The above warning was given to me when I first met Orthodoxy in 1986. Today [2009] it is even more perilous, even more difficult to find the Royal Path. For one thing there is a far greater abundance of misinformation. And many materials are missing, and other materials are being rapidly rewritten. For another thing there are fewer than ever guides remaining on the Royal Path, especially who speak English. Hopefully this website will be a place where Newcomers to the Faith can keep at least one foot on solid ground, while they are "exploring."

blog owner: Joanna Higginbotham


jurisdiction: ROCA under Vladyka Agafangel

who did not submit to the RocorMP union in 2007


03 September 2015

So, you want to be Orthodox?

Four years after encountering Orthodoxy, Craig Young, along with his wife Susan, decided they wanted to be Orthodox.  They had both been in the Roman Catholic church.  The year was 1970 and they were both in their mid-20s.  That year they attended Liturgy at the cathedral in San Francisco, and afterwards approached Archbishop Anthony and told him that they wanted to be Orthodox.   The Archbishop called for Fr. Seraphim (with Fr. Herman), who took the Youngs over to a bench and sat them down.  Craig Young reported later:

"The two men rained a barrage of questions on us:
'So, why do you want to be Orthodox?  Do you know what that means?  What's the difference between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism?  Why do you want to join our Russian Church Abroad instead of some other jurisdiction?  Don't you know we are a small, persecuted Church living in exile?  Everybody hates us and makes fun of us.  Why do you want to join a Church like this?  Do you understand what really happens in the Divine Liturgy?'

Frankly, it was daunting.  Somehow we had thought we would be immediately welcomed with open arms, as though the Church had been waiting for us all these centuries; instead we were being given the third degree!" 

Letters p. 5

26 November 2014


Website Review
A website of the Moscow Patriarch

 MP ⬅  That should be enough of a warning to avoid this website.  But why avoid it entirely, aren't there some good things in there?  Probably there are, but to extract the good parts you need to be a skilled surgeon.

Here is one example; it should be enough:

St. Philaret's Sermon at St. Herman's glorification: MP version

St. Philaret's Sermon at St. Herman's glorification: true version

World-orthodoxy shows a pattern.  Whenever the true Orthodox Church produces a fruit (a saint), world-orthodoxy tries to hide that saint somehow.  If it can not do this, then it rewrites the saint, censors him, making him appear like world-orthodoxy.  This was done to St. Herman, St. John Kronstadt, St. John S&SF, Fr. Seraphim Rose, and now it is being done to St. Philaret.  

The old ROCOR of Fr. Seraphim's day taught their flock how to recognize Antichrist and the antichrist spirit.  Archbishop Averky would interrupt his own sermons if something popped into his mind that would strengthen our understanding of end times.  World-orthodoxy does not want their flock taught about Antichrist, because world-orthodoxy is a product of the antichrist spirit.

16 November 2014

Clues how to recognize a false elder

November 16, 2014
Pseudo-elder Aimilianos of Simonopetra
 (clues are highlighted in yellow)

See this advertisement for Platina's "Orthodox Word" magazine #296

Issue #296, May-June 2014, Vol. 50, No. 3: Transfigured in the Night

Transfigured in the Night: The Life and Teachings of Elder Aimilianos of Simonopetra, 
by Monk Maximos (Constas) & St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood

This issue features an in-depth biography of a major Orthodox elder and author of the late 20th century, Archimandrite Aimilianos of Simonopetra Monastery on Mount Athos. Fr. Aimilianos was one of the elders responsible for the spiritual revival on Mount Athos that began during the 1970s and continues to this day. Several of his books, such as The Authentic Seal, The Way of the Spirit, and The Church at Prayer have been translated into English and are spiritual classics. The author of this biography, Fr. Maximos (Constas), is a monk of Simonopetra and has provided us with the most complete biography of the Elder to date. Fr. Maximos is currently Senior Research Scholar at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, in Brookline, MA.

look at the woo-woo titles of the books...

why does Mt. Athos need a "spiritual revival"?

Compare this drunkenness which is likened to a charismatic to the sober true elders Fr. Seraphim translated for us, the Optina Elders....  none of the Optina elders ever wrote books.  None of them ever could be accused of being responsible for a "spiritual revival". 

31 October 2014

Anonymous Blog Authors

An Orthodox blog author should at the least identify his jurisdiction and his rank (layman, priest, etc.).   We can automatically reject any blog where this information is missing.

Fr. Seraphim Rose, in his first issue of The Orthodox Word, identifies himself as a member of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and "obedient to the Synod of that Church", even though the collaborators will include members of other Orthodox Churches (other jurisdictions).  His full introductory article appears below.

Fr. Seraphim points out that no one person can speak for the Church.  Even our (ROCOR) Metropolitan works conciliatorily with our other bishops.  However, it is possible for an individual or small group to speak from within the Church.  Readers should know if a blog author is speaking to them from within or from without the Church – especially these days when so many who think themselves to be in the Church, are not in fact in the Church.

In 1971 Fr. Seraphim acted as an advisor to the publisher of Nikodemos.  Upon reviewing the first issue prior to publication, Fr. Seraphim made gave this advice:

The final article is not signed, even though it begins with "I".  One could assume that the author is the editor and that the whole publication is a one man job – except that page 1 doesn't give any information on this either.  It might be wise to put initials or a pen-name to such an article which has a personal tone.

Whose publication is this?  You don't have to give your name, but a word of background would clarify things – just the word layman (or lay family, or whatever) somewhere would help relieve the suspicion that you are somebody "official" and working for the diocese.
Letters p. 33

Today there are different and more numerous suspicions.

One anonymous blog author I once came across explained his reason for anonymity as being that he wanted to be free to make errors without having it reflect on his Church.  This might sound conscientious at first, but this is not a healthy freedom.  None of us are free from the responsibility and obligation to continually strive to align our thinking and our hearts to the Church.

from The Orthodox Word issue #1  Jan-Feb 1965


Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.  Amen.
St. Matthew 28: 19-20

The Orthodox Word has one single reason for existing: to preach the truths of Orthodox Christianity, and in so doing to draw together those of like mind so as to offer a united witness of these truthsIt is addressed to Orthodox of all nationalities, to converts to the Orthodox faith, and to those outside the Church who desire to learn more of her faith and practice.

The editors are fully conscious of their total inadequacy to fulfill the intentions thus set forth. No one man, or group of men, can himself speak for the Church of Christ. It is nonetheless possible to speak from within the Church, in conformity with Orthodox tradition; and it is this that we shall attempt to do. The editors are members of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and obedient to the Synod of that Church; but our collaborators will include members of other Orthodox Churches who are concerned to preserve Orthodox truth and tradition in their fullness. Outwardly, it is true, the Orthodox Churches present a divided front to the world. Historical circumstances since even before the fall of Constantinople in the fifteenth century have dictated the development of national Orthodox Churches in relative isolation from each other; and in the twentieth century modernist ideas and capitulation to Communist governments have caused division within some Orthodox Churches and swerved many from the path of faithfulness to our Lord But in all Orthodox countries today there is at least a faithful remnant of believers who stand ready to witness their faith uncompromisingly before the contemporary world, even as far as to share the martyrdom which many of our Orthodox brothers have suffered in this century. Among such believers there exists a unity that is quite independent of international or Pan-Orthodox conferences; it is the unity of all who rightly believe and confess the Orthodox faith. The Orthodox Church of Christ is one and indivisible in all her members who have remained faithful to the truth which each local Church has possessed from its foundation

Of reliable material concerning the Orthodox Church comparatively little has as yet appeared in English, whereas in several of the traditional Orthodox languagesin particular Greek and Russianthere is a veritable treasure-house of texts that await translation. One of the purposes of this journal will be to begin to open this treasure-house and distribute its riches to those who hunger for them. It is, after all, the proper function of a treasure, not to sit idle in a closed vault, but to be used; the treasures of Holy Orthodoxy are above all a current currency the value of which can best be proved in the lives of contemporary Christians

Among the most important Orthodox treasures are the lives of the saints, which give us examples of a true life in Christ. The lives of recent saints are no less instructive in this regard than the lives of the early saints; and the inclusion of both in The Orthodox Word should serve to emphasize the fact that the Christian life has not become outmoded in the contemporary world, but in fact has changed not at all throughout the centuries. The twentieth century too has had its saints: one of the very greatest of Russian saints died as recently as 1908, and the martyrs of this century probably outnumber those of the entire age of martyrs that sustained the early Church

Another valuable Orthodox treasure consists of the writings of the saints and holy fathers of the Church, both on the practical problems of the Christian life and on more general subjects such as Orthodox doctrine, the sacraments, Church history, services, and the major feast-days of the Church year. Yet another source of spiritual riches for Orthodox Christians are the icons of our Lord, His Most Holy Mother, the saints, and feast-days. It is planned that at least one of these will be reproduced in each issue, together with an explanation of its meaning and an account of its history and miracles.

This, then, will be the primary function of The Orthodox Word: to make more generally available some of the basic sources of the Orthodox faith. In some cases this will involve explanatory or introductory essays, so as to make accessible to contemporary readers material which might be easily misinterpreted by those who are not intimately acquainted with the life and thought of the Church. Besides this, the periodical will present information on contemporary happenings in the Orthodox world. Orthodoxy, it need hardly be said, is now "in the news". The dispersal of Orthodox of every nationality into the West, the increase of converts to Orthodoxy in Western Europe and America, the state of the suffering Church behind the Iron Curtain, meetings on an official as well as a personal level with Roman Catholics and Protestants, as for example at the Vatican Council and in the World Council of Churches, and critical events within the Orthodox world itselfall these and other factors combine to attract the attention of a Western world which, until recently, had virtually ignored the existence of the Orthodox Church for centuries, or had regarded her at best as a part of the "fossilized" East.

But if Orthodoxy has become "newsworthy", by no means all of the news about her has been good. The position of Orthodoxy in the world, her relations with other Churches, and even the relations of Orthodox Churches among themselves, are quite complicated and they must be viewed critically and soundly interpreted in the light of Orthodox truth and tradition, with the intention of remaining absolutely faithful to these, in spirit as well as letter. In their own poor way the editors of The Orthodox Word will attempt to fulfill this solemn duty.

Always we shall hope to be guided by the awareness that governs the lives of all faithful Orthodox Christians, an awareness which no temporary complications should efface. The Orthodox Church is not merely one Church among many, not merely a "fourth major faith", but the one true Church of our Lord Jesus Christ to which all men are called and against which "the gates of hell shall not prevail" (St. Matt. 16: 18).  "She is not merely one of many "newsworthy" items, but the sole container of the whole mystery of God's creation and His plan for mankind.

It is thus with a basically missionary purpose that this journal has been begun. That is why our patron and heavenly protector is Father Herman of Alaska, one of the first Orthodox missionaries to the American continent and exemplar of the life of asceticism, prayer, and faithful- ness to our Lord's commandments to which every Christian, according to his strength, is called. It is as the joint labor of a brotherhood in the name of Father Herman that we present this journal, with an earnest appeal to others of like mind to join us, with articles and translations, with comments, and most of all with prayer, that this labor may be, with God's blessing, for the good use of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Editors

20 October 2014

Knowing Better

A warning against Euphrosynos Cafe and other internet forums

Of 6 Convert pitfalls noted by Fr. Seraphim, "knowing better" is at the top of the list:

A. Trusting oneself, samost
   Remedy: sober distrust of oneself, taking counsel of others wiser, guidance from Holy Fathers.

B. Academic approach – overly intellectual, involved, uncommitted, abstract, unreal.  Bound up with A. also. 
Not of This World p. 781

We see this "knowing better" at work especially on the internet forums.  Euphrosynos Cafe in particular, is truly a gathering of the confused.  The few members left are adrift either in a schismatic jurisdiction, in a vigante jurisdiction, or in no jurisdiction.  (If there happens to be one in a royal path jurisdiction, then their view of the Church is vague, immature, incomplete.)  Already their thinking is faulty – they guide themselves, they are their own authority.  They each present their own incomplete distorted views/interpretations to each other, charitably or not so charitably as the case may be, supporting each other with mutual acceptance on a very general level, i.e., they all use the old calendar and they all call themselves "true" Orthodox.

Along comes the unwary (but sincere) potential catechumen, also confused, but his confusion is not permanent yet.  He is seeking to make sense of all the many jurisdictions.  He has at least figured out that he does not want to be in world-orthodoxy.  And here on Euphrosynos Cafe appears to be a convenient collection of old calendar jurisdictions for him to explore and assess.  He notes what the representatives of the various "true" jurisdictions have to say, and he selects which one "sounds right" to him.  Thus he becomes his own authority, deciding what makes sense to him and satisfies his mind. 

Rarely though, we might find someone (or rather, he finds us) who is not guided by his own knowing.  But, instead, by sincere prayer he is guided by heaven to the Royal Path Churches.  This person does not trust his mind or his own thinking, but rather he goes by what "feels right" even if it does not make sense immediately.  This "feeling" is not emotional, sentimental or "psychic", but something higher in the soul that becomes sensitive with sincere prayer:  prayer born of suffering from being without the Church – not just the mental pain of confusion – but pain that is caused by being estranged from God Whom he loves and wanting to be closer to Him.  These are the people who will find us.

Starting on the Royal Path blog accepts the authority of the ROCOR through the guidance of Fr. Seraphim Rose and those older and wiser in our Church who understand and recognize Fr. Seraphim's spiritual superiority.   Fr. Seraphim was a true Son of the Church.  He was given to us by God through the prayers of St. John S&SF.  Anyone who has a problem with Fr. Seraphim has a problem with the Church Herself and with St. John.  I do not see how a convert in America can make it into the Church in wholeness without Fr. Seraphim.

November 20, 2014