Talk:Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia

From OrthodoxWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

I'm not sure how the Monks of HTM being "English speakers" is germane to becoming responsible for communication and publications. Did they become responsible for English language material? If so, the article should reflect that. If there is some other link, that should be noted. Otherwise, the clause about them being speakers of English is irrelevant, I think, and should be omitted.

Many thanks to the anonymous editor who helped with this article. You should consider getting an account so we know whom to thank next time. --Basil 13:46, 16 Jan 2005 (CST)

The anonymous editor is a monastic friend of mine and something of an expert on ROCOR history. I asked him to help with the article.
I think the issue regarding English language stuff is because the ROCOR bishops of the time were mainly in the US but largely not very good with English. --Rdr. Andrew 19:34, 16 Jan 2005 (CST)
I could tell he was an expert. Very helpful. Please thank him for us. And thanks for the clarification. --Basil 15:14, 17 Jan 2005 (CST)

"Sources close to the synod"

In the "Rapprochement" section, recent edits were made with statements based on "sources" close to the synod. Unless these sources can be cited, it's really not much more than rumor. If there's no one on record as saying something, it makes it quite hard to justify inclusion of such material. —Dcn. Andrew talk random contribs 18:04, May 26, 2006 (CDT)

Rapprochement with Moscow

I suspect that this section will need a major revision/rewrite once ROCOR and Moscow repair their communion, which is slated to take place on May 17, 2006 in Moscow. The Rapprochement section here could be rewritten as a closed narrative as opposed to an ongoing news event. Certainly there will be a bit more news surrounding the event and the ongoing relations between the two, but as the act of canonical communion becomes a reality and is enacted, I suspect that much on this page will have to be rewritten. What do you all think? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Maximos (talkcontribs) .

Certainly! Articles should be as up to date as possible. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs 10:48, December 29, 2006 (PST)


A recent edit quoted a Time Magazine article, which estimates the ROCOR population at 500k to 1.5m. Since the ROCOR has roughly 400 parishes worldwide, this would put the average parish size at 1250 to 3750. That doesn't seem even remotely realistic to me.

By contrast, a recent interview with Archpriest Alexander Lebedev puts the figure at 60k to 100k (an average of 150 to 250 per parish). It seems to me that an official spokesman for the ROCOR being directly interviewed is more to be believed than Time Magazine.

What do you think? —Fr. Andrew talk contribs 18:43, May 30, 2007 (PDT)

60,000 to 100,000 ??

This is an OCA created number. The Russian Church Abroad has always been larger than the OCA. For example, there are 50,000 faithful in New York alone! The closer number is 1.35 million worldwide. The Church lost over 150,000 members in Russia and South America because of its reunion with the Patriarchate.

Get it right. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Slava (talkcontribs) .

The 60k to 100k figure comes from an interview with ROCOR spokesman Fr. Alexander Lebedev. I have my doubts that he gets his jurisdiction's statistics from the OCA. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs 18:50, May 30, 2007 (PDT)

Fr. Alexander is a good man, but, he is not the official spokesman the Church. He just speaks alot!  :) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Slava (talkcontribs) .

Just a note on this -- to me, when dealing with something as concrete as numbers, I would probably trust a secular demographer more than an official spokesman of any church. I don't think "official" really matters here, except perrhaps in terms of access to information. — FrJohn (talk)

I think the discrepency is that Fr. Alexander was talking about the numbers of people who regularly go to Church, and the larger numbers include people who come to Church when they are hatched, matched, and dispatched. Perhaps some standard should be used that is applied to all jurisdictions, because I think most of them go with the higher numbers which include people who have loose affiliations with the Church. Frjohnwhiteford 03:49, May 31, 2007 (PDT)
Fr. John W., I think these are awfully sane words. I know the OCA has at least two rough sets of statistics, wildly different, based on whether one is talking about the larger enthic-affiiliated community, or actually church-goers. Maybe we should put a note in the style manual about this. Personally, I'd prefer the actual church-goer number, but I don't mind if both are listed and identified. Of course, all of these are approximate. — FrJohn (talk)
I think nailing this down in the style manual would be a great idea. Frjohnwhiteford 17:32, June 6, 2007 (PDT)
It should also be pointed out that Fr. Alexander used the words "possibly" which would indicate he was giving a guesstimate. Frjohnwhiteford 03:51, May 31, 2007 (PDT)
Fr. John, do you know of an officially published ROCOR estimate concerning itself? The problem here is having something reliable to cite. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs 05:32, May 31, 2007 (PDT)
I'm trying to see what I can come up with. Frjohnwhiteford 05:24, June 3, 2007 (PDT)
I have not been able to find anything as of yet from ROCOR documents... but if you look at Bishop Kallistos' "The Orthodox Church", the 1994 edition, he puts the number at "perhaps 150,000". Frjohnwhiteford 17:32, June 6, 2007 (PDT)

You logic is flawed Fr. Andrei

If you use that average system, then the OCA would only have 85,000 people?? And the Antiochians only 35,000. I know of Antiochian parishes that have only 4 people. Your logic is severely flawed. The ROCOR lists "officially" 500,000 people. The Church does not list the total number of parishes in Russia and the Ukraine (This may change due to the union.) But, it is still hesitant because of Moscow's demands over these parishes which number, nearly 775. Yes, that's right, 775!!! Not all are listed. Only 20 are listed. But in truth the total number is closer to 1.35 million.

I have seen these parishes with my own eyes.

The 1.5 million is a number supplied from the Russian government itself. The Church Abroad has always kept these numbers low to protect themselves.

The ROCOR Church in Brooklyn was established to care for 11,000 Russians in Brooklyn who expressed interest in starting a church closer to where they live. Several thousand were present for Pascha last year.

The Cathedral in San Francisco has several thousand as well, these are two parishes (you do the math.) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Slava (talkcontribs) .

*shrug* I have no idea what you've seen, nor who you are (though I do have some reason to doubt that you've seen all 400 or 775 of ROCOR's parishes). All I know is that the man whom the ROCOR appointed as the secretary of the commission which negotiated the union with the MP said one thing, and an anonymous editor on this wiki is saying another. Fr. Alexander has much more credibility on this matter, methinks.
Even Fr. Alexey Young's 1993 history of the ROCOR says that "the figure probably does not exceed 50,000 worldwide" (p. 108). I find it hard to believe that the ROCOR has grown by 1,450,000 people in the 12 years since it was published.
The links you post here are interesting, but none are even statements from anyone in the ROCOR. We need verifiable, published statements by authoritative figures for stuff like this, not estimates in news sources, some of which are entirely anonymous.
By the way, if you're a Greek, why did you change my name to "Fr. Andrei"? Heheh.  ;) —Fr. Andrew talk contribs 19:24, May 30, 2007 (PDT) (a.k.a. Πάτερ Ανδρέας)

Sorry its a bad habit. I have many friends in the Russian Church and the Church Abroad, every parish seems to have an "Andrei," it can throw you off. The proper spelling according to the Greek/English variant is "Ohndreas." Of course "Andreas" is a more popular spelling, but linguistically inaccurate. I had a Greek friend who would call himself "Andrei" and would argue with me relentlessly that his name was in fact Greek, I explained it was a "form" of the original Greek. Being a Professor of Linguistics in Ancient Greek, I think I would know better. --Slava 10:54, May 31, 2007 (PDT)

Undid numerous Agenda driven edits

I undid numerous agenda driven edits by Samson1957. Orthodoxwiki is not a forum for Old Calendarists schismatics to promote their schismatic agenda. Read the policies of this web site. Frjohnwhiteford 20:12, December 11, 2007 (PST)

Dear Fr. John:
What is amazing is that an unsourced accusation is permitted to stand, and my edits regarding the patriarch, which are sourced are removed. His background, given ROCOR prior anti-Soviet stance, is very relevant. ROCOR's prior affiliation some 20 years ago with Holy Transfiguration Monastery does not seem relevant, except to disparage the reputation of HOCNA. Again, there is no source for the allegation that they left the Greek Archdiocese due to sexual scandal.

The edits that you seem to run away from, seem to express you desire to promote your own agenda, that is to whitewash and re-write ROCOR's history.
The edit regarding Bishop Agafangel, and the 100 priests that left with him, has also been removed. Why? How is that not relevant, if Fr. John insists on listing him as a suspended Bishop?

I find it inappropriate for you to make accusations which you do not support with a mainstrean source, which, I may add, seems to contradict the rules of this site. You are intent on repeating accusations against Holy Transfiguration Monastery. If the accusations were true, where are the lawsuits that would inevitably follow in this litigious society. When ROCOR had its own issues with pedaphilia, in Blanco Texas, they were sued. Is ROCOR pedaphilia scandal and their law suit settlement relevant to the ROCOR article? I do not think so, so I did not add it, but perhaps it should be added, together with copies of the deposition of what happened as a source?
I copy below my note to the moderator, who seems to agree with your position that Alexei's past as a KGB agent, which I sourced to the front page Wall Street Journal article of July 17, 2007 is not relevant.
Would it be relevant to add after Bishop Peter, that he was uncanonically elevated without an investigation, whe a sub deacon objected to his elevation and spoke ANAXIOUS? The canons are clear on this, yet if I add that comment, it seems you would "lock me out" of use. Would it be relevant that Bishop Michael was anatamatized by Metropolitan Vitaly?, or would that be edited out as well?
My purpose here is simply for people to be aware of facts, whereas Fr. John's purpose, and now it seems yours as well, is to tell only your version of events, which describe as "mainstream". I did not realize that truth or accusation was governed by consensus.
Unless Fr. John can provide support for his accusations, such as a mainstream newspaper, I ask that his inflamatory, and self serving accusations regarding other jurisdictions be removed.
Retrieved from ""
I can provide you with documentation to support what I have said about HTM... which accusations in particular would you like documentation for? As for the absence of lawsuits connected with HTM, there were no accusations of pedophilia that I am aware of. All the 20 monks that accused Panteleimon were adults. As for the claim that Agafangel has 100 parishes, you provided no source for that assertion. It seems like a rather unlikely round number to me. Frjohnwhiteford 20:28, December 13, 2007 (PST)
Dear Fr. John:
I note that you do not comment on Alexei's KGB affiliation, which I take as you acceptance of that fact. As such, should it not be included in the text? or is the truth not palatable?
With regard to your accusations against HTM, yes please show me one iota of evidence that HTM left the Greek Archdiocese due to a sexual scandal. If you cannot produce it, please remove the reference. With regard to lawsuits, I did not suggest that pedaphilia was ever alleged at HTM, I suggested that sexual assault would have been met by a lawsuit. Pedaphilia lawsuits have only been brought against ROCOR for the Blanco situation. Since you seem intent on posting inflamatory accusations about HTM, please also reference the ROCOR scandals in Blanco, and the lack of investigation ROCOR undertook before accepting these "priests". Why is it that you do not argue the points raised by HTM, with regard to canons or ecclesiology? Instead you choose to simply disparage HTM, based upon unproven accusations. Is HTM such a thorn in your side that you seem intent on including them in your article about ROCOR? If their affiliation with ROCOR is so important to your article, please identify what their positions were, that you believe were so out of line with ROCORs. Please do so with proper cites.
With regard to Bishop Agafangel, you are right, 100 is a round number. Last count was 87. Would you like me to post the addresses and contact information for these parishes, with my edit? This would save time for anyone who wished to go to those parishes.
I also not that you make no comment regarding Bishop Peter's elevation, or Metropolitan's anathema of Bishop Michael. Is that not relevant to an objective history of ROCOR?
I look forward to your response.
As for the allegations against Patriarch Alexei, no, I do not believe them to be true. You apparently do not understand that a wiki is not a debate forum, and your comments about Patriarch Alexei are completely out of place in this article. In the article about Patriarch Alexei it would not be inappropriate to reference them, but they would have to presented as accusations, rather than facts, since they are in fact only accusations.
As for HTM, the quote you are reference was in this article long before I began editing in OrthodoxWiki. I would not have phrased it the way that it is. My understanding is that the Greek Archdiocese was investigating charges against HTM, when they left them and came to ROCOR. I don't believe that this was the result of a public scandal at that time. But regardless, that is clearly why they left ROCOR. I do address HTM's arguments. See HOCNA Facts
As for the Blanco Scandal, ROCOR never tried to cover it up, and Blanco never tried to justify leaving ROCOR on the basis of ROCOR being modernists and Ecumenists. HTM does try to make false claims about why they left, and has tried to cover up the facts of the matter.
As for Agafangel's parishes, you have not presented any reliable sources for your claims for his numbers. As for Bishop Peter's elevation, you cannot cite any canons to justify your assertion that the voice of one objector to the consecration of a bishop invalidates his consecration. When a bishop-elect is preparing to be consecrated, there are plenty of opportunities for objectors to raise any issues that they wish. Criticisms of bishop Peter were presented, our bishops considered them, and they did not accept them -- perhaps on the basis of the Scriptures and the Canons which state that we should not receive an accusation against a presbyter except at the testimony of two or three witnesses. There is no right for an individual to veto the bishops at the last moment, when the prayers of consecration have already taken place. That is nonsense.
As for the retired Metropolitans alleged anathematizing of Bishop Michael, it is irrelevant because #1, retired bishops don't have such authority, and #2, even active bishops do not have the authority to anathematize a fellow bishop on their own, without any consultation of anyone else.
If you intend to be a constructive editor here, I suggest you read the MCB and abide by it. You also need to learn how to indent your comments, and sign your name to your comments. Frjohnwhiteford 21:16, December 14, 2007 (PST)
You state that this is not a debate forum, however, that is exactly what you are trying to do. Why is Holy Transfiguration Monastery even relevant to an article on ROCOR. You state that the edit regarding Patriarch Alexei, and his KGB past which was sourced, was not appropriate, yet an entire heading on the ROCOR page is dedicated to disparaging a different jurisdiction. If a heading is appropriate regarding Holy Transfiguration, how about a heading regarding the Metropolia/OCA, and how ROCOR issued an official protocol breaking communion with them. How about a heading identifying all the official protocols ROCOR issued condemning the MP. How about a heading explaining Metropolitan Philaret's Sorrowful Epistles, as they seem now also to apply to ROCOR. How about a heading concerning the Anathema of 1983, and how it seemingly applies not to ROCOR, and as a result, ROCOR was obliged to essentially "void" the Anathema of 1983. All these seem to deal directly with ROCOR, while HOCNA's prior association with ROCOR is at best a footnote. However, you bias is clear, when you call HOCNA's views "narrow-minded and incorrect views ". Would you un-edit me, if I said, some people believe that ROCOR has fallen under its own anathema of 1983, of if I stated that ROCOR's current position is a total rejection of its historical past? I suggest that you would, but my remark is no different than your blanket statement that the Holy Transfiguration Monastery has "narrow-minded and incorrect views", except that I would argue that my statement would be true. If the statement about Patriarch Alexei's KGB past is inappropriate for the ROCOR page, so is the discussion about Holy Transfiguration Monastery.
I will respond to your additional comments at a later time. You may wish to check out yesterday's Wall Street Journal (December 18, 2007), which ran another article about the MP's ties to the KGB. (Unsigned comments by Samson1957)
Once again, Samson1957, you need to read the Style Manual... learn how to sign your comments and indent them yourself. Then you need to read the MCB section. Then, let's talk. Frjohnwhiteford 03:32, December 20, 2007 (PST)
Initially I note that you removed the accussation of sexual scadal and the Greek Archdiocese. I take that as an admission from you that you have no support for that accusation. As you response to my last comment, was to my indenting skills, I take it that you have little to say about that as well. As such, I believe that your classification of HTM as holding "narrow-minded and incorrect views", is not neutral. Indeed, the classification invites debate. Also, if you wish to comment regarding HTM, why do so on the ROCOR page. You yourself, stated that the comment regarding Patriarch Alexei's KGB past shoulc not be on the ROCOR page, even though he is now ROCOR's chief hierarch. Why then are comments regarding HOCNA and HTM, which have not been affiliated with ROCOR for over 20 years, relevant at all on ROCOR's page? The comment about the Patriarch was front page news, whereas the former relationship with HTM seems at best a footnote of history. You have not responded to my last post to you at all, and I again re-new my request that you refrain from posting your view of history on what should be a neutral page. In addition, I believe it inappropriate to have reference to HTM, on the ROCOR page. As stated above, it is more relevant to discuss the applicability of the Anathema of 1983, Metropolitan Philaret's sorrowful epistles, etc. I await you response with bated breath...hoping that I have indented my comment to your satisfaction.

--Samson1957 12:24, December 20, 2007 (PST)

From the way that the article is written, the HTM reference definitely needs to stay - according to the article, a change was made under their influence (in substance or perception is beside the point for now) that is now part of ROCOR's history. The second paragraph probably needs shortening (the fact that HTM made it's own old-calendarist church should be comment enough, imho, for this article) - based on my own meanderings around the internet, there's probably enough information out there that we should delete everything that can't be cited.
While discussion of Patriarch Alexei's person or most of his personal past (alleged or otherwise) is going to be mostly irrelevant, it is certainly relevant to know how ROCOR sees itself in light of accusations of KGB involvement, the sorrowful epistles and the 1983 anathema. Not being part of ROCOR, I feel underqualified to comment; but an article should be as complete as possible or should link to more detailed articles (e.g. the ROCOR and OCA article). — edited by Pιsτévο talk complaints at 16:43, December 20, 2007 (PST)
The best place to deal with accusations against Patriarch Alexei is in the article dedicated to him. There could be discussion in this article about the issue of Sergianism and KGB involvement, and how this was addressed during the reconciliation process. However, to not violate the MCB policy, it would have to be presented in a very different manner than the way it was presented by Samson. Frjohnwhiteford 17:10, December 20, 2007 (PST)
I am, by no means, suggesting paragraphs or entire articles about the given topics; however, KGB involvement is obviously an issue that is affecting some people in ROCOR and may affect the way people see it and, therefore, needs to be addressed (or perhaps, if it can be smoothly done, referred to on the Patriarch's article). Naturally, how this is done must have an encyclopedic look and feel to it.
(As a side note, FWIW, the policy is NPOV, with MCB being used to sort any ambiguities caused by NPOV). — edited by Pιsτévο talk complaints at
In cases such as this, however, in which you have a schismatic, railing against an Orthodox Bishop... it is specifically the MCB that applies. Frjohnwhiteford 19:38, December 20, 2007 (PST)
That's not the way I read the OW:SM. On the contrary, the accusations of schismatics are specifically allowed, so long as they are referenced as such (e.g. the Suzdalites consider the Church of Russia to be heretics). MCB applies mostly for the name of articles, not for reporting. Moreover, MCB is largely irrelevant when reporting established, documented facts. — edited by Pιsτéνο talk complaints at 22:49, December 21, 2007 (PST)
There is a big difference between documented facts, and documented accusations. And while in an article on the Suzdalites it would not be in appropriate to not their opinions about the MP, it would be giving undue weight to their opinion, or any other schismatic group to have a litany of their opinions in articles about the rest of the Orthodox Church. Frjohnwhiteford 09:03, December 22, 2007 (PST)
In the article, I am not talking about every schismatic group, but about how ROCOR understands itself in light of accusations of alleged KGB involvement, involvement in ecumenism and previous standpoints (e.g. 1983 anathema, sorrowful epistles). These are not accusations by an extremist group but are difficulties for ROCOR, used (correctly or otherwise) as reasons for schism - as such, they are integral to the understanding of ROCOR from many of its adherants (and ex-adherants) and warrant inclusion. Additionally, from an outsider's POV, with freely-admitted limited knowledge (although I attempt to improve), there has been a big change between previous positions (or the public perception thereof) and positions taken after the reunion - that's where this article needs to step in. All that being said, ISTM that the article would be improved by taking a lot of the leadup to the Act and placing it in a different article, where the fallout could also be examined with appropriate detail.
On a policy note, the standard OW practise has been to document the documented accusations and to document them as such on OW[ 1 ]. Documented and undisputed facts can, of course, be presented as such; documented accusations that are unproven or disputed can be presented, often from MCB, with disputes noted. — edited by Pιsτévο talk complaints at 20:26, December 22, 2007 (PST)