Khouria Frederica Mathewes-Green has done the most wonderful interview with Archbishop Lazar Puhalo on the role of the parish in family life and how it can actually help to restore the traditional, supportive aspect of the extended family that has been lost in our time. You can hear so clearly the wisdom and pastoral care that lies underneath Vladyka’s words.
Archbishop Lazar Puhalo, is a retired hierarch of the Orthodox Church in America and the founder of the All Saints of North America Monastery in Dewdney, British Columbia. He has had a long career as a prolific writer, theologian and speaker, but not always a quiet life. Considerable controversy came out of his persistent disputations against the late Fr. Seraphim Rose’s teachings on the aerial toll houses, which he views as almost gnostic. But that’s a discussion for another day.
Vladyka is a long ago convert to Orthodoxy, and has at various times been part of the Russian Church Outside of Russia, and the vagante groups of the Milan Synod, the Free Serbian Church and one of the Ukrainian groups, before landing in retirement with the Orthodox Church in America. Some strongly criticize his jurisdiction hopping, but it’s not my place to judge his pastoral history. It’s enough for me to know that he is a godly man, he’s been found to be in good standing and accepted into communion with canonical Orthodoxy, and preaches the Gospel with passion and purpose.
I met Archbishop Puhalo once back in the mid-90’s when he was invited to San Antonio by a member of my parish. During a gathering at someone’s home I spent a couple of hours eating dinner and listening to him talk about the spiritual life. He never mentioned toll houses or anything that wasn’t traditionally Orthodox and canonical. My impression to this day was of someone who was prayerful and kind, and a strong shepherd of Christ. During that trip he went out to Junction, Texas, about 120 miles west of San Antonio on Interstate 10 to visit the family cemetery. I believe he’d lived there for some time during his childhood and had family buried there. I would love to read an autobiography of his life, especially his journey to Orthodoxy.
Enjoy the podcast and please pray for Vladyka Lazar that God grants him many more years in his service!