Comments Posted By Carl Kraeff
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Um–Let me be frank with you. I continue to support the Manhattan Declaration and the only pro-gay thought in my being is akin to the popular saying “love the sinner but hate the sin;” that is, I extend to them the same consideration that I extend to everybody else. As a sinner, I cannot do anything less.
Um, George, et al.–That does not mean that I am going to stand aside and let y’all tar and feather +Jonah’s opponents and critics with a sinister pro-gay agenda. Nothing that has been said so far has changed my mind that this issue is simply a red herring to distract from the real problem, which was acknowledged by the man himself in Seattle and his resignation letter. I would not be posting any criticism of +Jonah if y’all had not continued the scorched earth policy against his critics. Y’all are the ones responsible for this sorry episode’s dragging on and on. Y’all and +Jonah himself who has not said anything to shut y’all up.
That said, I will be manning the barricades if I believe that the Church is in danger of falling into the heresies that had afflicted ECUSA and others. This is not the time.
» Posted By Carl Kraeff On January 25, 2013 @ 1:46 pm
True enough. May be that was a reason for the slave holding the laurel over the victorious general to whisper memento mori. I have the sneaking suspicion that very few of the victorious generals, the great men of the moment, paid much mind. Similarly, I suspect that most of us, particularly men, are afflicted with pride and perhaps touched with narcissism. I have wondered whether folks in authority have a touch more pride and narcissism than others, and whether the intensity increases with increase in authority.
» Posted By Carl Kraeff On January 25, 2013 @ 1:27 pm
I will let it go George, the instant that you quit attacking the OCA, the Holy Synod, our bishops and clergy, and common sense and decency.
» Posted By Carl Kraeff On January 25, 2013 @ 7:54 am
I am going to answer only the first part. If the USAF had publicly criticized me, I would have immediately resigned or retired. If I was wronged without cause, I would have tried to clear my name. If there were plausible reasons behind the criticism, I would have changed careers, that is, I would not have attempted to stay in another branch of service or even try to get employment in the federal government.
» Posted By Carl Kraeff On January 25, 2013 @ 7:51 am
Disgusted–I do not know where you were catechized, but I was taught that the West (Roman Catholics and many Protestants) call them Sacraments and officially number them. I was taught that the True Church calls them Holy Mysteries and do not number them, nor limit their number. Thus, the blessing of the water, homes, crops, etc… are all Holy Mysteries, so are tonsuring, ordination, and consecration. Here is a good differentiation in OrthodoxWiki:
“The seven sacraments are also accepted by Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental Orthodoxy, but the Eastern Orthodox tradition does not limit the number of sacraments to seven, holding that anything the Church does as Church is in some sense sacramental. However it recognizes these seven as “the major sacraments”, which are completed by many other blessings and special services. Some lists of the sacraments taken from the Church Fathers include the Consecration of a Church, Monastic Tonsure, and the Burial of the Dead. More specifically, for the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Christian the term sacrament is a term which seeks to classify something that may, according to Orthodox thought, be impossible to classify. The Orthodox communion’s preferred term is Sacred Mystery. While the Catholic Church has attempted to dogmatically define the sacraments, and discover the precise moment when the act results in the manifestation of the grace of God, the Orthodox communion has refrained from attempting to determine absolutely the exact form, number and effect of the sacraments, accepting simply that these elements are unknowable to all except God. According to Orthodox thinking God touches mankind through material means such as water, wine, bread, oil, incense, candles, altars, icons, etc. How God does this is a mystery. On a broad level, the mysteries are an affirmation of the goodness of created matter, and are an emphatic declaration of what that matter was originally created to be.”
» Posted By Carl Kraeff On January 25, 2013 @ 7:41 am
Of course, Lola; wanting to take care of one’s family, particularly very old and ailing parents, is commendable. At times, that means moving them if your responsibilities forces you to relocate. Sometimes, however, it is not possible unless one changes jobs. Are the Metropolitan’s parents so infirm that they must stay where they are now due to medical and other care not available elsewhere?
» Posted By Carl Kraeff On January 25, 2013 @ 7:32 am
Great history lesson but you miss the point. Julius Caesar was a great man. Marc Anthony was a great man. Shakespeare was a great man.
» Posted By Carl Kraeff On January 24, 2013 @ 9:16 am
I will tell you why I do not respect +Jonah the man.
I agree with +Jonah himself that he is not suited for being a bishop/metropolitan. It is OK for someone to come to such a realization after the fact, but I cannot respect a man who wants to have his cake and eat it too. He is not good enough to be metropolitan but he still wants a hierarchical assignment? No respect.
I cannot figure out how he could so readily agree with his brethren at Santa Fe and then almost immediately change his mind and break his word, his agreement. No respect.
I cannot figure out how a man can proclaim a policy and then ignore it a break it. No respect.
I cannot figure out how a man can take a solemn oath at his consecration and then break it. No respect.
I cannot respect a man who will not stand on his own two feet and say “no, I will not say this” at Seattle, or “no, I will not write a letter of resignation.” I do not know that either was forced on him. The point is that you and others have said that he was forced; if that was the case, this is not only indicative of a man with no spine, no character, but also another violation of his consecration oaths. No respect.
I cannot respect a man who dos not take action to quiet his followers as they attack his fellow bishops and leave the OCA.
Lots of reasons, at least for me, not to respect +Jonah the man. As for +Jonah the former Metropolitan, he has a mixed record: a stew of good things and bad. Nothing to cause one to fall on one’s sword and schism.
» Posted By Carl Kraeff On January 24, 2013 @ 9:08 am
You seem to have a comprehension issue. First of all, I did not criticise Lola; I disagreed with her argument. Secondly, my point is clearly that one who has gone through several mysteries (monk, priest, abbot, bishop and metropolitan) should be fortified by the Holy Spirit to be able to withstand a vindictive bishop and to “abandon” his parents. I had thought that one of the distinctive characteristics of being a monk was to be dead to the world. I was also raised to believe that a real man does not complain and seek special privileges–one just carries on.
You said: “…if a monk is not permitted to beg for his food…” perhaps to indicate that the Holy Synod was bent on starving him to death. Is that true? Or, is it more a matter of eating what he is accustomed to eating year around?
» Posted By Carl Kraeff On January 24, 2013 @ 8:36 am
I must admit that my father who passed on first never asked me to resign from the Air Force and take care of him. He always believed in God’s will, before and after he was ordained. My mother was killed in a traffic accident while she was healthy, so she never had a chance to consider asking me for help. However, I believe that she would not have asked me to break any commitment. As a member of the armed forces, my duties required me to “abandon” my family on occasions: one year in Vietnam, several deployments of 30 days or more–nothing like the current tempo, but we all keenly felt the agony of separation and tried not to think the unthinkable. I am not special; you do what you must do, as many public safety and health professionals do every day. Does this answer your question?
» Posted By Carl Kraeff On January 24, 2013 @ 8:28 am
You are hung up on this gay thing, aren’t you? If the adage is true that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, I hope you don’t mind if I wonder whether you are overcompensating or projecting.
» Posted By Carl Kraeff On January 24, 2013 @ 8:28 am
I am surprised that you are bringing up worldly considerations to this issue. Has the Metropolitan lost all of God’s graces that was conferred on him through multiple Holy Mysteries?
» Posted By Carl Kraeff On January 23, 2013 @ 2:51 pm
I do not hate the man; I simply do not respect him. Neither can I respect those who have been using the dogs of schism in support of this one man. There are quite a few Marc Anthony wannabees on this site. However, Metropolitan Jonah was never a Julius Caesar.
» Posted By Carl Kraeff On January 23, 2013 @ 2:49 pm
Interesting article. The odd combination of exceptionalism, paranoia, and overreach seems to be coming back among some Russians.
» Posted By Carl Kraeff On January 22, 2013 @ 5:32 pm
Not as a monastic, but simply as a member of the United States Air Force, I left my mother and father and only had occasional visits with them and my extended family for 26 years. Alas I did not have a Helga to advocate for assignments closer to home. I did my duty.
» Posted By Carl Kraeff On January 22, 2013 @ 5:29 pm
I think Ed Morissey of Hot Air is dead on:
“Obama’s “executive actions”: tyranny or impotence?
posted at 11:41 am on January 17, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
Maybe Barack Obama’s attempt to bypass Congress with nearly two dozen “executive actions” is both — a kind of “tyrannical impotence,” or “impotent tyranny,” but I see a lot more impotence than tyranny or even an abuse of power. Either way, it’s hardly impressive. My column today at The Fiscal Times points out the anti-climactic essence of Barack Obama’s little list of 23 orders that purport to take action about the kind of gun violence we have seen in mass shootings like Aurora, Tucson, and Newtown. Some of them actually just show how little attention Obama has paid to his regular job in the first four years:”
» Posted By Carl Kraeff On January 18, 2013 @ 8:25 pm
Dear Father John–I am somewhat perplexed by your reaction to my earlier posts on the subject of OCA’s autocephaly and the local Church in North America. I had gone more than halfway towards your position for I did agree with you that the OCA is not the universally accepted or even de facto local church in North America, even though she is indeed an autocephalous church. I further pointed out that OCA’s autocephaly was a means to an end, that is, an administratively united and autocephalous North American local church.
I hope I am wrong, but I sense that you now seem to be rejecting OCA’s autocephaly all together. I mean, it is one thing not to formally recognize it, but to reject it is something else all together. Surely you recognize that that OCA was given her autocephaly by the canonical Russian Orthodox Church, that her autocephaly is formally accepted by some canonical Orthodox Churches, and that she is regarded as a canonical church even by those who oppose or do not recognize her autocephaly. The venerable Antiochian Church is content in not recognizing OCA’s autocephaly and has not gone as far as opposing it as far as I know. Is there a shift in that position that you can share with us?
» Posted By Carl Kraeff On February 7, 2013 @ 9:36 am
Dear Father John,
Would it be fair to say the following?
a. While there is no local church in North America, there is one autocephalous church whose boundaries are confined to North America. The boundaries of the rest of the Orthodox jurisdictions in North America are overseas.
b. While “no one jurisdiction or tradition has primacy over the other Orthodox in America,” historically it was the Russian Orthodox Church that had the first organized mission to, and the first established diocese in, North America.
c. The ROC has produced the overwhelming number of American saints.
d. The ROC has led all others in translating the Holy Scriptures and services into the vernacular, starting with Siberian tribes and then proceeding to North American native tribes.
e. The ROC was the first to adopt a pan-Orthodox approach to governance with the establishment of a special diocese for Arab-Americans that was headed by Saint Raphael of Brooklyn. The headline from New York Times, dated 09/15/1895, is instructive:
“MINISTER FOR SYRIANS
Christian Church to be Filled by a Damascus Preacher
WILL ALSO VISIT OTHER CITIES
Bishop of Alaska and Aleutian Islands Asked the Emperor of Russia to Make the Appointment”
f. The ROC established the first monasteries and seminaries in North America. Even though St Innocent established the first seminary in Sitka, it was short-lived. St. Tikhon established St Platon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Minneapolis in 1905 and that one did not last much beyond the Bolshevik Revolution. However, St. Vladimir’s first permanent facility (on the grounds of Columbia College) started in 1939. After WWII, St Vladimir’s status started to change from a jurisdictional seminary to one of world renown. Here is the list of existing seminaries, their start dates and the degree programs that they offer:
1938: St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (Crestwood, NY); Master of Divinity, Master of Arts, Master of Theology and Doctor of Ministry
1942: St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (South Canaan, PA); four-year diploma/Bachelors with Marywood University and Master of Divinity
1973: St. Herman’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (Kodiak, Alaska); Bachelor of Sacred Theology
1948: Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary (Jordanville, NY); Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.)
1937: Holy Cross Theological School (later Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Theological Seminary, Brooklyne, MA); Master of Divinity, Master of Theological Studies and Master of Theology.
The school’s Internet site claims that “Hellenic College Holy Cross (is) the oldest and largest accredited Orthodox Christian institution of higher education in America,” which is true as there was a multi-year gap between the Metropolia’s St. Platon’s and St. Vladimir’s. Hellenic College is a Bachelor level college.
Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA
1975: St Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary; (degree unknown)
American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese (ACROD)
1951: Christ the Saviour Seminary (Johnstown, PA); Bachelor of Theology
The Serbian Church in North and South America
(Date unknown): St. Sava School of Theology (Libertyville, IL); Bachelor of Divinity
So, it appears that the OCA should have some sort of place of honor amongst the various jurisdictions in North America as she is the only autocephalous one in North America, even though she is not the Local Church. The position of the OCA was wonderfully expressed by the Q&A published in 1970:
“Before autocephaly there was no clear and canonical action whatsoever relative to the unity and self-government of the Orthodox in America. There was only talk. Now at least, there is a concrete beginning.
Before autocephaly there was not one church which was legally free from its old world “mother” and which could and did define itself without the use of an adjective taken from a foreign church or nation. Now at last there is one.
In addition to this, it has been stressed over and again that the new autocephalous church demands nothing from others but respect for its position and the freedom to go on. It will not force others into anything and will work with all, willing to discuss anything, anytime, anywhere and with anyone. It wants sacramental union with all who are not morally or dogmatically deformed, and even with these it will work for renewal, rectification and ultimate union. It categorically refuses on these grounds to be the object of any insinuations and accusations of destroying rather than serving the unity of the Orthodox in America and in the entire world.
If there is division over autocephaly it can only be because no one now can hide from the question under a cloud of empty words and meaningless actions. In the light of autocephaly, all are seen for what they are, and all are forced to show their true colors. Now each church, and indeed each Christian priest and believer, must show whether he wishes to serve the Orthodox Church of Christ or to serve first of all his own ethnic cause and community.
Thus perhaps what autocephaly has done is to reveal and disclose the true divisions that were always there but previously obscured because of the lack of a concrete action that would make them known. If this is the case, we can welcome autocephaly as a blessing. It is the opinion of the Orthodox Church in America that this is exactly the case.”
» Posted By Carl Kraeff On February 1, 2013 @ 2:24 pm
I am a Macedono-Bulgarian. My grandfather was a chetnik in the Ilinden Insurrection, my father was a leader in the Youth Section of VMRO, I was a member of YMPO. However, I support the recognition of the Macedonian Orthodox Church (MOC) and I support the right of Macedono-Bulgarians to call themselves Macedonian, Serbian, Greek or Bulgarian–whatever they want. That said, I think that the charges against Archbishop Йоан of Ohrid are bogus and he is being persecuted for reasons of state. I also believe this persecution would not happen without the complicity of the MOC.
» Posted By Carl Kraeff On January 31, 2013 @ 11:16 am
“The OCA-fka-Metropolia is not the Local Church here in America. If it were, the rest of us Antiochians, Greeks, ROCORians, Patriarchal parishes, et al, would be ipso facto schismatic.”
Bad argumentation but the conclusion is true. The fact is that all of the others are ipso facto schismatic if the OCA is the local church. However, please note that the OCA’s position has been constant over the years: that her autocephaly is but an interim step towards a truly united and autocephalous church for all Orthodox Christians in North America. The OCA recognizes that flaunting her autocephaly and the logical consequences of that would be an uncharitable and frankly stupid thing to do. After all, it is not the fault of the Antiochians, ROCOR, Serbs, Bulgarians, Romanians, and Greeks that the only existing Church in North America fractured and lost her position after the tragic Bolshevik Revolution. I do not know what the motivations of the ROC were at the time, but I believe that the Metropolia had an understanding with the other SCOBA jurisdictions that her application for autocephaly was a means to the eventual unity and true autocephaly of all (the Metropolia went to the EP first and then to the ROC at the EP’s recommendation). It was never an end it itself. Nonetheless, unlike Roman Catholics we do not have the luxury of declaring OCA’s autocephaly as null and void, as the RC may annul a marriage. OCA’s autocephaly is real. We can however use OCA’s autocephaly to ensure that the fighting and power plays between Constantinople and Moscow (or for that matter the ambitions of the Old Country Churches) do not consign us forever to quaint exarchies that amuse most North Americans at their ethnic festivals. That is, it is a lever of sorts to force a resolution to our truly strange situation in North America. The good news is that there is a glimmer of hope with the establishment of the Assembly of Bishops. I am praying that the members of that assembly will be guided by the Holy Spirit and do the right thing.
» Posted By Carl Kraeff On January 31, 2013 @ 10:59 am
I think that the situation in North America is unique as this continent was unknown when the “world” was divided into spheres assigned to the ancient patriarchates and Rome. Thus, Constantinople’s Canon 28 claims are based on fantasy. Nonetheless, there are some principles that should carry over, such as no more than one bishop per city, one primate per local church, one local church in any assigned/acknowledged area.
There is a local church in North America that is acknowledged by some of the other local churches. At the very least, no church should claim that North America is fair game or that each local church abroad must look after her flock abroad. I am not disputing that the Bolshevik Revolution fundamentally altered the canonical status of the various Orthodox Churches in North America. Nonetheless, it seems clear to me that prior to that tragedy, there was only one church in America–if one defines a church as a bishop, surrounded by his priests, deacons and laity. If one defines a church as a local congregation, there were non-Russian churches with no local bishop over them. In any case, that one church was the Russian Orthodox Church. And, the ROC had the right to grant autocephaly to the Metropolia.
The problem we have now is that all canonical principals were scrambled into an unholy mess after the Bolshevik Revolution. The man problem of the non-Russian churches has been addressed somewhat by the existence of local bishops, even though they belong to the Holy Synod’s of overseas churches. Of course, the problem of multiple local churches having jurisdiction in North America persists. This problem is made worse by efforts by some local churches to claim legitimacy based on a “need” to serve their own kind; Romanians belong in Romanian Churches, etc… Most of the ancient patriarchates are concerned that in a truly autocephalous local church, support for the patriarchates and for the preservation of ethnic distinctions will diminish. So, this is one omelet that cannot be undone. It seems to me that the only way out of current dilemma is for the laos in North America to organize themselves into a local church. They can do so by attaching themselves to the OCA or by forming a united and truly autocephalous church. For some there may be the temptation to consider autonomy (maximal or not) under a foreign patriarchate, but the time is long past such interim measures.
Thus, while agree with Jonathan in principle, I will agree with Father John that in practice there is indeed no canonical local church in North America at this time.
» Posted By Carl Kraeff On January 30, 2013 @ 12:09 pm
Pot calling the kettle black and that sort of thing? Mea culpa.
» Posted By Carl Kraeff On January 24, 2013 @ 1:11 pm
George–Your comments are as bad as Photios’ original post. Just as rude, venomous and unthinking.
» Posted By Carl Kraeff On January 23, 2013 @ 3:00 pm
I truly resent your (a) offensive comments about ROCOR and (b) rudeness in not using titles for clergy. For the record, I am in the OCA, the Diocese of the South and in the same metropolitan area as St Elizabeth the New Marty Orthodox Church that was featured in the video. I apologize to all my brothers and sisters at St Elizabeth’s and ROCOR in general for your rude and unthinking post.
» Posted By Carl Kraeff On January 23, 2013 @ 2:59 pm
You may also want to ask for advice on other avenues, such as the Orthodox Christianity.net or Yahoo Orthodox Forum. There are many knowledgeable folks on both of these forums. For example, the first one has various sections, such as Faith Issues and Covert Issues, that are geared primarily to address situations similar to the one that you and your family experienced.
» Posted By Carl Kraeff On January 23, 2013 @ 1:46 pm
George–Haven’t you heard of agents provocateurs? Rather being an agent of the Syosset “overlords,” Mr. Baktous may be an agent for the Friends of Jonah–perhaps the infamous Father Fester?
» Posted By Carl Kraeff On January 23, 2013 @ 1:34 pm
As limited as my experience has been, may I offer an observation? Generally speaking, most churches west of the Mississippi and in the South (except for Florida) are less ethnic than their counterparts elsewhere. Usually, this is associated with mostly convert clergy and parishioners. I wonder if my distinction can also apply to red and blue states and/or counties?
» Posted By Carl Kraeff On January 18, 2013 @ 11:58 am
Your statement that “although many people had grandparents who were Lebanese, the people are just as American as they can be” brought warm memories. At St Elias in Austin, one of the first people to greet us what an old Lebanese grandmother, who had a most remarkable East Texas twang I have ever heard. Later when St. Romanos Chorale visited Vicksburg Mississippi, the parishioners of St George’s (your parish!) hosted a reception. We were discussing tithing and another very old Lebanese lady/grandmother, also with a deep Southern drawl, said “everybody tithes, don’t they?”
PS: For a relatively recent example of St Romanos Chorale, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mkKjK29yQs. It appears that today the chorale is composed of singers from the Houston Orthodox Churches. When I sang in it, it was a regional choir.
» Posted By Carl Kraeff On January 18, 2013 @ 11:45 am
I will not discount the possibility, but I will say to you that it is really improbable, and in the case of ROCOR in the United States, it is impossible. That means that in the United States, at least, your allegation is simply not true.
» Posted By Carl Kraeff On January 18, 2013 @ 8:57 am
Back To Stats Page
I am familiar with St Elias in Austin, Texas and her two daughter churches, St Sophia and St john the Forerunner, all wonderful pan-Orthodox churches, albeit with an Antiochian flavor. And, what is so wrong with that? We all have to come from a mother church and Antioch is one of the very first mother churches.
» Posted By Carl Kraeff On January 15, 2013 @ 3:20 pm