Is Something Cultish Going on with ROAC?

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Bogoliubtsy

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Thank you all for this dose of sanity. What has happened in the last few months? One popular Orthodox forum (which shall remain unnamed) has turned into a breeding grounds for extremism. Such a pity...those totally new to Orthodoxy are being exposed to such fanatic ramblings and half-baked ideas. May God protect them all on their search and may good reason guide them.
 

Ben

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Since I am new to Orthodoxy..Vicki...please do not make these blanket statements...share with me what exactly is cultish about the ROAC and why they are not Orthodox and why they are "STARK RAVING NUTS".
 

Ben

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Please anyone....comment here..I have talked with an ROAC priest and he didn't seem to be an evil un-Orthodox nut ...I just don't understand this hatred of the ROAC...please someone explain! Orthodox faithful here seem to be more tolerant of the heresies of Protestantism than the ROAC..why is that? I just don't understand. I mean I can understand if ya'll don't like the ROAC...but wow there is much more here than that! Why the hate and anger towards the ROAC?
 

Bogoliubtsy

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Ben,
I am going to post parts of a private message I sent to you in hopes that it might help others understand ROAC a bit better. It's brief and not very deep, but it provides the basics.


I just wanted to give you my 1 and half cents on the matter. ROAC is schismatic. Some of the main leaders of ROAC were deposed by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia and ended up starting their own "church" . As you are probably well aware, deposed clergymen can't just set up their own "church" and call it legit. The ROAC also claims that all of the world's Orthodox churches are without grace and that only they(and maybe a few other jurisdictions they won't name) are the only ones comprising the Orthodox Church. Imagine that! Just a few thousand true Christians in the world! ...and to find "true" Christianity in the United States you have to attend one of ROAC's 4 or 5 parishes that they have here. The claims of ROAC and other groups like ROAC are TOTALLY overblown. They claim that the rest of the Orthodox Church has fallen from grace simply because some of them have cordial dialogue with other Christian faiths, or because they follow a different calendar! That's ludicrous. I think your best bet is to look at the positions and writings of the Church's most recent saints. For example- St. John Maximovitch of the Russian Church Abroad(old calendar church very opposed to ecumenism...the one I belong to). He set up new calendar parishes in France! He also, out of obedience in the Church, commemorated the Soviet Patriarch on a few occasions. This is not something he did all the time, of course...but it serves as an example that certain issues in the Church are not insurmountable and not much is simply black and white! ...not so cut and dry. Also, read St. Justin Popovich...he remained in the Serbian Church til his repose in the 1980's and is a great example of someone opposed to ecumenism, calendar change, etc. but didn't become a schismatic, setting up his own Church structure based on an ecclesiology that is totally un-Orthodox. Also, and I can not recommend this enough....read about Father Seraphim Rose of the Russian Church Abroad. There is a new biography on him called "Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works"... it's one of the best books I've ever read and you can see that he spoke about extremists like ROAC throughout his life. The internet is a scary place as far as Orthodoxy is concerned. Don't believe all of the wild stuff you read... most of it is overly hyped up and full of "zeal not according to knowledge" as the Orthodox like to say.
Pray, pray, pray! and I'd recommend visiting your local ROCOR parish(Colorado, right?) and speaking to the priest there about some of the issues you're facing. I believe Fr. Alexey Young, a disciple of Fr. Seraphim Rose and someone really "in the know" (Now Hieromonk Ambrose) used to be the priest there at one time...I think his son is still involved there...
Anyway, hope this doesn't come off as some kind of attack or advice you don't want.

May Christ guide your way!

-Peter


P.S. Seriously though, I'd stay away from ROAC. Maybe you should check out www.orthodoxchristianity.net(looks like that's been done already!) if you want to get a more balanced perspective on them...or you can join orthodoxjurisdictions ...it's a yahoo group, and ask your questions there. There are plenty of older ROCOR/OCA/GOA priests there who can answer your questions!
 

Innocent

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I really don't know how to explain it better to you! Have you been reading these posts? We seem to be more tolerant of Protestantism only because it does not hide under the cloak of Orthodoxy. ROAC is Orthodox in name only. There are certain ways you may do things in the Orthodox Church. You need a certain amount of Bishops and permission of the Synod or Patriarch to make a new Bishop. If you don't have that and you make a "Bishop" he is not really a Bishop. Then if that false Bishop goes and makes a Bishop of a priest that has been excommunicated you have a real problem.

Orthodoxy may seem very unorganized, and in many ways is, but there are rules that HAVE to be followed. ROAC has not followed those rules and is therefor not an Orthodox Church. Its just another Protestant Church made to look Orthodox.

Make no mistake there are good and holy people in ROAC. They are being deceived and that's what is truly sad.

Ben said:
Please anyone....comment here..I have talked with an ROAC priest and he didn't seem to be an evil un-Orthodox nut ...I just don't understand this hatred of the ROAC...please someone explain! Orthodox here seem to be more tolerant of the heresies of Protestantism than the ROAC..why is that? I just don't understand. I mean I can understand if ya'll don't like the ROAC...but wow there is much more here than that! Why the hate and anger towards the ROAC?
 

Innocent

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I have the only book by St. Justin Popovich in english unless others have been translated. If you want it Ben I'll be more than happy to give it to you.
 

Ben

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But niether one of you will explain to me why there is so much hate towards the ROAC. As I said I understand that you all may not like or approve of the ROAC....but their seems to be a deep rooted hate towards them amoung many Orthodox faithful, not just here but everwhere, which I do not understand.
 

Anastasios

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Ben said:
But niether one of you will explain to me why there is so much hate towards the ROAC. As I said I understand that you all may not like or approve of the ROAC....but their seems to be a deep rooted hate towards them amoung many Orthodox faithful, not just here but everwhere, which I do not understand.
There is hatred towards ROAC because God hates schism. The ROAC types take Christ's Church and rip it apart.

anastasios
 

Innocent

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Vicki explained it better than I can. I do not "hate" ROAC. What I find distasteful is the use of the word Orthodox in their name while spitting out non-Orthodox teachings. Nobody is beyond redemption but this is what they are teaching. That upsets me to no end. Saying your Orthodox while teach non-Orthodox beliefs.

Ben said:
But niether one of you will explain to me why there is so much hate towards the ROAC. As I said I understand that you all may not like or approve of the ROAC....but their seems to be a deep rooted hate towards them amoung many Orthodox faithful, not just here but everwhere, which I do not understand.
 

Bogoliubtsy

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I might add that you will find "good" people who aren't in the least bit "loony" in virtually any religious group. That does not mean though that their theology and ecclesiology is that of Christ's Church.

Here are some the top 7 reasons you might want to join ROAC.

1.) You've been charged with serious questions of morality perhaps involving certain sexual matters and now want to clear your name by crying HERESY! to your right-believing Orthodox bishops

2.)You have a deep psychological need that can be filled through un-Orthodox exclusivity and cultishness- one most satisfied by being "of the elect" that's seperate from "them"- even if the "them" are your Orthodox brothers. When your group gets too big though, you're most likely to find another smaller and more "correct" group to join.

3.) You are not Orthodox, or have been Orthodox for a short time and have read the writings of St. Mark of Ephesus until your eyes blurred and now you think his remarks apply to today's Orthodox world. With your "vast" new-found knowledge of Orthodoxy, you'll correct things.

4.) You think that only you and your buddies can save the Church through your wise and pious example- not Christ and his councils. (Wait, doesn't this sound like Sergianism?)

5.)You enjoy "proof-texting"(much like the Protestants, I might add) the writings and letters of the ever memorable Met. Philaret of ROCOR to create a picture that fits in with your newly found world view. Most likely, the leaders you'll accept who call Met. Philaret a saint were accusing him of heresy back in the 1970's and early 80's. Funny how things change, huh?

6.) You like the comfort of thinking you're one of a few thousand "true" Christians left in the entire world. You also enjoy playing God by claiming that NO GRACE exists in the mysteries outside of your self-made jurisdiction. At least you'll get visitations from Christ telling you this....or how else would you know conclusively?

7.)You like to think that the situation in Russia is/was a simple one, easily figured out by application of the canons. Ok...plug the formula into the canons...let the computer calculate....waiting .........waiting......waiting.......Ok, they're graceless!



There are plenty more...but why waste them all now.. ;)
 

Anastasios

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I would also like to say I don't personally have any opinions about individuals in ROAC. I am sure that some of the priests and bishops are holy. But I love the sinner while hating the sin (schism).

anastasios
 

Linus7

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Hey, Bogoliubtsy!

You left off reason #8:

You have a strange desire to unaccountably stop the bleeding associated with hemophilia and later be poisoned, shot, and dumped into the icy Neva River.

(Excuse the bad joke, folks, but I cannot resist an allusion to Rasputin in this particular instance!)
 

TomS

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No. Because the ROCOR "bishops" were not given magical spectacles to read the texts. This is why they have no grace! ;D
 

Ben

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anastasios said:
Ben said:
But niether one of you will explain to me why there is so much hate towards the ROAC. As I said I understand that you all may not like or approve of the ROAC....but their seems to be a deep rooted hate towards them amoung many Orthodox faithful, not just here but everwhere, which I do not understand.
There is hatred towards ROAC because God hates schism. The ROAC types take Christ's Church and rip it apart.

anastasios
Ok anastasios then there MUST hatred to EVERY single Christian denomination and group, not just the ROAC. Yes God hates schism, but he doesn't hate people, and we shouldn't either. I am shocked to see the hatred towards the ROAC here, but I do not know all the facts, so I can't judge. However we must be fair about this and show the same hatred towards Lutheran and Catholic and every other groups's clergy and bishops as we do towards ROAC clergy and bishops.
 

Ben

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Vicki said:
But...does anyone notice a strong similarity between the desire of the ROAC "bishops" to create a better Orthodox Church and oh, say...Good Ole' Revelation Joe of the Mormon Church?
Now come on! I understand that the ROAC, in your opinion, is schismatic and must be stayed away from...but comparing their bishops to Joseph Smith?! I find this absurd.

Who are you to judge bishops? Of any Orthodox or non Orthodox group?!

And come on..Mormonism is no wear near Christianity! It is laughable that you make such a comparison.
 

Innocent

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Ben said:
anastasios said:
Ben said:
But niether one of you will explain to me why there is so much hate towards the ROAC. As I said I understand that you all may not like or approve of the ROAC....but their seems to be a deep rooted hate towards them amoung many Orthodox faithful, not just here but everwhere, which I do not understand.
There is hatred towards ROAC because God hates schism. The ROAC types take Christ's Church and rip it apart.

anastasios
Ok anastasios then there MUST hatred to EVERY single Christian denomination and group, not just the ROAC. Yes God hates schism, but he doesn't hate people, and we shouldn't either. I am shocked to see the hatred towards the ROAC here, but I do not know all the facts, so I can't judge. However we must be fair about this and show the same hatred towards Lutheran and Catholic and every other groups's clergy and bishops as we do towards ROAC clergy and bishops.


Lutherans, and Catholics (with exception of uniates) do not try and pretend they are Orthodox. They also do not twist the words of Orthodox fathers to conform to their beleifs.
 

Ben

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Please keep in mind I know very little about the history of the ROAC....I am just commenting upon everyones strange hate and anger towards the ROAC.
 

Ben

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Innocent said:
Ben said:
anastasios said:
Ben said:
But niether one of you will explain to me why there is so much hate towards the ROAC. As I said I understand that you all may not like or approve of the ROAC....but their seems to be a deep rooted hate towards them amoung many Orthodox faithful, not just here but everwhere, which I do not understand.
There is hatred towards ROAC because God hates schism. The ROAC types take Christ's Church and rip it apart.

anastasios
Ok anastasios then there MUST hatred to EVERY single Christian denomination and group, not just the ROAC. Yes God hates schism, but he doesn't hate people, and we shouldn't either. I am shocked to see the hatred towards the ROAC here, but I do not know all the facts, so I can't judge. However we must be fair about this and show the same hatred towards Lutheran and Catholic and every other groups's clergy and bishops as we do towards ROAC clergy and bishops.


Lutherans, and Catholics (with exception of uniates) do not try and pretend they are Orthodox. They also do not twist the words of Orthodox fathers to conform to their beleifs.
Innocent..Anastasios was talking about the hatred towards schism...and the last time I checked Orthodoxy considered the RCC to be in schism..and wow the Lutherans are a schism of a schims, even worst! And as a Catholic I can tell you that Catholics, faithful and clergy, try to twist the words of the early Church fathers, and even modern Orthodox fathers, to fit their agenda.
 

Innocent

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anastasios corrected himself with another post stating:

I would also like to say I don't personally have any opinions about individuals in ROAC. I am sure that some of the priests and bishops are holy. But I love the sinner while hating the sin (schism).
They might twist the fathers of the Church but they do not dress up and claim to be The Orthodox Church. ROAC claims to be the only Orthodox Church!
 

Ben

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Innocent that is a lie...I tlaked with an ROAC priest last night and mentioned a few other Orthodox churches or jurisdictions...or whatever you call them that have kept the true faith. ROAC does not claim to be the ONLY Orthodox Church, they just claim to profess the true apostolic faith.
 

Ben

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Vicki I agree we must show love to our fellow human beings, no mater what religion or race or gender, but when someone is in error we must correct them. That is showing true love! We must NOT condmen them as many here have done, but we must show those who are oblivious where the true Church is. We cannot sit back and let many be decieved thinking "Oh I am in the true Chruch" when they are lets say baptists. We must correct them and show them the truth!
 

Innocent

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The Churches they are in communion with are schismatic Churches. Anyway I'm done with this topic. I've said my piece and been called a liar.

Ben said:
Innocent that is a lie...I tlaked with an ROAC priest last night and mentioned a few other Orthodox churches or jurisdictions...or whatever you call them that have kept the true faith. ROAC does not claim to be the ONLY Orthodox Church, they just claim to profess the true apostolic faith.
 

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Ben said:
Innocent that is a lie...I tlaked with an ROAC priest last night and mentioned a few other Orthodox churches or jurisdictions...or whatever you call them that have kept the true faith. ROAC does not claim to be the ONLY Orthodox Church, they just claim to profess the true apostolic faith.
Ben,

Next time you talk to this priest, I suggest that you ask him if ROAC believes that any of the churches you mentioned have Grace? If they believe that their sacraments are valid? And that if, as a member of ROAC, you would be allowed to receive the Eucharist in ANY other mainstream Orthodox church?

The answers to those types of questions will show you the true beliefs of ROAC.

Modified because I inadvertently typed ROCOR instead of ROAC --- Thanks for pointing this out in your post below Innocent :-[
 

Innocent

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Now I know I said I was off this topic but I need to make a correction here. ROCOR is NOT the same as ROAC. Its ROAC with the crazy ideas not ROCOR.

TomS said:
Innocent said:
The Churches they are in communion with are schismatic Churches. Anyway I'm done with this topic. I've said my piece and been called a liar.

Ben said:
Innocent that is a lie...I tlaked with an ROAC priest last night and mentioned a few other Orthodox churches or jurisdictions...or whatever you call them that have kept the true faith. ROAC does not claim to be the ONLY Orthodox Church, they just claim to profess the true apostolic faith.
Ben, did you ask the priest if the churches you mentioned had Grace? Did you ask if he believes that their sacraments are valid? Did you ask if as a member of ROCOR you would be allowed to receive the Eucharist in ANY other mainstream Orthodox church?

The answers to those types of questions will show you the true beliefs of ROCOR.
 

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I still think Roac is the old raven in The Hobbit: you know, the one who summons Dain of the Iron Hills to help Thorin and the other dwarves in the "Battle of the Five Armies."

He would never cause a schism. ;)
 

Ben

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I am not in anyway saying the ROAC is right or anything like that I am just pointing out a few things:

1) There is way too much hate and anger here towards the ROAC.

2) No mater what jurisdiction it is your job to bring others to the Orthodox faith. Never not tell someone the truth in fear of offending them.

3) Research your facts about any jurisdiction before condmening them...and really there is no need to condmen...we need just pray.

In Christ,
Ben
 

Keble

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Ben said:
But niether one of you will explain to me why there is so much hate towards the ROAC. As I said I understand that you all may not like or approve of the ROAC....but their seems to be a deep rooted hate towards them amoung many Orthodox faithful, not just here but everwhere, which I do not understand.
Well, I don't know about "hatred". I think it is rather that it epitomizes a lot of problems with various splinter groups.

First, a bit of history. The bolshevik revolution made a lot of problems for the Russian church, provoking a lot of different survival reactions. One of these was to release a bunch of bishops to form a separate body which is variously referred to as ROCOR and ROCA. Much later, the American Russian church was givien autonomy by its parent and became the OCA.

ROAC originated when one bishop(?) Valentine took some other bishops out of ROCOR. He had been disciplined in ROCOR (and supposedly charged with some sexual offenses while he was a member of the Moscow Patriarchate-- I can't pretend to know how justified these were).

If you go to their website you will see a long long rant against virtually every other Orthodox body. You will also find a listed out apostolic succession. This last is a bad sign, because it acknowledges that their legitimacy is in question. It also tends to imply a branch theory of succession which is inimicable to Orthodoxy.

They have exactly one American bishop, this Bishop Gregory. He started out Antiochian (if I have this all straight) and went to ROCOR, and now ROAC. In addition to the skete in Colorado, they list four parishes in the USA, three of which are headed by converts.

The thing that set everything off was that, all of a sudden, we had two people posting here who, it seems, are being given correspondence courses in Orthodoxy by various ROAC priests-- or Gregory himself. Neither lives within 300 miles of a ROAC parish. Now I have found a third in the same situation. All of them are young men; all of them have little long-term exposure to Orthodoxy. And all of a sudden they seem to know everything. Indeed, one of them is being allowed to moderate on the e-Cafe, which I personally cannot abide, but it isn't my forum. And I begin to suspect that they have been promised, perhaps only by implication, higher offices if they convert.

No legitimate Orthodoxy body would tolerate such an arrangement. To be Orthodox (at least at this early stage) you much be in a parish.
 

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Ben said:
I am not in anyway saying the ROAC is right or anything like that I am just pointing out a few things:

1) There is way too much hate and anger here towards the ROAC.
It is all too easy to condemn as hate a simle recognition and elucidation of the malign state of an organization.

2) No mater what jurisdiction it is your job to bring others to the Orthodox faith. Never not tell someone the truth in fear of offending them.
And what is this truth? What is your connection to ROAC? Are you also being instructed from afar?

3) Research your facts about any jurisdiction before condmening them...and really there is no need to condmen...we need just pray.
Most of the facts I know of here are gleaned from ROAC's own websites and from the words of these dubious converts. As everyone else knows, I am not Orthodox. What is being done in ROAC's name, however, is something that no ancient-- or even semi-ancient-- church would approve of.
 

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Informative post (#38), Keble.

I recently encountered a 19-year-old college student on another forum who is a self-professed expert in theology. He espouses a kind of half-arsed Calvinism.

Youth is wasted on the extremists!
 

Ben

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Keble.....

I think there is a strong hateful anti-ROAC current here, and that is very sad. But as I said I do not know all of the facts, and I most certainly wont believe everything you say, so for all I know this anti-ROACism, if you will, may be justified.

I believe the truth is Jesus Christ and his Church: the Orthodox Church. My connection with ROAC is very simple. I live about 90 miles away from Dormition Skete, and have contacted the priest there, Fr. George, once.

There has been a lot of things here said about the ROAC that are false. For example in this thread someone what talking about the Old Calendar, and that the ROAC teaches the New Calendar churches are heretical. This is false. When I talked with the ROAC priest last night, he made clear the new calendar is not itself heretical and just because a church or jurisdiction uses it, doesn't me they are heretical.

Then others claimed that the ROAC teaches the ROAC is the ONLY true Orthodox Church, this is false. The ROAC just claims to hold the true faith. Actually Fr. George mentioned another Orthodox jurisdiction, I think in Greece, that the ROAC believes to hold the true faith.

For more info on the ROAC you might wanna look at the stuff on their sites:

http://www.russianorthodox-roac.com/1.html

http://www.russianorthodoxautonomouschurchinamerica.com/articles.htm

http://www.russianorthodoxautonomouschurchinamerica.com/pictures.htm

 

Ben

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Timeline History of Orthodoxy in the 20th Century is very interesting from the ROAC point of view:

http://www.russianorthodoxautonomouschurchinamerica.com/articles.htm
 

Bogoliubtsy

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Even if ROAC started espousing Orthodox beliefs they would still be un-Orthodox due to the fact that its leaders were defrocked. If the Baptists suddenly started performing the Divine Liturgy, came in line with every Orthodox dogma there is and had "Orthodoxy" down to a "T", they still would not be Orthodox. Why? Because the Church of Christ is apostolic and people must be part of the body of Christ before they can be considered Orthodox Christians. Likewise, in defrocked clergymen who may look and act Orthodox(though many of ROAC's opinions are not even outwardly Orthodox), the grace of that apostolic succession does not continue.
 

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Which bishop or priest in the ROAC has been defrocked? When? and what were the circumstances? Care to give any sources?
 

Bogoliubtsy

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The leader of the ROAC, Met. Valentine of Suzdal was lawfully defrocked by ROCOR.

From an interview with Bishop Mark of Berlin(ROCOR), 2002.

Question:: In Russia, besides the Moscow Patriarchate, there is also another "alternative" Church - the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church headed by Metropolitan Valentine (Rusantsev), with its center in Suzdal. What is the attitude of the Russian Church Abroad to this hierarch?


Vladika Mark: The answer to that is quite unambiguous: he was defrocked for serious misdeeds, and therefore cannot be either a bishop, or a priest. For us, he is nothing more than a monk.


So, there you have it...ROCOR defrocked him. As for what "serious misdeeds" means...perhaps the same things the Russian Church(in Russia) accused him of before he left them over their "heresy".(In the early 90's of course, when it was safe to do so).

Full text of the interview:

http://www.russianorthodoxchurch.ws/english/pages/news/invvlmark.html
 

Ben

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Thank you..I didn't know..thats why I asked you..thanks...I will surely bring this up with the ROAC priest I am in contact with and see what he says...once again thanks.

Please I am just trying to find Orthodoxy...do not misunderstand me...I am not all of a sudden pro-ROAC...I am just searching for truth. Keep me in your prayers!
 

Bogoliubtsy

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Ben,

I'll have to warn you. ROAC will have an "answer" for this. Something along the lines of "the Soviet Pseudo Moscow Patriarchate brought these moral charges up to discredit our right believing bishop. He is a living martyr, etc." They will, in probability, have almost near "logical arguments" for all of their positions. They are a group based on positions...that's what they do!
Please Ben, there are a handful of other churches in your area...why go to this one? It's hard to convey some of the emotions in the recent posts dealing with this thread. Really though, we all have your best interest in mind when we emphatically say "Flee! Flee!" again and again.

Praying for you,

Peter J.
 

Ben

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I understand...I am just looking into all of my options...I mean in Colorado I can go OCA, GOA, ROCOR, ROAC, Antiochan Archdiocese, and Ukrainian Orthodox...I am exploring them ALL.

In Christ,
Ben
 

Aristocles

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Ben said:
I understand...I am just looking into all of my options...I mean in Colorado I can go OCA, GOA, ROCOR, ROAC, Antiochan Archdiocese, and Ukrainian Orthodox...I am exploring them ALL.

In Christ,
Ben
Five good options out of six! You're fortunate.

Demetri
 
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