The Pappas Paradigm

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SCORCHING THE EARTH

Well, I guess Yours’ Truly was right, wasn’t I?

What I said specifically was that Metropolitan Savas Zembillas of Pittsburgh would back down in the face of a well-heeled Greek-American’s defiance, that the priest in question would be thrown under the bus, and that the accommodation of the GOA to the Zeitgeist would proceed apace.

Truth be told, I thought that that would be it. Once having made his point, Mr Pappas would chalk up a win, then go along his merry way. That’s more or less what the gays and feminists did with the Episcopal Church: make some demands, give in a little here, take some more there; gain some valuable real estate for the future. That’s the smart, Fabian way of fighting whenever you’re in a long, hard slog. You know, boiling the frog little by little.

Didn’t happen. When I quoted a Greek-American friend of mine, who said that “Greg was going to go to war with the GOA” I intuitively agreed with that assessment. I didn’t like it and I thought it was harsh because I don’t know Mr Pappas personally. But I trusted my source so I agreed. Throwing caution to the wind, I put it in last week’s essay on this subject. Then as soon as I hit the “publish” button, I thought “Uh oh George, you’ve overshot yourself this time.” Alia acta est!

My fears were confirmed in less than two hours when one of my editors called me up (I was driving to Santa Fe) and said, “George, Pappas has the first comment. He’s come after you. He’s really pissed about what you said.” I told my editor to go ahead and release the comment and let the chips fall where they may.

Boy, did they fall. Unfortunately for Pappas, there was a blow-back, but it was 90 percent against him. Pappas, for all his eloquence, didn’t think this thing through. He’s a clever man but not a clear thinker. When all was said and done, he didn’t understand the logical and inevitable consequences of his actions, which are nothing less than the transformation of the Christian moral tradition according to the whims of the moment. It is the caprices of the gay lobby which –thanks to Savas’ capitulation–rule the day.

Now, let us be clear, the moral tradition of Orthodox Christianity has not changed. Nor can it, Pappas’ sophistry about masturbation and nocturnal emissions to the contrary. As seen by the ferocity of the counter-attack in this blog, Mr Pappas and his supporters have had the wind knocked out of them, at least temporarily. Seeing that his flowery words could find no purchase among a wide swath of the laity, he decided to double-down and go for broke, taking his case to the wider American establishment.

Because of his own elite status within the GOA, he was able to publish an editorial in The Washington Post. This is a huge accomplishment and will set the narrative of his gay “martyrdom” with the wider American public, who by all indications are even more poorly catechized than the average Greek Orthodox layman. If he could transpose a picture of himself standing with Martin Luther King or, better yet, standing next to Harvey Milk while he lay dying, he would no doubt do so. And of course the subtext will always be “hateful Orthodox rednecks tackle the saintly Pappas as he goes for Communion.”

This of course puts thoughtful laymen in the uncomfortable position of having to explain that it is Pappas who compares Jewish ethnicity to sodomy, something that the Church never did. It also puts us on the defensive, having to explain that the Church does not equate the sin with the sinner (indeed, it is Pappas who does that).

These fundamental truths are rather easy to point out but now Pappas won’t allow that to happen. He’s upped the ante and with his own words and actions, he has instituted a scorched earth policy against the GOA. There is no middle ground. Either the bishops will acquiesce to Pappas’ demand that he is entitled to the Eucharist because he has a spiritual father who says that he can, or the bishops will uphold the moral tradition of the Church.

This is a new paradigm, one initiated by Pappas. Just as the Church has changed its position on Jewish doctors (my own is Jewish), so too will it change its position on homosexual nuptials.

The question now before us is, will he succeed?

NOW WHAT?

Forget about the effrontery of putting the hierarch — and by extension, all other GOA bishops — on the spot. What about the recent encyclical of Patriarch Bartholomew which explicitly condemned homosexual “marriage”? Didn’t Metropolitan Savas get that memo? Couldn’t he have shown this to Pappas and told him that his hands are tied? Or was that encyclical nothing but a pious charade, issued because Bartholomew felt the Russians breathing down his neck? I for one, choose to believe that his eloquent words came from the heart and were inspired by the Holy Spirit. If so, then doesn’t Zembillas understand the import of what he has done by caving in to a mere layman?

The bishops of ROCOR undoubtedly saw the handwriting on the wall when, for all practical purposes, they pulled out of the Episcopal Assembly. How long before the other jurisdictions leave less they be tainted by their association with the GOA? Especially should it continue along this path? Things are probably so far gone in the GOA that even a strongly-worded encyclical from the Primate with explicit protocols for receiving the Eucharist would be impossible to issue in the present environment. And even if it was to come out, it would be largely ignored –such is the power of the homosexual juggernaut.

I could go on, but what’s the point? Merely this: that thanks to the idolatry of Greekism that has been inculcated by the GOA these many years, gentle souls like Greg Pappas can’t be blamed for believing that they’re God’s gifts to mankind. And the more successful you are, the more indicative of God’s favor. This is nothing short of Calvinism. Such megalomania is inevitable given the Greekism that has been inculcated in the GOA over the generations. Today it will be gay “marriage,” but what about tomorrow? Polygamy? Priestesses? If not, why not?

Gene Robinson and boyfriend

Gene Robinson and his (ex) husband

And let’s be honest, there are more that a few bishops who are morally compromised themselves. They couldn’t take on Pappas and his ilk even if they wanted to. For various and sundry reasons, they don’t want to. It’s possible that some of them have tired of playing the game themselves, always looking over their shoulder as they leave the gay bar with lover in tow, telling the Chancellor that their “nephew” has come over to visit for a few days, etc. You get the picture. Some probably admire V. Gene Robinson, the Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, who proudly poses with his lover. For all his sins, at least Vicky Gene doesn’t have to worry about being blackmailed or controlled by others. Maybe the time has come to be open about one’s sympathy for sodomy. Like homosexuals in the secular sphere, they may have grown tired of the closet and yearn to break free of its constraints and hypocrisy.

Others of course may be more skittish; some may even like the game. Who knows? At any rate, the question before all Orthodox who are serious about their faith is stark. Pappas’ latest editorial in the Post is an occasion for moral clarity. Greek-American laymen have to make up their own minds about their commitment to the GOA. And by extension, those bishops in the Episcopal Assembly who are not part of the GOA will have to make up their minds for themselves and their flocks on whether to commune with that jurisdiction should it accept the terms of the Pappas Paradigm.

Ultimately it depends on whether Pappas prevails. That unfortunately will be up to the bishops of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. The question is, are they up to the task?

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Comments

  1. Engaged Observer says:

    Hmmm, the Washington Post. I'd be impressed or surprised, but Mr Pappas happens to be peddling what the Washington Post wants.

    Am I being overly optimistic in thinking that this move might force the GOA bishops and GOA laity who actually are Orthodox Christians to put their collective feet down?

    George, you hit the nail on the head with this statement: "Thanks to the idolatry of Greekism that has been inculcated by the GOA these many years, gentle souls like Greg Pappas can’t be blamed for believing that they’re God’s gifts to mankind. And the more successful you are, the more indicative of God’s favor. This is nothing short of Calvinism. Such megalomania is inevitable given the Greekism that has been inculcated in the GOA over the generations."

    Mr. Pappas's behavior is simply the logical result of what happens when you emphasize something other than Christ in what is supposed to be an Orthodox Christian faith. I saw it in the GOA, which I grew up in but then left two decades ago. In the GOA that I experienced (and in the GOA that Mr Pappas desperately wants to see prevail), the more Greek you are, the more welcome you are. Christ is purely secondary; He is reduced to the backdrop for the Hellenic play that's constantly unfolding -- and sadly, a backdrop that is often completely ignored.

    My spiritual life demanded a jurisdiction where Christ comes first. Thanks be to God there are several Orthodox jurisdictions in America where that is the case, and that's where I've been since.

    On his blog, Mr Pappas comments: "I have been going to Mykonos and feeding from its energy for more than a quarter of a century." It's well-known that Mykonos is one of the gayest islands in the Aegean. I'm guessing that the "energy" from which he feeds does not stem from the Greek spiritual giants of Mt Athos or St Nektarios of Aegina.

    This will be a turning point for the GOA, no matter what the bishops do: whether they stand firm with Christ and His Church and publicly affirm that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever; whether they capitulate to Mr Pappas and his gay mafia entirely; or whether they bury their heads in the sand and say nothing at all. I'm eager to see which path they choose.

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    • Pere LaChaise says:

      Engaged,
      What you have written above is what I was saying in response to the last article about Pappas – that the context of his narcissism is Greek church life (duh). Boy, did I get slammed for saying that!
      We may be somewhat reassured by the raft of comments below Pappas' WaPo story, which make the moral-spiritual-canonical point that Pappas doesn't know what he's talking about.

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      • M. Stankovich says:

        Pere LaChaise,

        "Slammed?" Where I'm from, there is something called "common knowledge," and if it were, in fact, necessary to answer for "common knowledge" statements (as if some Archdiocese had slipped it by the Lord) such as those you made, more than a few of us have your back. And the beauty of research design and statistical analysis? You can get to brass tacks from samples far fewer than "500 parishes," if you were so inclined. Fr. Schmemann's yearly address on the matter of "I'm a good person" had to do with his discouragement at hearing confessions. Not unlike one of the "Greek logic" comments I read post-WaPo ("You made the sign of the Cross at every church we passed on the bus traveling through Crete," ergo you must be a good person) Fr. Alexander noted confession usually consisted of what I "didn't do": "Well, Fr., I didn't cheat on my wife, or I didn't steal, or I didn't murder. I'm basically a good person." And so are we all, Pere LaChaise, good people (doggone it). Next time, however, refer to "common knowledge" as a "miasm of ethnicity, secularism, and "religion" in the worst sense of the word" as did some other verbose jackass - Oh, sorry, that was me - and you'll just get an endless cascade of those ego-piercing thumbs-down. We live and learn.

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      • Engaged Observer says:

        Here, Here, Pere LaChaise!

        Mr. Pappas doesn't know what he's talking about, and he's encouraged by a secular media elite, who also don't know what they are talking about. Mr. Pappas excommunicates himself by active homosexual behavior, by engaging in a "same-sex marriage" (whatever that is) -- the Church simply acknowledges the reality that he has excommunicated himself.

        Would the venerable Archbishop Damaskinos of Athens (http://orthodoxwiki.org/Damaskinos_(Papandreou)_of_Athens) -- a Greek man like Mr. Pappas -- commune Mr. Pappas if he were aware of active homosexual behavior or of a "same-sex marriage"? I think not.

        We need more Greek Orthodox leaders who have (or at least emulate) the gravitas of Archbishop Damaskinos! Are there any left?

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  2. Fr. George Washburn says:

    Hi George:

    You're on a roll of high-sounding verbiage on this issue. I note your repeated characterizations of the Met. of Pittsburgh's action or inaction, but nowhere (maybe I haven't sifted all the rhetoric carefully enough) did I see a clear reference to what he has actually said, done or refused to say/do.

    Could you shoot us a couple of clear, factual declarative sentences that state what you believe he has done or refrained from doing?

    Thanks!

    Fr. George

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    • David Bradshaw says:

      I too would appreciate a clear statement of exactly what the Metropolitan has said or done.

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      • George Michalopulos says:

        This is a very good question. Truth be told, we only have Pappas' testimony of who said what. Neither Fr John nor Metropolitan Savas has issued any statement.

        So what are we supposed to do in the meantime when an unrepentant sinner defies his church and does so in as public a forum as possible?

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        • Fr. George Washburn says:

          Well one possibility is to more or less silently wait to see what the priest and the bishops made responsible by Orthodox tradition will do. I realize that isn't very American, and doesn't sell many newspapers, but .....

          Fr. G

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          • George Michalopulos says:

            Fr, I don't "sell" any newspapers. What would you have us do? Act complaisantly while Pappas and his ilk scream bloody murder to the national press?

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            • Fr. George Washburn says:

              No, but having principles AND being less hard on the bishop as we wait to see what he does would be nice. Some of your rhetoric gave the impression that the Metropolitan had thrown the priest under the bus ....or was even driving it himself.! You know the story about the little boy who cried "Wolf.!"

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              • Tom Kanelos says:

                Father, around here, many would prefer rumor and gossip to facts. They have been doing the same thing to Fr. Jim Dokos for months (and others).

                I have no problem with commenting on what Mr. Pappas wrote and did. It's completely fair game because he made his statements publically. But making assumptions and accusations against Fr. Touloumes and Met. Savas without knowing what they actually said is wrong. And if they don't comment, then just mention that they did not comment and leave it at that.

                The funny thing is, both Pappas and Mihalopoulos (as well as others who are jumping on the bandwagon) show by their willingness to create division and fuel division within the Church, that their love is not for Christ and the Church, but rather for what THEY believe Christ and the Church are. It is ironic that they both exhibit the same behavior.

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                • George Michalopulos says:

                  All we know about what the priest and bishop said is from Pappas' own words.

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            • M. Stankovich says:

              What a disingenuous response, Mr. Michalopulos. Gregory Pappas asked you from the outset, "Why didn't you contact me?" and this is a completely fair statement that speaks to your history of assuming the role of "internet inquisitor" - for example with Frs. Arida, Viogradov, and Chancellor Jillions, even when I offered to facilitate the contact - yet lacking the courage to address him man-to-man. You published Mr. Pappas' "intention" as reported to you by a third party. You followed this up with your second essay, literally mocking Pappas that the "tide had turned by 90% against him," pulled from nowhere, as annoyed has pointed out, with no evidence to support such a claim. And when "Pappas and his ilk scream[ed] bloody murder to the national press," you would pound your chest and claim yourself a prophet? You as much as dared him to do it. Give it a rest. Write a nice tribute to your father already. I'm going to take something for this pervasive nausea.

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              • Michael Bauman says:

                Michael S. When in your mind is it appropriate to let someone go without engaging them?

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                • Tim R. Mortiss says:

                  As the rabbis say: you don't enter into discussions with the yetzer hara.

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              • Tim R. Mortiss says:

                Mr. Stankovich, leaving aside what you thing of George Michalopoulos, or any poster here, and even leaving aside Mr. Pappas original publication of his denunciad on his own blog, what do think of his putting it in the Washington Post?

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          • colette says:

            The reason Pappas thinks the way he does is BECAUSE of silence.

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            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

              collette, please, elaborate on the concept:, the way Pappas thinks. HOW does he think, and to whose silence do you refer?
              I read George's reference to screaming (or caterwauling) and then three comments; Father George, M. Stankovich, and you. Yours is most like a dogmatic pronouncement. I think that's why you got thumbs ups from the usual suspects, and they got negative net results, no? That's what people are hungering for, dogmatic pronouncements AS SUCH., and I think the hunger for dogmatic pronouncement versus the aversion to such is what characterizes everything on this blog. Look at the sewage-like pronouncements Madame Menounas made about Bishop Sergios Black and about Fathers Michael and Lawrence Margitich! And it was all second hand sewage!

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            • Other other Matthew says:

              colette says:

              The reason Pappas thinks the way he does is BECAUSE of silence.

              Mr. Pappas can think any way he wants to. He's part of the church, too, whether you like it or not. Many, maybe most, who keep silent agree with him.

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              • Ladder of Divine Ascent says:

                "Mr. Pappas can think any way he wants to. He’s part of the church, too, whether you like it or not. Many, maybe most, who keep silent agree with him."

                Every Orthodox Christian is part of the Elect, but so were Ananias and Sapphira. Elect vs the Very Elect (Elect of the Elect). Many are called (elect), few are chosen (very elect).

                "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition"

                And every generation a few "brilliant" clergy think they've found a new loophole around the below, and they always gather a following of some sort, however small.

                "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."

                Somebody has to be "those guys." The blind, and the blind following the blind, falling into a ditch.

                And, in the end, they get to be the "majority." The above ground church.

                Or, to quote, the bearded man in a dress (transgendered Baphomet) who won Eurovision 2014 with the song, starting with smoke as if rising from the Abyss/pit, then gains flaming wings:

                "Retribution
                you [humans] were warned, [in the Bible]

                Once I'm transformed,
                once I'm reborn

                I rise up to the sky
                you [God] threw me down but I'm gonna fly.

                And rise like a phoenix
                Out of the ashes."

                Somebody has to the sorry sucker to worship the Antichrist and to take his mark.

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              • Johann Sebastian says:

                Other other Matthew says:

                "Mr. Pappas can think any way he wants to. He’s part of the church, too, whether you like it or not"

                He may be a dues-paying member, but he is certainly not part of the Church.

                Get thee behind me, Satan!

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                • Abbouna Michel says:

                  Theologically, he still IS "part of the Church," though errant. Clarity of language, in my experience, is directly related to clarity of thought.

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                  • Johann Sebastian says:

                    In that case, Abouna, are all the little splinter Russian and Greek "True Orthodox" Churches still part of the Church? How about the Macedonian Orthodox Church?

                    Are Uniates still part of the Church?

                    And, for that matter, are Roman Catholics and Baptists still part of the Church?

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                    • Tim R. Mortiss says:

                      "And, for that matter, are Roman Catholics and Baptists still part of the Church?"

                      I pray with all my heart for all of the Christian churches that cling to the Gospel and the ancient teachings of the Church.

                      Above all, I pray for the Roman Catholic Church, day and night. There are tens of millions of
                      faithful and devout Catholics in this country who are resisting the enormous social pressures placed upon their church.

                      When we (and our children) stand against these terrible pressures, the greatest thing we have to say before the world is: "I am an Orthodox Christian, and this is the teaching of my Church". I hope against hope that there will be millions (they will always be far, far more than us) who will stand and say: "I am a Catholic, and this is the teaching of my church."

                      I am a worldly man, and I live in the world. While I am in this world, I will try to put on the whole armor of God, and pray for the strength of his mighty fortresses, whatever they may be. I do not care to be pushed to the margins of my society, nor to have my children and grandchildren marginalized; not without a fight. We had better not turn our backs on our allies!

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                    • Johann Sebastian says:

                      Thank you, Abouna, for reinforcing the point I was trying to make by posing those questions.

                      An unrepentant apostate who willfully distorts Truth, to fit a personal agenda no less, is not part of the Church. Unless he repents, he has forsaken his Baptism.

                      A genuine seeker, although errant, may very well be part of the Church, even if not visible to us.

                      So...back to square one. Why do you think I brought up Baptists, specifically? Baptism by immersion, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

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                    • Other other Matthew says:

                      Tim R. Mortiss says:

                      I do not care to be pushed to the margins of my society

                      Nor, apparently, does Mr. Pappas.

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                  • Abbouna, let's have clarity, by all means. The church does not have 'tiers of membership.' It is not divided between the 'errant' and the 'inerrant.' All of us fall short in some way or another, despite what the self-righteous believe. As many as have been baptized...

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                    • Actually, in a way, there are "tiers" of membership. There are those who are catechumens, those who are faithful, those who are members of the church but excommunicated because of some impediment and those who have apostacized. Moreover, we are ignoring holy orders which differentiate as well. Also, despite there being "neither Jew nor Greek" etc. only males may be ordained to the priesthood and episcopacy.

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                    • Protopappas says:

                      I agree with Misha. The Church has, for much of its history, had different tiers of membership participation, that is, ability of members to legitimately participate based on their circumstances, such as kneelers, hearers, weepers, and co-standers, none of which could take communion

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                    • Abbouna Michel says:

                      How refreshing! A discussion of ecclesiology, even if it had to begin with sex. Actually, Misha and Protopappas got it right.

                      First of all, the Pantocrator is the only one who can say with any degree of certainty who's part of the Church and who's not. In terms of "splinter Russian groups" and "Macedonians," unlike "Johann Sebastian," I wouldn't presume to offer an opinion.

                      But, let me respond to the question about Baptists and Roman Catholics. If one is part, in some fashion or another, of the Church, then grace is found there, especially in one's sacraments. And, if one isn't, then there isn't. Or, to use Western terms, sacraments either are "efficacious" or not.

                      In my jurisdiction, anyone baptized with the trinitarian formula (and this includes most Baptists) is received into Orthodoxy by chrismation. This implies that the person's baptism was "efficacious," containing grace in some measure or another. And, you can't have grace without the Church.

                      Also in my jurisdiction, Roman Catholics are received by chrismation, not rebaptism. I am aware of other jurisdictions in which Roman Catholics are received simply by creedal affirmation. This surely implies that, among some Orthodox at least, baptism and/or chrismation/Confirmation are regarded as having grace, or as efficacious. Which, in turn, implies some level of participation in the Church.

                      Similarly, in my jurisdiction, and several others of which I'm aware, former Roman Catholic clergy are received as clergy by vesting, and not by re-ordination. Again, this implies that there was grace in the laying on of hands by their bishops, and that, in turn, implies that there is some level of participation in the Church. If there isn't, it simply isn't possible for the sacrament to be efficacious.

                      The Balamand Declaration (1993) refers to the Catholic and Orthodox Churches as "Sister Churches" (n. 12). If indeed this is the case, then, by definition, grace is to be found in both. And yes, I'm aware that not all Orthodox Churches, then and since, subscribe to the Declaration. I might point out, however, that one of the signatories, Abbouna Youhanna Yazigi, subsequently has risen to a position of some prominence in worldwide Orthodoxy!

                      Finally, let me suggest as an informative source the articulate and scholarly 1993 Pastoral Letter of a certain mutran who regularly contributes to this blog.

                      Would that the world--and the Church--were as easily divisible into "sheep" and "goats" as "Johann Sebastian" suggests. Unfortunately, the Incarnation of the Son of God here, as in so many other instances, was into a less than tidy world!

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                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                      All distinctions within the Church are between repentant sinners. The unrepentant excommunicate themselves.

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                    • There are no "sister churches" other than the sister churches of the one Orthodox Church. The grace of the mysteries does not extend to putatively served "mysteries" outside the Orthodox Church. Reception into the Orthodox Church by any means other than baptism is by means of economy, not recognition of the "sacraments" celebrated outside the Church. How can an organization outside the Church join someone to the Church? It's totally absurd, actually.

                      By economy, the empty form of the mystery is filled with grace. Personally, I think everyone should be baptized if they convert, even the Pope, if he were to cross over. However, I defer to St. Basil who allowed reception by other means out of "mercy" (i.e., economy).

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                    • colette says:

                      Hi Abbouna Michel,
                      Sorry to respond to you here there was no "reply" after your intended post.. . .

                      I had a question for you, you mentioned --"The Balamand Declaration (1993) refers to the Catholic and Orthodox Churches as “Sister Churches” (n. 12). " Does it address the Coptic and Etheopian churches as well? Do we also call them sister churches?

                      Thank you

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                    • Other other Matthew says:

                      Misha says:

                      Personally, I think everyone should be baptized if they convert, even the Pope, if he were to cross over.

                      Why is it okay for Misha to have personal opinions about the dispensation concerning the Holy Mysteries, but NOT for Mr. Pappas to do so?

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                    • Other other Matthew,

                      Pappas is welcome to his personal opinions about dispensation of the Holy Mysteries so long as he does not wish to force them on the Church or others. My opinion has been widely shared within Orthodoxy from ancient times. Nonetheless, I acknowledge that there was a controversy and that St. Basil's opinion seems to have become dominant. Sometimes the Church (as local churches) has, on principle, baptized everyone. Sometimes the Church has received the heterodox by chrismation or confession. Some of the variation depends on the degree of heterodoxy perceived in the former affiliation of the person to be received.

                      I don't think you will find any of the Fathers or any local council of the Church on record as advocating the communing of unrepentant sodomites.

                      That is why Pappas is being taken to task.

                      http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/strictness.aspx

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                    • Johann Sebastian says:

                      @ Other other Matthew:

                      Why is it OK for you to impose your totalitarian vision on the Church but not OK for the rest of us to uphold what has been defended for at least 13 centuries?

                      I have my own deficiencies and have kept from the Cup for many years now. The existence of bratty nitwits like you makes me question the existence of God rather often.

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                • M. Stankovich says:

                  Seriously, have not one of you read Fr. Florovsky's The House of the Father? Too may experts, not enough expertise.

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                  • Abbouna Michel says:

                    Hi colette,

                    Sorry, but I can't respond directly to your query, either. You raise an interesting question, the answer to which, like everything regarding Orthodox ecclesiological perspectives, is somewhat complex.

                    Even during the centuries when the "Orthodox" and "Oriental Orthodox" were going at each other hammer and tongs, there always were those who recognized the "other" as truly "orthodox," and counseled moderation and the ending of polemics. And, of course, there were those who cheerfully anathematized the "other" at every available opportunity!

                    Formal dialog between Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox has been going on since the 1980s. By the 1990s, there was much optimism that there would be actual reunion among the two communities. And, by this time, the mainstream theologians and leadership of each community had recognized the "other" as a "sister Church."

                    More recently, as a result of cultural rather than theological factors, the dialogs have slowed down, and the relations have cooled somewhat.

                    If you click on the URL that I'm pasting in, it will take you to a very illuminating 2000 lecture on the topic by Father John Erickson, the ecclesiastical historian who formerly was dean at St. Vladmir's. http://www.svots.edu/content/beyond-dialogue-quest-eastern-and-oriental-orthodox-unity-today.

                    Apropos of nothing in particular, I might note that one of these Churches, The Assyrian Church of the East, actually has issued a common statement with the Roman Catholic Church, outlining the circumstances under which members of one may communicate in churches of the other!

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                    • colette says:

                      Thank you Fr.!

                      What year did this happen?

                      "The Assyrian Church of the East, actually has issued a common statement with the Roman Catholic Church, outlining the circumstances under which members of one may communicate in churches of the other!"

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                    • Abbouna Michel says:

                      Dear colette,

                      Sorry I didn't respond earlier, but there was more drama than usual in the parish yesterday. The document was promulgated in 2001 jointly by the Chaldean Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East. They come from common roots and are both liturgically East Syriac in form. The Vatican itself was involved in the process of creating the document through the Secretariat for Christian Unity, a Vatican dicastery (department).

                      I'm pasting in a link to the actual document if you'd like to look at it yourself. http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/documents/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_20011025_chiesa-caldea-assira_en.html.

                      Be advised, though, that you ought to cross yourself before and after you do, since the document appears on the official Vatican website! :-)

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                    • colette says:

                      Thank you Abbouna!

                      Again-I can't respond after you comment , but it's much appreciated.

                      Like(0)Dislike(0)
                    • Abbouna Michel says:

                      Dear colette,

                      Afwan!

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        • Patrick Henry Reardon says:

          George observes: "Neither Fr John nor Metropolitan Savas has issued any statement."

          I wouldn't either.

          Mr Pappas has framed the terms of the discussion. They both made pastoral decisions that do not call for public comment.

          Pappas lives in Chicago, and they live in Pittsburgh. Why would they comment about what some guy in Chicago says?

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          • Archpriest John W. Morris says:

            An Orthodox Priest or Bishop does not have to justify his pastoral decisions to the secular press. It is none of their business when someone is denied Communion because they reject the moral teachings of the Church. An openly practicing and unrepentant homosexual would be denied Communion by any faithful Orthodox Priest any where in the world. This man compounded his sin by going to the secular press.

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            • Other other Matthew says:

              Archpriest John W. Morris says:

              This man compounded his sin by going to the secular press.

              What makes Archpriest John W. Morris or anyone else competent to judge this man's sinfulness? What has the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church to fear when anyone "goes to the secular press"?

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              • Michael Bauman says:

                Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. MT 18:18

                The grace of the priesthood makes Fr. John competent. A priest, if he is a confessor, has the responsibility to gage a person's sinfulness and the extent of his/her repentance. That is part of the job.

                That is the beginning of his pastoral duties. It does not stop there, but you know all of that if you are Orthodox but choose to ignore it in preference to your ideology.

                There is no fear in what Fr. John says, it is about Mr. Pappas embedding his sin even more deeply by his public defiance of the Church's teaching. You also are enabling him to remain in his sin. Both make it much more difficult for him to repent which, if he has contracted a homosexual non-marriage would require his separation from his partner as a first step, followed by a commitment to live in chastity and refrain from homosexual fornication.

                This is basic stuff. It takes very little knowledge of the Church and her teachings to know and understand these requirements.

                As Orthodox believers we need to stand ready to offer friendship and fellowship to any and all who make a commitment to live a chaste and repentant life within the Church, no matter their sin and no matter how often they fall if they get up and turn back. That also is basic, that is being non-judgmental and loving because it requires facing one's own sins in the process. Acquiescing and enabling is easy and allows the enabler to remain in their own sins.

                May God free you.

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                • Johann Sebastian says:

                  Michael Bauman says:

                  "As Orthodox believers we need to stand ready to offer friendship and fellowship to any and all who make a commitment to live a chaste and repentant life within the Church, no matter their sin and no matter how often they fall if they get up and turn back."

                  I suppose this is where the judgment is left to God, but if someone keeps relapsing into sinful behavior, it is only reasonable that his or her commitment be called into question. Can remorse not be feigned?

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                  • Michael Bauman says:

                    Remorse can be feigned, but deep sins like some garden weeds take frequent and deep weeding.

                    The Scripture says 70 times 7 which is symbolic of an unlimited number.

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              • Johann Sebastian says:

                Other other Matthew says:

                "What makes Archpriest John W. Morris or anyone else competent to judge this man’s sinfulness?"

                Other other Matthew obviously believes himself qualified to judge.

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              • Fr. George Washburn says:

                What to "fear" about the secular press? In one sense, perhaps, the answer is "nothing." In another sense, however, omissions, distortions, factual errors, misquotes, hidden assumptions and agendas, labeling, secular bromides that don't work, and formulaic reporting come to mind just for starters.

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                • Other other Matthew says:

                  Fr. George Washburn says:

                  omissions, distortions, factual errors, misquotes, hidden assumptions and agendas, labeling, secular bromides that don’t work, and formulaic reporting

                  This is confusing, Is the topic of discussion the secular press, or.... "Monomakhos" ?

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                  • Fr. George Washburn says:

                    OOM seems forgetful or easily confused. On June 17 at 10:13 am he replied to Fr. John Morris by asking what the Church has to fear from the secular press. I was responding to that question.

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            • Michael Bauman says:

              But we do have the responsibility to clearly declare the truth. All that needs be done in this case is to have the Washington Post print the recent sermon by Mr. Pappas's Patriarch: http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2013/09/ecumenical-patriarch-bartholomew.html

              Not to mention the various recent statements by other Orthodox leaders here and abroad on the topic.

              Mr. Pappas and his faux "spiritual father" are clearly at odds with the Church.

              Even more importantly, the faithful are owed such clear and decisive teaching. It is not hard to find from the pulpit of many parishes all the way to the Patriarchs and Synods of many jurisdictions.

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    • From Gregory's writings, it seems to me that Metropolitan Savas has not explained to Gregory why and how his unrepented sin has excommunicated him, and further confused the issue by offering to give Gregory communion himself. These claims require some clarification, at the very least, from His Eminence, which so far he has not provided.

      Gregory is also publicly undermining Orthodox teaching within the territory of Metropolitan Savas. His Eminence has the responsibility to make sure that false teaching is corrected.

      Metropolitan Savas did acknowledge that Fr. John is "within his rights" to deny Gregory communion, and it is very good that he has backed Fr. John's decision. However, there is clearly more to be done. If there is any chance of helping Gregory, it needs to happen right away, and Metropolitan Savas is the man who needs to step up and do it.

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      • Patrick Henry Reardon says:

        Helga thinks, " If there is any chance of helping Gregory, it needs to happen right away, and Metropolitan Savas is the man who needs to step up and do it."

        The Metropolitan of Pittsburgh needs to assume a pastoral responsibility for somebody in Chicago?

        And how would the hierarchy in Chicago respond to that?

        Here is what happened: An arrogant visitor from Chicago imposed on Father John Toumoules and Metropolitan Sava a delicate pastoral decision. They handled it privately, exactly as they should.

        Now, if they were to make a public statement about counsel they gave someone in private, they would be irresponsible.

        In my opinion, both men did exactly the proper thing.

        If Mr Pappas seeks further spiritual counsel in Chicago, the phone number here at All Saints Church is listed. The pastor will be glad to explain things to him.

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        • Fr. Patrick, Metropolitan Savas has already advised Fr. John Toumoules on communion for Gregory, then conversed with Gregory directly on the matter. Gregory has made His Eminence's alleged comments public, which have escalated the confusion, since Metropolitan Savas allegedly said that his own decision would run counter to what Fr. John is doing. The triggering incident involved a priest and parish under Metropolitan Savas' jurisdiction, and the priest has been publicly excoriated over it.

          Whether it was appropriate to make it public or not, this is now a public matter and Metropolitan Savas is involved. His Eminence must do his part to alleviate the confusion.

          I am sure the pastor at All Saints in Chicago would be happy to set Mr. Pappas on the right road, but I doubt Mr. Pappas would be willing to see him, since that pastor has already been flagged as unwilling to tolerate unrepentant homosexual behavior... so for you, Fr. Patrick, I say "Axios!"

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          • Fr. George Washburn says:

            Hi friends:

            Helga I believe expresses the doubts we all ought to have as to the willingness of Mr. Pappas to tell the completely unbiased truth about this matter when Helga uses the words "alleged"and "allegedly" when referring to Mr. Pappas' version of the Metropolitan's key remarks to him in private.

            Helga then proceeds to say "His Eminence must do his part to alleviate the confusion." What confusion? The priest knows what he may not do and so does Mr. Pappas.

            Curiosity seekers, well, let's be frank, blog writers, readers and commentators, may well be confused, or more precisely curious, about what the Metropolitan's private remarks were, but that does not translate into a duty to promote further public exchanges with a man who is all too eager for the spotlight ....and willing to engage in self-serving tactics to gain and use it to the disadvantage, or at least the discomfort, of the Church. The canons of internet flame-throwing and hot button political issue discourse requires candidates for office and public officials to respond to virtually anything anyone says or does to pressure or besmirch them,

            The Church operates by different Canons, written and unwritten, and wise silence by a Church leader is at least sometimes, if not usually or always, the better policy when it involves different versions or recollections of private conversations that an opposing party seems motivate to use against one and for his own ends. Why give him grist for the mill of more public exchanges?

            Helga should have given a sort of Miranda warning with that mistaken exhortation for the Metropolitan to take this further: "Anything you say to "clear up the confusion' can and will be used against you in a court of public opinion, and I may choose to do it myself if I do not find your version categorical and convincing enough."

            candidly,

            Fr. George

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            • Daniel E Fall says:

              My hunch is Helga would never heed such wisdom. What has happened in the past in the OCA was a reading aloud in all churches-the churches doctrine on homosexuality-for all to hear. Clerics read it before or after Liturgy to avoid disobedience to Jonah or Bishop Moriak (lessons in behavior for his flock) instead of preaching such dribble to children and teenagers. This is the same unnecessary sentiment. To stir settling water.....

              What will Pappas do? He is powerless. All the media and words in the world will not help him if he is a practicing homosexual and has been scolded by a church father. Even the most secular atheists understand there are rules in groups.

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              • Isa Almisry says:

                " Even the most secular atheists understand there are rules in groups."
                They know. That's why they want them broken.

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                • Dan Fall says:

                  Change the object much?

                  Like(0)Dislike(0)
                • Daniel E Fall says:

                  So hilarious. I suggest even atheists would understand Pappas getting scolded by a priest is legitimate and you respond by saying atheists would want the rule broken.

                  Your statement is absurd, and the voting tallies here bear witness to the ludicrousity [sic] of this website and its participants.

                  What a waste of time.

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          • What priests in GOARCH, and possibly the other jurisdictions, should do is to ask for a written directive from their hierarchs on the subject. Something clear. That way the bishop can't speak out of both sides of his mouth.

            If they are approached by someone in the position of Mr. Pappas (no pun intended), then the priest can explain the bishop's instructions, give them a copy, and stand aside while the fur flies.

            It's unfortunate when a priest has to become a target because of an indecisive hierarch.

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  3. Michael Kinsey says:

    Well the bishops better be up to the task, the Christ does not bear His 2 edged sword in vain. If they cave in, they will not escape perfect divine justice. I expect they will severely punished in just judgement.. A sense of the sacred is imbued with a belief in divine justice, a sense of fair play ( Royal Law written the heart,) and the ability to respond to the divine, maintained functionally,,,,,,, by the unrelenting practice of honesty in good will towards men. I don't believe Jesus Christ will have a problem with what I have written, just many of you will. ????????

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    • Johann Sebastian says:

      The only problem I have with what you've written is that I don't understand a word of it.

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      • Lola J. Lee Beno says:

        Ignore him. I skip over his comments because these make absolutely no sense at all.

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        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

          I have to agree with Lola and Johann. Michael Kinsey just coughs up a plateful of pious platitudes from time to time, and they usually do not connect to each other at all. He must have a grab-bag full of them and he just reaches in there and grabs a handful and throws them into print. I think he believes devoutly in what he produces, thereby, although the string of question marks in his last post gave me pause.

          (I try VERY hard not to giggle at the thumbs-ups he often gets if he disses the right person!

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  4. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

    I enjoyed George's bit more than Mr. Kinsey's. George very sensibly said, "I could go on, but what’s the point? "

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  5. Father Edward Pehanich says:

    As a loyal priest of the Ecumenical Patriarchate here in Pittsburgh (Carpatho-Russian Diocese) I have been following this story and the accompanying comments very closely. As a parish priest for 30+ years there is tremendous pressure placed on us to "be nice" and give people what they want and keep everybody happy and liking us: Communion for anyone at any time is just one of the most serious examples.....permitting parish council members to take an oath of office and serve when they rarely attend the Divine Liturgy and never receive the sacraments.....not allowing a Baptist couple serving as sponsors at a baptism..... every priest can add to this list.

    I applaud Father John Touloumes for his courage and showing his concern for a member of his flock. It is not a sign of pastoral love to allow a spiritual son or daughter to receive poison (the Eucharist) when they are ill prepared and clearly unworthy. I also thank God for this website which helps to hold all of clergy, bishops and priests, accountable.

    Father Edward Pehanich

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    • Anthony says:

      Beautifully written, Fr. Edward. I have many gay and lesbian friends whom I love very much, and several are practicing Orthodox Christians endeavoring to live the Church's teachings on chastity. They would be the first to tell you that they carry a heavy cross, but one which is made lighter with gentle and conscientious pastoral care and confession. It is crucial for people to understand that young Orthodox Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction often feel alienated or "othered" because of their sexual orientation. What so many wonderful priests are increasingly emphasizing to our Millennial generation is that we are all to be held to the same standard -- so young heterosexuals struggling with their own passions are not to be held to any less account (as has often been thecase) than any homosexual person. The Church is a hospital for all sinners, but a priest's foremost role is to make a parishioner in denial of a spiritual illness aware of his or her illness.

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    • Pere LaChaise says:

      Fr Edward, Thank You for your considered post. I stand by my view that the status quo in Greek Orthodoxy in this country created Mr. Pappas (that 'making nice' you cite), but I made my point so starkly that I irritated a fellow in your archdiocese. My apologies to him for any offense wrought by my lack of concern. Your post is more balanced.

      I hope that in subsequent meetings of GOA hierarchs, they may put their heads and prayers together to lead the churches effectively away from the threats posed by the likes of Pappas, undertaking the hard work of turning the flock's heart back to God through their 'rightly dividing the word of [His] truth'.

      This kerfuffle points out to GOA hierarchs that they need to take the bull by the horns, and keep their churches The Church – not some Greek thing. A single statement reinforcing the Ecumenical throne's position against homosexual 'unions' will not suffice – we ( I mean all Orthodox, particularly those in the GOA) need to turn back a very strong tide that threatens to drive the ship of Church onto the shoals of spiritual irrelevance and apostasy. We need a reinvigoration of the Body led by its archpastors, who represent our Head Jesus Christ.
      We can't go on with Business As Usual.

      I don't mean to sound dire but my sense is that there is too much 'relaxation' going on in many parishes. It's not the fault of priests, it's a collective, cultural problem that can only be corrected through real leadership. I'll be watching to see if that arises, praying it does. I'd dearly love to be able to go into any Orthodox church and find the people of God in accord with His Word, diligently pursuing sincere repentance with mutual support among Christian families. This quality is sadly not a given as we see the results of something like 'mission drift' – decadence in other words, obtaining. I point not only to Greeks, as weak cultural substitutes (Ethnic Kaffeeklatsch) crop up all over, despite the efforts of this or that clergyman. Unless the people respond positively to good pastoral teaching, there is little hope for them as a group. Persons may repent, may grow in Christ, but whole parishes have withered like the fig tree. Heck, I'd venture whole deaneries and even dioceses.

      God help his servants the bishops!

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  6. "It’s possible that some of them have tired of playing the game themselves, always looking over their shoulder as they leave the gay bar with lover in tow, telling the Chancellor that their “nephew” has come over to visit for a few days, etc."

    THIS is the kind of silliness that gets you in trouble George. Your post is perfectly acceptable, but you really do not need to descend to rumor-mongering against hierarchs. If you have an accusation to level against a bishop, do so openly. If you don't, then be quiet and stop stirring the pot like the people you so frequently write against. It detracts credibility from the rest of your writing.

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  7. Perry Robinson says:

    George,

    Spot on. As a former Episcopalian and one who has spent a decade and a half in the GOA I can attest that much of what other posters say is true. I watched the same modus operandi, what they called arguments, and pressure tactics used in the Episcopal church as a boy. It is the same all over among the Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists, etc.

    Frankly IMHO, the time for talk is over. If something is not done and lines established, in ten years it will be too late. Specifically, the faithful need to en masse petition for trials, censure and if necessary (and I fear it is necessary) excommunication of such public individuals for as St. Paul says "Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning." 1 Tim 5:20

    I have to wonder if Mr. Pappas even knows the canonical punishment for publically accusing a priest, let alone the scriptural prohibition against doing so without two ore three witnesses. I find laughable his call to deep study of scripture as he rips canons from their historical and theological context, makes exegetical errors that would make a freshman in biblical studies blush and offers statements about ethics that are philosophically incoherent.

    His problem is that he thinks, like many Greeks, that being greek, donating money to the church, building buildings entitles him and others to do whatever they want and receive the eucharist. As I taught my high school and college sunday school students at my Greek parish "God doesn't give a sh*t if you're Greek. Christianity is a Jewish religion with a Jewish deity, a Jewish moral code, Jewish texts and a Jewish form of worship. Being Greek won't save you."

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    • George Michalopulos says:

      We'll see if the laity also throw in the towel. One of my observations of the mainline Prods (especially Episcopalians) is their darn-tootin' country-club politeness. When the feminazis and brownshirts first appeared in their churches, they acted so politely and accommodating. It's in their DNA I suppose. Well, eventually they got included out of their churches, which have become national jokes. I have a feeling that there is still enough low-class hillbilly cussedness left in most ethnic Orthodox that they won't hesitate to act like yahoos if need be and stop the complete homosexualization of the Orthodox Church.

      Or not. We'll see.

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      • Other other Matthew says:

        George Michalopulos says:

        We’ll see if the laity also throw in the towel. One of my observations of the mainline Prods (especially Episcopalians) is their darn-tootin’ country-club politeness. When the feminazis and brownshirts first appeared in their churches, they acted so politely and accommodating. It’s in their DNA I suppose. Well, eventually they got included out of their churches, which have become national jokes.

        Internet sites like this one turn the Orthodox church into a national joke. Well done, good and faithful servants.

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        • Will Harrington says:

          You overrate the Orthodox Church's presence in the national consciousness. You can't be a national joke when most of the people in the nation don't even know what the Orthodox Church is.

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        • Johann Sebastian says:

          And you're the punchline.

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        • Michael Bauman says:

          Mr. Pappas is the joke or at least he would be if he were not so sad and deluded.
          We are call to repentance and holiness. Whatever active homosexuality may be I doubt that anyone can find one word in Scripture or Tradition that indicates in the slightest that active homosexuality leads to holiness.

          The sacramental life is to support us in our quest for holiness. Anyone who is not interested in such a life should not partake.

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      • Michael Bauman says:

        Not to mention all of the refugees from the Episcopalian collapse; other converts who actually want the true faith; and the faithful priests and bishops. Still it won't be easy. The immigrant mentality is "go along to get along"--adopt the prevailing cultural norms so you don't stand out any more than you already do.

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        • Pere LaChaise says:

          MB – you cite one more dimension to the fact that monoethnic parishes are essentially unhealthy, as bad as age-segregated ones. Monoethnicity leads to identification of Christianity with ideology of national origin. The very fact that most Orthodox churches in this country place ethnyms before their confessional identifier speaks volumes. Frankly, it embarrasses me endlessly. Some measure of kudos to Antiochians for calling themselves Antiochian Christian Orthodox, de-emphasizing Arabness to the point of obscurity.

          A fellow seminary alumnus got a job right after graduation in Brookline with the GOA. He used to gripe about how lame the OCA is, especially in its missiology, and generally in its picayune smallness. But after a year in the GOARCH offices, he told me that at least the OCA hasn't reduced Orthodoxy to an ideology. His words, verbatim. Hellenism, anyone? (crickets)

          When ο όχλος leads – no matter how well–heeled its members may be, they invariably get it wrong. We need real leaders – may God strengthen the sincere and wise among us!

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      • Perry Robinson says:

        George,

        Politeness with the Greeks is not something I am worried about. I've been to too many parish assemblies for that. But frankly in my limited experience, they are stuck on stupid, worried about the wrong things and lacking a biblical vision. This is exemplified by the call to just get back all of those Greeks who have stopped coming to church as some form of evangelism. So the laity will be more vocal, but easily misled into a thousand different directions, most of them into rabbit trails of their own pet hobby horses.

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    • Isa Almisry says:

      "makes exegetical errors that would make a freshman in biblical studies blush"
      I'm quite sure Mr. Pappas lost the ability to blush long ago. Around the time his ability to nurse a grudge blossomed I surmise.

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  8. One must assume from all that has been written that Pappas is actively engaged in a sexual liaison(s) outside of canonical marriage, that denial of communion is a consequence of this (these) liaisons and not his sexual instincts. I assume that his or any faithful parish priest would do likewise with a known adulterous heterosexual individual or an unmarried couple approaching the chalice. Why is it that the homosexual gets to define the argument? It is not ones sexual orientation that defines you but your behavior. Why is it so difficult for our priests and bishops to state this, my local priest has made this very clear in sermons, no waffling, no hedging. The Church is the spiritual hospital, bring your troubles, it is there to help you not to condone sinful behavior.

    The Antiochians and ROCOR (and other like-minded jurisdictions e.g. the Carpatho-Russian) need to find a way to come closer together, to synchronize activities if Orthodoxy is to survive in North America. The OCA and GOA are already on the slippery-slope with weak episcopacies and we all know where that leads. Just look at the Episcopal Church and the Anglican communion. If you try to be something for every one you will end up being nothing to any one.

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    • Isa Almisry says:

      Hear! Hear!

      The Church is the hospital for sinners, not their clean needle exchange.

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  9. ChristineFevronia says:

    Not certain where to post this other than here...

    OCA priest Fr. Isidore Brittain (who was the subject of a number of OCA official documents due to his homosexual and drunken behavior which created legal problems for the OCA in Alaska) has pled guilty to child porn charges, among other things, including having porn of babies and toddlers being abused. http://www.pokrov.org/priest-pleads-guilty-child-porn-charges/

    I would like to know what this priest has been doing in the Diocese of the West for the past three years under Archbishop Benjamin's omophorion. Met. Jonah was taken to task nearly three years ago when he was questioned for allowing Fr. Isidore to be attached to a parish, but Met. Jonah hasn't been in leadership position for nearly three years. If Fr. Isidore was such a problem three years ago then why haven't the OCA hierarchs done anything about him during all this time? If there was such grave concern, where was the supervision? Why was he attached with priestly duties to a parish?

    This is horrific.

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    • colette says:

      Absolutely correct!
      Horrific!

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    • Was Fr. Isidore ever deposse or suspended? I can find no mention of it on the OCA website. Then again I know of at least two former priests of the DOW who have yet to be listed in the official announcements and they seem to have been deposed for more than a year.

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      • Melanie Jula Sakoda says:

        Archimandrite Isidore Brittain was suspended by Metropolitan Herman Swaiko when he followed Bishop Nikolai Soraich to Australia without permission. The suspension has never been lifted.

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        • NONSENSE. Then why did Bishop Benjamin allow him to serve in Albany? That makes no sense. His suspension must have been lifted. You can't serve while suspended. Get your facts straight. Are you saying he served without permission of Bishop Benjamin? Of course not. Are you always this sloppy with your reporting and facts?

          +Benjamin is given another pass by the Pokrov girls. If this would have been +Jonah, the sky would be falling. But no, it is +Benjamin who gets away with murder and his actions and terrible leadership is applauded.

          Another blatant example of the corruption running amok in the OCA.

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          • Melanie Jula Sakoda says:

            "james says" wrote: "Then why did Bishop Benjamin allow him to serve in Albany?"

            A good question. But I'm not the person who can, or who needs to, answer that.

            It is a fact that Archimandrite Isidore Brittain was suspended for following Bishop Nikolai Soraich to Australia. There has never been an announcement that the suspension was lifted, nor has Brittain's name ever reappeared on the OCA clergy list.

            To the contrary, according to the SMPAC report, Brittain was still under suspension when he was released to the Diocese of the West and allowed to serve at St. Anne's.

            http://www.pokrov.org/wp-content/uploads/SMPAC-2011-2-10.pdf

            What the report failed to note was that Archbishop Benjamin Peterson was also present when this occurred.

            http://tinyurl.com/qbp6gak

            Melanie Jula Sakoda

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            • Fr. George Washburn says:

              Is the claim that Met. Jonah overturned the suspension. or lacked the power to do so? I don't get this exchange.

              The picture seems to show Arch. Isidore in vestments standing in the nave as a laywoman receives a citation. In the OCA is a suspended clergyman forbidden to wear such clothes, or merely required to refrain from performing priestly functions?

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              • Melanie Jula Sakoda says:

                I don't understand what was going on either. I can only suggest that you read the section of the SMPAC report pertaining to Archimandrite Isidore Brittain, Father George. It was the committee's assertion that Brittain was serving -- not simply vested -- despite his suspension. To my knowledge, that assertion has never been refuted.

                Melanie

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              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

                A Priest who has NOT been deposed from the Priesthood, but who has been suspended from performing priestly functions in the Church is still a Priest, and when he partakes of Holy Communion, he must do so in the Altar and be vested as a Priest and not pretending not to be one.
                No one has indicated that Archimandrite Isidore had been excommunicated or deposed.

                He is in jail for a long time, having been found guilty of watching child pornography on his computer.

                I feel I should point out that the SMPAC report is neither the Holy Bible nor the Qor'an. It's my conviction it is a flawed, a most problematic document, like the committee that composed it.
                I understand that an organization like Pokrov might rely on it as equal to an Elixir of Life. That's the way some people are.
                I understand that Archimandrite Isidore confessed and received the Holy Mysteries of the Body and Blood of Christ before beginning his sentence. Perhaps some contributors to Monomakhos that live in the Pacific NW might take the opportunity to visit someone in prison over the next thirteen years. So many of us get all sentimental when we hear Christ's words rehearsed in Church about visiting Him in prison, etc.

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                • Melanie Jula Sakoda says:

                  Whatever Archimandrite Isidore Brittain **might** have been doing vested at the Corvallis parish, the fact remains that the SMPAC report asserted that he was serving in the Diocese of the West. Again, I have seen nothing that refutes this claim.

                  Moreover, there is also this tidbit from the Newport News Times of February 4, 2011:

                  Ancient Orthodox Christianity in Newport

                  Father Isidore Brittain, of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Corvallis, will serve liturgy at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 12, at the American Legion Hall in Newport, 424 West Olive St.

                  St. Anne Orthodox Church is also hosting an inquirer’s class at the Newport Library, 35 NW Nye St., on Saturday, Feb. 12, taught by Father Brittain.

                  St. Anne Orthodox Church is a parish of the Diocese of the West of the Orthodox Church in America, and is in full Eucharistic communion with the ancient centers of Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Greece, Russia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Father Isidore will provide a brief overview of the history, faith and practices of the original New Testament Church.

                  For additional information, call 541-867-3209. Find more information about St. Anne Orthodox Church online at www.staoc.com.

                  http://www.newportnewstimes.com/V2_news_articles.php?heading=0&page=79&story_id=26457

                  http://tinyurl.com/ko82edy

                  Melanie Jula Sakoda

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            • StephenD says:

              LOOK ! Met. Jonah is there too....Wouldn't he know whether or not Brittain was suspended ?

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            • M. Stankovich says:

              Ms. Sakoda,

              Do you know for a fact that Mr. Brittain was assigned/attached and serving at this parish? Some have said that he was in that community for the sole purpose of living with his parents because he simply had no where else to go. While you are correct that you need not venture as to why he might have been serving, are you corroborating that he was serving and was authorized to serve?

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              • Melanie Jula Sakoda says:

                I only know what the SMPAC reported. I have seen nothing to refute their assessment that Archimandrite Isidore Brittain was transferred to the Diocese of the West and was serving at the Corvallis parish despite being under suspension.

                Melanie Jula Sakoda

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                • Fr. George Washburn says:

                  Well friends, let's notice a couple of things starting with the ambiguity of the term "serving."

                  In common Orthodox parlance that word "serve" can refer to altar boys, readers, etc and not just priests. These people wear simpler robes - but often of the same color as - the ordained clergy who "serve" to conduct the ceremony.

                  Let's also note that the secular press coverage of the matter was not exactly a model of nuanced clarity either. Maybe they did not understand or weren't told. I do know It sells more papers to refer to someone in his position accused of lurid crimes a "priest" rather than "someone who had been suspended from priestly functions over allegation that arose years before."

                  In the picture to which Melanie refers us you can see a clear difference between the Russian high back vestments being worn by the archpriest and the outer vestment worn by Arch. Isidore. I express no opinion about what he was doing that day .....or any other day before or since ... in the parish. And don't consider it my business to rummage around and find out.

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                  • I will simply point out, Fr George, that if one peruses the whole series of photographs attached to the one linked to, that it certainly appears that the then Fr Isidore is fully vested as a priest (albeit in Greek style vestments, as some OCA priests apparently prefer) and serving as such. To maintain otherwise in the face of this photographic evidence would be disingenuous.

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                    • Fr. George Washburn says:

                      Thanks to Basil for mentioning what I had overlooked. I never realized it was a whole series. I agree that the full series is most consistent with the conclusion there were two bishops leading a liturgy that day with Fr. Isidore as a concelebrating priest.

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                    • You're welcome, Fr George.

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              • StephenD says:

                Michael Stankovich
                Get out of your self absorbed bubble and look at this picture...There is Brittain vested and serving with Archbishop Peterson and Met.Jonah..Nobody wants to admit that Met. Jonah was there.

                http://tinyurl.com/qbp6gak

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                • colette says:

                  Of course he is there at the bequest of his brother bishop, in his Brother bishops diocese in which +Jonah was not supposed to interfere. This is +Jonah submitting to his brother, which he was always accused of NOT doing.

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                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

                  StephenD. That picture shows NO ONE serving a Divine Liturgy, although obviously a Divine Liturgy had just been served. If a suspended Priest had received Holy Communion during the Divine Liturgy and had not yet been blessed by the Bishop to take his vestments off, he might very well STAND with those who had served for the award of a gramota to a parishioner AFTER the Liturgy. Or not...
                  Has anyone denied, StephenD, that Metropolitan Jonah served in Corvallis that day?

                  Many claim to be in touch with Metropolitan Jonah. Let THEM call him up and ask him about that, OK? Surely Father "Helga" could do that! By the way today is the eighteenth (18th) of JUNE. George Michalopoulos reported in MARCH that Metropolitan Jonah had been released by the OCA to ROCOR. I gather the OCA is still paying something to Metropolitan Jonah and ROCOR can't come up with equal compensation, so he's not pushing it.

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                  • Chris Banescu says:

                    He served liturgy alright AND hosted an inquirer's class as late as 2011:

                    http://www.newportnewstimes.com/V2_news_articles.php?heading=0&page=79&story_id=26457

                    Ancient Orthodox Christianity in Newport

                    Father Isidore Brittain, of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Corvallis, will serve liturgy at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 12, [2011] at the American Legion Hall in Newport, 424 West Olive St.

                    St. Anne Orthodox Church is also hosting an inquirer's class at the Newport Library, 35 NW Nye St., on Saturday, Feb. 12, [2011] taught by Father Brittain.

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                • M. Stankovich says:

                  This particular photo was taken in 2008. Upon his return from Australia, Brittain requested the opportunity to go to chemical dependency rehab. Because he was suspended, literally had no where to live, and because then Met. Jonah believed Bishop Benjamin was equipped to manage his issue of chemical dependency, he asked Bishop Benjamin to accept him into his diocese and to attach him to the parish in which he was raised so he could live with his parents. He was "attached" and not assigned, so he did not have permission to serve, but could be in the altar with the assigned priest. In the end, he is known to have participated in chemical dependency treatment and least three times, and possibly more. He was never suspected of the possession or distribution of child pornography, nor was he ever suspected or accused or accused of child abuse.

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                  • Well I guess the oversight of Isidore by +Benjamin didn't work out too well. Reminds me of another time +Benjamin was to be responsible for a Alaskan choir director who died while living with BB.

                    +Benjamin should be retired. He is a failure as a leader of men.

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                    • James, is this the same Archbishop Benjamin who you said accused Metropolitan Jonah of not providing adequate care for his sister?

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                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      Hell hath no fury like a poseur baiting a coward. Or as the French would say, il n'y en a pas un pour racheter l'autre. This certainly is a reminder that Gregory Pappas is a very danger man.

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                  • Melanie Jula Sakoda says:

                    The photograph was taken in **2010,** not 2008.

                    See also:

                    http://tinyurl.com/obhhjag

                    http://tinyurl.com/nr68xe4

                    Melanie Jula Sakoda

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                    • Ms. Sakoda,

                      Since you up to this point have been scrupulous in ignoring the abuses of Bishop Benjamin, would it not be wise to begin to speak out about his failure to care for a man who he knew and accepted because he felt he was best able to oversee him because of his own pattern of substance abuse?

                      Bishop Benjamin allowed Isidore to serve and commune at the altar of our Lord. He accepted him, admittedly with restrictions where he could serve, under the parish priest's supervision, but you are wrong when you stated that Isidore's suspension was not lifted. It is a fact by direct observation that his suspension was lifted because he served. Period. Was there paperwork to codify this? Maybe only very internal paperwork in Isidore's file or residing somewhere in the Diocese of the West files in San Francisco. Nevertheless, if Isidore was serving at the parish in Oregon, then he was not under suspension at least in that place. Your response that you simply took the SMPAC report at face value and, apparently did not check further into this critical point is sloppy.

                      Bishop Benjamin is also a very troubled person who himself needs to retire for the good of the Church. This awful situation is just another chapter in his sad story of leadership and I think it is time that you and Pokrov said so.

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                    • Chris Banescu says:

                      It's even worse than that:

                      From 2011
                      http://www.newportnewstimes.com/V2_news_articles.php?heading=0&page=79&story_id=26457

                      Ancient Orthodox Christianity in Newport

                      Father Isidore Brittain, of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Corvallis, will serve liturgy at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 12, [2011] at the American Legion Hall in Newport, 424 West Olive St.

                      St. Anne Orthodox Church is also hosting an inquirer's class at the Newport Library, 35 NW Nye St., on Saturday, Feb. 12, [2011] taught by Father Brittain.

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                    • Fr. George Washburn says:

                      Hi friends:

                      On June 20 at 8:31 am James wrote a post in which he claimed complete knowledge of the mental processes of Abp. Benjamin in dealing with the sad case of Arch. Isidore.: "....knew and accepted because he felt... "

                      Rubbish!

                      Fr. George

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                  • he did not have permission to serve, but could be in the altar with the assigned priest. That may have been the original arrangement, Michael, but I believe that at Benjamin's request Jonah later agreed to let Isidore serve.
                    ...he might very well STAND with those who had served for the award of a gramota to a parishioner AFTER the Liturgy… Yes, but we have Jonah's testimony that he did serve with Benjamin and Isidore that day, Your Grace. I believe the admission is in Jonah's response to the SMPAC report.

                    In regard to Isidore himself, this obviously troubled young man undoubtedly needs our prayers.

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                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

                      Thanks, Basil. It goes without saying that whichever hierarch suspended Archimandrite Isidore has the right to lift that suspension at any time, without notifying any bloggers at all.

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                    • It goes without saying that whichever hierarch suspended Archimandrite Isidore has the right to lift that suspension at any time, without notifying any bloggers at all. Agreed, but in a properly run church that would be publicly announced, would it not?

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                  • ChristineFevronia says:

                    Greetings, Dr. Stankovich! I pray you are well! I apologize for asking a question on this site and then not returning for a few days for the answer, but World Cup Madness has consumed my household. We originally intended to keep it to a dull roar, but we have simply given in to it and are living, breathing, and dreaming the World Cup.

                    Thank you very much for your response. On the surface of it, there appeared to be a double standard at play, so thanks for the info.

                    I can't help but wonder if all the "bad press" that Fr. Isidore has received while he has served as a priest in the OCA--from the reporting of the incidences of his behavior in Alaska, to being outed by one of the SMPAC reports, etc.--could have contributed to Fr. Isidore being driven into a very dark place. Fr. Isidore's mistakes have been broadcast for the whole world to read and comment upon. Fr. Isidore's privacy should have been protected instead of being the soap opera drama it became on ocanews and in public official church documents. While Fr. Isidore's recent decision to engage in such evil behavior is solely his own, I believe we have all contributed to his sense of shame and mortification by participating in the smearing of his name online through reading and spreading gossip about his failings and shortcomings. I myself am guilty of this, even though it was intended for a cause that I thought was good. When I wrote my open letter last year, I addressed Met. Jonah's pastoral approach to Fr. Isidore since one of the SMPAC memos brought up that issue. I quoted existing Church documents and stories found on ocanews and pokrov--and in so doing, I, too, entered into a spirit of not just gossip but also condemnation and judgement.

                    When Fr. Isidore returned to the US, he had a documented history of shortcomings, but they didn't include these recent horrible things. What happened to him, and what drove him to that point of darkness? He has been surrounded on all sides by the Church for many, many years. But maybe instead of surrounding him with love, we as the Church have publically humiliated him time and time again, and have contributed to his downfall. I am truly sorry for participating in the gossip, and beg Fr. Isidore's forgiveness.

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            • Pere LaChaise says:

              Start your own thread! No hijackers on this blog!
              George! Are you moderating?

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    • Michael Bauman says:

      And, according to Pokrov, he was selling the child porn to feed his meth habit. No evidence that he was grooming children in the Church.

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      • Melanie Jula Sakoda says:

        Just to be clear, that piece of information came from Kyle Odegard of the Albany Democrat-Herald. Pokrov.org simply republished Mr. Odegard's article.

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    • M. Stankovich says:

      So, after all these posts, the basic question posed by ChristineFevronia as to how and why this former Archimandrite came to the DOW and attached to a specific parish was answered. Had he not been arrested for possession and distribution of child pornography, he was but a very minor footnote to other Page Six gossip and there would no interest in him.

      The fact that it was child pornography invokes the privilege of Ms. Sakoda, who, smelling blood in the water, initiates an "investigation." But the fact of the matter is that Brittian had absolutely no history of any suspicion of untoward actions regarding children; no accusation, no rumors, no gossip. Ms. Sakoda also knows that the business of trafficking child pornography on the internet is a highly secretive, highly technical process of virtual servers, off-shore networks, P2P sharing, and so on, and Brittian was caught because either 1) he is a dumbass, or 2) he was high as a kite, desperate for money.

      But the mutual suggestion by Ms. Sakoda and James the Coward that the OCA, by lack of imposition of the "conditions" of suspension or the failure to adequately supervize him, shares some responsibility for his actions is idiotic. Écoutez et répétez: Idiotic. He lived with his parents and he had his own room. Why not blame his parents for lack of supervision? Idiotic. If we are playing logic, I will presume Met. Jonah has his own room, a laptop computer, absolutely no history of any suspicion of untoward actions regarding children; no accusation, no rumors, no gossip. I will presume Mr. Michalopulos has an office, a computer, absolutely no history of any suspicion of untoward actions regarding children; no accusation, no rumors, no gossip. What is the statistical likelihood we will find child pornography if we examine their computers? Idiotic.

      I find this attempt of Ms. Sakoda and James to coattail "agenda" on the back of such a tragedy - and were pastoral motivations of Met. Jonah and Archbishop Benjamin based on circumstances in this man's life you are totally unaware of, and rightfully so - sickening. There is no question in my mind that, had Brittain been outright deposed and the media reporting a "deposed OCA priest was arrested for possession of child pornography," you hypocrites would be railing that they didn't depose him "soon enough," or "didn't do a background check" before ordaining him. Basil, I sincerely hope you are true to word that we must pray for this man, as we have hardly scratched the surface of his troubled life, in and out of the church.

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  10. Thomas Barker says:

    We have to hope beyond hope that the really powerful women in his life, Olympia Dukakis and Arianna Huffington, will browbeat Mr. Pappas into a humble retraction.

    Like(0)Dislike(0)
  11. M. Stankovich says:

    I agreed this past afternoon to co-facilitate two therapy groups with a friend, focusing on young women in the process of divorce, the majority of whom have at least one child. The groups filled up so quickly with referrals from colleagues, my friend needed assistance. Why? More than 70% of all first marriages end in divorce. Then I came here and read the post from my respected classmate, Fr. Ed Pahanich, who I can guarantee you, when he says he feels tremendous pressure, it is because he truly is a pastor. Likewise, I came upon the third essay by Mr. Michalopulos devoted to Gregory Pappas, and the always-underlying attempts at creating "tension" at the lack of courage and character of the bishops - all of them, any of them. Three threads and hundreds of comments devoted to the vanity of one rude, misinformed, self-entitled man - apparently too "dangerous" to be approached by anyone Orthodox in his own city - save the only man who counts, Father John Touloumes. And I'll bet money there is nothing "heroic" about Fr. John, rather he is simply, as our Father St. Chrysostom described, a "shepherd."

    I have since considered why it is that Mr. Michalopolus has not devoted three straight essays to "investigating" the lack of courage among the clergy to stand up and declare to individuals, for example, "You do not come to church. You do not understand what the Church teaches. You are unwilling to commit to the sacramental life of the Church. I cannot in good conscience marry you." How many priests have said to themselves in "Pre-marital Counseling" or after the service, "You'll never make it?" And the answer? There is no bishop who will support any priest once the parents and grandparents start screaming. Stand your ground and you are gone. Or so it is said... Outrage, the tearing of garments, and the grinding of teeth is apparently quite selective. But that is not the entire answer.

    It seems to me that the whole point of reaction formation is to conveniently distract us from realities such as the Orthodox family is not under siege from same-sex marriage, but by sexual immorality, fornication, adultery, pornography, and a near 8 out of 10 first-time marriage failure rate. Instead, the gangstas here are shouting about "over their dead bodies," "warning not threats," and "we need real men" by targeting homosexuality and homosexuals. And be clear: only the evolved are able to separate the individual from the activity without animus, anger or hatred. Everyone can agree on this tactic because homosexuals are despicable, "abominations," and loathsome. Under these "battle conditions," all rules of logic, evidence, and corroboration are suspended, allowing one to assume expertise as necessary. It also makes you look like you are doing something. Whatever... And while my generation was lost to ethnicity, language, calendar, and secularism, this generation will be lost to lawyers & courts. We are such liars.

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    • Mike,

      Thanks for making these salient points.

      I think they help direct our attention to the fact that while the post(s) may be focused on a particular person attempting to normalize / legitimize his passions & sins the issue is much more wide-ranging.

      There are certainly many other passions & sins that undermine the integrity of marriage & the family that we as the heterosexual majority have conveniently ignored or minimized, and these things undoubtably paved the way for homosexuality to come the fore.

      Homosexuality is an easy target that many people love to isolate as uniquely sinful because it violates the principles of natural law philosophy, but making it a scapegoat is not the solution to our problems.

      Sin is sin. We, all of us, have a lot of repentance to undergo as an Orthodox subculture here in the US. Devouring each other is counterproductive.

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    • Michael Bauman says:

      Michael S. It is not or should not be an either/or situation. It is a both/and situation. The two are clearly related and have the same root: sexual entitlement and a total misapprehension of marriage. It is a problem long in the making.

      A word about schism: since the Cappadocian Fathers did not leave in schism when Arianism all but took over the Church, how can we consider a schism in the face of this heresy?

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    • Isa Almisry says:

      "It seems to me that the whole point of reaction formation is to conveniently distract us from realities such as the Orthodox family is not under siege from same-sex marriage, but by sexual immorality, fornication, adultery, pornography, and a near 8 out of 10 first-time marriage failure rate. "
      You err in thinking that the redefinition of marriage to include the lack of a male or female bears no resemblance to the other redefinitions you list.

      you have any documentation, btw, of this "80% percent first-time failure rate"? Second marriages have been shown to have a much higher failure rate (for some obvious reasons, e.g. originating from an affair during the first marriage, something that the Antiochian Archdiocese IIRC underlined a decade ago), and the highest rate I've seen for them is 60%

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      • M. Stankovich says:

        There was a time when I would scrupulously document everything I posted, but, honestly, people challenged me regardless. I have retired from being anyone's research assistant, but I will direct you accordingly. I happened to attend a conference last year, and "precise" data is, in fact, derived data from a number of sources; the safest and most reliable being from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They rely on data, for example, from the US Census, the American Community Survey (data on military communities, correctional institutions, and retirement institutions), the National Health Statistics Report, and their own original research as well. Obviously, as epidemiologists, they are looking for "trends," and it was the prediction of some of the presenters that, unimpeded, we were likely to see "7 0f 10 or more first marriages fail by mid-decade." Shall we settle at 65% and weep with the angels? If you go to the the CDC site, 2nd marriages (and beyond) do have a similar fate, but who would be surprised?

        Finally, my friend, I have only one definition of marriage, and it is one man and one woman, united in an icon of the image and likeness of our God "as it was in the beginning," spotless and without blemish, analogous to the mystery of Christ and the Church. What a silly comment you make.

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        • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, PhD says:

          I cannot let the nonsense here about the divorce rate in America pass without a correction. This is a case where the oft-quoted quip of Benjamin Disraeli, Tory prime minister of the United Kingdom in the 19th century, is appropriate: “There are three types of lies -- lies, damn lies, and statistics.” (Please pardon my "French," or, in this case, the British English.) The 65% divorce rate, much less the so-called 7 of 10 first marriages failing, is wildly inflated and, in any case, merely a prediction by epidemiologists, who, though well-versed in the detection and control of diseases and health trends, are hardly experts in sociology or demographic trends.

          Any Orthodox parish priest, clergyman of other faith groups, or marriage counselor knows that the true number of divorces has, for quite some time, hovered around 33% of married persons and roughly 50% of all marriages, the higher figure in the latter situation due to recidivism among divorced persons who are just as likely to divorce a second or third time than not.

          A survey in 2008 of 3792 adults who were or had been married conducted by The Barna Group, a respected demographic research and polling agency, generated these two salient statistics:

          "Among adults who have been married, the study discovered that one-third (33%) have experienced at least one divorce. That means that among all Americans 18 years of age or older, whether they have been married or not, 25% have gone through a marital split."

          The epidemic of divorce is bad enough at 33% or 50% without "predicting," rather hysterically to be sure, an apocalyptic doom of the venerable institution "by mid-decade," which I take to mean next year!

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          • M. Stankovich says:

            This serves to prove that we have reached a point where anyone's opinion - in this case Fr. Alexander suggests "any Orthodox parish priest" by anecdote alone - if spoken with sufficient authority, and a few seemingly contradicting Google citations, should rise to the level of empirical science. This is the identical logic responsible for the largest outbreak of measles since 1996. Now, I have tried to follow along with this whole "second incarnation of the new math" at just a 5th grade level, and wow, I just don't get it. But, I am capable of adding the number of US divorces in 2011 (the 2013 data is preliminary), even broken down state by state - including the military, correctional facilities, and retirement facilities - and calculating the percentage. Mr. Almisry and I are in the ballpark (and I say that because in some of the data some states were missing from one source, but not another, blah, blah, blah). I am reasonably confident you never investigated any of this before you wrote your response, regardless. But most importantly, what you missed was my use of the word trend. And the reason you missed it is because you don't know the first thing about epidemiology, and I have no intention of explaining it to you, because I have spent three years teaching you, Fr. Alexander, and you are resentfully ungrateful. Let really? explain it to you. Your comment was directed at me personally, and you are eminently unqualified. Stand down.

            All of this serves to prove the greater point I have been making: distractions are considerably more palatable - and it seems to me a helluva lot more fun - than addressing the hatred and abhorrence of homosexuality and homosexuals in the church. All of this was really about the specific number of divorces per 1,000 in the United States? Seriously? How many times have I read on this site from those with "sufficient authority" that same-sex marriage foresees the end of the family and natural law - naming names and websites of those individuals who "contemplate" such things worthy of scorn - yet ignoring the fact that the Orthodox family is besieged before our eyes.

            We are in need of Bishops, priests, and laity to address the issues of homosexuality frankly, openly, directly, without compromise, with compassion, and without the fear of intimidation or repercussion. I suspect the immediate reaction to my statement would be "closeted clergy, lavender mafia, etc." but frankly, if it were me, I would more fear the "closeted" level of hatred and disgust.

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            • Fr John says:

              Fr John Oliver is podcasting a series on an Orthodox response to same-sex marriage over at Ancient Faith Radio, on his Hearts and Minds page.

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          • Carl Kraeff says:

            Father Alexander wrote: "epidemiologists, who, though well-versed in the detection and control of diseases and health trends, are hardly experts in sociology or demographic trends."

            Ever hear of public health? Believe it or not, epidemiologists work in that field, and divorce rates are important indicators in public health.

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        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

          Thank you M. Stankovich for these posts which, sadly, sometimes cause other credentialed types to forget about the standards they followed in order to achieve their degrees, but feel enabled by; their degrees to just "wing it." I'm surprised to hear how you define marriage. Surely you do not deny the existence of polygamous marriages or say they are not marriage? Did you forget to add "at a time" after your surprise definition. Abraham is a widely respected spiritual ancestor of Christians, Jews, Moslems. How did Abraham define marriage?
          Have you not heard a theory that incest and homosexuality alternate in Western history as being the most abominable, and that one is ignored when the other is attacked?
          Right now, incest is hardly known, but it's always 'been there." IN today's preoccupation with homosexuality, frequent reference is made to the iconic nature of Adam and Eve's relationship relative to the definition of marriage. I doubt very much if that family would feature as a basis for any antagonism towards incest. or incestual marriage!.

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          • Johann Sebastian says:

            Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:
            June 17, 2014 at 12:14 am

            "Have you not heard a theory that incest and homosexuality alternate in Western history as being the most abominable, and that one is ignored when the other is attacked?
            Right now, incest is hardly known, but it’s always ‘been there.” IN today’s preoccupation with homosexuality, frequent reference is made to the iconic nature of Adam and Eve’s relationship relative to the definition of marriage. I doubt very much if that family would feature as a basis for any antagonism towards incest. or incestual marriage!"

            Vladyka,

            The message I'm getting from this is that you're suggesting homosexuality is presently under attack.

            I'd argue that it is much celebrated amongst the secular crowd, indeed to the point where it has become fashionable.

            I don't think any sane person in the civilized world would turn a blind eye to a known case of incest. There are no "incestuous pride" parades, with the possible exception of the Jerry Springer Show.

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            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

              Why, Johann! Do you consider "the secular crowd" to be identical with American society? i do not. i believe there is a religious crowd, a conservative crowd, etc., etc., etc., OF COURSE I do not consider those elements in today's society that are friendly to homosexuality to be opposed to it. That way lies insanity. The theory of some cultural anthropologists to which I referred likewise did not consider that any attacks against homosexuality here and elsewhere do not exist. Do you?

              Also, Johann, in the nineteenth century neither homosexuality nor incest were being popularly or publicly attacked, but both existed. Probably the idea of incest horrified the people of the nineteenth century more than the idea of homosexuality did.
              Do you think Johann, that incest has vanished from our society? No one is interested in it, right?

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    • Perry Robinson says:

      This seems to miss the point. Granted SSM is symptomatic but it is not as if social conservatives were cheering for no fault divorce, mass electronic distribution of pornography into every home and such things.

      And since when does SSM not entail fornication?

      I am all for restricting the cup when it comes to fornicators across the board following the Apostles. The laxity on those things only made it easier for laxity here. I'd bet real money many here would be willing for more discipline across the board.

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    • Thank you Isa, you raise the point that also occurred to me as I read M. Stankovich's comment. I do not doubt that he is well read, but the statistics he sites often do not prove the point he tries to make. Then he comes back in later posts and refers to the assertion as fact.

      In this case, the sentence structure implies an 8/10 failure rate for the Orthodox family. If this is true, woe to us all.

      ...the Orthodox family is not under siege from same-sex marriage, but by sexual immorality, fornication, adultery, pornography, and a near 8 out of 10 first-time marriage failure rate.

      But in fact, these are secular statistics drawn from the TOTAL population, which he then applies with impunity to the Orthodox communities. While I have seen more divorce than anyone might wish within our parish, the stats for this little corner of the world are not even 2/10. But perhaps this flaw in analysis is a feature, not a bug from the author's perspective.

      While all the other things he mentions are problems, they do not prove that same sex marriage is blameless in bringing Orthodox families under siege.

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    • It seems to me that the whole point of reaction formation is to conveniently distract us from realities such as the Orthodox family is not under siege from same-sex marriage, but by sexual immorality, fornication, adultery, pornography, and a near 8 out of 10 first-time marriage failure rate.
      Except that those most concerned about the normalisation of homosexuality in the church would also share your concerns regarding the other maladies you list, Dr Stankovich., whilst those engaged in them would likely support the normalisation of homosexuality by the church. If some seem preoccupied with same-sex marriage, it's because they perceive that its legalisation is a direct threat to the legal existence of the traditional church, since the sodomites will not long tolerate anyone speaking against their practices and will use any means available to them, including the law, to shut down open dissent in society. You really should be more charitable in your published assessments of others' motivations, Dr. S.

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      • M. Stankovich says:

        I was merely attempting to draw an analogy, son, regarding the seeming selectivity of swamp water I am continuously asked to swallow on this site, which I claim lacks any credible justification. You yourself, Basil, have used the buzzfraze "normalisation of homosexuality in the church." From where does this source? From the Anglican converts who would have us believe that their church - founded and built on schism & and heresy - was "brought down" by homosexuality. Um, brothers, what about the schism & heresy? Without even touching the "gender v sex," "primary binaries," "orientation v deep childhood trauma," pull-a-theory-from-your-derrière arguments and just settle on the imminent destruction of the family, I said, it's too late to blame same-sex marriage. Fr. Alexander Schmemann told you to read Professor Christopher Lasch years ago. Some of us listened. It was just an analogy, Basil about distraction.

        Finally, my friend, the fact of the matter is that those "pre-occupied with the sodomites and the shutdown of dissent" need to fear God, and not the sodomites:

        Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when He comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (Mk. 8:38)

        It seems to me that what you are describing as the "traditional church" has gotten us into this mess:

        O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which kill the prophets, and stone them that are sent to you; how often would I have gathered your children together, as a hen does gather her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is left to you desolate! (Lk. 13:34)

        Tolerance for injustice, inconsistency, and inaction is often confused for charity.

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        • George Michalopulos says:

          Dr Stankovich, I hardly think that's fair. The fact that the CofE was founded upon schism does not detract from the fact that clergymen from its ranks (former or present) cannot speak out against an act (sodomy) which is a clear violation of Natural Law. Muslims, observant Jews, Buddhists, even Darwinists understand Natural Law.

          Please note for the record that I said nothing about homosexuals nor has any other Christian (I do not consider the freaks of Westboro Baptist Church to be Christians). It is not we who conflate the person into the vice but the gay activists who subsume their entire identity into the act.

          As far as distraction, that is a little disingenuous. I'd say about 99.9% of Christians would be happy to never have to discuss this issue but it is the activists who have thrust their "lifestyle" into our faces. We can't get around it anymore. And yes, they do want to take over our churches, not only the heterodox ones but the Orthodox one as well.

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        • Ladder of Divine Ascent says:

          From where does this source? From the Anglican converts who would have us believe that their church – founded and built on schism & and heresy – was “brought down” by homosexuality. Um, brothers, what about the schism & heresy? Without even touching the “gender v sex,” “primary binaries,” “orientation v deep childhood trauma,” pull-a-theory-from-your-derrière arguments and just settle on the imminent destruction of the family, I said, it’s too late to blame same-sex marriage. Fr. Alexander Schmemann told you to read Professor Christopher Lasch years ago. Some of us listened.

          Schism: Metropolia schismed (twice) from ROCOR, which unlike the Met., had a reason to exist, operating under the last Patriarch's emergency order, until the fall of Communism. (This has been papered over by the granting of autocelaphy, just as a parent sometimes emancipates a rebellious teenager, before the child has truly come of age, in hopes of the child rising to the occasion).

          Heresy:

          http://www.blagogon.ru/news/60/

          http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&u=http://www.blagogon.ru/news/60/&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.blagogon.ru/news/60/%26biw%3D1920%26bih%3D859

          SVS: Lectured on Orthodoxy from their own pulpit in 2009 at the annual Schmemann dinner by "honorary white druid" (and former Archbishop of Canterbury) Rowan, the guy who was at the helm when Anglicans shipwrecked on sodomy and female clergy and more, and chased all the converts you are complaining about into the OCA.

          More fruits (the Schmemann family): Hopko leading the normalization of sodomy.

          http://www.aoiusa.org/blog/dn-brian-patrick-mitchell-thomas-hopko-on-same-sex-attraction-speaking-the-truth-with-love/

          The stinkbomb letter ousting the popular Anglican convert who was righting the OCA and becoming creating cross jurisdictional unity against sodomy.

          Anya Schmemann, the Council of Foreign Relations.

          http://www.nytimes.com/1997/08/17/style/anya-schmemann-and-eric-j-lohr.html

          What does the Council of Foreign Relations do? Oh, why they're the think tank for, (and in this case, directly the source of such propaganda as, "I Am a Ukranian" video, which fueled the Kiev junta coup), things like this:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWkfpGCAAuw

          Strange days.

          http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-06-15/convoys-russian-tanks-heading-ukraine-border-ahead-2amet-deadline

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4qpT_ow3sc

          Seems like Russia is going all the way to the Persian Gulf and the borders of Israel before it goes down.

          But, it probably takes down "Mystery Babylon" first:

          http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/does-putins-brain-believe-that-the-united-states-is-the-kingdom-of-antichrist

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          • Tom Florentine says:

            "More fruits (the Schmemann family): Hopko leading the normalization of sodomy.

            http://www.aoiusa.org/blog/dn-brian-patrick-mitchell-thomas-hopko-on-same-sex-attraction-speaking-the-truth-with-love/"

            What a crock. Typical twisted mind of a ROCOR nut.

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        • You are certainly a master of obfuscation, Dr S.
          As they used to say in my present neck of the woods, "I dips me lid to you" on that score, with irony.

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          • M. Stankovich says:

            Basil,

            The day you are prepared to address me as to merit is the next time I will respond to you. "Master of obfuscation," you say. What exactly would you have me say to this:

            If some seem preoccupied with same-sex marriage, it’s because they perceive that its legalisation is a direct threat to the legal existence of the traditional church, since the sodomites will not long tolerate anyone speaking against their practices and will use any means available to them, including the law, to shut down open dissent in society.

            Would you like my gut reaction that only a coward who lacks the fundamental faith in the promise of our Lord on the Pentecost, "I am with you and no one can be against you!" would honestly, truthfully, and seriously fear "shut down [of] open dissent in society" by homosexuals? Are you truly that much of a punk? Were you listening during Holy Week that we cannot escape suffering, yet the Lord has prepared us, "That your joy might be complete?" And seriously, is no one but me disgusted by the fact that, with all the empty-headed and pointless posts dedicated to Gregory Pappas, the majority of responses on the Washington Post by people identify as Orthodox Christians agreed with him! Read it again: Orthodox Christians responding on the Washington Post agreed with him!

            It is said, Basil, that our Father Seraphim of Sarov continually sang to himself the Pascha Canon all year long. Imagine. You know what I love to recall? The Vespers Entrance Hymn from the Ochtoechos in Tone One:

            Let us praise the Virgin Mary!
            The gate of heaven, the glory of the world!
            The Song of the angels, the beauty of the faithful!
            She was born of man, yet gave birth to God!
            She was revealed as the heaven, as the temple of the Godhead!
            She destroyed the wall of enmity!
            She commenced the peace, she opened the Kingdom!
            Since she is our foundation of faith,
            our Defender is the Lord whom she bore!
            Courage! Courage! O people of God!
            For Christ will destroy our enemies since He is all powerful!

            Astonishing, no? I read you, Basil and I weep.

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            • "Read and weep"? Oh, Michael, don't be so melodramatic! I still can't work out what you believe, though - you dismiss my fear of a shut down of open dissent to the normalisation of homosexuality in society when it is already happening while at the same time you express disgust at the Orthodox support for Pappas in the WaPo. I'm reminded of Peter Medawar's words to the effect that people who write obscurely are either poorly skilled in writing or up to mischief.

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              • M. Stankovich says:

                Basil,

                Hardly do I dismiss your fear. However, I see the shutdown of open dissent as voluntary on the part of people like you who fear confrontation. You talk a bunch here, but you will not even use your own name. You saw my comment on the WaPo, Basil, by name?

                I read that Kevin Williamson's syndicated essay on the Chicago Sun Times site declaring that transgender actor Laverne Cox (who had just appeared on the cover of Time Magazine as the "tipping point of trans sexuality in the US") "was not a woman." This caused GLAAD to mercilessly attack the newspaper, including the fact that Williamson "misrepresented the science (WAT!) until they took down they essay and issued a blubbering apology. Care to guess where this is leading, Basil? I went to the GLAAD site and read that the AMA/APA (psychology)/APA (psychiatry) state that it is more dangerous to attempt to re-orient than to leave homosexual & trans individuals alone. Holy Cow! I commented that there is NO scientific evidence to support such a claim whatsoever, and if they could produce it, I would publicly recant and apologize.

                My congresswoman is a social worker and the wife of a psychiatrist I have worked with both in a public clinic for the persistently mentally ill and under-served, as well as in state prison. I was having coffee with them on a Saturday morning previous to the last election when the discussion of "protected-class status" came up regarding the gay community. I told her I did not believe such a small, statistically anomalistic segment of the population justified having such a distinction, which led to the issue of same-sex marriage, which led to my stating I could not vote for her again.

                Prior to last Thanksgiving, my state assemblywoman had a "gathering" to discuss her plan to focus on "baskets of essentials" for gay & trans teens identified by school personnel as "high risk" for suicide, etc. because they are harassed and rejected by their families. This came on the heels on the defunding of the "HOT" (Homeless Outreach Team) that were "creepers," crawling under highway overpasses, in dumpsters, canyons, etc. to deliver blankets, food, and conduct medical exams on the paranoid and hidden homeless. I commented that, given the limited funds and in considering that these youth were identified, had a shelter, and services were available, why not focus on the HOT clients? You'd have thought I proposed to kill Santa Clause in Macy's window.

                So, brother, Basil, it is extraordinarily difficult for me to empathize with your fear, and in fact, I become resentful that, even if you cannot muster the courage to speak out yourself, you are fundamentally untrustworthy as support. Why? In your anonymity-enabled hubris, you cynically introduce the issue of integrity - "up to mischief" - lest anyone wildly imagine it is possible to speak and act according to one's conscience without ulterior motive. You can't figure out what I believe, Basil? Lean your ear over to the computer speaker, Basil, so I can tell you something: Don't lie to me, man.

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                • Well, we appear to be getting somewhere. But you know nothing about me, Michael other than what can be properly deduced from my posts here, so don't please don't presume that you do. I have taken my lumps for speaking the truth and will continue to do so, let me assure you. I'm old enough to have learned the value of a clear conscience and the truth that it is better to die on your feet than live on your knees, so to speak. Basil happens to be my name; if I don't use my full name it's for reasons other than fear, let me assure you. And I'm not in the habit of lying, either.

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                  • Fr. George Washburn says:

                    Gotta say, Mr. Stankovich, that in my view American history has proved that the First Amendment is made of material that is tough and enduring on the one hand, and on the other hand vulnerable to serious incursions conforming to the fluctuations of popular public opinion.

                    The popularizers of homosexual rights are very skillful at the manipulation of terminology, and the use of media to drum into the popular consciousness categories and redefinitions that suit their agenda. Here's an example that sticks out to me: "hate speech."

                    Once upon a time ....when I was a kid, for example ....it meant more or less saying "let's ____ (do some form of damage to) those _______because they're _______." Today it is gradually being redefined, in derogation of that First Amendment, in my opinion, to include any speech that disagrees (even in the most rational, objective, neutral, sincere and non-physically-threatening terms) with the conclusions of or justifications for 'normalized homosexuality.'

                    I am not sure I have been paying close enough attention to the exchange with Basil (there has been an unpleasant ring to some of it) to really grasp exactly what opposing ideas you fellows think you stand for, but to the extent that Basil is saying that social pressure is mounting to almost criminalize dissent from the normalization of homosexuality, and you disagree, I find myself seeing it his way.

                    Apologies if I allowed subtly or anything else to make me read too quickly or carelessly. Basil already knows I sometimes don't even 'read' the pictures as carefully as I should! To bed!

                    Fr. G

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                    • Michael Bauman says:

                      Fr George, the campaign to normalize has been going on since at least the 60's starting fashion and language. Many things begun in the male homosexual sub-culture passed in the wider popular culture as 'hip'.

                      It is all very Nietzschean: the transvaluation of all values. The seduction of nothingness.

                      As David Bentley Hart (echoing many Fathers) put it. It is Christ or nothing.

                      The question is Which Christ?

                      All other arguments are destraction and feed the darkness.

                      We can't afford to trivialize the actual point. We cannot serve two masters.

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                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      Fr. George,

                      εὐλόγειte ὁ κύριος!

                      As far as I am concerned, the popularizers of homosexual rights are no more skillful at the manipulation of terminology and the use of rapid communication (e.g. websites, etc.) than the Sons of Job. In both cases, their underlying strength, ultimately, is the ability to intimidate, coerce, and "shame" others into conforming with their "agenda"; this and the new "outrage," a now empty, trite term specifying a generalized condition of "the jimmies being rattled." Bullying, Fr. George. Nothing more, nothing less. If you somehow imagine I believe that we do not face an increasing disposition of social "outrage," within and without the Church, attempting "to almost criminalize dissent from the normalization of homosexuality," Fr. George, apology accepted. The Gospel readings of Holy Week are all the lesson I will ever need: "I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them." (Jn. 16:4) Where I differ is what to do about it.

                      I have noted many times on this site and others that I am not equiped, nor can I appreciate addressing these issue "globally." I am, however, supportive of those who are so gifted. For my part, I attempt to follow the instruction of St Paul, "Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us," (Rom. 12:6) and address the issue for which I have competence, within and without the Church. Nothing more, nothing less. And to date, I have done so alone, fully aware of the potential "consequences." But mind you, I would not write on the WaPo that Orthodox anthropology is not "insanity," but an expression of the living salvation of our God, "as it was in the beginning" if it were not true! Or go on the national site of GLAAD and challenge them to publish the science by which the AMA/APA/APA determined it was "dangerous" to attempt to re-orient homosexuals or transgenders if the research actually existed. I am not an idiot. A time may come where I may be censored, but I'll "roll 'wid it."

                      In this la-di-da world of the internet and its smoky anonymity - where, beneath it all, everyone is actually a hero, scholar, expert, and philanthropist - I suggest Mr. Michalopulos install a running "ticker" of all the registered bitching and complaining to scroll across the bottom of the screen. Title it: "The REAL Reason the Orthodox in America have No Moral Voice of Authority." And wouldn't you just know it? The Greeks saw comedy as appealing to the intellect, while tragedy appealed simply to the emotions. Who'd have thought? After a good night's sleep, Fr. George, I hope you now see this as "our" way.

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                    • Other other Matthew says:

                      Fr. George Washburn says:

                      to the extent that Basil is saying that social pressure is mounting to almost criminalize dissent from the normalization of homosexuality, and you disagree, I find myself seeing it his way.

                      Can anyone show how it is "almost criminal" to dissent from the normalization of homosexuality? Or is this just baseless whinging hyperbole?

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                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                      Other other Matthew, your question ranks right up there with "the dog ate my hard drive" and other attempts to deny the obvious. That you deny the obvious shows how very wrong-hearted you are.

                      But if you are only wrong-headed, let me explain: All laws criminalize something. That's what laws do. There are many laws in this country intended to force people to treat homosexuality as normal and good, and if you don't obey those laws, you will be punished. That makes dissent from normalization of homosexuality "almost criminal," even if you insist on quibbling about the difference between criminal and civil penalties.

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                    • I should perhaps add, for context, that I write from outside the USA. I don't know what the legal situation is in the US or its constituent states but already in some European and British Commonwealth jurisdictions speech critical of homosexuality is regarded by an increasing number as "hate speech" and can be prosecuted under laws originally intended to restrict religious and ethnic vilification. A pastor in Sweden was sentenced to one month in jail in 2005 for criticising homosexuality in a sermon. Now, perhaps he was needlessly inflammatory - I don't know - but the fact is once such laws are available it only takes a complaint from someone easily offended and the authorities have to act. The pastor's sentence was over turned on appeal as the charge was deemed to restrict his right to free speech. But now free speech is under attack in many of these jurisdictions too.

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                    • Other other Matthew says:

                      Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                      There are many laws in this country intended to force people to treat homosexuality as normal and good, and if you don’t obey those laws, you will be punished

                      Can anybody provide a single example of a person being punished for not treating homosexuality as normal and good "in this country" (i.e. in the U.S.A.)?

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                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:
                    • Other other Matthew says:

                      The example is not apt. To the extent that this couple is being INVESTIGATED (not punished, according to the webpage), it is because they obnoxiously refuse to comply with the law. Nothing in the law prevents the couple from expressing their personal opinions about homosexuality in private or public. They just can't discriminate in their business dealings (public accomodation) on the basis of those opinions.
                      Reason.com:

                      Williamette Week also played gotcha with the bakery, getting them to give them quotes for cakes to celebrate unwed pregnant mothers, divorces, and human stem cell research, among other things.

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        • Isa Almisry says:

          Mr. Pappas, who supposedly contracted a "marriage" in IL without an Orthodox priest does not seem to realize that heterosexual couples-i.e. married couples-who contract their marriage outside the Orthodox Church can, should and are denied communion.

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          • Michael Bauman says:

            Isa, you are absolutely correct. The canonical penalty in The Rudder for marriage outside the Church is 5 years to life even after repentance.

            If one searches Orthodox websites, the GOA are the most strict about such things (in writing anyway). There is, and should be, a lot of genuine economia but I am sure there is also much license passing as economia.

            If, as the homosexualists themselves state, this is an ontological question, they are demanding the Church change her ontological understanding which, since Jesus Christ took on our nature completely and still has it becomes a Christological question, the stuff of heresy.

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            • Tim R. Mortiss says:

              Well, I "contracted marriage" in the Catholic Church 47 years ago, and I've been in the GOC for a bit over two months now. Nobody's said anything yet! ;-)

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              • Michael Bauman says:

                Yes, but you were not a member of the Orthodox Church when you were married. There are many such couples. Sometimes the trailing spouse converts, sometimes not, but as long as the spouse allows the (usually) husband to be Orthodox with no impediments, nothing need be said. St. Paul mentions something like that in one of his letters I believe.

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                • Tim R. Mortiss says:

                  Right, just joshing, really. But how about what must be an extremely common scenario in this country since forever: an Orthodox marrying a non-Orthodox Christian, Catholic or Protestant?

                  And, of course, a great many come into the Church precisely in this way. This must be an everyday thing.

                  When my wife and I were married, the non-Catholic definitely had to be "vetted" and to promise not to interfere with his wife's practice of her faith.

                  We're not talking about marrying pagans and unbelievers here.

                  What I'd be interested in is how many Orthodox in this country, especially out West, down South, etc., actually marry another Orthodox. Basing it on nothing but pure guesswork and a long life, I would assume it's a definite minority.

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            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

              Michael Bauman is correct on his citation of the canonical penalty for getting married outside the Church. He is also correct that "there is also much license passing as economia.'

              I know of one case where a convert and choir director married a Jewish man and had a child by him and remained married to him until he died. Soon after, she found another Jewish man to marry and di so. She is a well-known choir director in Los Angeles and has friends all over the OCA, including the local episcopate. She receives the Mysteries of the Body and Blood of Christ from time to time, still, so one must qssume that her parish priest(s) after hearing her confession of that sin and her repentance have exercised their idea of economia. But there are some Priests, too, you must know, that hold the conviction that God does not permit them to deny the Chalice to ANYONE.

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              • In the West says:

                How about Cooper? lol

                https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/tHvExOg4NI0?rel=0

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              • Other other Matthew says:

                His Grace:

                She receives the Mysteries of the Body and Blood of Christ from time to time, still, so one must qssume that her parish priest(s) after hearing her confession of that sin and her repentance have exercised their idea of economia.

                It's nice to hear that compassion is practised by some Orthodox priests.

                But there are some Priests, too, you must know, that hold the conviction that God does not permit them to deny the Chalice to ANYONE.

                Since our Lord invited sinners to dine with Him, it seems a very Christ-like conviction.

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                • Not at all a Christ-like conviction but the work of the anti-Christ:

                  For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. - 1 Corinthians 11:29

                  OOM is simply interested in make it up as you go along, touchy feely pseudo-Christianity.

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                  • Other other Matthew says:

                    Misha likes proof-texts but seems unable to parse that the condemnation depends on "not discerning the Lord’s body."

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                    • OOM,

                      I am not the one here who is praising a practice which is essentially a rejection of Orthodox ecclesiology in favor of a very modern Protestant one. Before the twentieth century, even many Protestant denominations were closed communion. The notion that anyone should be allowed to partake of the Gifts who comes forward is simply unchristian. We do no one a service that way. It is along the same road as universalism which the Church rejected long ago.

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                  • M. Stankovich says:

                    We seem to cyclically pass through these phases of "militancy" that charades as Tradition, with each ensuing incarnation a touch dumber and a touch meaner than the previous phase. The only similarity, however, is the equal charade that passes as "pastoral approaches" to individual dilemmas as they present themselves, and the self-righteous "fear" that somebody might be getting away with something.

                    To illustrate this, I use the example of the adulterous woman, and its concluding dialog: "Woman, where are those your accusers? Has no man condemned you?" She said, "No man, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you: go, and sin no more [μηκέτι ἁμάρτανε]." (Jn. 8:10-11) I would note that this statement - "go and sin no more" - is applied as if Jesus said "go and never do this sin again," when the fact of the matter is that the same construction is found in, for example, Mk. 2:2 ("there was no more room [μηκέτι χωρεῖν] to receive them..."], Mk. 1:45 ("Jesus could no more openly [μηκέτι αὐτὸν δύνασθαι] enter into the city.") and Lk. 8:49 ("no longer [μηκέτι σκύλλε] trouble the Master. Your daughter is dead."). The instruction is that the "battle" and the "victory" is in the struggle. And for whom does the struggle not entail a lifetime of failures and victories with same laundry-list of sins? Who has not not fought one, only to admit another, who upon its defeat, makes way for, again, a renewed battle with the first? Blessed Nikolai Velimirović instructed us that our Lord knelt and wrote in the sand each man's sins so that each could see before he stated, "Let him without sin cast the first stone."

                    Secondly, this disparaging of the principle of economy - which the Byzantines referred to as "an imitation of God's love for man" - never ceases to shock me:

                    Having made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he has purposed in himself: That in the management [εἰς οἰκονομίαν] of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him." (Eph. 1:9-10)

                    Simply put: oikonomia is how, on this earth, the Church manages the Master's House as He would. And how does the Church do this? "Whereof I am made a min­is­ter, accord­ing to the [κατὰ τὴν οἰκονομίαν] man­age­ment of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God,” (Col.1:25) By those set aside and anointed by the Lord to do so and must answer for these decisions:

                    You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. (Jn. 15:16)

                    I have mentioned here many times the instruction of Met. Anthony Khrapovitsky, of blessed memory, specifically to confessors to bear in mind, "We are far removed from the time of Grace." Oikonomia is intended in the interest of a penitent's salvation and the Canons are not the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. As St. Paul declares, this is a responsibility "given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God," and every bishop and every priest who exercises this responsibility is answerable to God alone.

                    Perhaps the recollection of that great day "when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all," (1Cor. 15:28) will give some perspective as to the possibility that not all the facts, motivations, and justifications for mercy, love, and forgiveness were known to us, and that arrogance was our humiliation.

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                    • Bishops do not answer to God alone for their exercise of oikonomia, they also answer to their brother bishops. Orthodoxy 101.

                      As to "militancy" vs. Tradition, it is difficult for me to imagine that restoring a sense of discipline to the Church in an age where neither the government nor the Church make much effort to negatively sanction behavior traditionally regarded as evil amounts to militancy. Reading through the list of regulations and sanctions listed in the Rudder should disabuse anyone of the notion that any significant voice in contemporary American Orthodoxy is "militant" - most are unconscionably permissive.

                      But, of course, modernity is the real criterion, isn't it?

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                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

                      Just a reminder to M. Stankovich that economy may mean applying a greater strictness or severity than is foreseen by a literal application of a canon, for a greater strictness may just as plausibly result in a soul's salvation as a greater forbearance.

                      Then, too, there is the well-known "economy" of Lady Montagu: "People wish their enemies dead----but I do not: I say give them the gout, give them the stone!"

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                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      The issue, as I presented it, has absolutely nothing to do with restoring "discipline" to the Church. I would suggest that there is a significant difference between the instruction of St. Paul, "Let all things be done decently and in order," (1 Cor. 14:40) "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints," (1 Cor. 14:33) and those who imagine the codex of the Sacred Canons as "regulations and sanctions." As Fr. Meyendorff noted in Byzantine Theology: His­tor­i­cal Trends and Doc­tri­nal Themes:

                      The Byzan­tines were gen­er­ally aware that at least cer­tain canons reflected the eter­nal and divine nature of the Church, and it was a Chris­t­ian and absolute duty to obey them, [but] they rec­og­nized that there was no canon­i­cal leg­is­la­tion in heaven (for if “jus­ti­fi­ca­tion comes by law, then Christ died in vain,” Gal. 2:21), and that their task was a lim­ited one.

                      It is interesting that Fr. John makes only a quick note of St. Basil the Great's communication with St Amphilochius, Bishop of Iconium (Letters in PG-32), beginning with Amphilochius' consecration and continuing, apparently until Basil's death. Many of these consist very strictly of what are referred to as "Canons" ascribed to St. Basil (see Letter 188, Letter 199, and Letter 217). But as Fr. John points out, what "became an author­i­ta­tive part of the Byzan­tine canon­i­cal col­lec­tions" is St. Basil's instruction to Amphilochius regarding the practice of the time to reject the "baptism of heretics": "If this becomes an obstacle to God's oikonomia, refer instead to the practice of the Fathers who managed the Church before you." In other words, St. Basil instructed Amphililochius to fear that imposing too many "regulations and sanctions" would be an obstacle to the salvation of some. But, after all, this is the message of St. Paul to the Corinthians:

                      But if any have caused grief, he has not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all. Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise you ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Why I beseech you that you would confirm your love toward him. (2Cor 2:5-8)

                      Vladyka Tikhon's point is well taken: we have so denigrated and distorted the term oikonomia to suggest something untoward or "underhanded," we have lost the idea that the assignment of "punishment [ἐπιτιμία] inflicted of the many" is the means of "redirection" and oikonomia as well.

                      The greater point to all of this was to suggest that the "management" of the Church is in the hands of those whom, as St. Paul indicates, God has appointed. As I mentioned, this "cycle" mimics the previous in that "experts" lacks understanding, insight, and anointing. Too many "experts" lecturing pastors who are forced to make individual decisions in the interest of an individual's salvation, while the "experts" are anonymous and answer to no one. Nice gig when you can get it.

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                    • It seems that the conversation wandered away from oikonomia, which I certainly have never disparaged, to open communion and the communion of unrepentant openly practicing sodomites. Discipline in the Church does seem to be an issue.

                      One point which is actually worthy of note is that despite the fact that priests answer to their bishops for their exercise of economy, and bishops answer to their brother bishops, the bishops en masse have been unconscionably negligent regarding matters of discipline in the Church being afraid that restoring some sense of propriety as it formerly existed before our present failed experiment in "freedom" would cut further into the Church's received stewardship or political clout. Letting someone die in their sins is seen as more expedient. After all, if they're "in" Church it is better for their souls than if they leave, regardless of what they believe or do, no? Why should morality get in the way of salvation?

                      No good answer to that problem. It's been allowed to fester too long. One of those things that will only get worse before it gets better. Again, no matter, America is only a tiny little corner of the Church.

                      I'm sure it is safe to leave the matter to the "credentialed experts" here at Monomakhos that get in a tiff when challenged by unwashed peons with an insufficient number of letters after their names. After all, it is the credentials that matter, right? God forbid the merits should come into play, then we might have to think for ourselves rather than just bow to the insufferable arrogance of little tin gods.

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                    • Other other Matthew says:

                      Misha:

                      Reading through the list of regulations and sanctions listed in the Rudder should disabuse anyone of the notion that any significant voice in contemporary American Orthodoxy is “militant” – most are unconscionably permissive.

                      It must be terribly disappointing to Misha to have to share the church with people who fall so far short of his high standards.

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                    • Other other Matthew says:

                      M. Stankovich quoting Meyendorff:

                      The Byzan­tines were gen­er­ally aware that at least cer­tain canons reflected the eter­nal and divine nature of the Church, and it was a Chris­t­ian and absolute duty to obey them, [but] they rec­og­nized that there was no canon­i­cal leg­is­la­tion in heaven (for if “jus­ti­fi­ca­tion comes by law, then Christ died in vain,” Gal. 2:21), and that their task was a lim­ited one.

                      Some in the church believe scrupulous adherence to rules and canons assures entrance into the Kingdom, and that the Christian faith can be reduced to believing in (their interpretation of) a set of propositions. Much as they like to rail against "modernity," it is they who are the modernists. They strain at gnats. They pay no heed to the exhortation to attend to the Gospel on the Sundays of the Prodigal Sun and the Publican and Pharisee. Their distortion of the tradition will not last.

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                    • Other other Matthew says:

                      Misha:

                      No good answer to that problem. It’s been allowed to fester too long. One of those things that will only get worse before it gets better. Again, no matter, America is only a tiny little corner of the Church.

                      Underlying assumption: the church outside America does things differently, or better. Dead wrong. But what would you know about all that?


                      I’m sure it is safe to leave the matter to the “credentialed experts” here at Monomakhos that get in a tiff when challenged by unwashed peons with an insufficient number of letters after their names. After all, it is the credentials that matter, right? God forbid the merits should come into play, then we might have to think for ourselves rather than just bow to the insufferable arrogance of little tin gods.

                      It's obvious that some of the clergy contributors to this kooky little corner of the Internet have a truly infantile and degenerate understanding of the Christian faith, and that the day will soon come when their "brand" of Orthodoxy will rightfully be recognized for the monstrous distortion of tradition that it really is, their Ph.D's, phony erudition, and condescension notwithstanding. But to compare them to little tin gods, that's taking things too far.

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                    • OOM,

                      "Little tin gods" is about right. I stand firmly by it.

                      As to practice in other countries, I'm not even aware of a ROCOR parish in this country where an openly practicing homosexual in a "gay marriage" or "civil union" would be communed knowingly. Pappas' spiritual guide should be defrocked.

                      An anecdote: Several years ago in Russia, a real loose canon of a priest conducted a "gay marriage" in his church. The synod met shortly thereafter.

                      The priest, the "couple" and every member of the parish were excommunicated and the priest was defrocked. Later, when it could be determined exactly who attended and who did not, the excommunication of those not in attendance was lifted.

                      Now, the church itself had already been scheduled to be demolished some time in the future. Nonetheless, the synod ordered that all the holy vessels used in the "marriage" be placed in the center of the church, that the church be burned to the ground, and that it be plowed under, having been monstrously desecrated.

                      I am quite aware of what goes on in Orthodox countries. I never claimed that they don't have their own problems. My point was that the particular evils of ecumenical and progressive infiltration that afflict the Church in America are only a drop in the bucket in relation to the status of world Orthodoxy, which I did not attempt to evaluate or describe.

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                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      Mischa,

                      It seems to me that "credentialed experts" are relying, nearly exclusively, upon the opinions of the Holy Scriptures, the Patristic Fathers, the Canonical Fathers, and the Holy Tradition. This, it seems to me, is an "insufferable arrogance" worthy of emulation. You, on the other hand, consistently seem to be drawing upon the authority of... well, you. And while I admit to the subjectivity of my impression, "you a mean 'ol lion." However, if I have erred as to merit - and it was my intention to provide information so that you might, indeed, think for yourself - in what I have written in regard to oikonomia, by way of the Holy Scriptures or the Fathers, not only do I welcome your correction, I invite your correction.

                      If, however, you likewise "firmly stand" by your statement indicating you are "sure it is safe to leave the matter to the “credentialed experts” here at Monomakhos that get in a tiff when challenged by unwashed peons with an insufficient number of letters after their names," I respectfully conclude my participation in the discussion.

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                    • Stankovich,

                      You really should realize by now that I don't take anything that you or any of the other modernists or "liberal Christians" here say seriously in the slightest. You might quote the Scriptures or Fathers, clumsily, to conclude things which do not follow from their statements, but that is your affair.

                      All that I am doing as far as you and Vladyka Tikhon and Daniel Fall are concerned is jerking your chains on occasion just to get a rise out of you since it entertains me somewhat. I'm sure we disagree on many things, but that is fine since I have no respect for your opinions based on your past comments.

                      I think with that understanding we can move forward without getting "lathered up" about anything. As far as I am concerned, it's nothing personal.

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                    • BTW,

                      From a website of Pappas' own patriarchate:

                      "Holy things for Holy People

                      St Paul warns us not to partake of Christ's Body and Blood lightly.

                      'Whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner" says St Paul "will be guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord.'

                      (1 Corinthians 11:27)

                      If we come to receive Holy Communion in an unworthy manner we effectively approach the Lord with inner immorality which is known to God and for which we must give a full account at the Last Judgement of the Second Coming of Christ. We cannot be seeking forgiveness of sins at the Last Judgement. By then it will be too late. Now is the time to seek God's mercy and forgiveness which is all love. Now is the time to prepare to receive Him by examining ourselves and reconciling ourselves with one another and with God. "I observe many partaking of Christ's Body lightly and incidentally, from custom and ordinance" said St John Chrysostomos, "rather than from consideration and understanding. When one says, 'The holy season is at hand, whatever sort one may be, he partakes of the mysteries..." "But this is not the occasion for Communion, for neither Theophany (the revealing of God) nor Lent makes us worthy to come forward, but sincerity and purity. With these, come forward always, without them, never."

                      St John further alerts us not to draw near unprepared to receive the Sacrifice of Our Lord at which "the very angels tremble."

                      "And how shall you stand before the judgement seat of Christ, you who dare to receive His Body with polluted hand and lips? You would not presume to kiss a king with a foul-smelling mouth, but you kiss the King of Heaven with a reeking soul? This is an outrage."

                      (4th Century, Daily readings from the writings of St John Chrysostomos ed. Fr Anthony M. Coniaris, Light and Life pub. Pp. 26)"

                      - http://www.orthodoxchristian.info/pages/line.htm

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          • Jerome Wilson says:

            I believe that if one reads the canons closely, one will see that only a marriage contracted with a fellow Orthodox is considered a canonical norm. This holds true to this day for the clergy.

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            • Michael Bauman says:

              Routinely ignored for the laity and occasionally for deacons.

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              • Tim R. Mortiss says:

                I would guess that were this not routinely ignored for the laity, that the churches in the US would have died out by now.

                Surely intermarriage must be a primary source of evangelism here.

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                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

                  Or the primary "source" (sic) of apostasy, Tim? Who claims that those who get married to non-Orthodox outside the Church are a source of evangelism?

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                  • Tim R. Mortiss says:

                    I don't know who "claims" anything, sir. But most of the converts to Orthodoxy I have met up until the last few years became such by reason of their marriages to Othoodox. This would be a small sample, no doubt.

                    I labeled my comment a speculation, not a claim, but this is what I have observed in my small bailliwick. It's not so, then?

                    If Catholics were to limit their marriage prospects to Catholics, then in any average city there would be thousands of potential partners. If around here, you were Orthodox and limited it to Orthodox, you would drastically cut into the demographic pool available!

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                    • Michael Bauman says:

                      People coming to the Church through marriage happens, but I think we loose just a many going the other way, especially to the Roman Catholics and their instance that any children be raised Roman Catholic if one parent is Roman Catholic. Overall it is probably a wash.

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                    • Among the Greeks is much less than a wash. Most ethnic Greek Orthodox in this country marry outside the church and the family ends up in some other church. It's common knowledge to the point of being a truism in GOARCH. It is always pulled out when there arises a controversy regarding usage of Greek in services. The more pro-English clergy will point to the fact that the children of their opponents married outside the Church and attend non-Orthodox churches as evidence that there has been too much Greek in the services, alienating non-Greeks.

                      I personally have no opinion on the issue. The underlying question is more important: How did the bishops let the Church in this country come to the low ebb of piety that most Orthodox think of the Church as just another denomination, to be changed at will? Fix that and the other problems fade away. Alas, ecumenism has taken its toll.

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            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

              Jerome, only ONE MARRIAGE.

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    • Dan Fall says:

      This is why I am labeling such monologue the Helga trap.

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      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

        Ah, the Helga Trap!!!!
        I wonder if there are any of my age left who remember when the Army had "K.P." and not contract restaurateurs? The worst job of all was having to clean out the grease trap at the close of K.P. duty.

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      • colette says:

        Yeah, I can see how popular that is . . .

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    • Diogenes says:

      Mr Stankovich, please tell us where you get the statistic that 70% of all first marriages end in divorce.

      There was a pervasive myth, which has long been discredited, that for anyone getting married the chances for divorce were 50%. The misleading 50% statistic, if it ever had any accuracy, came about as a result of mixing together first marriages with second and third marriages, which are progressively much more likely to end in divorce. But never have I seen the claim you make, that 70% of first marriages end in divorce.

      Although it seems difficult to find an precise number, the percentages of first marriages ending in divorce may currently be as low as 30 or 35%, far from 50% and nowhere near the 70% rate you cite, hopefully as a typo.

      I have consistently found that these gloomy divorce figures frighten young people from making marriage commitments and thus they are unhelpful, as well as being untrue.

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      • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, PhD says:

        Thanks, Diogenes, for your post, which echoes my earlier post here on June 14, 2014 at 1:50 am. The 70% divorce figure for first marriages in America, whether as a reflection of the current state or a "projection" based on a so-called "trend," is so wildly inflated as to be laughable--if it were not, as you conclude, a disincentive for many to eschew marriage in favor of immoral alternate lifestyles.

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        • M. Stankovich says:

          My final comment on this topic is drawn from the work of Charles P. Pierce's aptly titled Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free. I have been writing here for three years that the threshold for truth on this site has been consistently falling, and Fr. George has noted what I believe to be an apt corollary: it is the gullibility for what people will accept as truth, unchallenged, that is on the rise (this all, by the way, is a loose construct for what is referred to as an "information cascade"). Author Pierce, on the other hand, is quite precise is his assessment of American idiots:

          1) If something feels right, it must be treated with the same respect given something that actually is right. If something is felt deeply, it must carry the same weight as something that is true. If there are two sides to every argument—or, more to the point, if there are people willing to take up two sides to every argument —they both must be right or, at least, equally valid.

          2) Anything can be true if someone says it loudly enough.

          3) Respect for the effort required to develop and promulgate nonsense somehow bleeds into a respect that validates the nonsense itself. Religion is the place where this problem becomes the most acute. Push religion into other spheres—like, say, politics and science—and the process intensifies. “Respect” for religion suddenly covers respect for any secular idea, no matter how crackpot, that can be draped in the Gospels.

          I am attempting to be respectpful, Fr, Alexander, because I seriously doubt that Mattingly, Cone, et al. will rush in here to congratulate me for sarcastically putting you in your place, which is what you deserve. Nevertheless, you and Diogenese may as well demonstrate that you are not, in fact, American idiots by providing anything credible that suggests a correlation between first-time marriage failure and the choice "to eschew marriage in favor of immoral alternate lifestyles."

          I have made the point that the threshold for truth has been consistently falling, and Fr. George provided an apt corollary that gullibility for the acceptance of what is truth is on the rise; this by the way, is a loose construct for an "information cascade," people accepting as true what others say based on their reputation, etc. alone without fact-checking; even ignoring the admonition of St. Chrysostom, "Now no one would venture to undertake the building of a house were he not an architect, nor will any one attempt the cure of sick bodies who is not a skilled physician; but even though many urge him, will beg off, and will not be ashamed to own his ignorance." There you have it.

          My original point was an attempt to state that, from what I have read here, same-sex marriage is the single greatest threat to the institution of marriage and to the family. I said, this is a distraction, that marriage and the family are already besieged. I noted that people are falling all over themselves at the courage of a priest who "stood up" to a gay man over "the Sacrament," yet will not acknowledge the hypocrisy of no priest refusing "the Sacrament" to individuals who mock Christian marriage, knowing in their heart the marriage is bound to fail. Distraction.

          It is more comfortable to rise up and be triumphantly "righteous" regarding those we perceive as despicable, "abominations," and especially sinful. While the shepherd would, literally, abandon the ninety-nine to find the one lost sheep, the message here is, "my number is in the phone book." We are not called to compromise the Faith or "make things easy" in repentance, but rather build a bridge to the Physician. It cannot be accomplished with hatred, hypocrisy, and scorn.

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          • Michael Bauman says:

            M. Stankovich: you make it an either/or. It is not as you well know. While the points you raise from Mr. Pierce are certainly valid, they do not validate your argument.

            Yes, we are in this mess in part because of the Church's weakness in using Eucharistic discipline in the face of all forms of adultery and fornication and divorce for years. Yet even that is overstated.

            When I was entering the Church, the woman who was the choir director at the parish got a divorce due to emotional abuse and adultery. For a year after her divorce she did not approach the cup even though she was not unfaithful. Her ex-husband had long since even stopped coming. The priest was a very troubled man and eventually left the Church entirely, but he got this correct.

            I cannot speak for the Greeks or the OCA or the various Slavic jurisdictions, but that is the common practice in the Antiochian Archdiocese, Joseph Allen not withstanding.

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          • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, PhD says:

            Perhaps the Bard, as usual, said it best:

            Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
            That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
            And then is heard no more. It is a tale
            Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
            Signifying nothing.

            Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5, lines 17-28)

            To be sure, I do not concur with that view of “life” in general. Quite to the contrary, as an Orthodox Christian I view life redeemed and sanctified in Christ as wondrous, joyous, eternal, and meaningful every moment. But sometimes folks whose lives are full of the same “hatred, hypocrisy, and scorn” that they routinely accuse others of displaying, who hurl insults, epithets, and other ad hominem attacks with abandon and especially when proven incorrect or merely questioned, who seem incapable of acknowledging error in a spirit of humility and a genuine pursuit of truth, have, alas, reduced their lives to “sound and fury.”

            Still, as Christians we know with the certainty of faith that no one alive is beyond hope or redemption. Although it is exceedingly difficult for many of us (and I certainly include myself in that “us”) to answer the Lord’s summons in the Gospels to be as perfect as our heavenly Father, to love our enemies, and to forgive those who know not what they do, we are still called to nothing less than that standard of moral and spiritual perfection.

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          • Diogenes says:

            Mr Stankovich:

            Let's see. You throw out an absurd statistic about first time marriages failing at a 70% rate. When asked to justify this, you give us nothing more than vague talk about "trends" ("if unimpeded" of course) and "predictions." As you surely know, trends and predictions and forecasts are a dime a dozen since it is easy to make computer models support the conclusions we already hold, and such flimsy evidence does nothing to counter the fact that everywhere social scientists are backing down even from the inflated 50% rate of the 1980s. Then, when several people challenge you on your bizarre assertion, you call us "idiots." And meanwhile expect us to continue taking you seriously as a responsible scientist.

            As to my evidence for saying that this kind of reckless talk—which seems mostly to serve your personal agenda of saying marriage and the family are "already" destroyed, so we need not worry about same sex "marriage" corrupting them—frightens young people away from marriage: I have more than three decades experience speaking to thousands of young people as a college professor, within my parish, with my godchildren, and as a parent. All of these young people know the pain of divorce either first-hand or through sympathy with the suffering of their friends, and when they hear irresponsible talk about the odds being stacked against marriage, they fear it and withdraw from it, lest they bring on the same measure of pain in their own children. I have heard this literally hundreds of times as the principal reason to fear and shun the commitment of marriage.

            Ideological beliefs are cruel, because they crush living people beneath the weight of abstract principles and political zealotry. The attempt, on your part and on the part of homosexual ideologues at large, to persuade Americans that marriage is "already" a dead institution is an excellent example of this cruelty.

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            • M. Stankovich says:

              Diogenes,

              Both you and Fr. Alexander appear to be "tag-teaming" to make this a personal issue with me, yet you somehow fail to grasp that I am not even vaguely concerned with your opinion me as a scientist, nor Fr. Alexander's Google-derived Shakespearean "backhand" (nice touch, by the way!). I provided data from the Centers from Disease Control & Prevention - arguably the most reliable source of public health data in the world - that a 12-year old, with a $5 calculator with simple statistical capabilities, could within five minutes calculate failed first marriages per 1,000 persons in the US from 2000 to 2011, individually, by year, individually by state, individually by territory, individually by those in the military, etc. Apparently, you feel qualified to term this data as "flimsy evidence" and indicative of me making "bizarre assertion[s]," presumably with a straight face. Fr. Alexander, on the other hand - eyes rolled to heaven - suggests I am incapable of admitting wrong, even when proven so, and employ "sound & fury" as a form of misdirection. I believe, gentles, that your "outrage" is misdirected to the messenger - me, as it were - when it should be with the CDC, arguably the most reliable source of public health data in the world. I did not gather the data and I did not analyze the data; I merely reported the data. If this is not some personal matter, why so hot under the pressed and/or clergy collar?

              Secondly, Diogenes, as a college professor, you proffer an argument I would not allow from a third-year psych or social work undergrad major: anecdote as evidence. What you are presenting is your experience, with your bias, interacting at your school, in your city, and so on. 250 miles away, someone else could tell me the polar opposite. Who is correct? The point is: your observation that young people "hear irresponsible talk about marriage and avoid it" is evidence to conduct research, not evidence for your argument. Wake up.

              This is exactly why I am a responsible scientist. I am trained and experienced in discerning the difference between "gut feelings" and reliable "evidence." I did NOT say "marriage and the family are “already” destroyed, so we need not worry about same sex “marriage” corrupting them." I said the "The family is already besieged and same-sex marriage is not the primary reason." Same-sex marriage most certainly is a factor, but it is not the primary factor.

              Finally, in case you missed it, in a week, I will begin two therapy groups for young women, ages 25-35, in the divorce process (none that I know are Orthodox, but it is insignificant), many of whom I've been told have at least one child. My colleague and I will patiently, compassionately, and frequently confrontationally attempt to instill hope. Then I keep reading your summation:

              Ideological beliefs are cruel, because they crush living people beneath the weight of abstract principles and political zealotry. The attempt, on your part and on the part of homosexual ideologues at large, to persuade Americans that marriage is “already” a dead institution is an excellent example of this cruelty.

              And you people seriously object to the reference, American Idiot?

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              • Diogenes says:

                M. Stankovich,

                Lots of bold type here, and at the emotional crescendo, bold type combined with all caps. But I'll leave it to psychologists to interpret what this means.

                Just a few bullet points in response:

                • Nothing personal here. Remember, you're the one who keeps calling Fr Alexander (whom I do not know) and me idiots.

                • I do feel a sense of obligation to expose certain myths that need to be put to rest, and you are purveying here a big one that is fraught with dangers. The CDC divorce statistics by state, in virtually every case, show a steep decline over the past two decades, sometimes by as much as 30, 40, or 50 per cent, not a trend upward as you claim. The reader may verify this here: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/dvs/divorce_rates_90_95_99-11.pdf

                • The CDC does have an article with an extensive discussion of the probability (more computer modeling) that a first marriage will end in divorce among different demographic groups. This probability ranges from 22% for college educated women at the low end to a high of 63% for black women. But for no demographic group, either by ethnicity or by education, does it calculate a 70% probability. The reader may verify this here: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr049.pdf

                • The methodology you prescribe is unsound. You suggest we divide the number of divorces per year by the number of marriages for that year. But of course the divorces occurring that year are terminations of marriages that began 5, 10, 20, or 30 years ago. Moreover, the lump together failed first-time marriages with people who have a pattern of serial divorce. We know that with every divorce, the chances of the next marriage failing increases dramatically, and that there are a relatively small number of people who go through many marriages and thus skew the statistic. That is how that old 50% figure first got into circulation. Nor do the CDC statistics correct for this distortion.

                • You asked me for evidence that young people are frightened by talk such as yours and i provided it. You did not ask me for "scientific" evidence, and it is unfair to judge it by that standard. But like many scientists, you seem to think that science is the only reliable kind of knowledge, which is certainly not the case. Science (when it is sound) is a mode of inductive generalization. So is learning from experience, as when year after year seniors tell me they are anxious about the future, or time after time people I respect tell me that a certain restaurant is first-rate. This is how we acquire the vast majority of our knowledge about the world, and it is scientific snobbery to reject it. When every time young people discuss marriage with me and express the same views (and counting class discussions, this includes hundreds of samples) then this is strong evidence that it is true. And as Richard Swinburne (the world's foremost philosopher of inductive logic, and in fact an Orthodox Christian) maintains, the principle of credulity demands that when things overwhelmingly seem to be a certain way, and lacking evidence to the contrary, we are obliged to conclude that they in fact are that way.

                • Finally, despite your consistently abusive discourse on this blog, I have no doubt that your are a well-intentioned person who sincerely wants to help people. Ideologies are indeed cruel, but this does not mean that individual people under their sway intend to be cruel.

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                • M. Stankovich says:

                  Diogenes,

                  To quote R. P. McMurphy, "You're not gonna' gonna play that henhouse [crap], are you, Nurse Ratchett?" I said I would not serve as a research assistant, and I maintain that pledge. You have done the shallowest of investigations at the CDC site and somehow are claiming to "refute" me. Pardon me, but the the only thing worse than a Google scholar is a lazy scholar. I will also leave it to psychologists to interpret what that means. I am trained for the academic conditions of a medical school faculty where you would not dream of attempting to muddle your way through debate unqualified and unprepared without the expectation of being "handed your hat." As author Pierce of American Idiot further notes:

                  If we have abdicated our birthright to scientific progress, we have done so by moving empirical debate into the realms of political, cultural, and religious argument, where we all feel more comfortable, because there the Gut truly holds sway. By the rules governing those realms, any scientific theory is a mere opinion, and everyone’s entitled to those. Scientific fact is as mutable as a polling sample. The rest of the world looks on in wide-eyed wonder. The America of Franklin and Edison, of Fulton and Ford, of the Manhattan Project and the Apollo program, the America of which Einstein so wanted to be a part that he moved here, seems to have enveloped itself in a fog behind which it’s tying itself in knots over evolution, for pity’s sake, and over the relative humanness of blastocysts and the victims of Parkinson’s disease... Even in the developing world, if you tell them you’re from MIT and you tell them that you do science, it’s a big deal. If you go to India, and I tell them "I’m from MIT", it’s a big deal. If you go to Thailand, it’s a big deal. In Iowa, they could give a rat’s ass.

                  Apparently, without ever meeting me, or for that matter ever hearing my voice, you are pretentious enough to conclude that, "like many scientists, you seem to think that science is the only reliable kind of knowledge, which is certainly not the case." Really? Instead, you would offer Richard Swinburne and the principle of credulity? We are "obliged to conclude that they in fact are that way?" And this is all the more significant because he is an Orthodox Christian? Dude, I have to yet to agree with Richard Dawkins over anything, but I'm climbing onto his shoulders to quote Carl Sagan: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

                  I am honoured to discover that, perhaps, along with the "homosexual ideologues at large," I may not intentionally be cruel. Imagine!

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                  • Diogenes says:

                    Since there are no arguments here, apart from a specious argument from authority, I shall not respond with arguments of my own.

                    As they say in Texas: "Big hat. No cattle."

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                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      Since you have no argument on merit, the wise choice would have been silence. Instead you chose passive aggression which is the mark of cowardice. Your fifth "thumbs-up" is courtesy of me. Enjoy.

                      I received two emails this afternoon that I contemplated for the remainder of the day. The first was a short "topic" video presentation from Medscape that asked, "Are physicians arrogant?" and the second was from a clergyman who wrote to support me for refusing to corroborate the notion that a person is, in effect, a "monster" as a result of their actions, and any expression of compassion for them insults their victims and drives them into hiding.

                      The presenter believed the perception of arrogance is derived by one of two things: entitlement or zeal. The fact that I have been physically disabled by my work, I am not wealthy, and I lack position & title pretty much sums up my case against entitlement. I am, however, a zealous advocate for patients, their care, their rights, their dignity, and the truth. And most importantly, as near as I can tell, I have nothing to lose. And in my zeal, I used the analogy of the failure of first marriages to make a point about distraction - that it is easier to focus on homosexuality because we consider it despicable and scornful - than it is to focus on any number of issues that face us in the Church in America. I utilized "numbers" and "trends" derived from a conference I had attended, with presenters largely from the Centers for Disease Control and the Census Bureau. My point was not about research design, statistical methodology, or epidemiology. It was about distraction. If anyone was offended, I sincerely apologize. I am zealous, I can be prideful. This was one of those time.

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                    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, PhD says:

                      "Thumbs-up" to you, Dr. S, for the last paragraph in your post on June 20, 2014 at 12:26 am.

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                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

                      I see M. Stankovich is being censured, as usual, and, as usual, it is in the area of his own special competence or credentials.. I suggest he take comfort from the well known words of Dr. Johnson:

                      "Censure is willingly indulged because it always implies some superiority. Men please themselves with imaginings that they have made a deeper search or wider survey than others, and detected faults and follies which escape vulgar observations."

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  12. annoyed says:

    "Boy, did they fall. Unfortunately for Pappas, there was a blow-back, but it was 90 percent against him."

    Other than the usual commentators that participate on this blog, Can you please provide the evidence for this "blow-back"? Where did you get that "90%" number from?

    I hardly think a few comments from the usual suspects on this blog can hardly be considered a "blow-back" at "90%"

    I am genuinely curious about this blow-back, otherwise, if you are referring to comments posted here as the "blow-back", then you're engaging in hyperbole, and that is not helpful in what is a very concerning and worrying situation that has potential negative ramifications for all the Orthodox in this country, not just the GOA.

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    • George Michalopulos says:

      Good point. I meant on my blog. I will say however that depending on the geographic region (the Northeast is lost), a majority of Orthodox Christians still abide by the faith. I'll go out on a limb at this point and say that many of those sympathetic to sodomy are horrified by what Pappas has done, going to the national media. The more Fabian among them would have rather laid low, allowing for more corruption to set it.

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      • George Michalopulos says:

        For what it's worth, there's been a blow-back to him on The Washington Post blog as well. Surprisingly so.

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    • George Michalopulos says:

      Good point. I meant on my blog. I will say however that depending on the geographic region (the Northeast is lost), a majority of Orthodox Christians still abide by the faith. I'll go out on a limb at this point and say that many of those sympathetic to sodomy are horrified by what Pappas has done, going to the national media. The more Fabian among them would have rather laid low, allowing for more corruption to set in.

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    • Michael Bauman says:

      The real problem lies in using statistical analysis of uncertain assumptions to describe a spiritual problem and worse extrapolate answers from there. Its like dissecting a frog and expecting to still be alive.

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  13. Ronda Wintheiser says:

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/no-greek-orthodox-man-thats-not-why-you-were-denied-communion/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=no-greek-orthodox-man-thats-not-why-you-were-denied-communion

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    • Michael Bauman says:

      Sarcasm on But Ronda, don't you know that Mr. Dreher is one of those fundamentalist converts who don't really understand the faith? Sarcasm off

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  14. This is all fascinating in a way. I like the fact that Pappas is making the issue open and one which the Church authorities may have to go on record about. I think the wink and the nod has gone on long enough. I'd rather everything be done in the open with guidelines for the priests to follow that are based on the moral tradition so that they have a defense in such cases when the politics get tough.

    Of course, that's a lot to expect from some hierarchs. They'd rather finesse the issue and call everyone to "reality". The reality is that Pappas has probably done the Church a favor. Betray tradition openly and let the other jurisdictions see the truth, or abide by tradition and forsake the spirit of the age.

    Can't say I have any expectations as to what the GOA will do on this. 6-5 and you pick em.

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    • Isa Almisry says:

      Yes, hopefully the Washington Post will receive an unambiguous response from the ACOBA, with all the bishops signatures-there are a couple that I will call out if they don't appear there.

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      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

        Let them hear, and let them tremble, eh, Isa? Thanks for your bravery... HIgh Noon and all that...

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  15. Tom Florentine says:

    Several things here. Please remember, Jesus Himself had Judas Iscariot as one of His 12 disciples. Did Jesus know from the beginning that Judas was a great sinner and betrayer? Of course. Did not Judas eat with Christ just before betraying Him and Jesus knew? Of course. Now, if Judas "CHANGED HIS MIND" and repented would Jesus receive him back? Of course. So, eating with Christ, receiving the Holy Eucharist is for ALL sinners. WHY? For the "healing of soul and body." Now, if one's sin has been pointed out to them again and again and they refuse to "CHANGE" or repent, then a wake-up call must be given - from a pastoral perspective. Fornication via man & woman, man & man, woman & woman is sinful. Marriage can only be between a man & woman. So, other sexual relationships are against God. No real way around this. From a pastoral perspective, these unrepentant sinners MAY be admitted to the Eucharist once a year at Pascha, but as a normal, acceptable practice; NO!

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    • "From a pastoral perspective, these unrepentant sinners MAY be admitted to the Eucharist once a year at Pascha"

      Tom, 1 Corinthians, 11:27 - "whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord"...whether this be at Pascha or any other time. A priest who knowingly admits an unrepentant sinner to the eucharist is not being pastoral to the person concerned - it would be truly pastoral to rebuke him for his sin and exhort him to repent - and must surely make himself complicit in the unworthy communicant's guilt.

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      • Tom Florentine says:

        Basil:

        I'm sure Jesus Christ told Judas Iscariot to take a hike when he entered the Upper Room with Him. "For the healing of soul & body." Apparently, Judas was so filled with the devil he did not repent.

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    • Patrick Henry Reardon says:

      Tom Florentine says, "From a pastoral perspective, these unrepentant sinners MAY be admitted to the Eucharist once a year at Pascha."

      The Holy Eucharist without repentance? Get a grip, Tom.

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      • Tom Florentine says:

        Dear Patrick Henry,

        Please read the Paschal Sermon of St. John Chrysostom. I believe you are or were a priest, but obviously a convert. What you don't understand or grasp is that ALL were admitted to receive the Eucharist at Pascha, even those have haven't repented. Didn't you study any Eucharist Ecclesiastical History; both West & East?

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        • Carl Kraeff says:

          Father Patrick knows his Orthodox Christianity, whereas you obviously do not. I suggest you reread Saint John's Paschal sermon and reflect on in in context. One obvious contextual matter is the New Testament, for example, Saint Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, from which the following passages may be germane:

          Chapter 5, verse 11: But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

          Chapter 6, verses 9-11: Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

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          • Tom Florentine says:

            Carl:
            I am well aware of the Holy Scriptures. Now, let me repeat, "Did Jesus know that Judas Iscariot was a sinner and would betray Him?" YES. "Did Jesus exclude Judas from eating at His table with Him at the institution of the Holy Eucharist?" NO. Again, "For the healing of soul & body." Jesus, through His grace comes to ALL of us sinners again and again and again yet, we continue to sin. "Holy things are for the Holy." Exactly who is holy enough to sit and eat at Christ's table? NO ONE!

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            • George Michalopulos says:

              OK, now let ME repeat: Yes, Jesus did allow Judas to drink and eat with Him. Judas is still in hell. That's a sobering prospect if you think about it Mr Florentine. Sobering to those of us who partake of the same Eucharist some two thousand years later. Think about it.

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            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

              Tom Florentine, we are not guided by individual interpretation of the Holy Scriptures, get it? No, not even by YOUR individual interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. You yourself refer to the Communion as "for the healing of soul and body.' Christ mentioned no such thing in the passage you cite and interpret, but we learn it from the Holy Tradition; from the Apostles and Holy Fathers...
              Do not forget, either, that Christ as cited in Holy Writ gave the power to bind and loose to his Apostles, and said their binding and loosing on earth would be binding and loosing in heaven.
              But then you are not an Orthodox Christian, obviously, or you would know all that and not idly quarrel on the Internet, basing your quarrel on proof-texts!
              Another thing you obviously are not aware of; The Church has Holy Canons, and these Canons DIRECT the refusal of the Holy Communion to those that violate certain of them; for example, an abortionist is to be denied Holy Communion for as long a period as a murderer. Get it?
              But YOU would give the Chalice on Sunday to a doctor who on Saturday accomplished four abortions and then say, 'Oh, the Bible tells us that Christ gave Communion to Judas!"
              I see also that you have the popular misunderstanding of Economy, Christ's 'household management." Economy does not NECESSARily mean enablement or permission or license or the easing of requirements. On the contrary, EXCEEDING the strictures or disciplinary boundaries of a canon may likewise be the application of Christi's Holy Economy---adjusting a customary rule for the sake of someone's salvation, by either easing up or by tightening down, but condescension or by strictness, get it?
              If you would also like a "proof text" , how about "Whosoever sins ye retain they are retained? "

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        • Patrick Henry Reardon says:

          Tom Florentine says, "Please read the Paschal Sermon of St. John Chrysostom. I believe you are or were a priest, but obviously a convert. What you don’t understand or grasp is that ALL were admitted to receive the Eucharist at Pascha, even those have haven’t repented. Didn’t you study any Eucharist Ecclesiastical History; both West & East?"

          Yes, actually, I have, especially about a half-century ago, when I was doing my doctoral work in Church History.

          You're the one, little buddy, who needs to read Chrysostom's sermon for Pascha, or, if you can, try to pay attention to it next Pascha when your priest reads it in Church.

          Chrysostom, like the Gospel parable he quotes, cuts it off at the eleventh hour, not the twelfth. That is to say, one must repent before Pascha.

          Hell is full of people, one suspects, who paid only attention when St. John Chrysostom's Paschal Homily was read in Church.

          Is it really so obvious that I am a convert? After 26 years as an Orthodox Christian, it is hard to know.

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        • Patrick Henry Reardon says:

          Tom Florentine says, “Please read the Paschal Sermon of St. John Chrysostom. I believe you are or were a priest, but obviously a convert. What you don’t understand or grasp is that ALL were admitted to receive the Eucharist at Pascha, even those have haven’t repented. Didn’t you study any Eucharist Ecclesiastical History; both West & East?”

          Yes, actually, I have, especially about a half-century ago, when I was doing my doctoral work in Church History.

          You’re the one, little buddy, who needs to read Chrysostom’s sermon for Pascha, or, if you can, try to pay attention to it next Pascha when your priest reads it in Church.

          Chrysostom, like the Gospel parable he quotes, cuts it off at the eleventh hour, not the twelfth. That is to say, one must repent before Pascha.

          Hell is full of people, one suspects, who paid only loose attention when St. John Chrysostom’s Paschal Homily was read in Church.

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          • George Michalopulos says:

            Very well said, Fr. As usual, you get to the nub of the matter.

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          • Jesse Cone says:

            Fr. Pat wins the award for "best possible response".

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          • Axios!

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          • colette says:

            "little buddy" . . . that's funny.

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            • Patrick Henry Reardon says:

              Dear Colette,

              I need to repent of this inexcusable lapse into an endearment, a fault of which we Southerners are frequently guilty.

              When I addressed the surprising claims of Tom Florentine, I simply forgot I wasn't talking to my cat.

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        • Michael Bauman says:

          Tom, Tom, Tom. Epic face plant. Of all the posters on this blog to challenge with ignorance of Church history.....wow!

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      • Probably like Pontius Pilate releasing one prisoner at Passover?

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  16. Yodaman says:

    I would like to commend Mr. Michalopulos for his coverage on this situation and I would like to add that my sources from within the clergy in the GOA tell me that Mr. Pappas spiritual father is obviously on the same agenda. "Special K" as I like to call him has given clear orders for clergy to give communion to openly gay homosexuals. If Mr. Pappas had any real courage he would talk about how deep this movement/ sentiment is and out the clergy on his side instead of giving numbers. I'm telling you if the GOA isn't run by Metropolitan Jaharis and those with money, it's run by the gay mafia. May God guide the righteous guardians of the truth and the tradition; and may he shed light on the error of those who try to prostitute it.

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    • Patrick Henry Reardon says:

      Yodaman says, "“Special K' as I like to call him."

      I think this will catch on.

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      • Daniel E Fall says:

        Are you suggesting name calling will help you get past the gates of St. Peter, whilst a misinterpretation of Chrysostoms's sermon will not?

        Where is Scooby Doo now?

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        • Patrick Henry Reardon says:

          "Are you suggesting name calling will help you get past the gates of St. Peter'

          I suggested nothing of the sort. My comment ("I think this will catch on") carried no moral message at all.

          With respect to the second inquiry ("Where is Scooby Doo now?"), I've been wondering about that, myself.

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        • Michael Bauman says:

          Daniel, it is not the misinterpretation but the actions that result and probably lead to that misinterpretation: refusal to repent. But of course, you knew that and just chose to ignore it for the say of rhetoric?

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  17. Johann Sebastian says:

    Controversies like these make previous disputes seem, well, a bit quaint.

    I wonder what the "True Orthodox Church"/ROCIE people think of all this, if they are even aware.

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    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

      Good old Lionel Trilling! ' "Our culture peculiarly honours the act of blaming, which it takes as the sign of virtue and intellect."

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  18. Fr John Oliver is podcasting a series on same-sex marriage over at Ancient Faith Radio, on his Hearts and Minds page: here.

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  19. I am trying to remember my church history lessons. If I remember correctly, there was a Christian Church in England before the Romans arrived. The synod of Whitby in 641 decided to accept the date of the celebration of Easter, Pascha, according to the Roman formula, instead of the one used by the original messengers of Christianity.

    Today saints of England are honored, celebrated , who lived before the time of the Roman-Orthodox split.

    Henry VIII in one sense had reason to remove the Church out from under the papacy. He certainly didn't like filling the coffers of Rome with money that could be spent in England. And yes he was looking for an heir.
    After his death Mary returned the Church to Rome and following her ouster Elizabeth once again separated. Along the way an effort was made to sort out accretions , from both Rome and Reformation theology that had crept in over the centuries and to return the Church to some semblance orthodoxy. . The outcome of this study was the the 39 articles.

    These were tumultuous years to live through. With many people losing their lives being burned at the stake, for what they believed. Here in the states we have seen nothing like it, yet.

    Recently I read a short biography of the life of Constantine and yes, he made Christianity the state religion. But his personal life was anything but saintly. I think we ought to stop stoning the people in our past. Constantine became a hero, and Henry a bum we say. Constantine's sins have been forgiven and Henry's have not. People are throwing them in his face all the time. We think our hindsight is so great. Neither man had the hindsight that we have now or as my father would say, "they played the hand they were dealt." Sometimes foolishly and sometimes wisely.

    The whole history of God's church has been run by imperfect people, ourselves included. Our call is to remain faithful: To love the Lord our God with all of our heart, with all of our soul, and with all of our minds. And in John 15:12. :"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."

    Our big challenge is to learn how to love like God. who demands our best and works through our weaknesses, if we allow Him.

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    • Rdr Thomas says:

      Actually, Lina, it's funny you should say that about St. Constantine.

      Here is an article I ran across recently that sheds at least a little light on the history of St. Constantine, and how it came to be "known" that he was a "bad person".

      I myself make no claim as to the scholarly value of the article. Just thought I'd point it out.

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    • Other other Matthew says:

      Lina says:

      Recently I read a short biography of the life of Constantine and yes, he made Christianity the state religion. But his personal life was anything but saintly. I think we ought to stop stoning the people in our past.

      I think we ought to stop stoning the people in our present.

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    • Michael Bauman says:

      Lina, yours is an amazingly kind and merciful reading of the history of the time.

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      • Michael Bauman says:

        By which you mean that no one should be held accountable for their actions?

        If someone, anyone does not wish to live the life of chastity, worship, and repentance that the Church calls us to, fine with me as long as he/she does not demand that I acquiesce in his/her sins and enable them in the process.

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  20. Rdr. Thomas

    Thank you for the link to the article on St. Constantine. It is most interesting. As I remarked above, sometimes the hands we are dealt to play are most difficult. I certainly learned more about the good of St. Constantine than I did from the article read.

    While vacationing in Greece one of our bus drivers boasted to us about the gifts that the Greeks have given to the rest of the world as far as government is concerned. He is so proud of his people. We here in the USA have enjoyed the gifts of Constantine

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  21. Giannis says:

    Although there is a whole lot of conversation here, it is disappointing to see that nobody is addressing the key reason why Mr. Pappas is proceeding in an agressive manner against the Church. In short, he has absolved himself of all responsibility for his thoughts and deeds on this topic, because he has adopted the "neo-heretical" doctrine of "God made me this way, so I can't help it...."

    This plague has spread to many laypeople, this is the plague that is being spread in the secular media, the secular school system, and by "the learned ones" (ref: what St. Kosmas Aitolos said about them)....this is the plague that the Church needs to address and reverse with great determination. We cannot allow a passive attitude to this false notion that somehow God is responsible for our sins...that is both blasphemous and toxic. When this false teaching goes away, then the ensuing problems go away, too...

    Recently one North American Metropolitan decided to write an encyclical advising his flock to lobby about gun control...it's nice that Metropolitans are getting involved in politics these days, but where are the letters advising that a vote for any politician who supports "gay civil unions/etc" is a vote against God's will, and hence anti-Orthodox? Where is the strong language from the pulpits against the secular "legalization" of everything that is spiritually illegal? Who is reminding everyone about the fact that 10 days before the meteorologists were marveling about how Hurricane Sandy made some unpredictable, unprecedented turns to hit NYC directly, that the governor of NY was praising the Appellate court in his district for deciding against the Defense of Marriage act? Why are these things not being told? Is it perhaps that the same fear of what happened in Greece last year....when the Greek parliament started making similar "law proposals", and some Metropolitans began to speak out loud against it, the government spokespeople started making inferences that the Church has been very "accomodating" of this lifestyle within it's own clerical ranks for a while....basically an extortionist hint that "if you keep protesting, the newspapers will start publishing ecclesiastical scandals that you don't want the faithful to read...." Do we perhaps have a similar problem here, and that's why there is silence? If that is the case, those who are in a compromising position need to get out immediately, so that the Church can do what it needs to do in response to these "neo-heretical" teachings. We need consistency with the Church Fathers, not with societal fashions...

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    • " A person may be born with an attraction to children or to animals (though I seriously doubt it, just as I doubt anyone is born homosexually inclined). Regardless, there are those born with extra chromosomes as well which predisposes them to some anti-social behaviors. The fact that these inclinations must be restrained does not reflect poorly on God or indicate that the person is not created in His image. The fact that my heterosexual appetite must be constrained within certain bounds, as should my ambition, does not mean that I am not made in the image of God. Pappas has been deeply confused by the enabling rhetoric of the homosexual rights movement."

      This was the first comment I made under the "Hens Coming Home to Roost" thread, so I'm sure at least I addressed the "born this way" meme.

      Giannis, I think you have a point with the hypocrisy angle. Too long homosexual behavior has been tolerated in the ranks of bishops and those hens may be coming home to roost too. In any case, I'm sort of glad that the Church is being put in the position of clarifying its teaching. Good way to separate the sheep from the goats.

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    • Christopher Jones says:

      Metropolitan Methodios of Boston has spoken about this publicly often, including during his keynote at the recent Clergy-Laity gathering for the Metropolis.

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    • Daniel E Fall says:

      Why does the church need to say anything? The government can't treat homosexuals different from heterosexuals-pretty basic reading of the constitution shows it. The only time the church needs to speak is if society starts to say the church must change its teachings. That would be anti-American, but I digress. The cleric already spoke, and his word is pretty much final.

      The only problem for the church can/might be if there is a perception that Pappas was mistreated. I actually think the priest was kind of nice. He could have just turned him away for all to see. That would have been pretty mean.

      But the real story is that this issue is a big splat of a no-see-um on the back of the arm. Of all the things people could put energy into-sitting around babbling about a supposed gay guy who gets treated differently by the church is quite useless.

      Goodnite.

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      • "The government can’t treat homosexuals different from heterosexuals-pretty basic reading of the constitution shows it. "

        Well, that's pure fantasy. Up until recently it was just fine to criminalize homosexual sodomy. Only a fanciful reading into the Constitution of 21st century progressive moral sensibilities gets you to the point where you can invoke the Constitution.

        Fighting the normalization of homosexuality in society is a very worthy Christian cause. However, I'm sure the battle is lost already. The future of Christianity is not the Western world. It has decisively given itself over to the evil one.

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      • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

        Daniel, it's not just a matter of the government treating homosexuals the same as heterosexuals; it's a matter of the government FORCING people to pretend publicly that there is no difference between homosexuality and heterosexuality by PUNISHING people with firings, fines, or imprisonment if they don't do so (imprisonment if they don't pay the fines). This is an inherently iniquitous and tyrannical use of power, no matter how such laws or policies are made.

        The Church therefore has a duty to bear witness against such wickedness, inasmuch as God has bless it with the freedom to participate in the nation's democratic governance. To shrink from such participation would be a failure of its witness to the world.

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        • Michael Bauman says:

          Dn Brian, I am afraid that Mr Fall has bought into the fantasy that there is a neutral secular space where the Church should not go and that somehow human beings are different in that space and that the Church only speaks to those who voluntarily step out of that space. She is but a brief respite from the real world and has no escatological or ontological impact. Akin to going to the spa. "Its soooooooo invigorating dear. You really must try it!"

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          • Daniel E Fall says:

            Let's talk about fantasy for a bit since it got used in two comments.

            Here are my thoughts on what is fantasy. First of all, the notion a jurisdictionally divided church with 1% of the US population before cutting the pie is going to change the world through a pastoral letter addressed to those in attendance in that jurisdiction (let's call it 1/10th of 1% of the population to be kind) about homosexuality-that is a very fantastic, or rather absurd notion. But for a moment-let's suggest your idea that the church ought go there. Why not gun violence or poverty? Why doesn't the church have antigun rallies and why don't we have pastoral letters about poverty gentlemen, or how about healthcare for the poor? The prevalence in society is certainly far greater than homosexuality. Oh, yeah, I forget someone here said homosexuality was worse than murder, but I digress. Or was it that poverty is caused by the poor's failure to work or that guns don't cause violence. I'm getting all confused-must be the gay rain.

            This is all attaboy stuff and Brian, Misha, and Michael all get a big pat on the back. Hopefully the patter isn't gay (ew).

            Poor Helga. You responded to nothing with nothing to an empty church and then wondered why people thought you were off. You put clerics in the position of needing to obey you with the reading of unneeded dribble. But at least you have a small clique of friends that thought you were right; who stand by their position that gay marriage is going to be the end of the world.

            Sad. Really very sad.

            And this from me, who has never defended Pappas, and don't find his, for lack of a better word, position, defensible.

            It is very difficult for me to write because I usually don't think it is worth the time.

            Take up a higher calling today Misha, Michael, and Brian, and go give to the local food shelf. If any of you respond with a yea, I will follow.

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            • Daniel,

              "First of all, the notion a jurisdictionally divided church with 1% of the US population before cutting the pie is going to change the world through a pastoral letter addressed to those in attendance in that jurisdiction (let’s call it 1/10th of 1% of the population to be kind) about homosexuality-that is a very fantastic, or rather absurd notion."

              Agreed, I'm unaware of anyone here who claimed that such a pastoral letter was going "change the world". Big straw dummy there!

              "But for a moment-let’s suggest your idea that the church ought go there. Why not gun violence or poverty? Why doesn’t the church have antigun rallies and why don’t we have pastoral letters about poverty gentlemen, or how about healthcare for the poor? The prevalence in society is certainly far greater than homosexuality."

              Anti-gun rallies are beside the point. The Church has no official teaching on guns. This is a tasty little example of confusing progressive politics with Christianity. As to letters about poverty and healthcare, I'm all for pastoral letters on those subjects too, or anything else that will get the Church more actively involved in alleviating negative effects of poverty. Yet that also has nothing to do with condemning homosexual sodomy (which is a terrible sin), equally meritorious endeavor.

              "Oh, yeah, I forget someone here said homosexuality was worse than murder, but I digress."

              Yes, that was "someone here" quoting St. John Chrysostom. I'm sure you've heard of him, no?

              "This is all attaboy stuff and Brian, Misha, and Michael all get a big pat on the back. Hopefully the patter isn’t gay (ew)."

              Thanks for the "attaboy". Now if we could only reclaim the formerly perfectly respectable term "gay", meaning "happy" or "lighthearted" back from being a description for the proclivity to the filthy, sick evil inclination to homosexual sodomy.

              "It is very difficult for me to write because I usually don’t think it is worth the time."

              Perhaps you should follow the impulse to desist then. We will "man up" and bear your absence with a gay heart.

              "Take up a higher calling today Misha, Michael, and Brian, and go give to the local food shelf. If any of you respond with a yea, I will follow."

              I love moral condescension from those engaged in normailizing a sin considered worse than murder by some of the Fathers. It would probably be more honest for you to simply abandon any pretense of being a Christian.

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              • Nicely dissected, Misha.
                (The rating system isn't loading, but thumbs up!)

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              • Daniel E Fall says:

                Don't tell me to abandon Christianity and don't suggest I am normalizing a thing considered a sin. I just don't find it a worthy subject.

                What did Christ tell us about the government (in general)?

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                • Daniel,

                  I did not tell you to abandon Christianity. I told you - and am telling you again - that it would be more honest of you to abandon the pretense that you hold the Orthodox faith. You have already abandoned it, that is apparent.

                  Now, as to normalizing the acceptance of filthy, sick and evil behavior, your attitude most certainly works to that end. Hope we got that straight.

                  As to what Christ told us about the government, in general we have to look at all of Tradition, since those of us who are believing Christians do not believe that what came to us through St. Paul or St. Peter or through the Old Testament prophets is any less a reliable indicator of the will of God than the words of Christ quoted in the New Testament. This is sometimes lost on unbelievers. But the God who gave us the Old Testament witness and who led, for example, St. Paul to write his letters, is also the same God who became incarnate as Jesus Christ. That is the reason, and the only reason, we worship Christ and take what He said seriously. There is no other reason to take His words more seriously than Gandhi or Lenin if He was not God.

                  That having been said we know that the sword has been given to the government to punish evil and establish order. We know that Christ, insofar as possible, cooperated with the Roman authorities. We know that he evaded a trap set by the Jewish leadership regarding the payment of taxes by stating that we should "render unto Caesar" what belongs to Caesar [i.e., what bears his image] and what belongs to God to God. We also know that Protestants take this totally out of context and pervert it into a separation of church and state, which is actually a Marxist notion. We also know that, "Before kingdoms can change, men must change." Notice there is no mention of kingdoms becoming democracies. Moreover, traditionally, the Orthodox form of government when the Orthodox have had their druthers has been some form of monarchy.

                  Furthermore, we know that the New Testament contains several witnesses to the effect that bad behavior should be admonished and, if not repented, ostracized. Even more, one couple was struck dead for withholding property from the community. We know that he who eats the body and blood of Christ unworthily does so to his own condemnation and that the clergy have been charged as the gatekeepers of the chalice, priests being answerable to their bishops, bishops being answerable to their synods.

                  Now, what exactly is your point?

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                  • Daniel E Fall says:

                    My main point is that all of the conversation about homosexuality is largely not worth it. We can disagree-so be it.

                    I'm going fishing!

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                    • Michael Bauman says:

                      It is not about homosexuality. It is about the attempt to pervert the tenets of the faith regarding what it means to be human, what it means to sin, what it means to be forgiven, what it means to enter into His body.

                      I for one take that seriously and find it important. If you don't understand that Mr. Fall, that is sad but now you know.

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                    • No doubt we can disagree. But there is only one Orthodox Church and one Orthodox faith. Alas, there are wolves within and sheep without.

                      Hope you catch your limit!

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                    • DC Indexman says:

                      Well, if that is true, I would like to hear your explanation on this article -- We didn’t queer the institution of marriage. It straightened us.

                      The author claims gay marriage has saved this nation. The real culprits and bad people now in our society today are those who remain single over 30. Gays who marry are great.

                      Please explain.

                      Like(0)Dislike(0)

                    • DC,

                      I think it's refreshingly honest. I've never for a second thought that gays wanted to become monogamously committed in marriage. What they have been after, and what "gay marriage" purports to accomplish, is to normalize homosexual activity as natural and acceptable. Whether it's a civil union or a "church marriage" the rite serves to confer the approval of society upon the arrangement as something unique, stable and useful. Put another way, it's a means for gays to say to "prudish homophobes", "f.u., now we have to be accepted in society, the government (or church) says so."

                      Now, that's all bs. I have to agree with the author that I too will be glad when "gay marriage" is recognized by all the states. I think some people will be disappointed by how few gays take advantage of the arrangement and how unstable "gay marriages"; i.e., gay relationships, are in general. Gays simply want to mock and destroy the sanctity of marriage, to the extent that that sanctity still exists. No doubt they will continue to do so by making a mockery of their own aspirations and commitments.

                      Evil, having no ontological reality, can end in only one of two ways. It can be defeated by good, or it can win and self destruct. One way or the other, it cannot survive, being unnatural and displeasing to God.

                      Like(0)Dislike(0)
                  • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

                    How did I miss this nonsense of Misha's?
                    "Moreover, traditionally, the Orthodox form of government when the Orthodox have had their druthers has been some form of monarchy."

                    The Orthodox have NEVER EVER "had their druthers."

                    Further, 'some form of monarchy" is a total cop-out. You can call ANYTHING 'some form" of monarchy.

                    Like(0)Dislike(0)
                    • Daniel E Fall says:

                      What do gay people really accomplish through marriage?

                      Health insurance Misha.

                      The idea their relationships have merit.

                      A quotient of feeling normal, but not the whole banana.

                      I caught 9 walleyes today!

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                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Your angling skills are to be admired; your reasoning less so. Civil unions grant health insurance benefits. Your predictive skills will be put to the test as well: if you think the majority of homosexual men want normalization and sanction and will abide by trumped up rules of legal monogamy, you've got another thing coming.

                      There's an old joke in the LGBTQ community: what do lesbians bring to a second date? A moving van. What do gay men bring to a second date? There is no second date.

                      Like(0)Dislike(0)
                    • Vladyka,

                      You should really think before you write. You seem to have overlooked the Byzantine Empire and the Russian Empire and practically every government in Orthodox lands from time immemorial, as well as the Fathers' directions for how a Great and Holy Synod is to be called, etc. Oh, I forgot about all the "Democracy Now" movements in Orthodox history. Silly me.

                      mon·ar·chy
                      noun ˈmä-nər-kē also -ˌnär-

                      : a country that is ruled by a monarch (such as a king or queen)

                      : a form of government in which a country is ruled by a monarch
                      plural mon·ar·chies
                      Full Definition of MONARCHY
                      1
                      : undivided rule or absolute sovereignty by a single person
                      2
                      : a nation or state having a monarchical government
                      3
                      : a government having a hereditary chief of state with life tenure and powers varying from nominal to absolute

                      So name me a few Orthodox countries that practiced democracy between, say, 300 A.D and 1800. Shouldn't be difficult if my point is nonsense. Really, Vladyka, do you actually want to look silly?

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                    • "What do gay people really accomplish through marriage?

                      Health insurance Misha."

                      And why should they have a right to health insurance? Say I want to put my best friend on my insurance. Can't do it. What difference is there? A gay couple are having a sexual relationship, that is the sole reason that the insurance might be extended. Why award benefits on the basis of perversion. Should a bestialist's dog get free veterinary insurance? How about a pedophile's child lover?

                      "The idea their relationships have merit."

                      Precisely my point. Their relationship is an abomination and has no more merit than the other abominable relationships I mentioned above.

                      "A quotient of feeling normal, but not the whole banana."

                      Should people engaging in awful perversion be encouraged to feel normal? Evidently we disagree on that one. I mean, does a sense of "normalcy" make it more or less likely that they will repent rather than die in their sins?

                      "I caught 9 walleyes today!"

                      Very nice!!! Congratulations!

                      Like(0)Dislike(0)
                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says:

                      Misha, I've never ever denied the ubiquity of Orthodox empires, so there's no point at all to referring to them. I challenged the idea that the Orthodox have EVER had their druthers.or that their druthers would be monarchy.
                      Monarchy has been IMPOSED on the Orthodox without any reference to "druthers" AT ALL.

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                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      Mr. Michalopulos,

                      This "mini-discussion" within the thread borders on offense and proves my point that we, as Orthodox Christians, are incapable of conducting a mature and compassionate discussion of homosexuality, reflecting the invitation of the Lord, "He who comes to me I will not banish." (John 6:37), yet in no wise compromise the eternal Truth of the theology of the Church.

                      First, in another thread, you have allowed Karen Menounos to refer to a deceased archpriest as "light in the cassock." How does this differ from the epithet "faggot," or for that matter, "nigger?" Why was this not moderated? Secondly, you yourself, Mr. Michaopulos, quoted "an old joke" from the LGBT community that was neither funny nor necessary to the point you were attempting to make. Thirdly, Misha "analogizes" bestiality and pedophilia with homosexuality in the discussion of health insurance without the simplest understanding of the differences (and please, don't bore a psychiatrist with your opinion). Lastly, your comment to me that Chancellor Jillions' interest in sexual minorities set off "alarm bells" is a phenomenon of which I am acutely familiar since first coming to this site: accuse first, verify later, apologize never.

                      Someone sent me a link to an article by a Mormon who is same-sex attracted, who by his immersion in his church, the prayers of his community, and his absolute trust in Jesus Christ, has transformed his life to the point where he has a loving marriage, has a loving and transcendent sexual life with his wife, and has three beautiful daughters. But he is no "heterosexual" in the sense by which we understand it. But the Lord has provided a means of purity, chastity, and hopefully, salvation.

                      On the other hand, the person who sent me the link is same-sex attracted as well, and an Orthodox Christian who lives a life of chastity, purity, and struggle. This person could be an inspiration and hope for those who struggle within the Orthodox Church, is a brilliant leader and teacher in general. This person would be an absolute idiot to reveal themselves, despite years of deserved and earned respect. This person follows this site. Every time I read what I earlier termed "militancy" as a parody of Tradition, I think of this person and imagine how it feels to know that the "the sin can been separated from the sinner," that there is no anger, that there is no hatred for homosexuals. I have never outright inquired because I know we are liars.

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                    • Stankovich,

                      Neither I nor anyone here of whom I am aware has given here any indication that someone with homosexual inclinations who either pursues a traditional marriage or who remains celibate would be anything other than accepted with open arms by us all. The fundamental problem is the inablity of some to distinguish between the sin and the sinner.

                      If someone with tendencies toward incest, pedophilia or bestiality managed to live a chaste life, either in traditional marriage or celibacy, I would also welcome them with open arms. I do not need to be aware of their perverse inner desires, in fact, I would rather not know about them. Same exact reality with homosexuality. Homosexuality is no less reprehensible than these other perversions; but, by the same token, someone who struggles and controls these passions is always welcome among the Orthodox.

                      As to your feelings of being offended, you have every right to feel offended. If it pleases you, do please continue. What no one actually possesses is a right not to be offended.

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                    • Well, actually Vladyka, Michael Romanov was elected by a national assembly, not that it was a truly representative body by the criterion of one adult, one vote. But of course, that is begging the question. Democracy is simply rule by passions. The notion that it confers validity on anything is part of the mindset to be overcome.

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                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      Misha,

                      I could be mistaken - the distance being what it is - but your pants appear to be on fire.

                      Like(0)Dislike(0)
                    • I think your eyes are failing you Stankovitch. It happens. Sometimes people read straw dummies into others comments due to a lack of merit in their point of view. It's a form of myopia. As to seeing flames, well, pyromania is a recognized disorder. Might want to consult someone.

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                • Of course Daniel doesn't think the topic of homosexuality is a "worthy subject" since he didn't stand up against it when two active homosexuals were in his parish and both at one time or another were representatives on diocesan and the metropolitan council. His parish priest communed them and thus he too gave his consent to their sin. He made his peace then and he says it is not a "worthy subject' because by his actions he condones it.

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                  • Daniel E Fall says:

                    Just exactly to whom do you refer because I honestly don't know. I wouldn't doubt there might have been some homosexuals in my church and I think I knew of one for sure, but I don't believe she was ever on the diocesan council or metropolitan council, and to be honest, I can't tell you for certain if she was homosexual, but I thought so, only I really didn't care. What would you expect me to do, ask everyone their gender preferences at coffee hour James?

                    A come on man moment.

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                    • Daniel E Fall says:

                      Well James? what do you have to say?

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                    • Daniel E Fall,

                      Please correct me if I am in error, but I am under the impression that you are or were a member of the OCA parish in Dayton, Ohio, where Fr. Ted Bobosh is the priest. If that is true, then you know exactly what I am referring to, but if you are anotherDaniel E Fall or Daniel Fall who writes under that name and not nor have never been a member of St Paul Church in Dayton, I ask your forgiveness and I apologize.

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                • Michael Bauman says:

                  He said "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar and unto God the things that are God's"

                  Since everything is God's, Caesar doesn't have claim on much. If we '...seek first the Kingdom...'
                  One of two things will happen: we will be a good citizen in a well ordered country, or a martyr in those places given to the demonic will (like the U.S.)

                  There is no secular space of neutrality. One either serves God or serves mammon. Mr. Pappas and his allies are trying to bring an evil into the Church. We have to say no.

                  It is heretical Mr. Fall. Are we not to be concerned with heresy and its deadly effects on people's souls?

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            • Michael Bauman says:

              If I get you right Daniel, just because I believe and support the Church's teaching on homosexuality I do not give to those in need? Why do you think they are mutually exclusive?

              Yeast in bread is far less than 1% yet it raises the bread. But the yeast is yeast and not adulterated with the mind of the world. Even if there are only two people left with faith when Jesus comes, they will be the leaven.

              We should be doing more that we are, but what we are doing in local parishes and in other areas as well is not 'nothing' . I should indeed do more than I am if only because I am not giving all my living.

              Here is a charity that is close to my heart, it began and is continuing as part of the Orthodox outreach in my town: www.wichitatreehouse.org

              Thank you for reminding me that I have more to do.

              Like(0)Dislike(0)
              • Oh that's wonderful! Thanks for sharing that link.

                Yeah I didn't understand this either-

                " If I get you right Daniel, just because I believe and support the Church’s teaching on homosexuality I do not give to those in need? Why do you think they are mutually exclusive? "

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              • colette says:

                Oh that's wonderful! Thanks for sharing that link.

                and

                " just because I believe and support the Church’s teaching on homosexuality I do not give to those in need? Why do you think they are mutually exclusive? "

                Exactly.

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              • Daniel E Fall says:

                wrong on the exclusivity notion

                A great charity I've known about for years.

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            • M. Stankovich says:

              Mr. Fall,

              It seems to me that you are a bit "lathered up" over nothing. You initially began by reasonably questioning the efficacy of "pastoral letters." You might well have argued that this, in and of itself, is testimony to the loss of the voice of moral authority in the church; hardly what Prof. SS Verhovskoy indicated would be necessary in America, "men emulating Ezekiel, vested in a hair shirt with a bone in their hand, boldly confronting the enemies of the Lord." On the other hand, Mr. Banescu drags out a letter from "antiquity" - accompanied by the ESPN Sports Center's "nah-nah-nah nah-nah-nah" and Dick Vitale saying, "Now that's authoritative, baby!" Punctuated by Mr. Michalopulos', "You could never get them to make such a statement now." Holy Cow! Mr. Fall. I hope you put on Kevlar and a hard hat!

              Apparently, the "solution," Mr. Fall, is not to be realistic and question the fact that while the Orthodox in America stood by "manning up" - which, as near as I can tell, consists of anonymous bitching, moaning, quacking, and assertion of self-appointed authority - we allowed the SCOTUS to strip us of our "voice" in the public square in favor of lawyers, judges, courts, and amicus curiae; and internally, we have allowed internet-emboldened creeps and trolls to influence, coerce, persuade, and attempt to embarrass the church to act according to their "agenda."

              So, Mr. Fall, I am suggesting that you cease the sarcastic tête-à-tête that, frankly, is quite annoying, and stand by the principle: most of these "pastoral letters," while theologically & morally "correct," frequently are ambivalent because they do not reflect the conviction of the bishop who issues the letter, nor his "practice." And everyone knows it. Drive slow, homie. And once in a while, look in your rear-view 'cause somebody's got your back.

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              • Daniel E Fall says:

                I might get lathered up a bit on this subject because for years I've put up with more bullkaka people calling me gay when I've never been gay for a second. And so, when you have all these guys condemning homosexuality like its worse than murder-it really seems like Salem. And I would have been burned at the stake wrongfully a long time ago!

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                • M. Stankovich says:

                  Personally, I listened to 2Pac:

                  Say he wanna be
                  Daniel gonna be a Thug
                  Said he wanna be
                  One day he's gonna be
                  Said he's wanna be
                  Daniel gonna be's a Thug
                  Said he's gonna be
                  One day he gonna be
                  Say he wanna be
                  Daniel gonna be a Thug
                  Said he gonna be
                  One day he's gonna be
                  Said he wanna be
                  Daniel gonna be a Thug

                  Principle over personality, Daniel. You do not choose the thug life. The thug life chooses you. or so the meme suggests... Kidding aside, those who would "burn you at the stake," personality over principle, cannot help but reveal themselves:

                  A malicious man disguises himself with his lips,
                  but in his heart he harbors deceit.
                  Though his speech is charming, do not believe him,
                  for seven abominations fill his heart.
                  His malice may be concealed by deception,
                  but his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
                  If a man digs a pit, he will fall into it;
                  if a man rolls a stone, it will roll back on him.
                  A lying tongue hates those it hurts,
                  and a flattering mouth works ruin.

                  Proverbs 26:24-28

                  Drive slow, homie, and keep your headlights on. Drive slow.

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                • Ah, more slander of St. John Chrysostom. Just the way to win friends among the Orthodox. Well, I don't think you'll be burned at the stake here in America or in Western Europe. More likely you'd be lauded as brave in the face of dogmatic fundamentalism. Very courageous indeed. Sorry, no martyr's crown for you Daniel, how about a latte at St. Arbuck's?

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                  • M. Stankovich says:

                    Holy Cow! Misha, if that was any more below the belt, I'd be examining Mr. Fall's knees for blunt-force trauma. You've had your fun, and now it's time to take a breath.

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                  • Dan Fall says:

                    Do they serve that with skim milk?

                    Maybe a few of the concepts or ideas presented by St Paul or Chrysostum were incorrect. Is that idea fully fallible without losing respect for them? I'm not suggesting we dance around the festivus pole celebrating anything Misha. Maybe St. Arbucks was the parishoner from my church James mentioned. That would actually make a lot of sense.

                    On a lighter note; actually the entire note is light, fishing tomorrow!

                    Like(0)Dislike(0)
                    • Well, I'm not really sure what else to say. When someone dismisses the opinion of a preeminent Church Father (which I've never heard contradicted by any other Church Father) as if it were so much Neanderthal dribble, I'd have to call that disrespectful. It's not as if he didn't know the quote was from Chrysostom, now is it? It was pointed out to him before. It is certainly mainstream Orthodoxy. There is no dearth of condemnatory passages regarding this particular sin in Holy Tradition.

                      So anyway . . . back to lighthearted . . . I have acquaintances who are gay and some friends who are liberal. I'm sure I haven't erred in what I've said about it but this is a site about Orthodoxy so I'm pretty open about the faith here. Regardless, I never treat anyone in the business world or in the world of acquaintances differently because of their self proclaimed homosexuality. It's not a principle, just pragmatic. Most people who dare to "come out" are beyond being convinced to live otherwise. They've "taken the mark of the beast" so to speak. My preaching will neither change nor solve anything. Better to live harmoniously.

                      However, the Church simply can't afford the same luxury as we have in our society. The Church must share its morality within itself. Theosis is the all important goal, but orthodox morality and orthodox practice are means to acquire the Holy Spirit which are not dispensable. A person who practices homosexual sodomy is in serious danger of hellfire in the afterlife and accursedness in this life. Let's be clear about that. It's not a rule like observing the speed limit. In that sense - i.e., the gravity of the sin - it is more like homicide, destroying the souls and dignity of the participants who were created in the image of God (who is faithful and promises life), not the evil one (who is a slanderer and a murderer and yields death) whom they choose to emulate.

                      Happy fishing!!!

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  22. M. Stankovich says:

    Giannis,

    This is a large site, and it seems to me if you search, you will find an exhaustive discussion - three years in the making - regarding this very matter. I would also note that, from what I have seen to date, I am the only Orthodox commentator to Mr. Pappas' original essay to the Washington Post who has addressed this matter in specific. Contrary to your assessment, there most certainly is no problem, and there most certainly is no silence.

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  23. I see we seem to be going way back when in talking about Father Isidore. All that I see is from years ago not yesterday or the day before.

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  24. Tom Florentine says:

    Greek Bishop Condemns Gay Pride, Homosexuality
    by Jason St. Amand
    National News Editor
    Wednesday Jun 18, 2014

    A prominent Greek Orthodox bishop is making headlines this week after saying homosexuality is a "perversion of human existence" and Gay Pride is a "disgrace and a challenge," Pink News reports.

    Bishop Anthimos of Thessaloniki’s comments were made about Thessaloniki’s pride parade. Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece and fifth largest and most populated city in the Balkans.

    "Do not give dogs what is holy," the bishop said, quoting Matthew. "Show respect that my position and life is wholly dedicated to the church and the people and respect the fact that I’m well behaved, so don’t associate me with this disgrace. Enough. This is a perversion of the human existence."

    He added that he may attend an anti-gay vigil by Christian organizations on Friday to protest the Pride event, which will take place Friday and Saturday (June 20-21).

    Gay Star News reports anti-gay groups affiliated with the Greek Orthodox Church gathered nearly 20,000 signatures for a petition, calling for a ban on Gay Pride and urging parents and their children to be free from "unholy and unnatural events."

    Thessaloniki Mayor Yannis Boutaris says he doesn’t have share the same views as Bishop Anthimos when it comes to the LGBT community.

    "We see eye to eye on many issues with the bishop and we have a very good cooperation," he said. "On other issues, we just don’t share the same view and we don’t cooperate."

    As Pink Star notes, the Thessaloniki Pride event in 2012 drew dozens of people who threw eggs and bottles of water at the 400 people participating in the event. Additionally, a Greek bishop last year threatened to excommunicate any officials in his diocese who supports same-sex civil partnership legislation.

    Greece’s ban on same-sex civil unions goes against the European Convention of Human Rights. On November 7, the European Court of Human Rights said excluding same-sex couples from legal recognition was wrong, Pink Star reports.

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    • Yes, I've heard that some bishops in Greece do a better job on this issue than most of their American bishops.

      Like(0)Dislike(0)
  25. Fr. George Washburn says:
    June 20, 2014 at 3:48 pm
    Hi friends:

    On June 20 at 8:31 am James wrote a post in which he claimed complete knowledge of the mental processes of Abp. Benjamin in dealing with the sad case of Arch. Isidore.: “….knew and accepted because he felt… ”

    Rubbish!

    Fr. George

    Objection Overruled!

    Like(0)Dislike(0)
  26. Michael Bauman says:

    Mr. Fall, if health insurance is all that the homosexuals get out of the deal, in well over 90% of all cases, they could have gotten health insurance on their own. Certainly they can now as their are no more declines or ratings for medical reasons.

    What you should have said, is that through the scam they get 1. subsidized health insurance (even though that frequently costs more than a quality individual plan; and 2. Normalization.

    All of the blocks that are frequently touted for same sex couples don't take marriage to solve. At any hospital or doctor's office the person being treated can sign a one page HIPPA waiver saying that the named person has access to all medical and billing information. Married people have to sign that too, BTW.

    Visitation: I've worked in hospitals and been a patient in them often enough to know that what the patient wants, the patient gets. The patient or legal representative can bar or allow anybody they wish.

    Life insurance: A policyowner can name anyone they want as their beneficiary. After issue, the person or entity doesn't even have to have insurable interest.

    Property: Wills, trusts, powers of attorney can be drafted in anyone's favor

    So, the question still stands: "What do homosexuals gain with so-called "gay marriage"?

    The only thing that I can see is a certain limited social acceptance.

    Just wonder if the "gay marriage" statistics will even come close to being as good as real marriage not to mention what the domestic violence, suicide rates, child sexual abuse, drug use, STDs etc., etc. will look like.

    Will they be reported accurately? Will the gatherers even discern between same sex unions, marriage and out-of-wedlock cohabitation?

    And I am shocked, shocked I tell you that a progressive person such as you would stoop so low as to unilaterally invade the home of another sentient species and drag them to their death by suffocation and have fun doing it. Don't you know fish have rights too?

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  27. Michael Bauman says:

    One of the reasons for the different understandings of sin, repentance and forgiveness that is reflected in the approach to homosexuality is the drastic difference between the modern mind (of which we all partake) and the Orthodox mind. I offer you an article by Fr. Stephen Freeman on his blog Glory to God for all Things

    http://glory2godforallthings.com/2014/07/02/orthodoxy-versus-christian-materialism/

    He has five points that summarize the primary differences and all five relate to the discussion but the one I think hits home the most is his final point:

    The worldly approach:

    Good and Bad Only Describe Behavior
    The materialist version of Christianity is highly moralistic. It is greatly concerned with behavior, with right and wrong, but defines those only as behaviors. Nothing is good or bad in itself – only choices and behaviors. This requires that God be conceived as the enforcer of morality, rewarding good behavior and punishing bad. Behavior at the most can form and shape habits, but it has no other effect (other than direct action on other objects). Morality is the behavior of individual, self-existing beings, upholding or breaking contracts (with other human beings or God). This thinking about good and bad behavior is shared by both so-called liberal and conservative believers. They differ about what is moral, but not the nature of morality itself. Both have a list of those who should be rewarded and a list of those who should be punished. Their arguments are simply discussions between lawyers.

    The classic Orthodox approach:

    Good and Bad are Ontological
    Good and bad are not categories that are external to us – but are very much a part of our being and existence. We are created for union with God, Who is the ultimate and true Good. Movement away from that union is the meaning of the word “bad.” This is sin and it is death. God is the ground of our being – to move away from God is to move towards non-existence. It is this movement that is described as bad.

    The actions in our lives that are the fruit of such a movement are the actions that are categorized as “sins.” But they are not sins because they are legal violations of an extrinsic norm. They are sins because they are manifestations of Sin itself – the movement away from God. (emphasis mine)We are never able to make ourselves not exist. Existence is the gift of God and is not within our power to end. Our rejection of God and of our proper end is not an acceptance of non-existence. It is a movement away from the goodness of being, a distortion of its truth and the substitution for delusional forms of existence.

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