Episcopalians in Amsterdam?

Rainbow ChurchWord on the street is that a secret meeting is being held in Amsterdam at this minute (June 7, 2017) to discuss same-sex attraction and other issues that includes an Orthodox bishop, clergy, and academics along with four St Vladimir Seminary professors and the Chancellor of the OCA.

Monomakhos does not have much detail yet on the meeting but it’s troubling because 1) attendants were asked to keep the meeting secret, and 2) some attendees are social justice warriors who want to drag the Orthodox Church into the culture wars, especially concerning homosexuality. (Full list of attendees below.) The proceedings operate under the Chatham House Rule.

Especially concerning is the participation of the OCA Chancellor Father John “sexual minorities” Jillions. You may remember Fr Jillions’ collusion in the removal of Metropolitan Jonah following Met. Jonah’s statement on homosexual activity about a year before the coup that ousted him began. If Fr Jillions spent a penny of OCA money to fund this trip then best practices requires a full accounting for the reason and purpose of this trip. We eagerly await it.

This comes on the tail of another report recently received by Monomakhos. Fr Nathan Preston, who works under the OCA Chancellor, recently began a “listening tour” asking clergy their thoughts and views on homosexuality. Privately some clergy are saying that the tour has the feel of social justice activism and is intended to identify traditional clergy and soften others who may be on the fence about sanctioning sodomy in the church.

Also attending is Aristotle Papanikolaou who, along with George Demacopoulos, are making a full throttle move to establish themselves as the public voice of American Orthodoxy through their publication “Public Orthodoxy” and their work at The Orthodox Christian Studies Center located at Fordham University. They recently published an essay by Peter J Sanfilippo, an SVS grad and defrocked priest, that alluded that Fr Pavel Florensky was a closet homosexual. Russian theologians read the essay and were appalled. One wrote a definitive take-down of Sanfilippo’s scurrilous piece on the American Orthodox Institute website. “Public Orthodoxy” has yet to issue an apology or retraction.

Papanikolaou is the author of Orthodox Fundamentalism where he resurrects a tired polemic device used decades, even a century, ago in other Christian communions. The “fundamentalist” charge is used to drive a wedge in the Church to force debate about issues that previously were settled but that the liberal wants “reexamined.” Resistance to the program is first castigated as unwillingness to “dialogue” and then followed by charges of “anti-intellectualism.”

The “fundamentalist” charge is part of a broad based attack that has a very narrow focus. Protestants have used if frequently. Most recently the liberals in the Episcopal Church used the term to beat down opponents to clear the way for the full acceptance of sodomy. Generally speaking, whenever you hear the term “fundamentalist” you should take it to mean “people who don’t agree with me.”

A question is whether the OCA Bishops, or any Bishop for that matter, knows of the meeting. Sooner or later we need to hear from them lest we think that they tacitly support the homosexualization of the Church. Fr John Behr and Fr Sergius Halverson have direct responsibility for students at the seminary. Where do they stand? What do they teach? What are they doing at the conference? If they are part of the social justice wing of American Orthodoxy the prospects for healthy spiritual formation at the seminary are not good. Antioch should take notice. The GOA has entrenched problems with homosexuality and if the OCA follows suit, it may be time for the Antiochians to establish their own seminary.

We await a full report from this conference and will publish any news we have about it.

Attendees:

Vasilios Thermos,
Fr Andrew Louth
Niko Asproulis,
Fr Philip LeMasters,
Brandon Gallaher,
Fr Michael Zheltov,
Gayle Woloschak,
Tamara Grdzlidze,
Aristotle Papanikolaou,
Edith Humphrey,
Fr John Jillions,
Bp Maxim (Serbian West Coast),
Fr Vladimir Shmaliy,
Archimandrite Nathanael Symeonides,
Nicolae Mosoiu,
Adn John Chryssavgis,
Metropolitan Ambrosius (FINLAND),
Fr Meletios Webber,
Fr John Behr,
Joan Lena,
Fr Sergius Halvorsen

Comments

  1. Pat Reardon says:

    Thank you for this preliminary report, George.

    Most of the individuals in attendance are unknown to me.

    I am somewhat reassured, however, that the list does include names of sterling reputation and impeccable credentials. Dr Edith Humphrey, for instance.

    We will hope and pray for the best.

    • Fr. Joseph Bittle says:

      I would like to second the evaluation that Dr. Edith Humphrey is of “sterling reputation and impeccable credentials.” The list of names is a mixed bag of opinion, I think, regarding the question of same-sex attraction/marriage/behavior, but readers of Monomakhos should not be left thinking that all of the attendees (perhaps not even the majority) fall on the side of relativist sexual morality.

      • Fr. Harry Linsinbigler says:

        Right, Fr. Joseph. In fact, I think that only two of the names on the list are suspect of advancing relativism.

        Besides all that, none of them can change anything, given that the Orthodox Church unanimously issued clarifications on these matters as recently as last year. While parts of one of the documents of the council of Crete are in dispute, one that is not is the council’s statement on marriage, and is the most recent unanimous statement of all the patriarchates:

        9. A civil marriage between a man and a woman registered in accordance with the law lacks sacramental character since it is a simple legalized cohabitation recognized by the State, different from a marriage blessed by God and the Church. The members of the Church who contract a civil marriage ought to be regarded with pastoral responsibility, which is necessary to help them understand the value of the sacrament of marriage and the blessings connected with it.
        10. The Church does not allow for her members to contract same-sex unions or any other form of cohabitation apart from marriage. The Church exerts all possible pastoral efforts to help her members who enter into such unions understand the true meaning of repentance and love as blessed by the Church.

        • Ioannis says:

          Fr. Harry,
          You miss the point entirely. The point is not to change Church teaching but to stigmatize anyone who holds it and ensure they do not achieve a position of leadership. The larger goal being to erase the cultural memory of Orthodoxy by raising up a generation of theologians who teach something altogether different than the Tradition handed down to us and yet insist that what they are saying is indeed the Tradition of the Church. I would challenge you to over to the Orthodox Studies Facebook Group or The Great Council Facebook Group run by a few of the folks who were in Crete and ask whether items 9 and 10 that you cite above are the teachings of Orthodoxy. I bet you will be surprised what you hear back.

        • Fr. article 10 which you quote opens the door for sane sex church blessings. It’s as if a 10 year old wrote these sloppy incoherent texts. It says the church does not allow her members same sex unions “apart from marriage”, meaning if a gay marriage rite is approved in the future then it is allowable. All the Cretin texts have elements of cacodoxy .

        • Monk James says:

          Fr. Harry Linsinbigler (June 10, 2017 at 12:45 am) says:
          SNIP
          9. A civil marriage between a man and a woman registered in accordance with the law lacks sacramental character since it is a simple legalized cohabitation recognized by the State, different from a marriage blessed by God and the Church. The members of the Church who contract a civil marriage ought to be regarded with pastoral responsibility, which is necessary to help them understand the value of the sacrament of marriage and the blessings connected with it.
          SNIP
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          Perhaps the ‘council to which Fr Harry Linsinbigler refers is the gathering of some of the churches at Khania in June 2016?

          If so, such a statement as this is only one reason for which The Church as a whole has not accepted these meetings as having ecumenical force among all the Orthodox.

          The divinely instituted state of human marriage has existed from the beginning of humanity, from Adam and Eve onward. At no time has anyone, even in the New Testament, suggested that a marriage must be ‘blessed by God and the Church’ in order to be considered anything more than ‘a simple legalized cohabitation recognized by the State’.

          What insensitive arrogance! What ignorance of the activity of the Holy Spirit among us even before we heard the Gospel!

          If a Hindu married couple were now to come into The Church, we would recognize them as married and bless their marriage, not marry them. The same would be true of a couple who got married at city hall. This goes back to St Paul’s explicit teaching on the matter.

        • Christopher says:

          “In fact, I think that only two of the names on the list are suspect of advancing relativism.”

          I count a minimum of four. Oh well, we are all seduced by the spirit of the age to some extant.

          What do you think Fr. Harry, is it possible that these folks gathered not so much for the advancement of homosexualist anthropology of some sort, but rather for the ordination of women in the form of female deacons?

      • Even so, Father, one has to wonder. What is unique about same-sex attraction and/or homosexual behavior among all sins that requires the attention of these participants? The bishops – or at least those of the OCA, Antiochian, ROCOR (and, I believe, other) jurisdictions – have already addressed the subject in a clear and compassionate manner. How, then, is there any room for “a mixed bag of opinion?” If the episcopate – in word (albeit sometimes not in action) – has rightly divided the Word of Truth, obedience is the only thing called for. Discussion only breeds confusion.

    • Ioannis says:

      Fr. Patrick and Fr. Joseph,
      I appreciate your comments regarding the reputation of Dr. Humphrey. If this is indeed the case then she should have no issue disclosing the content of the meeting and the reasons for its secrecy/lack of publicity. Secrecy is never healthy for the Church.

  2. This is serious business. To have convened this group in secret is terrible. What’s the next step? Thanks for telling your readers.

  3. pelagiaeast says:

    We are only “small potatoes,” but this is exactly why St. Vlad’s is no longer in our trust. Jordanville now is. Doubt St. Vlad’s would even care. Very sad.

  4. Michael Bauman says:

    Why is it necessary to convene any such group except to reiterate the truth that erotic behavior between two people of the same sex is a deep sin; we are created male and female anything other than that is a emotional/spiritual disorder; marriage is between one man and one woman for the glory of God it is not a right; the proper ordering of human sexuality demands celibacy before marriage and chastity after marriage.

    Any temptation to or actual excursion outside these boundaries requires repentance and mercy to heal.

    It is not difficult to state or understand if one is at all interested in the truth and leading a Godly life.

    Lord have mercy and save us from academics, ideologs and our own weakness.

  5. This is a sky is falling report.

    For all you know Jillions went to provide traditional Orthodox perspective.

    Talk about speculative trash and bashing a cleric.

    • Yadayadayada says:

      The point here is, he has a record….and so do many of the people who are attending this meeting. I’ll say, “Progressives” to be polite.

      • If his record is so wrong; take it up with his bishop unless you want to reorganize as a ? i dunno ? Epissedcopalian?

  6. Is this hearsay or has this supersecret meeting confirmed as having taken place?

    As far as the two pseudo seminaries of the OCA and the Greeks may they go out of business. I don’t want them “fixed” or reformed , I want them shut down and their properties sold off. We should all be praying they burn down.

    • Jesus would not speak kindly to you for shutting down seminaries.

      He’d probably recommend you for an exorcism.

      Jus sayin

      • George Michalopulos says:

        I dunno about that. He almost shut down the Temple with His tirade on Holy Monday.

      • Lexcaritas says:

        What seminaries did Jesus attend? Or establish?

        Christ is in our midst.

        Lxc+

      • Estonian Slovak says:

        This is for Anon. Why would the Lord “recommend” anyone for an exorcism, since He is Lord of all the world?
        See, you modernist folk want to reduce Our Lord to the status of a mere moral teacher. Instead of the process of our striving to become one with Him, you would bring down to our sinful level.
        Do not take my word for it, I’m a sinful man. Check out the works of Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos or those of Dr. Christopher Veniamin, Professor of Patristics at St. Tikhon’s Seminary.

        • It was figurative lxc. That means something to think about. Which you did, but sadly, jumped on me instead of the anti-seminary post, which, at the end, you did, but only ironically. And not as your main point!

          Just like this.

          Go ahead and defund and destroy the seminaries.

          Think about your words and sorry if I seemed to belittle God by defending an institution that you used as a source.

          We are probably on the same page despite ourselves.

    • Monk James says:

      That was probably not the kindest thing to say.

      It’s a GOOD thing for our clergy to be well educated. If it appears — as it admittedly does — that some professors in our seminaries are not correctly teaching the fundamentals of the authentically Orthodox Catholic Christian Tradition, then we must hold the seminaries and their governing bishops responsible and insist that they remove those teachers, not burn down the schools!

  7. Centurion says:

    This whole “secret meeting” approach stinks to high heaven.

    “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.” (Ephesians 5:8-13)

  8. It’s what you expect if my pincer theory were to prove true. RCC working through both the rump of Uniatism (OCA) and the Phanar (Paris School, etc) to undermine Orthodoxy.

    “Collusion” would be the appropriate word.

    This is not to say that there aren’t many believers among OCA’ers and even some among GOA’ns, but there’s theory, then there’s practice.

    What to do?:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JU3yqdo8Lc

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sngL9DtqQLY

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcndxAyNDYw

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUO8ScYVeDo

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xH-_9cwdLug

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/448385/americans-left-right-liberal-conservative-democrats-republicans-blue-red-states-cultural-segregate

  9. While I am not Facebook friends with Edith M. Humphrey, her publicly accessible post from Jun 6 reads: “Sitting in the De Gaulle airport, drinking Orangina! (The only good thing about the flight being delayed!)”

    So I am assuming this meeting did take place.

  10. Peter A. Papoutsis says:

    The meeting was secret. That is the biggest red flag that this meeting stinks to high heaven. As always we seem to have a problem with the plain reading of the Gospel. I, along with Fr. Pat, will hope and pray that this turns out to be nothing.

    However, again, it was held in secret. BIG RED FLAG FOR TROUBLE!

    Peter A Papoutsis

    • Gail Sheppard says:

      I was bemoaning Crete, fearing the Church would split in two, and I asked a bishop why he wasn’t more upset. He said, “When has the Church *ever* been free of the threat of splitting in two?!” (Or something to that effect.) Guess when you put it that way. . . We’re probably OK.

      • Monk James says:

        The Church has never been divided. Certainly, it’s been made smaller by the occasional departure of schismatics and heretics, but The Church remains one, the indivisible Body of Christ

  11. Michael Woerl says:

    The meeting did, indeed, take place. On Facebook today, in a post that linked to this Monomakhos article, Dr. Edith Humphrey commented that the meeting was not “secret” at all, but simply had not been “publicized” beforehand. Does not seem to have been “publicized” afterwards either, as absolutely nothing comes up in internet searches about this meeting … NOT ONE WORD. [Except this Monomakhos article … I had to copy/past the entire text on Facebook, as it cannot be posted on Facebook with the url … comes up as “no longer available.”] Not even when the search was done in Dutch. And “Anon.” says: “For all you know Jillions went to provide traditional Orthodox perspective.” “Anon.,” for all you know, he didn’t! If this was a meeting to “strengthen Orthodox familes” in some “traditional Orthodox manner,” you can bet the farm it WOULD have been more than well “publicized.” And would not have been held in … Amsterdam. Of all places … That Traditionally Orthodox Town! Amsterdam does, however, have some things to offer to tourists, apparently … canals , museums and such, I’ve heard …

    • Look. I am one over for today, but this thread stinks of irony so bad it borders on comedic.

      Point-A bishop sent Jillions
      Point-We are a hierarchical church
      Point-Speculation, rumor, gossip and the management of clerics from the laity is not the right church.

      So, by spreading such trash, this thread is really not Orthodox a bit, but very Episcopalian.

      • Billy Jack Sunday says:

        Anyone who wants blind obedience to hierarchy might find an RC blog more homey feeling

        • Blind obedience or gossip and rumors?

          • Billy Jack Sunday says:

            Warning signs will be labeled as gossip and rumors by those clergy who demand blind obedience and by laity who comply with such.

            Just ask the former members of Mars Hill Church

            Orthodox churches are not immune to such things just because they are Orthodox

        • Or an ROC(OR) blog

    • http://orthochristian.com/104343.html

      Above is Pravoslavie’s take on it.

      Looks like a Fem/Perv infestation.

      Fumigate.

  12. Rdr. Daniel says:

    Sources please?

  13. You forgot to put George Demacopoulos on the list. He is there also.

    There are three attendees in Amsterdam that should cause a great deal of alarm and concern amongst Orthodox Christians:

    Aristotle Papanikolaou
    George Demacopoulos
    Adn John Chryssavgis

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Thank you for the correction.

    • ChristineFevronia says:

      Fr. Meletios Webber is the priest who was sent by Abp Benjamin to become the Abbot of the OCA Monastery of St. John after Fr. Jonah became Bishop of the South. It was on Fr. Meletios Webber’s watch that a female “male” (or was it a male “female”, can’t remember) transgendered person who was undergoing gender reassignment was brought into the Monastery as a novice. It was also under his watch that a lesbian couple was seeking to take communion at the Monastery. Readers of this blog may recall the details of what happened, with the sad result that Abp Benjamin told this couple that–and I quote–“the Church moves glacially slow on such matters” as married lesbians being able to receive communion. “Glacially slow.” As we know, half of the monks left under his watch. Fr. Meletios Webber turned in his resignation after the incidents became known. He currently lives in… the Netherlands.

      And of course Met. Tikhon knows where his Chancellor Fr. Jillions is. Met. Tikhon would have had to give his Blessing for the Chancellor of the OCA to attend such a convocation.

      I will be very interested to read the minutes from this meeting. My prayer is that those “slow glaciers” of the Faith are not melting…

      • M. Stankovich says:

        ChristineFevronia,

        The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden all your life to this day? Have I ever been accustomed to do so to you?” And he said, “No.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way with his drawn sword in his hand; and he bowed all the way to the ground. The angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out as an adversary, because your way was contrary to me. “But the donkey saw me and turned aside from me these three times. If she had not turned aside from me, I would surely have killed you just now, and let her live.”

        Your information regarding Archbishop Benjamin is absolutely false. Your attribution of a quotation, “the Church moves glacially slow on such matters” suggesting it refers to married lesbians receiving the Eucharist is a “deliciously” enjoyed misascription our Blessed Father John Climacus refers to as “murderous gossip.” The fact is, Archbishop Benjamin and I had numerous discussions about this couple and about transgender individuals in general, because the church will not; or rather, the presumption is that we have concluded the discussion. Archbishop Benjamin met with them because the Lord said “I am not sent but only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 15:24), and because I had strongly suggested to him,”If they cannot speak with an Orthodox Bishop, who can they speak with?” Let me be emphatic about this point: Abp. Benjamin would not allow them to receive Communion at his cathedral in San Francisco; he never discussed the process or conditions of their coming to Communion; they did not not inform him they were married; he did not know they were married. Abp. Benjamin found out these two individuals were “married” under CA law much later when he was informed of their introduction of themselves on an Orthodox LGBT website. End of story. End of his contact with them.

        I began this post with a story from the Book of Numbers, ChristineFevronia, for a very specific reason: sometimes, one should actually listen to a donkey than to listen to men. Honest to goodness, Christine, today you broke my heart, and I’m praying your icy heart is quick to melt And I say it out of love.

        • ChristineFevronia says:

          Dr. Stankovich, thank you for sharing this information. I didn’t intend for my post to be about Arb Benjamin but about Fr. Meletios Webber as the former Abbot of St. John’s. However, in terms of the reported conversation that Clare had with Arb Benjamin, when the site Orthodox and Gay hosted Clare’s story, Clare was clear about her communication with Arb Benjamin. I will never forget reading her words. There was no subsequent clarification or recantation to share a different story. There also was the written statement by a former St. John’s novice regarding his experience there. That was never recanted. It seems odd that’s the case. If they did change their stories and I missed it, please let me know so the record can stand corrected here, since this site has shared both their stories.

          You will always be your friend’s champion, and I appreciate that. I have a very different experience. I go a bit bonkers when I read stuff like the story that George has posted here. After Met. Jonah’s departure from his position as Metropolitan, I have nothing but distrust for the OCA synod. This is a group of men who lumped my spiritual father in the same category as Jerry Sandusky in their scurrilous letter which was tainted with falsehood after falsehood. And that also has never been recanted of, so I remain skeptical and cynical. But is was truly lovely to read your post and hear the other side of this particular story. I appreciate the spirit in which you sought to correct me and I welcome it now and always will.

          • ChristineFevronia says:

            Dr. S, I found the post to which I referred above. I do hope you can understand why I would believe this person’s testimony at face value. She posted her testimony online for all to see. Again, I am thankful that you took the time to post your side of the story. I also truly pray that something good will come out of this symposium and any others that can help Orthodox Christians with such soul-shaking issues such as this.

            From http://www.orthodoxandgay.com/the-outcast:
            “I was chrismated into the Orthodox Church of America in San Francisco on Lazarus Saturday this spring, in Holy Trinity Cathedral, the oldest orthodox parish in the west. I and my legal wife. We had both been catechumens for a full year before christmation, and at the very beginning had discussed with our priest the fact that we are in a loving, yet celebate, relationship, a secular marriage still legal in California (we were married before Proposition 13 passed, so we remain fully legal in marital status).
            I am 66 years old and my wife, Susanne, and I, together, have three children and four grandchildren. Until I was 51 I lived as a male, but since the age of three I have felt myself to be fully female, except for the wrong physicality. In 1998 I transitioned from male to female, a long, expensive (in many many ways), and difficult journey. I met Susanne in 1999 and we have shared a house ever since, fully accepted by our extended families as loving and caring people.
            We were so happy to be accepted fully into the orthodox church, and had met so many loving people in Holy Trinity, that we felt truly blessed. Starting in January we drove the four hour trip up to northern California to stay on retreat at St. John’s Monastery in Manton, an OCA monastery, and became friends with some of the monks there. It was so beautiful that we looked for and found a lovely cabin in the forest and took all of our savings to buy the cabin, to be only seven miles from the monastery. Then one Sunday, arriving for liturgy, we were met by a monk and denied access to eucharist. Apparently he had been suspicious of our relationship and done a great deal of searching on the internet and discovered my birth name. We were devastated and still are. Back in San Francisco, we spent an entire afternoon with Archbishop Benjamin, at his request, to discuss our past and the problems of being transgender in the orthodox church. He was very kind, intelligent, and asked great questions, and told us that though the orthodox church seemed to ‘move glacially’ at times, that it still is growing in wisdom, love, and understanding.”

            • Monk James says:

              However much The Church might grow, it will never accommodate the violence upon our inborn humanity which transsexuality requires. How could anyone, even from an early age, be at war with his/her own body except by demonic influence?

              It’s not their fault — they’ve been deceived by evil in the most pernicious way. We Christians must be kind to people who are suffering these demonic delusions or even possessions, but we cannot affirm and corroborate them. We have to work on this from a pastoral perspective and educate ourselves, because the evil is getting louder, and the secular culture likes to hear it.

          • Fr. George Washburn says:

            Hi friends:

            Christine tells us a lot about what is going on in her postings when she says she is still mad at the OCA because of the way it treated Met. Jonah. Having known him more than 25 years, I doubt that *he* is mad at the OCA, and having sat under his teaching numerous times, I am even more confident he has not blessed her to be mad at them either, let alone blessed her to trash Fr. Meletios publicly by raking up old embers of which she herself, I believe, actually has *no* direct knowledge.

            Up to a certain point Christine Fevronia’s zeal for traditionalist Orthodoxy as she understands it should be respected, and so should her love for Met. Jonah, but not if they become a license to exhume (not to say breath life into and then disseminate) the remains of disputed and ill-substantiated charges of which she herself has only hearsay knowledge.

            I at least communicated directly with at least four or five of the people she complains about. I do not believe she talked with any of them. Please correct me specifically if I am mistaken.

            Love,

            Fr. George

            • Billy Jack $unday says:

              You know what would be awesome?

              If a clergyman publicly trashed a lay person for publicly trashing some clergymen . . .

            • James H. the Traditionalist Orthodox Christian says:

              Will everyone guilty of having “zeal for traditionalist Orthodoxy” please raise your hand?

              • Fr. George Washburn says:

                And those possessed of a zeal *not* according to,knowledge (Romans 10:2) are invited to raise a second hand and wave it as vigorously as possible, index fingers (not the one next to the index finger, please) extended towards the faces of those rumored to be of a less zealous or more knowledgeable inclination.

                Those needing an example of exactly how to do this can look to the estimable George, who, in my opinion stated, in effect, in the diatribe at the top of this dialogue, that a secret meeting with the clandestine objective of undermining the traditional Orthodox position on homosexuality recently convened in Amsterdam under the leadership (he was the only hierarch mentioned) of the Serbian Bishop Maxim. Having sat under his teaching more than once, I have no doubt that George’s charge is false. But zeal not according to knowledge gets so lost in the giddiness of being right that wisdom and grace is often left behind.

                No, I do not believe or teach anything different than the traditional Orthodox position.

              • Joseph Lipper says:

                How about zeal for Christ?

                If your parish is part of the Holy, Right-Believing, True, and Traditionalist Orthodox Church…and you aren’t following Jesus, then you might just be a good jew or worse.

                • “If your parish is part of the Holy, Right-Believing, True, and Traditionalist Orthodox Church…and you aren’t following Jesus, then you might just be a good jew or worse.”

                  “Good Jews”, protecting their own little sect, crucified Christ.

                  We are certainly not legalists, but we do believe in “right doctrine”. The correctness thereof being witnessed by its dispersion throughout the early Christian world, St. Vincent’s canon of catholicity. Without that criterion guarded by successors of the Apostles, the Apostolic Word, the Christian Teaching and Life, would not have been preserved continuously in the Orthodox Church alone for the last 1900 plus years since the Resurrection and Pentacost.

                  That Truth is the Life of the Holy Spirit in the Church which for the individual believer is our progressive theosis, our deification by cooperation with the grace of God, which came first before us and led us to Christ in the first place.

                  So we are not interested in Protestantism or Roman Catholicism at all except insofar as we might be inclined to study particular heresies and sects for educational purposes. We may sometimes cooperate with these other confessions (which are in no sense “churches”, there being only one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church; i.e., the Orthodox Church) for purposes of social/legal reform on issues like abortion or family values, etc. But we are forbidden even to pray with heretics and schismatics unless they are the ones coming to investigate and participate in Orthodox services.

                  In this way, the Truth is preserved and salvation is offered from generation to generation to those led to us by God’s grace.

                  Behold true ecumenism, the healing of intra-church divisions:

                  http://orthochristian.com/104515.html

                  • Misha, do you include non-canonical Old Calendar Churches in you list of: “the Holy, Right-Believing, True, and Traditionalist Orthodox Churches…” I assume, based on your previous postings, having a parish festival is criteria for theosis.

                    Even Photios the Great, during the Photian schism, referred to Christians in the western schismatic Church as the “Western Church.” He acknowledges that Saints Augustine, Ambrose and Jerome supported the philioque clause yet does not question their sainthood.

                    Mark of Ephesus also refers to the “Western Church.” and his writings are well after the great schism.

                    Sounds to me you are like you are a legalist.

                    • Johnkal,

                      You are ignorant and in error. Both St. Photios and St. Mark of Ephesus considered Rome to be in heretical schism from the Church, not in the Church. Whatever St. Mark’s conciliatory rhetoric before his meeting with the Roman heretics, he was clear in the end about that. You simply do not understand Orthodox ecclesiology in the least.

                      As to the Greek Old Calendarists, I assume that those who do not hold that the believers in the Old Calendar jurisdictions who are unfortunately at this time in communion with those jurisdictions in heteropraxis who use the New Calendar (this would include my own jurisdiction, the ROCOR) are without grace remain part of the Church, though in a state of akoinonesia with the rest of it (a form of minor administrative schism within the Church, as happens between for example Romania and Antioch, and which prevailed between the two parts of the Church of Russia from St. Tikhon’s time until the recent Reunion in 2007, recently memorialized with a monument outside the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow.

            • Honestly, Fr. George, you speak to a daughter of God as if she was on trial for a crime and you’re her prosecuting attorney. She’s not the one who’s done anything wrong except try to make sense out of multiple ongoing scandals. I,too, remembered that name when I first read it. And is it our fault after reading all the accounts going around such as the first-hand one below from this blog’s archives “Ineptocracy”.

              (-) says:
              July 10, 2012 at 6:46 pm
              The situation at Manton was a LOT more than transgendered issues. It should be known that Fr. Meletios himself brought to Manton a Russian transgendered person by the name of Br. Nikolai. “He” was born with the name Larissa as a woman. Larissa was clothed a novice monk, and before being shipped back to Amsterdam was made a rasophore in spite of the fact that the senior council was 100% opposed to the idea.
              Fr. Meletios also taught any brothers who were willing to listen that practicing homosexuality is not a sin. He taught that masturbation is not a sin. He taught that looking at pornography was not wrong. He practiced extensive hypnotherapy on several monks of the most demonic kind.
              Find the therapist Anastasia Del Vecchio online and you will understand this “therapy.” Up until the moment when it was discovered by some of the Manton monks, Fr. Mel’s photo was on her web site with a quote, fully endorsing her new-agey hypnotherapy which brings out “altered ego states” (aka demons) from a person while in a trance.
              One should not bring an accusation against a priest without 2 or 3 witness. There are three of us who are now in Platina who can verify every word I have just written.
              (-)says:
              July 11, 2012 at 3:42 pm
              I spoke with AB Benjamin on the phone before I confronted Fr. Mel with it all. I was getting nowhere real fast with the Archbishop. Naturally.
              For the record, AB Benjamin was told all about Larissa, after the fact. No particular actions were taken.

              • ChristineFevronia says:

                Let’s all move on please. His name was not posted in the list of participants in the subsequent article. No need to go there.

                Fr. George, I must say for the record that I spoke over the phone and communicated via email with folks involved. BTW, that includes trying unsuccessfully to speak with my then-Bishop, whose number was posted on this blog, and then a lengthy conversation with the Chancellor of my own Diocese, who is one of the kindest human beings on this planet. As with everything, it all comes down to perspective. My perspective, based on personal conversations and with reading first-hand accounts of both Met. Jonah’s removal and what happened at St. John’s is that there were serious problems. You don’t. Let’s agree to disagree.

        • Billy Jack Sunday says:

          I still cannot see how donkeys tie into all this

          This was me reading your post, though

          https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5EZm_HRGnaE

          There is a point regarding Met Tikhon must have been well aware of Fr. Jillions participation well before the fact

    • John Panos says:

      The three stooges of sodomite marriage support.

  14. Ioannis says:

    George, you are right about one thing. The entire purpose here is to refashion Orthodox theology such that anyone who holds a traditional position is socially ostracized and condemned. It is also to ensure that access to advanced education and degrees are only available to those whose thinking conforms to their own.

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Bingo. The idea is not so much to change doctrine but to make the “right” positions au courant; essentially unarguable or at least make it look like criticism is beyond the pale. And of course to “streamline” the process of who gets in to what institution. (I’m glad you pointed that out Ioannis. I didn’t think about it.)

      • “We have no Government armed with Power capable of contending with human Passions in unbridled by morality and Religion. Avarice, Ambition, Revenge or Gallantry would break the strongest Cords of our Constitution as a Whale goes through a Net. Our Constitution was made only for a MORAL and RELIGIOUS PEOPLE. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”-John Adams-

        The Cultural War here in America is lost! I understand all things with God are possible, but it seems we are too far gone. NOW The Culture War is coming to our Orthodox Church. We must be prepared to never let even one evil seed implant on to our Holy Orthodox Church. Stand tall and prepare to be shamed, and even slandered by heretics! Lord Have Mercy!

      • Billy Jack Sunday says:

        Hi George

        This is why the laity needs to be included in the election process of bishop selection. Bishops promoting bishops allows for infiltration and then exclusion. It is a process of subtle and silent subversion. The nature of the organization changes completely, and yet the changes remain invisible to the masses. The power structure may seem similar enough to most, but has the spirit of intent changed? If the intention has changed, does this not account for why we are not at where we are supposed to be? Is it no wonder why it is that we are going where we are being lead?

        In reality, there should not be any such conglomerates of jurisdictional organizations, only the summation of bishops comprising the whole.

        The common folk wouldn’t realize it if they were being ruled over by a cabal of gay gangsters.

        For any of you that have hearts that bleed the rainbow, or just have become too conditioned – I’m not talking about an individual clergyman struggling with a passion. That is altogether different. I’m talking about the dismantling of biblical morals by subversive means by an insidious insular collective.

        You can be sure that a certain RC society is behind/promoting this meeting.

        Happy Gay Pride Month. It’s nice to see our clergy participating. I hope they are all wearing sunglasses and Speedos and drinking appletinis while drafting some nice document of deceptive double talk that they can roll out in a few months. Get your confetti ready

        • ReaderEmanuel says:

          Billy Jack Sunday: The laity DOES in fact have a role in bishop selection. At their ordination as bishop, we can always shout “ANAXIOS!” (“He is unworthy!”) and make it stick. We have become a rubber stamp for this and not a form of checks and balances.

          • George Michalopulos says:

            Not good enough Rdr Emmanuel IMHO. All true (real) diocesan bishops should be elected from a slate of pre-approved men by the clergy and laity in good standing of that diocese assembled in a canonical forum (e.g. diocesan assembly).

            The winner’s name should be presented to the Holy Synod for final approval. Once approved, they should lay hands on him and elevate him to the episcopacy.

            As for the bishops of archdioceses (i.e. conglomerations of dioceses headed by an archbishop or metropolitan), those can be elected from the bishops of the dioceses which comprise the archdiocese.

          • John Panos says:

            Reader Emanuel,

            The shouting of “Axios” (or”Anaxios”) is AFTER the consecration. In other words, the approval or disapproval of the laity at this point means NOTHING.

            Arida and Calin remain in charge of OCA Cathedrals despite their ridiculous antics. No discipline, no accountability, no suspension, not even a slap on the wrist. THIS IS CONSENT FROM THEIR BISHOPS.

            Those who espouse “Orthodoxy” and Orthodox morality are the ones being dehumanized and marginalized, deliberately.

        • What RC society are you referring to?

    • Yadayadayada says:

      The sad thing is even if this is exposed. Even if the probable SJW leftist agenda of this meeting is brought to light. Even if this particular cadre of characters are discredited. It won’t stop. They won’t stop. That’s one virtue of Progressives, their tenacity and never-give-up attitude. But, be vigilant, friends. We can’t roll over or give them an inch. Thank you George. I don’t always agree with you, but we would never know this was going on if you hadn’t posted it. Let’s all pray that this whole thing is just a bunch of nothing and our fears are for not. Time will tell.

    • Ioannis says:

      George,
      Readers also need to consider that events like the one you describe take place because of the lack of leaderships among Orthodox bishops. Our hierarchs do not have the courage, skill or knowledge to address error among their flocks. As a result, you now have a class of scholars who feel free to say the equivalent of “Orthodox Tradition is what we say it is!” Remember the Church and Society Committee of the Assembly of bishops has hardly met in its nearly eight years of existence and has produced nothing meaningful in terms of guidance to the faithful. We now have the equivalent of people saying 2+2=5 and people accepting it because it comes from the Orthodox glitterati.

      Also, make no mistake this is also about who gets to be recognized as the people who will be anointed leaders and teach at retreats, college conferences and your kids camp.

      Just remember that in some of these cases with regards to attendees, the question of whether or not Stewardship dollars were used to pay for this is a valid one. Money makes this machine run and in the end the only thing that can bring it to a halt.

      • Don’t worry if money at the collection plate runs out the “Soros’s” will step in, Clinton foundation and the “Lolita Express” foundation.

        Pretty obvious what’s going on here. They want “gay marriage” in the Orthodox Church. They are always testing the waters and checking on the wind. Of course the overwhelming majority of your “orthodox intellectuals” are guys that eat bacon cheeseburgers watching the game Friday night during a lent. Their knowledge of their 401 K plan exceeds anything else they know about anything else. Any time you see one of these “Oxford seminary professor” type guys giving a talk typically they look more than 20 pounds overweight, maybe they eat too much spaghetti on Wednesday and Friday, anyway not to judge too much in this regard the point here being they are all “worldly people” these carnal intellectuals and not authorities on any “orthodox tradition.” But they are “testing” and “seeing” how much they can get away with in advancing this whole gay “acceptance” agenda in the Church and ultimately they want it to become a recognized “sacrament” the “matrimony” of a couple of guys or gals. So you are looking at major blasphemy and really all this does not seem too unlikely how things are going in our times by 2020 who knows “here and there” because of this “oxfordian theology abound” there will be so much “compassion” and “understanding” and “brotherly love” the abomination will start taking place in nooks and crannies and the Synods will issue their “reprimands” but then it will be business as usual. And that will be it. It will all be “fake orthodoxy 100%” at that point and it will all be ready set to go for anti-christ arrival and “globalism” and “one-world religion” and all that. The Church will be retreating into the forrest.

        • Holy straw man. Where did Jesus go?

          • Read Luke 18:8

            “I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless,
            when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the
            earth?”

            Jesus Ascended forty days after the Resurrection. Meanwhile
            couple thousand years later faith becomes scarce to find while apostasy
            becomes commonplace.

  15. [If Fr Jillions spent a penny of OCA money to fund this trip then best practices requires a full accounting for the reason and purpose of this trip. We eagerly await it.]

    OK. I’ll ask. If he didn’t go for the OCA, who funded his trip and those of others?

  16. Thank you for the new link, which I will pummel with authentic Christian teachings from my favorite Holy Father St. John Chrysostom. Jillions will find it difficult to claim his interpretations of the Word of Holy Scripture are anywhere near authentic Christian teaching concerning the lbgt agenda. The Christ came that they may have life, and more abundantly. Jillions favors making this life impossible for gay people. This is not obedience to Jesus Christ. I wouldn’t follow him to a dog fight, if it was between my toes.

  17. George, your site in indeed a worthwhile endeavor.

  18. Meletious Webber needs to be defrocked after what he did in Manton. I have been there and there is a really vile priest still there. I don’t know if it was Webber, but I was refused as a new novice by Fr Innocent. I told him, if their still any gay clerics here, then reject me. It would only be a torture test and I know I wouldn’t stay..

  19. I had never read it until today, but it is the same conclusion that I have come to:

    http://www.pravmir.com/a-world-split-apart/

    * * *

    “It would be retrogression to attach oneself today to the ossified formulas of the Enlightenment. Social dogmatism leaves us completely helpless in front of the trials of our times.

    Even if we are spared destruction by war, our lives will have to change if we want to save life from self-destruction. We cannot avoid revising the fundamental definitions of human life and human society. Is it true that man is above everything? Is there no Superior Spirit above him? Is it right that man’s life and society’s activities have to be determined by material expansion in the first place? Is it permissible to promote such expansion to the detriment of our spiritual integrity?

    If the world has not come to its end, it has approached a major turn in history, equal in importance to the turn from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. It will exact from us a spiritual upsurge, we shall have to rise to a new height of vision, to a new level of life where our physical nature will not be cursed as in the Middle Ages, but, even more importantly, our spiritual being will not be trampled upon as in the Modern era.

    This ascension will be similar to climbing onto the next anthropologic stage. No one on earth has any other way left but – upward.”

  20. Here is a very interesting article that could be relevant to our discussion here:
    http://fatherjohn.blogspot.com/2017/05/soft-pedaling-christian-morality-review.html?m=1

  21. ReaderEmanuel says:

    All this talk about this meeting leads me to wonder: What are we going to do about it??? It’s obvious that there are forces at work to destroy the Church from within. Do we stay in our own parishes and jurisdictions and fight this? Do we split from the “canonical” Orthodox (which will not be canonical anymore as they will be heretics) in a schism which is all but certain to come out of this? Do we expose these heretics for what they are and demand that they either recant or step down? There has to be a concentrated effort by those who hold the traditional Orthodox Faith against those who would undermine it. We can’t just do it piecemeal. But I have no idea as to how.

  22. Father Edward Pehanich says:

    Where are the meetings and discussion on how to help our parish members who struggle with same sex attraction? I’ve worked with a number of men over the years in their struggle for chastity and purity. I don’t hear a lot of support and ideas from our “theologians” on how we can be more successful in this needed pastoral ministry. I haven’t heard of any high level meetings on how to promote chastity and purity of heart!

    • M. Stankovich says:

      Fr. Edward’s point is especially salient and an especially crucial counter-point to this “heads up,” head-wagging, finger-pointing Monomakhos insinuation-fest-without-the-facts.

      Archbishop Benjamin of the OCA openly stands accused of compromising the Orthodox Faith over his conduct with a transgender couple, and I openly stand in his defense – not just because I love him as my brother (and he was, in fact, beloved of my own mother) and classmate from St. Vladmir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in an age that is sadly long past; not because he is my confessor and confidant; but because he sought out my assistance when he was approached by a transgender couple . I will tell you exactly what I suggested to him:

      Our Savior instructed us in this manner: “And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried to him, saying, ‘Have mercy on me, O Lord, you son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.’ But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and sought him, saying, ‘Send her away; for she cries after us. But he answered and said, ‘I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ (Matt. 15:22-23) If the Archbishop of San Francisco and the West cannot be approached by a baptized Orthodox Christian who is a post-surgical gender reassignment person to discuss returning to church, who should they approach? I do not believe the Archbishop would mind me saying he was as disconcerted and out of his element as most anyone among the ordained clergy would be. I do know that he told them, as Fr. Ed has noted, he would assist them “in their struggle for chastity and purity,” but they could not return to the Eucharist. I am emphatic in stating this: they did not inform Archbishop Benjamin that were “married” under CA civil law, and Archbishop Benjamin was unaware they were “married.” He was notified of their marital status when they “introduced” themselves on an “Orthodox” LGBT website, and that ended their discussions with him. Anyone who suggests that Archbishop Benjamin told these transgender individuals that the Church was slowly moving toward “acceptance” of same-sex marriage or trans-marriage, albeit the movement is “glacial,” needs to repent of this gossip.

      My main point, however, in supporting Fr. Ed, is to say that Archbishop Benjamin specifically asked St. Vladimir’s Seminary to convene a pastoral ministry conference on these emerging matters, and they declined. While I understand Michael Bauman’s point above, why is it even necessary to convene a conference, other than to reiterate the teachings of the Church about sexual relationships, and I am aware of the starkness of the conclusion of the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, “If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead,” (Lk. 16:31) I am always drawn back to the simple words of Met. Anthony (Khraopvtsky), the first hierarch of ROCOR, in his instruction to young priest on penance in his book Confession: “We are far removed from the time of Grace.” Perhaps we should sit for a moment – those of us who make the claim of being “devoted, passionate Orthodox Christians” – and contemplate the enormity of Fr. Ed’s observation: “how to promote chastity and purity of heart!” in our own lives. Then, imagine, just for a moment, the power of a human passion that would drive a human being to surgically and irreparably alter themselves in hopes of relief, and a body of literature that indicates it is more likely to bring more harm. Finally, consider their inherent instinct is to seek Him Who is the true Physician & Healer. How to promote chastity and purity of heart? How to first set aside abhorrence, disgust, prejudice, anger, distrust, bias, and stereotype! It’s complex and it will only get worse.

      Quite frankly, the idea that this conference was conducted on the “low down” is objectionable to me, and had I been asked, I would have suggested a number of experts outside the Orthodox Church who, are infinitely more prepared than we are, to assist us – Paul McHugh, MD of the Atlantic Monthly report on Gender Disorders and a devout Roman Catholic immediately comes to mind. We are, however, arrogant, unreasonably entitled, and freakishly insular. If there is someone in this group who has interviewed and assessed more serial felony sexual offenders and child sexual predators, and conducted more trainings & presentations regarding sexual offenders than me, I would like to meet them. But, I must say, judging by the insinuations, innuendo, calls to raize the seminaries by fire, etc. predictably offered by shady, anonymous poseurs just at the mere report of such a conference (and with all due respect to Fr. Patrick who is at least eminently qualified), I can appreciate the sentiment.

      • George Michalopulos says:

        Dr S, thank you for setting the record straight re Arb Benjamin.

      • Billy Jack Sunday says:

        Or you could invite a donkey to the symposium

      • Gail Sheppard says:

        When I see the name Adn John Chryssavgis, I think EP and I think Pope.

        • George Michalopulos says:

          And you would be correct!

          • Billy Jack Sunday says:

            I also think of pandas and the number 10

            It’s like Sesame Street!

            Is the eparchy near the patriarchate or faaaaarrr?

            Hey, OCA: “One of these things is not like the others . . . one of these things doesn’t belong!”

      • Yes, Mr Stankovich thank you for this. A small correction. Mr McHugh is asssociated with *The New Atlantis*. Links to the complete report are available at the end of this profile: http://www.thenewatlantis.com/authors/paul-mchugh

        • M. Stankovich says:

          Thank you, Peter for the correction & adding the link (I apologize for not seeing it sooner).

      • What does repentance for a post-surgery transgender person entail – an additional surgery, undoing the first one? Ending a marriage (and what if that marriage was in the Church, pre-surgery)?

    • Monk James says:

      I share Father Edward Pehanich’s frustration, but I’ve come to realize that ‘high level meetings’ aren’t going to help.

      The very best things that pastors and confessors and spiritual fathers/mothers of Orthodox Christians suffering same-sex attraction are to be there for them as individuals, not as a group of people, and to love them sincerely as our brothers and sisters in Christ, making sure that they know that and that we honestly recognize the difficulty of their struggle to be good.

      In monastic practice, we Orthodox Christians (unlike the Roman Catholic monasteries which — at least used to — have classes of novices under the direction of one senior monastic ‘novice master/mistress’) apprentice (to borrow a concept) our candidates individually to an experienced teacher of the monastic life.

      Newcomers express their thoughts daily in a conference with their teachers, and so are guided in their spiritual lives. This, incidentally, is the model on which our modern practice of confession is built.

      That said, I realize that most people are not aspiring to be monastics. But we’re all human beings, created in the image and likeness of God, all with the same potential for success or failure in the spiritual life as in any other area of our endeavors. We all need help, from God and from each other, and the monastic model is not unhelpful, even for the laity.

      In any event, my experience (at least, although I am not alone in this) is that people who are trying to break away from habitual temptations of any sort, including same-sex attraction, are best likely to be assisted as individuals, people with whom we confessors enter into a spiritual relationship of mutual prayer and complete and confidential accountability. May the Lord be merciful to all of us.

      • George Michalopulos says:

        Agreed. It seems to me that the majority of those who struggle with the passions do so out of a deficit in their lives. By hitching oneself to a spiritual father (or mother, if female) and having a loving relationship with that person, a type of mitigation of these passions can happen. If nothing else, just having to go to Confession on a regular basis helps keep them in check.

        My 2c.

      • Michael Bauman says:

        Monk James,

        1. It is not about “being good” it is about life over death.

        2. We are individuals already so the task is to bring folks into community and communion with Jesus Christ.

        Passions attempt to drive us into isolation while we are uniquely called and empowered to be in worshipping communities.

        We must learn better how to help bear the burden of those struggling by repentance, fasting and prayer with SSA and homoerotic behavior.

        One thing that emphatically not entail is “validating” them in their sin in any way shape or form. To do that is condemning them to the death of their soul.

    • Father Thomas Hopko’s work is all that comes to mind. You’re right Father, as one of those ‘strugglers’, I can say it really hurts – this kind of heresy strikes at my heart – it is not a remote or distant issue. Thankfully there are plenty of priests and monks that on a personal level are willing to help.

      • Monk James says:

        God bless you, dear S, and give you the strength you need for the fight. You’ll find most of this help in frequently receiving Holy Communion, and in the preparation and thanksgiving for that great Gift. You’re in my prayers, and I ask for yours.

    • Healing is possible says:

      Father,

      The Church needs to take from & build on the late Dr Joseph Nicolosi’s work on the root causes of homosexuality and how to heal it.

      Many Orthodox faithful and sadly also Orthodox clergy are buying the lie that God “creates” some people gay and some straight. Not only does this make no sense from a Christian perspective, but it’s a lie.

      Church leaders and clergy need to learn about this issue and talk about it. Confront it. Do not be afraid! The late Dr Joseph Nicolosi and his colleagues helped and continue to help so many men escape the modernist lie and find healing from homosexuality.

      If the Church attacks this issue head-on, we may get somewhere. Men suffering with this issue want to become the men whom God designed them to be, but they need the Church’s help!

      • Monk James says:

        I’ll have to look up the work of Dr Joseph Nicolosi, but from what you offer here — whoever you are — I think that this might be good.

        • Who tp blame says:

          This might help:

          • Who to blame says:

            Sorry, some how the link was erased! Try this for information:

            http://www.thedailybeast.com/ex-gay-therapy-should-die-with-its-pioneer-dr-joseph-nicolosi

            • M. Stankovich says:

              I would suggest there are significantly more informed reasons to stop these charlatans from their practice, but I certainly share the sentiment. Thanks for posting this reminder.

            • Joseph Lipper says:

              Heterosexuality is not normal, except according to fallen human nature and as the normal way that sexual reproduction occurs in nature.

              Having children within marriage is blessed by God. It is also possible and normal for a marriage between a man and woman to be blessed by God, but many saints who were married never had sexual relations, and this is not necessarily wrong.

              The Church gives us the new Adam and Eve: Christ and His Mother. This is the new normal. It would be extremely wrong to say that Christ and His Mother are not normal because they cannot be shown to be heterosexual. Christ’s birth was not the result of sexual reproduction, and in the new normal that Christ gives us, reproduction is no longer bound by the natural law of sexuality. This is manifest in the Church by people who convert to Christianity rather than being born into it.

              It would be ridiculous and extremely wrong to tell a monk or nun that they need to “realize their heterosexual potential”. Heterosexuality is certainly common in nature, but to tell people that heterosexuality is normal can be quite wrong and dangerous.

              • Tim R. Mortiss says:

                This is not the point of view I would convey to my 12 grandchildren.

              • “Heterosexuality is not normal, except according to fallen human nature and as the normal way that sexual reproduction occurs in nature.”

                Joseph,

                Aren’t you the sick puppy?!!

                Genesis 1:24-31:

                “And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

                And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. 31And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

                Heterosexuality is perfectly natural. It was the state of man before the Fall when Adam and Eve were commanded to be fruitful and multiply, just like the animals.

                God said so on the sixth day.

                Homosexuality alone is the evil, diabolical, satanic, perverse abomination. Hateful to God.

                • Joseph Lipper says:

                  Misha,

                  It is the viewpoint of many Church fathers that God’s command to Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply” refers primarily to the virtues. This could also mean having children, but this command is fulfilled in the virtuous lives of many, many saints who were never married nor had children by sexual means.

                  One of the great themes in sainthood is virginity. Virginity was characteristic of the life of Christ, His Mother, St. John the Baptist, and St. John the Evangelist. These are the people that reflect the Kingdom of Heaven prophetically in their bodies. Granted, not everyone is capable of this, but it is in virginity, Christ’s and His Mother’s, that human nature is restored and made normal again.

                  • “It is the viewpoint of many Church fathers that God’s command to Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply” refers primarily to the virtues.”

                    BS, quote them or shut up. The next phrases would make no sense if that were the fact:

                    “. . . and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. ”

                    But that is par for the course for silly f*gs who just make it up as they go along.

                    • Joseph Lipper says:

                      Misha,

                      If you’re not at least partly familiar with what the Church Fathers teach on the creation of Adam and Eve, then perhaps I could suggest Fr. Seraphim Rose’s book (an author whom I believe you respect): Genesis, Creation, and Early Man. His chapter on the Creation of Man discusses this very point with quotations from the Holy Fathers.

                      Personally, I don’t have any interest in posting long quotes from Holy Fathers here. If you want to challenge this viewpoint, then please provide your own quotes from the Holy Fathers. Don’t just post that you don’t understand the book of Genesis. That we already know.

                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. John Chrysostom, St. Ephraim the Syrian, St. John of Damascus, St. Maximos the Confessor, St. Gregory Palamas, and St. Symeon the New Theologian all wrote the identical dogmatic teaching of the Church: before the fall, Adam and Eve lived the angelic life and were were not impacted by the “desires or drives of the flesh”; they lived “naked and unashamed.” St. John of Damascus, in particular, explicitly describes the nature of the angelic life in detail; St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. Gregory Palamas, St. Ephraim, St. Symeon, St. Maximos, and St. John Chrysostom specifically write that without the fall, Adam and Eve would have “been fruitful and multiplied” in a manner other than sexual union, in a manner neither explained no understood by us. I took the time in January of this year, seated at the desk of Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco’s desk, and using his library, to address the blasphemy of this mentally ill individual in great detail from the writing of the Holy Fathers themselves. Apparently no one paid attention. I gag to say this, but Google this site and the name of the Holy Fathers and you should be able to access the texts. What a pitiful display of impotence before a belligerent, blasphemous, Google pseudo-scholar who is openly receiving “revelations” from Netflix and classic Queen albums, openly referring to you as “fags.” Welcome to the official bottom of the fish tank, bro’s.

                    • You will need to quote exactly which passages to which you are referring (with citations) that you allege contradict the clear narrative of Holy Scripture regarding God’s command before the Fall to Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply in the flesh.

                      I do not mean quasi-Gnostic alleged writings of the Fathers that are of dubious pedigree, which some of you have quoted before. I mean something that you can point to as a consensus of writings continually recognized by the Church that refute the clear and unequivocal narrative of Genesis.

                      Unrepentant pseudo-Orthodox homosexuals who misconstrue the Holy Fathers are beneath contempt and truly evil people. How can you escape damnation?

                      Nonetheless we are to pray for you.

                    • Joseph Lipper says:

                      Misha, where are your quotes from the Holy Fathers? You consider yourself a Traditionalist, no? Where’s the interpretation of Creation according to Holy Tradition? Have you at least tried the Orthodox Study Bible?

                      If we rely only on our own reason to interpret scripture, then we are easily deluded by our own reasoning.

                • Tim R. Mortiss says:

                  And besides, Mr. Lipper, absent heterosexuality, there would be no wives to spank, nor lawful concubinage! A dreary state of affairs that would be…….

                  • Joseph Lipper says:

                    Tim R. Mortiss,

                    I am not saying that I am against heterosexuality, but rather that it doesn’t represent the normal state of mankind, neither in the original paradise of Adam and Eve, nor in the Kingdom of Heaven. As far as I know, there’s no wife spankings or concubinage in heaven. I think it might be the Islamic version of heaven where that occurs.

                    Heterosexuality is blessed by God in marriage, but it is characteristic of a fallen nature. Adam knew Eve after the fall, not before. Heterosexuality for mankind appears to be God’s plan “B”.

                    The best example of God’s plan “A” is Christ and His Mother, and neither can be shown to be heterosexual. They are the new Adam and Eve, restoring human nature to normality. It is a normality that is not fully comprehensible from a fallen human condition.

                    As Orthodox Christians, we are told to abstain from marital sexual relations the night before receiving communion. What would happen if we went to communion every day?

                    • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                      There is more to heterosexuality than the desire for sex. Live long enough and your desire for sex will go away. Does that make you no longer heterosexual? No longer a man to a woman?

                      Men and women relate to each in distinctly sexual ways outside of marriage, each respecting the ordination of the other as a man or a woman. The Church teaches us to practice that distinction, not to disregard it.

                    • Joseph Lipper says:

                      Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell,

                      Would you classify the normal relationship of a brother and sister as heterosexual also? How about the normal relationship of mother and son and of father and daughter? I believe in those normal relationships, the significance of ordained gender is manifest but without heterosexual overtones.

                    • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                      Joseph, yes and yes, because “significance of ordained gender” (your words) is what heterosexuality is all about: It’s about respecting the difference in gender, viewing the other sex as the other sex and the same sex as the same sex.

                      God made us male or female, and He intends us to respect that difference. He made us all to relate to all others heterosexually, respecting the difference but in different ways appropriate to different persons.

                      Heterosexuality is therefore normal. If it’s abnormal, then homosexuality is even more abnormal. Wouldn’t you agree?

                    • Joseph Lipper says:

                      Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell,

                      So, it sounds like you are saying that the normal relationships of a brother and sister, mother and son, father and daughter, are all heterosexual? I’m sorry, but that just sounds creepy, even beyond Freudian creepy.

                      Heterosexuality refers to the sexual attraction of someone of the opposite sex. It does not necessarily refer directly to the sex act, but rather to their sexual attraction. A normal person is not sexually attracted to one’s own brother/sister or father/mother.

                      Heterosexuality is a different category than the significance of ordained gender. We see that with Adam and Eve, God created them male and female, but they did not exhibit sexual attraction between each other until after their fall from Paradise. In Paradise, Adam and Eve were beautiful, naked, unaware of their nakedness, and unashamed.

                      If God had originally intended Adam and Eve to be sexually attracted to each other, you better believe they would have had sex right away, both of them naked in Paradise. I mean right away, immediately. No playing games. They wouldn’t have even bothered with fruit trees. This is not rocket science.

                      The normal state of mankind is male and female, that’s how God created us, but the sexual attraction between the two only comes after the fall from Paradise when Adam and Eve realized that they were naked.

                    • Mr. Lipper,

                      I understand your sense of ‘creepiness, but it is based on a misunderstanding. The word “hetero” as a prefix to any other word simply means “other.”

                      I’m sure you would agree that there is nothing at all nefarious about recognizing our mothers or sisters or nuns or the Mother of God as the “other” sex and relating to them in accordance with the commandments and the Tradition. Likewise with women in accordance with what is for them the “other” sex.

                      Hopefully, this sheds some light on what the deacon wrote. We relate to one another as men and as women, contrary to the ‘hetero’dox teaching of the prevailing culture that insists on the fiction that we are the same.

                    • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                      Joseph,

                      As a point of fact, the word heterosexual does not always refer to sexual attraction. Both of the dictionaries at my desk list other definitions: “Of or pertaining to different sexes” (AHD) and “Biol. of different sexes.” (WNWD)

                      Secondly, sexual attraction to the opposite sex does not arise accidentally. It arises as a result of a healthy, proper regard for ordained sex, including the psychological identification of oneself with one’s own sex and the awareness of what sex was intended for.

                      Sexual attraction to the same sex arises from an unhealthy, improper regard for ordained sex, which results from either (a) eroticization, meaning the association of sexual pleasure with homosexual stimuli (very often through molestation but also sometimes through experimentation), or (b) a reparative response to a feeling of alienation from one’s own sex that causes one to long for emotional intimacy with someone of the same sex, which may or may not lead to physical intimacy and the eroticization of the relationship (a).

                      “Reparative therapy” attempts to end such alienation so that one is satisfied with and affirmed in one’s ordained sex by non-carnal same-sex friendships and therefore no longer develops same-sex infatuations that drive a desire for carnal consummation.

                      The words we use to explain this mystery are less important that the truth of the mystery. Some would call “sexual” what I call “heterosexual.” But confining heterosexuality to sexual attraction and calling it abnormal denies the connection between sex and sexual attraction and puts heterosexuality on the same level as homosexuality as a sinful mode of existence. That result is plainly not supported by Orthodox doctrine.

                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      Point of fact is that same-sex attraction is one of the most studied and examined of human behaviours and one for which we have absolutely nothing but endless, pointless, indefinite conjecture that cannot withstand the most superficial of scientific, empirical investigation that intends, at its most most base and fundamental prinicple, to protect anyone and everyone from harm. “Reparative therapy”is the single worst offender for no other reason than their arrogant refusal to submit themselves to any scrutiny of the clinical community – a standard adopted by the world community of healthcare professionals for the explicit protection of patients from harm – that has led in many places to a complete ban on these practices, but worse, on research to investigate the potential efficacy of these practices. This would be referred to as “cutting off your nose to spite your face.” Having investigated their practices, however, I am pleased they are banned, if only because the primary practitioners in the United States are demonstrated academic and “healthcare” charlatans. Google this site and NARTH for my previous comments.

                      All of these moronic arguments, in my estimation, could easily be “settled” with a simple admission of reality: in this fallen, broken world of the reality of our disobedience and separation from our God, homosexuality exists. No, I am not suggesting homosexuality is one’s identity or any of that other bullshit some are already salivating over. I am saying, however, that like heterosexuality, it is inseparable from what one is as a person. The likelihood of “re-orientation” is foolish, impractical, and realistically bound to fail. And our mission is to return those who bear this burden, this podvig, to the narrow path of salvation through chastity and obedience, a path to which we are all called without exception by Him Who is the One true Physician. Do you hear the difference? “We will help you on the path to chastity and purity,” and “You need to change to whom you are attracted.” The former is driven by love, the later by prejudice and intolerance.

                      And please, if you are homosexual and have found chastity and holiness of life in the Orthodox Church – even if you have never posted here before – sign on anonymously and comment!

                    • Joseph Lipper says:

                      Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell,

                      No, a normal man does not normally say that he has a heterosexual relationship with his sister, daughter or mother. Rather, he only says that he has a relationship with his sister, daughter or mother. Although the word heterosexual can mean “of, or relating to the opposite sex”, using heterosexual in the context of one’s family relations would generally be understood to mean incest.

                      I am trying not to minimize the significance of the sex act, because that is exactly what opponents of traditional marriage tend to do. For example, heterosexual couples commonly say that they don’t need to get married, because they are just having “normal sex” and not having children.

                      It is only in marriage that sex between a man and woman is blessed by God. However, it is very important that marriage be seen as a concession to a fallen humanity. It is God’s plan “B”. Although marriage is very common, it is neither according to God’s original plan “A” for mankind, nor according to His final plan. Marriage between a man and a woman is a temporary state belonging to this fallen world. There are no marriage vows in the Orthodox tradition.

                      Heterosexuality doesn’t make us normal males or females. Rather, it is God’s blessing that makes us normal males and females.

                    • Michael S.,

                      All of these moronic arguments, in my estimation, could easily be “settled” with a simple admission of reality: in this fallen, broken world of the reality of our disobedience and separation from our God, homosexuality exists. No, I am not suggesting homosexuality is one’s identity or any of that other bullshit some are already salivating over. I am saying, however, that like heterosexuality, it is inseparable from what one is as a person.

                      This is so true. But although I think I understand what you intend by the word “inseparable,” that last sentence could probably use some revision for the sake of clarity. We are not our lust – or even our attractions. We are not any of our sins, regardless of what those sins might be. I have always found it helpful, both in my own sinful life and in relating to others, to recognize that every sin is a misdirected desire for God. It is a “looking for love (satisfaction, peace…) in all the wrong places” due to our inability/weakness or our outright refusal (which is usually due to our ignorance of His goodness) to reach out to Him who is the One in Whom we discover who we are as persons.

                      And this is so very true…

                      …And our mission is to return those who bear this burden, this podvig, to the narrow path of salvation through chastity and obedience, a path to which we are all called without exception by Him Who is the One true Physician.

                      We so often think of repentance as ceasing to engage in bad behavior. We want to examine our behavior (or that of others), study it, and try to ‘figure out’ its cause so we can have, or so we think, the knowledge needed to correct it – as though this were the path to salvation and the means of our repentance. But I can think of no example – not in the Scriptures, not in the lives of those I know, and not in my own life – where any sin is truly overcome apart from first coming to the Great Physician Who is our desire, Who reveals who we are, and Who gives Who alone has the power to heal us because He Himself is the only antidote to sin, the fulfillment of every desire for which sin is a poultry counterfeit. Or to put it another way, repentance is not primarily changing our behavior. Repentance is turning to God apart from Whom no truly healing behavioral change is possible.

                    • O Bishop TF!!! Wherever you are you’re missing a great opportunity to chide me for trusting spellcheck without a second glance. You would surely wonder what a “poultry” counterfeit might be.

                • These objections to what Mr. Lipper wrote reflect a lack of understanding (or perhaps a better word might be perspective).

                  When we read of the creation we tend to read from our own perspective, which is to say the world as it is now – the world we know, a world corrupted by sin. Our perspective is that of a world that is become subjected to the nature God created as a result of man severing himself and the creation under his dominion from sharing freely in the eternal life of God. But we shouldn’t forget that, before sin entered the world, the nature God created was permeated with His eternal life. Thus the ‘principal’ of life was THEO-logical rather than BIO-logical. Mankind (male and female) existed as nature, but their life was not subject to nature or biological principals. Although they ate and drank, they were not dependent upon nature or natural biological processes to sustain their life (or their race) in a biological sense as we are now. Their lives were dependent only upon unhindered communion with God.

                  It is, in a sense, not wrong to read from our current perspective because God did, in fact, create the nature to which we have become subject. Moreover, the nature God created clearly anticipated what man would do with his freedom; and He created them accordingly, including with the capacity to reproduce biologically.

                  But when we read the words, “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion…” it rarely occurs to us that if this command referred to sexual reproduction as we know it, it would be the one command that Adam and his wife failed to obey even as they remained in unbroken communion with their Creator (And who knows how long a time – if we can yet speak of time – they remained in this state?). Sexual procreation took place only after the communion was broken.

                  Marriage was indeed blessed in the beginning and reaffirmed by Christ Himself, both by His presence at the wedding in Cana and in His words to the Sadducees (which directly reference Genesis). It was reaffirmed yet again by the Apostles as an honorable state; and it is, of course, a Sacrament/Mystery of the Church. Nevertheless the Fathers are very consistent with one another that the procreation that occurs through marriage is provisional and temporary – an image of a far greater union and fecundity that transcends, but does not erase, our biological nature as male and female. It is important to add that its being provisional and temporary ought not in any way be confused with it somehow being against God’s will. Quite the contrary. It is precisely His provision for us, and therefore it is his will for those called to marriage. All Mr. Lipper is saying (as I understood him) is that although we are created male and female it is not our sexual nature that ultimately defines us as persons. Whether male or female, we are heirs together of the grace of life.

                  “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered.”

                  “…there is neither male nor female…for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

                  Admittedly, there are some so-called ‘theologians’ who attempt to twist this transcendence into something perverse, and our condemnation of them is just. They seem to think we can transcend our nature without first living in accordance with it – which is to say in accordance with God’s commandments which are always ‘according to our nature’ as He made it provisionally in the beginning. But their perversions do not change the fact that our gracious God calls us, both male and female, to full and complete theosis, to union with God (and one another), to return to our original ‘principal’ of THEO-logical (and thus eternal) life in communion with the Holy Trinity

                  Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they [men] neither marry, nor are [women] given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.”

                  • Brian,

                    You are simply dead wrong. I do not quibble for a moment with the notion that there will be no marriage in heaven. Christ emphatically stated this as you point out. However, this has nothing to do with sexual reproduction either before or after the Fall.

                    In some writings of the Fathers, whether those that are recognized or those of doubtful origin that stray into Gnosticism and are sometimes misused by fiends, reproduction as we know it is distinguished from pre-Fall reproduction and post-Resurrectional reproduction. No doubt. Childbirth, for example, in our fallen state entails pain for the woman. This would not be the case in the “angleic life” with resurrectional bodies which are supra-natural, can move through matter and materialize in one place and rematerialize in another.

                    This is the mode of physical/spiritual existence for which we are meant. The Fall is the problem. But the Orthodox have no contempt for matter or for physical sexual reproduction as if it were sinful in and of itself. God specifically and emphatically ordered Adam and Eve to reproduce in some manner with physical/spiritual bodies before the Fall. That fact is absolutely incontrovertible and nothing in any writings of any of the Fathers could or should be construed to contradict and reject the crystal clear witness of Scripture.

                    That Adam and Eve did not have time to engage in reproduction before the Fall, in whatever fashion they were meant to engage, is perhaps lamentable, or not. I have never gone down that road.

                    But that is the fact of the matter.

                    • Misha,
                      You are correct that “the Orthodox have no contempt for matter or for physical sexual reproduction as if it were sinful in and of itself.” I never wrote otherwise.

                      As to the rest, I have a choice. I can believe a private interpretation of a “crystal clear witness of Scripture,” (be it yours or my own) or the witness of the Fathers whom the Church recognizes as Saints, including St. John Chrysostom who (unlike St. Gregory Palamas or St. Maximos whose writings are often more mystical in character, though no less true) was among the most practical ‘down to earth’ preachers the Church has ever known.

                      There was a time (and I say this to my shame) that I, too, considered certain ‘facts” to be the clear witness of Scripture. I have since learned that I am not called to interpret Scripture or figure out what it might mean. I am rather called to pray with the Church and submit myself to the understanding of Scripture that is expressed in the fullness of her liturgical life

                    • johnkal says:

                      Brian, truly each of us is not a Pope with absolute authority in interpreting scripture. Yet many of the Fathers of of the Church encourage reading of scripture as a daily practice, most notably John Chrysostom, who encourages his parishioners to “not begin the day without diving into the scriptures.” I must assume that he, as well as others, assume that we interpret and are thus nurtured by what we read from God’s word. We cannot, nor do I believe should, be passive readers of the Word of God. Please, read Psalm 119, and let it speak to you.

                      Let me make it perfectly clear, the final authority in interpretation of scripture is the tradition of the Church. Without the tradition there would be no Scriptures at all, and each of us would be creating our own form of Christianity. Having sais this, and you alluded to it above, the Fathers were not always consistent in their interpretation of the Scriptures. Some took an allegorical approach and others were more literal. Often fathers of the Church had differing interpretations of the same passage. There are 4 Gospels for a reason and other gospels were rejected for a reason.

                      Finally, if you have read the Way of a Pilgrim, a story is related about an alcoholic who overcame his alcoholism by daily reading of the Scriptures.

                    • Johnkal,

                      Not much here to disagree with. For what it’s worth, I read the Scriptures every single day, having read through the entire Bible dozens of times. Most nights my wife finds me in bed having fallen asleep with a Bible collapsed on my lap.

                      All I am saying is what you said. The Scriptures must be read and understood in the manner that the Church reads them, and this is known primarily through liturgical participation and hearing how the Church has always read and understood them. This, by the way, is not something that cannot be known by Sunday-only liturgical participation.

                      I would not say that the Fathers, generally speaking, ‘disagreed’ or interpreted differently, however. It would be more accurate to say that there are many ‘layers’ (as it were) of meaning, all (or at least most) of which are true. Although it can be hard for some to accept, there is no inherent contradiction between an allegorical and ‘literal’ reading.

                    • My apologies. I failed to proofread myself. The last sentence in the third paragraph above should have read, This, by the way, is not something that can be known by Sunday-only liturgical participation.

    • Gail Sheppard says:

      I am a single woman and guess what, they’re not having meetings talking about how minister to me, I assure you! What is there to discuss? Sex outside of marriage is forbidden.

      Gay or straight, you are expected to struggle against the temptation. If you fail you go to confession and begin the struggle again. What am I missing here? This is not a gay issue. If you want to be Orthodox, that’s what you signed up for.

      By the same token, I am against making a hierarchy out of sin and putting homosexuality at the top. Sin is sin. Everyone who has sex outside of marriage is guilty of the same thing. Doesn’t matter what kind of sex it is. Why do they need to meet about a particular kind of sex??? That seems a little weird to me.

      • George Michalopulos says:

        Gail, as always, you bring up an interesting point. For some reason none of us could see it. And that is why all the fuss about homosexuals but not about single women?

        Is it because they don’t care about single women? That they’re heterosexual and thus won’t have problems functioning in a “heteronormative” society or finding a husband? Whereas homosexuals need especial consideration? Or is it because homosexuals are “special”? That they are the vanguard of a new Gnostic world order?

        Honestly, I don’t know but your question led me to do some serious questioning about a lot of things, not the least of which are their motives.

        On a tangent, I’ll say this: if pastors and theologians don’t think that the problems of single women are important, they know nothing about the wreckage that is modern Western civilization. Common knowledge shows us that the decline of marriage and family formation has resulted in the present horrible conditions.

        I intend to write more about this in the near future. In the meantime, Orthodox academics would be wise to gather in a symposium to discuss this wretched state of affairs. Normative relations between the sexes are not only God-ordained, they are necessary for civilization to function.

        • Michael Bauman says:

          George, won’t happen, won’t help if it does.

          But just in case I am wrong basic questions.
          1. Why is sex out side marriage wrong?
          2. What is the penance and how does it promote healing?
          3. What is divorce and how do the proscribed penance for divorce promote healing.
          4. The current approach actually encourages folks to live in sin rather than attempt marriage. How can that be adapted? Should it be?
          5. What is sacramental marriage?
          6. What is civil marriage?
          7. How are they different, or the same?
          8. Why be married at all?
          9. What happens if someone with no prior marriages wants to marry someone with prior sacramental marriages in the Church?
          10.Explain #9 once an answer is given

          That is just a start.

          • Gail Sheppard says:

            Michael,

            Penances promote healing by giving you time to reflect. Only then is change possible.

            I’ll give you an example of one such situation. I had just come into the Church and with me came all my secular thinking. My son, Chase, got a girl pregnant. It had been a one night stand with a woman who worked in a bikini bar and was an alcoholic. She had wanted to keep the baby but she was in no position to raise it by herself so that task would have fallen to me for reasons I will explain.

            I didn’t want to raise the child because just prior to this, my son had been in a relationship with a woman who had a son. That little boy lived with us and we believed he would be our grandchild. When my son slept with the “bikini bar woman,” the girlfriend took her son away and put Chase in jail for domestic violence. It wasn’t until she admitted she had lied on Facebook that they let him out.

            I never again wanted to go through the pain of loving a child that wasn’t mine, and WORSE, have that child love me and have another mother wrench him away from me like my son’s former girlfriend. The “bikini bar woman” was close to 3 months pregnant when we found out and when I told her I would only *help* her, e.g. find her a place to live, help her financially, etc., she didn’t want the baby. She knew she couldn’t do it alone and my son was in jail. She found a doctor who would do a late abortion when she had saved the money.

            I didn’t want the fetus to suffer that kind of pain. My son was unable to accept responsibility and my husband didn’t want to deal with it so I didn’t stop him when he gave her the money so she could get it over with. I even went with her when she had the procedure.

            I told this story to a friend in a different state and he strongly encouraged me to tell his priest what I had done and why. In my mind, I had done nothing wrong, but I agreed to talk with him. I was shocked when he said that one day I would come to understand that what I had done was a “stain on my soul” (he didn’t say this in an accusatory way; but in a gentle way) and told me to go to my parish priest and ask for the most severe penance he had ever given to anyone. My priest thought what I did was wrong, too, and had encouraged me to take responsibility for the baby, but I think it hurt him to give me such a harsh penance. The day it was over he came to me, I didn’t have to go to him! He suffered as much as I did.

            It was several months before I could take the Eucharist and I was asked to minister to young families, which honestly, was pure joy. I gave them money, brought them food, offered to babysit or even clean their bathrooms if they’d let me, all because, I wanted to save a fetus pain. At least that’s the way I looked at it. It didn’t make sense to me. – Notice how I keep saying “fetus.” It was not a baby to me; not really. I hadn’t yet adsorbed the enormity of what I had done and I didn’t know, couldn’t know, that one day this entire thing would come full circle.

            You see, this same “bikini bar woman” contacted my son after finding herself in a similar situation with yet another guy several months later. She had the same plan as before but when it came time for the abortion, she had an abrupt change of heart. She just couldn’t do it. She was about 7 months along when she contacted my son, who had just gotten out of jail. She asked him to help her. He felt so guilty about what had happened before, he took her to her doctor appointments (many times they had to go on a bus), secured the adoption papers from the father and even helped her in the delivery room when Serena (that’s the baby’s name) was born.

            Had I NOT interfered, this woman might have changed her mind about aborting *my* grandchild, especially if I had just agreed to be there for her. Today, I would have had a 10-year-old grandson, a living piece of my own son, who passed December 24, 2011.

            I have no grandchild because I preempted God. In my ignorance, I bet (and lost) a child’s life on the fact that an abortion was inevitable. It wasn’t a matter of *if* in my mind, but a matter of when; earlier or later.

            My son and this woman, a very changed woman BTW, remained close friends until the day Chase died. She actually became a second daughter to me. She never left my side. She completely transformed her life and she would have never wrenched a grandchild away from me like that other woman did with her son.

            There is no way I could have learned all this had I not gone through the very real pain that comes from going through an extended penance. My son would not have felt contrite seeing his mother suffer for his sins or feel compelled to repent, through his own actions, by taking care of this woman who had become his friend. Serena would never have been born and her adoptive parents would never have known the joy that I’m sure she brings them every day.

            Penances definitely have their place, my friend. My thinking has completely changed with respect to abortion and as a result, I will tell this story to anyone who will listen.

            Thanks for listening.

            • Michael Bauman says:

              A lovely and humbling (to me) answer. Having had my own period of penance thou not as severe as yours, I know you are correct. However my real point is that the Church needs to do a better job of both teaching and explaining these things and administering them so that they do not seem capricious.

              My son ( no previous marriage) is in love with and living out if wedlock with a Orthodox woman who has been married in the Church twice before. One of the men “converted” but never really took it seriously. They had a child.

              If Met. Philip we’re still alive, it is likely my son and the woman he loves would likely be married already with the blessing of the Church. However, Met. Joseph has put a screeching halt to ALL remarriages.

              Many, many complications not the least of which is that my son’s woman is still in screaming fights with her ex of 12 years over parental rights.

              My son is fighting the very idea if any penance for her because her ex is all to blame for everything including global warming.

              He wants a clear, succinct explanation of the how’s, why’s and outcomes. He is very linear.
              Not happening of course, but he has a point in that the Church does not do a good job cutting through the clutter and lies about marriage.

              I apparently did a bad job as a parent too primarily in my examples.

              We need to be clear on our teaching and more merciful in applying it. Can’t have the mercy without the clarity.

              However there is so little space in the normal person’s life for spiritual formation.

              Lord save us unless we are too busy with our new oxen.

        • Michael Bauman says:

          The meetings should they be held need to take place at the parish and diocesan level with academics holding no special sway.

      • Gail,

        The whole thing has been so completely skewed by the feminization of America and Western society that we cannot even see clearly what the Church has always taught but for the layers of progressive and pseudo-conservative/non-traditional bs that have been foisted upon us as “Christian ethics”.

        The Church Fathers and Holy Tradition, including Scripture, condemns adultery, fornication (aka prostitution and “whoring”) and all homosexual sexual relations. As I have taken pain to point out at some length, this does not cover all extra-marital sex. That is simply inaccurate. Men were allowed and expected to have sex with their female servants. There was no class of available single females afoot for “hooking up”. Divorce was almost unknown and widows were objects of pity, like orphans.

        * * *
        Canon 26. Fornication is not wedlock, nor yet the beginning of wedlock. Wherefore it is best, if possible, to put asunder those who are united in fornication. If they are set on cohabitation, let them admit the penalty of fornication. Let them be allowed to live together, lest a worse thing happen.(2nd Canonical Letter, Epistle 199) – https://www.orthocuban.com/2013/01/pastoral-counsel-by-saint-basil-on-sex-outside-marriage/

        XXI. If a man living with a wife is not satisfied with his marriage and falls into fornication, I account him a fornicator, and prolong his period of punishment. Nevertheless, we have no canon subjecting him to the charge of adultery, if the sin be committed against an unmarried woman. For the adulteress, it is said, being polluted shall be polluted, Jeremiah 3:1 and she shall not return to her husband: and He that keeps an adulteress is a fool and impious. He, however, who has committed fornication is not to be cut off from the society of his own wife. So the wife will receive the husband on his return from fornication, but the husband will expel the polluted woman from his house. The argument here is not easy, but the custom has so obtained. – http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3202199.htm

        * * *

        Notice with the first quote that the “fornication” that began the relationship is punished but the couple are allowed to cohabit thereafter if they wish. This has puzzled many readers but makes perfect sense if you more or less confine “fornication” to “engaging in sex with a prostitute, either as a prostitute or john”, which is what the Greek actually meant. Then it becomes clear that St. Basil did not have a problem with punishing a relationship which began as the man paying for sex but allowing the underlying relationship to continue absent the prostitution. You will notice that marriage is not mentioned in the provision.

        The Church Fathers were not prudes in the slightest. They were patriarchalists in their phronema, which is the Orthodox phronema. They simply disapproved of prostitution and of sexually free females of any and all ages. Women were always to be subject to men, especially regarding sex where they were to be subject to only one man (unlike the rule for men).

        That is simply an objective fact demonstrable from the voluminous writings of the Fathers about which we need not disagree.

        You can see the matter hopelessly confused by modernist commentary here:

        http://pemptousia.com/2017/04/the-theology-of-gender-11-st-basils-canons-on-the-issue-of-divorce-and-remarriage/

        Here such passages are twisted as to suggest that the Fathers are somehow making concessions to or ameliorating prior Roman practices. But the rationalizations make no sense whatsoever.

        It begins to become more clear when you realize that they are translating the word for sexual sin sometimes inaccurately as “adultery” which is a very specific sin always and invariably involving a married woman having sex with a man not her husband and not referring to a married man having sex with a woman other than his wife, unless that other woman is also married.

        You can see how a man who abandons his wife is accused of “virtual adultery” thus because he is considered to be forcing his wife into adultery by his absence.

        The whole attitude of the Church Fathers like St. Basil is absolutely, hopelessly, indefensibly sexist by modern standards – even modern conservative standards – if we are being the least bit honest about it. However, it is we who are fallen further from original righteousness and not they, the Fathers of the Church. We are wrong, not them.

        However, as a practical matter given the legal regimen in modern Western countries, that is pretty much what the Church is reduced to saying; i.e., “sex outside marriage is bad”.

        But that is a terrible way to put it for several reasons, the first and foremost being that it reduces all extra-marital sex to the same level of condemnation – which is simply wrong and inaccurate in Orthodox Christian Tradition. Concubinage and cohabitation were considered acceptable by the Fathers. Homosexuality was decidedly not.

        Homosexual sexual relations are an abomination. No heterosexual sexual relations are an abomination except possibly very close incest (father-daughter, etc.). Homosexual sexual relations are in no way at all comparable to any heterosexual relations and are more akin to bestiality or sex with inanimate objects (idol fetishism).

        I.e., to say, homosexual sexual relations are an abomination by their very nature, not at all because of any status of the parties involved.

        The problem single women face is that due to the abolition of the patriarchy, the value placed on women past childbearing age in modern society is completely solitary. Stable marriages being a thing of the past, if older women have not found a husband by a certain age, it likely isn’t happening and the venerable role of “babushka” simply does not exist in modern Western culture. It’s considered sexist. In that sense, feminists have outfoxed themselves and have left themselves in an unfortunate position.

        It reminds me of the episode of “That 70’s Show” where Donna’s mother was listening to Donna brag about beating Eric at basketball. She replied by saying that that was a fine story that she could tell her cats in her older years.

        Traditionally in Russia, babushki have been guardians of the faith and the guides of younger women in the Church. Being steeped in tradition and folk wisdom, they could calm the fiestier spirits among the younger women and direct them to be more pious wives and mothers.

        Of course, Gloria Steinem need not apply for this position inasmuch as women do not need men anymore than a fish needs a bicycle . . .

        Cheers,
        Misha

  23. TheFutureOfTheChurch says:

    Edith Humphrey June 7-10 Amsterdam, N.Y.
    Presenting a paper and participating in the Orthodox Symposium on Pastoral Implications and Sexuality

  24. Brian D says:

    I don’t think this was a secret meeting. Here’s a posting about it, albeit after the fact: http://acot.nl/?lang=en

    You can rest assured, I suspect, that Aristotle Papanikolaou and George Demacopoulos (if the later went. He’s not listed) represented their brand of Fordham orthodoxy with the utmost fidelity.

    • George Demacopoulos posted a tweet a few days ago about being in Amsterdam for the first time…….then he deleted the tweet. Interesting.

  25. Didn’t know where to file this, but the Episcopalian connection led me to pinch this little loaf off here – this is The Observer (the Guardian/UK) view on a Donald Trump state visit:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/11/observer-view-donald-trump-state-visit-uk

    Priceless.

  26. Billy Jack Sunday says:

    Next year a symposium of pastoral care related to gambling and alcohol addiction will be held in Los Vegas, Nevada.

    Orangina and vodka screwdrivers to be served as well as some exciting rounds of blackjack played while they bang out some helpful statements from interactive dialog of the theological and philosophical elite. Respected mental health professionals will also be present to grant their seal of approval.

    On the 3rd day, a brief morning breakfast seminar will be held regarding pastoral care for eating disorders. Pancakes with ipecac syrup will be served.

    No bishops will attend, but will privately send their certain select agents that will politically fall on their own sword for their master if found out and not received well by the obstinate and fundie peasant class of laity

    This is privileged information. Please be super Secret Squirrel about it

    When said symposium is over it will be announced as having been held by some obscure web site no one reads, so it can be said everything that occured had been announced. Better to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission, that’s what my bishop always says!

    In 2019, a symposium of pastoral care related to domestic violence will be held. Special guest speakers include Darth Vader and Kylo Ren. Venue to be determined. However, possible locations include Mustafar, Cloud City on Bespin, or whatever planet it was that Han Solo took a lightsaber in the bellybutton.

    • Billy Jack Sunday says:

      Oh wait – that planet imploded – so yes, either Mustafar or Bespin.

      Remember The Empire!

      Long live Supreme Patriarch Snoke and The First New World Order!

  27. Monk James says:

    here’s a report — no Episcopalians in sight!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    http://acot.nl/?lang=en

    News of the Amsterdam Centre for Orthodox Theology
    Symposium on Orthodox pastoral care and sexuality

    From 7 to 9 June, the Amsterdam Centre for Orthodox Theology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam hosted an invited international group of Orthodox theologians and pastors to reflect on a wide range of matters concerning human sexuality as addressed by science and natural law, theological anthropology, legal issues, psychology, and pastoral care.This was an opportunity for scholars and pastors to share work that they have been doing with their colleagues, in a conversation about how the Orthodox Churches might consider and respond to current pastoral questions while remaining faithful to Christ, the Gospel and Orthodox Christian Tradition. The dialogue was collegial and fruitful, offering each of those present food for thought in their continuing work and ministry.

    Participants were: Bishop Maxim (Vasiljevic) of Western America (Serbian Orthodox Church), Nikolaos Asproulis (Volos Academy), Fr. Michael Bakker (ACOT), Fr. John Behr (St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, ACOT), Brandon Gallaher (University of Exeter), Edith Humphrey (Pittsburgh Theological Seminary), Fr John Jillions (SVOTS), Pantelis Kalaitzidis, (Volos Academy), Fr. Philip LeMasters (McMurry University, SVOTS), Fr. Joan Lena (ACOT), Fr. Andrew Louth (Emeritus Durham University, ACOT), Fr. Nicolae Mosoiu (Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu), Aristotle Papanikolaou (Fordham University), Fr Vasileios Thermos (University of Athens), Gayle Woloschak (Northwestern University, SVOTS).

    The symposium contributes to the courses of the master and post-master programmes of the Amsterdam Centre for Orthodox Theology.

    • Dear Monk James, The key word to me is “invited” . Were orthodox Orthodox invited and thus this viewpoint represented, allowing a truly informed discussion, or were they excluded, as in the book about the Council on Crete mentioned on the Byzantine TX blog. Fordham University’s very non-traditional representative AK was invited and certainly writes as an Episcopalian (having been one myself, I recognize the mindset). Who balanced him in the discussion? How were these “theologians” or more appropriate “scholars” and pastors selected? Who was not invited who might have wished to participate had he or she known? George D apparently did know, so a second Fordham unorthodox Orthodox layperson was present. I agree with Dan below that proceedings should be published, especially if OCA, GOA, etc monies were spent on travel. If not, why not?

      • Monk James says:

        Nicole (June 14, 2017 at 10:48 pm) :
        Dear Monk James, The key word to me is “invited” . Were orthodox Orthodox invited and thus this viewpoint represented, allowing a truly informed discussion,
        SNIP
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        From what I know of the identified participants, there was a good balance of views represented at the meetings in Amsterdam.

        It would be good to have the proceedings of those meetings published.

  28. Much ado about nothing:

    Symposium on Orthodox pastoral care and sexuality

    “This was an opportunity for scholars and pastors to share work that they have been doing with their colleagues, in a conversation about how the Orthodox Churches might consider and respond to current pastoral questions while remaining faithful to Christ, the Gospel and Orthodox Christian Tradition.”

    Turns out the sky isn’t falling after all…

    • Then where are the proceedings? Seems to me if papers are being presented they should be available for everyone’s benefit.

  29. iOn the web site of the OCA cathedral in San Francisco, Fr Weber is listed as an associate member of the cathedral’s clergy, but he lives in Holland…

  30. Pat Reardon says:

    Apparently the meeting was called “Symposium on Orthodox pastoral care and sexuality.

    Well, I wonder.

    Does the combined “pastoral experience” of the participants add up to more than about two years?

    Indeed, this figure may be generous.

    • Christopher says:

      Important point Fr. Patrick, and one that M. Stankovich makes above.

      Sometime last year I took in a talk headlined by Met. Kallistos (whom is a wonderful preacher, despite his theological minimalism) streamed on the internet. Fr. John Behr was there, and during the question and answer period a young man (college age) asked a question about the “ontology” of male and female. This young man was obviously concerned about the confusion of the age around our created sexuality and was looking to see if the panel members had anything to offer. Fr. John Behr answered his question by saying that Christianly, we are to “get beyond” our sexuality! My first reaction was a pain in the gut, a visceral “WRONG ANSWER FR. JOHN!!!” It occurred to me this is what happens when one is focused on philosophical theology and was bereft of pragmatic pastoral experience. The gap between theory and Life is wide indeed…

      • Pat Reardon says:

        It occurred to me this is what happens when one is focused on philosophical theology and was bereft of pragmatic pastoral experience.

        This is what bugs me. Having heard Confessions for more than half a century now, I don’t believe that many of these academics—-bless their hearts—-really know what they are talking about with respect to this particular problem.

      • Michael Bauman says:

        Without a firm, clear, simple statement of the truth healing is impossible.

        Unfortunately, every academic I have ever known has problems with making clear, simple, firm statements.

        Ephesians 4 seems a pretty good place to start.

      • Fr. Harry Linsinbigler says:

        Fr. John Behr answered his question by saying that Christianly, we are to “get beyond” our sexuality! My first reaction was a pain in the gut, a visceral “WRONG ANSWER FR. JOHN!!!”

        You got that right, Christopher. The Ever-Virgin is “the Mother of our God” and we pray for our “fathers and mothers” among the ascetic saints (long departed this life, so the whole argument “well, only on this earth” does not stand). I wrote a long article about this years ago, correcting those who hold such a point of view and showing them how wrong it is from our own dogmatics and liturgiology. It used to be on the old parish website. I hope I still have it (several computers since then).

        • Fr. John Behr answered his question by saying that Christianly, we are to “get beyond” our sexuality! My first reaction was a pain in the gut, a visceral “WRONG ANSWER FR. JOHN!!!”

          No, it’s the right answer. Gay or straight, we should not define ourselves by our sexual orientation. We should define ourselves, first and foremost, as disciples of Christ. Or was Saint Paul wrong?

          • Michael Bauman says:

            We are created male and female. We never get beyond that. Fr. john is attempting to obsfucate the answer that sexual sin requires repentance and that homosexual sex is always sinful. Much sexual activity between men and women is sinful. Because of sin, sexual disorder is thd norm. Repentance and chastity is required of all.

            • Michael, I fear we might be equivocating with some of our terminology, which is causing a perceived disagreement that doesn’t exist. When I speak, I try to remember that gender, sex, sexual orientation, and sexuality all mean different things and are not interchangeable. I realize that I might have obfuscated that difference in my earlier post, and for that I apologize. Also, I agree with much of what you say, particularly in regards to sex (the action) and sin. I cannot agree with you enough when you say, “Repentance and chastity is required of all.”

              Perhaps I misunderstand the OP, but I read Fr John Behr’s response as meaning that to concentrate on our sexuality is to miss the mark; that is, it is a kind of sin because it prevents us from concentrating on Christ. I do not mean to say that there are no differences between man and woman (sex), male and female (gender), or gay or straight (sexual orientation). These things are real and observable in the natural order. But one of the tricks of the devil is to get us to focus on things that appear important but in reality are not. Consider it this way: if this young man was struggling with his relationship to any of the above categories, Fr John’s advice (at least in my estimation) comes down to saying that he should try to “get beyond” his concern with it so he can concentrate on Christ. Just think about how many categories in today’s world have become the sine qua non by which people define themselves (LGBT etc.). Would we not indeed say to those people that they should “get beyond” that label they have chosen for themselves and stop defining themselves by it?

              I don’t read this as Fr John’s saying that it doesn’t matter whether a person engages in sexual sin – I think that is your reading of it, and I’m honestly not quite sure that the snippet presented above supports that reading. Is this pastoral advice? Well, no, not exactly – but it is true. But also consider the setting, as well: an academic panel. This was not advice given in confession or counseling.

              Maybe we should give him the benefit of the doubt here.

            • Christopher says:

              A point of correction Michael:

              I don’t believe Fr. John Behr was in any way saying homosexualism is not what it is in the Church’s eyes. What he was doing instead was trying to respond as many of the Father’s do in that they believe that our created sexuality is explained in their larger understanding of “protology”. This is the whole creation, fall, and apokatastasis pattern or “process” of salvation that gets air time occasionally over on Fr. Stephen’s blog. It has a strong neoplatonic element (which I assert controversially over there is in fact neoplatonic at bottom and was not fully “transfigured” by Christianity in certain Fathers such as Origen {obviously} and Nyssa {controversially}). Fr. John Behr scholarly work has in large part focused on these early Fathers who came up with this pattern.

              So, Fr. John’s answer was actually an accepted Orthodox answer even if it was not very well explicated and was pastorally about as wrong as it can be in that we all know that sometimes even “correct” answers are the wrong answers for any particular time, place, and person.

  31. Joseph Lipper says:

    People often want to bend over backwards to prove themselves as “conservative” Orthodox by being outraged by sins that have nothing to do with themselves personally. It leads people to talk about forming a more pure form of “Catacomb Orthodoxy”.

    This behaviour is Protestantism, and it’s why there are so many Protestant denominations.

    If we really care about the purity of the Church, we have to be outraged by our own personal sins first and foremost, and trust God to work out the rest.

    • Michael Bauman says:

      Amen. It is actually worse than Protestanism. It turns into looking for a scape goat to ensure our purity other than Jesus and the Cross.

  32. Joseph Lipper says:

    A true Christian is only truly persecuted by his own sins.

    • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

      So when a true Christian, obedient to Our Lord, prays for those who persecute him (Matt. 5:44), who is he praying for? Himself?

      And what about Our Lord? Was He never persecuted because He never sinned?

      • Joseph Lipper says:

        Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell,

        There’s no denying that Christians are and have been persecuted through the ages. However, I can probably attest that any persecution that I have personally suffered was only because of my own personal failures and shortcomings, meaning that I probably deserved it one way or another. Indeed, if I were to get what I deserve in life, then I would be due for much more persecution than I could endure.

        Christ gives us the prayer of the publican, “God have mercy on me, a sinner.”

        In Our Lord’s prayer: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”.

        Christ became one of us through the mystery of His Incarnation, and it is as one of us, though He is sinless, that He says “Forgive us our trespasses”.

    • “A true Christian is only truly persecuted by his own sins.”

      Nonsense. That is masochism, which is evil. “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”

      Christ was sent to cure masochism. The cure for self hatred is emptying oneself of all attachment and passion. Then the person is innocent, no evil there, no remnant, just what God created – i.e., nothing worthy of hatred. Teachable moment. He can receive Christ and the Holy Spirit.

      Matthew 5:10-12

      “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

      Christians are often persecuted by others sins, in the Middle East and here in America where Christianity has become offensive to the Progressive borg. Christ came once in all humility to take on humanity and deify it. And non-violent resistance is a righteous weapon, no doubt, of great value to the saints.

      But in these latter days, Christ is coming in glory as well as humility. And His people will fight the machinations of the devil tooth and nail. He will come to insure the victory in the end, but the battle is already afoot.

      • Joseph Lipper says:

        Misha,

        As Christ says “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” In Christ, persecution can be transfigured into blessedness and the path to the Kingdom of Heaven. In this way, those who persecute us ultimately do us a favor, but if we sin, and do not repent, then we lose righteousness and this blessing.

    • Yadayadayada says:

      Respectfully, we’re not talking about individual sins here. We’re speaking about ideology and lifestyles that are foreign to Orthodoxy and defending the Church against them. Please do not offer strawmen in order to cloud the discussion.

      • Joseph Lipper says:

        Yadayadayada,

        Yes, I am talking about Protestantism, and yes, it’s foreign to Orthodoxy.

  33. Billy Jack Sunday says:

    What was that huge crash??!!

    The captain and first mate just rammed us into an iceberg!!

    But why would they do that? I was being such a good passenger . . . Oh well, I’m sure the ship is fine. Hey, why are my socks wet??

  34. https://www.wsj.com/articles/dad-meets-the-sexual-revolution-1497307294

    The problem with the above article is that it’s not good enough and it gets us nowhere. And the reason that it gets us nowhere is because it doesn’t go far enough.

    They shouldn’t have a choice.

    Behold the wickedness of doubting the inspiration of Sacred Scripture:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_the_Apostle_and_women

    “Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness. A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.”

    This is not an option. It is a precondition of receiving God’s blessings.

    The great missing piece in Western society, the thing we keep going round and round about with no end in sight which creates all these problems and leaves us chasing our tails, is that the patriarchy must be enforced, imposed by law.

  35. The comments on this conference on this blog are full of reasonable common sense right Orthodox thinking for the most part, showing genuine zealous concern for doing the TRUTH. We are being confronted again, by an alternate unreality that is possibly requiring we extend Christian brotherhood to people who have entered into the great whore,( just being gay is proof enough), while they do abomination with impunity. Nuts.

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  1. […] well-known participants who give voice to views outside the bounds of Holy Orthodoxy. The blog Monomakhos notes that attendee Aristotle Papanikolaou is the co-founder, along with George Demacopoulos, of […]