The Frankie Horror Picture Show

There is an old Russian saying: “it is better to see something once than to read about it seven times”. The American variant is “one picture is worth a thousand words”.

You get the picture. Literally.

I seriously don’t know what possessed the Roman Curia to come up with his “Nativity Display”. It’s wrong on so many levels. I still haven’t been able to process it completely. Maybe y’all can help.

Regardless, I really wanted to start of the New Year with something upbeat. Unfortunately, as Prime Minister Harold MacMillan once said about what he was most worried about was “events, Dear Boy, events”.

Well, events are upon us.

It seems that the Assembly of Bishops in the US published an encyclical on “primacy and unity”. The trouble is the “primacy” they’re referencing is that of the Pope of Rome and the “unity” is the much-desired (by some) Unia with Rome. It seems that they dusted off Apostolic Canon 34. (Those of us in the OCA remember that one.)

You can read it for yourself here: www.assemblyofbishops.org/ministries/dialogue/orthodox-catholic/chieti-response.

Now, why the EAUSA should have to worry about something of an international scope is beyond me. Their writ is to normalize the egregiously uncanonical situation here in the United States. Nothing more.

The plot thickens however. If you remember from a couple of weeks ago, we published an essay called “Meanwhile in Moscow”.
It was about a massive concelebration at Christ the Saviour Cathedral in which all of the primates of the autocephalous churches participated. Notably absent was the the Ecumenical Patriarch.

Was this a snub? It seemed so at the time. However, according to another source, Bartholomew actually did want to attend. However, he was prevented by doing so by several “prominent Greek-Americans” for some reason which is left unexplained. This is all very worrisome.

You can read the details of that incident here:
https://international.la-croix.com/news/patriarch-kirill-hosts-world-orthodox-leaders-in-moscow/6495 . (Special thanks to Gail Sheppard for both of these links.)

And now it looks like President Erdogan of Turkey is dangling a very delicious carrot in the face of Pope Francis. Clearly, something is afoot.

Is it possible that we are in a slow-motion schism and that the Patriarch of Moscow is setting up a “soft landing” for those who don’t want to join the Unia? What about those of us here in North America, a “barbarian land” which according to a fantastical interpretation of the Fourth Ecumenical Council’s spurious Canon 28 is under the jurisdiction of Constantinople (a city which no longer exists). Will we be able to join the non-ecumenists who are clearly gravitating towards Moscow’s orbit?

Buckle your seat belts! It’s going to be wild and wooly 2018.

Comments

  1. George Osborne says:

    I’d rather have an ugly cat out of the bag than wondering what’s in the bag making such a commotion! As we say here in Tennessee: “There are a hundred ways to skin a cat!”

    • Virginia Dean says:

      Who really cares? This is just endless twaddle. It’s 2018, not 1018. Eastern Orthodoxy is stuck in a Contestoga Wagon era while the rest of the world is driving Teslas. Additionally, the Russian and Greek churches are corrupt beyond description and have transferred that toxicity to America. Irrelevant. Feckless. Laughable. So waste time arguing about who prevails? No thanks. Right religion, just given to the wrong people.

      • George Michalopulos says:

        Miss Dean, Tesla? Really? Couldn’t you come up with a better analogy? Elon Musk is a huckster and con man —at best.

        And the only corruption in the Church resides in the various people who are part of Her.

        • Virginia Dean says:

          Okay, how ’bout this: we’re (Orthodoxy) operating a telegraph wire in an iPhone world. Is that better?

          Re: corrupt people. Duuuuuh? Well, of course. Corrupt people corrupt and mostly DESTROY the institutions they occupy, even if SHE (the institution) is innocent. A difference without a distinction, George and Michael.

          • Michael Bauman says:

            Virginia, where should corrupt people go for healing? IMO the Church will always appear to be falling apart. What else is to be expected? Are we not the maimed, the halt and the lame? Not all, but many of the great saints such as Abba Moses and St. Mary of Egypt as well as others were great sinners first.

            I suspect that if the facts were known the number of corrupt, venal and incompetent bishops in the history of the Church far out numbers the good and holy ones.

            There is a saying: “Bishops die, babushkas live forever.” Those who respond to our Lord’s constant unwavering call to repent will be saved. As for those who don’t, or do not seem to… “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

            Neither you nor I Virginia can change any other person’s behavior one iota. Mercy, God’s mercy through the Holy Spirit is what allows me to change, the same for others.

            As I mentioned to Advocate: any sin I see in another, I have in my own heart. Maybe not dominant, but it is there. The only solutions is to repent and pray for mercy for myself and all others who suffer from the same sin.

            Glory to God for All Things! Rejoice in the Lord Always! This is the day the Lord has made, rejoice and be glad in it! Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

            The quality of mercy is not strained;
            It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
            Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;
            It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
            ‘T is mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
            The throned monarch better than his crown:
            His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
            The attribute to awe and majesty,
            Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
            But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
            It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings,
            It is an attribute to God himself;
            And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
            When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
            Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
            That, in the course of justice, none of us
            Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
            And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
            The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
            To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
            Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
            Must needs give sentence ‘gainst the merchant there.

            I am sure you are right Virginia, the law, justice and righteousness would have those who lead the Church badly without integrity, decency or mercy deposed, and punished. But just as Shylock got his judgment to cut out a pound of flesh, but no blood, we are instructed by our Lord to leave the tares growing with the wheat, least wheat be lost.

            Unlike tares, sinful men can repent. Deep repentance has the ability to heal throughout what we call time. They trouble me to be sure, but they neither shame me or shake the foundation of my faith which is a direct encounter with Jesus Christ. He led me to this stinking, putrefying, corrupt and irrational home, the Orthodox Church. He met me when I walked in the door. I have endured personally priests who had no business being priests, idiot bishops and arrogant administrators plus the vile verbal assaults of fellow parishioners for no good reason.

            I was outraged and damaged by these things, some of the damage still lingers, indeed on bad days, so does the outrage-but I have to reach for it thank God. Others on this blog have experienced far worse. So? It is through my quest for repentance and the concomitant forgiveness where I have experience healing. Outrage and offense does not heal. It is too easy, too trite, and only leads to embedding the same sins in my own heart. Like too much booze, it feels good at the time, but the hangover lingers.

            Do not give up the peace that God gives. It is not worth it.

          • Michael Bauman says:

            Not a telegraph Virginia, more like smoke signals, drums and gatherings around camp fires to hear the wisdom of the people be recounted. Giving each other the kiss of peace as well, asking for forgiveness of one another. Real, enduring not wiped out by the next OS upgrade or glitch.

            Only in the Church can one encounter the Risen Christ in all His glory and mercy. So there are ragged mendicants, thieves and charlatans. Well, they are still warmed by the same fire and have the opportunity to partake of the wisdom and grace.

            • Billy Jack,

              You disappointed me. I’ve been waiting to see what you might make of…

              “more like smoke signals, drums and gatherings around camp fires”

              I always enjoy Michael’s posts, and I understand exactly what he means, but I was just sure you would…well…you know, and I was looking forward to the levity.

      • Michael Bauman says:

        Yes Virginia there really is a Santa Claus….

        Moderism is a curse. We are not living in an enlightened time at all. In fact it is a time of great darkness. There is no such thing as institutional corruption, only human corruption. The Church has been under constant oppression since AD 1453. The Turks, the Soviets, the Secularists.

        Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered. Let those who hate Him flee from His presence.

        God is with us! Understand all ye nations and submit your self, for God is with us.

  2. If you are suggesting that this boring encyclical is really a scintillating plot to submit to the monarchical Pope of Rome, I cannot begin to fathom that interpretation. I don’t see it there.

    • Michael Bauman says:

      FarmerG, Quote from the conclusion emphasis mine:

      And so, we pose these questions for consideration: Are we asking more of each other than we did when we shared communion? With all we share and with all the cost of the division, do we still have the right to remain divided? Are we true to the rule laid out by the Apostles at the Council of Jerusalem: “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us … to require nothing beyond the necessary”? (Acts 15:28)? Were we already united, and if we knew the cost to the Body of Christ, would the things we are talking about be enough to divide us? Do we resist the temptation to define too much? Do we understand that Christian unity is a gift of the Holy Spirit that comes through holiness, prayer, fasting, and sacrifice? Do we understand that every day millions of families live with the pain of division in their hearts? Do we understand that our churches are emptier because we are missing the unity Christ prayed for, “so that the world may believe”? (John 17:21)

      Our North American consultation reaffirms the conviction set forth in our statement of 2010: “Steps Towards a Reunited Church: A Sketch of an Orthodox-Catholic Vision for the Future,” where we said, “The challenge and the invitation to Orthodox and Catholic Christians, who understand themselves to be members of Christ’s Body precisely by sharing in the Eucharistic gifts and participating in the transforming life of the Holy Spirit, is now to see Christ authentically present in each other, and to find in those structures of leadership that have shaped our communities through the centuries a force to move us beyond disunity, mistrust, and competition, and towards that oneness in his Body, that obedience to his Spirit, that will reveal us as his disciples before the world.” (¶ 10)

      All about “feelings” nothing about the substantial and critical doctrinal and spiritual issues that actually divide us and get worse every day.

      Reunion is simple. All our RCC friends: Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

    • Gail Sheppard says:

      FamerG, George offered some very short postscripts to some things we’ve been talking about on the blog since Crete. You may not have seen all the activity. You kind of need all the tea leaves to read them.

      I don’t know if I would characterize it as “scintillating plot to submit to the monarchical Pope of Rome.” The Pope is not a monarch (perhaps you meant “maniacal”) and a “plot” suggests something is being done in secret, which is not the case. – Instead, I would characterize it as a well-orchestrated effort on the part of the EP and some very powerful global activists, with strong financial interests and a decidedly anti-conservative POV, to pave the way for unification with Rome, tipping the balance of power away from the MP, potentially undermining some of our core beliefs in the process. That prominent Greek Americans told the EP to skip the Moscow concelebration/meeting is not really all that surprising, as they are tied to the same global personalities.

      However, it IS surprising to see matters of primacy discussed on the Assembly of Canonical Bishops website. I know they sponsor ecumenical discussions, but I presumed they were local. I’m not sure it is within their purview to weigh in on more global discussions regarding the meaning of Canons and what the Orthodox Church ought to do with respect to uniting with Rome!

      The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops should not put an opinion piece on their website unless all their bishops concur . . . I’m sure they don’t. It’s incredibly misleading and it should be removed.

      BTW, has anybody else noticed they went from The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America to The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America? This represents a significant change, doesn’t it? When did this happen???

      • Gail Sheppard says:

        Apparently, the following was not called out as an “official address.” It’s dated 12/21/69, it references 2010, but it happened in 2017.

        http://assemblyofbishops.org/news/2014/reorganization-of-episcopal-assemblies-in-the-americas

        Wednesday, December 31, 1969

        During the Holy Synaxis of the Primates of the Orthodox Churches, which took place in Constantinople on March 6-9, 2014, the Prelates, through a unanimous vote, agreed to form separate Assemblies of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in Canada and in the United States of America. They further agreed to incorporate the hierarchs of Central America into the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of Latin America.

        In 2010, during the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America’s inaugural meeting, the hierarchs unanimously voted to ask the Primates of the Orthodox Churches to reorganize the Assemblies in the Americas to best respond to the cultural diversity and pastoral needs in the region.

        The Assembly in the United States of America will henceforth be called “The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America.”

  3. Gail Sheppard says:

    I can’t open the link from George’s piece. Not sure why. If I click on my own link, it seems to work: https://international.la-croix.com/news/patriarch-kirill-hosts-world-orthodox-leaders-in-moscow/6495

    From the article: “According to a source close to the Ecumenical Partriarchate, it was American Greek Orthodox leaders, major supporters of the Patriarchate, who dissuaded Bartholomew from going to Moscow, despite the views of European bishops.”

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Thanks for the heads up Gail. I’ll look into it.

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Gail, everybody, the hyperlink is working on my end now. Same with you all?

    • Also Greatly Saddened says:

      It’s a travesty when influential “Orthodox” use the Church to play power politics. Patriarch Kyrill and the Church of Russia have more than 70% of the world’s Orthodox population under their omophorion. The next largest Orthodox church is the Church of Romania. The Church of Greece, and certainly the EP’s omophorion, ain’t up there.

      The only way for the EP to show its muscles is to show off its “first among equals” status, which, when flexed, often means that the “equals” are marginalized or forgotten about. Given the distribution of the worldwide Orthodox populations and that the EP’s flock is miniscule (not to mention that the population of Greece is 11 million, less than 10% the population of Russia) — the ONLY way the EP can remain a “power player” in worldwide Orthodox polity is to act as an “Orthodox pope,” which we all know makes no sense, is an oxymoron, and a non-starter.

      Let’s face it, the only reason the EP became a “power player” in worldwide Orthodoxy during the 20th century was because most of the rest of the Orthodox world was suffering behind the Iron Curtain. It seems that the CIA helped inflate the EP’s self-perceived sense of power.

      It looks as if the EP and the “Archons” (i.e., wealthy Greek-Americans) of the 21st century are having a lot of trouble coming to terms with their now-diminished sense of importance. Sort of like there’s a new leader in the high school, and they don’t like that one bit.

      Greek culture is indeed wonderful and charming, but it is most wonderful and charming when bathed in humility. I imagine St Paisios of Mount Athos would agree with this. It would be best if the EP and the GOA would take their seats at the Orthodox table as one of many brothers, all deserving of respect and all bathed in humility. But also understanding that they won’t be at the head of the table most of the time. Others have accurately posted that the EP is an anachronism, and that’s blatantly obvious — a church without a flock! Claiming “diaspora” flocks all over the world to support its existence.

      Sadly, my intuition tells me that the EP/GOA will take their seat at the table with humility, among their brothers, only with much kicking and screaming. But the reality is that their place is not at the head of the table — a reality that has already happened, whether they like it or not.

      • Michael Bauman says:

        Greatly Saddened, in my study of Church history over the years a distinct pattern emerged concerning the Patriarch of Constantinople. The weaker it was the more it attempted to “pull rank” with fellow Orthodox while at the same time playing footsie with Rome. Part of the “rank” of course is due to the Ottoman Empire designating the Patriarch of Constantinople as the head of the Christian Rum Millet in the Empire. Western powers followed the same thinking and still tend to. We should not under estimate the effect of the Ottoman Yoke.

        The Turks still think that way it seems at least when it is useful. Rome, being Rome, simply assumes that the Patriarch is like the Pope despite mountains of evidence to the contrary. If the EP does unite with Rome expect to see an Papal announcement that all Orthodox are now under Rome.

        Ah, we live in interesting times.

        • Constaninos says:

          Dear Michael Bauman,
          Would the US state department approve of such a move?

          • Michael Bauman says:

            Who knows? I doubt even the State Department knows. But why wouldn’t they. They have about as much knowledge and respect for Christianity as Turkey and the same authoritarian impulse like all statists.

            Bigger is better.

      • Gail Sheppard says:

        I couldn’t agree with you more, AGS. I just hope they don’t topple the table with all that kicking. It will leave quite a mess for the rest of us to clean up.

  4. There’s no mystery as far as I can tell. The statement of the Assembly contemplates a Unia. They are getting ever bolder about it. I assume a formal schism of bishops to Rome headed by the Phanar is not far off in the distance.

    Moscow is bracing for it, I assume. I view it as a foregone conclusion.

    What is the nature of ancestral sin?
    By what means does God unite us to Him?
    From whence proceedeth the Holy Spirit?

    Q: How many Catholics does it take to change a light bulb?

    A: One, but only if he is bishop of Rome.

    Let the Church continue being the Church and let wannabe heretics descend into heresy.

    All is as it should be. Glory to God for all things.

  5. Constaninos says:

    Dear George,
    As we all know, beards are a great sign of holiness. Do you think it’s possible for you to write an article on which Orthodox prelates have the best beards? I think Metropolitan Tikhon and the Patriarch of Alexandria both have excellent facial growth.
    In a conflict between the EP and Patriarch Kirill, I have to side with Patriarch Kirill because the EP has a very ratty beard. I think the reason the GOA is in so much trouble is because Archbishop Demetrios has scraggly facial growth. This is a very important topic because we must end pogonophobia. By the way, isn’t it time for a US President to have a beard? Why do you think Abraham Lincoln is so revered? Because he had a beard! A leader without an excellent beard is like a lion without his glorious mane. Can I hear an amen?

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Well, I have a beard but I keep it closely trimmed.

      • Constaninos says:

        Dear George,
        As you know, my post was written in jest lest anyone take it seriously.

        • George Michalopulos says:

          LOL

          • Estonian Szlovak says:

            In that case, cancel my post.

          • Does this mean no beard article now?

            I for one would appreciate an article about the meaning of the bearded clergy

            Steven Segal – ponytail – no beard
            Chuck Norris – beard – no ponytail

            Orthodox power clergy – beard with ponytail

            It blows my mind

            What does it all mean?

            What does it mean for Orthodoxy?

            What does it mean for Kung Fu? O.o

            • I think it may mean that it’s questionable whether a native American man can ever become power clergy. A little fuzz may not be enough to make the cut. Come to think of it, I now realize why I, a thin haired blond (now mostly gray), was never even considered. And my son (a priest) who has a heavy beard but is always clean shaven on the insistence, I believe, of his wife has little hope of holiness until she dies. Oh the injustice of it all!

            • George Michalopulos says:

              Gotta think about this one!

              • Jim of Olym says:

                I remember seeing a photo of one of the Holy Elders of Valaam who had only a wispy beard. It turned out that he was a Tatar who had only scant facial hair anyway. But all revered him and came to him for counsel. Can’t remember his name. i think he has reposed in the Lord by now.

    • Joseph Lipper says:

      This is a very interesting point. Why no recent US presidents with beards?

      • Monk James says:

        Presidents are generally men of greater maturity, but now men in their twenties and thirties are very often seen with short full beards.

        Perhaps this is more than just a fad. Most guys — including my father and some of my natural brothers — just hate to shave, especially in the Winter.

        • Joseph Lipper says:

          Apparently we haven’t had an American President with a beard in the last 125 years. Since 1893, Benjamin Harrison.

          I thought shaving was a fad!

  6. Joseph Lipper says:

    In the past, Patriarch Bartholomew has shown a vested interest in Turkey joining the EU, because presumably this would have protected the Orthodox Church in Turkey with more tolerance and human rights for Christians there. If Turkey would become more European, one might reason, then Christians there might gain more rights and perhaps the Halki seminary could reopen.

    However, since the July 2016 Turkish coup attempt that has destroyed Turkish democracy and sealed Erdogan as dictator, the EU has completely given up on trying to make Turkey fit the European mould. Rather, the EU is now trying to figure out how to accept Turkey for what it is, warts and all. The EU desperately wants Turkey’s military power on their side, and they don’t want the Syrian refugees that Turkey harbours. The EU has also stated that it can no longer rely on Britain and the U.S. for military protection. Thus, they want and need a stronger alliance with Turkey, the country with the 2nd largest military in NATO and present haven of nearly 3 million Syrian refugees.

    The EU now seems willing to negotiate an alliance that is something outside of the box. This is not to Patriarch Bartholomew’s advantage. If anything, it makes him disposable.

    I’m not convinced that Patriarch Bartholomew would actually unite with Rome. I don’t think so. I think it’s more likely that he’ll be evicted, thrown out on the street.

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Joseph, this is a very cogent distillation of the problem of Turkey “warts and all”. It’s opened my eyes further, esp the last paragraph. While I don’t think it probable that the Turks would kick the EP to the curb I can’t say that it’s not plausible, esp if they have a more pliable, Turkish born candidate in the wings (i.e. LP of Bursa).

      Also, I’m not so sure that the assessment that the EU needs Turkey’s military for “protection” is realistic anymore. The USSR doesn’t exist any longer and the RF has no military designs on the West other than irrendentist claims on the eastern Ukraine and the Baltic States. In other words, it’s a matter of timing. Plus, more and more native Europeans are getting “woke” as they say nowadays: if the price of Turkish protection (iffy as that is) is the continued Islamification of Europe, then many will take a hard cold look at the cost-benefit analysis of that bargain. Especially in light of the fact that Russia poses no realistic military threat.

      As far as Bartholomew’s situation: there’d be a downside to be sure but a lot of upsides for them. Worse, there might not even be a downside (other that a pro-forma complaint) because the EP has consistently bolixed things up in America, Greece, the Middle East and of course with Russia re the Ukraine. He had some aces up his sleeve or so we thought but the the reality is much bleaker.

      As Kenny Rodgers sang “every card’s a winner and every card’s a loser…”.

      Anyway, that’s my take. Thanks for the opinion. I’m sure I’ll think more on it as time goes on.

      • Joseph Lipper says:

        George, I believe the military protection the EU is presently needing from Turkey is in restraining the 3 million refugees there.

      • https://www.firstthings.com/article/2018/01/the-zealous-faith-of-secularism

        Mary Eberstadt wrote an interesting piece in First Things regarding the Zealous faith of Secularism. She does not go too explicit and call for a return to the patriarchy, but it is implicit in what she writes. It is interesting that there are many Pope Benedict-type Catholics who see the situation ever more clearly.

        The Secularists, Progressives and Liberal Catholics (Pope Francis included) are under the mistaken impression that if they all join hands in Progresso-Judeo-Christianity-lite that the cosmopolitan nature of this new de-fanged and declawed society will be able to soothe the savage breast of the Muslims and we will all live happily ever after.

        I kid you not. That is the theory.
        ,
        The Muslims, for their part, must be laughing out loud at the West. We let them in in droves while they show no interest in assimilating to “Western Culture”, whatever that is or was. They reproduce at a much higher rate than Western Europeans so the demographics favor them in the medium to long term. And they have the West soul searching its feeble little conscience about Islamaphobia 24/7.

        If I were an intelligent, well educated mullah looking at the picture, I would say that Allah is working wonders for the ummah.

        The devil kept his religion patriarchal because he knows that that is the strongest, most ideologically resistant posture for a society. Also, he knows that men will not be eager to have big families if they do not feel they own them – i.e., have authority over everyone under them. They will just play around a pay whatever child support becomes necessary.

        I see this dynamic every day among the homeless men in our community.

        It will only end when Secular Humanism collapses as a viable phronema. That will be a momentous happening and we can see the beginnings of it in the angst ridden screeds directed against Trump and the “new autocrats”.

        The Secular Humanists are fighting on the wrong battlefield. To quote the main Muslim villain in the movie, “The Siege”, “You in the West believe that money is power. Belief is power.”

        Try though it might, Secular Humanism is ceasing to inspire.

    • Joseph Lipper says:

      In today’s meeting, French President Macron reiterated what the EU has been saying for at least the last year and a half, “No chance of Turkey joining the EU”. Macron is really trying to drive that point home to President Erdogan . The European Union has totally given up on trying to Europeanize the country of Turkey (which is not good news for the Phanar).

      However, the point of today’s meeting was not a simple rebuff, but rather to keep Erdogan engaged with the EU on a different level that has not been fully revealed yet:

      “the French president also said it was important to keep a close relationship with Ankara, and that perhaps this was the moment to explore an option short of full EU membership – a partnership, as he described it, that would anchor the Turkish people in Europe.”

      Those words “anchor the Turkish people in Europe”, what does this mean? Stay tuned for Pope Francis’ meeting with Erdogan.

      http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-42586108

  7. M. Stankovich. says:

    It has been most fascinating to me to, again, spend a week in the cathedral & home of a ruling diocesan bishop who uninterruptedly goes about his business even while keeping up with the continuous “banter,” annoyance, & reminiscence with a friend like me; worse as I pose the “imminence” of the issues I read here. “Unia? Hmm. Well, I have a flock entrusted to me to attend to…” Now, if one examines the Confession of Faith a Bishop Elect pronounces the evening before his consecration, after his recitation of the Nicene Creed and acceptance of the teachings of the Councils and our Holy Traditions, but before stating obedience to any Patriarch or ruling hierarch, he states

    I will take care to guide the ministry allotted to me by divine will, and in accordance with them I will persevere in teaching all these things to the sacred Clergy and chosen People of the Lord who are entrusted to my spiritual flock. And most diligently, it is my confession that I safeguard the unity of the faith in the bond of peace, and that whatever the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of the Orthodox dogmatizes and honors, I also honor and will in no way alter – neither dogmas nor traditions, but adhering to them and teaching and preaching them in the fear of God and with a clear conscience; and whatever has been condemned and rejected as being a strange teaching, those I also forever reject and renounce.

    It strikes me that the order of this confession is profoundly significant and expresses the patristic role of the the Bishops, first and foremost, as the moral voice to their entrusted flocks above all else. This, then, would lead me to suggest that Gail’s concern about the lie of “It’s no big deal” could easily be reframed into the timeless words of Blessed Ignatius of Antioch, spoken in the days of the most brutal and cruel persecution the Church has witnessed, “Where the Bishop is, there is the Church.”

    Whenever and wherever there is a single Orthodox Bishop faithful to his promise to “take care to guide the ministry allotted to me by divine will,” there the Church will abide, the Bishop will call upon our God to “visit this vineyard which You have planted with Your Right Hand,” and “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” (Matt. 16:18) come Unia or high water (admittedly a very bad pun).

    Finally, as the thread completed, I would point out to Advocate regarding his analogy of the monkeys and the banana, change the single element of the banana to fire and you have an entirely new and fundamentally different learning experience; one in which I believe the Church has successfully employed for two centuries.

    • Nail on the head says:

      Finally, as the thread completed, I would point out to Advocate regarding his analogy of the monkeys and the banana, change the single element of the banana to fire and you have an entirely new and fundamentally different learning experience; one in which I believe the Church has successfully employed for two centuries.

      Wonderful! Ball out of the park! Bravo!

      • The Advocate says:

        Nail on the head!

        Is this some chicken shit way of getting my attention to respond to your boy?
        Guess what? Already heard that one, also heard sub banana, for forbidden fruit, and knowledge. If that is the case, then Orthodox Church motto might read:

        THE ORTHODOX CHURCH, WE’LL BEAT THE HELL OUT OF YOU, SO YOU WON’T HAVE TO!

        Notice I became the new fifth monkey, when I made my comments. Half the monkeys waited to see what the alpha monkey might do. Wanna be alpha monkeys came at me straight on, and whacked away, other wanna be alpha monkeys came with their passive aggressive methods, but the bats were hidden behind their backs, for the right moment, juuust in case I didn’t come to my senses. Finally the beta monkeys join in, like Nail on the head, to seal my coffin shut. No monkey, no problem, right boys? HMMMM, where have I heard that before?

        • Jim of Olym says:

          Sorry, Advocate! I ‘ve heard the profession of faith by heirocarts several times and go with Stanko’s take on that. The fact that some might in some way, in some time adjure their vows doesn’t negate the fact that they promised once to proclaim the whole Orthodox faith. Some might turn out to be monkeys like you say. They will have their comeuppance in the end.

        • M. Stankovich says:

          Here’s what I’m thinking: your whole monkey/banana deal took up a significant amount of territory & was hardly profound enough to deserve this amount of attention. My critique was, after all, one sentence. I would suggest that your response to the commentator – categorically speaking – was more in line with what was referred to in the 1970’s as “henhouse shit,” though in either case patently offensive. I would suggest you try reading your posts aloud to yourself before you post them. Monkey see, monkey do, and so on.