Tuesday, November 23, 2004

From Juliana Yulianovich
Nice Irish name that.

Gerard Serafin Bugge epilogue
Ms Yulianovich (actually in Russian it would be Юлияновна for a woman so I assume this lady is from Western Europe or North America) forwarded me this from the infamous Indiana List, the granddaddy of nasty Orthodox Internet places. Here it seems to live down to that, which calls for a balanced look at this fellow:

From: T.R. Valentine
Reply-to: Orthodox Christianity
Subject: Re: Gerard Bugge
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2004 14:49:11 -0800

On Monday November 22 2004 1:24 PM Daniel Scuiry wrote:

I've been informed that the controversial Gerard Bugge, also known as Gerard Serafin, who was a former Roman Catholic priest who often argued against Holy Orthodoxy on many Orthodox forums and groups, died this morning at 3 o’clock in his apartment in Maryland. Gerard had been very ill for several years.

May God rest and have mercy on his soul.
It saddens me that people here remember him this way. He was in love with the Orthodox tradition and while he may have had particular grievances with individuals he was hardly an enemy to Orthodoxy.
Sorry, Daniel, but he WAS an enemy of Orthodoxy. He was so antagonistic on Orthodox lists that he got himself kicked off multiple lists. His comments were full of poisonous venom against Orthodoxy with only a thin cover of feigned kindness. He admitted to deliberate lies in order to provoke Orthodox Christians.

I, for one, will not miss him.

Дорогая сестра в Христе, Юлияна Юлияновна!

Given the venom one sees on the Internet in the name of your church, with the Indiana List being notorious in that regard*, is it surprising that Gerard had a less than romantic view of it?

Like Al Smith said, let’s take a look at the record.

As I wrote, honestly, the 18th November not long after he died, Gerard had ‘a prickly love/hate relationship with Eastern Christians’, and I’m afraid one of the issues over which we crossed swords was his conduct on Eastern-churches newsgroups, listservs and message boards such as Indiana. Rather like me, in his own way he did like the Orthodox tradition a lot - in fact, St Benedict’s Church in Baltimore, where his requiem Mass was held Monday, is served by a Benedictine priest who is also in the Melkite Church, and St B’s, unusually high-church for American RCs, has a fine Byzantine Rite chapel. But where he went wrong was ‘picking on’ born Orthodox online in various fora, which as I tried (‘again and again, in peace’) to tell him in e-mails is not what Rome teaches is the proper approach to the Orthodox. (And for that he deserved to get thrown out of them.)

But the man I prefer to remember, besides loving his dog**, sounded quite different on his websites, which almost always are quite fair and present the beauty of the tradition. They include the best online resource for the Russian Catholic Church. The man behind the sites is who I choose to honour here - somebody who built up a ministry as his second career, which deserves respect.

And of course there was the honour of crossing swords with somebody who either held or had the equivalent of a master’s degree in theology.

(All of us on earth are sinners and I think whatever Gerard’s issues may have been, his apostolate and blog are testimonies that in the end he probably was repentant. One can’t accuse the man of not loving God!)

Gerard’s body was buried at St Mary’s RC Churchyard in Annapolis.

Dona ei requiem.

*And not just to non-Orthodox but internecine warfare as well. Да любим друг друга, anyone?

**Empathy with dogs is one of the few things I have in common with my late dad. Maybe Onion was there to see Gerard on the other side.

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