What Do Our Friends at Fordham Have to Say About This?

Recently, the group known as Public Orthodoxy, which is safely ensconced within the arms of the Jesuits at Fordham University, received a significant sum of money in order to continue their “work”.

Part of this work includes going hither and yon to discuss sodomy and why the Church needs to “get with the program”.

I’m curious as to what they think about this: http://www.breitbart.com/london/2018/01/24/church-england-sneak-transgender-baptism-services/ It looks like the Anglican House of Bishops have authorized a liturgical rite that offers “rebaptism” to those who under go the Lorena Bobbit procedure.

This shouldn’t be too hard, as they’ve also been awarded a grant to work with the University of Exter “to examine LGBTQ rights alongside Eastern Orthodox identity”. (Several of their academics are coming over to discuss this urgent matter in case you didn’t know.)

According to Aristotle Papanikolaou, one of Public Orthodoxy’s luminaries, that group is well-situated to discuss this issue. In fact, he states that it is the only such group be able to do so: “We are the only –if not the only–place where these issues can be addressed and that’s sort of our MO. Most of these issues can’t be addressed in a parish setting the way they can be in an academic environment.”

That of course begs the question –several actually: why can’t they be “discussed” at the parish level? That’s where real people live and struggle in their daily lives. And, if it’s the “only” place, doesn’t that raise a red flag or two? Replace the clunky phrase LGBTQ with –I dunno, “paedophilia”–and see if that makes any more sense.

Anyway, this whole imbroglio raises several issues, among them the origin and purpose of the Society of Jesus and how it keeps on popping up at the most inopportune times throughout Catholic history. (More will be written about that curious group as time permits. Let’s just say that with them there’s more about them that meets the eye.)

All that being said, I’d like for the Episcopal Assembly of the United States to address the issue of Public Orthodoxy as well as it’s involvement with the Jesuits. If it’s a matter of academics, the Orthodox Churches have several seminaries here in the U.S., so I don’t really understand why there needs to be a stand-alone organization associated with a non-Orthodox university that puts itself out as the public face of Orthodoxy. This is scandalous on its face as it can easily cause confusion to the faithful.

Clearly, with this incipient symposium regarding LGBTQEIEIO rights, it will continue to do so.

Comments

  1. Enough is enough. These people do nothing but scandalize the faithful who are trying to remain faithful to the phronema of the holy Orthodox Church. Whether it is publishing articles by a defrocked homosexual priest (who attempts to justify homosexuality)…….or supporting female deaconesses…..or being a propaganda arm for the Cretan robber council……or George Demacopoulos labeling all patristic-minded Orthodox Christians as “fundamentalists”…….this nonsense must stop!
    It is time for the bishops to speak. We need to know where they stand on this nonsense. Silence is not an option.

  2. Veras Coltroupis says:

    No sooner did Dumquafles call for HCHC to merge with SVOTS than his Jesuit masters demand on his facebook page that Uniate seminaries also be included.

  3. Christopher says:

    George,

    You bring up an important issue and question for the Church. It can be summed up as:

    “What is the relationship between the modern Academy and the Church?”

    On the one hand you have men like Fr. John Behr who, following none other than St. Gregory Nazianzus, argue for a robust engagement with the “secular” educational system of any age (see his YouTube video “Why Orthodoxy Loves a Liberal Mind”). On the other hand, you have a kind of “realist” position that recognizes the character of the modern Academy is not “liberal” at all (indeed, it is ideological, political, even “religious”). The latter asks what is to be the Church’s response to those in academia who so clearly want to import the Academy’s central concern for “race, class, and gender” into the life of the Church in a way so clearly incompatible with our anthropology and Christology.

    In our Secular Age, the Academy functions as a kind of priesthood to everything this Age treasures. While I can agree with Fr. John Behr ideally, what is occurring at places like Fordham indicates that there is a real lack of discernment among (some) Orthodox academics and the Church has no “feedback mechanism” to correct it. Certainly the Bishops do not appear to even question this relationship, as they are only seen endorsing such secular/Orthodox “partnerships” (to pick a word).

    As to the question as to what the Jesuits (and the Roman Catholic university system in general) has to do with Orthodox scholarship, the answer is rather simple. Money. They have the money, the endowed chairs, etc. and a great many Orthodox academics end up employed by them.

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Christopher, you are correct: there is nothing “liberal” about the modern University. If anything it is more totalitarian than anything found in the old Soviet Union or Red China.

    • Michael Bauman says:

      The feed back mechanism is simple. The bishops of these heretically minded priests must censure them and remove them from the priesthood if necessary. A priest without a parish is just as bad as a bishop without an actual diocese.

    • Constaninos says:

      Christopher,
      Great post! What are Orthodox professors doing at a Jesuit university?You said it. Money! While I’m on the topic, George said at one time he didn’t leave the Democratic Party, they left him.
      George, according to a Pew Research poll 79% of Republicans support the state of Israel while only 27% of Democrats do. The Democrats are much more supportive of the Palestinians. As Orthodox Christians shouldn’t we be strongly supporting the Palestinians? What is Michael Pence doing right now? He’s lolly gagging over in Israel praying with his kippa at the old roman garrison erroneously called the Wailing Wall. We have to break this zionist influence over our country. I support the BDS movement and one state called Palestine with the rights of all protected. What’s this crap about a “Jewish state?” Can you imagine what the Jews in the US would do if we called ourselves a “Christian country?” What is so important about the state of Israel? Nothing!!! Israel is a rogue apartheid state in violation of more UN resolutions than any other country in the world. Winners win and losers embrace zionism. George, you’re a man’s man. Please write a column about our policy toward Israel. And what’s this nonsense about the Mrs. not allowing you to enjoy your pipe in your castle? You should be able to smoke your pipe whenever and wherever you choose.( I don’t mean any disrespect toward you and your wife) A brief message to Greatly Saddened: Rejoice dear, precious brother! As Orthodox Christians we win in the end. Back to George: Please don’t take anything personally. I have nothing but the highest respect for you dear brother in Christ.

      • Constantino is I could not disagree with you more on this issue. Why on earth would we support the Palestinians? Because a very small percentage of them happen to be Orthodox? They support murder and terror and reward terrorists with large payments to their families to congratulate their evil deeds.

        Look at almost every place where Muslims have taken over territory. Very soon Orthodox and Christian Churches begin to disappear. Look at Cyprus and Kosovo for two prime examples. Even in Bethlehem, controlled by the Palestinians, their first instinct in response to President Trump’s action was to cancel Christmas in Bethlehem. They only relented at the last minute when they saw the public relations nightmare they were creating for themselves.

        I will never forget the video of Palestinian women and children dancing in the streets of Gaza and the West Bank handing out chocolates when the news of the 9-11 tragedy was reported.

        Israel has acted as a fair custodian of the Holy Places. The same would not be true under a so-called Palestinian government.

        The old world patriarchs are tripping over each other to kiss Muslim ass on the issue of Jerusalem to protect their own narrow parochial interests. Is this who we want to rule us? We need an American Orthodox Church with our own Patriarch and Holy Synod. And US born, not one packed with bishops who high tailed it over here from Constantinople and Damascus to take things over.

        This Greek-American is proud to stand with President Trump, Vice-President Pence and the modern democratic State of Israel!

        • Constaninos says:

          Michael,
          Thank you for reading my post and your thoughtful response.

        • Constaninos says:

          Michael,
          Your response to my post is an excellent example of disagreeing without being disagreeable. It is one of the finest rebuttals I have read. You stuck to the facts and made excellent points. All this while strongly disagreeing with me. It really was a pleasure to read your post. May God bless you and you family.

          • George Michalopulos says:

            Agreed! Let us all take this example given by Constantino re Michael’s rebuttal as how we should dispute with each other.

          • Constantinos you did my heart much good this morning when I read your generous and kind words. You reinforced for me how important it is to be kind and respectful to each other even we disagree. Your words were especially welcome because I think you are one of the most eloquent writers on this very fine website that George generously provides to us to share fellowship.

            I am humbly grateful for your prayers for me and my family, and have you and your loved ones in my own prayers, unworthy as I am. God bless and keep you brother.

        • Joseph Lipper says:

          Michael, the Holy Selpuchre is in the custody of Palestinian Muslims, as has been the case for centuries. I think they’ve done a pretty good job, all things considered.

          • Joseph I would probably not have a problem if the King of Jordan, who historically been custodian of the Holy Places, were to be in that role.

            But even before the Palestinians tried to oust the Jordanian King, the Palestinians have been unwanted even in Muslim countries. You are very mistaken if you think for a minute that a Palestinian State, with its Hamas and other radical elements, would have any of the moderation of a Jordan or an Egypt.

            I remain convinced that the best date for the Christian Holy Places in Jerusalem rests in a modern democratic Israel, not an unstable Palestinian terror state in the throes between Fatah and Hamas.

        • Joseph Lipper says:

          “And mirroring Pence’s dangerous messianic zeal, right-wing Jewish extremists who want to build a temple in the Noble Sanctuary mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem, the third holiest site in Islam and one the most sensitive holy sites in the world, have stepped up their provocations in the sacred compound, at the risk of sparking a major religious conflagration.

          “Pence himself has played an important role in the Trump administration’s policies in Israel/Palestine. Motivated by his Christian Zionist ideology, he is an ardent supporter of the Israeli right-wing and the settlement enterprise. He strongly encouraged Trump to recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel and stood proudly behind him during the announcement.

          “Christian Zionists like Pence support Israel because they view its establishment as the fulfillment of biblical prophecy—which ends with the return of the Christian messiah and the damnation of anyone—including Jews—who do not accept him as their savior. Ironically, Pence’s brand of Christianity harms some of the oldest Christian communities in the world, those of Christian Palestinians, who face the same discrimination and oppression at the hands of Israel that Muslim Palestinians do.”

          http://www.newsweek.com/we-protested-mike-pences-speech-and-israel-could-not-tolerate-it-792898

          Sometimes I wonder if “Christian Zionists” really understand what they are actually doing is paving the way for the coming of the Anti-Christ, and not the second coming of Christ. The rebuilding of the Jewish Temple will be a blasphemous sign of the coming of the Anti-Christ.

          • Joseph I do not like extremism on either side, and while I disagree with much that Israeli zealots do (including the ones who spit at our priests), I also think it is unfortunate to suggest Jews building on their holy site will trigger an apocalypse of some sort.

            The reason there are mosques on the Temple Mount is because Muslims build over the holy sites of their conquered people as a sign of subjugation. That is why they built mosques in the holiest Jewish site. I personally believe the Jews have shown great restraint in not removing these mosques for the site of their temple. If we were ever to gain control of Constantinople again, I would have no problem tearing down the minarets and removing the Arabic inscriptions and reconsecrating Haghia Sophia as an Orthodox Cathedral. Muslims like to steal their victims Holy Places. Take back is fair play.

            • George Michalopulos says:

              Interesting analysis and somewhat sympathetic. But the point that Mr Lipper (and others) are making is that Christian Zionism is a dangerous belief –and heretical. The Church is Israel. That nation at the eastern side of the Mediterranean should be called Judea. But that’s a quibble.

              The danger is that we have spilt and may still spill, more American blood based on a heretical doctrine that approaches blasphemy (in that it elevates a race to near-Godhood).

              • George, in all honesty I had not heard the term Christian Zionism until I read your text and just googled the term. I agree with you that it is folly to look at any happening in world affairs and to try to tie it to prophecy. All we can do is our best to live good and virtuous lives, and to be ready for the time that no man can predict.

                I am referring purely to world events. The overwhelming percentage of Palestinians come from the radical strains of Islam and do not show any of the moderation shown by nations such as Egypt and Jordan. And I do not believe that Palestinians as custodians of the Holy Sites (as distinct from the King of Jordan) would in any way be good for keeping these sites safe and open to all. Israel shares our modern pluralistic values as a society. The Palestinian Authority, governed by factions of Fatah and Hamas do not. This is as far as my comments were intended to go.

                I have been to both Kosovo and Cyprus and seen what happens to Churches when Islam takes over.

                And given that I lost one of my law partners in the plane that slammed into the Pentagon on 9-11, I will forever have seared into my brain the images of Palestinians celebrating and handing out chocolate in the West Bank. Hundreds of ordinary Russians, our so called enemies, were lining up to lay flowers and offer condolences at the US Embassy in Moscow. And the Palestinians were dancing in the streets.

                I have little sympathy or respect for the Palestinian people and none for their corrupt leaders. This is why I believe Jerusalem is best administered by the Jewish state. It has nothing to do with Christian Zionism, which I agree makes no sense and is contrary to our holy tradition.

                • Michael Bauman says:

                  Michael may your law partner’s memory be eternal.

                  No person whose heart is not given to nihilism can countenance Islam. Yet the policies of the Jewish state seem to drive our Orthodox brothers in alliance with Islam.

                  I have never figured out whether it is because of a shared anti-Semitism(which should be beneath us), Arab commonality or what. The policies of the Jerusalem Patriarcahte do not help.

                  Could someone more knowledgeable help enlighten me?

                • Joseph Lipper says:

                  Michael, here are some harsh words attributed to St. Paisios on Zionism:

                  “The Zionists want to rule the earth. To achieve their ends they use black magic and satanism. They regard satan-worship as a means to gain the strength they need to carry out their plans. They want to rule the earth using satanic power.

                  “God is not something they take into account. One sign that the fulfillment of prophecy is near will be the destruction of the Mosque of Omar in Jerusalem. They’ll destroy it in order to restore the Temple of Solomon which used to be on the same place.

                  “In the end the Jews will pronounce the Antichrist messiah in this rebuilt temple. The rabbis know that the true Messiah has already come and that they crucified Him. They know this, and yet they are blinded by egotism and fanaticism.”

                  https://christconquers.wordpress.com/2010/06/06/elder-paisios-against-zionists-and-cowardly-orthodox/

          • Thank you Joseph. Orthodox Journalist, The Saker @ Unz.com , The American Conservative, Fr. Spyridon, Fr. Peter Heers, Phil Giraldi etc etc etc and myself agree with you.

  4. The Fordham group is a disgrace, but it’s a free country. The answer to bad speech is more good speech. As money becomes available, I’m considering working on a site I will likely call “Patriarkhia” that I hope will function as a repository for silver bullets to slay the werewolves. Right now I’m waiting to hear about a couple of grants I applied for that could be used to help fund the project.

    What we may need to do is simply drown out the miscreants within the Orthosphere, offering traditionalist perspectives on each, every and all of the issues on the table. When it starts to have legs, I will let you all know.

  5. Pat Teague says:

    “Recently, the group known as Public Orthodoxy, which is safely ensconced within the arms of the Jesuits at Fordham University, received a significant sum of money in order to continue their ‘work’.”

    Exactly what is the source of this significant sum of money? We need to shed lots of light on the source, because they are paying for a specific outcome. That outcome may be to take down only sources of True Christianity – Holy Orthodoxy.

  6. Michael Bauman says:

    Misha, there is an old economic principal regarding counterfeit money: ‘Bad drives out good’. So it is with theology. Good theology calls all to repent and voluntarily do the will of a loving incarnate God who shares our suffering. It does not promote our passions, success, or a worldly utopia as “My Kingdom is not of this world”.

    Unfortunately, that theology puts demands on us. We actually have to love our enemies, give alms to the poor, repent, fast and forgive giving glory to God for all things (even strong minded, intelligent, active women who resist our every whim and wish while refusing to recognize corporal correction from their men as just and necessary).

    Bad theology caters to our sinful passions in all sorts of ways, subtle and obvious. It is counterfeit in every way. However since it is cheap, it is more prevalent and its very existence calls into question the validity good theology.

    Action has to be taken against counterfeit money to maintain trust in the currency. Thus, bishops must rightly divide the word of truth and take action against both the bad theology and its purveyors. There should not be “free speech” in the Church when it comes to matters of the foundational doctrines and teachings of the Church, especially for priests who, after all, are under obedience.

    The only thing we lay people can do in response is not show up and not give. However, both actions are not without potential consequence to our salvation and must be seriously considered.

    “Free Speech” is an egalitarian delusion as college tyrants obviously know. Speaking the truth is always costly in the world. Speaking lies costly from the point of view of our salvation, especially if those lies are about God.

    Oh, for those who want to examine the Antiochians—vocal support for LBGTQRSZYPN….”issues” will not exist as long as the memory of Met. “We do not talk about abominations” Philip is strong. It seems quite likely that Met. Joseph will not allow such talk either. Met. Philip was, at times, a through going ******* but he used that same toughness to make sure of a lot of good things.

  7. M. Stankovich says:

    I would point out to you that Archpriest John Meyendorff was a full professor of Church History without compromise, and certainly not for the money. Several of his finest books were, in fact, published by Fordham University Press, and I always admired him for reaching beyond the SVS Press, which has never risen above an amateurish effort at marketing/evangelizing the religious category of book sales. He was an esteemed professor, he was a respected professor, and he was unquestionably an Orthodox professor, and I am a direct witness of this fact.

    I have noted on this site a number of times – a site that is quick to “categorically” dismiss or freely generalize and demonize with the shallowist of criteria at times – that I hold a graduate degree from Fordham University in Bioethics, encourage by Fr. John Meyendorff, a program, at the time, directed by several pioneers in the field, years ahead of their time, and decades ahead of anyone in formalized thought and writing among the Orthodox in America. To this day, in fact, we are so blatantly ignorant of the development(s) in the field of, for example, biogenetics/epigenetics and void of bioethics scholars and/or theologians who understand even the basic concepts of the frightening capabilities of emerging technology (which I began to bring to the attention of this forum more than a year ago without receiving one single comment). I would further note that this is a dilemma prominently raised by Priest Robert Arida is his “Wonder Blog” post, yet it was swallowed up because everyone – male, that is – is so oppressed with homosexuality, a word Fr. Robert never mentioned.

    I urge you to look on YouTube for the video of the dedication of the Orthodox Center at Fordham University; pay attention to the person of Matushka Meyendorff, as lovely today as she was when I first met her more than 40-years ago (un petit, cheveux blancs, belle femme). So uncomfortable is she that she slowly continues to fade out of the line of vision of the group making the dedication… There is your answer.

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Surely, Dr S, you can’t compare Fordham then with Fordham now? Any more than you can compare Notre Dame in its heyday or Georgetown. In Georgetown now they have a special dorm for LGBTQ students. Even the Ivy League has succumbed to joke status.

      What does an college graduate in Humanities say to another professional: “Would you like fries with that burger”?

      • Half the students at Georgetown today are non-Catholics.

        • George Michalopulos says:

          Does it really matter? I’m sure 98% of the students aren’t bestialists either. Using the same logic Georgetown is using, shouldn’t they put in a petting zoo?

      • M. Stankovich says:

        Actually, I was comparing the Jesuits. They have been so demonized on this site that one could conclude they are, in fact, the enemy of the Orthodox, to a man, and will remove your fingers, ultimately, joint-by-joint, if they could just isolate you and demand you convert. I have been around Jesuits my whole life, and rather than “challenge” my faith, they challenged my thinking and reasonability, forcing me to first listen, and then to actually cohesively formulate my position before ever opening my mouth. In my experience, they were wise, gifted, and reasonable teachers of classic philosophy, natural law, and ethics.

        Having said this, as an Orthodox Christian, I would put this mindset in context to the sort of commentary we were exposed to in the person of Fr. Alexander Schmemann. Take, for example, his thoughts about “controversy” in the Church, and those who would complain, “Your controversy is not important. It is of interest to no one: only ‘specialists’ and ‘scholars’ can understand it, so all this argument leads only to seduction and harm.” Fr. Alexander suggested that “here we must point out to these accusers something very important, which they have apparently forgotten. They have forgotten that peace and concord in the Church are inseparable from the Truth.

        Of course in our controversies there is so much of the human passions, sinfulness and narrowness. They should and must be enlightened by prayer, love and patience. No one person embodies the Truth in its fullness, but each one is required to aspire to it, to call upon his spiritual intellect, his will and his heart to come to “the knowledge of the Truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4) “Put everything to the test; hold fast to what is good,” says Paul the Apostle (1 Thess. 5:21). And if in humility we attempt always to obey the Truth, if we try unceasingly to overcome all which is sinful and narrow for the sake of the Truth, then our controversies born of human weakness may lead to the glory of the Church, “for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)

        The sign at the Rose Hill Campus entrance continues to say, “Fordham University: The Jesuit University of New York,” and I would suggest that this Center and Public Orthodoxy do not rest in the arms of the Jesuits or Fordham University, but are solely the creation and responsibility of apostate Orthodox who have sullied the name of Archpriest John Meyendorff and destroyed his legacy.

        By the way, in my above description of Matushka Meyendorff, I intended to say une petite… Such is the nature of dyslexia.

        • George Michalopulos says:

          Dr S, I don’t intend to “demonize” Jesuits. However, it has long been my suspicion that there was/is something nefarious about their founding and continued existence within the Catholic Church. I’ll write something about it sooner or later. Let’s just say that as in all secret societies, there are good actors as well as bad but at the end of the day, the bad actors tend to prevail.

          BTW, I’ve come to the conclusion that secret societies should be banned. This on the heals of the revelation that the infamous memo which the Obama DOJ used to get an illegal search warrant from FISA was the result of a “secret society” within the FBI. This is anti-Constitutionalism on steroids. More later.

        • Mr. Stankovich,
          I believe that, (1 Timothy 2:4) (1 Thess. 5:21) (2 Cor. 12:9), and your paragraph before the scripture quotes, were not intended, by you, for me, on the topics at hand, with Gail, Brian, Mr. Bauman, and a few others, and my complaints with Orthodoxy, and it’s leadership. None the less they seem spot on in some strange twist, and make me ponder quite a bit. Why am I doing this? Lately my brain has been suffering psychical pain, and now my body as well. The medication makes my thoughts, and even trying to read even more so painful, and hazy. Still I awoke this morning and read a few posts, and came to yours. I don’t see my pain as a coincidence, nor I reading your post and scripture quotes. The Lord certainly works in mysterious ways.

          • George Michalopulos says:

            Bob, I pray you have not contracted the mati again!

            P.S. To all: please forgive me for dropping some demotic Greek on you: to mati (literally: “the [evil] eye”) is a spiritual phenomenon, specifically, a malediction that can be placed upon individuals by those people who are open to demonic forces. While I don’t believe that the Devil has any physical power over people per se, it looks like both Bob and I have both experienced this phenomenon at one point or another in our lives. Long story short: it ain’t fun.

            • Don’t know, first migraines, now severe gout, the pills I take for gout, have horrible side effects. Or… At least tomorrow is Sunday.

            • Finally

              Been around the Greeks for so long and I’ve been waiting many years to hear about this

              I still dont get it, George. Culturally, I dont have a frame of reference. If you could elaborate further, perhaps with a little origin explaination and history I’d really appreciate it

              Isn’t this a hold over from some type of Greek superstition from other religious origins?

              You can buy that blue eye thing from Jared the Galleria of Jewelry to ward it off I’m told

              Is this superstition frowned upon by other non Greek Orthodox but overlooked by Greek clergy?

              I’m specifically talking about the evil eye thing, not just overall demonic forces/activities/demonology, etc

              BTW – I believe it is the book, “Mountain of Silence” where a monk got in a fistfight with a demon. The story goes that the demon seemed to react in pain upon getting hit, but the monk needed to see a doctor due to the demon’s physical attack

              I would never have thought a demon could physically harm a human

              When I was 16, a demon appeared in front of me. No physical attack, but it was trying to produce extreme fear while spewing vulgar blasphemies. I left my bedroom and slept on the living room couch. I subsequently received baptism. I pray for my parent’s protection because they still live there. My daughter saw something evil in the same room years later and had never heard my story. There is now holy water, icons and three crosses that have been laid on the slab where our Lord’s body laid in the tomb – in that old room at my parents house. I recently checked, and the items are still all there. I hope that demon is gone now but if he isn’t, I figure he ain’t happy (to quote/paraphrase Major Payne).

              However,

              A long time ago, I was working in a downtown high rise late at night. Many times, I would pass by the reception desk of a particular office. Whenever I did so, the hairs on the back of my neck would stand up and I would sense the presence of evil. One night, I passed by that old reception desk and I felt an extremely forceful shove on my back. It was the kind of shove that pushes your chest forward, whipping your back, launching me like a projectile and causing my feet to land like long jumping. I fully expected I had been shoved by a late night office worker or someone broke in. I turned quickly to throw a punch. I stood with my fist back and ready to strike, but there was no one there. It was a big open space, so no one could have fled either.

              The guards of that building had a lot of stories

              • Billy, Demons are real, my wife experienced one face to face, when she invited one, in frustration once. They come when called. The mati is real as well, just don’t know it’s real orgins, or if someone can curse you with it. I’m going to take it down a notch just in case.

                • Bob

                  Yeah they are for sure. I joke around a lot, but I wasn’t pulling anyone’s leg with those stories. Those are true.

                  I don’t know all the reasons they may appear or come around, but I do believe they seem to gain access via sinful human activity, and yes, also definitely show up if talked to/invited.

                  My godfather’s wife, (pretty much my nuna although only he is officially my godparent) told me a story that happened some time ago back in Greece

                  She said that there was a lady who had the habit of telling people to “Go to the devil!” which was explained to me is like our equivalent of Americans telling someone to “go to hell”, but maybe worse

                  So this lady was in her kitchen and had just said it to someone. Moments later, an extremely tall hooded figure (that appeared to have to stoop because it filled the whole space to the kitchen’s very tall ceiling) entered. Sounds like it was with no visible face, like our depictions of the Grim Reaper/angel of death

                  The demon then said to the lady, “If you ever say that again, I’m going to come back and I will never leave!”

                  The demon then exited the kitchen and house

                  I presume the lady never said that to anyone ever again

                  Can’t call Ghostbusters for that

              • Estonian Szlovak says:

                Billy;
                I don’t mean any disrespect. I don’t doubt for a minute that what you experianced at age 16 is true. It seems that led you to the Faith and being baptized.
                When I don’t understand is, in view of that experience, why you sometimes post such silly things on this blog. You obviously are a person of faith, but it appears that the silly stuff negates the good things you really do have to say. This is just one man’s opinion. I am a no way claiming to be holier than thou. In fact, I believe the opposite to be true.

              • Anonymous says:

                Billy, to help with your questions:

                The book ‘Death By Envy’ by Fr. George Aquaro is a good overview of the ‘evil eye’ phenomena in the Orthodox world. He’s not Greek either, so it seems to be something a bit wider than the Hellenic world.

                Also, demons can physically hurt people, but only if God permits them. Read the life of Saint Anthony the Great and you’ll see more than a few occasions where he took a beating from the demons. Like the angels, they are ‘fleshless,’ but not without matter.

              • Gail Sheppard says:

                BJS, if you were baptized the prayers of exorcism were said so hopefully these experiences are behind you. When this happened to you, was it just a minute or two or was it longer? The reason I ask is because there is something called Old Hag Syndrome. It’s a form of sleep paralysis but it’s pretty intense. https://www.thoughtco.com/the-old-hag-syndrome-2594415

                Regrading the blow to the back, I’ve heard of this kind of thing happening before, but it’s unusual. I have personally heard growling and I would get these scratches all over me. My husband said I was probably scratching myself in my sleep until one night I could feel it happening. I told him to watch. He was shocked when 3 scratches appear on my legs right in front of him. I got some holy water and sprinkled it around and it stopped.

                Demons are real.

          • Gail Sheppard says:

            Been there, Bob, wondering what I’m doing here. My Godmother said to me: “Gail, you can leave the Church if you want. You can run away as far as your legs will carry you but you won’t stop being Orthodox. You know that, right?”

            Indeed.

            • Gail,
              I hear you. My cynicism is great in all things, which has not ruined my faith in God, but the church run by us. It is us, I have no faith in. We let each other down all the time, but must forgive each other, no matter how much we don’t want to. So it seems we fake it, to seem more Christian than the next, and to please God.

              I addressed this with my spiritual father and even told him I feel nothing when I enter our Church, but I go for my children, and wife, as I don’t want my cynicism to affect them as well. In fact I don’t even tell my wife how I feel. My spiritual father told me for now, it is enough just to continue coming to church, and to pray as much as possible, no matter how fake I feel. He even told me not to pray the evening, and morning prays, in my prayer book, when I told him, reading printed prayers did not appeal to me. I told him it seemed phony to me, and I don’t pray much anymore, as they were not my words. Father told me to at least give our Lord my complaints, but also give thanks and glory to our Lord before I sleep, and when I awake in the morning.

              • Michael Bauman says:

                Bob, your spiritual father is correct, feelings do not matter. My wife recently had a similar objection to reading printed prayers. I thought about it for awhile. It is neither an uncommon nor an unwarranted objection. Here is a bit of what I shared with her.

                I have experience in the theater. There, for the most part, all of the words said are printed. Good scripts have life in them and it is up to the actors in concert with the director to find that life and communicate it.

                If the actor cannot find the life in a script, it is unlikely he will be able to find it in his own words.

                Orthodox prayers are often written by saints who know God much better than I do. They cover the vast expanse of human experience, trials, joys, hopes and failures. They are most poignant and helpful in the most extreme circumstances which we may personally experience only once or very few times. There is power in words, especially well chosen words to convey and lead to experience. Again that is not the same as feelings.

                The best acting coach I ever had (who was Greek Orthodox BTW, exiled when the King of Greece was overthrown) said that actors must find the life in the words (not just the feeling), the intent of the words, in order to communicate them well. Learn that first and then add the words.

                No doubt some prayers are tedious but if I can find the life in even one word, I can be changed by it. If I could ever actually humble myself enough to allow the two words “Lord Jesus” to actually penetrate my soul, I fully believe I would need no other prayer. I am not humble so more words are required. Occasionally, one finds a chink in my armor.

                Even Jesus Christ was changed while He prayed on the Mount of Transfiguration. “For as He prayed, He was changed….”

                Prayer is a discipline, a practice that is not easy. It is an act of love and hope reaching out for a deeper sense of our conjugal union with our Savior. Proper practice leads to skill, but it is far more than that. In any case, follow your spiritual father by all means.

                May God continue to bless you. I am sure your time of dryness will end up being of great profit to you if you endure in hope.

                • George Michalopulos says:

                  Michael, if I may add something to your analysis. Several years ago, when I was in the OCL, we had supper at a member’s house. Largish gathering. The priest there, was one of the EOC bigs who has since gone to his reward. Anyway, he gave an extemporaneous benediction before we ate that literally brought tears to my eyes. True, he was a former Protestant minister who knew how to pray. Other qualifications were his age and the sagacity that comes from a life well-lived.

                  My point? That to expect any clergyman to preach and pray in similar manner is a grave injustice to the man and to the Lord. That prayer was one of a kind. Hence, I believe it’s a great mercy that the Holy Spirit has enthused certain select saints throughout the ages to come up with the prayers that we recite. It’s not that we aren’t capable of coming up with our own, it’s that it places an undue burden on our clergy to have to come up with such conviction at the drop of a hat.

                  Anyway, my 2c.

                  • Great point George, Some in clergy have the gift, and some don’t, so yes not placing the burden of prayers of conviction, and that inspire, at the drop of a hat, is another example of the wisdom of our Holy Fathers, and Church. Thanks for your prayers BTW!

                • Mr. Bauman, Ironic on this feast day we Orthodox Christians, commemorate The Three Hierarchs, men whose words we are advised to read and pray everyday. I wish you, and all reading this a blessed feast day. May their words continue to inspire us. A discipline for sure, I fight it everyday, but thankfully there is something in me that knows better.

                  Interesting that you bring up actors, scripts, and directors must find life in scripts to be inspiring, and believed, by the audience at hand. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but to be a truly skilled actor, it has been said, that one must be a con artist, in that he gets the audience to believe he something that he is not. Ironic, because that is how I feel at times in my walk,parish, and with my faith, pretending to be something I am not.

                  Now just to be clear I appreciate ALL who take the time communicate with me. Gail seemed quite upset that I do not respond to you or Brian at times. Please understand sometimes I really have nothing profound to say, just like today, but felt I should. I should at least say thanks, and please forgive me if I offend. Somedays I will simply absorb the words, and not speak in response, please do not read anything by it. If fact it is out of respect I do not respond at times.

                  • Michael Bauman says:

                    Bob, Thank you for your kind words.

                    As to acting: I understand you cynicism. While there are certainly actors who work the con and modern actors tend that direction for the most part. The best do not. The best actor I have ever known was more honest and open on stage than in “real life”. No matter the role, you saw real humanity in his character. A humanity that fit the context of the character and the play and the words. One of the most incredible moments I have witnessed was when he performed the Shakespearean medley called The Ages of Man for theater class I was in.

                    He sat on a stool in front of the class without artifice or costume dressed in his everyday frumpy clothes and flawlessly talked Shakespeare. Not about Shakespeare but spoke his words fluently and conversationally without loosing any of its grandeur either. (If you have never tried it, it is very difficult).

                    If you are not familiar with the Ages of Man, it is a collection of Shakespeare’s soliloquies that describe the human journey from birth through death. I believe it was originally put together by John Gielgud but I do not like his version at all–way too much con.

                    Dick Wellsbacher was this man’s name. He was a classmate and contemporary with Hal Holbrook. Dick could have been famous too, no doubt, but his first born son was autistic. So, at great personal cost I believe, he left New York and came to Wichita, KS so his son could receive the best care he could to increase his ability to function at what was then called the Institute of Logopedics.

                    He took the job as head of the Wichita University theater department when it was still a small local college located in the black ghetto area of Wichita, often referred to as the high school on the hill. The school at that time was not glamorous or important in any way. He taught and acted in college productions with vastly inferior actors as well as in Wichita Community Theater productions with both local actors and imported ‘guest stars’ from NY. He never dominated on stage but always seemed to manage to draw the other actors up to his level without standing out in any way that was contrary to the play. I never got to act opposite him, but those who did describe it as an awesome experience.

                    Wellsbacher’s version of the Ages of Man was magnificent especially his rendition of the death of Falstaff. I could see Falstaff lying there in run down utilitarian basement classroom. That was about 45 years ago and Dick has since reposed, but I for one was deeply enriched by it and will always remember that day in my soul. He was also the only actor I have ever seen who performed Elwood P. Dowd in the play “Harvey” who did not reek of Jimmy Stewart. Dick was never anyone but himself on stage. Different nuances and facets of himself that matched the character but always himself. Something he struggled with off stage.

                    An audience must “suspend their disbelief’ in order to participate fully. At the best moments it is a mutual reaching to experience something about humanity together. There is a sharing of energy that is palpable and somewhat addictive to actors, even bad ones like me. I rarely was honest enough with myself and certainly not with my audience. Here is the real problem for the actor though–acting often draws out both sin and dysfunction from the actor that they do not know what to do with. It is ultimately why I stopped participating in theater.

                    You see Modern theater is actually a watered down version of various communal liturgical celebrations–from the Greeks mostly(Ah, the Greeks). Most of the famous plays of ancient Greece where written and performed at pagan religious festivals. Modern theater has other connections to various tribal prayer festivals as well. Split from God, all of the energy, all of the revelations of oneself has no good place to go. It cannot be transformed.

                    As my mother taught me and as I have both witnessed and read about, the Native American dances, especially those of the plains people, are communal prayer and quite sacramental. It was from them that I initially began to appreciate the vibrancy of sacramental prayer. The living connection between the created and the uncreated that reaches its most glorious expression in the Divine Liturgy we Orthodox are blessed to participate in.

                    All Orthodox prayer is sacramental in nature. Even my most tired unfelt prayer is linked to the prayers of the holy elders and saints by the Blood of the Risen Christ, especially when I use their words. Even the most severe Orthodox hermits are never alone in their prayers.

                    We are too much like King Claudius in Hamlet: “My words fly up, my thoughts remain below. Words without thoughts never to heaven go.” In that particular case, even though Claudius thought it was a dry prayer, the very act of him praying prevented Hamlet from killing him at that moment. Mercy made manifest.

                    The words of Orthodox prayers bring heaven down to us if we but suspend our disbelief, or “I believe, help thou my unbelief.”

                    Whomever you are Bob, may God bless you and keep you and make his face shine upon you and your family.

              • Gail Sheppard says:

                Bob, I do understand. Try to remember we’re the Church, too, and we’re all around you. – With regard to praying, sometimes it’s enough to say, “God help,” when you just can’t get out any more. God can be trusted.

                • George Michalopulos says:

                  Bob, if I may piggy-back off of Gail’s comment: sometimes just repeat “Lord have mercy” over and over again. That’s all. Maybe a dozen times. Let that be your prayer rule for the morning, midday and evening. That’s enough. In time, your faith will be augmented. Just give it time.

                  Forgive me, a sinner.

                  • George and Gail,
                    Usually my “prayers” at night and morning are “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” at least three times. The Lord’s prayer was also advised my my spiritual father, which I do as well.

        • Archpriest Alexander Webster says:

          RE: “. . . I would suggest that this Center and Public Orthodoxy do not rest in the arms of the Jesuits or Fordham University, but are solely the creation and responsibility of apostate Orthodox who have sullied the name of Archpriest John Meyendorff and destroyed his legacy.”

          Dr. S., I appreciate your effort to separate the Dubious Fordham Duo and their Center (although, to be sure, I would refrain from using “apostate” at this juncture) from the splendid legacy of Archpriest John Meyendorff–a gentleman and a scholar, as the saying goes, and a fine Orthodox priest–and the rest of Fordham University. My late father-in-law graduated from Fordham in the 1940s, and I have known numerous other alumni over the years who honor and abide by the “magisterium” of the Roman Catholic communion.

          However, as another post on this website noted, the current chairman of the Department of Theology is a male “married” to another male.

          https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/fordham-u.-wont-fire-theology-dept.-chair-who-married-homosexual-partner

          That fact alone means that we cannot take Fordham University seriously as an institution of higher learning in keeping with the best academic and moral traditions of Western Civilization.

          I hasten to add that none of the above detracts from your own graduate study of bioethics at Fordham decades ago.

          • Constaninos says:

            Father Webster,
            You are correct about Fordham University. In your link, it states that Fordham University wishes the homosexual couple a life of blessing. They have no problem with doing so because “gay marriage is the law of the land.” Abortion is also the law of the land. According to Catholic teaching, the head of the theology department is living in mortal sin. I remember when the Jesuits were considered intelligent.

          • Father Alexander,

            I have been pondering your words above since the day you first posted them.

            Knowing that you yourself are an academic as well as a priest, it is refreshing to read words that mirror those of our Lord who spoke of fruits and the trees that bear them. To be clear, it is understood that they were directed at Fordham not for its academic standards, but for its claim to be “The Jesuit [and therefore Catholic] University of New York,” though in practice it clearly fails to honor and abide by the “magisterium” of the Roman Catholic communion.

            My question is this (and it is sincere). In response to Michael Stankovich’s writing…

            “I would suggest that this Center and Public Orthodoxy do not rest in the arms of the Jesuits or Fordham University, but are solely the creation and responsibility of apostate Orthodox who have sullied the name of Archpriest John Meyendorff and destroyed his legacy.”

            …you replied…

            “Dr. S., I appreciate your effort to separate the Dubious Fordham Duo and their Center (although, to be sure, I would refrain from using “apostate” at this juncture)…”

            I fully recognize that apostasy is a very serious charge, one not to be leveled carelessly. Even so, as I read the Epistle of the holy apostle Jude…

            “For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ… Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority… These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame… But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.

            …I wonder. Why is it that you would refrain from using the word, particularly when they claim to represent Orthodox Christian scholarship? They have, after all, far exceeded discussion of moral failure and entered into the realm of advocacy, albeit with “flattering words” and subtlety.

            • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says:

              Thank you, Brian, for an excellent question, which, given the graceful presentation, deserves a longer answer than I can provide here.

              Please let it suffice for me to reply by noting, first, that apostasy entails a renunciation of one’s religious faith or, in secular realms, ideology. I am unwilling to describe the errant moral pronouncements of the Orthodox professors at Fordham in such personal terms, particularly in view of their strong Orthodox identities.

              Second, I would, however, venture to say that the kinds of moral positions on “secularization” and sexual issues–and the hasty, ad hominem use of “fundamentalist” to dismiss Orthodox clergy and laity who are faithful to the fullness of Orthodox Tradition, including our moral theology–that the two Fordham profs, and too many others, embrace, and that I reported in my article in Touchstone last year, titled “Three Trojan Horses” (http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=30-03-016-c), veer into the less grave, but still spiritually dangerous, territory of moral heresy.

              • M. Stankovich says:

                Fr. Alexander,

                I wrote a response to your commentary to me – neither offensive, derogatory, nor argumentative – that simply said “Point taken, and you have provided reasonable feedback.” I did add that it was my perception that the knowledge of the Jesuits on this site, it seemed to me, was medieval at best, and I was attempting to allow for those scholars who do remain faithful to the academic mission; are not hell-bent on Unia; and, continue to uphold the magesterium of the Roman Catholic tradition. Some do exist. In consideration of the customary trashing of the Orthodox hierarchs, I cannot imagine this comment rises to the level of “ecumenical derision” that it should be deleted, but you just never know…

                • Archpriest Alexander Webster says:

                  My favorite Jesuit joke:

                  A Jesuit, a Franciscan, and a Dominican were on the golf course for their weekly 9-hole diversion from their spiritual duties. By the time they reached the third hole, they noticed that each of the foursome ahead of them was hitting the ball in every direction except the green. So one of the three priests goes ahead to conduct a quiet recon. When he returns, he says, “Say, those four guys ahead of us–they’re all blind! What should we do?

                  The Franciscan chimes in: “Well, we’re here today and every Wednesday morning to enjoy the bounties of God’s creation, all creatures great and small, the birds of the air and even the grass on the fairways. Not to mention Brother Sun. Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with us here and now. We can take our time behind that foursome.”

                  The Dominican then opines: “Father, you’re quite right. Our goal, our telos, is to enjoy ourselves and the presence of one another’s company in friendship and to refresh ourselves for our priestly ministries later today and the rest of the week. The means we’ve chosen, through frivolous and of no ultimate significance, is neither an intrinsic evil nor a waste of time, since we are exercising our God-given muscles and cultivating the virtues of patience, hope, and peace of soul. The proportionality is adequate, so let’s not bother the blind gentlemen and take our time behind them.”

                  They then turn to the Jesuit and ask his opinion. And he says matter-of-factly, “They can play at night, can’t they?”

                  • M. Stankovich says:

                    You pretty much have given yourself away, Fr. Dean, because no “normal” priest speaks of “going ahead to do quiet recon.” Perhaps devise a bivouac shelter, but not do recon. That’s why we have deacons.

                    • Billy Jack Sunday says:

                      Dr. Stankovich

                      If you would, please?

                      I’m confused. Who is Fr. Dean? Fr. Dean [last name] who?

                      And how does he fit into all of this?

                      Is there a priest using a pseudonym or posing as someone else?

                      I’m confused . . . but intrigued!

                    • M. Stankovich says:

                      Pardon me, BJS. Fr. Alexander is the “Dean” of the ROCOR Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, NY. It is a traditional sign of respect to refer to him as “Fr. Dean Alexander,” or simply, “Fr. Dean.” I believe he got it.

                  • Constaninos says:

                    Father Webster,
                    Great joke!!! You have quite a sense of humor. Outstanding!!! Thank you.

                  • Constaninos says:

                    Father Webster,
                    Great joke!!! Outstanding!!! You have a great sense of humor. Thank you for the belly laugh.

                  • Billy Jack Sunday says:

                    Father Alexander

                    That week, a GOA clergyman joined up with the monastic 3 to make a foursome at the last minute

                    GOA clergyman: “Let’s stay behind them so we can go through their pockets!”

                    *Rimshot

                    I now understand why Dr. S referred to you as Fr. Dean. You must forgive the confusion – I am surrounded by many Greeks who have the name Dean

                    Congratulations on your appointment (last May?)

                    I told my son a while ago that if he ever wanted to go to seminary, I felt Holy Trinity in Jordanville would be the place to go

                    Although I would like to, I will never be able to attend seminary

                    I was, however, once kicked out of a bible school classroom for a day due to a misperceived episode of roughhousing – and I think that should count for something!

              • Fr. Alexander,

                Thank you for the reply. Knowing the definition of apostasy (the renunciation of one’s faith), I rather expected it to be the explanation you offered. I remember reading your “Three Trojan Horses” when it was first published. I appreciate your sharing the link here for those who may not have seen it before, lest your generous answer to my question about your hesitation to use the word “at this juncture” be misinterpreted by some as the “Well, we cannot judge” attitude of this world. We can judge, we must judge, and we are commanded to judge – not persons, but the falsehoods they teach and the practices they promote. You named names, called out their errors, and exposed their subtle tactics for what they are. One can ask no more – of a priest.

                One could, however, ask more of the episcopacy. I say this as one who respects their apostolic authority yet without shame of any sort.

                I can testify from experience to the certainty that for many Orthodox Christians who struggle with being faithful in their sexuality the dung these frauds promote represents a severe temptation. Who doesn’t like being told what they want to hear? And if it is in the name of our Orthodox Faith, better yet. If it is open to “dialogue” (a word the faithful are absolutely sick of hearing), there is “hope” that repentance and faithfulness may one day be unnecessary. And as long as “healthy dialogue” is permitted there is room to believe that the Tradition is wrong or, as the imposters would have us believe, that it was never the Tradition in the first place.

                I can also testify to the certainty that the reaffirmation of the truth on the part of the episcopacy, while good, rings very hollow to inquirers seeking refuge in the Church when it is almost never accompanied by any substantive action. How does one with a straight face speak of the authority of the bishop and the godly disciplines the Church asks of her members when it is patently obvious to them that these frauds roam about freely in the Church, share in her Mysteries, and deceive the faithful in her name with impunity? Inquirers may be misinformed about many things, but they are generally not stupid. They know hypocrisy when they see it.

                Confess the Creed. be baptized, don’t renounce, and you’re good to go…or so it is made to seem.

                Forgive me. I suspect I am preaching to the choir. Some who express thoughts similar to mine are, I admit, angry to the point of disdain, and that is dangerous ground. Personally, I’m not as angry as I am sad and disappointed. As are many.

                • M. Stankovich says:

                  If it is open to “dialogue” (a word the faithful are absolutely sick of hearing), there is “hope” that repentance and faithfulness may one day be unnecessary. And as long as “healthy dialogue” is permitted there is room to believe that the Tradition is wrong or, as the imposters would have us believe, that it was never the Tradition in the first place.

                  Back in the day, when there were so few “quality” publications available in English, or “live events” to attend, the limits tended to be the publications coming from Jordanville, St. Herman’s Monastery Press in Platina, the ROCOR Cathedral in NYC, SVS, and London/Paris. Particularly in the ROCOR publications were wonderful accounts of bishops or priests engaging in “healthy dialog” with both the heterodox and the Orthodox in regard to the dogmatic teachings of the Church, and my impression was that the intent was to serve a number of purposes: obviously, first & foremost, the primary intent was to make known the eternal Truth of the Church’s dogmatic principles in an understandable manner, in a “Socratic” dialog with a gifted teacher; secondly, the “dialog” served as a “loving correction” of the errant beliefs of the inquirer, meaning if you were unaware of the beliefs of the inquirer, you were now made aware (I recall a memorable 2-part series regarding the Rosicrucians, of which I was completely ignorant); and thirdly, the “dialog” frequently served as a warning (a series on the Jehovah Witnesses – who absolutely refused “correction”) of the danger of persuasion and influence. They seemed to prove, time and again, the wisdom, and somehow the beauty and need for the re-articulation of the Truth of the Church in the context of each given generation.

                  I believe the idea that there is anything “unhealthy” about the Church engaging in “dialog” with anyone and everyone, and particularly itself, is shortsighted, and actually dangerous. There was a Byzantine statesman of the 14th century, Theodore Metochites, who was of the opinion that “Everything in the Church that needs to be said, has already been said,” and we cause difficulties – and get into “trouble” – by needless repetition and interpretation. Nevertheless, St. Gregory Palamas wrote that the Holy Spirit was always moving, teaching, inspiring, articulating and re-articulating; He was “Fire from Fire,” gifts upon gifts, searching, seeking, and invigorating wherever He went, and He went wherever He wished. In fact, the definition of “Living Tradition” is the manner by which the Holy Spirit acts to re-articulate – not change, not offer a false hope of change in time to come, nor give “wiggle-room” or leeway – the eternal Truth of the Church as vital and unchanging in each generation. The Church is not “stagnant,” nor is it a museum for a Biblical narrative, but rather it is the dynamic Bride of the Risen Lord, inspired by the Holy Spirit, on the last journey “when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.” (1 Cor. 15:28)

                  • Michael Bauman says:

                    If the dialog is prophetic in nature, seeking and declaring the Truth it can be fruitful. If however it is conducted in the modern mindset of egalitarianism, it always leads to heresy, schism and apostasy.

                    It is the latter dialog that we faithful are sick to death of.

                    Michael S. you have an truly anachronistic mind set when it comes to these things that often, IMO, fails to realize the reality of our times.

                    I like Fr. Hopko’s description of one of the ecumenical dialogs he participated in. There as a discussion of the “Branch Theory” of the Church. Fr. Hopko, properly, dismissed it as invalid (I heard this from his own lips) saying that the Orthodox Church was the tree root and branch. When asked what then were other Christians he responded, “You are the nuts who fell off the tree.”

                    Those nuts have mutated and metastasized over the years to produce little that is not poisonous theologically.

                  • Michael S.,

                    The faithful have no argument with Saint Gregory’s words nor with your correct interpretation of them by your writing…

                    In fact, the definition of “Living Tradition” is the manner by which the Holy Spirit acts to re-articulate – not change… the eternal Truth of the Church as vital and unchanging in each generation.

                    Re-articulation is essential. I am not, as your comment would seem to suggest, conflating mere conservatism (fear of change of any kind) with faithfulness. You know very well that the “dialogue” these impostors insist upon as being “healthy” is neither a re-articulation of the Faith once delivered nor a faithful engagement of either the culture or the heterodox with the intent of drawing them to the truth. No self-respecting heretic, in the image of his father (“Hath God said..?), fails to dilute his poison with just enough truth necessary to entice and deceive. This is the sophistic “healthy dialogue” (so-called) with which the faithful are fed up.

                    It is one thing to begin with obedience to revelation and ask “why?” It is quite another to begin with reason alone, interpreting the fathers according to modern premises, and expect to arrive at the truth by purely rational means. The latter approach is a mockery of theology. As Saint Augustine wrote, echoing the words of our Lord, “Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore, seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand.”

                    Children, however intelligent they may be, are naturally foolish in that they do not have the capacity to comprehend the dangers of which parents are aware. A parent can and should explain the dangers from which his/her commands are intended to protect a child, but there comes a point when a parent must demand obedience from an obstinate child for the child’s own good and for the sake of the friends with whom he plays. What is sadly ironic in the case of these foolish and obstinate children is that they are often viewed as the “experts” due to their theological training alone – even by bishops who ought to be wise enough parents to see them for the foolish and, in some cases, malevolent children they are.

          • M. Stankovich says:

            Fr. Alexander,,

            Point taken and you offer some valid criticism. As noted elsewhere, I was reacting to the fact that my perception was that commentators knew little about the Jesuits in the modern era – perhaps at all – and had no appreciation for their academic contribution to, for example, Biblical criticism and history – some of which we had come to rely upon because of a lack of scholarship in English. They continue to be at the forefront in the education of bioethics. I was attempting to allow for the perception of those Jesuits who maintain the academic mission, and are faithful to, as you say, the magisterium of the Roman Catholic tradition. And they do exist.

    • Michael Bauman says:

      Stankovich: It seems you have over looked H. Tristram Engelhardt Jr.

      • George Michalopulos says:

        Tris is indeed a treasure of wisdom!

      • M. Stankovich says:

        I did not overlook him. I merely pointed out that, given the number of individual jurisdictions of Orthodox in the US, the length of time we have been present, and the undeserved boasting that we apparently are only making among ourselves, that we have a “mission” of bringing the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the public square, makes my observation absolutely correct. He is one nationally recognized scholar among one nationally recognized scholar who is known to be Orthodox. And pardon me, Bauman (there must be a good reason you are referring to by my last name alone), but are you not making the argument above that the price to be paid for the laity to speak out for the Truth is simply too great – best leave it up to the bishops – and better to not show up and not pay? So much for martyrdom, and the more frightening the words of the Lord, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and the holy angels.” (Lk. 9:26)

        • Michael Bauman says:

          Michael S. You misread my words but I understand why. I was talking about effective ways of making known our displeasure. Certainly you know that I am not silent. Since our early run-ins I have tried to not let anyone take my peace though and I will always be appreciate your correspondence and prays a few years ago when my wife was sick.

          Forgive me if my appellation was distressing to you. I was just being lazy.

        • Michael Bauman says:

          Michael S., I also must share a story about Dr. Engelhardt: Several years ago, Dr. Engelhardt invited my brother, an Orthodox priest, to come with him to an international conference on economics and ethics with some pretty high level European academics in Switzerland. My brother gave the invocation and then sat down and just listened. At one point during one of Dr. Engelhardt’s presentations he told the assembly what was really needed was that they all repent and be baptized. “There was a stream outside and priest was right here!” No one took him up on his offer. I am not sure what my brother would have done had anyone accepted the ‘altar call’.

          Maybe all we need is a little leaven?

      • Fr Joseph Huneycutt says:

        For your prayers: Reader Herman (Dr H. Tristram) Engelhardt underwent some rather serious surgery the middle of December. He just recently stepped down from ICU. He has a long way to go and would appreciate your prayers.

  8. Alitheia1875 says:

    There was a time, when Fr. Georges Florovsky was teaching at Harvard, that he would go over to Holy Cross and teach a course or two. On occasion, he would be teaching in a classroom that happened to be right next to a classroom occupied by Fr. John Romanides. Ah, for the good old days.

  9. Photius Underwood says:

    Don’t fall for the distraction here people. What is this about is creating an “inner ring” . Please see the following essay on this concept that refers to CS Lewis https://goo.gl/3tHCUo What this is most about is controlling who is and who is not considered “a theologian” and who has access to Orthodox theological education. Many of the names you see are also ones that were tied into the Great Council. They are also the same ones who cannot answer simple and basic Orthodox questions. For example, ask any of them if sex outside of marriage is healthy? If the Orthodox Church was functioning in a healthy way, clergy and hierarchs could respond but given the failures of the Great Council, the Assembly and the chaos in the GOA these folks continue to move forward and scorn anyone who challenges the inner ring as inferior to them.

  10. Didn’t know where to put this. I’m calling it FISA-gate. It’s breaking shortly and when it does it will be tectonic, game changing.

    https://www.reviewjournal.com/opinion/opinion-columns/wayne-allyn-root/commentary-fbi-went-to-great-lengths-to-plot-against-donald-trump/

    • Anonymous says:

      Trump went to great lengths to have money laundering indicted Manafort be his campaign manager. It ain’t a chicken an egg contest despite what a few die hard right wingers want to pretend. Years of smearing Hillary led to no indictment; nothing. Yet in the first year of Trump; Republican FBI leaders indicted 3 of Trump’s staff; two on very serious matters related to moving illegal money around. The problem for Trump is he can’t control the narrative on this one and say the FBI is out to get me. The simple facts are that Trump has either intentionally or inadvertently changed bad money into good. Whether or not he is ever indicted for any of it is an entirely different question.

      It becomes a problem of scope really. If the scope of the investigation is why is the Russian mob so nice to Trump; and was it a payback for him helping them; then we must ask ourselves do we want election tampering by foreign mafias? And we must ask if Trump knew the Russian mobsters had his back a bit. And, if so, was it even illegal? And if Trump changed their dirty money; is it within the scope?

      But conservatives are writhing with the 3, no 4 indictments now against former Trump staffers and ZERO against Hillary.

      Her dirtiest crime still remains saying Bill did nothing outside their marriage which we all know is BS. Trump, on the other hand, we are not so sure about.

      • George Michalopulos says:

        The reason there was no indictment of Hillary is because corrupt elements within the FBI went out of their way to look the other way.

        • Deep Steak says:

          that ain’t how the fbi or the doj work my man.

          guess you are lucky that lying to the fbi is a crime, but being an easily duped rube about how it functions isn’t

      • Hillary was not indicted because the Obama Administration, undoubtedly the most corrupt in modern history, protected her. It is astonishing to see the lengths the establishment went to in order to do this. The corruption of Loretta Lynch promising to follow the FBI’s lead, when she knew where they were going all along, alone should see her in shackles. And Comey and McCabe and the whole corrupt leadership of the FBI should follow. This is truly the closest thing we have seen to an attempted coup in the history of our great Republic. I don’t understand how any American of any political or ideological stripe could find this even close to acceptable.

      • Michael Bauman says:

        Not a mouse’s post and the responses make clear the reality that facts do not prove anything. It becomes clear that in the ideologically contaminated political environment in which we live: Facts don’t mean a thing unless you got the bling.

        That is because all ideologies are a lie. Each one distorts reality claiming to be THE TRUTH. Each leads to tyranny of one sort or another. Certainly they lead to the condemnation of those who do not believe as they should: degrading the humanity of all of us.

        So, how do we then govern? Not well or wisely as is obvious to all.

        Is the government of any state or people critical to our salvation? I doubt it. Oh, do not get me wrong, the effect of government can be inimical to some people’s salvation, particularly to those who have power. Certainly there are policies that are evil and deserve to be condemned-even resisted, but does that mean that I or others must believe and advocate for a particular kind of government or a particular political agenda to be saved?

        Such a conclusion seems shaky to me.

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