период пребывания HOCNA в РПЦЗ очень напоминает мне колонию белых людей, которые решили поручить свою безопасность соседнему африканскому племени, заключили с этим племенем соответствующие договоры и потом всячески пытались требовать их исполнения через суд старейшин этого же племени.
по-моему, тогдашние лидеры HOCNA очень отвлеклись на приятное общение с некоторыми личностями (св. м.Филарет, вл. Григорий Граббе), совершенно упустив из виду системные качества РПЦЗ, которые даже тогда никто всерьез не пытался изменить.
Reply to: "Who are the Real Victims", Part 1
As we stated in our introductory posting to the Paradosis list, "We
have no intention of discussing here the scandalous accusations made
against us." We still stand by that statement: we feel no need to
refute point by point all those lurid fabrications. Time will tellЎ
However, I will respond to this present thread since it deals with
those of us monastics still struggling here at Holy Transfiguration
Monastery, Boston, with the status of HTM then and now, and with
certain details or misconceptions concerning how the so-called
investigation of our case was carried out.
This is Part 1 of a two-part reply. FN
From: "Fr. Alexander Lebedeff" <lebedeff@...> wrote:
> Who are the real victims?
> Anyone who knows anything about HTM in Boston from personal
> experience would confirm the following:
Well, based on Fr. Alexander's introductory remark, we could stop right
here, because nothing of what he writes below is supported by his own
"personal experience" from visiting Holy Transfiguration Monastery, but
comes to him second and third hand from others. The argument that
"everyone knows" that something is "true" is no argument at all.
Nor do we suffer any illusions that anything we will ever say or write
will change the minds of Fr. Alexander Lebedeff, Fr. John Shaw, Fr.
Victor Potapov, Matushka Ann Lardas, or other of our vocal critics.
But for the sake of the many other readers on this list, let us
continue. And, unfortunately for lovers of sensationalism, most of our
explanations are rather straightforward and mundane.
Of course, the very best answer to all such wild speculation is the
same one given by Philip to Nathaniel when the latter asked, "Can there
any good thing come out of Nazareth?" ЎЄ "Come and see" (John 1:46).
Anyone who wishes to learn for himself is free to visit us and stay for
a few days, and then draw his own conclusions. As Saint Pachomius
remarked when he was asked if he was clairvoyant: "But putting aside
the gift of God, when those who are wise and sensible according to the
world spend a few days in the midst of men, do they not distinguish and
recognize each one's disposition?"
As for the description of any monastic establishment, much depends on
the point of view (often preconceived) of the beholder. One and the
same monastery could be declared to be "a model of good order, with
proper discipline and obedience, which adheres strictly to the monastic
statutes", or it could be denounced as "a mind-controlling cult with
'all the normal guru trappings'", etc.
Might I point out from the beginning that an Orthodox monastery is just
that: a monastery, and not an American college dormitory, or fraternity
house. There are many things in a monastery that are going to rub "the
old man" the wrong way ЎЄ especially, perhaps, an American convert ЎЄ but
that by no means indicates that such things are evil. Understood from a
proper Orthodox Christian perspective, many of these 'accusations'
below are seen to be simple, monastic discipline.
> 1) HTM fostered an atmosphere of paranoia.
Judging from this present 'account' and from much of what is written
about us, I would say that the truth is that others have "fostered an
atmosphere of paranoia" concerning us, rather than we concerning them.
>All telephone conversations were monitored
We have already addressed this point and demonstrated why it is false:
And now, with the advent of multiple telephone lines, cell phones, fax
machines, and e-mail, it is impractical and impossible to monitor all
these forms of communication.
>all mail was screened,
Well, are we, as monastics, supposed to keep secrets from our spiritual
fathers? I have never heard anyone of the brethren complain that Fr.
Isaac glances through the mail before giving it to us. Actually, it's a
big help: he weeds out a lot of junk mail and improper material; he can
break sad or troubling news to his spiritual children gently; and one
doesn't have to spend a lot of time repeating things when confessing
ones thoughts. And frankly, the volume of mail that arrives here each
day (as too, the phone calls received) makes it impossible for anyone
to monitor it all that closely. (Some incidents, which I could perhaps
relate another time, are actually quite humorous.)
When, during my high school years, I attended boarding school, the
faculty read our mail out of snoopiness; when I was a college student
in the USSR in the 1970s, the KGB read all of our mail (coming and
going) in the hopes of catching us and getting us into trouble; so
when, upon entering the monastery, I was informed that our mail was
going to be monitored to keep us *out* of trouble, wellЎ I told them:
"More power to you"!
>novices were forbidden (or at least discouraged) to speak with
Well, it seems quite strange that anyone should have to explain
something this elementary to a senior Orthodox clergyman, but it is
basic monastic discipline to help novices make the break with their
past and settle down inside and become spiritually quite.
Saint Pachomius, the founder of coenobitic monasticism, would not even
allow visiting monks to live in the monastery proper, but had a special
place set aside for them near the gates, where he waited upon them
himself. He explained that he did this "because the community has many
neophytes who do not yet know what a monk is, and boys who 'cannot tell
their right hand from their left'". The Saint "thought it good and more
respectful" to the visiting monastics to have them come together with
the brethren only at the times of prayer. (Life of St. Pachomius)
In his Rule for Monastics, Saint Basil the Great commands:
"The practice of silence is beneficial for novices. For, if they
control the tongue, they will both give sufficient proof of continence
and will learn in quiet, eagerly and attentively, from those that are
skilled in instruction, how they must ask questions and answer each
individual question. For there is a tone of voice and symmetry of
language and appropriateness of occasion and special vocabulary which
are peculiar to the monastic, and can only be learned by the man who
has unlearned his former habits. Now silence both induces forgetfulness
of the past through lack of practice and affords leisure to learn good
habits. Accordingly a novice must keep silence, except of course for
the psalmody, unless he is constrained either by a special need
concerning the care of his own soul or the unavoidable necessity of the
work he has in hand, or by some question that is put to him. (Rule XII)
One could give many similar instructions from Saint Sabbas, Saint
Theodosius, Saint Benedict, Saint John Cassian, Saint John Climacus,
Saint Theodore of Studium, etc., but let this suffice.
And from what I have heard, Fr. Ephraim's monasteries here in America
are must stricter than us on this and other points concerning contact
with the outside world.
> 2) HTM collected very expansive files and dossiers about bishops and
> clergy of the Church Abroad--for what reason? God only knows.
Or as Romanos put it in his message of July 14, 2006: "HTM is notorious
for keeping files"!
And as Fr. John Shaw wrote on March 1, 2006: "Ўhe [Bishop Gregory
Grabbe] kept files on most of the ROCOR clergy, and some laity."
Here it might be proper once again to pose the question: Who precisely
is "fostering an atmosphere of paranoia" about whom?
Now, to "keep files" or "have an archive" is one thing; but to "keep
files on" or "about" people is quite a different matter, and the
insinuations contained in the statements above were not lost on the
others readers of this list. Or perhaps those who wrote such things
were speaking out of the abundance of their own hearts? (Luke 6:45)
I can't think of one self-respecting organization, institution, or
public figure that would not keep files or maintain an archive. How
else is one to avoid functioning in a vacuum?
And I am sorry to disappoint some people out there, but the "infamous"
files of HTM are a much more modest collection than their fevered
imaginations have created. We have no files marked: Lebedeff, or Shaw,
or Potapov, etc. For the most part the archives consist of
correspondence on ecclesiastical matters, official documents sent to us
from ROCA Synodal headquarters, and clippings from the religious press
on pertinent public issues and affairs. Are such documents to be
Nor are our files as systematized as we would like. For example, just
last year while searching in our library annex for some old
translations, I discovered a box of correspondence from the 1970s, when
Fr. Alexis (presently Archimandrite Alexis in England) had been acting
as our monastery scribe. Some of this material is pertinent to the
topics presently being discussed on this list, and I hope to share some
of it with the readers in the future. Among other things, it
demonstrates that our ecclesiology has remained consistent throughout
From what we have learned ЎЄ and judging from citations in printed texts
the archives of Holy Trinity Monastery, of the ROCOR Synod, and of
some of her senior clergymen far surpass anything we have here.
And have not many of Fr. Alexander Lebedeff's and Fr. John Shaw's
posting and articles been based on extensive files and archives ЎЄ both
personal and institutional? How much of the material presented at the
recent Fourth All-Diaspora Sobor was retrieved from files and archives?
And had the greatly maligned Vladyka Gregory Grabbe not labored
tirelessly and selflessly for almost fifty-five years to maintain and
supplement the ROCA Synod archives, how much of that material would
even exist today?
All jesting aside, if some people are truly concerned about tapped
telephone lines and compromising files, then I think that they had
better worry more about those whom they are joining, the Moscow
Patriarchate, rather than about those whom they have left behind,
HTM/HOCNA. President Putin and his administration know a thing or two
about tapping telephones, and no doubt the Moscow Patriarchate has very
extensive files and archives.
> 3) HTM developed a true cult mentality regarding the person of their
> Elder, the "Geronda," with his fake Greek accent (he was born in
Now, this point concerning Fr. Panteleimon's supposedly "fake" Greek
accent would be funny, if it wasn't so exceedingly ridiculous. What
possible difference would it make about anything, even if his accent
And if it is fake, then the man deserves a special Academy Award for
the "Longest Sustained Role Ever", because no one of us (and some here
have known Fr. Panteleimon for over fifty years!) has ever head him
speak any differently ЎЄ not when he is tired, or ill, or excited, or
has just been woken up in the middle of the night to answer the
telephone. Besides ЎЄ without getting "ethnic" in our "politically
correct" and "multicultural" society ЎЄ anyone could easily find
examples of people who have lived all their lives in America and still
speak English with an accent. Is it a crime?
After all, what is more important: the content of a spiritual message,
or the form of its delivery? I wonder what sort of Philistine accent
Balaam's ass had (Numbers 22: 28-30)? No doubt the cultured Judeans
were right not to listen to a bunch of rustic fishermen from Galilee
with their provincial dialect and rough idioms?
>and all the normal "guru" trappings.
Since Fr. Alexander gives no details, nor does he elaborate this theme,
he makes it difficult for anyone to respond. I suppose it's taken for
granted that "everyone knows" what "all the normal guru trappings" are,
and what is meant by "a true cult mentality".
Once again: "Come and see" whether or not we are all brain-washed
zombies. It's very simple, really.
And one thing a "cult" tries to prevent, or very tightly control, is
all contact with people who may have known members in their former life
and who would be able to remind them who they used to be and to recall
the past to their minds. Such is not the case at all with us at Holy
Transfiguration Monastery. True, having renounced the world and our
families, we do not, as a rule, return home for visits ЎЄ after all, we
are monastics. But our relatives are welcome to visit us here at the
monastery, and we are allowed to go out with our families alone for day
trips in the area. Nor have we ever been prevented from speaking to
family members on the telephone regularly.
(FN: Please apply the following passage also to Fr. Alexander's point
No. 5, below, on our clergy):
Metropolitan Vitaly had requested that Fr. Panteleimon write a detailed
letter to Archbishop Anthony concerning the charges made against him.
Here is a pertinent excerpt from that letter.
Letter of Archimandrite Panteleimon to Archbishop Anthony of Los
Angeles, April 13, 1986, (pages 7ЁC8, of thirty pages):
"ЎBut to come to the specific accusations. In their overzeal to accuse
me, both Frs. Gregory and Mamas become comical, if not ludicrous.
According to them, not only am I able to have such a control over the
minds of the people in the monastery (since according to them we are a
cult), but it seems I am so ingenious and able that I exercise this
same control over many priests and parishioners outside the monastery ЎЄ
priests and people, that is, who are spread throughout. the US and
Canada. Fr. Mamas attempts to explain how this is done in the monastery
(i.e. complete obedience, daily confession of thoughts, advances by me,
guilt feelings by the fathers and novices here, etc), but he fails to
explain how I am able to accomplish this with people that I rarely see
even once a year, or in some instances, once in many years. Yet I am
still able to have such influence and control over them.
"But then, even concerning those in the monastery, it is virtually
impossible for me to see some forty people daily. Not only is this
impossible for one person, but it is impossible even for many to be
hearing the thoughts of all daily. No, there is no daily confession of
thoughts in the monastery. This is only possible in sketes and in the
heremitical life, where there is an elder and, at the most, two or
three monks with him. But where there is a coenobium of many monks,
this is not possible. When a novice first comes, then more time has to
be taken out for him, till he becomes accustomed to the life and
typicon of the community, and till he is able to weed out and handle
his own thoughts. But even the novices do not come *every day*. There
just isn't enough time for that, what with services, prayers,
obediences, rest, etc. As for the older fathers, they come only rarely,
when there is a real need to say something. The novices come two or
three times a week, or as they need to. Usually, Fr. Isaac and myself
hear thoughts. But there are times when we send some to other fathers
who have had similar difficulties and warfares so that they might help
them by their own experience. Thus, at times, we sent some of the
younger ones to say their thoughts to Fr. Ephraim, to Fr. Mamas, and to
others. If we did not all work together as a team, we could not
possibly handle such a number as we are in the community.
"But then again, how many times I am absent from the monastery and am
not even there to be able to hear thoughts and exercise this control
over people, which Fr. Mamas claims. Two months of the year, November
and December, I am away on the pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the annual
visit to the convent of OinoussaiЎ
"So we have two months of the year already during which I am absent;
add to this the period of time that I have to be away, attending
retreats, parish feast days, pastoral visits to communities to hear
confessions, etc.; add to this every Saturday night and the numerous
vigils that we celebrate throughout the year, when thoughts are not
heard, since everyone is tired and exhausted; add to this my illnesses
which are not a few, and the numerous pilgrims arid visitors that, of
necessity, I have to speak to and spend time with; add to this the time
that I have to spend to write certain important letters, such as this;
add to this my responsibilities for our convent, to serve, to visit, to
speak with them, to attend to many of their needs; add to this the time
spent at our hermitage in Maine, and it is a wonder that I have any
time left for the fathersЎ"
> 4) Anyone who had been a monk or novice at HTM and would leave (or
> even a former friend of the monastery who came to "see the light")
> was immediately subjected to a vicious defamation campaign--he or she
> would be discredited in every way, even to the point of revealing
> deep secrets of a confessional nature.
We have heard this scenario repeatedly, but have yet to see it
demonstrated with concrete, chronological, printed data: the time when
someone left, the short interval before the "campaign" began, and what
precisely was said that was so vicious and defaming.
On the contrary, other than the necessary explanations to the grieved
brethren and bewildered layfolk, we don't unusually say much else when
someone leaves. If later, contrary to all that they had said or written
previously, those who left began to defame the monastery, we have made
public their earlier, positive statements. I have never seen anything
made public that had been marked "Confession", "Private", "Personal",
etc. Some of our accusers regret having voluntarily written things that
contradict their later slander, and they, therefore, resent our having
shared these with others, and they may now claim that such statements
were a "confession", but that is not so.
And perhaps these accusations by third parties claiming that we have
defamed those who left would not ring so hollow, if they did not come
from people who themselves often had been involved in disseminating the
slanders against us during the very process of the so-called
Concerning which, here is another pertinent excerpt from Fr.
Panteleimon's letter to Archbishop Anthony of Los Angeles, April 13,
1986, (p. 28):
"But even more serious was the revelation made by Vladyka Alypy
concerning the letter of December 1985 sent to him by Fr. Mamas.Ў Then,
in order to demonstrate the truth of what I had just said, I informed
you that whereas we (i.e., the monastery and I) had not been officially
informed by the Synod of any accusations or proceedings, many clergy
and lay persons throughout the country, and even from abroad, were
telephoning us and telling us all sorts of details. You then asked if I
had seen the letter of Fr. Mamas, and I answered that I had a copy. But
before I could inform you that we had received it anonymously in the
mail, Bishop Alypy, to my great surprise and amazement, offered to
explain how I had probably received the copy. He told both yourself and
my sinfulness that he had given Fr. Gregory a blessing to his request
to send a copy to Fr. Victor Potapov. Vladyka Alypy said, 'At first, I
said "no" to Fr. Gregory. Then I thought about it and said, "All right,
if Fr. Victor does not show it to his matushka." But Fr. Victor showed
it to Fr. Vladimir, his brother-in-law, and Fr. Vladimir showed it to
Fr. A., and Fr. A. probably sent you the copy.'
I was so dumbfounded on hearing this from Vladyka Alypy, that I was
left speechless. In the first place, since the letter was addressed to
Bishop Alypy, why should Fr. Gregory have, a copy? Secondly, by what
right is a blessing given by Bishop Alypy for this private (and
libelous) letter to be sent out by Fr. Gregory to many and various
individuals? (I could name others who received copies from Fr.
Gregory). Is Fr. Victor Potapov a member of the investigating
committee? Is he a member of the spiritual court? What was the reason,
or justification, or purpose for sending him, or any of the others, a
copy? Is this not an irregularity, to say the least? When the fathers
here in the monastery heard about it, they thought that it was a
serious canonical breach on the part of one of the members of the
That was in April of 1986, so one can well imagine how we felt **eight
months later** to read this line in a document from the ROCOR Synod:
Statement From The Chancery Of The Synod Of Bishops
Nov. 18/Dec. 1, 1986
"We have been extremely reluctant until this time to make known the
details of this case"!
Or when Matushka Ann Lardas writes to this list on August 6, 2006:
"Ўdemanding things from the bishops, **who were not at liberty to
discuss an ongoing investigation**"!
The number of accusers is also a matter of some confusion. We hear
repeatedly of twenty or more, yet when we make a tally of all the monks
or novices who have ever left, we find only approximately a dozen that
have actually slandered us. We have noticed that some of our detractors
automatically add the name of anyone who ever left the monastery to
their list of accusers, but a number of our former members have told us
that they never made any such accusations or revelations to anyone.
Once the first father to leave the monastery made those slanderous
charges which he did, any dissatisfied father who left after him had an
easy excuse for his own departure. All he had to do was add a few lurid
details pertaining to his own person, and he would have a ready
audience. Sadly, no one ever came to the monastery to ask those of us
who remained "at our post" as monastics what we had to say about the
charges or the people who made them. That really hurt.
Of those who have left and then slandered us, only two (or three) have
continued in their monastic vocation: Archbishop Gregory ЎЄ who admitted
that he himself had heard nothing of the slanders while still with us
and only learned of them second hand much later, and perhaps Fr.
Theodore, who has joined the Ecumenical Patriarchate and with whom we
have lost contact. The majority of those who are still struggling as
monastics elsewhere left for personal reasons and have not made any
See this link to the Euphrosynos Caf§Ы: http://tinyurl.com/kaotx
(Esp. the last two entries.)
And besides, the size of the opposition is hardly a criterion for
determining right or wrong, even in the secular world, let alone in
spiritual matters. If that were the case, then that small band of
Apostles and disciples should never have taken on the Roman Empire. And
the Orthodox Church should have called it quits many times in its past:
for example, during the ascendancy of the Arians, or during the reigns
of the Iconoclasts. Were St. Athanasius the Great, St. Maximus the
Confessor, or St. Mark of Ephesus ever intimidated by numbers? And if
numbers count, then what of the thirty five monks here at HTM who can
testify that such things never took place?
But then, consider these concrete examples from the lives of the
From the Life of Saint Sabbas the Sanctified:
"The sanctified Sabbas took the Patriarch's letter and descended to his
lavra. When he read the epistle in the church, those high-minded sixty
monks who opposed him became enraged and being blinded by malice, with
one accord they formed a body, lining themselves in battle array
against the holy father. Some of them prepared their baggage, packing
their clothes and other possessions, while the rest took up axes,
shovels, and crowbars and ascended Sabbas' tower. This they demolished
to its foundations and hurled its timbers and stones into the ravine.
Thereafter they all departed with their baggageЎ After the sixty had
departed from the Elder's lavra, the remaining brethren brought forth
the fruit of pure hearts unto God, even as wheat increases when the
tares are weeded out."
(FN: Anyone who has gone on pilgrimage to the Holy Land and has visited
St. Sabbas' lavra knows how much demonic rage it took for those monks
to be able to demolish that tower.)
From the Life of Saint Benedict of Nursia;
"ЎOne day the entire community from a nearby monastery came to see him.
Their abbot had recently died, and they wanted the man of God to be
their new superior. For some time he tried to discourage them by
refusing their request, warning them that his way of life would never
harmonize with theirs. But they kept insisting, until in the end he
gave his consent.
At the monastery he watched carefully over the religious spirit of his
monks and would not tolerate any of their previous lack of obedience.
No one was allowed to turn from the straight path of monastic
discipline either to the right or to the left. Their waywardness,
however, clashed with the standards he upheld, and in their resentment
they started to reproach themselves for choosing him as abbot. It only
made them the more sullen to find him curbing every fault and evil
habit. They could not see why they should have to force their settled
minds into new ways of thinking. At length, proving once again that the
very life of the just is a burden to the wicked, they tried to find a
means of doing away with him and decided to poison his wine. ЎAs he
made the sign of the Cross over it with his hand, the pitcher was
shatteredЎ Then he went back to the wilderness he loved."
From the Life of Saint Symeon the New Theologian:
"One day, after Matins, no sooner had the Saint begun to catechise his
monks according to his custom (for he would admonish some, censure
others, and exhort others to virtue), when suddenly not less than
thirty monks tore their rassa as did Annas and Caiaphas, and, moved by
homicidal rage, they rushed toward the Saint with wild cries. By Divine
Grace, however, they were hindered from drawing nigh to him and laying
their hands on him. ЎUnable to do anything else, they broke the lock of
the monastery gate, and like madmen they ran with shouts and commotion
to the Patriarch Sisinius. ЎKnowing, however, the frenzy and malice of
those monks, the Patriarch rightly decided to have them exiled. But the
good shepherd and imitator of Christ, the Chief Shepherd, fell at the
feet of the Patriarch and besought him with tears to forgive them."
If, by the permission of God, the demons were allowed to incite such
malice against such great and holy men as these, why should we be at
all surprised that something similar has come down upon us sinners now?
> 5) The parishes and clergy under the "wing" of HTM were completely
> under the control of the Elder--not their Diocesan Bishop. Whatever
> the Elder would tell them to do, they would do.
Concerning our clergy, please see the excerpt from Fr. Panteleimon's
letter to Archbishop Anthony of L. A., above.
>If he said, "leave
> the Church Abroad" -- they would leave. If he said, we're going under
> Akakios and Germanos, they would follow. If he said, we're leaving
> Akakios and going under Auxentios, whom HTM had deeply maligned in
> the past, accusing him of simony, secret consecrations, and all kinds
> of sins (remember the document called "A Clarification"?)
This issue was dealt with in "The Struggle Against Ecumenism", see
And here are excerpts from an explanatory introduction to "A
Clarification" for our clergy and faithful:
"Perhaps the question will arise why the signatories of this
"Clarification" joined the Synod of Archbishop Auxentios in 1987, seven
years after this document was written. The answer is that the
ecclesiastical landscape greatly changed with the blessed repose of
Metropolitan Saint Philaret in 1985 and the departure of all but four
bishops from the Synod of Archbishop Auxentios in the same year.
ЎAlthough ROCA had stopped serving with bishops and clergy of the
Auxentian Synod because of various administrative disorders, the
faithful were permitted to commune the Holy Mysteries in each other's
Churches. It was an administrative separation and not one due to
matters of faith. The North American clergy first approached Bishops
Akakios and Gabriel, hierarchs of the Auxentian Synod, who had ceased
to attend the Synod meetings because of the administrative disorders
there. It was hoped that these two bishops would form a new synod and
consecrate bishops for the flock in North America. When the Bishops
Akakios and Gabriel failed to co-operate and separated, the clergy
looked to Archbishop Auxentios as the canonical Archbishop of Bishops
Akakios and Gabriel. Since the Bishops that had caused so much scandal
and disorder (and Bishops Paisios and Petros were among them) were no
longer with Archbishop Auxentios, there was much better order in his
The North American clergy invited Archbishop Auxentios to the United
Stated so they could meet with him personally and ask him about various
incidents surrounding his person that they found troubling. A group of
thirty clergy had several sessions lasting many hours with the
Archbishop and two senior clergymen accompanying him. They were
satisfied with the Archbishop's explanations and the written
documentation he provided later that demonstrated that he was not
guilty of the canonical infractions alleged by his adversaries.
Archbishop Auxentios humbly admitted that he had made errors of
judgment, but stated that he had never willfully broken the canons for
any reason. The North American clergy humbly admitted their error of
judgment in the past. They realized that the Archbishop was indeed a
guileless man who at times had been misled by those around himЎ
The North American clergy consequently urged Bishops Akakios and
Gabriel to return to their canonical Archbishop since all the bishops
that had been a source of scandal to them were no longer joined to the
Archbishop. The Bishops refused, and it became obvious that their
differences with Archbishop Auxentios were more of a personal nature
than previously thought. If Bishops Paisios and Petros had still been
with Archbishop Auxentios it would have been unthinkable for the clergy
and flock that had left ROCA to petition that synod to receive them for
the reasons given in A Clarification. As for Bishop Akakios of
Montreal, he had for all intent and purposes become de facto an
independent bishop, since he, by his own choice, had never participated
in any meetings of the Synod of Archbishop Auxentios following his
It should be noted that in 1985 Archbishop Auxentios had been
"defrocked" by his erstwhile brethren for supposedly giving a secret
blessing to consecrate a very scandalous individual to the Episcopate.
In spite of the scandal caused by this travesty of a canonical trial,
these bishops had actually rendered Archbishop Auxentios a great favor
by departing from him, for now there was relative peace in his synod.
After the Archbishop's repose all of these Bishops (who have now formed
two separate synods in Greece; one presided over by Archbishop
Chrysostom Kiousis, and the Lamian Synod, presided over by Archbishop
Makarios of Petra) have now admitted officially and synodically in
their Synodical publications that their accusations were false, and
they have reinstated Archbishop Auxentios into the diptyches as the
lawful Archbishop of Athens, without, however, entering into communion
with the canonical successors of Archbishop Auxentios."
Also see the objective analysis of this question written by Fr.
Seraphim Johnson when he was still in ROCOR:
> would all fall into lock step and follow.
> I saw this happen with Fr. Nicholas Liberis, the local priest here in
> the LA area. When HTM told him to leave the Synod, he immediately
> complied. I told him--wait, you know Archbishop Anthony of LA is
> staunchly anti-ecumenist and staunchly anti-MP. What possible grounds
> can you have for leaving your bishop? He replied that he had to leave
> for "obedience to the Elder" and for "Greek solidarity."
Fr. Nicholas Liberis is a grown man and a senior clergyman who can
speak for himself, if anyone wishes to contact him concerning this
> So, the path of HTM is strewn with the victims of the cult mentality
> they fostered and maintain even to this day.
Once again Fr. Alexander passes off his groundless speculations as a
fact. He has no personal present experience with the monastery in order
to be able to make any such statements.
Concerning the monastery brethren at present, see the upcoming Part 2
of our reply.
> God forbid one of the current monks or novices should dare to leave
Yes, God forbid that any of us presently here should desert our
monastic calling. But what of those who did?
> and speak negatively of the monastery. The floodgates of defamation
> of his character would immediately be opened and the man's witness
> would be disparaged and defamed.
By citing a person's own, earlier statements which totally contradict
and disprove his later slanders of us?
But what *has* occurred on several occasions when monks have left, is
that immediately they are contacted by the others who have slandered us
and are asked to join their ranks. These attempts at "recruitment" have
been reported to us by several of the fathers themselves who refused to
collaborate with the slanderers and who stated to them bluntly that
they had no accusations to make against us.
Even further, some of these renegade monks have most solicitously
contacted our parents, brothers, sisters, relatives and friends in
order to inform them of all the slanders concerning us.
Many of the people on the Paradosis list are converts, and they know
all too well the pain, grief, bewilderment and misunderstandings caused
to their families by their decision to embrace the Orthodox Faith. And
they can understand how all that was intensified for us when we
informed our families of our intention to become monastics. Now imagine
what it was like for our non-Orthodox families and friends to receive
such lurid and salacious telephone calls and letters from our former
brethren. And please don't tell us that it was done out of love and
concern for us. These people have openly admitted their malice and
their desire to harm us in any way possible.
(See Bishop Ephraim's "Letter to the Faithful" after a second group of
monastics left in 1991:
> That's just the way it is.
> No hatred against HTM here at all.
> Just the facts.
On the contrary, as we pointed out at the beginning of our reply, Fr.
Alexander, having no firsthand experiences concerning us, knows no
"facts" to be able to report them here. As to whether or not he harbors
any hatred for us, we leave that to his own conscience. For our part,
we pray for him and for all our other detractors daily.
> With love in Christ,
> Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
And yet again: "Come and see" for yourselves, as others have: