About that “New Rome” Thing. . .

One of the many silver linings of this current international crisis is the growing sense of clarity that is being forced upon us. Not merely the diminishment of illogic and stupidity, but the actual augmentation of the virtues (if only in their absence).

We know what courage, Aristotle’s first first virtue, is. And our leadership classes don’t have it. In spades. Likewise with thumos, or righteous anger. There is a lot of anger out there to be sure, but it’s not righteous, not in the least. What we are seeing on the streets of America, at present, is nothing but orchestrated madness and demonic fury. There is nothing redeeming about it all. It’s all in the service of evil; not just the violence but things like the castration of little boys or sending our legions abroad to make the world safe for anal marriage and abortion.

Likewise, there is no magnanimity, frugality or temperance to be found anywhere in the public sphere. Or any of the other virtues. We do however possess a surfeit of the opposite of the virtues: duplicity, cunning, profligacy, indolence and so on.

As Christians, we are called to be nothing if not resolute. We are ordered to go “to the ends of the earth” and if that means going into the arena, so be it. We often fall short of it. I myself am no paragon of virtue and at the end of the day, I doubt that I will ever be accused of fulfilling the Christian mission in all its particulars. (On Judgment Day, I plan on throwing myself at the mercy of God and admitting guilt on everything, begging for His mercy.) Like many of you, I know that I am in the world; however, like many of you I also recognize that we should not be of it. Lord knows, I try.

That’s not the point of this essay, however. For too long, too many of our hierarchs, priests and lay luminaries have proven to be very comfortable with being “of the world”. Think of all the Christian politicians who have acceded to those things that were once considered horrible. I won’t go into the details except to say that I’m talking about things like abortion; they are merely the tip of the iceberg. Indeed, abortion is now in the rear-view mirror.  The next stop being outright infanticide. It’s only a matter of time before statues of Moloch are erected in the public square and live babies are tossed into their burning bellies.

What causes this desire for so many of us to “yearn for the greetings in the marketplace”? Pride? Soft living? Gluttony and other (more vile) vices? Does it matter?

Once a man becomes used to such accolades, he becomes addicted and he forgets what it means to be a leader. Processes, protocols and intrigue become more important than simply stating the truth. Obsolete canons that are taken out of historical context become the be-all and end-all of sermons –the ipsimmi verbi of Jesus, His very words–not so much. Preaching Christ crucified becomes an embarrassment. Instead social justice buzzwords become the order of the day.

When a churchman accedes to the world and its accolades, he becomes a slave to the passions. Five-star hotels and swanky destinations are desired over homeless shelters and soup kitchens. The order of the rank is all, not virtue; the letter of the law overtakes its spirit. Rubrics become more important than the Gospel. Because you see, this is how we make man the servant of the Sabbath; this is how Canon 28 becomes a weapon to stifle Christian unity and sobornost.

And then, soon enough, the charms of this world overtake the soul and become the end, not the means. But not without exacting a price. The divine spark, that exists in each man, still recognizes the ideal. And to those men who are not seduced by the world, that ideal sees ever more clearly how rotten the world is and how illogical and irrational its guiding principles are.

To be sure, the contradictions are magnified, even for those who are fine with things as they are but their obeisance to the temporal order prevent any escape. Like the character of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the lure of the Ring of Power is overwhelming. Its allure becomes the essence of that creature’s existence, even as it degrades and corrupts that pitiful being’s body, mind and soul.

And so it is with many of the denizens of “New Rome”, a fantasy that is as seductive for some as the Ring was for Gollum. In his desire to always possess it, that pitiful creature typifies the animating spirit of many within the Church of “Constantinople”, a city that hasn’t existed for over half a millennium. Not just its hierarchs, priestly luminaries and theologians, but the best and brightest of its laity. The Ring is nostalgia for a time and place that no longer exists (or will exist). It so degrades common sense and ordinary decency that it encourages grown men to play-act as if they were children playing Cowboys and Indians. Only this time without bicycles and toy guns.

To maintain control of this fantasy ever more ludicrous qualities are ascribed to this defunct city and its hierarchy. Qualities which are beyond the bounds of Christian humility. Grandiose and vain titles have multiplied over the centuries in inverse proportion to the losses that have been heaped upon that once-proud city. Titles and prerogatives that are in fact quite unseemly. Laughable even. And yet, they are slathered on businessmen depending on the amount of money donated to this defunct patriarchate.

The contradictions in such a grand opera become apparent soon enough. We are constantly reminded that Constantinople is not an ethnic enterprise, that the Council of Constantinople condemned “ethno-phyletism”. We are not told that it was done so in order to punish Bulgarians who wanted a native bishop for the people in that city. And then when things get really desperate, the current patriarch reminds everybody that the Slavs “will accept” whatever he says because they have to. This is because of their natural inferiority to “our nation” (i.e. the Greeks).

Other contradictions abound. The uneasy and ill-conceived unequilateral triangle that is the Phanar, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and the Greek government has confounded the Gospel at every turn. The fact that there is a puppet-master named Erdogan behind the scenes only adds another layer of decrepitude to this sordid tragicomedy.

And that is why today, the 24th day of July in the year of our Lord 2020, we will hear the sound of the muezzin announcing the Islamic call to prayer from the minarets of Hagia Sophia. Rather than stand in the door of that magnificent edifice and blocking entry, the “Archbishop of the New Rome” and his entire panoply of metropolitans of extinct dioceses and knights with stock portfolios are nowhere to be found.

Instead, they continue to play Byzantine games and are making preparations for their next golf outing at a five-star hotel back in the United States.


  1. They are a disgrace and an embarrassment. If the other Churches are wise, they will distance themselves form the play-acting EP. They would also be wise to finally have the Courage to stand up and condemn the abominable schism that was created in Ukraine. But I’m not holding my breath…courage does not seem to be in great surplus these days.  If Metropolitan Tikhon of the OCA is paying attention, he would also be wise to stop mimicking the actions of the clueless Elpi.


    The GOA’s day of mourning is pathetic. They are admitting defeat. It’s the position of a loser. And most importantly, it’s not the faith I signed up for. 
    How can any EP bishop criticize the reversion of Hagia Sophia when their own minions in Ukraine are seizing churches? What comes around goes around.

  3. William Tighe says

    Recep Erdogan in English and in Arabic, Or, Something Was Lost in the Translation:
    Erdogan in English: Hagia Sophia’s doors will be, as is the case with all our mosques, wide open to all, whether they be foreign or local, Muslim or non-Muslim.

    Erdogan in Arabic: Revival of Hagia Sophia is a sign towards return of freedom to Al Aqsa mosque.

    Erdogan in English: Opening Hagia Sophia for worship is merely an exercise of our country’s sovereign rights.

    Erdogan in Arabic: Resurrection of Hagia Sophia is a greeting from our heart to all cities symbolizing our civilization. From Bukhara to Andalusia.

    • William Tighe says

      It occurs to me to wonder what Erdogan said in Turkish, that is, whether it was closer to what he is supposed to have said in English, or to his Arabic version.

  4. George Michalopulos says

    Well, it looks like Erdogan pulled the trigger. Prayers started today at 10:00am and will continue for 24 hours:


  5. George Michalopulos says

    More fun stuff in case you were wondering:


    Looks like all that boot-licking that the Phanariotes are famous for has finally paid off. Oh wait! May Epiphany Dumenko and his “autocephalous church” will come to Bart’s rescue!

    • Gail Sheppard says

      From the article: “As Muslims thronged in and around the great cathedral, reported Middle East Eye, “someone shouted loudly: ‘Taqbir!’ And, the crowd enthusiastically yelled: ‘Allahu aqbar!’” The cry of “Allahu akbar,” as it is more commonly rendered in the Roman alphabet, means “Allah is greater,” i.e., greater than your god, and Turks today are making no effort to hide their supremacist delight. Jihad terrorists have often shouted “Allahu akbar” while attacking infidels, and chief 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta explained why this is so in the letter he wrote to himself before carrying out his jihad mission: “When the confrontation begins, strike like champions who do not want to go back to this world. Shout, ‘Allahu Akbar,’ because this strikes fear in the hearts of the non-believers.”

      • Antiochene Son says

        This is why no Christian ought to ever say “at least it’s a house of worship again.”

        Every recitation of the Salah in that building is a divine judgment against us from God. May he forgive us and make us worthy to have it back in our hands.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          You’re right, AS: A museum is infinitely better.

          • Read Acts7:48. God does not dwell in temples built with stone. The Turks conquered Constantinople and can do what they wish with Agia Sophia. The Orthodox Church can continue to proclaim and live the Good News of salvation and new life I Christ even if Agia Sophia is a mosque. The GOA should be more concerned with its state of terminal decline.

            • Michael Bauman says

              So, JK the sacramental consecration of a temple is just symbolic claptrap?  Oh and of course if you follow the logic of that Jesus Christ did not  actually incarnate.  

              • Mike, you have got me on your last statement. I have no ideawhat you are talking about.

                • Ronda Wintheiser says

                  JK, are you not Orthodox???

                  • “JK, are you not Orthodox???”

                    I’ve gotten the impression before that he’s a Protestant, or else a Protestant convert that was never properly catechized.

                    For instance, Jk (July 4, 2020 at 8:37 am, And the Moms Have It!):

                    “Heaven is not going to be occupied by worthy people or nice people but rather by forgiven sinners. We do not earn salvation. Salvation is a free gift we receive and then express the gift through good works. There is a sense of Pelagianism that characterizes many of the posts on this blog.”

                    When Orthodoxy is literally considered “Semi-Pelgianism” by academics and Western theologians.  Whereas, Orthodoxy has an entirely different starting point due to “original sin” (inheriting the literal guilt of Adam/Eve) vs. corrupt/fallen nature (closer to Orthodox Judaism than the West honestly), and so of course diverges further in how God is saving us (mostly present tense for us).

                • Michael Bauman says

                  JK, “Mike” is not an appellation that I respond to.  “Mike” is a ex-pro basketball player and/or an electronic instrument for amplifying sound.  Michael is the name of an archangel. Although entirely unworthy of bearing that name, it would be worse, IMO, to turn it into a nick name. 
                  Orthodox churches are consecrated to Jesus Christ and that consecration is forever.  Now, I understand there is a service for “unconsecrating” a temple but I do not know if and how that is used. 
                  The Orthodox faith is incarnational or it is nothing at all.  It comes from the statement in the Nicean Creed…He came down from heaven and became man.   To understand the depth and ramification of that statement I suggest reading the Orthodox classic, “On The Incarnation” by St. Athanasius with the forward by C.S. Lewis.  
                  The sacramental nature of all of our services and blessings is to bless and, in some cases like marriage, create an incarnational reality of heaven and earth.  Re-sanctifying God’s good creation, us and many of the artifacts we make from food to homes to temples.  God is everywhere present and fills all things in an intimate and personal way. That is why during the consecration of the Bread and Wine into the Body and Blood, the celebrant says, “Thine own of thine own we offer unto Thee, on behalf of all and for all…” In a similar manner a building that is consecrated as a temple is already His, but it is being offered up to make it even more his. During the service, the walls are all “scrubed” to make them ritually clean. It is not a small nor inconsequential reality.
                  Whatever Hagia Sophia is, it will never be “just a building” again. It has been set apart.
                  That does not mean that there needs to be any sentimental attachment to it as appears to have happened among many of the Greeks. It too will pass away.

                  The verses in Acts 7
                  44“Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as He appointed, instructing Moses to make it according to the pattern that he had seen, 45which our fathers, having received it in turn, also brought with Joshua into the land possessed by the Gentiles, whom God drove out before the face of our fathers until the days of David, 46who found favor before God and asked to find a dwelling for the God of Jacob. 47But Solomon built Him a house.
                  48“However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says:

                  49‘Heaven is My throne,And earthisMy footstool.What house will you build for Me? says the Lord,Or whatisthe place of My rest?50Has My hand not made all these things?’
                  indicates nothing different and we Orthodox have been consecrating things and people from the very beginning. To use the verses in an iconoclastic manner that does to recognize the holiness in consecrated things is pretty much anathema to the Orthodox faith.  

                  The difference is to realize that there is not just one temple (contra the Jews) and not think as the pagans in which a temple captures the “god” so that it “lives in that place and animates it.  Those beings are, in fact, demons.  
                  In short to deny the ability and necessity to sacralize the created order is to deny the incarnation of Jesus Christ and relegate Him to “the heavens only” and our salvation becomes a magic trick.  That is not only a lie, but a heresy in the Orthodox Church if taught as a doctrine.  
                  Hope that explains it better.  As Ronda implies, I was using a short hand that most Orthodox believers would easily understand.  
                  Sorry to confuse you.  May His mercy and blessing be with you always.

                  • Joseph A. says

                    This is a great brief response, Michael.
                    “That does not mean that there needs to be any sentimental attachment to it as appears to have happened among many of the Greeks. It too will pass away.”
                    The Hagia Sophia was the principal cathedral in Christendom, and it symbolizes Christian Constantinople as a whole and therefore the Christian Empire and so Christendom; it evokes an ideal (never perfectly realized but always the goal) of an orderly, richly endowed civilization that models itself on the gospel and divine law. Modern Greeks now live as the despised, backward dogs of the demonic E.U.. where their elites frequently offer incense to (a pagan) Caesar. Is it any wonder that their hearts grieve?

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Joseph, all of our hearts grieve for the loss you describe but that does not mean that we should ever be attached to a building.  After all if we really carried the Kingdom within, we would still have a dynamic Orthodox culture.  As it is now we just give the Turks a weapon to gig us with–not just the Greeks.  

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      We’re not just suffering over the loss of St. Sophia. Having it become a mosque is further evidence of something we can no longer ignore: Christians are being persecuted, not just in certain pockets of the world, but globally.

                      Turning a universal symbol of Christianity into a mosque is the slap in the face it was intended to be. It stings.

                  • “Although entirely unworthy of bearing that name, it would be worse, IMO, to turn it into a nick name. ”
                    Tell that to literally every Slavic guy called Misha!

                  • It takes a true hyperdox herman to object to the use of a diminutive on the grounds that it somehow disrespects an archangel. Something is deeply wrong with the American Church when you get this kind of thing happening.
                    Grisha (a diminutive for Gregory of Nyssa that the most pious – and frankly holy – of babushki use routinely for me)

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Greg, probably true in all respects but I must note that I do not care what other people call themselves.  They can answer to Mikey-Wikey Ding Dong. However when the nickname is directed at me it sends shivers of displeasure through me.  I am sure the rest is a way to rationalize an irrational reaction. I just do not like Mike or wish to be called Mike.  The rest is just my hooey as you rightly point out.  Thank you.    

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Nor should you have to be called “Mike.” Sorry, I didn’t pay more attention to this, Michael.

  6. Sage-Girl says

    Succinctly said Gail — 
    Oh dear God, our collective Orthodox KARMA has officially, resolutely slapped us!
    but I hear Saint Paisios whispering, it’s a matter of Time … give it a little Time, we shall retrieve our Hagia Sophia … just wait upon the Lord?

    • Orthodoxy does not have karma.
      Please, just stop with this. We have our own system of beliefs and terminology. Please stop muddying the waters with oriental and new age stuff.

      • Sage-Girl says

        Karma is just another word for what Bible says: “As you sow, so shall you reap”…
        OR in simple English:
        What comes around, goes around.
        Your welcome?

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Frankly, “karma” is diametrically opposed to Christianity for it precludes redemption and mercy, which are the very cornerstones of our Faith. Consider the thief on the cross: every single thing he did that put him there was erased by Christ in an instant. There was no “karma.” Krama, for him, would have meant permanent and irrevocable death. Instead, he is sitting at our Lord’s table. . . or so we are taught in the Church.

          This is why it is so important to listen only to the Church’s teachings. The things we intuitively think are true fall short of the Truth, as taught by the Church. And what the Church has to offer in this instance, is a more complete understanding of Scripture. To sow and reap does not mean karma. It means that because we are created in the image of God, we are creators. We also have will or intention. If we put our energies into that which is edifying, that is what we will reap. If we squander our gifts on the not so edifying, we reap nothing.

          But it does not imply there is a fixed law at work here, i.e. if you do X, Y will happen. In other words, it does not mean if you do a friend a favor, a friend will do a favor for you at some point down the road. However, doing right by a friend will be edifying even if you receive nothing in return. ESPECIALLY, when you receive nothing in return! Because the act of doing something good is good in and of itself. In that sense you reap what you sow.

          • Sage-Girl says

            I get it now …  so it’s “Grace” ?
            Can we say, the thief on cross already suffered for his sins + his acknowledgement of Christ got him in Paradise — unlike the other one who had no appreciation of Christ ?
            p.s. can anyone explain where the Hindus/Buddhists got these concepts of karma + reincarnation?

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Whether or not he suffered from his sins, you are right on point when you said it was his acknowledgement of Christ, our merciful redeemer, who changed his life in an instant. No karma for him.

            • Michael Bauman says

              I can not be precise and I do not know if there is an actual answer a good cultural anthropologist should be able to give an approximate answer.  It is quite ancient
              It comes out of the pagan mythos though (which is not entirely wrong) that the entire creation is alive and has a consciousness to it.  Plus it is interconnected in palpable ways.  Thus the forces of nature and other aspects of life are personified. Even the passions are personified and deified to some extent.  
              What is presented for western consumption is a tailor made marketing plan BTW, not the full meal deal.  They actually do worship idols to this day.  They still have temple prostitutes as a friend of mine witnessed on a trip to India a few years ago.  AND, they do persecute Christian missionaries even killing them from time to time.  In part because Christ offers a radically opposed understanding of man, God and our interrelationship.  

            • The answer to your question is demons.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Sage-girl, according to the internet, the Bhaghava Gita is over 5000 years old. It likely reflects a much older verbal tradition. Reincarnation is a quite logical explanation to address the natural cycle of the seasons as death and rebirth. It is part of many pre-Christian faiths. I suspect it persists because it is so logical.
              The principle of karma and the transmigration of souls also logical in terms of man’s attempt to find justice in the world and sense to the pain and suffering. It takes no great leap of faith.
              The personification of various elements and even our passions as gods is what creates a playground for demons.
              Even there the truly discerning were blessed to see a still greater truth through it all—the Spirit of Truth. From there gurus developed some of the veiled, hidden truth, some demon oriented.
              The ancestors of the Hebrews were given a more complete understanding which was also passed down verbally around camp fires undoubtedly by anointed elders. One of the keys to the old testament account that sets it apart is the absence of “gods”. It has always been truly monotheistic. That is something that can only be revealed not naturally perceived. Other pagan attempts to collapse the pagan multiplicity into one god are not true monotheism.
              The faith that it took the ancient Hebrews of the oral tradition to persist in the genuine monotheism of Yahweh was immense and itself God inspired. It was the preparation for the sacred yes uttered by Mary, “Let it be done unto me according to Your Word”.

              God’s Incarnation did not “replace” the other natural understandings as ” something better”. It was the complete revelation of the Truth as He always has been. God is not linear. The revelation of God in Jesus Christ is the way it has always been-yesterday today and to ages of ages worlds without end.
              The rest is and always has been, at best, incomplete. At worst wholly demonic like the many, many that involved child sacrifice. Still present in our own culture in which the goddess Woman has the sole perogative to choose and offer to the priests.
              There is no Darwinian style evolution of thought.
              The Orthodox Church for all our faults, sins and transgressions is the only faith that has the fullness of the Truth. As with the ancient Hebrews we also have God annointed elders to pass on that fullness. But it is not necessary for them to be the only way into the fullness as the Sacramental structure of the Church and our consecrated priesthood contains the fullness for all to taste and see that the Lord is good.
              We often approach in prostration, lamenting that “we have no wedding garment” but within that same lament is the heartfelt cry that He, and He alone “make radiant the garment of my soul oh Giver of Light and save me!”

              His mercy endures forever as the avenue to Theosis (Union with Him). It is, like Jesus Christ filling all things.

              Only those who reject His mercy are condemned.

          • Alleluia, Gail!

            • Sage-Girl says

              Yes — Alex, Basil, Michael, I get it now…
              Jesus incarnation blew away those ancient concepts of  “karma” by His Redemption — Jesus’ Forgiveness overrides — overpowers  — Everything that came before or after…
              I remember hearing an ex teacher of Buddhism declare that he read in some ancient text that Buddha himself said “ In 500 years someone greater than I is coming to this world – to take on our samsara”

        • Saint Isaac the Syrian points out that God is not just, so a direct causal relation between a negative act and a negative act is not necessarily true. It rains on the just and the unjust alike. Only the Lord, in His inscrutable judgement and knowledge, knows why things happen to people, as it is always according to His plan and desire for them to be saved. So, people don’t necessarily ‘get what’s coming to them.’
          As I’ve said before on here, if we claim to be Orthodox Christians and want to discuss matters like this, then we need to use the proper terminology. The Fathers at the council of Nicaea were not happy to settle for a misplaced iota (“not one jot or one tittle”), so we definitely need to avoid using entire words that have no place in the Orthodox lexicon.
          We have providence, judgement, wrath, but no karma.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Sage-girl, karma is totally incompatible with Christianity let alone the Orthodox faith. But it deserves to be taken seriously. Syncetism does not work.   That was why I posted the verses from Timothy.  Sound doctrine does not include playing at prophecy, pseudo Hindu jargon, fantasizing about spiritual elders, etc, etc.  
      The 1960’s came and went along time ago and, trust me, it was not much fun and almost nothing that was true.  

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        We got married in the Summer of Love, and that was good!

        • Gail Sheppard says

          George and I got married in one of the worst years in recent history, but it’s good, too! (May say more about the person you’re marrying then when, I don’t know.) If George and I hadn’t gotten a blessing to be married in the Church by our bishop when we did, we may still be waiting. God is good.

        • Michael Bauman says

          One of the few bright spots of truth to endure–but it was not founded on the mish-mash of spiritual garbage of the time but on a much more enduring truth that in Christ husband and wife become one. 

  7. The One who made the mountains has no interest in a giant glob of stones, except perchance to wake up stony hearts.  Constantinople fell to the Moslems in 1453 when the Orthodox, having lost faith in the Lord, turned to Egypt (the Roman Catholic West) for help.  The Hagia Sophia has been a mosque ever since, except for the past 100 years, when it has been a museum:  a monument to the desecration of Holy Orthodoxy by her children.  Desecration carried out by the ecumenist, syncretist, modernizing garbage spewing from the Phanar and being parroted by every other patriarchate.   Desecration funded by their parishioners who put up with — or maybe even agitate for — the disfiguring of Holy Orthodoxy into something more comfortable, more compatible with modern priorities and fantasies.  These patriarchs give copies of the Koran as gifts!  They consecrate a war cathedral drenched in Soviet symbols!  They send congratulations to unbelievers on anti-Christ “holy” days!   Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin.  The Lord has judged.  Holy Orthodoxy is not an ancient cultural artifact to be displayed in a giant museum.  Is it a cultural artifact in our hearts?

  8. Here’s a tale worth the telling:
    “The Brave Greek Priest Who Held a Divine Liturgy
    in Hagia Sophia in 1919″

  9. Fr. Deacon John says

    My Diakonissa and I have been to Agia Sophia twice.  The fee was 17 euros each, each time. We were appalled by the desecration on both visits.  The structure is magnificent and one has to wonder how it was built with little to no machinery 1,500 years ago.  Now the desecration is complete and we won’t be going back. The old saying is “to the victor go the spoils” and the Turks, and the Persians before them, have always taken that to heart in everything they conquer.  

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      Well, they did conquer it forty years before Columbus sailed the ocean blue. If their title isn’t good, my house title probably isn’t either….
      Yet I still take my title to heart!

  10. Johann Sebastian says

    Someone needs to get on this Milenko fellow’s case…
    Our people should be preaching against these heretics with the same vigor.

    • John Sakelaris says

      Thanks for the alert.    I just finished listening to the one-hour agony of his YouTube diatribe against Orthodox Christianity, put a thumbs down on it and made the first comment, pointing out some of his worst errors and distortions. 
      Others need to get on that link and comment as well, making it clear that these bigoted videos will get an Orthodox response.    

      • Gail Sheppard says

        I tried to listen to it, but I just couldn’t get through it. I’m glad you did, however. Someone needs to comment on it. What is wrong with these people?

        • George Michalopulos says

          John, I second Gail’s thanks.  The older I get the less time I have for stuff such as this.  Still, somebody’s got to do it and I’m glad you did.

          • John Sakelaris says

            The man we see speaking on this horrible video is not actually named Milenko.  No, the YouTube video was made four years ago by Steven Anderson  of the Tempe, Arizona “Faithful Word Baptist Church.”    Here is a link to that original video:

            No comments can be posted or read on that version of the video now.  

            And here is a Wikipedia article which shows the hateful style of Steven Anderson.

            <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Anderson_(pastor)&quot; rel="nofollow

            So many boos to Steven Anderson, but then who is Mark Milenko, the one who very recently re-posted this nonsense?   I do not know.  As another comment below indicates, it appears to be a Slavic name, possibly Ukrainian.    The Mark Milenko YouTube channel has re-posted many of the Steven Anderson videos,  so Milenko may not be especially singling out the Orthodox.   It seems that Protestants are now about 2% of Ukraine's population and with Protestant missionaries there can sometimes come extremism.   Milenko may be a very troubled person.  

            Other Monomakhos readers need to go to the re-posted video, listen for as many minutes as can be endured, and then give it a thumbs-down and some critical comments.   Again, here is the link:


      • I couldn’t listen to more than 5 mins of it. Would have been interesting to hear more — if I have more time — to help me understand where some on the other side come from, but it’s a busy weekend.

        A few thoughts on the brief part that I did hear:

        (1) These people are not Christians, at least by how Orthodox Christians define Christians. As Met. Jonah says about some hardline Calvinists, these folks follow a bizarre philosophy of life that draws on Christian imagery and symbols and on Biblical text, but they do not know how to follow Christ.

        (2) The entire premise of his “sermon” is nonsensical: “Orthodoxy in Light of the Bible.” Only in America would this claptrap resonate with anyone (and I’m an American, so I know…). Our Church *compiled* and *developed* the New Testament as the Holy Scripture, to be used *in* and *by* the Church. If there’s any validity to the line of thought that the Bible should not be read outside of the context of life in the Church (which I do believe, if I’m being honest), then this dude’s fake-sermon is “Exhibit A” in why the Bible should not be read or used outside of the context of the Church.

        (3) Anti-Russianism is so deep rooted in America that I do believe that this underlying framework is the reason that there remains much antipathy toward Orthodox Christianity among some Americans who hate the Orthodox Church. Plus, if this dude is intellectually consistent at all, then if the Orthodox Church is the way toward Christ, then he must come to the Church. Perhaps he is so fearful of potentially being drawn to the faith that he responds by vehemently attacking her — in the way of “Saul,” before he became St Paul.

        (4) More of our church leaders need to be vociferously calling out stuff like this as Not Christian and should not be fearful of doing so. Much of the secular world despises Christianity, and what this dude spews forth is the reason why. We all know that this garbage is what passes for “Christianity” to most Americans who (thank God) reject it. He calls President Obama a “queer sissy” at the start of this sermon. Regardless of what one thinks of President Obama, this is not something that any Orthodox Christian pastor would ever think of saying in a sermon. I imagine that this dude thinks that approaching God through the Cross — the *only* way to approach God — is cowardly and weak for a “real man.”

        Our Orthodox leaders in America need to speak out against this garbage as a gross distortion of the Christian faith. Young Orthodox Christians hear this stuff and get confused. Many are easily swayed by the winds, since overall catechism in our churches isn’t great, and we live in a land hostile to the Orthodox faith. This dude may call himself a Christian, but we need to clearly spell out that a Christian he ain’t.

        (5) His name is Mark Milenko — clearly a Slavic (? Ukrainian) name. I imagine that some or many of his forebears were Orthodox Christians. Perhaps someone should tell him.

        • “As Met. Jonah says about some hardline Calvinists, these folks follow a bizarre philosophy of life that draws on Christian imagery and symbols and on Biblical text, but they do not know how to follow Christ.”
          To get a better grasp of how these people think, I recommend “The Private Memoir and Confessions of a Justified Sinner” by James Hogg. You can read about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Private_Memoirs_and_Confessions_of_a_Justified_Sinner
          But nothing beats reading the actual book. It takes Calvinism to its logical limits and shows the horrors that can result from that. It is chilling – and all the more so for Hogg being a Calvinist himself. He knew whereof he wrote.
          Scottish History is full of such…

        • Re: Milenko:

          Never underestimate the hostility of many Ukrainians toward Russia and Orthodoxy. All the more so if they are Uniate or Protestant. Recall also that Alexander Vindman, a key witness in the impeachment fiasco, is of Ukrainian descent. He just had an op-ed in the Post defending his treachery: https://nypost.com/2020/08/02/impeachment-witness-alexander-vindman-says-in-op-ed-doing-whats-right-matters/

          Recall also the late Zbigniew Brzezinski’s (Polish) hostility toward Russia and Orthodoxy.

          These are all old hatreds originating from the Cold War and prior history in the region. Russia was formerly an empire. Empires make enemies inasmuch as they control territory inhabited by ethnic populations other than the dominant ethnicity of the empire.

          The enmity is often primal and tribal, not measured or reasoned.

    • Johann Sebastian says

      Here’s another gem from our so-called “Christian brothers.”

      • John Sakelaris says

        Johann, this video was also very troubling.    The theme seems to be to encourage happiness among their small group of Protestants over a soon-to-come Armageddon that will bring Jesus back, regardless of the many Orthodox and Catholics who are believed to be doomed to die in the process, as they are seen as not really Christian.    

        I watched its 13 minutes of nonsense, gave it a thumbs-down and made a comment.   Others on here might want to try that as well.  

        • John Sakelaris says

          But, alas, my comment has been taken down.    Just my thumbs-down remains.   
          Still, holding our noses and experiencing some of this nonsense is a useful way to let us know how much we (and sometimes the Catholics) are seen as the “other” by some in the English-speaking world.  

  11. I guess all the pandering and compromising that Patriarch Bartholomew has done did not end up paying off…what a surprise. Me thinks this should be strike 3 (or 4, or 5) for the patriarch

  12. Of course it’s tragic that Hagia Sophia is now officially functioning as a mosque, but I simply don’t understand the high levels of emotional pain and drama around this fact. It’s not like Istanbul was just conquered by the Turks last week.

    Hagia Sophia hasn’t been under the control of the Orthodox Christians for more than 550 years. It’s not like a group of Orthodox Christians could have gone there a month or two ago to celebrate Divine services if we wanted to.

    I’m honestly pleased that the Turks are no longer pretending to be kind and now have all their cards out on the table, so that the world (or at least, those who care about this issue in the world, which is “not many” in the secular West) sees that the Turks are not some secular nation like France that just happens to have been Islamic at one point.

    Our evangelical protestant friends did their 5 min Breakpoint podcast on this issue the other day. It’s well worth listening to:

    They mention the Armenian Genocide, but fail to include in there the Greeks. It was very much a genocide of both Armenians and Greeks. Pontic and Cappadocian Greeks were expelled and exterminated by the Turks (this is how St Paisios ended up leaving the Cappadocia region of central Turkey during the times of the extermination/genocide — he was born in Cappadocia).

    A not-well-known fact is that about 40% of the Ottoman Empire’s population was Christian at the time of WW1. The Christian (basically the Armenian and Greek) birthrates in Ottoman Turkey well surpassed those of the Muslims, which was a major reason behind the Armenian/Greek expulsion and extermination: the Ottoman Turks did not want their country to eventually have more Christians than Muslims, as was projected based on the birth rate patterns.

    Look, everyone but the most secular Westerner knows that the nation of Turkey is a bully often disguising itself as a sheep and a victim. Yes, individual Turks are indeed made in God’s image, but as a country that must be reckoned with, Turkey is not a benign world player like Switzerland.

    The world continues to conveniently ignore the Turkish invasion and occupation of Cyprus, as it has for the past 45 years.

    Turkey’s goal for decades has been to coddle favor with wealthy Westerners, which it has had much success at doing. Lately, Turkey has taken to bullying ignorant Westerners into supporting it, at whatever the cost — and there really hasn’t been must cost at all to Turkey, if any. The Turkish government well knows that the”woke” western narcissists will only fight those who are already neutered and fail to project their own power, thus Turkey remains immune from being on the receiving end of international outrage.

    I do pray that St Paisios is correct, in that Russia will eventually reclaim Hagia Sophia and Asia Minor for the Orthodox Christians. Until then, I think it’s delusional to think that the Hagia Sophia situation of today is any different than it was a year, or even 20 years, ago.

    Unless, of course, one is an ardent Phanariote who has lived in delusion for years. In that case, I can understand tremendous grief about Hagia Sophia these days. Yes, the Patr of C’ple will now further decline into worldwide irrelevancy, if that is even possible. Wonder how much longer the imbecilic mass media will continue to call the Patr of C’ple the “leader of the world’s Eastern Orthodox?” (!) What stupidity and ignorance.

  13. The entire student body at Halki is going on strike in solidarity with the former headmaster.

  14. Gregory Manning says

    As usual, Alexander Mercouris’ insights into the Russia/Turkey/Hagia Sophia issue are illuminating. The whole video is informative but the significant part begins at the 14:25 mark. Special attention at 23:52.