Three Trojan Horses: Insider Attempts to Disorient the Orthodox

Trojan Horse

Source: Touchstone Magazine

Reprinted with permission of the author.

By Fr. Alexander F.C. Webster

The benighted Pan-Orthodox Council in Crete in June 2016 reminded Orthodox Christians that the rock of Orthodox faith and practice has been splitting for decades. The fissures are particularly evident among the approximately one million Orthodox Christians in the United States.

What is unconventional about the tone of the conflict is the aggressive ad hominem rhetoric of the avant-garde toward those who insist on unwavering fidelity to Orthodox Tradition. In a community widely known for its conservative approach to religious doctrine, morality, and liturgical rites, innovators would normally maintain a low profile, avoiding unwanted attention and charges of “heresy,” while gradually trying to effect “change.” Ironically, the Orthodox traditionalists are under assault and on the defensive in America and in a few autocephalous (“self-headed”) Churches around the globe.

The Orthodox “left” is waging their offensive on three fronts. Since the vast majority of the Orthodox faithful in this country are unaware of such machinations by the few but determined intellectual elites—clergy and laity—engaged in this spiritual warfare, I shall borrow Orthodox columnist Rod Dreher’s use of Homer’s “Trojan Horse” as an apt metaphor for the primary tactic of those elites.1 In fact, I intend to triple-down on that metaphor. Like the celebrated tactical ploy of the ancient Greeks, the contemporary Orthodox Trojan Horses appear to be gifts but are, instead, full of clandestine theological warriors poised to sack the Church.

Dismissal of Orthodox “Deplorables”

The first Trojan Horse is the increasing tendency of Orthodox leftists to mimic Hilary Clinton’s infamous “basket of deplorables” insult of September 9, 2016, against half of her opponent’s supporters. In this case the epithets are born of theological instead of political enmity.

Some of these neologisms seem a bit forced. For example, Aristotle Papanikolaou, Archbishop Demetrios Chair in Orthodox Theology and Culture and Co-Director of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center (OCSC) at Fordham University, has dusted off an ancient Christological heresy. He perceives what he calls “political Nestorianism”—defined as “a politics of dualism, a politics of us vs. them, a politics of demonization”—among American “Christians, including Orthodox, who cannot but see certain political issues as driven by a godless, politically liberal, humanistic agenda.”2 That is rhetorical overkill directed at fellow Christians who are, shall we say, more Tradition-minded than himself.

The expletive of choice among the Orthodox left appears to be “fundamentalist.” Never mind that term’s Evangelical Protestant provenance, dating from 1922, when Curtis Lee Laws took a cue from the publication of The Fundamentals tractates in the previous decade. Never mind that the term began as a badge of honor. Never mind the weird misapplication of it since the 1980s to large swaths of Islam and reactionary elements in other religious communities. The Orthodox left is simply echoing the anti-Evangelical hyperbole of the mainstream liberal Protestant denominations in the National Council of Churches and World Council of Churches with whom they have shared brie and Chablis for so many years.

No less an ecclesial dignitary than Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus (senior bishop of an ancient autocephalous Orthodox Church) fired a shotgun blast indiscriminately on the first day of the recent Pan-Orthodox Council at unspecified anti-ecumenical “groups” whom he blamed for the absence of four entire Churches from the council: “The fundamentalist and fanatic groups, among which are theologians and hierarchs, which to a greater or lesser extent today are active throughout the whole Orthodox world, are a serious reason why a real threat of not only postponing, but even of canceling the Holy and Great Council loomed over it.” The archbishop identified the targets of his ire simplistically as those who oppose “any idea of drawing nearer to other Christians.”3

Back in the United States, a growing cadre of Orthodox scholars, mostly lay theologians, have, with increasing abandon, dismissed many of their co-religionists as “fundamentalists”—perhaps none more often and harshly than George Demacopoulos, Fr. John Meyendorff and Patterson Family Chair of Orthodox Christian Studies and Co-Director of the OCSC at Fordham University. In a blog post in January 2015 on an official website of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Demacopoulos depicted his unnamed theological opponents in overwrought ad hominem smearsas “extremists” and “radical opportunists” who pose an “insidious danger” motivated by “self-promotion.” Demacopoulos averred that their “key theological error” is “the presupposition that the Church Fathers agreed on all theological and ethical matters”—a patently nonsensical claim to anyone who has delved into the rich variety of extant patristic texts. Other dangerous trends that Demacopoulos perceives, falsely, include a preposterous insistence “that the Fathers were anti-intellectual”; “the slavish adherence to a fossilized set of propositions,” a mere “subset of theological axioms” derived from a “reductionist reading of the Church Fathers” and used as “a political weapon”; and an inevitable “idolatry” in lieu of an “earnest and soul-wrenching quest to seek God and to share Him with the world.” Demacopoulos’ phrase “soul-wrenching quest” is, on the contrary, a weird post-modern existentialist -distortion of the Church Fathers. Cartoonish does not begin to capture that kind of bizarre, emotive diatribe.4

But what is really behind all the heated rhetoric? A clue appeared in a brief post-council assessment in September 2016 in the mainline Protestant journal The Christian Century by Peter C. Bouteneff, Professor of Systematic Theology at St. Vladimir Orthodox Theological Seminary in New York. He referred to the Orthodox Church as “lagging in its responsiveness to modern demographic realities and to modernity in general.”5

Embrace of “Secularization”

That moderns-versus-ancients meme also undergirds the second Trojan Horse: a full embrace of “secularization,” while ostensibly rejecting “secularism.”

In an essay “sponsored” by the Orthodox Theological Society of America (OTSA) and published in May 2016 with the stated purpose of influencing the Pan-Orthodox Council in Crete the next month, six Orthodox scholars, including Fordham’s Aristotle Papanikolaou, proclaimed the virtues of secularization:

[S]ecular political spaces are not defined by a high wall between religion and politics, but a differentiated public and legal order that maximizes pluralism. In secular societies, the differentiation of spheres (political, legal, economic, religious, etc.) has become an essential tool for the restraint of state power and the protection of human liberty. Thus, while it is right to reject secularism as an anti-religious ideology, the Church should discerningly approve of secularization, in order to ensure that her life is not restricted to certain precarious political spaces, but made available to all people. Secularization liberates the Church from political confinement, enabling the Gospel to be freely chosen as a way of life.6

There is some merit in that distinction. Not all attempts at secularization have been coupled with “an anti-religious ideology”—at least not yet. But the connection is unmistakably evident in every country that has succumbed to communism, beginning with Orthodox Russia in 1917 and continuing today under the godless regimes in North Korea and Cuba. Nor is the secularization of Western Europe and the United States immune to what appears to be an inexorable degeneration into prohibitions of “public” religious activity that may yet result in full-blown persecution. The OTSA group’s attempt at intellectual nuance may be more naïve and quixotic than wise and realistic.

A more subtle, expansive argument in favor of secularization appears in Aristotle Papanikolaou’s 2014 book, The Mystical as Political: Democracy and Non-Radical Orthodoxy. His project attempts to bridge the secular and sacred realms by extolling the former at the expense of the latter. One key theological presupposition is this: “I do not think the transcendent referent need be to the divine, but can take the form of a common good.” In an earlier version of that argument in 2003 under the title “Byzantium, Orthodoxy, and Democracy,” Papanikolaou proceeds to circumscribe the most essential of the Church’s divine purposes:

In relation to a democratic form of the common good, the church must accept its own limits and recognize that the goal is not the formation of a eucharistic community through persuasion but, rather, the construction of a community in which diversity and multiculturalism are affirmed and protected and in which the recognition of such diversity and multiculturalism must be enforced if they are not voluntarily accepted.7

By 2014, Papanikolaou had replaced “multicuralism” with “cultural difference.”

But that mild change did not conciliate Vigen Guroian, Armenian Apostolic professor emeritus at the University of Virginia. In a devastating review of The Mystical as Political in First Things, Guroian revealed the Trojan Horse in Papanikolaou’s argument:

In the place of this ecclesial vision of transformation, we are served the claptrap of diversity and political correctness. . . . Enforced? Does this not imply that the liberal state has a responsibility and right to coerce the Church when the Church does not affirm “diversity and cultural difference”? Surely, Papanikolaou knows that these terms are the property of the progressive left that insists on same-sex marriage, among other things Orthodoxy refuses to “recognize.”8

In “The Secular Pilgrimage of Orthodoxy in America,” a subsequent paper given at the annual OTSA conference on June 23, 2016, Guroian questions why the religious pluralism that defines America in the twenty-first century “is interpreted as the norm of religious life, much as a separation of church and state is interpreted as a divine mandate, almost as if it is an eleventh divine commandment.” Why should the Orthodox Churches embrace a more aggressive secularization that would put them back into their previous religious and ethnic ghettos apart somehow from the common good?

The road to secularization ought to be for Orthodox Christians—indeed, all traditional Christians—as in Robert Frost’s memorable poem, “the one less traveled by.”

Sexual Potpourri

The third Trojan Horse may be the most spiritually dangerous of all.

The emergent Zeitgeist of sexual disorder, confusion, and libertinism that first appeared in America in the 1960s has become the dominant social ethical ideology. Who could have imagined that any Orthodox clergyman or theologian would enlist in such a movement? Alas, the ranks are growing, it seems, with each passing year.

Prominent Orthodox clergy and theologians have advocated for various avant-garde causes of non-Orthodox provenance, ranging from women clergy (first, the “restoration” of the obsolete order of “deaconess” and, for some, even the radical innovation of female “priests”) to a soft-sell of the ancient proscriptions against abortion to the latest trend, “transgenderism.” But the granddaddy of them all is a mounting obsession with all things LGBT.Concerning the latter, the leftist elites are surprisingly not so far ahead of a majority of the regular church-going faithful. The 2016 Religious Landscape Study by the Pew Research Center disclosed that 64 percent of Orthodox Americans surveyed in 2014 thought that homosexuality “should be accepted,” while only 31 percent thought it “should be discouraged.” Similarly, 54 percent strongly favored or favored “same-sex marriage,” while only 41 percent strongly opposed or opposed it. The “same-sex marriage” percentages comport with those of Mainline Protestants and Catholics, but are inverted compared to Evangelical Protestants and Mormons.9

Still, three Orthodox scholars (two of them ordained priests) constitute an elite vanguard pushing hard for this deeply disturbing movement.

First, Fordham’s Aristotle Papanikolaou recently signaled his sentiments in his post-election op-ed titled, “Being Christian during a Trump Presidency”: “[I]f Christians do not prophetically demand of Trump that he publicly disavow white supremacist support, then Christians are complicit in extending and empowering racism, anti-Semitism and homophobia.”10 Struck, in particular, by the last term in that Clintonesque litany of deplorables, I asked Papanikolaou in a telephone conversation to specify what he would deem an unreasonable fear of homosexuals (for that is what the politically correct term “homophobia” means literally) among Orthodox Christians. He replied that violence, of course, would be reprehensible, and on that we would agree. But he also proffered that “discrimination” against active homosexuals in hiring also ought to be prohibited as an offense against decency and common humanity—even in Orthodox parishes and parochial schools!

Second, a respected senior archpriest in the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), Fr. Alexis Vinogradov of Wappingers Falls, New York, threw down a gauntlet on this issue in July 2011. For a now-defunct Orthodox blog, he wrote an article titled, “New Beginnings in Community: Gender Issues and the Church.”11 He hoped “to start a conversation . . . because among the Orthodox churches, at least, we do not yet have a common platform for respectful discourse on the complex social issues of our day.”

But “respectful discourse” quickly evaporated when he began to rail against the “growing appeal and reliance on simplistic and formulaic answers” among many of his fellow Orthodox. “Such a religiosity cannot,” he continued, “tolerate ambiguities, for it attributes the modern moral and spiritual crisis entirely to the disdain for absolutes and certainties. . . . So, we are told that the debate on sexuality must stop, because the indisputable norm is the choice of heterosexual marriage or celibate life in society or in monasticism.” Alert traditional Christians could already spot the Trojan Horse that Fr. Alexis was trotting out, as he subtly began to call for a new, third “norm.”

Fr. Alexis elaborated in such a way as to remove all doubt concerning his vision:

Homosexual persons did not decide to become homosexual. It was not the fruit of their supposed depravity or sin. That much we know today. There can only be a continuing conversation if we can cross that hurdle of blatant intransigence by those who refuse to acknowledge this fact. But homosexual persons, just as much as heterosexual ones, need to feel the warmth and love and nurture of other persons. God created them for that love, that love is the substance of our humanity; it is what constitutes all of us in bearing his image within us. For any member of the human race when that love is not forthcoming openly and easily, when community taboos and fears isolate them away from the family, it is inevitable that their legitimate searching and need will appear as an anomaly to those who have safely passed through the invisible selective screen. The selective culture, society in general or church, will have pushed them to extremes.

That appeal is all too familiar to Protestants and Roman Catholics in America, but it is still novel to most faithful Orthodox Christians: we must accept homosexuals, who are born that way, and not drive them away by calling them to repentance and celibacy—the only traditional moral “norm” besides “heterosexual” marriage. Later in his article Fr. Alexis had the chutzpah to warn that it is “our callousness, judgment, and self-assurance,” not sexual perversion, that “can injure” the Bride of Christ, the Church.

Fr. Alexis afforded us a sobering glimpse of the way the spirit of the world has captured those who would take it upon themselves to lecture and even scold us (fill in the blank: simplistic, frightened, totalitarian, intolerant, superficial, intransigent, self-centered, unrestrained, callous, spiritually weak—Fr. Alexis hurled all of those epithets our way in his brief for affirmation of the “other”) Orthodox and other Christians who reject the tiresome notion that the times are a-changin’ and we must change with them.

Third, Archpriest Robert Arida, longtime pastor of the OCA Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Boston, has played the role of Odysseus for this modern Trojan Horse. In June 2011, shortly after New York passed the Marriage Equality Act, which legalized marriage between two men or two women, Fr. Robert posted on his parish website a short essay titled, “Response to Myself.” Weighing the implications of the new legal trend, he explored the Church’s checkered history tolerating slavery and concluded by proposing an intriguing hypothetical:

If the Church is going to respond to the legalization of same sex marriage/union it seems that it should begin by considering how to minister to those same sex couples who being legally married come with their children and knock on the doors of our parishes seeking Christ. Do we ignore them? Do we, prima facie, turn them away? Do we, under the rubric of repentance, encourage them to divorce and dismantle their family? Or, do we offer them, as we offer anyone desiring Christ, pastoral care, love and a spiritual home?12

Although that scenario may seem, prima facie, to require pastoral nuance and sensitivity, Fr. Robert’s use of “or” in the final sentence betrayed a subtle questioning, and perhaps rejection, of a universal requirement for the Holy Mystery of Matrimony in Orthodoxy—namely, one man and one woman. He clearly implied that anything less than a full embrace of the “family” as is in his hypothetical would be unpastoral, intolerant, and unloving.

Another essay on Fr. Robert’s parish website three years later, “Never Changing Gospel; Ever Changing Culture,”13 caused a firestorm when it was also carried on the Wonder blog, an online publication of the Department of Youth, Young Adults and Campus Ministries of the OCA. Fr. Robert purported to “raise questions,” lest we turn the past into “an oppressive tyrant.” While affirming, in the spirit of Hebrews 13:8, “the unchanging Gospel who is Jesus Christ,” Fr. Robert insisted that the Church must “come to terms with postmodern culture”—that is, by demonstrating “a desire on the part of all the faithful—bishops, priests and laity—to allow the mind and the heart to change and expand.”

That, in turn, entailed this oxymoron, which Fr. Robert put in both italics and boldface for effect: “To preach the never changing Christ requires us to be ever changing“—not only spiritually through struggle against sinful passions, personal repentance, and cultivation of the virtues, but also theologically by “no longer ignor[ing] or condemn[ing] questions and issues that are presumed to contradict or challenge its living Tradition.” On the one hand, he berated “Orthodox Christians who misuse the never changing Christ to promote a particular political agenda and ideology or as license to verbally and physically assault those they perceive as immoral.” Translation: traditional Christians who “bully” homosexuals. On the other hand, he did not specify how Orthodox Christians ought to “expand” their minds and hearts on the “issues” he enumerated.

But Metropolitan Tikhon (Mollard), primatial bishop of the OCA, was able to read between the lines. He removed Fr. Robert’s essay from the OCA’s Wonder blog and substituted his own response. The bishop offered a brief clarification of the OCA’s long-standing teaching on marriage, the family, and human sexuality and explained why discussion of such profound theological and moral issues “would benefit from a more in-depth analysis than can be provided on a blog.”14

However, Metropolitan Tikhon’s intervention came too late. Fr. Robert’s essays, and the initial official approval of one of them, reveal that this Trojan Horse is already inside the gates of the Orthodox Church in America. Soon to appear in print through the auspices of the so-called European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups is a new volume of essays under the title, “For I Am Wonderfully Made”: Texts of Eastern Orthodoxy and LGBT Inclusion. Among the contributors are Archpriests Robert Arida and Alexis Vinogradov, Mark Stokoe (a layman in the OCA), Dr. Bryce R. Rich (an OCA lay theologian and author of a chapter titled, “A Queer Personhood: Freedom from Essentialism”), and Maria McDowell (an erstwhile OCA scholar who left the Orthodox Church and was joined in “marriage” to a woman by a female Episcopal minister).

A Familiar But Daunting Task Ahead

What we behold in the appeals of the trailblazing Orthodox scholars discussed herein is a subtle, erudite, but disingenuous public challenge to abandon ancient Christian verities under the guise of a “conversation” or “discussion.” That should sound an alarm to refugees from mainline Protestant denominations and radical Roman Catholic parishes who witnessed the naive embrace of their own Trojan Horses beginning in the 1960s. The pattern is unmistakable: first, a call to “transcend” narrow, rigid, archaic dogmas, coupled with an invitation to a “conversation” to share viewpoints based primarily on personal experience and “new” knowledge instead of immersion in the Tradition; followed by a summons for mutual forbearance, tolerance, and, ultimately, full acceptance of diverse moralities. Soon enough, the orthodox frog in the gradually boiling pot is fully cooked and no longer a living frog.

One of the scholars quoted above, who regularly teaches a Sunday school class for Orthodox high-school students, told me that he never includes sexual morality in his curriculum and dreads whenever a student even so much as asks a question about any sexual issue. So captive to contemporary sexual mores are those high-schoolers that he is convinced that any attempt to present traditional Orthodox teaching might be, at best, futile but would, in fact, drive every one of his students from the Church altogether. Such pedagogical timidity constitutes, in my estimation, ecclesial malpractice, a preemptive surrender to the Zeitgeist and a guarantee that those Orthodox teenagers will eschew prophetic moral witness to society lest it disrupt their comfortable accommodation to the surrounding culture.

Perhaps this essay will sound a clarion call to all of the Orthodox bishops in America, as well as clergy and laity, to engage with love and justice those who would distort our venerable moral tradition.

REFERENCES

1. theamericanconservative.com/dreher/the-orthodox-trojan-horse.
2. https://publicorthodoxy.org/2015/10/12 and https://publicorthodoxy.org/2016/11/11.
3. pravoslavie.ru/english/94598.htm.
4. blogs.goarch.org/blog/-/blogs/orthodox-fundamentalism.
5. christiancentury.org/article/2016-09/great-and-holy-council.
6. https://publicorthodoxy.org/2016/04/05.
7. academia.edu/4292579/Byzantium_Orthodoxy_and_Democracy
8. firstthings.com/article/2014/04/godless-theosis.
9. pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/religious-tradition/orthodox-christian.
10. https://publicorthodoxy.org/2016/11/11.
11. ocanews.org/news/Vinogradov7.12.11.html.
12. http://holytrinityorthodox.org/articles_and_talks/Response.pdf.
13. holytrinityorthodox.org/articles_and_talks/Never%20Changing%20Gospel.pdf.
14. http://wonder.oca.org/2014/11/01/never-changing-gospel-ever-changing-culture.

Fr. Alexander F. C. Webster , Ph.D., is a retired U.S. Army chaplain (Colonel) and parish priest of St. Herman of Alaska Russian Orthodox Church (Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia), Stafford, Virginia.

Comments

  1. This is magnificent. I read it yesterday when I was perusing Fr. Hans’ site AOIUSA.

    Yes, think of it as a clarion call for us to get our ducks in a row.

    • Ah, well, we are retiring for awhile. It seems as if we did not read the piece too closely after all, confirmation bias and all that.

  2. George Michalopulos says:

    As usual, Fr Alexander, brilliant. Brilliant because of the clarity of your prose. Thank you.

    • Billy Jack Sunday says:

      This article is exceptionally well done. This is exactly how the conditioning process occurs for the reception of serious errors. My refusal to accept the council of Crete (serious theological errors and humanism infused in documents) along with all of its implications made me the odd man out among my church family and parish priest. I am not seen as someone who would uphold the Orthodox faith along with my peeps. Instead, I am either dismissed as an alarmist (“Union with the RCC is all rhetoric, it will never happen so don’t worry”) or seen as an opponent of the church (“Don’t you believe God is leading the church?”) in their eyes. The Orthodox world (at least where I’m from) has flipped upside down. What do you do when the Orthodox Church opposes the Orthodox Faith?

      • Mom of Toddler says:

        I know this same feeling very well. I actually think there is something loving about some degree of worry. (For example, as a teenager I always wanted my parents to worry about me a little more in certain cases.) I don’t understand it…I think people with different personality types dismiss any concern from something as excessive worry, when perhaps its a relatively healthy amount of worry for something one loves. Not sure if this makes sense! In this case, we love The Church. I am the “odd man” out at my church on many things, including trying to keep my son from media with liberal or un-Christian agendas. It seems the trend is to just assume things are “harmless things meant for kids, not to be taken too seriously.” (Also the only stay-at-home, homeschooling mom at my church.) As an example, my 4 year old has never seen the ever-so- popular Minions movie but when he is older, like maybe 8, we can watch clips of it and discuss the “agendas” in the movie, etc and how they do or don’t fit in with our faith. I believe I read something in Father Seraphim Rose’s biography to the effect of how the life inside a parish can be just as worldly as that outside the parish (Surely, not all churches but some). If he thought that in the 60s or so, I wonder what he would think now! Sometimes when I’m feeling down I read the sermon “The world is mad” by Archbishop Averky…

    • Does anyone wonder where the bishops of America are relative to all this? Even the so-called tradionalist ones are saying next to nothing. St. Symeon the New Theologian taught that bishops would fall under the judgment of God for holding themselves to be Orthodox simply because they never taught a heresy. Pope St. Gregory the Dialogist taught similarly:

      [A]s incautious speaking leads into error, so indiscreet silence leaves in error those who might have been instructed. For often improvident rulers, fearing to lose human favor, shrink timidly from speaking freely the things that are right; and, according to the voice of the Truth Jn. 10:12, serve unto the custody of the flock by no means with the zeal of shepherds, but in the way of hirelings; since they fly when the wolf comes if they hide themselves under silence. For hence it is that the Lord through the prophet upbraids them, saying, Dumb dogs, that cannot bark Isa. 56:10. Hence again He complains, saying, You have not gone up against the enemy, neither opposed a wall for the house of Israel, to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord Eze. 13:5. Now to go up against the enemy is to go with free voice against the powers of this world for defence of the flock; and to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord is out of love of justice to resist bad men when they contend against us. For, a shepherd to have feared to say what is right, what else is it but to have turned his back in keeping silence? But surely, if he puts himself in front for the flock, he opposes a wall against the enemy for the house of Israel. (Pastoral Rule Bk. 2.4)

      The Lord has raised up true presbyters to defend the Faith in our times. The bishops in the US are either ecu-maniacal, afraid or apathetic and concerned strictly for their own. St. Paisios the Athonite said that Orthodoxy is complete in and of itself, however, the Saint stated that the Church of our times lacks one important thing… patristic hierarchs.

      • Anonymous says:

        The issue is a dead horse.

        Fortunately, the hierarchs realize it.

        Women aren’t taking over the altar and gay folk are not getting married in the church.

        And honestly, it is hardly a bright week topic. But who was keeping track of the week when something this vital for muckos gets ink.

        The drummer who drums Christ is Risen-chase away the gays will reap his reward.

        The reward is not a church absent trojan horses.

        Stop fooling yourselves.

        The focus on homos is unhealthy.

        • Anon,

          I’m focused on the Faith. And you if read that wonderful article as a focused critique of homosexualism then perhaps you are the one focused upon that subject.

        • And honestly, it is hardly a bright week topic.

          The devil doesn’t take Bright Week off, neither should Christians.

          The focus on homos is unhealthy.

          It certainly is, but who keeps bringing them up? During Lent, no less!

        • Anon~
          Agreed. The focus of this site always circles back round to the topic. It is unhealthy. Let the Priests do their work and make decisions & provide counseling to any homosexuals that may belong to their parish. To be frank, in “Old Country” times, it was never anyone else’s business and the Church was certainly less militaristic as a result. It provided a chance for private counsel and healing.
          But, here in the land of the American individual, converts and to a lesser extent some cradle Orthodox, feel it is their right to jump in and regulate the parish. That’s never been the Orthodox Way. The Orthodox Faith is not a democracy where the regular parishioners get a voice and a vote…. if you want that, go back to the Protestant Church.

          • George Michalopulos says:

            Saunca, you’re right as far as it goes. But context is king. I come from a culture in which sexual sins were dealt with great pastoral sensitivity. That was good. However you and I don’t live in a traditionalist culture which was cognizant of human weakness but still understood that sin was sin.

            Today in America, “the love that dare not speak its name” simply won’t shut the hell up. Worse, it’s trumpeted as a virtue. The pastoral discretion that obtained in traditionalist old countries won’t work a this point in time in this country. If for no other reason that we are not traditionalist by any stretch of the imagination.

        • Fr Chris Moody says:

          Again you did exactly what father said in the article. Berate with ad hominem. As a pastor I can honestly state it is not an ancillary issue. Have you read what scripture says on this ? It is a mortal sin. Embracing of it is soul killing. The moment the church affirms black as white and evil as good bitter for sweet as the prophet said, is the moment we are done. It happened to israel and it is happening again. So no. Pastorally it is not wrong to mention the trojan horse. It is healthy because we have been made sick by constant exposure to a soul threatening vice.

          • Estonian Slovak says:

            Please, please, please. NOBODY is saying “Christ is Risen! Chase away the gays”. No rational believing Orthodox, cleric or layperson wants to chase anyone away. Everyone is accepted, but only on the Church’s terms, not on their own. I think someone here once said, “The Church takes people as she finds them, but she doesn’t LEAVE them as she finds them.”

            I find heterosexual temptations daily. If I am found to be cohabiting with a woman; be she young, old, slim, stout, white, black, Christian or not; then I must abstain from Communion unless the cohabiting stops or I enter into a lawful marriage, if that option is available.

            I think our friend, Mr. Baumann, mentioned that he was denied Communion because of a second marriage outside the Church. I do not know Mr. Baumann, but I’ll bet although grieved, he didn’t throw a hissy fit and demand admission to Communion. And because he was obedient, eventually the situation was resolved and he was restored to Communion.

            One can’t pick out Orthodoxy like beer, soda pop, coffee, food, or liquor. You can’t choose light vs. regular, 50% vs. 100%, salted vs. plain, lo-fat vs. regular. You either choose the whole package or reject it. There are no “part-time” Orthodox.

            • Estonian Slovak says:

              I should rephrase the last sentence,”There is no Orthodoxy Lite.”

    • Peter Millman says:

      Hello George,
      I think you may be going a little too far in your fulsome praise of Father Webster. He is undoubtedly a highly educated, scholarly, courageous man, but I don’t like some of the books he has written. Two of his books in particular disturb me; they are The Virtue of War and the Pacifist Option. I am a pacifist who despises war in all its mutations. He’s a colonel in the US armed forces; I don’t believe that any Christian should serve in the military. Although I don’t question his bravery and courage, I disagree with his viewpoints.
      Also, I must take issue with the fact that you seem to conflate conservatism with Orthodox Christianity. How is it helpful to refer to people as prog/libs? For example, you consider yourself to be a “classical conservative.” May I ask you if you would have been in favor of the Civil Rights movement? According to the great scholar and supply side economist the late Warren Brookes, the conservatives were right as rain in their view of economics, but dead wrong in their opposition to the civil rights movement.
      I am 100% against abortion in every instance, but I’m also against the death penalty. How can people who claim to be pro life support the death penalty and unending wars? I could go on ad nauseum, but what’s the point? Oh, another thing: people constantly preach against homosexuality, but don’t say a word about the fact that the US consumes one half the world’s resources, leaving people around the world dying of hunger and malnutrition. I am against the practice of homosexuality, but I don’t consider it the seminal issue of the day. To me, the United States insatiable lust for war is the most compelling issue of this time.
      I think Barry McGuire’s song The Eve of Destruction describes the times we live in very succinctly.

  3. Anonymous says:

    How many blows can a dead horse take?

    When things need that much ink to draw a distinction between black and white; they still turn out gray.

  4. Chris Banescu says:

    We have entered the age of Human Iconoclasm!

    Apparently there are many impostors in our midst. Thanks be to God for faithful Orthodox priests who are challenging these heretical teachings and standing for Truth and righteousness.

    Thank God also for the Internet since it’s shining the light of truth and exposing the darkened and confused “preaching” of these hirelings. The rational and faithful flock must be warned of the hyenas hiding in their midst scheming to lead astray and devour the innocent sheep.

    “For the rejection of God’s order of male and female is a strike at the heart of creation itself, Satan’s endgame evisceration of the imageness of God.” ~ Andrée Seu Peterson

  5. Chris Banescu says:

    The duty of true and faithful shepherds is to preserve and defend the Christian faith. “We are to defend Christianity itself–the faith preached by the Apostles, attested by the Martyrs, embodied in the Creeds, expounded by the Fathers.” wrote C.S. Lewis. We cannot add or subtract from the teachings of Christianity based on individual opinions regarding God or man or other timeless tenets of the faith that we may consider difficult or objectionable.

    There are certain lines that Christians, especially priests and Christian leaders, cannot cross and still remain a Christian. In his book, God in the Dock, C.S. Lewis cautioned that clear boundaries of Christian doctrines must be established and maintained by all who preach Christianity. If such limits are forsaken by pastors, the only honorable solution is for them to change their professions.

    “But I insist that wherever you draw the lines, bounding lines must exist, beyond which your doctrine will cease to be Anglican or to be Christian: and I suggest also that the lines come a great deal sooner than many modern priest think. I think it is your duty to fix the lines clearly in your own minds: and if you wish to go beyond them you must change your profession.”

    Time for these impostors and hirelings to repent and renounce their heretical teachings, change their professions, or leave the Orthodox Church!

  6. Someone well known needs to call out St Vlads for supporting a conference associated with a group seeking women’s ordination.

  7. It’s a lot easier to slide into liberalism/secularism than to maintain tradition. And the liberals are working hard to achieve their ends. We need to work harder to stop them. Don’t forget one of the lessons of Holy Week: while the Disciples were sleeping in the garden, Judas was hard at work, betraying Christ.

    We like to rest on our laurels, I think. The Church has been the same for 2000 years, everything will be fine. While that’s ontologically true, how many souls are we willing to let go into perdition in order to prove it?

    I recently read the following summary at Vox Day, following similar lines. Take the Presbyterian church as a case study. It won’t be exactly analogous to our situation, but take it for what it’s worth:

    Crossed Fingers: How Liberals Captured the Presbyterian Church
    By Gary North / Institute for Christian Economics (September 1996)

    1. The single most important cause of the liberal capture of the Presbyterian Church was the conservatives’ failure to kick out liberal heretics and impose negative sanctions while they had the chance.

    2. Liberal strategies and characteristics that led to their victory:

    -Willingness to lie (they had their “fingers crossed” when swearing that they held to the Westminster Confession): “SJWs always lie”
    -Intense public calls for freedom of inquiry, tolerance, pluralism, unity while weak or assimilating power
    -Deliberate focus on institutional capture, which included the property, money, and brand prestige.
    -Long game perspective (the takeover took 60 years: 1875-1936)
    -Far superior skills at bureaucratic maneuvering, including an analog of a “code of conduct”.
    -Presence of amenable authorities (the WASP establishment, media) & outside money (esp. from John D. Rockefeller, Jr.)
    -The liberals “took care of their wounded” – anyone who suffered in the fight got a cushy job somewhere else.
    -Once they consolidated power they were willing to kick out conservative leaders like Machen.

    3. Conservative strategies and characteristics that led to their failure:

    -They also had “crossed fingers” and did not themselves fully support the Westminster Confession (e.g., they rejected six day creationism). This limited their ability to call out others for heresy.
    -They were on the “wrong side of history” with slavery (i.e., took a stance of neutrality on what the Bible said about it), which weakened their moral authority, rather like modern political conservatives and the Civil Right Act.
    -Initial inability to respond compellingly to key challenges to orthodoxy: Darwinism and Higher Criticism
    -Strategy was purely defensive – nothing on offense (“surrender on the installment plan”)
    -Focused on ideas, theology and church mission, not institutions and bureaucracy, and had a very weak understanding of bureaucratic warfare.
    -Were incredibly polite, charitable, and moderate in their rhetoric – they rarely dared to directly confront heretics

    4. Other lessons and implications

    -The modernists were fighting to win the war; the conservatives didn’t even understand they were in one
    -High standards people tend to lose out vs. low standards people. Key: conflict between orthodoxy and church growth mindset, stay pure but small or grow large but compromise on beliefs.
    -The more bureaucratic and complex an organization, the more vulnerable to liberal takeover (Confessional documents and hierarchical structures were perceived as strengths but were – and are – really weaknesses)
    -Confessional documents are irrelevant when faced with liars (cf: today’s US Constitutional law)
    -Presbyterian takeover pre-dated Gramsci and could not have been inspired by him
    -Presbyterian takeover pre-dated the modern political Conservative movement
    -You can’t fight the tape – the tides of history were with the liberals
    -Despite best efforts of smart but flawed conservatives, the liberals won: God preserved only a remnant and the Presbyterian church was lost
    -The winners write history; noxious liberal causes like eugenics were memory holed.

    Frankly, the standard-bearers of the Church need to be willing to expel cancerous individuals from our ranks. Our hierarchs, first and foremost, need to call out such people and refuse to go-along-to-get-along. Our priests need to teach clearly from the pulpit and take on real issues, and not simply take the safe route. And we laymen need to refuse to hear falsities, whether they come from the pews, pulpits, or so-called “theologians.”

    That is the only way to prevent all the problems that we have seen in Western Christianity.

    I like what Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, a traditionalist RC priest, says to his tradition-minded followers. In summary:

    1. Work with sweat and give money to make it happen. You think the work is hard? It’s taking a long time? BOO HOO. Stop whining, give more, and work harder.
    2. Be the first to get involved with works of charity. Make your presence known. The traditionalists should be second to none in works of charity.
    3. Pray, fast, and give alms. If you think you already are, think again. You can do more.
    4. Get organized. Make a plan. Find people. Execute.
    5. Set aside your ego and petty preferences. Unite and achieve your objectives.
    6. Priests: MAN UP. Be informed. Say the Mass. Educate.
    7. Don’t whine and blame others.
    8. When you get what you want, DON’T REST.

    We need to take the same advice to stop the Church from being adversely changed by the same sorts of people that are wreaking havoc elsewhere.

  8. Joseph Lipper says:

    A clarion call…yes, the sound of a shrill trumpet. Father Alexander was a former OCA priest who left and joined ROCOR and still apparently carries a lot of baggage with him. May he find healing.

    • Michael Bauman says:

      What ever healing Fr. needs is between Jesus and him. He is dead on correct in his analysis. Perhaps he left the OCA because of too many wooden horses there.

      Of course they are every where because the nihilist revolutionary thought of which he speaks is what the world demands.

      God forgive and heal us all.

    • Fr. Herman Schick says:

      Trashing the person instead of addressing their arguments is an invalid method of argumentation known as “ad hominem”. But you already know that, don’t you, Joseph?

      • Joseph Lipper says:

        Fr. Alexander drops a few names himself in this essay. When I read it, I couldn’t help but to think that it sounded a bit vindictive.

        There are other ways to address issues without dropping names like this.

        By publically associating names of clergy and people as “trojan horses”, rather than anonymously analyzing their arguments, it sounds like he is asking for some type of lynching. That’s ad hominem. Let’s lynch the idea, and try to avoid lynching the person.

        Please forgive me for my ad hominem attack against you, Fr. Alexander, I mean no ill will against you.

        • He called out the names of people who have made public heretical statements on this issue. If such people don’t want to be called out in public, they need to stop scandalizing the faithful in public.

          • Anonymous says:

            No. Once Arida is a stated wrong; repeating it only begs the question. Why do you still need to work so hard to disaffirm him?

            The reflection on errant wisdom from 6 years ago should concern all.

            If you go digging up bones; be careful because it makes one wonder what the real purpose is…

            Like I said earlier, beating dead horses only makes intellect question intent.

            Are you a poseur or bringing people to Christ by slamming a few people with corny, mostly, or by most I mean, disavowed ideas?

            For me, it sounds like the clubhouse.

            Sell it on Let Go

            • It’s hardly beating a dead horse, when you are talking about something that is increasing in frequency… and we see more and more examples of Orthodox clergy suggesting we should accept active homosexuals into communion.

              • Joseph Lipper says:

                Father John,

                Perhaps your parish is plum full of homosexuals seeking Christ and trying to find healing in the Church, I don’t know.

                Regardless, the elephant in the room for most parishes is heterosexualism and the heterosexualist agenda. This is the dominant way that lust is manifested in our society, and it is pervasive in our culture and media, everywhere you look. It’s fruit is: divorces, remarriages, sex before marriage, prostitution, abortions, heterosexual pornography, heterosexual incest, heterosexual pedophilia, rape, and probably more.

                If anything, the small and spiritually weak group of people who proclaim homosexualism and a homosexualist agenda, most of whom are either outside of the Church or on their way out, should serve as a shrill trumpet call for the Church to seek out the virtues of virginity and chastity all the more.

                Let’s keep the focus on the dominant spiritual battles we face in our Church, and let’s not be sidetracked by “culture wars” and the philosophical diversion they offer.

                • The problem with your argument is that we do not have priests arguing that fornication is not a sin. We do have priests arguing that homosexuality is a sin.

                  • Huh?

                  • Joseph Lipper says:

                    In my view, the way this essay is written, it is complicit in an attempt at disorienting the Orthodox. The frontline of the Church is always the Church in repentance. Those who argue about homosexuality are at the sidelines, and any attempt to draw the attention of the Church to these arguments are attempts at disorienting and sidelining the Church from her repentance.

                    Priests do not need to argue with each other that homosexuality is a sin. They just need to communicate the tradition of the Church. If a priest is not communicating that tradition, then they are at the sidelines.

                    • Centurion says:

                      Joseph, you wrote,”If a priest is not communicating that tradition, then they are at the sidelines.”

                      Small correction: They’re not just on the sidelines. They are completely outside the Church. They have voluntarily left the Church and separated themselves from the rational and faithful flock.

                      If these priests and bishops were honest and honorable (ha!) men they would leave the priesthood altogether. And if they continued to celebrate and push the homosexual agenda they should ultimately leave the Orthodox Church! Unfortunately cowards, impostors and betrayers never do the honorable thing now, do they.

                    • johnkal says:

                      To teach that homosexual behavior is not a sin, but rather an alternative life style, is heresy. Yet, the Church must create an environment in which those practicing homosexual behavior can come to repentance. Just as Jesus ate with the outcasts of His time, so must the Church reach out to all people, even homosexuals.

                    • Joseph Lipper says:

                      Centurion,

                      When all is said and done, and Christ returns in Glory, we’ll probably all be very surprised by who is in His Kingdom…and who is not.

                      Let’s always remember that God always has the ultimate say.
                      God help us all!

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

                  Why not both. Why dodge? Joseph I suggest you prayer for all sinners to find Christ and never minimize the sin of Homosexuality by comparing it to heterosexual sin. Both are wrong and both need healing.

                  Your perspective is like Archbishop Cupaich. Spends 2 minutes on the sin of Homosexuality and 20 minutes on poverty. While society has a dozen programs to fight poverty how many programs do we have to fight homosexuality?

                  Get it Joseph?

                  I bid you peace.

                  Peter

                  • Joseph Lipper says:

                    Peter, the medicine the Church offers for those suffering from heterosexuality and for those suffering from homosexuality is the same. The passion is lust, and the countering virtues are chastity and virginity.

                    Marriage is not medicine for the passion of lust. If someone tries that, it will probably lead to divorce.

                    • Michael Bauman says:

                      Joseph, you are correct that we all have disordered sexuality but it goes deeper than just lust as pervasive as that is. It is gluttony too and the rejection of our Incarnate God. It is a deep expression of our rebellion against God.

                      It lies at the heart of our consumer “economy”.

                      Without God, sex is sacrament.

                    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says:

                      Joseph,

                      “Heterosexuality” (meaning male female conjugal union) is according to nature and God’s design. It can be distorted but even in its distortion it still retains a dimension of naturality to it.

                      “Homosexuality” in all its variant behaviors is not according to nature or God’s design, No homosexual behavior is ever natural.

                      You tend to use the terms as if they describe distinct anthropological categories. They don’t.

                      What about the person with a “homosexual orientation” you might ask? Every passion, if indulged, affects an orientation, not just the sexual passions.

                    • When a heterosexual (i.e., normal) person feels sexual desire for the opposite sex, there are degrees and there is an ability of the desiring person to reject or ignore further escalation of the desire if it is inappropriate at the moment. So, for instance, a man’s eye might catch a pretty girl and he decides whether to talk to her in order to pursue what might be his future mate, or not.

                      That desire is natural and only becomes a problem in the extreme; i.e., when it is allowed to crescendo inappropriately into what Christians call passion.

                      That is a very different thing from the sexual desire of one man for another man. That is simply twisted and diabolical, regardless of the degree to which one feels it. Normal people don’t get that way except through some outside trauma and/or personal choice to go down that road out of some misplaced curiosity. Even then, in males, there is a strong visceral “ick” factor that prevents us from even seriously considering it.

                      However, things happen to people . . .

                    • Joseph Lipper says:

                      Father Hans,

                      It is true that our society tends to make distinct anthropological categories for heterosexuality and homosexuality, but I am not. I merely saying that sexual lust can manifest itself in different ways, such as with heterosexuality and homosexuality.

                      We should be very careful when we say that heterosexuality is according to nature and God’s design, because then we are reverting to a “natural” argument. When the rubber hits the road, with “natural” arguments we often find that we are on ice, and it’s a very slippery slope ahead. Polygamy, for example, is often defended on the very basis of this “natural” argument. We live in a world of fallen nature.

                      Marriage and sexual reproduction were the basis of the growth of the Church before Christ’s incarnation, and in some limited sense it still is. But with Christ’s birth by a virgin, we have a Church that is typified by virginity: Christ, His mother, St. John the Baptist, all are virgin. We know that in the natural state of the Kingdom of Heaven, Christ tells us that people will “neither marry, nor be given in marriage, they will be like the angels”. Adam, Eve, our Lord Jesus Christ, and all the Hosts of Heaven came into this world by God’s design and by nonsexual means. At the highly symbolic Wedding at Cana, it is the presence of the virgin Mother Of God and her Son that restores the wine when the wedding feast has run dry.

                    • Joseph,

                      “Polygamy, for example, is often defended on the very basis of this ‘natural’ argument. We live in a world of fallen nature.”

                      “We know that in the natural state of the Kingdom of Heaven, Christ tells us that people will ‘neither marry, nor be given in marriage, they will be like the angels’.”

                      The Church Fathers recognized the state of man clearly. Many have chided me for my remarks about concubinage and quotes from the Fathers that present heterosexual sexual activity between male masters and unmarried female servants as normal and Christian. It is important to realize why I bring this up. It is not because I want a harem. I don’t. But men are quite inclined to seed as many fields as we can in obedience to the Lord’s injunction to be fruitful and multiply. There is no shame in that, though we should not let desire grow into passion.

                      Several things should be crystal clear to us: Scripture says that after the fall that man is to rule over woman. Before the fall, she was his assistant. It is also clear that in the beginning, there were only two. Adam was created first, then Eve.

                      Marriage is between one man and one woman. Nonetheless, other heterosexual sexual arrangements are allowed by the Fathers depending on the way society is organized. Fornication was harlotry, and women were expected to receive their men back even from that, though if married women strayed it was considered much more serious, adultery.

                      Bitching about heterosexual malfeasance is no excuse.

                      Homosexuality is a different matter entirely. There is no incidence of it being good or anything other than an abomination – evil – a misuse. There is a psychosis which is inflicted on “homosexuals” by whatever means. Anal rape is the likeliest cause, but there may be other causes for the psychological misidentification that constitutes the psychosis.

                      Regardless, it is not good. It is an abomination. Homosexuality is inherently evil. It cannot be otherwise. Whether Bruce or Betty, it’s all filthy, sick and evil – literally.

                      Now, what should our attitude be? We are called to love. But it is not love to lie to people who harm themselves and others and tell them that what they are doing is wholesome. Nor can we accept the normalization of “gay” lifestyles or culture or effeminacy in males. We should not have to because all that is a travesty.

                      We are quite fallen at this late hour from original righteousness, no?

                      The day is nigh.

                      Repent.

                    • Joseph Lipper says:

                      Misha,

                      There is a danger in equating heterosexuality as normal, except to say that yes, it is the normal way of sexual reproduction.

                      Christ and His Mother are given to us by the Church as the new normal, the new Adam and Eve. Both of them are virgin.

                • The problem with your argument is that we do not have priests publicly arguing that heterosexual fornication or adultery are not sins. We do have priests arguing that homosexual sex is not a sin.

            • “No. Once Arida is a stated wrong; repeating it only begs the question. Why do you still need to work so hard to disaffirm him?”

              Because he has not been defrocked and thus retains a degree of pseudo credibility. If his bishop won’t call him out, others must.

          • Exactly, Father John,

            Private sentiments of heresy have very little effect on anything other than the heretical soul’s relationship with God – certainly not on the liturgical acts of a priest – however, publicly expressed sentiments of heresy are the reason that people are presented before synods – case in point, Patriarch Bartholomew.

            We seem to be at a significant crossroads in human history. Wheat and chafe seem almost to be sorting themselves out.

        • Joseph Lipper says:

          Heresy has a particular face in particular people. It is not ad hominem to point out.

          • Joseph Lipper says:

            Well, its ad hominem when someone else posts using my name, although I’m sure it’s unintentional.

            George, there appears to be a problem with the software.

          • Joseph Lipper says:

            It is ad hominem if a person points out in a vindictive spirit. That’s what I picked up from the essay. It sounded vindictive. I believe this would have been a much better essay if the author avoided dropping names. It’s not hard to do.

            Those who write and publish heretical opinions already shame themselves. Lets not succumb to a vindictive spirit by shaming them more.

    • Fr Chris Moody says:

      Healing from what? The wounds the left leaves from hating the morality Jesus taught? Please. Let us Draw nigh to God. How does that happen? Stay away from lust and sexual immoralityn James 4. So no he was spot on.

  9. Peter A. Papoutsis says:

    Brilliant. How insulting, and rightly insulting, that it would be Greeks betraying the faith. Greek Orthodox need to repent and again embrace Jesus Christ and his Holy Gospel.

    Thank you again father. Lesson learned.

    Peter A. Papoutsis

    • Peter, the backgrounds of the modernists cited in the article are varied so your attention to the ethnicity of only a minority of them seems a bit strange.

      The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese has some excellent spiritual fathers and if I may be so bold as to repeat a friendly suggestion that I made to you a while ago, find one and be obedient to him.

      Involvement in theological or ecclesiastic disputes is not is for everybody but for those who are at least at illumination. When we try to bite off more than we can chew then our passions may lead us to say or do regretful things such as to criticize and find fault with an entire group of people or to decide who needs repentance. Here is some related advice that St. Paisios of Mount Athos once gave:

      “…don’t read subversive books and tracts that deal with ecclesiastic subjects if you wish to keep your peace because you’re not responsible for such serious matters. You have need of books that will help you in repentance. If you wish to help the Church, correct yourself and immediately you correct a piece of the Church. Naturally, if everybody were to do this, the Church would be corrected.”

      Find a spiritual father and be obedient. By his prayers this vain preoccupation with what others are doing will disappear seemingly as on its own.

      • Yes. This.

      • Fr Chris Moody says:

        Are you implying it was wrong for father to mention the subversive elements in the midst of the church? I seem to recall the very apostle to us gentiles warning about this..

        • Christ is Risen, Father Chris. No, that’s not what I was implying. I really appreciated Fr. Alexander’s important essay.

          My point was that we should not involve ourselves in ecclesiastic/theological issues if it will be to our detriment. It may be that particular people need to avoid them for good or otherwise it may be the case that we will need to avoid them at a particular point in our spiritual journey. Whatever the case may be, our spiritual father will be the one to decide and guide us accordingly so that we may put off the old man and become healed.

          It would be a great tragedy to spend our lives believing that we are defending the faith while in reality we are causing damage to our immortal soul.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says:

        When did you talk to Me? As to my personal detriment I actual had a wonderful spiritual father who kept me grounded and now have a new spiritual father who is also doing the same.

        My focus has always been Christ and His Holy Church, but when prominent GOAA theologians spout heresy I have a right to be offended and let the rest of Orthodoxy know they are wrong not the rest of us in the GO AS.

        I and other faithful GOAA members have been fighting the fight against the modernists in the GOAA for many years, and I am not backing down until THEY are driven out. Don’t worry about me I’m good. You should worry more about the modernists.

        I bid you peace…for now.

        Peter A. Papoutsis (Btw that’s my name what’s yours?)

        • But we need to be careful of both extremes. If the enemy can’t pull us to the left then surely he will try to attack us from the right.

          My only other comment to you was on the Crete and the Globalist Agenda thread here on Monomakhos where I responded to the first comment that you made there.

          And although I agree that it’s good policy to post under our name as you do, I won’t be doing that here. I have nothing to hide but as you know the online world is home to many disturbed people so the benefits of anonymity outweigh the costs for me at least.

  10. Christopher says:

    Well, it is about darn time someone start to call out and analyze the obvious *secularization* and secularizing theology of these folks. IMO:

    1) The first and third horse hinge on the second – it is the basic habits of heart (i.e. “religion) and mind (i.e. “theology”, and moral reasoning) that have become corrupted. These folks have accepted “another Jesus” as St. Paul would say but the deadly trick of secularism is that it makes you think that you can mix the light with the dark, that you can have your secularized pie and salvation also.

    2) As far as Orthodoxy goes, the real front line is this so called “restoration” of female deaconess. What they really intend is a new order of female deacons who are seminary educated, married, etc. but they are so far mostly adhering to the reformer rule book and not speaking about this openly.

    3) Our bishops in the English speaking world have largely been seduced – a majority (with important exceptions) are convinced that some kind of detente and compromise with secularism is possible and desirable.

    4) It may already be too late. The fact is there is a de facto schism on every level – within almost all parishes, among the clergy, bishops, and the seminary professionals.

  11. Fr. David says:

    There is a story about a Communist official, in the former Soviet Union, who gathered the village folk and spoke at length about the foolishness or Christianity. He gave it everything he had for over an hour. Finally, he allowed the village priest to address the crowd and he simply said: Christ is Risen! To which the throng replied: Indeed, He is Risen!

    In light of the above article, one would have to think long and hard about where one attended Seminary. In the book Apostle to Zaire, Fr. Kosmas WOULD NOT send his candidates for the priesthood to any seminary. Instead, he sent them for 2+ years to Gregoriou Monastery on Mt. Athos with the understanding that they would learn all that was needed, within this bastion of “Traditional” Orthodox Faith and Practice. People are starting to wise-up about the liberalism that is being peddled in many of our seminaries in the US. I actually believe the tide is turning away from anti-Traditionalism back to what is mocking referred to as Traditionalism. These left-wing rabble-rousers are trying to convince the masses the the Faith of the Fathers is now Passe. But the Traditionalists (and I am happy to have dropped anchor in this camp) are finally addressing these same crowds and, I believe, the results will be the same as the Communist official and priest noted above. Christ is Risen! Indeed, He is Risen! The TRADITIONAL FAITH, handed down from the Apostles and preserved by the Fathers, will prove victorious. frd+

    • Yes, Fr. David,

      It is just Orthodox Christianity, the faith of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. First called “Christians” at Antioch, the way being the way of partaking of the divine nature aka theosis.

      There are bishops and synods.

      There is a Church Calendar with the typika of St. Sabbas and of the Great Church indicating how the feasts and fasts are to be served.

      There is Sacred Tradition, the Scriptures, the Fathers, the Synods, iconography, liturgics and the canon law.

      And there are periodic summaries of the same produced among Orthodox peoples of the world such as the line of Russian works incorporating the term of art “Law of God” in their nomenclature.

      We are simply believers of the Faith.

  12. M. Stankovich says:

    Traditionalists v Fundamentalists is the “novo-killing-field” of the shadow of the Council of Crete. And that would the “Great Council,” as equally memorable, and equally as influential as the “Manhattan Declaration” (certainly you remember that baldfaced panegyric to our “alignment” with the Colson-driven heterodox christian right? What? not a Trojan peep?). OK, OK, that was pure ad hominem (strike three!)… And damn it, after eighteen paragraphs devoted to two “nobody” priests outside the claustrophobic, xenophobic, homo… (don’t do it!) world of the petite orthodox jabbernet, it just goes to show that Sartre – writing in Réflexions sur la Question Juive – proposes the perfect analogy: “If the Jew did not exist, the anti-Semite would invent him.”

    Kindly allow me to offer some perspective: IRL (“in the real world”) – or better, IRC (“in the real church”) – nobody cares and indifference reigns in orthodox america. Sophistry, you say? This year, I happened to see the Holy Week of the Passion of the Lord ignored from coast-to-coast. If you’re honest, you know it as well as I know it; nobody cares and indifference reigns in orthodox america. This is “magnificent,” Scott? “Brilliant” in the clarity of prose, Mr. Michalopolus? I sat down at Archbishop Benjamin’s desk on Great and Holy Wednesday and I read the “Homily on Holy Saturday” by St. John of Damascus, and I thought to myself, this is magnificent & brilliant, and imagined St. Ignatius Branchianinov would say, “If you really understood the might of this homily, you would fall down.” Not three days into the Feast of Feasts, and you regale with an ode to self-glorification and theological mediocrity? What’s up with that?

    • Michael Bauman says:

      Michael S.

      If no one cares, that means you don’t either. You fancy yourself too much a voice crying in the wilderness.

      I know many who care and struggle with their faith daily. None of them have “sat at the faith of great teachers” as you have, but they know Jesus Christ and Him Crucified. I hope to be one of them some day.

      You really ought to get out of the prisons and the west coast ghetto.

      • M. Stankovich says:

        I try to start my day by sitting in on the patient’s “Morning Meditation,” where a group of alcoholics/addicts with significant mental disorders speak of turning their will & lives over to the care of God – “for just today” – asking for help in the morning, and giving thanks in the evening, no matter the circumstance or content of their day. I often have heard it said that some of these purposely put their shoes far enough under the bed at night so they are forced to their knees in the morning, and in the evening to replace them; something to do with humility. “I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel,” (Lk. 7:9) and generally not in orthodox america, among the ordained clergy, and certainly not in the orthodox blogosphere (which continues to hold out the promise that any boy can be a google theologian & a psychiatrist). “Happy, joyous, and free,” says the Big Book of AA, a concept that apparently has yet to filter down to the “brilliance” of this post-Pascha “shrill” (and to Joseph Lipper I say, “Oorah”).

        I made a commitment to myself to learn something from someone every day – in effect making myself available – and I haven’t been disappointed since January 9th. Your logic is inept, cynical, & shallow, Michael Bauman, and sold as humility. As I stand with my wife at Sunset Cliffs, watching the sun set into the Pacific Ocean – “O Lord, how diverse are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all!” – I’ll remember your advice to get out of this ghetto, and customarily dismiss your “flowery mockery” until the next occasion you use my name. Best advice: go and do likewise.

        • Michael Bauman says:

          Michael S. I am sorry I offend you. I am not a humble man. I am arrogant and ignorant and prone to unrighteous anger. However the meek do not seem to flourish here or be particularly welcome.

          But my point is simply this. Logic is an extremely limited tool. You have to have your premises spot on or all you get is nicely packaged manure.

          I find your analysis and attitude wrong. I rather suspect we do not share the same premise as well.

          When you say “No one cares.” You are grammatically and existentially wrong. If you meant to say that you don’t care, OK. Or if you wanted to say that no one but the author cares you should say “No one else cares.”.

          Even that is wrong however as there are a lot of folks who care as evidenced by the comments here and on Fr. Hans site and the fact that Touchstone chose to post the article.

          Do you mean that no bishops care? No one in the East coast and West coast ghettoes care?

          I simply cannot make out what you really mean. Alas, that is not uncommon.

          You are still invited any time to get some fresh air and experience actual open space after breaking bread together here at St. George in Wichita, KS.

          360 degree open space around and 180 degree open space above with but a short drive. I can walk about 209 yards up the dirt road that runs in front of my home and be surrounded by space. Really soothes the nerves. It even manages to make me a little less arrogant and a little more thankful. I need to experience that more often. Thanks for the reminder.

        • V. Rev. Andrei Alexiev says:

          Christ is Risen!
          Dr. Stankovich;
          Unless I’m much mistaken, the verse from Psalm 104 translates as, ” How Wondrous are Thy Works, O Lord, in Wisdom hast Thou made them all”. At least, that’s how I translate from Slavonic. You , of course, know the original Greek.

          • V. Rev. Andrei Alexiev says:

            My mistake, the original, of course, was Hebrew. But the Septuagint Greek translation is considered the most accurate.,

      • Doctor Stankovich would have been a perfect fit as Bishop, or Metropolitan for the GOA. Archbishop not so much, as it requires a bit too much sucking up to politicos and rich,icky, Greekies! Grrrrr!

        • V. Rev. Andrei Alexiev says:

          Dino, I have disagreed with Dr. Stankovich, but I’m not sure your remark was called for. Of course, I’m just old country Ukrainian-Polish priest from Vermont!

    • Hope springs eternal, Dr. Stankovich,

      I for one am not willing to write off anyone and I don’t think God is either. I have merely stated where I feel comfortable communing given the stark realities of Orthodox life as we know it.

      Do practicing homosexuals burn in hell? Not necessarily. It is just that their proclivities stymie theosis. One can be very good and generous and care for the least of these, avoid hellfire, and still be a sinner. Most of us fit that bill. Certain serial sins are so severe in the psychological damage that they do, and St. Paul lists them, that making profound spiritual progress while unrepentant and engaging in them is not possible and attempts to do so might lead to madness.

      But God has not given up on anybody yet. And with God, all things are possible.

    • Amen to Mr. Bauman’s reply. I can testify IRL from personal experience this Holy Week/Pascha (and all year) that one ROCOR parish and one OCA parish in Dallas have devoted priests, parishioners, and visiting pilgrims who care deeply. As have every Elder Ephraim monastery I have been blessed to visit at any time of year. Come to the heartland to be heartened!

    • Pat Reardon says:

      “Manhattan Declaration” (certainly you remember that baldfaced panegyric to our “alignment” with the Colson-driven heterodox christian right?

      Chuck Colton (Lord rest him!) was friend of mine, and I was among the first movers in the Manhattan Declaration. (I obtained Bishop Basil’s signature on the original document, for instance.)

      I am in a position to say that M. Stankovich, in this instance, doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

      • George Michalopulos says:

        I too, Fr, was one of the first signatories to The Manhattan Declaration. It was one of my proudest moments.

  13. “Three Trojan Horses: Insider Attempts to Disorient the Orthodox”>
    Thank you for making us aware of the inroads of Satan to destroy the Orthodox Faith. The psychological war is the most insidious, odious, damaging and difficult one to fight, as we can witness from the corpses of the Protestant denominations. May God bless you to continue to lead despite the pressures that exist to stop you. And may God bless us who live to do His Will.

  14. Pat Reardon says:

    As usual when he writes, Father Alexander brilliantly elucidates the subject. I am among those grateful for his ever-reliable pen.

    May I be forgiven for pointing out an irony: This article appeared in an explicitly and unapologetically ECUMENICAL journal.

    I wonder if that says anything to those Orthodox Christians (and several of them post on this blog site) who imagine that ecumenical effort is a betrayal of the Orthodox Faith.

    • We need not argue about it, Fr. Pat.

      Russia passed judgment by not attending the Crete Robber Council. Antioch passed judgment by issuing its latest publication stressing triple immersion baptism. And the Church of Greece will pass judgment if and when it finds Patriarch Bartholomew guilty of the charge of heresy that has been presented against him before its synod.

      https://orthodoxethos.com/post/formal-accusation-of-heterodox-teaching-by-patriarch-bartholomew-submitted-to-the-hierarchy-of-the-church-of-greece

      The Ukrainian Uniate conversion (Abp. Ireland v. Fr. Toth in WWF match), the Paris School, Schmemann, the Metropolia, SVS, etc., we owe in whole or in part to Roman intrigue.

      Puhalo was wrong, Rose was right and there you go.

      And a hard rain will fall.

      • Rdr. Daniel says:

        Roman intrigue? Ah, where would we modern Orthodox be without the ever present and almighty Roman spectre lurking behind each and every iteration of the Faith. . . be it positively or as a foil?

        Also, the “Paris school” is a myth. To phrase it thus is to give the illusion that the emigres of the 20th century had a unified voice and vision, from Florovsky to Bulgakov to Lossky. It’s demonstrable, from a historical view, that the “Paris school” was in fact a largely mixed bag of orthodoxy and heterodoxy, containing its own internal stress and rivalries, yet without which much of the geopolitically “Western” world would still be languishing in ignorance as to what the Orthodox Church even is. Lossky, in particular, looms large in even the most radically un-ecumenical corners of the Orthodox world.

    • Christopher says:

      “I wonder if that says anything to those Orthodox Christians (and several of them post on this blog site) who imagine that ecumenical effort is a betrayal of the Orthodox Faith.”?

      Well, as someone who respects your work immensely I will answer your question with a firm no. the “ecumenical effort” is a multi-headed beast and to do it justice would take many more words than are possible in a comment box. Yes, there is “good” ecumenism such as your Touchstone and what George describes as the “ecumenism of the trenches”. However, there is obviously “bad” ecumenism such as the entire project of the EP for the last 100 years. How can we tell the difference? By their fruits of course.

      Just one specific point: “bad” ecumenism has certain presuppositions about the Faith, man, and creation which themselves are what Fr. Alexander describes as horse #2, and thus they are “a betrayal of the Orthodox Faith”…

    • Fr. Reardon,

      Bless!

      There is good ecumenism and bad ecumenism. Ecumenism is not inherently evil as long as the Faith is not compromised and the Holy. Canons, which ordained persons swore to uphold, aren’t despised and trampled upon.

      • Pat Reardon says:

        Maximus declares, “There is good ecumenism and bad ecumenism.”

        I rejoice to hear it.

        In the entire history of this blog site, this is, I believe, a first.

        Normally the very expression, “ecumenism,” is used here to identify a heresy.

        • George Michalopulos says:

          Fr, I myself have often made reference to “an ecumenism of the trenches”, i.e. that which is a “good ecumenism”. And I have always treasured your commentary as well as your excellent journal Touchstone.

          I can’t thank you enough for your edition on Tolkien which you put out several years ago. I believe I bought up the last one and made it a Christmas gift to my younger son two years ago.

    • Michael Bauman says:

      I assume Father you are referring to Touchstone. There is ecumenism and there are gatherings of idelologists claiming to be Christian.

      In any case the call should be consistent: Follow Jesus Christ and the faith of the Apostles. As messed up as we are, the Orthodox Church is the only Christian body where that can be experienced in the fullness of His life.

      Still there is the fact that where the sheep are, the wolves gather.

      The call to repentance is this: if you believe or support female ordination, normalization of homoeroticism, fornication and/or adultery, support abortion you are no longer a Christian. Repent and be restored. Remain unrepentant and be severed from the body.

      It matters not if they be Bishop, Priest, Monk or layity in the world.

      • We know where ecumenism leads – to Crete.

        Patriarch Jeremias II indulged in three back and forth correspondences with the Lutherans. Then he cut them off and let it go, telling them not to write him further except out of friendly disposition, nothing serious.

        That is the Orthodox way.

        We offer the Truth. It is not our obligation to convince anyone of it. They had better well recognize it when they see it, as we did when we first came to understand, since their souls are on the line.

        Cast not your pearls before swine.

  15. “Lagging in its responsiveness”, or steadfast in its unresponsiveness?

  16. This is precious, recall Mars Attacks? They’re afraid their heads will explode if confronted with the truth.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/04/19/berkeley-cancels-ann-coulter-speech-over-fears-of-more-violent-protests/?utm_term=.8e1befd71c4d

    BTW:

    This is the greatest movie ever made in terms of Christian symbolism, hands down. Venture if you dare:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0269347/

    And the piece de resistance:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dear-kim-jong-un-watch-out-for-trump-hes-even-crazier-than-you/2017/04/18/68360786-2458-11e7-b503-9d616bd5a305_story.html?utm_term=.59b1eb069ce9

  17. Chris Banescu says:

    Speaking of Trojan Horses…

    Fr. Michael Courey: Orthodox Church Must be More Inclusive, Welcome Same-Sex Couples
    http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/blog/2017/04/fr-michael-courey-orthodox-church-must-be-more-inclusive-welcome-same-sex-couples/

    • Peter Millman says:

      Hi Chris, Why doesn’t this priest join the Episcopal Church ?

      • Ελληνοαμερικανός says:

        Χριστὸς ἀνέστη!

        He doesn’t join the ECUSA because his modernist, wimpy, impotent Greek Orthodox bishops in the GOARCH tolerate and maybe even encourage this kind of garbage and apostasy.

        If he had a real bishop — say, Bishop Kyrill of the Western American ROCOR diocese or Met. Jonah, for example — and said this kind of thing in a public gathering, he would be given the opportunity to repent or would be laicized and likely he would excommunicate himself if non-repentant. Then, he would probably join the ECUSA.

        Make no bones about it — this kind of priest (and there are probably many) is an enemy of Christ and His Church. He is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. And the Ecumenical Patriarchate bishops are sufficiently compromised and emasculated that they will do nothing about it. They seem to think they need to “win the West’s approval” to get support for the EP from the West, and they may think that they have too much to lose by being faithful to the Church’s teaching, or they simply don’t even believe in it anymore. Reason #797 why any serious Orthodox Christian needs to flee the GOARCH as soon as possible.

        As far as “ecumenical” gatherings go, it’s well past the point where we have anything to say to modernist Catholics and Protestants, so these kind of “ecumenical” gatherings, where “approval of same-sex couples” (for example) are discussed, they are a complete waste of our time. This kind of “ecumenical” gathering with the modernists ceased to be productive more than 20 years ago.

        We need to focus our “ecumenical” discussions with the Oriental Orthodox, and maybe with traditionalist Catholics and traditionalist evangelicals and Anglicans (if they exist). These kind of WCC wastebasket ecumenical gatherings are a complete waste of time. But again, real bishops would stop their priests from participating in these silly carnival side-shows. This kind of thing incenses me so much because it confuses the faithful and essentially buys in to the garbage “modern wisdom” that “we know so much more about human nature than the Church Fathers and Mothers did.” That’s horse manure. Fr Michael Courey, the lesbian bishop in the local ECUSA is waiting for your call to come under her leadership. Please repent or call her. By joining her, you’ll make yourself feel good by giving lip service to Christ while in truth completely abandoning Him. This is emblematic of the most common satanic heresy of our day.

        Faithful Orthodox need to stand up for the Truth and fight this garbage.

        • Chris Banescu says:

          re: “Faithful Orthodox need to stand up for the Truth and fight this garbage.
          Amen!

          Christian Pastors Must Stand for Truth, Righteousness, and Morality in the Public Arena
          Fr. Josiah Trenham
          http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/blog/2017/01/christian-pastors-must-stand-for-truth-righteousness-and-morality-in-the-public-arena/

          Memo to Greek Orthodox Bishops: Stop Honoring Pro-Abortion Politicians
          Fr. Hans Jacobse
          http://www.aoiusa.org/memo-to-greek-orthodox-bishops-stop-honoring-pro-abortion-politicians/

          Culture Wars Threaten the Orthodox Church, Our Freedom, and Our Families
          Fr. John Whiteford
          http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/blog/2016/08/culture-wars-threaten-the-orthodox-church-our-freedom-and-our-families/

          Priest vs. Priest on Homosexual Orientation
          Fr. Hans Jacobse
          http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/blog/2014/04/priest-vs-priest-on-homosexual-orientation/

          Putting on the Armor of God: Being a Warrior When It’s Popular to Be a Weaner
          Fr. Thaddaeus Hardenbrook
          http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/blog/2016/07/putting-on-the-armor-of-god-being-a-warrior-when-its-popular-to-be-a-weaner/

          • The Church of Bulgaria has reaffirmed its Orthodoxy, Slava Bogu!:

            http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/92763.htm

          • You should think about this, all of you:

            I empathize with the Coptic father regarding the martydom of his people. I will never thank Satan’s servants for murdering the lambs of the Lamb, my stomach could not take that. But I empathize.

            Now, blessing those who curse you and loving your enemies is a bit different than thanking them and inviting them to abuse, rape and murder you – in effect daring them to do so. I’m appalled at the way he expressed himself, but to each his own.

            Beyond that, all I have to say is this. I have told you the truth about what Christ taught and about what the Church has taught over the ages. When, not if, when they come to blow up your churches, rape and or sodomize your daughters and wives, sons and you, etc., do not blame God for it.

            Blame yourselves.

            God ordered the Israelites to wipe out Amalek. Christ told His Apostles to arm themselves when they went out to convert the Gentiles. We need not argue about that. You can read it in the Gospel of Luke.

            The Muslims are Amalek. There is no distiction except that they are, if anything, worse. Herem is justified. That I will not flinch from that, not now, not tomorrow, not in the face of God Almighty, Himself. He does not desire what they are doing, though He allows it. He will help us if we help ourselves. Pacifism is a weapon, it is not a straightjacket. He will come again IN GLORY to judge the living and the dead. He came once as a servant, the Incarnate God, to be tortured, die, be resurrected. He came in the flesh, died in the flesh and was raised to glory in the flesh.

            You will search the Fathers in vain for a consensus that pacifism is mandatory. The Church has never, ever taught that. Satan wants you to believe it because it makes it easier for him. That’s the truth. It is an option. Sometimes it is the best option. But we have other weapons authorized by Our Lord God and Savior as well. Have faith.

            I do not suggest that we wage nuclear war tomorrow morning on the ummah, the Islamic community. That is not necessary. We need to contain and convert them. The first order of business is to expel as many as legally possible from Christian lands so that we are not wondering what’s going to blow up next. That makes clear thinking difficult. That is what Satan wants.

            I will be starting a webpage to gather the forces of the sons of light to fight with all available weapons in this stuggle. Monomakhos, “He who fights alone”, has been a blessing. I will continue to post here from time to time as well.

            This is very serious. The pastors have been very derelict at defending their flocks – unconscionably so. It is time for that to come to an end.

            The site will be “Podvig: Defending the Church Against All Enemies of Christ”.

            I will keep George posted.

            God bless,
            Misha

        • Ellinoamericanos,(Greek American)

          If all “serious” Orthodox Christians flee the GOARCH, as you advise, then for sure the Greek Orthodox Church will be doomed. Why not stand up and protect your church from falling into the hands of heresy. If more and more fight the good fight our church will flourish. The GOA has many shortcomings, but it’s potential is great here in American, if we reverse course. Many Protestants, and Roman Catholics want a church that is firm in it’s convictions, and traditions. We can provide that if we demand it from our bishops and priests. It might get ugly, but Christ never cared for the luke warm.

    • Here’s some good news! Hank Hanegraaff, a well known Evangelical national radio host, has joined The Greek Orthodox Church, and still plans to continue his Radio show, “The Bible Answer Man”. Hopefully he starts a trend with his large radio audience, and following. I would always listen to his radio show driving home from work. What a blessing for him, his wife, and our church, with the exposure he will bring on his show.

      • George Michalopulos says:

        Excellent news indeed, Dino!

        • As expected many evangelical pastors are not happy with Hank converting. One local radio station has already dropped his radio broadcast. The most vocal, Pastor Jeff Maples, even went to Saint Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church in South Carolina (Hank ‘s parish) during the anastasi service to see what could compel such a learned Bible scholar to convert to what he says is not even a Christian church . His ignorance was not even slightly reversed by the anastasi service and went on to write a scathing essay on his blog about Orthodoxy. I’m sure more blowback will follow for Hank, but I also believe many evangelicals will also be curious of Hank’s new church and will convert as well.

    • Dear God, this is such garbage. A few nice excerpts:

      Does the couple living together outside of marriage belong to the Church family? Does the same-sex couple belong to the Church family?

      Obviously not. Sin cuts us off from the life of Christ and the Church. (I wonder if Fr. Courey would ever deny communion to anyone? Far too many priests wouldn’t—IT’S MEAN, after all! Well, he probably would excommunicate a conservative “hater.”)

      the Church is so oriented towards the traditional conservative view of marriage and the family

      Shock and horror! The Church is oriented towards its own teachings! HOW EXCLUSIONARY!

      Our Church needs to welcome and minister with greater urgency to singles, divorced, widowed, and to all couples regardless of their sexual orientation who are yearning to be part of the Christian family they grew up in and love from the very depths of their soul

      Well, duh. If they are yearning for the Church, they should be happy to repent. After doing so, welcome home.

      Does the couple living together outside of marriage belong to the Church family? Does the same-sex couple belong to the Church family? Does the divorced and remarried couple belong to the Church family?

      To all of these: No. Their situation can be regularized, but that involves the nasty “R” word (repentance), likely doing penance for a time, and moving into a regular situation. In the case of those in unnatural “marriages”, the only recourse is separation. There is no other way to resolve it.

      • George Michalopulos says:

        Good question. What would Fr Coury say to a polygamous family, say from a renegade Mormon cult, that wanted a church home?

        • George,

          We have an Orthodox Christian answer to this. The people are to be received but there are to be no further marriages.

      • Chris Banescu says:

        Noticeably absent in Fr. Michael Courey’s presentation is the word REPENTANCE (as a necessary precondition of following Christ and participating in the sacramental life of the Church), whether talking about the faithful in the pews or retelling the Gospel’s accounts of Christ’s interactions with sinners.

        He also fails to mention Christ’s admonishment to “Go and sin NO more!” at the end of His encounter with the adulteress whom Jesus saved from being stoned.

      • It is a measure of our deep corruption that the necessity of repentance need even be mentioned. The good news – the Gospel – was/is not that repentance was necessary. The good news is that repentance is available to us at all, that it is, in fact, a possibility.

    • Ελληνοαμερικανός says:

      Also, it’s very telling that the priest in question outs himself as a fully Westernized, “modernist” pastor, with his quote: “I have heard countless times from singles, young and old alike, that the Church is so oriented towards the traditional conservative view of marriage and the family that they feel there is no place for them in the pews.”

      No self-respecting Orthodox pastor would speak of his flock having a place “in the pews.” Besides the fact that Orthodox churches do not have protestant-style “pews” (since the central point of our services is not to listen to a long lecture by the pastor, but rather to partake of the Eucharist), Church is supposed to make us feel uncomfortable! It is supposed to make us realize how different the Kingdom of Heaven is from this world. It is supposed to call us to repentance. It is *not* supposed to make us feel better about ourselves! There are plenty of Moral Therapeutic Deists out there who can do that.

      Buying in to this kind of language shows that this priest is fully integrated into the Western mindset, the mindset that elevates our fallen human “logic” and “reason” above the passed down wisdom of the Church (reason does not equal wisdom); the mindset that perceives Church as worshipping the spiritual/immaterial over the material, rather than worshipping the Creator of creation.

      He seems to be trying to gain parishioners by making them more comfortable “in the pews.” This is a losing proposition. It baffles me how folks don’t look at history: every Christian body that has tried to make itself more “approachable” to the modern, secular world has decimated its membership.

      Our Divine Liturgy and Divine Services were never and are not meant to be tools of evangelism. We do not simplify them to try to attract people. They are meant to take us “into the kingdom of heaven.” If you are already talking about trying to make church more “comfortable for people to sit in the pews,” you’ve already missed the point entirely and have bought in to the secularist agenda just like the ECUSA, PCUSA, UCC, etc. I am fearful to wonder at how many of our Orthodox parishes in North America are at this stage.

      • Our Divine Liturgy and Divine Services were never and are not meant to be tools of evangelism. We do not simplify them to try to attract people.

        I wholeheartedly agree with you here, especially in regards to the Divine Liturgy. The non-Orthodox could not even enter the nave of the church, nor could the excommunicated. Part of me would like to see a return to this practice.

  18. Michael Bauman says:

    …And that is the “ecumenical” apostasy that we must avoid. Huffington is anathema. He should be excommunicated.

  19. Caroline Humphrey says:

    I think that the bottom line is lack of Biblical and Tradition(al) education of the laity. When there is the assumption that once we are baptized we are “in,” so to speak, and need no further education. there is no growth. A ten minute sermon does not constitute an education class. Most secular businesses require on going education in order to stay employed. The Church requires no such thing. Jesus said to “go and make disciples. baptizing them…” We baptize first and forget about making disciples. Then wonder why it falls apart.

    Priests come out of the laity, so that if they haven’t been educated before they arrive in seminary, they really can’t make up all that lost time in four years. When education stops with children’s Sunday School, what can be expected?

    Or as my favorite priest of long ago said, “When the Church fails to do its job, the secular world steps in.” We are seeing the secular world step in.

  20. There are such plagues sent to those who have entered into the great whore, or is this Holy Scripture considered nonsense? These plagues are sent by the Holy God as punishments, some meant to cause repentance.Homosexuality is a plague of the great whore, this is where it comes from, from God. Reprobate minds is also mentioned by St Paul. If one understands my definition of abomination of desolation, concluding why these sorry people are being punished is obvious. If the authentic church begins to call homosexuality what it is, a plague of the great whore. It could help change the minds of Orthodox people who favor some part of the LBGT agenda. It is a plague and it wants to spread itself, especially to the young.You cannot become gay,if you love God and serve Him alone, and live by the Word of God. God made us male and female, because God will not send this plague after you.TEACH THIS. for the sake of the souls of men, and the Glory of God.

  21. James Condra says:

    Ryszard Legutko’s recent book, “The Demon in Democracy,” is enlightening to those who want to understand the broader significance of the projects for the Orthodox Church being underwritten at OCSC-Fordham and the Loyola-Marymount Institute. Legutko is or was a Polish member of the EU parliament, a Catholic, a philosophy professor, and a former member of Solidarity. After reading this book, the work of OCSC-Fordham will remind one of the “Living Church’ project of the 1920s, transferred to North America.

    • Christopher says:

      “After reading this book, the work of OCSC-Fordham will remind one of the “Living Church’ project of the 1920s, transferred to North America.”

      This. However Fordham, Deacon Nicholas and Loyola-Marymount are just visible expressions of a widespread secularism and secularizing theology/praxis that is significant at ALL levels of Orthodoxy in Western Europe and North America (and of course Istanbul and its apparatus). In other words, Orthodoxy in “western civilization” is assimilating not only the culture but the religion of secularism. This is particularly true among our “leadership” = bishops (a majority I believe), some clergy, much laity, and especially the “theologians” and seminary professionals. Orthodoxy is headed toward a kind of Eastern rite Episcopalianism (as strained as that analogy is), and it will the ordination of “female deacons” in the coming years that will be the most important and destructive work of this “living church”…

      • Vasily Lypkivskoy says:

        How you know? You visit this places? You go to Fordham or Loyola? Or you read blog all day? You go to Orthodox seminary?

        • Estonian Slovak says:

          Clever, taking the name of the self-consecrated Ukrainian ”Metropolitan” Vasyl Lypkiwsky and russifying it.

          Where you study English? You not know articles exist in English? Is true, Russian, Pole, Slovak, Estonian, Finn not use articles because not exist in such languages, but English yes.

          What you do all day? You not working? Drinking vodka at 2:37 PM? Was it drinking vodka and posting on Internet in 19th Century Russia? No, it was not! Is outrage!

  22. https://www.yahoo.com/news/pope-says-refugee-centres-concentration-camps-174626226.html

    Even the pope lacks eyes to see. The enemy is Islam. He calls the refugee camps “concentration camps” because Muslims slit the throat of the Christian wife of a Muslim detained there. They did it because she was wearing a cross.

    How bad does it have to get before we purge ourselves of these monsters and take steps to contain and defend ourselves from them?

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Francis’ papacy is pointless at this point.

      • It all makes sense now. It’s not America.

        Babylon, the Mother of All Harlots is Europe.

        I didn’t see it before this morning.

  23. It has come to me that we have been far too hard on ourselves as Orthodox in dealing with the homosexuality question. There is a simple effective answer to what plagues us if we have the courage to face it.

    If “gays” or “lesbians” wish to repent and become Christians or recommit themselves to Christ, then they need to make no demonstration whatsoever of their internal commotion. They must not identify as “gays” or “lesbians” but bear their cross in silence, perhaps engaging in some type of Orthodox Christian reparative endeavor. Otherwise, they are a danger to themselves, each other, the children of the parish and the world at large.

    I will not flinch from this and believe that it should be the standard in our churches. It is not up to me, however. That’s why God made bishops. However, some of our bishops have been unconscionably derelict in their handling of these matters. And they only have themselves to blame for the result.

  24. George,

    The thing of it is this: Muslims were born into their faith and yet they have enough virtue to identify unrepentant homosexuality as an abomination which they generally don’t tolerate. I’m getting the feeling that God will simply not allow us to make war against them much longer, even in defense, when we are not willing to purge the unrepentant evil from among us.

    God has a sense of humor, but this is life and death. I’m pretty sure I’m right about this. That’s just too much hypocrisy for Him.

  25. ReaderEmanuel says:

    Shall we say “Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes” (“I fear the Greeks even when they bear gifts”)? I fear that Crete will lead to a full blown schism in the Church that will consist of those who follow the Ecumenical Patriarch and those who refuse to. It is way past time that we as Orthodox Christians examine our priests and bishops (as we have a right and duty to) and DEMAND that either they follow the teachings of the Church or repent of their heresy of ecumenism, or demand their resignations if they will not! Of course, there are some who will say that Bartholomew and his compadres are the ones teaching the truth…this is not going to be pretty, my friends.

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Reader, I wanted to sleep on your comment. I believe you are correct –all things being equal.

      Basically, we have two roads ahead:

      1. the present EP gives Ukraine autocephaly in conjunction with his own espousal of a formal unia with Rome, or

      2. wiser heads in the Phanar will prevail and Orthodoxy will triumph.

      I realize many will wonder at why I lump Ukraine and unia into one batch, after all, can’t he divorce one from the other in his dealings with the West? Allow me to explain: All things considered, I believe that the EP would rather not deal with Ukraine at present and concentrate more on unia with Rome. Unfortunately for him, the globalist situation is one of unremitting hatred towards Russia and the Ukrainian situation is a festering wound that could serve as a pressure point against Moscow. Thus, given the fact that the Phanar is one of the pawns for the EU, the Phanar doesn’t have the luxury of separating the two.

      So what’s holding the Phanar back? Besides Moscow, there’s Athos which is in open rebellion. Add to it the full-throated repudiation of Crete by Bulgaria and a growing disenchantment with it by Serbia and Romania, we can begin to see how unstable the Cretan coalition is. Even in the GOA (the crown jewel of the Phanar), any effort at unia will likely blow up in the EP’s face.

      In fact, it would be catastrophic. Therefore I predict that the Phanar will go ahead and do the West’s bidding, consequences be damned.

      • Fr. Harry Linsinbigler says:

        George, you completely misread the EP. Of course the EP wants union with Rome, but not unia, but rather that Rome accepts the principles defined by the 19th century traditional councils. There are 1 billion RCs. Why would we be resistant to them returning to Orthodox Catholicity?

        Also, being a professor of logic, the internet in general is bothersome, but some of you drive me crazy. If the EP wants to be “pope of the Orthodox”, how can he at the same time want to submit himself to Rome and erase Orthodoxy? I notice that none of the “suspicionados” (*new word, enter into glossary) of the EP mention both accusations in the same article.

        As for your “possibilities”, possibility #1
        1. the present EP gives Ukraine autocephaly in conjunction with his own espousal of a formal unia with Rome
        is not even possible. There is no autocephaly in union with Rome. If it became a precept of Rome, we may be making some headway.

        God hates schism. Why are we doing absolutely nothing to end the largest schism ever in a legitimate manner from the Orthodox POV, and instead being more concerned about preserving the Sabbath rather than the man for whom the Sabbath was created? We should be concerned about both, but making first things first. I feel like many of you don’t care one whit about the fact that we are very close to bringing one billion people back into the unity and fullness of God’s Holy Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church.

        • George Michalopulos says:

          Good points Fr. However as far as my own position is concerned, you may have misread me. I too want the healing of the Great Schism. Not only the Schism with Rome but with the non-Chalcedonians as well.

          As far as Rome is concerned, I’m not sure they can give up the Filioque. I’m not a canonist nor a theologian but in my book, if that clause is repudiated (and not elided over, fudged, tweaked, etc), then everything else would fall into place and the subsequent heresies of Rome (Immaculate Conception, the Barlaam/Palamite controvery, Papal Infallibility, etc) would wither away for lack of oxygen. Maybe I’m naive.

          To the broader point however, the globalist vibrations that I and others see emanating from Istanbul do not engender warm fuzzies. Indeed, the actual praxis of the Phanar ever since the time of Metaxakis shows an actual tendency towards supremacism and an unhealthy willingness to conform to the world.

          That’s my take. I hope I’m wrong.

          • Monk James says:

            Christ is risen, truly risen!

            Although I realize that not everyone understands this, one of the most important things which ‘the West’ must relinquish in reuniting with Orthodoxy is the use of matzah instead of leavened bread for the Eucharist.
            The authentically Orthodox Catholic Christian Tradition relies on the gospel according to John — and he was an eyewitness — that the Pesakh/Paskha (Passover) did not begin until the evening of the day on which our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified.

        • Fr. Harry,

          Patriarch Bartholomew attempted to lead the Orthodox Church into a Unia with Rome on nebulous terms stating that there are other “churches” besides the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church in the document of a purported council of the Church. Moreover, in the lead up to this Robber Council, Patriarch Bartholomew coerced the primates into locking in language to the proposed documents for the council that could only thereafter be amended by a unanimous vote.

          He is beneath contempt.

          The synod of Greece has received a charge of heresy against him and will try it at their pleasure. I have no doubt that the man is a heretic Uniate.

          We are not close to bringing close to a billion people into the unity of the Church because they know nothing of the Orthodox faith and little of the Roman Catholic faith which is the sin of Rome. What we were close to doing was attempting a unia based on the branch theory and baptismal theology, the worst of Protestant ecclesiology. Patriarch Bartholomew and his synod were wicked in this regard and deserve the approbation and scorn of the rest of the Church. Being as yet uncondemned as heretics by a synod of the Church, they remain Orthodox in the technical sense, but their souls are in danger of hellfire and the souls of all under them are in jeopardy as well.

          Let us not mince words about the magnitude of the betrayal that was attempted at Crete.

          A number of local churches refused to participate in the travesty and have issued responses to the documents issued by the Robber Council. Patriarch Bartholomew has brought us to the precipice of schism and persists in persecuting those hierarchs of the Church of Greece who resist his evil machinations.

          Monks on Athos are being turned out of their cells because of the heresy of this minion of the evil one. Do not think that God takes this lightly.

          • Matthew Panchisin says:

            Dear Misha,

            Again, there actually is nothing we can do about it, it’s underway so to speak.

            In Christ,

            Matthew Panchisin

            • Matthew,

              I’m not sure what you mean by repeating “there actually is nothing we can do about it”.

              What I have done since around the time of the Crete council is call others’ attention to the specific mechanics of Patriarch Bartholomew’s efforts. Others have done this in greater detail, Met. Hierotheos (Vlachos) and Fr. Theodoros Zisis being two notables.

              One cannot do anything further, as you suggest, except reject attempts by those defending Patriarch Bartholomew’s actions to whitewash what he has done and is doing at the present time. If I could physically stop him, rest assured I would. Failing that, making sure that his name bears the dark blemish of heresy and persecution of the righteous is not an altogether wasted effort.

              Yet I am aiming for bigger game at the moment and so his excellent adventures do not preoccupy me as they have at times in the recent past. Regardless, refuting his defenders is not exactly vain contention.

        • Christopher says:

          “God hates schism. Why are we doing absolutely nothing to end the largest schism ever in a legitimate manner from the Orthodox POV”

          I don’t believe this is realistic. It is no longer adequate to call the dogmatic/theological differences between Rome and Orthodoxy “a schism” Some of these are relatively new and ecclesiastical (such as Vatican I {notice I did not say Vatican II}) but some of them are ancient and Christological and anthropological (e.g. Filioque, Theotokos, Augustine’s “Original Sin” or at least what became of it in the subsequent history of Scholasticism, Counter-Reformation, etc.). I know the theological/dogmatic minimalism that is the detritus of the Parisian/Met. Kallistos Ware school is the lens through which most english speaking Orthodox see all this from and thereby (falsely) minimize it into a “schism”, but such a view is a minority view and will not carry the future I don’t think. Heck, even Patriarch Bartholomew once acknowledged this (in a moment of lucidity that he no doubts regrets 😉 ) when he said that we have “ontological” differences with the RC’s.

          “instead being more concerned about preserving the Sabbath rather than the man for whom the Sabbath was created? ”

          Please Fr. Harry, can we refrain from the simplistic moralizing and finger wagging long enough to recognize that this subject can not be reduced to an “ah, it was all just One Big Misunderstanding” which is of course “fixed” by a “change in attitude”?

          ” I feel like many of you don’t care one whit about the fact that we are very close to bringing one billion people back into the unity and fullness of God’s Holy Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church.”

          Speaking for myself, I give a whit, but only a whit – and I don’t think we are very close to it at all. No, I do not believe that the history of heresy and schism is a significant concern in the life of most Orthodox Christians in this world or even in the Eschaton. The historical, theological forces (the principalities and powers – and of course Providence Himself) that are behind all this are simply not what each of us are really supposed to concern ourselves with. One of the indicators to me of the futility of modern “ecumenism” and “theological dialogue” besides all the sour fruit, is the desperation felt by so many for it. It’s almost as if some believe that it is up to us to fix and save the Church, and the world, and (fill in the blank)…

  26. Michael Bauman says:

    There you go again George. Athos is not in rebellion. The EP is. I really wish you would reorient the battle. Every time you say “Athos is in rebellion” the picture is skewed in the wrong direction.

    One cannot be in rebellion against someone leading the Church astray.

  27. John Nixon says:

    Let’s consider the dialectic that’s forming. The Trojan Horse is the Action. The Reaction: Conscientious opposing voices respond to what I’ll call the Cozeners’ Council in Crete, that have gone mainstream with increasing momentum: the Thessaloniki International Synaxis (forbidden of COG clergy to attend) on April 4, and now plans for a similar meeting sponsored by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/102951.htm), both as a response and opposition to issues laid bare subsequent to the Cozeners’ Council. I see God’s Hand in allowing the Cozeners’ Council in Crete to happen as it did, such that those veering from Truth became exposed and conscientious voices for Truth gain courage to stand and speak.

    So yes, Billy Jack Sunday (4/18 post), I do believe that “God is leading the Church,” but not in the way your detractors think!

  28. Theology Gone Bonkers says:

    What on earth is this? Is this theological article basically saying that for Orthodox Christians sex outside of sacramental marriage is healthy?

  29. If you don’t believe that gay marriage is being pushed by modernists within the Church today, behold https://publicorthodoxy.org/2017/05/02/conjugal-friendship/

    • And the original version of this essay is even more brazen: https://www.academia.edu/31919757/TGSAConferencePaper.pdf

      “On the question of same-sex desire in human and social life, and whether it has a place in ecclesial life, the response of episcopal synods, individual bishops, and prominent pastors and theologians in the Orthodox Church has been predictably and uniformly negative: to the specific question, “Can two persons of the same gender have sex with each other,” Orthodox tradition seems to reply with a resounding “No!”
      Yet if we reframe the question—if we shift our attention away from an almost voyeuristic obsession with the techniques of sexual performativity, and we ask, instead, “Can two persons of the same gender share a monogamous, spiritually and emotionally unitive bond of love that presupposes some form of bodily expression,” the scales begin to fall from our eyes as we slowly and laboriously uncover, deep within the very heart of Orthodox tradition, answers that border on the astonishing.”

      • Cyprian says:

        Hello Father John Whiteford,
        After reading this pompous, useless article, all I can say is this guy is really full of himself. I feel like I need to take a bath.

      • Joseph Lipper says:

        Fr. John,

        This guy is writing from the position of wishful thinking. His is not a viewpoint that is taken seriously by the Church. The author here even admits that nobody in the Church is taking his position seriously.

        • Except this article is being promoted by the Chair of Orthodox Christian Studies at Fordham University (George Demacopoulos) and the Archbishop Demetrios Chair in Orthodox Theology and Culture at Fordham University (Aristotle Papanikolaou). So one has to ask why the Greek Archdiocese is putting up with pro-homosexual propaganda like this from people that they promote on their official website.

          • Joseph Lipper says:

            Father John,

            Fordham University is a Jesuit school, it is not an Orthodox institution by any means. The hired faculty there can teach whatever they want, as long as Fordham allows it. Nobody would expect a Jesuit institution like this to be at the forefront of Orthodox theology.

            The position of “Archbishop Demetrios Chair in Orthodox Theology and Culture” was created by a $2 million grant to Fordham University provided by the late pharmaceutical billionaire and former vice chairman of the Greek Archdiocese, Michael Jaharis. Archbishop Demetrios showed up to receive an honorary doctorate because of the money given by Jaharis, and Fordham also honored His Eminence by naming the faculty position after him. He was probably less than thrilled that they named this position after him, but what’s he supposed to do?

            Regarding the essay you quote, on “Conjugal Friendship”, this is an academic essay, not propaganda. You offer us a link to it on “Public Orthodoxy”, an academic blog published by Fordham University. Academic essays are open to academic critiques and peer review. The essay’s author fully expects this.

            Propaganda comes from the mainstream media or “official” sources, not from academic blogs. Are you finding this essay on the official Greek Archdiocese website? I couldn’t find it there.

            • Fordham University Orthodox and Public Orthodoxy author George Demacopoulos has certainly been promoted as a speaker with ecumenical/modernist viewpoint by Goarch.org with the blessing of Met. Isaiah in his approach to the Great Council https://www.goarch.org/-/denver-metropolis-archons-host-council-symposium?redirect=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goarch.org%2Fsearch%3Fp_p_id%3D3%26p_p_lifecycle%3D0%26p_p_state%3Dmaximized%26p_p_mode%3Dview%26_3_groupId%3D32058%26_3_keywords%3DGeorge%2Bdemacopoulos%26_3_struts_action%3D%252Fsearch%252Fsearch%26_3_redirect%3D%252F&inheritRedirect=true. There is a definite nonTraditional “slant” to articles on Public Orthodoxy and no way to reply or rebut publicly.

              As human beings, we are affected by peer pressure and simply the character of our peers and by being paid. To work for a Roman Catholic institution and maintain one’s Orthodox view requires strenuous work. As a physician I believe the studies about physicians — that we are impacted by pharmaceutical company reps — and steer clear. Why does someone Orthodox choose to work at a Catholic institution? One wonders. George D is reportedly an Archon himself. I would feel much better if those with a different ~ ie, Traditional ~ view of the Council and “social” issues were at least equally promoted by the Metropolitans and purportedly Orthodox departments and blogs from institutions of learning. Hoping Fr Peter Heers, Met Athanasius of Limassol and Met. Hierotheos will receive invitations and a warm welcome, for example, just out of fair play.

              I converted to the Orthodox Church and am sensitive to those trying to change it from within rather than converting to another more suitable group themselves. Likely they are deluded by the evil one into not seeing the reality, but it is quite the psychological and spiritual power trip to attempt to destroy and recreate a person or group or faith tradition in one’s image and under one’s own control instead of under the control of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Tradition and the Holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church. I trust the latter three. For those who do not, please exercise integrity and find the nonOrthodox group of your choice which fits best. I will and do pray for everyone to find the Orthodox Church honestly and in the time God wishes on their journey. Please leave the Orthodox Church intact if you choose to stay or depart. God speed on all our journeys and may they end as God desires for us all.

              • M. Stankovich says:

                Nicole,

                I hold a graduate degree from the Bioethics program at Fordham University, Rose Hill Campus, and for a time I was an adjunct instructor in the Graduate School of Social Work at the Lincoln Center Campus. It is a Jesuit school. Nothing more, nothing less. This is not the legacy of Fr. John Meyendorff, and he would not recognize what it has become. It was, at one time, a great source of pride for him, and he was the only SVS faculty member to hold a tenured faculty position outside the seminary while a full-time faculty member at SVS. As I recall, 4 stops passed Crestwood on the local Harlem line only.

                I would note that I was never water-boarded, coerced, mocked, hypnotized, unduly or unfairly influenced or persuaded by anyone at anytime, or for any reason. But I was challenged, forced to think, forced to reason, and demanded to draw upon my faith and integrity – in fact, my moral character and reasoning – if I presumed to place myself in a role of arbiter of bioethical decisions, before God and men. You would want a Jesuit, I suspect. I have no regrets.

                Practically speaking, my continuing education is equally intense, equally confrontational, equally controversial & disconcerting. But on the average, I receive 5-7 calls per month from priests or bishops asking for my advice about a “transgender,” sex offender, “emerging homosexual,” or significantly impaired emerging psychiatric condition in a parishioner – and the age, gender, and ordination status can be across the spectrum. But more disturbing are the questions regarding such things as pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (i.e. genetic testing of fertilized embryos for disease before implantation; and genetic testing for undesirable characteristics e.g. short stature, etc.). If I’m not mistaken, however, we Orthodox apparently already have answers to these questions, but they just aren’t convincing. Wow.

                In another part of my life, a poseur said to me, “You don’t seem to appreciate how we take this [the letter Fr. Whiteford has referenced above] as DEADLY seriously.” My response – which Fr. Hans censored – was that what I take deadly serious is sitting across from a man who emptied a handgun into a cop’s head, and then licked the blood off his lips. He had an unique tattoo on the side of his head, but so did six other gang members, so he only did 10-years “half-time” (i.e. 5-years) for manslaughter. I trust the Lord will protect me, but I don’t turn my back on him. Somehow, this is an analogy of my journey among the Jesuits, Nicole! Sometimes – as I’m sure you know well – it’s complicated: “I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then said I, ‘Here am I; send me.’ (Isa. 6:8)

                • Estonian Slovak says:

                  Call me un-Christian, but why is the SOB who emptied his revolver into the cop’s head still alive? The thief on the cross confessed Christ , but still had to die.

                  • M. Stankovich says:

                    Estonian Slovak,

                    Criminals – significantly mentally ill criminals in particular – are tragically disconcerting. This man was floridly psychotic and terrified, but typical of “gangstas,” refused medication or therapy because it was intolerable to his gang. Also typical of his gang was a hairstyle where the sides of the head are shaved, and the head is tattooed with very distinct gang tattoos. 3-4 gangstas crept up behind the officer sitting in his patrol car at night, and this fellow, floridly psychotic & hallucinating, shot him. Apparently someone in the car – perhaps under arrest – remembered the tattoo. The police picked up a ton of them, all with the tattoo – narrowed it to the 3-4 from local cameras, but that was it. From there, they offer the “deal” of 10-years “half-time” to end the case, rather than trials (that either side could lose) “sparing” the cop’s family from back & forth to court, blah, blah, blah. Pitiful. What is interesting about this man, however, is that he went to prison, volunteered for the mental health program; voluntarily got on meds; got a GED; was trained as a roofer; came out on parole; and volunteered to come to my program. In that he cannot be tried again for the same crime, he “confessed” to me that he murdered the cop, and that he hallucinates the voice of the cop. Trust that I am not offering mitigation for circumstances I cannot comprehend, but it is a long way to the bottom.

            • Mr. Lipper,

              The facts you have stated here are inarguable. But I do have to wonder: Where does truth – not fact but truth – fit into this?

              Is an Orthodox Christian in the academic world somehow exempted from obedience to the truth of the Gospel merely because he is subject to (or even respects) the review of his academic peers?

              And what of the Jesuits whose institution this is? Are they not Roman Catholic? Does being in an academic institution somehow liberate them from obedience to their faith?

              Is there something somehow sacred about academic pursuit that raises those in this vocation above the disciplines of thought required of all Christians? Are academics, alone among us, exempt from the command to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ”?

              Your will note phrases repeated in these questions, phrases containing the word obedience – to the truth, to the Gospel. These are phrases repeated over and over in the words of the apostles. It is an obedience that is sorely lacking in the ‘Christian’ academic world. And while we should all have great respect for academic pursuit in the service of revealed truth, no Christian is exempt from the obligation to discipline his mind and his work in obedience to the truth of the Gospel. And those who deem themselves exempt by virtue of their vocation reveal that they are assuredly not disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ.

              • Joseph Lipper says:

                Brian, one does have to wonder why someone from the GOA gave $2 million to a Jesuit school to start an Orthodox studies program. Why didn’t they just give this money to Holy Cross Seminary?

                If these same professors were teaching this same stuff at Holy Cross, it would probably be taken much more seriously.

                “Orthodox theology” coming from a Jesuit institution, it just seems inherently suspect.

                • George Michalopulos says:

                  Good question. You’re making me think things re Holy Cross through. You think it might be because HC/HC is a sinking ship?

                  • Cyprian says:

                    Hi George,
                    It seems that almost everything is a sinking ship. All colleges everywhere are becoming prohibitively expensive. Attendance at nearly all churches is declining.
                    I hear a lot of chatter about “Masonic conspiracies; ” I don’t buy it for a second, for you see, the Masonic fraternities have suffered an insuperable decline in membership. People are no longer ” joiners.”Freemasonry is largely comprised of nostalgic old man that are dying off rapidly. Before too long, there will be no such thing as freemasonry.
                    Now, what is the antidote to our problems? Prayer, and more prayer. Thank you for kindly allowing me to express my thoughts. Oh, by the way, Dr Stankowich was talking about Fordham University. The Jesuits have always had the reputation of being the brains of the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, the Society of Jesus has become very enculturated. Some members of the Jesuits are in the vanguard of the movement to make homosexuality practically a sacrament in the Catholic Church. Why? Because they desire the applause of man, rather than please God.

            • As a former parishioner of a GOA church of Russian background so as to have some balance in the matter (I chanted Greek, Romanian, Slavonic, Arabic, etc.), my advice to the powers that be in GOARCH is to distance themselves from the “victim” [Patriarch Bartholomew] as discreetly but decisively as possible so that when the boo-boo hits the fan, the Greek Archdiocese in America can land somewhere safe and Orthodox.

              Don’t hold hands with a jumper.

              Unless you want to be Greek Catholics, you’re going to have to make a decision.

              Gird up your loins, the time is nigh.

              The question is whether the Phanar is going to speak for the Greeks (spiritually) or whether the most pious, erudite Greek theologians like Met. Hierotheos (Vlahos) and Fr. Theodoros Zisis will speak for the Greeks. I hope Archbishop Demetrios is paying attention. I met him at the Greek church in Cincinnati. At a key point in the liturgy, there was some confusion and he simply said, “Choir . . .” and everything resumed and took its natural course.

              Perhaps a word from him would be helpful now, or in the event of a finding of heterodoxy by the synod of the Church of Greece.

            • The GOA could… object to what George Demacopoulos and company say… he is a laymen in that jurisdiction, and is therefore subject their ecclesiastical discipline. They could also stop *promoting* him and his writings. And they certainly could demand that Fordham remove the name of Archbishop Demetrios from that department position. So far, I believe they have not uttered a peep.

              • Fr. John,

                It will probably all depend on what happens, if anything, in the Synod of the Church of Greece. If they actually move forward and do their duty, then it will be Greeks taking Greeks to task and some of the sting will be removed from it.

                What needs to be done is obvious: GOARCH here in America needs to return to the omophor of the Church of Greece. But that will only help rectify matters if the Church of Greece clearly rejects the mindset of Crete.

                Meanwhile, it’s nice to be under the omophor of Moscow and the Church Abroad where these matters are less than of pressing concern.

      • Fr. Harry Linsinbigler says:

        This is jaw-dropping. “…presupposes some form of bodily expression”?

        I have seen proposals as to how to stop its advancement in the Church, but I have still not seen any answer to how, realistically, we can reverse the culture. I can tell you, as one who teaches college-level courses, the millennials have largely accepted a modified understanding of the 60’s mantra “free love”. The entire culture is brainwashed (well, let’s face it, for many, it just allows them to live a life incompatible with the Church “without guilt”).

        • We could start suspending and deposing clergy who advocate for the acceptance of sodomy in the Church, and we could start ex communicating laity (especially those who style themselves as Orthodox Theologians) who do so as well.

  30. Michael Bauman says:

    Fr.Harry, can’t reverse the culture. We missed that boat a long time ago, if that boat was even available. Making things better is not really a Christian activity. That is venue of the propagators of the myth of progress. It is our acceptance of that myth that has corrupted the Church and we her people. So, cast that from our hearts and accept life.

    The Cross in one form or another is where we now must live. If we don’t find it ourselves it will be trust upon us.

    We must face our shame together. We will not “win”. We will not change anything in the world but we can still be the Ark of Salvation for those who are sincere.

    God alone can make all things new. He may hate schism but He does mention many times the culling that will take place, the separation.

    The RCC culled itself along time ago and has been following a path of death ever since with obvious erruptions of the Divine life originally given–wheat amongst the tares. The EP seems to be on the same path in seeking praise from the world and ruling over it. His way will only widen and perpetuate the schism.

    The only logic in nihilism is death. The chaos it uses as it’s main tool is not only illogical but irrational. Logic by itself cannot address such things analytically. We can only point out the wrongness. It can never overcome life and life’s author but that does not mean it will not try.

    Come Lord Jesus!