How the Faith was Lost in the Church of England

church-of-england – HT: AOI Source: Virtue Online | Alan Marsh

When the Church becomes a fixed part of the local landscape, it ceases to preach repentance and conversion, and instead “reaches out” with social programs. Are we seeing intimations of this with the embrace of much of American Orthodoxy with the sodomist zeitgeist?

Mainstream churches, Catholic, Anglican and most of the Protestants have allowed themselves to become too closely identified with the surrounding society – even if not formally “Established” they are established to all intents and purposes.

Contrast this with the Old Testament, where there is the ever present fear of assimilation by pagan neighbors, and a determination to keep Israel separate from them at all costs. The prohibition against homosexuality is a key part of Israel’s identity: it distinguishes Israel from the idolatry taking place in Egypt, Greece, Babylon or Rome.

A Church which is established slips imperceptibly from being a Great Commission Church to a Church which thinks of itself as providing a pastoral service to the local community or to the State. It loses the will to evangelize, the sense of purpose which energizes the Gospels. It becomes a function of society, rather than the divine instrument for mission.

The Church of England long ago slipped into this fatal frame of mind. It has been declining since the end of the 19th century, but the 1851 religious census reveals that it only held 50% of the nation even then.

It has however maintained the facade of the medieval church, to which everyone belonged prior to the Reformation, pretending ever since that England is a Christian nation state even in the face of the evidence to the contrary.

In the 19th century there was a great impetus for mission abroad, led by the missionary societies, Evangelical and Anglo-Catholic, which produced the flourishing churches we see today in Africa. But since England was ostensibly a Christian country, there was “no need” for mission at home.

We simply serve as the Church of the Nation, without asking too many questions. The great act of surrender came in 1944. When we should have been more concerned with the progress of the war, the government was fixing a deal with the Church of England to take over its national school system, which the Church was struggling to fund.

In return for a sellout to the secular state, the state promised to maintain religious education in schools. It has not done so, and the rate at which religious education has declined since 1944, on an accelerating slope, is the rate at which Christianity has declined in the UK.

We are now on the third or fourth generation which has never learned about the Christian faith. When the Church becomes a fixed part of the local landscape, it ceases to preach repentance and conversion, and instead “reaches out” with social programs.

In the UK, the (small) Orthodox Churches are bucking the trend. There is no syncretism of any kind, no compromise with the immorality of western society – and the churches are full of young people, gathered to hear the liturgy in a variety of languages, including some they do not understand. Partly this is due to the Orthodox faith forming part of their cultural identity, like the Irish clinging on to Rome throughout the generations. But partly it is because their bishops and priests really do intend to hand on the faith received from the Apostles, no more and no less.

MATERIALISM

At root, the problem for North America, UK and Europe is the rampant materialism which has overtaken us. Everything is reduced to a price tag, and the consumer is king. If the consumer wants gay marriage, the consumer must be given it. Christmas has been Disneyfied into oblivion.

It is a feast of the devil in much of western society, where Christ is not just obscured but blotted out by the rush to spend money, to party decadently, drunkenly and ostentatiously, to fill the mind with a whole panoply of sentimental claptrap ranging from Bing Crosby to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

It is a feast for Hallmark Cards and brewers and turkey farmers. The hospital accident and emergency departments are overflowing with blood and vomit and violent drunks. Obama and Cameron and the EU are literally hell-bent on exporting this consumerism to the world. I see this trajectory all around me in UK and Europe, and in the USA. The end result is Gotham City, or Dean Swift’s Yahoos. It is a world given to drink, drugs, violence and fornication. While we remain rich, we will continue to slide into the abyss.

THE WEST IS A MINORITY IN THIS WORLD

Most of the world does not see it this way especially in Africa, India, Russia, etc. The infection has taken root in the western cultures, weakened by 200 years of liberal Protestantism (much of it quietly adopted by Rome) and by the experience of wealth beyond the dreams of Croesus. There may be any number of crises ahead of us – economic meltdown when the current generation becomes too spineless to work, and chooses to rely on handouts. The UK is well down this road.

The continuing large-scale migration of Muslims, unchecked into our societies, who will one day rise up against us as surely as that all too similar ideology known as Nazism. As soon as they consider themselves to be strong enough to do so, they will start to make demands which secular society does not know how to resist, because it “does not do God”.

There is the very real possibility that the rest of the world will gang up economically against the West, which no longer wants to do an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay, and put us out of business. In the past, the UK, the British Empire and the USA were strengthened by the experience of going to war against godless enemies in Germany and Japan. But war will not have this effect in future in populations which are divided already against one another, when the enemy will be within, not across some ocean.

HOPE

There is a distant hope for Christendom in the west, but only a faint hope. If the coming crisis is sufficiently great and dangerous to make people think back to the unity which they once shared as Christians, then they may perhaps return to hear what we have to say. But I am doubtful. I think things have become so far corroded and destitute, spiritually speaking, that we will be forced to watch a whole generation, perhaps several generations of western society completely lost to Christ, not least because the churches have failed them.

If Archbishop Justin and Pope Francis are able to change the course of Christian history, then I, along with others will rejoice. But the damage is extensive and deep, and I see little evidence so far of any willingness to confront the decision which really matters – will the church speak prophetically, challenge society and state to change and politicians to repent? Or will it cling on to the vestiges of power and continue to masquerade as a national church, whose pews echo to the sound of the few worshippers who still remain?

Pope Francis gets two marks out of ten for some key symbolic gestures to date.

But I see no sign of Archbishop Justin being prepared to call the Church of England into independence from the grotesquely sexualized state over which Cameron currently presides. No disestablishment here in my lifetime.

The author has written this article under a nom de plume to protect his identity in the Church of England

Comments

  1. The purest definition of the great whore is a collective practice of serving yourself, not serving God alone. Self service enters those who practice it into the great whore. Come out of her, my people rings with the same pure Truth today as it did when St John was chosen to write it by the Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ Himself..Else wise, the relationship of man to man is desolated, desolate of spiritual life.. This is the reason people do not seek to join churches where the great whore is practiced. He came that we may have life more abundantly.Mystical authentic Christianity is awesome.. Orthodoxy, with it’s fidelity to the teachings of the apostles has the best chance of receiving this abundant life. This essay speaks of that which hinders it. A needed refocus to keep our eyes on the prize. Life Eternal……

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  2. To anyone reading this article keep in mind that the author’s use of the term “Orthodox” is in a novel sense and not connected with the “Orthodox Church” Traditionalist Anglicans call themselves “Orthodox” when in fact they remain Protestant. Never the less it’s a good article.

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    • No, he is referring to ethnic Orthodox Churches in the UK. The C of E don’t hold liturgies in languages no-one can understand (they have long since abandoned the Prayer Book with its Elizabethan English which in any case was understandable by anyone who familiarised themselves with it) and Anglicanism, orthodox or otherwise, no longer forms part of the cultural identity of young church goers in the UK the way Orthodoxy does for immigrants from Eastern Europe or Romanism does for the Irish.

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  3. Trudge at SmartVote says:

    A companion of this fine, though anemic, analysis is Peggy Noonan’s article “Meanwhile, Back in America” reflecting on the State of the Union address.

    The same spirit of distance from reality affecting those who are charged with the care of the Church of the Christ is also paralleled in our federal government’s growing distance from the governed.

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303973704579353274061324970

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  4. Tim R. Mortiss says:

    The African Anglicans are not so confused; this from just a day ago or so:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/30/african-anglican-church-gay-rights_n_4698337.html

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  5. Rostislav says:

    I have come to advocate that in our OCA we begin to specifically emphasize the Orthodox Saints of the West, especially those of Britain, that we take a look at the chant, the liturgics of the Sarum Rite and some of the Gallican Rites and “nativize” our celebrations of Eastern Rite Orthodox services with some of the gorgeous panoply, that we consider some of the Western vestments, that we look at Romanesque, Frankish and British architecture and even Western iconography as evidenced by the MS and stained glass traditions and even such Italian painters as Duccio. The “why” is simple:

    1). The West lost its Orthodox Church long ago, and now it is losing any semblance it has to historical Christianity. A vacuum is being created and there is quite a need and desire for native religious expression. The Orthodox Church can fulfill these needs and reach these languishing souls, giving them what they desire, a holistic path to a native Orthodox Christianity. The Anglican church is essentially done, collapsing into total apostasy on one hand or myriad schisms on the other. Romeward drift by some Anglicans may satisfy some of their longings, but, ultimately, the same currents which undermined Anglicanism are at work in the papal church, the only difference being their approach is more gradual: they are simply forestalling the inevitable.

    2). We are the native North American church, and the heritage of our North America nations is predominantly British, Spanish, and French. Thus, a natural need of our development is to embrace these heritages and their religious customs and sensibilities which meld with Orthodoxy in the development of our local Orthodox tradition going forward. This will take our church from being a post Russian/Ruthenian assimilate endeavor into the era of established native local church. We can meld our Eastern theology, spirituality, our past legacies with these native forms in developing a uniquely local Orthodoxy.

    3). The Western Rite, as it is celebrated today, is a distraction and a misallocation of limited resources, an experiment run amuck begging for terminus. We have a living liturgical and Faith tradition which can accommodate Western seekers with little more than a reception and respect for the religious observances of Western Christians. Moreover, developing our native church by accommodating a Western look will be for all members of our local church and not for a select few who are involved in some sort of misguided attempt at a Unia.

    I personally lament the fall of the Church of England. At the beginning of the twentieth century, it was felt that they were on the cusp of reunification with the Orthodox Church. The past of the 8 and the 10 Articles and the era of the Non Jurors seem to have been missed opportunities, but, honestly, I feel that Orthodoxy needed to take initiative then and “show the way” much as it must now. Then we can turn the page on the subsequent scandals and declines we will be gradually confronted with in Western churches, for we will be offering those who want out and an authentically native religious witness their solution.

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    • Isa Almisry says:

      “a select few who are involved in some sort of misguided attempt at a Unia.”
      they are not involved in any unia.

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    • Gail Sheppard says:

      I think there is wisdom in God’s creation. The body changes form, but its purpose, i.e. to house the soul, remains constant. A rose begins as a shoot from the ground, develops a bud, unfolds, but never looses its “roseness.” – Seems to me the Church, also an organic Body, might change in inconsequential ways without loosing its essence. Who cares about Western iconography if the intent remains the same: “Expressing through color what the Gospel proclaims in words?” (Michel Quenot) I’m not particularly concerned with externals, which is why I can be comfortable in any parish, regardless of jurisdiction. The essence of what it means to be Orthodox is still present. It’s maintaining that essence (Teaching) that should concern us.

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      • George Michalopulos says:

        Very well said, Gail.

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      • Rostislav says:

        Then there is the fact that there are “externals” and the old notion of lex orendi, lex credendi. Pravoslavie means both right faith and right glorification. There is a muster to meet to worship as an Orthodox Christian in “externals.” Some things are permissible; others are not. While there is also the need to develop a native Orthodox expression of it in North America. “Western iconography,” taken as a metaphor in the sense of what I am advocating, for one, welcomes the world we are missioning in and tells them there is an organic link between the Orthodox Church you are entering and the culture of your Western ancestors. It is a statement of open arms and “welcome homes.”

        Many people today overlook Orthodoxy because of either its “ethnic” or “Eastern” character. Here I am talking about a living Western Orthodox expression as valid as anything Eastern (and as alive without trying to graft on dead shoots with either archaeological legerdemain or by coopting the services of the heterodox) and native, mature expression of Orthodoxy, our very own North American Orthodoxy. I am talking about the day of the North American local church with its own liturgics, spirituality, architecture, iconography, and not the post ethnic, assimilate phenomenon which is still very much foreign to most of North America: the fulfillment of autocephaly. That is why it is of consequence and makes a difference in the big picture.

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        • Johann Sebastian says:

          There is an immense amount of truth to the idea of lex orandi, lex credendi. The Latinization of the Uniate churches was a spectacular failure–it seems that the move within the Uniate churches today is to move closer to Orthodox practice. Observing the ecclesiological inconsistency is tragically amusing–they’ve restored orthodoxy to their theology and praxis save for their insistence on communing with and commemorating a heretic in their liturgy. One wonders why they don’t just return to our fold, but I suppose their continued existence, especially here in America, actually does more to bring Catholics into the Orthodox Church than vice-versa.

          Now, to get back on track…

          The problem with the establishment or “reinstatement” of a valid Western Rite is that it will be incredibly difficult, if not impossible. The western rites (of which there are a considerable number) either fell into disuse shortly after the schism or, as is the case with the Roman Rite, succumbed to a variety of innovations–some with theological implications, some out of practical need, and some with a largely aesthetic aspect arising from cultural developments. Because of the way the rite developed after the schism, it will be very difficult to ensure the theological integrity of such a manner of worship without it devolving into a product of philological esoterica. People who come from a traditionally Western-rite culture end up with something that is not only unfamiliar, but artificial.

          Instead of reconstituting dead liturgical forms and attempting to re-create hypothetical prayers in an Orthodox form, a more honest expression of a Western “rite” might be accomplished by allowing an alternate usage of the Byzantine liturgies in conjunction with “externals” that are Western but not objectionable to Eastern Orthodox theology and consistent with (or analogous to) its practice.

          Western-style icons and murals (no statues), perhaps an open templon* rather than a closed iconostasis, Western-style vestments, Western-style polyphonic singing, etc., etc. A Western usage of the Greek Rite, if you will. Such an approach may eventually give rise to an organic, albeit gradual, restoration of the Western Rite and its liturgies to a form that is acceptable to Orthodoxy.

          *liturgically identical to an iconostasis, but visually similar to a rood screen, which serves a totally different function in the Western rite.

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        • Gail Sheppard says:

          I don’t disagree with you, Rostislav, I really don’t; however, 1 Corinthians 1 comes to mind. Focusing too strongly on externals can create divisiveness. – Substance over form. Debates on the trappings of the Church rage on for YEARS on various Orthodox lists, while the secular world chips away at our core, seemingly unnoticed and without resistance. Why don’t we defend that which we have in common as rigorously as we do our ideas about differing expressions? We’re fighting each other, when the true enemy is at our gate.

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    • Trudge at SmartVote says:

      Rostislav,

      You said:

      I have come to advocate that in our OCA we begin to specifically emphasize the Orthodox Saints of the West, especially those of Britain

      How about St Wulfric?

      Wulfric was born at Compton Martin, 10 miles south of Bristol. After becoming a priest, he at first exercised his ministry at Deverill, near Warminster. At this stage, apparently, he was much addicted to hunting, with both hawks and hounds. A chance conversation with a beggar, however, converted him to more godly pursuits, and moved back to Compton Martin as parish priest.

      Wulfric wished to spend the rest of his life as an Anchorite, withdrawn from the world, living in a cell adjacent to the church.

      Soon people came to him for guidance and blessing. During the reigns of kings Henry I and Stephen, Wulfric exercised a powerful influence, not only in his own neighborhood, but also at court. Henry I was informed, correctly, that he would shortly die, while King Stephen was chastised for the evils of his government. Wulfric is said to have received the gifts of prophecy and healing and was involved in many miraculous happenings. He became known as a healer of body, mind and spirit for all those who sought him out.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wulfric_of_Haselbury

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  6. Patrick Henry Reardon says:

    These comments about the decline of Anglicanism are very instructive for the Orthodox, I believe.

    That said, let me at least mention a big difference:

    Anglicanism was founded on compromise. The Prayer Book, the Ordinals, the Articles of Religion were deliberately worded to be ambivalent.

    Important to the Anglican founders was the desire to prevent any more religious wars in England. The peace was kept by making sure everybody could say the same words, even though they understood these words very differently.

    Elizabeth’s attitude was: “Believe what you want, dammit, but use the same Prayer Book, the same Ordinals, and the same Articles of Religion.”

    Even the Lambeth Quadrilateral—to which I clung for so many years—-ultimately provided no adequate basis for ecclesiastical unity.

    At no point in its schismatic (post-papal) history has Anglicanism been united by a truly common faith.

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    • Tim R. Mortiss says:

      Prevention of religious war in England was no small thing, to say the least. The closest it came was the Civil War, which was nothing at all in comparison to what came to pass on the Continent.

      “Compromise”– i.e., peace, no bloodshed and no ethno-religious hatreds down the generations…..

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    • Gail Sheppard says:

      RE: “Anglicanism was founded on compromise. . .”

      Father, when we agree, we agree 100%!

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  7. Francis Frost says:

    First, we need to remember that he Anglican Church was a political creature from its very inception. Henry the VIII established the Anglican Church for the purpose of approving his divorce from Catherine of Aragon. The seizure of monasteries’ wealth and lands was a neat side benefit.

    I am reminded of the old Irish warning I heard multiple times from my teacher:

    “Beware the Englishman and his church without faith,
    for the foundations stones of his temple are the bollocks of Henry the Eighth”

    The Anglican Church has always been primarily an institutional expression of English culture rather than a proponent of the Gospel. The Anglican Church has always maintained a fuzzy coalition of Anglo-Catholic and Calvinist Evangelical traditions.

    At the same time we must be cognizant that our own Orthodox churches in the Mother countries are also quasi-State churches subjected to the same pressures and temptations as the Anglican Church. In some cases, the church’s relationship to the state is defined constitutionally. In Greece, the church’s funding is commingled with the State budget.

    In Russia, the Moscow Patriarchate has been controlled by the government since the time of Peter the Great., to the great detriment to the gospel proclamation. During the Tsarist times the ROC was silent when the Russian government carried out genocide against the Muslim populations of the Caucasus. For more on that history read “Let Our Fame Be Great” by Oliver Bulloughs.

    The ROC also acquiesced to the abolishment of the Georgian Patriarchate in 1811, although St Seraphim of Sarov wrote to Tsar Aleksandr I and warned him:

    “Georgia is the inheritance of the most Holy Theotokos. Do not make war on Georgia, lest the Mother of God make war on us and Russia perish”

    During our own time, the Moscow Patriarchate tacitly approved the murder of innocent Orthodox Christians during the three invasions of Georgia,. In August 2008, Russian bishops publicly blessed the armaments and troops who destroyed entire Orthodox communities and who desecrated and burned the ancient Ghvrtaeba Cathedral with the shrine of the Protomartyr Razhden. In occupied Abkhazeti, the MP created and staffed an uncanonical schismatic “Abkhaz Eparchy”. The MP severed its ties with the “Abkhaz Eparchy” only after the Abkhaz clergy revolted over the imposition of Church Slavonic in their liturgy. Even so, the MP continues its communion with the renegade Archimandrite Vissarion Apliaa in violation of the Sacred Canons.

    In Syria, just the perception of unofficial church support for the Assad government has made the church a prime target for jihadists attacks and atrocities.

    It may well be that it is only in the diaspora that our Orthodox Church might find the independence and moral vision so that we might once again become “the salt of the earth”. Sadly, so far, our bishops here have followed the example of those who are compromised by their political entanglements with States that can hardly be described as Christian.

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    • Russophobia 101. Next.

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      • Why dignify this dirt with a reference to a college level course? This is just plain troglodyte stuff.

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      • Francis Frost says:

        Well., that settles it. Russophobia

        I don’t suppose it has ever occurred to you that you are using the same rhetorical gimic used by gay activists to silence the voice of conscience concerning their sins.

        “Russophobia” is not a response. It is ignorant cant. I signifies both an unreasonable mind and a faithless heart. If you have nothing else to offer, you ought to at least have the sense to follow Baba’s dictum: “chepukhu ne skazhi”.!!!

        What I have to offer are clearly documented facts, facts that your readers may verify with their own eyes.

        Historical facts are, as they say, stubborn things. You cannot wish them away.
        What is more, neither the Russian government nor the Moscow Patriarchate have even bothered to deny the facts. They simply assume that they can sin with impunity. Even now, when God’s “righteous chastisement which impenedeth against us “ is even knocking at he door!

        The August 2008 invasion of the Republic of Georgia has been described as a 5 day event; but it was just one more episode in a 25 year campaign oagainst the Georgian nation and the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate.

        In 1992 – 1993, with the help of their allies in the “Union of the Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus”, a Muslim confederacy and the backing of the Russian military the Apsua all but exterminated the Georgian community in Abkhazia. Nearly 47,000 Georgian Orthodox Christians were killed, and nearly 250,000 were driven into exile.

        For more information on this conflict you may read: “The 1992-93 Georgian – Abkhazian War: A Forgotten Conflict” by Alexandros Petersen of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

        http://cria-online.org/5_3.html

        or, the report “The Dynamics and Challenges of Ethnic Cleansing: The Georgia-Abkhazia Case” by the United Nations High Commission on Refuges at:

        http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/country,,WRITENET,,GEO,4562d8b62,3ae6a6c54,0.html

        Descriptions of the suffering of the victims of this genocidal campaign can be read at:

        http://digitalcaucasus.blogspot.com/2007_12_02_archive.html
        Reports of the persecution of the legitimate Georgian Orthodox church by the schismatic “Abkhaz Eparchy” and its sponsors may be read at the Forum 18 Religious Freedom web-site:

        http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=1183).

        http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=1118).

        http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?query=&religion=all&country=25

        The Human Rights Watch Organization has posted updated reports on the on-going persecution of the Georgian Orthodox faithful in occupied Abkhazia

        http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2011/02/18/georgians-gali

        http://www.hrw.org/en/features/abkhazia-living-limbo

        You may read the Life and Martyrdom of Father Andrea Kurashvili here:

        http://www.stprohor.org.au/saint-new-martyr-andrew-from-georgia-and-abkhazia-–-abbot-gavril/

        and here:

        http://www.theorthodoxword.com/back%20articles/OW%20PDFs/218/A%20Quiet%20Hymn.pdf

        In August 2008, the Russian bishops, Panteleimon of Kabardino-Adyghe and Feofan of Saratov (since transferred to Machkhala) accompanied the invasion forces and publicly “blessed” the weapons used to attack civilian populations. These “blessings” were televised first in Russia and then in Georgia. You may watch the video with your own eyes as it is included in the “Orthodox Occupation” video on You Tube. These infernal “blessings” are also included in Andrei Nekrasov’s documentary “Uroki Russkogo” (Russian Lessons), which debunks the Russian government’s propaganda campaign of justification for its invasion of Georgia. Mr.Nekrasov’s documentary is also available on You Tube in 12 segments, some with English sub-titles for those who do not understand the Russian language.

        On August 8, 2008, the missiles “blessed” by Bishop Feofan were used attack the ancient Ghvrtaeba Cathedral and the Shrine of the Protomartyr Razhden in Nikazi. On August 9th, the Russian military and their Ossetian allies looted, desecrated and burned this ancient House of God. These weapons were used in bombing raids and missile attacks on civilian populations throughout Georgia, including areas well outside the so-called “zone of conflict”.

        The 2008 documentary “Orthodox Occupation” has been re-released and posted on You Tube at the following url:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FRMy143Nm0

        Portions of this documentary plus additional footage are now available with English voice over, titled “Orthodox Occupancy Part 1 and Part 2” at the following urls:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dWSx4scmP0

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmw7jY3gzj4&feature=related

        You may watch a documentary with English subtitles o n the destruction of the Ghvrtaeba Cathedral and the reconstruction efforts carried out by Metropolitan Esia (Isaiah):

        http://pik.tv/en/war/film/1755

        There are even English-language captions! If they don’t come up right
        away, just click on the “cc” (caption) on the screen.

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        • Rostislav says:

          These are not facts. They are the rantings of an individual who takes political language encased in a russophobic interpretation of history and scrawls them together in a contrived patchwork quilt desperately hoping some of the smear will stick. I wrote what I wrote precisely because taking unbalanced hate and propaganda seriously is pointless. You hate Russians, have a problem with Russian history, want to drag the Russian Orthodox church through the mud, have your axe to grind and want your pride stroked. To take what you wrote seriously is to foster legitimacy to nothing more than a hateful, political agenda. I see no point to it, because what you have written at the end of the day and twenty five years from now will be nothing but an entry in the West’s failed attempts at propaganda to undermine Russia and demonize her, and then you will be on about something else which just might be a contradiction of what you have now written except your agenda will be the same: hating and smearing Russia and Russian Orthodoxy. Russia and Russian Orthodoxy have earned their accolades and they don’t need you to validate their achievements. Despite your hate, they will still have them and their place in history. I wouldn’t doubt that you were fed and nurtured by our generosity and brought up on our kindness. No point in feeding the beast. A “kham” is a “kham.” Next.

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          • Francis Frost says:

            Dear Rostislav:

            You are letting your hysteria show.

            I have not offered my own opinions. I have provided multiple sources of published documents and video clips to support my arguments. You may choose to ignore that evidence; but facts will not disappear because you refuse to look at them.

            You accuse me of anti-Russian hatred. You don’t know me. You have no evidence to support such a statement. Perhaps you are young and you have not yet learned that our critics can be our very best friends. I will not belabor details which I have shared with others on this web-site multiple times.

            I grew up among Russian emigres and was raised in the Russian Orthodox Church (the old Metroplia, before it became the OCA). Our family spoke the Russian language and we still use it regularly in our home as my mother in law does not speak much English. I am probably the very last cantor in this part of the country who can still sing the Slavonic Liturgy. When our St George Cathedral in Wichita held occasional Slavonic liturgies, I was the cantor. As a result, I know most the Russian emigre community in Wichita and here in Oklahoma. Here in Oklahoma, however, the Russians are mostly Pentecostals.

            I have wonderful memories of our old Russian priest, Father Iwan Karateew, and of the many Russian immigrants I knew over the years. It was they who taught me what it means to be a Christian. It is precisely because of their lessons that I continue to speak out on behalf of the victims of unjust and cruel militarism, ethnic cleansing and outright genocide.

            As for the long belabored Holy Russia versus the degenerate West trope: it is just another piece of Putinist propaganda foisted on the ignorant and gullible. Look at Russian history. How did Russia achieve its imperial greatness? The Romanov Tsars imported learning, technology and ideas from the West. Even the Russian flag is an import. It’s the Dutch flag with the colors inverted.

            I have presented multiple documented sources and video clips to support my arguments. What do you have to offer? Nothing but shrill, hysterical ad hominem attacks. Give one fact to support your argument and we might have the basis for a discussion.

            Perhaps that is too much to ask?

            This is no small matter. Because Orthodox bishops “blessed” the murder of Christians and blessed the very weapons used to desecrate and destroy the very altar of God in Nikozi, we are all implicated in this crime against Christ. By our silence, we are accomplices after the fact in these heinous acts.

            If you learn nothing else: know this. God is just and the Lord Jesus Christ is coming with might power to judge the world which he created. Three times the scriptures warn us:

            “Vengeance is Mine. I will repay says the LORD your God”

            This warning is given once in the Old Testament and twice in the New Testament. Our Lord himself warned us ” As you did it to these the least of my brethren, so you did it to Me.”

            The prophet Isaiah cries out: “Cry out with strength, and spare not; lift up your voice like a trumpet and declare to My people their sins, and the the house of Jacob their lawlessness. They seek Me day by day, and desire to know My ways, as a people who did righteousness and did not forsake the judgment of their God… You have become a dissatisfaction to Me: I will not forgive your sins. When you stretch forth your hands to Me, I will turn my eyes from you. Although you make many prayers, I will not listen to you. Your hands are full of blood. ”

            This life passes away “like a dream upon awakening” and then the judgement. What answer will you sir give on that day?
            What answer can any of us give, when the plight of the widow and orphan is neglected. Does not the Apostle say: “true religion is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction”?

            Our church will not save us if we do not follow Christ’s saving commandments. It is written: “Depart from Me all you workers of iniquity, for I never knew You”

            If we refuse to see Christ in the persons of these sufferers, then He will disown us on that dread day. We cannot count on God’s mercy if we are not show mercy to the down trodden and afflicted. St James, the brother of God warns us: “Judgement is without mercy to those who have shown no mercy.”

            Of course, the way of Christ is not nearly as much fun as “political Orthodoxy” or the pleasure of critiquing and demeaning the heterodox, other nationalities, sexual sinners or “the West”.

            No, the way of Christ demands fidelity and sacrifice, and no-one wants to follow it.

            This, ultimately is the root of all the “crises” that are endlessly picked over on this web-site. And despite the endless attention to these “crises”, the one solution to them all is pointedly avoided or derided. ”

            “Repent for he Kingdom is at hand”. Until we learn that lesson, nothing else we say or do will matter. Russia’s own saints repeated these warnings time after time. If you can find it, you should read the life of the Blessed Mother Makaria of Temkino, by Gennady Durasov.

            May God bless you.

            Read below what Holy Russia wrought for one innocent family.

            South Ossetia one year on: Georgians wait in fear for Russians to return

            A year ago, the Kremlin shocked the world when it sent troops into Georgia. Today, the war clouds over South Ossetia are gathering once more.

            Zaza Razmadze holds the body of his brother Zura after a bombardment in Gori, 80 km from Tbilisi, August 9, 2008. A Russian warplane dropped a bomb on an apartment block in the Georgian town of Gori, killing at least 5 people Photo: REUTERS

            By Adrian Blomfield in Gori 6:19PM BST 01 Aug 2009
            When the dull throb of homesickness becomes too overpowering to resist, the former inhabitants of Eredvi perform a bittersweet ritual.

            The last Georgian Police check-point on the way to Tskhinvali. Check-point is located in Ergneti on the administrative border of South Ossetia. The Russian and Ossetian checkpoint is about 100 m further down that road.

            Clambering up a steep hill outside the Georgian city of Gori, they fix a borrowed pair of binoculars on the gutted cottages that, until a year ago, they called home.

            Closer inspection is impossible. Though Eredvi is just a few miles away, it lies in the breakaway province of South Ossetia and their way is blocked by Russian troops and the local militiamen who burned their village down.

            Though his eyes are weak and his body wracked by illness, Tengiz Razmadze occasionally makes the trip to the top of the hill, listening as his younger son Zaza describes the ruins of the little house at the end of the village.

            Mr Razmadze has no need to see for himself. He lived through the destruction of his home, refusing to leave even as the roar of Russian bombers filled the skies during five days of war last August, killing his neighbours and striking his house.

            Related Articles
            Georgia: one year on 01 Aug 2009

            It was only as Ossetian militiamen, bent on revenge, embarked on drunken looting sprees in Georgian villages like Eredvi that lay on Ossetian soil, that he finally decided to flee.

            He reached Gori, a supposedly safe sanctuary deep in undisputed Georgian territory, only to find that his older son Zviadi had just been buried, after being killed in a Russian air strike.

            Zaza Razmadze saw the explosions that killed his brother. Running through the choking dust and smoke that darkened the sky above Gori, he stumbled on his body in the forecourt of the block of flats where Zvio, as his family knew him, lived.

            It was here that The Sunday Telegraph came across Zaza Razmadze, cradling his brother’s head in his arms and imploring him to live as he ripped off his own shirt to try to staunch his wounds.

            Photographs of his grief were to become the defining images of the short but brutish war Georgia and Russia fought a year ago, images so compelling that the Kremlin sought to dismiss them as fabrication.
            In the garage where the two men worked together, Zaza Razmadze has built a shrine to the brother he loved, a small fountain above which he has carved the word’s “Zvio’s Stream”.

            Jerkily he recalled that hot August day, explaining that – unbeknown to him – as he tended Zvio’s body his brother’s wife, eight months pregnant, was also dying in the flat above.

            “They had left the previous day,” he said with quiet but forceful bitterness. “I still don’t know why they came back.”

            The only person who could answer that question is his nephew, eight-year-old Dito. Wounded in the blast that killed his parents, Dito is still to traumatised to speak of what happened.

            Two months ago, Zaza Razmadze got married. But any happiness that brought remains clouded by grief and anger, emotions that are caused to burn more deeply by a conflict that was frozen but never resolved – and by talk of a new war.

            “If war resumes, every citizen of Gori will fight,” he said. “Even the women will fight, even my new wife. We have nothing to lose.”

            In the 12 months since a war that stunned the world, Georgia has slipped from its consciousness.
            Yet tensions remain high. At least 28 Georgian policemen patrolling the administrative boundary have been killed by sniper fire or remotely detonated mines since the end of the war. At border crossings, now sealed, Georgian and Russian guns remain trained on each other.

            Less than 100 yards separate the Russian and Georgian flags that flutter above identical dugouts, protected by sandbags and concrete barriers at the crossing of Ergneti.

            Capt Zura, the officer commanding the Georgian side of the line, pointed out Russian sniper positions on the roof of an abandoned hotel. “The Russians make a lot of trouble, especially at night when they are drunk,” he said.

            Later that evening, Georgian officers at a nearby crossing said they had come under fire, claiming that a rocket-propelled grenade had exploded above their positions.

            Such is the instability that the International Crisis Group, a leading conflict prevention think tank, warned in June that “extensive fighting could again erupt.”

            A European Union investigation is still trying to establish who was responsible for last year’s war, which ended in a humiliating battlefield rout for the Georgian army. But western diplomats in Tblisi say it is fairly clear that Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia’s pro-western president, walked into a carefully laid Russian trap by launching a massive assault against the Ossetian rebels, who had long enjoyed Moscow’s support.

            Some military analysts in Moscow say that Russia is now contemplating a new war to oust Mr Saakashvili, whose determination to seek Nato membership for Georgia has consistently infuriated the Kremlin.

            Remarkably, the Georgian leader has defied widespread predictions that failure in the war would cost him his job – despite four months of protests called by Georgia’s fragmented opposition.

            But elsewhere, the omens do not look good. Since recognising the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another Kremlin-backed rebel enclave in Georgia, Russia has deployed thousands of troops in both provinces and has begun building new military bases.

            The Russian defence ministry angrily declined immediate comment on its troop levels in the two provinces and accused The Sunday Telegraph of failing to respect its dignity.

            The Kremlin has also forced the withdrawal of two international observer missions from the conflict zone and, in breach of its ceasefire commitments, has prevented the third, the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM), from operating in either South Ossetia or Abkhazia.

            Even more worryingly, the EUMM came under attack for the first time when an ambulance driver was killed in an assault on a monitors’ convoy near Abkhazia in June.

            “It was a definite attack on the EUMM,” said Steve Bird, a Foreign Office official attached to the mission. “The mine used in the attack was remotely detonated.”

            The EUMM says that Georgia has abided by the ceasefire agreements, brokered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, that ended last year’s war, but the Russians have not.

            In one of its most contentious moves, Russia used the days after the ceasefire to seize control of Akhalgori, a largely Georgian district of South Ossetia that had been under government control for over a decade.

            Russia now allows buses to carry displaced Georgians to their homes in Akhalgori, which – unlike those elsewhere in Ossetia – have largely escaped the arsonists. But most are still too afraid to stay for long.

            The Sunday Telegraph received a brusquer welcome at the Russian checkpoint when it sought permission to take photographs of buses crossing into Akhalgori. “Go and take your pictures in Georgia,” the Russian commanding officer said, before stalking off in a rage.

            Observers suspect that Russia’s tactics are partly aimed at laying the groundwork for a new war. A pretext could be created, they say, either by engineering a cross-border incident that results in Russian casualties – or by accusing Georgia of helping anti-Kremlin rebels in Russia’s nearby North Caucasus region.

            In a potentially disturbing omen, Russia on Saturday threatened to “use all available force and means” to defend its civilians after claiming that Georgia had launched several attacks on the separatist capital Tskhinvali in recent days. Georgia denied the allegations and the EUMM said it had been unable to verify Russia’s claims.

            Last week it also claimed that North Caucasus rebels were operating in Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge.
            “There is definitely a pattern to what the Kremlin is doing,” said a senior Western diplomat in Tbilisi. He said that Moscow wanted control over Georgia, both to prevent the construction of a gas pipeline that would reduce Europe’s energy dependence on Russia and to find an easier way of supplying its own troops in Armenia.

            But with Russia unlikely to find a pliant successor to Mr Saakashvili, the diplomat said a major war was unlikely. Instead, he predicted that Russia would make creeping advances deeper into Georgian territory or launch occasional bombing raids, as part of a campaign to destabilise its neighbour.
            “Georgia would protest to the international community but without guaranteed success,” he said. “The law of the strongest will apply.”

            In the meantime, for tens of thousands of Georgians uprooted from their homes or scarred from those few days of war, daily life grows ever more desperate.

            Over three days last week, The Sunday Telegraph revisited villages in Georgia that bore the brunt of the Russian advance and the brutal reprisals by the accompanying Ossetian militias.

            The border village of Ergneti has been all but abandoned, save for the occasional family that ekes out an existence in the charred ruins of their homes.

            Ivane Dvalishvili showed us the rusted remains of his grandson’s first bicycle, almost all he had salvaged from the rubble. His 80-year-old neighbour, Gaioz, had neatly swept his destroyed possessions into large piles by the blackened walls of his house.

            A year ago, during an intense Russian arterial assault, the Sunday Telegraph took shelter with Makhvala Orshuashvili by the wall of her garden in the village of Tkviavi, where she fed us peaches from her orchard, shouting over the noise of the shells.

            We found her where we left her, sitting on a bench outside the garden – only this time she was wearing a black headscarf to denote mourning.

            When the Ossetians came through, raping and pillaging, they came across her husband returning home with bread. Telling him to run, they shot him in the back and he died later of starvation after rejecting food.

            Makhvala cowered in terror inside her house, listening as the drunken soldiers played a stolen guitar on the street outside.

            Back in Gori, stung by the financial crisis and the aftershocks of war, Zaza Razmadze is lucky if he takes home more than £5 a day, half what he earned before the conflict.

            With that he must support the families of eight relatives who were also forced out of Ossetia when the militias embarked on what the Council of Europe has described as a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Georgians.

            The Georgians of South Ossetia, about 25,000, are now housed in identikit camps that have mushroomed near the administrative boundary with the rebellious province.

            A small, whitewashed cottage in one of the camps now houses Zaza Razmadze’s father, Tengiz. Blind in one eye, his eyesight failing in the other, Mr Razmadze ekes out an existence in his half-painted rooms, furnished with only a narrow bed, a flimsy table and a small television, on the £17 a month provided by the state.

            Like other Georgians in South Ossetia, he was never rich. But the fecund soil allowed them to create fruit orchards and vegetable gardens. In their new accommodation, Ossetia’s displaced can no longer fend for themselves.

            Tengiz Razmadze seems a broken man, much older than his 60 years. He is trying to summon up the mental and physical strength to commemorate the first anniversary of his son’s death on Aug 9. But it will be a struggle. “I don’t know if I can survive the pain and sorrow again,” he said.

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            • George Michalopulos says:

              Francis, bad things happen in wars. As much as I don’t like what happened to Georgia, they violated Rule #1 of those nations close to Russia: don’t bait the bear.

              They also violated Rule #2 of nationhood: don’t sell your sovereignty to American Neocons.

              Violating both of these rules will get you nothing but grief. (Are you listening, Ukraine?)

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              • Francis Frost says:

                George:

                You are either morally obtunded, deluded or simply ineducable.

                First, the persons responsible for killing innocents are those holding the guns and pulling the triggers. To try and deflect the guilt of the invaders by invoking American “Neo-cons” is disingenuous, morally fatuous and just plain stupid. Please stop insulting your readers’ intelligence with such absurdities.

                Second your comment that “bad things happen in war” demonstrates a calloused heart and an insensate conscience. This is not simply a character flaw. It is a sign of moral and spiritual derangement. Would you give such an explanation to your fellow Greeks who suffered from the Turks, the Germans or in the Greek civil war? Somehow, I think not.

                You claim to be a dedicated supported of the right to life, and this is what you say in the face of mass murder and ethnic cleansing? This is absolutely shameless and sick. You present yourself as the mortal arbiter of every conflict in the OCA and yet you are simply clueless as to the most basic commandments.

                You seem to think that “the bear” has the right to murder its neighbors?

                Perhaps, among the wild beasts. But surely this is no excuse for civilized humans to act so; much less those who claim to be Orthodox Christians. Show one legal document that enshrines such right. to a “zone of influence” The United Nations charter and international law guarantee every nation the right to defend its sovereign territory and its population from attack. To suggest otherwise is simply stupid.

                You seem utterly incapable of understanding the the Georgians, Ukrainians. Moldovans and others are sick of being enslaved to the psychopathic tyrants in the Kremlin. You expect your own rights to be defended; but deny those same rights to others? How utterly pathetic.

                Before you write another word of commentary on moral subjects you need to go back to the basics. Learns the commandments and get a clue.

                How utterly amazing and sad you are!

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                • George Michalopulos says:

                  Actually, I would give such advice to anybody –Greeks included–who wanted to start an ill-advised war. I would even give it if it were a just war or a defensive war. What I said was a statement of fact. Bad things do happen in war, that’s why they should be avoided as much as possible.

                  As for your first statement, the rules of war have traditionally dictated that the regular soldiers who actually do the killing are not responsible, their rulers who sent them into harm’s way are. And if their rulers started a war at the behest of foreign agents then those rulers will bear double the blame on Judgment Day.

                  It’s really very clear.

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                  • George, is it really that clear? You say: “…the regular soldiers who actually do the killing are not responsible…” What happened with the “Thou shalt not kill?” Or has it been modified to “Thou shalt not kill, unless ordered by your master (government, commanding officer, etc.)”? Are we using different translations of the Bible?

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                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Mitrich, Christians are instructed by St Paul to “obey Caesar” and to pay taxes. We are also told that the “King does not hold the sword in vain.” Also, that they “are to be a terror to the evil,” and we are to pray for their exercise of power because they are responsible for us. (Rough paraphrase.)

                      That means that there is a hierarchy and we are all part of it. Even in the church not all are “teachers, evangelists, exorcists, etc.” Hierarchies exist in nature. They are inescapable. Hence if I am to pay taxes to something I don’t approve of, it makes no difference because I am beholden to obey my leaders. This means on the other hand that they are responsible for their actions, far more than I can be as a single voter. Their burden is double mine because I am only responsible for my actions while they are responsible not only for their own personal actions but for the actions of polity.

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                  • Francis Frost says:

                    George:

                    The Orthodox Church is not governed by “the rules of war”. It is governed by the Savior’s commandments and the Sacred Canons. If you search the Canons of St. Basil the Great, you will find that those who participate in war are banned from the communion of the church for the entire period of said conflict and for 3 years afterward. Those who kill in war are subject to the same penance as murderers. The fact that these canons are not enforced and largely forgotten demonstrates how far the faith has been debased by its captivity to the imperialist mentality.

                    The commandments do not come with exclusionary clauses. God is not perverse although many of his representatives here on earth are.

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                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      I never said anything about the Orthodox Church being governed by the rules of war. I said governments were. And the advice I gave was commonsensical and based on history.

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                • Justina (Christine Erikson) says:

                  you have to consider reasons that go into such a conflict. it is not a matter of someone deciding to go murder someone for the sake of it. and there are often hidden agendas if I recall correctly the Georgia Ossetia thing was part of EU and NATO/USA expansionist games behind the scenes.

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                  • Francis Frost says:

                    Dear Ms Erikson:

                    Obviously you have bought into the Putinist claim to a “zone of influence” that gives the Russian government the right to invade and carry out genocide to enforce the continued slavery of its neighbors. There is NO justification for such a claim in international law, much less the Orthodox faith.

                    International law including the UN Charter guarantees every nation the absolute right to defend it territory and its citizens. Read the history. No Georgian soldier ever set foot so much as a single centimeter into Russian territory. All of these conflicts have been fought in Georgian territory with the deliberate attacks on civilians, including Orthodox clergy. Two entire dioceses have been laid waste and schismatic pseudo churches created by the MP. entire communities were massacred and 300,000 Orthodox Christians driven into exile.

                    You, Justina, justify this by “politics” ??? If so, then you, Justina, are not a Christian, much less an Orthodox Christian!

                    This is a perfect description of the destruction of the Orthodox Church from within the “internal apostacy” that Russia’s own saints predicted.

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                • “Moscow, November 20, 2011. Worship led by the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill, His Holiness and Beatitude Catholicos-Patriarch of all Georgia, Ilia II, Metropolitan of Warsaw and All Poland, Sawa, Metropolitan of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, Khristofor, assisted by hierarchs and clergy of the Local Orthodox Churches.”:

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSz-0nBhPXI

                  Francis,

                  As I’ve pointed out before, the Patriarch of Georgia speaks in the most fraternal and loving terms about the Russian Church. If the Russian Orthodox were that bad, why would he do that? Why would he be celebrating the liturgy in Christ the Savior Cathedral three years after the Georgian-Russian war? Or is he part of the conspiracy too?

                  You might consider just cutting it the f*%& loose.

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                  • Francis Frost says:

                    Despite the enormity of these crimes, His Holiness, Patriarch Ilya II and the Holy Synod of the Georgian Patriarchate have followed the apostolic example of long-suffering and conciliation. “When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we try to conciliate.” I Corinthians 4:9.

                    The Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate twice sent a delegation headed by Metropolitan Gerasime of Zugdidi to Moscow to conciliate. The Georgian Patriarchate offered to grant the status of a metochion to the Russian clergy operating in the occupied territories.

                    The Russians refused that offer and demanded the right of conquest. The Russians
                    upbraided the Georgians for “ingratitude” for “all we have done for you”. Relating this story, Meupe (Vladyka) Antony told us; “They have stolen a quarter of my country, killed thousands of my countrymen and have driven hundreds of thousands into exile, and they expect me to be grateful?”

                    Three times, His Holiness Patriarch Ilya II has met Patriarch Kirill with only one request: to be allowed to visit his flock in the occupied territories. In September of 2011, the representatives of the four ancient Patriarchates, meeting in Cyprus admonished each Patriarchate “to remain within its own boundaries”. All of these appeals have been to no avail. The leaders of the Moscow Patriarchate believe that they may violate the Sacred Canons and the Savior’s commandments with impunity. The tragedy of the Russian Church is that its leaders have chosen to serve a master who is not Christ.

                    It is indeed Patriarch Ilya’s conciliation that has managed to maintain communion between the Patriarchates. Had the Holy Synod taken a vote on the matter, communion would have been severed and anathemas issued. Ultimately, it is neither the Patriarch nor any bishop who will adjudicate the matter, it is Christ himself. On that day, many will hear: “Depart from Me you workers of iniquity, for I never knew you”

                    These past twenty years of persecution have caused enormous suffering for the Georgian Orthodox faithful. Nearly 50,000 innocent civilians have lost their lives. Almost 300,000 have lost their homes and livelihoods. Two entire dioceses have been laid waste. Heretics are promoted and the legitimate churches destroyed.

                    Many will say that we cannot worry or be concerned about something that happened on the other side of the globe; but this attitude betrays a lack of Christian faith and a renunciation of the unity of the Body of Christ. This ultimately is why our church is dying off; both here and in the Old World.

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                    • The real surprise is that Saakashvili lasted as long as he did. He targeted civilian centers with artillery. When he decided to start bombing civilians and kill Russian peacekeepers in S. Ossetia and Abkhazia (and the EU did find him to be the aggressor), one would have thought he had signed his death warrant. In fact, it was only Condi Rice being air-dropped into Tblisi that saved his government – temporarily.

                      Pity.

                      I simply don’t believe most of what you write, Francis, apart from that part of it which just reflects the natural consequences of war in general. Wild talk about genocide is so perversely out of place that I’m surprised you even use it. It is a sign of being emotionally unbalanced, though not the only one you exhibit.

                      If you want to call down the judgment of God upon Russia and the ROC, feel free. You won’t be the only one. It’s a sport here in the West. Look at the tenor of most stories about practically everything Russia does, including the Olympics. Still the evil empire, even though it’s no longer communist.

                      Basically, you have the Left which can’t forgive the Russians for abandoning Marx and Lenin and the Right which is still haunted by Cold War ghosts and can’t tell authoritarianism (which quite a few of our allies exhibit) from communism. What’s a Russian to do? Well, Russia just goes about pursuing its own national interests while damning the torpedoes. I suggest you go over there and try to “make a difference”. That would be truly brave of you.

                      “According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), all parties committed serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, resulting in many civilian deaths and injuries. Georgian forces used indiscriminate force during their attack on South Ossetia ‘with blatant disregard for the safety of civilians.’ The Georgians directed tank and machine gun fire at buildings in Tskhinvali, including at apartment buildings and basements where civilians sheltered . . . [a]rmed gangs and Ossetian militia committed looting, arson attacks, rape and abductions in Georgian villages and towns, terrorising the civilian population, forcing them to flee their homes and preventing displaced people from returning home. In the Georgian city of Gori, Ossetian militia terrorised the civilian population and attacked anyone who tried to flee. The Georgian Army had retreated to defend Tbilisi, and did not return until the Russians and Ossetians withdrew.” – Wikipedia

                      Now, I don’t doubt for a second that Russians committed what in the West would be considered war crimes during the war, some of which are listed on the same site. What I do suggest is the following: a) Russian Orthodox clergy do not know against whom or in what manner the weapons they bless will be used. They merely trust the army and its leadership. Blessing of arms is enshrined in service books in the Slavic world going back at least to the Middle Ages. It’s normal. Accusing them of sin against the Holy Spirit is reprehensible. b) After the breakup of the Soviet Union, the borders were in flux. South Ossetia and Abkhazia were never for a moment uncontested Georgian territory. Immediately the local populace waged a war for autonomy which was successful until Saakashvili decided to follow the advice of neocons in America. This was a mistake. The same EU report found that Russia used disproportionate force to repel the Georgian attack. However, the purpose of using “disproportionate force” or of driving ethnic Georgians out of the disputed territory, etc., is to prevent a replay of the same sad adventure. If you merely repel an attack, you leave an enemy with the idea that maybe the next time it might succeed. You destroy his military and demoralize his people and you preclude a repeat. In that part of the world, you don’t show weakness regarding your neighbors, especially if they are in league with your adversaries. You send a loud, clear message that you don’t care about the rules of war, about “disproportianate” force, about the niceties of Geneva, etc.

                      The message is “Don’t do it again.”

                      And they haven’t. And they won’t.

                      Problem solved.

                      The loss of life on all sides was a tragedy, but a preventable one.

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            • Johann Sebastian says:

              Francis Frost says:

              “As for the long belabored Holy Russia versus the degenerate West trope: it is just another piece of Putinist propaganda foisted on the ignorant and gullible.”

              We “Little Russians” suffered much of the same tribulations you describe. The difference is that instigators were Catholics–Poles and Austrians. The time period–from around 1500 to 1918–was much more drawn out. It gets more complex after that, but to make a long story short, while Holy Russia may no longer exist, it is far from a piece of Putinist propaganda foisted on the ignorant and gullible.

              On the other hand, what you proffer here is a series of truths and half-truths packaged in such a manner as to ignore the complexity of interactions and conflicts between cultures and nation-states. While you’re not exactly lying, you’re not telling the truth either.

              If there’s anything that fuels hatred and resentment between people, it’s a presentation of incomplete facts as the “whole story.”

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              • Johann Sebastian says:

                This is Holy Russia.

                https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/db/Principalities_of_Kievan_Rus%27_%281054-1132%29.jpg

                Much of it never fell within the borders of the Russian Empire or the Russian Federation. In fact, it was ruled by powers (including, damnatio memoriae, the Soviet Union) hostile to anything Russian or Orthodox throughout most of its history.

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              • Francis Frost says:

                Dear Johann Sebastian:

                You claim that I am presenting “half truths” . Give one example.

                Are you discounting the published reports of The United Nations High Commission for Refugees, The Forum 18 News Service, Human Rights Watch, The London Telegraph newspaper, the ‘Orthodox Life’ pmagazine, or the video evidence which was shown first on Russian television and only afterwards on the Georgian networks? Which of these documentary presentations is inaccurate?

                Your example of the oppression of the Orthodox by the Roman Catholic Austrian Hungarian Empire is irrelevant. Are you suggesting that because the Catholics persecuted the Orthodox, that putative Orthodox Russians there thereby authorized and justified to massacre other Orthodox Christians?. Your moral reasoning is not only faulty, it is perverse.

                Your suggestion that “context’ justifies ethnic cleansing and mass murder is both repugnant and vile.

                Those innocent victims of are not only our relatives, neighbors and friends; they are YOUR fellow Orthodox Christians. The fact that you fail to make that connection explains why our Orthodox Church is dying.

                “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” Matthew 15:8

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        • Tim R. Mortiss says:

          I agree that “russophobia”, like “homophobia”, is meaningless.

          “Phobia” to an English speaker (yes I know it’s “Greek”) means “fear”, and that’s all it means. It doesn’t mean “anti-”, it doesn’t mean “dislike”; it means “fear”.

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        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

          I wish Mr. Frost would devote more time to Christian America’s relations with native Americans. Shouldn’t we give the country back to them? if not, why not? And what about the British crown and the Anglican Church’s collaboration in the conquest of these natives and the overrunning of their homeland?
          Anyhow, I don’t think that agreeing with the concept “Holy Russia” means teaching that the Russian state, society or even nation is as a whole holy; rather it is a PERCEPTION of an unseen Russia that IS holy, an unseen Russia that is protected by the Theotokos and oceans of saints and martyrs, in a way peculiar to Russia and not to “Holy Constantinople”, etc. IN attacking the concept of Holy Russia, the pathologies of the attackers are more apparent than those of those being attacked.
          Oh well, it’s actually easier to found a Keston Institute than it is to realize it’s no longer sensible or relevant to the present era.
          Yes, in addition and along with the Russia of Putin, Stalin, Lenin there IS a Holy Russia. Bearing witness to Russia’s sins is just SO silly.!

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          • Tim R. Mortiss says:

            I had a sense of this “Holy Russia” coming into Novgorod in November of 1987, in snow and under the moon at night. The Kremlin and the cathedral within it were of unearthly beauty. This, against the background of Novgorod’s history, gave me that sense.

            Unfortunately, we could not find a functioning church in Novgorod in the short time we had there, though we were able to attend services both in Moscow and [then] Leningrad. This was late-Soviet times, of course; there were “operating” churches around but not a whole lot of them.

            I am totally non-Russian in background, and my own studies have given me rather more of an appreciation of the various “other Russias” besides “Muskovy”. On the other hand, I am not anti-Russian at all, but have a very hard time appreciating the “Russian-ness” of ROCOR, for example. The recent ROCOR statement about the “priority” (so to speak) of the Russian diaspora in the United States was hard for me to understand.

            As a “geezer catechumen” of Anglo-presbyterian background, the virtue I find in the many Orthodox jurisdictions in this country is that they balance each other, if they cannot cancel each other out! I can’t be a Greek, a Russian, an Arab, and I haven’t the least desire to be one. That said, I love the local Greek church where I attend. It helps that the priest, whose Greek is essentially perfect (say the Greeks), is far from Greek himself- the child of immigrant Indian Hindu parents!

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          • Francis Frost says:

            The good bishop is once again ignoring he issue at hand, and trying a diversionary tactic.

            The American government does not claim to be a Christian entity, nor is it held up by the posters on this web-site as a paragon of Orthodoxy.

            America’s military actions have never been approved of nor have they been publicly “blessed” by Orthodox bishops.

            In August 2008, the Russian bishops, Panteleimon of Kabardino-Adyghe and Feofan of Saratov (since transferred to Machkhala) accompanied the invasion forces and publicly “blessed” the weapons used to attack civilian populations. These “blessings” were televised first in Russia and then in Georgia. You may watch the video with your own eyes as it is included in the “Orthodox Occupation” video on You Tube. These infernal “blessings” are also included in Andrei Nekrasov’s documentary “Uroki Russkogo” (Russian Lessons), which debunks the Russian government’s propaganda campaign of justification for its invasion of Georgia. Mr. Nekrasov’s documentary is also available on You Tube in 12 segments, some with English sub-titles for those who do not understand the Russian language.

            On August 8, 2008, the missiles “blessed” by Bishop Feofan were used attack the ancient Ghvrtaeba Cathedral and the Shrine of the Protomartyr Razhden in Nikozi. On August 9th, the Russian military and their Ossetian allies looted, desecrated and burned this ancient House of God. These weapons were used in bombing raids and missile attacks on civilian populations throughout Georgia, including areas well outside the so-called “zone of conflict”.

            The 2008 documentary “Orthodox Occupation” has been re-released and posted on You Tube at the following url:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FRMy143Nm0

            Portions of this documentary plus additional footage are now available with English voice over, titled “Orthodox Occupancy Part 1 and Part 2” at the following urls:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dWSx4scmP0

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmw7jY3gzj4&feature=related

            A television documentary on the destruction of Ghvertaeba and the work of reconstruction carried out by Metropolitan Isaiah may be viewed at:

            http://pik.tv/en/war/film/1755

            By their own actions, the bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate have violated the most ancient Apostolic Canons, and they have spurned the Lord’s commandment to “Love your neighbor as yourself”. They have specifically violated the Apostolic Canons 11-16, and 30 -35. The prescribed penalty for any one of these crimes against the church is deposition and or excommunication, both for the offender and any who continue to commune with him!

            Through their infernal “blessing” of military weapons of mass destruction, the Russian bishops have blasphemed against the Holy Spirit, since through their actions they have invoked the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life in the cause of murder, mayhem and destruction. Without profound repentance, this sin will not be forgiven; not in this world nor in the next

            When the US bombed Serbia, every Orthodox bishop individually and collectively (through SCOBA) decried that action. When the Bush government invaded Iraq again our bishops criticized the invasion.

            Yet, when Holy Russia carries out a 25 year campaign of ethnic cleansing and outright genocide against fellow Orthodox, our bishops, clergy and theologians are in the words of the Akathistos Hymn “as dumb as fish” !

            Thus by criticizing American militarism while countenancing outright genocide against innocent Orthodox Christians by putative Orthodox Christians, our leaders are demonstrating a cynical and degenerate hypocrisy. This is no small matter for as the Lord himself said: “ You will be held liable for every idle word you have spoken”

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            • George Michalopulos says:

              Well, Francis, as usual, you’d be wrong. The United States frequently and throughout its history upheld itself to be a Christian nation. That’s one reason why the birthday of our Lord and Savior is a national holiday. That’s another reason why the Congress (ahem) funded and built the National Cathedral. That’s another reason why both Houses of Congress employ chaplains and begin each session with a prayer.

              Mind you, the US used their faith to justify the ethnic cleansing of the Plains Indians and to try and “evangelize” the Aleuts when we bought Alaska.

              As for the Orthodox bishops here in America who “criticized” Clinton for bombing Serbia, the criticism was even more insipid than usual. There was no unity, no force, no nothing except the most tepid diplospeak.

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        • Michael Bauman says:

          “Historical facts” are curiously malleable things forever open to the visscitudes of the premises of those selecting them, prioritizing them and interpreting them.

          In and of themselves they have no meaning and only become “facts” as opposed to occurrences or events when placed within a particular narrative, polemic or expostulation.

          While I agree that accusing some one of any type of phobia is a modern conceit tended to silence thought, it is certainly appropriate to inquire into and take into account the bias of any person’s argument. In fact it essential in the study of history.

          I think is obvious that you have an anti-Russian bias. In and of itself, that does not invalidate you comments nor your reasoning. However it does require that we look for a wider context unless of course we share your bias or hold an opposing bias with equal fervor.

          Unfortunately the direct clashes of two opposing biases usually degenerates into ad hominem insults and the non-evidenced based hurling of opposing “facts” a bit like Olympian thunderbolts. The first casualty of such encounters is the truth, the next is likely the peace of soul of everyone involved.

          God forgive me.

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    • i remember your Russophobia from Mark Stokoe’s site.. and a lot of it was slander ..
      shame

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    • Michael Bauman says:

      In Syria just the appearance of being Christian is enough to get you killed. The Islam of the jihad hates Christians. The demonic god they serve wants us all dead. It requires blood to propiate it. Ours gives His own and creates life.

      What is your goal in incessantly recounting the crimes of Russia against Georgia?

      There is no salvation in any nationalist church. No doubt the soviet martyrdom has a foundation in those crimes and they still haven’t learned.

      Got it.

      Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.

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  8. St Photios Shrine Day says:

    celebrating the Greekness of Orthodoxy in America

    http://www.stphotios.com/

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  9. Peter A. Papoutsis says:

    Chris Hedges, an unknown prophet. Hated by the liberal Protestants and conservative Evangelicals alike!

    Peter

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  10. Interesting to note that modern Judaism is solidly in the homosexual camp (except for the Orthodox Jews ?); just read the Jewish newspaper, the New York Times, to see the extent of liberal propaganda in the US. I have no idea what modern Judaism believes but it certainly is not contained in the Old Testament.

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  11. There was a time when the church was very powerful–in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside agitators.” But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were “a colony of heaven,” called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God intoxicated to be “astronomically intimidated.” By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests .

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    • Michael Bauman says:

      By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests .

      Silver Price, unfortunately not a permanent end. The abortion industry has killed more babies than the Romans ever did. Football? Well, while death is not an inevitable or even intended end, it seems to serve much the same purpose of keeping the masses occupied so that the ruling elites can do their nastiness relatively unencumbered, all with a side of sex trafficking.

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      • Tim R. Mortiss says:

        As a former Rugby player, I must protest that this is taking an analogy way, way too far!

        To read ancient accounts of gladiatorial games, such as the casual comments of such a civilized man as Cicero, as one example, about the bloody games, is to realize how far we are still from the ancient world. It has nothing in common with football.

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        • Michael Bauman says:

          Rugby in its amateur version is a manly activity. Entirely different from professional football or soccer both of which are played by elite mercenaries for the profit of the owners and the distraction of the masses. Gambling, intoxication, illicit sex, and general hooliganism abounds in the fan(antics). Great physical disability in many who played the sport as well as marked social adaptation difficulties upon retiring.

          The analogy is not exact but it is not inapt either.

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          • Tim R. Mortiss says:

            I think sport plays an important role in the world (it must, as every newspaper in the land, from the NYTimes down to the local village has sports pages). I watch an occasional small-college football game locally, but haven’t watched one on the tube, or a pro game, in many years. I don’t knock it, though.

            Contact sports are not peaceful patty-cake. Rugby is a rough game and the hard contact is a big part of the reasons to play.

            I played until about age 32. (I founded my local city club team, which is still going strong 40 years later.)

            One day, we were playing an Army unit team at the local base when, at half-time, I realized that I didn’t really want to smash into people any more. I quit at the end of that game; I’d never been seriously injured, but knew that if I kept playing without the aggressive attitude, I would be.

            I know some hard guys who kept playing into their 40s and more. Generally, they left wives and families behind along the way. It’s a great game, which is good to outgrow, though!

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  12. Trudge at SmartVote says:

    Our twin cry should be “Give me liberty or give me death,” and “Give me holiness or give me death.”

    We tend to see what is happening to our politics and to our Christianity as separates.

    In the Scriptures we see the term liberty used that Christ came to give us liberty from the law of sin and death.

    Yet now we have leaders, both secular and religious, who want to put us in bondage to them for the purpose of injustice and for the proliferation of wickedness, and the payment for this will be our spiritual deaths before a Holy and just God.

    It is up to us laymen joining with priests, deacons and bishops and seminarians who are willing to labor for their own holiness and the holiness of the Church to put a stop to it.

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  13. Our Tax Dollars at Work for Good! says:
  14. Fr. Philip (Speranza) says:

    The article skips over what I think is the crucial factor in the decline of faith in the West: an uncritical acceptance in the post-WWII seminaries of the “higher critical school” of biblical interpretation. Perhaps the biggest shove into Orthodoxy that I received was an R.C. seminary New Testament prof who couldn’t make up his mind from quarter to quarter whether Jesus rose from the dead or rotted in the grave and who believed (apparently) that Jesus was a mute—since every word ascribed to Him in the Gospels was supposedly really some sort of reflection by the early Christian community.

    If one cuts the guts out of the authority of Scripture, one loses any clear and authoritative statement of faith (because both the Symbol of Faith and the Fathers assume the truth of Scripture). Bishops Pike, Spong and Robinson are post-war phenomena let loose by reason of an understanding of Scripture so “elastic” as to be utter gibberish. And quite bluntly, some (certainly not all, but some) of the SVS grads I’ve encountered have obviously had their brains washed in the higher-critical tub.

    Any wonder, then, that we in the OCA are encountering some of the issues and attitudes we are?

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  15. Trudge at SmartVote says:

    Father Philip,

    Agreed completely, and I would assume these same quasi-scientific approaches are the very same approaches to “textual criticism” that the faculty of St. Vladimir’s were taught to think in since their PhD’s are from protestant/Roman Catholic/secular schools of theology.

    An example of the quasi-scientific approach is the theory that various unknown Jewish priests composed the text of the Pentateuch, and that it did not come from the hand of Moses, and of course not directly from God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

    This article from Social Justice Review, where a St. Vladimir faculty member, Dr. Halvorsen, will be contributing an article soon is an example of this approach. The example article below (not by Dr. Halvorsen) also expresses the naivete on the part of many non-hard science academics that “scientists” are united as one in infallibility in having all the same perfect data and grasp of understanding in the most speculative realm of the sciences – the structure of reality and the origins of the universe:

    http://socialjusticereview.org/articles/the-dialogue-of-science-with-religion-god-did-not-create-the-universe-in-six-days-or-did-he

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    • Justina (Christine Erikson) says:

      I used to be generic protestant. A quick check in The Bible told me that all the denominations had some deviation from biblical correctness, but I wasn’t going to start my own denomination. Just go wherever Jesus was glorified and ignore the rest, but not join and pledge to any system. I ended up Orthodox.

      The protestant scene however has produced excellent refutations of higher criticism and the rest of these “scholarly” notions. When I hear someone ask about educational credentials, my reaction is that such credentials should be viewed as INVALIDATING any writer or speaker who has them, until he or she has proven otherwise. At one point the thought occurred to me that the requirement in all the mainline denominations that clergy be college graduates was dead wrong.

      I have gradually developed into a mid range age of earth creationist. (instead of theistic evolutionist.) an Orthodox writer complained that all the creationist arguments are from protestant sources, but early Orthodox writers opposed the evolutionary predecessor notions in pagan philosophy, and the protestants are the only ones doing the research in the first place, and the creationist writings do not deal with issues that are heretical or problematic.

      I would recommend a google search on these things Regarding JPED I ran across something in Kings or Chronicles where it was noted that someone was executed, but not his family, because of the prohibition of this in the Law of Moses. That in itself shows that The Torah was not cobbled together in Ezra’s time. And the testimony of the whole OT is that The Law was at odds with directions Hebrew culture took, so Yahwehism is definitely NOT a product of Hebrew culture and some supposed Hebraic genius inventing monotheism.

      Recent archaeological finds of canaanite paganism in Israel are touted as proof of a supposed Israelite paganism out of which Yahwehism grew much much later, when in fact the OT documents exactly this operating as a contaminant in Hebrew culture, from Egyptian times maybe earlier, against which Yahwehism had to fight generation after generation. Instead of supposedly disproving The Bible, it proves all the history of this struggle.

      I detect a bias and presuppositions in “scholarly” and “scientific” interpretation.

      There is a certain difference in the way east and west “do theology,” as one writer (who has gone anti Yahwehist so I won’t give his name lest one end up influenced by his later arguments) said in his Orthodox days.

      The east starts with WHO is doing something, goes on to talk about energies or actions, a dynamic thing, and ends up with essences. The west starts with essence, then goes to attributes which is static, not dynamic, and ends up with Who. This tends to exalt human intellect too much. We end up with the nit picking scholastic view that everything can be understood even the essence of God.

      Thus in the Eucharist, RC has transubstantiation, which not only says the bread and wine becomes The Body and Blood of Christ, as we say also, but then goes on to say at what point in this process this occurs, and how and why. We on the other hand, prefer the word transformation, which focusses on the result not the process, and leaves all details to the realm of Mystery, and invoke The Holy Spirit to make the transformation after the words of institution are spoken, relying more on The Holy Spirit’s direct action than on power in a priest due to ordination, while the RC have little or no epiklesis.

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      • Justina,

        Have you read, “Science and the Eastern Orthodox: From the Greek Fathers to the Age of Globalization”? By Efthymios Nicolaidis.

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      • lexcaritas says:

        Quite a few good points here. Justina. Thank you. Same on the thread under RE Lee’s anniversary re secession, where you raised some perceptive points. Reply button is off there so I can’t/won’t comment further.

        Christ is in our midst.
        lxc

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  16. Fr. George Washburn says:

    Well, friends, let’s reflect a little on that OT society to which the author of this little piece refers us.

    My recollection is that it faced, with extremely mixed success (if you are an optimist, or frequent failure if pessimism suits you more) the very same pressures we do to focus on the cares of this life and to worship the gods, whether literal or figurative, of the materialists and compromisers within and the pagans without. That’s why John the Baptist had to preach what the OT prophets before him had, and why Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, isn’t it?

    During the centuries before Christ – whether during the period of the judges, united kingdom, divided kingdom, captivity, return – there was a constant tension between the stabilizing and homogenizing effects of the union (compromise) between state and “church,” and the ministry of the prophets who were anointed to rail against the various versions of the status quo. It should not escape our notice that the version of Orthodoxy handed down to us from many centuries of state church existence, whether Byzantine, Russian, or Ottoman (millet) has had the office of Prophet pretty much knocked out of it, or at least confined to monasteries, hasn’t it?

    love,

    Fr. George

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    • Justina (Christine Erikson) says:

      There is no real “office of prophet” like this is something you can just become like office of priest or office of deacon. Rather, it is something God raises up someone to do. A prophet doesn’t just speak with divinely enlightened wisdom but repeats words and visions given by God. Such sometimes crop up in Orthodoxy, but the identification of church with state and society is dangerous. Still despite divinely anointed emperors and kings, Orthodox and sometimes western clergy have stood up and denounced wrong on their part.

      A major problem I think was made by Justinian, unfortunate he is considered a saint. Theodosius I think was the one who made Christianity the official religion of the empire, which might or might not have included requiring everyone join, but Justinian put more stress to move in this direction. While the stamping out of paganism is not bad, if you have a religious requirement to be an official or to get along in society and economics at all, you have the problem of “a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” The rise of the nominal Christian as being standard.

      And of course there being a need for more and more clergy to accomodate them, without the Christian population being mostly real but now mostly nominal, you get nominals in the clergy. Oops.

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  17. Fr. George Washburn says:

    And a nod and a smile to Fr. Philip for mentioning Bishop Spong, one of whose wives was my secretary back in the 1980s.

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  18. Christopher William McAvoy says:

    Being of Irish descent, I always looked at the Church of England as a politically compromised church full of heretics, many of them well intentioned heretics of course, plenty of holy people, but confused people. Nevertheless people who needed the fullness of truth found only in you know where. However in my adulthood I have grown to respect the anglo-catholic and oxford movements amongst the anglicans, as they clearly were attempting to come as close as possible to the traditional forms of a Catholic/Orthodox Church.

    Nevertheless, since it was based on compromise, it has always been obvious to me that the Church of England and it’s offshoots was a sort of hopeless mess, where the best possible result would be for it to come back to it’s roots and have it’s people convert back to the canonical orthodox or catholic church (ideally in a pre-vatican II state to say the least..).

    I find it surprising that someone mentions the western rite within the Orthodox churches and suggests that it is a failure or embarrassment to be ended.. On the contrary, it has given the Orthodox Church a hard time because it forces the Orthodox Church to reevaluate certain long prevailing customs it views as “essentials to the faith” which are not in fact essentials.

    I think that in the longterm it is necessary to have western influenced inculturation within the Orthodox Church, but the challenges of a western rite orthodoxy are not so simple to discuss quickly. In the short term I do not know that it is possible, regardless of how much necessity for it to some day (or even in the present time) occur is.

    Western Rite Orthodoxy, even bringing elements of it into the Byzantine rite parishes requires that the Orthodox Church look at hard questions and come to conclusions it may not be comfortable with. Ultimately one can not have western influenced iconography, chant or theology apart from the entire culture and canon law of the west. Even if limited to before 1054 AD, it presents challenges to prevailing byzantine conceptions of the Church. So in that sense, it is easier for the time being to retain the byzantine rite in churches as it is, until such time as it is prepared to reevalutate the latin west’s patrimony in an unbiased fashion, regardless of particular frankish politics and 9th c. conspiracy theories.

    It is not that the pre-1054 Latin Church itself is anti-Orthodox or incompatible with the present day byzantine rite, but too many of it’s customs are indeed quite different and often appear as such, and were different from at least the 3rd or 4th centuries.
    These differences are sometimes confused as being a clear instance of orthodox practice verse heterodox latin practice. Multiple ordination of clerics on a single day for instance, was a common normative practice in the west since at least 700 A.D. yet today this is taboo in the byzantine rite. One can not have a situation where slegitimate localized customs are constantly being viewed with the suspicion of heresy due to differences with the present day byzantine rite practice. It becomes a can of worms that has more to it than meets the eye. Make no mistake, you can NOT I repeat NOT introduce the influence of the western rite into the Orthodox Church and divorce it from the theology that accompanies it.

    Just as the hymns and images of the byzantine rite tell what the church teaches, the hymns, sequences and antiphons and art of the latin rites tell what the latin church traditionally teaches. They are not identical.

    Ultimately the problem with the western rite in the Orthodox Church is that it is too complex an issue for any single jurisdiction to handle very competently. It probably requires it’s own jurisdiction and it’s own bishops, as it historically had them. Otherwise it fails to gain the trust of enough people. ROCOR’s recent western rite vicariate, despite serious mistakes in who it ordained and the nature of it’s liturgy was for some time showing potential to gain trust from converts to be a part of it. These were the types of people who were very attached to an inculturated form of the Orthodox Church that respected more fully all aspects of the first millenium latin tradition and would lead it toward a self governing direction.

    In the future, if these ideas are handled with greater competance and more acceptance of legitimate diversity in historic customs and canon laws, the latin roman rite, in the Orthodox Church may yet be able to flourish with all the vigour, competancy, holiness and truth that it once had in the distant past.

    Sadly for the time being, many of these ideas will probably be viewed as the controversial pipe dreams of eccentrics and evil ecumenicists. Reality may be this isis a vision ahead of it’s time.

    (I accept and believe that much the socalled ecumenism practiced today is often heretical.)

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  19. Justina (Christine Erikson) says:

    I totally agree with this phrasing:
    “When the Church becomes a fixed part of the local landscape, it ceases to preach repentance and conversion, and instead “reaches out” with social programs. …
    Mainstream churches…have allowed themselves to become too closely identified with the surrounding society…”

    Some years ago I was complaining in a less coherent way about when the church becomes a social institution it is in trouble.

    But I think exactly this has happened in many Orthodox lands, where doctrine and purity of life are less important than national or ethnic identity. To some extent it happened in tsarist Russia.

    And once one sees oneself as part of a Christian or Orthodox nation, it is easy to be complacent. Or to figure that whatever these fellow Americans or Brits or Serbs or whatever are doing in their lives its okay, we’re Christian. recite a formal repentance, take communion, get out of there for the next few years, have someone say prayers for the dead to get you out of hell assuming you even think that far ahead and its cool.
    (Prayers for the dead are not a command God must obey,. but a request He may grant, not necessarily immediately. Those who want to game the system should stop and think about that.)

    social institutions – even the idea of “institution of marriage” makes me cringe. The Bible makes it clear its first and primary function is not to help order society, not to breed more brats, not to link families and tribes and create networks, but to be a loving partnership for a couple who has first grown up and left their families and cling to one another, and to avoid fornication temptations. Homosexual marriage is wrong because homosexual sex is wrong.

    Never mind if one is “born that way” or not. Heterosexuals are born with a potential for fornication and adultery, but can resist these impulses. So can homosexuals. Just because you feel something doesn’t mean you have to act on it.

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    • George Michalopulos says:

      Very well put. You point out one thing about Tsarist Russia and the Church which I think needs to be brought up. When the Church had a patriarch it was more independent. After the “reforms” of Peter the Great, it became a department of the state, much like in the West (which he so greatly admired),

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    • Tim R. Mortiss says:

      “Breeding more brats”?

      When the 22 of us get together (which is very often, since all live in the area), there isn’t a brat among ‘em. That’s me and my child bride (and her and her child husband!), 5 children (had all of ‘em by age 28), 2 sons-in-law, one daughter-in-law, and 12 grandchildren (had 6 of ‘em by age 50), ranging from age 20 years down to 18 months.

      So two have become 22. To me that’s a miracle which God is the center of. “Breeding more brats” ain’t in it!

      After the dinner prayer always comes the toast, by a grandchild (they rotate by age): “a la famiglia”!

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  20. cynthia curran says:

    Well, Francis, as usual, you’d be wrong. The United States frequently and throughout its history upheld itself to be a Christian nation. That’s one reason why the birthday of our Lord and Savior is a national holiday. That’s another reason why the Congress (ahem) funded and built the National Cathedral. That’s another reason why both Houses of Congress employ chaplains and begin each session with a prayer

    Yeah, but it very different than Byzantium or Moscow, there were religious groups like Catholics and Jews in the population and the less fractions means no state religion like in Western Europe.

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  21. cynthia curran says:

    After the “reforms” of Peter the Great, it became a department of the state, much like in the West (which he so greatly admired),

    Well, I didn’t like what Peter did in the religious sphere but after watching the Olympics I’m reminded how impressive Petersburgh was building a large city on swamp land.

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  22. cynthia curran says:

    Rugby in its amateur version is a manly activity. Entirely different from professional football or soccer both of which are played by elite mercenaries for the profit of the owners and the distraction of the masses. Gambling, intoxication, illicit sex, and general hooliganism abounds in the fan(antics). Great physical disability in many who placed the sport as well as marked social adaptation difficulties upon retiring.

    Well, this describes some of the worst elements of the blue/greens of early Constantinople period and the chariot races..

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    • Tim R. Mortiss says:

      Well, the Nika riots comparison with professional football is as exaggerated as the gladitorial comparison. The Blues and Greens wrecked half of Constantinople and the riots killed tens of thousands of people.

      Perhaps we have professional sports precisely so we don’t have gladitorial battles and Nika riots!

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      • cynthia curran says:

        Very good point, the Nika Riots might have cost 30,000 people. In fact if the mob calm down when Justinian offered them a pardon then 30,000 people would not have been killed but he sent in the military with Belisarius and they were wipe out in the Hippodrome. And its true they burn lots of Constantiople..

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  23. I totally concur with what you are saying eventhough this post is not suit to new WP :)

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