There is a story that is often told about a Russian Orthodox monk living in Alaska. Following the Bolshevik Revolution, the situation in the Russian Orthodox Church became dismal. There many bishops and priests that were forced to sign oaths of allegiance to the Communist regime, while there were numerous others that refused to do such a thing and were martyred instead. The Moscow Patriarchate was still the main representative of the Russian Orthodox Church although it had to make concessions to the Communists in order to survive. The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad was the other arm of the Church and it existed wherever Russian emigres had settled.
In the United States, the situation was much more complicated and extremely dramatic with the two sides battling for parishes, minds, hearts, and souls. In Alaska, there was a priest named Fr. Gerasim Schmaltz who refused to belong to any jurisdiction. Once, he was asked by someone to which jurisdiction he belonged. Fr. Gerasim immediately replied, “I don’t belong to any jurisdiction. I belong to Christ’s jurisdiction the Orthodox Church. ” Another time, Fr. Gerasim was asked if he commemorated prelates that were with the Moscow Patriarchate. Not giving a direct answer, Fr. Gerasim replied emphatically, “I pray for all, I commemorate all.”
In the Catholic Church today, we can safely say that things between the traditionalists and the Vatican are shaky. Yes, there are many groups that have reconciled with the Pope. This all excellent news, but we still have a ways to go for healing. Rather than picking sides and calling each other nasty names, we should come to the realization that each and everyone needs our prayers whether they are sitting on the wrong side of the fence or not.
Therefore, let us pray for one another.
Our Lady of the Angels, pray for us!