Abbesses tell off union pusher 2005

Aug 16, 2005
Yahoo Group Subject:
> >2. Will MP return ROCOR properties in Holy Land ? Didn't we get
> >mugged there by MP not so long ago ?

Union pusher writes:
>Please remember the properties in the Holy Land were not seized by
>the MP. They were seized by the Palestinian Authority and **given**
>by Yasser Arafat to the Moscow Patriarchate. The people doing the
>"mugging" were Palestinian paramilitaries--not the MP. After this
>occurrence, the complaints of the ROCOR were against the actions of
>the **Palestinian Authority** in handing over these properties to the MP.
>As the result of the current negotiations, the situation in Jericho,
>for example, has significantly changed for the better with regard to
>our nuns, who now have been able to move back into the building and
>live in newly-renovated quarters above the chapel, where ROCOR clergy
>are again able to serve.
>With love in Christ,
>Prot. Alexander Lebedeff

Mother Agapia writes:
Tue Aug 16, 2005 5:54 am
"Srs. Martha & Maria"
Re: Digest Number 1703

Fr. Alexander,

Please forgive the harshness of my tone but you have simply gone too far with your revisionist history. Other distortions you've posted I've let pass because I feel this type of forum unfortunately has a way of getting out of hand and obscuring rather than clearing up issues. However since I was in Jericho when it was "handed over" to the MP (so I assume you'll trust my credibility) I feel I must reply to your version of events there.

It is a complete distortion of the facts to state "the people doing the mugging were Palestinian paramilitaries—not the MP." Without the pressure of the MP and the Russian government the Palestinians would not have touched the property. The main instigators of the violent takeover were a team composed of the head of the MP Mission in Jerusalem Fr. Theodosius, Russian diplomats posted in Tel Aviv and Gaza, and a band of Russian thugs who took orders from Fr. Theodosius and the MP priest assigned to stay on the property during the siege. In short the PA might have provided the gun but make no make mistake about it, it was the MP in collusion with the Russian government who pulled the trigger. If anything during the course of the two-month standoff the PA police served as a buffer and a form of protection for the ROCOR nuns against the threats of the men placed there by the MP.

The property was not handed over to the MP but to the Russian government. Evidence of this point – another property (of the Orthodox Palestine Society) in Jericho, unmanned (so no need for violence), that was taken over in 1996.  On the gate of that property to this day is posted a brass plaque reading: "Property of the Russian Government."

When I was called to Jericho the day it was taken over by personnel of the MP there were indeed Palestinian police on the scene (paramilitaries is a bit dramatic and suggests something far different than the reality – the PA policmen posted on the Jericho property were a ragged bunch, dressed in ill-fitting khaki uniforms).  But it wasn't the police who were most feared. 

When I arrived in Jericho I pushed my way past the PA police and through the gate towards Archimandrite Theodosius the chief of the mission in Jerusalem. At first I was pushed back by the PA police but they finally relented and allowed me to walk into the property.  It seems they were as confused as anyone else – who was White, who was Red, and why were they (the police) even there in the first place.  As I walked past the PA police onto the property it was Archimandrite Theodosius who ordered two Russian thugs to grab me by my legs and arms, pull my apostolinik over my head and drag me on the ground for a hundred yards to try and get me off the property. At the time Archbishop Mark commented that Fr. Theodosius should no longer be recognized as a priest because of the violent actions he ordered. Fr. Theodosius is now a bishop in the MP.

Those thugs and a number of others remained on the property during that time constantly threatening and harrassing the 2 ROCOR nuns. As I recall the MP eventually had about 10 men living on the property, busy changing locks and tossing out the belongings of Fr. Tikhon the elderly ROCOR monk who had lived above the chapel for the last ten years and had done extensive work there in the gardens.  I witnessed them burn many of his things – he had been given only 45 minutes to gather what he could and get out the day of the takeover.  At least one of the Russian men was a former soldier in Afghanistan and used to stay up late at night drinking and would then began screaming like a maniac.  Plenty of photos exist attesting to the crudity of these men who were sharing quarters with a priest of the MP during this time.

The complicity and involvement in these acts of violence goes all the way up the chain of command of the MP. Two weeks into the takeover MP Metropolitan Kyrill of Smolensk flew to the Holy Land and came for a "photo-op" of their newly-acquired Jericho property. He walked briskly past the ROCOR nuns and had absolutely no concern for our condition. In fact during the whole course of events the MP hierarchy and their brothers in the US, the OCA hierarchy, went out of their way to besmirch the name of ROCOR and to suggest that we were "spies of the US."

Regarding the current state of the property I find it reprehensible Fr. Alexander that you can pat yourself on the back for the "fruit" the negotiations have produced. You write, "the situation in Jericho, for example, has significantly changed for the better with regard to our nuns, who now have been able to move back into the building and live in newly-renovated quarters above the chapel, where ROCOR clergy are again able to serve."

When a sort of calm settled over the situation in Jericho ROCOR was positioned on one half of the property and the MP on the other. Moving our one nun back into the building above the chapel now puts us on the same side of the property as the MP. In a land where the rule of law is superseded by facts on the ground that effectively terminates our claim to the half of the property we did control. Are we supposed to congratulate the MP for providing our nun with "newly renovated quarters" – the very quarters they trashed when they threw Fr. Tikhon out in 2000? Old Fr. Tikhon will no doubt also be happy to know that most of the fruit trees he planted in front of his "newly-renovated" house have been cut down. As for ROCOR clergy serving in the chapel it may have happened but living in the ROCOR community closest to Jericho I've never heard of one taking place – maybe it was a catacomb service?:)  In fact the times I've been to Jericho in the last two months with pilgrims we had to find a member of the MP to let us in the door of the chapel.

Look I'll be the first one to admit that property issues are the least of concerns when it comes to rapprochment between ROCOR and the MP. I'd be the first to happily give the keys to Hebron, Jericho, Bethany and all the ROCOR properties in the Holy Land to the MP if there was an honest spiritual uniting of the two churches and we were of one mind. However all I see so far is a lot of self-justification, deception and Jesuit-type political documents that settle for "a little bit for you, a little bit for me" and actually serve to demonstrate how far the two churches are apart in their thinking.

If the MP can't even be brought to apologize and make amends for petty, banal deeds such as the theft of property and continues to justify or whitewash their crude actions, how is one expected to believe that there can be a true desire to cleanse their unhealthy past with respect to the larger and more meaningful issues of Sergianism and ecumenism? What brings even greater sorrow is that priests of ROCOR lend their hand to the distortion of history and the betrayal of their brothers such as Fr. Tikhon in Jericho.

In Christ, mother Agapia 
(formerly sister Maria)

Abbess Juliana writes:
Tue Aug 16 2005

Father Alexander,

I AM A Witness, it is not good to SWEAR, but I could on the Gospel, that our place in Hebron was sold to the MP in February 1997.  I PERSONALLY saw the documents in the place where the properties are registered.  OUR DOCUMENTS were STOLEN from the RUSSIAN MIssion from Mount of Olives!  The 40 kilos of documents were brought back from NY by the Deacon Burbello, Rev.George Larin and Bishop Gabriel, who came to kick us out from the Convent.  And put the documents in Gethsemany and not in Mount of Olives.

The Priest Holodny and Mrs. Lena Zezulina ( Sea Cliff), a lawyer was visiting the Holy Land very frequently.  THE Moslem SECRETARY, Who showed me the document secretly, when I asked to renew our own documents, (that were stolen from the office of the Chief of Russian Mission in Mount of Olives), was fired from his work! He had three children, and was very mad at me!

The documents that he showed me, were written on the name of ...Vasnef!  I asked sister Elena Tihonovich, who was our sister in Mount of Olives was all the time in contact with the Jerusalem Russian Ecclesistical Mission the MP side, I asked sister Helen, Who is Vasneff? she said, he is the Chief of the Russian

I have all this written in russian I know, that truth will come out sooner or later. ABBESS MOISSEA KNOWS A LOT, for she was also in mixed in this!  How can they still be so naive???

While we were living in Hebron with 5 sisters, we were visited 8-9 times by Palestinian Authority, who were trying to oblige us to live with the MP. I said NO! Because in 1948 we ran away from them, when the MP took our Convent in Gorneye ( AIn Karem) My first Convent, where I spent my golden infance!

THAT IS WHY! WE were kicked from the Mount of Olives in 12 hours! Because I knew MUCH! Being and Arab, I asked Vladyka Mark, I will go personally to talk to Arafat, and if needed to humiliate my self asking FORGIVENESS as they did SHAME ON THEM!!

THAT IS WHY, the Woman Police tried to take the copybook from me she knew my good relations with Palestinian Authority, with Arafats wife, and the Generals.

It was not the first time that we were attacked.  There was another time before 4 July.  BUT!! we were defended by the American Embassy (we had Mother Martha Wilson with us, she was American! But on the 4 the Embassy was closed!The Feast of USA. Mother Martha was not with us on that day.

When we spoke with the Hebron Highest Authoruty General .... (Sorry! I don't give names, because everything was burnt here in the fire) on the 4 July, in his proper Office in Hebron, after the beating he said, it is not right!  He left and when he came back, he said almost with tears in his eyes: "Sister, I am sorry, I can do NOTHING!  It is in higher than my authority!"

And now??  This priest comes with this lie?  Or is he really IGNORANT?

I cannot put it in the ROCOR, they dont accept my letters. BUT LET PEOPLE KNOW THE TRUTH!

If you want to know more, I will be happy to clarify any questions.

Abbess Juliana