Maybe Monastics Should Stay Off of Social Media?

Sister Vassa

Sister Vassa

Forgive the tongue-in-cheek title. Far be it from me to suggest restraint when it comes to the internet. In case you didn’t know by know, I’m a First Amendment absolutist. When it comes to monastics however, perhaps a little introspection is called for. I dunno, this makes me sound like a hypocrite. (In my defense, I am a layman so I suppose that makes a difference.)

So where am I going with this? Here’s where: Sr Vassa, a very popular YouTuber and all-around good person stepped in it big time the other day. She wrote a startling response to a couple who asked for advice about their fourteen-year-old son. This boy recently “came out” and told his parents that he was a homosexual and they wanted to know how to deal with it.

The original response to the concerned mother by Sr Vassa has been taken down by her so I’ll respect her decision. Now I realize that this makes it hard for you, the reader to critique her response but I think that we all by now have a general idea of her advice and the resulting dust-up. There’s no reason to add insult to injury at this point. For those interested in viewing it for themselves (as well as an excellent criticism of Sister’s advice) please go to the blog Byzantine, TX.

For whatever it’s worth, here’s my take.

First of all, a fourteen-year-old boy or girl doesn’t know jack diddly squat about sexuality –his, hers or whoever’s. If we’re honest with ourselves, none of us knew what the hell was going on with our bodies at that age. And I mean nobody. Hormones were firing on all thrusters and we were making fools of ourselves in ways that make us cringe when we think about them. Wasn’t it the Psalmist who implored God to “not remember the sins of my youth”? Did you think he was talking about cheating on the the seventh grade algebra test?

Second, our society has been so feminized to the point of infantalization, so riven by emotionalism that we’ve forgotten to see things clearly. Certainly we’ve lost the ability to see the logical conclusions that questionable ideas inevitably lead to. The absence of moral clarity in our present day is astounding. What was once unthinkable for Playboy magazine in the 70s is now passe on prime-time TV so desensitized we’ve become. And not just in matters of sexuality: last January, a retarded white teenager was brutally attacked by four black thugs, one of whom filmed the entire atrocity, and Don Limon of CNN could barely stifle a yawn. Generations from now people will wonder what the hell we were thinking, why we let things like this go on and didn’t do anything about it. Of this there can be no doubt.

Third, we have so divorced emotion from sexuality that we can’t muster up the courage to defend ourselves or our societies. A prime example of this is in present day England. Last month, at a pop concert in Manchester, an Islamist “martyr” blew himself and dozens of young English girls up with a pipe bomb full of nails. It wasn’t enough to blow up little girls with simple explosives but they had to experience the pain of burning flesh being torn from their bodies by nails before they died.

Compare the complacency which followed to that of a previous age, when a British queen named Boudicca destroyed the Roman encampment in Londinium. She did this when she found out her two daughters had been gang-raped by Roman soldiers who had been encamped there. Instead of righteous Saxon fury being unleashed upon the evildoers who espouse and encouraged this atrocity, the goodthinkers who presently misrule Christendom decided to host another concert in Manchester. There was no vigil, no prayer, no exhortation to seek justice. What the “mourners” heard was Ariana Grande singing about the glories of young girls riding on “dick bicycles”. I kid you not. Such a spiritually decrepit and morally bereft society cannot sustain itself; it will go the way of the dodo bird.

I could go on. The issue at hand though is the controversy wrought by Sr Vassa with the ill-considered advice she gave the mother of the homosexual son.

Off-line, I’ve talked to several Orthodox contributors and commentators and the one strain of thought that keeps popping up is that a monastic should probably not be offering advice on raising children. I think that’s a little harsh and over-broad. After all, monastics can provide spiritual formation to individual spiritual children. The caveat being that said children have a face-to-face relationship with a properly formed monastic of a certain age as opposed to a generalized “Dear Abby” type of letter. Especially one written by someone who has no idea about the monastic’s own spiritual formation. Anything less than that results in the charlie foxtrot that Sr Vassa is experiencing right now.

Sexuality is a powerful force. Immorality of all types is destructive to the individual but also to the society at large. Hence my initial bewilderment at Sr Vassa’s advice. The lusts of heterosexual passion are great and destructive no doubt but they have an internal restraint mechanism that male homosexuality does not. And that restrain is women.

Am I being hypocritical? Yes. Nevertheless, I’m not wrong. When I was young I used to watch Dean Martin and the Gold-diggers. I was so immature that I wanted to mate with each and every one of them in alphabetical order. Millions of other straight men would want nothing less. Unless you’re a rock star of Jaggeresque magnitude, this kind of promiscuity is impossible. Not so the homosexual. Any spiritual adviser must be made aware that the gay propaganda being peddled to the masses by television’s Will and Grace bears little semblance to reality.

Don’t believe me? Then please read this essay by Joseph Sciambra. It’s brutal in its honesty. Too brutal. I would not read it on an empty stomach if I were you. But read it you should if you want to know the reality of the modern homosexual lifestyle, at least for many of its adherents. The monogamous propaganda that “marriage equality” SJWs have foisted upon is nothing but a lie. No sane or otherwise loving parent would wish this on his or her son. This goes for parents who themselves are less than perfect.

Now I’m not saying that Sciambra’s experiences are applicable to every man caught up in the grips of this passion. Anymore than my own experiences with the fair sex approach those of Casanova’s. But unlike the majority of heterosexual sinfulness, the sheer volume, quantity and depravity described by Sciambra is far more common than not. And worse, despite the best efforts of the cultural arbiters of modern society, it is not looked down upon, nor are there any efforts to eradicate such behaviors. Instead, when conservatives question the monogamous motives of those who preached “gay marriage”, we were invariably told that such unions would be informed by a “gay sensibility”. (In other words: “no, we have no intention of being boringly bourgeois when it comes to our sexuality”.)

I realize of course that the Gaystapo will come screaming out of the gates in full force against those of us who dare bring up the unseemly underbelly of the homosexual experience. But there it is.

I also realize –and this is very troubling to me–that Sr Vassa may be riding a wave of popular opinion that is put out by the likes of the Fordham Faction. These are academics who have no pastoral responsibilities and because of wasted time on their hands, look for relevancy. As such, they have conformed themselves to the world.

Mind you, it’s not a bad day’s work given the fact that they receive ample kudos for their willingness to get with the modernist program. They have staunch allies in the Phanar and in some of the American Orthodox chanceries. In due time, the hope is that the Cretan Robber Council will provide the necessary theological cover will render the entire question moot.

Nevertheless, Fordham orthodoxy is nebulous; it has no bearing on reality and can offer no guidance to pastors who have to deal with sinful people in their parishes. Indeed, Sr Vassa and the Fordhamites actively undercut these pastors who have to deal with the wreckage of families riven by this particular sin. In modern parlance, it’s a “nothingburger” and should be treated as such. Fahggedaboutit. Don’t open this can of worms.

And no, I don’t advocate the forced internment of homosexuals in concentration camps (as Fidel Castro did during the height of the AIDS epidemic), nor their stoning or imprisonment. I don’t even ask for the overturning of “gay marriage”. We’re way beyond that. I do advocate however for spiritual advisors to be especially prudent when they are pressed by concerned parents. To be careful what they should say (or not say). And to have no blinders on regarding the fruits of this lifestyle.

This is especially true if a pastor doesn’t understand the actual science behind this pathology. It’s clear that Sr Vassa doesn’t. Instead, she peddles the received wisdom of popular culture, in much the same way that Dear Abby used to assert ad nauseam the lies put out by Alfred Kinsey for decades on end about the preponderance of homosexuality. It was nonsense then and it continues to be nonsense today.

If you are a pastor and you’re confused, or if you don’t have the time to read the take-down of Kinsey or wish to delve further into modern homosexual pathology, you’re in good company. Or if you’re like me and are too busy weeping bitter tears for your own failings to worry about someone else’s then again, you’re in good company. Blessedly, I’m nobody’s spiritual father. But for those of you who are, if you’re too concerned about your own sinfulness and don’t know how to respond to a worried parent, then by all means go to the Rule Book. Romans Chapter One is a good place to start. And end.

It pretty much says it all there. Sr Vassa could have saved herself a lot of trouble had she consulted that particular Chapter before she wrote her response.

Comments

  1. Tim R. Mortiss says:

    I wouldn’t look for or accept child-rearing advice from anybody who didn’t have children, particularly grown ones. Our five children are all in their 40s now.

    Once in a blue moon I’d get asked for such advice myself. Usually it was from parents with seriously out-of-line adolescents who wanted to be told they had done their best and it wasn’t their fault. Most times they hadn’t and it was.

    If a 14- year old announced to his parents that he’s gay, he should be told that he is in fact not, and should receive some serious education posthaste.

    • If you were that boy’s parents and reacted in that way, I’m sure you’d feel just great when finding him hung in his bedroom the next morning.

      When adolescents are brave enough to bring their turmoil, confusion, issues to a parent, that parent needs to pause, pray and speak very carefully and lovingly. Not because they agree with what their child has said, but so that they can
      1-keep the lines of communication open
      2-let the child know that they realize he/she is struggling and are so glad they came to talk to them
      3-they love him/her and will get through whatever problems exist as a Christian family, with God’s help- no matter how long it takes and no matter how difficult it is.

      • “If you were that boy’s parents and reacted in that way, I’m sure you’d feel just great when finding him hung in his bedroom the next morning.”

        If the child’s mind is so fragile that being told “no” is cause for suicide then maybe they need to be placed under psychiatric care.

        • Pictures are “hung”, people are “hanged”.

          • Monk James says:

            True, but the language is in need of some great repair. They don’t seem to teach it in schools anymore.

            • I’m speaking, hypothetically, about a dead child and you’re issue is I chose the incorrect wording?
              Seems like there’s more in need of “great repair” here than just high school English class.

          • Gail Sheppard says:

            We can educate our children, but we can’t live their lives for them. We are each accountable to God for our own choices.

            Saunca knows a mother does not stop loving her children because of the choices they make anymore than Christ stops loving us for ours. If that were the case, redemption would be impossible.

      • Michael Bauman says:

        Lonliness and shame plus demonic suggestion lead to suicide. Not Christian teaching. To be sure parents should work to minimize the precursors but suicide is a selfish act. No matter what others do or don’t do someone who wants to kill themselves will, sooner or later, suceed. Those that love God even a little bit more than themselves will learn to live by God’s grace not their own will and the demonic promise impossible of deliverance from pain.

        Guilt-tripping Christians with “if you don’t agree and facilitate the sin you cause suicide” is a huge load of male bovine excrement and IMO an act that is sinful by itself. At the least it is a diversion from considering the real problem–sin.

        And the real solution: spiritual/physical struggle, fasting, repentance, almsgiving, prayer and worship by the whole family under the guidance of a good confessor.

        No to all of the secondary aspects that move same sex attraction into homoerotic acts: same sex “dating”; homosexual literature of any kind, pornography, etc.

        Young men often experience a deep longing for intimacy with more mature men. That is a good thing. But in our culture that is turned into sexual intimacy with other men as the only way of fulfilling that desire. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.

        That is an artifact of the corrosion and fear of masculinity in our culture.

        • And not only young men, but men of all ages long for deep intimacy with other men. It is unfortunate our society has sexualized this longing. But it has in fact, sexualize just about everything, including being unable to accept a relationship between a man and a woman existing without some kind of sexual element.

      • Estonian Slovak says:

        Saunca, I do agree with your three points. However, I don’t think one can presume to lay a guilt trip on parents in such a situation.
        Conventional wisdom says I should have turned out gay. I didn’t date a single girl in high school. Of course, my hormones were on fire for a woman. My poor mother was a narcissist, an alcoholic, and an atheist to boot. I do believe she loved me and my brother, but I suffer from her being dysfunctional to this day. I found out a few weeks before her death that an uncle had molested her. I have zero tolerance for anyone for anyone who violates a child’s innocence.
        I almost killed myself at 17 because of a crush on a woman three years my senior.God in His Mercy saved me from my own foolishness.

      • Fr. Hans Jacobse says:

        Saunca, you keep reaching for debunked urban myths to justify homosexuality (Galieo, flat earth, etc., etc.). Your arguments are almost exclusively emotional.

        Homosexuality & Teen Suicide

        The problem is that this statistic [gay teen suicide] has no basis in fact. It is based on a 1989 study done by a San Francisco gay activist, Paul Gibson, who had it attached to a report by a federal task force on suicide for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In fact, the HHS Secretary at the time, Dr. Louis Sullivan, stated that the conclusions of the study did not in any way express his views or the views of the department.

        In 1994 representatives of the Centers for Disease Control, the American Psychological Association, the American Association of Suicidology, and gay and lesbian advocacy groups met to study the issue. They concluded that “There is no population-based evidence that sexual orientation and suicidality are linked in some direct or indirect manner” (quoted from a Seattle Times article of May 22, 1997).

        Paul Gibson admits that he had done no original research, but that his statistics were based on other studies including one that reported there were 3,000 gay teen suicides a year—a figure that in fact exceeded the total number of all teen suicides in one year. Further, he extrapolated using the totally discredited Kinsey position that 10 percent of the population is homosexual. Gibson’s study is virtually worthless—except to be used to promote a political agenda.

        • Nate Trost says:

          Fr. Hans Jacobse scolds for “urban legends” and then links to a disingenuous article every bit as shoddy as the singular flawed study it was criticizing. Why am I not surprised?

          Leaving aside the contents of the article itself for a moment, let us look at its publication date: 1998. Apparently, Fr. Hans Jacobse has let the intellectual laziness that is the hallmark of this blog site infect him. To the vigorous mind, one thought that must immediately spring to mind is: has there been more study in this area in the past almost twenty years?

          Fr. Hans Jacobse appears to be too busy being patronizing to have asked himself that question.

          Now, judging the article through the lens of 1998, it still of course has a major issue: it is not a scholarly treatise or exhaustive review of the matter. The author merely cherry picked an obviously flawed study, treated it as the definitive if not only support of the supposition that same-sex attracted youth had higher suicide rates, and then paired it against a newspaper article of a working group study that appeared to have a conclusion that matched the Touchstone author’s beliefs. Voila, open and shut case! Except not, because even in 1998, well before the article was written, there were already available studies which the Touchstone author didn’t even deign to review.

        • M. Stankovich says:

          Fr. Hans,

          And you keep posing as a scholar:

          Worldwide, suicide is amongst the top three causes of death for adolescents, accounting for an estimated 9.1% of all youth deaths. Best estimates suggest that out of every 100,000 adolescents, 7.4 die due to suicide, and a further 13,000 engage in non-fatal intentional self harm behaviour , which increases the risk of eventual suicide. Both adolescent suicide and suicidal behaviour (fatal or non-fatal intentional self harm behaviour, e.g., suicide or suicide attempts, are associated with a consistent but wide-ranging series of risk factors. Sociodemographic risk factors include social disadvantage (including current financial stressors), gender (males are more at risk for suicide, females for suicidal behaviour), and minority sexual orientation. There is also evidence for genetic and biological vulnerabilities to suicide. Psychological risk factors include prior suicidal behaviour, suicidal ideation, the presence of any psychiatric disorder (but particularly disorders of mood, substance misuse, disruptive/antisocial behaviour, and eating disorders), and aggressive-impulsive behaviour (e.g., in association with personality disorders). Psychosocial risk factors include disconnection to school or work, problems with health, life stressors involving legal problems or relationships (e.g., relationship losses, family discord, bullying), experiences of physical and/or sexual abuse, and exposure to suicidal behaviour (e.g., familial, peer, media). (Macleod E, Nada-Raja S, Beautrais A, Shave R, Jordan V. Primary prevention of suicide and suicidal behaviour for adolescents in school settings (Protocol). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 12. Art. No.: CD007322. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007322.pub2.)

          Screening teens for suicide risk is among the recommendations in a new clinical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Adolescence. Suicide is now the second-leading cause of death for teens aged 15-19 years, having surpassed homicide since 2007, when the last report on adolescent suicide was published by the AAP (Pediatrics. 2016 June 27 doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-1420

          Urban adolescent girls who have been hit or physically hurt by a boyfriend in the past year are 60% more likely to attempt suicide than those who have not. For urban adolescent boys, date violence does not raise the risk of attempted suicide, but a history of being sexually assaulted does. And for both boys and girls, those who say they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or unsure of their sexual orientation are more likely to attempt suicide than are those who identify themselves as heterosexual. Recent dating violence was associated with a 60% higher risk of attempted suicide among girls. This association is similar in magnitude to that reported among predominantly white adolescent girls in studies from two New England states, which suggests that there are no major racial or ethnic differences in the relationship between violent or sexual victimization and suicide attempts (Arch. Pediatr. Adolesc. Med. 2015;161:539–45).

          Rates of self-inflicted injuries among teens visiting the emergency department increased by 45% between 2009 and 2012, according to a recent study. Teens with a history of a self-inflicted injury had 13 times the odds of death than those with other injuries. These findings highlight the importance of addressing and preventing self-harm behavior in this age group. The researchers analyzed the de-identified records of 286,678 teen trauma patients reported in the National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB) between 2009 and 2012. The rate of emergency department visits for a self-inflicted injury increased from 1.1% in 2009 to 1.6% in 2012 (P = .02). Self-inflicted firearm visits dropped during this period from 27.3% in 2009 to 21.9% in 2012 (P = .02). Only 4.9% of the teens with self-inflicted injuries had a mental disorder diagnosis (Pediatrics 2015 June 15 [doi:10.1542/peds.2014-3573]).

          Child firearm suicide is at the highest rate in more than a decade. Boys, older children, and minorities are disproportionately affected when it comes to firearm injuries and deaths in U.S. children and adolescents, and child firearm suicide rates are at the highest they have been in more than a decade. Around 19 children are either medically treated for a gunshot wound or killed by one every day in the United States. The majority of these children are boys 13-17 years old, African American in the case of firearm homicide, and white and American Indian in the case of firearm suicide. Pediatric firearm injuries and deaths are an important public health problem in the United States, contributing substantially each year to premature death, illness, and disability of children. Finding ways to prevent such injuries and ensure that all children have safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments remains one of our most important priorities.” (Pediatrics. 2017;140(1):e20163486).

          And you would attempt to scorn and embarrass Saunca as a “simpleton” by handing up some outdated trash published in 1998, babbling on about the “takedown of Kinsey,” for heaven’s sake? Even I am embarrassed for you. Not that you would ever wrinkle your delicate silk to take a knee, but you seriously owe Saunca an apology.

          • George Michalopulos says:

            First of all, let’s get this out of the way: suicide among all age cohorts is a horrific action. Period.

            Please forgive the tone of what is to follow (it is most certainly not directed at you personally) but I’ve had it up to here with the puerile propaganda which our cultural betters have foisted upon us for decades now.

            Now let’s talk about teen suicides. One of the great propaganda victories of Big Gay is that because we are a “homophobic” society and parents can’t come to grips with their children’s budding homosexuality, this leads to a disproportionate number of gay teen suicides. This leaves aside the fact that teen suicide is not an unknown phenomenon. Ever heard of Romeo and Juliet?

            The crux of my essay was that human sexuality is a powerful force, one not meant to be considered lightly. Self destruction of all types happens because of sexuality –to all age groups, not just teens. Hence, my fervent belief that societies of all stripes and at all times have constructed taboos around sexuality in order to restrain it. The nonsense that Margaret Mead peddled in Coming of Age in Samoa was pure and utter horse sh!t. Kinsey’s research likewise.

            • M. Stankovich says:

              I believe my point – at least twice – was to say that the overwhelming majority of adolescents (98%+) resolve the matter on their own spontaneously with no intervention whatsoever. All the more reason to pay critical attention to those at known risk.

            • Anonymous says:

              The rate of suicide among gays age 10-24 is 4x greater than straights and 2x greater for those ‘questioning’. I strongly support the conservative and educated idea that sexuality is not something people need to think about when they are too young.

              Just because when you are 14 you like to have same sex friends has absolutely nothing to do with your sexual preferences which may not have even been fully developed, not just by then, but for several, even many years forth.

              But Fr. Hans & George, really? I never once read Saunca justifying homosexuality. And rejecting fact that sexuality causes distress for youth is also unfair. My take was that she was merely saying it was too soon to get the child to rebel and to keep lines of communication open. I am certain there are parents who, rather than offer even the slightest disagreement, embrace the child’s idea too quickly. Are you sure this isn’t what you mean or perhaps a misreading of Saunca’s post?

              Children need to be told they don’t need to decide anything until they are much older. And who better than the clergy to do so?

              • Ze blinded me with Science:

                https://www.livescience.com/8734-gay-teen-suicide-epidemic.html

                “The study concluded that “the assertion that sexual-minority youths as a class of individuals are at increased risk for suicide is not warranted.””

                • M. Stankovich says:

                  KD,

                  I object to your “Google scholar” technique of locating “data” that seems to support an opposing argument. This not research, this is not scholarship, and it is not helpful. In fact, you present an article that goes out of its way to argue that statistics regarding adolescent suicide and LGBT youth are deceptive. And in the context of the data being presented, I absolutely agree with the conclusion of the authors: investigators could not confirm the variable, LGBT youth, because it was rarely, if ever, available to coroners investigating an adolescent suicide. Importantly, this article was based on data collected in 2001. Now, jump ahead 15 years to the largest study of adolescent health & sexuality ever published in the United States (full-text .pdf here) in the Center for Disease Control’s Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report, August 12, 2016, titled, “Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Related Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9–12 — United States and Selected Sites, 2015.” This is a massive, multi-city, mult-region, muti-cultural study that involved a sample of more than 7,000 adolescents across the US. And for the first time, the CDC survey regarding matters of sexual orientation, the significant number who struggle over determining sexual orientation but resolve on their own, bullying, violence in intimate relations, and so on. This is the single best data available on adolescent health and sexuality available to us in decades.

                  What is pitiful to me is that on the day this report was published, I produced a three part summary – which quite frankly, I found disturbing – and posted it to this site, offered some commentary, explanations of the findings, and suggested that parents in particular should download and read this study. Everything I have offered in these threads regarding adolescent sexuality, homosexuality, the struggle with sexual orientation, and so on are corroborated in data in this study. There was not one single comment by anyone regarding my posting of this landmark study to this site. Not one. And now Fr. Hans – who I’ll bet money has never heard of this study – leads the brigade of creeps and other expert chimps to discredit Saunca and reality. Please, Fr. Hans, direct your “cutting edge” Google-driven nonsense away from Saunca, driven by the “simple” God-instilled intuition of a mother, to a worthy opponent so I may, again, hand you your hat.

              • Michael Bauman says:

                …but not, Anon because of Traditional Christian moral teaching.

              • Fr. Hans Jacobse says:

                Saunca is not a homosexual ideologue, but she casts those with whom she disagrees as ignorant. That’s why she compared their ideas with Galileo, a geocentric universe, and other historical misconceptions she held. They were clarified in short order and appropriately so.

                The gay teen suicide myth is the latest misconception. Note that this doesn’t challenge the increase in teen suicides, only the appropriation of the crisis by Gay INC to further the normalization of homosexual behavior.

                Saunca, much like Sister Vassa, displays an overbearing and smothering maternalism to the question of same-sex attraction in young boys. This approach doesn’t address how to deal with the young boy, it only seeks to protect him from what they perceive is advice that is harmful or hurtful through shaming those who offer the advice. Sister Vassa’s ludicrous comment that sexual orientation is fixed by two or three years old is the clearest example of how enabling the advice is to the homosexual agenda (and most likely shaped by it). Both of them don’t understand boys, they just feel sorry for them. That is *not* the kind of help young boys need.

                • SV’s comment is well worthy if harsh criticism. But I find the approach you took toward Saunca harsh for little reason.

                • Father Hans,
                  With all due respect, you have assumed I am speaking only of SSA in young boys, and conclude I just “don’t understand boys.”
                  Yes, the advice this topic started with was given to a parent of a boy. I never once said I was ONLY talking about boys though. SSA occurs with young females too. When I write on this topic, I’m writing of both. Do I not “understand girls” either?

                  Fundamentally, I’m not disagreeing with The Church in any way. I also do not consider anyone who disagrees with me “ignorant,” just lacking in the compassion it truly takes to walk with someone on the path of SSA, guide them as best as you can and allow God and The Church to do the rest.

                  • Fr. Hans Jacobse says:

                    Saunca wrote:

                    I also do not consider anyone who disagrees with me “ignorant,” just lacking in the compassion it truly takes to walk with someone on the path of SSA

                    Yes, you did. You wrote:

                    It took nearly 14 centuries for The Church (the churches, by that time fractured by splits) to finally accept that our solar system is indeed heliocentric. No matter what early academics, astronomers, even scientist/theologians said, published or proved, The Church would not believe it. It simply defied scripture, they said. Those who propagated a non-geocentric view were called
                    “Very dangerous” by Church Cardinals
                    “foolish and absurd, heretical” by Inquisitors
                    “teachers of false doctrine altogether contrary to the Holy Spirit.” by a Pope
                    Those who “would pervert the order of nature.” By Calvin

                    And yet, by the 18th century, even The Church had to accept that they had indeed been wrong. Science had finally proven that the Earth did, factually and without doubt, orbit the Sun.

                    This is the issue I have with entire Christian denominations, Popes, Metropolitans, Priests, Deacons and Orthodox Laiety claiming to know, without a doubt, that homosexual desire is not innate or inborn. We know that – factually, and without a doubt – there are infants born intersex. At the very least, what are we to say about that? If a child is born intersex, did God not make him/her that way as He is the Creator of all? What is this child to do regarding biology vs. organs possessed vs. who they are attracted to…

                    The problem with your example of course is that your historical facts were all wrong and you were corrected quickly.

                    Telling though is that your examples were lifted almost verbatim from Gay INC propaganda. This calls into question how you define “compassion” since you juxtaposed the incorrect “facts” against “compassion” and you justify it in the same way in your most recent response above.

                    You defended Sister Vassa’s reasoning without offering any criticism of it whatsoever. Her little essay is just a shade short of appalling for several reasons, and the chief one is that it is the worst possible advice for the boy she presumes to help. It’s a smothering, inexperienced, ill-informed maternalism that offers no help to boy, and compounds the error by telling the mother “sexual orientation” is fixed by two or three years old!

                    Perhaps you need to define what think compassion is and how it works in this example of the fourteen year old boy. Hopefully it is not the kind of compassion Sister Vassa offered.

                    • Bonhoeffer says:

                      Excuse me, excuse me, father! Some questions from the floor, if I may! You’ve just falsely charged saunca with getting her “historical facts all wrong,” even asserting that she had been “corrected quickly” — but I’m afraid I haven’t a clue what you’re talking about. Please explain yourself. Support this unjust charge against her!

                      Surely you cannot be referring to Misha’s gravely confused and obfuscatory static in the thread as constituting that “correction” you allege occurred! What an idea!! Lexcaritas had nothing of substance to offer either to refute the relevance and substance of saunca’s example of sacred and immemorial ignorance (which seems to have struck a nerve with you, for some reason — examples of “sacred” ignorance, I mean, or, as Plato put the matter, γενναῖον ψεῦδος). Unnerved you to the point that you were more than usually dishonest in response.

                      Anyway, here’s Lexcaritas weighing in:

                      Dear to Christ Sauna, your description of the scientific basis for a heliocentric understanding of the solar system and your depiction of the Church’s view of it is erroneous. [snip] By the way heliocentricity is as man made ways of understanding as was the more complex Ptolemaic system of egocentricity. Neither is a matter of truth only poor descriptions of it.

                      I’d gladly cede the floor to lexcaritas to offer up some sort of defense, should he dare to do so, of this bizarre collection of confusion, nonsense, illiteracy and scientific/cosmological ignorance. But it’s plain that this too cannot be the “correction” to which you dishonestly referred.

                      So what were you referring to?

                      As you must know(?), the Fathers were basically unanimous on the subject of geocentrism, of course — they were *for* it, they believed it, taught it and it was not even controversial among them. The problem, as saunca humbly noted … is that it’s simply *false*. Non-factual. Myth, based on inadequately sense-based illusions and ignorance of astronomical realities.

                      A geocentric cosmology was the “truth” to the Fathers, as saunca correctly observed. It was a component part of the “consensus of the Fathers”. Simply not possible to *honestly* deny this, as you appear to be trying to do by dishonestly pretending that anyone here had “corrected” saucna on the point. The Fathers were simply *wrong* about this, as they were wrong about ever so many things in natural history, science and other fields, too. Obviously.

                      A point of method: Would you please be good enough to cite posts you wish to question, linking to them, instead of merely cutting and pasting stuff from them, out of context, especially when you want to make entirely unsupported and unsupportable assertions and false accusations on their supposed basis?

                      That way, we can more easily examine and evaluate your assertions and the quality of your editorializing and obfuscations here. Because your stuff is often so poorly argued – or worse, mere assertion, often quite dishonest ones – and you have a marked tendency to try and palm off logical fallacies and confusion and non sequiturs and fake facts and hollow rhetoric to dazzle the simple and clueless with large quantities of tripe. Unfortunately these bad habits of yours compel all who care about facts, science, reality, reason, truth and sound theology to scrutinize your stuff closely, should they venture to read you, in order to locate a bit of wheat amongst the stacks of your chaff. Please help your readers do so by adhering to basic posting etiquette in web discourse. Thanks!

                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Boenhoeffer, I’ll gladly allow Lexcaritas to answer for himself but your ignorance of scientific history cannot go unchallenged.

                      The Ptolomeic (heliocentric) understanding of the solar system was scientific, not pseudoscientific, certainly not superstitious. It was based on the best understanding of the phenomena based on the best instruments available at the time.

                      Science is a way of understanding the physical universe. It’s impossible to eradicate all the built-in biases that exist and are supported by the broader culture. The scientific method is the best possible way we have to approach the proper understanding of reality but even here, it’s not perfect.

                    • Bonhoeffer says:

                      I’m also wondering how F. Jacobse would justify the implication that he has much that’s worthwhile to teach about raising sons, when he doesn’t have one. I would have sworn I read him stating on this blog that it’s *very rare* for someone lacking experience of child-rearing to be able to give sound advice to parents. We know that raising daughters is a very different project than raising sons. A project of which he has no real, hands-on experience.

                      Enough of your pretentiousness, father.

                    • Bonhoeffer,

                      This will not be likely to satisfy your characterization of the Fathers’ understanding of cosmology, but it needs to said.

                      In Christian terms cosmology is not about science. It is not about the relative movements of stars and planets. It is about Christ. The place God has desired for His habitation, the dust from which man was made and to which He united Himself by taking flesh of the holy Theotokos is that of the earth. Wherever God chooses to dwell, wherever the Uncontainable chooses to be contained is the center of the cosmos, the relative movements of heavenly bodies or any scientific ignorance of physical realities notwithstanding.

                  • Trey the Virginian says:

                    Saunca,

                    Interesting that you use the term “path” and “walking” as metaphors. These are core metaphors in the teachings of Christ and the Apostle Paul. But back to that in a moment.

                    This discussion has me recalling much about my youth and my struggles, including fantasies of suicide. I find now that I am glad that I was called the names that refer to homosexuality. Instead of being approved for tendencies, such as effeminacy (also in the sense of the love of soft-living), I realized I did not want to be like the things that I was made fun of. I realized that I did not want to only know how to read books. I wanted to be attractive to girls, I wanted to be masculine in my voice and actions. So I took the path of masculinity and building myself up physically, learn skills, and to be an actor in the world of men, finally on the path of harmony with men in the Created Order and with God.

                    So I see in a very personal way and positively how social prohibitions against behaviors and mannerisms that are harmful to us and unbecoming, even when expressed uncaringly, are beneficial, and my life was saved by it, even though for a little while it caused me pain.

                    Finally, there is no path of SSA that leads to life, but only to destruction. Here are the words of the Church about “paths” expressed by the Christ and the Apostle Paul:

                    The Christ in the Sermon on the Mount:

                    Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

                    The Apostle Paul to the Church in Ephesus:

                    This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

                    But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

                    • M. Stankovich. says:

                      And somehow, in your own inflexible, rigid, and egocentric inability to visualize beyond your own experience, you would attempt to reduce the infinite and inscrutable mercy and compassion of our God to you; how you were affected, how you “solved” it, and how you were saved. How is it that a man who has been “delivered” speaks nothing of joy, of “fire from fire,” inspiration, invigoration, peace, or love, but fills post after post berating readers for “blindness of heart,” lewdness, judgment, and darkness?

                      What to make of the words of the Lord who called to those weary, “Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:29-30) Or even the prophetic words of Isaiah, “Comfort you, comfort you my people, said your God. Speak you comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry to her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she has received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” (Isaiah 40:1-2) Or dramatically, the adulterous woman: “When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said to her, “Woman, where are those your accusers? has no man condemned you?” She said, “No man, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you: go, and sin no more.” (Jn. 8:0-11) You know nothing but your own selfish “story,” and would project it as a generalization. You drain the words of the Holy Scripture of their power to comfort, reconcile, and heal, and turn them, in effect, into a mechanism of shame and scolding. And it is simply pitiful that you and Fr. Hans are directing your scorn at Saunca as a target.

                    • Trey,
                      So, I’m unsure as to what we are disagreeing on. As a parent, you’d want to keep open communication with a child/teen who expresses to you that they feel they are gay, you’d want to keep him in your sight and prayers, guide him by continuing to bring him to services, confiding in a parish priest & staying involved in The Church. And, yes, as a parent try to walk with him through this extremely challenging and confusing time. (Substitute “her” for “him,” and the same applies)

                      As M.S. said, teens LARGELY grow out of this. (As, your shared bio seems to help confirm).

                      I’m not really seeing where we are in disagreement…
                      But, I am glad you have shared your story. It may provide hope to those that need it.
                      C

                • Bonhoeffer says:

                  To be clear: I’m not objecting in any way to the essential truths of the Christian tradition’s millennial teaching about human sexuality. It’s just that stupid, ignorant, generally malicious and almost always hypocritical poseurs and religious charlatans pretending to be teachers are the other side of the coin in this cultural decay. You draw one another out of the void. You are brothers.

    • Monk James says:

      Just as it is unreasonable to expect physicians to have suffered all the ills they treat, it is unreasonable to disqualify childless people from helping others raise their children for that reason alone. It’s entirely possible that many experts in children’s psychology and family dynamics altogether may be perfectly well equipped for this work.

    • Anonymouse says:

      “I wouldn’t look for or accept child-rearing advice from anybody who didn’t have children”

      Such a blanket statement is nonsense. Then why should a homosexual accept advice from anyone who isn’t himself homosexual? This special pleading about “you can’t talk to me unless you have experienced it” is total rubbish and an insult to the God-given ability to reason.

      Was it not St. Paul, an unmarried man, who wrote the most beautiful words on marriage, which have formed the Christian conception of marriage for 2000 years? Did St. John Chrysostom not do the same for married life and child-rearing? St. John of Kronstadt didn’t have children but had beautiful things to say.

      That doesn’t mean a monastic should give monastic advice to laymen. The layman should use his own reason and knowledge of church and biblical teaching to trust but verify.

      But to say a monk or nun should not comment on worldly life, or that bishops or celibate priests should be avoided for family-related discussions “because they don’t have personal experience” is just frankly dumb. Besides, you may not know what experiences they have had and what insights they may have to offer.

      This has nothing to do with Sr. Vassa, by the way. She should be ashamed of the advice she gave. But it has nothing to do with her being a monastic.

      • Tim R. Mortiss says:

        I never said non-parents couldn’t give good parenting advice. I said I wouldn’t accept it from those who have not had children.

        Nor did I. Our 5 children now range from 49 down to 40; all very successfully raised.

        It’s my bias! It certainly is not nonsense. As it turned out, I never needed “non-parent” advice. I received a lot of advice, though, from parents I respected.

        I am the expert, along with my wife. On the other hand, I learned long ago that nobody wants real advice until the situation is so desperate they are willing to pay for it!

      • Fr. Hans Jacobse says:

        In my experience Tim R. Mortiss is correct with one proviso: a non-married person who can offer advice on child rearing is *very* rare. Sts. Paul and Chrysostom are exceptions as are some elders but they are very far and few between. In fact I would include childless couples in this grouping too.

    • Mark E. Fisus says:

      I wouldn’t look for or accept child-rearing advice from anybody who didn’t have children, particularly grown ones.

      This would exclude all monastics, including elders like St. Paisios, and most Orthodox bishops.

      • Tim R. Mortiss says:

        Well, I never consulted any. But then, I was a Protestant at the time; indeed, until age 66.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says:

          Here’s a question that may sound frivolous, but it’s not intended to be.
          How would one go about asking a bishop for child-rearing advice? Say, if you live in Spokane and the bishop is in San Francisco? Are bishops generally available for that sort of thing?

          • A holy, humble and patristic hieromonk I know and respect greatly says he always refers questions about marriage and child-rearing to married priests since he does not have the experience. Not sure how typical that is?

          • Mark E. Fisus says:

            Does your bishop not come round for pastoral visits? How could you obey him without even countenancing his advice? Obedience being stronger form of deference than receiving advice. And if you don’t obey him, in what sense is he your bishop?

            If you visited a monastery would you not solicit the perspectives of at least the igumen?

            Throughout the liturgical texts of the Church we praise the ascetical labors of monastic saints. Not every monastic is a saint, but clearly they are not excluded from their company.

            You said you wouldn’t look for or accept monastic advice. You don’t have to accept their advice, but we should at least hear what they have to say.

            • Tim R. Mortiss says:

              I would have little to ask my bishop about child-rearing. Two of my own children are becoming “empty nesters” with the graduation of their children. My second-oldest grandchild just passed her registered nurse boards and is headed for an emergency-room job, and my oldest starts as a public school teacher in a month.
              So my asking bishops, priests, or monks about child-rearing is a moot point. On the other hand, I can pontificate about it for hours! Ask a [p]atriarch for such advice!

              • Mark E. Fisus says:

                The ordained are spiritual fathers who may have things to say about the spiritual cultivation of others, including grown adults, which is part and parcel of parenthood.

  2. https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Romans-Chapter-1/

    Quite sobering.

    Yet elsewhere we are cautioned not to be lukewarm.

    https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Revelation-3-15/

    Guess it depends on what you’re selling.

    Sr. Vassa decided on her own that it was fine to call other confessions “churches” back when the Cretan debacle was afoot. Now, she has decided on a “pastoral” response to homosexuality on her own.

    I wonder who her abbess is? I recall warning others in ROCOR et al months ago about the dangers of treating abbesses like bishops.

    The tree is known by its fruit.

    “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.” – 1 Timothy 2:12-15

    She probably should be returned to the laity.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says:

      Along with Prisca, Junia, and many others….

      Though I do not doubt that in Sr. Vassa’s case, she is quite wrong.

    • Billy Jack Sunday says:

      Yes, I saw that too – one of the few coffee time things I saw was where she said heterodox churches could be called churches. Lame!

      Hey, did you know you can drink Kool-Aid from a coffee cup?

      • What would you call them?

        • Michael Bauman says:

          saunca, theologically they are not churches. Theologically that word can admit no plural. The Church is One.

          Theologically they are hetrodox schismatics or assemblies of heretics, or as Fr. Thomas Hopko said, the nuts who fell off the tree. Only through repentance and reception can they once again be considered of the Church. To say otherwise is reject what Jesus Himself said.

          In common English any assembly of people claiming to be Christians is called a church.
          That was is not what the non-council in Crete was saying. In globalist Newspeak every assembly is a Church. Cannot be. Jesus calls us all to Himself into His descrete and visible Body, THE Church.

          Sooooooo unmodern but true.

        • P. Antonio Arganda says:

          Conventicle, sect, association. heresy, religion. Take your pick

      • Estonian Slovak says:

        We need more instructors like Dr. Christopher Veniamin of St. Tikhons Seminary. He knew the Elder Sophrony. I only heard him talk the one time; but I was impressed. I believe he was a spiritual child of the Elder.

      • Estonian Slovak says:

        To Billy Jack; Hey, Buddy Roe, since you want to do comedy, you ever think about starting your own blog? Just sayin….

        • Billy Jack Sunday says:

          Hi Estonian Slovak

          You mean that sarcastically but seriously, right? My guess is you aren’t fond of my comments and would rather I go elsewhere?

          • Estonian Slovak says:

            Not necessarily, sir! It’s a free country and you are certainly entitled to say what you want. I guess I take exception to your statement about not liking Russian culture.
            I am not a fan of blind Russian chauvinism, and you can tell by my screen name, I’m all about small nations and their cultures. I actually like Byzantine chant. It is a matter of taste.
            Anyways, I support those aspects of Russian culture which have to do with the Orthodox faith. Ditto for the Greek and other cultures.

            • Billy Jack Sunday says:

              That’s odd – I thought eastern Europeans were known for their zany sense of humor . . .

              Anyhoodles – let me add a little explaination: I don’t mind Russian culture at all for Russians. I think it’s great for Russians – and certainly has beauty and redeeming qualities. I just dont want it for me. Why? I’m not Slavic, dont share any of the language, culture, food, music, history, etc. – and I dont want to be a pyroshki poser. I dont think anyone should be compelled to adopt the culture because of church in a “take it and like it, or go away” attitude.
              It is poor form, anti-missional and un-caring.

              Every human culture – including American, perhaps especially American- has it’s redeeming qualities as well as those particular things worthy of roasting. No culture is safe from my razzings

      • johnkal says:

        As I have stated previously, both St Photios and St Mark of Ephesus referred to the Roman Catholic Church as the Western Church. I guess you and Misha would condemn them.

        • Estonian Slovak says:

          Er, St. Photios lived before the schism. Try again. St. Mark was probably exercising Christian charity. I do call a Papist priest, “Father”. I won’t insult the man if that is what he calls himself. On the other hand, I wouldn’t ask his blessing nor kiss his hand as I would an Orthodox priest. I would still show him respect, though.

        • Michael Bauman says:

          It is doubtful they would extend the same courtsey to Protestant assemblies let alone the apostate Church of England or the lunatic fringe of cults calling themselves churches.

  3. Estonian Slovak says:

    Er, Boudicca was Celtic,(the original Britons who gave their name to the island; their modern descendants being the Welsh and the Bretons) not Saxon. But that aside, first we have the wacko nun in House Springs, now Sister Vassa, daughter of a ROCOR priest. We in Orthodoxy do not have “teaching orders” of nuns, as do the PAPISTS. Yes, they should stay off the blogosphere.
    A priest tries to counsel a parent who comes to him in just such a situation. He is told by the parent,” But Sr. Vassa says the opposite, she has a Doctorate; therefore she must know more than you.” But then again, it doesn’t just apply to the gay issue. A woman comes to the priest’s office and wants to know why her(adult) boy was denied communion. The priest tells her it’s because her son married an unbaptized Jewish girl outside of the church. The woman says,”But Fr. P visits synagogues and participates in Seders, he has a Doctorate; he must know more then you.” Or woman B. wants to know why her daughter was denied the Mysteries and finds out it’s because the daughter married her husband in his Roman Catholic church; thereby excommunicating herself. “That’s ridiculous,”storms the woman,”Patriarch Bartholomew prays with the Pope. Who died and left you Patriarch?”
    It would appear Canon Law is only for little people like you and I, no?

    • George Michalopulos says:

      I’m glad you caught that ES. I left it in on purpose: I know that when Boudicca was queen, there were no Angles, Saxons or Jutes in Britain. That demographic transformation came several hundred years later when the brothers Hengist and Horsa brought the Anglo-Saxons to Britain (at the behest of the native Romano-Britons).

      I not only chose the word “Saxon” because the predominant British population but because of its ferocity. Saxon fury is called for nonetheless.

  4. Christopher says:

    Orthodoxy has too easily accepted and imitated modernism, “scientism”, and the nominalistic, Cartesian ethos of the modern Academy and how it answers the question “what is man (anthropos)”. Sr. Vassa is but a symptom of the disease, and only “fundamentalist” Traditionalist dare question the alliance of Roman Catholic (usually) and secular scholarship and Orthodox lay (and ordained) “scholars”. Our hierarchs do not even question this – indeed they appear to cultivate it.

    In a sense I feel for Sr. Vassa. Which to her is more formative: her lifestyle as a nun (even though that is in no way normative in her case) or her lifestyle as a modern “scholar” in the Academy? Obviously, the two are in conflict and thus we get her confused and confusing logorrheic reply to this women. We need leadership (both lay and ordained) to begin at the beginning – how has the current anthropological confusion and sexual revolution influenced ALL Orthodox persons? More deeply than most realize. Elder Sophrony (Essex) noted this situation shortly before he died. We need more acknowledgement of all this.

    Good work George! – your essay said a few things I have not thought of before…

    • I find that all the criticism on this site is “divisive” for the Church!
      Experience bring a person to “silence” that is coming face to face with “arrogance” and a know-it-all-attitude!

      No wonder there are so many natural upheavals on this planet! All empty words flying around and around causing turmoil and confusion . . .

      Do you realy know what it means to be “one who fights alone!”

  5. Advice should be sought from a person who is expert in the field.
    Some of the best family counselors come from families but have never raised families themselves. The difference is that they have studied, they practice and they counsel to the ideal not to a desired situation.
    Sister Vassa has studied Theology, Liturgy, Church History. Her opinions in those fields should be considered “expert”.
    In regards to the question posed by the young boys mother, had Sister Vassa limited her advice to the mother’s relationship with God through crisis, had she gave opinion on how to keep the boy active in church and prayer life – those things are more in line with her expertise (although, her expertise is really more academic). Instead, she entered the realms of psychology (I’m interested to learn more about those psychological studies saying that 3 and 4 year old children have determined their sexual orientation) and family counseling that she has no expertise in.
    I understand the comments that say because she has never raised children she shouldn’t offer advise on child rearing. But, that’s not the point. A person should only offer professional advice in the field they have studied and can counsel to the ideal (a divorced Marriage Counselor needs to avoid recommending divorce as the solution to every marital problem).
    There are many parents who should never offer an opinion on child rearing. There are married couples who should never be examples of married life. But, expert opinion should only be offered by experts in the field who, married or not / parental or not, hold to to the high ideals learned and stick only to their fields of expertise.
    Anything else will result in trouble.

  6. Chris Banescu says:

    Sr. Vassa advises the parents of the 14-year-old to: “I think you won’t be able to change the fact that he will “date,” unless he wants to commit himself to celibacy. But I am going to go ahead and presume he doesn’t want to, and isn’t going to, do that, since he’s “come out” to you, and I don’t think you can change that in him, at age 14. So I would say, let him “date” in the daylight, with your knowledge, so he’s not chased into some kind of underground, of illicit hook-ups in certain kinds of pubs or bars.”

    Translation: “Allow your son to be sodomized (and/or sodomize others) in the comfort of his own home and with your blessing.”

    How’s that for “orthodox” teaching! Lord have mercy!

    It is NOT “compassionate” or “loving” to counsel a young man (or anyone else) struggling with sin to just go along with the sin (just at a more gradual pace) and then advise the parents of that troubled young man to support and enable his sexual distortion rather than speak the truth with conviction and courage. This is really dark and dangerous.

    “It is not loving to affirm a person in their sin.

    It is not loving to affirm a person in their rebellion against both God and His created, natural order—not “supernatural,” or “unnatural,” but the way nature was always intended to be, revealed most perfectly in Jesus Christ and the Mother of God and all the Saints.

    It is not loving to affirm a person in their beliefs or perspectives that run contrary to the blessings offered us in both Christ and His one, holy Church.

    It is not compassionate to ignore truth in order to affirm a person in lies.

    It is not compassionate to let people live a life contrary to the author of Life.”
    http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/blog/2014/08/orthodox-truth-in-an-age-of-relativism/

    “The safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” ~ C. S. Lewis

  7. Chris Banescu says:

    Sr. Vassa took a worldly, lukewarm, compromised, and confused approach on this very serious issue. She could learn a thing or two about real love, wisdom, and Christian teaching from Joseph Sciambra who struggled with this deadly and dangerous sin, then found Christ and repented.

    Former Homosexual: Even Harsher Language on Homosexuality Needed from Christian Hierarchs
    http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/blog/2017/02/former-homosexual-even-harser-language-on-homosexuality-needed-from-christian-hierarchs/

    “I will always be thankful to that priest – because, he was not afraid. Some would argue that he was about as un-pastoral as you can get: he named the sin, told me where it came from (the devil and hell itself) and then went about casting it out. It sounds harsh, but sometimes the most invasive forms of cancer require the most severe forms of therapy. St. Josemaria Escriva said: “To heal a wound, the first thing to do is to clean it well, including a wide area around it. The surgeon knows that the cleaning hurts, but he also knows that there will be worse pain later if it is not done.” He was talking about sin.

    The much maligned word “disordered” works in sort of the same way, though I think even harsher language should be used; as we need peroxide poured on your wounds…something that will burn and sting our ears…and our complacency. And, continuing upon this analogy, if you went to a physician with a serious life-threatening illness, would you want him to tell you the truth about your condition, as unpleasant as it may be, or would you want him to play mind games with you? No! You would want to know: what do I have and what do I need to do in order to survive this?

    That’s what this priest did for me…He respected and loved me enough – to tell the Truth. Probably, the greatest voice yet to emerge from the Synod is not one of the egotistical Cardinal heavyweights from Western Europe. But a seemingly inconsequential prelate from a Hungarian backwater, Archbishop Fülöp Kocsis, Metropolitan Archbishop of the Archeparchy of Hajdúdorog stated: “We must call these diabolic forces which have a role to play with these phenomena by name because this way we can find some indications even for the research of possible solutions.” ~ Joseph Sciambra

  8. Anonymous says:

    I appreciate the personal love and concern which Sister Vassa wanted to convey to this mother. However. Why did she offer herself instead of Christ? Christ – the Truth – the Truth that will set us free? Why did she offer her own opinions that differed from the church, rather than the wisdom of the church? How could she think her own personal offering was better, would serve that mother better, than the wisdom of the Church, of Christ, of Truth?? I think she just misstepped, and I dearly hope she learns from this. It is easy to feel personally moved and empathetic, but that shouldn’t get in the way of sharing what people need – Jesus and His Church and the Church’s holy wisdeom – NOT our wounded selves and half-blind good intentions and thoughts and opinions. Also, I am willing to bet that Sister Vassa is very, very naive concerning gay culture. I’ve witnessed it firsthand. All you have to do is look at the Pride Parades, actually! At all other times, the LGBTQ movement damns us for not accepting their right to love – just like anyone else, they claim. And yet what are the Pride Parades? A bunch of loving couples dressed respectfully and decently, marching in a family friendly way? Absolutely not – it’s debauchery – and if you’ve been to the less public events, you’ll see it gets far, far, far worse – it is particularly demented in its portrayal of Christianity. There is a deep, deep spiritual sickness here. It bothers me so much that they compare their movement to the civil rights movement. Take one look at the Pride parades and compare them to the decent, dignified, respectful people marching for civil rights – completely different! They aren’t even asking just for us to accept their monogomy – they are asking us to accept and respect their debauchery and perversion, as evidenced by the Pride parades. That is what they are marching for. SIGH. Rant over.

    Here is the link that I thought ought to be shard here. An Orthodox convert wrote about the homosexual lifestyle and acceptance of it in various churches. It is graphic, but is an incredible testimony published in Touchstone Magazine: http://touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=17-04-015-v

  9. Sr. Vassa became wildly popular….a rock star of sorts. She sold subscriptions to her podcasts and and racked up “zillions” of followers on FaceBook. She even brags that her followers and subscribers have increased after her deluded advice to the boy’s mother. And now she can more easily “pay the bills.” Does anyone remember the Roman Catholic rock star by the name of Fr. Corapi? The fall can be long and hard. The Russians have a word for what happened to the poor sister.

    PRELEST.

  10. Michael Bauman says:

    Chris, yes!

  11. Is it too ‘old fashioned’ of me to ask why a fourteen year old boy wouldn’t be told in a very simple and straightforward manner that he is not ready for sex of any kind? What fourteen year old boy wouldn’t be thrilled (for the moment anyway) to be able to pursue his fleshly desires with the permission of his parents?

    I wonder. If this had been a case of heterosexual lust, would the advice have been different? And if not, why not? What is the difference (except to state the obvious perversion of nature) between a fourteen year old boy who struggles with lust for other boys and one who struggles with lust for girls? Are not both in need of the self control that only a parent can provide by ensuring that no opportunity is ever provided for them to succumb to their temptations?

    If there is one thing I have learned in my sojourn with Orthodoxy it is that neither the monastic habit nor the priestly cassock is an indication of wisdom. They should be, and sometimes they are; but they are certainly no guarantee. Nor is education in itself.

    As a parent seeking godly advice in the years of my children’s rearing, I often had to say of priests and Monastics what my wife used to say to our children when they argued from studies, science, or anything other than the commandments:

    “I can believe you and your ‘wisdom’, or I can believe God. Whose wisdom do you think I am going to trust?”

    • M. Stankovich says:

      Brian,

      Madonna Mia, man! Do your own words not strike you? “What is the difference (except to state the obvious perversion of nature).” Lust for a 14-year old, exposed in front of parents is hella bad enough, but the obvious perversion of nature is stunning. I have met with mothers who were distraught, literally sobbing in my office, “His life is over. His life will never be normal! I am so afraid for him and the dangers and discrimination he will face. He will never, ever have a happy, normal life.” This is frequently followed by both parents demanding, “What did we do wrong?” They are personally ashamed and embarrassed as if it is their fault and responsibility; as if it is the consequence or the direct result of a deficit or error in parenting. Mothers will say, “I was too involved,” while fathers will say, “I wasn’t involved enough.” There is absolutely no evidence that anything post-natally is causal for homosexuality. Nothing. If even a tenth of the factors purported to be causal for homosexuality were true (notably, for example, childhood trauma – be it physical, sexual, or emotional – we would be inundated with homosexuality, yet the prevalence of homosexuality remains stable longitudinally). We simply do not have an answer. And the fact that the prevalence rate has remained stable longitudinally does nothing to explain why the issue arises again and again and again on this site like it has never been discussed, from scratch, never benefiting from the previous discussion, and always looking forward to the same discussion that lies ahead. As noted below, more gay news… yawn.

      • Trey the Virginian says:

        Mr Stankovich,

        As a psychiatrist, if these Christian parents had brought this boy to you with the same thoughts they had expressed to Sister Vassa, what would be:
        1. Your diagnosis (including any of the potential DSM-5 diagnostic codes, or which of the four axes you think would be factors.)
        2. Treatment goal.
        3. Treatment plan and methods you would use (including typical medications and any resources outside your meeting with the family that would want to engage).
        4. The critical factors for success toward the goal.
        5. The theoretical framework you would be following for the above.

        • M. Stankovich says:

          Don’t try to play me son. You’re out of your league. I’ll address you again when you take responsibility for your words and identify yourself. If you would question me for specifics, “Gird up your loins now like a man: I will demand of you, and declare you to me.” (Job 40:7) I suspect we are done.

          And for the record, there are no axes in DSM-V. If you are referring to DSM-IV-TR, there are five axes, not four. Stay out of my house.

          • Trey the Virginian says:

            Dr. Stankovich,

            One of the ethical duties of Psychiatry is to explain the basis of the claims of benefit to society of the profession. This is explicit in the APA code of ethics.

            I think we would all like to understand the theoretical basis that drives the view and care of the patient and its efficacy, and how actually you would help such a family that would come to your office, where the rubber meets the road so to speak, and since you have such a presence on Monomakhos.

            It does not help your standing and that of your profession to be brusk and ridiculing in order to intimidate people that you think are beneath you, or to judge others as being beneath you, which it is an importan matter for your spiritual father, in the light of Christ.

            But if you can get past your steam, I think you can tell that I have a connection to the psychiatric profession.

            • M. Stankovich says:

              You demonstrate yourself to be an anonymous, cowardly, Pharisaical creep and a first class internet punk. “He that does truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are worked in God.” (Jn. 3:21) You would speak to me about the “light of Christ” from the darkness of anonymity? Slither away like the internet rodent you are.

              “I think you can tell that I have a connection to the psychiatric profession.” Yeah, pal, everything of which I find revolting and embarrassing, every aspect I fight against every day run rampant in the field of mental health – arrogance, ignorance, misconception, and frank stupidity – is summed up in imbeciles exactly like you. And each and every day I pray that people who are suffering, through no fault of their own, eventually find their way to someone like me, and not someone like you. Shame on you.

              • George Michalopulos says:

                Take it back a notch Dr S. Trey’s criticisms of psychiatry are not without merit. I hold a lot of them myself.

                For those interested, I would recommend Seth Farber’s book Eternal Day for a critique of psychiatry. (Farber is a secular Jewish convert to Orthodox Christianity.)

                • M. Stankovich says:

                  Mr. Michalopulos,

                  Unless you, this arrogant poseur, or anyone else can demonstrate a to me a singular, unified and clarifying body of thought; a systematic order of rules and prescriptions that constitute the profession and practice, such that if one does not subscribe nor practice according to these binding rules and prescriptions, one may not use the professional title, this imbecile’s “criticism” of psychiatry is stupidity. He states to me, “This is explicit in the APA code of ethics.” I don’t belong to the APA. I do not subscribe to their code of ethics because they are opposed to my code of ethics. Their code of ethics stands in opposition to the Holy Scripture, the Patristic Fathers, the Sacred Canons, and our Holy Traditions. I stand in open opposition to their code of ethics. Now what? So “Trey the Virginian” intends to post an essay on “the critical flaw of psychiatry in relation to the nature of the soul” as if it somehow speaks about me? I lost my job because I refused to refer to a man as a transgender “woman” and write case notes as if he, in fact, is a woman, and this coward informs me that it is one of my “ethical duties” to “to explain the basis of the claims of benefit to society of the profession?” Mr. Michalopulos, I am thinking of a two word response that is not “Happy Birthday.”

                  I most certainly will take it back a notch out of respect for you, Mr. Michalopulos.

                  • Someone needs a Snickers Bar. But in all honesty you should be commended, in that you lost your job standing for your principles. Better your job, than your soul. No?

                    • Trey the Virginian says:

                      Dino,

                      I can understand better why Dr. Stankovich gets irritated with me. He lives in a state where he is actually forbidden to provide the help someone needs in an area of life he cares deeply about. That must be very painful.

                      I have actually been finding his words about me beneficial.

                  • Dear Dr S:

                    How does “imbecile” differ in import or spiritual consequence from “Raca” ?

                    To me professionally and personally, your many fine comments and qualities are undermined by this habit of speech, foreign to me coming from a colleague or serious Orthodox person. Hoping you also habitually apologize and I have missed that, for the sake of our profession and Orthodoxy itself.

                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      First let me say that I most certainly habitually apologize for my “habits of speech,” to the point of needing my own thread, as it were. Your criticism is deserved and appreciated. I would note, however, that I specifically and intentionally use the word “imbecile” – from the French imbécile, meaning “weak, feeble, or impotent” – because it is clearly and unmistakably distinguishable from “Raca.”

        • Trey, the DSM is deeply flawed, but the interpretation of these flaws varies. Around 05 Karen Eriksen and Victoria Kress detailed the limitations of the DSM -IV (five still shares the same assumptions and processes as four). Two things that really stick out about their report is that certain diagnostic labels marginalize certain segments of our society like homosexuals. Another limitation they cited was that what is and is not classified as a disorder often comes from a political agenda and historical influences. The catch is that the legitimacy or the accuracy of homosexuality as a disorder was not the issue, it’s the mere fact that they felt it marginalized people, or what really mattered was “muh feels”. I’m also not familiar with their opinion on the fact that homosexuality was excluded bc of political reasons, but I’m guessing it’s not a big deal for them.

          • Trey the Virginian says:

            Vergil,

            I am not as up to date as you. When I was last in the counseling profession it was the DSM-IIIR.

            But the point is that the psychiatric profession in itself is deeply flawed, out of which came the DSM-V.

            I want to post soon briefly on the critical flaw of psychiatry in relation to the nature of the soul, including the critique of the profession from the work of Dr. Karl Menninger, an important psychiatrist.

            As for the politics of homosexuality please take a look a this interview with Dr. Joseph Nicolosi formerly with the APA.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPgq1c4TYi4&t=283s

      • Dr. Stankovich,

        This response is irrelevant to my comment in which nothing was mentioned about causality or prevalence, nor was there any mention of parental responsibility for SSA.

        The language you have used to describe parental responses is indicative of fear and shame – emotions that, while understandable, are essentially selfish in that they are about parents themselves instead of being about the troubled child in their care. Speaking from experience, I should not be shocked or even particularly afraid or ashamed that my child is a sinner (one who acts in ways that are discordant with his nature) just like me and my parents before me, albeit perhaps in a different way. There was hope for me. Why should I assume there is no hope for them regardless of the sin?

        This is not to say that parents or the child will not or should not feel shame. It is to say that shame must be borne in a healthy way, in the context of unconditional love. Bearing shame in the knowledge that one is loved is necessary to healing and repentance. Moreover, our shame can and should be covered, meaning that only those who have genuine love for the persons involved have the capacity to bear it in a loving manner.

        As for what to do with a child who lusts in any manner, I refer you to my comment above. A fifteen-year-old boy is simply not able to comprehend his sexual nature or how to handle his temptations. He needs fearless and shameless parental love and guidance in accordance with the commandments. I also refer you to what you wrote in a previous thread with which I agree wholeheartedly.

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

    • Estonian Slovak says:

      To Billy Jack; Hey, Buddy Roe, since you want to do comedy, you ever think about starting your own blog? Just sayin….

  12. More gay news…yawn

  13. M. Stankovich says:

    Ah, the smell of testosterone in the morning. It smells like victory. Chris Banescu, how many times you plan on dragging out your one-shot pony Sciambra – the anecdote of homosexual anecdotes – to prove one ridiculous point or another? And Mr. Michalopulos, as a psychiatry resident in NYC at the height of the AIDS epidemic, working in the largest HIV/AIDS unit in the US, I thought I’d heard every perverse gay sexual practice and perversion in effect, until Sciambra. And you would hold him up as an “icon” of gay sexuality, even with his hand-selected “proof-texting”? I swear I cannot imagine what you second-hand theologian-philosophers do for a living, but you cannot possibly be responsible for actually advizing real human beings who present themselves to you raw, distraught, terrified, and helpless in the face of a situation such as these parents presented to Sister Vassa. “Modernism, “scientism”, and the nominalistic, Cartesian ethos of the modern Academy.” Are you serious?

    Over the past six months or so, a dear friend of mine for forty years, an Orthodox Priest whom I respect and who is beloved of my heart, a man of infinite wisdom, patience, a gifted pastor, and himself a counsel to his brother priests contacted me because he had a similar situation. I cannot adequately convey to you the enormous suffering of the mother, her child, and my friend, yet you are so cavalier and unfeeling (and heaven knows how Mr. Michalopulos is able to complain we have “been so feminized,” so detached we are from our feelings) as to consider the base instincts of a mother; the confusion and fear of the child; and the anguish only felt by a pastor and spiritual counsel when seeking the lost sheep, but the breed is nothing like he’d ever expected. And it was here I reassured him, the overwhelming number of adolescents resolve these issue with no intervention whatsoever. This much we know.

    WTF, nightingales. Stick with plumbing, or caddying, or auto sales, or whatever it is that you do with yourselves. Apparently Matthew 25 doesn’t apply to you, and no one would have to feel shamed by accepting help from you. I call that win-win.

    • Chris Banescu says:

      “The madman’s explanation of a thing is always complete, and often in a purely rational sense satisfactory. Or, to speak more strictly, the insane explanation, if not conclusive, is at least unanswerable; this may be observed specially in the two or three commonest kinds of madness. If a man says (for instance) that men have a conspiracy against him, you cannot dispute it except by saying that all the men deny that they are conspirators; which is exactly what conspirators would do. His explanation covers the facts as much as yours.

      Nevertheless he is wrong. But if we attempt to trace his error in exact terms, we shall not find it quite so easy as we had supposed. Perhaps the nearest we can get to expressing it is to say this: that his mind moves in a perfect but narrow circle. A small circle is quite as infinite as a large circle; but, though it is quite as infinite, it is not so large. In the same way the insane explanation is quite as complete as the sane one, but it is not so large.

      A bullet is quite as round as the world, but it is not the world. There is such a thing as a narrow universality; there is such a thing as a small and cramped eternity; you may see it in many modern religions.

      Now, speaking quite externally and empirically, we may say that the strongest and most unmistakable mark of madness is this combination between a logical completeness and a spiritual contraction. The lunatic’s theory explains a large number of things, but it does not explain them in a large way.

      And it must be remembered that the most purely practical science does take this view of mental evil; it does not seek to argue with it like a heresy, but simply to snap it like a spell. Neither modern science nor ancient religion believes in complete free thought. Theology rebukes certain thoughts by calling them blasphemous. Science rebukes certain thoughts by calling them morbid.

      For example, some religious societies discouraged men more or less from thinking about sex. The new scientific society definitely discourages men from thinking about death; it is a fact, but it is considered a morbid fact. And in dealing with those whose morbidity has a touch of mania, modern science cares far less for pure logic than a dancing Dervish.

      In these cases it is not enough that the unhappy man should desire truth; he must desire health. Nothing can save him but a blind hunger for normality, like that of a beast. A man cannot think himself out of mental evil; for it is actually the organ of thought that has become diseased, ungovernable, and, as it were, independent. He can only be saved by will or faith. The moment his mere reason moves, it moves in the old circular rut; he will go round and round his logical circle, just as a man in a third-class carriage on the Inner Circle will go round and round the Inner Circle unless he performs the voluntary, vigorous, and mystical act of getting out at Gower Street. Decision is the whole business here; a door must be shut for ever.

      Every remedy is a desperate remedy. Every cure is a miraculous cure. Curing a madman is not arguing with a philosopher; it is casting out a devil. And however quietly doctors and psychologists may go to work in the matter, their attitude is profoundly intolerant—as intolerant as Bloody Mary. Their attitude is really this: that the man must stop thinking, if he is to go on living. Their counsel is one of intellectual amputation. If thy head offend thee, cut it off; for it is better, not merely to enter the Kingdom of Heaven as a child, but to enter it as an imbecile, rather than with your whole intellect to be cast into hell—or into Hanwell.

      Such is the madman of experience; he is commonly a reasoner, frequently a successful reasoner. Doubtless he could be vanquished in mere reason, and the case against him put logically. But it can be put much more precisely in more general and even æsthetic terms. He is in the clean and well-lit prison of one idea: he is sharpened to one painful point. He is without healthy hesitation and healthy complexity.” ~ G. K. Chesterton

      • Tim R. Mortiss says:

        As the rabbis say: “you don’t enter into arguments with the Yetzer Hara.” It always has an answer.

      • M. Stankovich says:

        Mr. Banescu,

        I am, in fact, a simple man of simple means. My wife and I live a very simple life where possessions mean little; we do not own a home, we do not crave “things,” and we are both healthcare providers who found one another in our mutual moral and ethical commitment to caring for others. I have said previously, I travel in a world you would never enter: among the sick and suffering, the loathsome and despicable, the rejected and offensive, the violent and the unforgivable. I sit in rooms and my office with people who have done horrendous things, who have committed horrible acts against other human beings for nothing but pleasure. Now, some want to change, and I am committed to helping them. Some threaten me, some con me, some outright deceive me, some return to prison, but a few make it. And somehow I imagine that is why God has placed me there; placed me to use my strength and talents, but more importantly, placed me to extend His hand “to the lost children of Israel,” as best I am capable. And trust me, Mr. Banascu, I offer my best.

        And if it turns out that you are offended, Chris Banescu, that I am a champion of the words of St. Paul, “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh,” (Rom. 9:1-3) and fight first and foremost for mercy and compassion rather than judgment and condemnation, “What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he said to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” (v.14-15) I do so without apology or excuse. And if in return, you wish to refer to me as “mentally ill” and “delusional” and the other things you have called me in the past through these bullshit quotations you post – and you feel more an Orthodox Christian, a “traditionalist,” and a “man” – εὐλόγειte ὁ κύριος! I will not melt, bro’ and I will live to see another day. And so it goes.

      • Horse is dead, but the stick still movin.

        • Funny Anon,

          Monomakhos is starting to remind me of a favorite show of mine, “The Walking Dead”, unfortunately it got stale, as the story line just goes into similar circles: just the same old find a safe haven, fight another group of survivors who want your safe haven, throw in some zombies for fun, find a new safe haven, fight another group, who want what you have, throw in some zombie for fun. repeat over and over…….so after a while it’s just rehash, just throw in new names and characters.

          Here we have same old topics,usually sexual deviancy, and homosexual topics with different types of clergy, politicians , age groups, lobbyists etc. Throw in a little Islamic Jihad, and sympathy for Putin, and mother Russia,
          and there you go. Then we have the usual dozen posters: The evil master mind with all the solutions, no matter how horrid, the fish who take the bait, the moderator to calm all down, the joker, the pious, the hypocrites, the clergy, and of course The Doctor who will explain it all to us simple folk, who just don’t get it, and need schooling, therapy, spiritual healing, and in some cases exorcism.

          Still enjoy Monomakhos, thankfully every now and then we are treated with some valuable info, from George, and the contributors that post. Train kept a rollin, baby, train kept a rollin……KALI SYZITISI, CHRISTIANEMOU!

          • M. Stankovich says:

            Let it bleed, bro’

            • Ich! Creepy lyrics, Dr. Stankovich. How about Let it Be or The Song Remains the Same? But I get you Brother. Though ours is a one way street. You and Brian, are my favorite posters. Excuse the beta male fag thing, but before I came to Monomakhos, it was called Orthodox Brotherhood. After all, it’s all about that Stairway to Heaven. Always been more of a ZEP HEAD.

          • Billy Jack Sunday says:

            Dino

            Dont forget beat a dead horse guy and the pseudo insightful condescending guy. They always make an appearance too

            • Was Joker left off my list? No it’s there, Billy Jack, and you’re welcome! Kokota mou.

              • Billy Jack Sunday says:

                Dino

                No, I saw it. You just forgot to add your buddy and you

                Klatu Barata Nikto and a yippie ki yay . . .

                • Vasilaki Tzak Kriaki’,

                  I believe the correct spelling is Klaatu Barada Nikto. AHH, where is the Bishop when we need him!

                  • Billy Jack Sunday says:

                    This is America, dude. More people speak Klingon here than Greek. And to all you Phanarites – the Byzantine Empire is about as real now as the Klingon Empire ever will be – so time to get over it and move on . . .

                    Being a human spell check or grammer nazi is the death gasp/rattle of any argument. Correcting the spelling of an almost forgotten sci-fi reference is going to dork factor 9. Any further attempts to 1 up me and you are gonna go plaid

                    I don’t know what bishop you are talking about, but chances are he’s too busy in some leather bar, drinking lemon drops and chatting up a couple of guys named Roxy and Babbette

    • Anonymouse says:

      “muh feels”

      This is part (most?) of the problem.

      They don’t seek help because they are ashamed and know it’s deeply wrong, yet they like it too much to stop. That is not the pastor’s fault.

  14. Billy Jack Sunday says:

    On the other hand, maybe Sister Vassa is right. After all, it’s been said that every home should be a monastery

    Hi yooooooooo

  15. stephen says:

    In her discussion regarding whether or not women should commune while menstruating, Sr. Vassa seemed to exhibit an iconoclastic streak that occasionally expressed itself in irony and play in calling into question the Church’s traditions surrounding the practice. Tuning in to the first few minutes of a video of hers for the first time, I initially thought it was a satire or parody of certain elements of Orthodoxy and parish life. Since then, this seems to be the pattern that endears her to many — perhaps our version of Mother Angelica: a no-nonsense, straight talking nun who uses wit and humor to address contemporary issues many struggle with themselves.

    I have to wonder, however, if this isn’t symptomatic of some deeper reality associated with our times. With the advent of the Internet and the seeming emergence of a global conscious / conscience, I wonder if this predilection for irony, hyper self-conscious awareness, and historical exhaustion means we’re losing the courage of our convictions. This is the age of the “postmodern self,” an amalgam of symbolic interchanges and interpretations that aren’t anchored or rooted in an organic, authentic way of life any more: everything is an interpretation, a choice, a preference, an unfolding of the individual as he or she sees fit to “create.”

    In this regard, Sr. Vassa is as much a celebrity, a media personality (albeit on the Internet) as other “characters” presented through various media. She carries with her an array of semiotic markers that assign her a place much like we interpret Charlie Rose, Jimmy Fallon, or Flo the Progressive Insurance lady according to formulas provided by mutually reinforcing exchanges between culture, celebrity, and media. She is ironic, self-effacing, and adept at her self-conscious borrowings of pop culture to inject humor into her style. She is, in short, an expression of this age of the virtual where things seem to be a simulation of a simulation (thank you, Baudrillard.) As an academic, surely she is aware of the vision of humanity presented in the Church’s theology. Why not guide one to its discovery? Why reinforce the idea of the postmodern self and, in a subdued way, the Foucaultian idea of the “deployment of alliance” and the “deployment of sexuality”? Perhaps the medium is the message —

    • Michael Bauman says:

      She is a star, no?

    • Monk James says:

      I wonder if ‘Stephen’ could provide us a seriously theological reason why women should not come to the services and/or receive Holy Communion during their menstrual periods.

      We need reasons based not on judaizing notions or folklore or superstitions altogether, but on something from the authentically Orthodox Catholic Christian Tradition.

      We read in the Gospel that our Lord Jesus Christ healed a woman of her twelve-year-long relentless menorrhea. Not only had she come into the synagogue — which was forbidden by Jewish law — but in perfect faith, she touched His garments and was healed. And then He defended her and explained Himself and His kindness toward her.

      Clearly, Sr Vassa is not without her good points here.

      And — in case anyone was wondering, and especially because she withdrew it — it’s very likely that Sr Vassa accepted correction for the bad advice she offered to the mother of a fourteen-year-old boy who declared himself homosexual. More than anyone, I’m sure that she regrets this misstep.

      Everyone knows that she did the wrong thing. So, please, friends, let it go and not continue to pile onto her.

      • Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov, among others, has addressed Sister Vassa’s article on the topic.

        http://www.pravmir.com/article_663.html
        http://www.pravmir.com/article_667.html

        My understanding has always been that it is an “ontological” issue, so to speak: we try to approach communion in as “perfect” a state as possible, one nearest to what we were intended to be. Obviously, that doesn’t preclude the sick or decrepit from communion but it represents an ideal, a state of being that was lost with the fall.

        However, whatever one’s thoughts on that may be, that isn’t the issue I found interesting. It seems to me — obviously, I could be wrong — that Sister Vassa is a “phenomenon” created by our mediated world. Her podcasts are funny at times, self-conscious and ironic, and carefully crafted on one level. She has become a “personality,” a youtube star of sorts. Whether consciously or not, she draws on cultural and religious symbols that, given the media of the Internet and the relation between “the watched” and “the watcher,” make it seem like she is playing a part — a simulation of sorts. And this, I would argue, is at odds with monasticism.

        You ask if I could provide a serious theological reason for why women shouldn’t come to communion while menstruating. I would argue that the question itself betrays a mindset influenced and formed by our postmodern, mediated world where tradition is optional, something that made up the past but which needn’t define us now. We live in an age where we’ve become so self-aware and self-conscious of ourselves as being self-aware and self-conscious that we see tradition as just one interpretation among others. So, we can invent our selves, create our own narrative since we’re not bound by the arbitrary conventions of what emerged out of the past.

        There was a time when tradition would have been enough. Sr. Vassa’s article on the Church’s teaching regarding communion and menstruation reads more like a Nietzschean geneological deconstruction than an illumination of WHY there has been such a tradition. Why? Why did she feel compelled to call the tradition into question? Because the way of life that evolved organically out of times in the past and the mindset that accompanied it is today something we categorize as just one interpretation among others, a narrative that arose, changed, and need not apply to us now. This, I would argue, betrays the idea that tradition — or part of it — is no longer living or relevant so we can dispense with it. If that’s true, then what is tradition and what should we follow from it? Are we all just play acting? The relation between this and her media presence / personality are, I would argue a symptom of an age where we have simulacra of things, simulations of things that used to be real in the past but are now regarded with self-conscious irony.

        • Monk James says:

          Everything in the authentically Orthodox Catholic Christian Tradition has a reason for being there. Your excursus here, dear’ Stephen’ , adduces nothing of the sort. You must explain — from the position of The Tradition — why you think this way.

          I’m sure that many of our correspondents here would be very glad if you could bring some reasons to this conversation, other than those based in judaizing practices or folklore and superstition, for excluding menstruating women from Holy Communion or from coming to church altogether.

          Please don’t attack me, personally, or accuse me of anything such as ‘modernism’. Please just address the problem at hand and explain yourself and your opinions.

          • I think a response to your remarks here have been addressed above: at one time, tradition was once enough. Once we are able to label and objectify something as “tradition,” we’ve now stepped outside of it in order to regard it as an option, a menu item of sorts. We’ve become self-consciously aware of tradition as tradition. It’s a bit like fashion: no one balks at someone who wears a baseball cap but try and wear a derby or a stove pipe top hat and people will give you the hairy eyeball. Traditions emerge out of a way of life that people aren’t necessarily aware of – like fish in water. In past ages, it’s unlikely people would have even balked or thought of their relation to certain practices in the same way we moderns do for the simple reason that theirs was not a historicist, self-critical, self-conscious age — that seems to have arisen with modernity. Nietzsche makes a great deal of hay about this in his essay, “On the Uses and Abuses of History for Life.” As I said earlier, Sister Vassa’s essay regarding menstruation and communion reads more like a dismantling of the practice from the perspective of a modernist armed with historical methods and critical theory than someone working within the Orthodox tradition to try and illumine its observance.

            “Judaizing” practices refers to the attempt on the part of some “Christian” converts to meld certain rabbinic practices and what would later be Talmudic interpretations, to those of Christianity. Superstitious judaizing practices would apply if someone were to try and apply Talmudic notions of “niddah” in its Talmudic scope to communion. Sister Vassa may believe she has tried to “deconstruct” that relation, which is why she refers to the issue as one involving “ritual impurity.” But then there are all sorts of practices that one could call out as being rooted in what some call superstitions connected to the desert temple and the book of Leviticus. There are pious customs that are ultimately rooted in theological notions regarding the presence of the Energies of God and what we do with things that have been blessed — for example, not throwing used candles into the trash or throwing excess Holy Water down the drain.

            In any case, it seems to me, from what I’ve gathered, that certain Old Testament practices on the part of ancient Israel were only an intimation, a glimpse of a deeper reality or truth that would become fully manifest with Christ’s Incarnation. Abstaining from communion while menstruating has been a practice of the Church. Why? Sister Vassa’s reductive answer is that it proves the presence of judaizing, superstitious (pagan?) influences. Okay, but she never tries to first understand the practice from within the Church’s theology or experience. Why, if what she says is true, did the Church allow a pagan/judaic/superstitious practice to take root? Her conclusions amount to an indictment of sorts of the Church — it has failed its women by putting them under the yoke of a judaizing, pagan, superstitious spirit. Wow — that’s not an insignificant accusation. She’s careful to try and avoid others seeing in her argument a feminist or political agenda and indicates this is not her intent. Yet, she provides an historical inventory of texts, councils, canons, etc., that comprise a genealogical critique of the practice, diffusing its “logic” by pointing to how it arose and suggesting that it is at odds with where the Church is “today” — again, there is that notion of modernity and what we’ve “come to learn.” In short, ours is a more “enlightened” age.

            To me, it seems Sister Vassa is aware of the fact that her critique has its roots in feminist ideology but she can’t — or doesn’t want to — admit it. Her media presence has almost established her as a brand, making her a “personality.” This phenomenon in itself suggests we have arrived in a postmodern age where the “real” is very often a simulation.

      • Pat Reardon says:

        our Lord Jesus Christ healed a woman of her twelve-year-long relentless menorrhea. Not only had she come into the synagogue . . . .

        She did?

        • Monk James says:

          Otherwise, she could not have encountered our Lord Jesus Christ in the press of the people surrounding Him.

        • M. Stankovich says:

          She was admitted under the special Greek participle, “beta monastic faggotry, first person singular”

        • I had to shake my head on that one, too, Father.

          “Now when Jesus had crossed over again by boat to the other side, a great multitude gathered to Him; and He was by the sea. And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet and begged Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.” So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him. Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well…”

      • Seraphim98 says:

        The reason is simple. Blood. Even men with an open wound may not commune. In the old countries, mothers would not let their children roughhouse lest they get scraped and bleed after communion. For 24 hours after communion, I was taught that any blood had to be kept and disposed of like ‘holy trash’ by burning. It is not a trivial thing. We are made living tabernacles of Christ’s Body and Blood. According to what i’ve been taught, if we die within a day of receiving the Holy Gifts, as Christ’s tabernacle, we go straight to be with Him. That is not nothing, and it’s not superstitious folklore. So it makes sense to require menstruating women to not approach the holy chalice. If something like this occurred for men, they would be excluded too for the duration as well.

        • George Michalopulos says:

          I myself was raised to not brush my teeth after taking Communion.

        • Estonian Slovak says:

          Yes, I always understood that it was about the blood of Christ being mingled with your blood. In regard to what George says, I see no reason why one cannot brush their teeth and gargle in the morning before liturgy . The late Archbishop Job, when he was a parish priest, said that he brushed his teeth before liturgy in the morning, so as not to offend people coming to confession. Nothing in the mouth means food, drink, or tobacco, not toothpaste or mouthwash which you don’t swallow.
          I understand that some Greeks will not kiss icons or anything for hours after receiving communion. In the Russian tradition, bread and wine is provided for those who have recieved, this is considered as washing the mysteries down, therefore Russians will kiss the icons and the bishop or priest’s hand at the conclusion of liturgy.

        • Yes Seraphim. Furthermore, it is/was also taught by many holy spiritual fathers of past and present. No matter what someone’s thoughts are on the subject, they have no right in labeling it as superstitions, folk lore, or judaizing notions. It is between the spiritual father and his spiritual children.

        • Monk James says:

          Seraphim98 (July 12, 2017 at 1:21 pm) says:

          The reason is simple. Blood. Even men with an open wound may not commune. In the old countries, mothers would not let their children roughhouse lest they get scraped and bleed after communion. For 24 hours after communion, I was taught that any blood had to be kept and disposed of like ‘holy trash’ by burning. It is not a trivial thing. We are made living tabernacles of Christ’s Body and Blood. According to what i’ve been taught, if we die within a day of receiving the Holy Gifts, as Christ’s tabernacle, we go straight to be with Him. That is not nothing, and it’s not superstitious folklore. So it makes sense to require menstruating women to not approach the holy chalice. If something like this occurred for men, they would be excluded too for the duration as well.
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

          As I recall, the canon in question requires that people with a bleeding sore IN/ON THE MOUTH should not receive Holy Communion.

        • St Dionysius of Alexandria
          “Concerning menstruous women, whether they ought to enter the temple of God while in such a state, I think it superfluous even to put the question. For, I think, not even themselves, being faithful and pious, would dare when in this state either to approach the Holy Table or to touch the body and blood of Christ.
          For not even the woman with a twelve years’ issue would come into actual contact with Him, but only with the edge of His garment, to be cured. There is no objection to one’s praying no matter how he may be or to one’s remembering the Lord at any time and in any state whatever, and petitioning to receive help; but if one is not wholly clean both in soul and in body, he shall be prevented from coming up to the Holy of Holies”

          • Michael Bauman says:

            So, none should commune ever

          • Tim R. Mortiss says:

            Amazing; only his garment for a sinner, not his body. How does the woman anointing him with the precious ointment fit into that one?

        • On the issue of menstruation, the Old Rite or Old Believers still practice the old way. Women in their time must stay in the vestibule. Whats the problem?

      • Majestic and beautifully said-even MS must agree with you

      • Joseph Lipper says:

        Monk James,

        You make a very good point. If Sister Vassa took down her controversial response, then most likely she has moved on, and we all should move along also. Who hasn’t given bad advice sometimes?

        • Bonhoeffer says:

          Not Frs. Jacobse, that’s for sure, or Webster! He and Webster were all in for Trump!!:

          serial adulterer
          non-stop liar & all-around fake
          conman, multiply bankrupt
          serial defrauder of investors and banks
          money launderer
          serial small-businesses stiffer
          serial recipient of illegal loans
          convicted defraudster of students to the tune of $100s of millions
          appointer of grotesquely unqualified incompetents and crooks to important, responsible federal positions
          decimator of the US State Dept., EPA, FDA and other agencies
          continuous violator of the Emoluments Clause of the US Constitution
          destroyer of international alliances and corrupter of the reputation of the USA among nearly every ally
          traitor

          who found himself insidiously catapulted into the White House by Vladimir V. Putin:

          KGB overseer of false flag apartment bombings
          probable serial killer of dissidents and journalists, and lately more and more unfortunates associated with his Trump black op
          gangsta-state war criminal in Chechnya & Syria
          world-historical kleptocrat
          subverter of great liberal democracies

          among a multitude of other crimes, beginning with his days in Leningrad/St. Petersburg.

          But who among us hasn’t given “bad advice”!!! Pardon some of us who don’t care to move along just yet, tho …

          • George Michalopulos says:

            As opposed to Hillary? BenGHAziiii! (among other things).

            Seriously, because of what she did in Libya and Syria –the flow of tens of thousands of migrants to Europe–she’ll go down in history as another Attila the Hun in terms of human devastation.

            • Bonhoeffer says:

              Early-onset moral dementia? Must be it.

              ASSAD: “The Devil made me do it! HRC forced me to devolve into a mass murderer of women and children and to let loose hordes of sadistic torturers on tens of thousands of my own people, to reduce almost all the cities of our land to rubble to save them! The Russian Christians helped so much, too; they bomb our pediatric hospitals and first-responders & ambulances but those are blessed deeds, because Orthodox hierarchs sprinkled holy water on the arsenal & aircraft and intoned prayers! And anyway, Fr. Reardon assured me years ago it was all OK, since God willed I be a war criminal because “the Christians”!”

              Monstrous demonic tyrants just love them some embarrassing, stupid rubes and their deranged fantasies about God. Good luck with that.

              I guess we’ll see if the little snowflakes will be protected from cold, hard facts by the Putin shills and dezinformatsiya hoes of Monomakhos and their safe space for treason.

              • George Michalopulos says:

                You assume an awful lot regarding the Syrian civil war. It’d be wise to be more circumspect. After all, we were all assured that Saddam had WMDs. Why the Neocons even told us that the Arabs of Iraq were ripe for democracy. That all they wanted to do was hurry up and get access to Arabic translations of The Federalist Papers.

                OK, I made up that last sentence but you get the drift.

          • Joseph Lipper says:

            Bonhoeffer,

            You have to admit, there is a certain realness to this blog. These are real people honestly expressing their real opinions on things. Sometimes it gets ugly. Personally, I believe the worst thing for people is to become enclosed into their own personal safe spaces, whether they be conservative safe spaces, liberal safe spaces, or just plain safe spaces. George is willing to post most of what people want to share and engage discussion on. I don’t always agree with what George posts, and he probably doesn’t always agree with what I post, but I appreciate his willingness to facilitate discussion.

            • George Michalopulos says:

              Thank you Mr Lipper. Both for the compliment as well as for the insight: this blog is a “safe space” for freedom of speech. I believe in the First Amendment and whatever faults President may or may not have, that Amendment is just as secure under him as is the Second.

              If I may add this: about a few years ago I noticed that several Corporate Media blogs no longer allowed comments. The reason was because the overwhelming majority of commentators were not believing the propaganda. That’s when I knew that the tide was turning; that the liberal media narrative was not as secure as we had been led to believe. In like manner La Drezhlo likewise doesn’t not allow comments.

              I’ll allow as much commentary as possible (usual caveats against defamatory comments and gratuitous cursing). Those who actually sign their names will be given more flexibility since they’re putting themselves out on the line in ways that anonymous or pseudonymous posters don’t.

              • Bonhoeffer says:

                If I may add this: about a few years ago I noticed that several Corporate Media blogs no longer allowed comments …blahblahblah …

                What are you yammering about? Name one.

                • George Michalopulos says:

                  Huffington Post, Salon, etc.

                  • Bonhoeffer says:

                    Trumpistas lie by nature, huh? No respect for facts or the truth, you just make up crap and fling it against the wall to see what sticks in the heads of the simple and credulous. Your tactics are clear enough, it’s the motives that are sorta murky. Thieves, liars and murderers and their eager bootlickers and accomplices do what they gotta do to get by, I guess.

                    The faith you profess to hold teaches that liars end up in the pit. I believe there’s a whole commandment about it. Shouldn’t you take the admonitions of your alleged faith more seriously?

                    Wrong about both. Salon, which allows comments and always has, is hardly “corporate media”. It’s a web offshoot of the SF Examiner and has never made a penny. HP’s moderated comment platform operates via Facebook.

          • cynthia curran says:

            My disappointment in Trump is his taking down Jeff Sessions. Why, did everyone of the right think he was such a hero when he attack Sessions

            • Anonymouse says:

              Sessions is a decent guy, but he turned out to be too collegial to help drain the swamp. Don’t be surprised if there’s a resignation and recess appointment.

              • George Michalopulos says:

                I love Jeff Sessions because he and Steve Bannon are the heart and soul of Trumpian sovereignty. He’s done some fabulous thing on the Sanctuary City front, deportations, etc. but he’s wasting time on marijuana and I really don’t like his asset forfeiture program. It’s way too much putting the cart before the horse in that it clearly violates the plain reading of the Fifth Amendment. He also should be going after Hillary, Obama and finding out about what happened to Seth Rich. Comey should be indicted by now and Mueller fired.

                Personally, I think Trump and he have been playing kabuki theater. Ever since Trump laid into him, all of a sudden he’s become St Sessions to the Swamp. My hunch is that Trump has immunized him against criticism.

    • Anonymouse says:

      Mother Angelica upheld Roman church teaching though, and called down hellfire occasionally on those who dared question it.

      Sr. Vassa is too busy giving hugs.

  16. Christopher says:

    “…This is the age of the “postmodern self,” an amalgam of symbolic interchanges and interpretations that aren’t anchored or rooted in an organic, authentic way of life any more: everything is an interpretation, a choice, a preference, an unfolding of the individual as he or she sees fit to “create.”…As an academic, surely she is aware of the vision of humanity presented in the Church’s theology. Why not guide one to its discovery? ”

    Excellent line of questioning Stephen and one that deserves real attention. My working theory is that while Sr. Vassa and most of our other working Orthodox academics are “aware” of the Church’s anthropology (i.e. our “vision of humanity”), like the rest of us it has not fully come down into their hearts yet. For most of us this is a non issue for the rest of the Church because we don’t speak for, in, about, or to the Church or those outside of her. Academics on the other hand have a role of speaking for, in, about, and to the Church in an “authoritative” way (i.e. one based on “truth” in that Francis Bacon sort of way, scholarship, history, etc.).

    Orthodox academics have another problem that is vividly painted by your post – Academia itself is THE institution where the modern Cartesian Self, the “hyper self-conscious awareness, and historical exhaustion” is most thoroughly anchored and exalted. It is also the place where the Christian understanding of anthropology is most rejected. Who else but Christ Himself could enter Hell (oops, I mean Academia) and return – let alone raise anyone else? Orthodox Academics like to defend their enterprise and partnership with the modern Academy (of either the Roman Catholic or secular variety) by pointing to the Fathers and Saints who had thorough Greek educations themselves. This is true, but this discounts (or simply ignores) the fact that there was a qualitative difference between classical Greco-Roman education and the modern Academy. They keep telling us about the benefits, but they also keep downplaying how the modern Academy is so obviously rubbing off on them.

    In any case, your point about all this and so much more being symptomatic of our age is spot on I think.

  17. Even as an Orthodox Christian, never heard of Sister Vassa, until today, which is probably a good thing. Worse neither have I ever heard about the gay guy with anal issues, but now my mind is visually scarred, by his story, of which I could not finish. Thanks George! I must control my curiosity.

    In so far as a gay or straight 14 year old BOYS encouraged to bring lovers home. Sorry Dr. Stankovich, Saunca, and Sister Vassa, 14 year old children should NOT be encouraged to have relationships, let alone bring them home, to do what? I get friends over, but with supervision. Even if my son was 24 I would not allow him to bring his girlfriend over to spend the night, or even be in his bedroom with her. Sister Vassa missed the boat on responsible discipline of children. Thankfully most have missed the boat as to ever hearing of her “SHOW” as well. I’ll stick with Mother Angelica of The RCC.

  18. Perhaps what doesn’t help is all the zeno estrogens. All the
    chemicals given off by cleaning detergents, zeno estrogens.
    What about soy? All the soy everywhere, estrogen, plant
    but estrogen. Infant formulas? The institutions are all feeding
    soy. It contains an Omega 6 linoleic acid and an Omega 3 but
    the 6 predominates and you have the spillover effect into
    Arachidonic Acid. AA is fat that goes into hormones that does
    stuff like inflammation, coagulates platelets for strokes and heart
    attacks, AA induces cellular proliferation for cancer activity, vaso-
    constriction, anyway that is according to the last science I read
    Dr. Barry Sears “The Zone” around 1997.

    Pretty much everything about the soy bean is deleterious however
    fermented it can render some useful properties. Soy is cheap, it is
    maleable, can endure 2000 degree heat bleaching hexane processing
    and taste like meat, a nothing burger, with lettuce and tomato, and
    its all plant estrogen, textured soy protean, that vegan chili we all eat
    during lent, fake news, it has similar properties to Monosodium Glutamate
    a known neuro-toxin. Just breach lent with some ham and eggs if you can’t do beans and rice. Tofu among Buddhist monks was called
    “white robes” because it dampened effects of testosterone to aid the
    monk calling so unless you are a monk Buddhist or otherwise you don’t
    want to drink soy milk has hormonal effects, possibly, soy is only recent
    anyway almost in everything in shopping market aisles.

  19. Dean Arnold says:

    I wasn’t sure where George was going exactly with this post … until he ended with Romans 1. Well done, George.

    Sr. Vassa bricked badly, and hasn’t apologized. She was on my list, but now she’s off of it.

    • Bonhoeffer says:

      Hypocrites always seek to terminate further discussion via a poorly applied reference to their misunderstanding of Romans 1. Romans 2 (and following), however, never seems to make an appearance in their pseudo-learned pontifications. LOL! I wonder why!

      • Michael Bauman says:

        Well, there it is. If we say anything is wrong with anyone’s behavior we are “judging”. Brother.

        • Bonhoeffer says:

          Michael, it’s amazing how different my experience of human beings seems from that of those who love wielding Romans 1 as a baseball bat to selectively beat up on non-heterosexuals. Honestly, are you another one of these strangely unobservant sorts who’ve somehow failed to notice that every one of the following serious failings show up regularly in heterosexuals, too?:

          “Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

          What’s your point?
          (If you ask me, little if anything that “homosexuals” get up to comes close in depravity to slaughtering the child in their womb, or consenting to their partner’s doing that — unless the mother’s life’s in danger, or in cases of rape or incest. To name just one common and abominable deed confined almost exclusively to “heterosexuals.”)

          • Michael Bauman says:

            Bonhoeffer, no. Two things: the normalization of homosexuality is literally being stuffed down our throats; it is amazing to me that folks who don’t agree with me are so creatively selective on what they retain of what I say and are so creative you are in interpreting what I say.

            So interpret away. Have fun with your fantasies.

            • Bonhoeffer says:

              The normalization of Trump (and Putin!) in the Church is what I would be far more concerned about, if I were you. The rest of your post is illiterate, solipsistic and vague gibberish.

              • George Michalopulos says:

                If the Church can “normlize” President Drone-killer (that would be Obama) then I don’t see a problem with the Church “normalizing” Trump (who’s never killed anybody).

                • Nate Trost says:

                  What a farcical assertion. Despite Trump’s refusal to take responsibility for anything, the office of the President, which he now inhabits, does have responsibility for deaths. And there has been a fair bit of that since January 20th. i.e.

                  http://www.thedailybeast.com/president-trumps-air-war-kills-12-civilians-per-day

                • Bonhoeffer says:

                  Drones at least targeted ISIS figures. Putin’s Holy Christian Aircraft Blessed by Russian Patriarchs intentionally bomb pediatric hospitals and ambulances, etc.

                  You need to catch up. Civilian deaths in Syria under Trump are already well into 4 figures, liar.

                • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says:

                  NEW YORK: July 19, 2017
                  Circular Communique from the Chancery of the Synod of Bishops
                  The Holy Synod, having received the recent text of a publicly-posted e-mail exchange, dated 2nd July 2017, between the Nun Vassa (Larin) and a correspondent, entitled “EMAIL OF THE WEEK: (from a mother, on MY SON IS HOMOSEXUAL),” together with follow-up correspondence, also posted publicly on 8th July 2017, is compelled to confirm to its flock and to all Orthodox Christians that the counsel contained therein is in contradiction to the Church’s teaching on sexuality, repentance and family life. It does not represent an Orthodox understanding of anthropology or theology, and in the counsel it purports to offer presents a grave spiritual danger to those who might follow it, in terms of their own understanding of sexuality, as well as in the rearing of children.
                  While it is not the norm to reply from the Office of the Holy Synod to materials posted on the internet, in this instance the wide readership of the various resources published by this author, who is an Orthodox monastic, has the potential to lead readers astray and we therefore feel compelled to issue a brief word to the faithful. It should be clear to men and women of faith that mere verbal acknowledgement, with regards to homosexuality, that “actively living it out is a sin,” is not sufficient to establish a text’s keeping with Orthodox teaching in the light of the Gospel, when the same text nevertheless equates homosexuality in numerous places to a “God-given gift, and cross,” or “one’s gift-and-cross of (homo)sexuality” — suggesting, in utter departure from all Christian teaching, that this or any means of behaviour which God identifies as sinful may be His deliberate bestowal upon some (thereby falling into the social trap of suggesting that “God made me that way”); further, that such an entrance into sin is “not a ‘choice’”; and moreover, rather than encouraging that a parent of a child identifying as homosexual should help him, with the Church’s loving care, to repent and seek healing unto redemption of soul and body and the fulness of life, instead suggest either that the child be encouraged to remain in his sin as a “humble presence in [his] parish,” falsely equating a consequent withdrawal of approach to the Holy Mysteries to the example St. Mary of Egypt, whose long struggle without Holy Communion was not due to her steadfastness in sin but to the extreme conviction of her utter repentance; or yet worse, that the parents of a child should seek out a parish that deliberately and knowingly “is acceptive of your son’s particular gift-and-cross,” once more ascribing homosexuality as a bestowal of God, encouraging at the same time the departure from ascetic transformation and the seeking out of a community that might wilfully abandon the Gospel teaching towards repentance, knowingly permitting the faithful to languish in their sin rather than be healed.
                  In these spiritually confused times, when many are being led astray by social norms that employ the pretensions of compassion to abandon the creation order and the teachings of Christ, which are the only true source of authentic compassion and genuine spiritual healing, there can be no room for ambiguity or false witness on such critical matters. Only the Gospel, which Christ proclaims in His Church, provides true spiritual medicine; all deviations from its life-creating message only contribute to the wounds and illness of an already-beleaguered society.
                  We instruct therefore that the contents of these publicly-posted materials be disregarded by the faithful as contrary to the teachings of the Gospel and pastorally harmful; that they be withdrawn and removed from any web sites or publications that seek authentically to represent Orthodox theological and pastoral teaching; and that in the future such materials be treated with most extreme reticence and caution.

          • We don’t have a lobby in the Church pushing for the acceptance of abortion. We do have a lobby pushing for the acceptance of sodomy. There’s the difference.

            • Joseph Lipper says:

              Fr. John, no, there is no serious lobby pushing for the acceptance of sodomy in the Church. I haven’t seen anything of this sort. Where do you see that?

              • George Michalopulos says:

                Try “Public Orthodoxy” or “The Wheel” for a start.

                • The GOA in particular encourages speakers with those leanings to speak, although wisely on other topics (GD from PO, different speakers at the Huffington Center of St Sophia in California sometimes co-leading with the priest who have spoken openly in celebratory support of the founder’s open homosexuality. They become well known, well liked and are like invisible heretical “leaven” eventually influencing people about this topic. The Trojan horse here is pretty obvious.

                • Joseph Lipper says:

                  Those blogs are lobbies for the acceptance of sodomy in the Church? Did you see a donation button that said, “Please donate money so that we can have sodomy in the Church”? I’m sorry, but I just don’t see it.

                • Joseph Lipper says:

                  George, I would hardly say that these two blogs constitute a serious lobby for the acceptance of sodomy in the Church. Sure, they might publish some very provocative and controversial pieces, but this does not make them powerful lobbies.

                  Are there Orthodox bishops or monasteries declaring that we must look into accepting sodomy in the Church? I don’t see it. If an active Orthodox bishop or monastery actually said that, I think they would be shut down very quickly.

                  • George Michalopulos says:

                    Joseph, if I may. The problem is insidious, taking a long term to work its magic. The Wheel had the support of Syosset, which saw fit to print one of their luminary’s editorials on the OCA Wonder blog. It was only taken down thanks to the uproar generated by people (some of which was instigated on Monomakhos).

                    Contemporaneous to the start of this blog, one of The Wheel‘s present eminences was a big player in Syosset circles. He was removed from his positions of authority as a result of controversy ginned up by this and other blogs.

                    • Joseph Lipper says:

                      George,

                      When I look at the oca.org website, I don’t see any rainbow flags. All I see is traditional Orthodoxy. Father John Matusiak’s excellent Q&A page is testament to this. No gay agenda there, and I don’t see any gay agenda on the GOA website either. Did I just not look hard enough? Is it hiding in some back cupboard?

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

                You better pay closer attention because they are there, and they are legion.

                Peter

              • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                This is where Lipper loses all credibility. “And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not.”

                • Joseph Lipper says:

                  I didn’t know I had any credibility to begin with. I’m just telling it like I see it.

                  • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                    By the way, Joseph, you made a point on another thread about what a “normal man” might say. I couldn’t respond because the thread had reached its limit for replies. But here’s what I would have said:

                    What a “normal man” would say would depend on (a) the language he is speaking, (b) the person or persons to whom he is speaking, and (c) the point he is trying to make. It happens that what a “normal man” might say to one person to make a certain point might actually be the opposite of what the same “normal man” might say to another person to make a different point. For example, Dionysius the Areopagite says that God does not exist. That’s not something we would tell a child or even many adults, but in the context of a discourse on apophatic theology a normal man might resort to such rhetoric to make the point that God certainly does not exist the way we normally think of things existing.

                    In the same way, a normal man might say that fathers and daughters relate to each other “heterosexually” when fathers treat their daughters like girls or women and not like boys or men, and daughters treat their fathers like men and not like women. In other words, they relate to each other as members of the other sex, which is what the word heterosexual means at base.

                    The average man might not use heterosexual this way, but that doesn’t mean that a “normal man” wouldn’t or shouldn’t. A normal man is using it right now to show you a different way of thinking more in keeping with Church teaching. The point is: There is more to heterosexuality than one’s choice of sexual partners.

                    • Joseph Lipper says:

                      Pdn. Brian Patrick Mitchell,

                      Do you tell people that you have a heterosexual relationship with your daughter, sister, and mother? Besides this being linguistically redundant, I think most people, if they heard that, they would stop, give a puzzled look, and then ask, “so you have sex with your daugher, sister, mother?”

                      If I heard someone say that, that’s how I would probably respond. And if you continued and said, “No, I am merely trying to point out that heterosexuality is more than one’s choice of sexual partners.” I would still have a puzzled look, and probably say “Oh, hmm.”

                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      It seems to me you are making a case, par excellence, for my argument that homosexuality, exactly like heterosexuality, is not one’s identity, but it is nevertheless organically indistinguishable from our fallen person, in this broken and fallen world of our sinfulness and disobedience. On my old website, I used the analogy of propreoception, a neurological phenomenon whereby we are unconsciously aware of the position of our body, of our individual limbs, in a 3d-matrix of space, even in total darkness (e.g. it is the basis of the roadside sobriety test, stand on one foot, tip your head back, close your eyes, and touch your index finger to your nose). But most importantly, it provides us our perception of ownership or possession of our own body; injuries or disease affecting the cerebellum have literally resulted in individuals losing a sense of possession of individual limbs, and rarely, their entire body). Employing this analogy, does sexual orientation define the person? Certainly not. Homosexuality is not of the creation of our God, “as it was in the beginning,” only a consequence of the fall of our humanity. But the reality in this world is that for some, it is inseparable from their perception of themselves as a person. Do heterosexuals “normally” think or perceive of themselves as heterosexual? Do we think, perceive, and interact with one another as “heterosexuals?” Of course not. It seems to me analogous to the question, “Do white people consciously think of themselves as white?” However, when you are a member of a vasty overwhelming minority, and inclusion necessarily is stigmatizing – if not threatening & dangerous – why is it somehow surprising that an individual would “over-emphasize” this identification? Unconsciously, however, exactly like heterosexuality, all sexuality in human beings is more than one’s choice of sexual partners.

                      For those who would argue that I am suggesting homosexuality is a fixed orientation that cannot be re-oriented, changed, or healed,” my response to you is this: I praise our God who delivers anyone by any means He sees fit:

                      Who is so great a God as our God? You are the God that does wonders: (Ps. 77:12)

                      If you tell me you were delivered from the passion of homosexuality by a sustained diet of canned Del Monte half-cling peaches in heavy syrup and the reading of the Akathist to St. Nicholas of Japan, I will join you in your thanksgiving for deliverance. But the moment you promote “your story” as a viable solution beyond your personal experience, I am your opponent. In no scientific discipline is it ever feasible, under any circumstance, to define, promote, attest, claim, or suggest “fact” or protocol based on anecdote. Anecdote serves one singular purpose in medical or other sciences: to indicate the need for research.

                      As I have said many, many times, I am ethically opposed to subjecting anyone to harm, and the clinical measure must always be to establish an acceptable “ratio of risk to harm” for any treatment protocol before implementation. None of the charlatans and creeps of reparative therapy for male homosexuality have ever bothered, and flat out lie about their “outcomes.” The reality is that re-orientation is a statistical improbability & ridiculously unlikely, and we desperately need to provide an open door leading back to the narrow path of chastity, forgiveness, and the True Physician.

                    • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                      Joseph: I did say that there are some things we do not tell children or even many adults because they lack to the discernment to understand our words. In your case, I have given you the benefit of the doubt, assuming that you have the discernment — but also believing that you refuse to use it because you are afraid of where it will lead.

                    • Joseph Lipper says:

                      Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell,

                      This word “heterosexual”, from what I understand, is only a 20th century creation. From I read, the 1901 Dorland Medical Dictionary apparently defined this term as an “abnormal or perverted appetite towards the opposite sex.” In 1923 the Merriam Webster Dictionary defined this as a “morbid sexual passion for the opposite sex.” And perhaps it is only later that people seem to take on a sense of sexual identity, perhaps beginning with the “sexual revolution” in the 1960’s, that people would begin to unashamedly call themselves “heterosexual”.

                      Indeed, heterosexuality can be a very nebulous term that can describe fornication, adultery, pedophilia, incest, and the general abuse of women by men.

                      The point I am making is that the word is problematic. We find in Genesis that God created Adam and Eve and blessed them as male and female, but not that he created and blessed them as heterosexual. It is only after the fall that Adam and Eve could even be considered as somehow “heterosexual”.

                    • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                      No, Joseph, the word heterosexual appeared first in the 19th century meaning just what it commonly means today. Richard von Krafft-Ebing used it that way in his 1886 book Psychopathia Sexualis without defining it, separating it out as a distinctive pathology, or giving any indication that it was not already in circulation at the time. Your later definitions obviously refer only to heterosexual pathology, not to heterosexuality in general. All along the word simply meant the opposite of homosexuality.

                      As for Genesis, God did not just “bless” Adam and Eve as male and female; He made them male and female and commanded them to “be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth.” (Gen. 1:28) If they fell before acting this command, so what?

                    • Joseph Lipper says:

                      Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell,

                      What I am saying is that the modernist concept of people identifying themselves as “heterosexual” really only begins with the collapse of the social institution of marriage which we see with the “sexual revolution” beginning in the 1960’s. The word “hetero-sexual” first appeared in 1886 in the context of an obscure medical book. This word “heterosexual” didn’t start to become commonplace until the “sexual revolution” in the 1960’s.

                      Heterosexuality is not the opposite of homosexuality. Virginity is the opposite of both heterosexuality and homosexuality. Chastity in marriage is akin to this virtue of virginity, and as Orthodox Christians, we are all called to seek out this virtue of chastity, whether we are single or married. Heterosexuality is a very broad word and with very broad and open meanings. Chastity is a much more narrowly defined term.

                      From what I have read, God created Adam and Eve as spiritual beings, like the angels, but with earthly bodies. They were created in the likeness of God and had dominion over the whole earth, including dominion over their earthly bodies.

                      Adam and Eve were enabled by God to “be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth” in a completely different and miraculous way than what would seem natural to a fallen and corrupt humanity. We see this today in the lives of the saints, many of whom were virginal, whose works of virtue have born fruit, whose works have multiplied, and whose works have replenished the earth.

                    • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                      Joseph, first you say heterosexuality means X and only X; then you say it’s “a very broad word and with very broad and open meanings.” You can’t have it both ways, and you can’t find your equation of heterosexuality and homosexuality as both opposites of virginity in Scripture or Tradition. God created us to relate heterosexually and condemns us for relating homosexually.

              • M. Stankovich says:

                Mr. Lipper,

                Your observation that “no serious lobby pushing for the acceptance of sodomy in the Church” is absolutely correct. Nevertheless, it is infinitely easier to focus on this “abomination” rather than to focus on the impending third lost generation of Orthodox young people who are indifferent, indignant, and see little or no value whatsoever in this antiquated, medieval “Faith of the Fathers” we leave to them; a faith which is now fully and completely an “American” production, likely “gifted” from a second or greater marriage, and where “religion” is exponentially a hundred times more compartmentalized than when Fr. Alexander Schmemann wrote “Problems of Orthodoxy in America” in 1965. And better yet, refer to homosexuality as “sodomy” to emphasize the poignancy of the impending moral “doom.” What gets attention is the accusation that Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco supposedly said that the Church is moving – “however glacially” – toward same-gender or even trans marriage (“Aha, aha!”), but who is questioning the morality of the ordained clergy engaging individuals – on any given Sunday – in the Sacrament of Marriage knowing in their heart the couple is likely to fail because they don’t want to embarrass the parents (big donors), grandparents (bigger donors), sponsors, or ultimately, the bishop. Keep moving, no news here… Now what is it again? Sodomists? Sodomites? Whatever…

                “But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man that opens not his mouth. Thus I was as a man that hears not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs.” (Ps. 38:13-14)

                • Great post Dr. S!

                  Way too much focus on Homosexuality. I suppose we just love missing that log in our own eye, type of thing. The Sin of homosexuality is a easy target, as many see it/them as a culture/identity so foreign to us, instead of a behavior. One of many sinful behaviors we all fall into.

                  Tough one though on Priests “knowing in their heart” a couple will fail. Hypothetical: What if the priest had such power, and was wrong one third of the time? Some Orthodox couples, and parents now go to Elders at Monasteries for a blessing before marriage. What if the Elder does not grant a blessing to marry? Are the Elders infallible? And what a burden and dilemma for the couple and parents going forward, or not, with wedding.

                  • Tim R. Mortiss says:

                    The issue has never been that of homosexuality itself, one sin among many. The issue is its acceptance in the culture at large, and in a great many churches which call themselves Christian; something that would have been unimaginable a few decades ago.
                    The thought police are implacable on this in the culture, as we all know, and the Church is hardly immune. The entry wedge is always “pastoral concern” and “compassion”. I saw it with my own eyes play out for decades among the Presbyterians. The pressure was inexorable, ending with openly gay clergy and elders, and “two daddy-two mommy” chats in the sanctuary with the kids during “childrens’ time”.

                    • The list of sins not accepted by our culture at large, is near zero. “Churches” that simply put a cross on a building, does not make it a Christian Church. Hell government sanctioned murder(abortion) has never really offended the culture, and millions killed in wars are cool, so long as our flag is The Righteous Flag, and I’m not talking about Religious wars. Welcome to the dark side, awaiting The Light.

                    • Joseph Lipper says:

                      Tim R. Mortiss,

                      Yes, many of the other Protestant Christian confessions outside of the Orthodox Church are structured on congregationalism, which leads to the political lobbying of various agendas and can lead to anything.

                      Congregationalism doesn’t belong in the Orthodox Church. It is very disconcerting when congregationalism creeps into Orthodox parishes, because once a parish takes on that mentality, anything can happen, and sometimes these parishes leave the Orthodox Church.

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

                  We don’t want to offend the big and bigger donors’ gay children as well. That’s why we are in this moral confusion…PERIOD!

                  • M. Stankovich says:

                    I do not believe we are in moral confusion, Peter. We are in a state of moral cowardice. While I’m sure there are cases as you describe, but they are minuscule and anomalistic by comparison, at 1000:1. For heaven’s sake, Peter, we have deceiver’s on this site claiming for seven month’s now that it is, in fact, the Partristic teaching of the Orthodox Church that it is perfectly acceptable to defy the sanctity of Christian Marriage to have sexual relationships with concubines; and women – whose glory is she who is “More honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim” – are “sewers,” intended to be silent and “spanked into submission,” and has free reign without constraint. But merely allude to anything that vaguely smells of homosexuality, and every self-righteous creep and Pharisee, bleeting the tell-tale jingoism of ego-compromised beta-male faggotry, will bring down the roof with side arms, stinking up the joint with testosterone.

                    Look around you. Another generation of Orthodox Christians is departing because the “legacy” we are delivering is not the joyous “good news” of the Day without End “when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. (1 Cor. 15:28). Blessed John Maximovitch wrote, “What is important is not victory or the position of a victor, but rather the labor of striving towards God and devotion to Him.” We seem to be satisfied with λογομάχίά, the dispute over words and trivial & empty things, too distracted to notice as so many wander away. And we imagine only these bishops will answer.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

                      I agree 100 percent. However, ROCOR did have the moral courage and immediately condemned Sister Vassa. Other jurisdictions need to do the same IF they want to remain true to Orthodoxy.

                      However, look at you. You are soundly Orthodox, uphold the Gospel and would have helped priests and Bishops in there “pastoral” duties towards those struggling with their sexuality and to reconcile themselves with the Church. Has any jurisdiction tapped you for this?

                      Was the Leadership 100 posting looking for someone like You? I truly believe not because an agenda is a foot that has nothing to do with you or I, but to change the Church WITHOUT changing her teachings. Very insidious if you ask me.

                      Even you have repeatedly asked your friend Fr. Arida to clarify his position, but has failed to do so unless I missed it.

                      So you know like I do what is going on and it is exactly what you said moral cowardice. I hope I am wrong, but do not think so.

                      Love you Michael. Take care buddy.

                      Peter

  20. Bonhoeffer says:

    Boenhoeffer, I’ll gladly allow Lexcaritas to answer for himself but your ignorance of scientific history cannot go unchallenged. The Ptolomeic (heliocentric) understanding of the solar system was scientific, not pseudoscientific, certainly not superstitious. It was based on the best understanding of the phenomena based on the best instruments available at the time.

    Irrelevant special pleading and red herrings! It got the facts completely inverted about the relative motions of the Earth and Sun and the alleged centrality of the Earth in the solar system! That was Sauna’s point. The Fathers had things backwards, and they taught the faithful falsely! Innocently so, but factually false nevertheless. And quite contrary to your false assertion, it was not “based on the best understanding of the phenomena based on the best instruments available at the time” — heliocentric theory was due almost entirely to a lack of proper insight into the nature of the phenomena, and to mythos-based speculations, leading to false assumptions about reality grounded in Pythagorean cosmology (which was also religious, incidentally. And Ptolemy, the other pioneer here, was himself a syncretic theologian. So, as usual, you don’t have the slightest clue or genuine insight into what you’re yammering about). Instrumentation as such was largely superfluous to this matter; it was insight that was lacking. With the proper insight, it would have been possible, with the observational tools of the time, to abandon this inversion of reality for the truth.

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Again, you’re totally missing the point. Science —real science–is not based on faith but on doubt. Every good scientific hypthesis is subject to falsifiability.

      The other point you miss is that it’s wrong to castigate the Church Fathers for believing what the science of their day said regarding a specific non-theological matter. Any more than you can criticize a modern churchman for slavishly adhering to global warclimate change.

      It may be true. It may not. Science is always subject to improvement.

      • Bonhoeffer says:

        Science is not “based on doubt.” It’s based on the desire to explore physical reality via the scientific method, a quest fueled by faith in the essential intelligibility of reality and in reason’s power to illuminate that reality and extend the horizons of genuine knowledge**. You’re ridiculous, and your phony rhetoric is a joke.

        And who was castigating the fathers? Although they were known to have pontificated pretentiously and falsely about matters on which they were inadequately informed — sometimes innocently, sometimes not so much — I was mainly concerned to point out Fr. Jacobse’s pretentiousness and dishonesty, and his cheap bullying of Saunca. Par for his course. And really, how ridiculous is it for a priest to cite Misha(!!!), Lexcaritas and George(!!!) et al. as reliable founts of insight and wisdom by which misconceptions are “… clarified in short order and appropriately so.” Que rico!!!

        **Cue the know-nothing pseudo-pietists of Monomakhos to wax all faux-profound about the shortcomings of human knowledge & science vis-a-vis theology. (Too bad this self-ascribed wisdom of yours failed to illuminate your minds to the point of permitting you to discern the grave unfitness of a grotesquely dishonest, incompetent and traitorous conman and omni-fraud for the office of president! Sad!)

        • George Michalopulos says:

          Well, again you’re wrong. If doubt did not drive science then we’d still believe that dryads inhabited rivers and sylphs frolicked in the woods.

          • Michael Bauman says:

            George, you mean they don’t?

            Whether there are actually nature spirits which I am inclined to believe there are or not, epiricism has tried to strip all mystery and wonder from creation and leave a desacralized creation which is then raped in the name of progress and man degraded.

            Good science cannot be done without a deep sense of the sacred.

          • Tim R. Mortiss says:

            Well, I know nothing of dryads, but I have myself seen sylphs frolic in the woods……

            Indeed, where willows shade the riverbank,
            one urged that I recline;
            she fed me figs and poured me full
            of pomegranate wine.

            Long time ago, though…..

            • George Michalopulos says:

              Tim, I’m going to post this vlog for your consideration. It’s about “synchronicity” but it has valuable insights about the scientific world view. I don’t necessarily agree with this guy (neo-pagan, etc.) but he’s got valuable insights. BTW, he’s also one of the guys that predicted Trump’s election.

              The impetus for this particular vlog is the discovery of a 19th century book about a certain German nobleman named “Baron Trump” who goes on voyages of discovery. He’s a child.

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33vPflv5jyk

              He’s more right about things in general than he’s wrong –and he’s completely wrong about Christianity but I cut him some slack because most people who are wrong-headed about Christianity are that way because the only Christianity they’re familiar with is the Reformation or post-Reformation Catholicism.

      • Bonhoeffer says:

        Any more than you can criticize a modern churchman for slavishly adhering to global warclimate change.

        LOL

        Always doubling down on the derp. Fascinating. It’s true that science is always subject to improvement. Clearly, however, you are not. You seem to grow ever more pig-headed and delusional. Sad!

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

          What is sad that you have bought the massive lie that is global warming, climate change, etc.

          Talk about sad.

          Peter

      • Bonhoeffer says:

        Overwhelmed amid the nearly bottomless and boundless pile of your absurd drivel, George, I overlooked this little morsel therein: that you fail to have a clue to the point of not knowing that Ptolemy’s model of the cosmos was geocentric – not heliocentric, as proved in this excerpt from your “correction” below! What a clown! How amusing are the “corrections” of the priests and illumined “faithful” of Monomakhos!

        … your[sic!] ignorance of scientific history cannot go unchallenged.

        The Ptolomeic (heliocentric) understanding of the solar system was scientific, not pseudoscientific, certainly not superstitious.

        Teacher, teach yourself!

        LOL

        • George Michalopulos says:

          OK, I made a mistake. Ptolomey’s view was geocentric. That’s a typo. My larger point still stands.

      • I think the point that Bonhoeffer (pls correct me if I’m wrong)is making is that The Church Fathers DIDN’T believe the emerging scientific views of their day because such views challenged their biblically held view of an “earth-centered universe.” This would have been a theological matter in their lifetime.

        • George Michalopulos says:

          Saunca, I see your point but to the best of my knowledge, no Church Father actively or willfully dismissed whatever the scientific consensus of his time. To be sure, one or two may be trotted out who disagreed with this or that scientist on one or two particular scientific phenomenon (although for the life of me nobody springs instantly to mind) but even here, the idea that there was a scientific “consensus” about a specific thing is dubious at best.

          Some scientists believed in the heliocentric view of the universe while most did not. The overwhelming majority of biologists believed that all genetic material was contained in the sperm and that the female was merely an incubator for the nascent human (the “homonculus theory”). Curiously, Chrysostom believed otherwise, that the woman likewise contributed her own genetic material, but that’s a story for another day.

        • Bonhoeffer says:

          Exactly, Saunca. Note, however, the lengths of contortion some here twist themselves into, their pseudo-learned conceptual pretzels, to elude having to gaze into the utterly obvious. But we know what marvelous scapegoats the wounded and erotically confused, the poor, immigrants, refugees, those of other races and faiths, make for hypocritical poseurs and ignoramuses such as these “good people.”

          Perhaps you’ve experienced George’s years of breathless, passionate paeans to the Chekist kleptocrat Putin, and lately to the conman/fraud/liar-autocrat-wannabe Trump — what sort of twisted and unclean spirit is this guy Michalopulos, anyway? It is obvious that he resonates deeply with these figures. It’s beyond bromance, into the truly worshipful. (cf. Revelation 14: 9-12)

          Moral cretins are always the loudest screamers about “morality” and “virtue” and “traditional values.” It’s all a pose.

          • George Michalopulos says:

            It’s funny how Putin is a “kleptocrat” but American politicians never are. Remind me again of how much money the Clinton Foundation raised during Mdme Clinton’s tenure as Sec of State. And how it all stopped when she lost her bid for president.

  21. Bonhoeffer says:

    Brian digresses inaptly:

    “In Christian terms cosmology is not about science. It is not about the relative movements of stars and planets. It is about Christ. The place God has desired for His habitation, the dust from which man was made and to which He united Himself by taking flesh of the holy Theotokos is that of the earth. Wherever God chooses to dwell, wherever the Uncontainable chooses to be contained is the center of the cosmos, the relative movements of heavenly bodies or any scientific ignorance of physical realities notwithstanding.”

    In Christian terms? The Ptolemaic and Pythagorean geocentric models of the solar system’s motions were *false* in physical, natural history terms — and neither were Christians, obviously. In addition to whatever mythopoetic, religious and cosmological baggage their philosophies carried, however, Ptolemy at least purported to be doing science, too, as that was understood at the time. Ptolemy styled himself an astronomer and wrote one (extant) book about it. Pythagoras was probably a pagan priest, though we know little about him, and he lived in the 6th century BCE. Long before Christ.

    Now the fact that the fathers incorporated this false science as a component of their consensus and worldview was Saunca’s simple point. The implicit suggestion was that they may have been wrong about some other things, too. And in fact, they were. But if you read them yourself, you’ll note that often, when asserting the truthfulness and facticity of these (false) notions, they did so in the context of speaking about nature, natural history, even what we might call science, today. These facts support Saunca’s case — what else might they have been wrong about? They are not to be regarded as infallible; and anyone who is at all acquainted with the vast corpus of their writings soon discovers how often they disagreed with each other about matters religious, spiritual, exegetical and so forth.

    That y’all continue to dig in and double down while avoiding facing this, and so many other, perfectly obvious fact(s) is not without amusement value. One is entertained, but at the same time disturbed. Bonhoeffer’s seemingly ever-relevant warning calls to me yet again.

    What is it with you people and this constant shifting of goalposts in discussion: the plethora of red herrings and straw man arguments, the dark cornucopia of logical fallacies. Frequenting this place is guaranteed to corrupt nearly anyone’s mind, causing their IQs to plummet, and risks plunging the unwary reader into gross conceptual darkness. Good Lord, they might even descend all the way to the abyss of deluding themselves that they were Christians while voting for and ***still supporting*** Donald Trump! Mirabile dictu!

    • George Michalopulos says:

      That’s a load of hogwash Bonhoeffer. You’re continuing to misunderstand narratives and paradigms. Ancient man saw in the stars much more than gaseous bodies. Deep spiritual meaning was extant in rocks and trees as well. He viewed himself as part of a larger cosmic whole and interpreted “science” within those terms.

      BTW, on this blog it’s “BC” and “AD”. You can look for the post-Christian stuff elsewhere.

      Also, in the Age of Trump, political correctness is being overturned.

      • Bonhoeffer says:

        Welp!
        THE AGE OF TRUMP

        lol

        Psalms 37 — 34Wait for the LORD and keep His way, And He will exalt you to inherit the land; When the wicked are cut off, you will see it. 35 I have seen a wicked, violent man Spreading himself like a luxuriant tree in its native soil. 36 Then he passed away, and lo, he was no more; I sought for him, but he could not be found.…

    • M. Stankovich says:

      Bonhoeffer,

      I sense that, like me, you are “passionate” in your advocacy. I find this admirable. However, you seemed to have already discovered that, while this can be an engaging and entertaining site for discussion of theological, moral, and ethical issues within the Orthodox Church, it is also a “for-credit” elective course at the Trump University. I’ll just bet you were unaware. Store that away, FYI.

      I believe your explanation of the Holy Fathers innocently relying on the contemporaneous information available to them is best described as imprecision. It most certainly proved to be wrong with time, discovery, and revelation, but nevertheless, absolutely wrong. One finds in the writings, for example, of Sts. Gregory of Nyssa, Basil the Great, Maximus the Confessor, Symeon the New Theologian, John of Damascus, and Gregory Palamas principles of human physiology established by Aristotle. These “physiological” principles – allusions as to the “functions” of the collection of muscles and assorted veins & arteries, valves, etc. that comprise the human heart – affected the discussion in our own age of whether the heart was the “receptacle” of the soul, and should the church permit transplantation. Further, as you said, imprecision did extend widely among the Fathers who were widely scattered, who frequently wrote in contexts we are not provided, or as Fr. Patrick once commented about some ridiculous reliance on the “authority” of an obscure Father’s obscure comment, “He was having a bad day.” We have Councils, and we have our Holy Tradition.

      [a side note: precisely as I finished the above, seated at the nurses’ station, I noticed on a monitor a too-heavy-to-try-it jamoke scale an approx 10′ wall and fall over. No door here is locked! He apparently had called someone to bring him meth on the Lord’s day. He broke his wrist. Returning to our story…]

      Imprecision is significantly different than bias and deception. Bias is a systematic error that is purposeful, sourced in ignorance, arrogance, and agenda, and as you have duly noted several times, attempts to railroad conclusion by force, intimidation, and volume. Its primary “evidence” is nearly always anecdotal, such that gut-level “emotion” is necessarily raised to the level of empirical evidence, and somehow, if you are willing to make a case, this is sufficient, in and of itself, to justify your “right to be heard” regardless of how inept, foolish, inane, or ludicrous your claim might be. In other words, the once essential need to establish an “‘assessment of methodological quality” has now become gathering a herd of anonymous supporters who live to be “outraged.” The tip-off to its origin, as I see it? They go after you, and personally. Whatever… Do what you can do.

      • George Michalopulos says:

        Boenhoeffer, the only “contortion” going on is your desire to sanction sodomy at all costs, even going so far as to distort science and/or elevate it to a level of epistemology it doesn’t (nor seeks) deserve.

        Remember, up until 1977, the APA listed homosexuality as a malady and perversion. Were they wrong then? If so, then science was wrong. And if it was wrong then, then why can’t it be wrong today?

        • Bonhoeffer says:

          Boenhoeffer, the only “contortion” going on is your desire to sanction sodomy at all costs, even going so far as to distort science and/or elevate it to a level of epistemology it doesn’t (nor seeks)[sic] deserve.

          Oh, dear.
          Excuse me! “Sanction sodomy”? Pray, where and when did I do that, exactly?

          lol

          Really, George – pretty sure I haven’t ventured a single word about anal intercourse as such, or intimated anything of the sort. If that’s even what you mean. (What the hell you mean is frequently mysterious. For example: what on earth is this supposed to communicate: “elevate it to a level of epistemology it doesn’t (nor seeks)[sic] deserve.” Level of epistemology — is this just you trying to sound all smart or sumthin’?)

          I ask with real concern: Could it be that some of you spend more of your psychic chi on that particular activity than is perhaps advisable, or even honest? And isn’t this obsession a bit indecent? The Okie doth protest way too much, methinks!

          • George Michalopulos says:

            Well, let’s put our cards on the table, shall we? Do you believe that sodomy should be sanctioned by society and thence the Church? Yes or no.

            • Bonhoeffer says:

              I really don’t want to wade into that sordid swamp in your head, George. Thanks anyway.

              I support the apostolic teaching of the Church.

          • George Michalopulos says:

            Actually, it’s the anti-Trump Apparat that appears to be extremely touchy. Have you seen Sebastian Gorka tear apart three of the Fake News anchors? Or Shepherd Smith actually scream at a guest? Or Morning Joe have a public mid-life crisis?

            Then again, I haven’t seen any Trumpistas or GOPers for that matter get in a bus and slaughter Democrats. Or GOP Senators scream “Treason!” as did the man-child Tim Kaine.

            We could go on and on.

        • M. Stankovich says:

          Mr. Michalopulos,

          The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association is a compendium of mental disorders for diagnostic and epidemiological purposes only. On this site it has taken on an “existential” character, whereby it would seem to convey social and moral denouement for which it was never intended to convey. For a typical clinician in a typical clinical setting of any typical experience and practice, its sole value is to provide a typical diagnostic code for the most common and statistically typical conditions for which most Americans seek out assistance, in order for the clinician to bill for insurance reimbursement. This is absolutely no different than your primary care physician billing your health insurance under the ICD-10 coding system of the World Health Organization. In fact, here in San Diego County, CA, any and all mental health services affiliated with Health & Human Services and MediCal (CA’s version of the federal Medicaid program) dumped the DSM-V in 2016 and uses the ICD-10 exclusively. The DSM is headed for the dumpster, take a deep breath.

          • George Michalopulos says:

            I understand Dr S. Diagnoses of medical and psychiatric conditions are not infallible and thus do not arise to the level of “hard science” (i.e. physics, chemistry, etc.). Nevertheless, modern medicine is still very based on observation (hypothesis) and materialism (in a good way: we don’t say that gremlins are the cause of a certain patient’s paranoia for example).

            • Diagnosis is largely absent from medicine today. The simplest thing like a fungal invasion of the lung can go undetected and missed by physicians for months while the patient suffers from repeated tertiary, misdiagnosed as primary, infections and incessant coughing. Root causes are not the primary concern of doctors within their operating environment. They rule out and treat. For something like homosexuality; it isn’t killing the patient, they might think or actually enjoy it, so it is not treated as a higher order malady. Given the fact that there is political activism to stop even the thought that it is a disease or malady; it is highly unlikely even fair minded research would be done and if so; accepted.

              There will need to be major changes in medicine before we see anything substantive investigating the ’causes’ of homosexuality. But I had a jerk friend who had a friend who said if you break up with me, I’m going with girls. So, my perspective. Environmental causes and incomplete development of the human, which is why I am adamantly opposed to placing the burden of acceptance that is is healthy and normal to be gay on children who are incompletely developed. And, medically speaking, from a laymans perspective, it seems wrong for a clinician to advise a child anything other than it is too soon to decide. Much like the age of consent; no doctor ought say, ‘okay, you’re gay’ Because of the implicit connotations and because the patient might act. But, from my understanding, it is far worse today. A doctor cannot refute or correct or suggest take some time to think it over?

              What happens when a 14 year old goes to the doctor and says I’m gay?

            • Michael Bauman says:

              George, what of St. Luke of Sevastopol? One of his dianostic techniques for a patient presenting with schizophrenia was to put out four small glasses of water, one of which was Holy Water. If the patient was able to drink all four, he was referred to a psychiatrist. If he could not drink the Holy Water, he was referred to a priest.

              The materialism of medicine combined with empiricism has reaped benefits, but it also leaves people vastly under/over or incorrectly treated at times. The ability of the diagnostician to observe and listen to non-empirical and non-material facts is crucial to a full and proper diagnosis.

              • George Michalopulos says:

                Michael, I didn’t know that! Fascinating! Still, it’s not non-scientific in that it sets up two experiments: a control and a placebo (if you will).

                Again, fascinating.

          • Michael Bauman says:

            Good news because Michael S, you do have to acknowledge that the DSM was often used in recent years as a fundamentalist incorrectly uses the Bible. To support and propagate an anti-Christian ideology that had little or nothing to do with actual treatment.

            • Commonly known in psychiatry circles that DSM became a tool for managed care insurance company reimbursement. DSM V was widely opposed within the APA due to its lack of scientific backup (despite claims) and the impact of political agendas was manifest in quite problematic ways re sexuality, gender, abortion, and pedophilia. I left the APA in protest after many years once I studied their positions on many issues often considered on this blog. Agree with Dr. MS that the APA is truly non-Orthodox and I could not in good conscience be a member.

      • Bonhoeffer says:

        Dr. Stankovich, your lucid analysis of the etiology of bias (and deception) is interesting, and I think it might be timely to apply it to a better understanding of how people like Michalopulos, Misha, Papoutsis, Dino and many others on this blog justify their treasonous sympathies and synergy with neo-Chekist subversion of our political system and its cultural norms — in the name of Christ, no less, and under cover of “the Church.” It isn’t clear to me why Putin’s more and more autocratic Russia is a superior political arrangement to our American Constitution and its separation of powers, liberal democratic polities more generally, the rule of law rather than of corrupt, thieving, lying and violent men, a free & independent press not subject to murder (in the case of Russia) or intimidation and exclusion, as in Trumpland (so far), an independent judiciary, contempt for fraudulent disinformation peddlers & vile propagandists, checks and balances limiting plutocracy, kleptocracy and kakistocracy, and so forth. The psychology of these person’s sinister affections intrigues me.

        • Hey Bonnie,
          You know nothing of my beliefs, if you did, one thing you would know is that I’ve never been a defender of Putin, Stalin,Assad, or even the last Tsar of Russia. I am quick to forgive, so please know that I forgive your assumptions, and self righteous hypocritical persona. It would do you some good to re-read your first post, on Monomakhos, which I actually enjoyed.

          • Bonhoeffer says:

            Dino, I alluded to your affection and enthusiastic support for Trump, who anyone sane, honest, informed and sentient now deeply suspects is Putin’s successfully implanted wannabe-subverter-in-Chief of our Constitutional republic. It looks to us as if he hoped Trump would menace the Atlantic Alliance, NATO, the State Dept., the free and independent press, the rule of law, the reputation of the US with its many allies, make a mockery of the Constitution, and lay the groundwork for a “post-Soviet” kleptocracy on the model of the “post-Soviet” Russian Federation — among a multitude of other destructive and mischievous errands. You’ll be hearing much more about all this soon, in overwhelming detail. Trust me.

            I take you at your word that you don’t defend Putin, Stalin, Assad (and even Nicholas II) — though I hadn’t claimed that you did, and therefore I don’t think I need to ask forgiveness for an assumption I didn’t make about your views on those fellows (Nicholas II is the rather odd man out in this group, if I may say so).

            If, however, you care to repent of your very strong previous support for Mr. Trump, then I’m happy to absolve you of my disapproval for that. But as Fr. Webster has rushed in, so breathlessly, to point out, who am I? Why, I’m nobody at all, just a “coward hiding in anonymity!” Not unlike most of the other posters here, who are, however, selectively exempt from his indignation, it appears.

            (One quite interesting example among the exempt: We clearly recall Fr. Webster’s publicly expressed fondness for the anonymous Misha and, implicitly, his extremist, not to say utterly treasonous, views, a poster and featured essayist here whom he wished to contact privately, and meet in person. And Archpriest Webster mischaracterizes me as incendiary! That cyber-rendezvous made quite an impression, and I doubt only on me! Another now-ROCOR clerical poster here, a Deacon B.P. Mitchell, who once served at the DC OCA cathedral, was also most eager to meet up with this objectively radical, anti-democratic and pro-autocratic extremist. Mr. Mitchell practically made a public date with him. It’s all on the public record.)

            So, anyway, who cares what I think …

        • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says:

          Whoever you are, “Bonhoeffer,” you forfeit any credibility when you characterize “people like Michalopulos, Misha, Papoutsis, Dino and many others on this blog” as “treasonous” and “sinister.” Such ridiculous, gratuitous, incendiary rhetoric disqualifies you, particularly as a coward hiding in anonymity, from further consideration on this blog. That’s the cost of false discipleship.

          • Bonhoeffer says:

            The adjectives which arouse your indignation were clearly qualifiers of sympathies and affections, not persons, Father. Read better.

            That’s the cost of false discipleship.

            Projection so transparent is poor technique, I think. Tut, tut.

      • M. Stankovich(my second favorite poster) proclaims after 2.5 paragraphs:”In other words, the once essential need to establish an “assessment of methodological quality” has now become gathering a herd of anonymous supporters who live to be “outraged.”
        Of which Mr./Mrs. Bonnhoeffer seems the most outraged of all. No one is saving the world here. It’s just the new digital kafenio. Relax take a seat, and enjoy the coffee, and conversation. Please don’t take yourselves too seriously. No one likes bitter coffee!

        OR, in other words, without wasting three long paragraphs: “We all need, someone, we can lean on.” Right Doctor?

  22. Bonhoeffer says:

    Wherever God chooses to dwell, wherever the Uncontainable chooses to be contained is the center of the cosmos, the relative movements of heavenly bodies or any scientific ignorance of physical realities notwithstanding.

    Implicit in this sublime formulation, is, alas, the very dubious proposition that y’all, who purport to be the very locus of the Body of Christ on Earth, as Orthodox Christians, are similarly to be regarded as the nearest thing in this vale of tears to God — at least for those of us who reside in the outer darkness, separated from your good selves by our aversion to all of your nonsense. We cannot fail to observe how ridiculous and insupportable your opinions often are, how utterly vile, even borderline treasonous, your political affections, how ignorant, how deluded, how disgustingly self-righteous. How primitive your psyches, how Philistine your values. One could go on and on.

    Forgive me, a sinner, for pointing out these unpleasant realities!

    • Michael Bauman says:

      “This is the faith that established the universe…”. The Synodikon of Orthodoxy.

      Our Lord God and Savior DID incarnate here, in human form and substance. He still retains our human form and substance, except without sin.

      What is you point? Your comment makes no sense.

      • I thought he made his point rather well; and it makes perfect sense, as sense of this sort goes, which why I found it to be revealing.

        Our ignorant, deluded, disgustingly self-righteous, primitive psyches as Orthodox Christians are not to be left without wise correction, presumably out of the brotherly love that exudes from his every word. My goodness! The Fathers were wrong about the sun revolving around the earth (as were the psalmists and prophets, Philistines to a man). Don’t you realize that this surely calls everything we know of Christ and His Church into serious question? And perhaps even worse, we can no longer find simple beauty in that song from Fiddler on the Roof.

        Sunrise, Sunset

        • Bonhoeffer says:

          Actually, Brian, I do believe, or hope, that many Orthodox Christians are members of Christ’s Mystical Body, together with some Catholics, Jews, Protestants and others — probably Muslims and Buddhists, too, and so forth. It’s just that I see scant evidence of His Real Presence in many of y’all, judging from what we can read here. Though you clearly would have others think so, by your profession and association, and are constantly sending out virtue signals to that end. But talk is cheap, as they say.

          Anyway, I certainly hope this blog doesn’t fairly represent American Orthodox Christians! But I doubt very much that it does.

          A minimum of attention to what I actually wrote would have prevented your gross misreading of my point, which I wanted to clarify. The rest of your post seems silly and foolish and unworthy of further comment — though revealing, indeed. Thanks for sharing.

          • Anonymouse says:

            No unbaptized person is part of Christ’s body. No one who is not baptized into his death has a part in his resurrection.

            Check your bible sometime.

            • Bonhoeffer says:

              Let me guess: you used to be Assembly of God, or Pentecostalist? Or maybe some other fundamentalist, non-denominational Protestant group. Antiochian now?

              • Fr. Herman Schick says:

                Mein lieber herr, historically, and even today, plenty of Lutherans would agree with Anonymouse on that point.

              • Anonymouse says:

                Your guess is wrong. But surely you’re not engaging in ad hominem? There is a wealth of Orthodox theology which states baptism is necessary for salvation. I stand with St. Chrysostom and others in this. I know that hurts some people’s feelings, but that doesn’t really matter.

                Are you taking an underhanded swipe at the Bible? Are you dismissing it? Have you even read it?

                You see, God has this thing about becoming the manifest member of something. The Jews had to enter the covenant by circumcision or they were not God’s people. Now we enter the Church and are saved through baptism. A person cannot be in the body of Christ apart from baptism.

            • Tim R. Mortiss says:

              How about the thief on the cross?

            • johnkal says:

              Anonymouse,I did check my Bible and read a story about a thief who died on t a cross next to Jesus. Also many OT personalities are part of Christ’s body and were not baptized. I try to be very careful about making absolute statements even though I believe in absolutes.

              • Anonymouse says:

                These all occurred before the establishment of the Church, and baptism in particular, which was a fundamental change in the relationship between God and man.

                The only exception I am aware of is baptism by blood, when a person spontaneously chooses martyrdom for Christ and has no chance to be baptized. but this is still a form of baptism.

        • Billy Jack Sunday says:

          No, it’s okay

          In Soviet Russia, sun revolves around earth

  23. One could go on and on.

    Well, one can anyway. Thank you for this revealing comment. You’ll have to excuse me. The bus is departing for Gath.

    • Bonhoeffer says:

      I beg you, don’t leave me in suspense! Surely there’s another bus to Gath — pray, share with me something of this revelation you say I have mediated to you, my friend.

      (By the way, I can always discern a Trump voter, even in cyber-discussion. They’re so, I don’t know, what’s the word … so touchy, these days. One understands …

  24. Fr. George Washburn says:

    If ‘Ol Bonnie was taking a poke at smug Orthodox triumphalism, as it seemed to me he was, then I think he has found his way to what is sometimes called a ‘target-rich environment.’

    • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

      This just in (with quotation marks adjusted for quotation of quotations):

      NEW YORK: July 19, 2017
      Circular Communique from the Chancery of the Synod of Bishops

      “The Holy Synod, having received the recent text of a publicly-posted e-mail exchange, dated 2nd July 2017, between the Nun Vassa (Larin) and a correspondent, entitled ‘EMAIL OF THE WEEK: (from a mother, on MY SON IS HOMOSEXUAL),’ together with follow-up correspondence, also posted publicly on 8th July 2017, is compelled to confirm to its flock and to all Orthodox Christians that the counsel contained therein is in contradiction to the Church’s teaching on sexuality, repentance and family life. It does not represent an Orthodox understanding of anthropology or theology, and in the counsel it purports to offer presents a grave spiritual danger to those who might follow it, in terms of their own understanding of sexuality, as well as in the rearing of children.

      “While it is not the norm to reply from the Office of the Holy Synod to materials posted on the internet, in this instance the wide readership of the various resources published by this author, who is an Orthodox monastic, has the potential to lead readers astray and we therefore feel compelled to issue a brief word to the faithful. It should be clear to men and women of faith that mere verbal acknowledgement, with regards to homosexuality, that ‘actively living it out is a sin,’ is not sufficient to establish a text’s keeping with Orthodox teaching in the light of the Gospel, when the same text nevertheless equates homosexuality in numerous places to a ‘God-given gift, and cross,’ or ‘one’s gift-and-cross of (homo)sexuality’ — suggesting, in utter departure from all Christian teaching, that this or any means of behaviour which God identifies as sinful may be His deliberate bestowal upon some (thereby falling into the social trap of suggesting that ‘God made me that way’); further, that such an entrance into sin is ‘not a “choice”’; and moreover, rather than encouraging that a parent of a child identifying as homosexual should help him, with the Church’s loving care, to repent and seek healing unto redemption of soul and body and the fulness of life, instead suggest either that the child be encouraged to remain in his sin as a ‘humble presence in [his] parish,’ falsely equating a consequent withdrawal of approach to the Holy Mysteries to the example St. Mary of Egypt, whose long struggle without Holy Communion was not due to her steadfastness in sin but to the extreme conviction of her utter repentance; or yet worse, that the parents of a child should seek out a parish that deliberately and knowingly ‘is acceptive of your son’s particular gift-and-cross,’ once more ascribing homosexuality as a bestowal of God, encouraging at the same time the departure from ascetic transformation and the seeking out of a community that might wilfully abandon the Gospel teaching towards repentance, knowingly permitting the faithful to languish in their sin rather than be healed.

      “In these spiritually confused times, when many are being led astray by social norms that employ the pretensions of compassion to abandon the creation order and the teachings of Christ, which are the only true source of authentic compassion and genuine spiritual healing, there can be no room for ambiguity or false witness on such critical matters. Only the Gospel, which Christ proclaims in His Church, provides true spiritual medicine; all deviations from its life-creating message only contribute to the wounds and illness of an already-beleaguered society.

      “We instruct therefore that the contents of these publicly-posted materials be disregarded by the faithful as contrary to the teachings of the Gospel and pastorally harmful; that they be withdrawn and removed from any web sites or publications that seek authentically to represent Orthodox theological and pastoral teaching; and that in the future such materials be treated with most extreme reticence and caution.”

      • Bonhoeffer says:

        Here’s a reputable introduction to a weightier, far more substantive and timely subject, on which the Holy Synod might issue a circular communique to its American faithful. Broader knowledge about these matters would be very relevant in these strange days, don’t you think?

        Oh wait … that would expose your Ba’al and arouse inconvenient questions about the Pious One, Protector of Traditional Values, the New Vladimir the Great.

        Never mind.

      • I have waited several days now to see any comment on – or even mention of – this excellent communiqué from the OCA Synod of Bishops. I thank the protodeacon for posting it. I have to wonder: why is there always criticism of OCA bishops when they are perceived to have failed, but little or no affirmation is expressed when they uphold and rightly divide the Word of Truth?

        Doubtless some will reply that these are mere words and that some of these same bishops continue to tolerate clergy in their charge whose academic alliances, intentionally vague statements, and dubious pastoral practices are as worthy of public rebuke as the nun Vassa’s correspondence. Any criticism of that sort would not be entirely unmerited. Nevertheless, this is a timely communiqué, exceptional in its clarity, and one that is worthy of a godly episcopate.

        This passage is among the most poignant, as it directly addresses the godless lie that constitutes the ‘wedge’ that is always employed to shame the faithful into acquiescence by intentionally perverting the compassion all Christians are commanded to have for their brethren. It calls out this deception for what it is and points clearly to the vast and unbridgeable chasm between truly healing, godly, Christian compassion and the false, deadly, so-called ‘compassion’ of this world that is content to leave a person in sickness and delusion.

        “…when many are being led astray by social norms that employ the pretensions of compassion to abandon the creation order and the teachings of Christ, which are the only true source of authentic compassion and genuine spiritual healing, there can be no room for ambiguity or false witness on such critical matters.”

        And they proceed, wisely, to add…

        “We instruct therefore that the contents of these publicly-posted materials be … withdrawn and removed from any web sites or publications that seek authentically to represent Orthodox theological and pastoral teaching…”

        Any individual bishop who fails to act on behalf of the faithful in accordance with the words of this communiqué, protecting his flock from the relentless mendacity of any wolves under his authority, few in relative numbers (although seemingly omnipresent on the web) though they may be, will bear his own iniquity as well as that of those whom they allow to be led astray. But that is his own concern, if indeed such be the case.

        This communiqué is worthy of our hearty AMEN regardless. AXIOS to those bishops who wrote it, and AXIOS, AXIOS AXIOS!!! to those who act accordingly.

        • Christopher says:

          Brian,

          Sr. Vassa’s humiliation (I use that word technically and in the Christian sense – it is a good thing) came from her own Holy Synod (ROCOR) and not the OCA Synod of Bishops.

          To address your explicit question, I don’t think the OCA Synod of Bishops would be capable of issuing such a correction/humiliation because they don’t appear to believe is such things. In response to the very justified and pointed criticism of Fr. Robert Arida, Bishop Tikhon admonished all the priests, deacons, and laypersons who rejected his “Episcopalian” anthropology to try harder to understand Fr. Robert’s point.

          In other words, the OCA Synod is (at best) confused and think there is something to Sr. Vassa’s way of thinking about homosexualism, sexuality, “dating”, and the whole modern anthropological dilemma…

        • Michael Bauman says:

          I believe it was from the ROCOR synod, not the OCA.

    • Bonhoeffer says:

      Yup, and … you can say that again.
      You know me, sir!

    • Michael Bauman says:

      Here is the problem with sarcasm, it is indiscriminately destructive. It destroys the practitioners as often as the intended target. There is a lot of collateral damage. It is cruel, mean and spiteful. It is also lazy. One does not have to actually think to engage in sarcasm. It masquerades as wit and even justice but it is neither. In the end it is simply Shylock demanding his pound of flesh with no care for mercy. The real Bonhoffer would not stoop so low.

      There is an excellent description of the Sarcastic Man in Stanislavski’s book, Building a Character: Dark, viscious, gray-green and without empathy or human attachment. A man with acid corroding his soul. He is the man at the foot of the Cross mocking Him who is our life.

      Matthew 5:37 should be our rule.

      • Tim R. Mortiss says:

        Amen to that.

      • Bonhoeffer says:

        Don’t quit your day job, bogus pundit.

        Sarcasm and taunts are about all that a lot of what some of you have the gall to publicly excrete deserve. It seems there’s just no fixing stupid. All that’s left is to warn, and for the sake of others to protest, that this vileness has nothing to do with genuine Christian sensibilities and faith. Period.

  25. “Be not deceived…neither fornicators, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind shall inherit the kingdom of God.” ” Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped the creature more than the Creator who is blessed forever.Amen ”
    “For this cause God gave them up to vile affections: for even their women did change their natural use into that which is against nature. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the women, burned in their lust one for another, men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet…without natural affection…who knowing the judgement of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same BUT HAVE PLEASURE in them that do them.” Romans 1 ” Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth, fornication, uncleanness, INORDINATE AFFECTION, EVIL CONCUPISCENSE and coveteousness which is idolatry: For which the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience. In which ye also walked sometime when ye lived in them…BUT NOW ye have also put off ALL these things seeing ye haveput off the old man with his deeds…” Col 3 Tell me now is the Holy Apostle Paul unloving for warning us? Or is it Sister Vassa and the likes of such who are actually unloving? I will answer. It takes true selflessness to be willing to warn and tell others the hard truth so that at least a few may consider their ways and repent. It is selfish to coddle public opinion so that you may appeal to the zillions without warning them of the consequences of eternal damnation for their homosexual attractions and actions. You can judge whether it is the Apostle who is loving or the famed nun Vassa.

  26. M. Stankovich says:

    Be not deceived, but I personally do not see much morally heroic or “selfless” about anonymously dogging the “famed sister Vassa” over the internet, where one could be easily sitting in their pajamas, with a drink in their hand, not even having lowered the volume of Fox News.

    You might stop and consider why it is that St. Chrysostom so carefully and cautiously warns pastors – whom he likens to surgeons – to exercise their God-bestowed pastoral wisdom in precisely limiting their cut to the minimum necessary to quash the disease, lest “if the cut is too deep or too wide, the patient becomes discouraged and falls away into despair.” Apparently that, in the mind of our Father Chrysostom, is loving. Or I also wonder what you make of the scene depicted in Jn. 8:3ff where that murderous crowd literally shoves into the face of the Lord an outrageous example of uncleanness, of lust, inordinate affection, and evil concupiscence – a women caught in adultery – and demands He exercise the “wrath of God on the children of disobedience.” And in the end, imagine the depth of her shame, and imagine her face as she stood before Him completely exposed, and alone. “When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said to her, ‘Woman, where are those your accusers? has no man condemned you?’ She said, ‘No man, Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you: go, and sin no more.'” Imagine! He whom the Prophet Isiah said will ride from Edom in garments stained with the blood of His enemies on the Day of Vengeance to announce His Redemption (Isa. 63:4) simply reconciles her by His word alone.

    Finally, I must ask you, what is admonishment without the offer of hope? How can there be a claim of “loving” without the offer of a solution? Shame begets shame begets despair, and we must be at once wise as judicious, “ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” (1 Pet. 3:15). I believe your conclusion that Sister Vassa is “unloving” has significantly missed the mark here and is unjustified.

    • “…what is admonishment without the offer of hope? How can there be a claim of ‘loving’ without the offer of a solution?”
      Yes! This! Of course the Orthodox solution to homosexuality is to remain chaste – your whole life, no spouse or partner, ever. But, without The Church offering MORE how is this alone providing hope. Our churches and Priests need to step up to provide a place of warmth & kindness for these individuals. The Church has a responsibility to BE a substitute for the family a SSA person can’t have. If we don’t, who will fill the void and loneliness that a SSA person feels when living a permanent life of chastity?

      To Emilia- homosexuals do not suffer the “consequences of eternal damnation” because of their attractions. That is not The Church’s stance.

      • To Saunca, Oh! I didnt know the Churches stance was different than that of the teaching of Christ and the Apostles? St Paul condemned inordinate affections, evil concupiscense right along with adultery and homosexuality. Does the Church admit to the Holy Mysteries those who do not repent of pornography? Is the man who loves someone elses wife admit to Holy Communion? Ofcourse not. These are sins of the mind and heart and I could enumerate others, however the point is that Christ taught the sins not actuated also condemn. So, if there is some parish allowing a person to so called be homosexual only absatining from the act while having unnatural affection in the heart, this is not the stance of the Church but a modern divergence. Sorry.

      • To Saunca, It is not just the homosexuals called to repentance but all of us. The call to chastity is for the teen, for the divorced, for the widowed, for the aged and also for the married at times. There is loneliness found in all these situations. Following Christ often means loneliness because the gate is straight and the way narro, wide enough for but one sometimes.The Church provides profound brotherly love, but, it is Christ the Bridegroom who is the Friend that sticks closser than a brother. However, this is experienced in repentance, in the very lonely cross of forsaking the Wor!d for Christ. The Cburch cannot offer other. God help us toward true repentance so that we may be enlightened and found well pleasing before the Lord. “Ye are my friends if ye keep my words….” we all are called to turn from sin. Forgive me.

      • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

        Substitute for the family? That’s a monastery. Problem solved.

        But the facts are that many people troubled by SSA can and do live happily heterosexually despite their SSA, marrying a member of the opposite sex and raising children with their spouse. So why not hold out that hope for people with SSA? Why condemn them to celibacy and loneliness by locking them in the LGBTQ box?

        • M. Stankovich says:

          A Deacon of the church actually disparages σωφροσύνη – not simplistic celibacy, but rather the transcendence of purity and oneness of mind modeled by the Theotokos herself – as “locking them in the LGBTQ box.” This is a six-year-and-counting homophobic crusade to promote “facts are” where no “facts” exist, by an inept, unqualified, and agendized poseur who has violated the fundamental rule of evidence – “Asked and answered” – on so many occasions, that his quarterly “chumming of the waters” should be summarily banned as #bullshit-verified. Come on, dude, you are simply trolling for another round of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey when you are simply not worth the time or effort. Here’s a thought: take this stupidity over to the Fordham University site all the traditionalists are sweaty about. Let the real Orthodox debate with you.

          And please, kindly remember in your prayers Archpriest John Meyendorff, of blessed memory, on the 25th anniversary of his falling asleep in the Lord. No one seemed to notice – or care – at my pointing this out. Apparently too concerned about sodomy…

        • There's Hope says:

          Thank you, PdnBPM. If i had listened to “the world” or to Dr Stankovich or to CNN years ago, I’d be lost in the misery that is LGBT land. And it is all only misery.

          But I knew my SSA stemmed directly from childhood neglect and abuse from my dad. He’s a self centered narcissist who uses his kids for his narcissistic supply. Any family member who doesn’t play that role for him, he cuts off. He claims to be Orthodox but hasn’t been to church in years. I think Christ gets in the way of his sense of self. He’s not interested in nurturing and has no concept of empathy. A dangerous man to be parenting boys (or girls).

          Anyway, I knew that God did not “make me this way” – how insulting and what garbage. Therapy and counseling were/are essential.

          It angers me that according to the world, I should be mired in the SSA lifestyle, not happily married. Like they give a cr** about me. They don’t. I want to be the man whom God created me to be. And He don’t create men for sodomy.

          • M. Stankovich says:

            If I read you correctly, it strikes me that you are very selective in what you imagine I have said about the matter of same-sex attraction. If you believe that your same-sex attraction “stemmed directly from childhood neglect and abuse” from the relationship with your father, you will receive no argument from me. End of discussion. And with humility & gratitude, I thank God our Saviour, who alone who has delivered you from, as you say, “this misery.”

            But what do I say to men whom I have encountered – in fact the vast majority of homosexual men I have encountered – who indicate to me they have, in fact, had loving, warm, nurturing, and supportive relationships with their fathers? What am I to do with a cumulative body of research evidence that clearly indicates that this stereotypy of an absent, or emotionally distant, or emotionally abusive, or emotionally intimidating male parent, or the lack of “positive male gender modeling” as a necessary developmental accomplishment of “attachment” and a necessary developmental “task” for male “character” have no causal relationship whatsoever to the development of male homosexuality? Ignore it? Or conversely, do we allow a person like you – or Deacon Mitchell – to step forward and offer us “anecdote” – a singular, individual version of a possible outcome – albeit a marvelous, God-given and wonderful outcome – but an outcome that, in reality, is simply not representative of reality as most people will experience it. I mentioned once here a story by atheist surgeon Richard Selzer; would anyone support stopping a family member’s cancer chemotherapy for water from Lourdes?

            What you propose is an astonishingly dangerous precedent: assuming the gift bestowed upon you by God as the “norm,” speaking as if you accomplished this change by a muster of personal will, and not by gift. And by this accomplishment, you may then in turn judge the inability of others “to be the man whom God created them to be” and remain stuck in LGBT land. It should be so simple. But it is not. There is not one answer, and there certainly is not one solution.

        • Believe me…I have hope. More than you could know or understand.

          A. Not everyone is cut out to live the life of a monastic otherwise we would have no need for marriage in the Orthodox Church. So, why would the automatic answer for an Orthodox Christian struggling with homosexuality be – just put them in a monastery! Done!
          Sounds like you are the one locking them “in a box,” or to be more precise, away in a box.

          B. There may be cases of SSA people being able to successfully live a happy, healthy, heterosexual married life. I don’t know the actual statistics. Michael?

          C. This brings me back to what I posted. How should the Orthodox Church, its Priests and parishioners receive an SSA person (who does not feel called to become a monk, and is prayerfully trying to live a chaste life)? This person will not have a partner or spouse. They won’t have children. Their family(ies) may have kicked them out and cut them off. The secular world or friends they may have outside the church may ridicule them for even trying to remain chaste. Who do they turn to? The answer should be the Church. The parish. Their priest.

          Your suggestions reek slightly of passing the buck, which is saddening since you are a person of position within the Church. Give the gay kid to the monks (or Nuns…there are SSA females, you know). Or, give him/her to a spouse and hope for the best. (Better be sure that will work before they bring children into the situation)
          You didn’t once REALLY address my thought that The Church could & should be prepared to gather around them, as they would any other troubled parishioner.
          It seems you are the one more inclined to try A or B and then wipe your hands of them, leaving them to conquer celibacy and loneliness on their own.

          Hopefully their parish Priest would choose differently.

    • M. Stankovich, in response…. Sister Vassa has outspoken in public contrary to the teaching of the Church and Christ and the Apostles. I wonder if she has yet re-canted or retracted her damnable advice? It isnt Sister Vassa we should be worried about but those vulnerable ones she has misled. This is not the first time she expresses contrary core beliefs that are basically rebellious views. Those who have public audiences must be prepared for public outcry and scrutiny as well. If she is a nun, she will be glad for the constructive criticism to correct the error of her ways. This is for all of us. As iron sharpeneth iron so does a friend sharpen the countenance of a friend. ..”now no chastening seemeth for the present seemeth joyous but grievous, yet afterward yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those that are exercised thereof.” Hebrews 11:12 Forgive me

      • M. Stankovich says:

        Emilia, in response…

        My point to you had absolutely nothing to do with Sister Vassa. Rinse and repeat.

        Perhaps consider the words of our Father John Climacus:

        This present generation is wretchedly corrupt. It is full of pride and hypocrisy. It works as hard as the Fathers of old, but it has none of their graces.And yet there has been no era so much in need of spiritual gifts as today. Still, we got what we deserved, since God is made manifest not in labors but in simplicity and in humility. If the power of the Lord is brought to perfection in weakness, the Lord will definitely not reject a humble worker. If we happen to observe that one of our spiritual athletes is seriously ill, we must not maliciously try to discover the reason for his illness. Simply and lovingly, we should do what we can to heal him as though he were a part of our own body and because he is a fellow campaigner hurt in battle.

        But he continues:

        Insensitivity is deadened feeling in body and spirit, and comes from long sickness and carelessness. Lack of awareness is negligence that has become habit. It is thought gone numb, an offspring of pre-disposition, a trap for zeal, a noose for courage, an ignorance of compunction, the gateway to despair, the mother of forgetfulness giving birth to loss of fear of God and, in turn, to a deadened spirit, like a daughter bearing her own mother… [whereby] the demons then stand quietly before our soul and praise us for the fact that in every respect, we are living as God would wish, while we are burdened instead with indifference, insensitivity, want of discernment, and blindness.

        Not only is your comparison of Sister Vassa to the adulterous woman offensive, crude, and patently ignorant at face, it is sadly more instructive of your own lack of insight.

        I will not comment to you again, but share with you a colloquialism of the fellowships of Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous: “Take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth.” She who has ears, let her hear.

        • M. Stankovich, I thought it was you who compared Sister Vassa to the adulterous women? I thought it was me who said she should not be compared to her. Perhaps I am mistaken. Very good reminder from St John of the Ladder, however, Im not sure he was meaning those words to be applied to false teachers who are leading zillions of others astray by heresy. I more would understand this admonition to those whom struggle with passions and display repentance. Perhaps I misunderstood. Gods mercy is without measure according to St Isaac the Syrian. Yet, it is the humble who acknowledge their sin and mourn over it who receive such mercy. Those who defiantly resist calling good evil and evil good are enemies of Christ. Do you want to be the enemy of Christ? Ye are my friends if ye keep my words. I truly hope Sister Vassa repents and corrects her beliefs to reflect publicly what is taught by Christ and His Apostles and Church. Yet, the damage she has caused by strengthening the hand of the wicked will be hard to repair. This is why St Paul says that teachers will receive the greater condemnation. Lord have mercy.

    • M. Stankovich, One might compare Sister Vassa to the woman caught in the act of adultery if she was a wayward sinner, but Sister is a teacher, a nun, and with a very high profile. There js no public stoning but a firm rebuke by her authorities. Where is her humble answer? Her false teaching was public so her re-canting should be as well, for the sake of all of us. Wouldnt you say that would be a sign of genuine humility instead of answering that her ratings are better than ever, that she hasnt suffered from this? Wow. One would expect a few tears and perhaps alittle exile from a nun. I find it shameless and audacious that apparently business…and I mean business, continues as usual. I have lived at monasteries abroad and know of instances when a monk or nun was in disobedience, they were sent into exile for a time of stillness and reflection of their sin. Forgive me.

      • Christopher says:

        ” One might compare Sister Vassa to the woman caught in the act of adultery if she was a wayward sinner, but Sister is a teacher, a nun, and with a very high profile. There js no public stoning but a firm rebuke by her authorities. Where is her humble answer? Her false teaching was public so her re-canting should be as well, for the sake of all of us. Wouldnt you say that would be a sign of genuine humility instead of answering that her ratings are better than ever, that she hasnt suffered from this?”

        Nicely put Emilia. Christianity is not secularism, thus we do not turn away from humiliation but actually seek it as Christ Himself affirms that it is His way and the Way of Salvation. Where is her humbleness?

  27. About sequestering homosexuals to the monastery. The monastery is THE very last place a person attracted to the same sex should go! I speak from knowledge, having lived at a certain monastery that was utterly destroyed by such same sex attracted men and women. Not only were those who genuinely sought repentance and a true monastic life destroyed and disillusioned by a few such people but the entire witness of the Church was affected. I know of many women and men both here and abroad who would have liked to enter the monastery but were wary of finding same sex wolves in black garments. I know young men whose calling to monastic life was detoured by parents, rightfully fearful of what uncleanness their sons may encounter at the monastery. Monasteries should be places of genuine repentance and humility over sin, not lairs of pretentious predators. The monastery is not a substitute for family, rather it is the place where one forsakes family and all such natural ties. The Church is not a social club, not a place where you are coddled but a place where we hear the Word and are corrected, where our tos are repeatedly stepped on, so we may repent and have salvation. The good priest is that one who lays aside is own vain popularity for the sake of warning the flock leading to salvation not through social programs but tbrough the Ho!y Mysteries.This is where true fellowship is found, “How good and how pleasant it is,brothers dwelling together in unity.” If we remain unrepentant and justify our sin we cannot approach such Mysteries but become like the one who came to the wedding feast without the wedding garments. We remain but observers and do not mystically partake with the angels, saints and Church. Woe to us if we approach unworthily! This is why the Canons give such long periods of excommunication for certain sins. The heart still attachhes and pines inordinately, thus making the soul unworthy to partake, for Christ said if a man evenlooks on a woman to commit adultery he has committed it, how much more the unnatural sins of same sex attractions! Because economy has become the norm and the old prayers have been greatly augmented, we have lost our way to repentance. We must repent.
    Forgive me.