What I Saw at the Reburial –Part III: Finale

It’s been exactly a year since I had the great honor of attending the translation of the relics of the Venerable Dmitri of Thrice-blessed Memory.

I realize that’s a long time and it’s been a disservice to many of my readers here. For that I apologize.

Anyway, where was I?

Ah yes. It was about one o’clock when the hearse from the cemetery pulled up with his remains. A few more people had started coming. Milos Konjevic of course was there. Fr Gerasim had asked me to put on an altar-servers robe and together with another five men, we retrieved Dmitri’s coffin from the hearse and brought it in to the Nave, where a special bier had been constructed to receive it.

It was eerie. About a dozen or so of us were standing around the coffin in the Nave, not saying anything. This was the dream of a lifetime for many of us. I for one, couldn’t still grasp the reality of it all. Silence prevailed. Then Fr Gerasim pointed to me and said: “Start the Trisagion Prayers”. After I finished then one of the other priests (I believe it was Fr Michael) took over.

As I wrote in the previous installment, more people started coming. About two o’clock or so, the Psalter was being read. I got to read part of it but after about 10 minutes, I sat down, still taking it all in. After about an hour, I got up to go look for some coffee. Driving around I found a Panera Bread about half a mile away and ordered a bagel and mug of coffee. While refreshing myself, I whipped out my Android and started texting people.

Then I went back to the Cathedral. By now, it was packed. People were everywhere, both inside and outside. There was a definite buzz in the air.

Walking around, I saw some old friends and acquaintances. I try to go to Dallas about once or twice a year, usually on my way to Houston but sometimes just to go to the Cathedral. It’s always good to see the old crew: Milos, Maureen, Vladimir, Murray, Jesse and so on.

I hadn’t seen Murray in quite awhile and he recognized me before I recognized him. He was standing outside the newly-built chapel/mausoleum and was showing pictures and videos of the re-internment. He had been present throughout the whole proceedings, along with Dr Rodrigues (the Archbishop’s personal physician) as well as the clergy who were doing the actual removal of the body and revesting of it.

He had literally dozens of photographs (if not hundreds). What struck me however was a video he had taken which showed the Archbishop stripped (except for a loincloth) and being moved on a winding sheet. The angle was from the head down and I could clearly see the bald pate of His Eminence. It looked like he was asleep.

To be sure, he was emaciated to the extreme, looking somewhat like a concentration camp victim. However his skin was intact and supple. I gasped. I asked Murray to download the video to me. What was the harm? Anyway, I wanted all visual proof of his incorruptibility to remain intact, away from those who wished to do his memory harm. Unfortunately, just as he was getting ready to do it, a priest had come out and told us to put away all video equipment –immediately.

Metropolitan Tikhon and Archbishop Alejo had arrived a little bit earlier than this (I’d say about 30 minutes before). It was on their orders that the priest came up to the crowd that was gathered around Murray and said: “no more”. All photos and videos were to be kept on close-hold until further notice. (Someday, I hope to get a hold of that video but for now, I’ll just continue the story.)

Vespers was wonderful. At least two hundred and fifty people were there. Afterwards, we retired to the parish hall and had a wonderful dinner. After that, I went tomy cousin’s house and spent the night. The next day was Liturgy. And it was packed. Some people from Tulsa had heard about his state of incorruption and got up early to attend Liturgy. I imagine there were many others from nearby and not-so-nearby who made the effort to do the same.

After Liturgy, a special molieben was held and his coffin was taken in procession around the cathedral before it was brought into the mausoleum. Vladimir, Maureen and myself were patiently waiting, not saying anything but feeling sad. Vladimir especially was choked up. If I had to guess, I’d say it was because we were being deprived of him a second time. I don’t know, that really doesn’t sense, does it? After all, hundreds of people had moved heaven and earth to get Dmitri disinterred and placed back where he belonged. I guess the initial euphoria of the previous month, when we had been given permission to translate his relics had now been displaced by a sadness. I don’t know. Maybe it was just me who was sad.

Then the procession arrived and the little mausoleum was being filled to the brim. Myself, I have acrophobia and as I stood at the edge of the crypt (which was at least eight feet deep) I wondered if anybody else would fall in. The place was that jam-packed. Two-by-fours had been placed across it upon which the coffin would rest. Once the coffin had been placed on them, that worry went away.

Another service, this one lasting a good twenty minutes was said by His Beatitude and His Eminence. A wonderful eulogy was spoken by a visiting priest. It was a rousing one; I’m sure Dmitri was pleased. Like many of his sermons, it had the right amount of humor thrown in to break the sadness.

But then the time came to remove the two-by-fours. Ropes had been strung beneath the coffin and then six of us –three on one side and three on the other–had grabbed firmly the rope. I wrapped my end firmly around the length of my elbow and right hand, twice. I didn’t want to lose my grip.

And then we lowered it slowly into the crypt.

Comments

  1. Friends of mine in the OCA were in particular awe of Abp. Dmitri during his lifetime and informally considered him a living saint. I never had the opportunity to meet him but looking at what he accomplished I can say that he deserves all respect. His particular focus on missionary activity places him on the cutting edge of Christ’s work here in America and I am sure he enjoys a blessed repose. If the OCA canonizes him, I would joyfully venerate his icon. May he pray for us all.

  2. A tiny glimpse of one visit by this shepherd to a mission — now my own home parish — in his flock.

    http://www.tmatt.net/columns/2011/09/from-texas-baptist-to-orthodox-saint?rq=Dmitri

  3. Peter Millman says:

    George,
    Why didn’t you give the opportunity to respond to [Fr] Harry’s offensive, disrespectful comments to me? I was so burned up after you blocked my response, I decided to call [him] directly on the phone. I will be calling him tomorrow as well, and the next day until I speak to him. Nobody, and I mean nobody, talks to me the way he did. Shame on you for your cowardice.

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Peter, I may be many things, but a “coward” isn’t one of them. I waited until I cleaned up your response because your response to him exceeded the bounds of discourse that I allow on this website.

      Please consider how I respond to His Grace, Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald. He’s called me everything but a wild woman and yet I’ve never responded in kind. I expect the same level of deference by laymen to all clergy and hierarchy who participate on this website.

      Thank you for understanding.

      • This is why I would never post my last name. This blog is very educational, and entertaining, but we should never let it get personal, or harass people on the phone, or God forbid in person. Again, if I have ever offended anyone please forgive me, and understand it is never done in malice. Simply just trying to make a point, and trying to bring a little laughter into this blog world. Most of us are devout Orthodox Christians, we must curb our tempers as such. Thanks again George for all you do!

      • Peter,

        George is no coward. He has allowed comments of mine that could have gotten him visited by NSA due to subject matter and content. He does edit but mostly he is concerned with a base level of decency as well as possible legal ramifications. That’s not cowardice, that’s just not walking out into traffic.

        PS: Good news re: the Rodina:

        https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-07/russia-is-running-on-more-than-just-the-black-stuff

    • Michael Bauman says:

      Peter, sorry, but I think you have it backwards. I usually do not take offense(any more) at anything anyone says about it to me especially on the internet. First, it is the internet and second, I am either capable of have committed every sin known to man. So, the person is probably right.

      BTW, sorry I offended you. I am sure I could have worded what I said in a better way. I was not attacking you. Forgive me as I am sure it seemed that way.

      If there is anything specific you’d like me to modify or withdraw, I will be glad to do it.

    • Peter,

      Remember when you and I insulted each other in our Jewish debate couple months ago? Well, in the long run, we forgave each other.

      May I suggest before calling Father Harry again in anger, you might call your spiritual father, and ask his opinion.

  4. Peter Millman says:

    Hi Dino,
    There was a big difference; inspite of our disagreement, I still always liked you. What’s not to like; you’re a great guy.

    I remember one time this guy who stood 6’5″ tall and weighed 250lbs., said to me, ” Hey Millman.” I responded, “It’s Mr. Millman.” He said, ” Why do I have to call you Mr. Millman?” I answered, ” Because I said you do.” He replied, ” Okay, Mr. Millman.” Honest to goodness, if he had given me a disrespectful response, I would have literally broken both his legs. My intention and resolve was to break both his legs. Dino, if you ever had any idea how dangerous I am, it would terrify you.

    Okay, George suffers from clericalism- the undue deference to clerics. I suffer from no such feelings. I couldn’t care less who the person, they’re either going to respect me or fear me. The choice is theirs, but it will only be one or the other.You know the saying. ” Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”

    • Peter Millman says:

      Hi Dino,
      Every time I hit the delete button, for some reason, George publishes my deleted posts. I had deleted this post to you because it was written in anger. Nevertheless, George is a good man.

      The big mistake I made was in joining the Orthodox Church in the first place. I joined it because of my Greek heritage, not because I thought it was the true church or anything like that. Over the past nine years, I’ve discovered many things I don’t like about the Orthodox Church. I don’t like the way the church puts the clergy on a pedestal. In fact, I don’t even like the fact that priests are allowed to marry.

      I don’t believe that the Orthodox Church has kept the ancient faith unchanged at all. The Orthodox Church allows divorce and remarriage which I completely disagree with. They allow contraception, and they are nowhere near as pro life as the Catholic Church. Also, since I’ve been a member of the Orthodox Church, I have studied the ancient church and their relationship with the Pope. I have come to the realization that the Pope was the head of the entire ancient church. The Great Schism was the result of transgressions on the part of the Patriarch of Constantinople. I believe that the Orthodox Church is in schism against our Lord’s wishes. As a consequence, I have made the decision to leave the Orthodox Church for what I consider to be the one true church- the Holy Catholic Church. I like everything about the Catholic Church better. Obviously, there is no point in posting on an Orthodox forum anymore. Actually, my experiences on this site have been a great help in aiding me to arrive at my conclusions. Most of the stuff on this site is total garbage. Believe me, the Catholics are much nicer people.

      • George Michalopulos says:

        Peter, please forgive me for any transgression. I think that you’re a good man as well.

        In my defense regard reposting, I tend to restore deleted items because posters have asked me to. It’s almost clockwork at this point. I’ll try to be more careful.

        While I don’t agree with your decision or your summation of the Papacy in the pre-Schism period, I respect your convictions. May God grant you wisdom, mercy and a long life.

        In Christ, George

      • Monk James says:

        It appears that Peter Millman has had some bad experiences among us, which I regret, and I apologize to him and ask his forgiveness for anything I have written here to cause him to have negative feelings about Orthodoxy, or at least about the Orthodox Christians of his acquaintance.

        At the same time, it seems that his reading has led him to some conclusions which would not have occurred had his studies been more objective. Before writing off Orthodoxy and opting for the Roman Catholic faith, especially for the sake of the Roman papacy, I urge him to study some more, starting with A. Edward Siecienski’s The Papacy and the Orthodox: Sources and History of a Debate (Oxford University Press 2017).

      • Anonymous says:

        If I were George’s priest, I’d refuse him Communion until he stops posting garbage like Obama’s wife Bruno on a site that promotes/demotes Orthodoxy. Free speech is not a Catholic idea. The priest and bishop need to be in charge; not the laity. If you aren’t a promoter/demoter of Orthodoxy; then stop pretending, right?

        Not a good place to grade Orthodoxy Millman. I would really like to put you in contact with an Orthodox priest that George hates. George might not even remember his name, but he is a Lutheran convert who took a stand against Met Phillip and lost. He investigated all the faiths and decided on Orthodoxy away from Luther and away from Roman Catholicism.

        From a historical perspective, much of the schism was due to language issues from what I have learned. Reflect on Corinthians 1:14-40 a bit before you judge the east for telling the west we can’t preach in (tongues or equivalent).

        Sorry George. Sending people away is a new low for you and you get partial credit.

        • George Michalopulos says:

          Anon, what make you think I would “hate” this convert priest? You’re being awfully presumptuous.

        • Michael Bauman says:

          Anon. While language issues did not help, the idea that they alone are largely responsible is a false narrative.

          Even if they did largely contribute, the differences that now exist between Rome and we Orthodox are substantial: soteriology, Christology, etc.

          Not to mention the increasingly apostate current Pope.

          I am sure George would not mind if you called his priest and talked with him directly, although direct, private, in person contact with George first is the Biblical formula. Neither is hard to find.

          Unless you have done that, you need to remain silent as you are engaging in slander. (Not legally, but in a Christian sense.)

          • Anonymous says:

            Call me a troll if you like, but Millman didn’t make his decisions based on my commentary and rather than focusing on potential causes; shoot the messenger. It is the new normal in America.

            George, you are right. I was wrong to pin you with hatred of a priest who dissed Metropolitan Philip. It was a leap. And sadly my point about the priest choosing Orthodoxy, even with its imperfections was lost in my lust to slam you for Millman’s decisions.

            But Millman ought to weigh heavily on all of you.

            • https://facingislam.blogspot.com/2013/06/st-gregory-palamas-confessor-and.html?m=1

              This is about St. Gregory Palamas as a Confessor for Christ vis a vis the Muslims. He was wonderfully insightful and quite direct with them while respecting them as human beings without respecting their religion.

            • Anony,

              YOU ARE NOT a good person to grade Orthodoxy. The only person you’re trying to troll is Peter Millman. Why do you call him Millman, continually? Just need some attention? Are you trying to get Peter to lose his temper, to amuse yourself? Get a life! Leave the man alone. You should be ashamed of yourself!

              What I do find sad, and ironic is that all these posts have nothing to do with George’s story about a man who many see as a saint. I suppose only the origins and the topics of seedy homosexuality, corrupt politics/ organized religion, female slavery, and child abuse interest the Monomakhoians. Just consider how few post George gets on his trip to Russia, and his witness of a future saint, compared to the trash that most here on Monomakhos can’t get enough of. Sex sells baby, with sprinkle of politics, even for the most pious here!

              • Peter Millman says:

                Great post Dino. Many thanks. I was thinking the same thing about anonymous- that he was trying to provoke me. but I have ways to discover who he is, what his phone number is, and where he lives. You see anonymous, nobody is really anonymous- not in this day and age.

                As my aunt Barbara said about me through crocodile tears,” Peter is a psycho.” The only truthful thing she ever said.

              • Anonymous says:

                The Gospel be our guide.

                That is all.

            • Peter Millman says:

              Anon,

              Knock it off, son; you are walking on deadly ground. That’s your only warning; otherwise, believe me, I’ll find you. You are to address me as Mr. Millman or Peter- those are your only two options. Son, the Sword of Damocles is having over your head right now, suspended by a horse’s hair. Need I say more? For your sake, I hope not.

      • Peter,

        You are leaving the Church of Christ for a heretical sect that is in the process of self-destruction. I’m sure they seem much nicer. They have no truth to defend. Everything’s negotiable except for the papacy. Recall the co-redemptix movement? Totally soul-less power trip.

        Bon voyage! If you are smart, you will repent and return someday. What you will see is the RCC self-destruct before your eyes into a collection of constituent sects. Pope Francis leads it at a critical time in history, so the main part of the RCC will likely become a hollow shell with Secular Humanism at its core. The outer garments of Christian terminology will only be superficial decor. That is the destiny of Roman Catholicism.

        But you are welcome to follow that star if you wish.

        • Peter Millman says:

          Hi Misha,
          The Catholic has well over one billion members, builds hospitals, schools, colleges, orphanages, etc. while the Orthodox Church has about one hundred million members, seventy million of which are in Russia. Which one is the sect? The Orthodox Church allows divorce in contravention to Christ’s command, and allows birth control, not to mention the fact that ii is rife withe ossified fundamentalism which you have demonstrated by your polemical post. My friend, the Creed says I believe in one holy Catholic Church, not one holy Orthodox Church. Don’t forget, all the major heresies had their genesis in the East. Constantinople was never an Apostolic Patriarch, but that is old history.Thank you for wishing me bon voyage.

          • Monk James says:

            Peter Millman (March 15, 2017 at 10:24 am) says (among other things):
            ‘… the Creed says I believe in one holy Catholic Church, not one holy Orthodox Church.’
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            True, but we Orthodox Christians also profess our faith in ‘one, holy. catholic, and apostolic Church’, so it’s clear that we don’t mean the same thing as do RCs when they use the word ‘catholic’ This happens a lot in ‘ecumenical dialogue’ when Catholics and Orthodox Christians make the mistake of assuming that they both mean the same thing when they use the same words; it’s just not that straightforward.

            The word _katholikos_ in Greek is a combination of two words, _kata_ (‘according to, in accordance with’) and _holos_ (‘whole, entire’) plus an adjectival ending, yielding a meaning of something like ‘in accordance with the whole’. The frequently repeated but mistaken RC assertion that the word ‘catholic’ means ‘universal’ is just plain wrong. There are other words for that in Greek, such as _kosmikos_ and _pagkosmios_ which were just as available in the fourth Christian century as they are now, but the ecumenical synods which composed the Symbol of the Faith avoided them in favor of _katholikos_.

            Essentially, the word means that each local Orthodox Christian community, a bishop with his clergy and laity, form a complete church which is in complete ‘accordance with the whole’ (idea of The Church), lacking nothing whose absence would prevent it from functioning as the Body of Christ.

            There are other points in Mr Millman’s post which are worth discussing, but it seemed important to clarify this one, at least.

          • Peter, you deserve a more detailed response, perhaps:

            “The Catholic has well over one billion members, builds hospitals, schools, colleges, orphanages, etc. while the Orthodox Church has about one hundred million members, seventy million of which are in Russia. Which one is the sect?”

            Clearly the “Roman Catholic Church” is the sect if you are going to judge by the demographics at the time schism took hold. It was smaller than the Eastern Church in the 9th-11th centuries.

            “The Orthodox Church allows divorce in contravention to Christ’s command . . .”

            No, Christ explicitly allowed divorce in the case of adultery:

            “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.”

            Christ explicitly allowed divorce and remarriage for the man in the case of the woman’s adultery. The Roman Catholic Church denies this teaching of Christ. The Orthodox Church upholds it. Moreover, to hide its sin, it invents a whole doctrine of “annulment” which is a scholastic fiction to deal with the aftermath of its heretical departure from the faith. Misunderstanding Scripture, Rome characterizes marriage as something which cannot be dissolved rather than something which should not be dissolved. Christ said, “What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” not “cannot be put asunder.”

            “. . . and allows birth control . . .”

            Some modernists bishops allow birth control short of abortifacients in the name of family planning for economic considerations. Contraception works against the Lord’s command to be fruitful and multiply, yet the seriousness with which we approach the sin of abortion should not be confused with the lesser offense of delaying reproduction.

            “. . . not to mention the fact that it is rife with ossified fundamentalism which you have demonstrated by your polemical post.”

            You pile on against non-abortifacient birth control and then accuse me of ossified fundamentalism? How quaint!

            “My friend, the Creed says I believe in one holy Catholic Church, not one holy Orthodox Church.”

            Semantics. You know that the name “Orthodox” is of ancient vintage as well and merely serves to distinguish the Orthodox Catholic Church of Christ from the “Roman Catholic Church”, a sect which appropriated the Greek term “katholikos” to itself.

            “Don’t forget, all the major heresies had their genesis in the East. Constantinople was never an Apostolic see.”

            The West had its share of heresies including Arianism, against which the heretical filioque was originally brandished. As to Apostolic sees, the East is littered with them, though Constantinople’s claim is one of legend. That is one reason that the term “Metropolitan” has spread so widely in the Greek speaking churches of Asia minor: about every third church was founded by an Apostle. The reason that “Apostolic See” has such gravity in the West is because the West only had one, until it lapsed into heresy.

            I could go on.

            • Peter Millman says:

              Hi Misha,
              I like your post; it’s a good one. I beg to differ with you, my friend. Didn’t the Arian heresy start in the East?Wasn’t the Patriarch of Constantinople an Arian at one time. Wasn’t the Pope the one who ended this pernicious heresy? I know all about the history of it, but I just don’t remember all the details.

              As far as ” ossified fundamentalism,” that is actually a quote from one of the posters on Orthodox Christian Laity. Sorry, I can’t take credit for coining the term- and should have used quotation marks. No, actually I think he wrote “ossified Orthodoxy” so I guess that wouldn’t be plagiarism on my part.
              Anyway, good, thoughtful post on your part. I have to do more research on the marriage and remarriage controversy. Your quotation from our Lord about ” What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder,” not cannot put asunder should have been explained because it sounds like special pleading. Thanks.

              • George Michalopulos says:

                Peter, you’re right: the Arian heresy began in Alexandria and spread like wildfire throughout the Roman Empire.

              • Michael Bauman says:

                Peter, it is safe to say that all of the early major heresies began in the East. Most of the Christian population was in the East. No question. The Bishop of Rome offered critical teaching and guidance to be sure. But only as Bishop of Rome.

                It is interesting to me that despite the origin of heresies being in the East geographically, it is the West who has become the incubator for them. The geographical area in which they remain alive and are propagated.

                Arianism, Nestorianism(the co-redemptrix movement being the other side of that coin), Chiliasm, Montanism, iconoclasm, you name them they are all active and taught somewhere in western Christendumb. Not just the protestant sects either.

                Peter, you seem to me to me to be a person who prefers a less than flexible, legalistic approach. The RCC can certainly seem to give you that.

                However, salvation is messy because life is messy. Law does not suffice. Salvation is not dualistic and subjective as Rome now teaches. It is personal, intimate and antinomical. Full of seeming paradox and mystery that cannot be ajudicated only revealed by grace. It is an organic process that cannot be contained or defined solely by law or dogma.

                Only Christ suffices. He is our head. He is revealed most fully in the life of the Orthodox Church. Even in our failings, our smallness, our lack of glory our incessant bickering.

          • Peter Millman,

            Although I do believe Rome is in error, I refuse to bash them as many do. There is no doubt in my mind that faithful Roman Catholics are lovers of Christ, as are many faithful in Protestant sects. Their errors (and I won’t elaborate on them here), however, are slowly but surely leading them into modernism and secularism. Faithful Roman Catholics themselves are just now beginning to recognize this, although most of them have yet fully to realize its root cause.

            One thing I will say concerns a clarification on the fact that they build hospitals, orphanages, colleges, and schools, as opposed to the Orthodox who (by comparison anyway) seem not to – at least not in this country. .

            Although the building of these institutions was, in fact, originally carried out in this country by the Roman Catholic Church at Church expense and in the Name of Christ in order to serve the poor, the sick, the orphaned and the ignorant, the fact is that almost none of these institutions as we know them today could or would continue apart from government funding or the ability to bill the government for the services they provide. The hospitals, orphanages, and colleges survive primarily by these means. Were it not for government funding almost all of them would be forced to shut down. As it is, the vast majority of the schools (K-12) for which government funding is not available in most states are barely surviving, and a great many have been forced to close, much to the chagrin of the faithful.

            This is not Catholic bashing or criticism. It is simply reality. And if things do not change in terms of this country’s trajectory toward radical secularism, they will be forced either to close down their institutions or compromise with evil – as the contraceptive mandate in the ACA and the insistence of some states that adoption be open to homosexual couples (which shut down some Catholic orphanages and adoption agencies) demonstrated. Note that nothing prevents their continuation except the lack of government funding. If they are willing to continue in these ministries in accordance with their church’s teaching without government funding, they are free to do so. But they can’t, and with the exception of an extreme few, they won’t.

            Again, I don’t criticize the work they do. I am only pointing out the reality behind the criticism that is often heard: “Why don’t the Orthodox build hospitals, orphanages, colleges, and schools?” The reality is we have built orphanages, colleges, and schools, although certainly not on the scale of the Roman Church, and most assuredly not with much, if any, funding from government. I cannot say what the future holds, but if the trajectory holds there may come a day when we are glad we didn’t have the resources to do so.

            • Peter Millman says:

              Hi Brian,
              Your post is excellent as are all your posts. Very thoughtful and well reasoned. I agree with the points you have made. I might add the greatest impediment in Orthodoxy in this country is the lack of unity- and the tremendous waste of resources found in duplication.

              I think that many people would agree that there should be only one autocephalous Orthodox Church in America. As many people have stated, the situation in America is entirely uncanonical when we have all these different jurisdictions beholden to foreign Patriarchs who are unwilling to relinquish their hold over the Orthodox in the America. Thank you for your eloquent post.

              • Michael Bauman says:

                Peter, the trouble with “Orthodox Unity” in the US is that it might cause more problems than it would solve.

                The secularists have to compromise more bishops without unity and with the ruling bishops and synods elsewhere.

                In the not too distant future it is certainly possible that there will be an “official” Orthodox Church seeming to display unity and the real thing which will require a lot of sacrifice to be part of because it is despised, poor and without worldly glory.

                Given that secularists are expert frog boilers, it may not be easy to tell which is which until the process is far down the pike. How do we know we have already begun the separation?

                Rather than seeking “unity” in this world it is far more important to watch and pray so that we may not be numbered among the foolish virgins. Don’t you think?

                IMAO the RCC is busy burning the oil with little to nothing to replace it. The Orhodox Church as lame and halt and infirm as we are has a much deeper resovoir of oil. We just need to guard the keys to the oil vats and keep our lamps full and our wicks trimmed.

                The Protestants never had any oil to begin with.

                Speaking not of specific people but in the more general sense theologically and soteriologically.

                • George Michalopulos says:

                  Excellent analysis, Michael. I think you hit many nails right on the head. One of the more important is the desire of men for worldly glory.

                  Recently, I came across the flagship magazine put out by the Archons. It was a disgusting display of ostentation made all the worse by the fact that there is no real glory in Istanbul. It was page after page of the EP with photos of him with that dignitary and the other. I was given this by one of my extended family to show how “glorious” the Phanar is compared to say, every other jurisdiction in America.

                  It’s pathetic really. And it shows me that we are generations away from real –Christ-like–unity here in America. As long as the GOA and its provisional wing (the Archons) spend precious resources to put out drivel like this (and worse, believe it), then it’s best we remain as we are.

                  • Michael Bauman says:

                    I also think priests and bishops could spend their time far better on spiritual formation. The bishops forming the priests and the priests and elders of the parish or diocese helping the rest of us. A full a cycle of services as can be managed with the priests primary duty serving the sacraments and prayer services; especially the Divine Liturgy and Confession.

                    Teaching what confession is, how it is done within the Orthodox Tradition. Preparing our young people for marriage not just after they decide to get married, but all along. Teaching celebacy, sacrifice and faithfulness and a full understanding of what it means to be a Christian man and a Christian woman.

                    Working with folks on building a personal life of prayer and repentance without the oppressive overhead of artificial “spiritual fathers”.

                    Parish schools that actually teach how to think and build the soul rather than what to think would be nice.

                    A concentration on almsgiving, local almsgiving, not just diocesan/arch-diocesan programs would also be a feature. With an emphasis on giving alms, there would be a natural carry over to the financial support of the local community.

                    Almsgiving also includes pastoral ministries to people inside the Church who are struggling or suffering.

                    Mission funding would be the next level up as well as taking care of priests and their families.

                    Monasteries in each diocese at least should be a goal. I would say under obedience to the diocesan bishop but that is a leap of faith I can’t quite make. The monasteries would be pan-Orthodox in the best meaning of that term looked after by bishops in each jurisdiction who have the character and affinity to do the job well.

                    Many more things on which and in which we could spend our time and energy than worrying about “unity”. Who knows have a few decades of actually working on living a Christian life people could see our works and glorify God (including ourselves) for the Orthodox Church period.

                    Just a thought.

                  • I too have hope for Orthodoxy in America, but it must be based on truth rather than a false unity based on the relative standards of the age. That is why, for example, the Orthodox monasticism of Elder Ephraim is a Godsend here in America as is all the other monastacism of the various jurisdictions.

                    I pray that Constantinople, too, will get its act together. Until then, Orthodox unity under it is unthinkable There has been a formal charge of heresy offered against Patriarch Bartholomew in the Synod of the Church of Greece. Who knows what will happen?

                    Keep the faith.

        • Peter Millman says:

          Hi Misha,
          I’m still doing research; a decision like this is not to be entered into lightly. I’m reading a book by Father Michael Harper called A Faith Fulfilled about his conversion to the Orthodox Church from the Church of England. I will be sixty two in April,and I have to weigh the consequences of converting to the Catholic Church especially in view of the present crisis with the Pope. In all likelihood, I probably will not convert to the Catholic Church, however, that is not to say that I don’t have problems with some aspects of Orthodoxy.

          • George Michalopulos says:

            Peter, I’m not unsympathetic to Catholicism. Far from it. For this reason I have (and continue) to delve deeply into Catholic circles, blogs, etc. One of my favorite is The Vortex. Are you familiar with it? If not, please look into it. Its level of argumentation is top-notch.

            Having said that, I’m not uncritical of its presuppositions. Regardless, I view them as co-belligerents in the great Culture War. I am fascinated as well by its positive critique of Vatican II. And wary. Vatican II (according to their lights) did not create the morass of modern American Catholicism. I agree. Having said that, something did. I guess that’s the reason I’m so dead-set against the Cretan Robber Council.

            I intend to develop my observations more fully in due time.

            • Peter,

              If I have given you the impression that I think Catholics are demons, I apologize. That was not my intent. In fact, I know that there are very many Catholics who love God sincerely. I do not believe that Pope Francis is an ally in the “culture war”. However, I do believe that many traditionally minded Catholics are allies in the culture war. And that is the point.

              Their version of “Tradition” is extremely vulnerable to modification at this late stage of the game. Ours is not.

              • Peter Millman says:

                Hi Misha,
                To be honest, with you, in case you haven’t figured it out, I can be extremely hostile at times. I mean instead of looking for the good in people, I look for their faults and weaknesses, then exploit them. I’ve been reading too much of the Art of War and the Prince by Machiavelli. For example, remember when I mentioned the Catholic Novos Ordo saint that just recently passed away. Well, I saw her son, Johnny Drama in CVS in Plymouth,MA,. on Saturday; I was talking to him about his mother. He said she was like another Mother Teresa, then he started talking to me about his well known friendship with Mark Wahlberg, as if I care. While I was talking, he interrupted my conversation to speak to someone else he knows. To me, I don’t take kindly at all to someone interrupting me in mid speech to talk to someone else. No one interrupts me when I am speaking. It comes down to respect . I couldn’t choke him out because he is too friendly with many members of my family; they all think he is a great guy, we in a public place, and he left before I got my prescription. The next time I see him I will give him a good crack in the head, however. I left CVS thinking to myself this guy is really full of himself. As a consequence, I had much less respect for her because she has a son who is such an egomaniac. It was if he was saying,” I’m Johnny Drama, and I’m so close to Mark Wahlberg that we call each other cousins. Perhaps I’m judgmental, but I never allow myself to be interrupted in mid sentence, neither do I ever interrupt anyone else. In any event, I have lost my interest in this Catholic saint. Take it for what it is worth.

                • Peter,

                  I’m sure there’s hope for you, my friend! Love God. Fear is a tool that the evil one uses to deceive us. But love is stronger than fear. I’m glad you’re seriously considering Orthodoxy. God bless you along that path.

                  Hope that helps,
                  Misha

          • Michael Bauman says:

            Peter, research will do you little good I am afraid unless you adopt stringent self-reflection to counter-act the natural human tendancy to find those ideas and beliefs which support your own pre-existing bias.

            If you take yourself, a knowledgeable and faithful Catholic and a knowledgeable and faithful Orthodox plus a knowledgeable and faithful Coptic; have each examine the same research you would likely arrive at four distinct, supportable conclusions. It is quite possible to research oneself completely out of faith.

            No, this one comes out only by prayer and fasting.

            May God bless you in your inquiries and may the truth be shown to you and you have the courage to follow the truth into a deeper life of prayer, fasting and almsgiving-a life of repentance and mercy.

            Fr. Seraphim Rose, of blessed memory, wrote that the truth is not an idea sought and grasped by the brain but a person, The Person, sought and loved with the heart.

  5. Peter,

    I can appreciate that you want respect and are very dangerous. This is why I really believe you should speak with your spiritual father, before calling Father Harry anymore. You don’t even need to tell him that Father Harry is a priest, in case you believe you’ll get a biased opinion. Just tell him why you’re so angry and see what he says. Lent is also the best time for confession, if you think you need to confess to your spiritual father, while you have him on the phone.

    • Peter Millman says:

      Thank you Dino. You offered me good advice. The past is the past. In retrospect, I should have realized that this is just the internet. It’s certainly nothing to get worked up over. It would be a great idea for me to cease acting like a petulant little child who raises a ruckus every time he doesn’t get his own way. I must grow in the virtues with the Lord’s help and guidance. All the best to you and George.

      • Peter,

        A MAN, who can recognize his own weaknesses and sins, AND repents, is the wisest and most faithful of all. O Theos na se potesi!