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ROCOR Reunion Redux

Bobby

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Hi all,

The very nature of this post may spur discussion that denigrates into a thread more apt for Free-For-All or maybe even the politics board....but we'll see where this goes.

Given the climate of current events in Russia with Putin, especially the claims of many that he is taking the country back to Soviet-era beliefs and practices, and also the strong ties between both the Moscow Patriarchate and the government, how can ANYONE in their right mind possibly think that the ROCOR-MP merger was a good thing?  In my mind, it seems that the exact reason the ROCOR existed was just circumvented. 





 

observer

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Exactly!  But don't trying telling the ROCOR  clergy/faithfull that!
 

Simayan

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Though I do feel that Putin probably had a large part behind the reunion, I think SOME good will come out of it (if anything, to show that reunion IS possible within Orthodoxy) *Hints at wishes to re-unite with OO's, though does not want topic to descend into this*.

Personally, I feel that communion should have been re-established, though not gone as far as a merger.
 

prodromas

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does anyone know where I can get some info on the ROCOR and MP merger and just background info on ROCOR. Also how many ROCOR faithful are on this forum?
 

Simayan

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Wikipedia has a nice section on it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Orthodox_Church_Outside_Russia#Movement_towards_reconciliation

Orthodoxwiki usually has some good info as well, though some if it may be repeated:

http://orthodoxwiki.org/ROCOR


These sites offer some good historical information, though it may be a good idea to check out www.goarch.org and see if they have anything there.
 

drewmeister2

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One comment about the Orthodoxwiki article, it failed to mention that ROCOR was in communion with the Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece (GOC) for many years (now headed by Abp. Chrysostom of Athens), and even ordained bishops for the GOC in Greece.  They also ordained the bishop that headed up the GOC for America, Met. Petros of blessed memory.  When I was in New York this summer, I had the opportunity to meet one of the ROCOR priests, and he mentioned how well-loved Met. Petros was in New York by ROCOR clergy.  Anyways, just thought I'd add that. 
 

DerekMK

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*Hints at wishes to re-unite with OO's, though does not want topic to descend into this*
I think the avatar of "Saint Justinian The Great" and the tag line of "One Empire. One Light. One Faith." are great ways of reaching out to them. 
 

Simayan

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Hm, I forgot about that tagline in my sig. Must've been from one of my Byzantine phases. *Edits*

However, I fail to see what Justinian has to do with this. True, his policies towards OO's may have been less than amazing, though we need to look away from past hatred if we are to ever look towards the future.

And yet, you still disregard my post entirely by bringing the classical EO vs. OO debate into view. Thanks for listening.

 

Maksim

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As worrying as some developments in Russian politics may be, the situation is clearly not what it was in the USSR.  Whatever Putin may be doing, there is not currently a brutal atheist regime attempting to subvert and suppress the Church.

As far as I can tell, the historical position of ROCOR has been that reconciliation would take place after the fall of the atheist state, and following repentance by the MP for whatever collaboration there may have been.  The Synod of Bishops of ROCOR obviously believes that this has happened.  There are some (who have mostly left ROCOR by now) who claim that the MP is not an Orthodox Church at all, but that is another matter.   
 

Punch

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Maksim said:
As worrying as some developments in Russian politics may be, the situation is clearly not what it was in the USSR.  Whatever Putin may be doing, there is not currently a brutal atheist regime attempting to subvert and suppress the Church.

As far as I can tell, the historical position of ROCOR has been that reconciliation would take place after the fall of the atheist state, and following repentance by the MP for whatever collaboration there may have been.  The Synod of Bishops of ROCOR obviously believes that this has happened.  There are some (who have mostly left ROCOR by now) who claim that the MP is not an Orthodox Church at all, but that is another matter.   
Exactly.  There are many who would like to see the return of an Orthodox Czar.  Maybe Putin will be the new St. Vladimir.  What the ROCOR stood against was the yoking of the Orthodox Church with a Godless State.  I don't think that there is any objection to the Church yoking itself to an Orthodox Czar, regardless of how repulsive that may be to those in the USA, which is hardly the vision of Godliness.
 

DerekMK

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Maybe Putin will be the new St. Vladimir.
That's plain fantasy.  Mr Putin is still one of the good old boys from the KGB / FSB.  While Putin has done and enacted some policies that have brought stability to Russia and given the Russian Orthodox a bit of breathing space, he has not crushed to pagan idols of the past like St. Vladimir.  The cult of Lenin still lives on, the old Soviet anthem is back, the cult of the "Great Patriotic War" is still promoted and Soviet legacy of brutally crushing dissent is slowly creepy back.

What the ROCOR stood against was the yoking of the Orthodox Church with a Godless State.  I don't think that there is any objection to the Church yoking itself to an Orthodox Czar, regardless of how repulsive that may be to those in the USA, which is hardly the vision of Godliness
The problem remains what would be the relationship of the Church and State and would the Church be free?  In the long term would clergy be allowed to dissent against state policy if it disagrees with Christian ethics? 

I guess I don't understand why the tsarist times are held up as such an ideal era in Russian Orthodoxy - since Peter I the church was a slave and a captive to the autocracy.  Peter I, for instance, had little regard for Orthodoxy (he openly mocked the church) and closed monasteries, abolished the Patriarchate and such - is that really the model of Church - state relationship to strive for?
 

Punch

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Νεκτάριος said:
That's plain fantasy.  Mr Putin is still one of the good old boys from the KGB / FSB.  While Putin has done and enacted some policies that have brought stability to Russia and given the Russian Orthodox a bit of breathing space, he has not crushed to pagan idols of the past like St. Vladimir.  The cult of Lenin still lives on, the old Soviet anthem is back, the cult of the "Great Patriotic War" is still promoted and Soviet legacy of brutally crushing dissent is slowly creepy back.

The problem remains what would be the relationship of the Church and State and would the Church be free?  In the long term would clergy be allowed to dissent against state policy if it disagrees with Christian ethics? 

I guess I don't understand why the tsarist times are held up as such an ideal era in Russian Orthodoxy - since Peter I the church was a slave and a captive to the autocracy.  Peter I, for instance, had little regard for Orthodoxy (he openly mocked the church) and closed monasteries, abolished the Patriarchate and such - is that really the model of Church - state relationship to strive for?
Good points all.  However, there are two things that need to be taken into account.  None of the Godly kings were perfect.  Reading the life of King David should point that out.  Was St. Vladimir any different?  Do you think that any of the Orthodox Kings were any better?  Church and State issues have been complex since the times of the Old Testament.  Monarchy is the norm; everything else is a short term deviation from the norm (short term by historical standards).  There have been good Monarchs and bad.  That does not invalidate the system.
 

PeterTheAleut

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Punch said:
Good points all.  However, there are two things that need to be taken into account.  None of the Godly kings were perfect.  Reading the life of King David should point that out.  Was St. Vladimir any different?  Do you think that any of the Orthodox Kings were any better?  Church and State issues have been complex since the times of the Old Testament.  Monarchy is the norm; everything else is a short term deviation from the norm (short term by historical standards).  There have been good Monarchs and bad.  That does not invalidate the system.
And yet the Prophet Samuel tried to discourage the people of Israel from seeking an earthly king.
 

Punch

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PeterTheAleut said:
And yet the Prophet Samuel tried to discourage the people of Israel from seeking an earthly king.
In most of the scriptures we are shown the ideal and the reality.  The ideal would be a nation that that fully worshiped God and had Him as their King and Ruler. 
 

DerekMK

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The ideal would be a nation that that fully worshiped God and had Him as their King and Ruler.
I don't know if Orthodox history shows this to be true.  For instance, I'd say the church and people were just as healthy (maybe more so) in Novgorod Velikij and Pskov, which had some proto-democratic qualities than in Muscovy. 
 

Serge

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Because it had become a needless schism nothing to do with religion.

Even when it was a Soviet puppet the church in Russia wasn't heretical.

So no more Communists pulling its strings -> no more schism.

Putin's failings are irrelevant, as repugnant as they may be to Americans. As Maksim wrote he's not trying to revive an atheist state.
 

DerekMK

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Putin's failings are irrelevant, as repugnant as they may be to Americans. As Maksim wrote he's not trying to revive an atheist state.
This remains to be seen and depends on how the atheist state is defined.  Putin is a far more skilled statesman than ANY of the old communists were.  For the time being Putin and the Church share many of the same objectives: increase in the birth rate of ethnic Russians, reduction in alcoholism and to an extent Russian patriotism and nationalism (although the Putin version is more of a patriotism of all the peoples of the Federation and the Church has a bit narrower version).  But, what will happen if the church takes a very anti-Kremlin stance on an important topic - will the era of religious freedom for Orthodoxy remain?  That is why I think a wait and see approach is better for the time being. 
 

Serge

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No different from when St Philip of Moscow stood up to Ivan the Terrible (like St Thomas a Becket did to King Henry II) and was murdered in his cell for it. Was the church in Ivan's time apostate for that reason? Even if, God forbid, Putin abuses the church it wouldn't make his state an atheist one.
 

DerekMK

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it wouldn't make his state an atheist one.
And Stalin's state wasn't an atheist one either - he used all of the "official" religions of the USSR to whip up support for the "Great Patriotic War." 

The loudest detractors of Putin and the MP claim that the current situation isn't much further than that, only more craftily carried out. 
 

Punch

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Νεκτάριος said:
And Stalin's state wasn't an atheist one either - he used all of the "official" religions of the USSR to whip up support for the "Great Patriotic War." 

The loudest detractors of Putin and the MP claim that the current situation isn't much further than that, only more craftily carried out. 
This is one of the more fine pieces of revisionist history that I have read lately.  Kudos.  I don't recall Stalin expressing a belief in God while dictator, nor do I recall Putin sending Christians to the Gulags on the sole charge of being Christians as president.
 

Elisha

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Νεκτάριος said:
For the time being Putin and the Church share many of the same objectives: increase in the birth rate of ethnic Russians, reduction in alcoholism and to an extent Russian patriotism and nationalism (although the Putin version is more of a patriotism of all the peoples of the Federation and the Church has a bit narrower version).  But, what will happen if the church takes a very anti-Kremlin stance on an important topic - will the era of religious freedom for Orthodoxy remain?  That is why I think a wait and see approach is better for the time being. 
And so how is any of this a "bad" thing?  Your last point seems to be pure speculation that one could raise against almost any free (to use the term deliberately very loosely) society.
 

DerekMK

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I don't recall Stalin expressing a belief in God while dictator, nor do I recall Putin sending Christians to the Gulags on the sole charge of being Christians as president.
That is why I said Putin is a much better statesman than any of his old communist comrades.  Outright persecution of the church is a waste of resources and doesn't accomplish goals nearly as nicely as softly twisting the church's position to one's liking.  As for Stalin's reprieve and use of the religions of the USSR to support the war effort - that is a fairly well documented and agreed upon fact.  When I get home I can cite some refrences if you'd like. 

And so how is any of this a "bad" thing?  Your last point seems to be pure speculation that one could raise against almost any free (to use the term deliberately very loosely) society.
The reason I think it is valid is because of the relative instability of Russia.  The chances of a repressive regime rapidly coming to power in the West are fairly slim, whereas Russia's future is still uncertain.  That is why I am skeptical of the relationship the Russian Orthodox Church has with the Russian state.  As for why that is a bad thing - is it just a coincidence that anti-MP jurisdictions are popping up in Ukraine and Belarus (and of course the old ones left within Russia) or that the MP is supporting break off movements in Abkhazia and Southern Ossetia? 

This isn't a new question.  I don't have the book with me right now, but I would say my reasoning is based on St. Nil Sorsky's approach.  While his movement was condemned for political reasons, he was still cannonized a saint and is highly venerated at that.  Making a long story short, he fought agaisnt the idea of the state owning monasteries and the church more or less being owned and operated by the state.  This ultimately restricts the spritual freedom of the church and hurts her mission.  That is why I question the prudence of ANY close relationship of the church with ANY government.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nil_Sorsky
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-possessors
 
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