd be dropped like a hot potato once details get known. GOARCH is not THAT desperate for real estate nor members.
 

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Hawkeye said:
Schism is not simply an administrative issue. The Goldenmouth thought it no less an evil than heresy.
Again, Met. Jean trying to lead part of the former Exarchate into the MP somehow doesn't make anyone doubt their prayers reach God.
What would be closer to schism is if they remain defiant in the likely case EP won't accept them after all. I do not see a good reason for the EP to do that, except for property (not worth it IMHO) and admittedly tempting chance to stick a finger into MP's eye (ultimately, also not worth it IMHO).

Didn't ROCOR used to accept censured clerics from OCA? I've seen a leaflet of one such priest in Jacksonville FL warning immigrants not to go to OCA church because it is "not really Russian" (a parish just brought a young priest from Russia to celebrate Liturgy in Church Slavonic for those so inclined). I wonder whether he managed to build his parish after all, over 10 years passed.
 
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