Dear Father Ambrose,
Father Alexander replies only when he pleases to do so.
It is more important however to expose his contradictions than to obtain one more unconvincing explanation from a person who has lost any credibility anyhow and considers deceit as a good and legitimate pastoral approach.
Vladimir (...this is where we left off, picking up again, below is Fr. Alexander Lebedeff's response that came the next day. I repeated Vladimir's email here, because I want it to be clear exactly what Fr. Alexander is calling "rantings and accusations..." Next is a comment from Vladimir. And lastly there is a final open letter from Stephen to Fr. Alexander Lebedeff. -jh)
FR. ALEXANDER LEBEDEFF:
Vladimir's rantings and accusations of some as being "traitors" are ludicrous.
I have been a member of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia all my life, since my baptism by a ROCOR priest in Austria.
I have been a clergyman of the ROCOR for almost forty years and have been loyal to the hierarchy that ordained me and to whom I gave an Oath of obedience and fealty before the Gospel and the Cross, both at the time of my ordination to the diaconate and at the time of my ordination to the priesthood.
I have never left the Church Abroad and have supported the positions that its bishops have defined throughout all that time, as required by my ordination oath.
At the time that our Council of Bishops determined that the Church Abroad could not recognize the authority over itself of the Moscow Patriarchate because the Moscow Patriarchate was not free in its actions, but was enslaved by the atheistic Soviet government, I supported that position whole-heartedly, and wrote many articles in defense of that position.
We were, at that time, in a state of conflict with the Moscow Patriarchate, and many negative things about it were written during that time, including articles, and even a book, by me.
When the Soviet Union fell, and the Council of Bishops of the Church Abroad decided that the time had come to open discussions with all of the separated parts of the Russian Church in order to begin the path to reconciliation, I, as a loyal clergyman of the Church Abroad, I supported that decision, and began to write articles and essays expressing that view.
When the Church Abroad decided that the time had come to recognize the Moscow Patriarchate as the true Central Administration of the Church of Russia and the true descendant of Patriarch Tikhon, and then decided to open negotiations to lead to the reestablishment of canonical and eucharistic communion withe Church of Russia (Moscow Patriarchate), as a loyal member of the Church Abroad, I supported that direction of my Council of Bishops and participated in these negotiations as Secretary of the Commission.
When the Council of Bishops of the Church Abroad voted to approve the Act of Canonical Communion, as a loyal member of the clergy of the Church Abroad, I supported that decision and defended it in many essays and articles, and I still do to this day.
I have never been a member of any other Church than the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and have always been loyal to its hierarchy and have supported its Conciliar decisions.
Out of some 550 clergymen of the Church Abroad, about 45 made the decision to break their solemn oath of loyalty to their Church hierarchy, given at the time of their ordination, and have broken with their lawful hierarchs and gone elsewhere.
They became renegades, oathbreakers, outlaws and schismatics and are under the condemnation of a number of canons which have a penalty of deposition or excommunication for departing from one's bishop.
So -- who are the traitors here?
The ones who have remained loyal to their Ruling Bishop and their Council of Bishops and who support their decision?
Or those who broke their oaths and fled the Church that ordained them and went elsewhere, joining not even a canonical Orthodox Church, but some parasynagogue, established by one or another of the same renegades, oathbreakers, outlaws and schismatics?
The answer should be clear.
With love in Christ,
Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
Father Alexander’s painstaking justification is based on his oath of loyalty to clergy.
In his mind, the latter governs when there is a possible conflict with loyalty to Christ. Not orthodox at all. The SS motto was: “be brave and faithful”. Faithfulness in itself has no value. What counts is to whom you are faithful. The sergianists too were “faithful” to somebody.
Revelation 2: 10 “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life”.
Fr. Alexander said:
"At the time that our Council of Bishops determined that the Church Abroad could not recognize the authority over itself of the Moscow Patriarchate ***because*** the Moscow Patriarchate was not free in its actions, but was enslaved by the atheistic Soviet government, I supported that position whole-heartedly, and wrote many articles in defense of that position."
(*** emphasis mine. Stephen ***)
This statement right here is the crux of the problem as it flies in the face of your volumes of comments written WELL AFTER the Soviet government fell. We have posted these statements and they clearly spell out that the problems with the MP were NOT simply limited to "the MP being enslaved by the Soviet government." Had that been the only problem then there would be NO PROBLEM.
I know it irritates Fr. John Shaw that we keep bringing these statements up but they are essential because they spell out so clearly the problems of the MP after the fall of the Soviet Union. Much of these statements were reprinted from your "confession" in 2002 wherein you stated that your position on the MP was exactly the same as it always had been:
"I believe that the current senior hierarchy of the Moscow Patriarchate is indelibly tainted by its collaboration with the God-fighting atheist government and its institutions."
"I believe that the current senior hierarchy, and especially Patriarch
Alexei II were handpicked by the organs of the Soviet State and willingly participated in activities that were detrimental to the Church that were dictated by the KGB."
"I believe that the current senior hierarchy is tainted by shady business deals and suspicious associations with semi-criminal elements."
"I believe that ecumenism is a heresy that attacks the very fundamental nature of the Church of Christ, and I abhor the continued participation in it by the Moscow Patriarchate."
“Metr. Kirill (Gundyaev) is a very strong ecumenist and makes no secret of it. He was not reprimanded or censured when at the WCC meeting in Canberra, he stated that the WCC is the "foundation of the future united church" ("zalog budushchej edinoj tserkvi") -- instead, he was made a Metropolitan.“
“I believe that the senior hierarchy of the Moscow Patriarchate are Sergianists through and through, who lie all the time, because their very essence is lying. As Fr. George Edelstein, a Moscow Patriarchate priest stated so succinctly: Sergianists lie, the lie constantly, and not because someone is holding a gun to their heads--the do it because it is their nature--it is as natural for them as breathing.”
“Concerning the senior hierarchy of the MP and the KGB. Unfortunately, the picture of KGB agents in riassas is not a myth created by Estonian nationalists or ROCOR extremists or pathologically driven Fr. Gleb Yakunins. It is a well-documented fact, supported by statements of KGB defectors and mnay of those "in the know." Just read the articles of Fr. George Edelshtein, a well-known priest of the MP, where he makes it very clear how compromised the verkhushka (higher echelons) of the MP are. There are more than one set of blue-trimmed (KGB) general's shoulder-boards under the riassas of the senior bishops of the MP. And it could not be otherwise. Fr. George Edelstein invented a wonderful term for these agents in riassas: "ierochekisty"-- "HieroChekists."
Stephen: Fr. Alexander, now you confess that - at all times - you are always in step with the Bishops you were loyal to. This part is believable because we have similar statements from them during the same time which support your statements above.
Again - and it can't be stressed enough since you keep making the same claims - the problem remains that the statements you made above were written after the Soviet union fell. They flatly contradict your current claim that "the Church Abroad could not recognize the authority over itself of the Moscow Patriarchate ***because*** the Moscow Patriarchate was not free in its actions, but was enslaved by the atheistic Soviet government."
My life would be much easier if I could believe the problems you outlined simply disappeared and that the ONLY problem with the MP really was that it was enslaved by the Soviets!