Military organization that seized 2 boys tries to threaten more people in Suzdal, including the lawyer of Vladyka Valentine. The name of organization is "Nashe delo" ("Our Deed" -- "Cosa Nostra" in Italian) and they are a real Mafia. Officially they are the veterans of Chechen and Afgan wars, but it seems like they are just a hired banditos. They closely cooperate with Moscow Patriarchatre and live in MP Vasilievski Monastery. They are planning to open the office of their organization in Suzdal and stay there until they "throw out" Vladyka from Suzdal or "turn off his head". They proclaim that the new authorities of the city supports them.

On May 14 there was announced concert of the misical group of former soldiers "Blue Berets". The both cities of Vladimir and Suzdal were covered with the announcements about the concert. Since it was said that the concert were free, a lot of people came to see it. But suddenly the concert was stopped, and the anchorman said that since not all the musicians arrived they will show a movie about life in Suzdal. Many people realized that they are going to show the film made by Osetrov, and many people left the hall. The mayor of Suzdal also left, but he did not stop the film although he could do it. Before leaving the mayor shook hands (saying Good-buy) with Osetrov, MP priests and the anchorman.

The movie is called "The blue brotherhood on the bones of children". At first it shows some "rich patriot" with red beard with the background of the church of Christ-the-Savior in Moscow (the main cathedral of MP). Then the "rich patriot" takes the car and goes to Suzdal. The Suzdal kids going to school are shown. Then the part starts when Osetrov asks questions and children answer "yes" or "no". This part of the movie is a mere montage. Kids told later, that Osetrov asked them if they want to star in a film, then asked them to say only "yes" or "no". The answers were added later. Or Osetrov asks simple questions like "Does Vladyka love you", kids says "yes" and them the comments of Osetrov follow. Also several of the boys said something for this movie because Osetrove promised them money (but did not pay) -- they were very sorry later and asked forgiveness of Vladyka. This movie was never shown to the parents of the children. Althopugh they tried to see it before, but Osetrov never allowed, prefering to "protect" children go round parents. But this time the movie had a newly added part -- the one where Andrew Panov (see the previous new item) tells completely pornographic lies against Vladyka (in court he said far less "evidences").

After the ugly movie anchorman started to call people to unite and "settle the problem" with "Valentine". But after his speech one boy Vanya Saveliev stood up. He is 12 years old, he reads in church. With his strong voice he said: "Once St. John, the Bishop of Suzdal, was sold by his protopriest and now this former protopriest Osetrov has sold our Vladyka Valentine. From now I will go to Church of Vladyka even more often, and I will protect him until my death". The anchorman tried to stop him, but Vanya said: "Please, do not interrupt me. When you spoke I did not interrupt you". and added: "You are shameless people, I will never go to your concerts anymore and I will ask other people not to go there either". Osetrov and his company started to laugh, Vanya burst into tears and left the hall, and people were supporting him.

Then another boy stood up (the one who never goes to church) and said to anchorman: "What right do you have to show such films? You should be taken to court for it. The boys are mocked because of you". And other children started to cry pointing to Osetrov and company: "Go away, unfrocked priests!"

(I will write more about "Cosa Nostra" next time. They beat some people, and poliece does not want to act against them).


Andrew Panov, the second (from four) boys was sized by some people in camouflage. Soon after that the boy together with Osetrov talked on TV, saying against Vladyka (although some time ago the very same boy participated the press-conference in support of Vladyka saying he was forced by authorities to give false evidences against Metropolitan Valentine. This boy some time ago received conviction for theft; and the "investigator" told him he would have more problems with that theft if he did not speak against Vladyka. Also the boy once said, "If you give me a motor-cycle, I will change my evidences".

The popular MP newspaper "Russian Herald" appealed for a Crusade against Suzdal and published telephone for everyone interested to "untwist off the head of Valentine". The large and very dirty article about ROAC ("the most terrible sect", as they call our Church) is available here -- http://www.rv.ru/content.php3?id=279
It is already republished by a number of MP editions.


After visiting Ryazan (see message below) Vladyka Valentin went to hospital. Now he is in hospital in Moscow.

The situation with the trial is the following. Since there is no "victims" (see second message below), the enemies do not know what to do. They can not simply justify Vladyka. So they stoped the trial, saying that they need to check is the "victims" are mentally ill or not. They use this pause trying to persuade the boys to say something against Vladyka They seized one of the boys (they tried to seized more), they keep him under the guard and he is very thretened. They tell him that he will be imprisioned if he does not repeat his former words against Vladyka. The trial will be continued on April.



On the Saturday, March 9 (Day of the Commemorative Service), Metropolitan Valentine paid his first bishopic visit to the city of Ryazan where the parish located in an ancient church of Epiphany has joined the ROAC after having left the ROCOR about one year back.

In the presence of several dozens of parishioners Vladyka Valentine celebrated the commemorative liturgy in the church of Epiphany after which he has had a talk with the rector, priest Sergiy Evchik and parishioners, and has also visited some parishioners who live in the vicinity of the church. Vladyka Metropolitan expressed his best feelings regarding the church of Epiphany. He hopes that with the help of Suzdal Eparchy of ROAC it will be possible to complete its restoration safely.

The church of Epiphany was built in 1673 as the cathedral of an ancient monastery of Epiphany that was located in the Ryazan suburb Borki. At the end of the 18th century the monastery has been abolished, and on its place there was a cemetery. The services in the church were not interrupted up to the end of the 1930s when its rector Fr John has undergone a martyric death for Christ. In early 1992, according to the decision of Administration of the Ryazan area, the church was transferred to the Parish of St Vasily of Ryazan, which was then in the jurisdiction of the ROCOR. The parish has gone through persecutions, attempts to take its church by force, litigations, but has managed to defend the holy place which did not belong to the Sergian Moscow patriarchate a single day. At the end of 2000 -- the beginning of 2001 the parishioners decided to join the Suzdal Eparchy of the ROAC being forced to leave the ROCOR due to the apostatic decisions of the Sobor of 2000 of the latter.


The trial against Vladyka started on the 7th of February. As many of you know, the trial was initiated by the former priest of our Church Andrey Osetrov with the help of communist authorities of the city of Vladimir. The investigator examined all the graduates of Sunday school (for more then 10 years) and many other people and finally he found two boys who said that Vladyka gave them vine and two other boys who said that Vladyka was approaching them. The latter two boys were angry on Vladyka because he dismissed them for their bad behavior. Also some time ago they came to Vladyka and said that Osetrov suggested them money if they calumniate Vladyka.

Everyone knew that Vladyka was not guilty and that this was the pure work of the enemy. But everyone was worried because Osetrov promised that Vladyka would either go to prison or would have a heart attack. The local communists (and Suzdal is located in a so-called "Red zone" which is under the communists) were also against Vladyka, and they did whatever they can to help Osetrov's plan.

But on the first day of trial the very good thing happened. All four boys cancelled their false evidences and asked forgiveness of Vladyka. They said that they were simply angry on Vladyka, and Osetrov suggested them money for slandering. Also the boys they were deceived by the investigator. First the investigator said that they could say something against Vladyka and that they would not have to go to court later, it would be kept only on papers. But after the boys gave false evidences, the investigator said: "OK. Now you can not change your evidences, otherwise you will be judged for giving false evidences" And he showed them the article from criminal code. But he did not show them the amendment to this article that says that they can reject false evidences BEFORE a verdict is brought on. When they found that amendment later they were happy that they could tell the truth, that Vladyka was not guilty.

It was so moving to see how the boys asked the blessing of Vladyka, and they helped him going upstairs to the hall of the court -- the "victims" and the "criminal". And Vladyka was not angry on them at all. I think he believed that they would reject their "evidences".

And many people were waiting Vladyka near the court praying for him. Please, continue your prayers because the situation is still not settled. Osertov realized that he is loosing and he is urgently inventing other evidences against Vladyka. If the court is interested to doom Vladyka, they can use Osetrov (in our country it happens, alas!)


Roman Pavlov, the head of Moscow Orthodox Brotherhood of St. James was ordained to priesthood on the 19th of January. The ordination was performed by Metropolitan Valentine in Czar Constantine Cathedral in Suzdal. The day before, on the 18th of January, Roman Pavlov was ordained as a deacon by Catacomb Archbishop Seraphim of Suhumi and Abkhazia.

Father Roman was born in 1967. In his childhood and youth he spent 8 years in Abkhazia (the Caucasus) and then returned to Moscow. In 1990 he became the member of ROCOR and soon created the Brotherhood of St. James. In 1993 the Brotherhood founded the magazine Vertograd. In 1994 Father Constantine Feodorov became the spiritual Father of the Brotherhood of St. James. The activity of the Brotherhood includes Orthodox education, seminars, publications, charity. About 60 people participate to a variable extent the activity of the Brotherhood.

In 1993 Roman Pavlov married Helen. Now they have four children: John (named after St. John of San-Francisco), Justinia, Tikhon and Sophia. In October 2000 Bishop Michael of Toronto ordained Roman as a reader. The decisions of October Sobor of ROCOR forced most of the members of Brotherhood to break the communion with ROCOR. In April 2001 Roman Pavlov and members of the Brotherhood issued the famous "Confession of the Brotherhood" where they explained the reasons of their leaving of ROCOR. On the Great Tuesday of 2001 the Brotherhood was received to ROAC. They are planning to open the Church dedicated to Dt. Philaret of New York. The wife of Roman embroidered the icon of St.Philaret, that was used at the Glorification of St. Philaret in Suzdal in May 2001.

You can see the picture of Roman Pavlov (before he became a priest) here (first picture, left).


I do not have the translation of Nativity epistle of our Vladyka, but here is what was re-telled in English by Blagovest:

"We should not be given to despondency and grief, let us remember that Infant God Christ was persecuted from the very first minutes of His earthly life. Christ had nowhere to rest His head, He died on the cross and gave up His Spirit to Father. So we shall give ourselves up to the hands of God with the words 'Lord, forgive our enemies, for they know not what they are doing'. Such was the call of Metropolitan Valentine of the Orthodox Autonomous Church of Russia (ROAC) in his Nativity Epistle published by the Bishops' Synod.
It is noted in the message that the earthly life of Christ "is an ideal and a paragon" for all the true Orthodox Christians. "Of all the million people who lived at the time of the Nativity of Christ, and who stayed in the deadly shadow of heathenism, only several wise men and several humble shepherds were given to see the Sun of the Truth - the Messiah who was incarnated from the Virgin!...High priests, pharisees and scribes, - all of whom had to be specially close to God and Divine Mysteries, did not make the effort of learning the great mystery of the Nativity".

Noting that the contemporary world stays "in the darkness of forgotten God", just as it was two thousand years ago, the Primate of the ROAC states: "The true faith of Christ is rejected once again by contemporary high priests and pharisees, and the small flock of them faithful of Christ is subjected to new persecution". Metropolitan Valentine turns to the experience of the past 20th century which, in his words, "gave us the great image of suffering for Christ to the end". "By the grace of God, our Church has been trusted the responsible mission of being the successor of the Church of Martyrs, the Church of the Catacombs, Church Persecuted but selflessly devoted to Christ. If they persecuted Him and His holy men, they must also persecute us, as we were told by Lord in the Holy Gospel".

Metropolitan Valentine considers the past century "an age of previously unseen totalitarianism and atheistic violence, the most bloody age in the history of humanity". The message reads that the new martyrs that shed their blood for Christ "brought with their martyrdom and their witness the light of the evangelical teaching and Christian love, even to those godless authorities that inculcated atheism, totalitarianism and all kind of sin".

However, the new, 21st century "was opened with unprecedented church troubles, turmoil and schism in Church, an upsurge of terrorism and war in the world".

Metropolitan Valentine calls on his "true clergy and flock" to offer warm prayers to Infant God Christ "so that we do not find ourselves under the hand of those scribes and pharisees, who were in union with king Herod, seeking to kill Infant God, and who afterwards crucified Him".

"May love brought to the Earth by Infant God Christ reign steadfastly in the soul of every Orthodox Christian, and may our hearts be filled with intransient heavenly joy to go together with our good deeds for the good of the Church of God and Fatherland".

"Let us humble our hearts and kneel before the Newlyborn Infant God Christ, let us remember that life eternal begins on the Earth through the exploit of steadying oneself in the faith, in love of God, love of the Church of God, True Orthodoxy and one's neighbors. Following these virtues gave force to the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia - the pillars of the Orthodox teaching of the twentieth century".


Hhegumen Sebastian (Jadkov) and two communities were received to ROAC from the Chelabinsk Diocese of the MP at the beginning of December. Later (on the 9th of December) Priest Alexey and Deacon Theodore (both are spiritual sons of Father Sebastian) were received to ROAC as well. Father Alexey is medical doctor, and he continues to work as a Professor in the Ural Medical Academy.

Several years ago hegumen Sebastian protested against appropriation of several million dollars by the Chelabinsk Diocese of MP and was imprisoned at the insistence of Metropolitan Job of MP for his "persistent demands to return the stolen money". In prison he was preaching to criminals.

The parish where Hegumen Sebastian was rector (and where Fathers Alexe and Theodore served with him), was the best in Chelabinsk. They served according to church ustav, they also organized courses for Orthodox nurses and for children.

They are now serving in a church in the city of Zlatoust and ministering to a community of religious, and another one in Perm (the Urals).


On December 2 Fr. Gregory (Abu Assaly) was ordained a bishop. He is the Bishop of Denver and the Vicar of America for ROAC. Bishop Gregory's ordination was performed by Metropolitan Valentine, Archbishop Theodore, and Bishop Anthony (a Catacomb bishop) in Tzar Constantine Cathedral. This is a really great event for our Church!

You can read Acceptance Speech of bishop Gregory (Abu-Assaly) and his biography on our site, also you can see his web-page. I am planning to add more materials soon. Also here is the picture made after this glorious event. Bishop Gregory is in purpure mantia. Find two more Americans on this picture:-)


The Bishops' Synod of ROAC was held in Suzdal December 1-3 to discuss consecration of the bishop for the church communities in the USA, the position with regard to the new division in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) and other questions.

The first meeting was addressed by Metropolitan Valentine who spoke about his visit to the USA. Speaking about the latest events in the ROCOR, Metropolitan Valentine noted a certain increased closeness of the relations between the ROAC and the Synod formed by Metropolitan Vitaly. The Primate expressed also regret that the Synod of Metropolitan Vitaly refused to severe the relations with the Kyprianites. The meeting ruled that communion with the Synod of Metropolitan Vitaly can only be established after it ceases the communion with "the Synod in Resistance".

Considered were petitions from ROCOR clerics wishing to join the ROAC, and the procedure was established - to admit clerics from the ROCOR and the Moscow Patriarchate: through repentance, confession of the faith, and bringing the oath. Ordination is prescribed for "doubtful cases" only.
At the suggestion of Metropolitan Valentine, the Synod nominated Archimandret Gregory (Abu Assaly), the father superior of the Holy Dormition monastery in Colorado, as the Bishop of Denver.

The meeting appointed Archbishop Theodore as the chairman of the Theological Commission and gave the blessing for opening a priest-training course under the Suzdal Diocese.

The Synod decided to begin preparation for the 1st Bishops' Council of the ROAC with participation of clerics and lay worshippers.

The Synod reiterated that "the ROAC stays outside of any politics and its clerics must not be members of any political party". It was noted in the Synodal definition that "every shepherd and every member of the Church of God must educate one's flock, relatives and friends in the spirit of patriotism with regard to the Church of God and to the Fatherland, and keep one's conscience in purity. Orthodox Christian must not share a state political ideology which is contrary to the evangelical laws and the Orthodox doctrine".


Metropolitan Valentines Pastoral Visit to America

Metropolitan Valentine, head of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church, arrived in America on Friday October 12, 2001. He flew into Denver, Colorado, and was met by Archimandrite Gregory and the faithful who drove him to Dormition Skete, a monastery three hours driving distance from Denver, in the mountains of Colorado. Despite the elevation of 9,000 feet (2,743 meters), Metropolitan Valentines health remained strong and vigorous. He was greeted at the monastery by the brotherhood of Dormition Skete, Mother Mariam of Holy Apostles Convent, and faithful parishioners from across the country.

On Saturday, Vladyka met and interviewed candidates who had prepared themselves for ordination: Michael Fresco from southern California, and Paul Kalamaras from Virginia. Michael is starting a parish in California named for St. Maximos the Confessor, and Paul will serve at the Church of St. Basil of Kineshma in Virginia under Fr. Dionysi. Fr. Dionysi arrived on this day with his family for a three day visit. In addition to the above candidates, two monks from Dormition Skete were interviewed in preparation for ordination, Hierodeacon Fr. George and Fr. Peter.

On Sunday morning, the feast of the Holy Protection of the Theotokos, Vladyka served the hierarchal Liturgy and ordained Hierodeacon George to the holy priesthood and Michael Fresco to the holy deaconate. During this liturgy, the abbot of the monastery, Fr. Gregory, was made a mitered archimandrite according to the Russian practice. Fr. Dionysi was honored with the Nebednik and the Scufa.

On Monday morning, Fr. Deacon Michael Fresco was ordained to the holy priesthood and Paul Kalamaras to the holy deaconate. Because Vladyka Valentines trip was accomplished in short notice, the above-mentioned clergy were not able to arrange for a longer visit than the weekend. They had to return home quickly, having work commitments on Tuesday.

Fr. Peter was ordained a deacon on Tuesday morning by Vladyka on the third consecutive hierarchal Liturgy. Then, on Wednesday, Vladyka was involved in much ecclesiastical work dealing with ROAC, writing letters and sending and receiving faxes.

The faithful parishioners, who were not able to come and meet Vladyka on such a short notice, called from all over Colorado, and also from the states of Virginia, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Massachusetts, New Mexico, North Dakota, New Jersey, New York, Alabama, Florida, and Kansas, and even from Toronto, Canada. They called to greet Metropolitan Valentine, hear his voice, receive his blessing, and wish him a pleasant and fruitful visit to America.

On Thursday October 18, Dr. Jerjis T. Alajaji flew from Pennsylvania and arrived at Dormition Skete for a five day visit, to get Vladykas blessings, be spiritually nourished by the daily cycle of holy services, and get to personally know better Vladyka Valentine, Archimandrite Gregory, Fr. George, Fr. Peter, and Brother John. In addition, Fr. Georges brother Clement came for a one day visit with his wife Elizabeth and his two daughters, Emily and Zoe.

The translators for Vladyka were initially Maximos Kotyarov, who came from Denver for the first two days, and then throughout the visit of Vladyka, Vladimir Mskhiladze, who traveled from Albuquerque, New Mexico. During his stay, Vladyka walked the grounds of the monastery, and visited Buena Vista and the Twin Lakes, a scenic area north of Buena Vista.

On Friday afternoon, a special gift for Vladyka arrived from the Ioanna Phillips and her family in Portland, Oregon. The gift was a splendid hand-beaded ostrich egg of the kind which normally hang beneath the icons on the choros which surrounds the chandelier in an Orthodox church [as they do now in our own Church of the Dormition thanks to the God-given talent and generosity of Ioanna]. Vladyka was very impressed by the gift and promised to remember her family especially in his prayers. He said the egg will hang from the chandelier in his church in Suzdal.

On Saturday, Joseph and Anna Johnson arrived from Utah on a two day visit, and John Mills came from Colorado Springs, Colorado (John Mills is Fr. Georges brother). On Sunday, Joseph and Anna Johnson spoke with Vladyka and departed on their twelve hour journey back to Utah. Also on Sunday, Vladyka provided Dr. Jerjis T. Alajaji with a lesson in the basics of the Russian language.

On Sunday, Vladyka served his last hierarchal liturgy of this trip at Dormition Skete. It was very emotional. The Metropolitan blessed the brotherhood and the Church of the Dormition.

On Monday, after the trapeza, Vladyka prepared to travel on to San Francisco, where he will venerate and pray for his flock before the incorrupt relics of St. John the Wonder-worker of Shanghai and San Francisco, and from there to visit Fr. Vladimir Shiskoff in New York, before taking the long flight back to Russia. Archimandrite Gregory, Hierodeacon George, Dr. Jerjis, and Vladimir Mskhiladze accompanied the Metropolitan to the Denver airport, where they received his blessing and bid him farewell. Security at the airport was very tight, but Vladyka made it through with no problems.

All of us in America cannot express the gratitude that we have for Vladyka Valentines sacrifice in coming half-way across the world to meet with us. We all wish him good health and many years in his labors for true Orthodoxy.

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