Did Somebody Just Let the Cat Out of the Bag?

We here at Monomakhos are greatly encouraged by the level of discourse here. We’re also gratified by the quality of many of our correspondents and the information that they bring to the table.

Lately, one in particular, a Mr Greatly Saddened has provided us with a lot of information that we would not be privy to and for that, we thank him.

Of especial interest, is something that he posted the other day. I’m sure many of you read it but in case you didn’t (and I highly recommend that you do) here it is for your consideration:

Washington prepares successor for its spiritual representative in Turkey

It is startling to say the least. The author, a Mr Martin Banks blatantly states many troubling things, first and foremost that the Phanar is a tool of the US State Department. That’s what I mean by “letting the cat out of the bag”. It goes downhill from there. According to Banks, the State Department has given up on His Holiness Bartholomew for a variety of reasons, mainly because (in their eyes) he has mishandled several issues and in so doing, has strengthened the Moscow patriarchate’s hand.

If Banks’ thesis is correct –that the Ecumenical Patriarchate is mere an adjunct of the American government–then we have a lot of soul-searching to do. While we here in America are worried about the incipient “retirement” of Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis, it’s ironic that the incumbent Ecumenical Patriarch, may be the one taken down in the undertow. Worse, Banks states that the replacement for both men is already a done deal (as they say in the political world).

Hopefully, Banks’ prose style is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of Orthodox ecclesiology, the kind that we are subjected to constantly in the West in the mainstream media. That’s my hope anyway. But if not, then we’re going to be in a world of hurt. If Elpidophorous Lambrianides is indeed the designated successor (as Banks writes) then the neo-papalism which has only been hinted at during the incumbent’s archpastorate will be proclaimed with full force.

To be sure, Lambrianides, the present Metropolitan of Bursa, appears to be an accomplished man. To his credit, he has taken it upon himself to buy and refurbish several ancient churches in Turkey. That is all to the good. However, as the bishop of an extinct diocese which is part of a miniscule patriarchate, one wonders where he has received the monies necessary to undertake such an audacious restoration project. The author and certain Turkish businessmen do as well.

Is it possible that the globalists have given up on Bartholomew and transferring their attention and resources elsewhere?

Regardless, I thank Greatly Saddened (and many others) for their contributions to this site.

P.S. This should be the last posting for AD 2017. I hope you all have a Happy and Prosperous New Year! To those of our readers on the Old Calendar, we wish you a Blessed Nativity!

Comments

  1. I find the various speculations of who will be the next Ecumenical Patriarch to be completely amiss

    The next Ecumenical Patriarch appointed will be Yoda

    It is apparent that the State Department will only allow for the placement of a little green puppet who talks backwards

  2. Estonian Szlovak says:

    Again with the foolish remarks. What have you done to advance Orthodoxy, Big Man? I know I’ve done very little. I used to make fun of clerics, including bishops. I joked about Archbishop Dimitri of Blessed Memory, calling him “Tex”,etc.Now it turns out his relics are incorrupt. Then I used to talk smack about Archbishop Job. But I have seen with my own eyes the fruits of his labors.
    You and others here can berate the clergy. You all can complain about how things ought to be. Why priests have long beards, why we don’t have our own Bible, why we don’t have institutions like the Prods, the RC’s ,etc.
    I used to work with an Albanian man, a Moslem, much younger than myself. But we agreed on one thing; Complaining never did the dishes, never cut the grass, never put food on the table, either.
    If you have a solution to the problems, Big Man, go for it. Mocking the hierarchy, even if they may deserve it, won’t advance the Kingdom of God or your salvation. Think about it.

    • George Michalopulos says:

      ES, “Tex” is not an insult. 😉

      True story: about five years before he reposed, I told Arb Dmitri a story I had read once a long time ago. I read that during WWII an old widow living in the countryside in Tennessee shot and killed three escaped German POWs (there was a POW camp nearby her homestead). It caused an international incident needless to say. When she was brought before the International Red Cross and the commandant of the POW camp, she was berated because she had shot some German POWs. “Germans?!? I thought they was Yankees!”

      Vladyka laughed heartily in that boisterous laugh that only he had. Lord do I miss him.

      • Estonian Szlovak says:

        Right. My point being that I made stupid statements about hierarchy and have lived to eat my words. I spoke about “dumb hunkies” in the presence of the late Archbishop Job. This was back in the day when he was still Fr. John Osacky, but still it was a lack of sensitivity on my part. Whatever faults the late Archbishop had, he brought a lot of people into Orthodoxy before being elected as bishop.
        We will never know, but had Archbishop Job been elected Metropolitan, you in the DOS might have Vladyka Jonah as your bishop to this very day.

        • George Michalopulos says:

          Apology accepted. We’ve all had to eat our words at one time or another, haven’t we?

          As for MJ being archbishop of the South, you’re right, had he not been elected (at the head of an anti-Syosset lynch mob it should be remembered), he would be our hierarch. Our loss is ROCOR’s gain.

      • Tim R. Mortiss says:

        The given name of our priest is Nitant Tex Majmudar. He was born in Texas to Hindu Indian parents. The OB, a big Texan, suggested that they give him an American middle name. So they picked “Tex”.

        True story.

    • ES

      I’ve thought about it and you are right

      Maybe we should look at things from our leadership’s perspective instead of just our own

      After all, it’s not easy bein’ green

      • Estonian Szlovak says:

        Well, sir, complaint is fine and sometimes we need to hold people in charge accountable. I was actually paraphrasing Samuel Weller. Since you are a humorous man, you might enjoy “The Pickwick Papers,” by Charles Dickens. Mr. Weller was Mr. Pickwick’s man servant. Some of Mr. Weller’s one liners will have you in stiches.
        I wish you a happy new year. Hopefully , tomorrow you’ll join myself and those of us on the New Calendar and go to liturgy. We could use a St. Basil right about now, is my guess .

    • I have a very good friend at work, a highly competent black man who does the same job as I. We tease each other constantly about all things racial and political. He affectionately calls me the Rich White Republican.

      We have something of a tradition of going out for cheesecake together at our national meetings, and he almost always manages to get me to pick up the check “since you rich white Republican folk get everything.” Naturally, I am obliged in turn to tell him how stereotypical it is that white folks like me always wind up paying “for folk like you.”

      I recently texted him a pic of a black Santa I saw in one of my client’s offices, telling him that all my childhood illusions had been shattered (Say it ain’t so!) and that I was dreaming of a ‘white’ Christmas. On Christmas Eve, it snowed somewhat heavily where we live. So I texted him saying, “I’m not dreaming anymore. Rich White Republican gets everything!” He, of course, then texted me back a pic of a life-size black Santa with the words, “Not everything, my Rich White Republican friend.” And I, of course, replied, “All I know is I couldn’t see his face in the dark.”

      And so our teasing back and forth always goes. There is never any doubt between us that we love and respect each other both personally and professionally.

      And that is the point of sharing this. Humor is humor when there is love and respect for the butt of the joke. When love and respect are lacking humor ceases to be humor and turns ugly.

      When it comes to making fun of hierarchs, I suspect most have thick enough skins to laugh at themselves, and only those who tease about them know their own intent. There is, however, a line that we do well not to cross regardless of how nefarious they may seem to (or actually) be. Even Paul, when standing before the very high priest who handed our Lord over to death, having called him a whitewashed wall, corrected himself when he realized to whom who he was speaking, saying, “For it is written, ye shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.” And David, when presented multiple times with the opportunity to strike down the apostate King Saul, replied to the men who urged him on, “The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the LORD’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD.” And later… “Do not destroy him; for who can stretch out his hand against the LORD’s anointed, and be guiltless? As the LORD lives, the LORD shall strike him, or his day shall come to die, or he shall go out to battle and perish. The LORD forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the LORD’s anointed.”

      Regardless of how any of us may feel, whether rightly or not, about any of our hierarchs, they remain the rulers of our people and the anointed of the Lord until such time that “the LORD shall strike him, or his day shall come to die….” There is a place for speaking the truth in love, and even humor has its place (I know I appreciate a good joke). But we cross a line that God Himself has set when we cease to love and respect them and descend instead into speaking evil of those whom He has anointed or take matters that belong to God alone into our own hands.

      • Constaninos says:

        Dear Brian,
        Have you ever read of the things traditional Catholics say about Pope Francis? The worst pope in history……etc.

        How about the Ecumenical Patriarch? Everyone calling him “Bart.”

        • Constaninos,

          Yes. I have seen those thoughts about the Pope. It remains to be seen, I suppose. It is his “off the cuff” remarks that Catholics I know find most problematic (speaking generously).

          For what it’s worth, the title “Ecumenical Patriarch” makes little sense to me in terms of our ecclesiology. Patriarch of Constantinople and, at least for the present, first among equals (for purely historical and practical reasons that can change) is more than adequate. “Bart” is disrespectful to say the least.

          My own thoughts about any sort of ecumenism center on knowledge of the Holy Trinity as Person(s). Any ‘official’ union of the sort being pursued by some will be artificial and therefore false. Even so, I firmly believe that God knows those who know him wherever they may be found in the accidents of history. It is always possible to really know persons as persons and still know little about them. I knew and loved my dad when I was a kid, but I knew very little about him. This can be true of Catholics, Protestants… anyone. As a convert myself now decades in, I can testify truly that the God of the Orthodox Church is not a different God than He whom I worshiped before. When I learned the fullness of truth my response was, “This is the God I have known all my life, but never until now did doctrine about Him truly align with the Person(s) I knew.”

          Thus, although criticism of false doctrine is thoroughly justified, I am loathe to judge any who are currently outside the Orthodox Church. God was patient with me. Who am I not to be patient with others who find themselves where I once was? What I do know is that no “compromise” or false union brought me to the Church. It was her uncompromising faithfulness to the truth that drew me and will doubtless draw others in time – not to an “Ecumenical Patriarch” or “Pope of Rome” or any possible other future “First among equals,” but to to the truth of God Himself in His Church.

          Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” Gospel of John (17:3)

          BTW, I so appreciate the humility reflected in all your posts. So glad you are here!

      • Brian

        Black Santa is real

        His name is Ray Ray

        He rides through everyone’s neighborhood giving out “acquired” gifts from out the back of a van

        He was sick one Christmas, so he asked black Jesus to take the wheel. Black Jesus said he couldn’t because his license is suspended

        Last year, I got a bootleg copy of an audio book: The autobiography of James Earl Jones (narrated by Morgan Freeman)

  3. Joseph Lipper says:

    Erdogan is now warming up to Pope Francis:

    https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2017/12/29/president-erdogan-pope-discuss-jerusalem-welcome-unga-resolution

    If Erdogan has become highly suspicious of the Phanar because of it’s U.S. connections, then this doesn’t sound good at all for the EP. I could be wrong, but I believe it’s technically and politically possible for Erdogan to put the Pope in charge of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. It was during the times of the Sultans that the Patriarchate would often be sold to the highest bidder.

    However, even if the EP collapses, the Church will continue. Look at what happened in Russia. The Bolsheviks tried to destroy the Church in Russia, but it kept going, and now it’s blossoming.

  4. Monk James says:

    The Patriarchate of Constantinople is a historical oddity and an ecclesial anomaly — all chiefs, no Indians.

    This is no longer a church, but a bureaucracy which keeps appealing in vain to a misinterpretation of Canon 28 of Chalcedon to justify its continued existence, fictitiously claiming as its own territory far beyond its original borders, especially North and South America, not to mention Asian areas where it has come into conflict with the Patriarchate of Antioch.

    Enough! The second Rome fell more than five centuries ago. It’s time and long past time for the autocephalous churches to defer to a real. more competent and capable ‘first among equals’.

    Of the ancient patriarchates, Antioch is under siege and Jerusalem is almost as devoid of parishes as is Constantinople. Only Alexandria is a likely candidate, but it is now a largely missionary church, thank Heaven, and its work throughout Africa is a blessing for all the world.

    That leaves us wondering which church among the more recently established patriarchates might be considered. From my angle, it looks like only the Church of Russia is strong enough to take on the burden.

    The recent presence of the primates (or their representatives) of all the autocephalous churches at the observances marking the centenary of the restoration of the Patriarchate of Moscow — all, that is, but the churches of Constantinople and Greece — must be seen in alarming contrast to the rather poor attendance of the autocephalous churches at the recent ‘great and holy synod’ convoked by the Church of Constantinople at Khania in Crete.

    Perhaps the Kievan monk Nestor the Chronicler was right when he wrote of ‘Moscow the third Rome, and a fourth there will not be.’

    • George Michalopulos says:

      For what it’s worth MJ, I believe that Nestor was correct. As far as any particular primate being “first among equals”, can we just do away with that? There’s no need for it anymore as there is no need for a true Council (which can only be called by the laity through their secular representative –an Orthodox Christian emperor or king).

      I’m not saying do away with the Diptychs but they are just a historical oddity, something that is needed to cement chronology and establish the protocols necessary for a liturgical concelebration.

  5. Gail Sheppard says:

    There won’t be a third Rome if the EP and his supporters are successful in bringing back the first Rome.

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Gail, mixed metaphor alert: now that’s a kick in head coming out of left field!

      A lot to process there.

    • Monk James says:

      Dear Gail —

      Constantinople’s playing footsie with Rome might get those two cities — or at least their bishops — back into communion, but it will NOT EVER seduce really Orthodox Christians into such an arrangement.

      Through the intercessions of our holy father Mark of Ephesus, Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us.

      • Gail Sheppard says:

        I know, Father, and this gives me strength but I am also heartbroken at the possibility. There are many who will be left shaken and confused. They don’t have the spiritual depth to navigate this. We will see brother against brother yelling, “heretic,” like we see with old and new calendarists. The age old Patriarchates will separate, separating history itself. Politicians will gain a stronger foothold and the “movers and shakers” will move to the other side because it’s more profitable. Mt. Athos will be portrayed as a fundamentalist sect and monasteries all over the world will suffer. Russia will perceived as even more of a threat which will cause tension around the world. Individuals like my sister-in-law, who calls God the “G Man,” and likes the Pope, will never really understand what being Orthodox means nor will I be able to explain it to her because she will think she already knows. Protestants will be seduced (this campaign is already in process) and, together, they will gain strength, calling themselves the “Christian stronghold,” although, because they have turned away from the Church, they won’t be Christian at all; just some new-aged version of it. Will Trump be able to see the True Church or will he succumb to the fantasy? Where will my daughter land in all this?

        I’m beginning to understand what Christ meant about having to leave your family to follow Him and it’s going to be excruciatingly painful.

        Yes, the Faithful will be safe. Others??? Not so much and it breaks my heart.

        • Michael Bauman says:

          “…it breaks my heart.” As it should dear lady. Many will be seduced. The darkness is really good at that. Especially where there is an iota of lust for power in one’s heart or the desire to be accepted by others. The great apostasy has been long predicted. “A corn of wheat must fall into the ground….”

          The Cross is the answer but that requires internalizing “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Lord grant me the strength of mercy rather than the weakness of condemnation.

          Our Lord will have mercy on us all for He is Risen!

        • The Advocate says:

          OHH GAIL, Orthodoxy will be what it has always been, just more labels in the future, perhaps in case anyone was confused. Sorry your heartbroken, but I believe God has bigger fish to try, fry, dry and re-apply, than our labels, hats, bosses, and forgotten Kingdoms that have turn to dust, and rotted away long ago. Israel of old is long gone, but my how we seek a New Rome. None of it will matter in the end. Believe it or not, many Catholics, and Protestants, and even Western minded Orthodox might even be herded with the sheep, instead of the goats. Do you really believe God thinks, judges, and labels as we on earth do?

          • Estonian Szlovak says:

            You again, Klancko? Glad you are feeling confident enough that you can speak with the mind of God.

            • The Advocate says:

              Hey stoner, no Klancko here, now go back under. BTW, if you telling me us Orthodox are not guilty of interpreting God, well, sonny, I have a National Shrine I can sell you, for a good price.

              • Estonian Szlovak says:

                You may not be Klancko, but I’m not a stoner, either. You sound like him at any rate. I’m also 65, so I’m not your sonny, either. Are you Millman, perhaps?
                I hold with Mr. Bauman, Gail Sheppard, and our host, George,on most things. Make of that what you will.

                • ES

                  I don’t know who The Advocate is, or how old he is

                  I do, however, know that Tim Mortiss is older than you by 4 years. He is 69

                • The Advocate says:

                  Got me beat by 10 years. Stoner, eStonian, get it? Not Millman, even if I was, or any other former poster, I would not tell you my name, so respect that, or don’t reply. No disrespect to any of you, just laying it out as I see it. Can we move on now?

                  • Estonian Szlovak says:

                    Well,no, because you, Millman,and Klancko are always harping on how the church must be more American. Sorry, I’ll stick with George on this one. Y’all make me wish the South had won the Civil War after all.

                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      ;-).Thanks. For those who want something more “American” I’d ask you to wait another decade or so. The whole Americanist, Pastor Billy Bob/Pastorette Betty Bighair phenomenon is dying out as we speak.

                    • Constaninos says:

                      Dear Estonian Slovak,
                      Is it possible for us to stop beating a dead horse? Millman no longer comments on this forum so why bring him up? Wouldn’t you agree that he probably doesn’t give you a second thought? By fixating on him, you give him power in your life that he shouldn’t have. I think we have bigger fish to fry. Don’t you?
                      Speaking of bigger fish to fry, I would love to see the Orthodox Church in America have its own cable television station. We need to talk about Christ, His Holy Orthodox Church, and lead people to the fullness of faith as expressed in our ancient faith. America is in desperate need of Orthodoxy. We have the truth faith. We should let it shine for all men to see. Remember, our Lord said, ” By this shall all men know you belong to Me that you love one another. We can all be icons of Christ- and then the world will see how wonderful Orthodoxy is. This is in no way meant as personal criticism toward you. Having read your posts, I know that you are a humble man- and I respect you deeply for your Christ like humility. You are my brother in Christ- and I love you in Christ.

                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      The issue, it seems to me, is endemic to the site: we have gone through periods of five individuals at once using the moniker “anonymous,” there was a rash of Basils for a while, and other assorted contrivances and disguises leading one to believe this site is the sole commentary repository for Orthodox Christians ensconced in the federal witness protection program. And as it turns out, some have literally been “outed” as the creeps they have literally been accused as being, so go figure… I have yet to figure out what an honest man or woman stands to lose by using their real name and strongly suspect it is nothing more than license to throw stones under the cover of shadow.

                  • Tim R. Mortiss says:

                    Groovy, man…..

                    (Heck, I was even a student at U of Cal/Berkeley in 1966-67).

                    Far out, dude! As for my name, it’s in the public domain.

                    “Moving on” though, is the one thing I’ve never been able to do. Not an inch.

          • Michael Bauman says:

            Advocate (still do not know what you are an advocate for). Your post is a perfect example of modernism, i.e., A false eschatology and perhaps the greatest most pervasive heresy the Church has ever faced. (That does not mean that I am saying you are a heretic).

            Modernism is not confronted with an equally false traditionalism as some think. That in itself is part of the same heretical way of thinking.

            Neither time nor space allow me to do a general deconstruction of modernism but allow me to make a few points (among an almost infinite number of permutations and combinations):
            1. It replaces the eschatology of the union with Christ and His return to fulfill all with the idea of progress. (Every day in every way things and people get better and better).
            2. Each of us individually determines who we are and consume what we need and want. That is our “right”
            3. There is no hierarchy of values, or truth as each man is his own god.
            4. Such “progress” is dialectic in nature and the synthesis is always better than what went before.
            5. In the process man and our shared experience (history) are devalued, mocked and dismissed.
            5a. In the study of history it is the error of presentism. A intellectual conceit that places more value on what is present and evaluates everything on the basis of one’s present ideology, culture, etc. The counter to this is called empathetic projection.
            6. It is truly a-theistic even in its most mild forms. Certainly it denies the incarnation.
            7. The state or state-like entity becomes the arbiter and primary actor in “progress”.
            8. All those who deny progress are worthy of death (not always that stark but that is the essence).

            What you call labels can be archaic nonsense to be sure or worse (traditionalism, ethnocentrism, etc.), but there is a reality to the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church that exists and cannot be denied without consequence. Both claim to be the one holy and apostolic Church. Only one can be correct. (The option for neither is not viable and the Protestants simply have no claim at all). There is only one Church, the Body of Christ, because there is only one Christ Incarnate Lord. There is one narrow way. Acknowledging and following that way with repentance is critical.

            The historical, spiritual and theological evidence for the RCC claim does not hold water or life. There are simply too many ways that they depart from the Apostolic deposit that the Church, through the Holy Spirit, holds and for which she is the fount.

            The Orthodox Church, as troubled as we are, is the one, holy, and apostolic Church. Therefore to deny that reality in favor of the RCC claim especially labeled as “unity” is a grave error and will have grave consequences for those who initiate such error and deep confusion for many more. At best it is an adulteration of the truth, at worst an outright denial of it. Call it what you will, schism, heresy or apostasy, it is not good.

            I cannot say what the consequences will be but the consequences will be evident at the dread judgment seat of Christ we all must face. Lord have mercy on us all.

            It is important to recognize such realities not so that I can justify myself and call others heretic and damned (God forbid). Christ is everywhere present and fills all things after all. That means that anyone with a humble soul can encounter Christ at any moment anywhere. That does not mean that all things are equal. Egalitarianism is a potent part of heretical modernism.

            We are still required to discern and act on that discernment. Such discernment is important for my own soul so that I do not fall into a similar or worse error. Also so that I may pray in humility and minister for/to my brothers and sisters who have gone astray. That is what Gail is doing.

            O Lord and Master of my life, Take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility patience and love to Thy servant. Ye, O Lord and King, grand me to see my own sins and not to judge my brother. Blessed art thou unto ages of ages, Amen!

            • George Michalopulos says:

              Brilliant, Michael!

            • The Advocate says:

              “The Orthodox church, as troubled as we are, is the one holy, and apostolic Church.” I agree Mr. Bauman, but how much more trouble can the Orthodox continue to slide into, until it is no different than RCC? Corruption can destroy the Church, do not become so arrogant that it can’t. Yes there would always be very small pockets of Holy Orthodoxy around the world, but is that what you want? I am a Orthodox Christian. I want the Church to flourish in the proper way, not the Greek or Russian way, but a Universal Orthodox church, if we hook up our saddles to Russia, we have just internationally labeled Orthodoxy, as Russian, just as the Greeks have done here, in America. This will alienate many, and our numbers will continue to dwindle. Meanwhile Islam is the fastest growing religion in America, and the world.

              • The Advocate

                Word.

                • The Advocate says:

                  Be careful BJS, your friends will turn quick on you.

                  WORD! Of the day: You appeared to the world today, and your light, O Lord, has left it’s light upon us. With fuller understanding we sing to you:”You came, you were made manifest, the unapproachable light.” Kontakion of Holy Epiphany

              • Michael Bauman says:

                There is no “universal” Orthodox Church. The Church is local and particular. Thus we should have a local Church here as well. We do not yet. It is forming in the shadows. It may take the local death of the Russian, Greek and Arabic extensions for it to be revealed. Candlesticks may be removed. It is likely to be a suffering Church.

                The Church need not be large, a mustard seed or a bit of leven will do.

                We are not in charge of history. My only hope is that I can live a life of repentance by the grace of God.

                He is our incarnate Lord and Savior, He did die on the Cross and He arose from the dead. May God give me the grace to embrace the Cross of my life and run the race to completion in communion with our Lord and His people.

                The rest is not up to me at all. The “lust of power” is quite broad in our modern world. So many “choices”. So much change that must be done for which I am responsible. Nonsense. Right out of Thus Spake Zarathrustra.

                I am not a quietist but God is best approached in silence, stillness and humility. When I am still He acts. I no longer have the arrogance to tell God what He must do with His Church.

                There has always been corruption in the Church. The stinking putefaction of sin. We’re it otherwise, it would not be the Church. At the core is Jesus Christ, calling us all to repentance through the Church. In the Church. That is what keeps us from becoming the RCC. It is what keeps the world from disintegrating into nothingness. It is a small, quiet voice.

                Glory to God for all things!

                • The Advocate says:

                  Thank you Mr. Bauman, Quite moving, and, in all sincerity, we seem to be more of one mind, than I thought. I hope some day I can see things even more the way you do, or more importantly not see things, that are not of my salvation. I must say, just as it is hard not to turn away from videos of starving children, or abused animals, and not want to help, so it is with our Church on a universal scale. Yes, you and I choice good first, but do we not also want to combat evil? You are a true disciple of Christ, in my opinion, and your many thoughts have had a lasting impression on me. First and fore most I hope I am as well, but my eyes burn with hate, when I witness the highest authorities of Christ’s Church scandalize our church, and say to myself why, and how can I change such things from continuing. Please correct me if you can, but our creed states, In one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. Is catholic, not in most ways also universal?

                  • Michael Bauman says:

                    Advocate, the truth is that any sin you see in others rests also in your own heart somewhere. It may not dominate, but it is there.

                    When Jesus went up on the mountain of Transfiguration He prayed. Things did not change, the disciples did not change, Jesus changed.

                    So, when you see sin, repent crying out fervently for the Lord’s mercy. Then pray for the others for their salvation. Do not pray at them usurping God’s position of knowing what they need, but for them that they come into the Kingdom. At some point you will begin to mean it.

                    Such work is hard and I forget often, most of the time actually, but it is the Christian way.

                    We are not required to defend sin, nor to eradicte it. The Lord says resist not evil, do good.

                    Acts of kindness and mercy and love, especially for our enemies do more to overcome evil.

                    Also find reasons to give thanks and reasons to laugh.

                    The powers and principalities against whom we strive cannot abide either.

                    “The phenomenon of cacination is an irrelevancy that almost amounts to a revelation.”. Christopher Frye

                    • The Advocate says:

                      Cacination? Don’t know the meaning, and neither does Google. What am I missing?

                    • Gail Sheppard says:

                      Context is everything, Advocate. Google the phrase.

                    • The Advocate says:

                      Thanks Gail, Deep in my cobwebs, I knew that the phrase would have worked. At this point of my life, I need a good slap on both cheeks, to get the old bulb to work. By the way, The “My Love” phrase was a poor attempt at keeping in the silly 1970s song themes. I was not planning on calling you My Love, instead of Gail after that. That would be creepy. Thanks for being cool.

                      Abashedly yours,
                      The Advocate

            • The Advocate says:

              If I may add, Mr. Bauman, you go on about modernism, heresy, eschatology, and traditionalism, etc. So a Monk/Elder so respected is now a Saint, Saint Paisios. He prophecies about wars in which Russia invades Turkey, a third of Turkey goes Christian, and Istanbul is given back to the Greeks, and again renamed Constantinople. Other Elders and monks teach tollhouse theories, which splits Orthodox Christians into two camps, this is all cool, and not heresy, or false eschatology? We have Monks proclaiming wild prophecies and theories, which label some modernist, and some fundamentalist, they are responsible for that, not people like I, who are not afraid to ask questions of Orthodoxy. Good grief, is it possible that the Monks may be wrong, even as much they pray, which of course makes them holy and the ability to see into the future. I don’t know what label I fall into, but I do know I need a drink, so pass the Wild Turkey my friend, I need a drink to keep up with you boys.

              • George Michalopulos says:

                Advocate, nobody is perfect and saints can (and have) made mistakes. And I’m not saying that your list of grievances fall into the rank of heresy. They could very well be true. Right now, I’d go with prayerful speculation that should be considered by those of us on this side of the grave with a modicum of respect.

                Still, for your own equilibrium and salvation, please go easy on these Elders. They aren’t saints for nothing.

                • Martyr’s Guilt says:

                  Yes Monks that became saints should be left alone they sacrificed much in their lives for us to disrespect now. George do you believe Elder Ephraim of Arizonawill become a Saint some day after his repose? Or do you believe the deep pocketed GOA Archons will pressure The GOA against the Elder’s sainthood?

                  • George Michalopulos says:

                    Good question! Excellent observation as well. Truth be told, the future of the GOA as presently constituted would be a more pertinent question, not whether they will canonize the Elder at some future date. I could go on but I’ll leave it there for now.

                    Regardless, thanks for bringing this up.

                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      MG, I’ve had more time to think about your observations. You really came out of left field with this one: I didn’t see it coming. Wasn’t on my radar. Maybe that’s the point.

                      Even the much-derided OCA has canonized several American (or American-based) saints. ROCOR has as well (in Maximovitch). The Antiochians have produced a saint (Raphael of Brooklyn) as have the Serbs (Velimirovich). As to who canonized the non-OCA saints I leave to others to decide.

                      That’s not the point however. The GOA has no credible mechanism for doing so. It’s simply not in the cards. And that’s a huge problem if you ask me. And then when you throw in the Archons as the real leaders of the GOA, you see how and why the GOA cannot and will not accede the very idea. We’re not talking simply about whether the Elder will be recognized by them but whether anybody at all can be. Even some good-time Charlie who;s a billionaire with a trophy wife who glad-hands Hollywood celebrities and Congressmen.

                      What I’m trying to say is that the GOA as presently constituted is a an ethnic nostalgia club with tinges of religiosity, not unlike Freemasonry during its heyday. I think even those who are in the GOA see it.

                    • Martyr’s Guilt says:

                      Honestly I have no answers. As a GOA member I’m really surprised we have no mechanizism. I myself think to leave the GOA but I love my parish, and we are truly a Christ centered church. Also I’m not ashamed to say I love being Greek and around other Greeks. Do you have any good suggestions?

                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Stay where you’re at MG. If you’re a Christ-centered GOA parish then you’ve got nothing to worry about.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says:

                      I agree; we have a Christ-centered GOA parish and have nothing to be worried about. I love being around my parish brethren, though not because they are Greeks. And lots of them aren’t, including myself.

                  • Estonian Szlovak says:

                    We shouldn’t speculate on someone being made a saint while they are still alive. There was a Greek American archimandrite that some people glorified while he was living. It turned out later that he was a lying con artist who used “holy obedience” to force himself on monks and novices. Lets focus on those who have reposed and may be saints like Archbishop Dimitri.

                    • Estonian Szlovak says:

                      MG, there is no reason why you can’t celebrate being Greek and still be a good Orthodox. My late spiritual father was a Greek Hieromonk. My current spiritual father is a married Greek priest.
                      I’m a Slavophile who nevertheless loves the Greek chant. The first time I walked into a Greek church after my late spiritual father had died and heard the Christmas katavasia, I teared up.
                      It’s all about salvation, not ethnicity, but there’s no reason to deny your ethnicity, either. I think one problem with the OCA is that so many of the original members were confused about their identity. This is largely due to their Uniate heretige. There still is the debate, Russian or Ukrainian, Carpatho Russian, or Carpatho Rusyn. As long as one is Orthodox first, none of the above should be a problem.

                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Brilliant overview of the situation, ES. I heartily agree.

                    • Martyr’s Guilt says:

                      We Greeks are goofy cool and as stated I love hanging with them. Nothing better though, than a goofy cool and pious Greek Orthodox Christian! Or slip whatever nationality before Greek.

                  • The question is whether Constantinople will become officially Uniate before Elder Ephraim passes, the question of canonization aside. I have friends still in GOARCH and the only advice I would give them is to have a safe landing spot ready and waiting for them if they intend to stay Orthodox in the event Bartholomew concelebrates with the Latins.

                    He has been formally accused of heresy before the Synod of the Church of Greece by a long list of Greek fathers.

                    https://orthodoxethos.com/post/formal-accusation-of-heterodox-teaching-by-patriarch-bartholomew-submitted-to-the-hierarchy-of-the-church-of-greece

                    Note the list of hierarchs joining in the accusation at the end of the Greek text.

                    The question is what would GOARCH do in the event of his being excommunicated. I hope that they would break from Constantinople and seek the omophorion of the Church of Greece.

              • Michael Bauman says:

                Advocate, we are all infected with Modernism. It is inescapable. It is the water we swim in. It is the spirit of our age, God help us. All the more reason to be gentle with one another. We, by the grace of God, are better than fish and have the ability to perceive to a certain extent the water we are swimming in and perceive to some extent that it is poisonous. Repentance/forgiveness is the antidote to the poison but it must be partaken of often and in large doses. We have no power to drain the swamp, that is God’s work don’t you think? But through His grace and mercy, we can swim in somewhat less poisonous water. As I repent/forgive, the water around me seems to get a bit more clear.

                Saint Paisios was given to see many things because he was lifted up by God, but it is notoriously difficult to transfer such knowledge to human understanding, bound by time and sin as we are. St. Paisios was not bound to the extent that I am through God’s love.

                His prophecy, if that is what it is, sounds quite reasonable to me or at least possible. We may all get to see at some point, or not.

                I am not given to know. I can barely order my own life in accord with God’s will and love (only with repentance and forgiveness), let alone the world or history. God bless and keep our Bishops for they have a heavy burden.

                What I take from the tollhouse paradigm is the necessity for repentance. The more we repent, the less hold the demons have on us.

                Demons have no ontological reality but they do have existential reality. They have no power except what I give them. Repentance/forgiveness is the best way to deal with their urgings don’t you think? If tollhouses exist, they exist in my own being created by my own sin blocking the noetic union with my Savior to which I am called.

                Our being is far more expansive than what we normally consider and quite difficult to describe in human language. We can enter into the boundless reality of the Kingdom because of the Incarnation. There is more there than is dreamed of in philosophy, Horatio.

                “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” That is the best spiritual direction we can have, especially during the Lenten season.

                Forgive me all if I cause offense. It is seldom intentional.

                Blessed Lent and Pascha to all.

                • Michael,

                  Some demons have ontological reality. Evil itself lacks ontological reality but when we say demons we are sometimes talking about fallen angels after all. Demons in the sense of psychological complexes is another matter.

                  The toll houses are not a controversial subject in the Church of Russia. ROCOR reviewed the Russian works on systematic theology and the attestation of the Church Fathers during the dispute between Fr. Seraphim Rose and Lev Puhalo.

                  “Actually, no one can dogmatically establish the existence of the toll-houses precisely in accordance with the form described in the dream (of Gregory recounted in the life) of Basil the New, insofar as no direct indication thereto is to be found in the Scriptures. However, this tradition has been preserved, with varying details, from profound antiquity and contains nothing that is contrary to piety. It is cited in all texts of dogmatic theology.” – From minutes of ROCOR Synod on the subject controversy http://orthodoxinfo.com/death/tollhouse_debate.aspx

                  Yet the important thing to take away from them is the idea of the personal judgment – that we will face a preliminary judgment upon our deaths before the Last Judgment of all. Christ preached the parable of the Last Judgment for a good reason, much is at stake and is often lost in kumbaya McChristianity.

                  • George Michalopulos says:

                    “McChristianity”! I love it! I’m gonna borrow it if you don’t mind.

                  • Michael Bauman says:

                    Misha, yes, you are correct. Thank you. I was sloppy. As you indicate the controversy is a distraction from the whole point: repentance is necessary for our salvation.

                  • Misha,
                    Please, do tell about “Demons in the sense of psychological complexes…” Do you have any personal experience with such a struggle or is this just your guess on the subject? Have you any training or degree which qualifies you to work with those who have psychological struggles? And, would you consider Demons the source of physical ailments as well (such as a 2 year with leukemia, or an 18 yr old with rheumatoid arthritis, or breast cancer, heart attacks, MS….)?

                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Saunca, we don’t know the etiology of many diseases or why some people smoke 5 packs a day and die in an old age home while some who never inhaled second-hand smoke die from cancer at 35. Personally, I won’t ever pontificate on why patient X got disease Y, was it because of material causes or spiritual ones?

                      The only thing I know for sure is that Jesus cured many people and some of them, he did so by exorcising demons from them.

                    • Michael Bauman says:

                      Saunca, St.Luke of the Crimea (a world renown doctor of medicine, a bishop of the Church, a confessor for the faith and a worker of miracles) had this simple test when someone presented with psychological disturbances: set out three small glasses of water, one glass filled with Holy Water. If the person drank all three glasses, a psychologist was in order. If the person refused to drink the Holy Water, then an exorcisim was called for.

                      It is unlikely that demons are the cause of many bodily diseases. Demons bother us if they can, but they have no direct power, only temptation and suggestion. They are likely at the root of all suicide not to mention other sorts of emotional, spiritual and psychological distress however.

                      Nevertheless they are real and evil capable of great deceit.

                      Lord have mercy. Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered….

                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      You’re right. The demons can have no physical power over us. The potential for spiritual control is significant. Many diseases arise from spiritual degradation

                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      Mr. Michalopulos,

                      As an allied medical professional, and presumably a scientist – dispensing & compounding medications for which you know and appreciate (or should know and appreciate) the pharmacokinetics and methods and modes of actions on the human physiology, you continually surprise me with these “off-beat” interpretations of the natural world.

                      After several weeks of bantering about the term συμφωνία as a “geo-political” term, let’s not forget its origin was with Aristotle, to follow and be refined conceptually with the greatest of the Holy Fathers, Sts. Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, John Chrysostom, Maximos the Confessor, Symeon the New Theologian, John of Damascus, and Gregory Palamas: it literally was the worst of medical science in the context of our time, but the best conceptually of the natural law for all time: to see us as an aggregate of factors we now identify as genetics/epigenetics; embryology/biophysiology/endocrinology/neurology; psychology/psychiatry (including our perceptions/memory/executive functions, etc.); social (including family of origin; marriage & children; family of “creation,” referring to friends & colleagues; and our societal context); and faith/religion (which also includes spirituality, morality, & sobriety). Most importantly, we continue to hold that any attempt to disrupt the integrity of the aggregate – to “examine” or focus attention on a single factor of the symphony to the exclusion of the aggregate will result in error of interpretation. In other words, was the disease – in the context of this fallen world – “because of material causes or spiritual ones?” Yes.

                      With the completion of the mapping of the human genome, and the extraordinary emergent diagnostic technology at our disposal simply in the past decade, we are hardly “pontificating” without clue or substance as to even the most arcane and obscure diseases unknown to us even undiscovered simply five years previous. The field of epigenetics, for example – the exploration of the impact of the environment on human physiology without disrupting the underlying structure of the genome – stands to contribute to our understanding, and will ultimately assist us in ending significant aspects of human suffering as we know it.

                      Finally, when considering that the Lord exorcized demons and healed the infirmities among believers, bear in mind that, in his own words, He did so in order that “the works of God” [τὰ ἔργα τοῦ Θεοῦ] might be “revealed” [φανερωθῇ] (Jn. 9:3), rather than to make a statement on the “ontology” of demons.

                    • Saunca,

                      Colloquially, we speak of a person having demons sometimes when we mean that they have some psychotic or sociopathic complex due to nurture or trauma. That’s all I was referring to. Generally, anything that has to do with mental health I refer people to professionals in that area. No water test.

                      Now, If I actually saw objective indications of demon possession, that would be another thing entirely. That does happen and there are clear accounts in the Gospel of believers driving out demons in the name of Jesus Christ as well as Christ Himself driving out demons.

                      But those cases are few and far between. Even then, I would call a priest rather than try to deal with it myself.

                      I once had a car we suspected was possessed by demons. Something was wrong with its internal computer such that its lights would click on and off at all hours of the day or night for short spells.

                      I had my priest bless/exorcise it. It didn’t really change anything and the poor car passed away shortly thereafter. Again, electrical locked up the timing and it seized the engine. Totaled.

                      I like to think the blessing gave it a few extra quality months.

                  • The Advocate says:

                    Misha, This might sound strange, but I wish Matthew 25:31-46 never existed. Am I insane? Am I cursed for eternal damnation? Why does Christianity seem bi-polar to me? We are spun so many directions, yet no matter what happens or does not, God is always right, and we must understand that, even when we don’t. We are told we are saved by Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection, yet the works seem near impossible to accomplish. Yet again, and again, all we need to do is repent, and confess, but what if the confession is not really heartfelt? I love Christ for all he has done for me, and all I receive from him, but at the same time, I am naturally a greedy person, and most of the time do not:Clothe, feed, and visit those less fortunate than myself.

                    Honestly most times the homeless piss me off, and I find them a nuisance, and just wish they would get out of my way. Even if I made, helping them a full time endeavor, would it be enough? There will always be some, I pass up, and if I do, and repent, and confess such things, and of course forgiven, then what’s the point? I still ignore Christ over and over, repent, confess, repeat, over and over. Yet again the parable is very clear, he will turn away, from those who turned away from him.

                    Example:If I walk down a street in downtown Los Angeles, every corner has a couple homeless people, they all ask for money, I always have money in my wallet, if I ignore one out the dozen, begging for money, have I sinned, and denied Christ in my ignoring one out the dozen homeless people. Or another, an obvious drug addicted mother, and father, totting children in a grocery store parking lot beg for money, because they say they need gas money, when I know for sure they are looking for their next fix, ignore the face of Christ, or give them the drug money? This happens at two or three times a week, must I always pay up, or risk eternal fire and ignore them, do I spend the rest of my life, bringing them groceries, or have them follow me to a gas station to make sure they use the money properly?

                    • He said it for a reason. People of his day were concerned about lineage, correct doctrine and correct ritual. He said that if you want to avoid hellfire, treat those beneath you as if they were Me.

                      It’s classic Christ. If God is indeed love, then what other standard could there be than love?

                      It’s a bad idea to ask just how much is enough. Pace yourself. But do focus. OCD is what screwed up Luther. That’s a whole ‘nother problem entirely involving lack of faith in God’s mercy.

                      Hope that helps.

                    • Gail Sheppard says:

                      Advocate,

                      If there were a spiritual equivalent to body dysmorphia, you would have just described it. Focusing on the idea that one is not worthy because one does not do everything perfectly is crazy making behavior. Matthew 25:31-46 isn’t so much about specific actions as it is about the awareness that in doing these things, we have the opportunity to connect with Christ. There is a symbiotic nature to the act of giving. The Christ within us is moved to help another and in doing so we are able to connect to Him. It’s almost like the completion of a circuit. The more we are moved, the more we act on it. The more we act on it, the more we connect with Christ. The more we connect with Christ, the more we take on His nature. The more we take on His nature, the more likely He is to see His image in us when He returns, because that’s what He’s going to be looking for. . . His own image. He’s not keeping scorecards like the demons. With Christ, I suspect it is a positive threshold: He is either within you or you have rejected Him. Just going through the motions (includes confession) turns you into a “Pharisee,” not a “tax collector.” (Luke 18 11-14)

                      The action, itself, is not the end game. We see this delusion on a global level, too. Take a close look at the Vatican Nativity Scene. It’s all about what man can do for God; not what God has done for man. The birth of Christ is being diminished. His own mother and father are looking away from Him, as is the angel of good tidings! All the figures around Him are engaged in exercising their own ideas about what is “good,” forgetting the central focus is always, and must always be, Christ. – On a side note, it is alarming to see what appears to be a crumbling Church with an Orthodox icon of the Theotokos on the left and a brand new, man-made pavilion on the right. Are they also suggesting that through their own actions they can remake the Church?!

                      If it is not in your heart to give, Advocate, it may be because you’re not connecting with Christ when you do it. Perhaps it is because you feel it is expected. If that’s the case, maybe you should just stop until you are moved to do it and pray to be “moved.” This is the one prayer God consistently answers. God will move you if you ask and then giving will be the gift (to you) that it was intended to be. Everything good comes from God; not from within us.

                    • The Advocate says:

                      Ironically Misha, I see Orthodoxy more about works, doctrine, and rituals, than faith in God’s mercy, most of the time, and yet even more ironic, is the more we KNOW, the more we will be accountable for. Sometimes I wish I was born in one of the undiscovered tribes, in the rain forrest of Brazil. Then His mercy would be all that was required. Thanks for your time, your posts are always appreciated.

                    • Michael Bauman says:

                      Advocate, it is not about “success” however that is defined. It is about mercy. Mercy is unwarranted grace whether it comes from God or from a fellow human being.

                      Again, it is not up to us to “change the world”. It is up to us to allow the Holy Spirit to change us. Part of that is to learn to show mercy.

                      Another part is to face our own shame. When shame is faced, healing occurs. It is not just about saying to God, I did this that and the other thing wrong. Confession is about unveiling oneself before God and allowing Him to heal the way you are. Now, that will also take care of a lot of the actions that are wrong, in fact it is usually the only thing that will take care of wrong actions. It is much more difficult to get to the shame through repentance for the actions, but it can be done. It can be a start.

                      C.S Lewis description of Aslan turning Eustace back into a human being from a dragon is quite apt. Aslan first has Eustace wash in a pool and then, gradually, Aslan removes the dragon skin. Scraping off each layer with tears and compunction until Eustace becomes human once again. During the process, the “dragon nature” Eustace had assumed that darkened and over shadowed his human nature also drops off. But to get to the point when the transformation was possible, Eustace had to admit he was ashamed and learn obedience through service.

                      In one real case I am privileged to know, it took over 30 years before the shame could be identified and faced. Even then, more dragon skin was revealed.

                      The Elder Sophrony of blessed memory taught that we should advance to the edge of the abyss, look into it for as long as possible then go and have cup of tea. He also taught that giving Glory to God in thanksgiving for all things was the way to fulfill the famous and troubling direction given to St. Silouan by Christ Himself: Keep your mind in hell and despair not.

                      So, perhaps, one way to begin to approach the discomfort you experience in seeing homeless people is to simply acknowledge God’s gift to you in bringing that other person to your awareness and thanking Him for the gift, then go have a cup of tea or whatever beverage you like to consume when relaxing. Although tea has a number of proven medicinal, refreshing and relaxing properties. Good tea leaves have a certain life to them that other beverages do not have.

                    • Constaninos says:

                      Dear Advocate,
                      Those are outstanding thoughts on your part. I don’t mean to be patronizing, but you really are a deep thinker. You help me in my walk with the Lord.
                      I am reminded of the comment attributed to the RAMBAM( Moses Maimonides). ” Give a man a fish and he will go hungry. Teach him how to fish, and he’ll never hunger again.”

                    • Advocate,

                      The following is a true story. This happened to me about twenty years ago.

                      There is a long-standing Church tradition of giving alms at all times, especially at certain times of the year including Advent and Lent as sort of a ‘reminder’ discipline. It is a common practice to make it a special point to do so in honor of St. Nicholas, so loved for his almsgiving, whose feast is on December 6th. Being a ‘nice’ guy, December 6th was approaching so I stopped at a place close to one of my accounts that I knew took care of the very needy to see how I could help. Naïve middle-class person that I was, I had always had sort of a Bob Cratchet-family vision of the poor in my head. I recall reading the Scriptures as a teenager, especially the Proverbs where much is said about not despising the poor, and thinking, “Why would anyone despise the poor? They can’t help the fact that they’re poor.” But I was shocked when I walked into the place – not by the poverty, but by the rudeness, the demanding attitudes, the foul language, etc. of the people they were trying to help. I was appalled…initially. Then I heard His voice – not audibly, not even in these exact words, but still very clearly as a deep, unforgettable impression in my heart,

                      “Are you appalled by what you see? These are the poor that I have commanded you not to despise. They are not necessarily meek and mild. Many are wholly undeserving of mercy. Do you see how they behave? They are on the outside what you are on the inside. Therefore be merciful to them and love them as I have loved you.”

                    • The Advocate says:

                      Gail, Mr. Bauman, Brian, While I appreciate your responses, they make perfect sense, and I believe your experiences. Under who’s authority are we allowed to interpret which things Jesus Christ means literally, and which things he does not? Is it possible we sometimes fool ourselves, in order to comfort ourselves? Brian, yes we are just like the homeless, they simply have more to complain about, and don’t care if they make you feel good about yourself. For the most part they hate themselves, the world, are drug addicted, or mentally ill, why would they care about your feelings. We just drew better numbers, than them in God’s and lifes draw, so naturally we feel lucky. Jesus gave us many examples, parables, and we do not even come close to his love and compassion, or charity, nor try, even on grand scales.

                      Example: While I do not believe in open borders. Jesus would have borders wide open, and allow all sick, poor, and hungry who came through enter with welcomed arms. We on the political right, see them as nuisance and reject them.

                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Are you sure about that? Jesus said some pretty prudential things about statecraft.

                    • The Advocate says:

                      I’m not, actually hope I’m wrong. Are you so sure?

                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Well, Jesus told a story about a king going off to battle with only 1,000 men; the other king had 10,000 men. Jesus said it would be prudent for the first king to beat a retreat. He said to “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s”. Who was “Caesar” and what was his job? Caesar’s province was legitimate otherwise Jesus wouldn’t have submitted to it. Even though in doing so He was acceding to a miscarriage of justice.

                      Think about it: nobody in the Jewish hierarchy or the Roman government knew what Jesus looked like. While literally sweating blood in the Garden of Gesthemane, He could have escaped into the Judaean Desert, never to be seen again.

                    • Advocate,

                      No one has the right to soften the impact of Christ’s words. He meant exactly what He said. In the same way the law reveals us to be sinners, Christ’s words reveal how far each of us is from the fullness of the Kingdom of God. Even so, there is mercy – abundant mercy. We live always in this tension as sinners in need of great mercy. If you ask me, the very fact that this troubles you at all is good news for you. Your heart is still soft.

                      As a practical matter, there are several things I would say.

                      First, not all who seem to be homeless are homeless. If someone represents himself as homeless and appears to clean (face, clothing, etc.), he is not really homeless. Truly homeless people have no place to bathe and no means of washing their clothes. It’s useful means distinguishing the scammers from the real. It may not be a foolproof method of telling, but it’s close.

                      Second, you cannot help them all, nor are you commanded to. We are commanded only to love our neighbor – those with whom we come into direct personal contact. Pick one (or two) that you see daily. He (or they) is the Lazarus lying at your gate. Don’t give money that can be used for things they may want (liquor, drugs…) but don’t need. Give them gift cards for groceries or modest restaurants nearby. I don’t know how much money you make, but $200.00 or so a month, given in small amounts daily, can give one person at least one good meal a day . Also take them clothing, shoes, blankets, pillows and the like if you see the need, but not all at once. Stretch it out over time. Most of us have extras lying around unused. Why not share them?

                      And most importantly, get to know them by name. Being truly homeless is the very depth of human degradation. Whether by choice or not, how bad must things have become for a person to have lost any and all who may once have cared about them (mother, father, brother, sister, friends…) who knew them by name? Ask them their name. Greet them by name when you see them next, and if it is safe to do so, have at least a brief conversation. Calling their name restores their personhood and will do more for their soul than you can imagine.

                      All this takes a little planning ahead and a bit of sacrifice, but it isn’t all that difficult if one is serious about it.

                      As far as open borders and grand scales, that is not for us to determine or concern ourselves with. Governments will do whatever they do, hopefully in the interests of the citizenry. But what government does is of little consequence to us. We are not commanded to vote for others to be merciful to the nameless masses. We are only commanded to love our neighbor, the person who is before us at this moment and the only person we have any possibility of actually loving.

          • Gail Sheppard says:

            You’re right, Advocate. “Orthodoxy will be what it has always been.” I sincerely hope you find your way back home. We’ll be here waiting for you.

            • The Advocate says:

              Sounds like a song, from the 1970s. Not lost, my love, just not remaining, eyes wide shut. Thanks for the invite, but I trust God has not forgotten me.

              • Constaninos says:

                Dear Advocate,
                I have no problem with your opinions. Who am I to sit in judgment of one of God’s servants? There is terrible crudity and uncivil discourse in the American public arena. Not to chastise you, but can we eliminate all use of swear words and profanity from this forum? Also, I don’t think it is a fantastic idea to be overly familiar with those we don’t know on a deep personal level. Not to quibble, but we shouldn’t refer to Gail as “my love.” She may find that offensive since she doesn’t know you. This is not meant as personal criticism toward you. Personally, I welcome and enjoy your posts, but I would hope we can all be civil and polite toward one another. Again, I’m not criticising you. I think some of your points are well taken. It’s just that we can disagree without being disagreeable. No need to hurt each other’s feelings. I sincerely hope that this post doesn’t hurt yours. I believe that you are a good, sincere brother in Christ.

                • George Michalopulos says:

                  Brilliant, Constantino! Let’s all remember your sage words. If we want to be endearing to one another, how about “brother X” or “sister Y”?

                  • No unless you are a monastic, I feel thats the cult talk threshold

                    It weirds me out.

                    I suppose nigga is right out, too – but I’d prefer that over brother and sister

                    If you start saying brother and sister stuff you either sound Mormon or Black Panther

                    Pretty soon you will be holding up your fist while wearing a bicycle helmet

                  • Gail Sheppard says:

                    If I had a mouthful of water and one of you called me “Sister Gail” (especially YOU, my dearest, sweetest George) I would probably spit it out laughing! I appreciate you all being so protective, but “my love” is just fine with me. As a matter of fact, you can ALL call me “my love” or whatever term of endearment you want. Not a problem!

                    Poor, Advocate. We’ve just embarrassed you, haven’t we? *I* know you were being facetious. Ignore them. 🙂

                    • Michael Bauman says:

                      The truth of the matter is that we Orthodox are all connected in a unique way. It defies easy description in today’s flippant and egalitarian mindset. We are connected by blood but the usual family appellations seem awkward and insufficient.

                      The best I can do is to say y’all are my kin welcome to break bread with me any time.

                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      I look forward to it!

                      And yes, we are all kin. Truth be told, Orthodoxy in America is surviving because of personal networks that are popping up all over the place. I like to think that this blog is one such support group. (At least it is for me.)

                    • Estonian Szlovak says:

                      Hold on a minute, Gail! You called on us males to set Misha straight. Now when men do come to your defense, you blow it off. Maybe I’m just too stupid to get it. I know I’m sinful…..

                    • The Advocate says:

                      Gail, I’m sure all the boys meant well, but after Mr. Passive Aggressive, Constaninos, scolded me, I did feel a bit guilty, and embarrassed, as I meant no disrespect to you, just trying to make a funny. I thought it better to wait for you response, before trying to defend myself, from your protectors. Thank you for being the lovely person I thought you might be. I’m sure beautiful as well, as those who are beautiful from within, usually radiate that beauty out. God Bless Sis!

                    • And yes, we are all kin. Truth be told, Orthodoxy in America is surviving because of personal networks that are popping up all over the place. I like to think that this blog is one such support group. (At least it is for me.)

                      “We have seen the true Light, we have received the heavenly Spirit; we have found the true faith, worshipping the undivided Trinity, for the Trinity has saved us.”

                      Yes, any connection point for Orthodox Christians is a blessing and George’s site is most certainly a significant and useful one. I was ruminating the other night on the meaning of “catholicity” in the Creed, Slavonic version, and the word that the saints chose in Old Church Slavonic to represent the adjective “catholic” is “soborny”. The root concerns gathering, togetherness, etc. A “sobor” is a synod, for example.

                      It is our nature, whatever the jurisdiction or ethnic variant, to network as Orthodox. “For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20

                    • Constaninos says:

                      Dear Gail (my love),
                      Thank you for your thoughts on my post. My apologies to Advocate.

                    • The Advocate says:

                      Misha great post, in my distraction with the ruffled feathers, among some, I missed this post. So true in so many ways. Truth be told I throw many heretical type thoughts out there, here. WHY? Because I love The Orthodox Church, and want to remain Orthodox. I sometimes need an argument to help my weak faith. Most of YOU, and especially Mr. Bauman, of late, have helped me, a great deal, with the hate, and doubts in my mind. Sadly, many go on the offense wagon, and circle quickly. I get it, they feel strongly in their beliefs, and will defend it to their death, that is admirable, in it’s own way, but always helpful.

                      When walking out my door, into the secular, and as you put it, in McChristianity world, and try to explain Orthodoxy to others, who have no idea what religion I’m talking about, and give me the, what planet are you from gaze? I feel a bit disjointed and frustrated. Coming back to this site, and expressing these questions, thoughts, and frustrations I have, is quite beneficial, for me. Thanks for keeping it real, and not all about you.

                  • Michael Bauman says:

                    George, et. al. We could always go for a “Hey bro(regardless of sex)” and a fist bump. Of course that may not go over so well with the gentle, kind widow who sits in the same pew (sorry, we have pews) with my wife and I and probably has at least $5000 to $10,000 worth of clothes and jewelry on most Sunday’s. Still she grieves for her recently deceased husband just like anyone else would. They had been married for 40+ years I believe. My wife comforts her as best she can having been a widow herself not long before she met me. They have become good friends.

                    In my parish all of the non-related old men used to be called “uncle” while all of the non-related women “aunt”. Took me awhile to get used to and now it has fallen into disuse unfortunately.

                    I have more “fathers” than I know what to do with: The Dean; his assistant; a retired Priest; a priest on a long-term non ministering assignment but is still in the Altar unvested; a Hieromonk and a couple of lay monks. Whew….

                    Lots of doctors of various types, medical, dental and philosophical.

                    And then there are a whole bunch of scrawny mutts like me and more than a few low-income folk just scraping by including one really interesting guy that comes in Hawaiian shirts and flip flops even in the deepest winter (his grandfather, so he tells, was a soldier in Tsar Nicholas personal guard). He was never Orthodox until he walked in the parish one Christmas and was welcomed home.
                    We also have Ethiopians, Russians, Greeks, Egyptians, some Native Americans and one, lone Afro-American (God bless her). Of course, the Syro-Lebanese are still dominate.

                    The founders of our Holy Temple came from the Diocese of Homs in what is now southern Syria, founded by one of the Seventy-Philip it is one of the oldest Christian dioceses in the world. The founders and their off-spring can trace their Christian roots back to that time. As far as I am concerned I am supremely grateful to just be there. Fortunate enough to be accepted with love and kindness (most of the time).

                    This year we celebrate our 100th year as an official congregation beginning to develop some real history.

                    Somehow we manage to be a family. Somewhat disconnected and dysfunctional most of the time, but a family.

                    Yesterday at coffee hour I sat in a small ring around our Hieromonk- a widowed priest, a new young Orthodox man, one of our “docs” and myself talking about Kierkegaard, Turgenev, Dostoyevsky and Walker Percy. Being a mutt, I just listened.

                    God Bless us everyone one and y’all come join us some time.

                • Martyr’s Guilt says:

                  Yes Constantinos, Adovates rude behavior should be brought to his attention. I would not be surprised if Gail was not offended as we have not seen a post by her in a while. Woman deserve more respect than that on a Orthodox Christian forum. Surprised George allowed that on his site. I assume it slipped past him .

                  • Gail Sheppard says:

                    Advocate, it seems the way you addressed me bothered my brothers in Christ (we truly are a family) so you’ll need to address me differently from now on. It’s just Gail or Gailina. I’m sure George will hold you to that.

                    • Constaninos says:

                      Dear Advocate,
                      “Mr. Passive Aggressive” Hmmmm! I’m not passive aggressive. I have diagnosed myself as suffering from early onset dementia. I don’t even remember writing that stuff to you. I don’t remember what I ate for breakfast. Oh wait! I didn’t have any breakfast.

        • A reading from the liturgy on Monday

          Colossians 2:8-12New King James Version (NKJV)
          8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

          Not Legalism but Christ
          11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins[a] of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

  6. Joseph Lipper says:

    Would it be possible for Turkey’s President Erdogan to recognize the Vatican as the head of Christianity and hand over the Phanar properties to Pope Francis?

    Right now, Erdogan is warming up to the EU and trying to gain their favor. The most prominent spokesperson and figurehead in promoting EU unity has currently been Pope Francis. It was just last March the leaders of the EU met with the Pope to hear his exhortations on political unity.

    Both Erdogan and the Pope have recently pledged to meet soon to “strengthen bilateral relations between Turkey and the Vatican”. If Erdogan were to recognize Pope Francis as the head of all Christianity, then I believe Turkey’s dictatorial president would have the power to hand over the Phanar properties to the Pope. He might do this as a magnanimous gesture towards the EU to gain their favor.

    If this were to happen, then I believe the Ecumenical Patriarchate would still exist, but they would have to leave the Phanar and Turkey. Where would they go in exile? I don’t know. In this case, we might see the Pope end up declaring a “Holy War” on the Orthodox Church.

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Joseph, Gail: you both might be on to something. Actually, I’m shocked! Until you both wrote what you did, I didn’t realize how many trump cards the Turkish govt has up its sleeve. Since the Vatican is every bit as much a subsidiary of the State Dept as is the Phanar, Erdogan could make himself the Golden Boy by facilitating the unia between Rome and Istanbul.

      And we Greeks here in America will have nobody but ourselves to blame. For it is us who have made a fetish out of Byzantine nostalgia.

      • Joseph Lipper says:

        Erdogan has become something of a modern day Sultan. His powers are largely unchecked within his own country. If he is given the blessing of the big three EU countries (Germany, Italy, France) to take over the Phanar, then I wouldn’t doubt for a second that he would do it.

        Later this week he is going to Paris to meet “Zombie Catholic” Macron about improving bilateral relations between Turkey and France:

        https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-31/france-s-macron-to-meet-turkey-s-erdogan-in-paris-on-jan-5

        • Michael Bauman says:

          Joseph, for whatever reason, France has been the lone country in the world to stand up for the “rights” of Orthodox Christians in Turkey, especially on the Hagia Sophia and the reopening of the Halaki Seminary. Standing against Turkey’s petition to join the EU until at least those two situations were resolved.

          Time will tell.

          • Joseph Lipper says:

            Michael, this is true of course about France protecting Orthodox Christians in Turkey. However, in the mindset of Roman Catholics, Orthodox union with Rome is no big deal. The Vatican has the door wide open to the Orthodox. They have the Eastern rite already set up and waiting for us to join with them. We don’t want to change your ritual, they say, we just want you to join with us in communion. All that Orthodox Christians have to do is just step inside. From a Roman Catholic viewpoint, it’s a very simple solution.

            • Michael Bauman says:

              Oh, I know that. “Submit to the Pope and all will be well” (you nasty little hell bound schismatics). That is why I am an advocate for the 1848 Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs. Makes today’s writing pale in comparison. Still the last common statement on the Papacy and therefore still the mind of the Church no matter what anyone says.

              Years ago when Pope JPII was making a push for unity my late wife’s best friend, an RCC now Orthodox, called quite a bit to invite me and my family to RCC events. She stopped when I told her that the EP was not an Eastern Pope and even if he united with Rome, nobody else would and an even greater schism would result. She meekly said she wouldn’t want that and stopped making the invitations. I just hope I was right. Regardless, I will never agree to such a “union”.

              My friend essentially converted while attending my late wife on her death bed surrounded by our priest and several other parish members chanting hymns and offering prayers. The care, mercy and experience of that touched her deeply.

              Unfortunately, she is of Romanian Greek extraction and has become annoyingly GREEK to the point of criticizing the Lebanese style of cooking Mediterranean food saying the GREEK is far superior, despite being in an Antiochian parish. Ah well, I still care for her and her family deeply.

            • Gail Sheppard says:

              Joseph, as I’m sure you know, people justify and allow all sorts of things under the auspices of these 4 little words: “It is no big deal.” It’s one of the greatest lies ever told.

      • Joseph Lipper says:

        “In July 2017, it was announced that the Erdogan regime commandeered 50 Syriac churches, some of which are more than 1,500 years old. Now they will be under the power of the “Directorate of Religious Affairs,” according to Tzippe Barrow with CBN.

        “It’s a mistake to think this is a purely religious war on Christianity. Erdogan is more of a Middle East personalist dictator than a holy warrior. He is more like Assad (Hafez or Bashir), Saddam Hussein, and Moammar Khadafy than an Iranian cleric or Saudi true believer. It’s about getting money, power and a family dynasty.

        http://observer.com/2017/07/turkey-erdogan-christianity-church-seizures/

  7. timmy_the_lemur says:

    While some of the things in this article have a ring of truth to them, the sourcing from Turkish newspapers makes it overall very suspicious. When you see “Fener” used as the spelling of what’s usually in English “Phanar”, it makes it likely that the piece was written by a Turk (with websites like this, that solicit random contributors, the author’s name could be a fiction- like the piece about the EP and Gulen attributed to a former US ambassador last year).

    The linked Turkish-language articles are, like a lot of Turkish media, pretty outlandish conspiracy theories. The article linked from the newspaper Sozcu, for example, is all about how Bartholomew is helping the Greek government turn a group of islands claimed by Turkey but controlled by Greece into a new country called “Byzantium”… It claims that the Council on Foreign Relations is working to destroy Turkey, and replace it with a revived Byzantine Empire and “Greater Israel”. So this is some tinfoil hat grade stuff…

  8. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from today on the Ortho Christian website.

    TURKISH INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES SUSPECT PAT. BARTHOLOMEW OF LINKS WITH CIA
    Constantinople, January 3, 2018

    http://orthochristian.com/109686.html

  9. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article which appeared back in September 6th, 2016, on the Christian Today website.

    Church condemns rumours Patriarch was accomplice to failed coup
    Carey Lodge Tue 6 Sep 2016 14:20 BST

    https://www.christiantoday.com/article/church.condemns.rumours.patriarch.was.accomplice.to.failed.coup/94777.htm

  10. timmy_the_lemur says:

    I found the source of the article. The English-language article linked above, published on December 22, is a translation of this Turkish-language article, attributed to a writer named Adnan Çavuşoğlu, which was originally published on December 20.

    https://www.kapsamhaber.com/kapsam/washington-turkiyedeki-ajanina-halef-bulmus-h45636.html

  11. It is all very sad. Not sure who to believe regarding the inner-Phanar intrigue. Erdogan is a bad guy. No doubt he is pulling as many strings as he has fingers.

    Lay down with dogs and you’re gonna get fleas. I’m actually surprised that anyone in the Phanar maintains even a semblance of sanity given the forces arrayed. I feel sorry for them, but they have chosen very poorly. Nonetheless, I will pray for them. They know not what they do.

  12. Just as Francesco Moraglia is the Patriarch of Venice, Bart Arcantony can be the Eastern Rite Patriarch of Kyev and Thessalonia. The Ukranians have long been begging the Holy Father for their own Patriarch. Moscow’s autocephaly is uncanonical as it was obtained under duress. The Greeks have to be thankful the Venetians and Ottomans kept the Slavomongol Russians from the straits. The Council of Florence was soviet trickery to enslave Greece. Khodorkovsky found the skillet Putin’s grandfather used to cook one third of a million Greeks for Stalin in 1937 Siberia and will use it to cook Putin for Easter when he declares Novgorod his true capital.

    • The Advocate says:

      Seems as if Steve Bannon, will be Trump’s Judas. Who will be Putin’s Judas, or God forbid, Oswald? Who will succeed Putin? Who will be Kirill’s Judas. There are a lot of vendettas never fulfilled from those wronged by old Soviet Orthodox Bishops Informants. A few old ghosts might come out for revenge against Kirill, if Putin is not there to protect him. Moscow is not a stable country, not the place for Orthodox Patriarch to be influenced by future corruption, or enemies. Will those who follow Putin, once Putin is gone, “love”, and use The Russian Orthodox Church, as did Putin? What will be of Orthodoxy, if Moscow becomes 3rd Rome, but new leaders of Russia turn on Orthodoxy, and 3rd Rome goes the way of Nero’s Rome. Neither Moscow, nor Istanbul is the place. Maybe no place is, or maybe we just do not need a EP anymore.

      • Joseph Lipper says:
      • The Advocate says:

        Correction: Moscow is not IN a stable country. Bottom line Orthodoxy needs to divorce itself from government control and association. We need to flee from our jealous envy, and competitive emulation of Roman Catholic political powers. The Roman Catholic is rich and powerful, but look at what it has given up and away for that power, and wealth.

        Orthodoxy will ruin whatever reputation it has left in this world, or worse, the unimaginable, if it piggybacks off Russia, or any nation for that matter. This last election, the digital war, and the behind the scenes, Deep State civil war our country is in, is proof how dirty and corrupt the entire system is here. Now imagine how bad it is in Russia. Our EP and MP bathe in sewers of corrupt nations, yet pinch their nose to the stench, and pat political leaders on the back, with planted smiles, so long as the gravy train keep rolling in. This is not how we show respect to our Lord’s church my friends.

        “Do not hold everything gold, that shines like gold.”Allain de Lille

        OR better yet-

        “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation, and a trap, and in many foolish, and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith, and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.”Timothy 6:9-11

        • George Michalopulos says:

          Advocate, I’m as patriotic a flag-waver as you’ll ever find. What makes you think that America is a “stable country”? Ever been to Flint, MI or Gary, IN? If that’s too parochial, how do you justify the fact that close to half the country wants the military to overthrow Trump? The illegitimacy rate is close to 40%.

          How “stable” is all that? Perhaps a little humility is in order.

          • The Advocate says:

            George do you ever answer a question? Humility? Did I ever mention a stable country, good enough to hook up with Christ’s Church?

            God Incarnate came down to earth to redeem us, and gave us a heavenly gift, The Orthodox Church, and you want to partner it up with forget Russia, any powerful country. This Is my point George. “But you man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness,faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.” 1 Timothy 6:11 Name one powerful government that possesses all these qualities? Humble yourself Mr. Grand Orthodox earthy Kingdom lover.

        • It is an imperative to not become depressed. So when I read:

          “Orthodoxy will ruin whatever reputation it has left in this world, or worse, the unimaginable, if it piggybacks off Russia, or any nation for that matter. This last election, the digital war, and the behind the scenes, Deep State civil war our country is in, is proof how dirty and corrupt the entire system is here. Now imagine how bad it is in Russia. Our EP and MP bathe in sewers of corrupt nations, yet pinch their nose to the stench . . .”

          It is much more profitable to gird up ones loins like a man and look for the activity of God in the world. And if one is a believing Orthodox Christian, one will not be disappointed. But it is rough and tumble and modern, hermetically sealed definitions of what is and what is not corrupt will just confuse you. You have to keep your eye on the ball. As it is said in American jurisprudence, “The law is not concerned with trifles [de minimis].” It takes seasoning to be able to discern what is significant.

          If I seriously believe that there is a God and that He is as characterized by Orthodox Tradition, then I must look at the revival of Holy Russia as momentous and game changing. It is not that Russia is, as a practical matter, particularly holy in the sense of everyone going to church, etc. What is significant is the re-identification of the Russian people with the Orthodox phronema, as opposed to that of Secular Humanism.

          The mere presence of full frontal Orthodoxy in the public sphere and public consciousness bespeaks of a rising trend, with legs. It takes awhile for an aircraft carrier to turn. Patience is a virtue.

          The change in tone from the Joint Statement of the MP with the Pope to the boycott of Crete and gathering of those prelates in Moscow who did not want to go down that road is telling. Ideally, the MP would have more time to reorient itself to Holy Tradition from the low point in the Bolshevik years. Interaction with the ROCOR, I’m sure, has been helpful on that note. But God has His timetable and He seems to want to get on with matters, given the machinations of the evil one.

          Thus we have a rough ride ahead of us. If indeed the Holy Spirit is working in Russia – and God is omnipotent, restraining Himself only with respect to free will – then He has a purpose which will not be denied.

          I hope and pray that that purpose is the re-establishment of some form of Christendom in anticipation of the final conflict with Islam to come some time down the road. Prophecy (Daniel, Revelations, etc.) only gives us generalities, not particulars or firm timetables (other than the 7 year treaty mentioned). But the devil is in the details.

          People get anxious about a Third Rome. That is understandable. But this Third Rome will likely lead by example rather than by conquest. When one is secure in ones phronema, that is the most attractive course of action.

          • The Advocate says:

            If Joan of Arc, married Ivan the terrible, you might get George, and Misha as offspring.
            “But God has his timetable and He seems to want to get on with matters, given the machinations of the evil one.” Misha! I thought I was a bad boy. But you! You are truly one bad ass, soldier of……..

            • George Michalopulos says:

              I’m thinking more like Vladimir Monomakh as a sire and –alright, I’ll go with–Joanne of Arc as a mother. I’ve thought about Eleanor of Aquitaine in that she did a good job bringing Richard the Lionheart into the world but she was too “high spirited” for her own good.

              In reality, I’m more than proud to be the offspring of Constantine and Katherine Michalopulos. Couldn’t ask for better parents.

      • Michael Bauman says:

        Judas was a liar and a thief so arrogant that he chose suicide over repentance. Still, by God’s grace, his treachery led to our salvation and the victory over death.

        You think Bannon’s betrayal will bring about the end of the swamp and Trump’s victory over the advocates of the culture of death?

        Cool.

        • The Advocate says:

          I believe Bannon’s betrayal is another knife in the back of Trump. Sooner or later Trump will go down, if all he is left with is his immediate family. This is basic humanistic survival of the most evil. This is raw politics revealed to us all. This is why government, and Orthodoxy do not mix. One is vile, and one is Holy. Yet George loves the marriage.

          • Michael Bauman says:

            Government and Orthodoxy have always mixed and will always mix one way or another. There is no such thing as separation of Church and State. Another modernist error. All who claim such separation are caught in either a desire to see the Church neutered or have a fundamental dualism as a core of their belief.

            • George Michalopulos says:

              You know, I have to agree at this point. The whole separation of church and state was just an empty bromide from the start. Oh sure, Jefferson may have believed in it but it’s completely unworkable. Not that that’s a good thing mind you. Right now I’d say that the Roman Church in the US is pretty much under the thumb as they’ve been bailed out by the Feds because of the paedophile scandals. The NGOs likewise are stalking horses for the State Dept overseas.

              Wouldn’t it be better to just admit this and have an authentic symphonia between a Christian government and an authentic Christian Church?

              • Joseph Lipper says:

                I’m going to go out on a limb and say the next U.S. President should be a Yiayia. Now THAT would fix things!

              • George

                You keep citing modernism and American idea of seperation of church and state as the cause for our woeful spiritual condition in the West

                But what came first which created this whole mess?

                I say Charlemagne forging the Holy Roman Empire to bring world/societal stability. In my opinion, like many who imagine symponia here

                What was the price?

                The rancid Carolinian reforms he forced on the church – part of which resulted in the triumph of the doctrine of the filioque.

                Then Western church scholasticism giving birth to nominalism

                Then what happens in 1066? The Frankish Pope blesses William the Conqueror to attack and subjugate tje British isles.

                Why?

                The pope could never get the Celtic church (which had not been corrupted by Roman/Frankish/Carolinian deterioration). It was Orthodox!

                So William conquers and within a year the Archbishop of Canterbury is removed, Carolinian reforms are finally instituted, and the English church becomes truly Roman.

                But then the English church cant really forget it’s Orthodox past entirely, mix in more governmental politics and protestants, and you have a situation of total chaos that eventually lands in America and explodes to 44,000 denominations and counting

                A proper symphonia as you imagine it will never work in the West. It will inevitably be corrupted

                Look what our government and the GOA have been doing together on the downlow. You think it would be better if it was out in the open and expanded?

                Isnt the fact that we may suffer a trial of church loss to unia really a problem of government involvement with the church?

                I see it as cause and effect. After all, the West used to be Orthodox

                • George Michalopulos says:

                  BJS, I don’t disagree with you at all. The Carolingian “reforms” set the process in motion, no doubt.

                  This begs the question: the Eastern Church often times operated under the same secular pressure as was imposed on the West. Why were we able to avoid the parade of horribles which you cite?

                  • Michael Bauman says:

                    George, we haven’t, not entirely. Just a different look to it. The Ottoman Yoke froze things outwardly but corruption still took hold. Delayed in Russia until the “Greats” especially Peter.

                    The seduction of the west is the same as the original seduction: to be like God without God.

                    We have not succumbed entirely because the less centralized nature of the Church helps us endure. No Popes and no charismatic individuals as in Protestentism. Still that way IMO. Tradition, the gift of the Holy Spirit and the Divine life in the Sacraments.

                    The decentralization like resistance cells is one reason I am not a real fan of a unified American Othodox Church.

                    • Michael

                      I know Germany was evangelized by Arians

                      Im just saying Islam is how it worked out in the East

                      Im not speaking about the particular missionaries in Alaska, I’m speaking to the motivation directives of a state. They aren’t really concerned about other people groups spiritual well being in most cases. They want the result of stabilization for a region. The motives are different

                      I’ve met a lot of Ukrainians. None Orthodox, many Protestant. Do you think our government would like them to be or remain Orthodox? Does our government care about the spiritual well being of anyone? Why do we want to give them partnership?

                      I’m not saying Orthodox teaching causes heresy in others.

                      What im saying is

                      What if the Orthodox Church was the official state religion of the Japanese Empire during WWII?

                      How would you feel if you were Chinese, Korean, Filipino, etc during that time or even now? How would you explain it to your fellow American servicemen?

                      The Orthodox Church is not a world government institution or appendage of any state. It is separate.

                  • George

                    Im not sure

                    However, I consider Islam as an Arian based ethnic political militaristic cultic offshoot of the Orthodox Church – created to compete against the symphonia of the old Byzantine Empire

                    If the Orthodox Church never unified with the old empire, would Islam have truly been birthed?

                    Would the Holy Roman Empire existed without having to compete woth Constantinople?

                    What if the church never unified with empires but remained a seperate kingdom and subculture?

                    Empires would not have used it to fight each other and other empires wouldnt have birthed the Christian and Islamic cults

                    I mean, I’m thankful that the deposit of the faith still exists in the Orthodox Church – but we are barely hanging on in the West

                    Thanks to all this goverment stuff we are about to fall into major heresy/unia

                    And you know the choice we are going to have to make?

                    Join unia or be labeled a fundie troublemaker

                    We dont live in Russia. We wont be popular. “I hear the train a’ comin . . .”

                    Really what Im saying is

                    Could it be our fault that the world is largely either Roman Catholic or Muslim?

                    Think about it. Excluding the new world, just looking at the old world. Didn’t our Church – The Holy Orthodox Catholic Church – really extend fom Britannia to India?

                    Shouldnt all those Germanic and Arabic lands still be Orthodox to this day?

                    Are they not because the church became a tool of the state and competing empires then have to create extremely powerful and convincing ideologies – causing the world to fall into heresy?

                    If we consider how many locales have been Orthodox and now lost, how well are we doing indeed? Plus, how well are we doing in the new world?

                    I have to agree with The Advocate here. This is the definition of insanity

                    Look how the Samurai treated the Christians in Japan. They were extremely brutal and successful in stamping out Christianity. Why did they do it? Missionaries are more often than not sent to change the culture to swing it in favor of a foreign power – often using missionaries as useful idiots. Havent you noticed how Westen thinking and Protestant the Ukrainians have become? Dont you think our government had something to dowith that?

                    Therefore, its not unreasonable for governments to view missionary activities with suspicion. See why they try and stamp out missionaries? How does that help us?

                    Honestly look at the Russian North American mission. (Im in the GOA but no lover of canon 28). Russian missionaries were sent to Alaska to try and get the natives under control for the fur trappers and by extension, the Russian empire. Sure, there were really honest and sincere clergy and legitamate church missionary work. But this is the best we’ve done. But that was a long time ago now and what – isn’t Alaska the least populated state in the union?

                    Instead of fighting for survival, The Holy Orthodox Catholic Church should already be the norm for Latin America and we should be expanding exponentially in China – asking God to bring about the biggest havest of souls the world has ever seen – reaping souls from the seeded blood from the Boxer rebellion

                    Face it, we are stinking out loud

                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      BJS, re the Alaska mission: that’s somewhat naive and condescending. Missionary work is never as flowery and kum-ba-ya-esque as is portrayed in popular memory.

                      To eradicate cannabilism, sodomy, polygamy, slavery and so on is not an easy task. Sometimes a heavy hand is needed, otherwise hypocritical accommodations have to be made. The question is for how long do these accommodations (i.e. oikonomia) have to linger?

                      In many African tribes for example, Orthodox missionaries have allowed polygamy to be practiced for the converting generation only because to mandate monogamy means that surplus wives will be turned out and forced to starve.

                      True story: I once worked with a woman who was about 10-15 years older than me (this was about 10 years ago). She and her husband were Protestant missionaries in Africa and she told me several stories. She told me in no uncertain terms that polygamy was prized by the plural wives because of female genital mutilation (FGM) which made sexual intercourse difficult and painful. Because of FGM, women wanted to share their husbands with as many other women as possible in order to decrease the frequency of sexual relations.

                      Now, the answer of course is to do away with FGM, however that’s an ideal for the future; it does nothing for those women who have been subjected to this procedure. The only way to instill this prohibition is to first change the minds of the parents who turn their baby girls over to shamans and that process can only begin with some cultural discipline from an exogenous source being enforced. Sometimes this coercion is not pleasant. Think of Charles “Chinese” Gordon and the British Methodist Bishops who ended African slavery. They were not pacific in their “missionary work”. In fact, quite the opposite.

                    • Michael Bauman says:

                      Wow, quite a mishmash of assumptions and interpreting history from the wrong end of the telescope.
                      Protestant Germany was missionized by Arians. St. Herman had to go to Spruce Island so the fur company wouldn’t kill him. The Orthodox missionaries are the least culpable plant-the-flag missionaries in history. Certainly much better than the US sponsored Protestant missionaries sent to Alaska to civilize the heathen and make them Christian.

                      Islam is a Christian heresy but so what.

                      It seems that you are saying the existence of the Church creates heresy. That is kind of like blaming the scurrying cockroaches on the flash light.

              • Michael Bauman says:

                George, just because there is no real separation of Church and State does not lead to symphonia. The Church and State will always end up at odds with each other, at least if the Church remains true to herself. But there are not two spheres.

                • George Michalopulos says:

                  In the end, you’re correct: the two spheres operate as necessary (as does the various organs and bureaucracies and provinces of the state) but the trajectory leads inevitably towards state dominating the church.

                  But that’s normal isn’t it? Our Founding Fathers never envisioned 1/10th of the stuff that the Fed govt does presently. As for Defense, one of the legitimate prerogatives of the Fed govt, we had two different departments: War and Navy and the Chiefs of Staff for both depts reported directly to the Congress.

                  Anyway, a symphonia can exist and in various Orthodox lands (and Christendom in general) did exist, at least for a time. It lasted in England until the time of Henry VIII and in Russia until the time of Peter the Great. It never reasserted itself in Great Britain (probably because it couldn’t being Protestant and all) but we are seeing it reassert itself in Russia presently.

                  Ideally, in Russia it will come to fruition with the restoration of the monarchy (if that’s in the cards I don’t know). But if the monarchy is restored, there’s no way that the Church will make the mistake that they made under Peter when he abolished the Patriarchate and made the Holy Synod answer to him.

                  • Michael Bauman says:

                    There has to be a hierarchy. Either the Church is preeminent or the state. Works best if the Church is preeminent and the state acknowledges that. However, lust of power being what it is, such an acknowledgement does not usually last long in reality. Sooner or later, the Church and State end up in opposition. Symphonia makes things too equal in theory, too separate. Power struggles are built into the structure.

                    In Russia right now, the state is preeminent. Does not bode well for the Church.

                    In the west the church of any sort is simply a non-entity. Political attempts to gain influence never work well for the church. The state is always harder. And as Sancho Panza said in The Man of LaMancha: “Whether the pitcher hits the stone or the stone hits the pitcher, it is going to be bad for the pitcher.”

                    • Fr. George Washburn says:

                      Greetings Michael:

                      Thanks for so much good contributing here over the years. But….

                      You flatly opine that it is better for the Church to dominate the state and the state to acknowledge it. I would like you to cite the top five examples of that from history and explain why it was so good in the top two of those five cases.

                      My own limited exposure to history and church-state relations has led me to think the opposite. Other than the Kirk of 1640s Scotland I’d probably have a hard time proving it, though.

                      Love,

                      Fr. G

                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      I can think of three right off the top of the hat: in the early 1200’s when Pope Innocent III brought King John of England to heel by putting his entire kingdom under an Interdict. Then there was the time when Patriarch Germogen rained fire and fury on the Poles when they conquered Russia. (I admit that the Poles were occupiers but they were the state for better or worse.) Then of course there was the time when Arb Germanos of Patras declared the independence of the Greek nation from their Turkish overlords. The Sultan was the legitimate head of the Ottoman Empire.

                  • The Advocate says:

                    George, I will give you credit, at least you don’t hide your delusion, and lunacy, that you would be ticked pink, if Putin became King of Russian Empire. The delusion is that it might happen. The Lunacy is that you believe that said King would not be the boss, of puppet Patriarchate.

                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Nope, you’re wrong. I want a restored imperium with a legitimate Romanov on the throne. Putin is merely a placeholder until that happens.

                    • Jim of Olym says:

                      If Putin died as Tsar, who would succeed him? better his successor as President of the Russian Federation. I don’t hold much out for a revival of Romonov monarchy in Russia unless they have better hopes than what they got now internationally.

          • The Advocate

            I don’t like the church and government combo one bit either

            I think you are right. We already have the Greek identification domination problem in the West for Orthodoxy. If unia happens, Orthodoxy in the West will be almost exclusivly identified with Russian culture and government. Same debilitating problem, now with even greater political and cultural baggage!

            You are right. This will lead to further isolation, misunderstandings and exclusions

            Not for Slavic people though. They will think it is absolutely rad and won’t get your legitimate severe reservations regarding the issue

            Ive already chocked down enough gyros. Here comes the pyroshkis!!

            Will we ever just have a typical American barbecue?

            Autocephalous American Orthodox Church or bust

            • The Advocate says:

              BJS, Why do so many historians, want to repeat history, and expect different results? Am I missing something? Is that not the definition of insanity?

  13. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article which has been posted today on the World Religion News website.

    WHY DOES THE ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH IGNORE THE PROBLEM OF JERUSALEM?

    03 JAN 2018 POSTED BY CLAUDE MONIQUET, CEO/CO-FOUNDER, EUROPEAN STRATEGIC INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY CENTER

    http://www.worldreligionnews.com/featured-contributors/ecumenical-patriarch-ignore-problem-jerusalem

  14. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from today on the Eastern Orthodox Christian News website.

    The Bulgarian and Ecumenical Patriarch Discuss the Future of the Macedonian Church

    https://www.euscoop.com/en/2018/1/5/orthodox-church-patriarch-macedonia

  15. Greatly Saddened says:

    Much can be said as to the contributions the ancient Greeks gave to the world, as in democracy, medicine, science and in many other fields.

    What I seem to find in many Greeks is, they like to say they gave the light to the world. That may be true, but somewhere along the way they shut the lights off. They live in the accomplishments of their past ancestors. That is all well and good, but shouldn’t they be concerned with the present and even more so, with the future?

    As much as many are reluctant to admit, Byzantium fell back in 1453. We may not like it, but this is reality. And with this fall, so did the city of Constantinople. Like it or not, ever since the fall, it has been called Istanbul. Let’s try to get over it, once and for all. What empire conquers another and keeps things status quo?

    It is of no surprise the Turkish government doesn’t want to give the same rights that Muslims have, to the religious minorities. We can hope and pray all we want, but there is little doubt things will change. Rather than things getting better, they seem to be getting worse.

    We can continue to say what once was, but it is no longer! Why be somewhere where you are not wanted? Much has been said of His Eminence of blessed memory, Archbishop Iakovos, and that he may of had hopes of becoming the Patriarch here in the U.S.. And with that, possibly having the Patriarchate in Washington, D.C.. Unfortunately we will never know. After the Ligonier meeting, he was forced to retire by his sister’s Godchild, Patriarch Bartholomew.

    Halki was closed back in 1971. For 47 years we have been hoping and praying the Turkish government would finally re-open the seminary. Still nothing! With Halki closed, where will future Turkish Greek Orthodox laymen go to become priests and perhaps possibly later becoming
    Ecumenical Patriarch?

    Similar to the limited choices for bishop here in the U.S., the same applies to the Ecumenical Patriarch. He first of all must be a Turkish citizen, which limits the possible choices to a small number. An Ecumenical Patriarch should be chosen from all of the Eparchies, not just Turkey.
    I believe the only one who wasn’t, was His All Holiness of blessed memory, Patriarch Athenagoras, who was born in Greece.

    To think here in the U.S., just one of the largest parishes in the GOA, like Saint Nicholas, in Flushing, NY, alone has more parishioners than in all of Istanbul. How much interaction is there on an everyday basis between a priest there and his parishioners? How do they know what our needs are here in the U.S.? The answer is, they truly don’t.

    It is about time we face the fact, while Istanbul seems to keep burning, His All Holiness unfortunately seems to be playing the fiddle.

    The Moscow Patriarchate seems to be getting stronger with each passing day and the Istanbul Patriarchate seems to be weakening with each passing day. That could be a good reason why living in the past can be detrimental.

    Perhaps, there is a need for a Patriarchate in the U.S., with an autonomous Pan Orthodox Church.
    One which looks after its own, rather than overseas to solve its own problems and issues. Able to select its own bishops, rather than be told who to select. One which can relate to its parishioners on an everyday basis and not by a group of foreigners in a far off land. One which seems to know very little, if anything about us. Other than how much money we send to it for its survival.

  16. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from today in The National Herald. Unfortunately the article is locked and doesn’t appear in its entirety. I will continue to be on the lookout for the article in its entirety and if found, I will post.

    The Ecumenical Patriarchate is Leaning Towards the Replacement of Archbishop Demetrios
    By Theodoros Kalmoukos January 6, 2018

    BOSTON. -The Ecumenical Patriarchate seems to be leaning to replace His Eminence Archbishop Geron Demetrios of America, after the seismic revelations made exclusively the last three months by The National …

  17. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from today on The Pappas Post website.

    The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem’s Land Deals in Israel Spark Conflicts With Jews, Christians and Muslims Alike
    written by Gregory Pappas
    January 6, 2018

    http://www.pappaspost.com/greek-orthodox-patriarchate-jerusalems-land-deals-israel-spark-conflicts-jews-christians-muslims-alike/

  18. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from March 30th, 2014, on The Pappas Post website. Be sure to take a look at the comments section as well.

    90% of Americans with Greek Roots No Longer in Communion with Greek Orthodox Church
    written by Gregory Pappas
    March 30, 2014

    http://www.pappaspost.com/90-of-americans-with-greek-roots-no-longer-in-communion-with-greek-orthodox-church/

  19. Greatly Saddened says:

    Sorry, I wasn’t sure where to post this. Below please find an article from today on the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty website.

    Putin Hails ‘Eternal Christian Values’ Amid Orthodox Christmas Celebrations
    Last Updated: January 07, 2018 09:35 GMT
    RFE/RL

    https://www.rferl.org/a/putin-christmas-russia-belarus-georgia-kazakhstan-macedonia-moldova-serbia-ukraine-armenia/28959952.html

  20. Greatly Saddened says:

    Once again, wasn’t sure where to post this. Below please find an article from today on the Fox News website.

    Trump’s Jerusalem plan has behind-the-scenes backing in Egypt: report
    By Bradford Betz | Fox News

    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2018/01/07/trumps-jerusalem-plan-has-behind-scenes-backing-in-egypt-report.html

  21. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from yesterday on The New York Times website.

    Tapes Reveal Egyptian Leaders’ Tacit Acceptance of Jerusalem Move
    By David D. Kirkpatrick
    Jan. 6, 2018

    https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/01/06/world/middleeast/egypt-jerusalem-talk-shows.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

  22. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from Friday on the World Religion News website.

    “NEW ESTIMATES SHOW: U.S. MUSLIM POPULATION WILL BE SECOND LARGEST RELIGION BY 2040”
    05 JAN 2018   POSTED BY DEREK WELCH

    http://www.worldreligionnews.com/religion-news/new-estimates-show-u-s-muslim-population-will-second-largest-religion-2040

  23. Michael Bauman says:

    Father George, thank you but I did not state the Church should dominate but should be preeminent. I chose the word with care. There is a big difference. It is the perogative of the state to rule (root of dominate).
    But to rule in good order requires the wisdom of the Church first.

    It seems to me that where symphonia has worked and for it to work the Church has to be first in humility. Egalitarian assumptions do not work, the State will take control to everyone’s detriment. It is simply to acknowledge the Kingship of our Lord and His incarnate presence. That is all.

    It is an exceedingly difficult balance to maintain almost as difficult as “fully God and fully man”.

    I was expecting some one to challenge me however. I am glad it was you.

  24. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from today on The Pappas Post website.

    Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem: Christians Are at Risk of Being Driven Out of the Holy Land
    written by Gregory Pappas
    January 7, 2018

    http://www.pappaspost.com/patriarch-theophilos-jerusalem-christians-risk-driven-holy-land/

  25. Greatly Saddened says:

    FYI … His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, along with His Eminence Metropolitan Savas, will be attending the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul this week. It is being held from Tuesday, January 9th, though Thursday, January 11th.

  26. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from this Thursday on the Huffpost website.

    Archdiocese of America: The Leaking of A Resignation
    01/04/2018 09:29 am ET
    Justine Frangouli-Argyris, Contributor
    Journalist, Writer

    https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5a4e3835e4b06cd2bd03e503

  27. Greatly Saddened says:

    In a recent article in the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News, it reported there are only 2,500 to 3,000 Greeks living in all of Turkey today. Unfortunately, in due time, there may not be anyone left for these Greek Orthodox clerics to preach to. How can the Ecumenical Patriarchate expect to sustain itself, not alone survivex in a country that clearly doesn’t want them, plus has a dwindling population that may soon be extinct.

    Below please find an article from November 20th, 2017, on the Greek Reporter website.

    Greek Minority Schools in Turkey Struggle With Low Enrollment
    By Philip Chrysopoulos
    Nov 20, 2017

    http://eu.greekreporter.com/2017/11/20/greek-minority-schools-in-turkey-struggle-with-low-enrollment/

  28. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from Saturday, on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America website.

    Unable to reach Tarpon Springs Archbishop Celebrates Epiphany in New York
    1/6/18

    https://www.goarch.org/-/unable-to-reach-tarpon-springs-archbishop-celebrates-epiphany-in-new-york

  29. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from today on The National Herald website. Unfortunately the article is locked and doesn’t appear in its entirety. I will continue to be on the lookout for the article in its entirety and if found, I will post.

    The National Herald Reveals the Thornton Review for the Archdiocese
    By Theodoros Kalmoukos January 8, 2018

    NEW YORK – Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America sent a copy of The Grant Thornton Report to the members of the Archdiocesan Council. …

  30. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article which appears on today’s Eastern Orthodox Christian News website.

    NEWS 08 JAN 18 In Pictures: Historic Bulgarian Church Reopens in Istanbul

    After seven years of restoration, a 120-year-old Bulgarian church in Istanbul, overlooking the Golden Horn, has reopened in the presence of Turkish and Bulgarian leaders. 

    Mariya Cheresheva
    BIRN
    Sofia

    https://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/landmark-bulgarian-orthodox-church-reopens-in-istanbul-01-05-2018

  31. Michael Bauman says:

    BJS, government will always seek power and control that is the nature of government. The Church and her people should be about feeding the poor, living the Gospel and proclaiming Christ and Him crucified. They do not much well yet they are existentially inseparable.

    The problem with symphonia, the Church tends to get corrupted. For symphonia to work the Church has to be voluntarily recognized as preeminent and integral to the proper order of things but without power. Authority but no power. The modern idea of separation is a delusion. Not what Jefferson or the Constitution meant at all.

    Even in times of overt cruel persecution that authority is acknowledged more than in the modern secular state in which we are irrelevant.

  32. Michael Bauman says:

    George the canonization of St. Raphael was a joint effort of the Antiochians and the OCA. The Vita was written by the associate priest here at St. George at the time, Fr. Paul Hodge. Fr. Paul’s father is a deacon in the OCA and Fr. Paul was raised in the OCA. The actual service of canonization was done at St. Tikon’s I believe and included both Antiochian and OCA bishops.

    At the time of his canonization, there were several St. George parishioners who had met St. Raphael in their youth up in Kearny, NE. Alas, they have all since reposed. His icon is on the west wall of our sanctuary on the north side. On the south side of the wall is an icon of St. Ignatius of Antioch. We the icon of St. Raphael there as a proto-icon long before his canonization. He has long been an integral part of our community.

    Glory to God.

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Good point. I believe that only an autocephalous church can canonize a saint, hence, the joint effort with the OCA.

  33. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from today on OCL’s website.

    Holy Fathers, are you fooling us?

    BY WEBMASTER ON JANUARY 9, 2018 GOVERNANCE & UNITY ESSAYS, GOVERNANCE & UNITY NEWS, UNCATEGORIZED
    By Peter Makrias
    Source Estiator Magazine

    https://ocl.org/holy-fathers-fooling-us/

  34. Michael Bauman says:

    Advocate and others: Forgive my spelling. Cachinnation:

    “loud laughter,” 1620s, from Latin cachinnationem (nominative cachinnatio) “violent laughter, excessive laughter,” noun of action from past participle stem of cachinnare “to laugh immoderately or loudly,” of imitative origin. Compare Sanskrit kakhati “laughs,” Greek kakhazein “to laugh loudly,” Old High German kachazzen, English cackle, Armenian xaxanc’.

    The actual quote, from Christopher Fry’s The Lady’s Not For Burning

    For the reason of laughter, since laughter is surely
    The surest touch of genius in creation.
    Would you have thought of it, I ask you,
    If you had been making man, stuffing him full
    Of such hopping greeds and passions that he has
    To blow himself to pieces as often as he
    Conveniently can manage it… would it also
    Have occurred to you to make him burst himself
    With such a phenomenon as cachinnation?
    That same laughter, madam, is an irrelevancy
    Which almost amounts to a revelation.

    I was in the play some 50 years ago and I fell in love with the sublime language and idiosyncratic phrasing and unique juxtaposition of ideas and emotions. It is a romantic comedy set in middle of an examination for witchcraft, murder and alchemy, written to protest McCarthy’s Kabuki Theater in the U.S Senate. Unfortunately, my character in the play did not have any of the good lines. Story of my life in theater.

    Another excerpt, just for fun. The main character, claiming to be the devil incarnate to save the beautiful young woman being examined for witch craft directs this at the character I played since I was the one who had her arrested(mean old me):

    You bubble-mouthing, fog-blathering,
    Chin-chuntering, chap-flapping, liturgical,
    Turgidical, base old man! What about my murders?
    And what goes round in your head,
    What funny little murders and fornications
    Chatting up and down in three-four time
    Afraid to come out? What bliss to sin by proxy
    And do penance by way of someone else!
    But we’ll not talk about you. It will make the outlook
    So dark. Neither about this exquisitely
    Mad young woman. Nor about this congenital
    Generator, your nephew there;
    Nor about anyone but me. I’m due
    To be hanged. Good Lord, aren’t two murders enough
    To win half the medals of damnation? Must I put
    Half a dozen children on a spit
    And toast them at the flame that comes out of my mouth?
    You let the fairies fox you while the devil
    Does you. Concentrate on me.

  35. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from Monday on the Greek Reporter website.

    Greece Denies it Seeks to Replace Archbishop Demetrios of America
    By Tasos Kokkinidis – Jan 8, 2018

    http://usa.greekreporter.com/2018/01/08/greece-denies-it-seeks-to-replace-archbishop-demetrios-of-america/

  36. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from Wednesday on the We Are Orthodox website.

    Epiphany 2018 and the Revelation of GOA Clericalism
    JANUARY 10, 2018
    By Yianni Pappas

    http://weareorthodox.com/ourblog/epiphany-2018-and-the-revelation-of-goa-clericalism/

  37. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from today in The National Herald. Unfortunately the article is locked and doesn’t appear in its entirety. I will continue to be on the lookout for the article in its entirety and if found, I will post.

    Phanar is Suspiciously Quiet as Demetrios’ Fate Looms 
    By Theodoros Kalmoukos – January 12, 2018

    CONSTANTINOPLE – A suspicious quietness was prevalent at the Ecumenical Patriarchate during the period of the Synodic meetings as this edition went to press. As The National Herald reported, sources in …

    • Greatly Saddened says:

      Below please find the above article from The National Herald, which at the time of this posting is in its entirety.

      Phanar is Suspiciously Quiet as Demetrios’ Fate Looms
      By Theodoros Kalmoukos January 14, 2018

      https://www.thenationalherald.com/187308/phanar-suspiciously-quiet-demetrios-fate-looms/Orthodox

      • Greatly Saddened says:

        So sorry, I just clicked on the above link to check and The National Herald has changed the above article. Good thing I copied the article just in case. Please see below.

        Phanar is Suspiciously Quiet as Demetrios’ Fate Looms
        By Theodoros Kalmoukos January 14, 2018

        CONSTANTINOPLE – A suspicious quietness was prevalent at the Ecumenical Patriarchate during the period of the Synodic meetings as this edition went to press.

        As The National Herald reported, sources in a position to know revealed that His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew was leaning toward replacing His Eminence Geron Demetrios as Archbishop of America.

        Demetrios has been at the Phanar since January 8 because he is a member of the Holy Synod during this Synodic period.

        The archbishop, upon his request, had a brief private meeting with Patriarch Bartholomew on January 10. It lasted less than 10 minutes. The details of the meeting are not yet known; they had not met privately beforehand during this visit by Demetrios because of Bartholomew’s busy schedule.

        Sources at the Phanar asserted that it appeared the moment had arrived for Bartholomew to take serious action to salvage the Archdiocese of America. Nothing has been confirmed, but nothing can be ruled out either.

        No mention about Demetrios’ fate was made during the Synod meetings. The Synod simply approved the List of candidates for elevation to Episcopacy; all the names on the List were read and the List was approved as it was sent by the archbishop.

        Also a report was read that was submitted by Archimandrite Nathaniel Symeonidis head of the Inter-Christian Department of the Archdiocese, about an economic forum he had attended. And the issue of renovation of the School of Galata in Constantinople through Greek shipowner Athanasios Martinos’ donation was discussed.

        Archbishop Gregorios of Thyatira and Great Britain announced that His Archdiocese will assume the cost of the renovation of the Synodic Room in the Eugenidio Building at the Patriarchate.

        Also some reports were read regarding the Metropolis of Spain.

  38. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from today on The Orthodox Church/Orthodoxy Cognate Page website.

    Ordained Deaconess Serve at Altar for Armenian Orthodox Christmas-Nativity Liturgy in Tehran-Iran
    by ORTHODOXY COGNATE PAGE on JANUARY 12, 2018
    in FEATURED, FEATURED NEWS, NEWS

    http://theorthodoxchurch.info/blog/news/ordained-deaconess-serve-at-altar-for-armenian-orthodox-christmas-nativity-liturgy-in-tehran-iran/

  39. Greatly Saddened says:

    As of a few minutes ago, still no posting of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios’ itinerary for the upcoming week on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America website. Perhaps it hasn’t been posted yet due to his trip this week to the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the Holy and Sacred Synod meeting.

  40. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from today in The National Herald. Unfortunately the article is locked and doesn’t appear in its entirety. I will continue to be on the lookout for the article in its entirety and if found, I will post.

    Methodios Αsks for Operational Funds for Boston Metropolis 
    By Theodoros Kalmoukos – January 13, 2018

    BOSTON, MA – His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios of Boston in a December 15 letter to “the Clergy and Parish Councils of the Metropolis of Boston” asked them to give money …

  41. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from Thursday on the World Religion News website.

    UNPRECEDENTED PERSECUTION OF 
    EGYPT’S CHRISTIANS
    ANS  11 JAN 2018   POSTED BY GARY NGUYEN

    http://www.worldreligionnews.com/religion-news/unprecedented-persecution-egypts-christians

    • Constaninos says:

      Dear Greatly Saddened,
      What do you think a business would do if it faced a financial shortfall? One thing they would do is cut expenses. Until the Greek Orthodox Church cuts all the fat out of their budgets, they shouldn’t be given one more dime. They may be poor stewards. They get unbelievable tax benefits, and they still don’t have enough? Financial accountability and complete transparency are mandatory. If necessary, let them close the doors of many of their churches. This is one of the many reasons a canonical, autocephalous church is direly needed in America.

      • Greatly saddened, do you view the church as a business rather than the Body of Christ?

        • the Church is God’s organization. We are entrusted to be good stewards of His business. We have been told to go and make disciples. baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded. In one sense He has left the details up to us. However He has not relinquished control. When we go off the rails, He can resolve the problem in any manner that He sees fit, including closing down everything. It seems to me he did that in Russia in the last century. I have not studied the history of the Eastern Church but what I remember of my Church history studies of the Western Church is that there were times when it was lean
          and vigorous and times when it grew fat and lethargic.

          God is in the pruning business. I understand that if one is in the vineyard business, the leaves have to be pruned so that the vine will produce grapes. Otherwise there will be a meager harvest of grapes and an overabundance of leaves.

          God is constantly in the pruning business because we grow lukewarm and go our own way and become useless to Him.

        • Constaninos says:

          Dear johnkal,
          You are obviously asking a loaded question. Much better questions are why does the hierarchy of the Greek Orthodox Church think they have the right to act like gangsters? Why do they think they are unaccountable to their laity? Why do they spend money so lavishly and wastefully? They don’t need to travel first class. Neither do they have to waste money on lavish vestments. Even King Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like the prelates and hierarchs. Perhaps it’s time to revoke the tax exempt status of all religious groups. There needs to be complete accountability and transparency in all financial matters. As parishioners and taxpayers, we have the right to know what happens to every dime they have. They live and act like kings. I don’t believe this glorifies God at all.

          • George Michalopulos says:

            Constantinos, I agree with a lot of what you’re saying. I’d go so far as to say that the tax exemption should be revoked as well. I know that what I said is shocking so here’s a compromise: only those parishes (i.e. individual houses of worship) that give more than 10% of their income to alms and charity (i.e. provide soup lines, homeless shelters, medical clinics, etc.) would be allowed to retain their tax exemption.

            • Constaninos says:

              Dear George,
              I was watching a video on youtube about the notorious Benny Hinn. When I think of the fact this charlatan takes in $100,000,000 a year, flies in his own personal jet, and lives like a king, it sickens me to my stomach. All this and his “ministry” is tax exempt. Other names I would include are Kenneth Copeland, Joel Osteen, Franklin Graham( son of Billy Graham), Joyce Meyers, Paula White( President Trump’s “pastor”), Trinity Broadcasting Network, Jimmy Swaggart, and many others, it just sickens me. These nefarious scoundrels live like billionaires, serving only themselves, and their lusts. It’s a racket, and needs to be stopped. It’s hard to believe that “the Son of Man had nowhere to lay His head.”

          • Greatly saddened, you make a serious flaw when you compare and refer to the Church as a business. Certainly, as you state in your response, accountability is expected and required. However, accountability will not solve the challenges facing the GOA. Only repentance can heal, or begin to heal, the challenges confronting the GOA. Assuming that accountably will remove the challenges is like believing a bandaid will heal a heart attack.

            Please, the Church should never be compared to or referred to as a business. The Church is and ever shall be the Body of Christ.

        • Greatly Saddened says:

          johnkal … I am a bit puzzled why you are directing this question to me. Nevertheless, I will respond to your question.
          Please excuse me for what I am about to say, I don’t mean any disrespect. I have always believed the Church should always be the “Body of Christ.” Unfortunately, more and more, I come to find the GOA, in my humble opinion, seems to be a business which disguises itself as the “Body of Christ.”
          I have lost all faith in the GOA and doubt they are there for the right reasons. I have come to the unfortunate conclusion it is an ethnic/cultural club which seems to profess “Greekness” rather than “Christness.” I find the GOA, “self centered,” rather than “Christ centered.”
          Again, this is my opinion and pray perhaps one day they will see things differently and put the emphasis where it should have always been. And that is with Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Lord have mercy and God bless.

  42. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from Sputnik News which was posted on The Orthodox Church/Orthodoxy Cognate Page website.

    Pope Francis Could Appoint a Woman Cardinal, Leading Church Figure Says
    by ORTHODOXY COGNATE PAGE on JANUARY 14, 2018
    in FEATURED, FEATURED NEWS, NEWS

    http://theorthodoxchurch.info/blog/news/pope-francis-could-appoint-a-woman-cardinal-leading-church-figure-says/

  43. Michael Bauman says:

    Advocate, the real scandal in the Bible in the Old Testament is the Jubilee. It is part of The Law, in Levitcus, that demands that all private property be reallocated and all debts be abrogated and all slaves freed every fifty years.

    However the authority of Caesar to order the polity Jesus never challenges. That includes borders, property language and culture.

    The Jubilee is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. However without God, the political version of the Jubilee requires tryanny, torture and death. So, we do the best we can — recognizing Lazarus at our door step and giving what sucour we can. Not changing their lives or eridicating any of the existential conditions you mention, but just giving a glass of water to someone who is thirsty.

    Christianity is far more radical than even you imagine. Not many can handle it. I like my stuff, I like my comfort I like my wealth. I am an arrogant selfish person. Cruel and heartless. Except for the mercy and Grace of Christ, I am far more defective than anyone from the streets I have ever met. It is part of my shame that makes me want to avoid them and see them as enemies.

    The dichotomy between literal and non-literal is a false dicotomy intrinsic to modernity. When is Jesus literal and when is He not? Always and never. In Christ the dichotomy is transfigured into an antinomy. It is because of the Incarnation.

    Be of good cheer my friend. All things work toward good for those who love God. Rejoice in Him always.

    • Joseph Lipper says:

      Wow, some very interesting points you bring up Michael about the Jubilee.

      • Michael Bauman says:

        If we were following the original Christian paradigm it is likely that we would hold all things in common, not as socialists proprose, but out of love of God and each other. At least, we might sell all that we have, give to the poor and follow Him.

        Numerous saints have done that. Personally, I lack the faith to do that.

        • It is true that the earliest Christians held to common property but it never became a principle beyond common agreement in the community. Christ’s parables assume a culture where people engage in business for profit. Recall the parable of the talents or the parables with vineyard owners. Private property was understood to be the norm.

          In the immediate aftermath of the Resurrection, however, a relatively poor Church was completely occupied with spreading the Gospel and common property made sense in that context.

          But consider Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy member of the Sanhedrin who at first secretly followed Christ and even donated the tomb in which He was buried.

          If one tithes and supports the Church in other ways, that is a good start. We are not all called to be monastics either.

          • Michael Bauman says:

            The common property proved to be a burden rather quickly as the Ananias and Sapphira experience proved. Private property held loosely with the right to glean readily given to the poor and collections taken up for other Christian communities. Even though never practiced, the Law of the Jubilee had its impact.

            We may not all be called to be vowed monastics but we are all called, as far as we are able, to live simply and share abundantly with others are we not?

            One thing the Church is not is individualistic.

  44. Gail Sheppard says:

    Advocate, et al, I have been unable to see all the posts that are addressed me and when they do pop up, I am unable to “reply.” I would if I could, though! I do not mean to be rude.

  45. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from today on the Ortho Christian website.

    CYPRIOT MONASTERY OPENS NEW WEBSITE DEDICATED TO PUBLICATION OF GREEK-LANGUAGE BIOGRAPHY OF ROMANOVS
    Mesa Potamos, Cyprus, January 15, 2018

    http://orthochristian.com/109913.html

  46. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from Sputnik News today, which has been posted on The Orthodox Church/Orthodoxy Cognate Page website.

    Putin Compares Communism to Christianity
    by ORTHODOXY COGNATE PAGE on JANUARY 15, 2018
    in FEATURED, FEATURED NEWS, NEWS

    http://theorthodoxchurch.info/blog/news/putin-compares-communism-to-christianity/

  47. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from Friday on OCL’s website.

    IT’S TIME TO MERGE ST. VLADIMIR’S AND HOLY CROSS
    BY WEBMASTER ON JANUARY 12, 2018 GOVERNANCE & UNITY ESSAYS, GOVERNANCE & UNITY NEWS
    Source: Public Orthodoxy
    by George Demacopoulos

    https://ocl.org/its-time-to-merge-st-vladimirs-and-holy-cross/

  48. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find a copy of the comment made today, by Mr. George D. Karcazes, on OCL’s website.

    GEORGE D. KARCAZES on JANUARY 15, 2018
    12:27 PM

    The problems confronting the GOA have been known for a long time. Studies have been done. Reports have been prepared. They are all sitting and gathering dust on shelves on East 79th Street. The data is well known.. and ignored. The leadership in New York and in Istanbul and their appointed enablers have marginalized the laity with successive modifications of the Charter and the Uniform Parish Regulations.

    The changes that are required to stem the downward spiral of the GOA are both systemic and notional. The Charter needs to be amended to restore the balance of responsibilities and input between Istanbul and the Clergy and Laity in the US. The Archdiocesan Council and the Clergy-Laity Congress need to be restored to positions of real authority and responsibility.

    The Laity’s self-understanding of its proper role in the Church needs to be restored and the Hierarchy’s role as “teacher and preacher” rather than all-powerful, unaccountable administrators over all aspects of the Church needs to be clarified.

    Everyone should understand that the purpose of the Clergy-Laity Congress is administrative. Every parish should be encouraged to submit items for discussion at Congress. Agendas, and financial reports should be delivered to delegates well before the Congress convenes. The Congress should be held on a college campus or retreat center and should consist solely of the Administration and Finance Committees.

    Meetings of those two committees should not be held simultaneously.. every delegate should be able to attend the meetings of both committees. The purpose of the Clergy-Laity Congress is NOT to “project Orthodoxy and Hellenism” to a disinterested US public. Speeches by political leaders (American, Greek and/or Cypriot) are a distraction. Black-tie dinners in expensive hotels are a distraction. Limos delivering dignitaries and bishops to expensive venues are a distraction.

    The GOA is at the tipping-point. The crisis is existential. It is time to get serious. Otherwise the Church our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents established in the US will cease to exist.. and “Orthodoxy in America” will be confined to the fundamentalists in the Ephramite monasteries supposedly operating under the Omophorion of the GOA.

  49. Greatly Saddened says:

    In today’s Ethnikos Kyrix, an article appears in which His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, announces the Holy Eparchial Synod will be meeting on Tuesday, February 5th, in regard to the election of the new Metropolitan of Chicago.

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