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


22 April 2012

Why can't I just go to the Church nearest my home?

Q: Why can't I just go to the Church nearest my home?  Why do I have to worry about trying to understand jurisdictions?

A : Struggling against sin is the picking up of our cross.  There are two sides to the struggle against sin.  

Struggling against our personal sins strengthens one spiritual muscle.  Struggling against "group sin" strengthens another spiritual muscle.  Both muscles are necessary to be able to walk the Royal Path.

Orthodox can understand "group sin"  in Christ's letters to the seven Churches in Asia, Revelations chapters 2 and 3.

By Orthodox "group sin" I mean heresies [false teachings], unlawful leniencies, and breaking the spirit of the law [canons].

In world Orthodoxy the flock is told to pay attention only to their personal sins.  To let their bishops worry about the politics.  They tell the flock that obedience to even an unlawful bishop will still save them, because obedience is valued above truth.   If the flock believes this, accepts this; then as a group they confirm each other in this lie and all the lies that are born from it.   They "make excuse with excuses in sin"  [Psalm 140 read at Vespers], justifying their laxity by thinking they are being soft-hearted.

But this backfires.  Because without strengthening the "spiritual muscle" that struggles against "group sin", we do not strengthen the "muscle" that helps our struggle against personal sin.  Since these two "muscles" work together.

And vice-versa:  In the super-correct Churches we find that an over-emphasis on the canons and heresies encourages the sins of pharisaism and hard-heartedness.  Pharisaism is the letter of the law rather than the spirit.  They take upon themselves judgments which belong to the Church; they close their ears.   

Both the laziness of world Orthodoxy and the pride of the super-correct disease cause spiritual blindness.  These Churches bear very little fruit if any at all.

Another Answer:

Dear Bill,
Christ  is risen!
What would you say to this question?
I ask you because you must know how to explain why you chose Rocor
over the other Orthodox churches in B'ham.

Dear Joanna,

I am not neglecting to answer your question here but rather thinking
through just how to answer it as I too have wondered just this same thing.

I have come to believe that we are living in the last days of the Church
Age, that time when Satan's influence on earth has been diminished.
Constantine became the first Christian monarch established by God's Law
and dispersed that Law to mankind. In the tenth century the Slavic Prince
Vladimir accepted Christianity for himself and his people, and patterned
the Russian nation after the Byzantine model. When in 1453 Constantine XI
died fighting, Constantinople fell under the the Islamic incursion and I
believe Russia became the leader of the Christian society and continued so until
1918 when Nicholas II and the entire Royal family were assented.

That is a "long winded" description of why I believe that the original
ROCOR remnant became the preacher of Orthodoxy to the entire world
including the United States. I believe that that mantle has been passed to
the ROCA remnant under Metropolitan Agafangel.

As I study Orthodoxy, compared to my previous Protestant background, I am
seeking to find Christ's One, True, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church. That
Church I believe is the ROCA Church under Metropolitan Agafangel and it's
sister churches. I believe grace can be found there and it is that grace
that I now seek. I am totally uncertain about grace anywhere else
including other Orthodox or Protestant churches.

I read this quote from Saint Ignatius Brianchaninov, "One may recognize
the work of the Orthodox faiths approaching its definite conclusionŠ Do
not expect from anyone the restoration of Christianity. The vessels of the
Holy Spirit have definitively dried up everywhere, even in the
monasteries, those treasuries of piety and graceŠ The merciful
long-suffering of God extends and delays the final end for the small
remnant of those who are being saved, while those who are becoming corrupt
or have become corrupt attain the fullness of corruption."

When I started this journey, or rather when God himself, started me on
this journey, for it could be no other way, I had absolutely no idea it
would lead me to ROCA and Metropolitan Agafangel. I totally wish the Greek
Orthodox Church in Birmingham was a sister church of ours, but it is not.
Nor are any of the other churches totally committed to [opposing] the ecumenical

I am seeking to watch and pray, to be ready when Christ comes. I now
believe that the time of the Antichrist is near and the deception during
this time will be most severe. I hope to be in that small remnant that
remains true to Christ's Church.

These are my thought for now. Maybe more to come after more thought...


Politics are frustrating:  the only way to get away from the politics is to get away from the MP.

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