Disclaimer: The following is a work of satire. My goal is not to make fun of the individual in question, but to illustrate a serious problem which his writings convey: sectarianism. While he certainly makes valid points here and there, the spirit of his essays overall is divisive and I believe counter-productive to the True Orthodox witness.
(RURAL SERBIA/LONDON) Prolific, ultraconservative TOC Author Vladimir Moss shocked the ecclesiastical world today by throwing his support behind a Church Union.
The well-known critic has gone on record opposing every known instance of a Church dialogue, discussion, negotiation, or union dating back to at least 1992, when the ROCOR joined communion with the True Orthodox Church of Romania. He is also known to be apprehensive about joint coffee runs between opposing jurisdictions.
“When you’re a member of the Only True Church Left on Earth—the ROCORIRIEVS—,” he starts, referring to what is commonly known as the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia Inside Russia Into England Via Serbia, “you naturally view any opposing group as Satanic Freemasons attempting to subvert the good thing you have going for you. In perhaps 1% of the cases I’ve seen, there were a few sympathetic people I would have had coffee with maybe, but definitely no inter-communion accords.” Noticing our correspondent’s raised eyebrow, he hurriedly finishes, “I’m just trying to alert the world to the dangers of infiltration by a fifth column.”
Asked about his methodology for researching and compiling his treatises, he points to a recent work against the Kallinikos-Cyprianite Union. “You have to start out with some black-and-white scripture verses—Old Testament references are a must–to set the mood.” This is followed by broad and general condemnations of errors on the part of the TOCs to establish a sense of fairness, feigned praise of allegedly good aspects of the union in question, and then a vicious dissection of the actual details, focusing primarily on hearsay, assumption, casting aspersions, and analogies to past events that may only be tangentially related.
“Framing it into political terms, and playing on Russians’ fears of Greeks trying to resurrect the Byzantine Empire in an ecclesiastical sense are the ways I like to end any such essay. Really gets people riled up.”
Our correspondent asked Moss about his own previous jurisdiction crossing, which at the last tally has seen him be a member of thirteen different True Orthodox Churches. “I’ve just been blessed to have always known to get out before the light switch goes off…you know, before Divine Grace gets switched off?”
Moss shows us his study, which is filled with copious books, articles, clippings, and computer storage devices. On his wall are his diplomas, baptismal certificates, and confessions of faith. “I don’t have one for when I joined the True Orthodox Church of Mauritania (Synod of Archbishop Hesychios). They just let me in by confession. That is how I should have known they would later turn out to be Sergianists!”
He remarks that leaving the GOC-Kallinikos was a close call, though.
“I really waited too long to leave those heretics. This will totally not sound humble, but I have to speak the truth…I think God was preserving Grace in their jurisdiction just for my sake, until I figured out for myself that it was time to move on.”
That is why news that Moss had thrown his support behind a recent Church union came as a surprise to many. The ROCORIRIEVS recently concluded negotiations with the Genuine Orthodox Church of Monaco, and are sealing their union this coming Sunday. Asked what was different about this union, Moss didn’t hesitate.
“Those heretics realized they were hopelessly compromised and that their Church was completely worthless, with no redeeming value. They asked ROCORIRIEVS bishops to not only reordain them, but to rebaptize them first, reconsecrate their Churches, rehear all their previous 20 years’ worth of confessions, and agreed to publicly burn all their theological and liturgical books, replacing them with ROCORIRIEVS-supplied materials. And pray for the Tsar-to-be-revealed in the liturgy instead of that Papist Pseudo-Prince currently usurping the throne.”
Inquiring as to whether this seemed a Church union or more rather a Church conquest, Moss became pensive. “You know? I kind of like the sound of that. Church unions are universally bad. Church conquests are how we should be phrasing these God-pleasing events going forward.”
7 responses to “TOC Author V. Moss Shocks World by Approving of Church Union”
With respect – I think the cause of rebutting V. Moss on his critique of the recent union would have been better served by a proper refutation, or at least a discrediting, of his position than by mockery.
Satire has its place and use – in politics, geopolitics, business, etc – but perhaps not with a matter as grave as the unity and preservation of the True Orthodox Church during the period of its greatest trial and debasement in history. You have some good points to make here: (a) the record shows that Moss is practically and conspiratorially suspicious of every union in Traditionalist Orthodoxy since 1992 (b) his seemingly limited and untenable contemporary ecclesiological worldview (c) his misapplication of quotes from scripture and the church fathers. These points are the makings of a decent rebuttal to V. Moss’s criticism. So why resort to satire if a valid counter-argument is present, especially in matters of the true faith?
I was forwarded to this article by a google search under the terms “the kallinikite unia”. Yours seems to be the only published contrarian response V. Moss’s article has received, and the impression I got from reading it was that its author, who seems knowledgeable and prolific in matters pertaining to Orthodoxy, is either not serious about rebutting Moss’s claims or is not up to the task. Please don’t have the impression that I’m criticizing your work for no constructive purpose. Given that you have a following for your blog, I assume feedback from your readers is valuable. My honest opinion is that you could do more with this subject and with your knowledgeability than this.
Christ Is Risen!
Thank you for your comment. I don’t believe that satire and mockery are the same thing. I was not being unfair or making fun of Dr. Moss, but rather making light of the logical conclusion of his positions and where it leads people.
After witnessing Dr. Moss engage in polemic for more than 10 years, I have to say I disagree with you that a proper refutation would have been the best approach. What would have resulted would be an even longer response by Dr. Moss, which would have forced a response from me, ad nauseum. One only need look at the debates with Gregory Lourie to get an appreciation of what is possible when debating Dr. Moss (who was right on that point, I will add). Dr. Moss has virtually unlimited time to write, which is a luxury I do not have.
I don’t believe that Dr. Moss can be dissuaded from holding his views, so the question becomes, who is my target audience? My target audience for this post is people who are disenfranchised and burned out reading constant polemic. Satire can reach them in ways that a good old-fashioned logically biting polemic can’t. They tune that stuff out. They are willing to read satire though. In fact, people contacted me and told me just that after reading this piece.
As the author of this piece, I have to say that I am quite up to the task; I have a theological education and I served as a priest in the GOC for 5 years, before resigning for personal reasons. I have access to numerous primary source documents that most people have never seen and have no idea exist. I thought about writing a logical rebuttal, but I concluded that it would not be profitable and would not reach the audience I wanted to reach, so I chose not to engage in what would amount to dozens of hours of research to write an academic and logical rebuttal. I wrote what I wrote in under an hour, and reached the people I wanted to reach. A point-by-point rebuttal would have only lead to an intellectual sparring match that would have tuned out the people who most needed to hear the arguments.
It was difficult to write what I did and publish it, however, as I don’t like upsetting other people, and I didn’t want to come across as personally attacking someone else. However, reading the polemic that Dr. Moss puts out literally makes me depressed, and I felt I had to respond to this one as a matter of principle.
Alithos Anesti! Thank you for your articulate response. I certainly believe that you are up to the task, and yes, Moss seems like he has a lot of time to write given how prolific he is. I was only expressing the idea that perhaps the satirical approach gives people the wrong idea. While I appreciate and am edified by a lot of his work, his de facto Matthewism on the issue of grace in the mysteries of practically every sect is scandalizing to those who lack the understanding and knowledge to see through it. He questions, if not outright rejects, a significant portion of the corpus of widely accepted teachings across many Traditionalist synods (ie, A. Khrapovitsky’s Dogma of Redemption, A. Kalomiros’ River of Fire, etc.), and he basically has an open mike in doing so because he offers his publications on his site for free, and few (if any) authors rebut at length any of his contrarian yet well-cited theological arguments. I’m just hoping that, as time goes on, the list of contemporary Traditionalist commentators, authors, and writers increases so that those of us who are still novices in our understanding of many important issues (like myself) are not subjected to a monopoly in the viewpoints being publicly expressed and written.
Thank you for your kind words, and your understanding. I think it would be good if someone were able to write intelligent responses to Dr. Moss without getting passionate and personal, and losing himself in the process. I agree that Dr. Moss has written a lot of good and helpful things. Other things–not so much. That’s why I refer to him as Dr. Moss–I do respect him, and especially if he is reading this, I don’t want people to think I have any personal animosity toward him. Our few personal interactions were always quite pleasant.
Using satire is spiritually and psychologically immature. See Ephesians 5:4.
“Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.”
Oh, and Vladimir Moss didn’t shock the world. Most of the world couldn’t care less what Old Calendarists are fighting about.
I really appreciate satire. One little joke can be far more effective than pages and pages of pompous Ph.D. blah blah blah. Intellectual pride is a crippling spiritual disease. Satire is an antidote. Thank you.