Ask Father Vasiliy

This column first ran on November 5, 2004.

Ask Father VasiliyDear Father Vasiliy,

My best friend, who is a Protestant, recently gave me an icon which he purchased at a Roman Catholic bookstore. Can I use this icon in my worship? It is a reproduction of Rublev’s “Hospitality of Abraham.”

Worried in Waukegan

Dear Waukegan,

I am worried to be hearing that your best friend is this Protestant. But perhaps you were at one time Protestant, and merely converted to One, True, Holy and Catholic Faith ahead of friend. Clearly friend buying of this icon is good sign.

Anyway, icon written by Rublev is good icon. Take to church and ask priest to bless icon, and any contamination from Roman Catholic bookstore will be removed. And please to keep praying for this friend. Is pity friend could not be born Russian, of course, but convert Orthodox is better than no Orthodox at all. Usually.

–Father Vasiliy


Dear Father Vasiliy,

I am worried I may have broken the church canon law. Recently, while flying in an Airbus 310 airplane from London to Edinburgh, one of the engines quit. The pilot came over the tannoy to tell us that we would be making an emergency landing in York. At that time I started praying to God and our Lady the Theotokos to save my life so I could see my little children again, who were waiting for me in Edinburgh. But I noticed many other people, some of whom I knew were not Orthodox Christians, also praying at the same time on the airplane. Does this constitute “praying with heretics”? Have I broken the canon law?

Edgy in Edinburgh.

Dear Edinburgh,

Was it Airbus 310 airplanes in Nineteenth Century Russia?! No, it was not! Airbus airplanes are made by godless French and German heretics who have little or no Orthodox piety. Then again, competitor Boeing’s airplanes are made by godless American heretics with little or no Orthodox piety. I am not sure how any of them stay in air for more than five or ten minutes.

But anyway, praying near somebody is not same as praying with somebody. If you go to Jerusalem and stand by Wailing Wall and pray, this does not make your prayer Jewish prayer. If you eat lunch next to Billy Graham and he prays over his meal with Billy Graham Protestant prayer, and you pray over your meal with Real Orthodox prayer, this does not make your prayer Protestant prayer. Although I must ask what you are doing eating lunch next to Billy Graham? This is real problem, not prayer in vicinity of non-Orthodox.

–Father Vasiliy.


Dear Father Vasiliy,

I have all of your CDs and I even have the picture of you from Strolling Rock magazine cut out and framed above my desk. Why did you have to quit music? Come back!

Fan in Fayetteville

Dear Fayetteville,

I am thinking you are confusing me with my son, Bug Vasileivichivich, who is former rap star and is now priest-in-training at Almondville Seminary in Almondville, New York. I have not released any of these CDs nor has my picture been in Strolling Rock magazine. Not that it couldn’t; Matushka tells me I am handsome and good-looking man. Usually at holiday celebrations involving much vodka.

–Father Vasiliy


Dear Father Vasiliy,

This may not get to you until after the election, but I am really not sure who I should vote for in this election. Neither candidate is Orthodox, and both have good and bad points, so it’s not easy to decide which one I should vote for. Can you give me any pointers for choosing political candidates?

Voter in Vicksburg

Dear Vicksburg,

This democracy is new-fangled invention which was certainly not ever practiced in Holy Russia before Bolsheviks, whose name I spit on, deposed beloved Tsar and Father and ruin good country. What is God-given form of government? Of course this is autocratic Tsar. Thus to decide which candidate to vote for, determine which will rule most like autocratic Tsar. Which will make arbitrary rules and enforce them or not depending on whim? Which will launch glorious wars to bolster his own renown? Which will do most to make life miserable and therefore increase prayer and dependence on God among peasantry? Vote for this man.

–Father Vasiliy

Copyright © 2004-2012 by Alex Riggle. All Rights Reserved.


About Your Intrepid Blogger

I live in the Tacoma area. When not writing things some people think are funny, I teach technology to 7th and 8th graders at a local middle school.

3 comments on “Ask Father Vasiliy

  1. The last question is certainly timely, Father. I plan to take your advice is deciding whom to vote for.

  2. Fr. Vasily, you seem to forget that one may never do an evil that good may come of it. Was it the priests teaching the faithful that the ends justified the means in 19th-century Russia? I think not!

    Although I agree that the government ought to lead people closer to God.

  3. […] Must have the icon corner with 50 icons…Must have the headscarf….Must have every Orthodox book the other converts have and claim to have read….Must dress like a 19th-century Russian peasant and wear a long, scraggly beard (assuming you’re a man, that is)….Must get upset that the people at church (Orthodox since birth) don’t do it “right,” the priest dresses too Catholic, there’s an organ and pews, nobody fasts beyond cutting out meat during the 10,000 Lenten days of the year–is outrage! […]

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