No Jab, No Gab

If by “gab” you mean missing an audience with His Holy of Holiness, you can put on a happy face.  Patriarch Bartholomew will be here as planned.  

I must say, he pulled a fast one. (On Monomakhos anyway.)  Only yesterday, we published a piece about the meeting between Metropolitans Joseph and Hilarion and how it portended good tidings between Antioch and ROCOR in terms of a future alliance. We stand by that story. They were smiling ear to ear.  

Where we went wrong is when we speculated that Patriarch Bartholomew was going to cancel his trip to America.

To be fair, rumors still abound that he is going to be a “no-show.”  After all, his trip to Ukraine was a bust.  He didn’t remove Metropolitan Onuphriy or announce Epiphony Dumenko’s dominion over Kiev as he led us to believe was his intention.  Nor did he excommunicate Russia.    

Not only did these things not happen, nothing happened.  Like a Jerry Seinfield episode, nothing happened at all.   

Though Bartholomew’s humiliating entrance into Rada –through a back door no less–and the much too large robe that looked like a shark was about to remove his right arm was kind of funny, my personal fav was the bestowal of an empty award to a Ukrainian oligarch making him an Archon (which, if memory serves, is only for America).  That was the icing on top of an otherwise upside-down cake.  

The expression “Meh” comes to mind.

In other words, the Patriarch got no traction. Hence, it made sense that he would take the better part of valor (i.e. use some discretion) and “reschedule” his trip to America. Especially since the GOA is mired in scandal.

Well, I was wrong. As you can tell from the following communique, the GOA announced with “great joy” that he is going to visit America after all.

And to reinforce the message he is “all about the science”, there will be no religious exemptions allowed for laymen who may want to attend events.  I imagine this standard will apply to “the plenitude of the faithful,” as pitiful in number as they may be.  Not that we expected huge crowds of laymen standing in line to attend.  They’ll probably be in the unemployment lines.  

The problem with Archbishop Elpidophoros’ papal-like directive is that some GOA priests have already given religious exemptions to the laymen who have asked for them. This issue is not as neatly settled within the GOA as the Archbishop’s pompous words imply. Although all of the comments on Instagram indicate praise for Elpidorophoros, you and I both know the comments that were critical were removed.

I know of many people in the GOA who immediately and vociferously criticized his directive. They have contacted me, either personally, or through second and third-hand sources. And, of course, the fact that other Orthodox bishops, from other patriarchates, have taken a diametrically opposed position demonstrates that such a presumption is very much unappreciated. If we are going to trust “the science”, that “safety/efficacy” thingy becomes kind of important and the scientists don’t have all that worked out yet. 

The FDA just nixed the booster for the general population

Let’s be honest:  Patriarch Bartholomew, through this communique, is further roiling the waters –not settling them.

Many of us (myself included) thought his trip to Ukraine would be the tripwire that ignited a split the likes of which we haven’t seen since 1054.  Thankfully, the intended takeover sank like a deflated balloon. As far as we can tell, Russia, as well as the rest of the Orthodox world, is intact.  Something to be celebrated where Bartholomew is concerned.

Given the present, degraded nature of the GOA, with its only signs of vitality being the Ephraimite monasteries, it is likely Bartholomew’s upcoming visit will be a dud as well.  

If I were advising the Phanar, I would encourage His Holy of Holiness to “reschedule” his visit to America. It would be a sorry capstone to his sagging legacy if this trip turns out to be as inconsequential as his trip to Ukraine.

About GShep


  1. anonsayswhat says

    I don’t know of a better way to upload this letter from Attorney Mark Brewer (in response to Elpidoforos, so I chose mediafire.

    If you can’t access it, let me know.

  2. Matthew Panchisin says

    Thank you anonsayswhat and I thank God for the good counsellor at law writing from the perspective of Orthodox Christianity Mark Brewer and so many others on this site.

    Thank you George and Gail!

    • Gail Sheppard says

      God is GOOD!

      Per Fauci, no booster means the previous vaccines will be ineffective. Ineffective vaccines mean no one is protected. If no one is protected, no one needs an exemption.

      • Yes, but that is the logical conclusion, isn’t it? We have been shown repeatedly over the past year that common sense and logic are not being used by the government.

        • Common sense is a mis-named commodity.

        • Matthew Panchisin says

          Dear Mrs. S,

          For therapy I was thinking about seeing if I could somehow get back on the Catholic Answers Forum and resume some fights about Aquinas.
          In the end of their own making they found it (their governing body) logical and reasonable to kick the Orthodox out and purge all of our posts, that must have been about 10 or 15 years ago now, my how things have changed?

          We have seen that it is not really just common sense and logic because they only rightly work upon the foundation of virtuousness, non-bullying etc., otherwise they are just words being used.

      • Gail,

        It would indeed be wonderful – if reason was the order of the day. But it isn’t and hasn’t been for quite some time now. I am tempted to say more, but I am not a prophet. I am, however, more than familiar with the predictable pattern the course evil men normally follow before they are finally vanquished. Think pharaoh and the children of Israel. We are likely to endure a time of trouble before this is over.

        They can no longer pretend that ‘vaccination’ is about preventing the spread of COVID-19. It has come down to raw compliance and nothing more. And they are not likely to relinquish their pride (or their slaves) freely.

        I do, however, sincerely hope I am wrong and you are right.

        God is with us. Understand all ye nations!

      • Matthew Panchisin says

        Dear Gail,

        I think the good news for unvaccinated Christians and the vaccinated remains the same, namely, our lives are to always be Christocentric and there is peace and unity.
        “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.”

  3. Might have to switch legal tactics, for bioweapon avoidance, to being a trans-sexual who self idenitifies as a fully injected person. Don’t dare ask me for proof, transphobe.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Got to get those pronouns right. (Too funny!)

    • Why don’t you just remain a normal person,
      who self-identifies as a transsexual fully injected person?
      That way you can avoid the knife as well as the needle

  4. George Michalopulos says

    Hey! That’s what I’ll do!

  5. Gregory Manning says
    • Gregory, George, and others,

      My gut tells me to distrust this encyclical – – doesn’t sound like the Met Hierotheos we know. In years previous to the Robber Council, Hierotheos wrote book after book resonating with the warmth, courage and humility of Holy Tradition. During the Robber Council, many of us heard credible accounts of the Metropolitan literally boarding himself up against threats of physical violence, dragging furniture to barricade doors.

      Does anyone else sense a dramatic shift in Hierotheos’ tone and guidance since his scandalous support of Bart and the Globalists in the Ukraine?

      Yes, our Lord raises luminaries during specific times to address specific issues – – and these same men can, of course, fall to passions be it fear, confusion, greed, etc. when other battles arise. I understand. We do have countless luminaries in our midst – in the flesh and beyond.

      For instance, let us recall the vision granted to a spiritual daughter of Geronda Ephraim:

      “Repentance! Repentance! Christ is very angry. We people today should not be in the spiritual state in which we find ourselves. Great evils are coming—you cannot imagine how evil. Alas, what awaits you! Repent as long as there is time. Get on your knees and weep; shed tears of repentance so that perhaps Christ will soften. This also has to do with what is happening in America. Many people will depart through all that is coming, many people will depart [i.e., they will die]. You are not merciful toward one another, you do not have mercy. You are harsh. One person will devour the other. Tell these things to your spiritual father and to others.”

      • 1. His assertion (or rather that of his synod) that fetal stem cells are not involved in the production of the vaccines is factually accurate (except in the case of the J&J variety – I do not know about those not available in the U.S.). It is very carefully worded and nuanced to leave the impression that there can be no personal questions of conscience surrounding their development and testing.

        2. Instead of acknowledging conscience concerns, he focuses instead on conspiracy theories coming (supposedly) from Protestants. Much of this is true, but for reasonable people who take conspiracy theories for what they are worth (Nothing would surprise me, but I don’t assume they are true,) these have no bearing on the matter.

        3. He speaks of science while failing to acknowledge what the science reveals – that the vaccine cannot inhibit the spread of this disease. He adds that “science is not a religion or parareligion but is judged by scientific criteria.” This is well said (in my opinion), but he fails to acknowledge the practical implications of his assertion.

        4. He attempts to equate not being vaccinated against a disease (“plague”) with knowingly infecting others when one is known to be infected (as though that is what faithful Orthodox Christians are prone to do.) This meme that not being vaccinated is the equivalent of murder is false on its face, a horrific burden to place upon the faithful, and nothing more than a tiresome (albeit seemingly ‘sanctified’) reflection of the wisdom of this world.

        5. He tells us that “we must obey” and “be in tune” with the holy synod.

        And what does he say the holy synod has ruled?

        That the choice of vaccination is “a free personal choice of each person in communication with his doctor.”

        Let us be clear: Even his own synod explicitly affirms that mandatory vaccination is not acceptable. I have to wonder if this position will remain constant in the face of government mandates. I strongly suspect they will cave quickly, as the Church of Greece is almost entirely financially dependent on the government.

        In short, while there is much here that one can respect, there is no particular wisdom that I personally have gleaned from this encyclical.

        Brothers and sisters, heed the advice of elder Ephraim! Don’t just focus on the “predictions” alone but rather…

        Repent as long as there is time. Get on your knees and weep; shed tears of repentance so that perhaps Christ will soften. And let us not devour one another.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          The first point Brian made really jumped out at me, too. The words they are using are heavily nuanced.

          Fetal cell lines aren’t involved in “production.” They are involved in “testing.”

          I googled both terms to see how other people use them. I saw the word “production” used over and over again. They insist, “We’re not using them in production. . .” it is (seemingly) their hope you’ll walk away believing cell lines aren’t used at all with respect to vaccines and we’re just a bunch of yahoos to suggest otherwise.

          There are many people who want us to believe something that isn’t true which I find, frankly, terrifying. Makes me wonder exactly how many of these people are out there?

          The point also should be made that rare is the product that does not use cell lines for testing. They’ll say “animals are not used for testing”, for example, but that does not mean cell lines are not used. If you’re going to start questioning the use of cell lines in vaccines, be prepared to drop maybe 80% or more of the processed foods you consume. This is not the hill everyone wants to die on.

          “Conspiracy” is the new word for absolutely, without a doubt, everything that is wrong. Further, it replaces the word, “stupid.” It is used to persuade people that what they’re telling you is not the part that’s wrong or stupid; you, my dear, are the problem.

          If you’re like me, alarm bells will be going off in your gut when you read this stuff. That’s what got me into this quest about COVID. I’d read something and it just didn’t smell right so I look for collaboration. Failing that, I’d look at the actual studies, sometimes having to look up every term they use, which is hard, tedious work.

          However, after negotiating contracts with the technical details of the delivery of multi-million dollar systems (often driven by the highly regulated CMS), you get to the point where you can spot a “black hole” immediately; a BH is one that will bite you in the #$$ down the road.

          Alarm bells were going off all over the place when COVID entered the arena. The only information I can reasonably trust are peer-reviewed papers where the spin hasn’t been put on the information yet.

          The people in the Church, unfortunately, are “not quite right” about a lot of things, as of late, which makes me wonder if our bishops even know how to pray. If they knew nothing about science they could get down on their knees and ask God what is true and what isn’t. But to do that, two things need to happen: (1) you need to be familiar with the process which makes me wonder if they even know how to pray, and (2) you need to be able to hear God. They don’t. They rely on “committees” instead.

          There are maybe a handful of bishops IN THE WORLD who are true prophets, conduits to God, and we know them when we encounter them. God’s speak is not hard to recognize when you talk to God yourself. These special people, however, are almost never in the spotlight. If they have pamphlets, articles, groupies (people imploring you to listen to them), websites, classes, etc. you’re probably not talking to someone in the Holy Father department. Doesn’t make them bad people or even bad teachers. It makes them people who have a tendency to believe their own hype which is the path away from God.

          • “There are many people who want us to believe something that isn’t true which I find, frankly, terrifying.”

            Truth be told, Gail, I don’t find it terrifying as much as enlightening, even comforting in a way, though this time in which we live is very dark. When one’s “gut'” (that is to say one’s spirit) can sense that something is very wrong even though one’s rational mind can’t always grasp precisely why… to at least be able to see that there are lies wrapped in lies wrapped in still more lies somehow helps to keep one’s sanity in times like these. We may not know precisely what is true about all this madness, but at least we can see what it is false. And nothing true, good, or beautiful proceeds from falsehood.

            StevenD said it best, I think. “We have every reason to be skeptical.”

            “If you’re going to start questioning the use of cell lines in vaccines, be prepared to drop maybe 80% or more of the processed foods you consume. This is not the hill everyone wants to die on.”

            I agree, and I cannot speak for – nor will I judge – anyone else. But this madness has opened my eyes to the degree of utter depravity I’ve been participating in unwittingly. For me that time has come. As I have said elsewhere, no one can pretend to be free of sin or ‘morally pure’ while living in this world. Moral purity for me is not the point. But if I do not struggle, at least…if I just surrender and say, “Oh well, this is the world. What can I do?” Or worse, “It’s no big deal.” I couldn’t live with myself or hope to be prepared to meet the Lord.

            Fr. Stephen Freeman once wrote something that I think applies well to things like this. He said (paraphrasing):

            We are soldiers (as it were) in battle. Any one of us may be good soldiers or bad soldiers at any given moment, but it matters very much who’s side we are on and that we do not surrender.

          • Some of us might ask, time to time, ‘Could these bishops, these governments, be absolutely right about the vaccines and mandates, about the restrictions? Do I have this all wrong?’

            Brothers and sisters, remember these are the same entities, – guided by the same spirit – that banned veneration of Holy Icons, banned the faithful from receiving Christ’s blessing, banned clergy distributing Holy Communion to our faithful, forbade Holy Confession in person, locked our churches, forbade or restricted funerals and weddings, forbade clergy from visiting the sick and dying, and, publicly underminded clergy, parishes, and our Faith with various other shameful threats.

            Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

            • LonelyDn: “Do I have this all wrong? … ”

              I take it that’s a no, then…

            • LonelyDn,
              I certainly asked myself those kinds of questions, not so much about the jab, but about all the other restrictions. I was told that wearing a mask and all the other stuff was helping my “weaker brethren” and “showing love” and “being obedient to the Church,” which are supposed to be higher than fasting and prayer.

              But ultimately I just couldn’t get there. As Orthodox Christians, what is the guiding principle of our lives? Tradition. Tradition is that which is passed on. It is bigger than any one person, even a single bishop. St. Ireneaus was a chiliast and St. Gregory of Nyssa was a universalist, and yet despite their holiness, their errant views had to be weighed in the balance of the totality of Tradition. I am not the arbiter of Tradition. But I am called to be faithful to that which was passed on to me, not only by my original priest and those who helped bring me into the Church originally, but also to all the other holy men and woman who taught me what the truth is: St. John Chrysostom, St. John of San Francisco, St. John of Kronstadt, St. Theophan the Recluse, Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, Elder Thaddeus, Fr. Seraphim Rose, Archbishop Averky, etc.

              These are the people, and the kinds of people, we are to look to, to understand what the Church, as a whole, teaches about the Liturgy, the icons, the priestly blessing, and what the proper Orthodox teaching and response is to the realities of suffering, illness, and death. And if those teachings conflict with what the world tells us, so be it. Let us be fools for Christ. Those currently running our country and dictating covid protocol do not have the Spirit of God, nor can they know Him or understand Him. Therefore, we should ask, who are we to listen to in these matters? And when it comes to the standard party line we are hearing from our hierarchs, we should ask, to whom is it more akin: Fauci or Philaret? Biden or Basil?

              Also, we must remember that Tradition is not only passed on via teaching. The Faith is passed on through the Sacraments themselves. Therefore, when those Sacraments are withheld, altered or restricted, Tradition itself is being withheld from the faithful. The Church, therefore, is no longer a hospital for healing, but a museum where we can oooh and ahhh over all the nice old stuff that’s there, which, if you remember is exactly what communist Russia turned it into. Whether spoken overtly, or simply shown by action, we have been told that the Tradition of the Church holds less water than new protocols or new, still experimental, jabs. That they are to be given more confidence and that the Church, really has nothing to offer you in this perilous time. Forget Unction, Communion, Confession, priestly (Christly) blessing, processions or icons. They don’t work. Put your trust in masks, distance from your neighbors and loved ones, and experimental injections.

              • So true, Seraphim. It seems that most are willing to look to most anything or anyone except the God of our salvation.

                Maybe toss in a little extra litany (gotta keep that religious flavor, after all), but trust is clearly elsewhere.

                Has a nation changed its gods,
                Which are not gods?
                But My people have changed their Glory
                For what does not profit.
                Be astonished, O heavens, at this,
                And be horribly afraid;
                Be very desolate, says the Lord.
                For My people have committed two evils:
                They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters,
                And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.

              • Indeed. I don’t see St John of San Francisco
                cowering behind a mask…

                An expert analysis – for which, thank you.

  6. Why didn’t he treat the subject that many people fear the aftereffects of the vaccine, which have been especially brutal? And we now know that it doesn’t work for a lot of people

  7. I have said this many times before but I think it merits repeating. I believe that the monasteries of Elder Ephraim need to seek shelter under the omophorion of another jurisdiction…now!

  8. The Immaculate Infection:

    It is analogous to the Immaculate Conception, a pseudo-miracle invented to solve the problem created by a false understanding of original sin.

    Covid is simply like a variant of the flu and it is only our snowflake hyperpolitical environment which has raised it above the concern given to seasonal flu. Therefore a vaccine was deemed necessary, politically useful at subjugating people and profitable. But the vaccine is unnecessary and, in any case, ineffective in preventing the very condition it was designed to combat. Moreover, given the excess of adverse reactions, including death, beyond other normal vaccines, it is actually a harmful placebo, the worst possible type.

    So it’s all bs, top to bottom, just like the Immaculate Conception.

    The only significance it has at all, beyond the mundane significance given to seasonal flu, is as a civil liberties issue, a vehicle of political oppression.

    • “Covid is simply like a variant of the flu and it is only our snowflake hyperpolitical environment which has raised it above the concern given to seasonal flu. Therefore a vaccine was deemed necessary, politically useful at subjugating people and profitable.”

      Here’s the guy I’ve been following to keep on up what’s happening in Canada. The whole video below is worth watching, but especially important is 37:35 to 45:15.

      As far as I can tell the podcaster isn’t a Christian, and he’s picking on thousands of posts from people, from different spiritual backgrounds, from New Ager to secular to Heterodox, talking about how they feel spiritually dead after the vaccine.

      Funvax, the vaccine for religious “fundamentalism” (2012):

      “The video was date stamped 4/13/05 so someone was holding onto this for awhile. I received it, the second week of February of this year. So, on it, it had one of the guys from the other video, the party video, giving a presentation. I just have an 8 minute clip from this presentation, but basically, this guy, he must be a scientist. This guy is giving a lecture about the brain and a gene called VMAT2 to a group of men in suits as well as various military uniforms. He talks about religion and was showing MRI brain scans. He said that the inhibition of VMAT2 could, over time, cause a persons brain to shift from a religious brain structure, they scientifically, you know they call it phenotype…but basically, you can change a religious brain to a non-religious brain structure. VMAT2 is apparently the scientific name for what people term the God Gene.”

  9. Both Eyes Open says

    Jatras is back!

    …and quoting Fr Seraphim Rose obm.

  10. September Pastoral Letter on Vaccine Passports
    By: Auxiliary Bishop George of Australian & New Zealand Diocese (ROCOR)


    September 15, 2021

    To the Honourable Gladys Berejiklian and the Honourable Andrews,

    As the Bishop of the faithful entrusted in me, I am compelled by my conscience to address by way of open letter a significant concern for my flock and all those who fall under the New South Wales and Victorian state jurisdictions. My serious concern is about the untenable proposal of a vaccination passport to be introduced into the public life of New South Wales and Victoria (to date), a measure, if introduced will impact destructively not only on Church life, but on the Australian life we have known and loved.

    Churches have a responsibility to minister to all. We cannot accept polarization of the faithful. The Church, fallible in the flesh, but strong in the Spirit, sees its purpose in calling the world to unity and diversity, in respect and love for all. The essential Gospel message of respect for free will and its expression in civil life is the historical foundation of the Western democratic state, including Australia. To admit only one group of people based on the vaccination criterion goes against the very nature of the Church, which embraces all.

    Vaccine passports will create an unethical two-tiered society and we strongly condemn this proposed measure. The Church CANNOT enforce such discriminatory measures in our parishes and refuse entry to anybody who seeks to attend without the proposed vaccine passport, or any other certificate, as this would lead to discriminatory outcomes and would violate the Church’s teachings and canons.

    In our multicultural and multi-faith society, these proposed measures, which are divisive, coercive and discriminatory, echo the trials experienced by many before they fled persecution and now call Australia home.

    We pray and implore that you – our elected leaders – are made aware of the terrible consequence of such an unethical measure. History is the best teacher on where such courses of action have led to in the past.

    Bishop George

    Auxiliary Bishop of the Australian & New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia


    More letters here:

  11. The Lord bless Bishop George.

  12. My policy on the current crop of GOAA/Istanbul bishops has been the same for years now: I have absolutely no idea why anyone would willingly be in their jurisdiction or pay them any heed whatsoever.

    People get up in arms when Patr B or Abp E says something loony or not Orthodox. Well, that’s more or less all that they do.

    Patr B, Abp E, and anyone else of their ilk are welcome to return to the Church in repentance at any time. They can start by asking heartfelt forgiveness of the saintly Met. Onuphriy for persecuting him and his church and then by retiring quietly to a monastery for the rest of their years on earth.

    Beyond that, seems to me that only the naïve, the severely codependent, their flying monkeys, or those completely with their heads in the sand would expect Orthodox teaching from these bishops’ mouths anymore.

  13. A “GREAT” interview:

  14. This spring, Archbishop Benjamin of OCA’s West said that those who are vaccinated could go without a mask, and those who are unvaccinated should remain masked. It was kind of an honor system as he did not ask priests to keep tally. I was disturbed that he should take any interest at all in the “vaccination status” of parishioners, especially given that earlier this year he had threatened to outright excommunicate faithful who had failed to muzzle themselves in line with local ordinances.

    And then the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago made vaccines mandatory for all its staff. And as we are seeing now, the Catholic Dioceses in some parts of Canada, and Vatican City itself, are instituting vaccine passports for the faithful!

    Curious and anxious about what might be coming next, I emailed the Diocese of the West to ask if they had any plans to institute some kind of vaccine requirement. I received a reply from Fr Andrew Smith saying “not at this time.” I pressed a little- what do you mean, not at this time? Is it being considered for a possible future time? Why or why not? Fr. Andrew Smith replied in full:

    “Simply put, it is a matter of civil governance, and not ecclesiastical in nature. Therefore, if the state of California (or Washington, or Oregon, etc) implement such a policy then it applies to its residents.

    The Church need not do this work in parallel.”

    Now, my friends, you tell me:

    Do you find this response reassuring?

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Only if it goes one way. The government can supersede the will of ecclesiastical authorities for the good of the state. Ecclesiastically, the only thing the Church can do is make the rules more stringent. But, I think the GOA might have overplayed their hand. If they make vaccines mandatory, perhaps they can be sued as they are implementing this rule at a time when it is known that for Pfizer, anyway, 6 out of 7 people die.

      • You can get an idea of how this is going to go by seeing how the Archbishop is handling it in his Cathedral:

        Go to page 88 where it lists “major challenges faced” by the Cathedral in San Francisco:

        “Vaccine mandate in County of SF necessitating end of indoor fellowship hour and other adult indoor (non-sacramental) activity. Big unknown about how this will play out with legal restrictions and division among parishioners around this topic”

        I looked up the SF mandate, incredulous that even there it would already go so far as to restrict churches from allowing people to meet indoors if they are unvaccinated. Here it is, for what it’s worth:

        This doesn’t mention churches at all, and it only appears to apply to “large gatherings” of more than 1000 persons. The Cathedral reports an average weekly attendance of far, far less than this.

        So what is really going on?

      • “The government can supersede the will of ecclesiastical authorities for the good of the state. Ecclesiastically, the only thing the Church can do is make the rules more stringent.”

        Don’t even need to leave the Book of Acts to see this isn’t the case.

        • Gail Sheppard says


          • Acts 5:29. The government can use force, arrest people, and close buildings, but they can’t supersede the will of ecclesiastical authorities, assuming the ecclesiastical authorities have any will. Governments used to tire of persecuting Orthodoxy, before the Orthodox tired of being persecuted.

          • Acts 4: 18-20 [KJV]

            18 And they called them, and commanded them
            not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.

            19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them,
            Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken
            unto you more than unto God, judge ye.

            20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

    • Antiochene Son says

      If our hierarchs were not a choir of Castrati they would dare the state to sue the Church, and take it all the way to the Supreme Court.

      But that will never happen in the church of “give to Caesar literally whatever he wants.”

      I will not render to Caesar everything he demands, because in our society the people are collectively sovereign; or at least have the right to oppose and fight the civil servants. (I refuse to use the word “authorities” because they have no inherent authority under our theoretical system.)

      Virtually without exception, our hierarchs have shown themselves to be “Men Without Chests” as CS Lewis would say. Rather they are effeminate yes-men who grovel at the feet of their necktied masters.

      • George Michalopulos says

        AS, I will add this: our “authorities” have lost their authority. As Fr Stephen De Young writes in his excellent new book,
        The Religion of the Apostles, empires can lose their exousia (authority) years before they expire.

        I’m beginning to see the wisdom in that opinion.

    • “This spring, Archbishop Benjamin of OCA’s West said that those who are vaccinated could go without a mask, and those who are unvaccinated should remain masked.”

      Would be nice if silly policies like this were based in anything other than the subjective fear of those in power.

      The myth that vaccinated = safe and unvaccinated = unsafe is just that: a complete myth that’s put in place by lazy folks in positions of authority because it is easy and controlling.

      We know that those who have already had covid infection (whether asymptomatic, mild, or significant) have natural immunity which is superior to vaccine-only mediated immunity.

      We know that vaccines don’t protect against all covid-related hospitalization or serious illness.

      We know that in young healthy people, the vaccines are higher risk than natural covid infection.

      Yet because we as a society cannot deal with fear or adversity, lazy folks in positions of authority keep insisting that vaccinated = safe and unvaccinated = unsafe. Even for 5 year olds.

      All they are doing is creating a scapegoat group who are acceptable to hate (the “unvaccinated”). Like all control-freak authoritarians throughout history, they need a scapegoat group to hate. This never turns out well.

      My personal opinion is that there’s a fair amount of self-hatred going on here too — as in some who perhaps got the vaccine 7 or 8 months ago now have vaccine regret, and they’re pissed off that some are “free” to remain unvaccinated. And their way of dealing with personal vaccine regret is to work to enforce it on everyone. It’s passive aggressive controlling BS, but that’s what passes for leadership in much of the modern West.

      I think it’s also pretty simple in that many who hold power/authority are frankly lazy and stupid, and they like their power, get a high off if it. And so many Americans are numbed out on porn, video games, alcohol, drugs, food, whatever, that the people just don’t care.

      Why is it that the post-Christian English speaking West (Canada, USA, NZ, Australia, Great Britain) is completely unable to deal with the adversity of COVID? Why is it that these places reflexively go right to insane authoritarian policies? And why do their peoples let them get away with it? There has to be some underlying reason, as the culture is broadly shared among these places. Anyone have any ideas?

      There is more COVID-related freedom in Brazil or Romania than in the United States, Australia, or Canada. And it’s not like we are now safer from COVID in the English-speaking West because of it.

      I’m thinking that this is the new normal, and that the formerly free West are the new hammer-and-sickle countries for a long time to come.

  15. Gail: I have a somewhat off topic question if you wouldn’t mind fielding it. I am remembering you currently or used to work for a health care system. Would you mind sharing what your personal plan is regarding the proposed federal vaccination mandate for all healthcare employees? I’m trying to figure out what to do, myself. Apologies if you’ve addressed this elsewhere, and feel free to email me directly if its a personal deal. And if you arent comfortable discussing it, thats fine too.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I retired back around 2015. I took a contract job in AZ back in 2017 and had to be seen by a physician, take 2 TB tests (in case the first one was wrong), submit to blood tests to check my titers, AND take a flu shot to work in an office nowhere near patients. I’m guessing Banner, formerly the AZ Health Plan, will insist on vaccination.

      Administrators, often former nurses, make these decisions and in their wildest dreams, would not be able to envision a scenario where the CDC, FDA, NIH, HHS, and the WHO would be complicit in something like this. Other countries are saying the same thing.

      What it’s going to come down to is everyone saying no, I’m not taking the vaccine, like almost half the nurses on any given floor, in any given place, are doing.

      • Thanks for your answer. I work for a company that seems pretty neutral but isn’t interested in the liability of “fighting” anything. I’m an RN and my mindset at the current time is that they’re just going to have to fire me. I’m not taking medication that isn’t appropriate for me and I’m not quitting my job. Thanks again for your perspective.

  16. Elpidohphoros has stepped in it again. I legit think whoever does his scheduling/PR is trolling him.

    He was at the recent ribbon cutting ceremony for the Turks. I’m sure that’ll make all the Greeks happy.

  17. Wuhan scientists planned to release coronavirus
    particles into cave bats, leaked papers reveal

    ‘Wuhan and US scientists were planning to release enhanced airborne coronavirus particles into Chinese bat populations to inoculate them against diseases that could jump to humans, leaked grant proposals dating from 2018 show.

    New documents show that just 18 months before the first Covid-19 cases appeared, researchers had submitted plans to release skin-penetrating nanoparticles and aerosols containing “novel chimeric spike proteins” of bat coronaviruses into cave bats in Yunnan, China.

    They also planned to create chimeric viruses, genetically enhanced to infect humans more easily, and requested $14million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) to fund the work.

    Papers, confirmed as genuine by a former member of the Trump administration, show they were hoping to introduce “human-specific cleavage sites” to bat coronaviruses which would make it easier for the virus to enter human cells.

    When Covid-19 was first genetically sequenced, scientists were puzzled about how the virus had evolved such a human-specific adaptation at the cleavage site on the spike protein, which is the reason it is so infectious. …

    The bid was submitted by British zoologist Peter Daszak of EcoHealth Alliance, the US-based organisation, which has worked closely with the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) researching bat coronaviruses.

    Team members included Dr Shi Zhengli, the WIV researcher dubbed “bat woman” … as well as US researchers from the University of North Carolina and the United States Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Centre.

    Darpa refused to fund the work, saying: “It is clear that the proposed project led by Peter Daszak could have put local communities [not to mention all of humanity] at risk”, and warned that the team had not properly considered the dangers of enhancing the virus (gain of function research) or releasing a vaccine by air. …

    Angus Dalgleish, Professor of Oncology at St Georges, University of London, who struggled to get work published showing that the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) had been carrying out “gain of function” work for years before the pandemic, said the research may have gone ahead even without the funding.
    “This is clearly a gain of function, engineering the cleavage site and polishing the new viruses to enhance human cell infectibility in more than one cell line,” he said. …

    Daszak was also behind a letter published in The Lancet last year which effectively shut down scientific debate into the origins of Covid-19.
    [Revealed: How scientists who dismissed Wuhan lab theory are
    linked to Chinese researchers ] …

    A Covid-19 researcher from the World Health Organisation (WHO), who wished to remain anonymous, said it was alarming that the grant proposal included plans to enhance the more deadly disease of Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers).

    “The scary part is they were making infectious chimeric Mers viruses,” the source said.
    “These viruses have a fatality rate over 30 per cent, which is at least an order of magnitude more deadly than Sars-CoV-2.
    “If one of their receptor replacements made Mers spread similarly, while maintaining its lethality, this pandemic would be nearly apocalyptic.” … ‘

    As if SARS wasn’t enough, now they are playing with MERS!
    No wonder Bill thinks his vaccines can reduce the population…

  18. Gov. Kathy Hochul At NY Church: “Be My Apostles”
    To The Unvaccinated, “Who Aren’t Listening To God”

    [Video – 02:10]

    Warning: Only for the Strong of Stomach