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"I simply do not want to see the Bolsheviks win!" Interview With Dr. E.L.Magerovsky
DR MAGEROVSKY earned his PhD from Columbia University in 1975. His dissertation topic was "The People's Commissariat of Foreign Affairs, 1917-1946." Formerly of New York and Fordham Universities, he had taught Russian History and Political Science at the Graduate School of Georgetown University. As a former U.S. Army Colonel in strategic intelligence, he has taught at the U.S. Army Institute of Advanced Russian and East European Studies. He now resides in Kinnelon, New Jersey with his family.
Br Nathanael Kapner: What is happening with regard to the coming split at the ROCOR?
Dr Magerovsky: Our Metropolitan Anthony Memorial Society has received many notices from various ROCOR parishes and priests stating that they will not remain with Metropolitan Laurus once he concelebrates with the Moscow Patriarchy's Head, Alexy II, this coming May 17 2007. Laurus will go down in history as the ROCOR Metropolitan who caused a major schism in the Russian Church Abroad.
Br Nathanael: Are the property issues now coming to the fore?
Dr Magerovsky: The present proprietors of ROCOR parishes and monasteries are now very concerned that their properties will be seized "legally" by the MP. This is why the St Edward Brotherhood and its sister monastery, the Annunciation Convent, have recently bolted from the ROCOR. They have prime real estate in London which they wish to keep.. They are now with the Synod of Resistors centered in Athens Greece.
Br Nathanael: Is the Lesna Convent also concerned about their property?
Dr Magerovsky: Indeed they are. The Lesna Convent in Provemont France will make a move after May 17 2007 to protect their property. The Presentation Convent in Australia will also leave Laurus after May 17 2007 in pursuit of protection of their property.
Br Nathanael: Archbishop Tikhon of the RTOC has been talking about establishing "intercommunion with a continued canonical ROCOR." What do you know about this?
Dr Magerovsky: Archbishop Tikhon (Pasechnik) and his bishops of the RTOC would do well to pursue a full merger with the Ukrainians under the headship of Bishop Agafangel. For as far as we are concerned, though we admire the RTOC for their anti MP stand, no connection can be made between a continued canonical ROCOR and the RTOC until their canonical status is clarified at the next All Russian Land SOBOR.
Br Nathanael: What can you tell us about the Australian parishes?
Dr Magerovsky: The loyal opposition in Australia is led by Protopriest John Stukacz of the Cathedral Church, St Peter and Paul, in Strathfield Australia. He is aligned with Protopriest Peter Semovskih of St Seraphim Church in Brisbane. They are now under the omophorion of Archbishop Tikhon of the RTOC. They are both on record as having nothing but disdain for Archbishop Ilarion, their present ROCOR Arch pastor.
Br Nathanael: Will a canonical ROCOR be in communion with the ROCiE and the ROAC?
Dr Magerovsky: Explicitly no. They continually make trouble by their divisive statements and infighting - though there are some good priests amongst the ROCiE, such as Fr Tikhon Kozushin of Moscow and others. At the same time, the ROCiE is now without any clear leadership. Bishop Vladimir (Tselischev), the heir apparent out of Nyack NY, cannot speak English and is not interested in reaching out to anyone nor has the capacity to do so. He prefers to remain "in the catacombs." But this is ridiculous. There is no longer any such thing as a Catacomb Church. This is purely a romantic notion of his and others of the ROCiE.
~ The other possible new head of ROCiE, Bishop Anthony (Rudei) of Moldavia, not only cannot speak English, but remains a silent witness to their viability as a Jurisdiction of choice. At all events, there remains the persistent question of canonicity with regard to both the ROCiE and the ROAC - though Metropolitan Valentin (Rusantsov) of the ROAC has endured much persecution by the MP in Russia. For this he is to be respected.
Br Nathanael: Recently you have stated that the loyal opposition will contend for the ROCOR Synod Building on East 93rd Street in New York. Are you prepared to legally contend for this building?
Dr Magerovsky: We will indeed contend for the ROCOR Synodal Headquarters on East 93rd Street. We have an excellent lawyer who is now preparing a case against Laurus who plans on turning over the Administrative Headship of the ROCOR to the MP on May 17 2007.
Br Nathanael: Will you have a legal basis for your claims to the Synodal Building?
Dr Magerovsky: Since Metropolitan Laurus has surrendered his right to be the Head of the ROCOR church to Alexy II, the Synod Building would belong to the Moscow Patriarchy. The Synod Building was purchased for the ROCOR in the early 1950's by the Russian banker, a Mr. Simonnenko. He purchased the building for the ROCOR - *not* for another church entity.
~ There is an article in the Real Estate document stating that this donation to the ROCOR was prompted by Mr. Simonnenko because of ROCOR's opposition to the Bolshevik government of Russia and its government-established MP. And now with Putin's neo-Soviet style regime and the MP being under Putin's direct control, we are on solid legal grounds. We expect to win the Synodal Building for the continued canonical ROCOR.
Br Nathanael: Didn't the OCA lose their case against the MP with regard to the St Nicholas Cathedral in New York City some time ago?
Dr Magerovsky: We will not be like the OCA, that is, "The Metropolia" and their lawyers in 1947, who showed themselves to be completely incompetent in defending their right to the St Nicholas Cathedral in Manhattan - the courts awarding the building to the MP. We know how to defend ourselves and we have a good lawyer who will prosecute our claims.
Br Nathanael: What will happen to those pro-unionists who now reside in the Synodal Building in New York? Isn't Bishop Gabriel living there?
Dr Magerovsky: Bishop Gabriel has a choice to make and he better make it soon. He has vacillated in his stand, sometimes being Anti-MP, sometimes being PRO-MP. He recently wrote a letter to Alexy II asking him to postpone the commemoration of his name as the MP Head for a few years. Alexy II simply ignored him.
~ Bishop Gabriel is only a "vicar" bishop of Laurus and Alexy II will get rid of him in a minute, not trusting him, as many of us do not trust him. Who trusts this man anymore? And where will Bishop Gabriel go? Well - he'll be out on the streets of New York pumping gas if he does not get his priorities straight and learn where and who his true friends are. He simply cannot pander to both sides with impunity any longer. He recently called me a schismatic. But he is not only the real schismatic, but a man who has already burned too many bridges behind him.
Br Nathanael: What do you forecast for the ROCOR under the Administrative Headship of the MP?
Dr Magerovsky: I predict disaster for the ROCOR. In the short term, the ROCOR will continue having a limited administrative independence as outlined in the MP Act of Canonical Communion. In practice this means that the ROCOR can decide what coloring books can be used by ROCOR teachers for their Sunday School students.
~ But in 5 years, after the MP swallows up all of the ROCOR properties, and will do so "legally," then a ROCOR hierarchy will be totally unnecessary for the MP. Laurus will never be replaced once he dies and the others will be eliminated. Mark of Berlin will probably be rewarded with an MP bishopric. Many who think that they can hold on to their Rocor pensions and medical insurance will lose these also. And one of the first ROCOR hierarchs to be looking for a new job will be Vicar Bishop Gabriel. Kyrill of San Francisco will follow. Perhaps Kyrill can find for himself a job as a waiter at some San Francisco gourmet restaurant.
Br Nathanael: Recently Fr Nikita Grigoriev's Treatise against the MP union has received much Internet publicity, even though he wrote this back in November of 2006. You were the first to point out on the Internet that the proper attribution due to the translator of his Treatise from English into Russian was never made to Dr Tatiana Rodzianko, a doctor of Russian letters, and an officer of The Metropolitan Anthony Society. Would you care to comment on this?
Dr Magerovsky: Some people can only write one article and then do not afterwards have anything more to say. I published both the English and Russian version of his Treatise on my site.
~ It saddens me that Fr Nikita Grigoriev will not acknowledge Dr Rodzianko's diligent efforts in translating his lengthy Treatise for him into Russian, as he requested of us. Fr Nikita Grigoriev is a teacher at Jordanville Seminary, which many of us perceive as already being under direct MP control. Perhaps the man is afraid of losing his job at Jordanville? I do not know. I only know that many ROCOR priests and personnel are afraid for their jobs, their pensions, and their Medical Insurance payments.
Br Nathanael: Last week a correspondence between Fr Alexander Lebedeff and a concerned ROCOR parishioner was sent out to many of us. In this correspondence, Fr Alexander states that Patriarch Tikhon acted in collusion with the Bolsheviks in a similar fashion to Metropolitan Sergius Stragorodsky in an effort to "save" the Russian Church. Is this true what Fr Alexander Lebedeff is saying about Patriarch Tikhon?
Dr Magerovsky: No. I also received this correspondence and did not bother to comment on it. What documents of St. Patriarch Tikhon does Fr Alexander Lebedeff cite to prove his assertion? None whatsoever. This is simply another example of Lebedeff frothing at the mouth.
Br Nathanael: But didn’t Patriarch Tikhon try to work with the Bolsheviks?
Dr Magerovsky: Patriarch Tikhon had only a short lived tenure as Patriarch which lasted from 1918 to 1925. During these 7 years the Bolsheviks tried to destroy the Russian Church in many ways - first of all through their promotion of the so-called "Living Church." But the rank and file rejected this effort by the Bolsheviks to undermine the true Russian Orthodox Church. Yet "a way of life" with the Soviets was pursued by many of the Russian Orthodox clergy in hopes that the Bolsheviks would mitigate their persecution of the Church and accept the religious status quo during this transitional time.
Br Nathanael: Then Fr Alexander Lebedeff is wrong about Patriarch Tikhon?
Dr Magerovsky: Fr Alexander Lebedeff does not know the intricacies and paradoxes of Russian history and is not competent to make any commentaries on it. For Patriarch Tikhon, along with many others, did try to work with the Bolsheviks - the Revolution being new and the Bolsheviks not as yet confirmed as a political power. But St. Patriarch Tikhon soon learned that any dialogue with the Bolsheviks would not bear any sustainable fruit. Thus he never repudiated his original anathema of them that he issued in 1918 prior to any of his efforts to seek a workable relationship with them.
~ And did not the Bolsheviks end up by poisoning him? Why doesn't Lebedeff mention this in his attempt to rewrite Russian history? And for Lebedeff to compare St. Patriarch Tikhon with Sergius Stragorodsky, who asserted that the joys and sorrows of the Soviets are the joys and sorrows of the Russian Church, is nothing short of blasphemy against the holy Patriarch.
Br Nathanael: What is your stake as the leading dissenter against the ROCOR's pending union with the MP? Many say that you are on uncanonical grounds and that your efforts are solely to create a schism in the ROCOR. Is this true?
Dr Magerovsky: As a former Professor of Russian History at Georgetown University and other higher education institutions, my stake in this whole affair is wholly a political one. I understand the Moscow Patriarchy to be no more than an arm of the Russian Government, a political entity operating under the guise of a church.
~ The MP is powerful, it has much financial backing from Putin, and knows how to use its influence with such weaklings as ROCOR's Metropolitan Laurus Skurla. My stake in this all? I simply do not want to see the Bolsheviks win!
Brother Nathanael Kapner Reporting
For Dr Magerovsky's Commentaries, See:
AND: http://revniteli.livejournal.com (Much In English)
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