Kevin Basil (signature)

Please Do Not Press the Big Red Button

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Written by Basil on 06/6/2005 7:47 AM. Filed under:

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Update: As I said on #orthodoxy: “When one jumps to conclusions, one must be damned sure there is a proper conclusion there upon which to land.”

My original post:
I just learned a fact I find deeply disturbing. One of the bishops of our Church had a perfectly good English name before being tonsured a monk and elevated to the episcopate, but he was given an ethnic variant of the exact same name upon his tonsuring! Something akin to Fr. John taking the name Ioannos. Or Fr. Nicholas taking the name Nikolai. Something like that.

Can I be frank? THERE. IS. NO. PLACE. FOR. THAT. This is truly outrageous. My heritage, I feel, has been insulted.

I was wrong. I based my original conclusions on a livejournal article by a St Tikhon’s Seminary graduate, which said:

How did it come about that you will go to Sitka and Russia now?
Simple answer=Bishop NIKOLAI.
His Grace was once my parish priest in Las Vegas. Like you, I was homeschooled–which allowed me to be more involved in the Church during the week. (Then) Fr. Nicholas really took me “under his wing” and significantly contributed to my desire to become a priest. Now that His Grace is a bishop I have the opportunity to continue to work “under his wing”.

Well, there seems to be a discrepancy here. The bio on the website says this about his tonsuring:

On August 8, 1970, he was tonsured a monk of the Lesser Schema and given the monastic name Nikolai. The following day, he was ordained to the diaconate. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 4, 1972 at Saint Stevan Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, Alhambra, CA.

Which was well before he was assigned to St Paul mission in Las Vegas:

In 1988, Father Nikolai received a canonical release and was received into the ranks of clergy of the Orthodox Church in America. On November 13, 1988, he celebrated the first Divine Liturgy for the newly-founded Saint Paul the Apostle Mission.

So, his grace Nikolai was given his name at his tonsuring as a monk. (Orthodox monks are given new names to emphasize their break from the secular world. They also do not use their family name any longer for the same reason; this is why monks and bishops put their surname in parentheses.) This is quite the opposite of what I originally concluded; apparently his grace went by the name Nicholas, in spite of having the monastic name of Nikolai, prior to being raised to the episcopate. I apologize for my previous statements, and I applaud his grace for doing the right thing in the mission context of Las Vegas. That is actually quite extraordinary.

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3 Responses to “Please Do Not Press the Big Red Button”

  1. James Says:

    If this were the worse thing we had to worry about, which it is not, life would be great.

  2. Basil Says:

    James, it’s fascinating that you only comment to minimize my concerns. Thank you for exercising a ministry of putting people back into their place.

  3. John Says:

    Just press it 1000000000000000 times.youll get bored and stop- it works too!!