Although Fr. Andrew has done some valuable work related to liturgics and research/writing on the lives of the Saints of the British Isles, he has always struck me as somebody with supreme confidence in his own "rightness," always eager to opine on exactly how everything ought to be done in his voluminous writings. This is abundantly evident if you've been reading his blog, or any of his books, for a while.
Reading these documents, it seems clear that Fr. Andrew used the events surrounding the reception of Fr. Jacob Siemens to jump ship, throwing out wild accusations of ROCOR "going into schism." Reading what Bishop Irenei wrote, he voiced perfectly reasonable concerns about the reception of this priest, which Fr. Andrew proceeded to use as a basis to weave his dramatic account of events. Bishop Irenei may even be in the wrong and acting mistakenly, but it is hard for me to see how even this justify Fr. Andrew's actions. It seems rather that patiently waiting for Moscow to deal with the situation would be more appropriate.
These are, quite frankly, bold and outrageous claims and I'm trying to figure out why I should take the world of one idiosyncratic priest who's written literally millions of words over the past decades about exactly how he
thinks things should be, over a more objective source.
The condescension is palpable.
I bet St. John of San Francisco's critics said all the exact same things.
What this characteristically gargantuan editorial amounts to is basically, "ROCOR in Europe doesn't do things the way I would like, therefore I am jumping ship to greener pastures now that I have some sort of justification to do so."
This is an astounding leap of logic, a total interpolation of Fr. Andrew's ideas
about why Bishop Irenei (who Fr. Andrew can rarely even bring himself to call by name) might have forbid concelebration with Fr. Jacob. We are only hearing one side of the story here. Again, even if Bishop Irenei might have been in the wrong, that doesn't justify immediately throwing ROCOR under the bus because a Bishop potentially made a wrong call.
Don't skip past this; he's basically calling all of us fanatics
. Good thing we have Fr. Andrew who has all the right answers and the Exact Right Version Of Orthodoxy! Never mind that trying to tar conservative Orthodox in America in canonical jurisdictions who reject liberalizing elements such as covid novelties as being on par with Old Calendarist schismatics is completely outrageous.
Bottom line, you have a huge burden of proof to say that ROCOR has schismed from the Russian Church, which Fr. Andrew has not met. It is far more plausible that he is simply engaging in rebellion and discord in pursuit of his own agenda, which is not surprising at all if you've read his writings.
And let's recall from the response put out by ROCOR
a few months ago:
If this is true (which, as an official publication of ROCOR Europe, I'll assume it is until given good reason to believe otherwise), it renders Fr. Andrew's actions null and void, and in rebellion and schism despite how good his justifications sound on the surface. His contortions in the "Statement" blog post just amount to trying to explain how ROCOR is in schism, and apparently Moscow hasn't figure it out yet (but he has!), thus justifying his actions.