Why Pick on the Greeks?

Recently, things have gotten a little contentious here at Monomakhos. It started with a back-and-forth over something and then it progressed to something else. As unpleasant as this was to me personally (as well as to those directly involved), the discussion was, I believe overall, providential.

The recent dust-up led to an insight which I posted yesterday regarding the issue of feminine modesty. I think that very little needs to be said about this further as the lived reality of the Church has always been modest attire for both sexes. (I realize of course that what constitutes modesty changes from generation to generation.)

One thing struck out at me which I never pondered. One of the discussants asked why it was OK to “criticize the GOA” ad infinitum but no other jurisdiction? Particularly the Antiochians.

That is a fair question and one which I have pondered on for the last 36 hours or so.

If you’ll permit me, I’d like to answer this question via video format as there’s going to be some stream-of-consciousness stuff going on (basically I’ll be thinking aloud).

I hope you all don’t mind. Please give me your feedback in any event.

Thanks.

Comments

  1. Greatly Saddened says:

    GM … I tried but was unsuccessful in viewing the video.

    • George Michalopulos says:

      lemme try again. Sorry.

      • Greatly Saddened says:

        GM … I tried accessing with your new link to YouTube and it comes up … “this video is unavailable.” I then clicked under your name and it came up … “private video”

        • George Michalopulos says:

          Lemme look into it.

        • George Michalopulos says:

          Is this any better?

          • Greatly Saddened says:

            GM … I was finally able to view your video. Thank you so much!

            In addition, as a Greek American, it also hurts and saddens me greatly to see what has been happening for decades. Starting with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and its Metropolises.

            I have such a difficult time trying to understand, or better yet, grasp what this so called religious institution’s real priorities are. Let me correct myself, what I thought it’s priorities were and what they actually seem to be. I guess I have been so disillusioned. The more I continue to hear with my own two ears and continue to see with my own two eyes is hard to believe and the more uncomfortable I’ve become. God forgive me and pray for my wretched soul.

            Thank you so much for Monomakhos. A place where we can share and express our thoughts on a plethora of subjects. In an atmosphere of love and understanding. Even when we may have differing opinions. We can agree to disagree but in a Christian way. I am the first to admit my feelings can get the best of me at times. Once again, thank you George. God bless you all.

  2. Constaninos says:

    Dear George,
    I can’t access the video either although I thoroughly enjoyed the one you posted yesterday in which you were gloating. Please don’t take offense at the word gloating. You were gloating in a very entertaining way. I mean, it was an excellent video.
    Just a quick comment about the word “dustup.” Now that is something I have a problem with. Whether we agree or disagree with one another, it should be done in a Christlike, loving fashion. There is never any excuse for being disrespectful to another poster on an Orthodox Christian website. Remember what Abraham Lincoln once said,” you can attract more bees with honey than gall.” I actually was in attendance when he said this. Just for your information, I was also in attendance when he gave his famous talk about a house divided against itself not standing. Great speech!

    • Fr. Michael Molloy says:

      Actually, our first efforts were with the OCA, then the Greeks after that. Nearly two dozen went to Constantinople. (This took place before 1987, as that was the year we were received by Antioch). After they returned, they learned that Patriarch Ignatius, of thrice-blessed memory, was in Los Angeles with Met. Philip. Our representatives went to meet them. Met. Philip opened the door and greeted them by saying, “Welcome, brothers!” And after hearing our plea, Patriarch Ignatius said to Met. Philip, “Help them.” And the rest is history.

  3. Video not working. Thanks for your consideration George, I think?( as I have not seen your video yet). I was going to disappear, after the pistol whipping, and feeling bit unwelcome lately on this site for stating my unpopular opinions, and having my comments censored and delayed. To your credit, you have more than fair, in that at least you are stating your case, and taking the time with the posts and videos, instead of accusing, excommunicating, and told to sit down and shut up, in defense of a valued member of your blog.

    In my defense to Gail’s comment, that I responded to, and you censored. I never personally attacked, nor disrespected Bishop Tikhon. I addressed him as Bishop Tikhon , and Your Grace, and even left a disclaimer. Now we both know many of your regulars here, have personally attacked, have robust, heated debates, and not addressed the Bishop properly, yet I don’t remember many coming to his defense, so vigorously, nor state one is not Orthodox, because one would know better, except for Mr. Stankovich, who usually does come to his defense. At least until lately,I can’t remember such a meltdown, I questioned motives, as it is easier to deflect, avoid questions, and attack. Thank you again in your fair treatment. You are a true gentlemen, and Christian, at least in my book for what little that is worth.

    I’m done George, post it if you care, just being careful with my words, not to offend, my friend.

    • Gail Sheppard says:

      Bob, sometimes the things people say and do are not about us. I don’t think anyone was trying to slam/censor you; they were trying to protect me. There is a difference. You came at me pretty hard and as I think you observed, I’m not just one of the guys. They don’t want anybody hurting me. It doesn’t mean I’m deserving. It just means they are really good guys. – Stick around for a little while and you’ll see that people get over things quickly. If you allow it, you will, too. This site could be good for you. Don’t let me spoil that.

      • Gail, I am 100% Greek, and very proud to be Greek. We Greeks are very thick skinned, BUT we are not shy, and most of the time have no filters. We are naturally rude, and half the time we do not even realize it, in our direct comments, and questions, but we will also give you our last piece of bread if asked.

        Gail, I appreciate the protection you receive as respected woman, I also believe half the time it is a disservice to you, as much as is left off the table for your ears, in said protection. Somethings you might need to hear, a negative comment, in your journey, as well as ours, in that your response will be beneficial to all offered. Hopefully George prays about whether to delete or not delete, and the boys as well, before they lay down the hammer, killing not only the messenger, but the message,as well. Not that I am messenger of Christ, but sometimes, Christ uses the least likely. Peace and prayers to you.

  4. Do you remember when Antiochian hipster Balki Bartokomous sold piercings and pygmy goats from out the back of his Prius?

    Giant bearded and khaki Antiochian Urban Pepperidge Farm remembers

    • Gail Sheppard says:

      Oh, please, Balki was Greek! (I’m very partial to Greek men, BTW. I’m hoping my daughter marries one. Ask George.) – Enough about the Antiochians. If they lie, cheat or steal, let me know and you and I will be on the same side.

  5. Constaninos says:

    George,
    What a great video. Outstanding!

  6. Michael Bauman says:

    I would say that those who say the Antiochian Archdiocese is absent criticism are new to this blog. Long before the Greeks. We Antiochian’s faced quite harsh criticism particularly with regard to the actions of Met. Philip in many areas. The most egregious of those actions our correspondent Gail can attest to personally. Of course, the OCA has been ruthlessly examined on a number of occasions. Even ROCOR from time to time. During this time the GOA was lurking in the background mostly.

    The favorite statement when Met. Philip reposed was that the Antiochian Archdiocese would just cease to exist. At my parish we are still receiving catechumens most of whom dress quite normally. That was almost four years ago now. So far I have not noticed we have gone away yet. I will still put the quality of our slate of bishops up against any other jurisdiction in the U.S. While many still want much greater accounting of the finances, that has not come and the clamor seems to have died.

    In addition to a continuing flow of catechumens we continue in our community outreach, continue to expand our school (up to 5th grade now). St. Silouan’s Monastery has had gentlemen visiting to explore the monastic life and our mission parishes (4 or 5 in Kansas alone many more in Texas and a few in OK) seem to be holding their own or expanding.

    As many parishes we struggle with enough of our parishioners giving sufficiently and we have ever since the kerfuffle about Met. Philip. Met. Joseph is largely invisible to us here as we are blessed to have His Grace, Bishop Basil looking after us. The most controversial ruling that Met. Joseph has made is a blanket moratorium on re-marriage, especially third marriages. Because of that my impatient son and his would be fiance’ sit in limbo unable to approach the cup.

    This past Sunday representatives from the 15 social service agencies including our own Treehouse came to coffee hour to show the rest of us about their work. We continue to support long term missionaries in Romania and elsewhere as well as Project Mexico, and short term missions in Kenya are expanding. Plus a number of sister parishes particularly in Syria.

    Our regional youth camp is growing.

    Our chief chanter is native Lebanese but chants fluently in English and Greek as well. We continue to welcome newly ordained priests as assistants to our stalwart Fr. Paul as Dean.

    Our congregation is quite diverse ethnically and socially as I have mentioned in the past although we could certainly do better. So, while the costal regions may have “poseurs” a plenty, here in the actual heart of the country it seems to be pretty good.

    I say to all, get off the coasts. Nothing is healthy there and nothing is normal there, between the Mississippi and the Rockies we get tornadoes and small earth quakes (at least until the New Madrid fault lets loose) hurricanes and heat in Texas, our share of drugs, gangs and “immigrants”.

    George is only a couple of hours away by car.

    Wichita is also home to the best book store in the world which is a beacon for Orthodox and others from all over the world. Eighth Day Books.

    Eighth Day Symposia hosts annual conclaves of dedicated and literate Christian scholars attempting to reinvigorate our culture.

    My parish is celebrating our 100th year this year. Kearny, NE is older even than that. It was established by St. Raphael. We were served from there for a number of years until we got our first priest full time.

    While I am sure there are things to criticize they are not likely to be as dramatic as the GOA.

    We have a niche here carved by peddlers and grocers who were spat on and called horrible names as they sold wares in the streets of Wichita. Now we have a Cathedral with beautiful iconography and mosaics built on land sold to us by Mrs. Koch. A large park across the street and a new museum a half block away. The Wichita Country Club just beyond that.

    I will not count that success until we can reach back into the inner city from whence we came. We may get there some day, God willing.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says:

      So far from salt water, though, Michael. Just can’t leave the coast.

      Spent some time in the upper Midwest. Lakes everywhere. No crashing surf, no tidal smells. It was hard, hard….

      • Michael Bauman says:

        But Timor, if the political folks up in your neck of the woods are to be believed, it won’t be long before the surf will be surging here (opps, not quite as soon as they said last year though).

        The natural scenery is beautiful there I will grant you, but the political scenery is ugly and that is the water you swim in daily spiritually and emotionally. We have the same stuff here to be sure, but it is a bit attenuated.

        Shoot, maybe y’all out to stay, don’t want you bringing any more of your contagion with you. We each have our own version of the contagion to deal with in our own hearts. My mother was a student of ideas and history. She always told me that in the United States, ideas and trends always started on the East Coast, leapt to the West and then came to the Heartland. Ethnic Orthodoxy seems to follow that paradigm. It is possible that incarnated Orthodoxy will reverse that paradigm. Start here in the Heartland and spread outward. All things are possible with God.

        When one begins one’s thought process with “God is not” or “God is not here”, as the modernity and the myth of progress does, anything that follows is wrong. No amount of facts, theories, sentiment, fear or lust of power will make anything that follows correct. Even the so-called “facts” become questionable. The very hardness of which you speak more readily forces us to acknowledge that we are impotent to control.

        The Church does not need us to make it “better”. We need the Church to bring us to life. Fr. Schmemann said the Church is not meant to help us but to proclaim the Truth.

        And as Fr. Seraphim Rose of blessed memory said: “The Truth is not an idea sought and known with the mind, but a Person sought and loved with the heart.”

        If male clergy are a block to some, that means that male clergy need to repent and become more like Christ. It does not mean bringing in women to fix things. That only divides, diminishes and denigrates both men and women.

    • Michael, your description of the Antiochian Archdiocese is accurate. People have wondered why there were these places in the middle of “nowhere” where Orthodox Churches were planted. All you have to do is to read the biography of St. Raphael who got on the train, traveled west, looked for Orthodox people in the West, and planted Churches for those middle-easterners, many of whom were peddlers, traveling from place to place selling their wares. I find it to be a fascinating story. As a convert, in the past I was critical of Metropolitan Philip, but increasingly I have come to admire him for many reasons. How ironic that this “flavor” of Orthodoxy, would be so welcoming to converts, and insist that the Liturgy be in English, the major language of the new country. Assimilation for many of the Orthodox people from the “old countries: has never been easy, and nobody expects them to completely abandon their heritage, but the important point is that Orthodoxy has so much to offers in the U.S. and it’s possible to retain old traditions while appealing to the general public seeking Christ. For me, the best path is the compromise because Ethnic Orthodoxy (Greek, Arabic, Russia, Romanian, etc, etc) has much to offer the WASO (white, anglo-saxon Orthodox) parishioner. This country needs the richness of the Orthodox faith; unfortunately, ethnicity has inhibited its spread to the wider public.

      • Michael Bauman says:

        We also have much to offer Afro-Americans and Native Americans. We need to wake up to that if we want to become an incarnated local church. We have so much in common with Native American spirituality.

    • Michael

      Does this mean that you guys out there wear shoes without buckles on them?

      • Michael Bauman says:

        Do Velcro fasteners count as buckles? Cowboy boots don’t have buckles, flip-flops don’t have buckles, high heels don’t have buckles. They have to keep the laces away from us don’t you know when the costal talking heads start spewing.

        • Well, does this mean you also wear hats without buckles on them, Pilgrim?

          Does it look like you’re playing the trombone when you go skeet shooting?

          • Michael Bauman says:

            Well now, my wife’s family has awhile bunch of buckles they have won in major rodeos. Her nephew has been in the world championship rodeo as a team roper the last two years. Her sister, with two artificial hips has won a national team roping contest and senior barrel racing campion at 60.

            My father homesteaded with his parents in New Mexico and could shoot the eyes out if rabbits from horse back so they could sell rabbit pelts.

            My mother had ancestors on the Mayflower. One of he mother’s cousins married an Irish seaman who jumped ship in NY and made it to Iowa. There he and his wife kept an alligator in the back yard and had a tradition of dancing Irish jigs in there kitchen while imbibing Irish whiskey.

            My grandmother was the first woman to graduate from the Iowa U. Medical school. Regretfully she and her sister both worked for the US eugenics department in the early 20th century.

            My mother’s ancestors may have worn buckles on hats and shoes but not for some time.

            The last buckle I had on my shoes were over 50 years ago.

            Not sure I understand your point.

            • George Michalopulos says:

              Michael, I just saw Hostiles with my cousin. For some reason I thought about you. Fantastic piece of film-making and you’d appreciate the Americana of it all. I know I did.

  7. First the porch and now the garage. I gather that your wife, like mine, doesn’t allow smoking in the house.

    • George Michalopulos says:

      You would be correct Sir. Goodwife Monomakhova does not like the smell of aromatic tobacco in the house. We live in a barbarous age.

      • Estonian Szlovak says:

        As a reformed pipe and cigar smoker, I have to agree with your wife. Of course, I find cigarette smoke even worse. I can’t stand it in public when I smell it on someone’s clothes.
        Just out of curiosity, what is your favorite aromatic tobacco? I used to be partial to MacBaren’s Symphony.

  8. George, Don’t get it, but whatever your castle, your rules, or no posts. I get it, forgotten.

    So, Ok GOA major screw up, hard to forgive. All other Orthodox jurisdictions little less corrupt than Greeks, but we forgive. Bishops screw up, some we forgive, some we don’t. You and most here not GOA so naturally y’all want to feel you made the right decision in your jurisdiction. BUT, we were not talking about what the big boys are doing, I’m talking about the Greek laity y’all like to gang up on, and make feel you are somehow more pious than the rest of us.

    Brian, I missed your post where you addressed me believing I’m joking about crowns, dress codes, beards, and long hair, etc. I was not trying to be funny. Between George censoring my posts, delaying my posts, and Greatly Saddened’s posts burying replies I missed it. I appreciated your well written response, but did I get any answers, the closest thing I got was, we should NOT trust Bishops, and so the crowns remind us not to. Until someone can give me a real answer, why priests MUST have long hair and beards, and yes they must, because I do not see any without outside of the GOA. Why Bishops must be celibate and wear a Kings or as you say princes crown, when they should be the most modest of us all, and show how and why this help in our salvation, and in the salvation of those outside of Orthodoxy who look from the outside, and scratch their head, and go the other direction. No one here has given me an real answer. Here is a real simple one please answer: What happens if a priest cuts off his ponytail and is clean shaven? Will he not be looked down upon, and seen as rebel? BTW I give your wife full respect, she is exemplifying everything I trying to make a point about. Again not trying to be funny, but trying to help our church be accepted in the land it is trying to save souls in. This is what our Lord expects from us, as many sheep as possible, he did not expect Greeks to follow the Jewish laws, and traditions. We must also adapt to the country, and it’s culture as well, or just keep paddling with one oar. Say what you want about the Greeks, we are thick-skinned. Just keep it real.

    • Bob,

      Sometime when I have more time I will attempt to address the crowns, beards, head-covering, etc. Suffice it for now to say that it all concerns our being male, female, and how this relates to the fullness of our humanity in the image of Christ and His Church. I myself am not overly dogmatic about these things in an outward appearance sense, and I really don’t worry about them (and I certainly don’t judge others over them). But they are not without significance. And like many seemingly small things, we ignore them at our own peril, believing that other matters are “more important” while not realizing that not paying attention to small but significant things leads to larger and more damaging errors, many of which are discussed almost daily on the this blog. Distorted images (icons), whether in art or people (who are images of God), lead to distortions of the truth itself. We live in a thoroughly iconoclastic culture.

      Thus, a substantive answer is not a quick, simple one. I think it was C.S. Lewis who wrote something to the effect that if one asks a complicated question (one that touches manifold aspects of life and faith), one should not expect a simple answer. This is not a cop out. I will get to it when I can.

      One thing I will say, though, in response to “say what you will about Greeks…” Search this site to your hearts content, and you will not find any criticism of Greeks on my part. You may find criticism of something done by a Greek person in betrayal of the Orthodox Faith, but that has nothing to do with their being Greek or the GOA itself. If you want to know how I really feel about Greeks, please read this comment of mine (and the few that follow) of some time ago, posted well before you arrived here.

      • Brian,

        You have something very good working through you. I wish there was a way to harness such things, if we could recognize them, when they come. Dino’s response to your comment, back then, shamed me straight. Thank you

    • Bob,

      As usual, Gail is spot-on in her remarks. I know many, many priests who are clean shaven, some OCA, some Greek, some Romanian, and yes, even some Antiochian. I also know many, many Antiochian women who don’t fit the stereotype of yours and Billy Jack’s presumably local experiences.

      What Gail didn’t touch upon, however, is why so many believe strongly that clergy should have beards – or why many women feel strongly that their heads should be covered, etc. I finally found the time to address it it.

      Before I proceed allow me to emphasize again that I personally do not concern myself with such things in terms of outward appearance or worry about how others choose to groom or dress themselves. As such, my purpose is not to argue for these things. It is to explain to those who think these practices are crazy, weird, nostalgic, outdated, etc. that for those who do these things for the right reasons they are not merely an outward show or religious fad. I have already stated that there are some who do these things only for show – either to appear pious before others or to fit in with their fellows. I am not here referring to them, nor can I or anyone else possibly know who they are. I am referring to those who practice these things for the right reasons. Our Lord did not condemn phylacteries, religious dress, long prayers, tithing, respectful greetings, adorning the tombs of the Saints, or anything else that has a visible aspect to it. What he condemned is hypocrisy. And as He said, those who do things to be seen of men “have their reward” in that that they often do, in fact, receive the approval of men that they seek, but they have no reward from God.

      In a previous post I mentioned that there are both practical and theological/anthropological reasons that many see as important and worthy of their attention. I begin with the latter by quoting Saint Paul’s instruction to the (Greek) church at Corinth.

      “Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved. For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. For man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. For this reason the woman ought to have [a symbol of] authority on her head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God. Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering. But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no other custom, nor do the churches of God.”

      Two things of note to begin with:

      Of all the apostles, Paul was the most adamant about the fact that Gentile believers are not subject to the law or Hebrew customs. Clearly, therefore, his words here are not an expression of either. Rather, his instruction has to do with the nature of humanity as male and female according to our creation. It is apparent from these and other instructions/corrections that he gave to the Corinthians that they, like many today, had taken his preaching about our freedom in Christ and liberation from the law to extremes, disregarding not only the law, but also the righteousness of God fulfilled in Christ that the law had no power to produce in us. And secondly, lest his words about men and long hair be misconstrued, almost all men in Paul’s time had long hair by today’s standards. Christ did; the apostles did; almost all men did. He is talking here about hair that is long like that of women of that time (often below the buttocks).

      Some would say that some of what Paul writes here is culturally contextual, and they may be at least partially correct. After all, he says, “But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved…,” and that may well be an expression of the culture of that day. But even if we edit out what might be only a matter of culture, the passage still reads as follows.

      “Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. For a man indeed is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. For man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. For this reason the woman ought to have [a symbol of] authority on her head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God. But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no other custom, nor do the churches of God.”

      You (men) are the image and glory of God. You are to look like men and behave as men, exercising your headship in a godly manner, loving and protecting your wives and your daughters for they are your glory just as Christ is the glory of God and the Theotokos [the woman] is the glory of Christ. You (women) are to look like women and behave as women who are under the godly (and God-ordered) headship of your father or your husband or, if widowed, the clergy of the Church.

      Interestingly, he adds “because of the angels.” For just as there is a hierarchical order of angels, so is there hierarchical order in humanity. All are fully loved and honored by God, and all are called to love their hierarchical subordinates with the self-offering love of God Himself. But just as it is an offense to God and the holy angels that Lucifer lifted himself up in pride against God’s order, becoming a tyrant to those who followed him in his rebellion, and just as it is an offense to God and his holy angels when men lift themselves up in pride becoming a tyrant to their subordinates the hierarchical order of humanity, so also it is an offense and horror to the holy angels when women lift themselves up in pride against the hierarchical order of humanity that God established in His creation.

      As I have already said, there may well be variable cultural components to the proprieties of exactly how this order is maintained in different cultures and times, but the order itself does not change, nor can it ever be changed without severe damage to the humanity that God created “very good.” And are we not all witnesses to the pride, chaos, confusion, and destruction that our false, modern (I would go so far as to say Satanic) egalitarian idea of ‘equality of the sexes’ has wrought?

      The question for many men and women who desire to be faithful to these truths of our humanity boils down to just how much the variables of culture should be allowed to dictate their behavior – particularly in our time when cultural dictates are nothing less than wicked. If men are to look like men and behave like men, many believe that beards are not only appropriate but almost, in a sense, an essential part of being a man because it is the nature of a man to have a beard. Likewise, if women are to look like women and behave as women, many believe it is essential to clothe themselves and cover their heads in a manner that befits a woman. Moreover, there are those who have become (in my opinion rightly) so suspicious of the wickedness of today’s cultural dictates that they feel safer taking the apostles words at face value and ignore the culture altogether.

      I reiterate that I am not arguing that in reality the culture can or should be ignored altogether. What I am arguing for is our understanding of – and respect for – those whom some call “weird” for doing the best they can in accordance with their own conscience to be faithful to God’s order and the Apostolic instruction. I am also arguing strenuously against ignoring the created order of humanity in favor of the wicked egalitarian ideas of our culture.

      When it comes to clergy, the thinking is much the same – that men should look like men and behave as men. Not only is there a God-ordained hierarchy of order in the Church (bishop, presbyters, deacons, laity) as among the angels, but clergy are men in the image of Christ, and men by nature have beards. Some also allow their hair to grow longer (although not to the extent of appearing feminine), as Christ’s hair was longer than that of most men today for the same reason – that they are images of Christ. For clergy there is often also a very practical motive for these things, especially (but not only) if they are unmarried. It makes them less appealing to women who may be otherwise be tempted by a handsome face that a beard and/or hair can cover. Clergy are often called to hear intimate matters from women, and as a practical matter it is good for both them and their female parishioners to avoid temptation.

      As for Episcopal crowns, the bishop is the image of Christ in the Church. Someone can correct me on the details, but I believe it was Saint Ignatius of Antioch who spoke of the bishop as the image of Christ surrounded by His apostles (the presbytery). Would it perhaps be possible to accurately, fully, and appropriately express this image in way other than by a crown? I suppose in theory the answer is yes. But just what is there in our egalitarian culture that could express it truly and faithfully?

      Allow me to conclude (almost) by saying that I am a reasonably informed layman, nothing more. I am not a theologian, nor would I pretend to be. As such, I am open to correction on anything I have written here that I may not have expressed with the appropriate precision.

      When it comes to adapting to the culture, just how far do we go? If one thinks beards, women’s head-covering, crowns, and such seem strange to our culture, what about all the other things? What about the iconostas, the altar as sacred space, royal doors, vestments of any kind, all-male clergy, our veneration of and prayer to the Mother of God and the Saints, chanting the scripture readings, chanting hymns, prescribed liturgies, our unique forms of sacred music, iconography, our veneration of icons, fasting, crossing ourselves, the crowning of man and wife in marriage, kissing the priest’s hand, our use of holy water, anointing with oil, baptism, our offering of bread and wine to be transformed into the Body and the Blood, communing with a spoon, , and the list goes on… Almost every Orthodox Christian practice initially appears ‘weird’ to the vast majority of this iconoclastic culture in which we live. What ‘unimportant’ outdated, outward, visible practices can safely be done away with in order to be accepted in our culture? Where do we begin? What is unimportant or nonessential? And, more to the point, if we begin to eliminate practices for the sake of being acceptable to the culture where does it end? What will be left – other than the sick culture itself that is literally dying for lack of true beauty and meaning in their human existence that only the ‘weird’ practices of the Church can provide. Where will they find refuge? Where will we find refuge?

      I hope you’re feeling better. I truly do. God bless you.

      • Brian,
        Your points are well spoken, and many of your facts, are true. After all who am I to argue with Saint Paul, and Holy Scriptures. That said I believe we understand each other points. You went well beyond the call of duty in your many and long responses. You actually set me straight with your old comments respecting the Greeks, but most impressed by Dino’s comment, and Mr. Stankovich’s post and scripture quotes. Why sweat the details?

        In my defense, all I was trying to do, was bring forward the face of Orthodoxy to what converts might see and misperceive about about us. Case in point. Lets be honest, do we not wince, chuckle, and feel slightly uncomfortable, when we witness the Pope, in all white and red shoes, or Catholic cardinals in full vestments, Hasidic Jews with the black suit, hats, and locks, or even Mormon polygamist in their prairie duds, and the men with their 1920’s farmer garb, or how about the Amish, and their dress code and buggy, in tow. This is just touching on two religions. Meanwhile casual evangelicals are attracting many. I am not looking for that, just thinking out loud, what must seekers, see when they look in on us Orthodox and is it all necessary or just window dressing that is not needed. I will trust our Holy Fathers, and current leaders in these regards. I just thought this was the place to raise such concerns, in matters of attracting the masses.

        • Bob,

          Thank you for your very kind reply. You are right about the fact that we understand each other’s points. I certainly empathize with yours.

          I have a great degree of ambivalence about these things. On the one hand, I really do not think it is necessary to look and act strange in a cultural sense. My wife and I dress in ways that are indistinguishable from most normal looking people, and I am clean-shaven. We look and behave like a man and a woman, and I suspect that is enough.

          On the other hand, the truth is that when I see a Hasidic Jew or an Amish person or a head-covered Orthodox woman or a clerically-dressed priest in public (or even a Muslim woman stylishly dressed in her hijab), I think to myself, “There is a person who is not ashamed of his/her faith.” I admire them in that I wonder if I really have the same boldness about my faith. I may think and talk a good game, but if push comes to shove will I stand firm in Christ in the face of ridicule, persecution, or even something as non-threatening as curious looks? In my own strength I know that the answer is almost certainly a resounding, NO, and seeing them reminds me to pray for grace if/when I am called upon to stand firmly. Outward things may not be the be-all and end-all of faith, but outward things (whatever they may be) in truth cannot be separated from inward things. Do I ‘live’ only in my mind? If called upon to offer incense (as it were) to the emperor acknowledging him as god, would I say to myself, “Well, it’s just an outward thing. It doesn’t really mean anything to me.”?

          I am speaking here only of myself, judging myself, and finding a man severely wanting.

          Dino’s comment brought tears to my eyes as well. To think that I have been granted the great privilege of being grafted into this most precious Faith – that I, the unworthy coward, partake of the fruits born of the faithfulness and suffering of countless generations of Orthodox Christians. May our Lord make me worthy of the magnitude of this unspeakable gift!

          Though I consider myself blessed to have been born into a godly family, none of them were Orthodox or (to my knowledge) knew what it is to suffer for Truth, as your ancestors did. Until recent decades, the culture was basically Protestant, as were they. And although faithful to what they knew, they had no knowledge or experience of the fullness of the Church. Perhaps this is why, having “seen the true Light” and having “received the heavenly Spirit” and having “found the true Faith,” I am especially cognizant of its priceless value and am loathe to see it diluted in any way. When at the end of the Divine Liturgy the priest prays, “Preserve the fullness of thy Church” it has a particularly special meaning for those of us who have known what it is to try to tread the stormy waters of this world in faith apart from her hard-earned wisdom and the grace of our Lord she so freely offers to those who find refuge in her bosom.

          • Brian,
            Not to beat a dead horse, but when you said, “…when I see a Hasidic Jew or an Amish person or head-covered Orthodox woman or a clerically-dressed priest in public(or even a Muslim woman stylishly dressed in her hijab), I think to myself,”There is a person who is not ashamed of his/her faith.” I admire them in that I wonder if I really have the same boldness about my faith.”

            Aside from the Orthodox Christians, would it not be more bold for the Muslim woman, or the Hasidic Jew NOT to wear their traditional clothing. In my view it would show more boldness, and comfort in their own shoes, not their religion’s prescribed. We know the extreme Islamic Cleric, in certain countries, would beat the hell out of the woman, and the Hasidic Jew would be kicked out of his little circle. They have no choice BUT to wear the clothing,or be shun, so no need to admire. They must conform to their religions uniform. Now of course we are not THAT extreme in Orthodoxy, but..but…but….I’m over it. I’m seeing things more like you, and wife do now. Our concerns should be placed on more important issues. You are one cool dude, and faithful Orthodox Christian, thanks for your concern, and time. God bless you Brian.

            • Bob,

              If you don’t mind, I’ll let that horse rest in peace (LOL).

              I have to confess that when you first showed up here as “The Advocate” I perceived you as something of a whiner. Not that many of your points weren’t without some substance, but that you seemed at that time (to me anyway) to be shooting from the hip at any convenient target.

              Please forgive me. It is now evident to me that this was all an expression of brutal honesty, which is something I thoroughly admire. Your replies to me (and others) and your comments in the other thread about not feeling anything when entering the church, your struggles with prescribed prayers, and your willingness to take your family to church in spite of it all have convinced me that your heart is in the right place – and, I would add, quite possibly a better place than many, including me.

              For a period of several years, I assisted a priest with a bi-weekly, informal get-together/class for inquirers. Most of them were from Evangelical backgrounds; and although they were obviously interested enough to participate, they had almost endless questions and reservations. One extremely bright young man started to come and kept coming for a long time. He had begun to understand through his own studies that there is far more to Christianity and the Church than his religious background had led him to believe. He had explored Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, and Orthodoxy, and he had lots of very intelligent questions. After participating for a long time, he told us that he had decided against Orthodoxy and was leaning toward Anglicanism. He had met and talked at length with a (one of the few) morally faithful Anglican priest and was moving in that direction. He thanked us sincerely and said he probably wouldn’t be back. Neither I nor the priest attempted to argue him out of his decision; but as the priest and I drove home together, I smiled and said, “It may take a while, but I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t come back. He’s too honest a man, and he cares deeply about truth.”

              Sure enough, within a year or so he came back and expressed his desire to become a catechumen. He was now convinced more than ever.

              During his time away he had married a delightful young Evangelical Christian woman who, although she respected her husband and was often willing to come to church with him, wanted nothing to do with this crazy faith that was completely foreign to her. What was thoroughly delightful about her is that she loved Christ deeply and was pleasant to converse with, but she wasn’t about to try to pretend to be something she wasn’t. She was just herself with no pretension – always respectful, humble, and kind, but not afraid to say that she just couldn’t buy into all the Orthodox “stuff” (all the stuff mentioned in my previous post). To her it felt unnecessary at best, like stifling bondage and idol-worship at worst. Even though she knew from her husband that this was technically not the case, that’s how it all felt to her nevertheless. Having come from similar backgrounds ourselves, my wife and I could relate and never pressed her about it. We found her honesty, sense of freedom, simplicity, and love for God so refreshing that we couldn’t help but accept her for who she was. We used to tease with her, saying (with a grin) things like, “We’re so sorry you had to worship Mary today.” Or point to an icon and say, “Isn’t this a lovely idol?” And we’d laugh together.

              It wasn’t long, perhaps a year or so of coming to church with her husband – at first only occasionally, and then more consistently – before she grew accustomed to it all, and it didn’t feel quite so strange. As time went by she began to appreciate the beauty and the fullness of Orthodoxy. Within another year she converted willingly with the same delightful honesty and freedom of spirit she had when we first met.

              I suppose what I am trying to say by telling you this story is that I thoroughly respect those who refuse to pretend. Honesty and freedom of spirit, when coupled with humility, are essential to Orthodox Christianity. “Keeping it real” doesn’t always mean we are right, but it does mean we are true, and “truth in the inward parts” is what God desires above all.

              Again, please forgive me.

              • George Michalopulos says:

                Beautiful.

              • Brian,
                Have you noticed how much has fallen into place, since I began my “whining”, and all your experiences relating to my posts? Now you are telling me you are part of that face of Orthodoxy, that potential converts come to with questions. This ministry you are doing with the priest is one of the most important. Good to hear you are part of it. The older I get, the more I believe there are no coincidences with God. Anyway, in the end, it’s been a good encounter with all of you.

  9. Posted a comment, just disappeared, so if it appears I never got to double check it, maybe I’m banned?

  10. I really appreciate this video and Monomakhos in general. I’ve been Orthodox for seven years (Antiochian parish near Baltimore) and often visit a monastery (OCA in Pennsylvania). The only time I’ve been asked my jurisdiction was when I went to a GOA monastery in the middle of nowhere in Michigan this past New Year’s Day.

    Our parish has endless baptisms and chrismations, but I was also blessed to visit Wichita last year and had a few moments with Bishop Basil. The day we visited 8th Day Books, the school, and the cathedral was a watershed day for me. The cathedral is the most overwhelmingly beautiful Orthodox place I have ever visited (have never been to Greece or Russia, etc). I left humbled, endlessly grateful and knowing that I am unworthy but still somehow have been given the grace of this Holy Orthodox faith, which our nation and the world so desperately needs.

    Thank you for your work and for never steering away from uncomfortable topics!

  11. Veras Coltroupis says:

    Paul Manolis’ sourcebook shows ample arrogance of Slavs and Arabs against the Greeks even a century ago.

  12. Mike Pence. https://youtu.be/eHqKpCvCMlI
    Yes, He is at the same Knesset that threatened and bullied (with Greek IMF obliteration and confiscation of Mt.Athos Monasteries) the Patriarchate of Jerusalem to sell land.

  13. Dn Andrew J. Rubis, AODA says:

    Sir:

    By the paradigm that you have set in the video presentation: (Antiochians get a big + for receiving in a few thousand Evangelical Orthodox and the GOA a big – for rejecting them), you would agree that the GOA/ECUPAT deserves a 100+ for receiving in the one half million members of the Church in Guatemala. No?

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Yes, I’m just curious why there has been no more mention of this? Is this Guatemalan mission still viable? Is it going to remain indigenous? Etc.

      • Dn. Andrew Rubis, AODA says:

        George:

        My error – you did not remove my question. However, I have found your critiques (both in this video and in many writings) of the GOA and Patriarchate of Constantinople very “one-sided” in light of the all of the good things happening. Hence, my reference to the Church in Guatemala should cause you to reconsider. My dear brother from the OCMC, the Very Rev. John Chakos and his Presbytera Alexandra have been spending much time there building upon the foundation laid by others for an indigenous Guatemalan expression of Orthodoxy. Please read up here: http://www.thewordfromguatemala.com/ or on our official OCMC website http://www.ocmc.org/about/view_missionary.aspx?MissionaryId=29

        Dn. Andrew

        • Michael Bauman says:

          Now if they would only do the same here in the United States. That would be refreshing. But, maybe they have: Money, Power and Excess. Quite a trinity that.

          Certainly not just the Greeks.

          • Dn. Andrew J. Rubis says:

            Mr. Bauman:

            Not quite sure what you mean. Our assistance to the nascent Church in Guatemala is anything but wealthy, powerful, or excessive in any worldly sense. That appears to be the measuring stick that you want to use. Hopefully, I’m mistaken.

            But who should care? Certainly, not those whose citizenship is elsewhere. It has been my suspicion that many in our own Church are jealous of what those outside of our church possess: money, power, and excess. And it is worse for them still when those inside of the Church obtain it (i.e.: relative to the other North American Orthodox, the Greek Orthodox). Still, it profits them (those who seek and obtain it) little unless it is turned back to glorify God. Many of the generous donors to our Churches do just that: taking what they have earned “in the world” and plowing it back into the things that are “not of this world” i.e. missions (OCMC), relief, and development (IOCC) all across His creation.

            The Lord does not condemn money, power, and excess (“my cup runneth over”) but what we choose or don’t choose to do with it.

            • Michael Bauman says:

              Dn Andrew it is simple. If the GOA or any other jurisdiction would act in the US as the GOA apparently has done in Guatamala there would be a similar response.

              But perhaps our indiginous culture is about money, power and excess and we Orthodox have adopted the indigenous culture. To our shame.

  14. Dn. Andrew J. Rubis says:

    Sir, have you removed my uncomfortable question?

    • Dn Andrew

      If your question included a reference to both John Lennon and Aunt Jemima with your answer being related to the clothing fashion style of an overwhelming number of members of a certain juristiction, I can guarentee it got immediately deleted

      Because thats just too uncomfortable for some people – even though race and gender do not specifically matter or to be taken literally as it is a word picture reference joke related to fashion only

      Fashion jokes are not in style at the moment

  15. Well George, someone gave me the “mati, for two days a migraine that would not go away even with two doses of Zomig, and 800 mg of Advil. Finally today gone, so now I’m clear, but I awoke with some gout kicking in, so maybe the “mati” left my head, and went into my foot, anyway from here on end I will try not to be such a pain in the ass, but I doubt that will last long.

    So, how about, WHY WE SHOULD NOT BLAME THE GREEKS!

    WHY? In general we all understand our Orthodox history, and in short, we know our history began in most part, Greek, in most ways; language, culture, traditions,The Bible, The Holy Fathers,etc.

    Before that it has been said Greeks are the cradle of civilization.

    Even our Jewish forefathers, had learned, respected and observed much from Greek culture, and language, not always by choice, but force, but like I joke with my Jewish friends, some of which have been my doctors, business associates, and lawyers,(another silly sin of tradition, that thankfully went to modernity), I say, without The Greeks, there would be NO Hanukkah!

    In short God gave his Church to the Greeks care, after the Jews rejected him, but he already knew that was gonna happen, and the great schism, so really he picked the Greeks to form and keep Orthodoxy to this day.

    Respect your Daddy!

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Good points Bob!

      Still, as Greek-American, I believe that we need to understand that criticism of Greeks and “picking on them” are two different things. As Greek laymen, we need to internalize the (just) criticisms and lead the hierarchy, because they’re never really going to “get it”. I’m more convinced of that than ever at this point in my life Bob.

      P.S. I’m glad the mati went away! I’ve had it twice in my life and it was a horrifying experience.

      • My YiaYia Katina, memory eternal, was/is a saint, and Im not just saying that, she was/is. Fond memories of her praying over me and do something with olive oil and water to show how big the mati was, even a little spitting was involved in the process. Worked half the time, the other half I probably deserved the pain, but even if it didn’t work, I told YiaYia I was cured, just to make her feel better. Lord I miss that lady! BTW your first point is accurate, they need us, just as much as we need them!

        • George Michalopulos says:

          Bob, I hear you. (BTW, my mother’s name was/is Katherine.)

          The first time the mati happened to me, I was in Greece at my dad’s village. After heaving up gallons of bile and vomit (and thinking I was at death’s door), my “Thea” Panayiota did the ritual. I was 21. The second time I was in middle age and was at work and had to endure the whole process by myself.

    • Bob

      I would like to take a brief moment and thank the Greeks for the following items they invented

      The pyramids
      The number zero
      Outer space travel
      Samurai swords
      Time shares
      Hummus
      Goat herding
      Hip Hop
      X ray technology
      Kung Fu
      Horseback riding
      Egg rolls
      Lawn darts
      Muppets
      Frisbees
      Chin resting
      Curling
      Ranch dressing
      Itemized receipts
      Goodwill and Goodwill Outlet stores
      Snausages
      Water balloon fights
      Steakhouse Karaoke
      Bagpipes
      Baby On Board placards
      Interpretive dance
      Midget racing
      Fanny packs
      The Clapper
      Dodgeball

  16. Gail Sheppard says:

    Bob, who is is ganging up on the Greek laity and specifically who is feeling “pious about it?” I think you may be misperceiving this.

    You’ll have to contact George and ask him why he censored your post(s). He’s the only one who can answer that question.

    Why do bishops wear crowns? – https://orthodoxwiki.org/Miter

    Shouldn’t our bishops be the “most modest of all?” – No. This expectation is neither Orthodox nor reasonable. Bishops are men and like all men, some are more pious than others.

    MUST priests have long hair and beards? – No, not from a Church standpoint. I’ve seen some with and some without in the canonical Chruch. Most of the priests in the Antiochian jurisdiction are clean shaven (Metropolitan Philip used to insist on it) but this is slowly changing. I think the rule is they have to look well kept.
    http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/clergy_hair.aspx

    What do we do about the salvation of those outside the Church who scratch their heads and go the other direction? – Nothing. The Church isn’t in the business of changing herself to appeal to anyone. Would you tell your daughter to don fake hair, fake nails, and a push-up bra to attract a man or would you encourage her to be herself and attract the kind of guy who would find her beautiful as she is?

    What happens if a priest cuts off his ponytail or shaves? – Nothing. He may get in trouble with his jurisdiction, as they each have different practices, but from a Church standpoint, either way is acceptable.

    Why are bishops celibate? – They are married to their diocese. They have to be as responsive to their diocese as another man would be to his wife and family. The prevailing belief is that a bishop cannot do both, well.

    I’ve got a question for you: Why do you feel the need to help the Church be accepted? We’re not trying to save other people’s souls here, Bob. We’re trying to save our OWN souls by clinging to the Church. Salvation is *possible* within the Orthodox Church, but it is by no means a guarantee. If we change the Church to appeal to the masses, what do we have left to hold onto to? The path would be lost and NO ONE would be saved. This is as real as it gets.

    At least someone answered your questions. You may not like my responses and others may want to tweak what I wrote, but it’s the best I could do and you deserve answers.

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says:

      Why criticize men who fast from buying cuff links, haircuts and shaving accessories , including fragrant lotions & creams/foams, thus saving money for charities? I KNOW! It’s not normal, but avoids questions and ridicule, which no self-respecting (sic) Orthodox clergy should have to face! How much do haircuts go for these days? Anybody? What does the oracle/muse have to say?
      Please, do not confuse this with the topic of liturgical vestments, such as crowns/mitres, which smother individualism!

      • Bishop Tikhon(Fitzgerald)
        Your Grace, Would not most parishes have a least a couple barbers or hair stylists whom I’m sure would be more than happy to offer a priest or Bishop a free haircut, or exchanged for a blessing, or prayer? I never charge clergy for my services, even when my boss, gives me the stink eye, when I do. Razors, shaving cream, and Old Spice are not too expensive either. With all respect, you seem to be quite the individual. Thanks for the levity, it was appreciated.

  17. Gail, Your last question is good. So I will be short and bypass most your questions, and Orthodoxy fashion/grooming trends for now, and whether priests have more time, and less issues on their hands, than Bishops.

    Now to your last question. The GOA back in the 1950s had it’s priests, clean shaven and with short hair, all wore the Catholic style white collar around their necks. Why , because they wanted to fit in. Ironic in that the Greeks were more xenophobic back then, than now. Now we are only slightly xenophobic, when it comes to converts coming into our churches, but many GOA priests want to drop the white collars, and grow beards. NOW, The GOA tries in many ways to keep and attract it’s youth, and even adult laity with many hands on activities, clubs, digital, and internet social media platforms, so why not adapt a good program, and face of Orthodoxy to the outside world. I am not talking about changing core issues, and/or The Gospel, of our rich history and tradition. I won’t rehash my points, but one big on is that we all know what modesty is, and what unspoken expected uniform, grooming, and uniforms are. Insofar as Bishop crowns, piety and modesty are not two in the same, in fact for some bishops, the crown goes to their head, not just on it.

    I have friends that are Protestants/Evangelicals, even atheists, many of my points were questions they ask, some were mine, imagining, what they may ask, once they get ready to enter our Church. We must be ready for them, not just the easy pickins, that jump into our boat. Some fish need a little bait, and are easily scared way. I CONFESS, I played the advocate, and got caught in my own web. MY APPOLOGIES.

    • PS GAIL, Sorry if my post is a bit scrambled, lately I have not been feeling well. I will recharged soon and try better.

  18. A lot in play here, Greeks, shaving, Met. Philip, etc. So here goes:

    I love the Greek people. Just in general. I know them fairly well in that I was a member of a GOARCH parish for over seven years. My godfather is a Greek marine colonel, retired.

    That being said, it does seem that “the Greeks” take a lot of flack regarding the cosmopolitan vs. traditionalist controversy in the Church today. That is mostly, IMHO, not due to the Greek national character but rather due to particular personalities that rose to dominance in the Grecosphere starting in the 19th century, but throughout the 20th centuries, primarily at the Phanar.

    The Greeks of the Phanar made two recensions to the liturgy in the 19th century, shortening it vis a vis the rite practiced by the Slavs. In the early 1920’s, Pat. Meletios IV, a devout ecumenist, moved the Greek church in America to the omophorion of Constantinople and convened a sort of synaxis to change the Church calendar, as well as other practices in the Church.

    He was only partially successful, however, his legacy has cast a dark shadow in that it set off a schism within the Constantinopolitan and Greek churches over the calendar, and has caused waves of difficulty vis a vis more traditional minded local churches.

    The problem is not “Greek pride” or “Greek stubbornness or arrogance” as much as it is Greek commitment to the course outlined by the ecumenist, Pat. Meletios. All nations are entitled to their ethnic self-esteem. This is actually vital for the Orthodox living in the West so as not to be subsumed into heterodox Western culture. However, the end effect of Meletiotism is to lead the Church into the bosom of heresy, Uniatism.

    So I have nothing but praise for our Greek host, George M., for St. Gregory Palamas and for the courageous Greeks of the Church of Greece who have stood up against the Phanar in the latest kerfuffles, Zisis, Vlachos, etc., as well as for Elder Ephraim and the Old Calendarist Greeks who have kept a purer faith and practice in tact than that advocated by the Phanar.

    It just so happens that at this point in history, much of the heretical bile we hear is coming from Greeks, or Greek Americans. But not exclusively so. There is enough coming out of certain quarters of the OCA as well. Greeks have no monopoly on foolishness, nor on wisdom.

    And certainly we must all give proper respect to the contributions of the Greek ethnos to human civilization in general and Orthodox civilization in particular. But that does not absolve those in the omogenia of the obligation to witness the truth and not to lay in wait for their own kind (not just the omogenia, but the Orthodox broadly) as wolves masquerading as sheep.

    As to hair, shaving and Met. Philip:

    Met. Philip did the best he could, given his intellectual and spiritual limitations, at shepherding his flock here in the United States and propagating a form of Orthodoxy in America. And he deserves much credit for his efforts, and a shiny crown in the hereafter.

    However, the man was not without his faults. And without going into these to personally or deeply, let us just say that he failed to recognize ecumenism and meeting the culture halfway as abominations on par with feminism, abortion and the LGBT agenda.

    For it is all of one stripe.

    Met. Philip was overly concerned with his flock appearing different and un-American. And he certainly popularized the false distinction between Tradition and tradition – a meme that plagues us to this day.

    In the end, there is no reason for Orthodox clergy to go around sporting Roman doggy collars and close trimmed beards, or hairless faces, other than a misplaced respect for ecumenism and the spirit of secular humanist apostasy that prevails in the Western Christian confessions.

    Most men, other than certain subgroups of Asians and Native Americans, naturally grow facial hair as did Our Lord. There is no reason to deface the icon of Christ that we represent, both clergy and laity, by shaving. It is a Latin, effeminate custom which we can do without. There is a word for people without beards. They are referred to as “women”.

    Someone else posted it, but the question of hair is a similar one. Shearing oneself might be a commendable step in leaving off a life of sin and entering a life devoted to God – as a one time event. However, perpetual shearing of oneself is defacing the icon that we represent. Now, obviously, it is no sin to cut one’s hair at whatever length it becomes a distraction and gets in the way of normal activity.

    But the New Testament refers to the band that St. Paul used to pull his hair back off his shoulders – long hair was ubiquitous among the Hebrews and early Christians, as it has been among the clergy from that time up until the last century. Some mistranslate Paul as being opposed to long hair, but the word he used for hair in the passage in question did not refer simply to the hairs on the head, but to stylized hairdos.

    http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/clergy_hair.aspx

  19. Greatly Saddened says:

    Since my previous post in reference to the article has been closed today. I am posting it here instead. I just checked and the article which was locked from The National Herald earlier today is not at this present time.

    In addition, I am playing it safe and decided to copy the article in case they decide to lock it once again.

    The Archdiocese responds to charges made by Jerry Dimitriou against the Archbishop
    By Theodoros Kalmoukos January 25, 2018

    https://www.thenationalherald.com/188627/archdiocese-prepares-announcement-allegations-jerry-dimitriou/

    NEW YORK – The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America issued on Thursday the following announcement in response to Mr. Jerry Dimitrou’s letter which alleged that Archbishop Demetrios had full knowledge about the finances and the decisions of the Archdiocese:

    ARCHDIOCESE COMMITTED TO TOTAL TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY

    NEW YORK – The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is committed to total transparency and accountability, so that through strict adherence to established governance, it may ensure its ability to meet the spiritual needs of the Faithful.

    In December of last year, the Archdiocese engaged Kiwi Associates, an independent accounting firm, to launch a special review of Archdiocesan payroll records for 2016 and 2017. During their review, they identified specific payroll discrepancies associated with former staff of the Archdiocese.

    “This discovery” stated His Grace, Bishop Andonios, Chancellor of the Archdiocese, “led the Archdiocese to immediately undertake a far closer inspection of its payroll and credit card expenses for the 5 year period between the beginning of 2013 and end of 2017.”

    “That separate investigation revealed significant and unprecedented irregularities,” the Bishop explained. “The investigation of these matters continues.”

    Consistent with prior disclosures, beginning in April 2017, the Archdiocese implemented appropriate internal payroll controls with rigorous internal oversight and periodic independent reviews, now a permanent requirement. The Archdiocese had also adopted strict controls regarding the issuance and use of corporate credit cards.

    “We shall pursue all available remedies to address the discrepancies but, while doing so, we have created far stronger audit and control procedures, additional oversight and strict reviews,” continued His Grace.

    “Those who would seek to divert attention from this serious issue by falsely accusing His Eminence, or others, of indifference in confronting the financial challenges facing the Archdiocese, ignore the facts while bringing no honor upon themselves,” he concluded.

  20. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an official news release from yesterday on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America website.

    Archdiocese Achieves Financial Stability
    Stavros Papagermanos/Press Office pressoffice@goarch.org
    January 26, 2018

    https://www.goarch.org/-/archdiocese-achieves-financial-stability

  21. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find another official news release from yesterday on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America website.

    Publication of Official List of Candidates Eligible for Election to the Office of Episcopacy
    January 26, 2018

    NEW YORK – In accordance with Article 14 of the Charter of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, as interpreted by the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and the pertinent Regulations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (Advisory and Consultative Role in Hierarchical Elections), the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese following a practice for the last fourteen years, publishes the list of candidates eligible for election to the Office of Metropolitan. This list has been duly ratified by the Ecumenical Patriarchate with an official document dated January 10, 2018 and under protocol number 28.

    Category 1
    (in alphabetical order)
    Archimandrites 
    V. Rev. Archimandrite Dionysios Anagnostopoulos
    V. Rev. Archimandrite Timothy Bakakos
    V. Rev. Archimandrite Vasilios Bassakyros
    V. Rev. Archimandrite Ambrosios Bitziadis (Bowers)
    V. Rev. Archimandrite John E. Constantine
    V. Rev. Archimandrite Joachim A. Cotsonis
    V. Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Cottros
    V . Rev. Archimandrite Damaskinos V. Ganas
    V. Rev. Archhimandrite Athanasios DeMedeiros
    V. Rev. Archimandrite Stavroforos Mamaies
    V. Rev. Archimandrite Christodoulos Margellos
    V. Rev. Archimandrite Constantine Moralis
    V. Rev. Archimandrite Makarios J. Niakaros
    V. Rev. Archimandrite George Nikas
    V. Rev. Archimandrite Chrysostom Panos
    V. Rev. Archimandrite Christodoulos Papadeas
    V. Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Papazafiropoulos
    V. Rev. Archimandrite Eugene N. Pappas
    V. Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
    V. Rev. Archimandrite Nathanael Symeonides
    V. Rev. Archimandrite Agathonikos Wilson

    Presbyters 
    Rev. Fr. E. Kyprianos Bouboutsis
    Rev. Economos Christopher Flesoras

    Category 2
    Metropolitans of the Holy Archdiocese of America
    His Eminence Metropolitan of Boston Methodios (Tournas)
    His Eminence Metropolitan of Denver Isaiah (Chronopoulos)
    His Eminence Metropolitan of Atlanta Alexios (Panagiotopoulos)
    His Eminence Metropolitan of Detroit Nikolaos (Pissare)
    His Eminence Metropolitan of Pittsburgh Savas (Zembillas)
    His Eminence Metropolitan of San Francisco Gerasimos (Mihaleas)
    His Eminence Metropolitan of New Jersey Evangelos (Kourounis)

    Category 3
    Auxiliary bishops of the Holy Archdiocese of America
    His Grace Bishop of  Phasiane Andonios (Paropoulos)
    His Grace Bishop of Mokissos Demetrios (Kantzavelos)
    His Grace Bishop of  Zela Sevastianos (Skordallos)
    His Grace Bishop of  Medeia Apostolos (Koufalakis)

    Category 4
    Metropolitans and Bishops of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
    His Eminence Metropolitan of Toronto Soterios (Athanasoulas)
    His Eminence Metropolitan of Mexico Athenagoras (Anastasiadis)
    His Eminence Metropolitan of Dardanelles Nikitas (Lioulias)
    His Eminence Metropolitan of Sweden Cleopas (Strongylis)
    His Grace Bishop of Nyssa Gregorios (Tatsis)
    His Grace Bishop of Philomelion Ilia (Katre)
            

    • Constaninos says:

      Our dear brother Greatly Saddened frequently posts about the Greek Orthodox Church. I was just reading that Father Anthony Evangelatos has been appointed the new priest of St. Athanasius The Great Greek Orthodox Church. Father Evangelatos is a very holy, deeply committed Orthodox priest. In fact, he is one of the shining lights in the Greek Orthodox Church. That’s very good news brother Greatly Saddened. Please pray for Father Anthony Evangelatos.

      • Greatly Saddened says:

        Constaninos … I pray and wish both Father Anthony Evangelatos and the community of Saint Athanasius the Great of Arlington, MA, all the best.

        He will have his hands full there considering all the community has gone through. I am sure it will not be an easy task. May God give him the strength he will need to try to bring the community back together in love, peace and in a “Christ” like way.

    • So the Phanar gets its way,so far—Bishop Demetrious and Metropolitan Nikitas are on the list. Both have a history in Chicago that is yet to be explained,ie. the Annunciation Church scandal where monies were apparently diverted and “gifts” went to several individuals. I don’t think money was ever paid back, either. Does Chicago really want this baggage ?

  22. Greatly Saddened says:

    I noticed in the above eligible list of possible candidates for the election to the office of Metropolitan of Chicago, the Very Reverend Gerasimos Makris’ name has been omitted.

    He was the Pastor of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church in Brooklyn, NY, up until a few weeks ago. It seems he has mysteriously resigned. He received three votes during the recent election for the office of Metropolitan of Chicago.

    Under the article, “The Archdiocese Responds to Jerry Dimitriou’s Letter,” i did see a comment posted yesterday on The National Herald website under the hr

    Anonymous says:
    January 26, 2018 at 6:44pm

    The archdiocese must have scrambled to put together this press release. Is this all part of deflecting from a bigger issue?
    They want transparency but cover for clergy. Look at what’s Happening in Brooklyn. Where is the priest – is their truth to his sexual misconduct and now is being covered up? Is it true the bishop knew for months and allowed this to continue?
    Men who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

  23. Greatly Saddened says:

    Please excuse the typos up above. I attempted to make some changes as my time ran out!

    The above comment was found under “The Archdiocese Responds to Charges Made by Jerry Dimitriou Against the Archbishop” article in The National Herald.

    Lord help us!

    • Greatly Saddened says:

      I did notice His Eminence Metropolitan Tarasios of Buenos Aires is not on the list. I think His Eminence may have been a lay youth advisor here in the U.S., before going to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. I believe one of the requirements to be considered an eligible candidate, included being a Priest here in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

  24. Greatly Saddened says:

    I seem to get a feeling things are going to get pretty bad between the Archdiocese and Mr. Jerry Dimitriou.

    In addition, I think this is only the beginning of a nasty and long drawn out mud slinging situation between the two factions.

    I hope I am wrong, but things do not seem to be looking good at the present time.

    At this point, I guess all laity can do is sit back, watch, listen and pray much!

    Unfortunately, as these events continue to unfold, the faithful may become even more disgusted and even more apathetic to the overall crisis at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. It has come to the point where one doesn’t know what and who to believe any longer. How sad is that?

    Foremost, a total embarrassment to “Christ” Himself, not alone to the faithful who look for guidance and love from this religious institution. This institution has gone far off course as to what a so called “God” fearing, loving, caring, compassionate “Christian” religious institution should be. The sad part is, this institution is nothing to be looked up to, but rather, just the opposite. What a shame!

    God only knows what will come of all of this. God help us all!

  25. Greatly Saddened says:

    An article appeared this past Tuesday in The National Herald with the headline: “Hierarchs: You Didn’t Build the Parishes – the Laity Did.” Unfortunately the article is locked. I will continue to be on the lookout for the article in its entirety and if found, I will post.

    Below please find, if interested, the comments listed.

    https://www.thenationalherald.com/188393/hierarchs-didnt-build-parishes-laity/

  26. Greatly Saddened says:

    In The National Herald under the headline of: “The Archdiocese Responds to Charges Made by Jerry Dimitriou Against the Archbishop,” there are comments below the body of the article you may have an interest in reading.

    https://www.thenationalherald.com/188627/archdiocese-prepares-announcement-allegations-jerry-dimitriou/

    In addition, in The National Herald under the headline of: “Jerry Dimitriou Claims Archbishop Demetrios Knew Everything,” there are comments below the body of the article you may have an interest in reading as well.

    https://www.thenationalherald.com/188562/jerry-dimitriou-uncovers-archbishop-demetrios/

  27. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from the “We Are Orthodox” website.

    Honoring Celibacy – yet still not evidence of Character
    January 18, 2018

    http://weareorthodox.com/ourblog/honoring-celibacy-yet-still-not-evidence-of-character/

  28. Greatly Saddened says:

    Say what you will, it seems the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is unfortunately a country club for the elite. From the Hierarchs, to the Archdiocesan Council, to the Order of Saint Andrew Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, to Leadership 100.

    All they seem to care about is themselves and their relationship with each other. For the so called higher eschelon, if you will. The movers and shakers. Make no doubt about it, titles, money and prestige is where it is at.

    They all seem to forget who built these Churches here in the U.S.. They were buit by our ancestors who came here for the most part for a better life. Our great grandparents, our grandparents and our parents. They include dish washers, cooks, factory workers, railway workers, miners and many other types of workers.

    The Archdiocese has forgotten or better yet, abandoned its roots. In doing so, they have lost touch with the main stream parishioner. I will admit, it is nice to rub elbows with the haughty taughty, but it is also important to not forget the main stay of the Archdiocese and by that I mean, the common folk or everyday people.

    I hope and pray with all that has been happening, the Archdiocese will humble itself and re-evaluate its priorities. And become foremost, the “Christ” centered religious institution it should be. Putting our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ first!

  29. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from today on the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America website.

    Orthodox Christian Churches in 21st Century America: A Parish Life Study
    Tuesday, January 30, 2018

    http://www.assemblyofbishops.org/news/2018/study-orthodox-christian-churches-21st-century

  30. Greatly Saddened says:

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

    Demetriou: Archdiocese Paid $17 Mil. to Pederasty Victims by Priests
    By Theodoros Kalmoukos January 31, 2018

    BOSTON, MA – The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America paid $17 million to the victims of pedophile priests, ousted Executive Director Jerry Dimitriou wrote in his January 24 letter to …

    • Greatly Saddened says:

      Below please find the above article in its entirety at the time of my posting.

      https://www.thenationalherald.com/189189/demetriou-archdiocese-paid-17-million-pederasty-victims-priests/

      • Greatly Saddened says:

        Just in case The National Herald decides to lock the article again, I have copied it below.

        BOSTON, MA – The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America paid $17 million to the victims of pedophile priests, ousted Executive Director Jerry Dimitriou wrote in his January 24 letter to the Archbishop Geron Demetrios of America. Dimitriou was Archbishop Demetrios’ closest confidant and ally for the last 17 years.

        Dimitriou specifically wrote: “Did we not work together to settle multimillion dollar lawsuits against those clergy who had abused children and women that they were sworn to serve under Christ? Did we not work together to pay over $17 million in legal bills and settlements to take care of the burden they made for our Archdiocese? Did we not work together, with many dedicated lawyers and professionals, to create new misconduct policies and ensure their enforcement to protect both the faithful and clergy from these same types of situations?”

        In his interview with The National Herald on September 24, 2009, on the occasion of the completion of ten years of Archbishopric ministry in America, said the following:

        TNH: How much money has the Archdiocese paid thus far for these sexual misconduct cases?

        AD: Fifteen million from the year 2000 until today; with the addition of the $150,000 per month that we pay now until June 2010; it will be about $16 million.I have to note here that they were not paid from the Archdiocesan budget; a big portion came from donations. There were people who called and said, “look you have this problem. It is not fair to struggle to try to pay from the budget of the Archdiocese all those amounts.” So, the donations covered a big portion of that.

        We also had the great blessing to have a big number of legal professionals headed by our General Legal Advisor Emmanuel Demos, who worked day and night without any compensation.

        TNH: Let’s talk about the $15 million, which will become $16 million for the sexual misconduct of the clergy. Who are the donors? How much have they given? How much did the Archdiocese pay from its budget?

        AD: There are people who insisted and insist on remaining anonymous and I respect that. I have asked you many times to tell me your sources and you have always refused because you consider confidentiality your journalistic privilege, and I also consider it my duty not to reveal their names. The only thing I can say is that the offer of these donations is a very positive element that shows where this Church stands regarding things that occurred in the past.

        TNH: Some of the misconduct cases occurred during your Archbishopric ministry.

        AD: A small portion of them.

        TNH: What is going on with the issue of pederasty and such behavior by the priests? How much does it concern your Eminence?

        AD: It concerns me. We have very strict regulations, which we apply. Many times there is strong opposition by some who say don’t you have compassion [for the priests]? But I reply that for these issues, compassion does not apply.

        TNH: Then why didn’t you defrock Fr. [Nick] Katinas from the beginning?

        AD: Look, the process has many details. It would be an injustice to the truth if I begin to tell this story. The process which we followed was worthy of praise. It was a process which covered all the issues without compromises. I have no doubts about the way it was done. Some things could have been done a little this or the other way, these things happen. When the documents were complete and clear, the decision was clear.”

  31. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from Monday on the Byzantine, Texas website.

    Monday, January 29, 2018
    The Myth of Orthodox Unity in the New World

    http://byztex.blogspot.com/2018/01/the-myth-of-orthodox-unity-in-new-world.html?m=1

  32. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article on The Groundtruth Project website.

    STATE OF THE CHURCH:GREEK ORTHODOXY IS LOSING ITS GRIP ON THE NEXT GENERATION

    http://thegroundtruthproject.org/state-of-the-church/

  33. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from Friday on the Times of Israel website.

    Jerusalem seeks end to tax breaks on church-owned properties

    City council says exemptions wrongly given to commercial real estate owned by Christian institutions

    By AFP 2 Feb 2018, 7:20 pm

    https://www.timesofisrael.com/jerusalem-seeks-end-to-tax-breaks-on-church-owned-properties/

    • George Michalopulos says:

      GS, for what it’s worth, I think the tax exemptions of the churches should be rescinded. I’d be willing to make an exception only for those parishes that actually do charity work and only then when that charity takes place within the boundaries of the county in which the parish is situated.

  34. Michael Bauman says:

    George, the tax exemptions were given originally, I believe, not only for charity work but to help protect the various religious organizations from state control. That has proved not to be the case any more.

    The state has control as long as there are regulations governing religious life and practice of any sort. If the 1st Amendment were actually followed “the Congress shall make no law….

    Then it would not matter one way or the other. But…regulators consider what they do not a law but as implementing law. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    I don’t know about the Pharmacy Gods of the state, but regulators really like their regulations to be vague so that they can interpret them any way they want. They legislate in a defacto manner with every decision to enforce or not to enforce what they believe the regulations might mean (or the want them to mean) at any give time for any given object of regulation. They can and they do go down to whether a document contains the right punctuation in the right place. On the other hand, they can and they do overlook significant breeches of law and regulation if they feel like it.

    Regulators as a class are capricious, arrogant, tyrannical and virtually useless for any real protection.

    Most recent case in point: CBD oil. Despite the fact that most of it does not come from marijuana plants nor contains only minute and insignificant THC, our beloved Attorney General in the State of Kansas has decreed that the sale, possession and use of it will face the same penalties as the sale, possession and use of pot.

    For those who don’t know, CBD oil is an extremely effective, non-addictive pain reliever (I apologized to Michael S up front for the fact that I do not have any double blind research studies on the topic–that is in part due to the fact the FDA greatly restricts them). My knowledge is experiential and anecdotal which I realize is not a particularly strong standard for folks like Michael S. Nevertheless, my wife who has to take opioid pain killers and is habituated to them for her traumatic osteoarthrites . Had been able to begin reduction of those opioids through use of CBD oil and a number of her friends and family have achieved similar results or been able to stay off opioids in the first place.

    Not only that but there are proven studies that show it is effective for seizure control and a number of other applications which I don’t remember off the top of my head.

    The manufacturers and marketers of CBD oil had requested an opinion from our beloved AG prior to engaging in the business and he refused to give it.

    Cannot help but conclude that there are $$$$ people behind the “regulatory” action.

    All of these regulators are a part of the deep state and always used politically as weapons.

    They exist because of an expansive interpretation of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution but they are applied even when there is no interstate commerce at all if some one even thinks about something across state lines.

  35. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from yesterday which has been posted on the Byzantine, Texas website.

    Monday, February 5, 2018
    God or… whoever is something… probably

    http://byztex.blogspot.com/2018/02/god-or-whoever-is-something-probably.html?m=1

  36. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the Sputnik News website.

    Pope Francis, Erdogan Call For Keeping Jerusalem’s Status
    WORLD
    15:52 05.02.2018(updated 16:38 05.02.2018)

    https://sputniknews.com/world/201802051061370546-francis-erdogan-jerusalem-status/

  37. Greatly Saddened says:

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

    Constantinople to Trench on Russian Orthodox Church’s Canonical Territory
    by ORTHODOXY COGNATE PAGE
    on FEBRUARY 6, 2018
    in FEATURED, FEATURED NEWS, NEWS

    http://theorthodoxchurch.info/blog/news/constantinople-to-trench-on-russian-orthodox-churchs-canonical-territory/

  38. Michael Bauman says:

    I am a First Amendment absolutist. I mean how else can one interpret the phrase, Congress shall make no law…

    Of course when combined with the 10th Amendment, that means that the states can make said laws.

    But in light of the Supremacy clause, the Commerce Clause (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3), the 14th, 16th and the 17th Amendments, the 10th Amendment seems to have been made moot. It is not, but that is the way in which the Federal Government has extended its power and control.

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Michael, I too, am a “First Amendment absolutist”. However, in the context of the First Amendment when it was crafted was this: “religion” meant any of the Christian denominations that were then operative in the 13 colonies. Seven of these colonies had established churches.

      We forget (or more likely were brainwashed to believe) that America was never constituted as an “idea” but a “people”. In the Preamble to the Constitution, it states “…for our posterity.” This is clear from the writing of Publius in The Federalist Papers. America was to a confederacy of related British peoples (I know, I know, this excludes me but that’s what they meant by “posterity”).
      a
      Religion did not mean Hindus, Moslems, Jains, animists, etc. It didn’t even mean Mormons. Another thing we don’t know is that the Mormons were chased from Ohio to Missouri to Illinois and then finally to the Great Desert by the US Army specifically because they were viewed as heretics. When it came time to accept Utah as a territory, the Supreme Court said “no”. Why? Because it ruled that the US was “a Christian Republic”. When they were finally allowed entry as a State, their first two Senators were refused entrance into the Senate until a committee was established to investigate Mormon theology. It took that committee four years to decide that they were a Christian denomination.

      My point is this: the Bill of Rights inures to a population that is in the majority European-based and Christian-derived.

      Before everybody starts having an aneurysm, please note that among the Islamic subgroups in Europe, the majority of the second and third generation believes that Sharia law superseded Danish or British or French or whatever law. Now, some people may think that this is unfortunate, it is not unexpected. Because I actually believe in “diversity” I accept that there are different micro-evolutionary pressures on peoples based on climate and geography which ennervate genetic frequencies. Sharia is merely an “in-group” dynamic that is especially suited for people from Islamic lands. (Forgive the tautology but you get my point.)

      For Europeans –particularly Northern Europeans–individualism is a more conducive way of ensuring one’s genetic legacy. Therefore the “in-group” is the nuclear family. In order for nuclear families to survive, they have to have legal and socio-cultural mechanisms that maximize the various nuclear family’s successes in a given locality. That’s why European compacts are based on an “altruistic” dynamic.

      • Michael Bauman says:

        I do know all of that George. The fact that the Mormon Committee got it wrong is part of the problem. They should not even have been formed (no religions test for public office remember). They had neither the authority nor the competency to decide such things. Besides we declared that long ago. Those who affirm the original Nicean Creed are Christian. Those who do not are either heretic or pagan.

        Here are some of the other problems you did not mention: it did not really include Roman Catholics nor Orthodox either. So we get the tragedy of Protestant missionaries sponsored by the US government destroying a nascent native Orthodox culture, tearing families apart, abusing children, etc in order to convert the “heathen” Alaskans.

        It was and should be a matter for the states. The U. S. Congress shall make no law…
        means exactly that. The tax exemption makes sense in this case because the U.S. government is specifically not enforcing its tax laws on religious communities.

        Of course, the devil being clever, he multiplies the divisions already inherent in modern thought so that even those who worship him are afforded the same “rights” before the law.

        To make them subject to the law is, IMO, a clear violation of the 1st Amendment as is all of the ‘regulation’ that is the deep state’s way of controlling things. It is not in the purview of the Federal government to decide what constitutes religion and what does not. It is deeply unfortunate that the word ‘religion’ has become meaningless as the separation of Church and state has been promulgated

  39. Greatly Saddened says:

    Below please find an article from today on the Public Orthodoxy website.

    THE SYSTEMATIC PERSECUTION OF RELIGIOUS MINORITIES IN TURKEY
    by the Hon. B. Theodore Bozonelis

    https://publicorthodoxy.org/2018/02/09/religious-persecution-in-turkey/

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