Monday, November 17, 2014

Archpriest Sergei Begashov's defense of Vl. Agafangel

This somewhat difficult and lengthy, Human-English translation, [ with
some added English explanatory words, here and there,] mostly done
kindly by Vladimir Djambov, [laboriously translated  not for pay],  a
pious lay member of Vladyka Bishop Foti's Bulgarian Old Calendar
Church, our Sister church to our ROCA: in Sofia, Bulgaria:THANK YOU
BROTHER VLADIMIR!

FOR TRUTH'S SAKE:-A General Informational Sharing with All: In Russian and Human-English, Archpriest Sergei Begashov's defense of our Metropolitan and our ROCA, to our current critics:
  http://pr-begashoff.livejournal.com/29905.html
  also found in Internet Sobor



 Dear in Christ Vladykas and [fellow] brethren!  

The last week events
reverberate in my heart with an inexpressible pain. At that,
especially acute is my pain is felt not only in relation to that
horror taking place in Ukraine's East, where my parents, my brother
with his family, and other numerous relatives, are forced to either
flee from the scene of the conflict – if such a possibility is made
available, or [else] live under the shells constantly hurling in both
directions, praying and hoping that today these would not fall on your
own, or on your neighbor's house. 

My heart has been stricken by
another pain – the threat of a rupture of the Body of Christ. And the
latter is incomparably worse than the war because its consequences
extend to the scale of eternity.  In our non-Christian time (and [I
wonder] has it ever been 'Christian'?) the enemy of mankind [man's
kind] intends to destroy not only the lives of men who are brothers of
each other, but he also encroaches on the priceless treasure, which
has been redeemed with the precious Blood of our Savior Jesus Christ –
[on] the human soul! And [even] today, one super-weapon in the line of
the huge arsenal of the devil's instruments for destroying the human
race [man kind], is propaganda. 

It is more terrible that "Grad" and
"Points U" [missiles], more terrible than mortars and machine guns,
because lying in its base is an all-encompassing [comprehensive] and
all-consuming lie; and one of its tasks is to cause [bring about]
hatred between men. Both lies and hatred are a satanic invention, the
opposite of the two main Christian virtues: truth and love. If anyone
believes that this man-hater [? chelovekonenavistik] uses [operates]
this weapon only [towards] one side of the conflict – then one is
deeply mistaken. The devil remains a winner both in case of accepting
one propaganda, and in case of [accepting] the other [propaganda]. 

If you prefer, then both the mass-media of the Russian Federation and of
Ukraine are the right and the left hands of the Antichrist, through
which he offers that same poison – [namely] hatred. Ukropy's and
quilted jackets [vatnikiki's], Bandera's and Colorado's, punishers and
terrorists, zapadentsy's and lugandonists, Petliurists and
separatists, pro-Americans and pro-Russians [russ-komirovist], etc.,
etc. – all these are different kinds of tastes all of that same common
hatred under the guise of an alternative.  I am convinced that any of
the suggested positions would be profitable to the perpetrators of
this horror, even if it seems to us we are making a choice which is
opposite to him. After all, both (the former and the latter [second]
offers that we identify [ourselves] and occupy our "sacred" place in
the [army] line and shed our blood for the god of war; and via revenge
for us we engage the people loving us in these lines [ranks], [thus]
multiplying each [and every] death by ten. I hear its hellish rumble
[malo-Russian word], rolling out on the ground a cannonade of
explosions. But those laugh the loudest when these explosions are made
with God's name on their lips! "They know that Thou Lord doth exist,
but they are just the same man-murderers as I am!" – through the
guffaw he calls with audacity up to the heaven, with the rising
mushrooms of fire, smoke, human pieces and rubble of buildings.  

In these moments, when the Church must set an example of unity and
pacification, when the Lord Himself pins on it His divine hope, those
who have renounced the world are turning back[wards]. Introduced in
the Church is a division – which is alien to it – over certain "sacred
ideas" and nationality [ethnicity] signs. The devil collects people of
one and the same views, [who are] convinced they have been gathered by
the Lord, and – handing them a sword – he "heroically" commands
"Chop!"  What has happened with us, brothers? Has the deceivers failed
to fool [deceive] us blatantly [surround us in dark clouds?] – by
inciting us against each other? What kind of charges are pouring out
of mouths preaching the power of God effected in men's weakness? Where
do you see the outlines [caricatures?] of Russo-phobes and the aids of
power [government]?  Even should someone indeed desire to turn oneself
into a Russo-phobe, one could not possibly do it for one really simple
reason – Russia does not exist! Or you, brethren, fail to discern the
difference between Russia and that country you are now living in?

Indeed we are brothers even in the fact that both you and we live not
in Russia, but only in different fragments of that disintegrated
werewolf called the USSR! Your speech of condemning leaves no room for
us to simply remain Orthodox Christians in the broadest sense. Can it
really be that we who do not share the Kremlin policies – but only for
this one sign – for you we become enemies-'Petliurists'? And why do
you think that we share the Kiev policy? Both with you and with us it
is all the same. the princes of this world are in the reign: namely
thieves, destroyers, liars and hypocrites, in whom the only thing
remaining of Christ is what does not depend on them. You see, in this,
too, we are brothers! You are embarrassed by the slogan "Glory to
Ukraine!"? 

So are we, as ministers of Christ, raising glory to Him
Alone with each and every cry of Glory, for «кому слава подобает,
разве тебе, Господи!» [to whom is glory befitting but to Thee, oh Lord
– from evening service prayers?]. You find repulsive the slogan
"Ukraine above all!"? [rendered in Ukrainian]. So do we, as
Christians, for whom Christ is over all things! And also as citizens,
"if Ukraine is above all, then what is it without its people – the
Ukrainians?". (rendered in both Ukrainian and in Russian translation)
Because if this is so, then one could offer the small – [namely] the
Ukrainian as a sacrifice to the bigger – Ukraine? (Which is exactly
what is taking place now). It would probably be more correct that
"Ukrainians be over all", but even then I – as a Christian – would
treat this motto skeptically. Are we not united in this, as well? You
reproach us, and you even accuse us of collusion for the fact that we
fail to reprove Mikhail Denisenko, [ so-called-"Patriarch" of the
Ukrainian Kievan Orthodox Church] and why [then] don't you reprove the
chief mufti or rabbi of RF [the Russian Federation]? I cannot expose
without love, I do not have the right to do so. 

Why would I expose
what I do not love? I expose though what my heart hurts about. It
hurts about the Moscow Patriarchy, it hurts about Russia, there I am
exposing.  Just look, how many things we have in common but the most
important one –the  Orthodox Faith! Where is that difference between
us, which can justify a schism [split]?  You accuse us that we are
supporters of Ukraine's borders designated by Antichrist – Ulyanov
[i.e. Lenin], but he did not designate them, more precisely the
boundaries themselves were non-existent, since back then it was one
[and the same] state. We, however, have no preferences [whatever],
except for our civil accord and with our [government in] power, and
with all the world, with these boundaries that were established in
1991, when one part of the one-time existing Russia made a step
towards [in the direction of] de-Sovietization, and that means a step
towards its [own?] history. In addition to everything else, even the
leadership of your country not only accepted the borders of the newly
independent state but it also became the guarantor of its territorial
integrity. Can it be that you – as Christians – allow yourselves to
violate the civil law in this [respect]? 

I am sure that [the answer]
is no. And in this [too] we are brothers!  What do you expect – except
the Sunday of the dead – is also the restoration of Monarchy, and no
one dares expose you for this, but you, too, cannot expose those
fellow brethren who simply do not believe that it can ever be
restored, although they consider the time of the Monarchy as the best
ever period for the earthly wandering [pilgrimage] of the Orthodox
Christians of Russia. But even in these anticipations of yours, there
is something askew – you, it seems, are glad with some artificial
motion, [which is] the materialization of that expectation. You speak
that the boundaries of the southeastern regions of Ukraine ought to be
within the Russian Empire, but where is it, that Empire? It is not!
And even [back] when it was, did the Russian king annex with violence
the land to himself [his land, that is]? Don't you vituperate the
glorious name of Russia! Peoples with their lands strove [tended]
themselves to become part of the Great Russia. 

Did the Russian
soldiers [can you imagine] blackmail Bogdan Khmelnytsky in front of
Pereyaslav Rada? Of course not! And even if somewhere they did
[blackmail], then they would not have been Russian soldiers any
longer. Just as those, Russian, they were not at all, but Soviet
[people] who exchanged only the wrapping. Take a look, how the Russian
soldiers and their rulers are described in the remarkable article by
Protodeacon German Ivanov Trinadzaty "Bicentennial of the victory over
Napoleon. Russians in Paris," which you posted on your site
http://priest-mikhail.livejournal.com/121440.html [Протодиакон Герман
Иванов-Тринадцатый. Двухсотлетие победы над Наполеоном. Русские в
Париже]. Can it be that we are witnessing something of the same kind
in Donbas?  Now, in the hope of reconciliation, I will try – as best I
can – to clarify the points of your claims against our First Hierarch,
and therefore against  us [as well]:


1. YOU WRITE: "We have read with great sadness the acts of the last
Synod on 21-22 October 2014 as signed by Metr. Agafangel, Archbishop
George, and Bishop Athanasius, which had no quorum and therefore was
illegitimate. In this document we see numerous violations of canonical
rules, outright lies against members of our Church who had spoken over
the past few months against the deviation from the course of the
Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. Here, for example, to quote: "In the
very beginning of its historical existence, the Russian Orthodox
Church Abroad yielded in to the desire for political revenge." A
revenge would suggest squaring political accounts and class vengeance.
The outstanding ideologue of ROCA I.A. Ilyin said: "Let's return to
Russia without revenge and greed!". This was the general stand of
ROCA. Re-writing history – which is what lately Metr. Agafangel has
been strenuously engaged with – referring very loosely to historical
facts and ecclesial decisions – is anti-canonical and immoral. It is
clear that such a stand is beneficial to forces alien to our Church,
under whose influence Metr. Agafangel has fallen. But such a stand is
deeply repugnant to all those who are faithful to the salvific course
of the Most Blessed Metr.. Anthony (Khrapovitsky), Metr. Anastasius,
St. Metr. Filaret, [and] Metr. Vitaly. This is exactly why we call on
all three: Metr. Agafangel, Archbishop George and Bishop Athanasius to
reconsider their attitude towards the history of ROCA and offer
repentance."Response: You have been embarrassed by the phrase of the
Metropolitan: "In the very beginning of its historical existence, the
Russian Church Abroad succumbed to the desire for political revenge."
But what is there to raise disagreement here [in this]? Very true
words. And they do not imply a desire in our fathers to avenge or
regain in a wicked way what had been taken away from them. No. Just
Imagine, destroyed in front of their eyes was everything that was dear
to them. Destroyed treacherously, mercilessly, with frankly
theomachist slogans. The Scripture itself promises that we will have
to wander through all the towns – [while] running from persecutions,
and the Deliverer shall come. Was it possible for our fathers to not
have hope for the restoration of Russia then, once you [too] are
hopeful for its [Russia's] restoration presently? And, of course, this
hope is personified in the White movement. But time that heals has
passed and our Church accepted its exile as permitted by God and it
humbled itself before Him, pinning their hopes for the Motherland in
their prayers [raised up] to Him. The Metropolitan is not re-writing
any history. You need to ask forgiveness for this baseless
[indiscriminate] charge, which – by the way – even were it
eligible[true],  – does not refer to any of the canonical issues of
the Church, and therefore it cannot be a cause for divisions
[split-ups]. 

2. YOU WRITE: "Metr. Agafangel blessed to consider the
"Internet Sobor" [site] as the [a] "new website of ROCA"
Church decreed in October 2012 to "promote the development of the
all-church site 'Internet Sobor'", on which church money is set aside.
However it is on this site exactly that major church documents, church
life news interspersed with articles of anti-Russian nature and
political propaganda texts began to be published.
 The vicious practice of turning the church site into an instrument of
political struggle is to be stopped. All the more so since materials
[texts] very often are posted without corresponding [appropriate]
comments, authored by outright enemies of the Holy Orthodox Church:
the so-called Kiev Patriarch Filaret Denisenko, the militant atheists
A. Nevzorov and others. The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
needs no such allies." Response: I agree that our Church needs no such
allies as Denisenko, Nevzorov etc. But what is the [essence of the]
your charge? The Apostle James himself quoted the example of the faith
of the demons in order to emphasize the obvious, can this make them
his allies? The lack of comments and the elaboration of texts is
associated with the complete absence of the work-hands [laborers,
aids]. Who and when are those who have the time to do this? According
to your ideas, on the one hand it is the Metropolitan who does
everything, since he writes using all nicknames; [an unproven charge],
on the other hand – everything he does is just not right. Well, you
take this work up yourself and do it, and offer it and then just
listen in to the claims of all [kinds of] "critics." And also, on the
impossibility of the charge of Russo-phobia I wrote above. Item 2 also
has no canonical plane [to it]. The charge of any third rate lesser
consideration, may not give rise to a schism. 

3. YOU WRITE: "One
cannot agree when bishops and priests of the ROCOR involve themselves
in political activities, taking part in the information of the war
against Russia, unacceptably binding themselves [close] with
Russo-phobic-politicians and with their activities, in essence pushing
the Church on the path of becoming a political organization of the
Sergianist type. Of course, such activities run contrary to the course
of the great First Hierarch of ROCOR and threaten the freedom of our
Church. The desire by means of such a compromise, to provide a relaxed
and comfortable life of their parishes, reminds us of the Sergianists'
vicious practice." Response: I agree that bishops and priests may not
engage in political activities – both Russophobic and Russo-phile
ones, especially so because of the absence of the reality of liking or
disliking – Russia. Let anyone who has dared engage in political
activities turn to the Church – as the salvific infirmary – with
repentance. Forgive me fathers, but you are now turning yourselves in
for condemnation – opting for a compromise with that same KGB, calling
it, Russia. And further you discover a motive to be irreconcilable
with us: " The desire by means of such a compromise to provide a
relaxed and comfortable life of their parishes reminds us of the
Sergianists' vicious practice." Indeed, as Saint Neil of Sinai spake:
"If we had no shortcomings, then we would not have such pleasure in
noticing them in others." 

4. YOU WRITE: "We ask that Metr. Agafangel
cease activities as a [in his quality of] manager and commentator
(under pseudonyms included) of the "Internet Sobor" site, which for
the time of its existence has become "notorious" ["glorified"] for its
extremely Russo-phobian political bent. Such activities by the First
Hierarch, as well as by other clerics, is immoral on its own and runs
contrary to the  rules of the Holy Apostles, where it is said: 'A
bishop or a presbyter or a deacon is not to assumes on himself [any]
worldly cares. Otherwise, let him be deposed from the sacred rank.'"
Response: In the form of an ultimatum you are asking the Primate to
stop guiding the "Internet Sobor." But have you forgotten to nominate
the new replacement leader? I think Vladyka would be very happy to
free himself and his  time from such work, which also proves, for
himself,  to be considered ungrateful for, by some. But I have a
question, you wish that the Internet Sobor would [only] voice the
stand of parts of the Northern Diocese, of Barnaul and of Izhevsk? And
what is to be done with the stand of other regions? The boundaries of
ROCA are not delineated by the mentioned towns, at least not in its
canonical jurisdiction. As to your fantasies vis-à-vis the multitude
of nicknames used by the First Hierarch [ which you claim he uses], –
it is even shameful to speak [of them]. To forbid any free commenting
– this can only be done by Lubyanka and by the Clean Alley, and even
then, not to us, thank God! The canon law charge is farfetched. To
express a stand and to engage in politics – these are completely
different things. So, again, there is in this matter, no cause for our
splitting [separation]. Your reproaches, even by ethical standards,
can endure no criticism, and response to them can be nothing but to
your shame. Brethren, how can this be [possible]? 

5. YOU WRITE: "It is
understandable when ROCOR clergy in Ukraine are rightly criticizing
Patriarch Kiril. But many are embarrassed by the absence of any
conviction by them of the so-called Patriarch Filaret of Kiev, a
notorious ecumenist and heretic. We also hear no exposing of the
falsehoods of Uniates and of other opponents of Holy Orthodoxy in
Ukraine. Why do we, the clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
in Russia, speak of the apostasy of the Moscow Patriarchate, while
ROCA clergy in Ukraine refrain from exposing UOC KP [Ukrainian
Orthodox Church Kiev Patriarchate]? Moreover, many articles have
appeared on the pages of the "Internet-Sobor" site that are
sympathetic towards the nature of UOC KP. That double standards policy
is unacceptable in church life. Let us remind all, that in 1994 – for
the unauthorized endorsement of bonds with the Patriarch of Kiev
Filaret – the ROCA Synod (of bishops) banned from ministering, bishop
Barnabas (Prokofiev)."  Response: I've answered above. I do not
undertake to criticize anathemas. It is simply an absurd accusation,
that puts you in line with the MP and puts us in line with the KP.
Stemming from this is [it follows] that you honor the KP more than we
do. The KP in Ukraine is that same political orthodoxy as the MP is in
the Russian Federation, the only [difference being that] there is
something that binds us with the MP, and – not with the KP.  

6. YOU
WRITE: "It is unacceptable to question the decisions of the Synods of
the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. We consider as possible various
political assessments, views on historical events, discussions on
various issues – for, as the Holy apostle says, "For there must be
also heresies[A1]  among you, that they which are approved may be made
manifest among you." (1 Cor. 11:19). But nobody has the right to
reject the Tradition of our Church. We must piously remember that the
ROCOR Synods [of bishops] passed [in a spirit] "assisting to the Holy
Spirit" and were a free voice of the entire suffering Russian Orthodox
Church not only abroad but also at home. We felt strange, in our
reading of a statement of Metr. Agafangel of [dated on] October 7th.
2014, that he had "never heard" of the "mission '' of "preserving the
holy White idea''' of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, while at the
same time its Synods and great first hierarchs have repeatedly talked
about the importance of preserving the best traditions of the White
movement. Thus, in the address of the First All-Diaspora Synod to the
"Christ-loving soldiers of the Russian Army and the Valorous Leader"
General  Wrangel, these words appear: "But also let all Russians who
love their homeland and suffer with her pain, remember about you,
[about] our dear [army] host, and let them not only with the word of
truth, but also in deed, help you and convince others to also do this.
May the Lord bring to reason other nations, too, to support you. May
they understand that you have struggled not only for Russia but also
for the entire world, for the Faith and for peaceful life." And we –
being faithful children of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, obeying
the conciliar [Synodal] decrees, do affirm the need to be faithful to
the White cause, which His Beatitude Metr. Anthony (Khrapovitsky)
called [used to call] the "Brotherhood of Russian Truth" and not
engage in blessing neo-petlyurovism [neo-petlyurovschins]."
Response:[My] Brethren, who and where has there been a blessing for
neo-petlyurovism and in what address has such been recorded? Your
quoted citation fails to support the preservation by ROCA of the holy
white idea. There can be no such an idea in the Church, not in ROCA at
least. [I'm] Glad that you allow for dissensions [disagreements – see
'heresies'] on a topic of politics. So do we. This is a  non-canonical
issue. There is, in these in matters,  no reason for schism, brethren!

7. YOU WRITE: "It is outrageous that taking an active part in fueling
 Russo-phobia are clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad:
[namely] prot. Oleg Mironov (Canada), Hieromonk Andrew Trachuk
(Ukraine) and some others. The ritual desecration of the Russian flag
they committed (the flag of the White Fight) and this insult to the
Russian people has brought up no protest by the First Hierarch. To the
contrary, he accuses their critics of intolerance to dissent [people
of different thinking]. Of course, such a policy of mocking what has
always been sacred to the members of the ROCOR, is slowly but surely
destroying our Church."  Response: I have not seen the desecration of
the Russian Federation flag by a priest. If this is so, then I think
he must apologize. A priest is not to act like this with the flag of
any country and in general, [a priest] should not defile anything. Is
this the only reason for the schism, brethren? If he apologizes, the
conflict will be settled [exhausted]? Or is this the consecutive
reason to resent the mercy of the First Hierarch?  

8. YOU WRITE: "I am
deeply saddened by the unbrotherly attitude towards fellow
archpastors, by an infallible and final tone, by the exceeding of
one's powers, while at the same time the Archbishop of the Orthodox
Church is obliged to remember the 34th Apostolic Rule, which reads:
'It is meet that the bishops of every nation ought to know the first
[head-man] of theirs and recognize him as the head; and do nothing
that would exceed their authority without his arguments [knowledge].
Each one should do only what concerns his own diocese and the places
belonging to it. But the first [head-man] is to do nothing without the
arguments [knowledge] of all. For thus there will be one-mindedness
and God will be glorified.' "  Response: Can the tone of the First
Hierarch give rise to a schism? Let him who has been offended by the
tone, after remaining alone, discuss  this, and not shout for all the
whole world to hear, from [somewhere in] the back. As from your
epistle I see few bishops among the signatories. The bishop's tone
being a canonical issue? I beg you [Dismiss this charge (and spare
me!)].  

9. YOU WRITE: "The Church Excommunication" of Mikhail
Viktorovich Nazarov, one of the most respected members of the ROCOR,
was made in violation of canonical and moral norms. We cannot
recognize it as legal since its consideration was attended neither by
the accused nor by a representative of his; among the charges
presented there were many materials of defamatory nature [kind];
despite the fact that the Council [Synod] of Bishops has not made a
decision on excommunicating M.V. Nazarov, nevertheless Metr. Agafangel
– shortly after the end of the Council [Synod] – without [any]
ecclesiastical court, unilaterally announced that M.V. Nazarov – it
turns out – was excommunicated from the Church, and nobody has the
right to communicate with him. Of course, we – – being guided by the
rules of the holy fathers and by our Christian conscience – cannot
recognize the canonicity of this act."  Response: About Nazarov – I
can write nothing. I have not read him, I have not met him and even I
would not have heard of him – were it not for your epistle. Knowing
about all the respectable persons  in the ROCA – I am an exception. To
be respected one needs to be known. The Metropolitan is known, I trust
him more than Nazarov. What about you? 

10. YOU WRITE:: "We are
convinced that our people's liberation from the captivity of sin is
impossible without overcoming the pernicious legacy of Soviet thinking
[Sovetchina], one manifestation of which, mind you, is precisely
Ukrainian nationalism. It is lamentable to see how some [people] are
willing to defend the monuments to Lenin, while others – who crush
these monuments down –and are ready to shed blood for the national
borders which were outlined [drawn] by the demoniac Lenin, of the
Soviet republics, which are separating a triune nation."  Response:
I've answered above. The boundaries of states is no canonical issue
and no issue of the Church, in general. Why are you raising it?  

11. YOU WRITE: "We believe that the perpetrators of all the above abuses
must admit their decisions [to have been] wrong and [must] do
everything possible to heal the discords produced by them, in the
spirit of Christ's love and faithfulness to the traditions of the
Russian Orthodox Church Abroad."  Response: He who is to blame – let
him offer an apology. You, brethren, are guilty and some [of you] have
already – thank God – repented. May the Lord raise each one of you up
to doing this!  

12. YOU WRITE: "We see and have become convinced that
the activities of Metr. Agafangel for the management of the Church –
the further it proceeds the more it defies traditions and conciliar
[Synodal] decisions of ROCA, which causes justified indignation among
the clergy and wide circles of the laity. In view of this, we are
aware that there may come a time when we may be forced to implement
the decree [Ukaz] of St. Patriarch Tikhon [under] number 362 in our
church activities (the objective conditions for the implementation of
this decree have ripened). We are waiting for the final word, which is
to be uttered on this occasion by the conciliar fullness of our
Church."  Response: DO you see? Have you been convinced? Where from?
Why is this seen only by the signees, and at that, even not by all,
and the others do not see? If it were not for this item, I would have
been more hopeful for the sincerity of your delusions, but your
ultimatum is – in essence – blackmailing. This goes too far. Brethren,
stop it [stop what you're doing]! Everything is not the way you
imagine [it to be]! This is a schism!  

13. YOU WRITE: "We wish to
create no schism and we are not creating one, since we make no claims
to ourselves receiving authority [receiving powers] that [do] not
belong to us."  Response: [but] Above, you threaten to take to
yourselves these powers [over].  

14. YOU WRITE: "We introduce no
innovations into the Church life, but we only wish that our Church
would live according to the decisions of the Councils [Synods] of the
ROCA and to the canon laws of the Orthodox Church."  Response: We do
not introduce such things,  either, and we wish just the same as you
do. Where are the differences [of opinion/dissensions], brethren?  

15. YOU WRITE: "We cannot oblige[obey] with orders that trouble us and our
flock's consciences and that – in our conviction – violate the canons
of the Church and the decrees of the Councils [Synods] of the ROCOR."
Response: WHAT decrees and which canons violate and what Councils
[Synods] do they  [violate]? This one accusation is much too a serious
charge to not quote – at least for decency sake –[ without you giving
us] any examples. The impression is that you have no cause to make
this charge, but – for protocol sake – you had to say that this charge
is [so].  

16. YOU WRITE: "We ask forgiveness from all those who –
willingly or unwillingly – we have offended in word, deed, or in any
other way. We believe that only in the spirit of Christian love and
faithfulness to the great fathers and to the ROCOR Councils [Synods]
we would be able to overcome all the temptations and calls
[challenges] of our [much-]troubled times. We voice hope for mutual
understanding of fellow archpastors [hierarchs], pastors, and laity,
both in Russia and abroad and for their supporting our actions. We are
going to take comfort in the apostolic appeal: "Not slothful in
business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope;
patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;" (Rom.
12:11-12)."  Response: What you are calling us to,  is for us to
support your actions even before a Council has assessed your
gathering. In essence, you are calling for separation. Because you
leave no room to assume that you are not right.  I've been for too
short a time, in our Church, and probably – less than all others –do I
have a right to utter any criticism. And up to the last [point]I have
been pursuing  on with my response,[to this controversy] hoping that
it would pass, without my humble participation. But I do see,
brethren, that we are getting farther and farther apart from each
other. And I see no significant enough reasons for this. I've tried to
say what I see and if you at least a little bit, believe in my
aptitude [adequacy] and sincerity – believe me. I'm closer to
everything, I can see better. I do not watch the news, nor listen to
the radio and therefore no one is in a position to deceive me. I speak
what stands before my eyes. In my appeal to you, all the time I wrote
"we." I wish to explain. On the feast of the Mother of God in honor of
the "Kazan" icon there was a fathering[clergy meeting] of our diocese,
which I was able to attend. I was hoping to meet there some of the
priests – signatories to this appeal, because they are from my own
diocese, but they proved not to be there. Perhaps there were reasons
[for this]... And so, there, among other things, Vladyka Agafangel
spoke about Ukraine, the West, America, and the various powers [of
government]. What he said leaves no doubt – not even the least of any
doubt – that he is a patriot of Russia, that he is not engaged with
[under the control of] any power [of government], and he is not
fascinated by some rosy hopes for a prosperous existence of
Christians. I do not know, maybe Vladyka would not quite agree with
lots of what I've written, but I do agree with his assessment of
developments in full, 200%. And, indeed, believe me, the last thing
one could accuse  Vladyka Agafangel of – is Petliurism, or of
Russo-phobia and bonds[connections] with the powers [of government].

Have the fear of God, brethren! You are deeply [cruelly] mistaken.
Brethren, I pray to Christ God, that you do not create what you are
intending to. All [people] fall, but the Orthodox rise up [after
falling]and this is our [one] essential difference from others. Do not
be shamed by false shame. Bring your repentance, for Vladyka
Metropolitan Agafangel has measured for you time for [doing] this. We
are all anticipating this!  

Your brother in Christ, 
prot. Sergius Begashov. 

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