Vladyka John

16 06 2009

Found via the Byzantine, Texas blog

Because I’ve come a long way…

Well, really, I did venerate his relics in San Francisco. Several times, in fact. Fr. Anastassy once brought out his mandyas for me and some other special pilgrims to venerate some six years ago now. It’s been a long road, I guess. That is why I post this: not so much because I still believe in all of it. More because I wouldn’t want to totally renounce where I have been. To do so is childish. We are who we have been, and part of me still has affection for the guy.

One thing I have realized, however, is that my whole attitude of him being a saint like Catholic saints are saints is childish. I cannot help but think that the walls of the Catholic Church stretch up to Heaven, and indeed, to the Trinity itself. To think otherwise is dishonest. Yes, I venerated those relics once. Would I venerate them now? No. Why? Because it is not given to me to judge. Indeed, at this point in my life, I would rather venerate an image of Jesus Malverde than of John Maximovitch. Why? Because Malverde may have never existed, and if he did, he was a bad Catholic. But at least he did not fight against the Truth. Life is just full of some very hard, very ironic choices.


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36 responses

21 06 2009
FrGregACCA

Y’all ought to join me here:

http://heartissuesforlds.wordpress.com/

This is the blog of a self-described “fundamentalist” Baptist pastor (still a nice guy) living in Utah North – Southern Idaho, engaging Mormons. I am pretty much the lone voice for anything that could in any way be described as “Orthodox” and there are also no Roman Catholics who comment.

Dr. Bill, this invitation includes you.

21 06 2009
FrGregACCA

Arturo, the word minimalist with regard to anything faith-related in relation to Vladyka John is an oxymoron.

I may not be able to precisely define “holiness”, but I surely know it when I see it.

I think your analogy between Orthodoxy and the pagan sources of various syncretisms which include elements of Roman Catholicism fails because Orthodoxy, too, is rooted in the ministry of the Apostles and also partakes of the same apostolic continuity as does the Roman Church.

My position has been described as seeing the Church as “something bigger” which transcends the three or four Communions which self-identity as the “One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church” of the Creed. That is not my position. My position is that this one Church is first manifested locally, in particular Churches. Since not all of these Church are in communion with each other, the universal manifesation of the one Church is therefore impaired: we are all schismatic.

21 06 2009
FrGregACCA

We have not sought to reunite with the Indian Orthodox Church or the Syriac Orthodox Church for several reasons, all of which have to do with discipline, not dogma (or morals). One of them, obviously, is the ordination of women. Another is the fact that we have married bishops, as in the very early Church. These are probably the two biggest factors.

It was not my intention, in pursuing this thread, to get into these questions. I do not comment on blogs to prosyletize. Since my Church is confined to only a few geographical locations, there would be little point in most cases. I am also not really interesting in pushing women’s ordination, although I support it (my daughter does not). My attitude is that the proper approach at this time to the question is one of pluralism, as advocated by the late Elisabeth Behr-Siegel and as currently being approached by the Anglican Church of North America.

However, there is a relationship between the status of the ACCA and the greater question of the overall relationship between Rome and the non-Roman Eastern Churches in general. Arturo’s post, and some of the comments, imply that a Church must be “all or nothing.” In Arturo’s apparent view, the fact that the Byzantine Orthodox Churches are out of communion with Rome, rejecting the Roman view of papal primacy, the filioque, and certain other matters, means that they are nothing and are, therefore, incapable of producing Saints. This view is rejected by the Roman Church itself.

On the Orthodox side, the matter is more complex. Attitudes, official and unofficial, vary, but it is fair to say that, within Byzantine Orthodoxy, there is a great deal of support for the mirror-image attitude described above, but with regard to the Roman Church: it has “lost grace”.

Such attitudes, as I have stated above, are simply out of touch with reality. These Churches were in communion with each other for 1,000 years, and neither side has changed so much that it should be unrecognizable to the other as a true particular Church (or better, a true communion of particular Churches).

With regard to our relationship with the (Indo-)Syriac Church (and, apart from the question of the status of Chalcedon, the Byzantines and Romans as well), the same thing applies. We may be wrong about ordaining women, about allowing for married bishops, but when it comes to the REALLY important stuff, matters of faith and morals, we are very much in the mainstream of the Apostolic Tradition, regardless of iteration: Oriental, Byzantine, or Roman.

21 06 2009
FrGregACCA

Hi, Dr. Bill.

Interesting that you should inject the issue of “my church” into this discussion when it really isn’t relevant. I am defending the sanctity of a man who probably wouldn’t have recognized the ACCA as “Orthodox” any more than you do.

In any event, the answer to your question is “no”.

21 06 2009
Gabriel Sanchez

I’ll never cease being amused that various “traditional” confessions and their adherents (and this includes certain wings of American Orthodoxy) can readily accept “private devotions” to individuals who held absolutely heterodox beliefs but once you start talking about “woman’s ordination,” all bets are off, all orthodoxy is collapsed, and the gates of Hell are hanging wide open…

At the end of the day, it’s still pick n’ choose “orthodoxy” where the individual has collected his own private yardsticks of truth to deploy when the mood hits. The very notion that there should be a collective or, I should say, holistic orthodoxy rooted in the Church rather than personal proclivity. While I don’t share in all of Aruro’s views, his honesty and consistency on this point is exponentially more laudable than the whimsical “what I want is what it is” confession of even some of my fellow Orthodox.

21 06 2009
Leah

“First Things and Commonweal are identical twins separated at birth.”

I think they should just merge into one publication and call themselves “Common Things.”

21 06 2009
Arturo Vasquez

A lot of what is being discussed here has to do with that very American and very modern tendency to measure acceptable religiosity by a very personal “burning in the bosom for Jesus”. Since America has never been a confessional state, we tend to seek some bare minimum of acceptability by which we judge the beliefs of our neighbor. The struggle of Catholicism in this country is to try to fit into that bracket of “acceptable belief”. What “Neo-Catholicism” can ultimately be interpreted as is an acceptable “orthodox” Catholicism within the parameters of respectable, middle-class, Anglo society, with the high-water mark having been the election of JFK. People do not remember that even for the Irish, being Catholic at one time was enough to exclude them from the racial category of whiteness. This is because Catholicism was tied into such atavistic ideas as hierarchy, tradition, and the dreaded “c” word, “culture”. But with the neutering of immigrant Catholicism by suburbanization and modernization (if this was an inevitable process is not the point), we have arrived at a Catholicism that is doctrinally minimal, aesthetically bland, and thoroughly obsessed with the idea that, “the only thing that matters is how much I luv JEEEESUZ!”. The only difference between schools is that they argue over what it means to be an “American”, which is sort of just a spiritualized and tired discourse between Catholic advocates of the two hegemonic political parties and their ideological cronies. (First Things and Commonweal are identical twins separated at birth.)

In the present discussion, Fr. Greg wants to apply this minimalism according to a limited set of criteria: minimum sacramental practice, a romanticist love of the past, universal notes of sanctity that “cross confessional lines”. But if we are going purely for externals, if we are saying that we are all brothers in spite of the divisions between our churches due to some sense of “holiness” that no one knows how to define, I would want to widen the circle even more and bring in syncretic Catholic religious tendencies. I would want to do ecumenism with Haitian voudou, Brazilian candomble, Fidencistas in Mexico, the palera who owns the botanica down the street. And why not? They have the same Catholic statues, some even go to Mass on occasion. I once saw a Haitian hougan in a Maya Deren film say the Litany of Loretto before a possession ceremony to prepare himself to become the “horse” for the loa. This would be far more interesting than attending a Karl Barth symposium or reading the drivel of Orthodox convert anal apologists who say that the West veered off course starting with Tertullian. After all, the cosmology of a Cuban santero makes much more sense than that of that Mormon missionary riding his bike down the street, in spite of his bright smile and impeccable haircut.

20 06 2009
Adrian

“la tee da, la tee da.”

Well, that’s certainly true.

20 06 2009
ochlophobist

Dr. Tighe,

Ouch. Didn’t know that.

I suppose the ecclesial something bigger that Fr. Greg belongs to has deemed that OK as well.

One might say that the Orthodox Church does not ordain women to ministry at the altar, but that might then be subject to criticisms based on a few books published in the last generation that use scant evidence to point out a few women deacons here (serving at the altar?? Hmmm) and vague references of a few female priests there, and from this, mixed with no small amount of contemporary social science and playful historical interpretation along the lines of Karen Armstrong and a wee bit of Ds Vinci Code, and pow, we are all schismatics so it doesn’t matter, history (I suppose in the sense of Hegelian determinism) is leading from and toward the unity of all, la tee da, la tee da.

But I shouldn’t suggest that I don’t bother to read much about these things. I think I have read most everything Dr. Valerie Karras, our leading Orthodox feminist writing in English, has published. She is better than most (she happens to be coherent) and a nice lady, even if wrong on this issue. She has the intergrity to take her more recent arguments away from much of the silliness and head for the deeper waters of a more serious theology. Still wrong, but at least she can pitch when she plays ball.

20 06 2009
The young fogey

Mildred, I think you’re right: it’s not consistent but, sorry, more to do with Arturo’s disillusionment with Orthodoxy.

As for WO and FrGregACCA’s church, like my instinctive reaction when as a young aspiring Anglo-Catholic I found out about WO, it’s a flashing neon sign saying ‘we’re not a Catholic church’. In the case of the Antiochian Catholic Church, Fr Greg’s, it’s pointing out that it’s not in the ancient church (Syrian?) it sort of identifies with. A church that claims it’s Orthodox and does it obviously does not belong to the Orthodox communion.

20 06 2009
William Tighe

Fr. GregACCA’s church purports to ordain women. Would that be sufficient to dismiss it as “non-Orthodox?”

20 06 2009
Mildred

I seem to remember Arturo being ok with St Josaphat on an earlier posting, on the grounds that the Church recognised his holiness and that the fact he was a pagan didn’t matter.

That he has reservations about Orthodox saints implies that he has greater difficulty with Orthodoxy than paganism

20 06 2009
FrGregACCA

I have no interest in hanging with the “First Things” crowd. And what I assert is a matter of history with which ecclesiology must reckon.

19 06 2009
Adrian

I don’t know who gets to determine where those parameters are, but if a Chinese Catholic participates in some Confucian ritual or an Orthodox Christian keeps some water from Lourdes by their bedside, I consider it a fait accompli, however problematic (Maybe the Orthodox are fine with Lourdes, I don’t really know). At any rate, to correct it would do more harm than good.

Religion should be taken as it is, not as it should be. Otherwise we’re plagued by endless reformations, counter-reformations, modernizations, liberal renewals, reactionary Thermidors, etc., etc.

19 06 2009
ochlophobist

Adrian,

What is the ecclesial something bigger that is bigger than the Church? And let me be clear, I do not hold that the Church’s parameters are defined solely or even primarily by its official boundaries established by hierarchs. For instance, I consider the Orthodox Church to be bigger than simply those folks who are in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate. I don’t know anything about FrGregACCA’s ecclesial body, but I am not going to dismiss it as non-Orthodox simply because of who he is not in communion with. Nonetheless, I hold that the boundaries of Orthodoxy are more or less visable, just as, I think, Arturo holds that the boundaries of Catholicism are visible bounds, even if what makes them visible is not the rubber stamp from the Catholic Magisterial Authority. Fr. Greg suggests that there is a “bigger” something that sees largely common faith and a binding of history and sacrament between Orthodox and Catholics and perhaps more groups. What is that “bigger” something? Is it visible? What grounds does it use to determine who is in and who is out? Are Anglicans who ordain women out? What about Orthodox who argue for legal abortion? What about non-Chalcedonian Orthodox? Who is in? Who is out? Who gets to determine this? What are the parameters of this “bigger?”

19 06 2009
Adrian

I would never want anybody to be friends with the First Things crowd … but you ARE part of something bigger. Deal with it.

19 06 2009
ochlophobist

The idea that “they are bound by a largely common faith as well as historically and yes, sacramentally (even though being de facto out of communion)” is one that can only, in any coherent ecclesial sense, be asserted by the Church. This may happen through mechanisms of authority. It may happen on the ground, as a matter of shared faith and communion within the Church. It happens that of late the RCC has made this its official position. Thus an RC who adheres to every new change of wind in the RCC might hold as much, but only as a recognition of this thought being verified in the experience of the Church that RC believes is divine. Orthodox have not, either officially or on the ground with any coherent consensus, arrived at the position that we “are bound by a largely common faith as well as historically and yes, sacramentally,” thus to impose this position upon Orthodox is improper. That a given Orthodox would adopt such a view as theologoumenon strikes me as an indication that he has a fetish for ecumenicrat ideologies and rhetorics foreign to the Church. It’s really cool to feel like you are a part of something “bigger,” especially when you get to be friends with the First Things crowd, and what not.

19 06 2009
Adrian

I’m pretty sure John Maximovitch simply IS a Catholic saint, in the same way that Russian duchess-turned-nun (what’s her name?) the Bolsheviks killed is a saint. I think there’s nothing loosey-goosey, New Agey or consumeristic about extracanonical saints.

Don’t tell the authorities, but I know a very right-wing Macedonian Orthodox woman that has cheesy JP II pictures plastered all over her business. She didn’t put them up as self-conscious ecumenical gesture, she certainly doesn’t mean to “push the envelope” she just doesn’t know (or care) that what she is doing is incorrect.

19 06 2009
FrGregACCA

What I, personally, tend to be intolerant of is this kind of rhetoric. It is not helpful.

19 06 2009
FrGregACCA

Actually, there is nothing here at all about a “trans-communal spiritual body”. The Orthodox -both types – and the Roman Catholic Church are separate juridically and administratively, it is true, but they are bound by a largely common faith as well as historically and yes, sacramentally (even though being de facto out of communion). Therefore, I see nothing improper about Orthodox Christians having private devotions to RC Saints and vice-versa.

But even if one does not wish to go that far, to suggest, as Arturo did, that the likes of Vladyka John are not even saved, is simply to be out of touch with reality in this regard. If, for whatever reason, you choose not to venerate, fine, but just pass by in silence: do not trash the man.

The rest of what you write, therefore, is a strawman. (And, BTW, “the exception proves the rule” does not mean what you think it means.)

18 06 2009
ochlophobist

In both folk saint veneration and veneration in the Church, I venerate someone who is within the same community I am in. In ecumenicrat venerations, I venerate persons outside of my community. There is an anarchy here that fits well with modern consumerism, and with the tolerance nazis who are so intolerant of those intolerances they have not approved.

18 06 2009
Leah

I originally posted this on the First Things blog in response to an essay about secular artists depicting Obama using messiah-like imagery. Since there have been several other posts about different traditions treating Dr. King as a saint, here’s a different perspective:

If you examine popular black art (i.e., the kinds of pieces that are sold at flea markets and black bookstores), the use of biblical imagery to depict secular figures is very common and not done at all in an ironic fashion. It’s not uncommon to see a rendition of the Last Supper with people like Martin Luther King, Jr, Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, and Frederick Douglass in the place of the Apostles. There is a stained glass window in a black church in Montgomery that depicts the Holy Spirit in the shape of a dove descending upon bus boycott participants. The consumers of these pieces are not modern art fans, but blacks who tend to be very orthodox in their Christianity. Black history is also framed in biblical terms, with slavery likened to the experiences of the Israelites in Egypt and Dr. King as a Moses figure. This is why if you go into the homes of many elderly black people, you’ll see a picture of Martin Luther King next to a picture of Jesus, both probably purchased at the same swap meet. So while these secular, agnostic artists may see themselves as simply being subversive, in the instances that I have mentioned the producers and consumers of this type of art are very literate in terms of biblical imagery and draw parallels between what they read with their own history.

18 06 2009
The young fogey

I respect Arturo’s logic and integrity here but…

Privately you may venerate anyone (as folk religion does). Or not venerate someone.

In church you’re limited to your church and rite’s approved saints which I interpret not as a slap to the other side but an acknowledgement of limited authority: the bishops don’t say yea or nay on the other side’s worthies because they can’t.

Even within one’s own church one need not be devoted to every saint. (For example, Arturo on Escrivá whom he seems to have described well.) Some just weren’t very likeable. All you have to do is accept in theory that these people are worthy of official recognition as saints.

As for John of Shanghai and San Francisco (some flaky überfromm-ers now outside canonical Orthodoxy in a right-wing schism started calling him John Maximovitch) I have no particular devotion to him and don’t buy his anti-Westernism nor like his nasty anti-Western fans. But I don’t dislike the man.

18 06 2009
ochlophobist

FrGregACCA,

Your criteria assumes some sort of trans-communal spiritual body which can discern those who are known by their fruits. Rome has allowed ER Churches to venerate certain Orthodox saints, even Palamas, but this does not go as far as your initial comment suggests, and why would an Orthodox consider Rome as a standard on these matters?

St. Isaac does not establish the precedent you imply. It is the usual example used in this argument. Can you name another? And the mention of St. Isaac misses the broader point. It makes no sense for me, as an Orthodox, to begin to venerate, say, Charles de Foucauld, even though I may admire him, if I were acting alone. If I were to do so I would be acting in a rather consumer-like fashion, shopping for the saints of my choosing. If there were some RC saint who embodied Orthodox teaching and praxis, and the faithful of the Orthodox Church recognized this, then perhaps the St. Isaac analogy would hold.

If my small ecumenically minded group goes about venerating a broad catholicish cross section of “saints” – then that is really nice, in the sentimental sense of nice, but it is neither here nor there with regard to veneration done within the context of an actual tradition bound by an actual communion.

If the perception of fruits is the measure, and cliques of folks with similar views toward ecumenism and the boundaries of catholicism are those left to discern these matters, then why stop at St. Seraphim? Another group will go as far as MLK Jr., as some have (I have been in an RC Church in MPLS with an icon of MLK JR. in the sanctuary, with candles lit in front of it – but at least I knew that these folks were not behaving as good Catholics). Perhaps someday another group will venerate Mormon saints, or Buddhist holy men. What is to stop them? If some general trans-communal consensus of the like-minded is the standard bearer, then we will have as many standards as can be imagined in this age of constant fragmentation. It seems to me, no matter what the method is for discerning sainthood (and both Orthodox and RCs really blow it at times – a friend of a friend is a Finnish Orthodox who almost lost his faith when the Finnish Orthodox Church canonized a man known to have been a philanderer with many a girlfriend), the basic boundary must be the recognized boundary of communion. One or two exceptions from anitquity only proves the rule.

18 06 2009
Adrian

Lord, I am a terrible speller.

18 06 2009
FrGregACCA

Gabriel: It’s not a question of good intentions; it is a matter of “by their fruits you shall know them.”

Like it or not, and recent vintage or not, Rome has allowed Eastern Rite Churches to remain under the patronage of Orthodox Saints, such as Seraphim of Sarnov, not canonized by Rome. On the Orthodox side, St. Isaac of Nineveh, a “Nestorian” hierarch, is recognized as a Saint.

Beyond that, what Adrian said.

17 06 2009
Tom Smith

Both Orthodoxy and Catholicim believe themselves the Body of Christ. And there are no saints outside the Church. Duh.

It’s a pretty common-sense point; what’s so hard?

17 06 2009
Adrian

Obviously John Maximovitch will never be cannonized and it would be undignified for Rome to do so, in the same way it is undignified for the Anglicans to have a feast day for Martin Luther King jr.

Personally, I would rather let any saint stew in the Heavenly juices for a century or two after death, before buying the icon (or plaster statuette). But the only real questions for our spiritual lives are 1) where do we really think John Maximovitch is now? 2) is he in a position to intercede for us? I have no doubt that his is efficacious and I don’t give a damn about anything else.

17 06 2009
Gabriel

Fr. Gregory,

Your sentiments on the sanctity of those recognized by non-Orthodox to be Saints may be well intentioned, but do they have any support? As immediately (but perhaps not ultimately) offsetting as Arturo’s evalution of non-Catholic Saints like John Maximovitch are, they appear–at first blush–to at least be consistent. I know of no grounds in the history of the Church or the writings of the Fathers (Fathers recognized by both Catholics and Orthodox) which could in any sense give us confidence that those “canonized” outside of the “one holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church” are Saints. This “spirit” of cross-confessional recognition is of very recent vintage.

Arturo,

Your point on Eastern Catholics recognizing post-Brest Saints is well taken, though there are numerous practical complications. First, the Unia was not a single “event”; there wasn’t a one time, last time switch from Orthodoxy to Catholicism. As such, there is no clear “cut off” point for when ex-Orthodox would “import” their Saints. Interestingly, I have read a few accounts of priestless Russian Old Believers converting to Catholicism in the early 20th C., restoring the priesthood, and being allowed by Rome to keep their pre-Nikonian liturgical books. Though most of these small communities were wiped out or great disperesed after the Soviets came to power, there are some (fairly?) compelling arguments that the post-schism Saints these Old Believers brought with them, including the Archpriest Avvakum, are now “legit” (though one can only speculate how Avvakum would feel about being venerated by papists). On one hand, it seems almost incredible to think this should be the case. On the other, perhaps Catholics can take comfort–particularly with Avvakum–that the enemy of their enemy is their friend.

17 06 2009
FrGregACCA

I’m so sorry, Arturo. I am praying for you. Yes, I know: SOME Orthodox feel that way about RC Saints. I do not. I defend Roman Catholicism against all Orthodox comers on that very basis: it continues to produce Saints.

As to “schismatic sacraments”, Forgive me, but you are just plain wrong. In terms of Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, I reject the very notion of schismatic sacraments. We are all schismatic, it is true, but the sacraments in all orthodox communions, including Roman Catholicism, tend toward unity. I am with you on the defense of Mexican culture and Mexican Catholicism. I am no neo-conservative. But your animus here, while employed in a worthy cause, is entirely misplaced.

Regarding sins against faith. I am not sure that they are the worst. It seems to me that sins against charity are the worst. In any event, it is entirely inappropriate to compare Vladyka John to some Hindu or Buddhist. In terms of faith, Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism are 99% on the same page. IMHO, there are times and places when “ecclesiastical ambiguity” is entirely appropriate. In those times and places, it does not equate to “believing in nothing”.

I believe in/trust in/am commited to God the Most Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as stated in the Nicene Creed (sans filioque).

I believe in/trust in/am commited to the Holy Mysteries of the Christian Faith.

I believe in/trust in/am commited to One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, a Church that includes both Roman Catholicism and both types of Orthodoxy.

I believe in/trust in/am commited to the Commuion of Saints, one in heaven and on earth.

I also, BTW, believe in the Primacy of Peter, but not as defined by the First Vatican Council.

Sanctity does, indeed, not equal infallibility. The Saints themselves were the ones most aware of this.

17 06 2009
Arturo Vasquez

Well, this is a little vague, but I should explain myself.

As I have written previously, it is profoundly hard for us to contemplate that the greatest sins are not sins against life, property, or general niceness, but sins against Faith. According to our own criteria of “goodness” that we have in this day and age, my Presbyterian neighbor who votes Republican and always cuts his lawn is a better Christian than those damn Mexicans who sneak across the border, steal American jobs, and only go to church once in a great while. My Protestant neighbors are decent, they form an invisible communion of American niceness, and if anyone is a “Christian” and has all the right views on the issue, he is “my brother”, my fellow citizen, and a dialogue partner.

To be fair, John Maximovitch was a “fool for Christ” and was not the epitome of a “bourgeios saint” (cough, cough, Escriva de Balaguer, cough, cough). But the idea of “holiness” detached from Faith is a very modern, muddled-headed sentiment. Pandit Pran Nath singing a raga was the embodiment of inner peace and “spiritual beauty”, but that doesn’t make him anymore a Christian saint than my grandparents’ dog. There seems a thinly veiled Pelagianism at work with those Uniates and others who would want to “carpet canonize” Orthodox saints in the Catholic Church. I think we tend to spit on the memory of those who opposed the other side, rightly or wrongly (Job of Pochaev, Peter the Aleut, Peter Moghila, etc.) I used to think that “holiness doesn’t equal infallibility”. Now I think that if someone can be that wrong, it really defeats the point of venerating him at all.

And, to be clear, schismatic sacraments are not salvific, and they are not even holy; read the Fathers. That type of Vatican II-talk should have gone the way of the hippie van.

In the case of John Maximovitch, he wrote a whole book against the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. The only reason that he advocated the “Western rites” within Orthodoxy is because he felt that while the Western Churches were heretical, their rites were not (after much editing that could be interpreted as cutting the soul out of them). Which is why I have always found the idea of Western rite Orthodoxy more degrading than Eastern Uniatism. I really, really don’t think invincible ignorance was at work with John Maximovitch. And if it was, it may have been enough to save him, but canonize him?

All I know is that if the Orthodox feel the same way about our saints, I wouldn’t be surprised. Indeed, if they didn’t, I don’t know if I could ever respect them on some level. It just comes with the territory. Either you think you’re right, and you play out those consequences, or you stay in ecclesial ambiguity, and at bottom believe in nothing. God’s mercy can do wonders, but His justice deserves at least a modicum of respect. He’s no saint to me.

16 06 2009
ochlophobist

You place your bets and stand behind them like a man. I commend you.

Hard choices indeed.

16 06 2009
Adrian

Better Maximovitch than el Indio poderoso or Francisco Villa.

16 06 2009
random Orthodox chick

St. John is still praying for you anyway. I bet he still remembers you!

16 06 2009
Tap

Can someone point me to some of his anti-catholic statements and actions?

16 06 2009
FrGregACCA

Well, Arturo, that’s interesting. I didn’t realize that Vladyka John was particularly anti-RC. I think he was too preoccupied with doing things like ministering to orphans, getting his flock out of China and reconciling various factions in the Russian community in San Francisco, a reconciliation that resulted in the finishing of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in that fair city. And I know that he was anything but doctrinaire when it came to the canons of ikonography. He was very supportive of Western Rite worship within Byzantine Orthodoxy. I also know that when he was living in Paris, at least one RC priest considered him to be a Saint and frequently referred to him as such. Finally (for now), your ecclesiology seems to be out-Roming Rome. There is at least one Byzantine Rite parish Church, in communion with Rome, under the patronage of St. Seraphim of Sarnov, who was also Russian Orthodox. The walls of the Church may indeed reach up to heaven, but standard RC ecclesiology does acknowledge that Orthodox Churches are true particular Churches. If Vladyka John is not a Saint, even by RC standards, then no one is.

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