“An Appeal to the Third Rome”

[Editor’s note:  it was a little over a year ago when we first published this piece, addressing issues raised by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano.  If anything, we think it is just as timely today, one year after the onset of the Russ0-Ukrainian war.]  

These are not the words of Russophiles or Putinist fanboys.  Nor were they spoken by ultra-Orthodox “zealots.”  Instead, they were spoken by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, a Roman Catholic archbishop.

This is a show-stopper; a game-changer by any definition.

Archbishop Vigano is well-regarded.  Indeed, he is widely admired by many, not all of them Catholic.  This speaks well of him.  He is not afraid of speaking the truth to power, unlike so many prelates in the Catholic and Orthodox Church.  He is clear, concise, and unwavering.  His words will pierce the heart of any Christian.    

Recently, he wrote a very long and sober analysis of the present situation in Ukraine.  Given the level of anti-Russian hysteria that has consumed the world at present, it’s surprising that he is able to speak these words at all.  The fact that he is Catholic shouldn’t give us pause.  God is not one to be contained.  He works in whom He will.  We know His voice and at the moment, it’s coming from Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano.  

The good archbishop doesn’t mince words as you can see what he believe in the title itself:  https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/abp-vigano-globalists-have-fomented-war-in-ukraine-to-establish-the-tyranny-of-the-new-world-order/

He is in fact an old hand at this;  after all, he did warn the American people about the Deep State which was feverishly working behind the scenes to undo the populist rebellion led by President Trump.  He then went on to warn his fellow Catholics that there is a “Deep Church” as well; one which has done much to undermine Roman Catholicism.  

The entire essay needs to be read.  No one part of it is less important than another.  They are all crucial and present a powerful case against the globalist system which has ruined Ukraine.  That said, one of the things that jumped out at me was his penultimate sub-heading:  “An Appeal to the Third Rome.”  This is the show-stopper I mentioned earlier.  Here is the relevant passage:  

“The world crisis with which the dissolution of traditional society is being prepared has also involved the Catholic Church, whose hierarchy is held hostage by apostates who are courtiers of power. There was a time in which popes and prelates confronted kings without concern for human respect, because they knew they spoke with the voice of Jesus Christ, the King of kings. The Rome of the Caesars and popes is now deserted and silent, just as for centuries the Second Rome of Constantinople has also been silent. Perhaps Providence has ordained that Moscow, the Third Rome, will today in the sight of the world take on the role of κατέχον (2 Thess 2:6-7), of eschatological obstacle to the Antichrist. If the errors of Communism were spread by the Soviet Union, even to the point of imposing themselves within the Church, Russia and Ukraine can today have an epochal role in the restoration of Christian civilization, contributing to bringing the world a period of peace from which the Church, too, will rise again purified and renewed in her ministers.”  (Emphasis added.)

These are powerful words.  He did not say that perhaps Moscow is the Third Rome but that it is the Third Rome.  This is a profoundly stunning admission, one which raises many questions that some may find uncomfortable.  They are certainly controversial in many ecclesiastical circles.  They are, in fact, the very words spoken of in the prophecy of St Philotheus of Pskov (d. 1542), when he told Grand Duke Ivan III of Moscow that “the First Rome and the Second Rome have fallen, but thou [Moscow] art the Third Rome, and there shall be no other.”  

His words were not laudatory but cautionary.  Moscow, too, could fall if it succumbs to heresy.  Having said that, the Third Rome is to remain as the final bulwark which prevents the rise of the Antichrist.  Its ruler shall be that he who restrains.  He will be a Christian autocrat who serves the divine mission which began with St Constantine the Great in the fourth century and continued to the reign of Tsar Nicholas II.

This is powerful stuff; it is not music to the ears of those who have succumbed to the present, NWO anti-Christian regime.

But let us examine what Vigano says about the first two Romes.  His words are prophetic and they sting.  First, he all but says that the First Rome is essentially obsolete; or at the very least, horribly compromised.  Does this mean that (in his mind) the Church of Rome lacks grace?  That the stench of sin is so great that it invalidates its theological claims?  One could insinuate that this is indeed the trajectory upon which Vigano is traversing.  Regardless of what we believe, Vigano’s words are damning. 

As for the “Second Rome,” he barely mentions it, as if in passing.  He accuses it being inert, “silent” as it were, for “several centuries.”  In Vigano’s eyes, it has lost its prophetic voice.  Also, notice the locution –the Second Rome–not the New Rome.  This is clearly a bucket of ice-cold water thrown in the face of Istanbul’s partisans and their delusions of grandeur. 

And this is where the subtlety of the accusations leveled at both the Pope and the Ecumenical Patriarch gain much purchase:  to whom is Bartholomew going to appeal for redress?  To the Pope in Rome, whose Church is horribly compromised?  This would be like King Saul of Israel appealing to the Witch of Endor for succor.  A fool’s errand, for both the houses of Saul and his necromancer were desolate.  

But God is not without His resources.  Christ told us that the gates of hell would not “prevail” against the Church.  That it would last until Her Bridegroom returned to reclaim Her.  Until then, She has always had a “restrainer,” one who St Paul tells us prevents the rise of the Antichrist.  And that restrainer has always been the Christian ruler of Rome. 

Now, I realize that many partisans of Istanbul believe it to still be the “new” Rome.  But history and political realities make that claim laughable.  Unlike the First Rome, it is not even the capital of a nation, much less an empire.  Nor –and this may hurt–is it a Christian city.  Not by any stretch of the imagination. 

Whether the Phanariotes choose to believe the prophecy of Philotheus or not is immaterial.  Like all Christians and at all times, they, too, have a choice to make.  With certitude, it is perhaps impossible to know.  Humility prevents it.  All we can know is which side is not aligned with Christianity.  Despite the faults of the Russian Federation, all we can say for sure is that the globalist, anti-Christian New World Order is clearly not on the side of the Church.  This much is blindingly obvious.

For an American such as myself, one who lived his entire life according to the principles of classical Liberalism, the truth is often difficult to hear.  Popular self-rule and respect for basic human rights have been the principles by which modern, enlightened states should function.  These premises, though true enough, must exist in a greater context, and therein lies the dilemma:  if self-rule and respect for basic human rights are not enough, what is missing?  Perhaps we have been living in an illusion?

The bigger question, perhaps,  is what does it mean when the good Archbishop says, “Moscow is the Third Rome”?  “Rome” used in this way is not an idle concept.  Whether located on the Tiber or on the Bosporus, Rome held the imperium.  All governments do; as St Paul said in his Epistle to the Romans, “[the king] is the minister of God to thee for good.  But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain:  for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him which doeth evil” (Romans 13:4).

All governments wield the imperium and all magistrates are “ministers of God.”  But there has only been one government which ruled a Christian empire –and that was Rome.  

Is it Russia’s mission to protect the world or to chastise it (as many Catholic mystics believe)?  If it is the Third Rome (as Vigano states), the answer is both.  And here we must be very sober:  God uses men and nations to execute His judgment.  The Ukrainian people do not deserve this.  But the Ukrainian people have been living under the lash of globalists, secularists, and a criminal oligarchy which has made that country the poorest and most corrupt in Europe.  The level of public degeneracy is staggering to behold:  President Zelensky played Israeli folk-tunes with his penis on television no less.

Worse, their government has worked in league with foreign elements to create an abominable sect, one which is made up of self-ordained charlatans and mountebanks.  It is not only an affront to the Metropolitan of Kiev but to other local Orthodox Churches as well.  If God is (as we believe) a God of justice, then His justice cannot sleep forever.  

Here we have a Catholic who believes in a Third Rome, which is further bolstered by yet another prophesy:  the prophecy of Fatima.  As told by three little children living in Fatima, Portugal, the Blessed Virgin  told them the Pope must the consecrate Russia to her “Immaculate Heart,” otherwise, the “errors of Russia” will devastate the world.  (Admittedly, we Orthodox pay far less attention to this prophecy than the Catholics do but it is intriguing on its own merits.*)  In any event, many Catholics have been  so convicted by this story, that they have implored on two separate occasions for the reigning pontiff to heed her words.  Indeed, some are raising their voices yet again, in the hopes that the present Pope will do so. 

It’s a mystery why the Roman Church has allowed Vigano to stray so far from the standard Roman Catholic rhetoric.  Perhaps we are running out of time and Vigano been chosen by the Vatican to introduce the West to the “Third Rome?”  Is Vigano the point man to ensure that the Third Rome is in fact consecrated?  Or is he merely speaking for himself, a “lone voice, crying in the wilderness”?

In any event, we will hear more in the coming months about the Third Rome.  It’s inevitable at this point.   


*Notice, she said her “immaculate heart,” not that she was “the Immaculate Conception.”  We Orthodox Christians believe that the Blessed Theotokos is immaculate (amolintai).




  1. Moscow is supposed to be the third time,,,,,,,,,,eastern orthodox Christianity is the dominant religion of Russia,,,,,,,Putin and the patriarch are supposedly friends,,,,,,Putin has been photographed in church,,,,the eastern orthodox church in Russia appears to be growing,even worldwide,,,,the major religion in Ukraine is eastern orthodox Christianity,,,,,the diocese of the Moscow patriarchate is the largest segment of the eastern orthodox church in Ukraine,,,,this is great and holy lent and forgiveness Sunday was just observed,,,,,now is Putin a believing Christian,,,if so why are eastern orthodox christians battling Easter orthodox christians,,,,,why are churches which are safe havens being bombed,,,,why isn’t the patriarch of Moscow or any of the patriarchs and metropolitans world wide not condeming the war,,,why hasnt Putin been excommunicated,,,,this madness doesn’t meet the sanity test, nor does it make an eastern orthodox christian proud,,,, or have any confidence in our religious leaders.,,,,if they are truly Christian should they not be more vocal and be taking more active roles,,,,,,where is their leadership in stopping the war,,,,should they all not go to kiev and challenge Putin,,,,,,I have to see any of them on any national USA newscast taking a stand,,,,, if Samaritan’s purse and st Jude’s have feet on the ground, why don’t we,,,,,???????????? This all is such a tragedy ,,,,,I feel so, so sorry for the Ukrainian people,,,,,and wonder when our eastern orthodox christian leaders will decide to become true Christians and take a leadership role in creating peace. Aren’t the peacemakers supposed to be blessed.?

    • To his credit, Met. Onuphry of the UOC (and of saintly repute) has weighed in on the side of Orthodox Tradition with a public lament of the “fratricide” and an urgent appeal to Pres. Putin to cease hostilities.

    • Simply put, Russia sees this as a war of liberation from US/NATO/Globohomo domination. Ukrainian Orthodox people are obviously not targets here (neither are their temples being deliberately targeted) but their venal, corrupt, predominately Jewish leadership, which has promoted schism, promoted sodomy, and murdered thousands of innocent civilians, is the target.

      One day, once the dust has settled, people will look back on this as a good thing.

  2. John Anon says

    Moscow’s great fate occurs in a letter written by the Pskovian monk Philophei. In the first decades of the 16th century, he wrote several letters to the grand prince of Moscow that spoke of it as “the third Rome.” Here is the version that has survived to this day:

    “And so know this, Christ-lover and God-lover. All Christian kingdoms have come to their end and have come together in the single kingdom of our lord. This is in accordance with the prophetic books. This is the Roman kingdom: for two Romes have fallen, the third stands, but there will not be a fourth.”

  3. Joseph A. says

    “President Zelensky played Israeli folk-tunes . . .”

    In M. Zelensky’s defense, other presidents (cough, Bubba, cough) have done much worse with their executive privilege.

    I feel sorry for the man. He is a puppet played by nasty actors.

  4. George, your post is brilliant. Truly inspired. I don’t say that in order to curry favor with you, but rather as an indirect encouragement for your readers to read it, and to re-read it after they’ve read the open letter by his excellency, Abp Vigano.

    Abp. Vigano’s description of Moscow as Third Rome implies that he has perhaps abandoned any hope that in his few remaining years he will see his own First Rome or Second Rome repent and do an about face and rescue the remnants of Christendom. It’s almost as if his were a Hail Mary pass, a desperate attempt to place his trust in the patriarch of a Church whose secular co-ruler may soon bring both country and Church to ruin by means of this hot war. It’s quite a bold statement, if you think about it. But this is the same papal nuncio who declared his trust in a seemingly reckless president of the United States, saying that he would be the man to save our nation.

    I’m glad you brought the prophecy of Fatima to our attention. Years ago, as I was making my way from continuing Anglicanism toward the Roman Catholic Ordinariate (for transitioning Anglicans) and eventually to Orthodoxy, I often heard of the prophecies of the three children of Fatima. I.e., that all Catholics should pray for the conversion of the Russian nation. I found it puzzling since Moscow and Russia were already Christian, though Orthodox. Did this mean that the Blesséd Virgin would appear in a cloud above Moscow and proclaim that they must become Roman Catholic and embrace the papacy?

    I noticed, though, that the apparitions of Mary and her messages were given in a pivotal year, i.e., 1916. Then it all made sense to me. At the height of the Great War, Germany would stealthily usher Vladimir Lenin by private train back to St. Petersburg so that he could spread his communist poison, cripple the tsar’s authority and topple his reign. Then, as now, it was Western Europe that fomented the rebellion that brought to a tragic end Holy Russia. I may be wrong… totally wrong… but I believe that it was from the false creed of communist atheism that the Virgin implored Russia to repent – one year before that nation suffered two revolutions of governance and the start of a bloody civil war.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Lawrence, first of all thank you so very much for your gracious assessment.

      Now that the niceties are out of the way, I completely agree with you about the meaning of what “pray for the conversion of Russia” which was given to the three children at Fatima meant. Not for Russia –already a Christian nation–should convert to Catholicism but to repent of the demonic ideology which was going to be foisted upon them by foreigners (not Russians).

      For many years now, I have had a sneaking suspicion (intuition?) that the “errors” spoken of were Communism and all its attendant side-effects. Russia has repented of them. Unfortunately, we in the West have fallen prey to cultural Marxism, which is destroying us, rotting us from within.

      Ever since 1991, Russia has nothing to “repent” of as they threw off the demonic yoke of Marxism. We unfortunately have gladly picked it up and strapped it willingly around our necks.

      Perhaps BLM/Antifa and the horrible criminality unleashed upon us by Third-world immigrants is our own chastisement?

      • George,
        In a talk, Fr. Josiah said he had become friends with the titular king of Portugal and one night at dinner asked him if he really believed the Theotokos meant Russia would become Catholic. The king answered that he knew the youngest of the three children (who was old at this point) and had asked her about this. And she had responded that it was her understanding that She meant Russia would repent and return to Orthodoxy.
        In any case, despite its many faults, I don’t think we’ve seen a more potent “phoenix from the ashes” than Russia.

      • It really depends on whether or not Fatima was even real. I think it’s just another one of the delusional false visions so common among the Latins.

        • Yeah, Basil, I assume they put what they knew into it at the time. The “visions” were from May to early October of 1917. They knew Russia was in turmoil but they did not have any remote notion regarding the Bolshevik Revolution. When they called for the conversion of Russia, they were talking about conversion from Orthodoxy to Catholicism.

          Most likely a case of vivid childhood imaginations or possibly demonic apparitions.

  5. George Michalopulos says

    FWIW, I was listening to Taylor Marshall last night and his analysis is almost identical to mine: https://youtu.be/v0Xq0t6pG20 at least in regards to the broader picture. Of course, his nonsense about “converting” Russia to Catholicism is nonsensical.

    We Orthodox are already “catholic.” Maybe the RCs should become “Orthodox.”

  6. George Michalopulos says

    BTW, here’s the video of His Excellency, the President of Ukraine displaying his musical talents:


  7. George Michalopulos says
    • Jimmy McGill says

      I suppose we should have let the German NAZI “caravan” continue to roll; or maybe the Imperial Japanese “caravan.” “Don’t cross the redline.” Last time I checked Ukraine is not a member of NATO. So happy to see Orthodox Christians getting their bs from “prophet” Mohammed’s morons. Nice job.

    • Jimmy McGill says

      I see you deleted the post by Jimmy McGill regarding your taking wisdom from an ignorant Muslim. Coward.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        No one deleted anything, but thanks for the vote of confidence. Always appreciate it.

      • Please take your one sided U.S. state department views elsewhere. We come from different countries and knowhistory well.

  8. Vigano went on to suggest that this is all a trap laid by the West into which Putin is falling. I’m not sure that that is an accurate characterization. It’s certainly a provocation. And it is fairly certain they intended that Putin either lie back and take it or react decisively. However, that is more like an exchange of ultimatums than a trap.

    Vigano’s remedy seems to be that Putin cease and desist. That is where he loses it, IMHO. You can write an entire book laudatory of Russia and condemnatory of the West and then end it with ” . . . but the war is a mistake and Putin should cease and withdraw” and the only relevant part is the last sentence. The rest is an admission, the last is a further pushing of the neo-liberal/neo-con position. Putin should not cease and desist. He should pursue his objectives to conclusion, come what may.

    We should also take Vigano’s flattery of Moscow as “the Third Rome” as just that, empty, obsequious flattery utilized at a time of perceived crisis for the West. If he sincerely believed that Moscow was the Third Rome he would cease to be Catholic since it is a tacit admission that God is with the Orthodox. Unless he converts, his use of the term is disingenuous. Then I would believe him.

    However, his analysis is spot on across the board in all other regards. The West knows what they have done and that they have gone too far. All the stuff about red lines and miscalculation is just their projection. Now it’s a big mess. That is what Vigano is addressing in his own imperfect way. To that extent, he should be encouraged inasmuch as there are very, very few cogent voices left in the West.

  9. Yeah I never understood how Vigano got to be a cardinal. He must have slipped through the cracks.

    The passage in Thessalonians, Chrysostom said that it’s the Roman Emperor. This seems dumb on its face, but I think it was true in ways he couldn’t imagine. When Rome fell to the Vandals, the barbarians swept across Europe, and it really looked like the end of civilization. (The HRE restored order, if that counts as Roman, which I don’t think it does). From there it was a slide into antichrist heresy, and all modern ideology comes out of the European tradition.

    Then the second Rome fell, and Muslims swept across the eastern Mediterranean and southeastern Europe. Major christian lands slowly fell to Muslims and largely apostatized, and with the fall of Constantinople, there was nothing holding it back.

    Then there was the third Rome, holding onto Orthodoxy and even expanding it through missionary ventures. It fell to the communists. With WWI, all the old European aristocracies were gone, and in their place were contrived ideological governments. From there we have the 20th century progressivism, because no one could hold it back.

    And now we are at the end. There is no Rome to hold back the antichrist. There is no Christian country based on heritage and nation. Even Russia is far more degenerate and progressive than people think.

    Who is going to stop the global-anal agenda?

  10. This might represent nothing less than a second Triumph of Orthodoxy. I feel a substack article coming on along these lines. What Putin has done essentially echoes what the Russians did during the age of St. Alexander Nevsky. If you recall, Russia accepted Mongol suzerainty in order to fight off the Teutonic Knights since it could not hold off both enemies simultaneously. The choice was obvious since the Mongols had no intention to interfere with Russian religious culture whereas the Germanic invaders would have imposed Roman Catholicism.

    The Mongol Yoke consisted mainly of taxes and supplying soldiers for the armies of the khans. The Mongols garrisoned outside of Russian cities and did not interfere, for the most part, with Russian civil life. The Germanic invaders were repelled and Orthodoxy was saved. For Russia, this was every bit as important a Triumph of Orthodoxy as the Church’s victory over the iconoclasts in the 9th century, though admittedly it lacked the universal significance of the latter.

    This present conflict possesses both the importance and significance of the original because, as the current beacon of traditional Orthodoxy in the struggle against creeping Uniatism and Western apostasy, this was an existential moment not only for Russian Orthodoxy, but for World Orthodoxy. It is not too much to suggest that if Russia succumbed to NATO and thus to regime change and a neo-liberal remake, Phanariotism would triumph simply due to its backing by the State Department, the Deep State and the Davos crowd. In this sense, the struggle is Manichean.

    • George Michalopulos says

      By Jove! Misha, I think you’ve got it.

      I realize that the Mongol yoke wasn’t a walk in the park for Kievan Rus’ but you’re spot on regarding the West. In this sense, Russia cozying up to China makes a heckuva lot of sense. This time however, India, Pakistan and even Turkey are “seeing the light.”

      If I may add some anecodotal points. When I first went to Russia in 2016, things were grim and there was still some Hesperophilia. Two years later, in 2018, the economy had stabilized and as for the West, the bloom was off the rose if I may say so. The Russians, as well as the Hungarians, the Slovaks, the Poles and I dare say many other nations are looking at America as if it’s a giant insane asylum. There is no doubt in my mind that the Summer of Floyd was splash of cold water which shocked the more traditional nations out of their path towards liberalism.

      Under such conditions, the traditional nations have come to the fork in the road and decided to go with China as the financial hegemon and Russia as the military hegemon.

      • George,

        The reason the entire media complex, Fox included, is lying at us so aggressively about this – things a child would not believe – has to do with the stakes they perceive. That is also why they are pressing for a no-fly zone and kinetic action.

        They would not be this reckless and irresponsible, completely sacrificing all dignity and credulity, unless they thought this was the end of the world as they know it.

        And it is. The American people can’t see it yet, but the elites already can see the writing on the wall. Something like 3/4 or more of the world’s population is in the process of rejecting globalism – and that means a rejection of neo-liberalism (and its neo-con heretical sect). They thought they were going to conquer and convert the world. That was Fukuyama’s thesis. It is only now that they begin to see what, for example, Dr. Steve Turley has been preaching ever since Brexit: The cultural nationalists are going to overwhelm the progressives completely.

        This Russo-Ukrainian War simply has caused them to get out their little calculators and start doing the math. And what they are uncovering terrifies them. They thought they could cancel anyone. It turns out that, in business terms, that Russia (very surprisingly to them), China (not so surprising) and India (again, somewhat surprising) have already “scaled” their national businesses to the point that they can operate independently of the “global economy”; i.e., Western dominated economies.

        This is what the Western elites and their mouthpieces in the MSM can’t face. They are in open denial (the psychological type). “It can’t be true. If we just keep saying it’s not true, it will go away.” That is the level of the shock. They already knew that China, Russia and India could not be touched militarily as nuclear powers. But they thought that they could all be brought to heel by the Western economic powerhouse. And Russia, the least likely in their thinking, is successfully decoupling from the entire “global(ist) economy”.

        Deliberately. On purpose. In broad daylight in front of God and everybody.

        “This can’t be happening. They have to lose. It’ll destroy their economy. Won’t it?!”

        Evidently not. The ruble tanked but has stabilized. Putin had moved enough Russian assets away from the West to preserve most of his gold reserves. Swift has only cut off 7 of 28 major Russian banks, so transactions are being re-routed. Those that can’t will pass through Russia’s allies. China stands ready to buy whatever is necessary, as probably does India. There were no runs on banks . . . unless you believe Western propaganda. But that can’t affect ordinary Russians. And now the Russian government is starting to say it will pay debts in rubles and, perhaps, demand them in payment . . .

        Suddenly, the Western elites have gone pale at the realization that they cannot replace Russian oil, gas and grain easily or quickly. And having done all they can do to Russia, Russia not having flinched or wavered in its determination, they stand exhausted of options – at Russia’s mercy. That is the really terrifying thing. All Putin has to say are three words, “Gold for gas.” and he can send them spiraling into a depression which will wipe out the current inhabitants of the halls of power. And he has alternative buyers so he doesn’t care what their answer is.

        Some of them are beginning to see it and they have to lie aggressively to their own people if they want to hold onto power.

  11. Ianto Watt says


    I am an RC and have been following your site (with great interest and appreciation) for a number of years. This article has triggered me to actually chime in, as it relates to the great question of Russia, and her destiny. I have studied Russian history (ind her relation to the Fatima prophecies as well) for many years. Here is my take, as explained in my book.

    First, it is unfair to Russia to think that she deserved to be singled out for the matter of Revolution (French through Bolshevik), especially given the date of the prophecy as it coincides with the Bolshevik takeover (and the Mensheviks precedent).

    The only way to understand Russia (and her Orthodoxy) is to go back to the seminal event of 1666, the deposition of the Patriarch Nikon, at the hidden hands of Tsar Alexis I. Alexis had triggered what I refer to as ‘Vatican Zero’ with his desire to ‘reform’ the Russian Church. His intent was to conform the ROC so that her rubrics, prayers and other practices were congruent with the other ancient Greek Orthodox Local Churches (particularly evidenced at Mt. Athos). The purpose was to be able to coalesce all of Eastern Orthodoxy into one body of Local Churches that would willingly follow the leadership of the Tsar, for the purpose of capturing Constantinople (and thus cementing the concept of Third Rome).

    Now all of this is laid out on the massive work of William Palmer in the mid-to-late 1800’s, as he translated the works resulting from the deposition of Nikon. This set of 6 volumes is known collectively as ‘The Patriarch and the Tsar’ (see here on Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7531022-the-patriarch-and-the-tsar (Note, I am incompetent in my computer ways, pardon me if my attempt to link has failed).

    Now this is just the first volume, but it was written by Nikon himself (translated by Palmer), in response to the accusations made by the Tsar’s right-hand man. The second volume is the accusations leveled against Nikon by the would-be usurper, Metropolitan of Gaza, Paisius Ligarides. The Third volume is the book written by Deacon Paul ,the son of Patriarch Macarius of Antioch, concerning the deposition itself, as well as the wider history of all Patriarchs coming to beg alms of the Tsars.

    I know this is dense data, but bear with me. All three of these churchmen (Nikon, Ligarides and Macarius) collided in 1666 as the Tsar sought to off-load the backlash-blame for his botched reform that was causing the schism within Russian Orthodoxy that led to The Old Believers.

    Palmer, coming around 200 years later, translated all three of these men’s testimonies (and they are thick), and then further added another three volumes explaining each of these men (and all the actors that surrounded this scene, including the Tsar of course) and laid it all out for anyone (primarily in the West) to read.

    These volumes are the Russian version of the Pentagon Papers, and the story they tell is not pretty. And it is still almost unknown today, even to ‘historians’ of any kind, as it is a huge task to undertake, let alone understand. It’s so much easier to start with Marx and end with Putin, thinking you have understood Russia, dah?

    But THIS is the mother-load of primary documents that explain who Russia (still) is today, for it explains in minute and excruciating detail (for example, Tsar Peter’s torture of his son Alexi) what actually transpired, and why it did.

    Now, full disclosure about Palmer. He was one of the Oxford Movement, a colleague of Cardinal Newman prior to his conversion to RC. He had come to Russia to propose communion between the Anglicans and the Orthodox. The Russians laughed him and his ‘Three Branch’ theory (that legitimized both branches alongside the RC) right out of town.

    Palmer decided to pay them back. He stuck around Russia for decades and translated the works described above, and researched all the subsequent historical happenings regarding those events, adding those three volumes of historical events that were the fallout from, as I call it, Vatican Zero.

    Palmer eventually saw that the Anglicans were counterfeit (as did many of the other Oxford Movement dons) and died RC. Palmer concluded that the Church in Russia was authentic in every way except one – obedience to Peter. The same thing that he found in the Anglican church.

    Anyway, long-long story short, anyone ignorant of these source documents (and Palmer’s expansive reporting on the persons involved, far and wide) will remain puzzled by today’s situation, particularly as regards the question of Fatima. For Russia’s errors are long-standing and refer to the fact that in the titanic struggle between the Patriarchy and the Tsar (which Nikon waged in honest defense of the Church) the Tsar won. From that time till now.

    And so, it is the subjection of the altar to the throne that lies beneath the problems today, both near and far. And as the faithless Anglish present no threat (other then cultural and economic, not small things though), it falls to Russia to be the ‘last man standing’ in her opposition to the Empire (that’s good) and central ecclesial authority (which, even in times of bad leaders, is always wrong). As Our Lord said, ‘do as they say, but not as they do’. Pace, Francis.

    So, Russia refused to kneel before Peter, and as a result he had to kneel before the Tsar. For the last 400 years.

    Now, fast forward to today. In order to understand the ramifications of this Russian past, refer to my book, ‘The Barbarian Bible’ to see the explanation of history (as told conversationally to my grandsons) as it encompasses The Empire, and Russia’s date with destiny. (again, I cannot make the link, I apologize).

    As for Vlad, he is on the road to Rome- both Imperial and Holy. But he has yet to reach the Rubicon. And thus, he himself has yet to decide who he will be – Attila or Constantine. Let us pray for him,. AND RUSSIA. And the Church, re-united and Holy!

    • George Michalopulos says

      Mr Watt, I am deeply honored that you have been following this blog. This is fascinating stuff.

      I must admit that I had to do a double-take when you said “Vatican 0”. Am I to assume that you are skeptical of Vaticans I and II?

    • Mr. Watt, I find your comment to be fascinating, but I am not sure that I fully understand it. Nevertheless, please allow me to agree with part of your comment and to disagree with another part of it.

      In all my years as an Anglican priest, like all other Anglican priests, especially those of the Anglo-Catholic persuasion, I believed our worldwide communion to be the third branch of the universal catholic Church. (I’m trying to be careful with my capitalization.) After all, the Church of England, and by derivation all of the provinces (national churches) of the current and former British colonies, had bishops who could produce the same genealogies to prove that their ordinations could be traced back to the original apostles. For centuries, the Church IN England maintained a strong ultramontane loyalty to the Roman pontiff. Not only that, but the Anglican Churches had a Book of Common Prayer whose Sarum Rite was relatively ancient, though corrupted by the Calvinistic watering-down of the Protestant Reformation. And, she still dressed up and looked the Catholic part, if I may be so crass.

      The Oxford Movement to which you refer, which started in 1833, was the about-face that was commenced by a relatively small number of Catholic-minded dons and clerics. They looked again to the antiquity of the sacraments that had been so downplayed, and as you say, some of them went all the way to embrace again the papal authority. Thus they – and you – reluctantly considered the whole Anglican experiment to be counterfeit, and in doing so the stock that they held in their previous ministries saw a “crash in the market”, if you will.

      (This subject is painfully personal to me, not only because of my long ministry as an Anglican clergyman, but because I was born and bred in the Episcopal Church, which turned out to be the problem child of the Anglican Communion.)

      I, like them, came to see that the Anglican Church was counterfeit, but for two reasons with which you may or may not agree. The first is that Anglicanism, especially that which is English in both language and ethnicity, is a muddled affair. The Elizabethan Settlement demanded loyalty to crown and altar, and the use of the Prayer Book, but, for the sake of unity, glossed over a consensus of theology. Thus, you have High Church (after the Oxford Movement, Anglo-Catholics), Low Church (Calvinists) and the innumerable Latitudinarians, the last of whom evolved into the betrayers of everything that had come before. I.e., Tradition. The thing that held them together was not theological rigor but a sense of English snobbery and fair play.

      The second reason that I consider Anglicanism to be counterfeit is that it has abandoned loyalty to the true Church, which at first I thought was Rome, but now know to be the Oxford confederacy, for lack of a better term. There is only one passage in one of the gospels, St. Matthew 16:18, unrepeated in the synoptic gospels, to say nothing of John, that supports the Roman contention that Peter is the apostle to which all of the other eleven apostles must submit, or all four of the other patriarchates of the Pentarchy must submit. Our stubborn contention as Orthodox is that it was Rome who left the Church, not the other way around. But you already knew that, to be sure.

      I will submit that your bias as a Roman Catholic has perhaps colored your view of the great flow of Christendom’s history. I doubt that Russia’s future was doomed in the seventeenth century when the patriarch refused to bend his knee to the pontificate. Moscow had no need to submit. Indeed its theology forbade its submission to Rome, an act which would have crippled its ecclesiastical authority. Rome had committed grave errors, most of which stemmed from the arrogance of the papal throne, and most of which have not been corrected to this day. This is the gross error that Pat. Bartholomew continues to make in his ecumenical overtures toward Rome. Furthermore, this is the same error that the Anglican Communion, except for the provinces of the Global South, make when they pursue their immoral agenda but all the while demand a continued loyalty for the sake of a supposèd unity. To hell with that!

      So, I would conclude that your contention that Putin is making his way toward Rome is wishful thinking, especially when Italy is now supplying armaments to his enemies in Ukraine! We Orthodox – and the vast majority of us/them are Russian – do hope and pray for the unity of “all of Christ’s Churches” to borrow a naughty Anglican phrase. However, a forced unity of organization at the expense of obedience to sacred Tradition would be an abomination. Let the Orthodox Churches solve the bipolar split between Istanbul and Moscow first. Meanwhile, let Rome deny her preposterous inventions. Then, let’s come to the negotiating table in the pursuit of a true and lasting unity of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. There is a pernicious atheism in this world which will most handily be met by one unified Church of God.

      Please forgive me if I have totally misinterpreted your comment, sir.

    • The Church is united and holy. The Church is the Orthodox Church and none other. That is the Orthodox Faith.

      • The orthodox church unfortunately is not united,,, it is a bunch of ethnic ghettos that put ethnic nationalism before Christianity also most orthodox churches refrain from using the noun Christian in their names and I wonder why. Lastly in Ukraine we have membets if two eastern orthodox churches fighting each other during holy lent. Why doesn’t the patriarch of Russia have the Christian fortitude to call for a cease fire and go to kiev to enforce it. And why aren’t the other eastern orthodox church leaders going to Ukraine to force a cease fire? Where is their Christian faith?

        • rjklancko, what two Eastern Orthodox Churches are fighting each other during Holy Lent—in Ukraine?! There is ONLY one TRUE Eastern Orthodox Church in Ukraine—the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church under Met. Onuphry. All the rest are charlatans.

          Or did I misread your statement?!

  12. Ianto Watt says


    Thank you for your kind Christian reply. I have always perceived you as a Brother in Christ.

    Vatican Zero (East) is analogous to Vatican II (West), and both accomplished the exact same result- a needless fracturing of the Body of Christ. Vatican I on the other hand, was simply the re-statement of the RC position in reaction to the Schism of Photius, which was done at the behest of Emperor Bardas, in service to the Emperor’s refusal to put away his daughter-in-law as a mistress. Patriarch Ignatius refused to allow this.

    Photius, a layman at the time, was picked by the Emperor to overthrow Patriarch Ignatius, who refused to yield the Faith to the Emperor. What does this tell us about the Schism? For whose real benefit was this done? The Church, or the Emperor? Let me ask this- how can the Eastern Church canonize both Ignatius and Photius? Something is wrong here.

    In other words, the defense presented by Vatican I was the same as the defense presented by blessed (by me!) Patriarch Nikon- that the throne must be subordinate to the Altar. And if the throne of Caesar must bend the knee, then why not the Local Churches? Is there, after all, a visible Universal Church??? Why are Local Churches visible, if the Universal is not?

    Do you see my point? Vatican I was really all about who must rule- Church or State. If the Church has no visible head, how can it resist a visible Emperor? This is similar to the propaganda war surrounding Ukraine today. Put aside the baloney, go for the real meaning here.

    Vatican III (coming soon, to a theatre near you) will be the finalization of both Vatican Zero (East) and Vatican II (West). The total subjugation, worldwide, of altar to throne. It won’t matter who sits in Rome, Constantinople or Moscow. Only Caesar’s throne will matter.

    So put aside all partisan thought and research the accession of Photius to the See of Constantinople, in service to the Emperor’s carnal desire. Do the research. See that the problems of Second Rome (subservience of the altar to throne) became the inheritance of the Third Rome, with the same result. And anytime the Church subordinates herself (in any venue) to the local or universal Imperial throne, the result is the same – slavery. Look at Bartholomew today and tell me this is not so. Tell me.

    In any event, my hope and prayer is that the Church be re-united, with one head on earth, with its one head in Heaven. If there can (and must be) a human head of each Local Church and Patriarchy, then why is this not true of the earthly Church Universal?

    Denying this reality denies the existence of an actual and single Universal Body of Christ on earth. One that rules beyond a single nation or ethnicity. How else can we be Universal? We are earthly, mortal beings, with one earthly mortal head. Or else we are scattered sheep. With no true earthly head, anywhere. We live on earth, we are led on earth. Where is this earthly Universal Shepherd?

    This in no way denies the eternal headship of Christ at the Universal but Heavenly level, any more than it denies the mortal headship of any Local Patriarch in any Local Church. Please, let us lose our parochial prejudices and come together as one. United in common suffering, our common sacrifice (at the hands of our perfidious leaders) will bear true and common fruit. Universal Brotherhood is the sign we must show to the world.

    It’s not for no reason that when Scripture speaks of our enemies, it usually refers to our leaders in family and Church. The Barbarians beyond the gate are simply a sales opportunity. They are not our true enemies.

    And now we have a unique moment, when our leaders are all rotten to the core, when we can all see past the partisan prejudices of the past, and unite in our common Faith, and together resist the temptations of the Devil, the Flesh and the World. Resistance in Faith, and common Christian brotherhood. We can fight each other, or fight our true Enemy. But we can’t do both.

    If we cannot get beyond this impediment (all of us, together), then we are forever fractured, forever feckless. In which case, Satan continues to have way. Let us pray!

  13. Fascinating, yes, but a terribly inaccurate reading of the history of the reforms and schisms in Russia, no doubt tainted by his trad RC worldview.

    William Palmer, for one, did not spend ‘decades’ in Russia, but made a couple of visits that totaled no more than 3 years altogether.

    I’m naturally suspicious of anyone who self-publishes a book with ‘their’ one true interpretation of history all laid out, especially under a pseudonym.

  14. Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

    Mr. Watt, your staunch defense of the papal claims of the Roman Catholic communion on this website prove that you a man of courage.

    However, your ad hominem attack on the person and character of St. Photios, Patriarch of Constantinople (twice) in the 9th century will not win you any friends on this website.

    Have you read the Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit by St. Photios of Constantinople? Though written around AD 886 as a long series of very short chapters or catenae, it is, despite its sometimes polemical tone, a profound, compelling argument against the heresy of the addition of the filioque to the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed in the western Christian lands of Visigothic Spain in the 6th century and Charlemagne’s Frankish Empire at the beginning of the 9th century. It was the latter’s offense that motivated St. Photios to write the Mystagogy. When Pope Benedict VIII finally included the filioque in the Creed during the Latin Mass in AD 1014, St. Photios’ prophetic witness against Rome was vindicated.

  15. Ianto Watt says

    To all, peace!

    Please, let me respond to all who have patiently written above. First, thank you for your charity, as I perceive a Christian spirit in your replies. None of us possesses the fullness of that rare commodity, and I fully recognize my own limitations. However, certain points raised in response need to be addressed if we are to understand each other more clearly, unto a greater unity of belief.

    First, to Rev. Wheeler; Nikon was deposed for his refusal to bend the knee to the Tsar, not to Peter’s Chair. This is the whole point I tried to make. It is the elevation of Throne over Altar (in ANY nation) that brings the opprobrium upon us. It was true in the Old Testament when Jeroboam did it against the Temple (becoming the first of The Protestors) and we (all of us, in so many ways) continue this practice today.

    Jeroboam’s political rebellion against his wicked cousin, King Rehoboam, was sanctioned by God as a means of rebuking Rehoboam’s pride and arrogance. It was only when Jeroboam went beyond God’s purpose, by setting up a separate (and false) temple in Samaria that we see God rebuking him. But the damage was done. The unity of the nation was destroyed, and many evils, including the destruction of Israel, came from that.

    But I find a consolation in the fact that at least three Samaritans were deemed worthy of salvation by Our Lord. In other words, the false divisions among men do not hinder God’s ability to read hearts concerning the Faith, and whether or not we have true charity. Both are needed, no?

    Also, please note that the attempt to elevate the throne over the altar was the original sin of the fallen angels. We know how that went. In any event, it was Nikon’s refusal to accommodate the Tsar’s pride that cost him his place at court. A price he willingly paid. God bless Patriarch Nikon.

    My next comment is directed to all who read these notes; unless you can say that you have read these primary documents cited concerning the events of 1666, as well as researched the political dealings surrounding the accession (twice) of Photius, (approx 20,000 pages of original publications/books etc of Russian history), please do not think I have lately stumbled into these conclusions. I am serious here. Please do not cross swords with me unless you have one of your own.

    Further, I have no problem seeing a future that includes, as Solovyev saw, a final confrontaion with evil in which the last believers included the eastern Patriarch as well as a Reformed leader, acting in unity and belief (see ‘Three Conversations’ by Solovyev, my favorite Russian!). Anyone who thinks that the depth of the soul of Russian thought is exhausted by Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky is betraying their ignorance. Pace.

    To Misha- I have read much of your work, and like most of it, when you deal in matters that do not lead you to a chauvinism. Please do me the favor of reading mine before you condemn my thoughts. Thoughts, by the way, that are aimed at unity. We do ourselves no favor when we unilaterally fail to see the allies we could have if only we would see them as brothers, and not enemies. Remember, we are all fallen men. Finding a fault in a brother should not invalidate his Faith in the battles we face. As I see it, we have a common Enemy. I prefer to focus on his fault, not our own inadequacies. Why? Because I want us (all) to win – together!

    To Basil- My book was originally written to my grandchildren, as a means of passing on my Faith as well as my ancestry, hence the Welsh rendering of my actual name. Please deal with what I write, and not my name (which any Welshman could tell you simply by looking at it on the cover of my book). A rose, by any other name……….

    Finally, to Archpriest Webster; I have read much of your work too, and find it theologically comforting, when focused apart from this unfortunate issue. Please, continue to battle for the truth, especially in the East, where the great danger lies as Bartholomew sows division. I pray for all of you in this battle.

    As for the Mystagogy of The Holy Spirit, yes, I have read it (and tons of the Eastern Church Fathers, whom I revere). Just because a man makes one mistake doesn’t mean he can’t excel elsewhere, and I have never criticized Photius for his mind or discernment. My criticism is his failure to see that serving the Emperor soiled him badly, and the resulting damage to Christendom (unified) has been far too great a price to pay for the meager Caesaro-papist result.

    Placing Caesar above the Church (regardless of it’s theological orientation to Rome) will always have the same result- the enslavement of the faithful. Whether by King or Sultan, the result is the same. And as badly as Rome has been ruled at many times in the past, how could it have been different? Even Popes are fallen men. Yet, to say that Rome has apostasized (for whatever reason given) by the acts of one man seems to condemn the vast multitude of the faithful in the pews for reasons that only please our Enemy.

    Allow me to observe that Rome still exists (and in scale vast) perhaps because she has so vehemently resisted Caesar these two millennia. Yes, she too is filled with corruption today, just as the Temple was filled with it in Our Lord’s time. But he never called for its destruction, and never said we were to depart from it.

    So I have a general question here: why are so many brethren willing to bear with all the sins imputed to Holy Rome if they are committed by Imperial Rome? Why is the Emperor (any of them) so much better than any Pope? and since 860, according to some, ANY Pope?? It puzzles me, until I remember that our true Enemy uses division to conquer us.

    And so, let me close by noting that I never wrote to proselytize, but rather to gather. To gather like-minded and good-hearted men, in service to Our Lord. We’ve all been baptized. Let’s start acting like it. And let’s battle out true Enemy, and not each other.


    • I did not directly address this person, nor do I have any intention of doing so.

      However, I will make a few comments about the RCC: The Enemy is the DNC and the Uniparty which have brought a false gospel to the West. It is deeply intertwined with the RCC and its current demon of a pope. The entire ideological array of the West may be understood as degenerate Roman Catholicism and its derivatives, all hell bent on Western world domination as they have always been.

      So there is a certain type of TradCat who, being the enemy of my enemy, could be my ally on political matters. However, Roman Catholicism is so deeply corrupted that this is unlikely and instead it becomes fixated with appeals to unite with its evil doctrines and habits. The RCC is not the Church. It is no part of the Church. It is a heretical sect/cult and nothing more. No mysteries purportedly served by it are of any effect whatsoever. There is no distinction in God’s grace between the pope and the Dalai Lama, for that matter.

      Thus, we have nothing to discuss with RC’s, other than the weather and, perhaps, “secular politics” but not religion. This is because we hold different and mutually exclusive faiths.

  16. Disappointed the long-winded comments of a self-styled, self-promoting Catholic “expert” like the pseudonymous Ianto Watt would even be published here (not a historian, but a cable TV businessman and admitted contrarian, according to the Amazon page for his book). I’ve known way too many eccentric, know-it-all Catholics like that, they’re toxic. Clearly he craves attention and wants to sell his book. Let’s not feed that. And talk about hijacking an otherwise interesting conversation.

    And I’d be cautious of Vigano, too, as a former Catholic I know he was very popular when he first starting speaking about the sex abuse crisis, including with me. But he’s lost a fair amount of Catholic support since, as he’s lost his focus and seems to enjoy too much the attention he gets speaking about anything and everything under the sun, whatever grabs the attention of his dwindling audience. Besides, he’s living in hiding, ignored by the Pope and utterly powerless to do anything. I stopped paying attention to him a long time ago.

  17. Wow, awesome, awesome. Bookmark, save, print and share. So articulate, worth reading over some number of times so many key points. Informative.

  18. George Michalopulos says

    Chip, it looks like Archbishop Vigano has gotten under the skin of our friends over at First Things: https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2022/03/archbishop-vigan-and-colonel-grace-groundling-marchpole

    Notice that rather than answer his criticisms, they take to calling him a conspiracy theorist.

    • George Weigel is (I think) a Swamp creature.

      • George Weigel is also an American Roman Catholic ideologue who doesn’t like anything Orthodox-Christian-related if it doesn’t have to do with the Orthodox Churches being dominated by Rome. For that, he’s all for it.

        Anytime anyone reads anything that Mr Weigel writes on the topic eastern Christianity, one must keep in mind this fact.

        • George Michalopulos says

          FTS, Brendan, you are both absolutely correct.

          Weigel is the worst kind of neoconservative. He believes that the Uniates are –these are his words, not mine (or a paraphrase)–“Orthodox Churches in communion with Rome.”

          He’s so full of bovine excrement that he positively reeks of it.

          One more thing: I am now fully convinced that the Ukraine project from its inception (the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk) was nothing but the continuation of another Latin Crusade against the Orthodox East.

          What we are seeing now is a Crusade in another form. It pains me to say this, but history will remember Patriarch Bartholomew as the Isaac Angelus of this sorry debacle. (Angelus was the Byzantine prince who convinced the Fourth Crusaders to take a detour to Constantinople in 1204, so they could help him remove his uncle from the throne.)

          We Orthodox remember the Fourth Crusade, don’t we?

        • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

          Right you are, FTS.

          Here’s an “oldie but goodie” from December 2017 taking issue with Mr. Weigel’s hubris and effrontery toward Patriarch Kirill: “Patriarch Kirill and Russian Orthodoxy Deserve Respect Not Insults: An Open Letter to George Weigel”


        • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

          Right you are, FTS.

          Here’s an “oldie but goodie” from December 2017 taking issue with Mr. Weigel’s hubris and effrontery toward Patriarch Kirill: “Patriarch Kirill and Russian Orthodoxy Deserve Respect Not Insults: An Open Letter to George Weigel”


          • Fr Alexander, I read your open letter to Weigel.
            His comments, which you address, are despicable.
            However, I suspect you are still awaiting his reply…

            • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

              Brendan, I stopped holding my breath years ago.

              FULL DISCLOSURE: I served as a research fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC, in the early 1990s when George Weigel became the President of that think-tank, succeeding Ernest W. Lefever–a true scholar and a gentleman. It was personally painful for me to call out Weigel, an erstwhile colleague and friend, but our Church comes first.

    • Typical of the hand-wringers. As soon as one of their favorites steps passed their ‘red lines,’ he’s persona non grata. No need to address his points, but call it Russian propaganda and that will suffice.

    • Huh? Did somebody call my name? Sorry, I must have been watching a war or something…

      Humor aside, I would have agreed with George Weigel two years ago. I thought the notion of a globalist scheme for a new world order was total bunk. Then the pandemic wafted over from Red China and we watched heretofore sane people go bonkers in their bunkers. We watched mayhem rain down on our cities thanks to mask-less juvenile delinquents. We witnessed a highly irregular presidential election opposed by thousands, of whom 80 men still languish in a D.C. jail. Talk about habeas corpus! We found out that Mr. Trump did NOT, after all, collude with the Russians and ultimately that Russiagate was a smear campaign by the Democrats who have despised the Russians for a long time. Finally, it’s easy to be suspicious that the current occupant was eager to pit Ukraine against the Russian bear for a number of bad reasons.

      All of these calamities have changed my way of thinking forever. George Weigel is a conservative Catholic apologist who wrote the book about John Paul II, so he is not likely to side with any Orthodox, except perhaps old Catholic wannabe Pat’omew. We must understand that all informed Roman Catholics are expected to be convinced that the Catholic faithful are part of, and all the rest of mankind are called into, the “visible structure of the Church of Christ, who (Christ) rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops.” Check out the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraphs 836 – 838 (pp. 241 & 242).

      Plus, Weigel works in the Potomac Swamp, so he may be tainted by the illiberal swells in the cocktail circuit. I don’t know. I can only surmise that when he sees the former papal nuncio looking eastward toward the “Third Rome” he takes umbrage. To him, Abp. Vigano is a prince of the Church who has gone rogue.