An Example of Intellectual Honesty…

…from one Constantinopolitan bishop at least.

I must say that I’m pleasantly surprised by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware of Diocleia and Oxford, who recently spoke on Russian television about the situation in Ukraine. Clearly he was uncomfortable, yet that did not stop him from voicing his criticisms of the Ecumenical Patriach, a man whom he calls “my patriarch”.

This is a type of honesty that is refreshing and literally quite un-Byzantine. We could use more of it if you ask me. While many bishops the world over have been shocked by Patriarch Bartholomew’s unilateral actions (and have gone on the record and stated so in no uncertain terms), few have actually gone on the record and supported the rescinding of the original Tomos of Transfer and the subsequent “Unification Council”.

So far, only two bishops that I know of (Metropolitans Evangelos of New Jersey and Gerasimos of San Francisco) have come out and endorsed this series of unfortunate events. This paltry number speaks to the illegitimacy of this papalist action in my humble opinion.

Think of it: that’s only two out of the hundreds of Orthodox bishops the world over. Not just Russians and Slavs but Arabs, Greeks, Finns and Anglo-Americans. Even the majority of the bishops of the GOA are studiously silent. Except for Deacon John Chryssavgis –the Baghdad Bob of the Ecumenical Patriarchate–even the most fervent of the Phanariotes can see right through this charade.

That is why the following video by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware of Oxford should be particularly alarming to Istanbul. As you can see for yourself, Ware is clearly troubled by this recent action. Among other things, he speaks forcefully as to the dubious historiography employed by the Phanar in effecting this egregious turn of events.

Now in the interest of my own intellectual consistency, I will state flat-out that I have my own problems with His Eminence. He has always struck me as too much an ecumenist and too accommodating to the Zeitgeist but no one can fault the breadth of his historical knowledge. Taken together, this makes his observation particularly significant. Add to that the fact that he is perhaps the most preeminent hierarch within the See of Constantinople and you have one heckuva heavy hitter whose prestige alone can demolish the pretensions behind these unfortunate actions.

The verbiage is over-dubbed in Russian but if you listen closely, you can hear Ware speak for himself. (A text is provided as well.)

Many thanks to Greatly Saddened, who brought this to our attention. Keep up the good work!


  1. …and then you have this, the below statement from US representatives.

    • George I do not know Ware personally although have heard him speak ( well!) and celebrate Liturgy ( very well) . But he is a decent man of total integrety. Too much in the zeitgeist? Possibly but how many do I find too much in the zeitgeist of intolerance and lack of humanity and standing with the pharaisees.? Perhaps me included.
      Yes outside of his function I do not think he is a party animal or relates to people well, but this is not to say that he does not care for people or has not love. It’s just how an englishman of his class and generation are!
      But he has been a great force for good and the church and much under used by Constantinople.
      . I make a distinction between those in pain and sad at Christian disunity, even if sometimes these vere too much to ‘going native ‘ and to those who positively love the conflict and disunity and glory in it with malicious intent forgetting Christ’s words.

      • Milos Contoflessas says

        Ware is a poseur. He saw the field of Orthodoxy at Oxford wide open, with minimal competent peer review and found his ideal gig, pretend to be Orthodox. I used to revere him until I met him twice. Too many of the academic converts are like that.

        • Monk James Silver says

          Many people are grateful to Met. Kallistos Ware for his book ‘The Orthodox Church’ . That little book, now published several times , has led a great number of converts to The Church, and has informed many of us about historical and theological issues we would not otherwise have known.

          Altogether, it seems that Mr Contoflessas is a bit harsh in his judgement of Met. Kallistos, and it would be good of him to realize that — while he is certainly entitled to his own opinion — most of us do not share his assessment of the man.

          • Christopher says

            “Grateful” is the right word for his pioneering efforts to popularize the Orthodox Church in the English language. However, let’s not overstate it and allow to obscure Met. Kallistos unbelief of normative Orthodox anthropology.

            Also, I asked the person who introduced me to the Orthodox Church (a man who earned his DPhil. in patristics at Oxford in Ware’s program) about this book. This was in the early 1990’s. He advised me to only read the editions from the 1970’s. So even by the early 1990’s Met. Ware’s theological waywardness was in full evidence…

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              I think the Ware book was probably the first thing I ever read about Orthodoxy in any detail, in the late 1970s, so it too played a role in my eventual conversion, as did the writings of Meyendorf and Schmemann; whatever criticisms have been made about any of them in latter days, they performed great services for Orthodoxy in this country.

              Also, every Lent I read Bp. Kallistos’ fine essay about the history and practice of the Great Fast in the prologue to the Triodion published by Faber.

            • Monk James Silver says

              Christopher (December 22, 2018 at 1:16 pm) says:

              “Grateful” is the right word for his pioneering efforts to popularize the Orthodox Church in the English language. However, let’s not overstate it and allow to obscure Met. Kallistos unbelief of normative Orthodox anthropology.

              Also, I asked the person who introduced me to the Orthodox Church (a man who earned his DPhil. in patristics at Oxford in Ware’s program) about this book. This was in the early 1990’s. He advised me to only read the editions from the 1970’s. So even by the early 1990’s Met. Ware’s theological waywardness was in full evidence…

              I, for one, would be very grateful to ‘Christopher’ if he would provide examples of what he or his interlocutor consider examples of Met. Kallistos’s purported ‘theological waywardness’.

              In my own experience, the absolute worst I ever heard about him was that, in later editions of ‘The Orthodox Church, MetK mentioned only that we Orthodox Christians had not yet expressed a formal theological reason for maintaining an exclusively male priesthood. This was widely misunderstood as fudging on his part, leaving open the door to the ordination of women. But as I say, this was a misunderstanding, since there are clear and unassailable reasons for our traditional position.

              So, absent that false alarm, what evidence is there that MetK betrayed The Tradition?

              • With regard to the criticisms of Met. Kallistos, he, like the authors of the PO piece, has said that women’s ordination is “an open question.” He meant this in the sense that it has not been dogmatically settled (and I note that even canons are not dogma in the technical sense). In this respect both he and PO are TECHNICALLY correct.

                However, to speak in this way is highly misleading, whether purposeful or not.

                There are innumerable aspects of the received Tradition that have never been dogmatized in any creed or ecumenical council. Among these are the episcopate, the priesthood or any other clerical order, the manner of baptism, the Eucharist…and I could go on for many, many pages with other examples. (You get the idea.) Except for the most common pre-communion payer…“I believe also that this is truly Thy most pure Body, and that this is truly Thy most precious Blood…” (which also has not been dogmatized), when has any of us ever been required to confess a creed about such things as these, the denial of which would quite obviously exclude us from membership in the Body of the Church?

                Thus, to state that aspects of the received Tradition are not settled because they have not been dogmatized is absurd and disingenuous in the extreme. If accepted as a premise it means that EVERYTHING not specifically stated in a creed or thoroughly defined in an ecumenical council is “an open question.”

                The very need for dogmatic definition is a measure of departure from Grace and the true knowledge of God. As strange as it may sound to those of us who live post-Nicaea, the fact that the dogmas in the Symbol of Faith (the Creed) needed to be defined at all represented something of a scandal for the Church. Prior to the need for creeds Christians knew ABOUT God and what He desired of them because they KNEW God in union with the Person of His Son in His Church. The fact that some who claim to be Orthodox Christians find their theological foundation in the sort of technical and academic ‘theology’ (so-called) that requires definition and dissection rather than in the true theology that is the knowledge of God Himself in His Church is scandalous to Christianity. It is as heartbreaking and absurd as it would be if a man viewed marriage in technical and academic terms rather than as communion and knowledge of the other through love and couldn’t even recognize his own wife apart from defining his relationship to her.

                In any case, it would not be ENTIRELY fair to take Met. Kallistos’s words as advocacy. He, in fact, advocates caution. It would, however, be more than fair to say that his…let’s call it…equivocation on this matter, coupled with the respect he enjoys among Orthodox Christians, leaves far too wide an opening into which he is surely fully aware the Progressive-minded are quick to insert a crowbar so their own agendas can be pursued with an apparent legitimacy. Regardless of what he himself believes, his equivocation is tantamount to advocacy in that, short of dogmatic definition which can only occur in an ecumenical council, it is a received tradition he is willing to question and invite (nay encourage) others to question– and this in spite of the mind of the Church, the received tradition, and the overwhelming evidence that such questioning of this sort always leads to apostasy.

                And this without even touching upon what can only be described as deliberate ambiguities in his recent introduction to The Wheel on the subject of homosexuality and marriage.

                One could argue that Met. Kallistos’s ‘method’ is one that intends to provoke a thorough examination and ultimate settlement of these matters. But if this is so, he is going about it in the most irresponsible manner conceivable. He is a bishop who is responsible for his flock, not an academic who is free to muse publicly among unbelievers and confused Orthodox over “questions” that he knows full well are not open at all. Moreover, he intentionally leaves his readers with the impression that the truth (and not merely the expression of truth) is known and “discovered” through ‘dialogue’ rather than through the obedience of faith.

                • Tim R. Mortiss says

                  This is all well-put, I think.

                • Monk James Silver says

                  Brian (December 30, 2018 at 9:44 pm) says:

                  With regard to the criticisms of Met. Kallistos, he, like the authors of the PO piece, has said that women’s ordination is “an open question.”
                  Source, please? Context?

                  I’m ignoring several errors put forth by ‘Brian’ in this post, most of which I’m snipping. Maybe another time….

                  • Christopher says

                    Monk James Silver,

                    Brian covers the character and practical, theological, and spiritual outcome of Met. Kallistos’ unbelief well I think. It’s hard to say more in a comment box.

                    As for source I have for years pointed Met. Kallistos’ essay to the original edition of Hopko’s “Women and the Priesthood”, 1983, AND the his revised essay in the 2nd or “new” edition, 1999. A comparison of these two essays is a good source text if you with to grapple with Met. Kallistos theological anthroplogy and the development thereof. I unapologetically (and thus, I believe accurately) describe his thoughts on these matters as “unbelief”.

                    Another source text is his now infamous “forward” to this past summers edition of The Wheel. Fr. John Cox’s analysis of the pastoral “logic” is a must read:


                    Behind Met. Kallistos’ approach to what on the surface is a pastoral issue in this essay, is his confused and confusing mixture of modern/secularist anthropology and normative/traditional Christian anthropology. Does it matter if Met. Kallistos’ unbelief is conscious or unconscious? The result is the same, unbelief…

                  • Father,
                    Few, perhaps, would venture to assert that Met. Kallistos is a ‘bad man.’ I most certainly wouldn’t. Poor theology doesn’t by itself make for a bad man; it makes for a bad theologian and teacher – in this case, one whose trumpet blasts out an indistinct, confusing sound that does not bear the aroma of the Fathers whose certainty of the revelation once delivered to the Saints was not subject to equivocation.

                    In 1978 I considered the ordination of women priests to be an impossibility. Now I am much more hesitant. …What I would plead is that we Orthodox should regard the matter as essentially an open question. Let us not imagine that in this area everything is clarified and finally settled; for manifestly it is not, either for us Orthodox or for other Christians.
                    -Kallistos Ware, “Man, Woman and the Priesthood of Christ,”

                    This argument, however, places us in difficulty. Persons of heterosexual orientation have the option of getting married, and so in a positive way they can fulfill their erotic desire with the Church’s blessing through the God-given sacrament of holy matrimony. But homosexuals have no such option. In the words of Vasileios Thermos, “A homosexual subject is called to lead a celibate life without feeling a vocation for it.” Are we right to impose this heavy burden on the homosexual?

                    This is asking the wrong question, for “we” are not imposing this burden.

                    What happens, by contrast, to the faithful and monogamous homosexual? Perhaps the priest says in confession, “Are you willing to give up your homosexual relationship?” The penitent may answer, “I cannot do that.” The priest may rejoin, “You can continue to share a common life, marked by mutual affection; but will you abstain from further sexual activity?” The other may well reply, “I am not yet ready to undertake that.” (Yet I have known homosexuals who have indeed transformed their relationship in this way.) The priest, faced with this refusal, may well feel that he cannot bless the penitent to receive the sacrament. Now here certainly is a paradox. The homosexual committed to a stable and loving relationship is treated more harshly than the homosexual who is casual and promiscuous, and who is seeking not true love but passing pleasure. Something has gone wrong here.

                    What, precisely, has gone wrong? There is no attempt to answer.

                    While not agreeing with all that is said in this volume—indeed, the contributors do not always agree among themselves—nevertheless I welcome this issue of The Wheel. I welcome it precisely because it does not claim to offer a systematic and definitive treatment of sexuality, but because its aim is to “initiate discussion,” as the guest editor, Father Andrew Louth, notes. In the words of Brandon Gallaher, “To ascertain the truth we must experiment.” And as Vasileios Thermos maintains, “Our theological treasury . . . is waiting to be discovered.” Let us not as Orthodox be merely defensive and reactive, “running after the facts,” as he puts it; but let us listen to one another with creative courage, with mutual respect and, more than that, with (in his own words again) “loving compassion.” Let us acknowledge, moreover, the variety of paths that God calls us human beings to follow. Here is a volume that can help us to identify some of the paths that are to be found within the “dark forest,” and that can lead us to clearings where the sunlight breaks through. For that we may be firmly grateful.
                    -Forward, The Wheel

                    Interview with Fr. George Westhaver:

                    Citations such as these are almost endless because he is such a prolific writer and speaker.

                    What he himself may believe is not the subject of my criticism. On most topics of modern controversy, he generally states the tradition but then immediately proceeds to tell his audience that because we haven’t ‘theologically’ developed the ‘why’ behind it, questions remain. He leaves this questioning fully open, undisciplined by the revelation the Church has received, affirming little, and directly refuting even less.

                    As a highly indistinct ‘trumpet of theology’ his words can quite rightly be claimed by advocates of all sorts of deviants from the Tradition, from advocates of female clergy to homosexuality to modern ecumenism (and he knows it), engaging in and encouraging the very behavior St. Paul instructed Timothy to avoid.

                    “…from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.

                    “O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge— by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.
                    Grace be with you. Amen.”

                    • Matthew Panchisin says

                      Dear Brian,

                      Thank you for your comments for peace, they are understood and familiar to many Orthodox Christians.

                      Your reference to Saint Paul’s instructions to Timothy is most germane and succinct.

                      I thank God for your prowess in such matters.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      Ah. I heard so, so much of this in the Presbyterian church, of which I was a member for 66 years. Everything like this has been said, and leads to the same place.

                      I just will never understand so many of these contemporary clergy. All men of great good will. Protestant, Roman Catholic, Orthodox– they are so preoccupied with this stuff, just because the society is so utterly preoccupied with it. Why weren’t they generations ago? Nothing has changed– except public opinion.

                      In an odd and roundabout way it reminds me of civil jury trial practice. In civil cases, we defense lawyers always demanded a jury and paid the jury fee. Why? Because juries will make hard decisions, and let the chips fall where they may. Judges? They are the “professionals”. They will almost always try to split the baby and make everybody a little bit happy. That’s just….how they are.

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      The under lying fault with Met Kallistos, his buddy, Fr. Louth and all who wish to look at all “open questions” is that they have succumbed to the modernist premis of progress. Succinctly defined as: “everything changes and all change is good.”.

                      They truly believe that everything in the Tradition of the Church must be re-evaluated in the light of modern “wisdom”. Why? Because we clearly know more than any one before us knew.

                      Such an idea unchecked leads to the conclusion that there is neither an incarnate God, revelation, the Holy Spirit or Providence. Ultimately, we save ourselves, if we need saving that is and who can really say?

              • “MetK mentioned only that we Orthodox Christians had not yet expressed a formal theological reason for maintaining an exclusively male priesthood. ”

                Poor MetK is sliding back to his preconversion mindset. We all know where liberal Anglicans are now. We need to pray for his soul.

                • Monk James Silver says

                  Non sequitur.

                  ‘Martin’ owes us an explanation of his opinion that my words somehow validate his accusation of Met. Kallistos Ware’s abandoning the Tradition which he — as a bishop — swore to uphold.

                  • Monk James Silver: “sliding back to his preconversion mindset. We all know where liberal Anglicans are now”

                    I do not accuse Met. Ware. I like and respect him.

                    Rather it is that I do not feel that his conversion was deep in cultural/mental sense. I sense a specific weakness (combined with a specific strength) that he shares with many of his kin.

                    Perhaps I am wrong.

                    • Monk James Silver says

                      Now ‘Martn’ writes — just after excusing himself — that he doesn’t ‘feel that (Met. Kallistos Ware’s) conversion was deep….’

                      I hope that ‘Martin’ is indeed wrong here., or else it would appear that things have gone from bad to worse.

                    • Monk James Silver: “Now ‘Martn’ writes — just after excusing himself — that he doesn’t ‘feel that (Met. Kallistos Ware’s) conversion was deep….’”

                      I do not “excuse” myself. I wrote sincerely what I think, trying to be fair.

                      I worry for bishop Ware, since I like him. Unfortunately some of his statements remind of the statements of the Episcopalians just before they went on their disastrous way.

                      So I suspect it has some common cultural underpinnings. The English were traumatized and burned out by the bloody Puritan Revolution and since then they are wary of “excessive” religious zeal, even when it is called for.

                      I hope you get what I mean.

              • Matthew Panchisin says

                Dear Monk James Silver

                In short, it is known that what is considered to be eskusheiye (temptation to be immediately dismissed from the orthodox ascetical perspective such as the cited example of women being Priests ) Met. Ware has been known to ponder publically and present to Orthodox Christians for consideration. Suffice it to say there are many other Bishops that understand things much differently from the aforementioned traditional perspective, that’s why some of his comments are often quickly dismissed (with prejudice) by his elder Bishops in the Orthodox faith with erudition as well, salted.

                I did not mention this as evidence of Met. Ware betraying tradition as he remains a very loving and kind hearted man.

                • Monk James Silver says

                  I’ve read Matthew Panchisin’s post three times, but only its last sentence makes any sense.

                  Perhaps he could clarify his thoughts and write again?

                  • Matthew Panchisin says

                    Dear Monk James Silver,

                    Sure, please don’t translate any liturgical text without a blessing from a canonical Orthodox Bishop, as such be at peace with us.

                    • Monk James Silver says

                      I’m left wondering what I did to deserve this very odd statement from Matthew Panchisin, who didn’t address my previously expressed concern.

                      And who is the ‘us’ with whom my translating liturgical texts (or not translating them) would put me at peace?

                      This is important, since he seems to insinuate that he has reservations about my relationship with my canonical superiors.

  2. Joseph Lipper says

    “Met. Kallistos also cannot agree with the Russian Church’s response to Constantinople’s actions:

    “At the same time, I am troubled by the actions of the Patriarch of Moscow, Patriarch Kirill and the Russian Church. I am disturbed that they have broken off communion with Constantinople. I believe this discussion of the position in Ukraine needs to be considered in the spirit of brotherly love without any breaking of communion. So, in that way I cannot agree entirely with either side. And I do pray that somehow there may be a reconciliation.”

    By breaking communion with Constantinople, the Moscow Patriarchate has also dragged all of it’s various exarchates into this mess. This is probably most acutely felt in the U.S. where numerous parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate and Ecumenical Patriarchate coexist in the same locales.

    Moscow’s enforced break in communion with the EP for the Americans of ROCOR has nothing to with Church dogma either. It’s about a disagreement of Church territorial rights, not in America, but in Ukraine. Moscow is forcing ROCOR to divide against the EP to take a “political stand” on Ukrainian politics.

    As Metropolitan Kallistos says, “this discussion of the position in Ukraine needs to be considered in the spirit of brotherly love without any breaking of communion.”

    • George Michalopulos says

      Well, yes. Of course brotherly love is called for. Unfortunately, the EP has long acted in bad faith.

      How do you dialogue with somebody who believes he cannot be wrong?

      • Joseph Lipper says

        How do you dialogue with someone who at the very last minute drops out of an Ecumenical Council they had promised to attend and now refuses to talk with you.

        There’s acting in bad faith on Moscow’s part also.

        Someone please correct me if wrong, but I believe in an Ecumenical Council the other bishops could overturn a decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. They could at least have a lively and heated discussion.

        • Dear Mr Lipper

          Please consult for the history of the development of the “council”in which all conciliarity was violated/rendered impossible by the EP. Those not attending did so for cause and were faithful to the Orthodox Tradition and Church.

        • …but I believe in an Ecumenical Council the other bishops could overturn a decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. They could at least have a lively and heated discussion.

          Or so it would have been if Crete was a real council. But the rules laid down prior by (you guessed it) the EP did not allow for any significant changes to the pre-conciliar documents.

          Moscow was by no means alone in refusing to attend. Some say, perhaps rightly, that all of the objectors should have come anyway and hashed it out. But that would have been a huge argument that would have lasted for months. Few wanted their very real differences to be on display for the world to see with all the hype surrounding “the GREAT COUNCIL.” Moreover, it was not a GREAT COUNCIL because all the bishops were not invited, and thus the voting was slanted.

          Once again, the issue at the root of it all is very bad ecclesiology. What is needed is a real council (seemingly ugly and raucous or not) not the pseudo-council that was offered.

      • I absolutely LOVE this line! “How do you dialogue with someone who believes he cannot be wrong?”

        That is President Trump! Good job!

    • “this discussion of the position in Ukraine needs to be considered in the spirit of brotherly love without any breaking of communion.”

      Who could disagree in an ideal world?

      But the unfortunate reality is that without a break in communion, the EP will go on his merry way free to believe and continue to act on his false notions of ecclesiology (which even Met. Kallistos agrees are sorely flawed) . Someone has to say NO, and there is no other way of doing so short of a council that is desperately needed. But unless someone has the fortitude to stand up and force it by not pretending a unity of eccesiological understanding that does not exist in reality (and hasn’t since at least the early 20th century), it will never happen.

      … in the U.S. where numerous parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate and Ecumenical Patriarchate coexist in the same locales.

      …and they will continue to do so as they always have. No one here in America need be concerned – GOA, ROCOR, or otherwise. This is temporary and will work itself out one way or another. It is not the first time, and it won’t be the last; yet the faithful all manage to keep the Faith. Meanwhile, we obey our own bishops, pray for them (and for our enemies), and get on with life.

      In fact, the very real and consequential questions being forced to the forefront of the consciousness of the Patriarchates by means of this mess may well serve to further our unity here and everywhere by returning us to a Christ-centered ecclesiology. You know, that crazy belief that God is actually in control,

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Brian, yes, this will be resolved. I’ve said it before and will say it again, I believe the next council will be the “Triumph of Orthodox Ecclesiology”. God will preserve His Church. The Ecumenical Patriarchate will be preserved along with the Moscow Patriarchate, but things will get worse before things get better. The Church politics will probably turn bloody, but the solution will come from God, not from Church politics.

        Already we are seeing people leaving EP parishes in the U.S. for parishes under Moscow. If they are doing this because of what’s happening in Ukraine, I believe it’s a great mistake. It comes across as an attempt to “excommunicate” the Ecumenical Patriarch. How does that help the matter?

        If there’s a time and place to say “no”, it’s at an Ecumenical Council. For a council to happen, though, there must be communion. By breaking communion with the EP, Moscow is resisting a future council.

        May the communion be restored and the next Ecumenical Council come quickly.

        • Christopher says

          ” I’ve said it before and will say it again, I believe the next council will be the “Triumph of Orthodox Ecclesiology”. God will preserve His Church. The Ecumenical Patriarchate will be preserved along with the Moscow Patriarchate…”

          I believe a mark of the next real council will be a reckoning of anachronisms like “the Patriarch of Constantinople” which made perfect sense in a Roman world of Empire, but in a modern world of nation states makes no sense at all. Perhaps there will be Patriarchs of New York, Paris, Tokyo declared. Any Patriarch who has “primacy” will be congruent with the world of the last 1000 years, not the Roman Empire…

        • For a council to happen, though, there must be communion.

          Actually, this isn’t true. Some councils are held precisely in order to heal (or attempt to heal) a schism, an existing break in communion (something, I might add, the EP should have considered before charging unilaterally into the Ukraine).

          The Council of Ferrara-Florence is a prime example. Unsuccessful though it was in terms of its hoped-for purpose, it nevertheless preserved the Faith from both theological and ecclesiological (similar to what we now face) errors.

          God will preserve His Church.

          Yes, but like Ferrara-Florence there remains the tragic possibility that some will persist in error and/or pride, and the Church may appear to be smaller when the dust settles. No one who shares the love of God could possibly be happy about it, but sadly it does happen. Or to put it another way, what will be preserved is the Faith and those who hold fast to it/Him. Who will be preserved depends entirely on them.

      • Brian: “there is no other way of doing so short of a council that is desperately needed”

        Probabl, it is not possible. There is no Orthodox Emperor today, and probably such Council at best would end up like the one in Crete, where Orthodoxy dodged the bullet.

        Can you imagine one of the Seven Ecumenical Councils conducted in Zoroastrian Persia or Arian Visigotic or Vandal kingdom?

  3. Thanks for bringing this to our attention George and Greatly Saddened!

    I would suggest a slightly different assessment of Met Kallistos and his position. Yes he is “accommodating” to the zeitgeist, in that a very deep part of him is secularized. However, he is also a son of the Church so he is a true believer as well. In this way he is an insider Reformer and not a late term deconstructionist as is common in the Protestant and Roman Catholic communions. His is confident in his own position and thoughts, his scholastic foundation, his story. It takes confidence and a kind of arrogance to be a Reformer. He stands in the confidence of his Orthodoxy, as well in the confidence of his own secular/scholastic world which he then turns against Orthodoxy as a Reformer as an insider.

    In most cases, on most issues, he is and will be perfectly Orthodox – and unlike most he has the “breadth” if historical/theological background to rightly back it up. That said, be careful of friends like this, in that his core loyalty is to his own reform more than anything else. As the Protestants and Roman Catholics have taught us, early reformers (unlike later deconstructionists) not only have a loyalty to the institution on par with the orthodox, they in fact are even more defensive of it because they are heavily invested in it in a way orthodox are not: their whole project is dependent on it in a way orthodox are not…

    Hope I am making some sense here 😉

    Christopher Encapera

  4. Billy Jack Sunday says

    George Michalopulos

    You said:

    “Think of it: that’s only two out of the hundreds of Orthodox bishops the world over.”

    Excluding EP Bartholomew

    Are you saying only these two canonical bishops are the only ones outspoken in favor so far of the EP’s actions in the Ukraine – out of the approximately 850 canonical bishops worldwide?

    • George Michalopulos says

      Pretty much. Do you (or anyone else) know of any others?

    • Billy,

      George is exaggerating (but only slightly).

      Bishops voting at the Unification Council – presumably in favor, if not outspoken
      41 of them were bishops of the UOC-KP
      12 were bishops of the UAOC
      At least 2 were bishops of the UOC-MP.

      Add Bartholomew, and his local synod and that’s, I believe, 5? (about one for each square block, apparently).

      Plus Metropolitans Evangelos and Gerasimos.

      And we cannot, of course, ever forget Met. Job (Getcha)

      Total: At least 63

      Total who were bishops prior to the Imperial edict of His All Holiness, Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch: about 10.

      • Billy Jack Sunday says


        Yes, not counting the schismatics prior to the decree, 10

        Take away the EP with his band of merry men (because let’s not count the instigators of the problem)


        Take away the 2 MP bishops that should never have had an opportunity to bounce out (as the decree should not have happened anyway)

        Bishops on the outside of direct involvement showing support



        Not mentioned in the article
        Metropolitan Job

        Sorry, same math as you, just different order, working it out in my head, trying to wrap around

        However, I’m thinking this Metropolitan Job (EP rep to the WCC) – isn’t he essentially an auxiliary/admin? I see his title appears to be titular

        Number of bishops who are in a place to be objective that actually have a diocese?


        2 of roughly 850 worldwide

  5. VirginiaDean says

    How does any of this get me to heaven or keep my sorry-ass archdiocese from going insolvent? Ware and the Russians cannot help when we’re in the ICU. Russians are just as corrupt and unsuccessful and messy in America as the Greeks, so we need not wallow in overseas pseudo-triumphant Russian bathwater over all this Byzantine real estate fighting. It’s likely to go on beyond our lifetimes. Who cares how many lazy bishops voted for what? Parishes here are in a paycheck to paycheck survival mode. Let’s get back to the core mission= Salvation !

    • Fr. George Washburn says

      VirginiaDean forgets that one of the chief purposes of anonymous internet jousting is to distract participants and observers from the dirty work of repentance and salvation. Isn’t it obvious that the deck chairs need rearranging if we are to have the best views of that iceberg just ahead?

  6. Francis Frost says


    Like the Wizard of Oz, you all want to say, “pay no attention to that little man behind the curtain”.

    You can decry the violation of canonical norms and the breaking of communion; but the fact is that the Moscow Patriarchate has shredded all the canonical norms and broken the Savior’s commandments with aplomb for the past 25 years! Indeed, the canonical norms have been so abused by the MP, that the term ‘canonical’ has become all but meaningless.

    The Russians have illegally seized by violence two entire dioceses of the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate. They achieved these occupations though mass murder and the expulsion of the legitimate clergy and laity. They created and funded the schismatic “Abkhaz Orthodox Eparchy” on the ruins of the legitimate church. They received into their ranks the traitor VissarionApliaa and concelebrated with him despite the fact that he has no canonical release from the canonical church. The Moscow Patriarchate sent its bishops and priest into the territory of the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate during the 2008 invasion and literally “blessed’ the missile tanks and weapons used to destroy entire towns and villages; including the missiles used in the rocket attack on the very House of God, the Ghvrtaeba Cathedral and the shrine of the protomartyr Razhden in Nikozi. The Russians and their Ossetian allies looted God’s house, desecrated the Altar of God and burned the iconostasis and the Holy Table with the sacred vessels and the very Body of Christ on that Holy Table.

    And now, these wretched murderers of God, want to claim the cloak of victimhood ??? !!! Really ?????

    You certainly have to admire their chutzpa, if not their complete hypocrisy and brazen arrogance.

    Even so, God is not mocked. “Vengeance is Mine. I will repay, says the LORD your God”

    As the Apostle Peter wrote: “the LORD knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgement…They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak ill of dignitaries…these like natural brute beasts, made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of of the things they do not understand and will utterly perish in their own corruption… 2 Peter 9-12

    What is happening now in Ukraine is the beginning of God’s righteous chastisement against those who invaded Georgia, “the sacred lot of the Mother of God”. What is happening now is just the beginning. There is more to come.

    The Russians have repeatedly have used military power and political violence to further their imperialist aims in direct violation of the Canons of the First Ecumenical Council. Then, having created military “facts on the ground” the Russians would like to believe that their accretions are somehow sacrosanct, and endorsed by the Holy Tradition. Not so!

    The Putinists would have us believe that the borders drawn by the Comintern are an inviolable expression of the Orthodox tradition. Not so !

    Over the past year the Moscow Patriarchate has been attempting to assemble an anti-EP coalition to support its position on Ukrainian autocephaly. Of course, the MP has an Achille’s heel – its own flagrant and persistent violation of the Sacred Canons.

    Should Patriarch Kirill press his campaign against the EP too far, the EP has documented, verifiable grounds to depose and / or excommunicate the entire synod of the Moscow Patriarchate. A decade ago, the Georgians were willing to grant the invaders the fig leaf ‘metochion’ to hide the shame of their crimes against the Christian people. Now, not so much. You can google “Apostolic Canons” for the details.

    Our church is in peril – and we all know it is – for one simple reason. Our leaders and our people have forgotten Christ’s saving commandments. All the financial scandals, all the canonical disorder and the steady dribbling away of our posterity are due to the fact that “the salt has lost its savor”.

    The Orthochristian web-site is right about one thing. The crisis in Ukraine has only one solution, which is repentance; but it is NOT the Ukrainians who need to repent so much, as it is the Moscow Patriarchate and its sponsors in the Lyubyanka who need to repent of their violent, imperialist fantasies.

    The Russian’s decry invasion of “their” canonical territory. What hypocrisy! Not one Georgian, not one Ukrainian, not one Moldovan, not one NATO soldier has EVER set foot on Russia’s land. Not once. It is the Russians who have repeatedly violated international law and God’s commandments in their insane attempt to reconstruct their Soviet Empire.

    George, you, like your Russian friends, are oblivious to your own contradictions. You lament the millions of Christians who were murdered by the NKVD / KGB, while you lionize Putin, who was, and is the head of the KBG / SVR/ FSB; and who has done all he can to rebuild their stinking Soviet empire.

    Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets”. Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Matthew 23: 29 – 31

  7. Franics Frost says

    Dear Anthony,

    You are completely mistaken. I grew up in the Russian Orthodox Church – the old Metropolia (now the OCA), among Russian emigres including my own family. Of course, in those days we knew who and what the KGB was. My own family left Lithuania one step ahead of the KGB executioners who were waiting for them at their home! Had they not been warned and escaped in a hay cart in the middle of the night, well that would have been the end of the story.

    You think I hold my Russian brethren in disdain. You are misled. It is not love of the Russian people that motivates Mr. Putin’s cheerleaders here in America. Mr. Putin and his crony’s have looted the wealth of the Russian nation (literally trillions of USD) and stashed their ill gotten gains in offshore bank accounts. The western targeted sanctions only cover individuals and do not affect ordinary citizens. It is Mr. Putin’s counter sanctions that targeted the importation of essential food, medicine and consumer products. It is Mr. Putins sanctions that have caused 15% inflation year over year for the past 5 years, while pensions have been frozen. While elderly Russians go hungry or do without the medicines they need, while the last remnants of the Russian health care system have been gutted by Mr. Putin’s “optimization program”, Mr Putin used the governments remaining limited resources on a military spending spree. It is Putin who is literally starving the Russian people in order to prove what a tough guy he is.

    And you accuse ME of disdain for the Russian people? Get real. As my babushka used to say: “Chepukhu ne skazhi!” Don’t talk nonsense. You quite literally have no idea what you are talking about.

    I grew up among Russian emigres. We spoke Russian in our home, and we still do. We have cousins in Moscow and Petersburg, as well as in Georgia. Who loves the Russian people more, one who tells the truth, or the many who broadcast the KGB propaganda lies in the guise of “Orthodox” commentary? Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn once said: ” It is duty of every free man, especially of a Christian man to denounce the Great Lie”

    The sad truth is that even our Orthodox church has been infected with the satanic Great Lie: that might makes right, that the innocent victims of armed aggression do not count, that the church is the servant of the state and not the incarnation of God’s saving love. It is the Russian bishops who disdained God’s commandments and the sacred canons of the Orthodox Church, when they trespassed onto the territory of the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate and literally “blessed” the weapons used to murder innocent civilians, used to destroy God’s own house in Nikozi and used to desecrate there very Body of Christ on the Holy Table.

    By their very public actions, they have proved to the entire universe; angels and to men that they have chosen a master who is not Christ, and thereby prove that they have disdained disdained our Lord Jesus Christ, as it is written: “No one can serve two masters: Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. ” Mathew 6:24

    The Russian clergy think that there is no recompense for their sin; but they are wrong!

    “If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him..” I Corinthians 3:17. They are deceiving themselves, and they are trying desperately to deceive all of us here as well.

    Even so, the time of “God’s righteous chastisement, which impendeth against us” is now here at hand.

    We live in difficult times, when even the organs of the church have been hijacked by the acolytes of the Antichrist.

    I repeat what I wrote before. The Putin regime and his enablers in the Donskoi monastery want to claim the cloak of victimhood. Nothing could be further from the truth! Russia has not been invaded. Not one foreign soldier has trespassed even one centimeter onto Russian soil. No, it is the Russian military that has invaded three of its neighbors, leaving tens of thousands dead, and nearly 2 million as homeless refugees.

    “By their works shall ye know them.” It is the once and always evil empire that has engaged in a fratricidal wars against innocent Orthodox Christians. It is the Moscow Patriarchate and its clergy who have repeatedly violated all the canonical norms over the past 25 years. And, now they must face God’s judgment and His righteous chastisement for these horrific crimes.

    “Judgement is without mercy for those who have shown no mercy” Apostle James.

    Our Lord said: “The truth shall set you free”; but nowadays, our people have become “lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, without love of good, traitorous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,… Timothy 3:2-5

    The current canonical crisis is a sign go God’s judgement. In Greek, the word crisis literally means judgement. This crisis is revealing all the falsehood and corruption in the church and God’s judgment on these great sins. This crisis is also a time for us to decide who we are and who we aspire to become.

    “For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?.”

    • Francis,
      My original comment was based entirely on your own words. If I was deceived about your view of your Russian brethren, it was you who deceived me. And your 10+ paragraph response did not do a thing to change my impression that you have disdain for your Russian brothers and sisters in Christ. Love your enemies and pray for those that persecute you.

    • George Michalopulos says

      A general observation: Russia was looted out of at least a trillion dollars by the Harvard Boys during tthe Yeltsin era. These were American vulture capitalists who used Russian buildings such as Mikhail Khodorovsky, Boris Berezovsky, et al, to help them pillage the Russian nation.

      One reason (among many) as to why Putin ia so popular among the masses is that he brought all of this pillaging by foreigners to a screeching halt. He also imprisoned several of their collaborators.

      • Francis Frost says

        Dear Anthony:

        You decry my ‘disdain’ for Russians and remind me to “love your enemies’. Fair enough.

        Of course, disdain never killed anyone. You seem to think that this conflict is some kind of family spat or trivial complaint. I can assure you that is not the truth. Twenty five years of war have exacted enormous suffering on innocent civilians. Given the enormity of the crimes committed against the Georgian nation and the Georgian Orthodox faithful, you must admit that our holy fathers have shown remarkable patience and forebearance all these many years. Yet, the Russian clergy who have sinned so grievously and so long, now want to demand justice against those who have encroached on their prerogatives ! ? !

        Just read a small portion fo the following eyewitness accounts of the Russian invasions of Abkazeti:

        …When they [Abkhaz] entered Gagra, I saw Shamyl Basaev’s (the Chechen leader of the Muslim mercenaries used by the /russian army to attack the Orthodox Georgian in Abkhazeti) battalion. I have never seen such a horror. They were raping and killing everyone who was captured and dragged from their homes. The Abkhaz commander Arshba raped a 14 year old girl and later gave an order to execute her. For the whole day I only could hear the screams and cries of the people who were brutally tortured. On the next day, I witnessed the mass execution of people on the stadium. They installed machine guns and mortars on the top and placed people right on the field. It took a couple of hours to kill everybody…”

        “…When the Abkhaz entered my house, they took me and my seven year old son outside. After forcing us to kneel, they took my son and shot him right in front of me. After they grabbed me by hair and took me to the nearby well. An Abkhaz soldier forced me to look down that well; there I saw three younger men and couple of elderly women who were standing soaked in water. They were screaming and crying while the Abkhaz were dumping dead corpses on them. Afterwards, they threw a grenade there and placed more people inside. I was forced again to kneel in front of the dead corpses. One of the soldiers took his knife and took the eye out from one of the dead near me. Then he started to rub my lips and face with that decapitated eye. I could not take it any longer and fainted. They left me there in a pile of corpses…”

        “…The Abkhaz separatists killed people of other nationalities as well, including those who tried to protect Georgians. After the city was seized, the streets were covered with bodies. Separatists destroyed the Baramidze, Chkhetia, Baramia, Gvazava, Dzidziguri, Absandze, Shonia, and Kutsia families, as well as many others…”

        Ugrekhelidze, an inhabitant of the village Eshera, was forced to dig a hole of his own height, then they pulled out his teeth and nails, and he was buried alive. They left his hand above the ground (the symbol of the Abkhazian banner.) Another Georgian was captured, they cut his veins. Then the Abkhazian separatists poured his blood into glasses and drank it. After this they let him go to Sokhumi to tell everybody how Abkhazians drank Georgian blood. The Abkhazian butchers captured sisters – Eka Jvania (17 years old) and Marina Jvania (14 years old), Leila Samushia and others in village Pshadi. They undressed them in front of their parents and neighbors, and raped them. After this the Abkhazian butchers executed all of them by shooting.

        It’s just a drop in the ocean of the separatists violence. 30,000 innocent people were killed in Abkhazian War in 1992-1993.

        “…They captured a young girl. She was hiding in the bushes near the house where they killed her parents. She was raped several times. One of the soldiers killed her and mutilated her. She was cut in half. Near her body they left a message: as this corpse will never be as one piece, Abkhazia and Georgia will never be united either…”

        You can read more at:

        In the 2008 invasion 15 entire villages were attacked with rocket, burned and then demolished. The Ghvertaeba Cathedral in Nikozi was rocketed, looted, desecrated and then burned by the Russians and their Ossetian allies.

        A television documentary on the destruction of Ghvertaeba and the work of reconstruction carried out by Metropolitan Isaiah may be viewed at:

        “Love your enemies” certainly; but how about “Love your neighbor as yourself”? What about “Thou shall not kill”, “Those shall not steal.”, “Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s possessions” ?

        Perhaps while preaching to me you might want to consider the enormity of the crimes that evoke my disdain. Physician, heal thyself!

        • Francis,
          Is it your contention that Pat. Kiril and the rest of the Orthodox hierarchy in Russia are not saddened by this or have no compassion for those innocent souls caught in the middle?

  8. Gail Sheppard says

    One wonders if Trump asked Mattis to make an early exit because he is unhappy with the State Department’s involvement in this Ukraine mess. I don’t think Trump wants to be on the wrong side of a potential war. If NATO goes in, it wouldn’t surprise me if Trump bowed out.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Interesting. I’m sure Mattis (whom I greatly admire) was shown the door because Trump feels his hand vis-a-vis thr DS has gotten stronger, in that he’s serious about having America “come home”.

  9. George Michalopulos says

    A general observation: Russia was looted out of at least a trillion dollars by the Harvard Boys during tthe Yeltsin era. These were American vulture capitalists who used Russian buildings such as Mikhail Khodorovsky, Boris Berezovsky, et al, to help them pillage the Russian nation.

    One reason (among many) as to why Putin ia so popular among the masses is that he brought all of this pillaging by foreigners to a screeching halt. He also imprisoned several of their collaborators.

  10. Monk James Silver says

    Michael Bauman (January 1, 2019 at 1:54 pm) says:

    The under lying fault with Met Kallistos, his buddy, Fr. Louth and all who wish to look at all “open questions” is that they have succumbed to the modernist premis of progress. Succinctly defined as: “everything changes and all change is good.”.

    They truly believe that everything in the Tradition of the Church must be re-evaluated in the light of modern “wisdom”. Why? Because we clearly know more than any one before us knew.

    Such an idea unchecked leads to the conclusion that there is neither an incarnate God, revelation, the Holy Spirit or Providence. Ultimately, we save ourselves, if we need saving that is and who can really say?

    What Michael Bauman writes here is not only a bit unfair but also more than a little unrealistic, given that he is commenting on the words of two highly respected professors.

    While I concede that truthful and accurate representations of The Faith must be unambiguous and clear, it is also true that generally accepted standards of academic discourse require an attitude of openness to different points of view and theories other than those presented in any given lecture or paper.

    And I suspect that it’s just exactly this sort of academic openness which has exposed Met. Kallistos Ware and Fr Andrew Louth, both eminent in their fields at Oxford and Durham respectively. In such a context, that openness invites — and usually receives — a robust response, and the debate is on.

    I have no idea where the words of these two scholars, which are being criticized here, originated. But, like most over-worked professors, they may have simply handed off a paper to be included in some other publication and modified at the editor’s discretion.

    This is not an excuse for them or their words, merely an attempt at an explanation.

    I’d hope and even expect that they would be much closer to the received Tradition of The Church if pressed to express it — and it alone.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Monk James, not just their printed words but actual interaction with both gentlemen in public seminars at my parish and a sister parish in my town. I may be wrong but what I wrote is the impression I came away with after spending an of intense weekend with them in a presentation on St. Maximus, the Confessor which was overall quite good.

      Met. Kallistos gave an engaging, but rather weird keynote address on praying the Jesus prayer to “unite the head shockra and the heart shockra” so that the energy of God may flow properly (or words to that effect). That brought back really bad memories of the “New Age” crap I spent time in before finding the Church. Creepy.

      At the end of the seminar Fr. Louth actually stated “The Fathers all need to be reinterpreted in the light of modern science.” That is exactly backwards. Met. Ware was nodding in agreement. I was literally stunned. I have not trusted a word either one has said since.

      In a previous seminar at my sister parish Met. Kallistos spent quite a bit of time in response to questions about the primacy of Tradition beating around the bush but clearly leaning toward a modernist approach (IMO). At best he was quite wishy-washy.

      It may be unfair and is certainly subjective but is a substantial and lasting impression left by the gentlemen themselves.

      They are intelligent, decent, kind men clearly without malice, but also lacking the type of foundation necessary to really critique the modern mind and its tendency toward apostasy. They are first and foremost academics with a built in tendency to seek an egalitarian solution through dialectic dialog. Perhaps they have risen in the Church past their level of competency?

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      Always a problem when a Bishop becomes an “academic”. That is not to say “scholar”, but an “academic”.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Tim, you grasp my point. It is indeed entirely different.

      • Zelo Quanife says

        Academics depend on academia for their future jobs, especially if they lose favor with their bishop, so they are careful to not leave any record which academia will use against them. Professors who have served in GOP administrations have found their old jobs no longer available, unless they had a very convenient change of ideology and write anti-GOP tracts.

        • In reply to Zelo, Michael B and Tim:

          Yes it is very interesting to note which Orthodox clergy or hierarchy have been employed by, worked closely with Roman Catholic universities/academics or served on Orthodox/Catholic dialogue committees. Just as physicians believe out of pride that they are independent of the influence of friendly drug reps, many of us do not want to admit that peer pressure and the desire to be liked (vainglory?) lead us to be influenced by non-Orthodox values and theology. And those of us without a personality geared to courageous proclamations of our beliefs may avoid conflict with others, thus ceding important truths. My own profession did the very same when radicals invaded meetings of the American Psychiatric Association in the early 1970’s, completely changing what was understood as pathology into normal categories simply by overwhelming the studious introverts and intellectuals used to decorous, refined disagreements. We then delude ourselves into deciding (yielding) that progress is being made so we won’t have to be unpopular or feel cowardly. . A real temptation we must all fight and recognize for ourselves and for others who may have succumbed.

          • Christopher says


            Very well stated. The modern Academy is a product of Secularism through and through, and it takes a Christian honesty to see how it effects all who are a part of it. Met. Kallistos is a good example of this.

            Your point about Orthodox academics working in mostly Roman Catholic institutions in the west (i.e. Europe, North America, etc.) is an important one and the correlation between “modernist” or “progressive” Orthodoxy and its academic/scholarly representatives and these RC institutions is obvious yet not talked about very much.

            Monk James Silver,

            Respectfully, at this point your just being obstinate. We have cited for you many examples of Met. Kallistos published work (which includes his prolific words on the Orthodox lecture circuit) , its development, etc. While I appreciate the virtues of loyalty and advocacy, the unbelief of Met. Kallistos (and Fr. Louth) is an objective matter of record. Your attempts at “explanation” are crude, naive, and don’t withstand scrutiny…

    • Michael Bauman says

      Monk James, one cannot serve the god of progress and Christ on the Cross. Most including me would prefer the god of progress, but I have spent my entire intellectual life discovering out how wrong, false and immoral that god is. As much as I hate the idea of going to the Cross and will evade it in all kinds of ways, I am even more unable to embrace the false god of progress. Look at how it laid waste the 20th century.

      I am being force to begin to live a Providential Life.

      • Monk James Silver says


        As I wrote earlier, it was my intention to suggest only an explanation, not to offer an excuse, for what appears to some (many?) to be an infidelity to The Tradition on the part of Met. Kallistos Ware and Fr Andrew Louth.

        A Sufi master commented that the greatest distance we must travel is from the head to the heart. This was quoted to me as having come from the mouth of an Orthodox Christian monk, the hegioumen of his community. Whether that monk was aware of the Sufi’s earlier observation or not, I don’t know. Now we learn here that MetK has said pretty much the same thing, noting that the Hindus express this interior movement in terms of xonnections between one chakra (neurological points in our bodies which, they say, resonate to spiritual stimuli).

        Did the monk somehow get sucked into Sufism? Is MetK a clandestine Hindu? Is either man unfaithful to The Tradition by observing that there are commonalities in human spiritual life?

        These questions must be addressed with great attention and answered carefully, much like the exclusively male priesthood, a value which we share with some religions but not with others — at least insofar as they have a concept of ‘priesthood’ at all. So, then, we can discuss this on one level with Jews and maybe even with many Hindus, but not with Protestants.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          You should hear our parish priest discuss Hinduism, especially since he was raised Hindu in a high-caste family. To those who know something of Hinduism, you can imagine the reaction of a family of accomplished Indian professionals to the eldest son’s announcement that he was going to become a Christian priest, rather than, say, a physician, lawyer, or engineer!

          No chakras in his spiritual teachings.

          • Michael Bauman says

            It would be interesting. Hinduism is spoofed up for US consumption as are Islam and Buddhism.

          • Monk James Silver says

            Many people who convert to Orthodox Christianity experience an odd sense of deja vu: that there was something in their previous religious training which became clear only in the light of Christ.

            Like St Paul preaching on Ares Hill, we can correct earlier misunderstandings and build faith in Christ on those corrected foundations.

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              For various reasons, I doubt that this applies for him.

              In my own case, as a lifelong active Protestant Christian, about 90% is deja vu since my conversion to Orthodox Christianity.

              All over again, even!

  11. Michael Bauman says

    The Chakra comment was not my many point, it was the declared premise that the new and the modern should take precedence over the revealed Tradition.

    The notion that the Hindu/Buddhist understanding of Chakras and what they actually are in the spiritual understanding of the Church I find quite dubious. I felt he made the comment simply to be titalating/relevant as no context was given.

    • Monk James Silver says

      Michael Bauman and I are not likely to agree here, since I see commonalities where he sees barriers.

      However, I’ll give it just one more try.

      We read in the Acts of the Apostles how St Paul , addressing the men of Athens on Ares Hill, reminded them of their generally religious inclinations. As an example, he attested their shrine dedicated ‘To the Unknown God’, built as an effort to acknowledge some deity whom they had (at least so far) not named to their pantheon.

      Proclaiming that he had come to them to make known this god, his god, the only God Who made Heaven and Earth and everything in them, he attracted many to accept the Gospel and follow Christ.

      Now perhaps someone will come to the Hindus and explains how their understanding of the chakra system gives evidence of the glory of God manifested in the human body, and draw many to Christ.

      The possibilities are many — if we are open to them — to build bridges rather than burn them.

      • Agree totally but as u say we will be dragged to the stake for burning so they can get on with their religious Politics which do more for atheism than any BANAL Dawkins could ever do.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Monk James, I will make it easy. I fully concede your point on the Chakras. There is a spiritual reality to them within the boundaries of Orthodox teaching.

        Now… about my real point Fr. Louth’s statement: “The Fathers should be reinterpreted in the light of modern science.”

        That is the point, my main point and the reason I no longer trust either man to faithfully guard and articulate the revealed Tradition of the Church. You have conspicuously failed to address that point.

        I wonder why?

        • Monk James Silver says

          Fr Andrew Louth’s remark — as you present it here — is too vague for anyone to address.

          If you could attest at least one father and his teaching which FrAL thought ‘should be reinterpreted in the light of modern science’, I’ll address it as best I can.

          • Michael Bauman says

            St. Maximos the Confessor is one. He felt that the categories of being as explicated by St. Maximos should be “reinterpreted” in the light of modern evolutionary biology.

            There is simply no congruity between the two to allow for such a “reinterpretation”.

            • Christopher says


              It is curious is it not, to see men who have reached the summit of thought (according to their credentials in both the Academy and the Church) appear to seemingly forget the law of the excluded middle and its spiritual corollary – no, its origin and telos – “What communion has the light with the darkness?” (2 Cor 6:14) What can explain this? Are they truly following St. Paul on Mars Hill in seeing the truth of God in a worldly philosophy of man (i.e. evolutionary biology and modernistic anthropology) and explicating what more is Revealed as Monk James Silver suggests? I do think the conceive of themselves as doing this very thing, and they certainly justify their “questioning” on this ground (Met. Kallistos does so in his infamous “forward”).

              The error (and their error is obvious even if difficult to define) is that they are unbalanced, and critically lack the humility of real philosophers such as Kierkegaard and Socrates. They have either forgotten or under weighed the truth that the Devil deceives in and through the very act of “dialogue” or “reason”. Eve and Adam were reasoned – talked – out of the garden. Men like Met. Kallistos and Fr. Louth rightly affirm the value of questioning everything, but they like all modern people, underweight the risk. Socrates understood that questioning is dangerous – not only to the status quo but also to the truth itself. Reasoning is a sword, and can be used for good or ill.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Christopher, I agree. I see the most insidious problem to be egalitarianism which makes it unthinkable to establish any kind of hierarchy of values, of truth or even of evidence. Therefore their thinking becomes mush. They are both nice men. Unfortunately the word nice shares a common root with the word ignorant.

                From the online Etymological Dictionary: nice (adj.)late 13c., “foolish, stupid, senseless,” from Old French nice (12c.) “careless, clumsy; weak; poor, needy; simple, stupid, silly, foolish,” from Latin nescius “ignorant, unaware,” literally “not-knowing,” from ne- “not” (from PIE root *ne- “not”) + stem of scire “to know” (see science). “The sense development

                They may question everything, but the premise on which their questioning is founded. They ignore the very precepts of sound reasoning.

                Shoot, even a Protestant like Ravi Zacharias and an agnostic un-believer like Jordon Peterson do a much better job of actual thought.

                Of course, we Christians are called to go beyond that and enter into the Providential Life.

  12. Michael Bauman says

    Ecumenical bridges are built on sand.

    • Monk James Silver says

      I wrote nothing about building ‘ecumenical bridges’.

      Michael Bauman is projecting here, and reading his own issues into my responses.

      He should stop doing that and focus on realities rather than fantasies.

      • Christopher says

        Monk James Silver,

        Tisk tisk. I was able to follow Michael’s point about the presuppositions of Met. Kallistos and Fr. Louth’s explicit statements/beliefs. Your the one who “projected” and got lost in a tangent of Hinduism, commonalities, language, and evangelism.

        Behind these statements is a confused and confusing mixture of secular anthropology and Tradition/Revelation. Your explanation that Fr. Kallistos and Fr. Louth are not really confused in the Faith, but merely trying to communicate it (i.e. “build bridges”) does not withstand scrutiny (not even just a little bit). Indeed, such an assertion is itself a fantasy…

  13. Michael Bauman says

    Wow. Gee, I at least was attempting to talk with you in good faith Monk James.

    Obviously your willingness to “build bridges” does not extend to me. Going all pontifical third person.

    The most disengenuous “dialog” I can recall.

    • Constantinos says

      Mr. Bauman,
      Do you know what confuses me? How can a monk spend so much time posting on the internet? It really doesn’t seem very ascetic to me, but who am I to judge? No offense to Monk James, but he seems to be a very boring man with absolutely no sense of humor whatsoever. Some people would rather watch paint dry than read his drool. No offense intended to Monk James; I’m sure he is a very good man. I’d rather read Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald any day of the week. Now, the bishop is a very interesting man who also possesses an excellent sense of humor full of Irish charm( no offense to the Irish). Before anyone says anything, I have more faults and quirks than anyone – well, maybe not as much as Billy Jack Sunday.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Mr. C, I think you are too critical. It is immensely difficult to be a monk here in the United States especially where there is little actual monastic formation possible for men.

        Without a strong, vibrant community with a good abbot, the attempt at monasticism becomes isolating and lonely. It is not a task I could succeed at even in the best of circumstances. As my brother told me once, we tend to be in love with the idea of monasticism rather than with actual monasticism.

        You will never find me making any criticism of Monk James as a monastic. It is not my place, nor anyone’s place to do so. I know nothing of being a monk.

        In this case, I think he is wrong but I have profited by other comments he has made down through the years nonetheless.

        So, I say to you Monk James, forgive me and may God bless your vocation to His glory.

  14. Monk James Silver says

    Generally I write to the readership, rot to individual correspondents here.

    Again, Michael Bauman is making this exchange about him, and not about the issues under discussion. I have no control over that sort of thing, disingenuous and pontificating as I might appear to him to be.

    I guess there were no examples of Fr Andrew Louth’s theological missteps available

    • Michael Bauman says

      Monk James, I learned from my father to great profit to look at things from the general to the specific, not the other way around. From the premise to the conclusion. I found and continue to find that Fr. Louth’s general statement leads me to categorically reject any specifics he might conjure up. His premise is so flawed that he cannot possibly come to a truthful conclusion. So, I do not go looking for them. I did offer the one specific–a remembrance of my encounter with him about 15 years ago.