About Bloggers

About Bloggers by Fr Andrew Moore. . .

There has been a growing amount of attention on the part of some of the Holy Synods directed toward bloggers.  The concern is there are people on the Internet who are talking and presenting Orthodox topics and articles that the bishops don’t like.

Recently, the OCA updated its clergy guidelines to include the following: “A clergyman may not begin a blog or podcast without the prior blessing of his diocesan bishop. A clergyman cannot separate his priestly ministry and his personal or online communications.“

To be fair, similar language was in previous guidelines due to the inherent risk in blogging in general.  Now, however, the guidelines focus not so much on blogging as on the bloggers

Specifically, Fr Peter Heers, Fr Zachariah Lynch, Fr DN Ananias Sorem, Fr John Peck, Fr John Whiteford, Fr Josiah Trenham, St Anthony’s Monastery, Monomakhos, Patristic Faith, and Orthodox Reflections, among others.

By way of example of this overreaching concern, the OCA Synod recently tasked a newly ordained priest to alert their fellow clergy about the dangers of these blogs.

I’m not a blogger, as I have more than enough to do to keep up with the needs of my parish and my family, but I wanted to understand the nature of the problem, so I made some inquiries.  The following are some of the responses I received:

  • “We don’t like the things they talk about. “
  • “We don’t like their approach.”
  • “They are edgy.”
  • “They are unlikable personalities.”
  • “They are trying to be an Internet Church.“
  • “They are untrustworthy.”
  • “They are rigorists.”
  • “They are traditionalists.”
  • “We don’t like their tone.”
  • “They are haters.”
  • “They are attracting undesirable right-wing types.”
  • “They are dividing the Church.”
  • “They are too controversial.”
  • “They are radicals and insurrectionists.”

When I asked for specific examples, they were not forthcoming, leaving me to wonder if these issues were true or perceived.  That they were perceived is absolutely the case; that they have happened to any great degree is harder to determine.  The accused priests have no canonical charges or accusations against them and Monomakhos has been around for over a decade.  I understand they have had the support of many priests, bishops, and even a metropolitan or two, both here and abroad.    

It’s interesting to note there was no mention made of Public Orthodoxy (Fordham University), Orthodoxy in Dialogue, or Theoria.  Maybe they’re not mentioned because fewer people visit them or maybe they’re not called out because they more closely mirror today’s culture, which frankly to some, is deemed untouchable. 

Although I’m not a blogger, I’ve either known of or had the occasion to talk to a few of the people on this list and I’ve personally never found anything about them to be particularly worrisome.  They seemingly have one thing in common:  They love the Church. 

Now, of course, I am not defending every word that is said by a blogger on the Internet, but neither can I defend every word I’ve said or the way I’ve said it in my 35 years of ministry. 

I would guess every bishop, priest, and deacon feels this way.  In our very public and constant teaching roles, we cannot help but to have wished, at one time or another, we had phrased something differently.  We have all used the wrong words at the wrong time or have articulated a point with the wrong balance or emphasis.

The art of communication in teaching, preaching or even expressing an idea is difficult at best.   In this culture, restraint is often put on plain language by those feigning offense to the point where there are occasions when communication becomes nearly impossible.

It is, therefore, imperative that in dealing with any problem of communication, that we confine ourselves to the actual words uttered and their intended meaning within the context in which they were delivered.

And wrestle with this, we must.  If we are to remain a conciliar Church, we cannot shut down dialog.  The priests, deacons and the laity must be free to share their thoughts that compare or contrast with their bishops for we are all accountable to one another.  Unless one’s thoughts are disordered or disconnected to the heart where Christ dwells, we have little room to object.

If the bishops do not encourage feedback from their priests in discussions involving the people, it shouldn’t be a surprised that the end result will be a disconnect between the bishop and the laity.  This was especially true during the pandemic.  The top-down approach where the bishops assumed the full authority and control over the Church was not well received on the part of the priests or the people.

People were hungry for spiritual guidance during perhaps one of the most stressful times in modern history, but the bishops specifically instructed their priests to take a hands-off approach.  Strict rules were enacted which prevented the priests from caring for the people entrusted to them.  It is during this time that the blogs grew the fastest. 

Is there a connection? 

People turned to bloggers for information because in some cases they knew more about the science of COVID than the bishops.  It was frustrating to them that instead of seeking the wisdom of the greater Church, the bishops relied on insurance agents and attorneys to advise them.  People turned to one another on the blogs for affirmation that they still belonged to the Church and not to the secular authorities.   

Complicating matters, the bishops were often holed up in their apartments not making pastoral visits.  Whole months would go by without their presence.  The zoom services with just a priest seemed off-putting to those who needed community, especially those without extended family who relied on the Church to serve that purpose.  

We all know there is no hope in isolation; the New Theologian tells us it is the very definition of hell.  This isolation was far more destructive to our people than the virus ever was.   This probably applies to the bishops, as well.    

The blogs not only provided information and a much-needed relief from isolation, but allowed people to express their frustrations and fears during a time when the threat of death was eminent.  That historical evidence proved the Church acted differently in past pandemics exacerbated the situation.    

Pressured to obey the decisions of the synods, many priests were treated as hirelings and discouraged from attending to the needs of their parishes.  Priests who had concerns about pastoral care were ignored.  The people who expected a priest would be at their bedside at the time of death were disappointed. 

As the blogosphere grew, people who were already fearful were told by their bishops they had to make appointments to come to liturgy and there would constraints or conditions put on receiving the “life giving mysteries of Christ” all in the name of public health.  This made the synods appear weak in their inability to stave off health officials who threatened our parishes with closures. 

The blogs addressed the needs of the people that the priests were no longer able to do, due to fear and retribution from their bishops.  Several of the blogs exploded with readers and listeners. 

Now, two years later, the priests that were ignored in their pastoral concerns are being tasked with warning our people away from the bloggers who literally kept it together when the Church would not. 

St Mark of Ephesus would not have gotten a blessing for posting his views either.  No doubt he was also told to sit down and shut up while the Church was in peril and falling away. 

But what he was saying could not be silenced, as it came from God, and I suspect more than a few of the bloggers were getting their instructions from God, as well, as they were meeting the needs of the people that we should have been meeting in our parishes.

Is it any mystery why the people are still turning to them? 

When bishops try to shut down and control ideas, it does nothing to ensure they will be heard.  Why don’t our bishops start a blog?  Why don’t they take the issues that divide us into the public square?  They could invite other bloggers to openly air their concerns.  It might be a step forward, as the blogs are not going away.    

Until our bishops regain the voice of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit [in great love], focusing on the needs of the people, many will continue to turn to the blogs.  The blogs are not going away because the truth is not going away.  We continue to have great problems in the Church which have resulted in:

  • Moral outrage regarding the Patriarch of Constantinople’s role in undermining the canonical Church in Ukraine. The attack on the monks in the Larva Caves is particularly hard to take. 
  • Contempt over Archbishop Elpidophoros’ association with political and socialist groups that have temporal agendas, which undermine the eternal message given to the Holy Church.
  • Bewilderment regarding public statements made by Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew regarding their union in 2025.  
  • Concerns about gender mutilation, same sexed marriages, and other issues dealing with human sexuality that are in stark contrast to the Church’s teaching regarding sin, death, repentance, and untimely salvation.
  • Unanswered pastoral questions regarding Holy Baptism and entrance into the Holy Church.
  • Confusion over mRNA vaccines that have proven to be neither safe or effective, that we are now learning can cause severe disability, cancer, and even death in some cases, months or years after the fact.

In contrast to wrestling with these weighty matters on-line, the bishops are overheard in private weighing in on their own matters which frankly most people would find outrageous:

  • I’m a Bernie Bro…
  • I hate Trump and all he stands for…
  • I don’t have any problem with the origins of stem cell lines, and neither should you…
  • There have never been weapons allowed in the Orthodox Church and I forbid guns in the Church. (Even though there is the real threat of violence and the OCA arranged for guns to be brought into the Church during the election of Metropolitan Tikhon.)
  • Orthodox people can vote without any guilt for a pro-abortion candidate even if that candidate advocates for full term abortion.
  • We recommend and encourage the mRNA vaccines because they are safe and effective.
  • We are thankful to Fordham for asking questions that have never been asked before, though the Church is unprepared to answer them.
  • There is nothing as important as the obedience to one’s bishop. (Are we to be obedient to a bishop if he changes Orthodox doctrine and praxis?)
  • The Patriarch of Moscow blessed his troops to rape, murder and commit war crimes.

It was the bloggers who took exception.  Did the bishops acknowledge they must be more careful about what they say?  No.  Instead, they concluded that there is a problem with those who are reporting what they say. 

So, if there is a problem with what bloggers are reporting, is the answer to bring an end blogging, which effectively can’t be enforced as users can sign-in anonymously? 

Or is the solution to tighten up on what one sees and hears from the bishops so there will be no fodder for discussion?  Talking with the people about what they want to discuss rather than autocratically shutting down communication might also be helpful.   

The blogs fill a void.  To shut down opposing views rather than shape them with sound teaching, argument, and dialogue will ensure the bishops continue to lose what little connection they have left with their people.  

Priests in the trenches deal with a variety of very uncomfortable, personal situations every day.  If the bishops remain unwilling to do the same, they will find that the culture, and the people in the Church, will ignore them in equal measure.

The people of God given to these bishops are confused and hungry for their attention.  They want the necessary tools to ward off the many cultural wolves they contend with every day.  They would love to hear the voice of Christ from their bishops but condemnation and criticism of the only venue that remained open to them during an extremely difficult and trying time is not the voice of a shepherd.

The bishops have nothing to fear from the blogs.  They can bring unity to our Church by clearly articulating Orthodox theology and defending that theology to the Church and the radicalized culture.  In the absence of that effort, the blogger, I think, will keep doing the heavy lifting for them.  [Maybe I should start a blog! No…never mind.]

Fr Andrew Moore

St Mark the Evangelist

Great Falls, MT

About GShep

Comments

  1. Antiochene Son says

    If our clergy and hierarchy are afraid of us who reject our godless culture, they can either take it up with Saint Paul and the Fathers, or they can engage in debates with us and prove us wrong. Pulling rank is childish and weak.

    • Nick George says

      AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! Many of those clergy and hierarchs are spiritually compromised because of societal pressures and deal; they could never deal on a reasonably rational basis because of their intellectual paucity (not to be confused with true spiritual humility).

      • Antiochene Son says

        Sadly I see some of our bishops starting to act like Latin bishops and Pope Francis. There is no one less tolerant than those who preach tolerance.

        If our bishops want us to follow them blindly and without question, they had better be impeccable stalwart examples of Orthodoxy. Does that happen?

        • Jeff Moss says

          May God raise up many more bishops of like character as Saint Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, whom we celebrate today.

          “Bishop Cuthbert remained as humble as he had been before his consecration, avoiding finery and dressing in simple clothing. He fulfilled his office with dignity and graciousness, while continuing to live as a monk. His virtue and holiness of life only served to enhance the authority of his position.

          “His life as Bishop of Lindisfarne was quite similar to what it had been when he was prior of that monastery. He devoted himself to his flock, preaching and visiting people throughout his diocese, casting out demons, and healing all manner of diseases. He served as a bishop for only two years, however.”

          https://www.oca.org/saints/lives/2023/03/20/109071-saint-cuthbert-wonderworker-of-britain

  2. This is “off topic,” but the only way I can do this. A year or two ago I suggested people avoid Amazon and ABE Books, etc., when purchasing books online. I suggested bookshop [dot] org. However, after posting something similar on another website, I learned that bookshop [dot] org censors some books, including Abigail Shrier’s “Irreversible Damage” (and apparently all her books.

    Consequently, I suggest taking bookshop [org] off the list. “Thriftbooks” may be a palatable alternative.

  3. If that is what the good father has heard in the OCA, then that confirms what I have long believed about it.

  4. simple solution, invite them to ride with you in a car around randomly, video record it, and slap a catchy title to the videos, post them on Youtube, and ask them the hard questions asked above. Be sure you drive on a highway going 70 mph or more, the bishop isn’t going to try to jump out! Apparently, this is the only way to get an audience with them!

  5. Grateful to Fr. Andrew!
    The Bishops must have NO confidence in us to discern the Truth … if so … then teach it. We are ready to learn, that is why we turn to those who teach the Saints, Holy Fathers, the Orthodox Faith so clearly without CONFUSION. For instance .. we have Hierarchs saying .. “It’s a scandal to not commune non-Orthodox” .. and it is posted on the Assembly of Canonical Bishops … do Bishops think this is a good source for us to turn to?? Bishops are losing credibility NOT because of a few blogs but because these examples of confusion erode our trust. God help us all .. who are co-strugglers together, not enemies.

  6. Very well said. If the bishops thought that specific teachings on specific websites or from specific sources were problematic, they should demonstrate what exactly is the problem with these sources and how these sources are harmful for the faithful, using exact quotes from these sources. The approach of “only listen to what the bishop says” while the bishop says nothing of value about the things that are actually troubling the faithful, is not a respectable position. Blind obedience is not Orthodox teaching.

  7. I have found the “newly ordained priest to alert their fellow clergy about the dangers of these blogs.”

    https://athanasiusoca.org/2023/02/wrap-up-resources-from-the-2023-diocesan-pastoral-conference-in-ky/

    Scroll down to the following and click on “audio” under his name:

    Priest David Galloway: “Becoming Orthodox In Spite of the Internet”
    audio and slides for Orthodox Internet Orientation

    • I listened to about the first eight minutes of his talk. The only thing I can observe is that he is focused on selling an unchallenging version of the Church to gain members.

      He would be of greater value to God if he were focused on spreading the Truth about the Kingdom of Heaven. These are not the same thing. One is a business model, the other is the business of the Church.

  8. BTW, George, how many people have come into the Church based solely on the Monomakhos.

    For those who don’t know, they’ve shown up at Holy Apostles and the monastery. How many would you say?

    A dozen maybe over the last 2 years when you count their wives and families for those who have them?

    • Same can be said for those blogs, Fr Josiah receives between 50-100 catechumens a year, thanks to God!

      • Indeed, he does. I am a big fan of Fr. Josiah.

        I just found out even Jay Dyer ran afoul. He’s probably brought in more than a few, as well! – This video is too funny. Jay Dyer as a “sexy little communist.” He calls yoga pants “yogurt pants”! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBrS3JifutU

        Have you noticed that everyone on the hit list are traditionalists.

        (See the 20:00 mark)

        • If you look at the Keynote presentation (the slides), it lists Public Orthodoxy, Orthodoxy in Dialogue, and The Wheel as sites most to be avoided, using pie chart graphs.

          • I couldn’t bring up the slides for some reason. Thanks for the info. So did they list like 20 blogs or something? Did they list sites in categories like “bad,” “worse” and “to be avoided at all costs?” Curious where we fell. If you could send us a copy of that slide it would be much appreciated. gail.sheppard@usa.net

        • Based on the numbers from his discord, thousands have come into Orthodoxy because of his work and others like him. It is one of the reasons Metropolitan Jonah got involved in that discord for a time working with inquirers and catechumens.

          My own inbox has reflected Jay’s work as in my social media circles people know I’m Orthodox. Some follow through and some don’t but the exposure is real. A friend of mine is visiting an Orthodox Church for the first time tomorrow and has been asking questions for quite awhile. It wasn’t until a few months in that I found out he had heard an interview with Jay Dyer on a nutrition podcast, started listening to other videos that Jay put out, and it piqued his interest in Orthodoxy.

          When I was visiting St. Andrews Church in Riverside, CA last year where Father Josiah Trenham is the priest, I struck up a conversation with one of the catechumens and I asked him how did he discovery Orthodoxy. His answer? Listening to Jay Dyer on the internet.

          • That’s how it works.

            • Footnote: on Sunday at Fr Josiah’s parish for Holy Communion they used 6 Chalices and it still took 25 minutes … just think of that, six.

              Regarding the slides Fr David Galloway presented, he disfigured the icon of the Ladder of Divine Ascent by putting names the OCA dislikes on the demons in the icon, labeling them demons. Disfiguring icons in this way seems an arrogant disregard to holiness and reverence.

        • Paisios H. says

          I realized the truth of the Orthodox Church through Jay. I live abroad, where there are few churches and no English speaking churches. People who are in my kind of situation need and rely on these internet voices. Ancient Faith Radio type sources do NOT cut it.

          • And it’s sad because Ancient Faith Radio used to be the gold standard but as Jay alluded to, they now feature people who are more wok than Orthodox.

            • AFR’s big problem I have noticed over the years is that they outright refuse to talk about problems in the Church. That’s why I can almost guarantee that Jay, Monomkahos, Orthodox Reflections, etc., probably get exponentially more “clicks” than AFR do. People can sense when things aren’t right so they’re naturally going to seek out the truth from somewhere.

    • I found Orthodoxy through an internet message board for Christian mothers way back in 2004. A lovely Presvytera shared the truth of Orthodoxy and then had a blog which introduced so many women to the Orthodox faith. Many of us had never even heard of it but here online found the truth we’d been seeking. All that to say that Orthodox blogging isn’t even a new trend and has been reaching souls for a long time. I’m so glad to see it still continues and I hope it does for a long time. Sad that some want to stop it. Thankful for this article bringing the debate to light.

  9. Fr Andrew: ‘ …responses I received:
    “We don’t like the things they talk about. “
    “We don’t like their approach.” …
    “We don’t like their tone.” …
    “They are too controversial.” … ‘

    Oscar Wilde: “There is only one thing in the world worse
    than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

    Luke 12:1-3

    …he began to say unto his disciples first of all,
    Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
    For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed;
    neither hid, that shall not be known.
    Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light;
    and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets
    shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.

  10. Mark E. Fisus says

    The rule against social media use by clergy is not much different than similar policies across corporate America. In the sentence, “A clergyman cannot separate his priestly ministry and his personal or online communications,” replace “clergyman” with “employee,” “priestly ministry” with “employment,” it addresses the same concern – one’s public communications reflects on one’s employer, whether that is a company or the Church.

    Freedom of speech means freedom from government interference in it. It is not the freedom to force your employer to associate themselves with your speech. If you lose your job, you still have the freedom to speak as you please.

    Moreover, I would read the new clergy guideline within the context of last year’s strong statement statement by the Holy Synod at the All-American Council: “We reject any attempt to create a theological framework which would normalize same-sex erotic relationships or distort humanity’s God-given sexual identity.”

    Why does Fr. Moore think the guideline is directed at the conservatives and traditionalists, and not at the Fordhamites?

    If we are to remain a conciliar Church, we cannot shut down dialog.

    But the Synod made clear that poisonous “dialog” of the kind being promoted by the Fordhamites must be shut down. The discursive prerogative Fr. Moore wants to return to the clergy – it’s a double-edged sword.

    • Because they have a target list and they’re not on it.

    • The fact of the matter is that the conciliar nature of the church has been little practiced of late. The clergy were an afterthought at best. The bishops did not consult their priests who were being informed by God’s people. Conciliaity was not broken between people and priests but has suffered between the parish and bishop.

      • Mark E. Fisus says

        A priest and his parish can still speak candidly to their bishop, just not in public. Nothing in the clergy guidelines prevents that.

        • I don’t think anyone said you couldn’t speak to your bishop.

          • Mark E. Fisus says

            Exactly. There is no loss of conciliarity. These priests can be conciliar in private.

            • I don’t think conciliar necessarily means doing things in private. Not when it impacts the entire Church.

    • Mark, this is a very good point but it’s being used disingenuously.

      How many of those same corporations laud and/or exalt BLM, LQBTQ+, latest ultraleftist nonsense/ Remember twenty years ago when it was expected that employees of certain corporations were expected to donate 5% of their salaries to United Way? Leaving aside the morality of being “encouraged” (read: forced) to contribute to an organization that doesn’t have your best interests at heart, it was later learned that William Aramony, the president of United Way was using this money to pay his mistress as his “administrative assistant.”

      But that’s a story for another day. The fact remains that where the government can’t enforce DIE (Diversity Inclusion, and Equity) in the private sector, they use corporations to do so.

      • Mark E. Fisus says

        What evidence is there that the Holy Synod of the OCA is about to redo their onion dome logo in rainbow colors? The hysteria over the social media gag order is overwrought. Hesychasm means silence, and it’s not a bad thing to expect clergy to set that example for their flocks.

        • “Hesychasm means silence, and it’s not a bad thing
          to expect clergy to set that example for their flocks.”

          Shepherd: “There will be no more guidance.
          Instead I shall demonstrate hesychasm.”
          Sheep: “Ehh…???? What…????”
          Shepherd: “…[silence]”
          Kaa: “Trussst in me, jussst in me…”
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCX5JJwkZhU

        • You are wrong. Hesychasm does not mean silence. Hesychasm is a spiritual discipline of uninterrupted prayer. Don’t abuse terms you apparently don’t understand to justify political decisions. -_-

    • Mark,
      What you have postulated above is not freedom of speech in any meaningful sense of the word. It’s the same argument made by those who are in favor of masks, physical distancing and gene therapy mandates.

      Do you truly believe that someone who has spent years of their life and thousands of dollars to be educated or trained in a certain vocation and to finally land a job in that field should be forced to sacrifice their individuality and thought-provoking opinions at the altar of a centralized power structure that aligns itself with what Hans Boersma calls an “egalitarian nominalist metaphysic”? In my opinion by taking this course of action serves to only suppress what would otherwise be organic and truly conciliar. Not only is this unhealthy but is doomed to collapse upon its own weight.

      • Mark E. Fisus says

        centralized power structure

        For 2000 years, the Orthodox Church has been upfront about being an hierarchical institution. It’s always been buyer beware. If you join the priesthood professing fealty to the Church, but inwardly agitate like a manipulative partner to “change him later,” it’s on you when the Church doesn’t actually conform to your expectations. People must stop projecting their Protestant congregationalist proclivities onto the Church. If you cannot bring yourself to abide the Church’s authority, have the courage of your convictions and leave.

        Do you truly believe that someone who has spent years of their life and thousands of dollars to be educated or trained in a certain vocation and to finally land a job in that field should be forced to sacrifice their individuality and thought-provoking opinions thought-provoking opinions …

        … such as a “theological framework which would normalize same-sex erotic relationships or distort humanity’s God-given sexual identity?” Well, yeah, the Synod seems to think these people should relinquish their intellectual self-pleasuring. What’s surprising is that traditionalists and conservatives would disagree.

        • The Church’s authority comes from each level within the Church. Each has a role and each are accountable to one another. The bishops know they cannot move without us and we cannot move without them. What you’re seeing is the hierarchy at work.

          • Amen. That’s what I love about Orthodoxy, we have a system of checks and balances. Can you imagine what Florence would have been like without St. Mark of Ephesus or the laity. Our bishops shipping us down the river is nothing new.

            • Mark E. Fisus says

              Except this is not a St. Mark of Ephesus moment. It took 1400 years for a St. Mark situation to arise. The LGBTQ situation is not that.

              At Florence, most of the bishops sold out the Church. That is not the case today with LGBT. You can’t provide evidence there’s a lavender conspiracy among the Orthodox episcopate, because there isn’t any.

              In fact, quite the opposite of Florence, the bishops today actually are upholding the true teaching, as recently as last summer with that much needed statement by the OCA against deviant teaching.

              • In the Church, every moment is a St. Mark of Ephesus moment.

              • The LGBTQ situation is not that.

                I would say its much worse.

                At Florence, most of the bishops sold out the Church. That is not the case today with LGBT. You can’t provide evidence there’s a lavender conspiracy among the Orthodox episcopate, because there isn’t any.

                The attacks within the Church don’t have to come specifically from the episcopate.

                In fact, quite the opposite of Florence, the bishops today actually are upholding the true teaching, as recently as last summer with that much needed statement by the OCA against deviant teaching.

                This I will agree with.

        • Mark,
          Forgive me if I’m somehow misrepresenting or misunderstanding what you are saying. With that said, it appears that you are believe the ultimate enforcement of power lies soley with the bishops. As Gail pointed out this is not the case. We as Orthodox Christians adhere to the Dionysian model of hierarchy that enables all within the hierarchical structure to obtain the likeness of God. By contrast the modern centralized system of hierarchy does not allow any movement toward anything transcendent, you are nothing more than a static cog in a wheel expected to obey the subjective whims of the demi-gods of the zeitgeist!

          • Thank you, David P. Well said.

          • Michael Bauman says

            One rule applies to us all, especially during Great Lent(Remember Great Lent)
            Matthew 4:17
            “From that time Jesus began to preach saying ‘Repent; for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!”

            That is how to heal the Church Not forcing others to.

            Forgive me, a sinner.

            BTW:
            The only reason I still come here is out of brotherly affection for George and Gail.

            • Tis the season for repentance. – No one is forcing the Church to do anything. We don’t have that power.

    • “The rule against social media use by clergy is not much different than similar policies across corporate America.
      /…/ replace “clergyman” with “employee,” “priestly ministry” with “employment” “

      No, the Church is not a corporation. The Church is a community of lay people, clergy, episcopate, as well as all dead Orthodox Christians. It does not belong to the episcopate, which is only a part of it, and the only “employer” there is God.

      And while obedience has its role, conscience answers only to Him. And conscience does not allow us to remain silent.

      “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.”
      —Ephesians 5:11

      “Do not obey the bishops who advise you to do and say and believe what is not for your benefit.”
      —St. Meletius of Antioch

      “Why does Fr. Moore think the guideline is directed at the conservatives and traditionalists, and not at the Fordhamites?
      /…/ But the Synod made clear that poisonous “dialog” of the kind being promoted by the Fordhamites must be shut down. The discursive prerogative Fr. Moore wants to return to the clergy – it’s a double-edged sword.”

      This is obviously directed against non-conformist traditional blogs. The latter was apparently added in an attempt to try to make it less obvious.

    • Rev Jonathan Whirley says

      The Constitutional First-Amendment-protected God-given Right to Freedom of Religion also carries with it the same general understanding of this particular type of Freedom from US Federal Governmental regulation, oversight and management; vis-à-vis the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment to the Constitution for the United States of America, as so declared in the Bill of Rights — thus virtually effecting a “Wall of Separation” between Church and State, whereby which the State is now prevented from illegally intruding into the overall-Constitutionally-protected lives of US religious faithful under unconstitutional scope of abridgement of their collective Right to Freedom of Religion from US Governmental control; unlike within the former days of the 13 North American Colonies of the British Empire, wherein which the British Imperial State-Established Religion was, and is to this day, the Anglican Church: with the reigning Monarch of England functioning as both the legally-recognized Head of the Anglican Ecclesiastical Communion, as well as the ultimate Guardian of the Anglican Christian Confession of Faith.

      However:

      This begins to be steadily and ever more exponentially progressively lost whenever any Constitutional First-Amendment-protected Religion in this Republic applies for, and receives, official US Federal Governmental legal recognition via specific departmental grant thereby of IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit corporate charity religious organizational entity tax-exempt status, in a legal process known as “incorporation”.

      This is how Constitutional First-Amendment-protected Religious Organizations in this Republic can thus effectively become legalized corporations within the context of the legitimate quotidian public sphere — simply by allowing the US Federal Government to take legal notice of their otherwise-Constitutionally-protected Free Exercise of Religion, and thereby actually unironically-so-ironically serving to render the Wall of Separation between Church and State ever-increasingly more and more porous over time, until finally the Church may one day suddenly realize, with a sudden start or even a profound shock, that it effectively actually has allowed itself to become a freely-elective good-faith-auto-generated-and-invoted Enforcement Arm of the State for the Greater Good of the Univeral Cosmocratic Order: all in exchange for a bland and tasteless mess of insipid scot-free mysteriously-sourced and ever-so-rightfully-pursued-yet-curiously-always-elusively-happiness-fulfilling quasi-apostatic pottage.

      But, hey:

      At least that Gustatorily Desolate daily feast of dubiously-provenanced semi-GULaggish comestible fare happens to come by our directionally-general religious organizational habitation singularly departmentally exclusively so; courtesy of the Executive Branch of the US Federal Government.

      Oy, Gevalt:

      Such A Deal.

      Solution:

      Deincorporate!
      Deincorporate!
      Deincorporate!

      [Just try not to muck it up by being a God-awful Dalek about it this time, 007.]

      No Governmental protection is worth that type of hastily-proffered and overly-lopsided ultimate existential trade-off, IMHO;

      FWIW —

      Not even should one happen to be a member of the OCA.

      And with that, my brethren and sistren, I will simply say this:

      On the whole, I’d rather be in Philadelphia.

  11. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    But I thought the Bishops wanted dialog? They wanted dialog over abortion, gay marriage and trans right, right? Why not dialog over other issues????

    Head scratcher. Kinda like they are hypocritical? Naw! Go back to sleep. Yawn!

    Peter

  12. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    Unanswered pastoral questions regarding Holy Baptism and entrance into the Holy Church.

    Until the Bishops answer this very important question, I do not take what any bishop says seriously on any topic. Do your jobs or take off the Rasso and go get a regular 9 to 5 job. It really is that simple.

    Peter

  13. I have met dozens of catechumens the past couple years who list many of these bloggers when I ask how they heard about Orthodoxy. May these bloggers’ efforts be blessed! We left an OCA parish whose fear/politics during covid shrunk their numbers and found a faithful priest in another jurisdiction who grew his church exponentially with converts during covid. And despite many families eventually leaving our nutty region, our new church family grew so big that we literally had to bust out some walls for more room, glory to God! Why would the OCA Bishops not find joy that the Kingdom of God is growing?! Hope the OCA learns from this test. We cradle Orthodox grew up reading books about brave saints who served God in the face of danger. We don’t want anything less for our children. In the same way, converts know they found the true Church when their priest is bold in the face of evil. If they wanted wishy-washy religion, they could’ve found that anywhere.

  14. DigitalWarrior says

    Thank you, Fr. Andrew, for having the courage to write this.
    There are so many issues, very real issues we face in our daily lives that our bishops remain silent on. We need to hear their voices. We need them to have the courage to speak truth to the myriad lies the world presents us.

  15. Fr. David says

    “Specifically, Fr Peter Heers, Fr Zachariah Lynch, Fr DN Ananias Sorem, Fr John Peck, Fr John Whiteford, Fr Josiah Trenham, St Anthony’s Monastery, Monomakhos, Patristic Faith, and Orthodox Reflections, among others.”

    Ironically, I sent out quotes from many of these sources during the covid nightmare and received some criticism for that but, overwhelmingly, our people loved it and we grew by leaps and bounds during the Covid nuttiness. There is “blessed” obedience to Bishops but there is also such a thing the “blessed” disobedience when the bishops are in error. And they were overwhelmingly in error during Covid. What do all of these questionable bloggers have in common? They are looking to restore “Traditional” Orthodoxy. May God God bless all of them in their efforts to do so.

    • Well said, Father.

    • “Fr Peter Heers, Fr Zachariah Lynch, Fr Dn Ananias Sorem, Fr John Peck, Fr John Whiteford, Fr Josiah Trenham, Monomakhos“

      I learned so much about my faith over the past 15 years from all of the above sources and have grown incredibly in my Orthodox faith during that time.

      I still often check out the “official” OCA website since I still love the OCA with all my heart — it’s where my initial formative time with my faith took place 25-30 years ago now — but the official OCA’s desired audience now appears to be boomer leftistwomen and soccer moms, along with white Protestants who don’t want to deal with tough topics. I am none of that.

      Young men (I’m no longer considered young though!) and many seeking young women push boundaries, are bold, ask tough questions. All of that should and must be OK. God created them that way. God wants young men to be with Him as much as He wants 75-year-old white ladies to be with him.

      All of the above listed individuals/websites are not afraid to meet seeking and questioning young men (and many young women) where they are. Their lack of fear and trust in Christ to lead the growing and demographically changing American Church is so important.

      The official OCA (and definitely the official GOA) seem deathly afraid of young men/women who are bold and ask difficult questions but who genuinely love and seek Christ. No idea why, but it’s no wonder that many OCA/GOA parishes seem to just want the young seekers, lost and tired of western nihilism – of whom there are literally millions in America today – to simply shut up and go away. It’s so sad.

      Milquetoast parishes who don’t want those who ask tough questions or discuss difficult or uncomfortable topics are on track to form the ECUSA of tomorrow.

    • They are looking to restore “Traditional” Orthodoxy. May God God bless all of them in their efforts to do so.

      Well said Fr. David.

      If Orthodoxy is going to survive and thrive here in America it will have to be “traditional” patristic Orthodoxy, otherwise it will not make it.

  16. Fr. Andrew Moore
    AXIOS
    Thank You

  17. Antiochene Son says

    Saint Paul would be a blogger or YouTuber if he were alive today. He went into synagogues and the Aeropagus to engage, and yes, debate with people.

    And if these weak men were bishops in the 1st or 2nd century, the Church would have utterly died out because of their weakness.

    The church survives today in spite of them, not because of them.

  18. John Outen says

    I came to an OCA parish in a time of despair. Fr Trenham was instrumental in my journey in a manner to inspire my own self inquiry. My experience with the Orthobros is they are heavily dependent on technology but there is limits on wisdom being conveyed. You need context of relationships to understand one another. The online world can limit understanding. Relationships have to be built. Many can say things without knowing their audience. Some things can appear edgy or cruel. I have spoken to many priests. Every jurisdiction has its foibles, lacks something we need each other. I did not look for the perfect because He has come. What I see is brokenness in world that is being reconciled. Open debate is neccesary but we have those that look to the Fathers who tranversed deserts, went into exile and prayed in sketes and caves over long periods of time with reflection and wrestling with ideas. We demand instant reaponses in digital landscapes that does not take the time to reflect or ponder is there there time to meditate on matters? Slow down get out from a screen take a walk in nature and talk to God. Bloggers are not elders but neither arw we. Theres room and time to be about our Fathers business and live out something that is authentic.

    • Orthodox bloggers are voices crying in the wilderness.
      They point out errors and steer people to the solution;
      which is the Church in which Jesus Christ is to be found.

    • Illumined says

      My experience with the Orthobros is they are heavily dependent on technology but there is limits on wisdom being conveyed. You need context of relationships to understand one another. The online world can limit understanding. Relationships have to be built. Many can say things without knowing their audience.

      “Orthobros” only use technology to teach, for example I’ve seen many of Father Heers lectures and over and over again he’s told people either to stay in the church if they’re thinking of leaving because of scandal, or to find one. At no point has he ever suggested otherwise.

  19. James O’Keefe: It’s Time to ‘Decentralize’ Journalism
    https://www.theepochtimes.com/james-okeefe-its-time-to-decentralize-journalism_5131509.html

    ‘In the wake of his public split from Project Veritas, investigative reporter James O’Keefe has launched a new venture that aims to put the power of the media in the hands of everyday people.

    The goal, he said, is to “decentralize” journalism.

    “What if there was a way to empower and mobilize journalists, citizen journalists, and decentralize journalism—you know, in the same way that Uber did for the taxi?” O’Keefe asked The Epoch Times’ Senior Editor Jan Jekielek, host of American Thought Leaders, in a March 16 interview.

    “What if there was a way to do that for thousands and thousands of people?” he wondered. “You might say, ‘Well, that’s impossible, that’s too difficult.’ Well, that’s the mission that I’m embarking upon. And I think that I have the ability to do that.”

    O’Keefe launched his new media company, O’Keefe Media Group, on March 15, roughly three weeks after he was ousted from his position as board chairman and CEO at Project Veritas—the undercover journalism organization he founded in 2010—amid an investigation of his spending habits.

    “When you’re really good at something, they’re going to try to tear you down,” O’Keefe said on Thursday. “Envy, resentment, ego, power, control, what have you. And I experienced that. But I don’t think it’s a bad thing.

    “Ultimately, I think it’s a blessing because it taught me a lot and we got to … build something on a grander scale. It sort of liberated me to achieve the mission that I’ve always wanted to achieve, which is to decentralize and to build a vast army of citizen exposures.” … ‘

    O’Keefe comes out fighting…
    There’s lots more in the article.
    The fat lady ain’t sung yet!

    • “. . . O’Keefe has launched a new venture that aims to put the power of the media in the hands of everyday people.”

      But wasn’t that supposedly the aim of the internet itself? Putting the power of the media into the hands of the people?

  20. Good response to this at Byzantine Texas blog:


    Trolls Are Self-Employed

    Clergy, by dint of our profession, often come onto the Internet to say things much as we would in a parish setting. But the Internet is not a parish. As such, we often find ourselves in situations without the proper orientation to move about successfully and fall headlong into the muck.

    The Internet is not your home

    In a church, you often know the people with whom you are speaking. There is a certain measure of trust you have for them and they have a respect for your office if not for you specifically. No one is paying the laity to be there so people who don’t want to be at church simply aren’t. Further, if someone is curious or concerned about what Father X really meant, they can walk over to him at coffee hour and ask.

    No such dynamics are at play on the Internet. Online there should be no presumption that the people reading what you have to say have any affection for what you wrote or you personally. They didn’t get up early to drive to your church, didn’t stand patiently through your homily, and don’t have to engage with you in the fellowship hall. They might not like you particularly much at all.

    The Internet is all about sifting and sorting. Billions of things are being said every minute and so immediate decisions are made about the merits of anything you post. You aren’t the single religious voice in a room full of hundreds of people. You are an almost random person saying something while 4.9 billion other people are doing the same. These are not the same activities and the gravitas of one venue does not in any way transfer to the other.

    Asymmetric warfare

    So, when someone says something rude about your blog post or tweet or YouTube video, the worst possible response is to fall back on your degrees or position or lofty titles. The Internet is a marketplace of ideas where sixteen year-olds garner millions of views and staid McLaughlin Group-types are so much detritus. Your ideas matter, your presentation matters, but your credits do not. Appealing to them looks weak and invites mockery (not sometimes, every time).

    The question is not “Will someone say something unexpectedly rude for almost no apparent reason” but “How often will someone say something unexpectedly rude to me… today.” A priest in his narthex that gets told off by an older woman for not showing up to pirohi making on time can kindly ask her to step into his office and talk it out. There is no remove to which a priest can go to resolve disputes online.

    The alternative – arguing – is even worse. Imagine entering the boxing ring and not being able to throw a punch while your opponent tees off on you relentlessly. You as the priest are bound to things like decorum and forgiveness and rising above such bellicose pursuits. The netizen is free to pull your trunks down, kick you when you fall over, and take a photo with his phone.

    Your best route is to calmly state your opinion, provide proof texts, and be polite to a fault. Ad hominem should always be avoided because there is no recovery from such a tactic. Finally, you need to remember that you can always walk away from a conversation. With a wife, family, parish, and all the attendant responsibilities, you have things to do. The person you are talking to might be on his second Monster drink and have no plans for the foreseeable future. Simple resource management should tell you that you are not equipped for a protracted argument with someone who quite probably has no interest in conceding to you on anything.

    Who is going to clean up this mess?

    What you do in a parish rarely spills over onto the Internet. But whatever you say online becomes the “hot goss[ip]” among your parishioners. It’s not great when you “win” the argument, but it is so much worse when you very publicly lose. And losses online are screen captured and traded like Pokémon cards for decades.

    A good rule of thumb is that more quickly you can respond to something, the less time you can take to think of the ramifications of your actions. A tweet can be sent off in seconds that will create such a stir that you will spend years cleaning up the mess. And, even if you can delete it, nothing is ever truly deleted from the Internet. Instantaneous communications should paradoxically be junctures for more time in reflection before posting, not less.

    Trolls are self-employed

    You have a wonderful job. Your wife and kids might occasionally make you late for church or spill something on your sermon notes, but you love them. You might have some cantankerous parishioners, but one day you’ll be called to care for them in their illnesses. You have car notes, rectory expenses, and groceries to buy. You have a bishop who can call you at any time and redirect your life in any way he sees fit. The troll is beholden to no one. He’s self-employed in his trollery. You can’t fire a troll, but he can make your life miserable all the while getting even more “clout” and Internet adulation while he does so; a sword is the wrong tool against the Hydra of Lerna.

    The Internet has brought thousands of young people to our doors. I have college-aged youths showing up at my parish every Sunday and you probably have them in yours too. It has been a blessing to us. In fact all of the people I will be bringing into the Church for Pascha found Orthodoxy online. The Internet is essential in our evangelical efforts, but it is not free from conflict. Conflict is in fact the primary draw for attention online so it is doubly important that you can engage online without being a casualty to it.

    You don’t have to like everyone

    I will finish on this idea: some of the very people with whom you might have differences in the online Orthodox world are the exact same people bringing them to your door. Without naming names, we have rigorists on one side and progressives on the other that advocate for the Church but may do so in a way that you feel is unhealthy or out-of-balance. Speaking ill of the people who your inquirers probably very much admire – given that they listened enough to come see an Orthodox church for themselves – is not going to go over well. You can bring people to Orthodoxy without burning the bridges they are using to get to you. And, my goodness, are the trolls living under those bridges going to have something to say about you trying to burn down their homes.

    http://byztex.blogspot.com/2023/03/trolls-are-self-employed.html

    • And losses online are screen captured and traded like Pokémon cards for decades.

      That’s why I have to ask, why in God’s Name did the AOB YouTube page think it was a good idea to post that video of Met. Methodios. 57 scathing comments on that video…and 1 positive one.

  21. I found out about Jay Dyer towards the end of my conversion to Orthodoxy but have been listening to him ever since. Because of his theological talks on the errors of Roman Catholicism he erased whatever doubts I had left about conversion to Orthodoxy.

    I’m not alone in that, his Discord has ~8K people on it, many being inquirers/catechumens and his videos get thousands and thousands of views. We will probably never know the number of people who he has brought to Orthodoxy but it is undoubtedly a large number.

    Fr Peter Heers, Fr Zachariah Lynch, Fr DN Ananias Sorem, Fr John Peck, Fr John Whiteford, Fr Josiah Trenham, St Anthony’s Monastery, Monomakhos, Patristic Faith, and Orthodox Reflections

    All of the above mentioned are what kept many of us sane during the insanity of 2020-2022, and even continuing now. Monomakhos helped me not to think that I was going crazy over that time period not buying into the coof.

    On top of that, I know for a fact that Fr. Josiah & Fr. Peter have brought many to Orthodoxy like Jay has.

    If our bishops are going to decry the rise in prominence of those individuals then the only people they have to blame are themselves. They are the ones who shut us out of our parishes, essentially told us to live in fear and forced us to find community elsewhere. So I have no sympathy for their complaining about Fr. Josiah, Monomakhos, Orthodox Reflections, or anyone else.

    What they really don’t like is that they are now being called to task and being held accountable for their words and actions. And they really, really messed up sparking a fight with Jay. Anyone who has listened to him over the years knows that he doesn’t shy away from a fight at all and he’s not afraid to take people on, even clergy, who deserve it. He also has a massive platform to be able to do it, and I would not be at all surprised to see all of the above mentioned bloggers, Monomakhos included of course, band together and take them on. And to that I say, may it be blessed.

    Thanks be to God for Fr. Andrew Moore, if he’s in the OCA and in Montana then that means he’s under Archbishop Benjamin, who has caused me issues over the years. Thank you for your courage to speak up Fr. Andrew.

    • Antiochene Son says

      Well said! Maybe if our clergy more openly talked about how RC theology is wrong, rather than playing pat-a-cake with RC clergy and secretly hoping for reunion in 2025, there would be no need for Jay Dyer.

      But as such, he is filling a void, and until the Very Concerned™ among the clergy and hierarchy fills that void themselves, they are just going to show themselves to be irrelevant.

      • But as such, he is filling a void, and until the Very Concerned™ among the clergy and hierarchy fills that void themselves, they are just going to show themselves to be irrelevant.

        I think they have tried to over the last couple of years, more notably with the Burning Bush Brotherhood (not sure what came of that?), but, by-and-large the clergy have remained openly silent but privately resistant/concerned.

        I can’t even begin to tell you the number of clergy I have talked to in the GOA, my old spiritual father included, who are very concerned about what is going on in the GOA. Yet, almost all of them are too afraid to speak up because of retribution.

        Part of me thinks that the converts that all of the above mentioned people are bringing in are part of the “new crew” that Met. Neophytos spoke about and are the ones who are counteracting what these bishops/priests and “theologians” are trying to accomplish. They aren’t able to because of the sheer numbers, even in the Greek Archdiocese (even unseeming as that may be).

        Something else that all of this has exposed is that even though the GOA hierarchy are very suspect, they are far from the only jurisdiction with problems and the fight needs to be taken to the OCA, Antiochians and any other jurisdiction that has people trying to subvert it.

  22. With any media, a simple question should be asked: Does it inform or inflame?

    I think that is the real issue with “the Orthosphere.” If it brings more heat than light, that is something to consider. Many bring up St. Mark of Ephesus, but it has to be remembered that he was an ascetic and man of prayer. Does the internet encourage real prayer? Is spitting fire about Patriarch Bartholomew conducive to a proper inner life? I think this cuts to the heart of the matter. Two points to consider:

    1.) Does the internet foster Church cohesion, or does it contribute to factionalism (in some instances creating a para-church)?

    2.) Is it even helpful to orient a person towards Christ? Is a Catechumen fostered in developing their inner life, or are they looking to receive the cross to “slay monsters”?

    • I was born and raised Orthodox but nearly every young convert I have met was led to the faith by what you describe as the “orthosphere”. Some of them have been in the Church for years, and I’ve only seen them grow in faith. Internet is an extremely useful tool for evangelism and for reaching the people most in need of the true Church, spiritually lost youth.

  23. Ioannis,

    I agree that the internet is useful, and in our era, disengagement from it is not an option. However, the defensiveness of some bloggers misses the larger point being made: Are we doing it right? And by right, I mean keeping Orthodoxy front and center.

    The “orthobro” caricature exists because there are some who fit it to varying degrees. Does a person wish to become Orthodox, or do they want a chaplaincy for their political views? This is a very real question, and it goes in both directions. Those who agitate to change Church teaching also want this chaplaincy, but “their way.”

    I also agree that painting with broad brushes is not helpful and wrong. I certainly would not lump Father Josiah or Abbot Tryphon in with Jay Dyer. The former work with the full blessing of their bishops, and have accountability (and excellent ministries that I would recommend). Who is Jay Dyer accountable to? That is a red flag, and it isn’t out of bounds to point this out.

    • Antiochene Son says

      I would argue that the reasons for becoming Orthodox don’t ultimately matter. I have known a couple of converts who converted for rather bad reasons. But they were faithful, and Christ mellowed them out and transformed them.

      Perhaps if we had more faith in the transformative power of Christ and were less interested in perfection on day one, this wouldn’t be such a big issue.

      Converts have zeal and it’s not a bad thing. Many of them are only taking the Church at its own word, and maybe the ability of longtime Orthodox to nuance away reasonable concerns that converts have is itself a problem.

    • “… be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.” 1 Peter 3:15-16

      Since when do we need an episcopal blessing to “be ready always to give an answer to every man” for our belief or to tell our own story as to why we accept truth and reject error?

      Again, if these monitors of “unauthorized” content were going after Hyphen Girl and the Fordhamites I might take them seriously. Their silence on that score leads me to suspect that they on some level sympathize with those who are in accord with the broad way that leadeth to destruction. Thus they reserve their fire for those who embarrass them before the great, rich, and powerful of this world, whose good opinion they seek.

  24. Christine says

    Of all the topics for the OCA Synod to chose to address… They are so incredibly out of touch with reality, and their deliberate choice to not use the most basic technology to evangelize in this era is nothing short of scandalous. The OCA website is a joke. Its audience is clearly 80 year old priests, not those seeking or wanting to deepen their faith. Where are the videos, educational or promotional? Just put yourself in the mindframe of an inquirer and visit the OCA website (OCA.org). You’ll be inundated with links to administrative and business news about pension plans, committee updates, death notices. Nothing for an inquirer’s heart to hold onto. Where have they shown any effort to create an accessible online educational program? Their social media presence is limited to sharing pictures of the metropolitan’s travel or obituaries of matushkas. During the pandemic, OCA churches installed cameras in sanctuaries as a means to keep parishioners connected. (And even churches of just a few dozen faithful STILL have cameras in them and post recordings of services online–for what reason?) I am embarrassed by the OCA’s inability to “get it” on this point–namely the development of educational and promotional resources using technology. But I am even more embarrassed for them that they are now criticizing the resources that the faithful have developed on their own as a means to fill the vacuum that they themselves have created. Instead of wasting precious time talking about the blogging activities of their faithful, how about the OCA Synod spend that time developing a communications plan of their own???

    • Well said.

    • Christine,

      Great comment. Echoes sentiments that I’ve had for years.

      My personal opinion is that much of the problem is that for decades the OCA’s target mission demographic has been disaffected white American protestants (former Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians, etc) and some mainstream Catholics. WASPish culture is also the environment that most cradle Orthodox in the OCA grew up around and feel most comfortable – they/we know very well how to operate in that environment. (I also grew up in this culture, am cradle Orthodox, am very comfortable operating in a western protestant cultural landscape).

      30 years ago this WASPish culture probably represented most of the converts joining the OCA. However WASPish culture in America has changed considerably – the mainline protestant churches are now a total joke and are in freefall collapse, for those that haven’t collapsed already. Anyone who’s interested in seriously being a Christian has already left mainline protestant churches, except in the South and Midwest, where some mainline protestant churches continue to be fairly traditional and at least try to be faithful to Christ. I think the Fr Alexander Schmemann and Fr John Meyendorff generation of the OCA did not predict this freefall collapse of western protestantism — I think they were counting on faithful American protestants to provide the bulk of Eastern Orthodox growth in America.

      The recent drama with the OCA wanting to relocate SVS highlights the generational disconnect. To many of the Hopko generation in the OCA (I love Fr Thomas Hopko, by the way… so no disrespect to him!!), SVS should and must stay in New York. But that’s not where the center of Christian growth in America is. SVS is now probably alone in trying to be a center of traditional Christianity in metropolitan New York City. Back in the 1960s, there were still a good number of traditional Catholics and Protestants in that region. There aren’t anymore. It should be a no-brainer — SVS and even the OCA central church administration should have relocated to Dallas, Texas, or to the American heartland in Kansas or Nebraska years ago.

      There’s a lot of institutional resistance to change, I think. The OCA of 2023 must be able to speak to the tatted-up 25 year old who’s emptied out from American cultural nihilism and who just wants to get to know Christ. Not many senior generation OCA clergy know how to do that well – that generation seem to be most comfortable missionizing to disaffected former respectable WASPs. This generation still has a huge amount of institutional weight in guiding how the institutional OCA moves as a Church.

      Fr Turbo Qualls and Fr John Valadez are among clergy who know how to speak to the 20-30 year old young people who are starving, who hunger for Christ, and who need to be met where they are. Unfortunately some senior east-coast OCA clergy are turned off by this edginess and just aren’t comfortable with it.

      My 2 cents, for what it’s worth, prob not much.

  25. Britain supplying depleted uranium rounds to Ukraine
    https://declassifieduk.org/britain-supplying-depleted-uranium-rounds-to-ukraine/

    ‘ The UK will send “armour piercing rounds which contain depleted uranium” to Ukraine, for use with the tank squadron donated by the British army.

    Defence minister Baroness Goldie made the admission yesterday in response to a written parliamentary question from crossbench peer Lord Hylton.

    Goldie said: “Such rounds are highly effective in defeating modern tanks and armoured vehicles.”

    Russia has previously warned it would regard the use of depleted uranium in Ukraine as a ‘dirty bomb’.

    Kremlin official Konstantin Gavrilov said in January: “If Kyiv is supplied with such shells for NATO heavy military equipment, we will consider this as the use of dirty nuclear bombs against Russia with all the ensuing consequences.”

    Depleted uranium rounds have been linked to cancer and birth defects. They were fired extensively by allied forces in Iraq.

    The rounds are radioactive and scientists believe their toxic effects on human health can continue to be felt long after conflicts have ended.

    A White House spokesperson refused to confirm whether the US was supplying such rounds to Ukraine when asked by a reporter in January.

    Britain is sending 14 Challenger 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine. ‘

    Imbeciles!

  26. I’m not sure it’s fair for anyone to lump Jay Dyer in with the actual priests who have channels on youtube. Jay doesn’t present himself as a priest, he just presents himself as a dude who is Orthodox and has a lot of opinions. As a private individual he can do this, so I’m not sure what the “beef” is.

    On the other hand, I wonder if the Orthodox leadership isn’t concerned that the youtube priests will say or do something that will possibly make the church look bad in public and so they want more control over the public “face” of Orthodoxy? When you see a priest giving a presentation on a certain subject, and you are outside the Orthodox Church, you automatically think he is speaking on behalf of the whole church. If this is correct, then the leadership may have a point to a certain extent.

    Also, the church is renowned for not liking change, so it’s not really a surprise they haven’t immediately embraced these internet “ministries”.

    Having said all the above, one can’t ignore the good both Jay Dyer and these priests have done to bring in converts and provide comfort to those who were disenfranchised during the lockdown. They were a large part of why I converted to Orthodoxy, but not all of it.

    At the end of the day, I think the real reason some of the leadership is against social media is because they don’t like the challenges being presented by these conservatives. Their pushback against the burgeoning apostasy that is creeping in to the Church by way of support for gay marriage, ecological fascism, etc. is forcing some of the leadership to be confronted with their own sinful attitudes, and as the old adage goes when you don’t like the message, shoot the messenger.

    • One bishop flat out denies the bishops made Galloway anything, which is a relief. I suspect they’re going to clip his wings on the Internet, at least for awhile, and this will go down as Galloway’s first lesson in how NOT to “win friends and influence people.” If he’s motivated, he’ll learn from this.

      I would imagine most priests find their new role pretty much all encompassing. Galloway hasn’t yet made that transition. What he did was short sighted and frankly stupid which is the problem I have with a steady diet of gaming, fantasy literature and play acting. People lose their sense of reality.

      The Internet is also a venue that can lead to the same problems because it allows people to spar with one another. The written word becomes an imaginary sword.

      Finally, it can lead to narcissism believing that everyone is hanging on your every word. When you start thinking that your day-to-day routine is important to other people, you’ve got a problem.

      If I were a bishop, I would tell my new priests to refrain from saying anything on the Internet, or even having an opinion on anything to do with the Church for one solid year until they get the hang of being a priest. I certainly wouldn’t let them have a Patreon site or sell anything! The problem is the bishops don’t know when this stuff is happening until it blows up in their faces. I’m sure it would never occur to them to look this deeply into what a new priest is doing which is why I asked that final question.

      Now they know. Let’s see what they do with the information and if Galloway goes along with their suggestions. IMO, he has a significant addiction that he’ll have to face head-on and I doubt it will be easy, but God willing, he will embrace the priesthood as heartedly as he does the Internet.

  27. Deacon John says

    Why are they called”blogs”?

    Hyphen Girl and the Fordhamites? Sounds like a bad 70’s rock group

  28. I think we don’t need an “episcopal blessing” to give an account of our own faith, but at the same time, for a lot of these internet outlets, it goes beyond that, and the folks doing it step into “teacher” roles. They become “spokesmen” for Orthodoxy. Political punditry bleeding into the Faith. Does our Orthodoxy inform our politics? Or do our politics inform our Orthodoxy? There is too much of the latter (in both directions), and I think THAT is the heart of the concern.

    I agree that nobody comes to Orthodoxy with 100% pure motives, but at the same time, there should be a process of formation. Does this media help in that formation? For some, perhaps. But for others, definitely not. I am convinced that the “definitely not” category is larger.

    https://stevenchristoforou.substack.com/ Here is Steve Christoforou’s substack (the “Be the Bee” guy). Interestingly, he has been reconsidering the whole enterprise of internet apologetics and youth ministry in general. Given his history and role in building that internet presence, he is uniquely positioned to take stock. I don’t agree with everything, but he does have some on point criticisms.

    Another interesting point: Jay Dyer himself asked his twitter followers if he should stop talking about theology (in a moment of self-reflection).