True Orthodoxy in Russia

A Letter for Internet publication from the Editor of Church News,
Matushka Anastasia Schatiloff

The First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church,Metropolitan Valentin, after his pastoral visit to USA– where he underwent an urgent open-heart operation– returned home on Tuesday, July 3rd. Starting from that date, for almost three consecutive weeks, the Internet sites of Archbishop Gregory and his immediate
collaborator, priest John Claypool, papered false and slanderous “data” about the Metropolitan’s departure.

Some “unidentified” (?!) person had informed the RF Consulate in New York that “the Metropolitan has with him $100.000.00 and is leaving USA without paying for his operation”. The similar information was reported to the customs department of “Aeroflot” airplane company. As a result, Metropolitan was a subject to humiliating search, but, despite the Internet reports – the Metropolitan was not arrested and
no money was confiscated from him!

This didn’t prevent the slanderers, a day or two later, from announcing through the Internet that The New York Times has published an article about this case: the supposed arrest of the Metropolitan and the confiscation of his $100.000.00!

Two or three persons, in no way connected with the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church, called the editorial office of the newspaper and were told that the newspaper has printed nothing about this case and in general is not familiar with this subject. Not resting at this, the false informers have placed on the Internet an outdated, self-generated questionnaire with the personal information about the Metropolitan (and misspelling his last name at that) along with the false subpoena. For the convenience of US residents, now it is possible to get such official questionnaires from the Internet services. A few days later, on the site of a parishioner of Fr. Claypool, Shafik Tadros again published to the Paradosis E-mail List a questionnaire with Metropolitan’s name, who supposedly agreed to return to USA on December 8th in order to be tried by the American court! All this false bacchanalia was made possible by the Internet address:
http:www.russianorthodoxautonomouschurchinamerica.com/subpoena.jpg.

This address is for the web site for Dormition Skete!

Being upset by this insistent slander, on August 9th Protopresbyter Vladimir Shishkoff and Abbot Andrew (Maklakov) went to the office of Robert Heinemann, Clerk of the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, located at 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, NY 11201, main telephone # (718) 260- 2600. They spoke to a clerk in the office there and asked him if the subpoena obtained from the website of Dormition Skete was genuine. He told them that there were several anomalies in the document which pointed to the possibility it might be a forgery. In particular, he mentioned that the name and the telephone # of the US Attorney was missing and the address of the US Attorney was incorrect. He also said that the
original should have a raised seal over the signature Mr. Heinmann’s name. He didn’t not recognize the signature that is on the document.

In order for them to find out for sure, he directed the Fathers to the office of the US Attorney, which is located across the street at 147 Pierrpont St. Brooklyn, BY 11201, telephone # (718) 254-7000. There they spoke to Assistant US Attorney Grace Moody, who told them that the document seemed to her to be a forgery. She noticed the
missing name and the telephone # of the Assistant US Attorney, and at that the address was wrong. She said that there was no case number and that therefore she could not reach the system to see if there was such a case pending. She seemed unfamiliar with the case and asked who had requested the document from US Customs. Fathers responded that the request was ostensibly made by her office. She laughed and said that that would never happen. After the fathers have explained to her what the supposed crime of Metropolitan Valentine was, she said that had the US Customs wanted to prosecute the Metropolitan, they would have arrested him immediately at the airport. She also said that had her office needed any information from the US Customs, they would get it directly from them without using a subpoena, for which there is no need. She said that the Grand Jury hearing is secret and that no information about it was allowed out, and therefore questioned how anyone could have gotten a copy of subpoena had it been real.

As both fathers were returning home, they have received a telephone call from Fr. Dionysi McGowan who related to them that he had just called the US District Court himself (718-260-2600) and talked with someone in the Clerk’s Office. Fr. Dionysi told this person about the subpoena and was asked for the name and spelling of
the person who was named of the subpoena so that it could be looked up in the computer. Fr. Dionysi was told that the name of Anatoly Rusanstov (sic) was not in the system. Then Fr. Dionysi was told to call the office of US Attorney (718-254-7000). He spoke to a clerk named Brenda and told her about the subpoena. She asked Fr. Dionysi for the name of the person, spelling and other information from it.
She also said that there was no record of such a person in their computer system. She also said that the information from the subpoena did not sound correct and that it may be a forgery.

In his numerous responses regarding the resolutions of the Synod of Bishops of the ROAC, Archbishop Gregory expressed his surprise that the Synod could have appointed an Administrator in person of Protopriest Vladimir Shishkoff, disregarding the fact that he was already a ruling bishop in the USA.

It seems that Archbishop Gregory had no idea that a number of clergymen, who have petitioned the First Hierarch of the ROAC to be admitted into his jurisdiction, have stressed that under no conditions they would be willing to be under his administration.

Some Internet readers have expressed surprise that none of the ROAC clergy has made an effort to defend their First Hierarch in their Internet websites. This is to be explained by obedience of the clergymen to a decree made by the Synod of Bishops, urging them to stay away from the internet polemics and to use it only for purposes
of preaching Orthodoxy.

Considering that the majority of the people who use the Internet are not subscribers of Church News, and that the false attack on the First Hierarch of the ROAC has reached all acceptable levels, we consider it our duty to make an exception and to refute the outrageous slander via Internet.

Editor and Publisher of Church News, Presbytera A. Schatiloff

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August 20, 2004

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