Things Just Got a Little Bit More Interesting

This week we learned Metropolitan Joseph, head of the Antiochian Archdiocese, requested a meeting with Archbishop Elpidophoros.  Metropolitan Hilarion, chairman of the Department of External Church Relations, was there, as was Charles Ajalat, the former chancellor for the Antiochian Archdiocese and an all-around good guy.

First, a little back-story. Last Saturday, when Sergei Dumenko was feted at a ball attended by all the swells in the GOA as some kind of Gandhi-like religious figure, the Antiochian bishops celebrated the Divine Liturgy at their cathedral in New York City with Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev. Alfeyev, as you may know, is the chairman of the External Affairs Committee for the Russian Orthodox Church. He’s definitely a heavy-hitter and he came to visit the Antiochian hierarchy to get the lay of the land, so to speak. It appears that Metropolitan Joseph decided to broker a meeting at his headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey between Istanbul’s exarch in the United States and Moscow’s number two man.

Chances are they invited Charles Ajalat to pick his brain about what unity should look like in this country, as he is kind of an expert in this field.  One of our commentators sent me the following interview done by the late, great Kevin Allen, memory eternal. 


An Interview with Charles Ajalat on Orthodox Unity in America, Part 1

by Kevin Allen

KA: My guest today is Charles Ajalat, one of the pre-eminent lay leaders and advocates for the administrative unity of the various Orthodox jurisdictions in North America and Chancellor of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. Since you’re an attorney, I guess it would be prudent for us to begin with a disclaimer by saying that the views expressed on the program are not necessarily the views of the Antiochian Archdiocese or of Ancient Faith Radio/Conciliar Press. They represent the opinions of you and me, the guest and the host.

CA: Right, I’m not speaking on this program officially on behalf of anyone other than myself.

KA: What’s your best estimate of how many church members of all of the canonical Orthodox jurisdictions in North America there are, and is the number stagnant or growing?

CA: Although regular churchgoers are less, the broader number of adherents that is often thrown around is as much as three to five million for the jurisdictions that are part of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas, SCOBA. Alexi Krindatch’s recent study, on the other hand, implies there are somewhat less than a million of such adherents. Whatever the numbers, the Orthodox Church, precisely because it is the historical, apostolic church, can have a great influence on the culture of our society if it can be seen for what it is and not as a collection of ethnic communities. Even if the real number is, say, 2 million people, that is a lot of people. For example, the Episcopal Church in the United States, I understand, has only about 2 million people.

In terms of numbers, one could also look at the number of church communities. There are probably about 1,800 Orthodox churches of the SCOBA jurisdiction in the U.S. and Canada. Regarding your other question, some jurisdictions may be stagnant, while in various others, such as the self-ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese, there is significant growth.

KA: How many separate SCOBA Orthodox church jurisdictions or bodies are there currently in North America?

CA: I would say approximately ten, and my understanding of the numbers is as follows: The four largest are the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, about 500 churches, the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), about 450 churches, the Antiochian Archdiocese, perhaps the fastest-growing, about 250 churches and the Russian Orthodox Church outside of Russia, (ROCOR, which recently came into communion with the Moscow Patriarchate) and their sister Moscow Patriarchal churches, approximately 200 churches in North America (neither of these latter two groups has yet been admitted to SCOBA). Then there are the Serbians and the Ukrainians (each about 100 churches) and the Carpatho-Russians, the Patriarchal Romanians, the Patriarchal Bulgarians, and the Albanians under the Ecumenical Patriarch (I think the latter may have only two churches here). The majority of the Albanians, Bulgarians, and Romanians are under the OCA, not the respective Patriarchates, although it is the Patriarchal churches that have seats in SCOBA.

KA: Was the situation always this way, one of multiple and overlapping Orthodox jurisdictions on the continent?

CA: No. Orthodoxy was brought to North America over 200 years ago by Russia, back in 1794, through Alaska and then through California. However, the major influxes of immigrants from Europe and the Middle East didn’t come until the 1890s. This had to do with immigration policy in this country and famines and other situations overseas. And at that time the canonical structure in North America was one, all under the Church of Russia. For example, St. Raphael Hawaweeny, although an Antiochian, and the first Orthodox bishop consecrated on North American soil, was under the Moscow Patriarchate.

When the Russian Revolution of 1917 came about, however, and the Russian Church was under persecution, the division began. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese was formed in 1921. Then there was the Antiochyie-Russiye split, where some wanted to go under Antioch and others wanted to remain under Russia. The people in North America of Russian background either stayed under what was called the Metropolia, which is now the OCA (granted independence or autocephaly by Moscow in 1970), or went under ROCOR, recently reunited with Moscow as an autonomous or self-governing church.

But, getting back to your question, the real point is that administrative unity isn’t so new. We need to get back to the Orthodox administrative unity that we all once had up until the early 1900s.

KA: So, each church jurisdiction, as the reality is in this country, has its own and separate ecclesiastical infrastructure, archbishops, bishops, that runs its own affairs separately from the other jurisdictions?

CA: This is true, Kevin, even though we are one in faith and doctrine, one in worship, one in polity and canons, one in spiritual life. The administrative separatism in North America is such a waste of the meager resources that the Orthodox churches here have to work with. It makes absolutely no sense to have multiple departments of religious education, of youth ministry, etc.

And, the dollar spent on, say, seminary infrastructure per theological student caused by the divisions is something no business would tolerate. Multiple extensive libraries, for example, for a relatively small number of students. And all of this is in addition to the even more pressing canonical and ecclesiological problems resulting from multiple jurisdictions.

Think of the strength we have together. I would love to see 45 or more dioceses of a United North American Church with one bishop having the title of each major U.S. or Canadian city. For the sake of our children and grandchildren and, more importantly, for the salvation of all on this continent, I would love to see our Church, through Christ, transforming our culture while our Lord is transforming our own lives.

KA: What is the canonical standard for Orthodox structure in a country supposed to be?

CA: The canons provide that there should be one bishop in one city. This is important theologically and ecclesiologically, in part, so that the surrounding culture can see the unity of the Church. Also, a council held in Constantinople in 1872 condemned phyletism or ethnicism as heresy. Many have accused the current structure of North America as violating both of these canonical standards.

If I’m an American law professor of non-cradle background in the Chicago metropolitan area and want to become Orthodox, I find there’s a Serbian jurisdiction headquartered there, a Greek jurisdiction headquartered there, an OCA jurisdiction headquartered there, etc. It’s not only hard to see that the Orthodox Church is one Church, and the Church that Christ founded, but it is not even seen as indigenous to the Continent, but somehow as a foreign implant.

KA: Are there other potentially relevant canons?

CA: Well, the Ecumenical Patriarch interprets Canon 28 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council to give himself a papal-type jurisdiction over all territories that were not historically under a given patriarchate.

Most other non-Greek Orthodox patriarchs disagree. Archbishop Paul of the autonomous Church of Finland, in 1979, said, “the patriarchates of Antioch, Moscow and Romania strongly opposed the Alexandrian theory on the authority of Constantinople over all the diaspora.”

We should see what Canon 28 says. The canon provides jurisdiction in the Ecumenical Patriarchate for Asia, Thrace and Pontus, the three provinces which correspond to modern-day Turkey, Bulgaria and Greece, and adds that the Ecumenical Patriarchate has jurisdiction over them and the “barbarians.” Perhaps the best explanation of why North America is not such a diaspora is the March 18, 2002 letter by Patriarch Alexis of Russia to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. You should cross-reference it on your website. [It is here:]

KA: In addition to the canonical standards, there’s also a spiritual standard, isn’t that right?

CA: Yes, as Father Alexander Schmemann said, there is a “dogmatical or spiritual essence of the church as unity.” It goes to our whole theology, and our ecclesiology incorporates that theology into the understanding of the Church.

The Orthodox Church is one. No one would dispute that the Church here is one, one in faith and one in worship. Why do we deny this oneness in Christ by having these separate man-made administrative structures that are not reflective of our task of bringing the good news of Jesus Christ and His Church to North America?

KA: Tell us about the historical standard.

CA: Historically, there have been separate sister Orthodox churches on the various geographical territories, but this still keeps as its basis total unity in the Church through the intercommunion of the bishops. As Alexander Bogolepov said, the Orthodox Church retains the concept of church unity, which existed during the time of the seven Ecumenical Councils. It’s a unity in plurality of sister churches, only some of which have the privileges of honor.

KA: So, is it fair to say that the multiple jurisdictional reality, which we have in American Orthodoxy, is in conflict with most or even all of the applicable standards: canonical, spiritual and historical standards?

CA: Absolutely. It violates everything in which we believe. Father Schmemann wrote, “The simultaneous jurisdiction of several bishops in the same territory is a betrayal of both the letter and the spirit of the whole canonical tradition.” The late Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios of Constantinople said, “It is truly a scandal to the unity of the Church to maintain more than one bishop in any given city. It contravenes the sacred canons and Orthodox ecclesiology.” Patriarch Elias of Antioch in 1977 said, “The Antiochian Holy Synod has studied in depth the situation of Orthodoxy in the diaspora. Our position is clear. There must be established independent churches in Western Europe, North America, etc. We affirm that in North America there should be an autocephalous Church with its own patriarch and holy synod.”

KA: Is this non-canonical situation that we have both in letter and in spirit, unique to our American situation here in Orthodox history?

CA: We have the same problem in Europe and in Australia in lesser numbers, but looking at the broader historical picture of the Church, I think this whole “multi-diaspora issue” is unique to our times.

KA: Of the ten or so SCOBA jurisdictions, how many are fuller independent or autocephalous, where they elect their own primate, and how many are semi-independent or autonomous, where the head of the Church here is either approved by the Mother Church as happens with Japan) or elected by the Mother Church from three names (as happens with the Antiochian Archdiocese)?

CA: Four of the ten SCOBA jurisdictions are autocephalous or autonomous. Only the OCA is autocephalous, although not all the mother churches accept Moscow’s grant of autocephaly to the OCA in 1970. The Romania Archdiocese, the Antiochian Archdiocese and ROCOR are self-ruling or autonomous. The other jurisdictions are either canonically subordinate to a mother church patriarchate, Serbia, Bulgaria or the Ecumenical Patriarchate (under whom are the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, the Carpatho-Russians, the Ukrainians and the few patriarchal Albanian churches).

KA: What do you think are some of the problems associated with this multiple jurisdictional reality in matters of governance, growth, and even evangelism?

CA: They include the lack of a unified witness of the gospel to the culture around us, the unwise use of resources, and a lack of church discipline as to pastoral problems (e.g., people shopping Orthodox jurisdictions to allow a divorce) or even parish schisms. There is a lack of effective witness to governments. For example, whereas the American government stopped our bombing in the Gulf War during the Muslim Ramadan out of respect to Muslims, they would not heed the request of our Orthodox hierarchs here to stop bombing in Serbia during the holy week of Pascha. Also, in the first national service after 9/11, my understanding is that the Orthodox were not invited, although in a subsequent service, the head of SCOBA at the time Archbishop Demetrius, was invited.

KA: We spoke about SCOBA, the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas. Is SCOBA a form of an American pan-Orthodox synod? If not, what is it and has it been effective?

CA: Well, I would say it’s not a synod. A synod, in my view, implies binding internal authority. Because of the control of certain SCOBA churches from abroad, combined with the lack of desire on the part of certain hierarchs here to seek the goal of administrative unity, in my view, SCOBA itself at the hierarchical level is not very effective. On the other hand, SCOBA has served as an umbrella under which the clergy and laity have been able to advance the work of the Church together. We’ve been able to form many different activities and put them “under SCOBA.” International Orthodox Christian Charities is a prime example.

But to have Orthodox administrative unity here it seems to me we need not only to have the grassroots revolution, which is the most important, but we need simultaneously to have hierarchs who are willing to hear the cry of their clergy and laity that we must have an administratively unified Church and witness to our society.

KA: Part of the justification for the continuing governance of ecclesiastical jurisdictions in North America by mother churches is that North America is a continuing diaspora of Orthodox faithful coming from the mother country. Please explain how this concept is understood and employed by the mother churches.

CA: Well, the word “diaspora” is a sensitive term in the Orthodox Church because of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s claim that it is in charge of the diaspora, a claim that others dispute. But some other mother churches use the word also because they aren’t always happy to think about the fact that their daughter has grown up and matured and is ready to get married. They don’t realize that the benefits to the entire Church, including to the mother church, will be much greater as the North American Church becomes administratively unified.

Orthodox administrative unity does not mean giving up our cultural roots and our love for, and contacts with, our mother churches, but rather preserves those roots and love and contacts while focusing on the land in which we live and will die, and the land in which our children and grandchildren will live and die.

The word “diaspora” also doesn’t take into account the fact that a very large, growing number of non-cradle Orthodox are joining the churches and many more “cradle” Orthodox were born right here in the U.S. and Canada.

Again, I emphasize the other side of the coin that anyone considering this issue seriously has to also understand that there are many immigrants still coming from so-called Orthodox countries and their needs must also be addressed pastorally. But there’s no reason why anyone should lose or have watered down their cultural traditions. Just as there are Italian and Irish Catholic churches, but they are Catholic first, there can be Greek and Russian and Romanian and Serbian and Arab and American Orthodox churches, but each parish will be part of a unified Orthodoxy, doctrinally in worship, in action, and in administration. Orthodoxy, not cultural ties, will be their essential primary component.

KA: Who benefits from seeing North America as a continuing diaspora?

CA: I guess it benefits those overseas who either want to control the Church here or to feel closely attached to it. Now, the latter part, I think, is a legitimate desire. I think we should have close relations with the mother churches. I think that’s important. Also, while creating a North American church structure we must strengthen the ties with all the mother churches. After all, we’re Orthodox first. We need to do what is for the benefit of the entire Orthodox Church. But, having one North American Orthodox Church that’s totally autocephalous someday in the future would be to the benefit of the entire Church.

Courtesy of the

March 2008 issue of The Word magazine.

The picture taken to memorialize the event shows that they weren’t yucking it up.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen Elpidophoros without a movie star smile.  It’s starting to get serious now, folks.       



  1. I am of the opinion that the Antiochians (my jurisdiction) and the OCA should lead the way in unity. They are traditionally the most convert friendly jurisdictions. 
    Im not at all sure of the logistics, but, a merger of the AAONA/OCA would be a start. I would maybe lump Serbia in there as well? I can’t speak for the other groups (maybe someone else can?). The one stick is GOARCH, even prior to the current Archbishop, GOA has always been an issue with the more “traditional” jurisdictions (i.e. everyone but GOARCH). 
    This meeting might have been to feel out not only the direction that Elpidophoros wants to the GOARCH, and by that I mean liturgically, etc, but, also what his and EPB’s end game is as it would make no sense to have a unified American Church with GOARCH if the EP is trying to drag it into union with Rome. 
    I also believe that should we get a unified Church here (I am assuming the bishops will all get together and vote for a head), it should not be someone from GOARCH, or, if it is, pull them from one of the monasteries. Preferably it would be someone with great pastoral experience and someone who was actually born here. 
    My gut tells me they are feeling out Abp. Elipdophoros because if he is not on board then they may just move forward without him and without GOARCH. At least those are my hopes because if a unified American Church were to come under control of the EP, it would be a theological disaster and set us back to the stone ages. 
    That’s my soap-box 

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Interestingly, Menas, Metropolitan Joseph knows Abp. Elpidophoros from when he studied at the Theological School of St. John the Damascene. He may have a great deal of affection for him and now he may have to be the one to let Elpi know that his plans are all for naught.

      When I listen to Elpi, I get the feeling he has been groomed (for lack of a better word) for this assignment. I know he’s been isolated. He was called a “sunflower” by Bartholomew and when you hear Elpi speak about Bartholomew, it is with great love and devotion. Bartholomew is his spiritual father. Can you imagine walking into something like this thinking it’s going to be a beautiful thing and everyone’s going to welcome you? For all we know, Metropolitan Joseph may have to break it to him that this is not the case and instead of unifying America, he is going to be responsible for initiating the “great divide”; people are going to have to choose sides.

      It also occurred to me that WE are the ones who are going to be disappointed. If the Church buckles and we somehow wind up on the path to Rome and parts unknown, I’m going to be devasted. Not because I hate Catholics or other Christians. Not at all. But because being Orthodox won’t mean anything. Our theology, our TRUTH, would be just be one of many.

      • Gail, as you know, the Orthodox Church cannot cease being both Orthodox, and it cannot cease being the Church. IF there is ‘unity’ between members of the Church and Rome, these members cannot be of the Church. Sure, perhaps they will CALL themselves the Church, but obviously in name only. 
        So whatever happens, the Church will not only survive, but thrive, in these circumstances. This is the nature of His Body. We may not see it, but Christ ordains all of us to be born in this time, under these circumstances, with these spouses, these children, these presidents and oppressors and trials and joys, in His providence. If only we remind each other – and ourselves – that Christ is in our midst, though we be in a great furnace, that furnace will not heat but cool us, and the Angel of the Lord will comfort. This means everything.

      • Gail,
        I think at the end of this world there will be few Orthodox believers.
        (I am too busy now and too tired to look it up).
         So as we are direction “TO THE END” we WILL get fewer and fewer probably in distinct steps. Now,this might be one of those steps.
        So, allow me to DIS-agree with for once, we won’t become Papists, even if we are 10 persons left with one Bishop!

        • Gail Sheppard says

          No, we will not, Ioannis.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Interesting thought.  I imagine that the Church can never be fewer than three bishops and at least several laymen and women.  This would be for purposes of reproduction so that new bishops can be elected from the laity.  

          I further imagine that the bishops can serve the priestly function as well so that worship can proceed as well.  (Deacons won’t be necessary in such a diminished scenario.)

          I further imagine that this tremendously reduced population of believers would have to be in close contact with each other so that the three bishops could assemble in order to consecrate new bishops.  

          Thought experiment:  if the situation becomes so dire that there were less than three bishops at any one time, then we would no that we are at the end of days because the Church would be in danger of extinction and Christ Himself said that the Church would “never die but prevail against he gates of hell”.  

          • George, I utterly agree with you.
            I hastily put down some exagerated small numbers 10 and 1,
            but you get the message.
            A more realistic example might be the size of  a  small country, say like Cyprus.

    • Not sure if you remember this, but years ago the OCA and AOCA had an official joint commission on canonical unity that was comprised of both clergy and laity. They met all the time…then it suddenly disappeared, like it never existed, in the early 1990s. Kind of makes you wonder what if… .?

    • Menas u say it all really. GOD BLESS 

  2. I think this is very good. May God bless all of them for their efforts in resolving this mess.

  3. Joseph Lipper says

    I don’t know, maybe George will get his bottle of scotch after all. Anyone think Moscow might be planning to rescind the OCA’s autocephaly?

    • George Michalopulos says

      Joseph, as much as I like a wee dram of a nice single malt every now and then, this is a bet I would LOVE to lose.
      PS I noticed the other day that HB Tikhon spoke rather glowingly about he enjoys the honors of making the chrism for all OCA churches. 
      That privilege is the prerogative of the primates of autocephalous churches.
      Is this a signal to the planar?

      • George Stanislav the bulgarian lad on internship in Stirling, brought us a lovely bottle of single malt to London that we enjoyed on a few rainy evenings!! 
        Give Joseph credit. HE does try. Good man that he is. 

      • Joseph Lipper says

        I don’t think I’ve ever seen Metropolitan Hilarion look so bad in an official photo as this one.  He seriously looks like he’s had a really bad day.  Archbishop Elpidophoros doesn’t look so good here either.
        George, I sincerely hope you lose your bet also.  The OCA Holy Synod remains fully committed to autocephaly. The only way I see you winning is if Moscow rescinds OCA autocephaly.  I certainly hope that doesn’t happen.

        • Solitary Priest says

          Well, Metropolitan Hilarion had better not sell us down the stream. He represents the more liberal element of the MP. My former parishoner, who is now a Greek Old Calendar priest, and my son’s godparents, who are laity in the same Metropolia, may have been right, after all.

        • Met. H looks just as “bad” in the three pics with Met. Tikhon out today.  Hoping he is not hearing anything from Met. Tikhon remotely similar to what he hears from Abp El, though both of the latter look equally discomfited.  I was hoping for the demeanor of Met T and Met H to suggest the peace/glow of unity/understanding one senses when allies meet. Hope they are just both serious and grieving about Ukraine and the suffering of Orthodox there and everywhere. Lord have mercy.  Panaghia protect us from schism and heresy.

          • George Michalopulos says

            For what it’s worth, as far as the Russians are concerned, smiling is overrated. They’re not a smiley bunch. Arb Elpi on the other hand is always ebullient. He was not so in the picture.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              I once remarked to a Russian: “You don’t smile as much as we do but you are very friendly.” He smiled and said, “You’re right. We don’t smile as much as you do in your country but when we do, we mean it.”

        • If Met. Hilarion looks a little ragged, consider how taxing it must be to endure the company he keeps.  Of the three men pictured he’s the one who does something useful.  It would be depressing to anyone.  I hope for his continuing good health and good work.  

        • Isa Almisry says

          Moscow is not going to rescind the OCA’s autocephaly. For one thing, it would concede to the Fener position, and enable the claim of the Ethnarch of the Phanar to abolish autocephaly of any Church, including Moscow.

    • Highly, doubtful, sir. Highly doubtful.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Agreed.  It doesn’t really make much sense for Moscow to rescind the OCA’s autocephaly, unless perhaps there is something to be gained by doing this.  I recall that Metropolitan Hilarion did bring up this possibility during negotiations in one of the pre-counciliar meetings peparing for the Crete Council.  At any rate, it’s good to see that he didn’t bypass the OCA on this visit as he made a stop at Syosset yesterday.

  4. A few days ago, when speaking to the newly elected Archons, (fresh off the farce of presenting a human rights award to an anathematized persecutor of Orthodox Christians), AB Elpidophoros hurled multiple insults at the ROC and implied that She was the bearer of poison and propaganda. It is interesting how the condemnations which he spouts are those of which he is guilty. For example, he said this:

    All of the self-inflicted wounds in world Orthodoxy today are the result of pride and desire for glory, by those who, in the words of the Evangelist John: ἠγάπησαν γὰρ τὴν δόξαν τῶν ἀνθρώπων μᾶλλον ἤπερ τὴν δόξαν τοῦ Θεοῦ, “They loved the glory of men more than the glory of God” (John 12:43).

    I find it fascinating that he so succinctly described his Patriarch!

    I cannot see where this meeting will be fruitful. After all, C’pole is “first without equals” according to the AB.

  5. Christopher says

    Thanks for posting this. I like the gist of it though I would question Charles Ajalat’s faith in what is a species of “multi-culturalism”, that is this idea that NA (or anywhere else) can be *both* an autocephalous Church administratively but more much more importantly “in spirit”, while at the same time having strong ties to “Mother Churches”, ancestral homelands/cultures, etc.

    • Will Harrington says

      Why not? This is the nature of America. We are all, in some way or other, hyphenated Americans, but we are all Americans. We share that even as we all have different regional, local, and ethnic traditions that we preserve out of love for our families, towns, states, and their pasts. He proposes nothing different than the American Church being American.

      • Christopher says

        ” …We share that even as we all have different regional, local, and ethnic traditions that we preserve out of love for our families, towns, states, and their pasts…”
        In my opinion, even here we do so mostly out of a peculiar “American” sense of nostalgia/history and even more importantly out of commercial interest.  Particularly in the last 50 years or so our regional/ethnic traditions have been commercialized and marginalized.  A couple of months ago I was at the Alamo, downtown San Antonio, and the mall/river/food attraction.  It all could have been anywhere in America, and increasingly the world. That, and I don’t really believe in “multiculturalism”, not in secular/free societies at least where local/ethnic cultures are subsumed under the dominant culture.  A house divided and all that.   A truly multicultural connection to “Mother Churches” and “Ancestral Homelands” is not what is currently being maintained administratively and “ethnically” in current NA Orthodoxy in my opinion either…

        • George Michalopulos says

          I too, am a true multi-culturalist. I cringed in 2016 when I was in the bus from Sheremetevo airport to the Golden Ring Hotel and saw no fewer than a dozen KFC, McDonalds (and if memory serves a Pizza Hut) in Moscow.

          • Many piza huts in Moscow.!! 
            On a more cheerful note, today is new calander St Dmitri day and Patron Saint of our Church in Dlugnya village.  Weather was superb, golden autumn and beautiful liturgy celebrated by three priests and sung by all  the people, of which many.  I chanted the Our Father in Greek after it was chanted in english and German   .  After we had food and good music, Irish and bulgarian.   This is what the Church is, not all the political crap thst reduces the Church to a dead corpse and treats believers,  Ukrainians, LIKE BUNDLES OF SOULS IN GOGOL’S DEAD SOULS. I for one am sick of it. They all share responsibility  but of course number one is the turk et al in the Phanar. ANAXIOI to the lot of them stuffing themselves in their Hilton restaurants. 

  6. Gus Langis says

    Anyhow with all his state department connections, has Elpidoforos excommunicated that wicked woman who wants to castrate her son in Texas and pressure to throw out this jury verdict? Has he had anything to say about his parishioner?

    • Technically, the diocesan bishop is the honorable Met. Isaiah of Denver, since his GOA diocese covers Texas. He is, in my opinion, the most venerable and respectable of the GOA bishops.  Haven’t seen anything from Met. Isaiah about this now national news story, other than the epistle that he wrote on the lunacy of the “transgender” movement a year or two ago, which is thankfully posted on the parish website of St John the Baptist in Euless, Tex., where the family in question reportedly attends church. 
      This mom has clearly excommunicated herself from the church, given her delusional behavior and outright child abuse against her son, who is a creature of God.  Plus, I don’t know any Orthodox priest who would bless IVF done for the purpose of child sex selection, which this mom and dad allegedly did. Yes, the dad’s not perfect, but he’s not the one now working to irreversibly harm his son.
      The mom is behaving like a modern Dr Mengele, trying to do sick medical experimentation on a defenseless 7-year-old.  The fact that a section of our society supports this Nazi-like behavior is unbelievable, but we better believe it so we’re prepared to confront the world we live in. 
      It seems to me that this mom has already excommunicated herself from the Church. It’d be reassuring to hear from the parish that she’s no longer an active communicant there.
      If she’s still communing there, then that raises a whole heck of a lot of other questions and issues concerning church discipline. Receiving holy communion is not a private matter – it is a very public, communal act.  Same reasoning why communing active homosexuals is so scandalous.  
      George, have you or anyone sent this news story to, the awesome Orthodox news website run by the Sretensky monastery? Given that this 7-year-old boy is an Orthodox Christian, it seems that this is a story they should publicize on their website. It’s national news now, thus it’s fair game for anyone to publish.  The more Orthodox who hear about this story, then the more who can pray for him and work to prevent the Mengele-style experimentation that his mom wants to do to him. 
      Help this his little boy, O Lord!

      • I think that Met. Isaiah’s letter is probably more direct that most from a bishop.  Remember that the mom is a pediatrician, and quite early in the letter he denounces pediatricians who practice transgender ideology in young children.  It seems like the letter has been linked to the parish’s e-bulletin for a long time; without calling her out by name, I don’t think he could be much clearer on the issue.  There is some peculiar wording out there saying that the family were members of the Orthodox church, and in interviews, Mr. Younger still professes to be, one of the famous pictures of him with James is with James in a T-shirt with a 3-bar cross, and a deacon of the church came to testify on Mr. Younger’s behalf, so I’m guessing that mom is no longer a professing Orthodox Christian.  Your point stands, though, and a little note is that Mr. Younger did a short interview with LifeSiteNews before the gag order was put in place, and he mentioned that Dr. Georgulas’ mother was a prominent activist for homosexuality in years back.  This begs the question – did the Church look the other way there, and did Dr. Georgulas assume that the Church wouldn’t say anything in this case?  
        I wouldn’t say this case is over.  I’ve seen no reporting on the requests that Dr. Georgulas made about what Mr. Younger can or cannot say to his children, nor about the issues about “affirming” James as a girl, and the freedom of association issues there.  However, it’s a little bit of breathing room for the moment, and that’s not a bad thing.

  7. I get the feeling that the meeting was more like a staredown between two fighters before the contest begins with Metropolitan Joseph as the referee in the middle and in the corner facing west: “Fist Without Equal” Elpidophoros versus his opponent in the corner facing east: “It’s Not Going to be Funny When I Put You Down” Hilarion.

  8. Having lately come from the sprawling, messed up Catholic world into the smaller, more localized Orthodox world (Antiochian in my case), I would strongly urge everyone NOT to yearn for a unified Orthodox Church of North America. Why? Because it’s too big. Too unwieldly. Too hard for the people “at the bottom” to have a voice with the people “at the top.” Too easy for people at the top to pursue their own agendas.
    Too easy, frankly, for globalists to sneak in and take control. If they aren’t already. This whole unity thing to me looks like a Trojan horse waiting to force us all to go in the same direction. If you must have a single jurisdiction in an area, at the very least make it smaller regional churches, for the sake of greater local control. They can all pitch in with shared seminaries and charities and such.

    I mean look, it’s a GOOD thing those parishes in Europe the EP jerked around have the option to go under Moscow instead. Don’t throw away that freedom – it’s a great protection! I didn’t have that freedom in the Catholic world and I certainly don’t want to give it up now that I’m Orthodox. Even if it does mean violating a few dusty old canons written in a very different world from the one we’re living in now.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Very wise words, Theo. Thank you for warning us.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Theo, I understand your trepidation and care must always be taken, but Orthodox ecclesiology has always been much more of a confederation, even in the Imperium, than anything else. The understanding that “all bishops are equal” will keep it that way without creating schism (at least it has operated that way in the past).

      A confederation polity has a number of strengths and in a religious organization no weaknesses that I have ever been able to see.

      The current way of the world is toward centralization and tyranny, aka globalization to be sure. It is hard work to maintain a functional confederation. The scriptural admonition to “watch and pray” is quite necessary.

      I suspect if we had more truly local bishops with their roots in an active local community, the Orthodox ecclesiology would have an easier go of it. A bishop who is not present and active in a local cathedral parish lacks a lot. He may still be a bishop but not quite a whole one. Without a cathedral parish, bishops loose the synergy that can/should result during which the bishop calls us to more, blesses us but still has an existential accountability to the community in which he is nested. I am blessed, I have that.

      I get to see and interact with my bishop quite frequently, as often as I want to really, in person, by phone or by e-mail. He is in our altar almost every Sunday and frequently comes to coffee hour. He makes pastoral visits throughout his diocese. He knows his priests, their struggles and works hard to pastor them well so that they may pastor their flocks. He prods us to expand our mission to the larger community in ways that accurately reflect the Orthodox life. A great key is that he never wanted to be a bishop. His elevation came as quite a surprise to everyone involved as he was on the list simply to satisfy the requirement that there be three candidates. He was the priest here for years before being elevated to the episcopate. That is all he ever wanted to be. He remains, to the best of my knowledge, one of the very few Orthodox bishops to be consecrated in the United States, even the US born ones in the Antiochian Archdiocese. Not only that, he was consecrated to the episcopate in what became his cathedral in the heart of the United States.

      He is a man of great, simple love both for God and the people he has been given. A man of humor and compassion.

      So, in the end, I agree with you, but there are strong remedies within the Orthodox Tradition that, while not necessarily obvious, will do a lot to obviate the dangers you observe, if we allow them to and not simply follow the way of the world. One bishop, one city is a good step in the right direction.

      • “Orthodox ecclesiology has always been much more of a confederation.” Yes, but the EP doesn’t much look like he wants to keep it that way, does he? Nor do the globalists. Thus my concern we not walk into a trap, or give up our independence too soon. So be careful what you wish for.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Theo, that is exactly what all the fuss is about.

        • The GOA needs to be scrapped.  Aside from producing famous freemasons where are her saints? 
          Does no one find it odd that the largest Orthodox jurisdiction in the Americas and Australia have produced no saints?  Do any GOA clergy have an explanation for this? Tiny ROCOR and OCA and Antioch have fruits to show, what does the GOA bring to the table?   

          • “The GOA needs to be scrapped” My friend, I am Greek Orthodox and do I think that the archdiocese I belong to needs to be scrapped? Of course not. Do you know what lies within the hearts of decent and humble people within the Greek church (and of course within the Russian, Arab, OCA, Serbian, etc churches) who truly worship the awesome mystery of God Incarnate and do not care one iota about the maneuverings of our Patriarchs? The awesome mystery is not diminished within the hearts of these folk, whether the world recognises them (or not) as saints. With brotherly love, Theodoros

            • George Michalopulos says

              Theodoros, I agree with you and Anonoca on this one. The people of the GOA do not need to be “scrapped”. The institutions of the GOA on the other hand, especially those extraneous to the Gospel (e.g. the Archons) should be looked at with a more discerning eye in the future. I won’t say “scrapped” because based on the most recent awards dinner (which itself is problematic from a Christian POV), shows that the Archons/L100 is superfluous. That which is superfluous will eventually peter out.

          • Hundreds of thousands of fellow Orthodox Christians who should be shown a tad more mercy than to be “scrapped.” Can we set aside bitterness about the institution (which is often justified) and show a little more love for the people?

            • Pere LaChaise says

              Oh please. To say ‘scrap the GOA’ doesn’t mean ‘throw out the worshippers’.  The institution of a Turkish-led Orthodox Church claiming primacy even on American soil — this needs to be sh*tcanned. Is it not obvious despite whatever personal affection for Greek culture we may possess, we are being taken for a ride piloted by Turks? I don’t need the validation of a Fener to be Orthodox Christian in any capacity. No clergy need a foreign-imposed leader whose loyalty to Christ appears doubtful, especially when a perfectly serviceable and self-governed Local Church exists. I know, snooty Greeks turn up their noses at the ‘poor church’ (as they see the Autocephalous OCA) and keep it poor by depriving it of their membership and tithes. 
              But a Turkish Abp.and Patriarch is too much to bear. Time to dump the trash. 

          • Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field;  but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them.  Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”

  9. George Michalopulos says

    Cpole, that doesn’t sound like some “underground scheme” to me. For such a scam to operate, both players have to be in on the grift and both sides have to have something to gain. This rupture between Cpole and Moscow is as close to a binary, win-loss battle as they come.

  10. At the meeting, Metropolitan Hilarion expressed hope in the Holy Spirit to heal the rift. He was mocked for saying such a thing by Romfea’s English outlet (Orthodox Times).
    That should tell everyone what they need to know.

    • GOA Priest says

      “Mocked” is a very strong word, and I don’t think applies, though the writer of that comment is certainly silly.
      And why does it tell everyone “what they need to know” ? You seem to be giving a lot of authority to an ecclesiastical news outlet. Who on earth even cares what they write?
      Perhaps a little break from this endless ecclesiastical news cycle would produce a disposition of peaceable repentance in all the readers of this site.

      • You are correct, Father.  But when I see how Bartholomew continues to justify his schismatic creation as he wages a cold war against the the Russian Orthodox Church…it scandalized me beyond words.

      • By the way Father, it is true that we all need “peaceable repentance”. Repentance is the foundation of our salvation. The EP’s Ukrainian creation consists of unrepentant anathematized “clergy”. It is very difficult to remain calm when C’pole is tearing the Church to pieces.

        • GOA Priest says

          Why is it so difficult? Who is really in control? Man or God? Is the Church man’s body or the pure and undefiled Body of Christ? Do you trust God and trust in His promises? If so, then you need not be gripped with anxiety and fear. Suffering is salvific. False clergy is nothing new. Conflict was foretold by the Lord, and has existed in the Church since Apostolic times.
          Everything is held within the palm of God’s providential will.

          “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys.” (Luke 12, 29-32]

          • All true Father. But it does not mean I have to sit back and remain silent as the bishops do nothing. Concelebrating with schismatics means that you become a schismatic, yes? C’pole would now be schismatic. Any Church being in communion with C’pole will be condoning their actions with their silent apathy. It is scandalizing. I am waiting for a pious and courageous Bishop to stand up and lead us like another St Mark of Ephesus. Do I trust in God? Yes. Do I believe as a layman I should sit down and do nothing? No. At the time of Florence it was the laity and one good bishop who did the will of God.
            St. Mark of Ephesus pray for us!

          • Fr u are correct and was not evil present at the Mystical  Supper.? 
            And russisn believers went to.confession, as here in Bulgaria,  and took Communion,  from communist placed Atheist clergy that they knew to be so.   There is the story of a Moscow priest finishing the Liturgy in 1920s and taking his robes of and denying Christ. 
            People were angry when a young man stood up and calmy sad that it was always thus, from the Mystical  l Supper.  
            The only thing is today it’s the bishops.  Re Ukraine they all to blame but I hold the Phanar responsible for much and especially a papal universalist dogma THAT I DENY AND DENOUNCE AS DELUSIONAL AND HERETICAL that is destroying Church in medeval delusions of power . The victims are ordinary believers who just want to attend Church and live a Christian life. . 

      • On the other hand, the laity rioted in the early church to get rid of bad bishops. Sometimes I long for those days.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Theo, the ability to minimize bad bishops is also a value of having more really local ones

          • George Michalopulos says

            Absolutely. The U.S. should have a bishop in every city over 100,000 people

            • Michael Bauman says

              George, that would take about 300 bishops 

            • Michael Bauman says

              George if we start with 300,000 we’d need about 70.  

              • The fewer the better.  What is not needed is more bachelors with jobs for life.  Need any examples?  

                • Michael Bauman says

                  bob, easy to get cynical but a healthy diocese will produce a healthy Bishop. 

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Agreed. The more bishops the better. Provided that the people from which they are drawn have not themselves drunk deeply from the well of modernism/secularism. If so, then we will have bishops or the present ilk. I’m sorry, but I can’t view the vast majority of the Cpolitan episcopate that are titular as anything more than worldly academics. (Note that I did not say diocesan bishops.)

  11. The history of the Church shows us that in times when Church unity is threatened, being level-headed and praying for all the bishops involved is the way to navigate the crisis. There will be no shortage of canon-quoting, hotheads around who must be avoided. For in many of the schisms in the Church, those who provoked the crisis won out, and those who were upset by bishops’ action found themselves outside the Church. e.g#1 Patriarch Nikon’s reforms e.g#2 the introduction of the new calendar. Metropolitan Joseph may have opened a door leading to  a possible  way out of the current crisis that threatens to split the Church in two. May God make his Hierarchs  Joseph, Hilarion and Elpidophoros courageous defenders of the unity of the Church.

    • The sin of schism is not washed away, even by the blood of martyrdom (St. John Chrysostom).
      Thank God for ROCOR. That is where I will find shelter… to work out my salvation with fear and trembling.

      • GOA Priest says

        Why do you keep quoting this passage? Serious question…
        I have seen this quoted repeatedly, so I looked it up. It turns out that St. John Chrysostom was quoting St. Cyprian. It is from his treatise on the Unity of the Church. Below I have included the complete section.
        I am certain that it is a good word that St. Cyprian / St. John use in their exhortation, but it remains the fact that at the end of all things, there is only one Universal Judge, which will be revealed on that Day.
        I would think that the terrifying threat of our own miserable sins should give us adequate pause, and restrain us from considering the future state of another person in the next life.
        Here is the complete section:
        “Even if such men are slain in confession of the Name that stain is not washed away by blood; the inexpiable and serious fault of discord is purged not even by martyrdom. He cannot be a martyr who is not in the Church. He will not be able to arrive in the kingdom who deserted her who is to rule. Christ gave us peace; He ordered us to be in agreement and of one mind; He commanded us to keep the bonds of love and charity uncorrupted and inviolate. He cannot display himself a martyr who has not maintained fraternal charity. The Apostle Paul teaches and bears witness to this when he says: ‘If I have faith so that I remove mountains, but not so that I have charity, I am nothing; and if I distribute all my goods for food, and if I hand over my body so that I am burned, but not so that I have charity, I accomplish nothing. Charity is noble, charity is kind, charity envieth not, is not puffed up, is not provoked; does not act perversely, thinks no evil, loves all things, believes all things, hopes all things, bears all things. Charity never will fall away.’ ‘Never,’ he says, ‘will charity fall away.’ For she will always be in the kingdom and will endure forever in the unity of the brotherhood clinging to it. Discord cannot come to the kingdom of heaven; to the rewards of Christ who said: ‘This is my commandment that you love one another, even as I have loved you.’ He will not be able to attain it who has violated the love of Christ by perfidious dissension. He who does not have charity does not have God. The words of the blessed Apostle John are: ‘God,’ he says, ‘is love, and he who abides in love, abides in God and God abides in him.’3 They cannot abide with God who have been unwilling to be of one mind in God’s Church. Although they burn when given over to flames and fire, or lay down their lives when thrown to the beasts, that crown of faith will not be theirs, but the punishment of perfidy, and no glorious ending of religious valor but the destruction of desperation. Such a man can be slain; he cannot be crowned. Thus he professes himself to be a Christian, just as the devil often falsely declares himself to be even Christ, although the Lord forewarned of this saying: ‘Many will come in my name saying: “I am the Christ,” and will deceive many.’ Just as He is not Christ, although he deceives in His name, so he cannot seem a Christian who does not abide in His Gospel and in the true faith.” (S. Cyprian, On the Unity of the Church, 14)

        • I am not the only one who quotes St John, GOA priest. Your point?

        • Nothing will so avail to divide the Church as love of power. Nothing so provokes God’s anger as the division of the Church. Yea, though we have achieved ten thousand glorious acts, yet shall we, if we cut to pieces the fullness of the Church, suffer punishment no less sore than they who mangled His body. For that indeed was brought to pass for the benefit of the world, even though it was done with no such intention; whereas this produces no advantage in any case, but the injury is excessive. These remarks I am addressing not to the governors only, but also to the governed. Now a certain holy man said what might seem to be a bold thing; yet, nevertheless, he spoke it out. What then is this? He said, that not even the blood of martyrdom can wash out this sin. For tell me for what do you suffer as a martyr? Is it not for the glory of Christ? Thou then that yieldest up your life for Christ’s sake, how do you lay waste the Church, for whose sake Christ yielded up His life? 
          St John Chrysostom (Homily 11 on Ephesians)

        • “I would think that the terrifying threat of our own miserable sins should give us adequate pause, and restrain us from considering the future state of another person in the next life.”
          Are you criticizing St John Chrysostom and St Cyprian of Carthage?

          • George Michalopulos says

            Mikhail, I do not criticize your insight however if I may come to GOAPriest’s defense on this matter, both Chrysostom and Cyprian were bishops and thus entitled because of their greater spiritual attainments to preach on this matter. While you and I can derive some knowledge about what awaits those who divide the Church and/or preach heresy, as laymen I think it behooves us to be less strident and to instead pray for those whom it is appointed (i.e. bishops) to acquire the necessary cojones to protect Christ’s Church.

            Half the time, if the good bishops out their knew that the laity had their backs, they’d be more bold in their positions as expositors of the Faith.

            • George…I try to make it a point to only interpret things through the Holy Fathers. They have spoken on the sin of schism and their words are there for all to see. I’m sorry if GOA priest has a problem with this.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Mikhail, I am not against you. Perhaps because of my ethnic heritage I am too sympathetic to those clergymen and laymen who are still within the GOA. Lord knows, I could very well be wrong.

                I really have to think about this (and pray).

                • George, by no means do I think you are against me. I am very grateful that you have this blog that many are using as a vehicle to express their dismay and frustrations about what is happening to our Church. Holy Orthodoxy is at a very delicate juncture. I watched as the Second Vatican Council ravaged the Roman Catholics into a cauldron of modernism and Liturgical chaos. I was stunned as the uniates embraced gender neutral language and floundered as their big brother (Latins) treated many of them with disdain. I’ll be hog-tied if I’m going to watch the same dark forces crush the Holy Orthodox Church to pieces. A Hierarch will emerge. And we will follow him like another St Mark of Ephesus. Perhaps it will be Metropolitan Onuphriy?

                  I know many pious and holy Greek Orthodox priests who are suffering deeply about the antics of C’pole and Bartholomew. I believe they are biding their time. Lord have mercy on us!

            • GOA Priest says

              Thank you.
              “Reflect every day that death is near and, as though you were already enclosed in the tomb, have no care for this world. Let abstinence from food, humility, and grief not depart from you, and the fear of the Lord abide in you at every hour. For it is written: ‘For fear of you, O Lord, we conceived and writhed in pain, giving birth to the spirit of salvation.’ Persevere in these things, then, and in any other virtue that there be, and do not measure yourself with the great, but believe yourself inferior to every creature, that is, viler than every man, however great a sinner he may be. Have discernment, criticize yourself, but do not judge your neighbor nor look down upon the sins of other people, nor bewail your own sins, nor be anxious for the deeds of any man. Be of gentle spirit, not inclined to anger. Think no evil in your heart against anyone, have no enmity in your heart nor hatred against one who fights with you without cause; do not become angry at his enmity, nor despise him in his need and trial, nor return evil for evil, but be peaceful with all: for this is the peace of God. Do not entrust yourself to one who does wrong, nor rejoice with him who does evil to his neighbor. Do not criticize another, for God knows everything and sees every man. Do not believe one who slanders, nor rejoice with him in his evil speech. Do not hate anyone because of his sin, for it is written: ‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged.’ Do not despise a sinner, but pray for him, that God may give him conversion to penitence and have pity upon him: for God is powerful. And if you hear of anyone that he is acting unjustly, reply in these words: ‘Am I a judge of these things? I am but a man and a sinner, dead beneath my sins and mourning for my own woes: for a dead man has no reason to be concerned for anyone.’ Accordingly, he who thinks and performs these things is a worker of every kind of justice in the grace and power of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

            • Matthew Panchisin says

              Dear Mikhail,
              This is nothing new under the sun, what you are hearing and experiencing is the deployment of the sort of tactic that was hurled relative to the creation of the unia. It’s aimed at the educated and sincerely concerned Orthodox who quote(d) the Saints (in deference) as you have done regarding the dangers of creating and supporting schisms, otherwise there are options.
              The unlearned would simply hear things like “be charitable especially with “nasha”, don’t judge and your comments about neither being fish or foul are insults, worry about your own sins, spare us from hearing your babushka theology, we know better, etc.
              We can expect to hear more pre-unia rhetoric from those attached to the see of Constantinople, they may not be aware of it, but that’s how such alignments work, uniated states are pretty much the same. Even other Orthodox can and have unwittingly helped them out with good intentions, see George’s response to you as he comes to GOA Priests defense via clericalism which could reduce our laymen responses from even referencing the Saints who love and spoke out against the schismatics, sadly it’s all too familiar, it’s the same within the ecumenist columns.

              • Yes, Matthew…I am beginning to notice what you have explained here. It is unfortunate. But I will not be silenced. I was born RC and then transitioned to the uniates. Now that I am Orthodox, I will not sit in apathy and silence as the Church is attacked from outside forces…and from within.

            • George, shouldn’t our response to any situation be what the Holy Fathers have said? In the case of schism, Mikhail is quoting the Holy Fathers on that very subject. It matters not if Mikhail is a Holy Father or not; the authority comes from the person quoted, not the person quoting. If he was making something up himself, then we’d have a right to question what he is saying.
              Following that logic, we might as well stop quoting Scripture since none of us are God…

              • Good point!

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Ioannis, Basil, Mikhail, etc, these are all good points indeed. 

                  I’ve never said that I’m infallible and in truth, I may be misjudging the situation.  The time may be right for  brining out for firing on all cylinders and preventing the deepening of this incipient schism.  

                  It’s possible that the position that HH Patriarch Kirill is taking with the CoG is the correct one. 

                  In any event, prayer –intense prayer–and fasting may be called for here in the US so that the Phanar’s globalist plans do not bear fruit.
                  And Gail, thank you for posting this video.  It is beyond moving and the words which HH Kirill speaks are profound.

                  I pray that priests and laymen in the GOA acquire the necessary fortitude to stand up to the new primate should he continue along the path that Bartholomew has laid for him.

  12. Brute from bygone ages says

    In the other news, Patriarch Bartholomew hopped to Russophobia train. I never expected such a ridiculous statement by him… But anyway, we learnt to expect anything from the Patriarch of Fener.

    • Pere LaChaise says

      Mr. Dumenko is ostentatiously awarded for his loyalty to the Fener as a defender of religious and human rights, while his minions dismantle Orthodox parishes in Ukraine by force.  
      Mr. Bart’s Patriarchal career is marked by ecclesiastical invasions of a succession of states where the Russian Orthodox Church has had the sole right to administer as Local Church. This career trajectory earns Bart great respect in corridors of western secular power as a capable agent of the Cold War, Phase Two. 
      One hand washes the other. This is mafia thug, not Church life. 

      • Brute from bygone ages says

        Well, in case of Estonia, thing is that Russophobic Government granted all Church property to the group of immigrants with dubious credentials. Phanariote Synod didn’t initiate this, problem is they accepted. As for Ukraine, they were persuaded by old model carrot (money of Poroshenko and other Oligarchs) and stick (blackmails, preassure by ambasadors for “religious liberty”). Of course, there is also disproportional sense of Megalomany… They don’t get they are just bunch of titular bishops concentrated arround the small Greek parish in Fener. 

  13. “Do not err my brethren. If a man follows him who make a schism in the Church, he shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.”
    Hiermartyr Ignatius the God-Bearer

  14. Yes, Matthew…I am beginning to notice what you have explained here. It is unfortunate. But I will not be silenced. I was born RC and then transitioned to the uniates. Now that I am Orthodox, I will not sit in apathy and silence as the Church is attacked from outside forces…and from within.

  15. Matthew Panchisin says

    Dear Mikhail,

    I’m with you and the Orthodox observers here.

    I noticed that GOA Priest thanks George for support within the clericalism ethos column, then comes another “spiritual leadership” post by GOA Priest for our benefit. Bartholomew does the same sort of thing, meanwhile I should just worry about my puny ascetical efforts, which will take a lifetime, that way they can say and do whatever they want, if only all of us would just listen to and for them.

    Following the spirit of clericalism through the “spiritual leaders” is important factor in getting the people on board.

    They’ve been pushing the pagan environmental movement for some years now, people are accepting it having been bombarded with the propaganda from outside the Church and very pathetically within the Church, mostly, within the GOA.

    Anyway the “spiritual leader” notions are endemic now however I think that some will call them out on that sickness, they desire again to go against the traditions of the Church and make it pandemic, ultimately everybody in the Orthodox Church should be under the “spiritual leadership” of Ecumenical Patriarch.

    • Hi Matthew,
      Very wise words. The propaganda emanating from C’pole has become deafening! Bartholomew has been an environmental activist for a very long time. Here is a man that has said next to nothing about the horror and genocide of abortion…and yet he worships at the altar of climate change with every opportunity. Scandalous!
      PS…sorry for my double post.

      • Matthew Panchisin says

        Dear Mikhail,

        Patriarch Krill has on several occasions conveyed his feelings that the Russian Orthodox Church would be called at some point in time to defend Holy Orthodoxy.

        I was looking for a specific video I saw many years ago in which he mentioned Saint Mark of Ephesus in that connected way, I could not find it.

        I did find this one, he mentions “Always defend the Orthodox faith as our great treasure.” As such, I don’t see how your references to the Church fathers can be construed as being in the realm of disobedience.

  16. Black Bart (and I have no intention of stopping this usage) has come out and said it:

    “Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew publicly admitted that the so-called ‘independent’ Orthodox Church of Ukraine had been created as a tool of the geopolitical standoff in eastern Europe.

    Commenting on the Ukraine question to Кomanian media, he claimed that “for many years” religious and political “leaders of Ukraine” have been seeking to create an independent church, which was is “associated with democracy in the West than with a repressive regime in the East.”

    Bartholomew added that he believes that the “mission” of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is to encourage and enable the creation of such a church. By this comment, the leader of the Constantinople Patriarchate officially confirmed that the creation of the ‘independent’ Ukrainian church was a solely political move and had little common with spiritual redemption and the Orthodox Church itself. The goal was to create such an entity that will help to push the Ukrainian society into the ‘right direction’: The direction in which it will become a tool of forces supporting the new of neo-liberal World Order and the Cold War 2.0.”

    Source here: has a link to the Romanian original here:

    • Basil says: “Black Bart (and I have no intention of stopping this usage)”

      More polite is Mr Arkhondonis (and Phanar)