Russophobia: or Fear of “the Orthodox Taliban”

I would encourage you all to do a Google search on Wikileaks and search for the Ecumenical Patriarch.  You will find leaks reporting conversations Bartholomew has had with Biden, Hillary, Pompeo, and various CIA operatives.  The two things that will jump out at you is his exaggerated fear of Russia taking over his “ecumenical throne” and his incessant whining over the closure of Halki.

What I find most appalling is His Holiness’ retreat to bigotry; to calling those with whom he disagrees as “fundamentalists” and “Orthodox Taliban”. This is inexcusable and most uncharitable. Just because someone has a disagreement with you doesn’t mean that he is beyond the pale or that his grievances are not legitimate. If you don’t believe me, just ask President Hillary Clinton, who called millions of hard-working Americans “deplorables” who were “irredeemable”.

Seriously, the sentiments which Patriarch Bartholomew evinces below are even more egregious when one considers that the Patriarch of Moscow did not even have any grievances against Istanbul (save for the very minor issue of Estonia). I’m sorry, but the miniscule Church of Estonia is definitely not worth Moscow’s time. And anyway, it has pretty much resolved itself simply by withering on the vine. (I could say that it has gone the way of the Church of Finland but that particular autonomous Church continues to limp along most probably because of its higher numbers.)

In any event, Moscow, like all other local Churches went along with Bartholomew’s grand strategy of establishing Episcopal Assemblies throughout the Diaspora. Not a bad idea in theory as such but clearly a power-grab by the Phanar. That much was obvious from the start. Regardless, if Moscow had had any brief against Istanbul, then it could have bollixed that proposal as well. But Moscow didn’t. They, like every other local Orthodox Church went along with this stratagem.

It seems that all things being equal, the concerns of the Ecumenical Patriarch were more along the lines of paranoia and/or a stark (and justifiable) inferiority complex vis-à-vis Russia.

As for Moscow’s refusal to go along with the Cretan Robber Council, that’s not an issue as far as this particular Wikileak is concerned. Mainly because these unfortunate Russophobic sentiments which so exercised Bartholomew were uttered in 2011, a good five years before Crete.

In other words, Patriarch Bartholomew has always been animated by his fears of Russia, whether warranted or not. And as you can read from the Wikileaks below, he has always been on the side of the Globalists and their ecumenist agenda. Russia, Putinism, “fundamentalism” and “close-mindedness” are merely excuses to make the Patriarchate of Constantinople look better to the West and more amenable to its interests.

In any event, God bless Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks. Let us pray for his safety as well as his recovery.

Wikileaks Confirms US Influence on the Patriarchate of Constantinople

The long-suspected influence of the USA on the Patriarchate of Constantinople has been confirmed by a release from Wikileaks, dated Friday, 27 May 2011.

Shedding light on the discussions between the Patriarchate and the Turkish, US and Greek governments regarding the reopening of the seminary in Halki, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople at one point told a US senator that, ‘If the Patriarchate abandons its traditional headquarters in Istanbul, then the Russian Orthodox Church will ‘fulfil its ambition of taking over’ the Ecumenical Patriarchate’. He went on to say that, ‘The Patriarchate needs protection so as not to lose face before Ankara and ‘the ambition’ of the Russians’.

For centuries the monetary plaything of the Ottoman Empire and the political plaything of the French (Catholic) and British (Protestant) embassies in Constantinople, the Patriarchate of Constantinople first fell to Western, specifically British, domination in the 1920s with the election of the freemason Metr Meliton Metaksakis as Patriarch. Refusing to recognise the holy Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow and preferring the schismatic, renovationist ‘Living Church’ of the atheists, Metr Meliton forcibly introduced the heterodox calendar and pursued an aggressive program of modernism in the Greek Churches.

With the eclipse of British Imperial power after the Second World War, the USA took over from it. Recently it tried to use Constantinople to wrest the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from the Russian Orthodox world. In this it hopelessly failed. US influence also became notable in the 2006 Sourozh schism, when the propaganda expressed even in secular British newspapers openly stated that the Patriarchate of Constantinople was preferable to the Patriarchate of Moscow for ex-Anglicans, because Constantinople was ‘pro-Western, pro-American and pro-ecumenical’.

The tensions between Churches of the authentic Orthodox Tradition, conserved by the Russian (with its Polish and Czechoslovak Churches), Serbian, Georgian and Jerusalem Patriarchates, almost 85% of the Orthodox world, and a partially westernised Orthodoxy imposed on the Greek, Middle Eastern and Balkan Churches, has been ruthlessly exploited by the EU. The latter has recently done its utmost to undermine the Greek, Cypriot and Romanian Churches and has now started working on the Serbian Patriarchate, with some shocking results.  http://orthodoxengland.org.uk/wikileaks.htm

***

In another example (see below), Bartholomew indicates he wants to reopen Halki so he can produce like-minded priests.  In his words, “We do not want close-minded conservative Orthodox Taliban.”  I’m guessing many of us on the blog fall into the “close-minded Orthodox Taliban” category.

When the conversation turns to Russia, he used the same justification he now refutes with respect to what he did in Ukraine, for not wanting Russia to supply priests for the 10,000 – 15,000 Russians in Antalya who are in need of a place to worship.  Bartholomew said, “According to the 28th cannon of the 4th Ecumenical Council, which met in 451 A.D., Antalya falls within the ecclesiastic jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and only the Patriarchate can assign priests to a diocese within its jurisdiction.  If the Russian Orthodox Church wants to interfere, then we shall have new problems, and I will defrock any priest sent by Kirill.” 

Finally, Bartholomew admits that he is unable or unwilling to initiate a conversation about reopening Halki with the government of Turkey.  For those of you looking for links demonstrating that U.S. government will step in to leverage the Ecumenical Patriarchate to further our own interests, this is one such time: “When asked directly, the Patriarch allowed that the Patriarchate has not requested a meeting with the Ministry of Education or other components of the GOT [Government of Turkey] on the issue in the last year but is instead waiting for an invitation to meet.  Dialogue between the two parties on an acceptable formula for Halki’s reopening is necessary but conspicuously absent. The Patriarchate is apparently planning to continue to wait for the GOT to initiate contact regarding the topic even though the start of the coming school year is only a few months away. Thus the need for a catalyst — a role we are best postured to play.”

I’ve highlighted some other tidbits for your review.  For example, Bartholomew doesn’t care if Halki is a “university-level” institution.  The goal of Halki is not to be accredited but to produce like-minded clergy to further what he believes is his God-given mission. 

***

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ISTANBUL 000271 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/10/2019 TAGS: PHUM, PREL, PGOV, OSCE, TU, GR, RU SUBJECT: ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH OPTIMISTIC ABOUT HALKI REF: A. ISTANBUL 231 B. ISTANBUL 243 ISTANBUL 00000271 001.2 OF 003 Classified By: Ambassador James F. Jeffrey for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 1.

(C) Summary 
During a July 9 meeting, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (EP) explained the Patriarchate’s lack of communication with the GOT on Halki and briefed the Ambassador on the positive July 4 – 6 visit of Russian Patriarch Kirill to Turkey. According to the EP, the GOT has not communicated with the Patriarchate on the issue of reopening Halki seminary and the Patriarchate has not requested a meeting with the GOT to address their requirements for Halki’s opening leaving both parties in something of a stalemate. The Patriarch explained that the Patriarchate’s relationship with the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) began to improve during a meeting with former Russian Patriarch Alexei in October 2008. The Patriarch’s most significant concern with the Russian Orthodox Church in Turkey is its request for a church to serve approximately 15,000 Russians in Antalya. Given both the Patriarch’s upbeat assessment and the avalanche of government-sourced rumors and statements about a leak, we do have more issues. Absent some catalyst (probably U.S.) there is no guarantee the two sides will actually come together to do a deal. End Summary.

 
2. (SBU) Ambassador and Consul General called on Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on July 9 to discuss the Halki seminary issue. The Ambassador thanked the Patriarch for his presence at the consulate’s Independence Day celebration and the Patriarch conveyed his prayers from the ecumenical throne to the “glorious country” of the United States upon the anniversary of its independence.
 
Halki – A Need for Dialogue —————————
 
3. (C) In response to a question from the Ambassador regarding the recent flurry of discussion within the Government of Turkey (GOT) about reopening Halki seminary, the Patriarch said he was optimistic after reading news articles about the GOT’s decisions (Ref A). However, he noted, the Patriarchate has had no official contact from the GOT and only knows what it reads in the newspaper. For Halki to be opened, the Patriarchate must agree on the solution proposed by the GOT. “If Ankara makes a decision with which we cannot agree, it would be a pity,” the Patriarch pointed out, “so we do want a dialogue as soon as possible.” The Patriarch and his staff have often mentioned to the media and visitors that they would like closer contact with the GOT on this issue, but are still waiting, he said. When asked directly, the Patriarch allowed that the Patriarchate has not requested a meeting with the Ministry of Education or other components of the GOT on the issue in the last year but is instead waiting for an invitation to meet. The Patriarch noted that he is prepared to go to Ankara at any time, especially if solution currently reported in the news allows for its reopening for the upcoming school year. “We have already lost so much time.”
 
4. (SBU) The Ambassador commended the Patriarch on his flexibility on the university status of Halki, noting that President Obama is very supportive of the reopening of the seminary. He said that former Ambassador Parris was disappointed because Ankara stopped negotiations ten years ago due to internal bureaucratic obstacles. Despite past unsuccessful attempts to urge the GOT to make reopening Halki possible, the Patriarch is optimistic about this round of internal GOT discussions. “We want to believe this is a new era, with a new just state. We don’t want to use the past as a standard for the present or future.”
 
Why the Patriarchate Needs Halki ——————————–
 
5. (SBU) The Patriarchate used Halki seminary in the past to supply priests to the churches and patriarchates in its ecclesiastic jurisdiction. The seminary includes not only a high school but an institution of “higher” education, which provides four years of liturgical training after high school to prepare students for priesthood. The Patriarch noted that even though this institution is university-level, he would be content even if it were not recognized as a university by the GOT as long as it was open. At this time, the Patriarchate does not have sufficient priests to supply necessary leadership to the churches under its jurisdiction. He cited the example of a recently opened church in Singapore (under ISTANBUL 00000271 002.2 OF 003 the Ecumenical Patriarchate) where the diocese cannot find a qualified candidate to appoint as pastor. The Patriarch explained that Halki was unique in its role of producing open-minded Orthodox priests. “We do not want close-minded conservative Orthodox Taliban,” he said, but instead a place to train open-minded priests, necessitating the reopening of Halki.
 
Concept of Reciprocity Unfair to Turkish Citizens ——————————————— —-
 
6. (SBU) The Patriarch decried the concept of “reciprocity” pushed by some members of the GOT and state which would mandate the provision of greater rights by the Greek government for the Muslim minority in Western Thrace in exchange for the opening of Halki. He contended that to link Western Thrace and Halki is unfair, and affects the human rights of Turkey’s own citizens. Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill – A Quote Successful Unquote (sort of) Visit ——————————————— ———
 
7. (C) The Patriarch described the visit of Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill on July 4 – 6 as “nice and successful” despite some lingering problems, including Ukraine and potential conflicts in ecclesiastic jurisdiction (Ref B). The relationship took a turn for the better in October 2008 during a meeting in Istanbul of the Synod of all orthodox patriarchs. According to the Patriarch, the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) now “finally wants to participate in the convocation of the Great Orthodox Church” and is willing to work toward shared objectives. He was unable to explain why or how the ROC changed its position, suggesting it may be the recent election of Kirill, but noted that the relationship had improved even prior to his election in December 2008. The Patriarchate plans to meet with the ROC before the
upcoming meeting of the Holy Synod to define common positions in advance of the meeting.
 
But with One Concern ——————–
 
8. (C) The Patriarch said the one question about which the Patriarchate remains concerned relates to the 10,000 – 15,000 Russians in Antalya who are in need of a place to worship. Patriarch Kirill addressed this topic publicly with Prime Minister Erdogan, who responded positively. The Ecumenical Patriarch said he is open to assigning Russian-speaking Greek Orthodox priests to such a church, and has just ordained such a priest, but cautioned Kirill against sending priests directly from the ROC . According to the 28th cannon of the 4th Ecumenical Council, which met in 451 A.D., Antalya falls within the ecclesiastic jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and only the Patriarchate can assign priests to a diocese within its jurisdiction. The Patriarch explained that his concern is not unfounded, citing a recent Russian media article that contended that the Russians in Antalya are temporarily under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. “If the Russian Orthodox Church wants to interfere, then we shall have new problems,” the Patriarch said, “and I will defrock any priest sent by Kirill.” (NOTE: The Diyanet’s Mehmet Gormez told us on July 13 that Kirill had been greatly annoyed that Bartholomew had not met him at the Patriarchate entrance, but only inside his office, which appeared disrespectful — in contrast to Diyanet Minister Bardakoglu who greeted Kirill on the Ministry steps. Gormez said the Diyanet is well aware of the intense Moscow – Istanbul rivalry over the Patriarch’s ecumenical status, which it considered an issue that must be resolved inside the Orthodox church without GOT interference. END NOTE.)
 
9. (C) The Patriarch, in an effort to serve the Russians in Antalya, said he is considering visiting or sending a letter to the Minister of Culture Ertugrul Gunay to request GOT approval for a Russian Orthodox Church served by a priest designated by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He noted that the Patriarchate has had a good relationship with Gunay. The Ambassador said he would be happy to raise the issue with Gunay should the Patriarch need help.
 
10. (C) Comment: The current flurry of discussion within the GOT and apparent dedication to the reopening of Halki Seminary is promising and presents an exceptional opportunity for a step in the right direction in the area of religious freedom. However, any proposed formula for opening must have the approval of both the GOT and the Patriarchate. An active ISTANBUL 00000271 003.3 OF 003 dialogue between the two parties on an acceptable formula for Halki’s reopening is necessary but conspicuously absent. The Patriarchate is apparently planning to continue to wait for the GOT to initiate contact regarding the topic even though the start of the coming school year is only a few months away. Thus the need for a catalyst — a role we are best postured to play. WIENER

https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/09ISTANBUL271_a.html

 

About GShep

Comments

  1. Good thing you mentioned Estonia, and the article mentioned Sourozh.

    Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the EP has caused schisms three times in the Russian Church – Estonia, Sourozh, and Ukraine – a church that was in the process of putting itself back together after 75 years of state persecution. Three times! Yet, “muh Russian aggression” and “muh Stalinism” from the Phanariotes.

    • George C Michalopulos says

      Yeah, it’s really pathetic.

      The Fanar’s operating procedure seems to be reminiscent of what we heard during Vietnam: “We had to cause a schism in order to preserve that church”.

    • The situation in the UK was  fundamentally different – outside Russia, Moscow (and by derivation ROCOR) believe they are responsible for Russians not Christians or Christianity, more generally, as a rule. Even there, Slavonic services in the “diaspora” works for one generation at best, so it’s a self defeating strategy that undermines Orthodoxy and fails any basic sniff test of actual Christianity. When the immigrants age out the parishes collapse.

      • Not quite right. Although the parishes are predominately Slavonic and for Russians in many places, the Moscow Patriarchate’s South East Asian exarchate has translated the liturgical texts, prayer books, and other things into most of the local languages and serves in them too, especially in the Philippines, where there are very few Russians. Most of the MP parishes in the USA serve in English and a number of them are ‘missionary’ in the sense that they are not old pre-revolutionary communities.
         
        ROCOR especially is very missionary in all of its dioceses and has missions and parishes worshiping in the vernacular everywhere, especially in the USA, Indonesia, UK, the Caribbean, and the Philippines.
         
        As far as I am aware, the Sourozh schism happened because Metropolitan Anthony Bloom’s followers weren’t happy about the traditional turn the diocese was taking with the influx of Russians. Add that to their inherent Russophobia, and you have the makings of another EP ploy.

        • Basil yes that is correct wrt Asia.
          The claim that Slavonic parishes are overflowing independent of immigration is substantially untrue. Even where Russian immigration is high its largely untrue (SF for example). I have not been to London in a few years so I can’t comment with authority there.

      • Greg: “Moscow (and by derivation ROCOR) believe they are responsible for Russians not Christians or Christianity”

         
        A heavy accusation you make, and a false one. WHY?
         

        Greg:  “Even there, Slavonic services in the “diaspora” works for one generation at best, so it’s a self defeating strategy”

         
        Explain me one thing Greg, when I was in London I had problem with attending ROCOR Slavonic service, because it was TOO CROWDED. I stood there packed like a sardine in a can. (the parish is fourth generation, although present building is newer) Another question, why RC churches got empty after replacing Latin with vernacular?
         

        BTW, as far as I know, ROCOR parishes use any language people in parish want. You want to force them to use French in Quebec, Gaelic in Ireland, Hebrew in Jerusalem?

        • George Michalopulos says

          Touche, Martin!

          Didn’t I read a few years ago that the Jordanville seminary is branching out into Spanish language instruction as well? Meanwhile, Holy Cross is expanding classes in Canon 28 mythology?

        • Bravo Martin!

        • As an umpteenth generation Russian Orthodox, I have had the opportunity to observe Church trends in the US since the time of my great grandparents. I am pretty comfortable the general observations above are correct. It is certainly true that the Russian Church in the US is largely oriented toward Russians and that most children age out to other denominations or nothing.

          • It’s not language per se, that is easily shown , but attitude and broader issues.   The Russian church in Uk is pioneer in use of english for at least last 50 yrs.;
            All Muslims worship in arabic.  Does not seem to be a problem..

  2. Ekathimerini: We are in the midst of a type of cold war between Russia and the United States, the West more generally. Matters of the Church – a sort of cold war between the churches – have also been at the epicenter of this. Did the Ecumenical Patriarchate carefully weigh its options when it did what it did vis-a-vis Ukraine, and is there a danger of Vartholomaios being isolated by the Orthodox community?

    Elpidophoros: Relations with Russia are, unfortunately, a very sensitive chapter. Because for those of us who remember what Soviet times were like, the Soviets were always better at propaganda and at infiltration that anyone else was. This is still the case today. Russian propaganda built the foundations for bridges in Greece and the Balkans which were there for it to use when the need arose. The need arose now and it used them, as we know, very recently, and, indeed, within an ecclesiastical orthodox field to which it had easier access because of the commonality of dogma and of orthodoxy – and the chance arose with the Ukrainian ecclesiastical issue. The Ukrainian question is not just ecclesiastical. It is a very sensitive issue for the Russians, with geostrategic, energy, defense and ecclesiastical dimensions.

    Ekathimerini: Is there a risk of the Patriarchate becoming embroiled in a very tough geopolitical game?

    Elpidophoros: The geopolitical game was already afoot; the Patriarchate didn’t create it. The Patriarchate showed understanding for the situation of the Church of Russia during Soviet times, because we knew that it didn’t have the freedom to take a different stance than that dictated by state policy. That is why the Patriarchate did not put the Russian Church in a difficult position by declaring autocephaly for the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. But there is one rule, which had been noted by Photios I, the theologist and patriarch, and has applied throughout the Church’s history: that the affairs of the Church always follow developments in politics. To put it in present-day terms, geostrategic developments also determine developments in the Church. This is a very wise lesson and it is a good thing that it was applied by our Fathers throughout history, because this has safeguarded the survival of the Orthodox people and churches. Churches cannot operate as if we are still living in Soviet times.

    Source: http://www.ekathimerini.com/240954/article/ekathimerini/community/archbishop-of-america-elpidophoros-aims-to-rebuild-churchs-credibility

    • George Michalopulos says

      Ioan, did I read this right: “that the affairs of the Church always follow developments in politics”?

      Oh Good Lord in heaven! If this is true then I want to hear every liberal Christian who spoke against Jerry Falwell, Billy Graham, et al, issue an immediate and vociferous apology forthwith.

      • George, I don’t understand the connection that you made re: liberal Protestants against evangelical Protestants and the Cold War-spirit that Elpidophoros and his ilk are channeling in order to split the Orthodox Church against the Moscow Patriarchate.
         
        But you did read it as I posted it.  
         
        When I read this line, it telegraphed Fener&Co.’s strategy to  try to take advantage of the anti-Russia/anti-Russian Orthodox animus that unites both Left AND Right politicians in the West in this evil time.
         
        In the words of St. Paisios: “ The hands that do not make the Cross are the same.”

        • George Michalopulos says

          Ioan, FWIW, I am dangerously close to never using the term “Right” or “Right-wing” ever again when it comes to anyone who is a Neocon or is on board with their agenda. How do I justify this? By pointing out the fact that the founders of Neoconservatism were formerly Communists allied with Trotsky. They have switched out one phantasmagoric utopian end-state (the proletarian state) for another (liberal democracy).

          As for the cuckservatives, I bristle when I hear someone like David Brooks or David French being called “conservative”. What exactly are they trying to conserve? Gay marriage? Abortion on demand? Endless wars and open borders? By what sane measure can anyone with half a brain call any of their agenda “conservative”?

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Apparently it’s a reference from St. Photios the Great, one of the three pillars of Orthodoxy.  During St. Photios’ time, the state (the emperor) was considered to be an Orthodox institution.

        Fast forward to today, the Russian state has at least the pretense of being an Orthodox institution, being that Putin is an admitted Orthodox Christian, etc. So when the state has the pretense of Orthodoxy, then the Church has a rightful duty and responsibility to address and correct.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Well, OK then. I guess the Phanar/Fordham axis should stop criticizing Putin and the ROC. Right?

  3. Elpidophoros in his keynote address at the monastic assembly:

    “Indeed, there been no greater and no more graceful experience for me that my time in “the Great Monastery” as the Phanar is often described, where I was able to learn and to love the order of the services, the discipline of obedience, and the power of sacrificial love under the paternal guidance and gentle support of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who initiated me – along with the other members of the patriarchal court – into the mystery of the church and the majesty of service in the Body of Christ. It was there that I was instructed in the fine balance between worldly power and divine love, which should always inspire and inform our ministry as leaders whether in church administration, in parish congregations, or in monastic communities.”

    He cracked me up when he said that “Phanar” is often described as “the Great Monastery” but then he sickened me when he said that he was “instructed in the fine balance between worldly power and divine love” at said Fener.

    Notice the order of priorities “worldly power” first and THEN “divine love”!

    Elpidophoros believes he is a Playa in the Great Game and has laid his cards on the table.

    Read ‘em and weep:

    https://www.goarch.org/-/2019-09-21-monastic-assembly-address

    I wish I could’ve seen the faces of the real monastics when he dropped the “worldly power” line on them in reference to his pseudo-monastic formation.

  4. Halki closed is a very worthwhile situation. Let there be just as many graduates next year as thi year. With the new (terribly photogenic) archbishop here, who will be the next headmaster? Does anyone know of anything that could possibly make the EP blush?

    • George Michalopulos says

      bob, for what it’s worth, I’ve heard more than one GOA priest say exactly the same thing: that the reopening of Halki would be “the worst possible thing for Orthodoxy in America”. And it’s not just because the level of education leaves much to be desired. Let’s just say that it’s hard to put the words “Christian manhood” and “Halki” in the same sentence. Or paragraph.

      • Bishop Nicholas Smisko of the ACROD (under the EP since 1938) was sent in 1963 for advanced theological studies at Halki while serving as a (celibate) priest in preparation for his promised promotion eventually to the episcopacy, which chance came in 1984 in the Ukrainian diocese, also under the EP. It was the understanding that it was for advanced studies, not just a seminary, which (ACROD) he had already graduated  from. Did something change?
         

      • Terry Mattingly says

        Any URLs to back up that statement?

  5. http://www.exarchat.eu/spip.php?article2427Presentation of the Archdiocese
    Communiqué of the Office of the Archbishop of 29 September 2019
    Communiqué du Bureau de l’Archevêque du 29 septembre 2019
    Коммюнике канцелярии Архиепископа от 29 сентября 2019 года
    Kommuniqué des erzbischöflichen Büros vom 29. September 2019

    The Pastoral Assembly of the Archdiocese of Orthodox Churches of Russian Tradition in Western Europe, September 28, 2019
    It was with a vote of approval that the clergy of the Archdiocese, gathered in a pastoral assembly on September 28 in the Saint Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, reaffirmed by a large majority the decision of Archishop Jean to request the canonical attachment to the Moscow Patriarchate. The pastoral assembly began with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, presided by Archbishop Jean accompanied by the deans of the Archdiocese. The meeting began at 10:00 am with the invocation of the Holy Spirit. Archbishop Jean first briefly summarized the events that preceded the meeting and explained the purpose and meaning of this meeting, then gave the floor to Father Jean Gueit, who, for his part, presented the points of the charter of canonical attachment to the Moscow Patriarchate. The clerics were then able to ask questions to which Archbishop Jean responded. Then, after having distributed to the copies of the text of the canonical attachment request to those present, Archbishop Jean read it out aloud, explaining certain points. In the end, he asked the clergy to agree that he signs it. 51 clergy present at the assembly, plus 37 clerics who were unable to come but affirmed their full support for the Archbishop, accepted the pastoral decision of Archbishop Jean to ask for communion and canonical unity in Moscow Patriarchate to ensure the continuity of the ecclesial, liturgical and sacramental life of the Archdiocese of the parishes of Russian tradition in Western Europe. After having signed his name at the end of this request, Arhbishop Jean thanked all the clergy, present and absent, who trusted him in his effort to find canonical protection for the Archdiocese and thus allow all the members to remain in communion with the whole of Orthodoxy.
    Finally, a multos annos to Patriarch Kyrill, Archbishop John and all members of the Archdiocese was proclaimed by Archdeacon Vsevolod Borzakovsky.

    • anonimus per Scorilo says

      First sign they truly joined the Moscow patriarchate : the result of the voting in the assembly was 100% in favor.
      Hurray !
      Hurray !
      Hurray !

  6. Greek priest reminds Phanar of the document on “Ukrainian issue”

    From the original article in Greek:
    https://www.romfea.gr/epikairotita-xronika/31869-i-sunaji-ton-prokathimenon-apofasise-gia-to-oukraniko

     30 September 2019, 19:30
     
     Editorial board UOJ
    36
    3

    Protopresbyter Theodore Zisis. Photo: website of the Bulgarian Patriarchate

    Protopresbyter Theodore Zisis reminded the Patriarchate of Constantinople of a document signed in 2014 by the Primates of Orthodox Churches at Phanar.

    Protopresbyter Theodor Zisis, Professor Emeritus of the Theological Faculty of the University of Aristotle in Thessaloniki, believes that a conciliar solution to the “Ukrainian issue” appeared long ago.
    In particular, the Greek edition Romfea published an article by Father Theodore entitled “The Council of Primates made a decision on the Ukrainian issue”, in which the author recalls the Message of the Council of Primates of the Orthodox Churches, which was drawn up at Phanar in 2014.
    According to this text, which was also signed by Patriarch Bartholomew, overcoming the Ukrainian schism is possible only through repentance and correction of schismatics.
    Below we publish the article of Protopresbyter Theodore Zisis in full.
    “Forgotten document”
    See:  https://spzh.news/en/news/65322-grecheskij-svyashhennik-napomnil-fanaru-o-dokumente-po-ukrainskomu-voprosu

  7. Joseph Lipper says

    Yes, U.S. foreign policy generally suffers from “Russophobia”, and the American public also has a general fear of men who resemble the “Taliban” with long beards and long black robes.   No doubt there are many Americans who would easily mistake last month’s GOA monastic conference as a gathering of ISIS.  So Patriarch Bartholomew is diplomatically aware of these fears when he talks with the U.S. Ambassadors.  
     
    Patriarch Bartholomew’s main concern here is not with American phobias, but rather his understanding that everything should be done properly and in an orderly manner within the Orthodox Church.  Even if he has failed at doing this, we would all probably still agree that a powerful state-supported church should not be allowed to disrupt the Church’s order merely by force of worldly politics.  We’re supposed to worship the Eternal God, not temporal worldly power. 
     
    Ukrainian autocephaly was a response and an attempt to bring order to the chaos brought on by a political act.  It was after the Russian annexation of Crimea when the Ecumenical Patriarchate first became open to the possibility of granting autocephaly to Ukraine. Russia’s annexation fueled the already existing division in Ukraine and further entrenched the position of those schismatics whose only reason for schism was their insistence on autocephaly.

    There is no doubt that granting autocephaly was an extremely bold move, and the EP really went out on a limb to do this.  So it appears ridiculous to even suggest that Patriarch Bartholomew fears Russia.  Admittedly, I fear for his life, but I’m not sure he does.
     

    • A while back I met a priest from the Ukraine who’s flock had their church stolen by schematics.  You have no idea the evil that has been unleashed by +Bartholemew’s “…bold move…”. 
      In fact calling it that is just like the media calling LGBTabc activists bold when they are just being intensely selfish and destructive.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        dan,
         
        Yes, anyone having their property stolen is an evil.  Theft is evil.  Regarding any stolen churches in Ukraine, the new President Zelinsky has vowed there will be justice.  Parishes who wish to transfer between jurisdictions should be able to do this in an orderly and legal manner.  
         
        Most countries in the world would agree that Russia’s annexation of Crimea was illegal, that it was stolen.  That’s certainly arguable, but there is no doubt that this political action has unleashed an evil war costing the lives of at least 13,000 Ukrainians and tearing apart the canonical Church in Ukraine.  That’s the main reason why Patriarch Bartholomew granted autocephaly to Ukraine.
         
        Patriarch Bartholomew didn’t authorize or rally anyone to steal churches.  Quite the opposite,  he exhorted the OCU to respect their brethren who wish to remain with the Moscow Patriarchate.  
         

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Saying Bartholomew did not “authorize or rally anyone to steal churches” is like saying Manson had nothing to do with the Folger, Frykowski, Parent, Tate-Polanski, Sebring, and LaBianca murders! Bartholomew lit the match and he knew what lighting that match would mean:

          1) He knew about the legislation Rada was passing that would allow the schematics to take possession of parishes and monasteries belonging to the MP
          2) He knew about the legislation requiring all churches to reregister their names and the impact that would have on the MP
          3) He knew he was installing a metropolitan over a region that already HAD an ordained metropolitan under a canonical bishop
          4) He knew as the hierarch over new parishes and monasteries he would monetarily benefit as a result
          5) He knew the outcome of issuing the Tomos would further destabilize an already volatile region
          6) He knew his brother bishops did not want him to do it
          7) He knew is actions could cause a schism which is the worst thing that can happen in the Church

          He was the kingpin. Without Bartholomew, none of this would have happened.

          Why can’t just one righteous bishop in Constantinople fall on his sword and save the Church? He would go down in Church history as a hero, if not an outright saint. Any bishop under Bartholomew can take him to spiritual court and then maybe there wouldn’t have to be a schism, which Bartholomew wants. Why? Because he wants to take what belongs to him to Rome. However, if the Church could make this about Bartholomew and not about Constantinople, couldn’t a schism could be averted?

          • Exactly, sister.

          • Joseph Lipper says

            Gail, 
             
            Patriarch Bartholomew didn’t start the war in Ukraine.  Autocephaly was granted nearly five years after war began, and it was granted after much deliberation. 
             
            The Church of Cyprus noted how the EP granted autocephaly with an intention of resolving conflict, although so far it has not been successful and primarily because of Moscow’s resistance.   Autocephaly was offered to Metropolitan Onuphrey and all the other bishops of the UOC.  They would have easily dominated at the Unification Council a year ago if they had attended.  Their decision was to not attend.  They were actually forbidden from attending by Moscow.
             
            Is it really helpful to compare Patriarch Bartholomew with Charles Manson?
             

            • Gail Sheppard says

              So in your mind, if something is done with “much deliberation,” it couldn’t possibly create an adverse situation? Did he “resolve conflict” or did he create even MORE conflict?

              Joseph, he has not been successful because NO ONE, including Russia, supports what he did.

              Metropolitan Onuphrey would have no interest in aligning himself with the UOC and he’s not interested in “dominating” anything! Joseph, bishops in the canonical Chruch don’t think like that. They don’t want to align themselves with bishops who are are not canonically ordained! You’re talking about bandits who steal what they want because they’re unwilling to earn it. No one sees them as legitimate.

            • Joseph Lipper: “Autocephaly was offered to Metropolitan Onuphrey and all the other bishops of the UOC. They would have easily dominated at the Unification Council a year ago if they had attended.”
               
              You think that the Church is about dominating? Phanar is not in a position to offer anything to the true Orthodox in Ukraine, beside leaving them alone.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Oh, and Joseph, I did not compare Patriarch Bartholomew to Charles Manson.  I said:  “Saying Bartholomew did not “authorize or rally anyone to steal churches” is like saying Manson had nothing to do with the Folger, Frykowski, Parent, Tate-Polanski, Sebring, and LaBianca murders!”  In other words, there is no way Bartholomew didn’t know it would come to this, just as there is no way one could conclude that Mason wasn’t directly connected to those murders.    

          • Stefan Evgenii Kuznetsov says

            Thank you my sister in Christ.
            Glory to Jesus Christ! Is the traditional greeting in Carpatho Russia. Sadly the faction Bartholomew allied himself are not Orthodox and one could not call them “Christians” either. They can’t say glory to Christ but they sure know how to say “Glory to the Nation! and death to enemies!”  What sort of “Christian” calls for the death of his fellow Orthodox believers?
            It has been whispered in Russian circles for ages that the CP would leave us and go to old Rome. Bartholomew literally has blood on his hands Gail. I know of 3 priests a monk and nun that have been murdered and countless Grandmothers beaten, what sort of animal does that I may ask? Seriously Bartholomew can’t not know of this. What I see is that the old guy has gone off to Bedlam.
            Sadly people like Mr Lipper refuse to see what we all see is the utter needless tragedy of the whole thing. It’s just a petty power grab before he sells us Orthodox down river to Papa Frankie.
            Gail, this is what GOA refuse to look at.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muAzLvMTqbo

            • Gail Sheppard says

              This is tragic, Stefan. I hope everyone on this blog clicks on this link. It’s short but to the point.

              • Solitary Priest says

                I saw it. After all these years, it’s the same. My wife’s four grandparents came from the Lemko region. They were all part of the movement of Uniates returning to Orthodoxy in the New World. I used to be a fanatical Ukrainian nationalist until I realised it was filling me with venom, just like the fanatics in the video.
                 

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  Wow. – It occurred to me that in addition to the obvious wrongs committed by the OCU, there are other casualties. Because that’s what these young men have become – casualties. The situation is so untenable that it’s pushing these nationalists over the edge. The rage and hatred they feel for anything Russian is almost palatable. At some level, they must feel spiritually depleted because of what they’ve done and are doing. It can’t be easy to form a human chain to keep women out of Church, some of whom they probably know as a former babysitter, an aunt, their mother’s best friend. These are small parishes, neighborhood parishes, that have become Church families. Everyone is connected to everyone else. Now, they have to contend with this energy that was unleashed at the signing of the Tomos which is as black, as black as you can get and will continue to infect countless people in the generations to come.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Gail, what you describe is clearly a tragedy.  It’s also persecution.  I wonder how the EP sleeps at night knowing that he has sanctioned such persecution?

                     

                  • Very true! I am reminded of some rather contentious church board meetings  I have attended. The glaring difference  is that regardless of the disputes within the parish, we are one body in Christ. The Holy Spirit guides and enlivens us.
                    There is no unity, no one body in Christ with those that hate the canonical church.
                    Instead of light and life, there is darkness, disease and  death.

                  • Patr Bartholomew and Nancy Pelosi have a lot in common. They both think that they know the way the winds blow and that people will follow their terrible decisions.  Of course, they’re always terribly wrong and both simply suffer from severe delusion. 
                     
                    The only thing Patr B’s OCU catastrophe will result in is more death and misery and maybe a few more Roman Catholics once C’ple and its ilk formally unite with Rome on Rome’s terms.   Patr B’s “vision” is a unmitigated disaster.  Just please leave and go to Rome already!
                     
                    Likewise, in a desperate attempt to try to maintain her relevancy, Nancy P’s shoot-by-the-hip approach to “impeachment” is blowing up in her face. She and her shady friends couldn’t run an underwear shop, let alone conduct an “impeachment.”  
                     
                    Perhaps both Patr B and NP should be exiled together to a remote island in the South Pacific. 

            • Joseph Lipper says

              As horrible as this video is, the ongoing reality of war in Ukraine (despite ceasefires) has cost at least 13,000 lives over the past five years. That’s what the angry hooligans are chanting about. They’re referencing the war.

              In any case, this is awful hooliganism. President Zelinsky has vowed to put an end to this. Let’s hope he does.

              • OK, Joseph,
                I wonder how you will manage to justify the latest news about Bartholomew
                :
                The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeus I, leader of the Eastern Orthodox Christians in the world, was awarded the plaque of St. Eric’s by Archbishop Antje Jackelén.

                (LWI) – Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I has received the Plaque of St Erik for his commitment to religious freedom, human rights and care for creation. Church of Sweden Archbishop Dr Antje Jackelén presented the award on 1 October during the Orthodox church leader’s visit to the Lutheran church.

                http://aktines.blogspot.com/2019/10/blog-post_4.html#more (with many photographs)
                Shorter source: https://www.lutheranworld.org/news/ecumenical-patriarch-bartholomew-honored-church-sweden

                Related to the CHURCH OF SWEDEN, a few days earlier we had this news:


                “Swedish church once declared Greta Thunberg ‘successor’ to Jesus of Nazareth

                Greta Thunberg, the outspoken 16-year-old climate change activist, is the second Christian messiah, according to one Swedish church.
                …….
                Last week, for example, the church announced it would rings its church bells to show support for the Global Climate Strike, a movement connected to Thunberg.”

                • George Michalopulos says

                  I dunno, Erik “Erik the Red” Thorvaldson?

                  On the other hand, Greta Thurnberg is the illegitimate child of Lisa Simpson and Bane. And just as delightful.

                  • Solitary Priest says

                    I thought Erik the Red remained a pagan? His son, Leif Erikson, became a Christian. This was actually before Rome broke with the church, so he may have brought Orthodoxy to North America, after all.

                         On a lighter note, there is a YouTube video depicting Trump as Willy Wonka, and Greta as Verucca Salt. She actually resembles her a bit.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      LOL!  Yeah, I do know about Erik the Red remaining a pagan.   The question we Orthodox need to know, is since his son Leif Erikson was an Orthodox Christian and he was the first verifiable Christian to alight on North America, to which jurisdiction did he belong?

                      We may have to rearrange the seating arrangements at the next Episcopal Assembly meeting.

                  • Joseph Lipper says

                    Oh come on, this is just a post-schism “saint” recognized by the Catholics and Lutherans, King Eric IX of Sweden.

                    • Joseph you are tacitly agreeing with
                      :
                      Bartholomew when he accepts a plaque of
                      ” post-schism “saint” recognized by the Catholics and Lutherans”
                      from a woman Arch-Bishop, supporter of Greta thunberg?
                      .

                      Lord have mercy!

              • Joseph
                ,
                this is an annex to my previous msg, sent separately for simlicity and clarity:
                .
                You seem to be very learned,
                so, please explain,
                .
                (1) Who is this St.Erik, whose plaque Bartholomew gladly accepts? Is he an Orthodox Saint?
                .
                 (2) Which Canon of the Church says that the Arch-Bishop of Constantinople is the “ leader of the Eastern Orthodox Christians in the world”
                (Hint: All the Heretics do want to promote this title because Bartholomew agrees with them!) 
                Let me repeat once more,
                Really, brother Joseph,
                how far do you want Bartholomew to go before you cry:
                “Basta!”
                Hint: Are you waiting until he allows women priestesses,
                like the “Church” of Sweden,
                or until he blesses the “wedding” of two men or two women?
                Isn’t that too late?  

              • Joseph Lipper: “has cost at least 13,000 lives over the past five years. That’s what the angry hooligans are chanting about. ”

                You have a point. The same “hooligans”(formed into nationalist voluntary battalions) tried to crush Donbass, shelling cities and conducting failed ground attacks, and burned alive 50 Russians in Odessa (in May 2, 2014).

                • Joseph, here is more about your “hooligans”
                   
                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2-xBKQo-_U

                • Stefan Evgenii Kuznetsov says

                  Thank you Martin, The problem is people refuse to see… Mr Lipper’s reply froze my heart. One cannot fathom the utter beastual nature that the Banderovtsy engaged in.  This woman is from the same region my family is from. What she tells to the TV station is all true. It was filmed and they had such demonic delight doing it …..I can’t find it now it must have been deleted. 
                  However there are others if one cares to search.
                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOLEOt4E4fY
                  My Question is how Bartholomew can give a cross to one of these demonic beasts? Honestly does he even have a conscience anymore? Does it bother him, the death and suffering he exacerbated and by joining them partake of their sin before God. “priest” Mr Alexander Dedyukhin, is notorious in glorifying Hitler among other heretical views.
                  http://orthochristian.com/117104.html
                  I will lite a candle for Mr Lipper, that the Bogoroditsa will soften his heart towards us.

          • Alitheia1875 says

            Reminds me of the EP’s attempt a few years ago to get GOA parishes to be signed over to the EP. That didn’t work…..

        • “…he exhorted the OCU to respect their brethren who wish to remain with the Moscow Patriarchate.”
           
          And yet when reality proved to be otherwise, he remained strangely silent.  Search to your heart’s content, and you will not find any record of Bartholomew condemning the violence that has occurred since his initial ‘exhortation.’

          Need we also be reminded that he advised Met. Onuphrey that he is no longer the Metropolitan of Ukraine? And this we are to construe as respect?

    • Brute from bygone ages says

      Joseph, CP “restored” married monk, implicit in murdrer. He also “restored” “Metropolitan” ordained by fraud bishops… What order that is? He is inviting US officials into Church affairs. Those officials are heterodox Christians at best… 

  8. Joseph Lipper said:
    “There is no doubt that granting autocephaly was an extremely bold move, and the EP really went out on a limb to do this. ”
    Are you for real? It was not a “bold” move. It was an uncanonical move which risks tearing the entire Orthodox Church to pieces. The only people that have been left “out on a limb” are the persecuted clergy and laity of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church whose Churches are being seized while they are beaten by people claiming to belong to Bartholomew’s new schismatic abomination.
     

  9. Joseph,
    “Patriarch Bartholomew’s main concern here is not with American phobias, but rather his understanding that everything should be done properly and in an orderly manner within the Orthodox Church.”

    Is this a joke?

    -Did Bartholomew do everything properly and in an orderly manner in Ukraine?

    -Did Bartholomew likewise handle the problem with the Australian bishop 
    when that bishop said anti-christian things and Bartholomew excommunicated Theologian N.Sotiropoulos in absentia(!) for criticising the bishop?
    Thus Bartholomew left the bishop alone to carry on, and at he same time he exercised Iron discipline to intimidate any future comments. You call that proper and orderly?

    -Did Bartholomew do everything properly and in an orderly manner when he went to a pantheist reception in Atlanta and gifted the “holy quran” ie a book which rejects our foundations: The Holy Trinity, Crucifiction and Resurrection?
    See this link which was uploaded NOT from an “MP-agent” but from EP itself(!)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0PSYG30BRY   

    Remembering St.Chrysostom’s fears and warnings, Could it be that Bartholomew is doing everything rather by the main criterion of increasing his power and glory by various means including  snatching the term “Mother Church” which according to our hymns (Tone 8) belongs to Sion, Jerusalem ?

    Joseph,
    I mean really,
    what else must happen with Bartholomew so that you can be convinced?

    —————–
    P.S.
    A couple of days ago you misused the word “tradition” to justify long/continuing un-canonical actions.
    I posted a relevant question to you.
    I guess I am not an important person to deserve an answer from you. Thanks, anyway.

    • Joseph Lipper says

      Ioannis,
       
      Thanks for your questions, I did respond finally to your question on the “Monastic Gathering” thread.  
       
      I don’t always understand Patriarch Bartholomew and his actions.  What I’m saying is that he has an “understanding” of what constitutes proper order within the Church, and he’s obviously trying to protect that sense of order as he sees fit.  That’s the prerogative of any bishop, and it’s his prerogative as Ecumenical Patriarch.  If he needs to be corrected, may it be done so in a proper and orderly way.
       
      By the way, I’m not convinced by your argument that he’s trying to promote himself and his own “power and glory”.  I just don’t see this.  Where’s the power and glory?  Not in Constantinople.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Joseph, “Where is the power and the Glory”?  Not in Constantinople.  Exactly why he is looking for it in all the wrong places and all the wrong reasons.

        • Joseph Lipper says

          I’ve been to the Phanar.  It’s a pretty humble outfit.  When one visits the Cathedral of St. George and the Patriarchal throne where St. John Chrysostom may have sat, even the administrative offices of the Patriarch, one is not overwhelmed by the power and glory.  No.  Rather, what’s amazing is the humility of it all.  This is a Patriarch who has to get permission from the Turkish government to accomplish even a mundane task like fixing the roof.  This is a Patriarch who willingly lives in a country hostile to Christianity.  He could easily move to New York City, or Greece, or some other location to make his life easier, safer, more influential, and more glorious.  Instead he chooses to live in rather humble and even unsafe circumstances.  
           
          Contrast that with Moscow where the shining domes of churches and monasteries are visible everywhere.  Witnessing the monstrosity of Christ the Savior Cathedral where the Patriarch serves, the magnificent churches in the Kremlin, the fortressed monasteries like St. Sergius Lavra (which Putin has expressed hope in becoming another Vatican), and one easily becomes awed by how powerful and glorious it all is.  For any Orthodox Christian who is tired of being beat up and spit upon, going to Moscow is recompense.  In Moscow, Orthodoxy is accepted and even fashionable.  In Moscow, Orthodoxy is closely tied to the State.  In Moscow, all the officers and personnel in the nuclear warhead divisions, who were formerly required to be members of the Communist Party, are now required to be Orthodox Christians.  So we can all live rest assured that the guy who presses “the button” in Russia will be an obedient Orthodox Christian.  Amen.
           

          • George Michalopulos says

            Joseph, I have been to the Phanar as well. It is as you say.

            However, wouldn’t it be a better idea if the EP and his acolytes dispensed with all the hyperbolic language and titles that they ascribe to themselves? Trust me, such near-blasphemy makes evangelism all but impossible.

            • Joseph Lipper says

              George, please correct me if wrong, but I don’t think Patriarch Bartholomew has invented any of the “hyperbolic language and titles”.  I believe these are just things he has inherited, representing the historicity of his position.  Just as the titles of the Queen of England might sound overbearing and perhaps ridiculous today, there is nonetheless an historical depth represented.
               

              • George Michalopulos says

                Joseph, you are correct for the most part. But as a born GOA parishioner who remembers well the patriarchates of Athenagoras and Demetrius, those patriarchs were called “Your Holiness” or “His Holiness”. Never did I ever hear “Your All-Holiness”. I’m sorry, but that’s just a bridge too far.

                As to the titles of all bishops in general (and not just Bartholomew), I do think that the titles have gotten out of hand or at least are in danger of getting out of hand.

                If we as a people (myself included) don’t start embracing some humility, then it will be imposed on us in ways we can’t even begin to imagine. If the EP wants to set a good example of true servant-leadership, then perhaps he can start with his own office. I guarantee you, if he came out with a speech tomorrow begging forgiveness for all the grandiloquent titles and nonsense about “the New Rome”, he would be heralded as a real leader in a New York minute and his moral authority would go through the roof.

          • Christ the Savior Cathedral is a monstrosity?  Really?  How awful it must be to live in a land where the glory of Orthodoxy is all around you.  What Orthodox Christian would want to see the shining domes of churches and monasteries everywhere?  Who would want to live in such a place?

            • George Michalopulos says

              I now have been to Christ the Savior (in Moscow) twice. How I wish I could visit it every day.

              When I was there last year (courtesy of Orthodoxtours.com), one of our party was a priest from back east. As we were walking out, a small party of severely retarded children and their guardians were coming in. They saw Fr A— (who is a very tall man) and all approached him for a blessing. Mind you we were all strangers to each other; we were Americans and this group of disfigured/retarded children and their guardians were all Russians.

              The absolute look of joy in two of those children’s faces when they realized that Fr A— was going to bless them brought tears to my eyes. The grace that was in that temple poured out to all who were receptive to it.

              In the meantime, we here in America are too busy closing churches or building $80 million contemplation centers.

              We should all be so lucky.

            • Joseph Lipper says

              The basement chapel at Christ The Savior Cathedral is stunning, and everyone I know loves it.  I was fortunate enough to attend a very beautiful weekday Liturgy there. 
               
              However, the main Cathedral is a monster of a space, and the icons and architectural details inside are unfortunately quite garish, built to exactly resemble the original one that Stalin destroyed.  It’s a statement Cathedral, a phoenix rising from the ashes.  It has a conference center below that’s big enough for an Ecumenical Council.  This is a real mega church.  It’s loud and proud.  I went to a festal Divine Liturgy when Patriarch Kyrill was serving with a sea of bishops, clergy, news crews, and faithful.  Everything was amplified like at a rock concert.  That was enough for me.  There’s so many other nice parishes in Moscow to visit for Divine Liturgy.  The OCA St. Catherine’s is lovely.
               

              • George Michalopulos says

                Joseph, I will agree with you that the iconography –though visually stunning–is too Western for my tastes. The original edifice was built during the hey-day of Hesperophilia, especially in regards to artwork. Having said that, I understand why they chose to rebuild it nail-for-nail, plank-for-plank, etc. They wanted to honor the original temple which was destroyed by the Godless Bolsheviks.

                • Brute from bygone ages says

                  Interesting enough, Saint George’s Cathedral in Fener is alsobuilt and painted in Western style, in Baroque.
                  As for space, it’s not even largest Orthodox Church. Saint Isaacius in St. Petersburg, Saint Sava in Belgrade, Cathedral in Tbilisi, all can host more of believers.
                  Another trivia, CP cant build much smaller Church in New York for two decades..

              • The point of the Cathedral is for major national celebrations. There is a place for that- the most magnificent Divine Liturgy I have attended was at the Kazansky Sobor in Peter, in fact I can think of only two other services that were so strikingly beautiful- a Christmas Eve at the Anglican cathedral in old Geneva and a midnight Christmas mass at the western rite St Augustine in Denver. But with the exception of St Augustine none should function as a normal parish.
                Agree St Catherine’s in Moscow is a fine parish. There are many in Moscow though it is challenging for an English only speaker.

                • Tim R. Mortiss says

                  St. Isaac in St. Petersburg is really splendid, and the famous malachite and lapis features are stunning. Russo/Italian Baroque Orthodox churches have a beauty all their own.
                  I visited Kazan Cathedral, but while it was still the Museum of Religion and Atheism, alas.
                  I was in only two churches which had active services when I was in Russia in 1987. One was the church is the Nevsky monastery in St. Pete/Leningrad, which was packed with people at a noontime service. They were mostly all young working people, in suits and dresses (I would say young businesspeople, but that it was Soviet times). I think that this was an expression of anti-Soviet protest, which was becoming widespread in late-perestroika times.
                  The other was a small church in a large park near the Cosmos hotel. I attended a nighttime vespers service there; I don’t think they knew quite what to make of me….I can’t remember the name; maybe somebody here who knows Moscow can.

          • “When one visits the Cathedral of St. George and the Patriarchal throne where St. John Chrysostom may have sat, even the administrative offices of the Patriarch, one is not overwhelmed by the power and glory.”

            These days one may be struck with sobriety at such a place when one remembers others who sat there, Bartholomew’s spiritual forebears: Macedonius, Sergius I, Nestorius, Joseph II and Metrophanes II.

            Especially Joseph who paved the way for Metrophanes to agree to union with Rome.

            Or maybe Bartholomew is the spiritual descendant of Isidore the Apostate or as he is better known in the West, Isidore of Kiev.

            Courtesy of Orthodoxwiki:

            Isidore the Apostate, also known as Isidore of Kiev or Isidore of Thessalonica, (Greek: Ἰσίδωρος τοῦ Κιέβου; Russian: Исидор) was the Metropolitan of Kiev and Moscow during the time of the Council of Florence in the fifteenth century. He advocated union with the Roman Catholic Church at the council and after return to Russia. Denounced by the rulers and people for his unionist stand [and thus set into motion the birth of the autocephalous Russian Church] he was arrested and then fled his see.

            Later, Pope Pius II gave him successively two titles: Latin Patriarch of Constantinople and Archbishop of Cyprus.

            Funny how history seems to be repeating itself: apostate Phanar pursuing union with Rome,”Kiev” again, Russian Church standing strong…

            Or are current events just a continuation of previous fight?

            At least history shows us how to win this round.

            • Brute from bygone ages says

              Ioan thanks for pointing me to this info. I mean about Joseph’s comment tha Chrysostom might sit on throne in the Church built at least thousand years after his repose.
              Chrysostom’s throne was in Saint Sophia,largest Church in the world at that moment. 

          • Joseph,

            What you say here is true as far it goes…

            “No. Rather, what’s amazing is the humility of it all. This is a Patriarch who has to get permission from the Turkish government to accomplish even a mundane task like fixing the roof. This is a Patriarch who willingly lives in a country hostile to Christianity. He could easily move to New York City, or Greece, or some other location to make his life easier, safer, more influential, and more glorious. Instead he chooses to live in rather humble and even unsafe circumstances.”

            Why, then doesn’t he move? Let us assume for a moment that every prerogative claimed by the CP is true and that he holds these prerogatives for the benefit of the entire Church, of which his alone is the ever-caring, ever serving “Mother of all the Churches.” How does it benefit the Church to be held hostage by an antagonistic government? How does it benefit the Church that only a Turkish citizen can hold that office? How does it benefit the Church and the education of its clergy to insist that Haiki be reopened in the same location where it was before? And the list goes on…?

            It is not because he insists upon holding to the letter (rather than the spirit) of the canons precisely because it affirms his “more influential, and more glorious” position? Is it not because in holding to the letter of the ‘law’ he can continue to claim to be the bishop of that PARTICULAR city named in the canons – and because if he were to remove himself from that PARTICULAR city the entire house of cards built upon this dubious, unworkable, and thoroughly nonsensical (in terms of the reality of our time) letter of the ‘law’ might just be revealed for what it really is?

            No, Joseph. This humility argument doesn’t hold water. As you rightly say, he has many options. And the option he has chosen doesn’t serve the Church. It serves the prestige of his office and his office alone, however humbly situated it may otherwise be.

          • Joseph , you are infected by irrational Russophobia , it is dangerous for you spiritual health, to make parallels between communism and current government and church relations is a pure slender . You will have to answer to Lord for spreading such lies, it is ridiculous to think that state officials are required to be orthodox and that Orthodoxy is just fashionable in Russia .The fact that you are banned from English version of pravoslavie.ru is not the reason to be proud , but the sign that your understanding of everything in connection with Russia is so biased that it is impossible to argue with you . No matter what facts are provided to you , your Russophobic mind is unchanged . Just sad

            • Joseph Lipper says

              olga,
               
              It’s encouraging that a voice of conscience has emerged within the Russian Orthodox Church to consider banning it’s current practice of blessing weapons of mass destruction:
               
              “Some critics have likened the role of priests in the modern Russian military to that played by Soviet-era political officers, whose task was to root out dissenting views. Russia is also constructing a vast Main Cathedral of the Armed Forces near Moscow, whose steps will be made from melted-down tanks seized from the Nazis.
               
              “The ban would constitute a signal change in the church’s official policy regarding Russia’s nuclear arsenal. Although the global Orthodox Church has condemned weapons of mass destruction, Patriarch Kirill has credited Russia’s nuclear capability with ‘preventing World War III’ and ensuring Russia’s state sovereignty. The Russian Orthodox Church also consecrated the country’s nuclear arsenal during a service in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral in 2007.
               
              “Russia’s nuclear arsenal also has its own patron saint — St. Seraphim, whose remains were discovered in 1991 in a disused monastery in Sarov, a small town in central Russia that was home to several key nuclear facilities in the Soviet era.
               
              “’The Russian Orthodox Church has systematically and openly supported the Kremlin’s foreign policy gambits involving nuclear weapons,’ wrote author Dmitry Adamsky in his recently published book, ‘Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy: Religion, Politics, and Strategy.’ ‘At a time of economic austerity, it supports the Kremlin’s national security course and legitimizes budget allocations to the defense sector.'”

              https://religionnews.com/2019/07/09/russian-orthodox-church-considers-a-ban-on-blessing-weapons-of-mass-destruction/?fbclid=IwAR1Ot7qtATtiEIPOfhHMOn4IWhXkQFojsIfkWCwefgHmTSz5zK0LL_yAaqk
               
              A ban on the blessing of weapons of mass destruction would perhaps be a positive sign.  However, this articles also notes that “In any event, a ban on sanctifying weapons of mass destruction is unlikely to affect the intertwining of Russia’s armed forces — including its nuclear forces — with the Russian Orthodox Church under President Vladimir Putin.”
               
               

              • Perhaps this spirit will soon spread to the Phanar.  I am sure we all recall the pictures last year of Black Bart blessing Turkish on their way to Syria.  These tanks were supporting Islamist militias fighting American allies including the Kurds.  Surely some of these same tanks saw action in the Turkish invasion and continuing occupation of Cyprus.  But this is what Black Bart sanctifies to his eternal disgrace.

              • Joseph, 
                if I understand you correctly: You want the Russians to have no Nuclear Weapons, but the US, China etc may have them.
                That means they could attack and totally destroy Russia with impunity. I guess that’s real “Christian”.
                How would you like it the other way round, that the US has no Nuclear Weapons?
                 

                • So it’s a bad thing for the Russian Church to bless and support its military, including nuclear weapons – which are really only there to prevent the country from being attacked – while Black Bart gets a free pass to bless the tanks and weapons of a heathen nation before they set out to invade a country (Syria) that has been pro-Christian for years, in support of a group of fanatics that came close to extinguishing the flock of the Church of Antioch.
                   
                  All the while, Joseph Lipper lives in a country with a huge nuclear stockpile, most of which are pointed at his Orthodox brothers and sisters in Russia, and country that also supported the jihadi headchoppers terrorizing the Christians (and everyone else) in Syria.
                   
                  But Russia bad.

                • Estonian Slovak says

                  Speaking of China, why doesn’t the Green Patriarch mention the fact that China pollutes probably more than any nation on earth? Plus, their experimenting with animals is often less than humane. For someone who cares so much about the earth and God’s creation, one would expect him to say something.

                • Joseph Lipper says

                  Ioannis,
                   
                  No, I’m not criticizing anyone for having nuclear weapons. For example, the nuclear disarmament of Ukraine is likely allowing for the current war there.  However, we should examine the recent phenomena of the ROC’s “Nuclear Orthodoxy”. 
                   
                  Nuclear warheads have become new sacred objects in Russia, blessed by Holy Water, and further asserted as the prophetic blessing of St. Seraphim of Sarov, the ROC’s assigned patron saint of nuclear warheads:
                   
                   “the ROC has proclaimed Russia’s nuclear weapons program to be blessed by God and the saints.  Sarov, the heart of Russia’s nuclear weapons complex, was once an old monastery town and the home of a hermit monk, St. Seraphim Sarovsky.  An ancient hymn dedicated to Seraphim called him the ‘shield and protection of the Fatherland’.  It was in the halls of St. Seraphim’s monastery that Soviet scientists developed Russia’s nuclear arsenal. Thus, Seraphim’s home became the birthplace of the nuclear ‘shield and protection of the Fatherland.’ The Church and the nuclear industry have called this coincidence a sign that Russia’s nuclear program is divinely blessed.”
                  https://nuclearnetwork.csis.org/weapons-in-the-hand-of-god-the-russian-orthodox-church-and-russias-nuclear-weapons-establishment/
                   
                  What this means is that any use of nuclear weapons by the Russian military must be immediately validated as “Orthodox”, both to preserve the sanctity of Russia’s nuclear arsenal and to defend the legitimacy of Russia’s foreign policy.  Nuclear policy, foreign policy, and the Russian Orthodox Church have all become intertwined and in lockstep with each other.  In this way, “Orthodoxy” has also become synonymous with state security within the Russia Federation.   This increasingly necessitates that “Orthodox Christianity” not be defined by any dissenting outside source such as the EP, an Ecumenical Council, or any other foreign Patriarchate, but rather by Moscow itself.  Nuclear might makes nuclear right.  Thus, Moscow’s concept of a “Nuclear Orthodoxy” envisions itself as the source and protector of Orthodox Christianity, as the “Holy Mother Russia” for all the world and for all Orthodox Christians.
                   
                  Well, that might sound nice.  After all, I’m an Orthodox Christian.  I want my Orthodox Christianity defended.  However, I’m also a U.S. citizen.  So as an Orthodox Christian, my allegiance is not to Russia, but rather to the U.S.  This is where the potential conflict emerges. 
                   
                  The reality is that Moscow does not have political authority over the rest of the world any more than Constantinople does.  Yet whereas Constantinople has no political authority whatsoever, even within Turkey, Moscow is the Russian Federation’s center of political authority.  Thus any “Orthodoxy” coming from Moscow is ultimately biased by the needs and interests of the Russian state.  This works great as long as it is confined only to Russia, but it creates problems for Orthodox Christians who are not Russian citizens and who live outside of Russia.  I believe we are witnessing a small bit of this with the recent Orthodox division we are suffering here in America.  
                   

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    As usual Joseph, you provide lots to think about.

                    I admit “Nuclear Orthodoxy” is troubling, but wasn’t Constantinian Christianity also troubling. And yet, the world is a far better place because of Constantine the Great. In any event, what is the alternative? “Public Orthodoxy”, which is (pace Richard John Neuhaus) simply a ruse for no orthodoxy? Or perhaps a Western hyperpower that promotes nihilism?

                    • Stefan Eugene Kuznetsov says

                      George, one must question the source of Mr Lipper’s assumptions on “Nuclear Orthodoxy” is Prof. Dmitry (Dima) Adamsky is from a Neocon think tank and is the antithesis of real practiced Russian Orthodoxy.
                      http://portal.idc.ac.il/faculty/en/pages/profile.aspx?username=dadamsky
                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lV_GitvoBM
                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTtyuijdmFY&t=7537s

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      There’s that too.

                      Sadly, we live in a world in which the major sources of information are nothing more cleverly-disguised propaganda. All in service of going to war with Russia.

                    • Dimitry (((Adamsky)))
                      Sorry, George, I couldn’t let this one pass…!

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Basil, stop it! Please! I know more Jews who are sympathetic to Russia (e.g. David Goldman, Stephen Cohen) than any Protestant/secularist Americans who are. In fact, as for Protestant/Evangelicals, the last one who I can think of who was not anti-Russian (and was pro-Russian) was the late Billy Graham.

                      As far as I’m concerned, the entire State Dept/CIA/Foggy Bottom swamp of Old-Stock brahmin Americans is a fetid swamp of anti-Orthodox and Russophobic functionaries.

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      George, IMHO we all just need to be Orthodox, that’s all.  If we try to be “Russian Orthodox”, or “Public Orthodox”, or “Nuclear Orthodox”, or some other “XYZ Orthodox”, then there’s going to be unnecessary conflict.

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    Reports suggest the Russian Church has banned priests from blessing weapons. Bartholomew has done it, though, for Turkey. Don’t know if he is going to be doing it this time around. https://www.newsweek.com/russian-church-ban-priests-blessing-weapons-mass-destruction-tanks-orthodox-1445485

                    Washington DC is the center of political authority in our country but that doesn’t mean that any “Orthodoxy” coming from our capital is ultimately biased by the needs and interests of the United States.

                    The division we’re suffering is the result of Bartholomew going against his brother bishops. He just happened to go into Ukraine which just happened to be under Onophrey. Now he’s set his sites on the United States.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Ironic, isn’t it Gail? Russia, whatever its pluses or minuses is an unabashedly Orthodox Christian society. And it is not blessing its weapons (at least according to this report).

                      Yet the EP, who lives in a rigidly secular and now Islamifying nation which has decimated (if not genocided) its Christian population, blesses the Turkish tanks as they prepare to invade Syria to punish the Kurds (the only Islamic population that is liberal, secular and not anti-Christian).

                      Do I have that right?

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      George, I know Bartholomew has blessed Turkish tanks in the past. Whether or not he chooses to do it now remains to be seen.

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Gail, the reports from last July are only saying that a formal proposal has been made by a commission of the ROC to stop blessing weapons of mass destruction.  This proposal still has to be approved or rejected (or ignored) by Patriarch Kyrill and the Holy Synod.  I don’t find any minutes from the Holy Synod suggesting that it has been approved yet. 
                       
                      So, it’s highly likely that priests are still sprinkling Holy Water on ICBM’s in Russia.  It’s even become a culturally accepted part of the televised military parades.  I suspect there might even be a public uproar if this practice was stopped.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Joseph, first all, thank you for your commentary. Indeed, I don’t disagree with you for the most part, especially in this matter.  However there is a major fallacy in your wish to “just be Orthodox”.  All of us here are striving mightily to do just that.  Yet, Pat Bartholomew has thrown so many spanners in the Orthodox works that serious divisions are being created.

                      The trap you have fallen into (and many of us do as well) is this:  by taking the “just Jesus” approach (as in “all we want to do is just praise the Lord”), one allows for the insidious eruption of fissures –small at first but then increasing.

                      The EP has created these fissures from almost the inception of his archpastorate, indeed from even before when he said that “…generally speaking, the Orthodox Church is pro-life”.  This created an opening for the “pro-choicers” which has only increased since that time to include the “Public Orthodox”/Wheel axis, championed by the likes of Met John Zizioulis of the extinct See of Pergamum. 

                      By definition, that throws every else who doesn’t agree with them under the bus, being tagged as “fundies”, etc.  This also pushes us (some more willingly than others, to which I plead “guilty”) even closer into the orbit of the Patriarchate of Moscow, mainly because it is more accommodating to those who can’t abide the whole Public Orthodoxy/Wheel/Zizioulis nonsense.

                      And it is nonsense.

                  • Solitary Priest says

                    I said it before, my loyalty is to Christ and His Church. Furthermore, many members of the Canonical church in Ukraine are not only patriots, but actually shedding their blood for Ukraine. I could say more, but smarter people than myself have not convinced Mr. Lipper. I’ll not waste any more time trying.

                    • Solitary Priest,
                      When we keep replying to Joseph or anybody else like him,
                      we do this for a number of reasons not for one reason only, e.g.

                      -to tell that person the other side of the story which may not convince him NOW, but he will remember it, anyway.
                      .
                      -to show to him that he may be wrong and please be more careful the next time.
                      .
                      -to tell the others who are reading him that he is wrong. Otherwise some will think that he is right, if nobody dares say anything.
                      .
                      – It is a good exercise for us to tell the truth.
                      .

                      -Other..?
                      ..
                      Needless to say we are doing this in Christian love towards him,
                      with one criterion only, the truth, even if we ourselves prove to be wrong.

                  • Joseph,
                    Weapons of mass destruction do include nuclear bombs (look up definitions), indeed they do cause real mass destruction!
                    .
                    Joseph, don’t you think you are applying double standards, on the one hand to your (and my) beloved old free Byzantine Empire and to today’s Russia? 
                    Today’s ultimate weapons are indeed the nuclear bombs. As you know, the US proved that twice in 1945! If used in 1945 why won’t they be used in the future?
                    The Russians certainly put holy water on them, JUST LIKE the Byzantines did with the corresponding ultimate weapons of their time, initially big swords etc. Later the invented a terrible secret weapon the “Ὑγρόν Πῦρ” or “Liquid Fire” ie guns spewing a burning liquid which destroyed a whole area killing people and animals.
                    Suppose another “Joseph” criticised the Greeks then for using the “Liquid Fire” against the hordes of Muslim troops!   We know that the Byz.Kings were one with the Church.
                    .
                    After all, I, and I believe, you and all the other Orthodox here,  we sing the troparion of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
                    ” Lord, save thy people…granting our believing kings victory over the Barbarians…”
                    How do we achieve victory,
                    with weapons covered with the sins of those who made them,
                    or with blessed weapons?
                    .
                    You see Joseph, one has to be consistent with his criteria/standards. If you agree with the above hymn you agree with the blessing of weapons. Also, don’t forget, Bartholomew
                    (as a Turkish citizen!) blessed the Turkish weapons, not the Greek or Greek-Cypriot ones! Joseph, please send us a link, where you have criticised Bartholomew for this!
                    .
                    And now the big problem: You are a citizen of a country, so you can not possibly be against your country. 
                    Christ gave the advice “Give to the Caesar what is Caesar’s…etc.”
                    And what will happen if (God forbid) an Orthodox U.S. soldier joins the war and has to kill an Orthodox Russian soldier, or the other way around? I am not the person to answer this, may be somebody else can say something. It is certainly a matter of fervent prayer if that moment comes.
                    If I am not mistaken, if a soldier kills another soldier in war, he cannot have Holy Communion for some time.
                     

                  • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

                    To quote a memorable line by Republican candidate Ronald Reagan to President James E. Carter in the second U.S. presidential debate in 1980, “There you go again!”

                    Mr. Lipper, is there no end to your anti-Russian (and anti-Russian Orthodox) hostility?

                    You provide selected quotes from an article on a subsidiary website of the Center for International Security Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC. which trumpets its “non-partisan” profile, but which, in truth, is populated by Wilsonian internationalists and neo-conservatives: i.e., scholars who are unrelentingly globalist, secular, and hostile to the Russian Federation, and sometimes the Church specifically. None of the “experts” at CSIS is knowledgeable about Russian Orthodoxy from the inside; indeed, none of them is, to my knowledge, a practicing Orthodox Christian.

                    And yet neither Andrew Hollis (author of the web article you cite) nor Prof. Dmitry Adamsky (a non-Christian) is deterred by the paucity of their merely “book knowledge” of the subject from pontificating about “a nuclear (Russian Orthodox) priesthood”–a truly odious smear that I bristle at personally–or what they see as a direct continuity of Russian Orthodox subservience to the regime from the Soviet to the post-Soviet eras. That is, alas, an all too familiar meme–whether imperial tsars, Soviet commissars, or Putin: the Russian people are supposedly always enthralled by authoritarianism–promulgated by historians such as Harvard’s Richard Pipes and other secularists who have little or no appreciation of the Church’s profound, unique role in the spiritual and cultural formation of the Russian people for more than a millennium.  

                    Have you read Adamsky’s book titled, Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy, Mr. Lipper? Have you even seen the cover of that volume?  If you have at least glanced at the cover on amazon.com, how can you, a self-professed Orthodox Christian, blithely ignore the outrageous sacrilege that Adamsky or his publisher or both of them visit upon the Russian Orthodox Church and all Orthodox Christians by depicting a strategic, presumably nuclear missile augmented by the three crossbars of the familiar triple-bar Orthodox cross.

                    If you insist on throwing anti-Russian mud against the wall, hoping that at least something will stick, for the sake of all of us on this blog as well as minimal Christian decency, try, at least, to avoid throwing sacrilege and blasphemy in our faces.

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Father, in 1995 before I was Orthodox the traveling exhibit, The Treasure of the Czars, came to Kansas and I went twice. It was deeply sad to me because it was clear from the exhibit how deeply ingrained the Orthodox faith was in Imperial Russia and how, when the pressures against the Czars began to build there was a clear effort to return to the faith (not just the Church). I am sure the public confessions that occurred with St. John of Kronstadt were part of that.

                      People in the United States are taught the canard “separation of Church and State”–which does not mean what they think it means and is a practical impossibility in any case**. Given the falsity of that canard it becomes quite difficult to see an organic unity of the people, the Church and the State as anything other than evil.

                      Clearly where such a unity exists, it can be quite difficult for the Church and her leaders to maintain the perspective that is necessary to retain the prophetic role of the Church but not impossible. Remaining prophetic is difficult in any state no matter the politics.

                      I am equally sure that there have been moments where the people in the Russian Orthodox Church have lost sight of that role for one reason or another, but that does not mean they are forever tainted and the Church herself corrupted.

                      Unfortunately, it is quite easy to point out the failure of the Church in the United States to take more robust measures vis a vis the state many times. The issue of marriage here comes to mind. Being prophetic does not mean that the Church is hostile to the state and can often mean quite the opposite.

                      Mr. Lipper seems to lack proper historical perspective in the sense that life through time for an Orthodox Christian must always be looked at providentially. The gifts of Jesus Christ through the Church, no matter how badly we human beings mess up, are of inestimable value and always outweigh our sins. That is the whole point, is it not?

                      As someone for whom the study of history with all its warts, wounds and horrors led me to the Church, it can be no other way. None of us are worthy of the gifts, all of us misuse them often, that does not lessen the reality that the gifts are there, even in the worst of times and often given through unclean hands by the grace of God.

                      **To posit “separation of Church and State” while professing a God that is both Incarnate and everywhere present filling all things is a massive cognitive disconnect that puts one in the position of trying to serve two masters. It can devolve into a kind of dualism. The Fathers of the Church have made crystal clear dualism wherever it is found and in whatever form is heretical. God forbid.

                      Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy

                      BTW I would be remiss if I did not thank you again for teaching me how essential it is for the Christian life to perceive life and our history as providential, i.e. a gift from God for our salvation.

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Archpriest Alexander F.C. Webster,
                       
                      I’ve read Adamsky’s book, Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy.  It’s a detailed, well documented, and fascinating account of the post-Soviet history and development of the military chaplaincy as a vital aspect of the Russian Federation’s national security. 
                       
                      This concept of “Nuclear Orthodoxy” is not Adamsky’s, but rather a Russian phrase and concept of how Russian national security is currently based on the twin principals of Orthodox Christianity and nuclear armament.  He points out how it was actually the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarchs Alexey and Kyrill, who saved and redeemed the Russian Federation’s nuclear defense program and used it as an inroads for the development of the current military chaplaincy in Russia.  Because of this, the military chaplaincies among the nuclear triad of Russia’s defense sectors are the most developed in their entire military.  I  also found Adamsky’s coining of “nuclear priesthood” quite jarring, but he does not use it in anyway meant to be pejorative.  Rather, in the context of his book, he uses this phrase to specifically reference the uniqueness of the military chaplaincy assigned to Russia’s nuclear triad.  
                       
                      Incidentally, father, your name is mentioned in a footnote of this book.  In the epilogue, Adamsky briefly mentions “Just War” theory, and in his footnote writes, “According to some interpretations, in Eastern Orthodox tradition, in contrast to the Roman Catholic, war is seen as a minor moral good, rather than a necessary moral evil.  See Alexander Webster and Darrell Cole, The Virtue of War (Salisbury, MA: Regina Orthodox Press, 2008)”

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Well said, Fr!  

                      I for one, grow increasingly tired at the American Establishment and its incessant war-mongering which unfortunately now is tied to a highly vindictive Russophobia as well as a toxic anti-Christianity.

                      BTW, I highly recommend your book.

          • Brute from bygone ages says

            Joseph, did you ever hear about Saint Sophia, actual see of Saint John the Golden mouthed? Or about other Cathedral in Constantinople, Church of Holy Apostles? Saint George’s Cathedral in Fener was tiny female monastery where Patriarchs had to go after Theotokos Pammakrista was taken by Turks. It’s enlarged and reconstructed by Russian money, btw. 

          • I might also add that if the same argument is applied to the CP that they claim has always applied everywhere and to everyone…
             
            “But there is one rule, which had been noted by Photios I, the theologist and patriarch, and has applied throughout the Church’s history: that the affairs of the Church always follow developments in politics. To put it in present-day terms, geostrategic developments also determine developments in the Church. This is a very wise lesson and it is a good thing that it was applied by our Fathers throughout history, because this has safeguarded the survival of the Orthodox people and churches”
             
            …then Bartholomew is most certainly not – nor has he ever been – the archbishop of Constantinople.  He is the archbishop of Istanbul.
             
            But the letter of canon ‘law’ serves the power and prestige of his office much better than simply acknowledging that “developments in the Church” are possible even when it concerns the status of his own throne.  How, then, can it be said that the CP’s primary concern is the “safeguard[ing] of the survival of the Orthodox people and churches”?
             
            How is it that the one rule “noted by Photios I, the theologist and patriarch, and has (supposedly) applied throughout the Church’s history” applies to everyone except the CP – or rather the church of Istanbul?

            • Joseph Lipper says

              The Ecumenical Patriarch has been in Constantinople since New Rome was established.  Why should he leave?  Just because Turks took over the City?  And what then about the Patriarchs of Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Antioch?  
               

              • Brute from bygone ages says

                Patrarch of Antioch is residing in the Damascus. Patriarch of Alexandria in the Cairo… Patriarchs of Jerusalem sat in the Constaninople for two centuries. 

              • Monk James Silver says

                Joseph Lipper’s history is a bit off, here.

                The city of Constantinople was established as the roman empire’s eastern capital by the emperor St Constantine himself early in the fourth christian century. As ONE of the empire’s capitals, it was nick-named ‘New Rome’. It was built as an enlargement of a much more ancient city on the Bosporus, a city which had its own bishop since the first century.

                After being established as a capital city, all the bishops of Constantinople — including St John Chrysostom, who died in A.D. 404 — were called archbishops, not patriarchs.

                It was only during the ecumenical synod at Chalcedon in A.D. 481 that Constantinople was granted the dignity of a patriarchate, but even then it was considered second in dignity among the five ancient patriarchates, Rome keeping its primacy according to the canons of the first synod at Constantinople in A.D. 381.

                When the archbishops of Constantinople began to style themselves as ‘ecumenical patriarchs’, no less a person that St Gregory the Great, Pope of Rome, objected to their arrogance.

                Of course, Rome lost its primacy as the result of the ‘Great Schism’ of A.D. 1054 following the ‘Gregorian Reforms’ named for a roman pope not nearly so illustrious as his sainted predecessor. Reforms? What a misnomer!

                Those changes pretty well undid all the administrative and practical decisions of the seven ecumenical synods. It took another six hundred years or so for Rome (‘Council of Trent’) to officially reject the faith of the Orthodox and emplace their errors as doctrine.

                Yet in A.D. 2007, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople signed on to the ‘Ravenna Document’, acknowledging Rome’s primacy in spite of its history of heresy and schism from The Church.

                Adding up all these historical facts leaves us with the very clear impression that Pat. Bartholomew has already left not only Constantinople, but The Church altogether. His most recent actions appear to confirm this sad fact, and Constantinople is once again leaning toward becoming uniat.

                Considering the very little REAL influence and governance which Constantinople actually exercises now in The Church, its departure from us will not leave much of a gap to be filled.

                We’re regretfully getting along well enough without Rome these days as we have for a thousand years, and we’ll get along just as well without Constantinople if we must, although it would be better if both of them repented their errors and came back into The Church.

                ‘… for the well being of all the holy churches of God and for the unity of them all, let us entreat the Lord.’

              • Simply following their own logic, Joseph.  He doesn’t need to leave if the Turks allow him to stay, but according to their own logic Constantinople (unlike Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria) is no more.  There is only Istanbul, ruled by the Turks who subject his office (as well as the qualifications for candidates for his office) to its whims – both religious and political – in a manner that is detrimental to his (and the Church’s) freedom.
                 
                Clearly this current (and now longstanding) situation was not even considered when the canons concerning the throne of Constantinople were agreed upon.
                 
                We are being told that the canons concerning the CP cannot change.  This is patently false, as they were, in fact, changed when the seat of the empire was moved from Rome. 
                 
                And out of the same mouths we are being told “that the affairs of the Church always follow developments in politics” and that “geostrategic developments also determine developments in the Church.  “This is a very wise lesson” that is conveniently ignored when it applies to the CP.
                 
                I will ask again.  With all the ongoing contentions, why doesn’t Bartholomew call a council?  You yourself, Joseph, agree that one is needed.   Answer:  He would  likely lose not only the argument about the Ukraine, but quite possibly his status as well.  And neither he nor his cohorts want to put this status at risk.

                • Brian,
                  I like your description “This is patently false”!
                  The whole reason of having a kind of coordinating (Arch)Bishop in ancient Constantinople was that the city (like Rome) was “basileuousa” i.e. reigning, ie having the King and the Government. 
                  (In the English translation of Cummings the Greek Present Participle for “reigning” has been translated with the adjective “Imperial”)
                  And St.Nicode in the Rudder carries on to explain why that was  necessary, read his interpretation/comments after the text of the law. Very briefly the local Archbishop coordinated/accompanied the visiting Bishops who wanted to see the King and ask for some assistance!
                  The City no more ha a king or other head of state. That was moved to Ankara. And in Turkey there very,very few Christians any more.
                  Actually there are many countries with Orthodox christians, the largest congregation being in Russia and there are other countries with smaller Orth.congregations.
                  All of these countries have their own capital, a head of state,  an Archbishop and their own local bishops. All of these are now substituting the single bishop of Constantinople in that unique country, the Byzantine Empire.  
                  .
                  If Bartholomew cannot see the facts, he will be disappointed and desperate, it will be a dame to the Church and a damage to his soul.
                  Lord have mercy!
                  The Rudder (large .pdf file):
                  https://s3.amazonaws.com/orthodox/The_Rudder.pdf
                   

                  • Mike Myers says

                    The Church of Christ has nothing to do with numbers or empires or ephemeral capital cities. You’re so ridiculous. It’s about the called, chosen … and faithful. Period.

                    FYI, your Putin’s the dress rehearsal for The Antichrist — too ugly and stupid to be much more than a ‘forerunner’ and destroyer, though not without a certain beastly but tragically short-sighted cunning, admittedly. Patriarch Bartholomew, the ancient See of the Bishop of Rome, and by now just about everyone else who matters knows, or seriously suspects, that this is quite how it is. Seriously, it’s not rocket science, boys and girls.

                    Y’all don’t matter, not at all. Many of you seem hell-bent on amounting to nothing more in this life than serving as a stern warning — merely pathetic, hollow chaff ordained to be driven by the Category 666 winds on the way. But this was, is and will doubtless continue to be the choice of most of you. Your disobedience to the perfectly clear words of Christ’s Holy Gospel, your damned weakness and cowardice and that depraved deference to fallen human traditions you’re known for account for your genuinely miserable condition.

                    We, anyway, have no continuing city down here. Apostates. Much less are We likely to choose deference to some filthy, decaying, guilt-encrusted and increasingly blasphemous empire that’s been falling into the dark abyss of malice for 1000 years, and whose (pagan) power vertical these days is prostrate beneath the boot of a demented, thieving, arrogant thug and the various biyatches scattered about whom he’s compromised and intimidated, and who seem to admire his depravity and despise the Lord. Fallen ones whose days are numbered. Oh, — almost forgot to mention — and in thrall to Satan, the prince of this age.

                    Your ‘facts’ are a great big howl, Michalopulos. We taunt you, mostly because nothing else seems to come near to making an impression on your pig-headedness. But, sadly, I fear you will not escape — except you repent.
                    It seems unlikely you’ll do that, though, you or most of the rest of your sorry dupes, because you were never really one of us — or if you ever were you fell too far and too hard. We blame your corrupt ‘priests,’ mainly. (Looking at you, Webster, among others.)

                    Bottom line: no better prospect is in the cards for you than a long and arduous climb up out of the miry pit you’re clearly content to wallow in, as you ‘warm’ yourselves here in phony camaraderie. The children of this age are too weak to dig — a way out of their dirty, guilty, cold and unrepentant hearts — and too proud to beg — that is, too proud to come to Us for help. An old story.

                    So, bonne chance! And you’ll need luck, just to get by — for awhile. Again, unless you repent. Whether the deplorati are redeemable or not’s quite literally up in the air. God alone knows.

                    We pity you.

                    • George C Michalopulos says

                      Mike, I decided to lift the embargo that I have placed on you for a few reasons.  First of all, let’s get the agreements out of the way.

                      Yes, here on earth, “we have no abiding home”. Check.

                      Second, you believe that there will be an antiChrist. Check.

                      Well, that’s about it as far as agreement is concerned.

                      So why did I lift the embargo?  First of all, it’s good to know what the “other side” thinks.  Second, it seems to me providential that you would go out on such a limb, now that Pope Francis has pretty much come out as a full-blown heretic (Nestorianism if his friend/journalist is to be believed). In other words, you prematurely gave away the game. For that we thank you.

                      That’s a good thing to know all things considered.

                      Anyway, if y’all want the EP you can have him. His brand of modernism & ecumenism never really set well with the Orthodox phronema, generally speaking. It took a century for the rest of us Greeks to wake up to the damage which Meletius IV Metaxakis set into motion but hey, eventually, even a blind sow will find an acorn.

                      As far as Putin and Russia are concerned, it seems to me that if God could use a murderer and adulterer like David ben-Jesse or a pagan like Cyrus the Great or a Turkish conqueror like Mehmet II or a certain German chancellor to further His purposes, he can use an Orthodox Christian like Vladimir Putin for His purposes as well –if such purpose is to preserve a remnant of the Orthodox Church and safeguard it from the clutches of Soros and his globalist ilk. 

                      P.S. Let me know how the dancing nuns enliven your liturgies.  They must surely be a step up from the clown masses. In the meantime, I’ll continue to watch Tradcats like Michael Voris and Dr Taylor Marshall on YouTube and thank my lucky stars that for all the problems we Orthodox have, we are nowhere near the despair that these and millions of other traditional Catholics have to go undergo on a daily basis.

                    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

                      George, your permitting that truly bizzare, chilling, spiritual demented and demonic screed by Myers to appear on your blog is typical of your generous spirit and online philoxenia.

                      Myers’ use of the royal We reminds me of a missive from another “kingdom,” a poor man’s Screwtape Letters, with no trace, however, of C.S. Lewis’ marvelous satirical genius or Christian charity.

                      Please excuse me as I take a shower (literally!) and ponder how I might appeal to one of my Roman Catholic friends to arrange for a Roman Catholic priest in the Los Angeles area to pray for Myers’ soul and, if necessary, conduct an exorcism. 

                      Meanwhile, I hope that you, having lifted “the embargo,” as you say, will take Myers’ own bonne chance to heart and let him fade away, permanently, from this blog to spare the rest of us needless distractions on our path to theosis.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Because I love and respect you, Fr, I will do so.

                      Nothing more needs to be said on this matter. It was just a “heads-up” to all Orthodox Christians (and traditionalist Catholics) as to what we are up against. And that is the upcoming hybrid religion engineered by Francis and Bartholomew.

                      We are warned. Now is the time for those us who want nothing to do with it to make our arrangements accordingly.

          • Alitheia1875 says

            He cannot move to Greece, especially to a diocese under the Church of Greece, and probably moving to a diocese under the Patriarchate would be very problematic.

        • Michael, that’s exactly it!
          St.J.Chrysostom says that the more titles you hear, the less value there is.
          (Compare with modern commercials: The real good products do not need the expensive advertisements!)

          St.J.Chrysostom was called just “Archbishop of Constantinople”
          but this title was not sufficient for the modern bishops there  and they added TWO SUPERLATIVES beyond “Holy is God” and they are instead called All-Most-Holy (Παν-Αγιώ-τατος).

          After this crisis is sorted out, we are expecting a humble and holy Bishop there, like Saint Nektarios, who will discard excessive superlative expressions.

      • Joseph Lipper: he has an “understanding” of what constitutes proper order within the Church
         
        This “understanding” is straight from Vatican ie Pontifical Oriental Institute where Jesuits taught him.

        • Martin, you got it, q.e.d.
          That’s why Athenagoras sent Bartholomew there!
          I must admit, a very methodical move with results!  


  10. GREEK METROPOLIS OF CHICAGO CELEBRATING FRANCIS OF ASSISSI WITH ECUMENICAL PRAYER FOR CREATION WITH CATHOLICS, PROTESTANTS
     

    Chicago, October 1, 2019Updated 10/1/2019, 4:30 PM

    The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, under the rule of Metropolitan Nathanael, will participate in an ecumenical prayer service “for the healing of our planet” on the Catholic feast of Francis of Assissi on Saturday, October 4.
    “Friday, October 4th is the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the final day of the Season of Creation. Join Christians from across Chicagoland in a service of prayer, song, and reflection for the healing of God’s earth on this day at the St. James [Episcopal] Cathedral Commons in Chicago.

    https://orthochristian.com/124285.html

    • Estonian Slovak says

      And this surprises you because…? Look, I’m all for preserving the environment. I drive a plug-in hybrid. I try not to pollute. I try to recycle. I should be planting trees and doing more.But these ecumenical services only serve to show everyone, both inside and outside of the church, that we are just another denomination. The church of Rome, if anything, has moved even further away from us, than in 1054. Why, this pope is so radical, that even some of his own bishops are accusing him of heresy and schism. And the EP would have us unite with him? No thanks. Call me what you will, but between Rome and the Old Calendar Greeks, the latter wins out. Yes, some of them are extreme, and yes, some are even kooky. Again, I may be wrong, but I feel Fr. Ephraim’ s monasteries are one reason which prevents God loving Greeks from going Old Calendar. Let’s not forget, that all the while Eastern Europe was communist, and few people from there could get out, there has always been a steady flow of newcomers from Greece. It can be expected that the GOA for many, did not fit their expectations of what the church is.

      • Estonian, which Old Calendar Greek church do you prefer. At last count, there are 11 groups each claiming to be the TRUE church.

        • Estonian Slovak says

          Well, the two moderate groups recently merged. I didn’t say I preferred any of them. Maybe if the EP hadn’t changed the calender, they wouldn’t exist in the first place. The extremism of Constantinople brought about extremism from opponents of the change. Ever hear the expression, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it? I just won’t accept that the Papacy is part of the church, but they aren’t. I’m talking about the moderate group, that is.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      If it isn’t already clear to everyone on the planet by now, ROME is where we’re headed under Bartholomew and Elpi.

      • Gail, just a small “correction”:
        Some people say Bartholomew wants to be “like the Pope”,
        but not swallowed by the Pope.
         

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Ioannis, what you say is true and Francis feels the same way. When East (or what Bartholomew is able to take with him) meets West, it should be quite a show.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Gail, hopefully by then, what constitutes the “East” will be a mere shadow of what is already a shadow. 

            I imagine that the Archon/L100 class will have by then long closed their checkbooks.  Then, the finances of “the New Rome” will be dependent upon the annual food-fests of the remaining GOA parishes. 

            In the meantime, God bless the Church of Greece’s Synod: they have decided to kick the can down the road yet again. While this is by no means an ideal resolution to the Ukrainian crisis, it is a huge slap in the face to the Phanar and their imperial pretensions.

            Mr Dumenko continues to twist in the wind.

    • Alitheia1875 says

      Nothing new here.
      There was an ecumenical prayer service at Ground Zero a few years ago when the Pope visited. Archbishop Demetrios, a female episcopal bishop, an evangelical or two, the rabbi of the big temple on Fifth Avenue and an imam. Everyone offered their own prayer, etc. Archbishop Demetrios was sure to comment that he was reading a passage from Scripture, “in the original Greek”… Oh, I almost forgot, a man and a woman were there also representing what group I don’t know, possibly Hindu, BaHai, etc. Each one of them spoke in their language also but no one understood what they were saying. A good guess is that at least one of them offered up a prayer to a multi armed goddess riding a six legged elephant.

  11. Dear Joseph,
    thanks for your comprehensive reply.
    I am not saying that I totally agree with it, but I still like it because it is an honest one:

    “I don’t always understand Patriarch Bartholomew and his actions.”  
    Exactly. In that case you can borrow his logic from other actions you do understand. Look how he changes everything to his interest behind the term “Mother Church” replacing  Sion/Jerusalem as St.John Damascene wrote the dogmatic verses (tone 8). Jerusalem was both the first Church AND her first Bishop was the brother (or cousin) of the Lord!!!!

    “he has an “understanding” of what constitutes proper order within the Church…etc”.
    Exactly! From his first years when a deacon, he was interested in order and more order. Read his biography from the EP webpage. He went then to Italy to study Canon Law (there was nothing better in Athens?) to an academy part of the Pontifical School, founded by none less than the Jesuit Ignatius of Loyola. If you visit the website of that Jesuit School you will read that many of its graduates became Popes (and you may add Ecumenical Patriarch as well!). No doubt, deacon Bartholomew, and especially his mentor Patr.Athenagoras (who paid for B’s expenses there) were sure for a bright future for the young deacon qed.
    I have personally, NEVER heard a christ-centered sermon by Bartholomew I don’t mean a pre-written one, written by his “speech-writers like Fr.Zisis). If you know one such sermon please send me the link. Bartholomew mainly talks and preaches about the authority “mother church”. Knowledge of canon law is the real power, is it not?

    “Where’s the power and glory?  Not in Constantinople.”
    Again, Exactly!
    Read Canon 28  (4th Ec.Syn.) VERY VERY SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY and stop after each word and think deeply and honestly!
    Constantinople, after a few centuries became more “important” than Jesusalem just because it was “basileuousa” (reigning, feminine, participle, Present Tense ie NOW reigning) city where the Head of State and the Parliament resided. THAT’S ALL!
    And St.Nicodeme in the Rudder explains there why the bishop of the capital city had a unique coordinating function to visit the Head of State with the visiting remote bishops.
    A child in elementary education understands that
    -Istanbul is now not the capital of Turkey (Ankara is).
    -The Head of State there (Erdogan) couldn’t care less about helping a visiting bishop from another part of the world!
    It would appear that Bishops in various Capitals of the world are now a kind of de-facto coordinators for their fellow-country-men-Bishops. And certainly the biggest of  all TODAY is most probably MP. After 100 years China or India may have an even larger congregation than MP. 
    So, Joseph, you are absolutely right. Bartholomew should understand that situation, and save his soul and church unity before he leaves this vain world (like all of us too).
     
    Let us all pray for him, to exercise humility commensurate to the size of his real Turkish Orthodox congregation, and, bring peace and unity in the Church and save his soul, Amen.
     

  12. Now we know why the Panagia is weeping in Chicago.

  13. GoArmyBeatNavy says

    Look, I’m not interested in Byzantium’s or Moscow’s version of Orthodoxy nor am I interested in being a part of either one’s “diaspora” .  I don’t want monastic Orthodoxy for my family life in 2020 America. If I wanted that, then I’d go to the monastery.
    I am not Russiaphobic, why should I be ? It’s economy is the size of the 5 burroughs of NYC.  I want vibrant American Orthodox parish life, I don’t need Weeping Anything (more often it’s like monastic scams run by the Old Calendarists than not). Bart is a compromised Turk, Putin and Kyrill are kleptocrats in a kleptocracy.  AMERICA. AMERICA. AMERICA. Why can’t this crowd get that??

    • GoArmyBeatNavy,
      Before writing my full comment, 
      may I ask you,
      which one do you love most, Orthodoxy or America?

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        Or Orthodoxy or Greece, one might ask of many…..

        • Exactly Tim.
          BTW this point has been addressed in Greece,
          not by a theologian or bishop
          but by General Theodoros Kolokotronis (1821)
          who led the war against the Turks:
          He said
          “We will fight
          for the Faith and the Country
          (Ὑπέρ Πίστεως καί Πατρίδος),
          and I say first for the Faith!”

          Now compare THAT to what most(?) people say today, everywhere.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Ho gerontas teis Morea* was quite a character! Will the Greek people ever see his like again?

            *”The Old Man of the Morea”

    • Alitheia1875 says

      Oooh, snuck that Old Calendarist snarky remark in there, didn’t you. I guess you haven’t travelled in Greece much have you. But here in the states, given how you feel about weeping icons, just go to the GOA parish of St. Paul in Garden City, NY, be made a true believer, and repent in front of the two weeping icons of the Mother of God that have been there for about 60 years.

  14. Brute from bygone ages says

    Well, Russian economy is actually 6th or 9th in world, and besides ecconomy it’s country capable destroying entire world, so politicaly you had to count on it. But now, it’s irrelevant here. What’s relevant is that as Orthodox Christian you need to be concerned about rest of Orthodox Christians. Most of them happen to live there. America is your motherland, and you should love her, of course, but most of people there are heterodox. In other words, this blog is mostly about Orthodox Church issues, so you must expect lot of talk about Russia. And again what do you have with the percieved corruption in Russia? As long as it’s not affecting you, and you obviously know a little on subject… just avoid it. 

  15. Joseph, I too was very moved by the basement chapel at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral. I especially loved the beautiful iconostasis. But,the Church of Russia needs a large space to accommodate the large numbers of faithful and clergy that come to participate in ceremonies that are important to the faithful throught Russia. The services are very compunctionate and give the glory and majesty that is fitting to God. In addition to the cathedral choirs, there are often visiting choirs. The day I was there, the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Seminary choir chanted. The Patriarch, many bishops, more than 60 priests and numerous, deacons, subdeacons, altar servers, and 3 choirs participated. The altar and the solea, and the cliroses, provided the appropriate space for the services. The only problem for me were the Renaissance icons. They can really distract me. But, if you are in Moscow don’t miss this inspiring place where God is glorified in a fitting manner.
    To Thee is due all glory, honor and worship to Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

  16. Linda Albert says

    You want to see vibrant American Orthodox parish life? Come to Bozeman, Montana and attend some services at St. Anthony the Great Orthodox Church. We have Saturday Great Vespers, Sunday Marine and Liturgy followed by an fellowship meal (not just coffee and doughnuts), Wednesday night Vespers followed by Orthodoxy 101 class and a Bible class, Friday morning Matins, Vigils and Liturgies for all the great feasts as well as some of the minor ones. We have Sunday School, a youth group, a college group, a men’s group, a women’s group, and hardly any time goes by between welcoming new members by baptism and or confirmation and acquiring a new catacumen or more. We participate in the local food pantry, minister to the homeless shelter, collect socks and underwear for children of low income families for St. Nicholas Day, participate in the local Habitat for Humanity and Love in the Name of Christ programs. We desperately need more space for our growing Sunday School and we will soon need a bigger worship area. We have shared our priest with a mission church 90 miles away in Helena our state capital, for the last five years and now they are very close to getting their own full time priest. All our services are in English though we have a mix of converts and cradle Orthodox of varied ethnic backgrounds. What else would we need to do or have to be to possess a vibrant American Orthodox parish life?

    • Linda, thank you for sharing.  This gives me such a smile!

      • George C Michalopulos says

        Me too!

      • Michael Bauman says

        Linda, almost makes me want to move to Bozeman but I have trouble with the winters here in Kansas.   Axios to you all.  
         
        BTW, shows what Orthodoxy can be once the coastal mentality is abandoned.   

        • Monk James Silver says

          What, exactly, is ‘the coastal mentality’?

          The monastery for which I was tonsured in 1978 was in Kansas. I lived in Kansas until 1994, and I saw nothing to distinguish parish life there from parish life in Chicago or on the east coast, where I’ve lived for the last twenty-ice years, and where I was born.

          What I have seen — and still see — is that parishes (wherever they are) which emphasize ethnicity over Christianity are considerably less open to Americans, whether as potential converts to Orthodox Christianityy or from Orthodox parishes of some other ethnicity, or none at all, like the Orthodox Church in America.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Monk James: “Costal Mentality” is a degenerative neurological/spiritual disease that sees solutions in the acts and fantasies of humans without reference to God. Although most people have some form of it, it tends to be more prevalent along the coasts and in large urban areas.
            It also frequently includes a disparagement for the symphonia between man and the rest of the natural world often masquerading as a desire to care for it.  The disorder simultaneously holds mankind to be both the destroyer of all and the salvation of all.
            The end stage of the disorder includes either a delusional belief that human beings can and should solve all of the world’s problems or the belief in the extermination of humanity; or retreat into fallacious and illogical tribal enclaves defined by various forms of delusions of grandeur. These enclaves can be centered on unreal concepts of race, false ideologies or sexual perversions of various kinds.  The most important diagnostic key  is an unrelenting hubris that refuses to listen to reality.
            In matters of religion it can be particularly debilitating as sufferers routinely mistake the things of man for the things of God in a myopic way.

            Though certainly present inland, it tends to be somewhat less prevalent due to the lower population density which allows for an easier and natural appreciation of the rest of creation and the necessity to be less exclusive.
             

            • Monk James Silver says

              My thanks to Michael Bauman for the explanation, which makes this phenomenon sound like a clinically defined mental illness.

              But if this is a real and recognized clinical diagnosis and not merely a political construct, I suggest that it needs a better, more precise, well defined name. ‘Coastal Mentality’ just doesn’t work as a diagnostic title.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Monk James, how about Ideologically Driven Anti-human Personality Disorder. 

                • Monk James Silver says

                  Ah, so it really IS a political construct.

                  I think that I now understand more of what you’ve written here previously, and why I have felt such strong disagreement — not that this motivates me to respond.

                  • Tim R. Mortiss says

                    It’s not a ‘political construct’. It’s a wry phrase. Literal-mindedness is of little help in deciphering it.

                    • Monk James Silver says

                      Sarcasm and oblique references are of no help in serious conversations.
                       
                      I take the Orthodox Christian faith very seriously, and so I was expecting a serious conversation, but I finally realized that Michael Bauman’s words were all nonsense.  And now you’re accusing me of some sort of idiocy?
                       
                      Speak and write about serious matters seriously, or please just don’t bother us with studied cleverness.
                       
                      Our Lord Jesus Christ tells us:  ‘When you mean ‘yes’, say ‘yes’.  When you mean ‘no’, say ‘no’,  Everything else comes from the devil.’

                    • Monk James Silver,
                      “but I finally realized that Michael Bauman’s words were all nonsense”:
                      Are you by any chance indirectly implying that our brother in Christ Michael Bauman is Raca or fool?.

                      “…whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” (Matthew 5:22).

                      Excuse me, I am used to hearing relaxed/softer replies from humble monks.
                      .
                      BTW, monks, by definition humble, are valuable in this forum for being an example to us easily-agitated laity.  

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    It is a cultural comment that has nothing to do with governing.  As simply as I can, IMO, the Church would be better off in the US if we were not dominated by folks who live in coastal enclaves where the culture, in general, is more virulently anti-Christian than it usually is in the middle of the country.  We have other challenges here and are not untouched by the revolt against God but there is not quite so much pressure here yet.  
                    As Tim points out, my “definitions” were given in fun. The problem is a spiritual one. 

                    I was hoping you had a sense of humor.

              • Tim R. Mortiss says

                Especially if you live on Puget Sound, as I do! But I get Michael’s meaning, indeed.
                I keep the condition at bay with a frequent glass of dry elderberry wine from his bride’s excellent Kansas winery!
                A splendid vintage, which elevates, but neither cloys nor stupefies! Perhaps not a panacea, but a worthy palliative.

    • Start another mission!

  17. Joseph Lipper says

    The recent comments of Metropolitan Seraphim of Zimbabwe really cut right down to the point by suggesting that Russophobia is the guiding principal of the Local Churches, fearing Moscow’s reprisal if they follow Patriarch Bartholomew’s recognizition of Ukrainian autocephaly:
     
    “’today the Russians will send their clergy into all areas of the canonical ecclesiastical jurisdiction of our Ecumenical Patriarchate, even within Turkey and, indeed, Constantinople,’  he writes.
     
    “Further, Met. Seraphim fears that the Russian Church will do the same to any Local Church that eventually recognizes the church created by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Ukraine”.
    https://orthochristian.com/124413.html
     
    The Metropolitan of Zimbabwe is likely not alone.  Although he voices his own personal fear, the same fear is likely shared by most Orthodox bishops in the world.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Joseph, I don’t see “Russophobia” mentioned anywhere nor did Met Seraphim say the Local Churches “feared” Russia. What he was referring to is his OWN fear. Russians are sending their clergy into areas that could be argued belong to the jurisdiction of Constantinople but because they are out of communion, what is Russia supposed to do? Say, “Mother may I”? Why would they ask Bartholomew’s permission for anything? He doesn’t exist to them.

      The Local Churches, who unanimously came out in support of Russia, have nothing to fear with respect to Russia invading their territories. It is Constantinople they fear because Bartholomew has proven that he will go wherever he wants, whenever he wants, uninvited. The entire Church fears him because he is accountable to no one. He has openly said as much. In other words, he is not Orthodox.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Gail, what could the EP possibly do at this point that would actually threaten anyone?  Moscow has come up with such ballyhooed winners such as the threat of the EP “joining with Rome,” or the threat of the EP “taking away autocephaly,” or maybe the threat of the EP “granting autocephaly”.  Does Moscow really care what the EP does at this point?  No, absolutely not.  As you point out, Patriarch Bartholomew doesn’t even exist to the Russians anymore.  There is no threat coming from the Phanar.
         
        On the other hand, if any of the Local Churches were to recognize Ukrainian autocephaly, they would immediately be ostracized, not by the other Local Churches, but rather by Moscow.  It is Moscow’s reprisal of the EP, through ostracization and invasion of jurisdiction, that is threatening to the other Local Churches.  Moscow could do the same to any of them.  That’s what Metropolitan Seraphim is saying.  That’s a fear of Russia.  Metropolitan Seraphim doesn’t even mention the obvious fact that the Russian military and the ROC’s “Nuclear Orthodoxy” is one of the most feared in the world.
         

        • Brute from bygone ages says

          Joseph, what’s next? I mean seriously, what’s next? First we had current Nuclear officials in Moscow whom you branded as ex Communists. (I guess they had to be recruited in kindergarden). Then we had your claima about Chrysostom sitting in Fanar, which yett had to be built, supposed difference between Moscow and Constaninople with her four monumrntal cathedrals… Now you are trying to prove Metropolitan Seraphim wrote something he didn’t. For the start, ge wrote about fear that Russian Church will send a bishop in Turkey or in the Philippines. Guess what, nobody about some Greek ethnopyletists really cares about it. Did you miss point of article? It says Patriarch Bartholomew will “become head of isolated parish” if he don’t stop with this uninvoked interventions. Patriarch Bartholomew doesn’t enjoy a lot of prestige or influence in Eastern Europe, Metropolitan Seraphim is openly saying so. Pax tibi. 

          • Joseph Lipper says

            The Patriarchal throne that presently sits at the Phanar, according to pious legend, was used at some point by St. John Chrysostom.   Of course none of the buildings at the Phanar are that old.  There is also a wooden post embedded into the iconostasis for veneration that is believed to be the very post that held Christ as He was scourged. These are at least two items among many others in the Cathedral that pre-date the building.

            • Solitary Priest says

              Stop, Joseph, stop! Don’t dare to tell us what kind of Orthodox we should be. I believe George has deleted one or two of my worse posts to you. Do not presume to speak as some spokesman for the church, and then turn around and act all innocent. I am Ukrainian, your UOC friends and their allies are butchering Orthodox Christians, even as we speak. I will tell you something else. Those people would never allow you the freedom of speech that George has given you on this forum. I pray you never have to find out the hard way.

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Solitary Priest, with all due respect, I’m willing to accept your claim of Ukrainian heritage even though you post anonymously.  However, we all know that Ukrainian heritage does not itself make anyone an official spokesperson for Ukraine.  Even among Ukrainians, there are many different viewpoints on the matters we are discussing.  Trust me, I value your shared opinions even though I may sometimes disagree.  Likewise, I am only sharing my own opinions, as mediocre as these may be. 
                 
                I greatly appreciate George’s willingness to facilitate discussions on this blog.   

            • Brute from bygone ages says

              Joseph, that throne, you are speaking about, has an inscription dating it to 1577. That was besides point anyway. In the Christian times, Ecumenical Patriarchate has Saint Sophia, and Church of the Holy Apostles as Cathedrals. Two other monumental Churches were Saint Irene and Blachernae (not the current building). Why are Russians so wrong in mimicing this? I tend to agree with Solitary priest, you really need to reflect about things you write. Almost every Orthodox capital has a Church inspired by Saint Sophia. Saint Sava in Belgrade, Saint Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sophia, Saint Isaacius Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Christ the Saviour in the Moscow… Recently, Bucharest and Tbilisi also got monumental Cathedrals. It’s not pleasant to hear an American convert calling one of such cathedrals monstruous (in any context). 

      • Exactly Gail (and Joseph).
        Just think about it. 
        A few days ago the Bulgarians wanted to have a Liturgy in Cple and Bartholomew said no. 
        But the Russians won’t wait for B.’s approval: They will have their own Church there, WITH the approval of the Turkish State.
        .
        At the end of they day the mere size of the Church of Russia will make the difference, and B. cannot stop this even by his clever “Mother” talk.
        Also, let us not forget that, the political “Reigning factor” of  Cple gave more practical State-assistance to the Church than than the politically weaker Jerusalem.
        By the same token, whether we like it or not, MP is NOW (not for ever) the one who receives the most State-assistance, like Constantinople had before 1453. (Read Canon 28).
        .
        Those who do no accept this, should not accept the ancient status of Constantinople either. And I have our dear friend Joseph in mind.

        • The bulgars are used to Constantinople’s  racist bilge smothered in fine words, like Stalin’s speeches. 

  18. Thank you Father Alexander!

  19. Michael Bauman says

    Monk James, forgive me

  20. Michael Bauman says

    Monk James, indeed He does. BTW, I really do appreciate you even though we do not seem to be an easy fit sometimes. I have an unusual sense of humor which I should know better than to try on the internet. It does not really work in this medium.

    The best humor psychologically and historically is a way to address quite serious issues in a manner that deflects enough for people to see the truth. Humor is not incompatible with being serious. Mine was not of that ilk. Sarcasm is always destructive which is my intent with the syndrome of belief, arrogance and un-Godliness that I find spewing from the coasts in all manner of ways that is solely aimed and denigrating, attacking and slandering me and what I hold dear.

    It is a cultural phenomenon that has been in place for a long time but over the last 20 years gotten more and more toxic; more and more personal.

    The question is: “Is sarcasm a form of humor which a Christian ought not to engage in because of its personal and destructive nature?”

    • Michael,
      FWIW, a secular “wise” man has said:
      “A joke is a serious matter”.
      I guess a joke is related to humor.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Yes, a joke is often humor but not always.. Most humor is based in pain and is often an attempt to either deflect the pain or bring the pain out in the open to allow people to see it and address it.  Certainly there are inappropriate times to use humor.  It can be a weapon.  Like everything else, discretion is necessary.  
        Sarcasm is a different breed.  It is the most weaponized form of humor and can be used to destroy people.  I try not to employ it at specific people but rather at ideas.  
        Old sins occasionally still rear their head may God forgive me.