Sober at St. Nicholai Sobor. Bartender, Take the Bottle…

Nicholai_SoborThis past Sun­day, LGBT activist group Boy­cott Russ­ian Vodka and LGBT rights activist Michael Petrelis held a pre-announced rally to “peace­ably chal­lenge the Russ­ian Ortho­dox Church in San Fran­cisco over its sup­port for Russia’s anti-homosexual pro­pa­ganda law that has led to ris­ing vio­lence and anti-LGBT big­otry in that coun­try.” The announce­ment was picked up by the AOI site, which prides itself as the “cut­ting edge of the pub­lic square” for cur­rent issues in the Ortho­dox Church. In my com­ment, I sug­gested that the char­i­ta­ble thing to do was to invite the spon­sors in for cof­fee & dia­log — hey, but that’s me. Michael Petrelis posted a response, inquir­ing as to how noti­fi­ca­tion of the pick­et­ing was received (“Do you fre­quently read gay web­sites?”) I thought it “pru­dent” to inform Mr. Petrelis that unless he wished to risk being gnawed to the car­cass (and the honey extracted cf. Jud. 14:8), bet­ter take the “dis­cus­sion to his own site and see how “coura­geous the Ortho­dox would be in fol­low­ing. For the first time I’ve seen, my post was “yanked” into “mod­er­a­tion.” My, my. The cut­ting edge appar­ently took one step for­ward. Com­ment­ing on a com­pletely dif­fer­ent mat­ter, my posts are all now “sub­ject to moderation.”

In the mean­time, Mr. Petrelis posted that he had received — appar­ently to his sur­prise — some sup­port­ive email from Ortho­dox Chris­tians. I wrote to him and explained the Rus­sians, capa­ble of Soviet sys­tems of per­se­cu­tion and oppres­sion, who now per­pe­trate hate-crimes and exe­cute “reac­tion for­ma­tions” that tap into centuries-old reserves of racism, anti­semitism, hatred, fear, needs to oppress & dom­i­nate, and a sys­tem­atized psy­chopa­thy — now in shirts with skulls and the words “Ortho­doxy or Death” — that rises, phoenix-like from only a decade of slum­ber. And I explained the Ortho­dox faith­ful, the per­se­cuted, the mar­tyred, the long-suffering, the persistently-faithful — par­tic­u­larly those who escaped from Rus­sia west through China and endured tor­ture — who most cer­tainly did not endure such suf­fer­ing — bring­ing with them to San Fran­cisco their own Blessed John Max­i­movitch! — in order to sup­port the per­se­cu­tion of oth­ers. The Ortho­dox are xeno­pho­bic — and recall the rage of Emperor Peter the Great, vowed to drag­ging them “kick­ing & scream­ing” into the mod­ern world — and fear­ful of what they do not understand.

Well, let me, again, lay claim to the titles dum­b­ass and frag­o­narde. “Invite them in for cof­fee and chat,” says the dum­b­ass. From the ROCOR website:

>On August 25, Arch­bishop Jus­tin­ian spoke via tele­phone to His Emi­nence Arch­bishop Kyrill of San Fran­cisco and West­ern Amer­ica of ROCOR. The arch­pas­tors dis­cussed the unfold­ing sit­u­a­tion, after which they came to the deci­sion to hold joint prayers the next day in the Patri­ar­chal cathe­dral. Priest Leonid Kaza­kov, Rec­tor of St Nicholas Cathe­dral, gave advance notice to the planned action to the local police and to Mr Sergei Petrov, Con­sul Gen­eral of the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion in San Francisco.

After par­tak­ing of the Holy Gifts, Arch­bishop Kyrill and Bishop Theo­do­sius per­formed a moleben with the other cler­gy­men, dur­ing which lita­nies and sup­pli­ca­tions from the rite of the Tri­umph of Ortho­doxy were intoned.

By Divine mercy, nei­ther the cathe­dral nor any parish­ioners suf­fered any vio­lence from the pro­test­ers. Mem­ber of the police secured the protest area and did not per­mit the break­ing of any laws. The clergy and parish­ioners of St Nicholas Patri­ar­chal Cathe­dral of San Fran­cisco expressed thanks to Arch­bishop Jus­tin­ian and Arch­bishop Kyrill, Bishop Theo­do­sius, the cler­gy­men from New York’s St Nicholas Cathe­dral, as well as all the other cler­gy­men and layper­sons who sup­ported them that day.

OK, just to get it out of my sys­tem, I gotta go street: what we got here we don’t like? A SNITCH. Yeah. That’s that stuff we don’t like. The Russ­ian Ortho­dox Church, the New Rome, those who first brought the faith to this con­ti­nent called the cops. Seri­ously? Did you read the part about com­menc­ing after the con­clu­sion of the Liturgy and being peace­ful and non-disruptive? “By Divine mercy, nei­ther the cathe­dral nor any parish­ioners suf­fered any vio­lence from the pro­test­ers?” Shame on you for ascrib­ing to God what these pro­tes­tors promised and pro­vided: peace­ful.

Shame on you, Arch­bishop Kyrill, Arch­bishop Jus­tin­ian, and Bishop Theo­do­sius for your fail­ure to act “as the Mas­ter would do,” fac­ing the chal­lengers, the Phar­isees, the Sad­ducees, the lawyers, but rather encour­ag­ing the vacat­ing of the altar, need­lessly induc­ing fear among the faithful:

Sanc­tify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a rea­son of the hope that is in you with meek­ness and fear: Hav­ing a good con­science; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evil­do­ers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good con­ver­sa­tion in Christ. (1 Pet. 3:15–16)

Shame on you, Arch­bishop Kyrill, Arch­bishop Jus­tin­ian, and Bishop Theo­do­sius for your fail­ure to act “as the Mas­ter would do,” by not extend­ing the hand of fel­low­ship, of char­ity, and of Chris­t­ian love, but by your very demeanor and actions cast­ing stones of judg­ment and deri­sion upon indi­vid­u­als with whom you have never exchanged a word. “I will show you my faith by my works.” (Jam. 2:18)

Shame on you, Arch­bishop Kyrill, Arch­bishop Jus­tin­ian, and Bishop Theo­do­sius for set­ting a prece­dent and leav­ing an impres­sion that the Ortho­dox Church is unap­proach­able, hos­tile, iso­lated, an entity unto itself, inhos­pitable, and “shady” in its deal­ings with gov­ern­ment. It seems to me you com­pletely fail to see the incon­gru­ence of chant­ing the “Tri­umph of Ortho­doxy” when giv­ing the mes­sage, “you don’t belong here.” How do we answer the ques­tion, “Where do you find the Lord?” “Among the sin­ners. All sin­ners.” “Who is the Ortho­dox pas­tor?” “The one who would act as the Mas­ter would act.”

What have you pro­tected us from? Shame on you, Arch­bishop Kyrill, Arch­bishop Jus­tin­ian, and Bishop Theo­do­sius. I am embarrassed.

Down­load Sober at St. Nicholai Sobor. Bar­tender, Take the Bot­tle… as a PDF file

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