Saturday, July 11, 2020

Abp. Kyrill of SF opposes no singing order

(ROCOR-WAD) - Open Letter to The Honourable Gavin Newsom, Governor of California from His Eminence Kyrill Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America in light of the decree issued by the Governor of California that forbids choral singing in churches.

Your Excellency,

I hereby express my protest against the recent prohibition of liturgical singing in houses of worship, which is an infringement of the rights and religious freedoms of the clergy and faithful of the Western American Diocese of the Russian Diaspora, the other Local Orthodox Churches, performing their ministry in this state, as well as other religious bodies.

During the years of Soviet rule, when the Russian Orthodox Church was subjected to persecution, Russian émigrés and their descendants comprising the Russia Church Abroad, came to the United States of America and other countries overseas, in order to freely confess their Orthodox Faith, to freely perform Divine Services, to observe the feast days, fasts and all the customs established by the Orthodox Church. In this manner, they followed the example of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America, who sought the possibility of freely confessing their faith.

From the very beginning of the current global outbreak of the coronavirus the clergy and faithful of our Diocese, desiring to preserve the health of the population and stop the spread of the coronavirus, and respecting those in power, rigorously strove to adhere to all the standard norms and restrictions introduced by local health authorities. Even though they were deprived of the reverent Divine Services of Great Lent and the joyous celebration of the Triumph of the Holy Resurrection, our parishioners were sympathetic to our directives, attending our churches “virtually.” However, we now observe a contradiction in that mass protests take place everywhere, at which absolutely all precautions are violated with impunity. Yet, liturgical singing performed during the Divine Services and while observing all of the rules, is forbidden. This is open discrimination, hypocrisy and the infringement of our religious rights, prompting us to recall the era of godless persecutions in the USSR.

Nonetheless, we will continue to pray with gratitude “for this land, its authorities and armed forces,” and “for this city, every city and country and all who in faith dwell therein.” Yet, at the same time, we will defend the rights of our clergy and our parishioners who possess full citizenship in the United States of America.

+KYRILL
Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America
Secretary of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad

29 comments:

  1. “For it is a commandment of the Lord not to be silent at a time when the Faith is in jeopardy. Speak, Scripture says, and hold not thy peace” -St. Theodore the Studite.

    It’s not fashionable to speak the truth right now and challenging the mob, even privately, is dangerous to one’s reputation and career now, but I’m happy to see there are still those with the backbone to speak out.

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    1. Is the Faith in jeopardy, then? I mean, other than from the Orthodox themselves...

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  2. It’s not persecution when no one is being singled out. His Eminence’s churches’ reliance on choral singing does not put them in a category that exempts them from public health concerns, and this letter poses special pleading that is unmerited. Protestants rely on choral/congregational singing too. Facts is facts even when they hurt. Until we get a measure of control over the spread of the virus we need to exert extreme caution.

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    1. Fear isn’t a virtue. This virus has a less than 1% mortality rate, and according to the latest reports is less contagious than many standard flu strains.

      At this point are you only willing to go to church if there is a zero % risk to your health?

      If you don’t want to go to church then don’t, but don’t criticize those who are willing to speak out against these unconstitutional mandates that punish Christians but protect looters and protestors.

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    2. I'll pretend not to take sides here, but pose a question. There's no guarantee of an effective vaccine, and it's possible (not likely I think) that the coronavirus will be with us, at it's current level of dangerousnous, from now on. If someone supports the current restrictions (no kissing icons, no congregational singing, etc.), it seems that they'd have to accept **permanent** changes in Orthodox liturgical practices that we're used to seeing as basic. Yes? OK with that?

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    3. "special pleading"

      It is where many (at least on the internet) are at Rev. John. The supreme courts decision around religious schools/education/liberty was a much deeper and significant event, yet some want to focus on short term crises decisions that are expected in these sorts of situations, temporary, and insignificant...

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    4. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. . ." I see nowhere in the text that mentions public health concerns; the Bill of Rights limits the power of the government. If you are concerned with your health, stay home.

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    5. ...a measure of control. What does that mean and how are we to know when those in power have deep and destructive ulterior motives?
      They are of Mammon.
      I don't know but it seems two quotes from Patrick Henry are relevant: "I smell a rat" and his more famous quote: "Give me liberty or give me death"

      It may not seem like it but there is a binary choice embedded in the whole mess that cannot be negotiated or compromised.
      The culture is mouthing the words of Legion before being sent into the swine: "What have I to do with Thee, Jesus Son of the most High God"

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    6. Vcopa, the ruling has nothing to do with "establishment of religion" all chanting and singing and anointing and sharing of blessed food is prohibited. Plus the 1st Amendment does not mean what you think it means. At the time each state had its own established church. The framers just did not want a federally established church. The idea of separation of church and state is not really compatible with the Orthodox faith either.

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    7. Michael, ". . .or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. . ." was the key point I was making. Without the beginning of the sentence, the context is often lost. There is nothing in the Bill of Rights that tells me what I can or cannot do. There is a great deal in the Bill of Rights that tells me what the State cannot do.

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    8. vcopa,

      The literalist and simplistic argument you are making is not convincing even among most ideological libertarians. The Bill of Rights is nothing more (and nothing less) than a body of law, with a long interpretive history. Turns out that yelling "fire" in a crowded auditorium is not in the spirit of free speech. Turns out seat belt laws are not a violation of your liberty. Turns out fire codes (such as the "Exit" signs and sprinkler heads" in your church are not a violation of your religious rights.

      So even on the *secular* grounds of something like the Bill of Rights, there is perspective, nuance, precedent, and prudential (i.e. "common sense") reasoning.

      None of this has much to do with a Christian understanding of all this however, which you have not even touched...

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    9. Sojourner, PRUDENCE IS A VIRTUE and don’t confuse it with cravenness.
      “The CDC’s analysis shows that Non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native persons have a rate approximately 5 times that of non-Hispanic white persons, non-Hispanic black persons have a rate approximately 5 times that of non-Hispanic white persons, and Hispanic or Latino persons have a rate approximately 4 times that of non-Hispanic white persons.” https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/07/14/donald-trump-genocidal-acts-against-humanity/

      Your insensibility to scientific facts of the pandemic show you at best as a Pollyanna and worst as a passive-aggressive racist who countenances selective autogenocide.

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    1. This is a false equivalence. The vast majority of protest happening here is peaceful and protected by the Constitution, which allows people to gather for redress. A public health emergency is sufficient to place restrictions on gatherings of all types butnits simply a matter of pragmatics whether police will break up a protest — and we have very many recent cases showing their willingness to use extreme and unnecessary force to do so! This argument from the Abp. and all the chimes in here show an extreme prejudice for authoritarian responses against those who protest the status quo of policing, coupled with a reckless antiscientific libertarianism in religious matters. Abp. K is basically saying that protests should be halted at any cost and no prudential restrictions should be enacted regarding his churches. I call hypocrisy.

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    2. "...Abp. K is basically saying that protests should be halted at any cost and no prudential restrictions should be enacted regarding his churches. I call hypocrisy..."

      Thankfully this incoherence/hypocrisy is not *normative* even here in NA (where both the left and the right have strong libertarian instincts), among the large majority of Bishops/clerics/laypersons. Abp. Kyrill and some of the commenters here are the exception.

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  4. Axios! Many years to Vladyka!
    Like in other states this needs to go to the courts.
    The godless ones need to be stopped.

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  5. I want to steal your bishop.

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  6. He is bishop in a tiny church. It can't afford to pay the clergy and speaks Slavonic which no one understands (why is the letter in English? Oh, because it's understood, right?). If the viral infection cuts through his congregations like it has elsewhere he will close churches, period. The Orthodox bishops are not a talented lot. I don't trust them on matters of biology or medicine. No one should.

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    1. Who is this a reply to Arch. Gregory? It can't be Bob as he speaks the truth (i.e. tiny underfunded church, mediocre churchmen, limited domain of knowledge - they have no knowledge of medicine, biology, and physics). Bob is also right that such churchmen would react strongly if this pandemic rips through their congregations. They might be mediocre churchmen who cry wolf and make false comparisons to Soviet Russia, but they are not sadists...

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  8. One can be critical of the leadership and still be faithful to the church

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  10. I like to hope that, if the small circle of people who get into predictable cockfights on this site were all gathered in one room around some beer and chips, they would behave like decent people toward one another. The internet is like Mardi Gras: we can all indulge our passions because we're all wearing masks.

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  11. Indoor church services have been banned in california now, not too long after this letter, hmm is the good gov showing his true colors, I always wonder how Democrat Orthodox or Catholic still able to commune despite being against Christianity?

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  12. According to my Antiochian clergy friends they’re under orders to disregard to the newest shutdown as Met. Joseph views it as a purely political move. Good for him. An open letter would be nice, but actions can speak louder than words as they say.

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    1. I need to switch to Abtioch from the increasingly Protestantnize GOARCH, granted my priest in GOARCh is like meh ... "it a suggestion"

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    2. Yes I’m pleasantly surprised to hear Met. Joseph has taken such a strong stance. Just heard from my local Antiochian friends that they are quietly continuing normal services and have lawyers on standby if the State takes notice.

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  13. There are all kinds of POE Currency and POE Orbs that are lower than the market price.

    Attached link: https://www.iggm.com/poe-currency

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