A Word About Monomakhos on the Occasion of Our First Anniversary

Every so often at Monomakhos, we have to hit the Reset Button. This is one of those times.

Why now? First of all we are celebrating the first anniversary of Monomomakhos. Second and more important, dramatic changes that have taken place in the Orthodox blogosphere. One of the most significant was the closure of OCANews, a website devoted to the party line of the Old Regime of the OCA. Another was the shutting down of Inga Leonova’s Listening: Breaking the Silence on Sexuality within the Orthodox Church, a Facebook Group dedicated to foisting the homosexual agenda on the Orthodox Church.

There is no need to rehash in detail OCAN’s agenda or many errors of fact. You can read these for yourself in the Monomakhos archive going all the way back to March of 2011.

Leonova’s Listening Group most likely closed down because they didn’t expect the resolve, logic, and congency of the arguments against their platform. Like the homosexual movement in the secular culture, they had it too easy for too long. The Listening Group more or less followed the movement’s party line: I’m gay and if you don’t approve of my lifestyle then you are a “bigot-racist-sexist-homophobe” (choose one) and a generally disagreeable person.

This tactic is calculated to shut down reasoned debate and succeeds in many venues. Not here though. We don’t hand over our understanding of sound manhood or womanhood to people confused about their own. It left them with precious little to say.

Yet the demise of OCAN and Lenova’s Listening Group leaves a vacuum in the blogosphere. Monamakhos won’t be filling that void. Our vision is a bit different. We are dedicated to Eternal Verities, not just in religion but also in culture and politics. We are not OCA-centric even much of debate in the past few months centered on OCA problems. Instead, we are concerned with the state of Orthodoxy and culture both here and abroad.

Is there a thumbnail description for Monomakhos? How about this: In matters of religion, traditional; in matters of the nation, patriotic; in matters of politcs and economics, classically liberal. As for our Church, we believe that it must be territorial, decentralized, and (of course) Orthodox. And we never apologize for our love of Western Civilization or Christendom.

That is one reason for our unstinting support of Metropolitan Jonah. As the Orthodox Church gains a more secure place in America, our leaders must speak to the American experience with candor and intelligence. Met. Jonah does just that.

We don’t focus on Met. Jonah’s administrative shortcomings and other exaggerated faults because in due course those can be corrected. Instead, we listen to what the man teaches, and we note both the eagerness to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ as it is understood and comprehended in our Orthodox faith and the respect shown to him whenever he preaches to Christians not of this fold. Met Jonah understands the Eternal Verities. He understands both the weakness and strengths of Western Culture. He knows Christ. He speaks to America with clarity and his words ring true (see: Asceticism and the Consumer Society or download .pdf).

At Monomakhos we believe in a robust and free-wheeling debate. Nobody has ever been censored from this site, nor have any comments been edited. We welcome the opinions of those who are opposed to ours.

All legitimate views are welcome. (We even are patient with illegitimate views because they tend to make us look better, although once the interlocutor catches wind of this he quickly disappears.) We take seriously the fact that the Orthodox blogosphere cannot be monochromatic and our hope is that the void will be filled with even more venues offering robust and honest debate.

Any correspondent who wishes to publish an editorial or an essay which is in disagreement to our stated positions needs only to contact me. Be warned however, you must be willing to withstand thoughtful and reasoned criticism. You will have to defend and explain your position. Sometimes the criticism can be withering, but if your argument is sound, it will stand (and so will you). If your argument not capable of withstanding logical scrutiny, then it will be tossed into the dustbin and deservedly so.

John Adams once said: “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” The sun shines brightly in a public square free of ideological constraint. As uncomfortable as some are with the blogosphere, it is the new public square and it is here to stay. At Monomakhos we believe that in the long run our discussions will help us, the Church, and our corner of the world.


  1. Lola J. Lee Beno says

    Congratulations, and I look forward to more of such discussions.

  2. George,

    Congratulations, and I wish you many years of spirited and open debate!

  3. Douglas Cramer says


    Congratulations on your milestone. I lurk regularly, and while I frequently disagree with you I appreciate your efforts and the community which has taken shape here.

    Christ Bless,

    • George Michalopulos says

      Mr Cramer, thank you. I appreciate thoughtful criticism and reasoned debate. “Steel sharpens steel.”

  4. George, While expanding your scope and focusing on “eternal verities”, I hope you continue to shine a bright light on all deviations from traditional Orthodoxy in all American jurisdictions, whether theological, spiritual, moral, or canonical.

  5. George Michalopulos says

    Mr Miller, I very much intend too. I’m pan-Orthodox in scope and pray for the day of a truly territorial American Orthodox Church. That said, I have every intention of exposing corruption regardless of jurisdiction.

  6. Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

    Congratulations, George. Many years to Monomakhos.

  7. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    Congratulations, George!
    Just think, before you came along discussion of events in the Orthodox Church was limited to Mrs. Steve Brown’s attack blog, the grudge-dominated Orthodox Forum, and Stash Drezhlo. Keep going!

    • Thank you, Your Grace. Thank you especially for your many contributions to this blog. It means a lot that a bishop would honor us with his presence. Especially one who has much historical knowledge. If nothing else, it helps us fill in the blanks so to speak.

  8. cynthia curran says

    Well, Protestants and Catholics are both now addressing an old problem that deals with culture just as much as abortion the sex trafficking problem. In fact I came across the sex trafficking problem mention about 3 or more times on Pat Robinson CBN online. in spite of his religious views or political views he is addressing this and mention a lot about this problem here in the USA, and of course a lot of women being traffic in are Russian women or other Eastern European women. Greece also has a big problem in bringing women from Eastern Europe and Africa to be sex slaves. The Orthodox had some emperors in the earlier centuries in the Byzantine Empire that past laws against it. At least 2 or 3 are in the Justinian Code against brothel owners using young girls from the Countryside in Constantinople and other parts of the Empire.

  9. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    Congratulations, George. Many years to Monomakhos. It is truly a gem that people should find and hold on to. Now onto the future, and many more good discussions to come.

    Peter A. Papoutsis

  10. Jane Rachel says

    Looking for a “like” button. Thanks again, George!

  11. I “like” your site. It has a good beat and it is easy to dance to. I give it a “10”. Congratulations George.

  12. Congratulations, George! Many years to both you and Monomakhos!

  13. I appreciate this forum, thanks for hosting it!

    • Even with us disgusting “anonymites”?

      • Sad anonymites, not disgusting. Have you looked it up yet?

        • Well, this one is not sad at all, if fact very thankful this evening, as in “Glory to God for All Things.”
          (PS: It’s a neologism of your imagination so only you can define it. Shall I send you again the definition of neologism?)

          • Correction: I meant to say “it’s a neologism of your Ego and your imagination … .” (I can send you the defination of Ego again too, if you wish.)

          • Well you should keep trying to look it up. Broaden your horizons some. Don’t give up!

            • If you can’t make one up to fit your own neologism, then don’t be so egotistical to think that you can entise someone else in doing it for you. (You really do need to get up out of your basement and defog your brain with a lot of fresh air!)

            • Your fingers are the ‘accuse first, check later’ sort. Look I even gave you a hint. I told you when looking to broaden your horizons. But, zing away, what do you have to lose? You can be totally out to lunch in the end but nobody knows who you are so you can pretend it never happened. Or you could just pick a new name and repeat, repeat, etc. and so on.

              WIth supporters like us, poor Met. Jonah, eh?

              But that was probably the idea all along.

              Look, I’ll shorten this exchange some. Does your computer have the ‘google’ thing? Give it a try.

              • It’s not on Wiktionary or Urbandictionary. I don’t really get what you’re hinting at, Coin, but you’re a bully and a liar.

                • Jane Rachel says

                  May the crow be passed out in big portions, Lord, and may it be eaten soon!

                • Maybe Helga and Pdnj are the same. How hard is it to use ‘google’ anyway. How many pages come up when you put that word in? Did I make them all?

                  Like I said, with supporters like these… poor Met. Jonah.

                  • Heracleides says

                    Harry, more than a couple of days have passed… isn’t it past time for you to trot out your ‘young but never married’ dog and pony show? Never thought I’d say it, but your beating of that dead-horse would be a welcome break from your current ‘anonymite’ drivel.

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      Harry, maybe we’re approaching this from the wrong way. What is it exactly that Metropolitan +Jonah did to you? I’m very much in sympathy with you about the concept of a married episcopate but repeating the same shibboleth over and over without any reasoned analysis isn’t gonna make it come to pass. In fact, the tiresome insinuations about bishops without understanding the context is probably going to bury the possibility once and for all. And justifyably so.

                      Look, I know we got problems in the OCA. We’re actually working them out (or at least I hope so). But you’re in the GOA, don’t you have bigger fish to fry in that jurisdiction? At least three of our newer bishops are widowers and, +Jonah himself was seriously involved with a young lady before he went into the monastic life, so your tired cliche of “ordained young/never married” (read: mama’s boys and/or homosexuals) doesn’t really apply to us.

                      Wouldn’t your singleminded quest for a less corrupt episcopate be better suited elsewhere? None of the OCA/ROCOR/ect. commentators on this blog are going around telling you what’s wrong with the GOA (if anything).

                    • You seem to think I’m ‘against’ him somehow. No, that’s not the case. But look at the effort we see by those who did like what they are given to know. The anonymous website ocatruth, you with a fewer real people than could reach for the same salt-shaker on a table, and several who hide who they are, and a few meaningful sub-discussions on websites that have broader purposes like aoi.

                      The agenda here has been to vilify persons with whom there is disagreement, over against the merits. For example “Mrs. Steve Brown” and so on. Look what happened when I suggested ‘Monk X’ has walked rather a different path than most would think by the title ‘Monk’ and no further information. So, sauce for the goose is only sauce for the goose. Then it seems some anonymites deem it wise to complain about using words they don’t know, charging me with the crime of word invention. Relevant, eh?

                      Well, Met. Jonah went to St. Lukes for a week, the second of two psychological evaluations. If the narrative here is to be believed, the OCA synod did this while held in thrall by one among them, Bp. Benjamin who has some named and other grave anonymous allegations against him.

                      Well, anyway you know, I’d say those who wish for a better future for Met. Jonah might do well to reassess, frankly examining what has and has not worked out.

                      Hey you know, I’m a nobody. Just a dad out in the middle of the USA. No rank, no title, hoping for the best. Not even running a big news website or a popular blog. As you noted with the grave problems in the OCA I’ve mentioned the grass is not greener in the GOA. There was a time I was seriously considering helping to create a parish. The local two are some distance from half the population and they like Greek very much (as do I, but the young need to understand). I’d thought originally perhaps with the AOA as the OCA was having serious financial shenanigans and dubious leaders, though Fr. Hopko’s talks had me originally thinking along those lines. But all those converts into the AOA, impressive and good people. But then when Charles Adjalat deemed it wise to leave that was that for me. I think alot of him. Then I thought perhaps the OCA when there was improvement there. Now with the shape of things looking like it’s all going to look like a distant pope in Asia in control, one who deems it wise to instruct us that someone who bothered parishioners of both sexes is to be called ‘Metropolitan Bishop’, I don’t really see any way to convince people the ‘Orthodox’ story really applies. We’re seem to be on a path of being Eastern Rite Catholics with a more-east-than-most pope. There is so much dissonance there with the heart of the Orthodox inheritance I just don’t see it surviving.

                      P.S. to Bishop Tikhon F. I would polish the grammar and spelling above, but time has run out and back to work I need to go the rest of the day. Apologies in advance, and thanks for at least bothering to read my postings.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      Harry Coin, it was no anonymous person who referred to Mrs. Steve Brown. It was me, and I always sign my messages. It seems to me that the Stokoe family posted an obituary where Steve Brown, Mark Stokoe’s long-time companion and cohabitant in Ohio, was included as Mark Stokoe’s son-in-law. Since Steve Brown is not the husband of the late Mrs. Stokoe’s daughters, he is the husband of her son, Mark. It seems to me that anyone who would wish to respect the family’s incorporation into itself as Mark Stokoe’s husband, would not object to anyone who honored their designation of Steve as Mark Stokoe’s male spouse by calling him Mrs. Steve Brown. That’s considered conventional. Now, if the family had indicated Steve Brown as daughter-in-law, then we might speak of Mister Mark Stokoe without offending anyone.
                      “Mrs. Steve Brown”, then, shows respect for the life-style MarkvStokoe and Steve Brown have chosen for themselves in the very same way the Stokoe family has done.
                      Writing “quite a view” for “quite a few” is not a spelling error: it’s a thinking error. It’s a slip between brain and tongue.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      Oh, and it is not Mr. and Mrs. Steve Brown who have objected to my indicating my recognition of what they’ve done as a fact. It is Harry Coin and those with him who HATE to be reminded of Mark Stokoe’s marital status who go all to pieces and charge “slander”. in their frustration and panic. It gets THEIR goat, and we know why: they’ve made a Sacred Cow out of Mrs. Steve Brown and his blog and they will not admit it..

                  • Google came up with 385,000 results. You’re going to have to be more specific.

                    Poor Met. Jonah deserves better supporters than me, I will agree. However, he has many other supporters who are fine and respectable people.

                    Metropolitan Jonah is in fact a good, kind-hearted bishop with a healthy mind, and we are very blessed and unworthy to have him as our Metropolitan.

                    The story is that Metropolitan Jonah is incompetent and mentally unstable. I and a lot of other people know that is a vicious and hateful lie. The lie is an attempt to take revenge on him for mistakes of exaggerated magnitude, to force him to be blamed for the incompetence of others, to punish him for having different opinions from others, to deprive him of his prerogatives as Metropolitan in order to vest others with an ungodly sense of power, and to destroy his reputation in order to impede his spreading of the Gospel.

                    I know the Metropolitan would regret the weak and sinful behavior that I have sometimes fallen into. But as a human being and a Christian, I couldn’t just sit by and watch him get treated with cruelty and hatred. I couldn’t even just quietly pray for him, although I do try to do that as much as I can in addition to posting here. It is good that he has not fallen into a trap of self-justification and arrogance that is so easy for a righteous and persecuted Christian to fall into, but I think it is also fitting and right for others to come to his defense.

                    I can only hope my mistakes have been made in good faith as his were, and that he would see mine as such. My hope for myself and everyone who supports him is that we can fight the lie and heal the damage that it has done. Through God’s mercy and the prayers of many, I have hope that we are making progress.

                    • So, do you suppose if google came up with all those results for ‘anonymite’, chances are the anonymite ‘pdnj’ is incorrect that I made it up? Yes? Much though I would like to take credit for it. Alas.

                    • Helga, It’s Harry’s favorite “neologism” that he uses in his attempt to deprive us of our God given personhood and Constitional freedom of speach. Following is the definition of neologism given by the Merriam-Webster dictionary App on my iPodTouch:
                      ne·ol·o·gism \nē-ˈä-lə-ˌji-zəm\
                      1 : a new word, usage, or expression
                      2 : a meaningless word coined by a psychotic
                      ne·ol·o·gis·tic \-ˌä-lə-ˈjis-tik\ adjective
                      Origin: French néologisme, from ne- + log- + -isme -ism.
                      First use: 180
                      Does #2 above tell us something special?

                    • Harry, you came up with this specific expression of it, which qualifies it as your neologism. All the results I found on Google were of people taking it as a designation for themselves, but you appear to be the first to use it as a slur against others.

                      PdnNJ is obviously not anonymous, considering how very few Protodeacons there are in the OCA, so your petty insults do not apply to him.

                      You can say whatever you want about me, but please leave Metropolitan Jonah and his staff alone. Stop dragging them through the mud just so you can pretend you are teaching me a lesson.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Helga, as usual your eloquence encourages the rest of us to keep fighting the good fight.

                  • Harry Coin says:
                    November 24, 2011 at 11:03 pm
                    “Maybe Helga and Pdnj are the same.”
                    Not very original, Harry; are you running out of ideas of your own?

  14. Many thanks, George, I’ve learned much.

  15. Thank you, George! If it wasn’t for you and OCA Truth, +Met. JONAH might have been driven out as Metropolitan. We are very thankful that he has not been, and hope that he will be our Metropolitan for many, many more years. Thank you for your exposure of what is really going on.

  16. Geo Michalopulos says

    Thank you all for your kind wishes. If it wasn’t for you however, Monomakhos wouldn’t be what it is. Y’all deserve a big hug and kiss. Please have a happy Thanksgiving!

    • Congrats, George and best wishes for the continued success of this blog. (BTW, I’ll be satisfied with a virtual handshake.)

  17. Ashley Nevins says


    The more transparent the measures of your church the more objective will all of you be about its future.

    Objectively measuring risk to your church is important.

    Objectively measuring the health of your church is important.

    Objectively measuring the future of your church is important.

    Objective analysis of the state of the EOC will tell you its future success or failure. Not only will it tell you what direction the church is headed it will tell you the source causes driving that direction. Unless you can clearly identify by objectivity what the cause of the corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying church is it will continue to disintegrate no matter how many EO forums are on the web discussing the issues impacting the church.

    Orthodox you analyze a church much like you analyze a security. Yes, I know, few if any of you have thought about it like that in a rational context of analysis. Think it through, security analysis is highly similar to church analysis. It demands that you objectively analyze without subjective bias. It uses many of the same metrics or forms of measuring. With a little conceptual thinking anyone can analyze a church like a security is analyzed.

    Orthodox, would you buy stock in a company that is corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying? Yes, I know, the church is not a secular for profits business. That is not the point. The analogy draws contrast to help you think it through for yourself by objective analysis that cannot be denied. Yes, do the research of a failed company with a failed stock and then invest in it. Get it?

    Personally, I would no more invest my Christian life in a corrupt and failed Christianity than I would invest my money in a corrupt company with a failed stock. That’s just me. I want something other than a bad Christian investment outcome to show for my Christian life.

    Thanksgiving in part is thanking God for America. I thank God that America is not based upon totalism church state power and control. I thank God for freedom of mind America that is not Roman church/state dictatorship mind control. I thank Christ that is not who He came to us as in the Gospels. I thank God for freedom of religion that was the revolution of America won over totalism by church and state.

    I am thankful for the Reformation that brought us freedom of mind and religion America. Two revolutions that changed the world for the overall better of this world. It never would have happened if the Orthodoxy had been the basis of American Christianity. No telling what would have become of us had we been based upon church/state totalism power and control and where the divine right of church and king ruled over all. The carnal and corrupt theocracy of church/state power and control is not who Christ came to us as in the Gospels.

    I thank God for America where I can worship God without totalism church/state dictatorship and the divine right of church rulers and dictatorship state kings theocracy dictating to me that it is God in authority over me. I am thankful to Gods grace that I live under the rule of law and not under the rule of the divine right of corrupt church rulers and dictatorship state kings that are the law.

    I thank God for Martin. Orthodox, you cannot thank God for the liberties and freedoms you have in America if you can’t thank God for the Reformation. No Reformation and no American freedoms or liberty. There were no Orthodox priests or bishops as Black Robes of the Revolution.

    Two revolutions brought about America and I am thankful to God for both of them. Neither of those revolutions was pretty, but their outcome is America that all Orthodox here can take advantage of. The Orthodox by basis of theology cannot be thankful for those two revolutions and be consistent. The Roman church/state theology of the EOC rejects both of them. No way would either of those revolutions have happened in the Orthodox church/state. Period.

    Yes, Orthodox, criticize the Christianity that gave us America. Call it heresy in comparison to you. Show your thankful hearts in that at Thanksgiving. Be double minded in all your ways and lets us see the outcome of that thinking for you in America that gives you the freedom to exist here and make it here. If you can’t make it modernity freedom of religion America you are not really going to make it anywhere. The freedom to fail by your religion is freedom of religion.

    The lack of a freedom to fail is the church/state dictatorship. True freedom is the freedom to fail and not being propped up so that you don’t fail. Eventually that prop up will fail for it depending upon itself over depending upon God and then what do you have left to hold you up? You will not have God there holding you up.

    I promise you will not have God there propping you up. All of my promises to the Orthodox come true. All of them.

    Oh, yes, Orthodox, Thanksgiving is all about freedom of religion that is not found in the EO church/state. Freedom of religion is the escape of the oppression of the church/state or it is the freedom to stay under that oppression. The freedom of religion free will choice is all yours Orthodox. You get two choices and if this were a EO church/state you would only get one choice. You would get the dictated choice and not the freedom of mind to decide for yourself choice.

    At least now many of you have a way of escape that you did not have before the two choices. Christ was the choice to the way of escaping the Sanhedrin. Christ always provides way of escape. He is not a dictatorship of Roman church/state religion. He is the escape from that. That is in part what America is all about.

    You can thank God that you now have a choice as a way of escaping the corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying church that only spiritually abuse and abandons you. You can thank the Reformation for that. I know how thankful all of you are for the Reformation that led to freedom of religion America.

    Changing jurisdictions is no way of escape. All are systemically corrupt by the same common denominator theological cause. Yes, OCA escape to the ROC and see what your next outcome is. Go back under the prop up and see what that prop up results in. You have about 12 jurisdiction choices. None of them will provide you with a way of escape. In other words, Christ is not your way of escape by changing to another corrupt and failed jurisdiction. Yes, I know, I’m out of line for pointing all of this out and I got it all Orthodox wrong.

    Some of you are hearing me say things I am not saying here. You are completely missing the point.

    I am also very thankful that this is not the Orthodox century for America. Instead, it is the Orthodox in this century exposed by American freedom of religion that does not prop it up and therefore hide its true failure. Take the props away and the more failure is exposed by the props being out of the way to see. Freedom gives you the freedom to see yourselves as you truly are without the prop up in the way. Get it?

    I see what happened to the OCA without the prop up. I see the state of the GOA with the prop up. Both are CORRUPT and FAILED either with or without the prop up. I have the freedom of mind and religion to see. I have freedom by way of escape not a one of you really have.

    Christ escaped the Sanhedrin and He could have cared less if they excommunicated him or other wise called Him a heretic for that. He was FREE to leave their failure and corruption that refused to change. He did not escape into another Sanhedrin like group. He did not change to another corrupt and failed jurisdiction. He walked out and told the world they were corrupt to their core and without solution. He was also very sarcastic and comparing of it all. He compared in objectivity. He did not fail to compare by subjectivity. The comparison is why He walked out and it is a clear warning to all of us to not become like what He confronted by being a part of what He confronted. He hated corruption and He refused to enable it in any way, shape or form.

    Christ knew that if the corrupt failed to change away from corruption that He would WALK. He had zero tolerance for it. He was revolutionary in his intolerance of it. What you got Orthodox? You for sure don’t have a revolution against the systemic corruption demising everyone of your jurisdictions. Oh, some of you protest, but that is not revolution. Some of you advocate for change, but that is not revolution. I have noticed how your protest and advocating for change is working out. It is not working. Seems to me that a revolution is in order or your church is over. Throwing out a few bad bishops is not revolution and since you seem to always replace them with the same.

    May all EO in America have a truly modern and rationally thankful Thanksgiving in freedom of religion.

    Ashley Nevins

    • George Michalopulos says

      Ashley, you’ve been asked more than once what Church you belong to. Until you answer that question, please keep your criticisms of a Church that has been here for 2000 years to yourself.

      • George: My conclusion is that she/he firmly believes that she/he her/him-self is the only true Church.

    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

      I thank God for Martin. Orthodox, you cannot thank God for the liberties and freedoms you have in America if you can’t thank God for the Reformation. No Reformation and no American freedoms or liberty. There were no Orthodox priests or bishops as Black Robes of the Revolution.

      True in its own way but also dependent on much that went on before. If there was no Cappadocian synthesis, then the human freedom it defined in terms of Christan anthropology would have made the freedoms that developed in the West (Magna Carta, US Constitution, abolition, etc.) a conceptual impossibility.

      The West (Christendom) didn’t start at the Reformation, and although the West broke the shackles of medievalism earlier than the East, the spark that lit the 12th Century Renaissance (the precursor to the Italian Renaissance) and sowed the seeds of the Reformation in Northern Europe was the legacy of the Byzantine culture that predates it. The Muslims brought the ideas to Europe, but the ideas they carried were exclusively the wealth of Christian culture.

      Today the countries of the Reformation are the engines of secularism. So while the Reformation unleashed human creativity in ways that were unimaginable before, now the resources that fueled that creative explosion are spiritually exhausted. I argue that John Calvin, that great architect of rationalized Christianity, is also the godfather of modern secularism. Luther was a different kind of man (there’s a lot to admire in Luther, IMO), but the cultural crisis we face today was foreshadowed long ago in Luther’s debate with Zwingli on the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Luther won the battle but Zwingli won the war and Zwingli’s desacralized Christianity bears its poisoned fruit in our day.

      Your solution, that the answer lies in paradigm theory, possesses some analytical utility and descriptive power but it isn’t sufficient. It’s a variation of a theme, like the mega-church that explodes like a super-nova but has a short half-life. A decade from now we will hear about how the old paradigm doesn’t work anymore and we need a new one, just like the Evangelicals who say that all their youth work of the last two decades has been a failure.

      Trust me Ashley, we know we have problems. You are quick to point them out and some of your criticisms hit the mark. But what’s the alternative? You never say. There is no reason to believe that you really do know, unless of course you believe that the diagnosis is the cure, in which case it really doesn’t differ much from the Evangelical who wanders from one mega-church to the next always looking for something new, or what we hear in post-modern management theory and so forth.

      I’d rather stay and fight. And if we are unfaithful, then we fail. We’ll have nothing left except to implore God for mercy because of our many sins and deep sorrow over what was squandered like the ancient Israelites who wept at the waters of Babylon. But if we are faithful, then we might be saved and others too.

      • Yup, Good Job, and Congrats!

      • Well said, Father. I’ve already been Protestant. It seems to me that since Protestantism jetisoned the ancient tradition of the Church, the locus for defining the faith shifted to the self – ie., my understanding of Scripture, my experience of God, my understanding of God, (or Pastor so-and-so’s understanding). In my view, this is problematic. Because everything is ultimately subject to “my” assessment, I – and my faith – remain trapped within the confines of my ego. As a result, humility is too often absent. Without humility – which makes ‘space” for God – salvation is almost impossible. (“Almost” since all things are possible with God.)

        I would also note that the desire for a “pure” Church has ancient roots – think of Tertullian or the ancient heresy of Montanism. As I was told in my Bible School days, “if you should find such a pure Church, you can not join it, since in doing so it would no longer be pure.” Expressed a bit more serioously, this demand for purity (in others, usually) ignores the depth of our own sinfulness and egotism, the constant need for compassion (unto 70 times 7), and the witness of Christ Himself who indicated that weeds would be sown among the wheat – and that this would be left until the day of Judgement lest it harm the wheat. While the Church has had to endure those who would use her for their own purposes (this goes back to the fall itself when Adam “grasped” for divinity), it has also reliably transformed those who would be shaped by her into saints. Indeed, in reading the lives of the holy elders of this generation alone – such as Elder Paisios or Elder Porphyrios or Elder Joseph or myriad others – one can glimpse the life to which we were all called, a life far beyond anything I could have ever thought or imagined in my Protestant days. The saints show us what we can become in Christ, if we will give ourselves over to the faith and discipline that remains the treasure of the Church.

        And as for freedom of religion, that was as much a result of the utter exhaustion that resulted from the religious wars in the West – and the need to “get along” when immigrants settled in America – as any demand for “conscience” by various reformers. It would certainly be a suprise to Thomas More and many others to claim that freedom of conscience and the value of distributed power was derived from the Reformed tradition alone. I would note, too, that the “demands of conscience” used by many reformers to justify their dissent were rarely accepted in turn when others dissented from them. Claims that the traditional churches are uniquely intolerant of divergent opinions are hard to maintain if one has any kind of experience of, say, a local Baptist or nondemonination congregation. Any divergence from the core elements that define ANY group’s identity will be met with a less than hospitable response.

        As for the seperation of powers, I have read that this owes as much to the Catholic Church in the west as to anything else, since in almost every country (until the Reformation), the Catholic Church provided an alternate power structure to hold the local powers in check.

        And yes – secularism is the natural consequence of a view in which one’s faith is self-defined and self-selected. Once the preeminence of the self is accepted, the faith is simply one of many choices. God then becomes just one option among many. Make a different choice and the result is secularism – but either way, the framework is built on the foundation of “me.” To reiterate, so long as I live in terms defined by and dependent on the ego, I am trapped in it and salvation is beyond me.
        The saints in all times show us a different way.

    • Ashley: Did an “Angel of Light” reveal that all to you? If so, did It tell you it’s name?

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      ASHLEY NEVINS! Give it a rest! You of all people should express your thanks to George on your knees. He’s indulged your need for an audience over and over and over. These wordy, rambling and condescending lessons of yours indicate to me someone who sees himself as a teacher, but just can’t gain disciples for his teaching. You have this need to be accepted as a professor, and this is apparently some kind of surrogate for fulfilling that need. Be thankful! We are not thirsting for these elaborate platitudes as if we were in a junior high civics class, nor are we inquirers in a PECUSA mission (do they still have such?) ! We are Eastern Orthodox who are struggling to be true to our Lord as He has manifested Himself to us in our Church, His Body. We are undergoing trials, and we don’t need hecklers. If you yourself were convinced of half of what you write, you’d be in your closet praying, rather than hectoring those who bother you.

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        Your Grace, Fr Hans, thank you. Ashley, you would do well to heed Fr Hans’ observation that Martin Luther lost the war to Zwingli and that Protestantism has run its rationalist course. If nothing else there is wisdom in age and our Church is ancient.

      • Ashley,

        If the Orthodox Church were a person I don’t think that continually calling them “corrupt, failed, irrelevant and dying” will motivate them to change.

        Oh! Wait a minute! The Orthodox Church is a person.

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      Ashley writes: “Personally, I would no more invest my Christian life in a corrupt and failed Christianity than I would invest my money in a corrupt company with a failed stock. That’s just me. I want something other than a bad Christian investment outcome to show for my Christian life.”

      I’m sure we are all grateful to Ashley for summarizing her thesis so well: “Personally, I,” “I would,” “That’s just me,” “I want,” and “my Christian life.”

      This is all perfectly clear.

  18. There is, has been much to rejoice in Orthodoxy in America. Like other immigrant based churches, it has to or will go through the generational shifts as do individual immigrants and their families. Initially, a GOA, ROC church filled with Greek Russian et al immigrants comes and provides a protective veil over the new arrivals. As they exist to assist the new immigrants by having a familiar culture, so they shift with time as the parishes enter into their second and third generations. It is in this transitional period where there is the great danger that many see where the converted Orthodox have begun, are exerting their influence in natural ways on the O. church and its structures. Some want highly decentralized regional American churches, others want to move into American culture like in a way almost to overwhelm it. With all the ethnic dioceses still unable to unite at the top, pan-orthodox intermingling is happening in a typically American neighbor to neighbor grass roots manner. This transfusion of ideas: each jurisdiction and American are coming to bear very great fruit.

    The most problematic of this unofficial integration, is that there is no unified leadership for America. WE are seeing some jurisdictions holding on even tighter to their own autocephaly preventing the people of these jurisdictions to commingle with the rest of American Orthodoxy. While this website has provided a potential forum for a spread of pan orthodoxy, it has, from my perspective, failed in its potential. This doesn’t mean that there’s no hope or that the site ought to be gagged. However, the tone of derision and sarcasm which is a factor in most of the posts, will not attract the broader base which is American Orthodoxy.

    The great mystery of the church unified throughout the world requires an openness to how all American Orthodox believers think, believe and cherish the mystery. Exclusivity is contrary to unity. I realize that members of the group do not want to water down the great power for change the Orthodox church could become in America and the world. In many ways, Americans must lead the currently ethnic statist churches away from their official connections to the state. As we see now with the GOA, the potential for this association to be ripped apart causes one to hope and advise all state supported or protected Orthodox churches to separate from the State. The unity of Orthodoxy requires this. If, as will always be true in most western countries, churches remain separate from state involvement or influence, the model for Orthodoxy is not in remaining tied to government, but to separate and demonstrate the true strength of the church does not rely on state protection.

    We know from our own experience and observing these state sponsored churches that corruption is a great potential and remains an ongoing struggle. Yes, the autocephalous OCA in its independent mode has not proven to be the best run organization. The problems of the OCA ought to be the template for how to prevent such corruption in the future. The dirth of monastics of the caliber of Kiril of Russia, et al indicates where the true efforts need to come.

    I think that American Orthodoxy needs to be challenged to develop monks and nuns of young men and women of high standing educationally, philosophically and of course spiritually. There is no other way than for a stronger connection between parishes and monasteries. Priests in parishes ought to be on the forefront influencing those in their charge who might have this vocation. In America, the Occupy movement provides an example of young people willing to accept some amount of hardship to make a point about inequality. The soil is being tilled. IT is essential that seedlings are planted and allowed to understand the great contribution their lives dedicated to this holiness can have in the country.

    This may not lead to a “Great Awakening” as in early American history. But, it would ennoble the office of the bishop. It will provide the tremendous body of monastic study to the “grassroots” of America. May all who are priests here and throughout the country bring upon themselves with the blessings of God , his Son and the Holy Spirit, a country-wide effort to increase the monastic state.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Stephen, your constructive criticism is well-taken. I need to curb my sarcasm as is in no way edifying to the Faith and those honest seekers looking in.

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      It’s very good of George to apologize for sarcasm; however, if he used it, it was in the same sense that the man born blind used it (“Why do you keep asking? Do you, too, want to become His disciples?), i.e., when repeated questions are obviously insincere.
      Furthermore, while what Stephen has moralized about is quite true, this sentence is very problematic: “While this website has provided a potential forum for a spread of pan orthodoxy, it has, from my perspective, failed in its potential.” I had no idea at all, no idea at all, that the purpose of Monomakhos was “spread of pan-Orthodoxy.”
      Where did Stephen get this idea? Is there a statement of purpose somewhere which includes spreading anything at all? Perhaps someone like Stephen could set up a site or blog with the purpose: the spread of pan-Orthodoxy. First item to appear should be a clear definition of “pan-Orthdoxy.” One would want to be clear at the outset that homogenization is of no value. Second, it should make clear that no hierarchs, no, not even the Archbishop of Constantinople, is “pan-orthodox.” ORTTHODOX Churches are all “Local” churches, that is, Churches (temporarily) sojourning in this or that locality, united around one Bishop.
      I, personally, find the concept “pan-Orthodoxy” to be clumsy and sometimes repulsive. Who would ever write of “Pan-Catholcism?” It is NOT pan-orthodoxy whjch is my goal, but catholicity..
      Now, I’ve said so much that I may have contributed to changing the purpose and mission of this into pan-orthodoxy.
      I recognize that there are some of the brethren who are very distressed by sarcasm or the aggressive defense of one’s convictions, but, hey, sufficient to the day is the evil thereof.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Thank you Your Grace for yet again drawing several distinctions that need to be raised. I won’t use “pan” Orthodox any more as well. You’re right, its clunky.

        • George,

          I hope you will reconsider and continue to use the prefix “pan” when it is warranted. In the context of Orthodoxy in the U.S. it makes sense. (At least it makes sense to someone like me who is not Orthodox.) When I hear about the “16th All American Council” it sounds like a meeting of all the Orthodox in the U.S., not just the OCA. When I read that Met. Philip is the “Metropolitan of All North America” it sounds like he is the bishop of all the Orthodox in this region, not just those associated with Antioch. The use of the prefix “pan,” for discussions of Orthodoxy in the U.S., helps to identify activity that actually involves ALL the Orthodox and not just one jurisdiction.

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            Gregf, ‘pan’ means all, as in Panagia: All-Holy.
            All-American Council shouldn’t indicate a meeting of all Orthodox in America to a native speaker of English, especially American English. My generation hears “All-American” as referring to an elite group of athletes, or to someone like the hero of an old radio show: “Jack Armstrong: the All-American Boy.”
            “Pan” in Pan-Orthodox, has NEVER EVER denoted ALL the Orthodox anywhere, let alone all jurisdictions and/or Local Churches. PanAmerican Airlines, egads, what does the “pan” in that mean? “The Pan American Games”—-did they ever include eskimos, incas, mayans, arapahoes, OR INTEND TO? I repeat, to a native speaker of American English, “Pan” rarely, if ever denotes everybody in the category it precedes. By the way, the full title of the just-completed council (“council is very problematic, too, “convention’ would be more “truth in packaging”) is “The 16th All-American Council of the OCA (Orthodox Church in America}.”
            And don’t try to get the denomination called “The Church of God” to change its name to “A Church of God.” Or “The First Church of Christ” to change its name to “Another Church of Christ.”
            If the OCA had adopted the following as a title for the council, you’d have a point; “16th Council of All Orthodox in America.” But it did not.

      • I too highly dislike the word “PAN” Orthodox and discuss/argue with people when they use the term. We are all ORTHODOX, and adding Pan makes it somehow seem like we all not all of the same mind or dont share the same beliefs.

        • Patrick Henry Reardon says

          One suspects the expression being sought is “pan-ethnic.”

          This expression IS biblical, of course.

          • Christopher says

            I do not believe we should be interested in “pan” Orthodoxy anymore than “administrative unity”. We should be interested in American Orthodoxy since that is what we all are. To that end, none of the “jurisdictions” are even halfway there. Another reason I believe the demographic decline (to say nothing of the spiritual) will continue…

          • Douglas Cramer says

            Fr. Patrick,

            I’ve found myself using, with some reservations, “Pan-Jurisdictional”, to connote that what we’re primarily referring to is a simple administrative distinction. I suppose it could be said, thank God, that each of our American jurisdictions are all by themselves “Pan-Ethnic.”

    • Stephen, I am in complete agreement that the development of monasticism should play a major role in American Orthodoxy’s spiritual development. At its heart, monasticism is about self-denial and all that comes with it – humility, mortifying our fleshly passions, etc. The world teaches us the opposite – materialism, demanding rights, pursuing one’s happiness, etc, and so self-denial is very difficult (if not impossible) to master while remaining in the world.

      I also agree that good things happen at the grass roots level. This should continue as long as the grass roots adaptations are not contrary to Orthodoxy.

      I don’t agree that “exclusivity is contrary to unity,” at least not without some qualifiers. Orthodoxy has always been exclusive, in the sense of excluding non-Orthodox doctrine, practice, and morals. That has not been detrimental to our unity, but in fact is the foundation of unity. It is precisely when a group within Orthodoxy makes accommodations contrary to historic Orthodoxy that the seeds of schism are sown. A good example is those who are trying to mainstream certain sexual sins. This is schismatic, because enduring Orthodoxy as it will continue through the endure will never renounce the fathers and accept that view. If we qualify the statement to refer specifically to exclusivity based on ethnic, cultural, and petty divisions over things “dubious” (to borrow St Augustine’s word), then it is true that exclusivity is contrary to unity.

      I also don’t agree that the status quo of Orthodoxy in America is acceptable. It violates territial integrity and it means that most American Orthodox are under a foreign patrarch who, in turn, is under a foreign monarch. When you suggest that all Orthodox jurisdictions should shed their ties with the state, you are over-reaching because that is not going to happen in our lifetimes. What can happen is our lifetimes is the first example of a unified autocephalous church with territorial integrity that has no tie to a state. I am the first to admit that this also has pitfalls. Americans have proven themselves prone to accommodation to modern values. There must be something “in the water.” Compare what is taught in American Catholic seminaries to official Vatican doctrine. Look at the decline of mainline protestant denominations toward modernism and liberalism. Look at our own deviations within Orthodoxy on moral issues, especially sexual and gender issues. American laxity will always be a problem we will have to struggle with in order to remain true to the ancient faith. I guess that is a cross we have to bear.

      • errata – the garbled sentence above should read “This is schismatic, because enduring Orthodoxy as it will continue through the ages will never renounce the fathers and accept that view.”

  19. George: Please add me to the list of thankful and encouragers for this Blogsite. I would also like to add that even though a few commenters would like reduce me and some others to nothing more than a catagory (“anonymites”), I can assure you that I and those others are real persons deeply interested and concerned with the holliness of our Orthodox Church here in the USA and around the whole world. So, many thanks and many years!

    • George M. You can also put me in the column of congratulatory and giving a heart filled thanks for your efforts.

  20. “In matters of religion, traditional…in matters of politcs and economics, classically liberal.”

    I suppose you don’t see how antithetical these two things are to one another.

  21. It’s been an interesting year. I know how much time you put in. It’s a real service. Thanks very much.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Wesley, Katherine, Dn Patrick, et al, again: thank you for your kind words. To All: I pray you had a wonderful Thanksgiviing.

  22. A technical note regarding that Facebook group:

    On Facebook, a “closed” group is not “closed for business,” but rather “closed to outside readers.” Members can still read and post within the group. So unless there’s some other announcement about the group that I’m missing, it hasn’t been “shut down.” It just seems to have had its doors closed to outsiders. If the moderators deem you worthy of membership, you’ll be able to read what’s there.

    I’m a member of some “closed” groups myself, and they’re generally still quite active.

    • Fr Andrew, of course you’re right. I thought I was clear that Miss Leonova had not shut down her facebook group but merely closed it people she didn’t want to listen to. Regardless, given the fact that she closed it to outsiders, we can take this to be a capitulation of sorts. Otherwise, why not “listen” to those who disagree? In other words, engage in some real dialogue?

      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

        So, She’s closed Her Facebook group to all but Her chosen people?

      • Given Ms. Leonova’s treatment of those holding opposing viewpoints, the listening was extremely selective even when the group was open.
        I think a closed group allows that group to “listen” only to those with whom they agree. None of that noisy disagreement from those Bible readers! No editorial comments published on other sites.

        Perfect echo chamber!

        And probably less problems for Bishop Nikon, who has his hands full with his health issues.

        Do remember to pray for him….

  23. Yesterday morning our local newspaper carried an article by Kathy Lally of The Washing Post titled “Thousands Brave Cold To Witness Virgin Mary’s Belt” (in Moscow). Wonderful “heartwarming” article, highly recommended reading.

  24. What a hateful site. And, for your information, Inga Leonova’s “Listening: Breaking the Silence on Sexuality within the Orthodox Church” site is alive and well. F,t

    • Yes, the Leonovites are alive and well — and now conspiring in secret to undermine the Church’s condemnation of sodomy. At least the Monomakhoi are honest about what they don’t like.

    • If hating sin while loving sinners and defending the Church of the Living God is hateful, then call me “hateful.” It is a moniker I gladly wear without shame.

    • Jane Rachel says

      Fr. Tom, in your words, what is the purpose of Inga Leonova’s “Listening: Breaking the Silence on Sexuality within the Orthodox Church” ? I want to understand. Where have you seen hatred on this site? Should the Sanctity of Marriage Statement be changed? Do you believe active homosexuals should be allowed to continue to be active and also be regarded as Orthodox Christians in good standing? What if they are not married to each other? To solve that problem, do you believe homosexuals should be allowed to marry in the Orthodox Church? What is the problem within the Orthodox Church now, and what is the “silence on sexuality” that needs to be broken? Would you make your comments simple and clear? Do you have any idea what Father John Jillions and Father Robert Arida are really saying? What changes? What reform? What newness? Someone needs to step up to the plate and give us clear answers. I must be missing something.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Fr Tom, I’m very glad to hear that. I take it then that they are “listening” to you when you preach the Gospel to them.

    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

      Fr. Tom (or whoever you are),

      Calling something you don’t like “hateful” and thinking that comment settles the question is no different than a five year old throwing down his fork because he doesn’t like peas. Stop behaving like a petulant child and pick up the fork.

      In plain English: use the brains God gave you.

    • Fr. Tom says this site is “hateful,” &
      Leonova’s site is “alive” and “well.”
      What does that indicate about his thinking?

      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

        Oh, it”s just another version of “Father Joe Fester is hateful and Mark Stokoe is alive and well.” It goes with the name as it goes with the territory.

    • Fr. Tom, you sound gravely troubled….

      • George Michalopulos says

        Oh no, Helga! Let’s not go down this road again… On the other hand, it is the logical consequence of the can of worms that the Inquisitors critics of +Jonah opened.

    • They’re temporarily in remission.

  25. The Leonova’s group is no different than OCAN was in that Stokoe only posted comments he deemed worthy nor Stan’s blog where he only consults with his chosen minions. All were and are closed groups to one degree or another.

    What is more dangerous is the shunning like behavior that takes place in parish communities where people openly disagree with the pro gay agenda. The closed group sub culture is even encouraged by clergy who consider opposition as hateful, unenightened, reactionary, right wing, and of course not Orthodox!

    So a poster here, “Fr. Tom” calls this site hateful in an attempt to put us on the defensive, yet they close themselves off to debate. Why?

    In the case of Stokoe we now know he did some of his most damaging work behind closed doors in his efforts to destroy lives and promote his agenda. Thankfully, sunlight being the best disinfectant still shines here.

    • In the case of Stokoe we now know he did some of his most damaging work behind closed doors in his efforts to destroy lives and promote his agenda. Thankfully, sunlight being the best disinfectant still shines here.

      Amos, that is quite true. Stokoe’s website was a weapon, but it also turned out to be his Achilles heel, since it allowed us to see the vicious and hateful attitudes and agendas that underpinned his rhetoric.

      As nice as it is to have Stokoe and Leonova’s abuse of Orthodoxy out of sight, the openness of their websites allowed us to keep a finger on the pulse of their movement. Let’s meet their subterfuge with a double helping of vigilance and preparation.

    • ““Fr. Tom” calls this site hateful in an attempt to put us on the defensive”
      The secular progressives can call this site anything they want (hateful, homophobic, bigoted, etc.), but “Us” here will never be “put on the defensive”!

  26. Someone with a name that does not raise any red flags for them should subscribe to that group, and then feed what they are up to to the public. If what they are doing is right, they should not be ashamed to have everyone see it.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Therein lies the rub, Fr: “if what they are doing is right…”

    • Anybody remember the JN1034 blog? It went underground some time in 2009, after posting some horrible things about Metropolitan Jonah. They were also adamantly pro-homosexual.

  27. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    “Hateful”, if by that “Fr. Tom” means hate-filled, is wide of the mark. Perhaps this site inspires “Fr. Tom”‘s hatred? Too bad:.. this says more about him than about Monomakhos.
    As for Frau Leonova’s site being “alive and well,”, well, is that a good thing? H.I.V. is alive and well: so are most tapeworms and slugs and viruses. It would be a far better thing if “Fr. Tom” would enlighten us all as to what he considers to be the beneficial characteristics of said “alive and well” site. I’d be doubtful about the site just because of its association with Frau Leonova. The only thing I know about her is some “hateful” things she posted on Mrs. Steve Brown’s site, now in a state of suspended animation, “back in the day.”

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      Our hierarchical correspondent asks, “As for Frau Leonova’s site being “alive and well,”, well, is that a good thing?”

      Serves me right for coming in late.

      Having not a clue to what this means, I simply googled “Frau Leonova.”

      I got a Russian dating site.

      This is not good.

      • It’s His Grace’s cheeky way of referring to Ms. Inga Leonova, one of the three founder and admins of the “Listening: Breaking the Silence on Sexuality in the Orthodox Church” Facebook group.

  28. I had no idea this site is only a year old! I’ve been reading at least since March, and I just assumed that I was late to the game. I love the site, and congrats on making such a quality project.

    I, too, stand with His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah, as a member of the Moscow Patriarchate. I can assure you that my bishop and priests stand with His Eminence, as well. I was blessed to meet Vladyka twice in the past year, and even had dinner in HB’s house in D.C. (though he was not present). May God grant him many, many years, and keep him encouraged to stand firm!

  29. Anonymous since it's all the rage says

    Nobody has ever been censored from this site, nor have any comments been edited.

    Utter nonsense. Your nose is growing, George.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Au contraire! You were the only person who was removed from this blog and that was done for two reasons: first, you were proving to be quite the bigot and second, my legions of readers were demanding it. As I said several months ago, if it was a contest between well-meaning correspondents who could not abide your bigotry and you –you lose. Therefore, you lost. If you repent of your hatreds you may return. Until then, hasta la vista!

  30. Anonymous since it's all the rage says

    Bigotry? Against whom?

    And your answer makes my point: your statement that “Nobody has ever been censored from this site” is an out and out falsehood.

    • Anonymous since it's all the rage says

      Still awaiting an answer to whom I expressed bigotry against, George. I find your assertion offensive.

      Quote me, please.

  31. Geo Michalopulos says

    Rod Dreher. you were incredibly bigoted against him, comparing your underwear superior to him.

    • That’s true, come to think of it, he was!

      … get the popcorn, sit back, dim the lights and let the drama, “Outraged!” ACT Two, Scene One begin!