Handwritings on the Wall: O Bart, Bart! Wherefore art thou Bart?

This was submitted by one of our esteemed contributors, Lawrence B. Wheeler.  He’s a gifted writer and you’ll find this piece, along with other gems, on his website called Handwritings on the Wall.


(cf. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2, Line 33)

Those are the words that came into my head when I watched the news. The punk actor, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has been elevated inexplicably to president of the largest country in Europe outside Russia is deliberately persecuting the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC). He has expelled the hundreds of monks and students at the Lavra (large monastery) of the Kievan Caves on the pretense that the ecclesiastical property belongs to the Ukrainian state, which will do with it whatever it will. The ostensible reason for the eviction? They say these religious are accused of having ties too close to Moscow, even though they and the UOC have demonstrated their unfailing loyalty to Ukraine during the year-old war. The UOC has even declared its full independence from the Russian Orthodox Church. This unjustified persecution is an action that is tantamount to expelling the pope and the curia from the Vatican for being good Catholics loyal to the Roman Catholic Church.

Mr. Tough Guy

Tucker Carlson addressed the issue with an Orthodox guest at the thirty-minute mark of his presentation on March 14. They discussed it for three minutes, so now millions of Americans know about the situation, Carlson’s show is so popular. He has brought the issue up before because this is not the first step in Zelenskyy’s crackdown on the UOC. However, what has not been mentioned is the complicity of Bartholomew’s faux church, the OCU. That would be the so-called “Orthodox Church in Ukraine”, a bastard ecclesial group hatched just five years ago by the machinations of the vaunted patriarch of Constantinople, the one and only self-aggrandizing prelate by the name of Bartholomew. Certain members of our own U.S. federal government, specifically the Dept. of State, were involved in the creation of this monstrosity along with Zelenskyy’s predecessor, former president Petro Poroshenko.

Our sorry excuse for a U.S. president is all-in for Zelenskyy and his defense of Ukraine against Russia, so he and his government are partly responsible for this present persecution. As a religionist, Biden is about as unserious as they come, so there’s no surprise there. St. Patrick’s Day has recently passed, but it’s doubtful that our Irish Catholic president is aware that Patrick is an orthodox saint, since the apostle of the Emerald Isle lived and evangelized long before the Great Schism between East and West. If Biden were aware of that little factoid, would he care? Probably not.

Nevertheless, now that we know the ugly truth of Zelenskyy’s persecution of Ukraine’s genuine Orthodox Church, we must ask ourselves whether this means nothing to us. Tucker Carlson raised the question about the church leaders in the United States. Do we hear their voices in protest? Where is the outrage that this persecution of fellow Christians is taking place in a Christian country?

As of the deadline for eviction from the monastery, March 29, several metropolitan bishops have voiced their protests, even some American ones. Most notable amongst the Orthodox hierarchs may be Patriarch Porfirije of Serbia, whom I quote in full:

Patriarch Porfirije of Serbia



The Ukrainian Orthodox Church, as is well known, is the canonical and legitimate Orthodox Church in Ukraine, and at the same time the largest religious organization in this country. It is recognized by all Orthodox Churches in the world, as well as by all non-Orthodox Churches and denominations, while the non-canonical schismatic structure, which, although it calls itself the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, does not even have the elementary attributes of a church, is recognized by only four Orthodox Churches, which make up a very small percentage of the total number of believers in the Orthodox world. 

Of course, if the numerical disparity were in favor of a non–canonical structure, that is, not in favor of the canonical Church, this still wouldn’t change anything on the ontological level, because the Church is the Church, and an illegal parasynagogue can become a Church only through repentance and canonical procedure, but not by the stroke of anyone’s pen. 

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is not at all one of the “warring parties,” but a living and functioning Church of God, which is in unity of faith and liturgical communion with the Russian Orthodox Church and other Orthodox Churches. Wars, both just and unjust, are waged by states, not Churches. In itself, the treatment of the Church as an enemy is monstrous, because believers from both sides of the tragic confrontation belong to it. 

The Church is always for peace. It constantly prays for peace and does everything in its power to make friendship and love replace enmity and hatred between people. The Church doesn’t divide people into “friends” and “strangers,” “fellow citizens” and “foreigners.” In the name of God, Who is Love, the Church strives to embrace with love and pastoral care for the salvation of the soul and life of everyone who needs brotherly love and help. 

The best example of such a position and behavior is given to us by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church—its primate, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, its episcopate, priesthood, monastics, and faithful people. Therefore, it is with deep concern, sorrow, and compassionate brotherly love that the Serbian Orthodox Church beholds the patience of the saints (Rev. 14:12; cf. 1:9) in Ukraine, beholds the oppression, violence, and persecution that the current Ukrainian government is carrying out against the canonical Church, and thereby against the majority of its own citizens, given the fact that we are talking about the largest religious community in the country. 

The persecution literally culminated in recent days with the forcible seizure of churches in favor of a pseudo-church schismatic structure enjoying the status of a kind of “state Church” and an informal inquisition. 

The upcoming peak of terror, conceived exactly according to the scenario of the Soviet persecution of the Church, was also announced—the expulsion of two hundred and fifty monks, as well as over a hundred teachers and students of theology from the Kiev Pechersk Lavra, the spiritual source and century-old center of Holy Rus’, the Baptismal Font of Eastern Slavic Christianity and Orthodoxy in modern Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus. 

The Kiev Caves Lavra with its sacred treasures is not only a symbol and center of Orthodox Ukraine and, more broadly, of the “Russian world” (however this term is understood), but also an inexhaustible life-giving spiritual font for all Orthodoxy. Moreover, the spiritual and cultural heritage of the Lavra is an extremely important and visible element not only of the Ukrainian and all–Russian, but also of the world cultural heritage. 

In the light of these facts, the decision of the current state leadership of Ukraine to expel Metropolitan Onuphry, the monastic brotherhood and the Theological Academy from the Lavra is nothing but a synonym for the horrific state terror over the Church, as well as the grossest violation of its fundamental rights, violation of both religious freedoms and freedom of conscience in general. 

The behavior of the Ukrainian state leadership testifies that its true and probably ultimate goal is the destruction of historical memory and all traces of the original Orthodoxy in Ukraine in order to change its code and historical identity, which the Church has created in patience and torment, preserving for centuries, from the Holy Prince Vladimir to the present day. 

Feeling and knowing that the only existing Orthodox Church in Ukraine, headed by Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev, carries its cross with courage and humility, hopefully ascending to Golgotha—both Christ’s Golgotha and its own, we are certain that the Crucified and Resurrected Lord, thanks to deep faith, forgiveness and love for everyone, including those who have become its enemies by their own choice, will grant His Church the strength to endure all the incumbent sufferings that it can bear. 

Simultaneously with this cry, we raise our voice against the terrible injustice and state terror over the Church in Ukraine, which “cries out to Heaven.” We hope that Churches and religious communities, institutions and organizations that care about peace, justice, and at least some kind of order in the world will condemn the gross violation of religious rights and freedoms in Ukraine. 

Praying fervently to the Lord for the cessation of the fratricidal war in Ukraine and for the speedy establishment of blessed peace on its land, we await with faith, hope, and love the triumph of the Cross and the Resurrection of Christ over the forces of darkness, evil, and death. Before Thy Cross, we bow down in worship O Christ, and Thy holy Resurrection we glorify.

Patriarch Porfirije

Joe and Elpi are chums.

In contrast to that very clear statement by the Serbian patriarch in support of the Lavra, we have this rubber chicken statement today from the archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church in America:

“(We) are compelled to lend our voices, our strength, our energy, to the defense of liberty and democracy in every way that we are able. To speak for the voiceless. To advocate for the defenseless. To fight for the powerless, even as we are bold to speak truth to power.”

That was Abp. Elpidophoros speaking in Washington at a dinner on the occasion of the annual celebration of Greek Independence.

High-minded platitudes these are indeed, and yet not a word was spoken by the vaunted archbishop in defense of the innocent monks and seminarians of the largest and oldest monastery in Ukraine on the very day of their eviction! What an opportunity he was granted to support his fellow Orthodox! What a disappointment that he didn’t take it! The man is absolutely tone-deaf. But, of course we know why. Oh yes. Elpi stands in full support of Patriarch Bartholomew, the Grand Wizard of Istanbul, who offered and executed the “tomos of autocephaly” to the OCU. That is the aforementioned Orthodox Church in Ukraine, which is neither Orthodox – because it is an illegitimate organization, nor a Church – because there is only one Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The so-called metropolitan of the OCU is Epiphany Dumenko, a schismatic imposter whose very existence snarls in contempt for the true shepherd of Ukraine, Met. Onuphry of the UOC.

Epiphany and Bartholomew, arch-schismatics

O Bart, Bart, wherefore art thou Bart?! It is at crucial times like this that we look eastward toward the rising sun and to Istanbul, hoping for some utterance of consolation and spiritual encouragement from our Chief Shepherd. But, what endearing words do we hear from his excellency, the Holiest of Holies and most worthy Ecumenical Patriarch?

The cacophonous sound of crickets on a summer’s night...

So far it appears that Patriarch Bartholomew has had nothing whatsoever to say about the eviction of the rightful residents of the Lavra of the Kievan Caves. At this point, his silence has become deafening. Will we hear from him soon? That’s doubtful. What thief would raise his hand and cry out, “I admit it. I’m the one who stole the money!”? Bart’s uncharacteristic reticence belies his complicity in the overthrow of the Lavra and the UOC in general. He’s the chief conspirator in this confounded intrigue. Church historians will hold him culpable for this bait-and-switch that has led to so much suffering. The schismatic patriarch will be held responsible for driving a wedge into Orthodox unity that may take decades, even centuries, to overcome.


Author: Lawrence B. Wheeler

B.A., M.Div. Former Anglican priest, convert to Orthodoxy. 


  1. Abp Elpi:
    “(We) are compelled to lend our voices, our strength, our energy,
    to the defense of liberty and democracy in every way that we are able.
    To speak for the voiceless. To advocate for the defenseless.
    To fight for the powerless, even as we are bold to speak truth to power.”

    Then speak LOUDER
    for we can’t hear you!

    • Ah, well, in defense of “liberty and democracy” I offer the following articles on the indictment of Trump, which should give everyone cause for pause:



      There are several silver linings here that I see. First, this may well propel Trump to re-election in a landslide, it’s so corrupt and third-worldish. Second, he will likely beat the charge, if not in the original court then on appeal. Third, the key to it all is that the DA made it a felony by invoking a federal crime, campaign finance law. So if even if he is convicted, he could actually pardon himself if elected, which would not be the case if it were merely state crimes (for which the statute of limitations have run already, hence the attempt to tie it to a federal crime).

      Pandora’s box, indeed.

      Neither Biden nor Obama will ever sleep well again.

      • Nor should they.

      • Leona Maralis says

        School marms and lawyers expect everyone to play patty cakes by their rules, but heaven forbid they play by the rules of reality, like keeping their word, being on time, being consistent, providing results instead of “effort” (perspiration instead of inspiration). Everything is just a silly fantasy and if you can’t play you are a bad, offensive person to these spoiled babies. Minoritoes complain about excessive incarceration, but today people spend time in gaol for things they would not have a century ago. Fabricated criminalisation of ordinary life, and legal enforcemement of ever expanding incompetence.

  2. Very nice.

    But many of us have long written off Darth Varth as an enemy of Christ. We do not expect anything from him but the devil’s will.

    All that is left is for the rest of those who wish to remain Orthodox to follow the lead of Moscow and ostracize the charlatans.

    • Seems to me we are to follow Jesus. He promised this would happen and he promised to see us through it all.

  3. The only question left is: “On which hill will we die?” Because, die, we will. Who is really to blame?

    The State Department? How about every American taking a long look at themselves?

    The Rise and Fall Of Great Civilizations —
    From bondage to spiritual faith,
    From spiritual faith to great courage,
    From courage to liberty,
    From liberty to abundance,
    From abundance to selfishness,
    From selfishness to complacency,
    From complacency to apathy,
    From apathy to dependency,
    From dependency back again to bondage.”

  4. Art Samouris says

    Bartholomew has turned his back to Christ and his decrepit smiling face to Satan. His place is history is marked by deceit, corruption, schism, and bloodshed of the innocent.

  5. George Michalopulos says

    Today would be a good day to click on the Orthochristian link above. The news is coming in fast and furious. As are the condemnations of Bartholomew by Orthodox from all over the world.

    Are you watching, Archon Maestor?

  6. Louisa Tremilis says

    No he hasn’t. We grew up with organs, choirs, English, freemasonry and AHEPA. THen the 1975 Helsinki returnees infected us with islamosoviet scancitude. If anything, this is what is driving us to turn out heels on Orthodox.

  7. https://orthochristian.com/152856.html

    The Macedonians were just rehabilitated and brought back into the Church and now they refuse to put themselves back outside of the Church by concelebrating with the schismatics. Thanks be to God

  8. You’ll need a strong stomach to view this…

    The One World Religion! Everyone Needs To Pray 🙏

    [Video 05:44]

    ‘ This is what will be in all schools worldwide soon enough!
    Pray for the children at this South African School.
    Pray for all those standing up and fighting for children around the world.
    support Public Child Protection Wales publicchildprotectionwales.org/ ‘

    The Battle Continues…

  9. Why is Elpi giving the same talking points as secular European and American politicians? Who gives a crap about defending democracy. We must defend Orthodoxy from democracy and it’s persecution and undermining of the faith.

    • Agreed.

    • Kosta, you make a good point, as exasperating as the thought may be. Notwithstanding, I don’t think that the divine right of kings and their absolute monarchy is the alternative. We are all familiar with this quotation from Winston Churchill: ‘Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…’ (11 November 1947)

      Hell’s bells, now that I’ve scandalized by how corrupt Bartholomew and Elpidophoros have acted, I no longer believe in the divine right of bishops either! For the sake of the Church, those two scoundrels ought to be tarred and feathered and ridden out of town. Not only that, I think Constantinople should be stripped of its seniority in the diptychs for the sake of the restoration of ecclesiastical unity. Demote that shadow of its former self and keep it from doing any more harm to Orthodoxy.

      I’ll probably be accused of senile nostalgia when I say that I recall a time when our society was mostly Christian or at least it maintained varying degrees of a Christian memory. People acted with more self-restraint motivated by a healthy fear of God. That time is quickly passing – much too quickly – as though we had been out sailing in sunny zephyrs but now the front edge of a squall is about to slam into us. The illiberal liberalism in high places is simply astounding in its brazenness. Fierce demons seem to be screaming at us while we have been caught in a daze. It’s time to repent but not to retreat.

      • We are under full-frontal attack – on all fronts;
        constitutional, legal, moral, ethical and religious.
        We must stand our ground or be swept away

        • Agreed.

        • This is true, but there is only so long the wall of election fraud can hold out. At some point, the chickens unleashed since Trump came down the escalator, and even before that, will come home to roost. Until then, think of the US as a black hole out of which no light can escape until MAGA takes over.

          The good news is internationally the Sino-Russian Alliance seems to be lining up The Rest in order to defeat The West. Liberalism can’t survive as an ideology unless it is expanding – and it’s contracting.

        • Agree

      • Lawrence, you certainly have a way with words.

        • Thank you for the compliment. It’s a bit rusty now, but it’s a generational gift that came from above. If it’s not used for the greater glory of God, then it becomes a merely frivolous thing. I realized that little truth as an English major in college where I was trained to go over my compositions several times to improve on them. Nevertheless, proper grammar and a readable writing style are exercises in futility if they aren’t the mechanics that helps to convey the message.

          I’m sure that you will agree, George, that we really and truly hope our Church leadership will sit up and take our complaints seriously. The hierarchs need to get their act together because we are living through one of the most critical periods in Church history – indeed world history. It is for such a time as this that God has called forth you and Gail and everyone else here at Monomachos.

    • Defending Orthodoxy from democracy is indeed the point. Every place democracy has been tried, it has infallibly led to precipitous moral decline.


      And so one may observe about democracy the same thing as socialists observe about communism: “Real communism (or socialism) has never been tried.”

      But that is all hogwash. Communism/socialism has been tried repeatedly and failed abysmally as has democracy. The Church Fathers understood this and labelled democracy “polyarchy”. They wrote that it goes hand in hand with polytheism and eventually leads to atheism and anarchy.

      Given the example of the West, who can plausibly say they were wrong?

      The example in the East is a bit different. What is being discovered is that you can have a dominant or single party system and avoid many of the perils of Western democracy so long as you also dominate the media. It is a soft form of monarchy, in a manner of speaking, because you don’t have competing parties vying to brainwash the public by offering anything but the other party’s prescription.

      The fundamental problem with Western democracy is that it lends legitimacy to evil. Parties feel compelled to take antithetical positions if there is support to be had from some degenerate corner of the electorate. That is how we got practically all the moral innovations if the second half of the twentieth century.

      Sometimes, there is more that one right way to proceed, but often there is not.

      • Misha, as to control of the media, you are absolutely correct. The MSM has been the single greatest agent for the perseverance of evil in America since the days of Operation Mockingbird.

        Does this mean that it should be controlled by the State? Well, it is controlled by the Deep State, is it not?

        As a First Amendment absolutist, I have a compromise: journalists should be credentialed and abide by a strict code of ethics, as do all other professionals. They should be taken to task for promoting a false story (Russia Collusion, WMD, etc.) if they do not burn their sources. And said sources should be punished severely.

        That’d be a start.

        There’s nothing wrong with a free press and there is absolutely nothing wrong with a fair press.

        • George,

          I’m not a free press absolutist at all. However, what I advocate is for the dominant party to “occupy the field”, not to censor any particular anti-government opinions. The press, in the aggregate, ends up being the conscience of the people. There is no reason to tolerate anti-government voices becoming ever louder. They have their place.

          It is similar to the situation you have with NGO’s in Russia and China, the actual motivation of these people, as with the liberal press in the US, has been to take over the government and displace any opposing voices. That has always been their goal. They only paid lip service to freedom of the press when it served their interests as minority voices. Now that they have stolen elections and established a liberal regime in cooperation with the MSM, they are not interested in free speech but instead rail and censor against “misinformation” and “disinformation”.

          Now, our system can be tweaked by overturning NYT v. Sullivan and reviving libel law. However, I like the Russian model better. But the Right must first come to power, then all prior bets are off and you can reorganize the whole thing over the objections of the vanquished.

          But make no mistake, I see free speech absolutism and the whole 1776 thing as an impediment rather than an asset. There is a certain ruthlessness that is necessary to prevail against these monsters and one cannot be preoccupied with not becoming a monster oneself. I prefer my kind of monster, in the final analysis, if it comes to that.

  10. Lawrence B. Wheeler says “Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…”

    It is a distortion. Aristotle for example said that out of three basic systems – monarchy, aristocracy and democracy, when they are corrupt the least bad is democracy, but when they are not corrupt the best is monarchy.

    On the other hand the democracy is unstable and short lived, to remedy this the republican variant can be implemented where monarchical and aristocratic elements are blended in, for example through division of powers. Classic political theory.

  11. Joseph Bevan: Lefebvre and What Comes Next

    ‘ If one steps back in time, a cursory glance at the life of Archbishop Lefebvre will prove informative because it shows that we have been here before. The Archbishop’s treatment by the Vatican in the 1970s and 1980s demonstrates conclusively that there was (and there still is) a state of war between the pre-conciliar and post-conciliar Church.

    It seems that Rome and SSPX both see the New Mass as representing a new religion (as strongly implied by Cardinal Roche very recently). This new religion, in the eyes of Rome, is desirable to such an extent that they want to suppress the old religion. As Pope Francis has said, the New Mass is the ‘Lex Orandi’ of the new religion. He freely admits to this and the SSPX agrees with this analysis. The difference being that the SSPX promotes the old religion. It is really two sides of the same coin, isn’t it?

    Reading many of the statements of Pope Francis one gets the doctrines of the new religion: that the Catholic Church exists merely as a force for good in this world. Indeed, in much of his prolific output, the supernatural – by which I mean death, judgement, Heaven and Hell – barely get a mention.

    I hasten to add that if the Church returned to its divine mandate to save souls then the world would become a much better place. But the abandonment of the Old Mass, which I will now refer to as the True Mass, has resulted in the drying up of supernatural grace, leaving a pitiful scrapyard of destroyed institutions, record absenteeism from church and clerical vice. Knowledge of the Faith is at an all-time low to such a degree that even bishops and priests commit basic errors. The enfeeblement of the Catholic Church has also led to the corruption of the world at large, evidenced by record abortions, wholesale immorality and pointless conflicts. Now that God’s law is ignored, the human race is governed by emotion alone and this leads to the denial of independent truth. Every man is now his own god. …

    The main problem with the New Mass is that it was designed by a liturgist who publicly stated that everything had been removed from the ceremony which was offensive to Protestants. … ‘

    And Bartholomew wishes to lead us into union with this…?

    • The Tridentine (Council of Trent) High Mass, was celebrated (served) as a solemn (incense) sung (Gregorian chant) mass and was a glorious thing indeed. The Low Mass was an abridged daily version of the High Mass. This “Latin Mass” was for four centuries thegolden standard of worship in the Roman Catholic and Anglo-Catholic (High Church) traditions of the West.

      Then the 1960’s happened. The Second Vatican Council was called by Pope John XXIII and continued by Pope Paul VI. An Italian liturgist by the name of Bugnini was commissioned to edit the Sacramentarium and he mucked it up for all time. Him I quote:

      “We must strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren that is for the Prostestants.” – Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, main author of the New Mass, L’Osservatore Romano, March 19, 1965

      Having strayed toward Roman Catholicism on my way from traditional Anglicanism to Orthodoxy, I can tell you frankly that the Novus Ordo (New Order) is the religious equivalent of a McDonald’s happy meal. Gone is the penitential spirit, the deep reverence and the transcendental solemnity that was the treasure of the Western Christendom until that liturgical butcher (strong language, I know!) took a meat cleaver to the mass and made it into a drive-in hamburger. (Aside: I remember when McDonald’s ‘burgers cost 10 cents, and that is about as much as they were worth.)

      Professor Dietrich von Hildebrand expressed himself in even more forthright terms: “Truly, if one of the devils in C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters had been entrusted with the ruin of the liturgy he could not have done it better.”

      For those readers who are inclined to look behind the curtain and discover the origins of this “new and improved” mass and how it turned the Catholic Church on its head, I cannot say enough to recommend The Banished Heart by Australian philologist Geoffrey Hull. It is a masterpiece of research and yet is eminently readable. Western Christians who read it from cover to cover will say to themselves, “Aha, so that’s how it all came about!”

      When one recognizes how faithful the Orthodox Church has maintained its traditions over the centuries, it’s disappointing to realize that the conversion from the Roman mass of yesteryear to the current substandard one has served only to drive the Romans further away from reconciliation with the Orthodox.

      • Lawrence, according to Taylor Marshall’s book Infiltration: the Plot to Destroy the Church from Within, Bugnini was a Freemason.

        Surprisingly, the Novus Ordo went against the dictates of Vatican II, which called for a return to Gregorian chant, congregational singing, ad orientam posturing of the priest, etc. It was to make Catholicism more in line with Orthodox liturgical praxis.

        And given the timeline, Vatican II ended in 1965 and the Novus Ordo was introduced in 1970, I can see where infiltrators bided their time, twisting the wishes of Vatican II into what they wanted.

        Anyway, that’s what I heard from a few RC sources.

  12. http://byztex.blogspot.com/2023/03/greek-archdiocese-continues-charter.html?m=1

    Looks like there’s more drama (isn’t there always) at the Fanar regarding the new charter for the GOA.

  13. Jonah Pertilli says

    Read Machiavelli: Prince 13.5-6 and Parole 32-4

  14. More Orthodox hierarchs condemn Zelensky and his actions at the Lavra: