An Open Letter to Metropolitian Gerasimos, Metropolis of San Francisco, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese

A workshop led by a GOA priest was held at the Clergy-Laity Conference of the GOA in Boston recently whose son is homosexual. Attending was Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco. Parents of gays have a cross to bear (no parent really wants their child to be homosexual) and as such it is understandable that they would try to normalize the condition as much as possible which is precisely what the priest did. The problem is that if the malady is viewed only through the lens of parental emotion, then thinking becomes fuzzy and sentimental. There are reasons why homosexual behavior is prohibited and parental empathy doesn’t address them.

Word from participants is that the moral tradition was roundly criticized albeit in a low voice. Metropolitan Gerasimos attended the workshop and remained silent when an exposition and even defense of the tradition was called for. The first charge of a bishop after all is to “rightly divide the word of truth.” In the open letter below, longtime reader and commentator Billy Jack Sunday takes the bishop to task for not doing his job.

Monomakhos

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Comments

  1. Bishop Anaxios says

    An excellent open letter

    I give it two snaps up

  2. Takes to task? Hardly…. How about BJS is just trying out his comedy routine… And it’s really not very funny at all. Stick with your day job!

  3. I am glad to offer my support for and approval of Met Gerasimos.

  4. Alitheia1875 says

    The primary issue here is sex and sexuality. First, no distinction should be made between homosexual and heterosexual sexual behavior which cannot be sanctioned except through marriage (and the mystery of marriage cannot be extended to homosexuals). In other words, homosexuals involved in a sexual relationship are no different than heterosexuals involved in a sexual relationship outside of marriage in the Orthodox Church. Civil marriages don’t enter into this equation. And, yes, anyone engaging in a sexual relationship outside of marriage in the church should be denied all the mysteries. Any priest/hierarch who knowingly communes anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, who is involved in a sexual relationship outside of marriage in the church does so at the peril of their salvation and, yes, his own. That’s why there are tassels at the bottom of his petrahili, those being the souls of his spiritual children weighing heavily around his neck. Each of us is responsible for our own soul, but the clergyman, be he priest or hierarch, is responsible for the souls of all he ministers to. Any priest or hierarch who preaches and does otherwise should be avoided at all costs. This is a classic example of why we should render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s. Society’s “norms” are rarely, some might say never, in sync with the teachings and practices of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      My marriage is “outside the Orthodox Church”. We were married at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Tacoma (my wife’s family church). We were 19. It was 51 years ago last May. We had a great 50th party last year with our 5 children, 2 sons-in-law, daughter-in-law, and 12 grandchildren. Indeed, our first grandchild is getting married next week. One of the great advantages of starting young– you can attend the weddings of grandkids while you are still carrying a pack into the mountains!

      Try reading St. Paul sometime…..First Corinthians, if I recall aright.

      • Fr. Harry Linsinbigler says

        TimRM says: “My marriage is ‘outside the Orthodox Church'”

        So you mis-spoke. You meant “My marriage was outside the Orthodox Church.”

        It is now inside the Orthodox Church, and has been for some time.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      “In other words, homosexuals involved in a sexual relationship are no different than heterosexuals involved in a sexual relationship outside of marriage in the Orthodox Church.”

      Sure. This shall be our “starting point”, from which our theology shall “evolve”…..right?

      So “marriage outside the Orthodox Church” and “civil marriages” which “don’t enter into this equation” are equal from the standpoint of the Church, whether between same-sex couples or husband and wife couples? Really? Has the Church said that? Or is it just our cyber-theologians?

      • Tim,

        An interesting comment, assuming it is unrelated to the civil unions or ‘marriages’ of same-sex ‘partners.’

        From the Scriptures, general history, and current practice, the Church seems always to have recognized the existing marriages of converts, be they from either pagan or non-Orthodox backgrounds. The examples are myriad. I have heard of existing marriages being “blessed” but never unrecognized or considered ‘invalid’ – a legalistic term I personally despise because it implies that reality can be denied by religious means (sort of like the Roman ‘annulment’ of a marriage that has produced multiple children).

        • Lowbrow Rambler says

          Homosexual and heterosexual relations are in no way the same when done illicitly. Heterosexual relationships outside of marriage are at least according to nature whereas homosexual ones are not. Sexuality has nature and purpose. The nature of the conjugal act is the coming together of the couple in love and the ultimate purpose of the act is found in the co-creative act of another human body and soul in synergy with God. Homosexuality cannot do this. Even illicit heterosexuality has the potential to co-create with God. Sex without this possibility is intrinsically unnatural and disordered.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Lest we forget: Christ’s own genealogy was less than salubrious. No less than four sinful women are named as ancestresses.

          • Johann Sebastian says

            Every sexual act that takes place outside the bond of sacramental Marriage is intrinsically disordered.

          • Joseph Lipper says

            There’s a false emphasis and dualism of heterosexual/homosexual that seems to come out of the “sexual revolution” of the 1960’s. That’s probably when people started to more deeply identify themselves according to their “sexuality” rather than their created male and female gender. It’s in the 1960’s when the terminology of “heterosexual” and “homosexual” become a popularized means to self-identify. Now in the present hyper-sexualized culture, it’s almost impossible not to identify as “heterosexual” or “homosexual”, unless we completely reject that culture.

            Accordingly, the question of whether we are “heterosexual” or “homosexual” presumably answers the question of who we really are. If we respond “neither” or “other” or “not applicable” then it is assumed that we must be some strange type of sexual pervert or are not being forthright, and that either way we surely must be hiding something.

            Even in “conservative” circles today, the hyper-sexualized culture is preserved by the approval and sanctioning of “heterosexuals” and “heterosexuality” within marriage, a stance that is typically seen as an opposition to “homosexuality”. Yet this has given way to the ubiquity in marriage of birth control use among the young, and the use of erectile dysfunction medications among married couples past the age of child-bearing. In the hyper-sexualized culture, the emphasis is on sex and not on child-bearing.

            You won’t find the word “heterosexual’ in any translation of the Bible, nor will you find it in any patristic text. The word “homosexual” was only more recently introduced in some erroneous Bible translations, perhaps beginning with the 1946 RSV translation. The concept that people are fundamentally “heterosexual” or “homosexual” comes from our present culture, not from the tradition of the Church. The tradition of the Church is that people are fundamentally male or female as God created. The sexual passions, as strong as they may be, are merely attributed to our fallen and sinful state.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Joseph, this is very enlightening.

              • Frog in the pot….

                As some Orthodox jurisdictions might slowly go the way of many Protestant views to fit in with American Christianity and secular gay views, I imagine, this will be, just the beginning.

                The ever so adored, by OH SO learned Orthodox scholars, Met. Kallistos Ware, gave most of us a shock by his Coming out for Homosexual “Marriage” manifesto lately, and also by the silenced hush hush by other Metropolitans, of Ware’s comment, and those at the recent Clergy/Laity conference, in regards to how we should receive homosexual behavior.

                Remember when Orthodoxy terms it an identity and not a behavior, all bets are off.

                As August 15th approaches. Forget that Protestants have not a clue what this date represents, but worse, that no doubt half of Orthodoxy, especially Greeks in America, have no idea as well.

                Maybe after the gay deal has past and in another 50 years we Orthodox in America will be debating whether the Theotokos was really a virgin, and take a more Protestant view of her as well. Don’t think so? Imagine having the discussion about homosexuals being received with open arms, in regards to communion, and marriage 50 years ago? Hell, imagine homosexual marriage even being entertained by anyone in American society 50 years ago!

                Will this be frowned upon by our Orthodox scholars in fifty years?

                It is essential for us to confess that The Holy-Ever Virgin Mary is actually Theotokos(Birth-giver of God), so as not to fall into blasphemy. For those who deny that the Holy-Virgin is actually Theotokos, are no longer believers, but disciples of the Pharisees and Sadducees.(Saint Ephraim the Syrian,”To John the Monk”)

                God forbid we ever get to that point, BUT, right now and here, there are Pharisee, and Sadducees in our midst. Their blasphemy is brought forth with compassion, but the end game, never ends, for the evil one.

                • Billy Jack Sunday says

                  Dino

                  I couldn’t agree with you more

                  The frog in the slow boiling water is a perfect analogy of what has been going on

                  We need to wake up and jump out of this mess

                  Or we’re gonna be just another pointless palatable faith world religion that tastes like chicken

                  Because we acted chicken

                • M. Stankovich says

                  The “ever so adored, by OH SO learned Orthodox scholars,” Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia did not “come out” in favour of “Homosexual Marriage” in any manifesto.
                  Apparently, Met. Kallistos, one of the preeminent theological minds of our generation cannot struggle along with us in these heartbreaking moral decisions that demand compassion, and not be set upon by judgment from Pharisees themselves who cannot envision living, breathing human beings, but conclude “blasphemy is brought forth with compassion.” What a cold-hearted, insensitive, cynical interpretation worthy of Fox News-christian right-mega-church thinkers, and not the Lord Himself who was found seated in the very midst of those most despised, despicable, and rejected among us. And would you imagine this would be the attitude of the Theotokos herself? Not some “conceptual figurine,” but a mother who was told by the prophet, “a sword shall pierce through your own soul also,” (Lk. 2:35) as she witnessed the suffering of her son and our God. “God forbid we ever get to that point, BUT…” is not foreshadow of the “Day of Lord” which is to come, but yet another manipulative cheap convention scare tactic of the christian right that has no place in a discussion of Orthodox Theology.

                  • Christopher says

                    “Apparently, Met. Kallistos, one of the preeminent theological minds of our generation cannot struggle along with us in these heartbreaking moral decisions that demand compassion…”

                    I want to comment on the theology that Mr. Stankovich rightly brings up.

                    “Struggle” is a good word, though I think there is a better one: belief

                    Met. Kallistos does not believe the normative theological anthropology of Eastern Church. One of the notable aspects of his career is this very “stuggle” and lack of belief. See for example his changing and varied rejections of the all male hierarchy by reading his essay in Hopko’s “Women and the Priesthood” first edition back to back with the revised essay in the second edition. Fact is, Met. Kallistos (as so many modern people – such as “Sr. Vassa” of Youtube fame or Mr. Stanokovich’s friend the priest Robert Arida) do not, at the end of the day, really believe that there is an ontological, and thus sacramental import to human (anthropos) reality of our sexual binary createdness (even though the fully ackowledge the sacremental nature of our general humanity). In other words, along with the modern secular (i.e. Enlightenment) account of man, they agree that this binary is merely “accidental” and that the normative moral AND ontological Tradition is an artifact of cultural, societal, and historic (and thus relativistic) norms. When you believe this, then the commandments of God indeed become a “struggle” and a “burden” (the term he used in his infamous “forward”) for exactly moral reasons if only because they are then by definition non-essential, if not actually against essential aspects of ourselves. The more honest scholars/theologians admit this explicitly, such as Met. Kallistos.

                    However as we all know St. John informs us that the commandments of God (which is nothing more or less than His calling us back to Him and ourselves) is not burden at all (1 John 5) – not that there is not a Christian struggle in this, but that the God’s commandments themselves (and thus our sacrificial “ontological” calling in ascetically putting certain scandalously specific “moral” boundaries around our sexuality) are not inherently “burdensome” as Met. Kallistos and all these other modern people assert.

                    The framing of this controversy in merely “moral” and “compassionate” terms is itself a symptom of something deeper, namely the lack of belief that Met. Kallistos and modern people in general suffer from. This is why this and all the other anthropological “issues” of the day (marriage, sex, abortion, sex, end of life, sex…and something else…oh yea, sex) are THE Orthodox theological struggle of our age. In other words, Met. Kallistos is indeed “one of the preeminent theological minds of our generation” but this counts for exactly nothing in the deep struggles of the heart as Met. Kallistos whole life and career amply demonstrates, as if the struggles of belief in each and everyone of our own hearts was not enough…

                    Christopher Encapera

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Christopher,

                      First, with all sincerity, I welcome your comment as thoughtful and reasoned; clearly an antidote to the low rungs we continue to descend to. In any event I have two simple points to make to you.

                      First, this is the second site on which you emphasized my relationship with Priest Robert Arida as “friend,” which I take to insinuate that I am incapable of objectivity; that this is an “Achilles’-type” vulnerability, much like the odd phenomenon whereby cattle, sensing a weakness in the fence, inexplicably all gather at that specific point, and lean against against the fence… Suffice it to say that it is entirely reasonable, entirelyrational, and shockingly painful to admit to yourself that someone who has played a significant formative role in your life, whom you have loved as your brother, and respected as your friend, is no longer worthy of your respect. But in the pain of this reality is the strength of discipleship: καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια ἐλευθερώσει ὑμᾶς – “the truth shall make you free.” (Jn. 8:32) I do not want to read this from you again.

                      Secondly, I can only guess – reading from your in depth psychoanalysis – that you must be quite an attraction guessing age and weight at the the county faire, because as someone trained as a psychiatrist, I would no more venture a “guess” at the struggles of a man’s heart, in your ponderous “theoria” that mocks analyzes him. Perhaps you are his confidant? You have been granted a particular “intuition” or “insight” into his thought, that in turn reveals his heart to? You have sat down with him and listened to him, questioned him, allowed him to detail for you the context and reasons, the process by which he attained certain conclusions? Of course you did not. You have done a survey of his intellect, not his heart. Your pretentiousness is appalling, and if anything, by virtue of his life and career alone, he deserves more respect than your shallow analysis.

                      “The framing of this controversy in merely “moral” and “compassionate” terms is itself a symptom of something deeper, namely the lack of belief that Met. Kallistos and modern people in general suffer from.” Perhaps six or so weeks ago, Mr. Michalopulos “patched” me through to someone attempting to reach me through this site, which happens on occasion. Eventually, I received a call from an individual who was overwhelmed & suicidal, telling me that the feelings of same-sex-attraction would not stop no matter how much they prayed for relief. They said the attraction violated every value and every moral principle they had been raised with. They feared disappointment, disapproval, and rejection from parents, siblings, grandparents, and friends. They started to talk to their priest, but the conversation was extremely uncomfortable (read that as “judgmental”). “I don’t want this, but I can’t change and I can’t stop it.” What should I say, Christopher? The commandments of God are not a burden at all? You are 21-years old, and “not that there is not a Christian struggle in this, but that God’s commandments themselves,” like you must be sexually celibate for the rest of your life, never marry, never have a family of your own, and always be suspected as a paedophile, “are not inherently ‘burdensome’ as Met. Kallistos and all these other modern people assert.” Please allow me the honour of writing the forward to your first book, Pretentious Straight Father’s Homosexual Survival Guide – Orthodox Edition

                      Finally, Christopher, when you say,

                      Met. Kallistos is indeed “one of the preeminent theological minds of our generation” but this counts for exactly nothing in the deep struggles of the heart as Met. Kallistos whole life and career amply demonstrates

                      I try to even vaguely imagine the number of people, all over the world, who have told me that by the great mercy of our God “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1Tim 2:4) and the writings of Met. Kallistos, they found the haven of salvation, the One True Faith, and the One True Church. You should be ashamed of yourself for your lack of restraint.

                    • Billy Jack Sunday says

                      Christopher Encapera

                      I agree with you

                      This theological struggle (which should not even exist at all) is a total red line they have every intention of crossing

                      Anyone who says otherwise is not really paying attention or playing the game actually hoping for this

                      If they do cross the line, the GOA and any other communion that goes down that road will be gone for good

                      I mean, just look at the Episcopal denomination.

                      I just can’t see the Episcopalians recovering from this very issue

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      They can’t and they won’t.

                    • Christopher says

                      Mr. Stanokovich,

                      No offense intended by noting the priest Robert Arida’s and your relationship. Honestly, I was simply trying to honor you and him by noting he is (or was?) your friend, or was so in the past.

                      As to the rest of your finger wagging scolding, it adds up to nothing. Neither I nor anyone else need psychoanalyze, uncover, consult the tea leaves, or whatever Met. Kallistos as he has explicitly told us his true beliefs and what is in his heart on this matter of homosexualized”relationships” in particular and human binary sexual createdness in general. Your argument (such as it is) is with Met. Kallisto, not me. Read his work for yourself – he is not one to obscure or hide his beliefs and neither for that matter is Sr. Vassa. The priest Robert Arida on the other hand does, but then you yourself have your own view about that.

                      The Crises of belief (a judgement) around anthropology (the question “what is man(anthropos)” is so obviously THE crises of our time and place it is banal to even note it. The fact that this crises of belief affects ALL members of the Church who live in the cultural soup of secularism to some extant is just a given as it is “the world” we live in. Met. Kallistos has used his special intellectual gifts to painstakingly detail exactly how he is affected and wounded. In other words (just so you don’t miss the point) he shouts his unbelief from the Orthodox academic, “theological”, Orthodox publishing and lecture circuit rooftop…

                    • Christopher and Billy there are indeed forces within our Church that seek change. They test the waters with methods of a corrupt government slowly and deliberately putting out words and phrases, with a underbelly of fake compassion. Then move forward slowly, over and over, year after year, seeking to see how far their agenda grows without red flags. If resistance is received, they take a step back. Then forward again until their agenda will be met and finalized. If we allow it.

                      Why fake compassion? Because by many, their motive is self serving and self affirming. They only fool themselves. Changing God’s church will not grant homosexuals salvation, if fact just the opposite. Deep in the mind of the learned scholars and Modern Theologians they know they are in the wrong, but their hearts and for some their passion and lust have consumed them from the Truth. A unrepentant homosexual lifestyle and marriage is a road to damnation. Period, end of story.

                      Recently we have seen where one passion, vanity,and another, greed, have gotten the GOA, an empty shell of a shrine that receives no one! My beloved church in America continues to break my heart.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Dino,

                      Ironically, space pushes my reply up here under Christopher, who schooled me. It also allows the question as to whether he is the same Christopher who bored with withe this similar crap, forgot, and gave it another shot. In any case, I continue to maintain that only a fool would attempt to judge a man’s heart – and apparently do sa for a living – from the comfort of his living room. Who’s schooling whom?

                      As to your continued efforts at nailing the chorus to the Tom Petty standard, I will only say, I repent not a word. When something is wrong, unethical, or immoral – by virtue of natural law or the the Holy Scripture, not me – it is always wrong, unethical, and immoral, regardless of to whom it is applied or for what reason. Some are never caught, some are dealt with leniency, some must face the full extent of the law, but none may claim, “I was not treated fairly.” Perhaps you have forgotten the Scripture, “For to whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” (Lk. 12:48) I would suggest that you and I would both be liars to claim that we would not, with tears, beg our Lord for the opportunity to be heard, and to at least argue that we deserve leniency, despite already knowing the “rules.”

                      Interestingly, it seems to me that you have determined it somehow “righteous” and “worthy of blessings,” in defense of the church you love, to draw a line for others, “No More.” But “No More” what, Dino? Homosexuals? Paedophiles? Sexuals predators? Rapists? Adulterers? Murderers? Thieves? Robbers? Torturers? Drug manufacturers & dealers? Street thugs and gangstas? Predators and punks? Drug users? Aggressive, loud street people & panhandlers? People who refuse to work? Perpetrators of domestic violence? Victims of domestic violence who refuse to press charges? Parents who don’t supervize their children? Children who act out in school and on the street? It could go on and on, could it not? And what do you make of the words of the Lord Himself:

                      Do you suppose that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, No; but rather division: For from now on there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. (Lk. 12:51-53)

                      I conclude this, Dino, by again pointing out to you: I am nobody to you. You have never met me, never heard my voice, wouldn’t know if I was the guy who looked at you sideways because you rudely pulled up too close to the white line – my right of way – as I crossed the intersection. If you’re so correct, why do you give a damn what I think? Drooled to say “Christopher schooled you,” like you’ve gotten even with me? καρδίαν συντετριμμένην καὶ τεταπεινωμένην ὁ Θεὸς οὐκ ἐξουδενώσει.

                    • What is left to say, Michael, bottom line I do not want gay marriage, blindness to unrepentant homosexuals before the cup, and gay or straight clergy telling me it’s all cool. You may go on and on, but to me it simple. Yes I have my struggles, and yes my heart is broken and contrite, just not as much as yours.

                      Take words with you. And return to the Lord. Say to Him,”Take away all iniquity; Receive us graciously, for we will offer the sacrifices of our lips.”(Hosea 14:2)

                  • Tim R. Mortiss says

                    I imagine that the Lord’s response if confronted with the situation under discussion would be much like that he had toward that of the woman taken in adultery. “He who is without sin cast the first stone”; followed by “Go, and sin no more.”

                    What is a “heartbreaking moral decision”? Does there not still have to be a decision?

                    The difficulty with the statements of Bp. Kallistos, as with many others, is that they indeed don’t state a position in favor of homosexual relationships; instead, they pose highly rhetorical questions that imply it. It’s a quite deliberate ambiguity. The whole point of the highly-charged rhetorical question is to call into question the rightness of the Orthodox answer (which they already know).

                    • Billy Jack Sunday says

                      Tim R. Mortiss

                      You are exactly right

                      It is “deliberate ambiguity” they are using as a strategy to change minds away from the simple truth

                      I don’t trust what is happening at all

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    I sat here, on and off, at the nurses station, trying to write something about what is missing from all of this “discussion,” and that is faith. Faith that the Lord will be true to His own promise: “Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night to him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.” (Lk. 18:7-8) Faith that our God is “a jealous God [Θεὸς ζηλωτής], recompensing the sins of the fathers upon the children, to the third and fourth generation to them that hate me, and bestowing mercy on them that love me to thousands [of them], and on them that keep my commandments.” (Ex. 20:5-6) That we should

                    “not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. (2Pet. 3:8-10)

                    That we have forgotten that justice is not ours, but as we heard in the Vespers of the Entrance of the Lord into Jerusalem,

                    Who is this that is come from Edom, with red garments from Bosor? Thus fair in his apparel, with mighty strength? I speak of righteousness and saving judgment. Wherefore are thy garments red, and thy raiment as [if fresh] from a trodden winepress? I am full of trodden grape, and of the nations there is not a man with me; and I trampled them in my fury, and dashed them to pieces as earth, and brought down their blood to the earth. For the day of recompense has come upon them, and the year of redemption is at hand. And I looked, and there was no helper; and I observed, and none upheld: therefore my arm delivered them, and my anger drew nigh. And I trampled them in my anger, and brought down their blood to the earth. (Isa. 63:1-6)

                    And while I could go on with the Holy Scripture and the Liturgical texts that assure us that Our God does not abandon His Church nor suffer the indignity of the righteous, it is absolutely pointless in this environment. It would be like the Wizard of Oz handing out a clock, a diploma, and a medal of bravery. Faith is fine, for what its worth. Here’s an idea: string a few of those faggot bishops in black dresses and jewelry up and let ’em swing for awhile. Show everybody you really mean business. Not a damn thing ambiguous about that message.

            • M. Stankovich says

              Mr. Lipper,

              I could easily make the same argument that the “civil rights revolution” in the 1960’s necessarily led to racial distinction, “when people started to more deeply identify themselves according to their “race” rather than their created “humanity.” I believe further that you may successively follow this comparison – with some limited adjustments – through your entire narrative.

              It is certainly not difficult to argue that there is much to be said for the parallel societal impact of both groups: we cannot deny that the phenomenon of “lynching” was founded in behaviour – inter-racial sexual contact – that was, in many circles, as morally & anthropologically repugnant as homosexuality, if not worse. It does not appear to be the case that there was a similar analogy of lynching – when considering reports, arrests, court proceedings, trials, public spectacle, etc. – purely for homosexuality in this country. While the gay community has its apocryphal “Stonewall” confrontation with police in NYC, and Act Up!’s 4.5k person protest of Cardinal John O’Connor at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 5th Ave., nothing compares to Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech on the Mall in Washington, DC. And oddly enough, apparently nothing scares white people more than a group of young, angry Black men with blown-out afros, wearing black berets & the symbol of a black-gloved fist, exercizing their constitutionally protected 2nd Amendment right to bear arms: the Black Panthers. And for all of you bitching about Alex Jones, call that imbecile up and ask him why he never told you about the very first gun control bill in CA, sponsored by Rep. Donald Mulford (& referred to as the “Mulford Act,” AB1519-1967) & signed into law by Gov. Ronald Regan, banning the open carrying of firearms. It was written specifically to prevent Black men from patrolling their own neighborhoods in Oakland. And would you be surprised to know that Rep. Mulford told the press on June 15, 1967, “I am sure you are aware that I am very grateful to the National Rifle Association for its help in making my gun control bill, AB 1591, a workable piece of legislation, yet protecting the Constitutional rights of citizens.” Happily, the Orthodox in America seem never to have had any issues with Blacks, homosexuals, or Jews…

              I would suggest that the insistence either of these groups, and the individuals who have aligned themselves, has in “identifying” themselves could easily explained in the context of most any stigmatizing condition: the desire to reduce the consequences of helplessness, isolation, shame, indignity, and so on. I want to be especially clear that there is a significant difference between someone who has “accepted” themselves, as you aptly described it, struggling with “the sexual passions, as strong as they may be,” but “[attributes them] to our fallen and sinful state,” and repents; different from rationalization, “I am what I am.”

              Finally, Mr. Lipper, I object to your suggestion that there is something “improper,” or unacceptable, or perhaps even “sinful” to continue the sexual expression of marital love “among married couples past the age of child-bearing” as unfounded in the Holy Scripture, at the direction of the Holy Fathers, or most importantly, as instructed in the Liturgical Service of Marriage itself. Certainly the Church many times prays for “fertility,” and that a couple “rejoice in seeing sons and daughters,” but no where is fertility requisite, and though repeatedly calling upon the “Celebrant of mystical and undefiled marriage, and the lawmaker governing our bodies,” no where is the sexual expression of marital love scorned, demeaned, or frowned upon. But instead, the Epistle specifically elevates the entire idea: “For this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the Church.” (Eph. 5:31-32). I would suggest that speaking in terms of “symptomatic of a hyper-sexualized culture” is a significant misrepresentation, ED meds not withstanding.

              • Joseph Lipper says

                M. Stankovich,

                Yes of course racism and sexism are nothing new. We have the example of Christ talking to the “Samaritan woman at the well” exposing the historic Jewish racism against Samaritans and also exposing the historic sexism of Jewish men against talking to women in public. More importantly, Christ exposed this racism and sexism as merely sinful passions.

                As you point out, those who suffer from racism and sexism, as with any marginalized group in society, will usually band together for their own protection. The self-labeling of “black” and “homosexual” may serve this purpose.

                However, we now have the self-labeling of those “white” and “heterosexual” who perceive themselves as somehow representing a newly marginalized and/or threatened group in society. Where does this self-labeling end? “Heterosexuality” is probably the most prevalent aspect of American culture. To suggest that it somehow represents a marginalized and/or threatened group in society is preposterous.

                Nevertheless, I would posit that the Holy Sacrament of Marriage is definitely marginalized and/or threatened by a culture of hyper-sexualization. The main culprit in defeat of the Holy Sacrament of Marriage is more often than not the hyper-sexualization of “heterosexuality”, oftentimes even within the marriage. The emphasis must be on the marriage, not on the sex. The “children” of marriage are not just babies, but they are also the virtues of living a God-pleasing life.

                Personally, I am not against birth control or ED meds. I know they are a great blessing for many of us. However, perhaps it’s useful to question if they are truly being used to preserve the marriage, or rather just to preserve the sex.

                • M. Stankovich says

                  Mr. Lipper,

                  First, I note that the “sponsor” of this thread “crowned” me with a plastic helmet and chin strap of the “retard” at my insistence that the only proper defense – and I suppose the “prosecution” – of the anthropology of our humanity, “as it was in the beginning,” lies in the Scripture, the writings of the Holy Fathers, and in the sanctified Liturgical texts of the Church. Apparently, Mr. Lipper, I am obligated to reciprocate, “If the helmet fits…”

                  My point had nothing to do with “labeling,” per se, but rather with the notion of “identity,” which is a concept that arose in these discussions over the years, that took on the character of ontology. First, I must make it absolutely, unmistakably, unarguably clear from the outset that none of my comments refer to our humanity of the Creation, “as it was in the beginning,” and which was redeemed by our Lord in His death and Resurrection, and which will be realized again in the never-ending Day of the Kingdom. I refer exclusively to our humanity after the Fall.

                  To be more precise, as I saw it, the issue began as a denial of the “existence” of homosexuality because, as has been noted, the term does not appear in the Holy Scripture. While St. Paul in 1Cor. 6:9 mentions ἀρσενοκοῖται which is most often translated as “men who lie down with men” (a combination of the Hebrew arsen “man” and κοιτάζω the verb “to put to bed”) and μαλακοί, which is equally translated among scholars as “soft, delicate, effeminate or, in the Ancient Greek, as morally weak, lacking in self-control, is describing a behaviour rather than what we contemporaneously understand as “orientation.” As I learned from epidemiological work with the NYC Dept. of Health at the height of the AIDS epidemic, there are plenty of men who engage in ἀρσενοκοῖται who are not homosexuals. And in prison, insinuate such a thing to, say, a member of the Nuestra Familia, even as a smooth-skinned young lad in make-up is massaging his feet as you speak, better call the homies ‘cause it’s about to go down. There two classic discussions that were equally ponderous: why did the Centers for Disease and Control settle on the descriptor, “Men Who have Sex with Men” (for precisely the reason I’ve described, men who admitted ἀρσενοκοῖται but denied being homosexual); and priests who said, “When people come to me and say, I am I a homosexual…” I immediately interrupted and say, ‘There is no such thing as homosexuality.’” I immediately interrupted to say, “And this is why people seeking help turn their backs on us and consider us idiots and archaic.” And if you see where this is going… I said we cannot imagine to deal with such a dramatic issue that confronts the Church – and bear in mind that at the time – surprise, surprise – there was no hierarch of any jurisdiction that was saying anything about the systematic manner by which the LGBT community was rapidly moving four state Courts of Appeal, overturned by the 6th Circuit of the US Court of Appeals, and suddenly, Oberfell v Hodges was decided by the SCOTUS. We Orthodox could not even agree whether homosexuality existed! Well, that’s not exactly true, some just wanted to engage in a dumb “tactic” of the christian right, “It doesn’t exist so they have no power.”

                  I pretty much said, “Let’s be real here, homosexuality is; it exists, and why deny it? Let’s move on.” “Are you saying it has ontological value?” “Yeah, pretty much I am.” BANG! Someone, apparently posing as the high priest, rent my garment and exclaimed, “He has blasphemed! You heard him yourself! What do we need of more witnesses!” Sit your dumb ass down. Where I’m from – and that would be Aristotle’s metaphysics – ontological categories are categories of being, of existence. wow. And in this broken existence, no less, brought about by the catastrophic decision to defy our God and the natural order and law into which we were placed, in a paradise specifically created for our existence. I believe that this notion of accusing homosexuals of making “homosexuality” their “identity” is nothing more than a continuation of these Christian Right tactics of degradation, disempowerment, and shaming.

                  My attempt, Mr. Lipper, was to offer an analogy of “identity” by utilizing a principle found in neurology, propreoception. This is a complex term ordinarily describing the awareness, for example, of the position of your limb in a 3-dimensional matrix of space, even in pitch darkness. It is by this perception that you are able, in the “roadside sobriety test,” to close your eyes, tip your head back, outstretch your arm, and upon command, bend your arm to touch your fingertip to your nose. Now, we take a step back. There is an essential presupposition to the concept of propeoception: in order to be aware of the position of my arm and my nose in this 3-dimensional matrix of space – even with my eyes closed, even in pitch darkness – propeoception first enables me to perceive the limb as my own. If you are thinking, “WAT! This is lunacy already,” I agree you should, until you discover we know how this function can be disrupted by injury. In fact, the noted neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks wrote an entire book about how such an injury affected him personally, and recounted numerous cases of neurological injury where patients lost a literal sense of “possession” of parts of their body, or as Sacks termed it, “the physical basis of identity.” My point is that there are “forms of identity” that are more than mere labels, in that they are indistinguishable from the person, but most certainly do not define the person; forms which we who have not been degraded, nor demeaned, nor shamed – by others, by I believe more significantly, by ourselves because they violate our own systems of morals and values. This form of of “identification,” rightly or wrongly, is an attempt to bring some form of relief.

                  It seems to me compassionate to accept this. This is not the place to address this matter, but the reality of reparative therapies, from the only reliable data we possess (not the lies and deception of the charlatans and creeps), is that it is pointless. I have said many times that our goal should be very simple: reach out the Hand of the of the True Physician, Him who is capable of healing, Him who has promised to bring relief, comfort, and support to those who repent and take the narrow path to which we are all called, without exception. We, as the Church, are responsible for this task; we, as the Church, are capable of conducting this task; and we, as the Church, are the only thing standing between the accomplishment of this task.

                  I was recently mocked as reminding another of the “ghosts” in C.S. Lewis’ “The Great Divide.” The prominent ghost in a dialog made every excuse as to why he couldn’t make time to go and finally look upon the face of God, a thing no living man could do and not perish. I have heard every excuse under the sun for why homosexuals are unwelcome in the Orthodox Church, except for what I believe is the truth: they frighten us. And for that reason, they are abhorred, disgusted, demeaned, joked about, scorned, blamed for contagion, blah, blah, blah. Until this issue is addressed, we will repeat this identical cycle endlessly.

                  • Joseph Lipper says

                    M. Stankovich,

                    Thank you for the “plastic helmet” with “chin strap”. I will add it my growing collection. 🙂

                    Your point about fallen ontology is interesting. I suppose hell could be considered a fallen ontology where exists the entirety of all fallen ontology. Perhaps we could just call it sin. The supreme value of sin is when it brings us to repentance. Through God’s mercy and our repentance, sin is our ticket to salvation. So, yes, it has ontological value.

                    For someone who identifies either as “heterosexual” or “homosexual”, I would say that they are referencing a fallen ontology. There’s potentially supreme value there through repentance. Sins can be something to be thankful for if it brings us to repentance.

                    As we are now in the Forefeast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos, we especially remember someone who is ever-virgin. The epithets of “heterosexual” or “homosexual” do not apply to her. She is the new Eve, the new “Mother of All the Living”. In her virginity, she brought forth Christ to the world, the source of our being.

                  • Billy Jack Sunday says

                    M. Stankovich

                    “I have heard every excuse under the sun for why homosexuals are unwelcome in the Orthodox Church, except for what I believe is the truth: they frighten us. And for that reason, they are abhorred, disgusted, demeaned, joked about, scorned, blamed for contagion, blah, blah, blah. ”

                    Baloney

                    Don’t even go and whip out the homophobe card

                    That’s as tired and off as the whole manipulation of false compassion

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      We are unwelcoming because we are are unwilling to face our own sin. We are still holding on to the stones because we are better…..than those who are not Greek, Arab, Russian or are poor, black, Mexican, Republican, adulterers, Democrats, same sex attracted, single mothers, etc.

              • Constantinos says

                Dr. Stankovich,
                For some reason, I fine it kind of gross to read a man in his mid sixties pontificating about the joys of sex. Don’t you have a colostomy bag which would make sexual relations more repugnant. The human body wasn’t made for sexual relations beyond a certain age. That seems pretty obvious to me. As we prepare for heaven, those passions need to be tamed since there is no marriage in heaven. It’s not like you’re some young stud. It’s silly and immature.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Costa, that’s a little too extreme. If a married couple can enjoy the marital embrace relatively late in life, I see no essential problem with it. However, for those who choose otherwise, I see no problem as well. My opinion, that and 50 cents will by you a cup of coffee.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  That is because Mr. C you are ignorant of about marriage.

            • Monk James Silver says

              Among other things, Joseph Lipper says (August 10, 2018 at 1:16 am):

              SNIP
              ‘You won’t find the word “heterosexual’ in any translation of the Bible, nor will you find it in any patristic text. The word “homosexual” was only more recently introduced in some erroneous Bible translations, perhaps beginning with the 1946 RSV translation.’
              SNIP

              If Joseph Lipper were to more carefully examine the meaning and usage of the New Testament (and earlier) words arsenokoitai and malakoi, he would easily find that they are both best translated as ‘homosexuals’. Both designations are for men, the first for the active partner in anal intercourse and the second for the passive partner.

              Mr Lipper’s problem here is not so much that the word ‘homosexual’ appears only more recent in English-language translations of the Bible such as the RSV and others, but rather that the word — not the concept — was unavailable to the translators of the 1611 ‘Authorised (KJ) Version’.

              Bawdy literature of the time in England amply attests this fact, but we can always understand what is meant by its various circumlocutions and euphemisms.

              In addition, both the canons and the fathers make use of these Greek words with unmistakable intentions.

              As St Bede the Venerable said in England about twelve centuries ago (paraphrasing here): We sometimes translate word for word, and sometimes meaning for meaning. Altogether, please let’s not politicize the sacred work of translating our holiest texts.

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Monk James,

                The word “homosexual” has become a heavily politicized term in popular culture. It may be the best translation word for word for some scholars, but I am not convinced it’s the best translation meaning for meaning. The KJV of “nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind” is very clear and seems to convey the meaning more appropriately.

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              Are sexual relations beyond the age of childbearing between husband and wife wrongful, or is just the “ED drugs”?

              Though as I recall, Mr. Lipper, you have opined that sexual relations themselves are a consequence of the Fall….

            • I object to your suggestion that there is something “improper,” or unacceptable, or perhaps even “sinful” to continue the sexual expression of marital love “among married couples past the age of child-bearing” as unfounded in the Holy Scripture

              Are sexual relations beyond the age of childbearing between husband and wife wrongful…?

              (a rhetorical question, to be sure).

              Whenever someone makes the valid point that marriage (and sexuality in general) have become artificially divorced from child-bearing these objections always seem to arise. Perhaps Mr. Lipper could have expressed himself differently when he wrote, “In the hyper-sexualized culture, the emphasis is on sex and not on child-bearing,” but his point is not without substance.

              The one-flesh union of husband and wife, as Michael Stankovich accurately writes, is not utilitarian in nature; which to say, it is not merely for the ‘purpose’ of bearing children. Nevertheless, while not a requisite, it is the natural course of things, as well as something that anyone entering upon marriage should anticipate as a likely and joyous fruit of their union. When the liturgy of Matrimony speaks of “rejoicing in seeing sons and daughters” it is because children are understood as a blessing of marriage, albeit not one automatically granted to all those who enter upon Matrimony. No married saint that I can think of ever entered marriage without the understanding that children were an anticipated aspect of being married.

              Or, to put it another way, an intentionally childless marriage is against the very nature of marriage; and this applies even in old age (witness Abraham and Sarah, Zachariah and Elizabeth, Joachim and Anna who had no natural expectation of fertility). Moreover, it seems to me that Orthodox Christians, who above all desire to live in accordance with their created nature, should be among the first to recognize that, short of abstinence during fertile periods, an intentionally childless marriage is only made possible by unnatural (and uniquely modern) technological means that make us less than fully human.

              None of this is written to condemn anyone. Nevertheless, it is high time we acknowledge the truth of our being – even if we fall short – lest we unwittingly find ourselves sharing the presuppositions of the enemies of humanity.

              But having said this, the marital union is in no way diminished by a lack of fertility, be it due to age or physical defect.

              Father Stephen Freeman has an excellent (and courageous, if you ask me) blog post on this very topic.

              • M. Stankovich says

                For your enjoyment, Brian, I have several sleepy, yet nosy LPN’s attempting to peer over my shoulder at my comments on “childless sexuality.” Who knows what they’re thinking…

                My first thought is simply to say, like everything else, sex can be whatever you make of it. On the one hand, you have the transcendent poetry of the Song of Songs, and the prose of Met. Anthony Bloom & Paul Evdokimov; on the other, you have the “tales” of the barely adult young women in our “get out of the porn industry” therapy group.” Nevertheless, I cannot imagine that “1960” is such a defining year. I distinctly recall in medical school the whole business of “methods” of birth control approved by the Roman Catholic church that involved basal metabolism charting, special thermometers, blah, blah, blah, and if I’m not mistaken, there are smartphone apps that perform the identical calculations, with the intent of predicting ovulation in order to hasten pregnancy, rather than avoid it. This predates hormonal contraceptive intervention. Personally, I fail to see the difference between the nearly obsessive time, effort, and imagination that married couples invested in not calling what they were doing “contraception” – and it certainly violated the spirit of the abstention – and certainly I don’t have to ask you to really stretch your imagination to envision what people were doing in order to say with a straight face, “We were not having sex.”

                Then we have the matter of what is actually stated in the Orthodox Service of Marriage, in specific, the 9th petition of the litany that opens the services after the singing of Psalm 127 (LXX), “Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his way…” The petition in the Greek text reads:

                Ὑπὲρ τοῦ παρασχεθῆναι αὐτοῖς σωφροσύνην, καὶ καρπὸν κοιλίας πρὸς τὸ συμφέρον, τοῦ Κυρίου δεηθῶμεν.

                The OCA translates this as:

                “That He will grant to them chastity, and of the fruit of the womb as is expedient for them, let us pray to the Lord.”

                While the GOA translates this as:

                “That there may be granted unto them integrity, and fruit of the womb as may be most expedient for them, let us pray unto the Lord.”

                “Expediency” here is apparently a derivation of the Ancient Greek phrase πρὸς τὸ συμφέρον – πρὸς meaning “at the hand of,” or “derived from” τὸ συμφέρον which means “to be useful” in the sense of “bestowing a benefit” in any case “turning out for the best.” Now, in the short-term, I am unable to find a relevant patristic commentary as to whether the inference is that the petition calls upon God as the, “Celebrant of mystical and undefiled marriage, and the lawmaker governing our bodies,” and “the guardian of incorruption, and the good administrator of the means of life” to determine what is “most expedient” for them, or may they not be “proactive?” And why is sexual abstinence among married couples during child-bearing years not considered “contraception” in this schema of regulations?

                Finally, I find this whole argument – homosexuals cannot “reproduce,” therefore their marriage is “illegitimate – shallow and dumb. What distinguishes Christian Marriage from all other forms of “relationships” is the nature of love, not fertility nor reproduction: try as you might, rationalize as you will, but you will never, ever realize the transcendent, unimaginable love St. Paul describes as the “great mystery” of Christ and the Church (Eph. 5:32) except by the analogy of the Christian Marriage of one man and one woman.

                • Personally, I fail to see the difference between the nearly obsessive time, effort, and imagination that married couples invested in not calling what they were doing “contraception” – and it certainly violated the spirit of the abstention – and certainly I don’t have to ask you to really stretch your imagination to envision what people were doing in order to say with a straight face, “We were not having sex.”

                  You have responded as though I am arguing from a Roman Catholic perspective. I assure you I am not, and I thought I made that quite clear in my agreement with what you had written. Might I suggest you read (if you haven’t already) Fr, Freeman’s post and respond to what he has written?

                  What distinguishes Christian Marriage from all other forms of “relationships” is the nature of love, not fertility nor reproduction: try as you might, rationalize as you will, but you will never, ever realize the transcendent, unimaginable love St. Paul describes as the “great mystery” of Christ and the Church (Eph. 5:32) except by the analogy of the Christian Marriage of one man and one woman.

                  I agree unreservedly. Nevertheless, I challenge anyone to find any suggestion…any hint anywhere in the Scriptures, the Fathers, or the Liturgical Tradition that parenthood, if God wills, isn’t an integral, normative expectation of Christian marriage (and I am not here referring to modern Orthodox responses to 20th century Roman Catholic teaching). It simply cannot be denied that modern ideas about marriage and children accepted in large portions of the Orthodox Church are limited to modern times. The idea that having children is a choice that can be artificially separated from the marital embrace simply didn’t exist prior to the 20th century. A man and a woman married with the assumption that, barring barrenness, children are normally part of the gift. And if children were not desired (for whatever reasons – some good [monasticism, etc.], some selfish) one simply didn’t marry.

                  One could argue that technology giving us more control over our fertility is a good thing. But I wonder: can it be said to be good when the fruit it has borne has primarily been everything this world considers good – the ‘freedom to create one’s own destiny’ and to do as one chooses?

                  Finally, I find this whole argument – homosexuals cannot “reproduce,” therefore their marriage is “illegitimate – shallow and dumb.

                  I wish I could be so certain. While I would not make the argument myself, I cannot dismiss it as possibly being at least one aspect that makes it so. I wonder: who are we to limit the fullness of the icon? For as you say, it is an icon of transcendent and unimaginable love, the all-embracing martyrdom of love that lays down its life for the other…total self-giving that creates and welcomes new life in the image of its prototype(s).

  5. Dean Popps says

    This is a very interesting Open Letter from a talented internet commentator who goes by “Billy Jack Sunday”.

    Several folks have asked me if I am he. The answer is no, I am not. His comments are biting, truthful, and often very funny—a style I so appreciate and try feebly to use, but, he’s unknown to me.

    Among all the other “restructuring” going on, maybe it’s time for each Metropolitan to declare whether he is gay or not. This is for the purpose of clearing the air on this issue, so we all know where everyone stands because we know where the church stands. Being closeted and maneuvering contrary to Orthodox doctrine is hypocritical. Time for those who are gay to “come out” and clear the air. They owe it to themselves. The faithful deserve the truth about their leaders and an honest governance. The only way forward is for leaders to be honest and transparent in all matters, financial and personal.

    Separately, there are many conservative Catholic writers and researchers who estimate that between 18% and 50% of Catholic clergy are gay and that being a priest has become a gay profession. Wash DC has been rocked by the revelation that former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is a pederast and homosexual. Greek Orthodox stats and practices must mirror the Catholics to a large extent, I would assume.

    Watch The Vortex on You Tube: https://youtu.be/G8-E_lbdslM

  6. I was at the workshop; many of the “facts” reported both in the introduction and the open letter are incorrect. I find it irresponsible at best that someone who did not even attend the workshop would write an open letter with incorrect information to a metropolitan who was present for part of the workshop. It reminds me of the childhood game of telephone, where one person says something to one person, and by the time it gets to the tenth person, the facts are distorted. Please be more responsible in your reporting.

    • GOA Priest says

      Since you claim he has got it wrong, please, do clarify.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      Please report all of the facts in an objective manner here. This would be very, very valuable, frankly. Let’s get out exactly what was said and done from someone who was there. Let the chips fall where they may, please.

      Including the facts about Met. Gerasimos’ presence. He is my bishop. I want to know what in fact took place and what did not, unvarnished. I think this is important.

  7. Dean Popps says

    This is a very interesting Open Letter from a talented internet commentator who goes by “Billy Jack Sunday”.

    Several folks have asked me if I am he. The answer is no, I am not. His comments are biting, truthful, and often very funny—a style I so appreciate and try feebly to use, but, he’s unknown to me.

    Among all the other “restructuring” going on, maybe it’s time for each Metropolitan to declare whether he is gay or not. This is for the purpose of clearing the air on this issue, so we all know where everyone stands because we know where the church stands. Being closeted and maneuvering contrary to Orthodox doctrine is hypocritical. Time for those who are gay to “come out” and clear the air. They owe it to themselves. The faithful deserve the truth about their leaders and an honest governance. The only way forward is for leaders to be honest and transparent in all matters, financial and personal.

    Separately, there are many conservative Catholic writers and researchers who estimate that between 18% and 50% of Catholic clergy are gay and that being a priest has become a gay profession. Wash DC has been rocked by the revelation that former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is a pederast and homosexual. Greek Orthodox stats and practices must mirror the Catholics to a large extent, I would assume.

    Watch The Vortex on You Tube: https://youtu.be/G8-E_lbdslM

    • Johannes says

      There are priests in all Orthodox patriarchates struggling with desires for unnatural sexual relations, but I am positive that none of our groups, including the GOA, are even close to the Roman church in the cultivation of male homosexuals and pederasts. Enforced celibacy with the absence of the Holy Spirit practically guarantees perversion of some kind in all but the most morally centered members of their clergy. Pray for our Roman brothers and resist the temptation to slander the priesthood of the Orthodox Catholic Church.

      • CatholicObserver says

        None even close?? Oh freaking please. If anything, y’all have a worse problem — precisely because you are so ready to point fingers while remaining in deep, arrogant denial about your own issues. Just because you cover up so much more effectively —
        while flying under the media radar — does not mean you do not have *rampant* abuse and cover-ups.

        I personally know of several cases that have never seen the light of day, because of *very* effective intimidation, bullying, and secretiveness. Pokrov.org does not even scratch the surface.

        “Our #$&+ don’t stink, but everyone else’s does.” Try pulling that self-serving tactic on the Day of Judgment!

        Stop pointing fingers at other communions. Start being *honest* and repentant about yourselves. That may help you resolve your own egregious abuse problem…while averting further threats to your children from predators who like nothing better than to target elitist, self-congratulatory, arrogant communities convinced that “it can’t happen here.”

    • Joseph Lipper says

      There was an Orthodox archbishop, Aftimios Ofiesh, who “came out” as heterosexual and married one of his young female parishioners in a civil ceremony. That was a complete trainwreck disaster.

  8. That was an incredibly rude letter, obviously intended to publicly dig at the Metropolitan rather than make any real clarification or simply address a concern.

    I have little respect for action that serves only to humiliate.

    • Michael Bauman says

      The GOA is a rude organization.

    • Sarah I must agree with you. I am more conservative than most and normally appreciate BJS’s dry and wry sense of humor, but thought this post was rude and disrespectful.
      Although I disagree with Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald on almost everything, after a gentle brotherly rebuke by Dino I apologized publicly to the Bishop after a post far less disrespectful than BJS’s. In that same spirit of brotherly love I call on BJS to withdraw his post and apologize to Metropolitan Gerasimos. I don’t agree with him on everything including his remarks after the HCHC commencement speech but he deserves better than this.
      Some bishops like Metropolitan Evangelos invite disrespect by their disrespect of others. Metropolitan Gerasimos is meek and mild and deserves more respect even when you may disagree with him.

      • Greatly Saddened says

        As much as it pains me, I unfortunately must agree with your reference to Metropolitan Evangelos inviting disrespect by his disrespect of others. Sad to say, but as the saying goes … “a leopard never changes its spots.”

      • Billy Jack Sunday says

        Michael

        “Metropolitan Gerasimos is meek and mild”

        ??

        and I’m Tony Danza

      • GOA Priest says

        Metropolitan Gerasimos is meek and mild…

        Simply untrue.

        People are so gullible.

        • George Michalopulos says

          I have found that many Orthodox bishops are “meek and mild” unless you cross their agenda.

          • GOA Priest says

            Anyone who claims the liked of Met. Gerasimos is meek and mild has never been face to face with meek and mild. People need to get out more.

            • Billy Jack Sunday says

              GOA Priest

              I heard that the idea of the GOARCH with Archbishop Demetrios separating from EP/Constantinople was discussed at the Clergy Laity Congress – with no effect

              Unfortunately I’m hearing it second hand, but I have no reason to doubt my source and how they became aware of it. Little detail was provided, however

              Did you happen to hear any of that – of anything like that?

      • Billy Jack Sunday says

        Michael

        “I call on BJS to withdraw his post and apologize to Metropolitan Gerasimos.”

        I will agree to withdraw the letter, if:

        1. Met Gerasimos recants his full support and approval of the 2016 Council Of Crete (of which he was at and fully endorsed, if not helped create/enable)

        2. Met Gerasimos apologizes to Mr. Efstathios Valiotis, retracts his recent public letter titled, “Statement Regarding the Mother Church,” and fully endorses the idea/necessity for an autocepalous Church in the United States – and proves he is not an obstructor to that very needful and noble effort

        3. States/clarifies his position regarding the subject matter and issues raised in this letter – and that his response is absolutely in harmony with the historic teachings and practice of the Orthodox Catholic Church

        I do not apologize. I wrote this very pointed on purpose – and I didn’t do to merely tickle a few belly buttons or to congratulate my own silly wit

        Please consider the absolute gravity of what is going on in the GOA

        No more dismissed spoonfuls of sugar for the bullying obstinate elite individuals who are either drunk off of compromised elbow rubbing globalist power or – at minimum- asleep at the switch

        • George Michalopulos says

          Nor should you apologize. The respectful, Byzantinesque approach accomplishes nothing.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Sarah, I don’t disagree that it was “rude”. On the other hand what has Byzantine obsequiousness ever gotten us?

      Do these bishops not know that when the true testing comes and they must stand for the faith (or not) that their persecutors will be far less snarky than Billy Jack?

  9. Pat Reardon says

    Alitheia1875 writes,

    “no distinction should be made between homosexual and heterosexual sexual behavior which cannot be sanctioned except through marriage (and the mystery of marriage cannot be extended to homosexuals). In other words, homosexuals involved in a sexual relationship are no different than heterosexuals involved in a sexual relationship outside of marriage in the Orthodox Church.”

    Not true.

    The expression Paul uses to speak of the homosexual vice is παρὰ φύσιν—-“contrary to nature” (Romans 1.26).

    Every first-year student in Moral Theology was taught these elementary distinctions and grades of moral gravity:

    (1) Fornication is a sin against chastity.

    (2) Adultery is a sin against justice.

    (3) The homosexual act is a sin against Creation.

    • fr Chris Moody says

      αμήν, αμήν , αμήν. Καλώς είπατε. Yes, father, well said. Unfortunately, most people are not properly grounded in these presuppositions.

    • Joseph Lipper says

      Pat Reardon, how would you classify the sins of heterosexual incest and heterosexual pedophilia?

      St. Paul gives us the example of a father and son sharing the same wife as being contrary to nature.

    • B I N G O!

    • Fr. Harry Linsinbigler says

      Right Fr. Patrick.
      Christian marriage is honorable, even if not within Orthodoxy. And beyond this, even outside of Christianity the singular bonds of marriage has value, as they honor the natural path that God has set for humankind even if they do not comprehend its value. Natural marriage itself is sanctioned by Scripture, even if among the heathen, if between a female and a male. Orthodox marriage brings it to another level, but that does not negate the rightness of a male and female marrying in a singular bond of marriage in another context, which we hope will be fulfilled in the Holy Mystery.

    • Alitheia1875 says

      The reference is to sex outside of marriage. Sex outside of marriage gets you banned from the Cup until repentance. Moral theology is another matter. Orthodox homosexuals can receive Communion as long as they are not engaged in sexual relations. Orthodox heterosexuls who are not married can receive Communion as long as they are not engaged in sexual relations. In that context there is no difference.

      • George Michalopulos says

        I completely agree with you.

        However standard operating procedure in some of the GOA dioceses here is to not turn away practicing homosexuals, even if they’re gaymarried from the chalice.

        Worse, the majority of the laity are okie-dokie with that. The ground has already been prepped.

        • Michael Bauman says

          George, how can some be “gaymarried from the chalice”? That construction implies that there is a sacramental gay “marriage”.

          Perhaps you meant: However standard operating procedure in some GOA dioceses here is to not turn practicing homosexuals away from the chalice even if they are gaymarried?

  10. Fr. GeorgevWashburn says

    The only question is who is humilated most: the author, the recipient, or the proprietor? We all know Georgevstands for the Church’s traditional moral standards. Whatbwe also know is that he doesn’t stand for traditional journalistic standards when dealing with hot button topics in ways that **seem** to him to advance the cause of “right.”

    It bemuses me that George also has taken up the cudgel, sword, pen, or whatever that is in his hand at the moment, for an “All American Church!!” How can he be taken seriously as a player in something so deadly serious as shaping the jurisdictional future and unity of the Church on these shores, especially the Church he imagines – adrift from any Old World moorings, if anonymous cheap-shot artists get full play here with George’s patronage … so long as the message proffered passes the litmus test. Such a Church would no doubt start or quickly devolve into some splinter version of “true” church rent with internet trolling and bashing that renders bishops captive to electronic manipulations and the organization no more governable, and probably less so, than what is descried.

    Love,

    Fr. George

    • Billy Jack Sunday says

      Father George Washburn

      “The only question is who is humilated most: the author, the recipient, or the proprietor?”

      Really? That’s the only question? Along with tired axe-grinding statements concerning the medium of blogs and pseudonyms?

      Right

      The American Church isn’t at a critical threshold because of this issue that has infiltrated the ranks of the clergy and is trying to come into the church through the back door? (Ed McMahon Hiyoooooo)

      It’s because of what you feel are “trolls?”

      Taking myself out of the equation

      Better to listen to an unsavory troll attempting to speak what is right than to listen to any clergyman attempting to introduce what is wrong via insidious methods

      Introducing reexamining dialog to something already made absolutely clear is mental warfare – in order to create doubt, excite the passions and resulting in the attempt to redefine the boudaries

      “Did God really say not to eat of that tree?” Let’s talk about this . . .

      And like I said, I made it clear that if there is some confusion, I ask Metropolitan Gerasimos to set the record straight

      If there is confusion, he can just laugh along and affirm the truth

      I find it totally odd that the Church is about to ram straight into an unforgiving iceberg and you have nothing to say about it.

      No wonder we are in this mess

      This whole movement is well documented, so don’t play that card

      If the GOA goes gay, it will be gone for good. Many churches can stray and strain here and there over certain issues. On this issue, however, no church recovers from – ever

      It will be Philoptochtos bingo night on Tuesdays, Tranny night on Thursdays

      • M. Stankovich says

        I would feel much differently about both your sarcastic, anonymous “open letter,” and your equally sarcastic, anonymous response to Fr. George if either were based upon anything other than your sarcasm. And pardon me, but that is the predictable price you pay for unabated sarcasm; which if I am not mistaken, is a valuable literary convention when used conservatively to punctuate and heighten an otherwise sound and reasoned argument. And champ, that’s exactly what you lack, a sound and reasoned argument. Why do I say this? In my estimation, a sound and reasoned argument has a foundation in evidence.

        I don’t want to burst your bubble, champ, but you’ve arrived to the dance when many of us are on our second pair of shoes. You really should have looked at the history of this site before you put on the cape & mask. You hardly had to ask “Metropolitan Gerasimos to set the record straight.” All the dirty deeds, every accusation, unreported this, and unreported that, every failing and fall, every heartbreak, defrocking, and all the filth unfit to print is archived right here on Monomakhos to dredge up as you see fit. Years worth. “The Church is about to ram straight into an unforgiving iceberg,” and “at a critical threshold because of this issue that has infiltrated the ranks of the clergy?” In your mind, champ. In your mind. “That which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” (Ecc. 1:9)

        Whatever anyone says about “You can write them directly, and use you own name, but it still won’t make any difference,” all I can say is, it has never stopped me: “For the Lord desires truth [ἀλήθειαν ἠγάπησας]” Ps. 50:8 (LXX)

        • Fr. George Washburn says

          George M and BJS present us with a false dilemma essentially identical to the one with which Mark Stokoe always justified the very same tactics to advance his very different agenda on Orthodox Christians for Accountability years and years ago.

          The choice is **not** between being 1) obsequious and complicit or 2) insulting and nasty. There is a third: speaking the truth in love.

          In Ephesians 4 St. Paul underscores the fact that we grow up in Christ when truth and love are combined. Why? Truth is hard enough to face or accept under any circumstances, but far more so if it rebukes us or makes us uncomfortable. Human hearts close all too fast as it is.

          They close even more quickly when the truth one speaks is liberally anointed, not to say diluted, with insults. To the extent that one’s own emotional catharsis or the judgment and punishment of a supposed wrongdoer is the aim, those who prefer (or can’t restrain themselves) from those self-assigned roles and methods will do so.

          But to the extent that we seek to love, persuade, and appeal to others, especially our elders, I think we ought to try a lot harder than some donaround here to meet that standard of always combining truth with love.

          When I was a young man working as research attorney for the toughest judge in town while waiting for Bar results, it was generally known that this judge, who had always read the opposing papers very carefully, always came out of his chambers for the hearing and “started talking to the loser first.” By this we meant that His Honor’s mind was made up already, but could occasionally be changed by counsel who knew how to open the judge’s mind to the true merits of his position, rather than just sounding like he deserved to be the loser.

          I do *not* contradict the traditional moral teachings of the Church, but I do regret seeing people who claim to advance the teachings addressing a judge as if they really believe they are already the losers. Truth without love and love without truth are both losing strategies.

          Love,

          Fr. G

          • George Michalopulos says

            Fr, you present an ideal. One which does not (and hasn’t) exist in the phanariote mindset.

            Notice I did not say “couldn’t” exist in that mindset but doesn’t.

            One cannot dialogue with interlocutors who argue in such bad faith.

            • Fr. George Washburn says

              Hi friends:

              I love it when somebody with a real name, in this case George himself, posts something brief in which so much that is worthy of careful consideration lies exposed to our view. We could dialogue about those issues. Could.

              I don’t have time this weekend to get into any depth, but let’s just mention a few.

              1. George seems to be calling my suggestion that hierarchs be addressed with a respectful combination of truth and love “idealistic” as if that is a bad, or at least naive, thing for me to recommend in the furtherance of the Gospel. It might well be if I stated or implied that people should then accept ant Old response, or even none.

              2. George tells us that he has already judged the hierarchs to be so bad that they cannot be engaged in communication on these subjects. Of course it is true that those with more or less unlimited powers defined in bygone days and traditional societies where superiors were not expected or required to engage with inferiors much beyond giving orders are not experienced at discussing the things that concern their people. But I don’t see that as an excuse not to try steadily and virtuously to speak truth in loving respect.

              Love,

              Fr. G

              • George Michalopulos says

                Fr, I don’t “judge” anybody, much less a hierarch.

                What I discern is that within those eparchies under the Phanar, there is more than a little scandal, mismanagement and incompetence.

                One needs only to look at the debacle that is the St Nicholas shrine and Reflection Center. I could go on and on.

                Regading the question at hand, Billy Jack’s satirical letter addressed to Met Gerasimos, one only needs to know that unlike his instant rebuttal to Steve Valiotis, we have heard nothing regards the LGBTQWERTY presentation at Boston.

                However, since you choose to be legalistic in this particular matter, may I suggest that you raise this same issue and in such a proceduralistic manner with you own bishops in the Antiochian jurisdiction.

                If memory serves, the late metropolitan Philip would not have been as understanding.

                • Constantinos says

                  George,
                  Since the church is incapable of cleaning its own house, I sincerely believe that the government must step in and demand accountability. All these religious institutions get away with murder with their preferential treatment by the government. There is no governmental oversight for religious institutions unlike all other charities. Until the government steps in and stops this gravy train, all these charades will continue. The government can begin by revoking the tax exemptions on church properties. If we did what some of these hierarchs do, we’d both be in prison.

                  • I bet God is working on the problem. He is the head of the Church. He can bring anything down that He wants. And has often done so.

                    In that case we have to learn to discern what He is doing so that we do not interfere in His doings. From what I have read, the Archdiocese is a mess and the edifice in NYC greatly underfunded. Just maybe He is trying to tell us something.

                    So pray for God’s will to be manifest in these situations.

                • Fr. George Washburn says

                  Dear George:

                  Legalistic is one of the dangers I have to watch out for. The letter truly does kill, but the spirit gives life.

                  In this case, though, I think I am focus d on the spirit of scripture, not the letter,. Sheer human weakness, both on the part of the energetic stone thrower *and* the person targeted, virtually dictates that whatever narrow openings to heart and mind might have existed before will greatly narrow or shut altogether once missiles start to fly.

                  Thus Saint Paul’s teaching in Ephesians 4 that we grow up in Christ when the truth is spoken in love. More of thatnsheer human weakness fills the minds of certain kinds of people to believe they have been anointed to act as prophets, speaking truth to,power.

                  The same sheer human weakness in OT times dictated the division of roles labeled prophet, priest and king. There is no,shortage of self-licensed and I believe largely ineffective internet Orthodox prophets these days. There is a shortage of wise and effective ones.

                  I privately get in touch with an Antiochian bishop a couple of times a month or so about one thing or another, and not for the purpose of obsequies. Privately.

                  But allow me for a moment to again address the head of the Diocese of Monomakhia as if I were some very minor prophet. He tells himself and us he does not judge others, but when I see him broadcast that Met. Gerasimos is so far gone in *bad faith* that he can’t be approached skillfully withntrith and love on an issue where you seemingly want to move the needle in your direction (instead of just jabbing him with one) my sensor reads judgment,,not discernment.

                  But maybe your Prophet license exempts you from being propheted back. I don’t know. What I do know is that the BS, I mean BJS, missive or missile under discussion was about as skilled and effective as the North Korean kinds have been so far.

                  Sincerely,

                  Fr. George

              • Billy Jack Sunday says

                Fr. George Washburn

                Says the guy who is sure to keep his pimp hand strong

        • Billy Jack Sunday says

          M. Stankovich

          Your response is equally predictable. For too often you seem to say, “How can you prove there is fire? You are just imagining it. That’s not even smoke . . . COUGH COUGH . . . WAT??”

          Wait around until the GOA totally goes full-on Episcopalian Gay?

          AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FO DAT

          Evidence

          Yes

          We all would like to see full documentation – transcript, video, ect

          Not available

          These meetings always seem to be held in a semi-closed, off the record, no transcript/meeting notes in an official/unofficial venue

          It’s what I suspect from THE REAL unmasked yet VEILED CULPRITS hiding in plain sight

          It’s how the game is played.

          So what do we have?

          Reasonable suspicion. Very, very reasonable – and hardly just suspicion. However, for the sake of argument, I will allow for that

          There is reasonable cause to believe that the events occurred just as asked in the letter

          Sure. There is an anonymous poster CKP that says that they were present and it didn’t go down that way

          Then, there is GOA Priest who says he was there and appears to be very supportive of my understandings exactly as is

          So what is true?

          Well, when I personally (without mystery) presented my priest with all sorts of documentation regarding serious issues regarding the Council of Crete, I was met with nothing but excuses, told to trust, as well as faced with outright denial

          I have reasonable suspicion that my priest simple doesn’t give a damn about certain important issues.

          Part of my reasonable suspicion is that I’ve seen some things with my own eyes

          Overall, I’ve seen and/or experienced just about everything imaginable in church. So drop the implied ignorant condescension

          With reasonable cause/suspicion the public will see me write, “Check ‘Yo Self” – which is the manner I wrote this letter

          Absolute verified/documented evidence of upheld insidious baloney might get you, “No Vaseline.”

          How do you feel about that?

          I have a feeling I have yet to begin

          Champ

          • M. Stankovich says

            BJS,

            Condescension is your interpretation, ignorance is my charge.

            Apparently you are too wise, too arrogant, and to stupid to take my advice and look at the archives of this site. You have only yet to begin what, exactly? Demonstrate that you are smarter, more intuitive, and “streetwise” than me when it come to homosexuals in the Orthodox clergy?

            In the archive and you can read my account – posted twice in eight years – of being a naive, stupid 18-year old kid, my first year at SVS and in absolute awe of everyone I saw at SVS. The first opportunity I had earned to go away for a weekend to visit extended family involved taking the bus (basically because I was too poor to travel any other way). This meant passing through the Port Authority Bus Terminal, walking on 8th Ave., then through Times Square to catch the subway shuttle to Grand Central Station to take the train back to Crestwood and SVS. In the 1970’s, Times Square was Babylon – exactly as depicted in the movie Taxi Driver: adult movie theaters; huge gay and straight “entertainment” centers with blazing signs and blaring music; prostitution; drug dealing; and major crime of every sort. My first Sunday evening returning on the bus, I was walking in Times Square, hauling a suitcase and trying to avoid the hustlers on the street trying to pull people into their particular facility, when I looked up and stopped dead in my tracks: a prominent Orthodox bishop had just come out of one of the gay “extravaganza” entertainment centers, dressed down but obviously clearly identifiable, and passed no more than 15-feet in front of me and was hailing a cab. I couldn’t catch my breath. I couldn’t bear the weight of my suitcase and walk at the same time. I had to find a bench to sit down, and I sat down for probably a half hour. I only told a few people until I told my confessor the following morning. I was thanked – but in retrospect, I was “silenced” with words referring to not allowing the incident to “possess me”; but when you cannot talk about it, how could it not? I was also assured it would be “taken care of.” Perhaps it was, I have no idea. But I know that the bishop came to SVS, not frequently, but enough to question myself as to whether I should attend the liturgy or avoid his communion line, all the while knowing that the Church has never depended upon the “person” piety or “holiness” of anyone. I have never been so shocked in my life 1) because of what I saw, but equally 2) because I did the right thing and it accomplished nothing – or at least as best as I could ascertain.

            You will pardon me, but as far as I’m concerned, you have nothing to “reveal.” That’s been done for you many times in the past several years by people who took the risk of identifying themselves, myself included. I have said many times that I choose my words very carefully, and I referred to you as “champ” purposely, because you are somehow promoting yourself as a “champion” of the truth, in last year’s swimwear stitched together with fake “ghetto-chatter” and tiresome standup.

            Bottom-line, champ, you haven’t seen what I saw. Earn the respect. Drop. By. Drop. Like I did. God happened to place me in the presence of extraordinary teachers, extraordinary people. I had the presence of mind to shut up and listen.

            • Billy Jack Sunday says

              M. Stankovich

              “Apparently you are too wise, too arrogant, and to stupid to take my advice and look at the archives of this site.”

              Actually, my woman can attest to the fact that I have read just about everything in the archives way before you ever suggested that I do

              “You have only yet to begin what, exactly? Demonstrate that you are smarter, more intuitive, and “streetwise” than me when it come to homosexuals in the Orthodox clergy?”

              And

              “Bottom-line, champ, you haven’t seen what I saw”

              Not sure where you are going with that

              First, I have absolutely no interest in the personal lives of individuals. In other words, outing/exposing individuals is not my thing.

              My first exposure to Billy Sunday was through my college roommate. He’s a repentant individual of homosexuality (unknown to almost all), has a large family and pastors a large church. I would never “out” him. I had no idea he was gay when I knew him. But looking back now, there were so many signs. He hates that I became Orthodox, BTW

              This is not about individuals. This is a clash of cultures. The secular humanistic culture vs traditional Christian morals – and the spiritual health of our Church

              What I’m talking about in simple terms is policy

              I’m concerned about the introduction of ideas causing a change of teaching and pastoral care.

              As you have so graciously pointed out, searching out the archives on Monomackhos can be of great benefit

              I then direct you to this article by Fr. Alexander Webster:

              https://www.monomakhos.com/three-trojan-horses-insider-attempts-to-disorient-the-orthodox/

              Pay close attention to this:

              “Second, a respected senior archpriest in the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), Fr. Alexis Vinogradov of Wappingers Falls, New York, threw down a gauntlet on this issue in July 2011. For a now-defunct Orthodox blog, he wrote an article titled, “New Beginnings in Community: Gender Issues and the Church.”11 He hoped “to start a conversation . . . because among the Orthodox churches, at least, we do not yet have a common platform for respectful discourse on the complex social issues of our day.”

              But “respectful discourse” quickly evaporated when he began to rail against the “growing appeal and reliance on simplistic and formulaic answers” among many of his fellow Orthodox. “Such a religiosity cannot,” he continued, “tolerate ambiguities, for it attributes the modern moral and spiritual crisis entirely to the disdain for absolutes and certainties. . . . So, we are told that the debate on sexuality must stop, because the indisputable norm is the choice of heterosexual marriage or celibate life in society or in monasticism.” Alert traditional Christians could already spot the Trojan Horse that Fr. Alexis was trotting out, as he subtly began to call for a new, third “norm.”

              Fr. Alexis elaborated in such a way as to remove all doubt concerning his vision:

              ‘Homosexual persons did not decide to become homosexual. It was not the fruit of their supposed depravity or sin. That much we know today. There can only be a continuing conversation if we can cross that hurdle of blatant intransigence by those who refuse to acknowledge this fact. But homosexual persons, just as much as heterosexual ones, need to feel the warmth and love and nurture of other persons. God created them for that love, that love is the substance of our humanity; it is what constitutes all of us in bearing his image within us. For any member of the human race when that love is not forthcoming openly and easily, when community taboos and fears isolate them away from the family, it is inevitable that their legitimate searching and need will appear as an anomaly to those who have safely passed through the invisible selective screen. The selective culture, society in general or church, will have pushed them to extremes.’

              That appeal is all too familiar to Protestants and Roman Catholics in America, but it is still novel to most faithful Orthodox Christians: we must accept homosexuals, who are born that way, and not drive them away by calling them to repentance and celibacy—the only traditional moral “norm” besides “heterosexual” marriage. Later in his article Fr. Alexis had the chutzpah to warn that it is “our callousness, judgment, and self-assurance,” not sexual perversion, that “can injure” the Bride of Christ, the Church.

              Fr. Alexis afforded us a sobering glimpse of the way the spirit of the world has captured those who would take it upon themselves to lecture and even scold us (fill in the blank: simplistic, frightened, totalitarian, intolerant, superficial, intransigent, self-centered, unrestrained, callous, spiritually weak—Fr. Alexis hurled all of those epithets our way in his brief for affirmation of the “other”) Orthodox and other Christians who reject the tiresome notion that the times are a-changin’ and we must change with them.”

              Sound familiar?

              Sounds exactly like what has been reported from this Clergy Laity Congress LGBTQ workshop session

              It’s a Tojan Horse

              Your friend Father Dean is pretty wise. He saw all this happening and predicted much more of the same would follow

              Don’t listen to me. Listen to him

              Also, how do you know your experiences outweigh mine? You don’t know me, I don’t know you

              Has your close and trusted clergyman ever invited you out to lunch repetitively – then unexpectedly to his basement for beer and “art work” viewing – while he is wearing the shortest shorts possible and staring at you like a prison Manwich on Sloppy Joe day?

              I guarentee you will find your bags feather light as well as find your second wind – and get the hell out of there faster than you can say, “Holy hotpants, Batman!!”

              • M. Stankovich says

                I ask again, would you presume to know more than me by offering me what is tantamount to “gay google-scholarship?” I have known Fr. Alexis since the mid-1970’s. He is the son-in-law of Fr. Alexander Schmemann. He would drive down to SVS for classes from Wappinger’s Falls and leave his stuff in mine & Eric Wheeler’s room. Sound familiar? Certainly it sounds familiar! In fact I laughed out loud at the fact that you have somehow managed, in your “careful” study of the archives of the topic, to discover one of the greatest “tokens” of the issue – Vinogradov being one, and Arida being the other – and managed to miss the forest for the trees! Both of these priests haven’t written anything in years, to my knowledge, yet the “outraged” and the desperate for attention still are getting mileage from them (and I welcome you to the frequent flier club). Sorry to say, champ, but they were neither sobering, prophetic nor influential. They were my friends – in every good sense of the word – but their own arrogance consumed them. Perhaps in 2011 – which, ironically enough, is when I began responding on this and Fr. Hans’ site specifically to this issue (August 9, 2011, to be precise) – these words seemed “ominous” and threatening, but as I read them today, they are powerless, transparently empty, and terribly sad to reread. In any case, you have absolutely no perspective or context by which to evaluate their significance. “Pay close attention to this,” you tell me. Nice touch.

                There is no way to say this without seeming arrogant – and it is not as if I much care – but the dialog, discussions, arguments, and flat out battles that occurred, beginning in 2011 forward, that “bled” from Fr. Hans’ AOI site onto this site, were nothing short of brilliance. If I were writing a book about how the Orthodox Church in America “openly withstood secular humanistic culture vs traditional Christian morals,” personified by the issue of Same Sex Attraction, it would include, verbatim, the exchanges between Fr. Hans Jacobse, Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, Fr. John Morris, Fr. Alexander Webster, Fr. John Whiteford, Pdn. Brian Patrick Mitchell, Dr. Alfred Kentigern Siewers, Brian (I believe the current Brian here), Michael Bauman, Peter Papoutsis, George Michalopulos, Harry Coin, and myself, among many whose words I distinctly recall, but shamefully not their names. In my opinion, the writing, on the whole, was thoughtful, articulate, frequently moving, and I, for one, was educated beyond my expectations. More importantly, it was remarkably measured, focused, and a demonstration o the fact that “By the wisdom of men and the grace of the Holy Spirit, Truth was articulated from what, at face, appeared as chaos,” and that “the real possibility of expanding and deepening our knowledge of the mystery of Christ and the Church [begins] with the same “articulation” expressed at Chalcedon: “Following the Divinely inspired teaching of the Holy Fathers and the Tradition of the Catholic Church…”

                What have I been trying to tell you?

                1) The issue of homosexuality in the Orthodox Church is endemic – it always was, and it always will be. Your evaluation of the church on a runaway crash course into an iceberg is as naive as it is ridiculous. It is no more urgent than it was in 2011; no more urgent than in 1977 when Alexander Schmemann called a student body meeting and declared, “I will not be the dead of a pot-smoking homosexual joint.” By morning rooms were empty.

                And

                2) There are more priests than you would ever imagine who are SSA, married, with families who may or may not have a clue as to the struggle, who were led to believe that marriage (or the military chaplaincy) was the “answer.” They are emotionally isolated, with no one to confide in or share their conflict.

                3) Rarely, if ever, will men, all men, acknowledge, let alone openly and directly address just how threatening the issue of homosexuality actually is. Instead, there is an underlying rage against homosexuals that is expressed as “asides” (you slipped in a casual reference to “your woman,” lest there be any confusion as to how you “know what you know”), uncomfortable jokes (e.g. “staring at you like a prison Manwich on Sloppy Joe day”), distractions (e.g. the dude here who demanded, in effect, all the “faggot bishops fess up” because we have a right to know), and the “veiled” epithets (e.g. the priest unable to compose himself and is led to “vomit”) and the outright unveiled, direct epithets. I will insist that we will never, ever move beyond this point unless we address this, and most men lack the fundamental courage.

                I was thinking this morning about a research concept called a “surrogate endpoint,” and this means, in lieu of an “actual” endpoint, a point where you can say “we have resolved our issue, we can move on,” the conclusion of complex issues can “approximated” by setting a surrogate. In cancer research, for example, rather than wait for a full remission, I would set a surrogate to be a certain reduction in the size of a tumor that, for all intents and purposes, tells me that eventually, a positive outcome would be reached. In my own mind this morning, I tried to think of a surrogate by which I could conclude something significant was going to change. I could not come up with anything. Secondly, I am apparently too arrogant, too aggressive, and too egocentric – despite my experience and insight – to be of any benefit. So, champ, I’m going to resign from this argument. As near as I can tell, you are as qualified as anyone with a computer, google, and a briefcase of entitled satire/sarcasm, & disrespect for the Ordained Clergy, none of which I respect in the least. And bottom-line, how do I know my experiences outweigh yours?

                • Billy Jack Sunday says

                  M. Stankovich

                  You are indeed a brilliant mind

                  However, you just went full retard

                  Therefore, please wear a helmet with a chin strap while you type your diatribes

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    Swing for the fences, champ. I won’t comment on your ignorant analogy about me, but I will say this: this issue will ultimately be resolved by people who understand the Scriptures, the Holy Fathers, and our Holy Tradition. Not Yo’s and cafones.

                    • Billy Jack Sunday says

                      M. Stankovich

                      It’s funny that you accused me of being ignorant of the Monomakhos archives

                      And then when I quote a related article you flip to your Google scholar rant

                      If you think about the bulk of my comments, I usually don’t comment too much on the topics of morality.

                      My point? I am not a crusader against faggotry as a particular cause, champ. This is your hot button topic, I think

                      I agree that buggary has existed since the dawn of time

                      I believe you miss an underlying point I made in the letter – which relates to a topic that I actually do comment a lot about

                      I find it absolutely ridiculous that Met Gerasimos would verbally publically attempt to humiliate an honored HCHC commencement speaker – blowing his stack and slapping down any thought of American autocephaly

                      And then Met Gerasimos was church mouse quiet concerning the LGBTQ workshop discussion – him being personally present as well.

                      And I do totally disagree with your assessment that this is just same old same old human issue with no particular potential of critical point of no return for the GOA

                      I also disagree that it will necessarily be those who are most familiar with scripture, patristics, holy tradition that will resolve this matter

                      The issue has already been resolved long ago by those very people

                      Yet here we are

                      We have multiple jurisdictions that are “canonical.”

                      Yet we don’t have the right church structure

                      To be canonical with jurisdictional anomaly is like hopping on one leg

                      The church will get tired and eventually fall down

                      The church has to be structured correctly to stand

                      Otherwise, it will either limp along and collapse – or boldly sauche like Ru Paul right into forgetful non-relevant cultural and spiritual dissipation

                      Like so many other faith communities have in America

            • GOA Priest says

              Good Lord, what a windbag.

              A giant collective metanoia to your Uber-specialness.

          • GOA Priest says

            I fully support open letters addressed to fake phoney frauds (after the ever memorable Bob Grant). Irony and sarcasm have their place.

            Met. Gerasimos, a thug in sheep’s clothing, deserves what he gets.

            As for the now infamous LGBQTXY session, I came, I saw, I puked.

            • M. Stankovich says

              I am moved by your testimony, greek priest. Braveheart. There is, of course, the small matter of including your name.

              Have you ever stood face-to-face with with a man bigger than you, more powerful than you, and all you could hear was this, knowing you were going to get the ass-whopping of your life if they didn’t back down? Praying that it would flash through their mind that going back to jail was considerably worse than messing with you? But whatever you did, you couldn’t back down? I take two medications to prevent seizures, two medications to prevent migraine headaches, and my vision is permanently affected for my “bravery,” but as I see it, I didn’t have a choice. You have a choice. What, you don’t want to jeopardize your “livelihood?” Ah, consequences! But isn’t a man only as good as his name? Pardon me, but any punk can throw stones from behind the anonymous veil of the internet, no? A man good to his name doesn’t rationalize because he doesn’t have a choice. If the consequences are too great, then in my opinion, you don’t have the right to be dogging anyone – in particular the anointed of God – whatever you think of him. Maddog this comment as you wish, but you pay attention to how it’s signed…

            • Bishop Anaxios says

              GOA Priest

              You said:

              “As for the now infamous LGBQTXY session, I came, I saw, I puked.”

              I find that highly intolerant

              On the other hand

              Let’s not kid ourselves

              The Gay Community is probably as much, if not more, less tolerant than the overall Christian world

              Why, my partner is especially intolerant of me

              He recently told me to stop stealing all the kitchen utensils – even though he knows it’s my thing

              It’ll be okay though

              I’m just going to have to whisk it

            • Dimos Skandalis says

              GOA Priest

              If I may ask

              When you were at the Clergy Laity Congress, did you hear any discussion among the clergy regarding the potential of the Archdiocese along with Archbishop Demetrios separating from the EP/Church of Constantinople?

              Someone said that this was discussed but to no consequence

              Can you verify, perhaps?

              Thanks

              • GOA Priest says

                I didn’t hear anything like this. I am not sure where it would have been discussed.

                There were some puke-worthy rantings by the reps of the EP. Totally delusional nonsense about our spiritual identity linked to the EP.

                I took photos of the translations…not sure if there is a way to post those here.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Send them to me if you can

                • Dimos Skandalis says

                  GOA Priest

                  Thank you for responding to this

                  Any other additional information you could pass on to George for our benefit/knowledge regarding anything of note from the Clergy Laity Congress would be greatly appreciated

                • Billy Jack Sunday says

                  GOA Priest

                  Archbishop Demetrios just put out an encyclical regarding the Feast of the Dormition

                  In it, he says:

                  “At our recent Clergy-Laity Congress, we affirmed our commitment to supporting the work of our parishes and helping faithful throughout our Holy Archdiocese explore the potential of the witness of our Orthodox faith”

                  “Exploring the potential of the witness of our Orthodox faith”

                  I am wondering what this means

                  Do you know what he means by this and/or can you think of any examples from the Congress?

                  Was there any talk of growing the Church outside of merely meeting the needs of the Greek community?

                  Thanks

        • Champ! errr Billy!
          Don’t let the old Doctor get you down.

          As we all know. NIKOS, is a Greek living in Bulgaria….

          And

          M. Stankovich is a serious man on a BLOG, who has no patience for anonymous bloggers, or opinions without empirical stats, to which only he can find properly without Google search, yet one of his passions is sharing You Tube music Videos with DINO?

          Hmmm, one would naturally wonder who he really works for? Yes the government, but which? With such insight without Google, MSM stats, and rubbing elbows with the who’s who of Orthodoxy, foreign and domestic scholars, and even Judge Jeanine Pirro! I say he is collaborating with Russians!

          Bottom Line here? Only the Doctor is allow to play broken records, and a tall fence around his pristine yard? Madonna Mia!

          • Do not know how I was dragged in to a discussion that nothing to do with me BUT YES NIKOS IS A GREEK NATIONAL HAPPILY LIVING IN BULGARIA.
            Do you have a problem with Bulgaria or me.? Is so, Please Get over it..
            As regards blog, i as u know have not particiapated for some time and do not wish to as have my life to live and health issues to sort. So God bless and good luck but UNLESS I comment, in which case you can rightly take aim, please leave me out of it. Thank you.

            • Nikos, may God bless, and heal you, prayers and peace patrioti and levendi!

              I will respect your wishes.

            • M. Stankovich says

              Dino,

              If it’s your intention to troll my posts, let’s be clear: you decided to show off and teach me a lesson in “racist reality” by posting statistics you didn’t even understand, and attempted to use them to say what they were not intended to say. I corrected you. Rather than simply admit you were wrong, click your heels together 3-times while saying the phrase, and simply moving on, you have set upon this “reaction formative” chase after me as if I have somehow offended you. So, as a “leveler,” Dino, I vow to wear synthetic donkey ears strategically placed over my own from today until the end of the month, and then we can re-evaluate. And please, feel free to ruin my yard with all your rhetoric and whatever you need to get of your chest; my yard is your yard. And when all is said and done. sit down and ask yourself what exactly is so damn compelling about me that you just can’t drop it already?

              • Constantinos says

                Dr. Stankovich,
                I’ve been wondering why he keeps going after you. Look at all his posts. How can a person post all hours of the day if he has a job? Is that indicative of a ” hard working” American? I don’t think he works. If he worked for me, I would fire him for posting on company time. Of course, if he worked for me, he wouldn’t have access to a computer. I don’t have computers in my car lots. He would be too busy washing cars and trucks to have any time to post.
                He’s trolling you because he thinks this is opportunity to “take you down.” He wants to be the king of George’s forum. He thinks you have lost prestige, and he smells blood in the water.When you post, you have something interesting to say. He just blathers on ad nauseum about nothing. I really wish he’d get a job and stop posting incessantly.
                George, as always, I want to thank you for your graciousness in giving me the opportunity to express my views. This is your forum, and you run it exceptionally well. George, thanks for all your kindness, understanding, and Christian example.

              • M. Stankovich! THE ONLY MAN, on this blog, that can give a fellow blogger a virtual slap in the face, and still leave his victim in roaring laughter and giggles!

                I don’t need a month to answer the final sentence of your post. The answer is a also question wrapped together as one.

                Ask yourself why you, on this blog, are the most debated, trolled, picked on, verbally attacked, temporarily Eighty-Sixed(here & AOI), and at the same time praised by most of the same that do so?

                It is not just I, that in your words, seem so damn compelled. In musical terms and riddles, which you enjoy. The words of the Robert Palmer come to mind, you Bro are…

                Simply Irresistible!

                BTW! Even though you call me a racist. I still compliment you, this not a Dis.

            • Billy Jack Sunday says

              NIKOS

              “YES NIKOS IS A GREEK NATIONAL HAPPILY LIVING IN BULGARIA.”

              It’s comments/posts like these that make life worth living

          • I was not allowed to reply to the sacastically directed comment at me about being greek and living in Bulgaria brought in to a conversation nothing to do with me and to which i have not and will not contribute.
            I hope my comment now will be allowed to stand.

            I am a greek national with greek passport of greek parents, by blood as happens, with roots in southern Greece back to when ever.
            Living in Bulgaria? Yes, beautiful Orthodox country. Any one got problems with that? Bloody get over it mate. Ciao.

            • Billy Jack Sunday says

              NIKOS

              No one has any problems with you being a Greek living in Bulgaria

              It’s just a friendly razzing over the repetition of those facts

              • Fr. George Washburn says

                Good morning from Santa Cruz!

                BS wants Nikos -and all of us – to buy “It’s just a friendly razzing” ….right after publicly prating the seemingly harsh judgment “pimp hand” to or about an imperfect stranger!

                So Nikos repeated himself. Big deal. Why tweak him about it in front of everyone? Does he imagine we are fascinated by whatever his mind thinks?

                Coupled with the whole Met. Gerasimos broadside which led off this inning a common denominator emerges: BS has anoninted himself to pronounce judgments on (or at least display his version of Orthodox Christian cleverness at the expense of) a) hierarchs, b) clergy and c ) laity alike.

                One is reminded of Proverbs 26: where a man who spouts words carelessly at the expense of others and then says “Aw, it was just good, clean fun” is compared to the random shooter of deadly fire arrows.

                Firmly,

                Fr. George

                • Billy Jack Sunday says

                  Fr. George Washburn

                  To quote your friend NIKOS

                  “Nikos says:

                  July 9, 2018 at 12:24 am

                  I have never read such crap, not even coming from a yank.And I really cannot bother to go through this meandering badly written Fantasy ignorant crap. TOTALLY unconnected with Christ and a illustrates why millenials are walking away. No doubt u even think organ playing and dog collar shaven clergy are Holy tradition, let alone rest . . . U mention Tikhon. Do u ignorant uneducated moron, know that Tikhon was a great Orthodox bishop in USA . . . I am greek( Patra Greece)and proud of it but not of narrow nationalism or a church in USA that as long as mumbles in greek, feels all the pseudo western worship etc is just fine . . . Yes I am greek and proud and fully literate Fully BUT I AM ALSO A CHRISTIAN. Orthodox. Thank GOD I worship in Bulgaria.”

                  Well Father George – are you a clean shaven organ loving dog collar Yankee priest? If not, one of your beloved cohorts, perhaps? If so, NIKOS is a Greek living in Bulgaria . . .

                  – Side Note – One of the most comfortable shirts I’ve ever worn was a clergy shirt imported from France. NIKOS doesn’t know what he’s missing.

                  So if I were to walk into a room full of Black Panthers and shouted, “Niggar!!” and all they did was poke at the crocks with socks I was wearing – then yes, that too, would be a mere razzing – and in hindsight, I would appreciate it

                  NIKOS can’t call down the thunder and then play total snowflake.

                  I’ve aready explained why I will not apologize to Metropolitan Gerasimos.

                  So that leaves you

                  “What I do know is that the BS, I mean BJS, missive or missile under discussion was about as skilled and effective as the North Korean kinds have been so far.

                  Sincerely,
                  Fr. George”

                  2x now you have named called – calling me BS as in bullsh!t. So you wanna verbally punch below the belt – and yet talk about love?
                  It’s okay for you, because, what? You’re a clergyman and I am a mere layman?

                  I can tell when a clergyman has very little respect for the laity and even treat them with contempt. I’ve been around and I’ve been behind the scenes.

                  If you want to step into the verbal octagon, rank does not matter

                  That’s why I do not share my name and whatever credentials I may or may not have. None of that matters.

                  Only the strength of the argument matters.

                  You may feel it easy to enter this room, address everyone, and dress down whoever you like – and verbally bully how you please. Like a few of these other unsavory clergyman characters.

                  After all, I don’t specifically attempt to be rude to someone merely because they are clergy. Many clergy who post here actually do have my respect.

                  But I don’t respect persons or their arguments merely because they are clergy

                  Do your worst. It doesn’t phase me a bit.

                  I find it easy to kick sand in the face of your weak arguments. I will be happy to continue to do so since you seem to keep volunteering for it.

                  Verbal bullying from clergymen should not be tolerated a bit but it almost always is

                  If Met Gerasimos wants respect, then he should be respectful and cease from verbal bullying confrontations such as the HCHC incident – because that was flat out an abuse of power and verbal bullying on his part

                  This whole BS shenanigans is your backhanded verbal bullying

                  If you want to be insulting, be insulting. But don’t call it love. Man up!

                  If you want respect, show some

                  That’s why I write the way I do

                  People need to understand they can stand up and speak out

                  No member of the laity should feel like they just have to lie down and take a verbal beating

                  No member of the clergy should feel like they got to keep quiet and just roll over on important- especially critical – issues

                  Just because there are some heirarchs with their particular yes men who feel differently and above the rest

                • Billy Jack Sunday says

                  BTW Father George Washburn

                  I don’t advocate for anyone to emulate my style of writing

                  However, I don’t advocate anyone adopt yours either

                  • Fr. George Washburn says

                    It’s morning fog mixed with forest fire particulates in Santa Cruz so far!

                    BS seeks to reframe this as a question of differing writing styles. If that were the issue, of course both of us could improve.

                    For me the question is about the inner man hiding behind the moniker, someone who seems determined to co-opt discussion of a crucial topic (with Alex Jones-like, serial biliousness). The open letter arguably dealt with important ideas, but since then there has been **no content whatsoever** added by his posts.

                    What possible explanation could there be for the personalized comment to Nikos “It’s comments/posts like these that make life worth living” other than an ego hell-bent to inflate itself on a non-issue at the expense of the discussion here, not just the target of the remark? I found “pimp,hand” similarly empty yet revealing….once I looked up what it meant!

                    The “friendly razzing” excuse suggests that the wool he has pulled over eyes blocks his own vision. Certainly not ours.

                    Please pardon me for spending some time on this, but I actually think he is capable of learning from a rebuke and learning to elevate our discourse ….instead of constantly personalizing and cheapening it.

                    Tough love,

                    Fr. George

                    • Billy Jack Sunday says

                      Fr. George Washburn

                      “BS seeks to reframe this as a question of differing writing styles. If that were the issue, of course both of us could improve . . .

                      Tough love,

                      Fr. George”

                      You misunderstand a bit and not all your fault

                      The post of mine that you are referring to wasnt my complete thought – it was attached to a much longer post- but due to editing limitations and bad post timing on my part – the post that it was attached to has just now appeared

                      Please review it and feel free to fire back yet another scathing yet totally unimpressive left handed noodle arm soft ball girl toss response

                      When you click, “Post Comment,” be sure to say, “Oooooo, BS, you make me stho mayed!!”

                      Because I don’t buy into this “tough love” nonsense

                      I do, however, really love reading all your booing of my letter and comments.

                      I wish I could download your booing and add it as my ring tone

                • Bishop Anaxios says

                  Fr. George Washburn

                  Greetings from Batman!

                  Batman, Turkey

                  Or “Asia Minor” for all you romantic souls out there

                  I do believe I may be the sole Christian here

                  Good!

                  And I ain’t gonna do any of that underground catacomb church crap

                  Fish signs are for Pisces, am I right??

                  Anyhoodles

                  I’ve noticed you’ve been giving that bat rastard Billy Jack Sunday some gas – with no related mention to the actual topic of the letter/article

                  Excellent!

                  You shouldn’t comment to the topic. It’s all BS – as you even call him now. Word

                  After all, I’m totally supportive of the strong LGBTQ movement in our church

                  In fact, I’m trying to push for all men to become transgender

                  St. Paul said a woman should be silent in church, right?

                  Well, I figure if we make all the men up as women – and the women are already women – then I don’t gotta listen to anybody

                  Not that we’re listening too much anyway, what what??

                  • Fr. George Washburn says

                    Good morning friends:

                    BJS argues that I was mean to him first. I think if we compare the date and time notations of the BS and Fr. George messages of a few days ago we will see that his use of the term “pimp hand” preceded my dropping of his middle initial.

                    In one of his recent messages he excuses himself with the statement “only the strength of the argument matters.” Sad experience, in fact the entire, cumulative tale of human history, especially the history of multiplying Protestant denominations over the last several centuries, tells us that the ***weakness*** of both the ***arguers*** and the ***readers/listeners*** matters hugely too.

                    My original point was that the way he phrased the ‘open letter’ was a losing way to argue for the traditional,teaching of the Church. All the antagonistic and self-justifying thrashing around since then only confirms it.

                    Fr. G

                    • Billy Jack Sunday says

                      Father George Washburn

                      “BJS argues that I was mean to him first. I think if we compare the date and time notations of the BS and Fr. George messages of a few days ago we will see that his use of the term “pimp hand” preceded my dropping of his middle initial”

                      Hahahahahahaha

                      Again, I don’t care if or how “mean” you get

                      Say what you want

                      It’s just plain funny

    • I wasn’t aware that he would be installed as the Patriarch of the American Church. How did he amass such awesome power?

    • Beryl Wells Hamilton says

      Father George, it’s a good thing George and his friends are not taken seriously, though I don’t see why anybody would want to. Thanks for taking the time to post, your words are always appreciated.

  11. Edward Pehanich says

    This letter is an example of how not to address an important issue to one of our esteemed hierarchs.
    1. Always sign your real name. Whenever I as a parish priest in the past received unsigned letters, they went directly into the trash.
    2. Greet your Bishop properly in your letter by first asking for his blessing.
    3. Skip the sarcasm and put downs; they do nothing to advance your concerns and only serve to alienate the person you are addressing.

    Having said that, I am increasingly concerned that many in our Orthodox Church are slowly being brainwashed by the dominant culture on LGBT issues. No one is being helped by priests and bishops affirming people in this lifestyle, despite claims that we need to be “pastoral” and “sensitive”. In my experiences over the years helping people with same sex attraction, those who are self aware and can be honest with themselves know they were not “born this way” but also did not choose their attractions. They have told me about their pain and history of enduring sexual abuse or feeling unaccepted by same sex peers, or feeling alienated and “less than”, poor relationships with their same sex parent, etc. Seeking someone of the same sex is an unconscious means of trying to heal their inner wound but it never works. Healing is to be found in Christ. I wish more people with same sex attractions would be brave enough to tell their stories. Many want healing and help, not affirmation but their voices are not being heard

    • Michael Bauman says

      If the letter was actually one designed to be sent personally Fr. then you would be correct. However it was not a personal letter but a sarcastic broadside against what appears to be a major collapse of even titular support for anthropological revelation the Church has been given.

      Unfortunately the sarcastic approach on something so major does not work. Sarcasm rarely works. It is a destructive tool and must be finely aimed and crafted to have any real impact without causing collateral damage.

      A direct approach with the author’s real name is much more appropriate.

      Your Eminece, did this occur as reported? If it did you did not act as an Orthodox Bishop should have. If the reports are correct you enabled attacks against the revealed truth the Church and you in particular are to protect, defend and propagate. If you acted as reported you drastically failed in the primary responsibility of your office. If that is the case, since the failure was public, you should make a public repentance and resign your office because it is clear that you have neither the character nor the faith to be a bishop.

      • Bishop Anaxios says

        Michael Bauman

        I like the draft of your letter. You should submit it!

        Billy Jack’s mysterious identity and rude letter will be rudely ignored

        Your polite letter under your real name will also be rudely ignored

        However, it is my personal rule and sincere conviction to always provide my true name and identity at all times to all people

        Except rent boys

    • Fr Edward,

      It is so refreshing to hear an Orthodox priest express that he “gets it” with respect to the causes of and healing of our SSA. “Born that way” theory is widely accepted in American culture as gospel truth, though it has never been proven and even the APA admits there’s no conclusive evidence that SSA people are born that way. Our SSA is also not a frivolous choice, like choosing what color shirt to wear.

      Most of us who sincerely struggle with SSA have some kind of deep rooted gender identity problem, where we never fully identified with our parent of the same sex. Many men who struggle with SSA were sexually abused by their dads or uncles or older brothers, or were physically or emotionally abused, or all of above. The often subconscious SSA is a means to try to fix this gender identity problem – to try to become more male thorough sexual attachment to other men. Like you say, this method doesn’t work.

      For me, in addition to daily struggle to grow and find life in Christ, the most helpful book has been “Shame and Attachment Loss” by Dr Joseph Nicolosi. This book describes to a tee the deep rooted emotional problems of my own SSA and of many others. Cultural pundits on CNN know nothing, nor do they give a hoot about me or my well being. Mass culture is not interested in the truth on our SSA issues.

      As far as why some of our voices are not being heard more, it would be helpful if we felt that the church is a safe place to tell our story. Sometimes it is, in small groups or anonymously in posts like this, but much of the time the church doesn’t act like it wants to hear us. Take Father’s Day, when church sermons are full of platitudes of how we need to be good to our biological fathers. What about those of us who were sexually, emotionally, and/or physically abused by our biological fathers who, by the way, were also communicants of the Orthodox faith? Many of them were cultural Orthodox who seemed to care little about growing in Christ. Many were alcoholics or narcissists, or both, who abused their own families frequently.

      If the Church were to acknowledge that sometimes our own parents don’t love us, or don’t know how to love us, or just don’t have a clue how to parent and don’t care to learn, and if it acknowledged the problems that come from these dysfunctional family environments, then maybe you’d hear our stories more.

      But as long as the assumption is that every Orthodox kid’s parents must be great, and the SSA problem is thus with the kid (thereby compounding the overwhelming shame that most SSA sufferers struggle with daily), then we’ll probably continue to not say much.

      The church has to address this issue directly in modern culture. Otherwise, the false born-that-way theory will become accepted as truth in more church circles the way it seems it’s been accepted already by some clergy and hierarchs.

      I agree with the concept of Billy Jack’s letter to the Metropolitan. Though I agree, that with it being anonymous, the Metropolitan will probably throw it in the shredder.

      The church needs to acknowledge the deep emotional pain and shame that’s at the root of SSA. Acknowledge that some parents don’t love their kids, that some are very dysfunctional, that yes sexual abuse of kids happens even in our parish families.

      We know that the liberal contingent’s compulsion to tell us we’re fine the way we are is a lie. We want to be the men whom God designed us to be. But we help getting there.

      • M. Stankovich says

        It is simple enough to demonstrate for you than men, all men, by nature, were created to share the experience the fundamental need for love, acceptance, warmth, understanding, appreciation, camaraderie, and fraternity that can only come from other men. Certainly it’s origin is “paternal,” but we are so far removed from the essential character of true male fraternal love, that we are shocked to read of the love between David and Jonathan, which the Scripture describes as “the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul,” (1Sam. 18:1); and when Jonathan was killed in battle, David rushed to his body, tore his garments and shouted out, “I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant have you been to me: your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.” (2Sam. 1:26). Personally, I was raised in a Slavic family where men always greeted one another with hugs and kisses – the older men even kissed each other on the mouth. My childhood photos are filled with photos of my father hugging me and my brother, holding us, kissing us. I have to wonder in our time what the chances are someone might not report such behaviour to Child protective Services – “There is some sort of gathering, and the older men are actually kissing each other on the mouth!” – or at what age male children become so uncomfortable or embarrassed, they demand such affection cease to “spare” them. Your appreciation for this dynamic is astonishingly shallow, and on this you would continue to hang the dynamic of homosexuality?

        We’ve been through this before, you and I. If you can demonstrate for me that “the deep emotional pain and shame that’s at the root of SSA” is not the consequence of homosexuality – i.e. the guilt and the ensuing shame that is the acknowledgement that “I am experiencing these feelings and attractions, and despite my every effort to suppress them, they are not going away” – rather than the causing homosexuality, then I believe we have a debate. But there simply is no evidence to support this this ludicrous neo-Freudian foolishness. And you continue to perpetuate a dynamic – and a “solution” – that apparently applied subjectively to you. I cannot emphasize to you and others the profound danger of generalizing your anecdotal experience onto others as if to say, “It was true for me, it should be true for you; what worked for me should work for you.” What would you tell parents who are loving, responsible, nurturing, supportive, and selfless, yet they have a child (children) who are are SSA? God have mercy on his soul, but James Nicolosi concluded that they must “unconsciously” create & support the “milieu” that results in SSA. What could be more despicable? The angels in heaven weep at this divisive destruction of the essence and vitality of the family. I asked you previously, and I repeat myself: show me demonstrable, reliable, replicable research from legitimate sources and I will openly and respectfully change my opinion for no other reason than I am committed to the truth of the Church as the healing font of the Right Hand of the only true Physician. Until then, my opinion is that you bring a neo-Freudian house of cards abandoned by everyone in the field of psychiatry except creeps and charlatans.

        • Hi Dr. S,

          Yes you and I certainly don’t see eye to eye on this one.

          There is no way for me to “prove” to you that “the deep emotional pain and shame that’s at the root of SSA” is the cause of strong, compulsive same-sex attraction feelings. I know of no randomized controlled trials. Sadly, most western psychological professionals do not seem to be interested in this kind of research.

          What I do know stems from my own experiences and from those of men whom I know and have spoken with. If, generally, a child with a certain temperamental sensitivity is traumatized in a certain manner (sexually, physically, emotionally, or all of the above), strong SSA feelings can result once puberty hits, as a (faulty/misdirected) means to get that male nurturing that were never met as a child — to get those classic “3 A’s” (affirmation, attention, and affection) that all children need.

          I don’t know why some children are affected by this while others are not, for the same reason that I don’t know why some pack-a-day smokers get lung cancer and other pack-a-day smokers do not.

          I enjoy reading your thoughts. It is unfortunate that my life experience and my reality — along with the experiences and realities of men I know for whom shame theory in the development of SSA resonates deeply and speaks truth — do not fit into the model of how you seem to think things should work. Sorry.

          Going deep into my own shame and feeling the pain that I needed to feel in order to heal has enabled me to “grow out of” homosexual feelings. I know the triggers that can get me back there — feeling like I did when I was 6 or 7 years old, that I am less than, that I am worthless with no value, that my role in life is to attend to others’ feelings (back in the day it was my parents’ feelings I had to attend to; they were completely unable to deal with their own emotions). To a kid living in such trauma, “honoring his father and mother” can mean to that child that he needs to let them beat or molest him. It takes a lot of therapy to be able to feel and deal with those feelings, and to grasp how some parents are simply unable to love their kids. If I get back into that way of thinking, the SSA feelings can bubble up again. This is a Cross that God has given me; I (and many others) have found healing and therapies to help us bear that Cross. Not sure why that is so terrible to you?

          I am eternally thankful for the healing that shame and attachment therapy has offered me — a rescue from a life in the pits, and an alternative to the “you were born that way, so just accept it” garbage that modern culture stuffs down our throats. I have grown more and more into the man whom God designed me to be.

          So, I will take this “neo-Freudian house of cards” (as you interestingly put it!) as the best theory and therapy I have seen to date. The only way to approach God is through the Cross, and this theory/therapy helps me to do that. In my opinion, mainstream psychiatry/psychology will never honor shame theory/therapy in the development of SSA because it flies in the face of their widely accepted (but certainly false) “born-that-way” theory and the goal of complete homosexual normalization.

          Take care my friend. I do enjoy your thoughts. But on this one, let’s just agree to disagree.

      • Linda Albert says

        “Take Father’s Day, when church sermons are full of platitudes of how we need to be good to our biological fathers. What about those of us who were sexually, emotionally, and/or physically abused by our biological fathers ”
        I have the same problem with Mother’s Day.

        • Alitheia1875 says

          Yes. But priests shouldn’t be preaching about “Father’s Day” and “Mother’s Day” unless the sermon is somehow related to the Gospel reading of the day.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          What about those of us who weren’t? Shall we not here praise of mothers and fathers?

  12. M. Stankovich says

    Fr. Edward & Fr. Patrick,

    εὐλόγειte ὁ κύριος!

    You both know my respect for you personally, and likewise, you both know my “defense” of the Ordained Ministry as at the Right Hand of our God, and I may feel free in speaking frankly.

    It seems to me surrealistic that, for an individual such as myself, trained in psychiatry and social work, who has invested a tremendous amount of time and effort as a clinician and researcher chasing the “why’s” of same-sex-attraction, to reasonably conclude that the “why’s” are wildly speculative, easily refuted, and for all intents and purposes, insignificant. In a nutshell, we have attempted to correlate the etiology of homosexuality/SSA with child sexual abuse; sexual and any/every other form of child/adolescent trauma (e.g. PTSD, separation disorders, abandonment, attachment disorder, ritualized abuse/torture, slavery, “trafficking,” etc.); “exposure” and/or “modeling” of homosexual behaviour in primary care providers (i.e. birth parents, birth siblings, step-parents, parents-by-adoption, blah, blah, blah); paucity of same-gender “models” during critical stages of gender role formation, i.e. how one “learns” to think and act pursuant to one’s birth gender; or conversely, the display or preference for non-gender conforming appearance and/or affect. I could go on and with a meta-tagged, excruciatingly long list of similar research articles listed in the National Library of Medicine that could make you insane. But what they most certainly will not do is make you, consciously or unconsciously, same-sex-attracted.

    In the US, we have been bombarded by neo-Freudian creeps and charlatans who, for example, like the psychoanalyst Charles Socarides in his book, Homosexuality: A Freedom Too Far, swore that homosexual “fears are fears of women… a deep fear of women, fears of engulfment by his mother’s body… So many of my patients had over-controlling, suffocating mothers.” And the solution? “Given a good father-son relationship, no boy develops a homosexual pattern. If the father is around and asserts himself, that will inhibit the influence of an over-controlling mom.” Who knew? But wait! A biologist much more influential than Dr. Socarides wrote a paper suggesting that a mother with “fluid, invasive boundaries” in relation to a male child was much more likely to result in psychotic attempts to manage the Oedipal dissonance (yuck) – schizophrenia in, homosexuality out, only to be replaced by the greatest charlatans to date: James Nicolosi and the creeps from NARTH. The theory? It’s your dad, lad: everything the male child needs by way of appropriate male parent attachment (see John Bowleby), love, warmth, affection, and gender modeling is absent, and the 3 Stooges are off “To the Hunt!” WAT? Every Sunday night, I faithfully watched the CBS hit Lassie thinking it was all about the dog! Lassie, come home! I cried for hours on my grandmother’s lap, not realizing that Lassie would indeed come home, but not until Part 2, next week, in that whole anxiety resolution dynamic. Awesome.

    What is my point? If there were demonstrably true, correlative evidence that any of these external life events were causative for homosexuality – and I want to be absolutely clear that these events are otherwise nearly always emotionally & psychologically harmful – we would be inundated and/or overrun with homosexuals. And we are not. The epidemiological evidence in the US suggests, as best we can tell for any stigmatizing condition, protracted stability for as long as such things have been measured.

    In my opinion, there is absolutely nothing to be gained from this dog-chasing-its-own-tail search for “why’s.” Move on already, and Fr. Ed has set the focus: “Healing is to be found in Christ.” Rather than hear from people with SSA, I would like to hear from priests who are fearless in accepting individuals into their ministry by offering the narrow path to which we are all called, without exception. It seems to me the antidote to those simply looking for a place to “go to communion.”

    Finally, places like this have become the virtual wasteland of disrespect for the Ordained Ministry, partially because this is home of conjecture, anonymity emboldens cowards, and because of your absence and abandoning the moral voice of authority. Your words have, and should have meaning.

  13. M. Stankovich says

    And thus is a proof of concept, seen by me as a child on a fishing trip with my father: a big plastic fish, wide-eyed, with a hook in its mouth, was attached to a wooden plaque with the caption, “Even a fish would stay out of trouble if he kept his mouth shut!” I swore I would not enter into one of those “O yeah? Yeah!” dialogs with Monk Iakovos, master of the Greek language – and while it was only one post beyond a “comment,” in dust and ashes I repent. For the record, his “adduced” translation that rescued the Church from a thousand years of error, was not his translation at all. The translation of the “Lord’s Prayer” from the Gospel of St. Matthew agreed upon by the once and only (to my knowledge) Liturgical Translation course at SVS in 1977 was, “Deliver us from hard testing, and keep us safe from the Evil One.” wow. He doesn’t even get credit for the save. And so it goes…

  14. Greatly Saddened says

    Unfortunately, after reading an article in today’s Ethnikos Kyrix, there seems to be trouble at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Ionian Village in Greece.

    Isn’t there anything the Archdiocese can do that is right? It’s one disaster after another. It seems it excels in being a consistent failure in everything it is involved with.

    Once again, if it wasn’t for the Ethnikos Kyrix and The National Herald, we would never know what is truly happening at the big black abyss. Keep up the good work gentlemen. You’re doing a fine job of losing the faithful!

    Your salaries should be commensurate with your bottom line and rate of success. At this rate, it looks pretty bleak, to say the least. If you were CEO’s in a public company, you would probably all be fired by now!

  15. Greatly Saddened says

    Please forgive me, but after reading the interviews with Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta and Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit. I find it rather interesting that it seems the Holy Eparcial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America was unaware of the financial mess at the Archdiocese.

    In addition, I also find it rather strange that neither of them, and perhaps the entire group of these Metropolitans didn’t seem to ask any questions in regard to the finances of the Archdiocese. I guess they are strictly concerned with theological matters only. But then again, they seem to have no problem spending the faithful stewards’ money that is sent to the Archdiocese. It is simply amazing that it seems no one knows or can recall anything. I guess all that has transpired will remain a mystery. How convenient. And as the saying goes … “ignorance is bliss!”

    With the position of Hierarch comes
    responsibility. One cannot, nor should shrug off responsibility when it seems convenient to do so. All are to blame. That includes the Archbishop, the Metropolitans and the Archdiocesan Council! No pun intended … “Stop passing the buck when it comes to responsibility!

  16. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the Orthodox Christianity website.

    CONSTANTINOPLE DELEGATION SNUBS UKRAINIAN CHURCH’S CELEBRATIONS, INSTEAD MEETS WITH POROSHENKO, SAYS AUTOCEPHALY IS THE GOAL
    Kiev, July 31, 2018

    http://orthochristian.com/114811.html

  17. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today in The National Herald. Unfortunately, the article is locked and doesn’t appear in its entirety. I will continue to be on the lookout for the article in its entirely, and if found, I will post.

    Dennis Mehiel Resigns from St. Nicholas Investigative Committee
    By Theodore Kalmoukos – August 1, 2018

    https://www.thenationalherald.com/209464/dennis-mehiel-resigns-from-st-nicholas-investigative-committee/

  18. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today in The National Herald. Unfortunately, the article is locked and doesn’t appear in its entirety. I will continue to be on the lookout for the article in its entirely, and if found, I will post.

    Patriarchate Readies for a Series of Decisions
    By Theodore Kalmoukos – August 1, 2018

    https://www.thenationalherald.com/209459/patriarchate-readies-for-a-series-of-decisions/

    • Greatly Saddened says

      Below please find a comment from the above referenced article in The National Herald.

      ************
      Spiro says:
      August 7, 2018 at 10:48 pm

      This article needs to be retitled, “Turkish Ministry of Civil and Religious Affairs Readies To Give Bartholomew New Orders”. Then it would be correctly titled.

  19. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the Orthodoxie website.

    The delegation of the Patriarchate of Constantinople present in Kiev did not participate in the ceremonies of the 1,030th anniversary of the baptism of Rus’
    By Emma Cazabonne
    31 July 2018

    https://orthodoxie.com/en/the-delegation-of-the-patriarchate-of-constantinople-present-in-kiev-did-not-participate-in-the-ceremonies-of-the-1030th-anniversary-of-the-baptism-of-rus/

    • George Michalopulos says

      Of course not. Behaving in a niggardly fashion is in the phanariote DNA. The pope of Alexandria however, did participate in the ceremonies.

      That’s Kremlinese for: “here’s who is next in line according to the diptychs”. (Oh,coincidentally he’s a Greek.)

  20. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find another article from today in The National Herald. Unfortunately, this article is also locked and doesn’t appear in its entirety. I will continue to be on the lookout for the article in its entirely, and if found, I will post.

    Analysis: We Achieved Nothing
    By Theodore Kalmoukos – August 1, 2018

    https://www.thenationalherald.com/209457/analysis-we-achieved-nothing/

  21. Greatly Saddened says

    In another article today in the Ethnikos Kyrix, it states that there are employees of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Ionian Village in Greece, who have not been paid for their services. It also states the Director, Father Evagoras, has not responded to e-mails from the Ethnikos Kyrix. Unfortunately, the article is locked.

    This once gem and glorious religious institution is in shambles, with little, if any hope in sight. This so called institution is a total disgrace and a total failure to foremost, the good Lord above, and to the faithful stewards who have been supporting it. Shame on you all. You are one total embarass-ment. You do not deserve any respect, nor support.

    • Alitheia1875 says

      From the article……the Archdiocese owes at least 150,000 euros to contractors who repaired the Ionian Village after the tornado of September 2016. Additionally, L100 gave $250,000, a family in NY gave $50,000, a parish in Texas gave $30,000 and the National Philoptochos gave $20,000 for the repairs. That’s 350 thousand. One needs to ask, in light of recent developments, did all that money actually go to Greece to do the repairs?

  22. I don’t know why, but when I read many of M. Stankovich’s self-important, condescending and sanctimonious posts I am reminded of one of the Ghost characters from the Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis.

    • M. Stankovich says

      Centurion,

      I could venture a guess that it is related to the fact that the last time you made a sarcastic remark about me, you were also silly enough to include a google-scholars “refutation” to demonstrate exactly what a moron I really am. When I handed you your hat as to how patently ridiculous and out of your league you were, you have not been heard from in months. I may well be self-important, condescending and sanctimonious as you report, but exactly how many people on this site have promised to reverse their opinion and openly be corrected? No one but me. No one corrects themselves; no one admits error or mistake; no one apologizes for anything here. I spend my days surrounded by punk-assed punks and real gangstas who are committed to disturbing my serenity from dawn until dark. You are no challenge.

      • Centurion says

        M. Stankovich,

        Thanks for confirming that my assessment of your super-inflated ego was accurate, in spades!

        PS – No, it wasn’t me who included “a google-scholars “refutation” to demonstrate exactly what a moron” you truly are. I stopped taking you seriously or trying to engage you on a meaningful level a long time ago. It must have been some other poor soul who incurred your megalomaniacal wrath.

        • M. Stankovich says

          Centurion,

          Don’t play me. I don’t know where my car keys are most days of the week, but I remember when an arrogant, overblown google-scholar deserves my wrath. HERE is your insult and google-scholarship, and HERE is my response. Now, will you be offering an apology today, or upon your return again in 3-months?

        • Centurion, your evaluation of Mike S. is accurate in my estimation, though I would characterize him as possessing a super, super inflated ego.

          • Constantinos says

            Johnkal,
            I’m not trolling you: I’m just using your post to assert my opinion. Dr. Stankovich doesn’t need me to defend him; he is more than capable of doing that himself. None of us is perfect, but I think you have Dr. Stankovich all wrong.
            I believe he is a good man who loves our Lord Jesus Christ with all his heart. Personally, I find his posts the most intelligent on this forum. Whether I agree of disagree with him, he gives me reason to think and ponder. Okay, I’ll admit it; I’m a fan. What’s not to like? He’s brilliant, witty, erudite,and extremely well educated.
            How can he be arrogant when he openly invites correction when and if he is wrong? Whether you agree or disagree with him is irrelevant; he’s really brings it. His posts are must reading. You know it, and I know it.
            Dr. Stankovich, I pray that you prosper and be in good health. I’m not the slightest least bit surprised about the medication with all the stress you have to confront on a daily basis. I know I couldn’t handle all you go through for one day, and, yet, you do it on every day. I marvel at that.

          • M. Stankovich says

            Seriously, johnkal, after all that tithing, you haven’t banked enough good will to give 3 “supers?” You disappoint me, bro’, and many levels. I certainly strive for a higher level of villainy.

  23. Greatly Saddened says

    In an article from yesterday in the Ethnikos Kyrix, it was reported that Patriarch Kirill of the Moscow Patriarchate, will be meeting with Patriarch Bartholomew in Instanbul on Friday, August 30th. And on Saturday, August 31st, Patriarch Kirill will be meeting with the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

    In addition, it was also reported that the Metropolitans, as well as the Archbishops of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, have been invited to meet with the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. It is estimated that around 120 Metropolitans and Archbishops from America, Dodecanese, Crete, Europe, Asia and the New Lands of Greece will be attending the upcoming meeting which will be held from Sunday, September 1st through Tuesday,
    September 3rd.

    Among the issues to be discussed will be the change of Archbishop for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and the possible granting of autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

  24. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the err news website.

    Metropolitan Yevgeny can’t get residence permit as immigration quota full
    News
    Today at 04.33

    https://news.err.ee/850917/metropolitan-yevgeny-can-t-get-residence-permit-as-immigration-quota-full

  25. Greatly Saddened says

    In this article from Wednesday in The National Herald, the following comment appears.

    Dennis Mehiel Resigns from St. Nicholas Investigative Committee
    By Theodore Kalmoukos – August 1, 2018

    ************
    gdkwilmette says:
    August 2, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    Sadly this development adds another name to the long list of prominent individuals who have been appointed by the leadership of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese as “window-dressing” to investigate problems that the leadership has no intention of really addressing.

    Mr. Psaros was brought in to solve the financial mess at the Archdiocese and he recently resigned from his post. Now, Mr. Mehiel resigns when it becomes apparent that his “investigative committee” did not receive the support he believed was required in order for it to do its job. In the recent past, a distinguished Illimois attorney was appointed to head up a “Monastery Investigation” Committee, and the Archbishop and Metropolitans who voted to create the committee refused to cooperate and its report was suppressed.

    The time seems to be fast approaching when the Archdiocese will run out of prominent people to appoint only to have them resign when they discover that they aren’t really supposed to do an effective job. It also appears that it is fast running out of prominent and wealthy donors willing to bail it out of financial mismanagement and budgets that have apparently been works of fiction.

    Not to worry. It’s August. Everyone’s going to Greece for their vacations.

    • Greatly Saddened says

      Another comment appears below the above mentioned article.

      ************
      Prove Me Wrong says:
      August 3, 2018 at 2:36 pm

      Can a patient with cancer be saved if the doctor is forbidden to IDENTIFY AND/OR REMOVE the cancer? Better yet, how can ANYTHING be accomplished if the doctor is receiving orders from the CANCER ITSELF?… Prove Me Wrong…

      • Greatly Saddened says

        Below please find additional comments from the above referenced article in The National Herald.

        ************
        Anthony says:
        August 3, 2018 at 3:31 pm

        I hope The Herald will have an opportunity to interview Mr. Mehiel to further show the dysfunction of the GOA. If a company ran this way, it would be out of business. It happened before and was pretty successful: Parishes should put their assessments in an escrow account until true transparency is realized. Hitting the pocketbook is the only language that will be understood.

        ************
        Lower Manhattan Cynic says:
        August 6, 2018 at 1:21 am

        Both comments above are essentially correct. But this time, the scammers have run out of time, money, and suckers. I wouldn’t be surprised to see many of them flee to remote parts of Greece, one step ahead of US law. The archdiocese will be sold by court appointed receivers and we can be done with them all, once and for all. They can take their Archons of Nothing, Leaderless 100, FAITHless nonsense with them. Giddy up, boys.

  26. Greatly Saddened says

    In this article from Wednesday in The National Herald, the following comments appear.

    Analysis: We Achieved Nothing
    By Theodore Kalmoukos – August 1, 2018

    ************
    2nd Generation says:
    August 1, 2018 at 11:37 am

    Unfortunately Mr. Kalmoukos hope that the Ecumenical Patriarchate will come to the rescue is totally ignoring the fact that it was the EP’s incompetence since the 1990’s that laid the foundation for the demise of the Archdiocese of North and South America.

    From the ugly removal of the late Archbishop Iakovos (due to long simmering Phanar feuds), to forcing upon us the divisive fiasco of Spyridon, to gutting the Archdiocese by creating the US Metropolises which exploded overhead costs, the EP can be blamed for where we find ourselves today. Expecting them to fix this is like expecting the fox to repair the chicken coop.

    ************
    maria tsih says:
    August 2, 2018 at 7:51 am

    Let’s involve current primary grade Greek Orthodox Sunday School students, maybe they can save our Greek Orthodox Church.

    • Greatly Saddened says

      Below please find an additional comment from the above referenced article.

      ************
      Spiro says:
      August 6, 2018 at 9:27 am

      The EP has to check with Erdogon’s civil service ministry to even leave his compound, what makes you think any leadership or decisions can come from there? The church as we know it is DONE for this century. Best to do your own Liturgy in your Living Room and go underground, even in America.

  27. Greatly Saddened says

    I find it simply amazing that the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America seems to lack any credibility. There seems to be nothing that we can believe it says or does. All it seems to do is deflect and avoid the many serious issues at hand. Which it has caused by its own demise. By its total lack of transparency and total lack of accountability. Rather than being forthright, honest, sincere and humble.

    It is a runaway train which has been on a collision course and has already crashed many numerous times to even mention. How many times can the alarm be sounded before it is too late? What will it finally take to set a solid new course? To clean and drain this once and for all toxic waste of a swamp? The warning signs have been many and still to this present day, there seems to be little, if any. hope in sight. This Archdiocese has failed miserably as a so called “Church” institution. It should be ashamed and embarrassed to even think to associate itself with Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. What, if any, self sacrificing have any of the so called Hierarchs done to help? What help and/or suggestions have they even offered?

    All we seem to hear is they know nothing and finances doesn’t seem to be their thing! What a line of BS! With rank, power and privilege comes responsibility as well!

  28. Greatly Saddened says

    Last month, it was reported the Ecumenical Patriarchate elected for the first time since 1922, a new Metropolitan of Ankara. I seems the Ecumenical Patriarchate is forward thinking and looking ahead, in anticipation of an influx of Greek Orthodox Christians coming from abroad.

    Meanwhile, back here in the good ‘ol USA, the pews seem to keep emptying of the faithful.

    Nothing like having your priorities in the right order. Continue living in a bubble and keep up the good work!

  29. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Orthodox Christianity website.

    PATRIARCH KIRILL REPORTEDLY TO VISIT CONSTANTINOPLE IN LATE AUGUST
    Moscow, August 3, 2018

    http://orthochristian.com/114875.html

  30. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find another article from today on the Orthodox Christianity website.

    KIEV AND POCHAEV LAVRAS WILL VOLUNTARILY JOIN NEW UKRAINIAN CHURCH, FAKE PATRIARCH PHILARET BELIEVES
    Kiev, August 3, 2018

    http://orthochristian.com/114879.html

  31. Greatly Saddened says

    Γεώργιo … Καλώς όρισες σπίτι

  32. You’re so cool! I do not suppose I’ve read anything like that
    before. So good to find another person with genuine thoughts on this issue.

    Really.. many thanks for starting this up. This site is something that is needed
    on the internet, someone with some originality!

  33. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Wednesday on the Byzantine, Texas website.

    Wednesday, August 1, 2018
    UOC-USA to remain under EP if Ukraine made autocephalous

    http://byztex.blogspot.com/2018/08/uoc-usa-to-remain-under-ep-if-ukraine.html?m=1

  34. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Thursday on the Byzantine, Texas website.

    Thursday, August 2, 2018
    Pope of Rome changes mind, so entire Church changes mind

    http://byztex.blogspot.com/2018/08/pope-of-rome-changes-mind-so-entire.html?m=1

  35. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today in The National Herald.

    Contractors in Greece Sued Archdiocese for Work at Ionian Village
    By Theodore Kalmoukos – August 5, 2018

    https://www.thenationalherald.com/209790/contractors-in-greece-sued-archdiocese-for-work-at-ionian-village/

    • Greatly Saddened says

      Below please find comments from the above referenced article in The National Herald.

      ************
      John Treantos says:
      August 5, 2018 at 2:25 pm

      I am surprised insurance was not part of the facilities risk management strategy and these additional dollars had to be secured.

      ************
      repanidi1908 says:
      August 5, 2018 at 3:10 pm

      Was there insurance in place? If so, how much was paid out to the contractors? Of more concern, accountability/transparency would demand that an accounting be made of the $350,000 mentioned in the article. Did all of that money get sent to Greece? Who was responsible for sending the money? Or was this fund another black hole like the St. Nicholas fund. Apparently NO SHAME is not anyone’s name at 8-10 E. 79th St.

      ************
      Disgruntled Parishioner says:
      August 5, 2018 at 7:43 pm

      …and so why does anyone believe that the Archdiocese even paid their insurance premiums in the first instance……

      ************
      Tina Afto says:
      August 7, 2018 at 4:54 pm

      Indeed! I am unsure which situation is present here:
      -The Archdiocese’s administrative ineptitude in not securing adequate insurance for Ionian Village; or
      -The Archdiocese not paying the insurance premium but instead diverting the premium funds to line someone’s pockets in yet another example of corruption; or
      -The Archdiocese actually insuring the Village and making a claim, but the settlement was diverted to someone’s pocket.

  36. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find a news release from today on the Orthodox Church in America website.

    August 5, 2018
    In The News: Georgia, Colorado, PA, New Jersey
    [OCA]

    Atlanta, GA: “Connect Orthodoxy” Young Adult Conference aims to keep Millennials in the Church

    Denver, CO: Protodeacon Peter Danilchick to address Orthodox Young Professionals Conference

    South Canaan, PA: St. Tikhon’s Seminary to hold third annual Alumni Retreat August 30-31

    https://oca.org/news/headline-news/in-the-news-georgia-colorado-pa-new-jersey

  37. Greatly Saddened says

    Please forgive me and I do not mean any disrespect but, I believe the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is a total embarassment and a disgrace to first and foremost, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and to the faithful stewards who have been supporting this so called religious institution. Not to mention to these same hierarchs themselves.

    Their silence continues to speak volumes. It seems they have absolutely no humility, no shame and no conscience. For the good of the Church here in America and all those involved, they should give serious thought to tending their resignations. Not even one of them has been willing to come out and speak the truth! Shame on them all!

    • Greatly Saddened says

      Oops … so sorry, typo … meant … should consider “tendering” their resignations!

  38. M. Stankovich says

    Saturday marks the the 32nd anniversary of the falling asleep in the Lord of Professor Serge S. Verhoskoy professor emeritus of Dogmatic Theology and Ethics, and Provost of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary from 1955 until his retirement in 1981.

    He was born in Sarzha Russia in 1907. He left Russia with his parents and sisters in his early youth following the Bolshevik Revolution. He completed his secondary education in Prague, Czechoslovakia before moving to Paris, France. Greatly influenced by Fr. Georges Florovsky, while studying at St. Sergius Theological Institute between 1932-36, he became known for his passion for Orthodox Tradition, grounded in the Patristic Fathers and the Holy Scripture, and he was an open and vocal critic of the popular “Russian ėmigrė intelligentsia,” to Paris. By the early 1950’s he was recognized as an important theologian and writer, and was invited by Fr. Florovsky to join him in NYC in the forming of SVS.

    Prof. Verhovskoy always seemed to live “beneath the radar,” until it was necessary for someone to step forward to speak the Truth, which he always did without hesitation – an issue for which he continually chided students. And when Fr. Alexander Schmemann expressly and adamantly responded to the “Sorrowful Epistle of Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky), “I trust people like… Prof. SS Verhovskoy,” he might well have duly cited him in his description of the role of the theologian:

    The theologian has no rights, no power to govern and to administer that which belongs exclusively to the hierarchy. But it is his sacred duty to supply the hierarchy and, indeed, the whole Church with the pure teaching of the Church and to stand by that truth even when it is not considered “opportune.” It must be admitted that much too often our official “academic” theology has failed to accept this “obedience” and preferred quiet complacency. It has thus become accomplice to many deviations and distortions from which the whole Orthodox Church suffers today. But again, it was not so with the Fathers. Almost to the one, they suffered from the various “power structures” of their days for their refusal to opt for the compromise or to accept silent obedience to evil. And the fact is that ultimately the Church followed them and not those who, then as today, have a thousand excellent reasons for avoiding the “abstract principles” and preferring the “demands of reality.”

    And like many great men, he was a character. He loved the “Motown Sound” and he borrowed every one of my original blues albums – from Muddy Waters to Howlin’ Wolf – and he loved nothing more than to have a student drop by for tea and discussion, day or evening. At the end of his life I had arranged a very small favor for him, and he called my busy office just to say, “Well, my dear, I don’t know, but you are somehow angel.” Me, Prof? It was like the life affirmation you had always wanted, and the warmest hug you never expected! Memory eternal and may his soul rest with the saints!

  39. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Orthodox Christianity website.

    GREECE RESTRICTING VISITS FROM RUSSIAN PRIESTS
    Athens, August 6, 2018

    http://orthochristian.com/114912.html

    • George Michalopulos says

      Well, if there were any remaining doubts in my mind about the treachery of the Syriza regime, they’ve been erased

  40. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the Orthodox Christianity website.

    ST. THEKLA MONASTERY IN MAALOULA, SYRIA REOPENS AFTER BEING LOOTED BY MILITANTS
    Maaloula, Syria, August 6, 2018

    http://orthochristian.com/114918.html

  41. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find a news release from Friday on the Albanian Orthodox website.

    The 26th Anniversary of the Enthronement of Archbishop Anastasios Celebrated 
    Category: News
    Published: Friday, August 03 2018 06:19

    http://orthodoxalbania.org/alb/index.php/en-us/lajme-3/blog/4800-the-26th-anniversary-of-the-enthronement-of-archbishop-anastasios-celebrated

  42. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Orthodox Christianity website.

    UKRAINIAN CHURCH HOPES PATRIARCHS KIRILL AND BARTHOLOMEW WILL DISCUSS UKRAINE
    Kiev, August 7, 2018

    http://orthochristian.com/114934.html

  43. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find another article from today on the Orthodox Christianity website.

    HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP CREATED TO PROTECT ORTHODOX COMMUNITIES IN EASTERN EUROPE
    Banja Luka, Republika Srpska, August 7, 2018

    http://orthochristian.com/114935.html

  44. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the OCL website.

    Catching Xenophilia: Contagious Hospitality in Orthodox Parishes
    BY WEBMASTER ON AUGUST 7, 2018
    ORTHODOX NEWS, 
    ORTHODOX NEWS TOP STORIES
    Turbo Qualls
    Source: Road to Emmaus Journal

    https://ocl.org/catching-xenophilia-contagious-hospitality-in-orthodox-parishes/

  45. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Cyprus Mail Online website.

    Archbishop suggests abolishing five religious dates marked as school holidays (Update 1)
    AUGUST 7TH, 2018  
    ANNETTE CHRYSOSTOMOU 
    CYPRUS, EDUCATION, FEATURED, FRONT PAGE

    https://cyprus-mail.com/2018/08/07/in-swipe-at-teachers-archbishop-suggests-abolishing-five-religious-dates-marked-as-school-holidays/

    • Interesting window into politics in a country with a stronger Orthodox presence. Some thoughts:

      1) Not Holy Ascension.

      2) Is this a case of cutting of one’s nose to spite one’s face? “The society has gotten too secular, so let’s reduce the religious component of ordinary schooling” does not strike me as particularly good reasoning.

  46. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find a “Letter to the Editor” from today in The National Herald, by Mr. Christos Chrisomallis of Minneapolis, MN.

    Letter to the Editor: On Dennis Mehiel’s Resignation
    August 8, 2018

    https://www.thenationalherald.com/209959/letter-to-the-editor-on-dennis-mehiels-resignation/

  47. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Monday on the Union of Orthodox Journalists website.

    UOC Spokesman says what he expects from meeting of Kirill and Bartholomew
    6 August 2018, 18:29  Editorial board UOJ

    http://spzh.news/en/news/55258-spiker-upc-soobshhil-chego-ozhidajet-ot-vstrechi-patriarkhov-kirilla-i-varfolomeja

  48. Greatly Saddened says

    The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America seems to be in a very special category and seems to share similar qualities with the Greek govermnent. They both seem to be systematically corrupt and incompetent! By no means is that something to be proud of. But then again, unfortunately, neither seem to have any pride, shame or brains. The bar just keeps on going lower and lower by the day. As the saying goes … “Birds of a feather flock together!” One thing is for sure, you both are a complete and total disgrace. Bravo for a job well done. Sinxaritiria!

  49. Fr. George Washburn says

    Hi George:

    GS comes up with some good referrals to interesting materials to be found elsewhere on line. Some not so valuable to me, but that’s OK.

    Valuable in my eyes or not, however, I find them distracting most of the time unless they are pretty focused on the topic of discussion. It is so hard to have a helpful discussion where, in addition to all the normal rhetorical pitfalls, logical fallacies, egotists, and hijackers with hobby-horse agendas, we add the sheer distraction of interestin* potpourri from around the Orthodox world.

    Maybe you could have a feature called “August Miscellany” or some such that gives us the chance to read valuable things off topic without mixing up the discussion threads more than they already are.

  50. M. Stankovich says

    Saturday, August 11, marks the 39th anniversary of the falling asleep in the Lord of Archpriest Georges V. Florovsky, arguably the most gifted and insightful Orthodox church historian, patristic scholar, Byzantine & Slavic history scholar, philosopher, and influential theologian and father of our generation and of the 20th century.

    Born in Odessa, Russa in 1893 to an Orthodox priest father and a mother who was a teacher, he was educated at the University of Odessa and said to have had an “encyclopedic mind and memory,” but the ability to “analyze with insight.” He fled Russia with his family to Prague where he completed his advanced education and taught philosophy until he was invited to hold the chair of Patristics at St. Sergius’ Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris in 1926. In 1948, he became the first Dean of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in New York and simultaneously taught at Union Theological School (which originally housed SVS) and Columbia University. In 1956 he accepted the chair of Eastern Church History at Harvard University, and simultaneously taught at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Theological School in Brookline, Massachusetts until 1964. From 1964 until his repose on August 11,1979, Fr. Georges was Visiting Professor at Princeton University. I have been told by friends who live in Princeton – and perhaps with a certain amount of “apocrypha” – that there are only two people who have literally stopped traffic simply by their appearance: the first was Einstein, and the second was Florovsky.

    While there is no question that Fr. Florovsky dramatically influenced modern church historians and commentators, and that he is nearly single-handedly responsible for what he termed the “new patristic synthesis, that is, one must return to patristic thought for a point of departure,” his influence was accomplished before his major works (e.g. The Eastern Fathers of the Fourth Century, The Byzantine Fathers of the Fifth to the Eighth Centuries, The Ways of Russian Theology), were ever translated into a Western language! Such was his extraordinary blessing as a scholar and theologian.

    Finally, what is frequently forgotten is that, for as much as Fr. Georges Florovsky was a theologian and father of our generation, he was an Orthodox priest very intimately involved in parish life, who loved the Liturgy, who loved to preach, who loved his role as confessor and pastor as his first calling. He is buried, simply, next to his beloved wife, in the parish cemetery of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Church in Trenton, NJ. May his memory be eternal and may he rest with the saints!

    • Alitheia1875 says

      There was a time at Holy Cross when Father Georges would be teaching a class and he would be next to, or very near, a classroom where Father John Romanides was teaching. Glory days, indeed, for Holy Cross. Father Georges left Harvard the same year Father John left Holy Cross, along with the Dean, Archimandrite (later metropolitan) Panteleimon Rodopoulos, and the Sub-Dean, Archimandrite (later bishop) Aristarchos Mavrakis. The three didn’t just leave, they were forced out by the power of a liberal wave taking over the school which had the support of then Archbishop Iakovos.
      Father Georges and Father John were anti-ecumenism (as it came to be practiced by Patriarch Athenagoras and Archbishop Iakovos). It was evident at Holy Cross that the stance of many professors there concerning ecumenism changed radically beginning in 1959 when Archbishop Iakovos became archbishop of the GOAA. Their dislike and jealousy of the two pre-eminent Orthodox scholars was clearly evident. As with Father Georges, Father John exhibited an air of spirituality along with his scholarly expertise. Father John was known be so overcome at times as he read the Gospel in morning services in the Chapel that he would have to stop and compose himself in order to continue. Both of these priest-scholars brought us back to the glory of Orthodox patristics. To this day Father John’s seminal work, Ancestral Sin, is cause for debate among “modern” Orthodox “theologians”. The basis for the book was Father John’s doctoral dissertation at the University of Athens. The paper was full of patristic references. At the oral defense, as Father John himself would later relate, the head of the committee (a prominent professor whose name I cannot remember) asked why there were no German theologians referenced and perhaps he could eliminate a few patristic references to have room for those theologians. Father John’s answer stands as perhaps the greatest, most concise, 20th century defense of Orthodox patristic thought against the onslaught of western innovation. He answered, simply, that perhaps he should take out references to the Gospels as well. The other professors actually laughed (by way of agreeing with Father John’s sarcasm) and the committee head was embarrassed.
      There is a (perhaps) apocryphal story about Father Georges and Holy Cross. It was rumored that when he retired from Harvard in 1964 (remember, the same year that Father John was ousted from Holy Cross) he asked to stay on at Holy Cross and since he and Matuska had pensions he wouldn’t need a salary and instead asked only for room and board, to live in the house at the bottom of the hill on campus on Prince Street. Needless to say, there was no way that would happen, and it didn’t. Instead they went to Princeton for 15 years and the rest, as they say, is history.

  51. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Wednesday on the OCL website.

    If Demetrios goes, the Patriarch should go too!
    BY WEBMASTER ON AUGUST 8, 2018
    GOVERNANCE & UNITY ESSAYS, 
    Source: Neo Magazine
    By Demetrios Rhompotis

    https://ocl.org/if-demetrios-goes-the-patriarch-should-go-too/

  52. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today in The National Herald. Unfortunately, the article is locked and doesn’t appear in its entirety. I will continue to be on the lookout for the article in its entirely, and if found, I will post

    The Parish Priest
    By Harry Mark Petrakis – August 11, 2018

    https://www.thenationalherald.com/210273/the-parish-priest/

    • George Michalopulos says

      GS, if you can find this essay in its entirety, please forward it to me. Thanks in advance.

      • Greatly Saddened says

        GM, will do. You can be sure of that.

      • GOA Priest says

        FROM THE NATIONAL HERALD:

        Harry Mark Petrakis, wife Diana, and sons Mark, John, and Dean. Photo courtesy of Harry Mark Petrakis
        The events about my priest-father related in this story took place almost a hundred years ago. The Greek Orthodox Church in the United States has undergone radical changes since then. Unlike the austere conditions priests faced during my father’s tenure, Orthodox priests today are often provided cost-free housing, an automobile, medical/hospital insurance, and upon retiring, a generous pension.
        My father’s experience was starkly different. In a time when priests were much on their own, his story may prove useful as a morality tale on the ways that pettiness and intolerance can become entrenched within a parish.
        As recently as a decade ago, while I traveled to lecture at Greek churches across the United States, I found a distressing number of parishes entangled in conflict. Most often the battle was between the parish priest and members of the Church Board of Trustees. The trustees felt their priest should be more active in raffle sales and other fundraising for church causes. Some priests refused, saying fundraising shouldn’t be the priest’s responsibility, but should be done by lay-people.
        There was also disagreement on matters of church policy, as feelings became so inflamed that efforts were initiated to bar the priest from his own pulpit. If he fought against his dismissal, he could risk being locked out of the church.
        Those grievances and complaints might begin with something as petty as the priest refusing a lunch or dinner invitation to a trustee’s home. Resentment spawned outrage and bred enmity.
        These conflicts and confrontations I was told about during my lecture visits, recalled for me my father’s battles with his church Board of Trustees in the last years of his life
        My father was born in the village of Argyroupolis on the island of Crete in 1885. His father and grandfather had both been priests and when my father was seventeen he too began his studies for the priesthood. Before his ordainment, he married my mother, Stella Christoulakis from the village of Nipos. After his ordainment, my father served as priest to a parish in Rethymnon, Crete. In the years that followed, my parents had four children.
        In the United States, a community of young Cretan men, brought to the U.S. to work in the western coal mines, had in 1915, built a church in the town of Price, Utah. They had no priest except for a circuit-riding cleric who came only for an occasional holiday service and for funerals.
        The miners, separated from their families still in Crete, appealed to the Bishop in Crete to assign them a married priest with a family.
        After the assignment had been refused by several priests in his Diocese, the Bishop appealed to my father to accept the relocation.
        Fearing for their children, my parents struggled with making a decision. In 1916, Europe was still at war and America was expected to enter. German U-Boats roaming the Atlantic, attacked Allied ships without regard as to whether they were freighters or passenger vessels.
        My parents finally consented to make the journey. Years later my mother told me they accepted the assignment because they believed America would provide greater educational opportunities for their children.
        In the autumn of 1916, my family made the voyage traveling second-class, which provided a small, cramped cabin for the six of them.
        The weeks of their journey were an ordeal. Cramped quarters, inadequate sanitation and rough seas caused the children to suffer seasickness.
        When their ship arrived at Ellis Island, my family was met by a representative from the mining community who was to escort them by train from New York west to Salt Lake City. From there, they would travel by automobile to Price, 40 miles from Salt Lake.
        After a three-day train journey, my family arrived in Salt Lake City, unaware that several hundred miners from Price had gathered to greet them.
        In the West at that time, men carried guns. As the train pulled into the terminal, the miners let loose a thunderous volley of gunfire. My mother, thinking they had entered a war zone, became terrified for her children.
        After she was reassured the gunfire was a greeting, my mother and my two sisters dressed in white lace dresses were the first of my family to descend from the train.
        In later years, my mother told us that as she and my sisters walked through the crowd that day, men knelt and prayed in gratefulness. And some were so moved, my mother said, they knelt and kissed the hem of her dress as she passed.
        My family served the community in Price for two years after which then my father was transferred to a parish in Savannah, Georgia. Serving there another two years, he was moved once again to a parish in St. Louis, Missouri where, in 1923, I was born.
        Less than a year later, my father was reassigned still once more to Chicago Illinois, to serve the South Side community of Sts. Constantine and Helen. That church would remain my father’s parish until his death in 1951. The last of my siblings, a sister, Irene, was born in Chicago.
        In the late 1940s, after serving his church in Chicago for more than two decades, my father’s diabetes and heart problems, medical ailments he’d had for years, grew worse. At the same time, his disputes with members of his Board of Trustees became more bitter and intense.
        I do not recall the exact reasons for these conflicts, which had been going on for some time. Perhaps my father bore some responsibility. He was strong-willed and felt he knew what was best for his parish. He incurred the wrath of board members by opposing their decisions on church matters that my father must have felt were wrong.
        Board members, often the wealthiest members of the parish, were accustomed to getting their way without opposition. Seeing my father’s illness as an opportunity to get rid of a troublesome priest, the Board passed a resolution decreeing that because his ill health prevented him performing his parish duties, my father should resign.
        My father might have been willing to retire, but our family was impoverished. Years of providing for a family of eight on a modest salary prevented my father from accruing any savings. Our family of eight survived precariously from paycheck to paycheck.
        At that time, the Greek Orthodox Church had no provision for providing retiring priests a pension. Social Security had not yet been enacted. If he were to acquiesce to the Board’s wishes, my father would leave his church as a pauper.
        In hope of improving his health, my father requested a year’s medical leave of absence. The Board refused, continuing to insist that my father resign.
        After a stern letter from the doctor to the Board warning of the consequences if my father was not provided time to rest and heal, the Board begrudgingly granted my father a year’s leave of absence. His $200 dollar a month salary would continue to be paid for that year. When he returned, the board would assess his medical condition and make a decision as to whether he would be allowed to remain as priest
        In the late 1940s, in autumn of the year, my father left Chicago to settle in San Bernardino, California. He took lodgings in a small motel on the shore of a lake and spent his days fishing. As I remembered when I was a boy and we fished together, my father had no use for rod and reel, preferring instead a bamboo pole and worm-on-the hook. He enjoyed the serenity as much as the fishing.
        His letters home told of the California sun reminding him of the sun above his island of Crete.
        “I feel I am growing stronger, he wrote in one of his letters, the sun here is warm and soothing, burning away my sickness. I think by the time I return home at the end of the summer, I will have recovered and be able to return to my church.”
        In the third month of his sick leave, my father received a certified letter from the Church Board. His enemies had prevailed. My father’s position as parish priest was being terminated for the reason that he could no longer perform his duties. Another priest from Crete had been hired, and was already on his way to take my father’s place. After heated debate within the Board, a hard-fought decision granted my father a year’s salary to be paid at $200 a month. After that year, the church would have no further obligation to him.
        Bitter and feeling betrayed, in the midst of that frigid winter, my father returned from California to fight for his church. He had no savings, no prospect of being able to hold any other job, and no other means of supporting his family. He was fighting for his survival.
        I witnessed my father’s weariness and his anguish during those weeks after his return from California. I’d come home at dawn after working a night shift at the Steel Mills to find my father already awake, sitting at our dining room table, various letters from the Board and from intermediaries spread on the table before him. He’d ask me, “What does this word say?” and “What does this sentence mean?”
        A family friend who was an attorney offered to advise my father on his legal options, on possible ways to prevent the Board from carrying out its threat.
        I remember the night the attorney sat in the dining room with my father, an array of letters and notes on the table before them. My father had never signed a contract obligating the Board to keep him employed.
        “You got nothing to hold them responsible, Father,” the attorney friend said in frustration. “You got nothing but skata!” Skata!”
        My father appealed to the hierarchs in the church, his Bishop and his Archbishop, pleading for their support. Unwilling to defy and alienate the wealthy board members whose financial contributions were important to the church, the response from his superiors was that my father obey the decision of the board.
        My father was disheartened and felt abandoned. Within a few weeks of his return, he caught a harsh cold that developed into pneumonia. He was admitted into the hospital for what would become a confinement lasting three months.
        Woodlawn Hospital on the South Side of Chicago where my father was a patient was only a few blocks from his church. His window faced west, and from there he could see his church bell tower. On one of my visits, no longer strong enough to walk, my father asked me to carry him to the chair by the window.
        In his days of good health, my father weighed 180 pounds and I couldn’t have lifted him. But his body had dwindled to a much lower weight.
        As I carried him from the bed to the chair, he spoke quietly and pensively. “As I once carried you in my arms, now you carry me.” In that moment I had a chilling premonition that my father was going to die.
        During those months of his confinement my mother spent every day in the hospital with my father, screening visitors, making sure they did not stay too long. Among his visitors were remorseful members of the church Board of Trustees coming to my father seeking his forgiveness for their part in the betrayal. Not wishing to carry human grievances into death, my father forgave them and asked them to forgive his transgressions.
        On the day in late May my father died, my mother had spent her usual day in the hospital looking after him. That evening she had arrived home when I returned from work. As we prepared to sit down to dinner, a call came from the hospital. My father was dead.
        My mother and I rode in the cab to the hospital in silence. When we entered my father’s dimly lit room, his figure shrouded in shadows lay still and straight in the bed. A band around his head held his jaw in place.
        My mother went to stand beside my father’s bed. She stood there silent and unmoving for what seemed to me a long time, and then she bent and kissed him gently on his cheek.
        “Now he is at peace,” my mother said.
        One might ask what use is it now to retrieve these old antagonisms between church board and my father? I bring them up because there are still parishes today in which these animosities and conflicts persist.
        I am not suggesting that all priests are blameless. But too often parishioners envision the priest only in his gilded vestments conducting services on Sundays and during the holidays. They overlook the harried daily life of their priest and the burdens under which he works.
        As a boy waiting for my father after church on Sundays, from a shadowed corner of the Sanctuary, through the thin partitions I could overhear the men and women waiting to speak to my father. I still remember some of their confessions.
        A man dying of cancer asking my father to break the news to his family. A parishioner’s sixteen-year-old daughter raped and made pregnant and the girl unwilling to name the father. A woman weeping about her husband beating her and their children, a woman confessing infidelity with her husband’s brother, an old man, his voice trembling, seeking absolution for a murder he’d committed in Greece thirty years earlier and that still tormented him.
        Even as a youth I understood the burden and heartache all these confessions and pleas placed upon my father as he sought to console and lighten their guilt and despair.
        Once I heard my father wearily lamenting to my mother.
        “Those poor souls come to me expecting I will offer the Wisdom of Solomon, “ he said, “God help me, most of the time all I can offer them is the grace of prayer.”
        Meanwhile, parishioners continue to call their priest when a baby is to be baptized, call him when their sons and daughters marry, call him when a beloved Yiayia or Papou is dying, call him to intercede for them as they pray to be forgiven.
        Yet they do not understand that anguish the mass of their confessions impose on the priest’s heart, a wrenching sorrow that only his death will heal.

      • Greatly Saddened says

        Below please find the above article from yesterday in The National Herald, posted today in its entirety.

        The Parish Priest
        By Harry Mark Petrakis – August 12, 2018

        https://www.thenationalherald.com/210273/the-parish-priest/

  53. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Thursday on the ekathimerini website.

    COMMUNITY 09.08.2018
    Islamic educational center planned next to Halki seminary
    NIKO EFSTATHIOU

    http://www.ekathimerini.com/231550/article/ekathimerini/community/islamic-educational-center-planned-next-to-halki-seminary

    • George Michalopulos says

      There ya go: barely a figleaf. I guess this is how Erdogan plans to take his pound of flesh.

      Interestingly, the latest round of sanctions against Turkey has crashed the Lira and pushed Turkey closer into the arms of Russia. I wonder what message HH Kirill will impart to HH Bartholomew in two weeks? I don’t believe in coincidences for the most part, at least not any more.

      Thoughts anyone?

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Interesting point about how sanctions against Turkey have pushed the country closer to Russia, because that is exactly what the U.S., the EU, and the rest of the NATO countries are trying to avoid. Surely there are more games and negotiation tactics to come.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Joseph, it’s possible that Trump is “upping the ante”, making thing intolerable for Erdogan so that he backs down and stops playing footsie with Putin. It could work. Then again, it may not.

          Regardless, Papa Bear is heading off to Istanbul to tell the EP how the cow is going to eat the cabbage.

          Interesting times, I’d say.

  54. Antiochene Son says

    Breaking news from GOARCH:

    Archdiocese developing a shorter form of services to ease burden on the faithful

    The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is developing a shorter form of the hourly services, to replace in particular Sunday Orthros and Saturday Vespers.

    Vespers is rarely served in GOAA parishes, even on Saturday evenings and the eves of Great Feasts. Clergy explain that the service is inconvenient for their people to attend, when there are so many other activities that they could be doing on Saturdays. During this prime “family time,” it is widely considered impractical for church services to be going on.

    Orthros (also known as Matins) is much more widely served on Sunday mornings, although no better attended. While Orthros is already greatly abbreviated from the original 2-3 hour monastic service, it is nevertheless extremely inconvenient to attend.

    Surveys find that most lay people are not even aware that this morning church service exists. While they do frequently report seeing “Orthros” printed on their parish calendars, many understand this Greek word (which means, “rising-up”) to be the Church-mandated time to wake up on Sunday morning. Since it is important to always do what the Church teaches, the most attentive of the faithful always set their alarms according to their parish’s set Orthros time.

    The GOAA hierarchs are experimenting with a new service that will be shorter and more convenient to attend. In consulting experts in liturgics, they seek to fit the full depth of Orthodox theology and worship into a small package, ensuring that nothing is left out, but it can also be served in under five minutes.

    We have obtained a draft copy of this service, which is reproduced below.

    Priest: Blessed is our God, always, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

    Reader: Amen. (And the Trisagion Prayers. Then:)

    Reader: A, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z.
    Glory, both now.
    By this, the whole alphabet, the whole of sacred writ is composed.

    Priest: Let us pray to the Lord.

    Reader: Lord, have mercy.

    Priest: You who have inspired to be composed the whole of Divine Scripture, and the sacred Prayers and Offices of the Church, through these twenty-six letters: do You, the same Lord, accept from us, through these twenty-six letters, the office of (Matins, or the Hours, or Vespers, or Compline), to Your glory, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

    Reader: Amen.

    Priest: Glory to You, O Christ our God and our Hope. Glory to You.

    Reader: Glory, both now. Lord, have mercy (thrice). Father, bless.

    The Priest gives the dismissal.

    The GOAA is also planning to adapt this shorter office for publication in a forthcoming prayer book. This has reportedly been met with resistance, as it is already longer than the prayer rule of many of the faithful, and may pose a spiritual burden. Further pastoral input is being considered before it is put to use.

    According to recent surveys, the second Tuesday of each week is considered the most convenient day for church services, with few work, school, or personal obligations that take precedence over church attendance. The GOAA is considering ways to increase the liturgical significance of this day. They are reportedly planning to make the full forms of Orthros and Vespers mandatory on this day.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      Love it.

      They did leave the prayers before communion out of the new service book. Nobody seems to know whether it was accidentally or on purpose; or the reason in either case. I certainly haven’t been able to find the reason. So now they are printed in the weekly order of service, and read from there rather than from the service book, as of old.

      Most of the changes to me seem quite meaningless, with the only effect being discordance until everybody gets used to different forms of expression from what they have know all of their lives.

      • Monk James Silver says

        The problem is that ‘what they have known all their lives’ (in English translation, at least) is often amazingly inaccurate and in need of serious correction.

        To appeal to ‘hallowed usage’ is an appeal to leave things as they are simply so as not to dislodge people from their comfort zones. This is basically an argument from inertia, which is here thought to be more compelling than truth, but is a position unworthy of us Christians to hold regarding our sacred texts.

        This past Sunday, we heard the gospel section which described the forgiveness of a massive debt to a man who then refused to forgive a much smaller debt owed to himself. When the compassionate lender learned of this, he retracted his cancelation of those millions and had his servant imprisoned until it should all be repaid.

        A local priest began his homily on this parable told by our Lord with a few words remarking that a better translation of ‘Our Father’ would have us say debts instead of trespasses, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg
        So it’s not like people are completely unaware of the issue.

        As I’ve pointed out previously here, there’s nothing in the ‘Our Father’ about being delivered ‘from evil’, but we haven’t yet examined the error of ‘daily bread’, or explained why ‘heaven’ is singular twice in English, but only once in Greek, where its other occurrence is plural.

        If we can’t get even this most foundational prayer right, what hope is there for correcting the million other mistakes in our service books?

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          Leave aside the question of the Lord’s prayer. What I’m talking about are the words of the Divine Liturgy, not scripture translation.
          “Rightly teach the word of truth” rather than the former “rightly divide”– a much better expression, by the way, for more than one reason.
          “Protect us O God by thy grace”, substituted for “keep us”. “Keep us” implies protection– and much more.
          “The awesome judgment seat of Christ” instead of “dread judgment seat”. Sounds a bit “happier” to the contemporary ear, perhaps? So we shall respect, but not fear it?

          A lot of this, as in other translations in other churches, insults the intelligence of the congregation, as if they can no longer understand “keep”, “dread”, “divide” and so on, and on, and on.

          And at the same time we now have “better” Byzantine chant, changing the entire quality of long-sung responses. Suddenly, what the congregation sang heartily is now weak and tentative. No more “save us O Son of God, who did rise from the dead”– now “Save us O Son of God, risen from the dead” in a wholly different tempo and meter.

          Makes me feel like Priest Avvakum!

          • M. Stankovich says

            Mr. Mortiss,

            I understand what you’re saying completely. It’s as if it was a plot to systematically make you insane… “Well, the committee felt that, grammatically, it was more in keeping to our tradition to sing, “To you, happy birthday! To you, happy birthday! To you, happy birthday! O, happy birthday to you!”

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              Well, I’m not insane yet, but my left eyelid has been trembling.

              At Divine Liturgy today, I again noticed “in public service” instead of “in civil authority”; another subtle dilution.

              There, I feel the lid going again….

          • Monk James Silver says

            I am gr
            I am greatly disappointed by the words which ‘Tim R. Mortiss’ wrote here just now, especially since timor mortis non conturbat me.

            The Divine Liturgy book or the laity published by the OCA in 1967 was the best effort of its time, and remains the best version in print of the Divine Liurgy in English.

            Even so, it’s full of errors in translation and style.

            Then Mr T’im O’ Mortiss and Mr Michael Stannovich seem to be completely unaware of these problems.

            Well. perhaps they should just shut up and let the rest of us do the corrective work which we must.

            • Billy Jack Sunday says

              Monk James Silver

              If you think that’s bad

              You should hear the obnoxious Divine Liturgy translation and sung tones that Red Robin uses

              • Monk James Silver says

                ‘Red Robin’?

                • Fr. George Washburn says

                  Greetings, friends:

                  Red Robin is a dressed up shopping mall burger and fries restaurant chain.

                  This phony personalityBS is such a complete troll that George, if he has ***any*** respect for the integrity of this blog and those who attempt serious participation in it, must exercise the bare minimum of discretion necessary to kick the guy off. Look at his recent output: Red Robin, Gene Hackman, pimp hand, maniacal laughter, and now the transparently **fraudulent** assertion that Google translate was the cause of alleged translation errors that long predate the advent of Google. Sure, he is liable to morph into another pseudonymous online persona, perhaps more or less poisonous and damaging to real dialogue, but George can dump that one too. It shouldn’t take unpaid an unwarranted share of George’s available energies to moderate the obviously immoderate once in a while… if he truly wants the blog to be taken seriously.

                  Respectfully,

                  Fr. George

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    I like Billy Jack. His satire is in the service of larger truths.

                    • Fr. George Washburn says

                      BS serves larger truths the way WWE furthers athletic achievement.

                      In this case the larger truth that George and the favored contributors are far too often engaged in a scripted, and even exploitative, self promoting “ the redcoats are coming, the sky is falling” game that, through rather low standards of truth testing and discourse, makes the huge and all-too-real flaws of divided modern NA Orthodoxy worse, not better.

                      Somebody let me know if it changes & quality discussion breaks out.

                  • Father George Washburn,

                    With all do respect, this blog has kefi! This type of spirit lacks many Orthodox blogs. In my opinion the different directions, in addition to the levity, mixed in with serious topics is what makes it work. The diversity of the people, their talents, backgrounds, experiences, and yes off hand humor might border offensive, but, I believe George has a good handle on it, of course no one is perfect. This is not George’s full time job, after all.

                    What does bug me is you, and others like Michael Stankovich call out for others to be censored, especially if anonymous like myself. Voices whether a bit crude, topics too close for comfort, or levity not to your liking is your right to express negatively. Telling George to remove some from this blog is not. In Michael Stankovich’s recent posts to me he was repeatedly quite rude, and most others he disagrees with. His last post he said my type of right wing BS(Isn’t that what you call Billy?) has not place on this blog.

                    Just because one does not like the message, view, humor, or opinion, in any form, does not give anyone the right to silence it. I under that might be the Orthodox Clergy Way, but this a blog, George’s blog. I imagine there are plenty of anonymous posts from clergy, freely expressing their opinions, that would be too afraid to do so if not anonymous, like you were when you failed to speak up or be interviewed by George or Gail.

                    And! Father George I get it, no matter how stupid or rude my boss might get, telling him he is behaving stupid or rude, is not always the best option. Just not worth the trouble, unless of course it borders or is unlawful or criminal. Then again, even that does not get clergy to speak up, or expose the unlawful, especially the Roman Catholic Church, and their serial rapists. Now that is offensive! If you ask me!

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Thank you Dino. “Kefi“: I like! I’ll take the compliment.

                      How would we translate it into English? Chutzpah? Gusto? Braggadocio?

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Other examples of words that describe a lust for life but can’t be translated into other languages: elan vital, joie de vivre, lustig Germain, esprit d’corps, etc. In English we have “ornery”, “piss and vinegar”.

                    • Billy Jack Sunday says

                      Fr. George Washburn

                      If we are comparing such entertaining yet pointless “sports”

                      Your arguments have as much traction as an underwater bobsled

                      – but at least you are already wearing a crash helmet

                    • Welcome George!

                      Similar to the word Philotimo, Kefi, cannot be translated by one word. In my definition it is mainly a passion for life, and attempting to live life to the fullest, because tomorrow is not guaranteed, and not allowing the world around you, no matter how dire, get you down. Greeks have known, most of the time, we cannot control our situation, nor fate.

                      The more I think about it, the more I think of my grandparents, and great-grandparents families and their struggles during times of struggles, and hardships during occupation, war, fleeing danger, and finally being uprooted during the exchanges after WW1, in my mother’s family’s case and later the return of Pontian Greeks from USSR, back to Greece after WW2, in by father’s family’s case. Thru it all they never lost passion for life, appreciation for what they did have, a pursuit of happiness, especially for their children. They never blamed God, nor lost faith, even though many did, as hate of their dreadful fate, consumed them.

                      In other words. Don’t let the bastards get you down! You, and this blog has that. Many come at you, and you still keep a stiff upper lip, and return it back with facts, and humor to boot. Whether it be our corrupt government or corruption within Orthodoxy’s many jurisdictions, and in the GOA case downfall. While it’s depressing and sad to witness, we don’t lose faith, and continue to worship, smile, laugh, love, dance, joke, and tease. But! Most importantly, carry on, and pray and work for better days ahead!

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Eucharisto, Kosta!

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Let’s see if I have this correct, Dino: I objected to your continuous interjection of your particular brand of politiks that, 1) on the one hand allows for the separation of young children from their parents at a crucial, formative time of their development (and as we are discovering, some to never be reunited); 2) rationalize that this action is permissible morally & ethically because the parents placed the children is such a position (i.e. regardless of the ultimate cause, it is morally permissible to impose this consequence on innocent children); and then refer to the “neglect” of appreciation for the date of the Falling Asleep of the Theotokos? These are facts, are they not? Just in case you missed the gist of my comment in its entirety, I was pointing out your hypocrisy.

                      As to my reference here, it was to Fr. Alexander Schmemann’s Problems of Orthodoxy in America which I believe your comment exemplified: the sad state of generational Orthodoxy in America that has inherited the ability to compartmentalize the Church (and morality, and ethics) as it does with everything else, be it ethnicity, politiks, the economy, and so on. This allows the possibility of seeing everything in its “rightful place,” and so you did in your comment. And despite the dire warnings of the Lord Himself – virtually identical in the Synoptic Gospels: “καὶ μὴ κωλύετε αὐτά· τῶν γὰρ τοιούτων ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ” – weighed against the benefits v losses, you are able to determine this is a moral decision compatible with the Scripture. I do not. I find it despicable and reprehensible, not to be mentioned in the same breath as the Mother of the Creator, She who gave life to the Lifegiver. I made no mention of this blog in particular, but I did say your inability to distinguish politiks from morality and ethics has no business in the discussion of Orthodox Theology. I am personally offended at your inability to distinguish a line of demarcation, but that is my opinion. If you are implying that I called for anyone to censor your comments, here or anywhere, you would be sorely mistaken. There is a significant difference between finding your comments offensive and foolish and preventing them by censorship. In my estimation, publishing your comments allow them to speak for themselves. As the rudeness, this is a subjective analysis on your part. As for your anonymity, I strongly suspect most people claim every excuse under the sun except for the real reason: they don’t want people to see the stupidity they actually write on sites such as this.

                    • M. Stankovich,

                      You! You say, that you are personally offended by my inability to distinguish a line of demarcation, of some line you created in YOUR mind. I can’t believe I am saying this, but you are even more impertinent than the other rude one, who goes by my legal and baptismal name, but that is MY opinion. Why? Because at least he comes straight at me with his personal insults. You believe yourself so witty, that your insults, innuendos, what you hope hypnotic Gospels and fat words somehow are not understood by at least this reader, so you come back and try to explain your wit or big boy words. I been here long enough to see thru your style of attack. You not only personally attack to make a point, then pull crap out of nowhere to make me seem as you say; uneducated, foolish, lacking morals, stupid, despicable, reprehensible,(did I miss anything?) and worst of all disrespectful to the Theotokos. Not cool brother.

                      AGAIN!

                      I only brought The Theotokos into the conversation to make a simple point that apparently, you in your great wisdom, did not get, or worse choose to twist my words and logic to suit your purpose. My point was quite simple.

                      We all know The Ever-Virgin Mary is The Theotokos, period end of story. That is hard for some of our Protestant friends to accept, right? Even more so the God-Bearer part. Will there come a day when Orthodox Theologians, mixing it up with bible scholars, and Protestants, begin to question her as Ever-Virgin, or God forbid, whether or not, The Theotokos. No! Of course not we now say the subject is clear, black and white. Period! End of story.

                      Well fifty, forty, even twenty years ago would anyone, especially great Theologians of the day debate topics such as allowing church married same sex couples, or allowing unrepentant sexually active homosexuals the Body and Blood of Christ? Homosexual sex is a sin, one of the worse, clear as black and white, but now it is gray matter, and not end of story.

                      Why? Because all you scholars are trying to out wit each other with your Godly brilliance, and compassion, and in the meanwhile the gay among you, and there are many, especially the Roman Catholics, are playing your compassion strings, making you feel oh so Christ-Like and throwing not only logic out the window, but the Word of God. As we already know there are already Orthodox priests, and bishops, who look the other way and commune openly sexual homosexuals, and some day it will not be semi secretive as it is today.

                      Kudos to Christopher, he laid out great points, and schooled you. There is really nothing more to add in that regard, which began all this. Christopher left no room for improvement, from the lowly rungs you had to endure with me. Oh such compassion for your brother.

                      Here’s a fact. If I commit a crime, or abuse my child, the government will separate my child, from me. Our Government made a mistake under Obama, they made it known bring a child, free pass to America. How many children were abused in the process crossing the desert? Some died, raped, beaten, because quite often, they were without a parent. Second Trump was enforcing current laws, and attempting to protect our borders and citizens, as a President should. Changes were made when it became clear children were being separated, because of a left leaning judge’s rulings creating loopholes with court time line, after which the family was released, never to return to court.

                      A word of advice, stay of politics, it aint your bag, Bro!

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Very well said.

                    • Yes, Michael Stankovich! How could I forget! BUT I did forgot a BIG ONE, a truly evil sin so easily passed around nowadays, that YOU are comfortable labeling ME with! Second only to disrespecting our Mother, The Theotokos, and of course her son, our Lord.

                      Yes! You also labeled me a racist, but again coming from some, that is a compliment. The real racists, Michael, are the race baiters we can witness every day on CNN and MSNBC, and their ilk. They are the truly powerful racists, with true far reaching powers, not southern boys in white hoods, or confederate flag baseball hats.

                      OR, me, a boy who grew up and lived half my adult life in the most diverse city the world, in a low middle class neighborhood and had friends of every race and creed, only to be judged, and/or rejected by their character. I have not changed, but have gotten wiser with age.

                      In the good old days, one could have a political discussion/debate with out personal insults. So! Again, this time corrected. Maybe you should stay out of politics, and spare me the politiks. It ain’t your bag, Bro, and really brings out the ugly in you.

                      Good thing I have Kefi, and simply shake the dust off my feet.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Dion,

                      I have said nothing political. I argue and quote the morality and ethics of the natural law and the words of the Holy Scripture. Nothing more, nothing less. If you are offended by these words, maybe you should be. In any case, you direct your hostility at me personally, as if I dreamed them up to insult to. And as you took three separate posts to rage at me, was your anger directed at my misinterpretation of the “Gospel of peace” (Eph. 6:15)? Did I perhaps misunderstand a concept in Aristotle’s Neomachian Ethics? No. You raged over some politikal point of which I have no interest. And if I’m not mistaken, brother Dino, you are so enraged that twice now, have ordered me censored, to “spare you,” as politics are “not my bag.” wow. You got that right. You may now remove the kitchen knife from my back.

                      I cannot imagine what you believe was accomplished by this entire exchange. That you stood up to me? That you stood your ground? That you have earned some respect? That you have earned my respect? You would be absolutely incorrect on every count. If you honestly and truthfully believe that any comment I have made to you was done with the express intent of embarrassing you, humiliating you, or harming you, then you need to say so directly.

                      My comments were based on what I believed about you, by what you had written about yourself and your relationship with the Church. After reading your rage at me today, I went back and I reread some of the wonderful things you have written on this site – quotations from the Holy Fathers and the Saints; your gentle, thoughtful, and supportive comments to so many individuals who participate on this site, and I do not regret anything I’ve said to you. There is an incongruence, Dino, with how I had perceived you, and the affect and demeanor of the person who is issuing the posts you now offer. So, I say this to you: go back, as I did, 6-months, a years or so, and read your own writings. If you come back here and tell me I am imposing something “false” and “contrived” on you, and that I am purposely intending to harm you, I will repent before this forum. I will, with humility, ask your forgiveness, and I will not comment to you again.

                  • Bishop Anaxios says

                    Fr. George Washburn

                    You forgot Mall Santa

                  • Tim R. Mortiss says

                    The original Red Robin was a Seattle tavern with a good burger menu, that was quite different in atmosphere than the chain it eventually morphed into. It was just off Eastlake on the south side of the Ship Canal, about a mile and a half from St. Spiridon church, the main OCA church in the area.

                    • Billy Jack Sunday says

                      Tim R. Mortiss

                      Not the one I was at

                      The one I was at was extremely loud must have had 4 birthdays at different tables nearby

                      4 times a group of employees came out shouting and clapping some type of unique birthday song. It was obnoxious

                      Red Robin was supposed to be a good option

                      The fries were good

                      But it’s too bad you guys don’t have Whataburger

                • Billy Jack Sunday says

                  Monk James Silver

                  Sorry – obscure event

                  There was also that time at White Castle

                  But to be fair, employees were not involved – just some random drunk guy who saw my party hat and brought from home cupcakes

                  I’m pretty sure he was some type of Russian, though

                  He reminded me a bit of an inebriated Borat

                  His slurred version of Happy Birthday was actually not too far off of the one Dr. Stankovich came up with . . .

                  I’d be extremely claustrophobic if I was Russian

                  For every one person that exists, they see three

                  To life to life l’chaim!!

            • M. Stankovich says

              If there are theological errors in the OCA’s official translation of the liturgies, I want to see them listed here for everyone to discuss. And who are the rest of you? Doing what work? For Whom? I say again, the Church would greatly benefit from the translation of the Holy Fathers and the treasury of their words. Not “minutia,” trivia, and word games that you attempt to raise to the level of scholarship. Thankfully no one of any consequence agrees with your “corrections,” knowing full well the resultant chaos would take more time to explain & resolve that any possible benefit that could be derived. Silliness.

              • Billy Jack Sunday says

                M. Stankovich

                Unfortunately, there are many errors in the official English liturgies

                They had used Google Translate

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              Well, are my examples poor, or not?

              Every single translation that ever was is full of “errors”. So likewise with every new one….

              • Tim R. Mortiss says

                One last example of the changes in the recent GOA services, before I leave the subject.

                No more “hasten to intercede, speed now to supplicate”. Now it’s “hasten to intercession, speed now to supplication”. The verbs have been replaced by nouns, syllables have been added, and the meter and entire sound of a familiar and important hymn has been destroyed.

                • Billy Jack Sunday says

                  Tim R. Mortiss

                  About 10 years ago the GOA adopted a slight translation in the creed

                  It went from:

                  And I believe in the Holy Spirit
                  The Lord and Giver of life

                  To:

                  The Lord and Creator of life

                  I’m certainly used to “The Lord and Giver of Life”

                  I’ve always wondered which translation into English from the creed is more accurate and/or why the change because every English translation I’ve known and used prior always stated “Giver of Life” not “Creator of Life”

                  Perhaps Monk James Silver can help us out here?

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Zoopeion = “life-giver”.

                    Q: Why mess with the original text?
                    A: Modernism/liberalism/justwannabedifferentfromeverybodyelse. Take your pick.

                    • Billy Jack Sunday says

                      George Michalopulos

                      If you were to go from English to the Greek

                      Using Creator instead of Giver of life

                      What word would have been used for “Creator”

                      For: The Lord and Creator of life

                      ?

                      Thanks

                    • Zoopeion = “life-maker”or “life-creator” (ποιέω is the root of the word “poetry”)
                      Zoodotes = “life-giver”.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      I stand corrected!

                    • How about a word for life-takers, and their enablers?!

                      It is no longer safe for a young lady to go for a jog in rural Iowa. Apparently an illegal alien has been arrested and admitted murdering the 20 year old girl, Mollie Tibbets, that has been missing for a month now.

                      For a month, this poor father’s worst nightmare has been confirmed.

                      I’m sure the fathers of young Mollie Tibbets, Kate Steinle, and all the other family members of victims of illegal aliens wished our government would be serious about protecting our borders from the lowlifes that cross them. If those illegal aliens weren’t here, those young ladies would be alive.

                      Will the leftists cry over these fathers and daughters separated?

                      Why do we allow our lawmaker/politicians to ignore the laws with illegal aliens, sanctuary states/cities, and not protecting our borders from invaders. Should we ignore paying our taxes until they do their jobs? Are rules and laws only for us law abiding suckers?

                      Build the dam wall already, even if it only cuts the invasion in half, that is good enough. At least half as many mothers and fathers will have to witness their children’s burials.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      A govt that cannot protect its citizens is illegitimate. A govt that won’t protect its citizens is evil.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Dino,

                      How about a word for for the murder of mothers – in fact “mothers-to-be”- victims of the immortality of the white middle-class, quasi-christian “false-front” families whose instance of marital infidelity is so common, and divorce rate is expected? A man murders his pregnant wife, two beautiful daughters who were the joy of their mother, tosses the daughters bodies into an oil tank and his wife into a “shallow grave” – What? Hoping the animals would consume her or prevent her identification? – and does what every lowlife creep in America does: appeals to the media for their safe return. And when his lies collapse around him, not only does he lack the fundamental courage to confess his crimes against humanity, he blames the mother of his children for killing his daughters! And you would attempt to shame us with the report of an illegal alien committing a heinous crime without mentioning this crime?

                      What wall shall we build to protect us from the demons and lowlifes from within, Dino? Would you like me to gather the yearly data for inter-family violence in the US that results in tragedy such as happened in Colorado over the past week? What do you believe I would find? You know exactly what I would find. Statistically, we are all astonishingly more likely to experience violence at the unexpected (or predictable) hands of a family member or someone we know, than we will ever experience from an illegal alien. All your anecdotes are scare-tactics – line them up, one after the other, and they prove nothing because they are anecdote. You have no proof that the individuals who were victims of illegal aliens would have reduced in the least or will be reduced by any wall constructed. None. Put some of the money you intend for the idiotic wall toward law enforcement of domestic violence and abuse – really prosecuting domestic violence, really making violent individuals serve jail time and receive treatment. That is an investment that will pay off in the long long run, and research clearly demonstrates its efficacy.

                    • So now Michael Stankovich responds to the killing of young girls, and all victims by illegal aliens, with something he used to accuse George of when George would bring up the social evils of Obama or moral evils of Clinton to excuse Trump sexual romps, and fake racism! Rich, my hypocritical brother.

                      We are already stuck with the lowlifes within our borders. No matter what color, since we should not kill or sterilize them, good paying jobs would be the first solution to redeeming a generations of uneducated low pay, with jobs that can support a family, I imagine that might help many men woman from the despair of life having no meaning. So! Why turn our back on our border and allow more uneducated, and many more lowlifes? Do we have enough Einstein?

                      NEWSFLASH!!!

                      Here’s a sad fact for you and our readers. Mohammed is the most popular name for baby boy names in the UK and Wales. Soon in your state in might be Juan.

                    • Alitheia1875 says

                      George, anyone here have anything to say about the Holy Transfiguration Monastery’s (Brookline Massachusetts) translations of the Psalter and Menaion?

        • Matthew Panchisin says

          Dear Monk James Silver,

          We are not Protestants and clearly you are not qualified to correct “million other mistakes in our service books”. The Church doesn’t translate text in the way that you and Timothy think.

          In Christ,
          MathewPanchisin

          • Monk James Silver says

            Mathew Panchisin writes as if he knows what I’m qualified to do — or not.

            I suspect that working in this field for fifty years or so and successfully going to school for Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Church Slavonic and Russian might qualify me for some expertise in translation.

            But, of course, MP knows ‘clearly’ what I am qualified to do. I wonder how that happened.

            • Matthew Panchisin says

              Dear Monk James Silver,

              Sadly, the way that it happens is from experience, surely it is not unjustified prejudice. What you have mentioned is not something that has not been heard before.

              If my memory serves me correctly Archbishop Alypy wrote a book on Church Slavonic. He is familiar with the English translations
              that the ROCOR / OCA parishes have embraced. At this time I don’t recall him or others ever seeing many errors that needed to be corrected, surely they would have.

              Monk James Silver, working in this field for fifty years or so doesn’t necessarily render you qualified, “God saves” has corrected the translation errors of others with similar scholastic qualifications.

              If you have a blessing from your bishop(s) to fix all the errors that have not been noticed or have been neglected, there is no need to
              even talk about the matter since you would have more important endeavors at hand.

              In Christ,

              Matthew Panchisin

          • Billy Jack Sunday says

            Dino?

            “Here’s a sad fact for you and our readers. Mohammed is the most popular name for baby boy names in the UK and Wales. Soon in your state in might be Juan.”

            And maybe soon the most popular name in the GOA will be ‘Twan’

            They better check themselves before they wreck themselves

        • Billy Jack Sunday says

          Monk James Silver

          I see good arguements all around

          But ultimately, I more or less agree with you

          I feel that the Our Father seems a bit inaccurate as well as an archaic ritualized habit

          Not to criticize it as is

          It’s just that with the constant evolution of language, regular adjustments should be made to keep things in the sweet spot of the accurate spoken language of the day – neither archaic and thus spooky or other side loosey goosey murderous empty vernacular

          It’s hard to imagine making some adjustments to it because it’s one of the last things remaining of Christendom in the English speaking world

          However, I do believe there would be some benefit to an updated/refined translation – despite those who say they know better – but I do see the side of their argument as well

          Plus, when we pray it in Church, I always feel like I’m supposed to be wearing a powdered wig and tights – while there is some mild accompaniment by harpsichord

          However, in our Church, most just want to drop the redundancy of first praying it in Greek then followed by English

          Many of the Greeks themselves feel this way

          • Monk James Silver says

            Many good points raised here, but the bottom line is that we need accurately translated texts which will not pander to people’s (largely Protestant0 comfort zones..

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              My opinions expressed here on the subject have nothing to do with “Protestant comfort zones”. They relate to recent changes in the language of the liturgy in the GOA, from previous language in the liturgy of the GOA. I never knew anything of the Divine Liturgy until I first entered an Orthodox church about 38 years ago.

              As far as the Lord’s Prayer is concerned, I don’t have a strong opinion, but I do note that the generally-used form has always been in every Roman Catholic and Orthodox church I’ve ever been in that uses the English language. No doubt that it does derive from the KJV.

              I am very dubious about “updated language” unless one means updating it every several generations. To me a huge issue is in fact the familiarity of the language to the parishioners, unless it is plainly wrong. “Old fashioned” is not “wrong”. The other very important thing is memorization. When one memorizes large parts of Scripture, or indeed the liturgy, one must decide on a text and stick with it. It helps if it doesn’t change in church every few years.

              • Billy Jack Sunday says

                Tim R. Mortiss

                I see your point but I think meaning can be lost if we hold on to words that we no longer use

                I do agree that updates should not be frequent

                However the Elizabethan style is quite outdated

                No one talks like that anymore so things just don’t sound right and in my opinion, lose meaning

                Putting aside for a moment trespasses vs debts and evil vs evil one

                A needed translation update to The Lords Payer is telling by the forth word

                God’s name isn’t Art

              • Amen! While I empathize with the need for good translation, the real need is for better teaching (or in many cases, some teaching, as there often is none at all). In most (perhaps not all) cases what is needed is s lens through which to read the translations we have.

                What we do not need is someone to change words because they fit their opinion of the meaning or merely because they happen to prefer it.

              • Monk James Silver says

                As a general observation, it would be good for us to recall that the service books of the Russian church have historically been updated with each reprinting, especially the Gospels. While the whole text remains in Church Slavonic rather than Modern Russian, it is occasionally noted that some words are just too far out of range for even well educated people, so they are replaced with more accessible terms.

                In Romania, though, where the services have been conducted in their contemporary idiom for generations, the changes are more frequent. That’s what happens when we’re dealing with a living language rather than a museum piece.

                Although ‘Tim R. Mortiss’ seems unaware of it, the whole body of liturgical and scriptural texts in English is greatly influenced by Protestant efforts over the last several centuries. It’s important that we appreciate this literary tradition at the same time as we also realize that 16th-century modes of expression are somewhat limited, as can be seen from the many Protestant efforts to modernize biblical translations starting in the late 19th century.

                But on top of that, we have to deal with the stark naked truth that ALL Protestant efforts favor the Hebrew text of the Old Testament. As such, even when they are accurately rendered into English, they may be at some variance from the Greek 70, which is the bible of The Church.

                Contemporizing of the text, along with efforts to render our sacred texts more accurately, does not mean that we will be publishing first-grade level primers for the Liturgy or that modern English must be banal and trivial.

                We can do better, and we will.

                • M. Stankovich says

                  You seem to have missed my comment, “There are no standards or qualifications for “translators,” no conferences, no workgroups, no committees, no one to stop you from changing the very words on the lips of the Lord and Savior Himself – despite fifty or so other authorities who are otherwise in agreement against you. And so it goes… ” No, check that. You ignored it, just as I’m sure you ignored Mr. Panchisin’s reference to a “blessing from your bishop” to presume to offer translations of the Holy Scripture to the church as a whole, particularly when contradicting known scholars (and exactly how man times can you pull off the Twelve Angry Men analogy?). You continually refer to “us” and “we,” those who do this “work” diligently and with “expertise,” yet you ignore my questioning as to who or what this affiliation of authority might be. Who authorized your “work”; who “proofs,” or critiques, or checks your “work”; or who utilizes your “work?” In all cases, the answer is “you.”

                  So many of your “entrances” into discussion begin with the mocking of the object of your attention; of late, Fr. John Whiteford, Mr. Mortiss, Mr. Panchisin, the contributors to the OSB, and me. You are a “self-proclaimed” expert, who has no blessing to produce “translations” because you are not a “translator.” You “translate” nothing other than minutiae; individual “words” that are of no theological consequence, and express your particular subjective opinion of relevance. And in far too many cases, as Mr. Mortiss has patiently attempted to explain to you as a “consumer,” and for which you have now taken to mock him, are linguistically more trouble than they are worth; i.e. it takes more effort to explain why it is better linguistically to say “in public service” than “civil authorities,” other than someone’s personal preference (which could change again two years from now!). The last resort is to attempt to elevate the entire matter to that of a “theological” dilemma – when, in fact, there is not one – which does nothing but convolute and cheapen the entire matter further.

                  Ultimately, any genuine effort to “modernize” archaic forms of English suffer from the minutiae-lover’s captivation with silliness that continuously violate the Federal Rule of Evidence: Asked and Answered (and it seems you are just dangling the hook out there for someone to bite on “daily bread” again for the third time. Don’t do it. October, 2016), or otherwise impeding the process with “Orthodox word trivia.” The only consolation to anyone reading this is that nothing you read here has ever made its way into anything official, and whether or not any one of us “shuts up” or if Mr. Mortiss and I join forces in singing a duet from Verdi’s The Masked Ball, whenever you read about, “Let the rest of us do the corrective work which we must,” or “We can do better, and we will,” is fictional fantasy.

                • Tim R. Mortiss says

                  It’s not personal, Monk James; why make it personal?

                  I am certainly aware of the Protestant origins of most English translations. After all, I was a Protestant myself for 66 years.

                  In regard to my comments about the changes to the GOA service books– how big a deal is it? Not a real big deal, I suppose. We’ll all be used to it in a few more months.

                  But every one of the changes is infelicitous to one degree or another. Insipid, you might say. Watered down.

                  Apart from the elimination of utter archaisms and obsolete verb forms, etc., almost every English bible translation of any magnitude has been inferior to the previous one, in language.

                  I do have one more example of the recent changes at the GOA. In the prayers before communion, we now have the “Divine eros”. I kid you not. Evidently the translators feel that “eros” is untranslatable; a nonsensical proposition. It also means to me that the translators have Greek as their first language; very problematical.

                  I am well aware that in Greek “eros” has a much broader meaning than sexual love. But that is, in fact, what it means in English; erotic, etc. etc. It’s a howler in my view. A deliberate non-translation that carries none of the meaning that I must suppose was intended.

                  • Monk James Silver says

                    Please forgive me if my earlier remarks seemed ‘personal’; they were not so intended.

                    In the specific matter of translations published by the GOA, I must say that I am consistently disappointed.

                    ‘Tim R. Mortiss’ has identified a serious problem here, a conceptual logjam in biblical/liturgical/patristic translation, and that is the notion among native speakers of Modern Greek that they somehow have an advantage over the rest of us who are native speakers of receptor languages.

                    Over time (I am not alone in this), it’s been noticed that not only do native speakers of Modern Greek not have privileged access to more ancient forms of the language, but they are likely to misunderstand what they read, filtered as it is through many centuries of linguistic change.

                    Then there is the problem that (at least some of) the Greeks want English translations of our hymns to match rhythm, meter, and even syllable count with the Greek originals so that they may continue to use familiar melodies and tones.

                    But this is backwards, and results in such strange things as the ‘official’ GOA translation of the hymn khristos anestE ek nekrOn
                    .
                    This is why — at least in English — the Russian system of tones is considerably more manageable: only the words matter, and they can be set to any melodic pattern.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Well said, Monk James. Speaking as a Greek-American, I can honestly say that the disconnect between Ancient & Koine Greek and modern Demotic is of an order of Middle English (Chaucer) and modern English. Not only are there no modern instances of Classical Greek words like tekna (children) being used, but the Classic word for “girl” (kore) now means “daughter”, where as koritsi means
                      “girl”. (Thegater, the original term for daughter is no longer used.)

                      True, “girl” and “daughter” inhabit the same semantic space (as it were) but the differences in meaning is profound. No modern Greek would address an unknown girl as kore but as koritsi.

                      Some of course are close: pater (ancient) vs patera (modern), meter/metera.

                    • George. Re Kori., i notice greek cypriots use Kori to address. another younger female, not only a daughter,
                      In a friendly way. .

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      I didn’t realize this. I’m curious if the Pontic Greeks are more continuous in their idioms with Classical Greek as well.

                      For what it’s worth, I came across this short video about Tsakonika, a remnant of Doric Greek which is spoken still in Laconia: http://www.nativelangcom: “Last Spartans: the survival of Laconic Greek”

                    • Markos Trenikopas says

                      Totally FALSE. The Ponticans got their Aoutis mispronounciation of Ypsilon from their Genoan masters. Do you remember the Italian priest Andrea Santoro killed in 2006 when Benedict offended the Turks? What was an RC priest doing in Trabzon? A little clue as to the Latin origin of the Comnene apostacy!

            • Caroline Humphrey says

              Why do Protestants get blamed for everything wrong with the Orthodox Church? If it weren’t for Protestants we wouldn’t have a Bible in English. The Orthodox Study Bible was developed by ex-Protestants. And I could go on with numerous contributions of Protestants both religious and secular.

              • As could I.

                Even so, while I appreciate the efforts of those who worked on the OSB, many of the notes strike me as ‘Orthodoxized’ commentary of the sort one might find in a Protestant study Bible. There are so many Scriptures on which our Liturgical texts that shed a blinding light, offering great feasts of meaning, revelation, and cotremplation – the substance of which is not even mentioned in the majority of the notes.

                I suspect many of these same contributors would do a far better job if they were given the opportunity do it again today – after many more years of being immersed in the Church’s liturgical life. I say this respectfully, believing many of them would also say it of themselves and knowing that I could have done no better given the same length of time they had in the Church.

                I sincerely hope they are given that opportunity.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Yes, we have a Bible in English that has become annidol for many replacing the very presence of Jesus Christ Himself.

              • Monk James Silver says

                While I don’t think that every problem in the Orthodox Church can be blamed on Protestants, I can certainly blame them for the English-language biblical translations which have so greatly affected our own efforts.

                In fact, since The Orthodox Study Bible was mentioned here, I regret observing that many easily reparable errors have merely rolled forward there, People were so used to certain turns of phrase — not to mention outright mistranslations — that they missed them, called them ‘orthodox’, and here we are.

                • Alitheia1875 says

                  Not everyone who worked on the Study Bible agreed with the direction taken. There were resignations.

                • Actually, Father, the OSB makes no claim to being a translation. It is, as I understand it, a reprint of the NKJV with notes – nothing more.

                  • Billy Jack Sunday says

                    Brian

                    And the NKJV is probably the best translation for English so far – IMO

                    Given their resources and what their goal was for the OSB, I think they did a very good job

                  • Monk James Silver says

                    Actually, ‘Brian’, that’s true only of the New Testament.

                    The OSB’s Old Testament is the SAAS (St Athanasius Academy Septuagint with the Deuterocanical books), the work of the same scholars who published the OSB altogether.

                    They provided the notes throughout, failed to correct mistranslations in the NKJV, and made errors of their own. Compare their Psalm 50 to the version I posted here earlier.

              • Alitheia1875 says

                Who were the ex-Protestants who developed the Orthodox Study Bible?

                • Monk James Silver says

                  These former Protestants were converts to orthodoxy from the ‘Evangelical Orthodox Church’, men who form the core of the St Athansius Academy of Orthodox Theology in Elk Gove, California. It was under the auspices of that Academy that The Orthodox Study Bible was prepared.

                • The names are listed in the introductory pages. The project director and some of the editors are former EOC (the group that was received by Met. Phillip).

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  It was ambitious and I don’t think anyone associated with it would claim it was perfect. Because I spent 15+ years in Bible Study Fellowship (AKA BSF, the “Cadillac” of Bible study, or was so at the time), you can imagine how much I had to unlearn when I became Orthodox. I don’t find the fact that it was written by former Protestants particularly problematic. Who better than a former Protestant would understand the need to spend time exploring penal substitution, for example? I’m sure there were mistakes, but that doesn’t make it an unworthy effort. I used The Explanation of the New Testament by Blessed Theophylact and supplemented it with the OSB and felt I received enough of an education to make the transition. In my case, it was helpful. I especially liked going to Bible study classes and using these texts as the basis of my answers during discussion sessions. Mouths would drop open and they would ask me: “How did you come up with that?” It was a great opportunity to tell other people about the Orthodox Church!

                  * * *
                  Some of the credited contributors of the Orthodox Study Bible project include:
                  Project Director – Fr. Peter Gillquist
                  Managing Editor – Mr. Alan Wallerstedt
                  Special Consultant – Fr. Thomas Hopko

                  General Editors:
                  Joseph Allen, Th.D.
                  Michael Najim, Ph.D.
                  Fr. Jack N. Sparks
                  Fr. Theodore Stylianopoulos, Th.D.

                  https://orthodoxwiki.org/Orthodox_Study_Bible

      • M. Stankovich says

        Mr. Mortiss is absolutely correct that far too often, as I have noted here so many times, pseudo-scholars of minutiae would change centuries of familiar, colloquial translations – as in the past go-round of “temptation” v “trial/test” – to correct no theological error whatsoever. I am still waiting for the “numerous” Scriptural references to the Lord’s assurance that He will not “tempt” us, knowing full well they do not exist. The only consolation, in the end, is that no one of any consequence (read that as “having the actual authority to implement changes”) takes any of of this seriously.

        There are no standards or qualifications for “translators,” no conferences, no workgroups, no committees, no one to stop you from changing the very words on the lips of the Lord and Savior Himself – despite fifty or so other authorities who are otherwise in agreement against you. And so it goes… But I also note that the pseudo-scholars always “specialize” in minutiae only – “hallowed,” “daily bread,” “temptation v test.” Participle clauses, blah, blah, blah, all of no consequence. I have been taken to task for my ignorance of the the grammar of New Testament Greek in less than flattering terms, all in regard to these matters of inconsequential minutiae. I would offer Monk James the opportunity of himself demonstrating his translation skills using texts from some of my projects – writings of St. Gregory Palamas – the earliest portions of which I know are correct because Fr. John Meyendorff proofed them and helped me understand some of the more complex grammar. Two pages in two weeks? Apparently you have buried your talent, forgetting the jealousy of the master. I afford you an opportunity.

        • Matthew Panchisin says

          Dear M. Stankovich,

          “But I also note that the pseudo-scholars always “specialize” in minutiae only – “hallowed,” “daily bread,” “temptation v test.” Participle clauses, blah, blah, blah, all of no consequence.”

          You are correct, however I would not say of no consequence as we have seen translations (of course with Liddell & Scott in hand to present out of hand translations and always with much vigor and determination) that insert or introduce ideas that are utterly foreign to Orthodoxy. The heretical ones that they can’t see or understand are the worst and most uncomfortable to hear.

          Rule #1 for Monk James is he is not here to correct the Orthodox Church. Rule #2 is doxology is always from the heart.

          In Christ,

          Matthew Panchisin

          • Billy Jack Sunday says

            Matthew Panchisin

            Isn’t working on translations something commonly performed by educated monks under the direction/supervision of heirarchy?

            Why not Monk James Silver?

          • Monk James Silver says

            Many thanks to Mathew Panchisin ffor giving me a couple of rules.

            What sort of arrogance does it take to think that I would ”correct the Orthodox Church’, either on my part or on the part of critics of my work — with which they are largely unfamiliar, anyway.

            No, I am not here to ‘correct the Orthodox Church’. I aspire merely to correct the inaccurate translations into English which have distorted the faith and understanding of the Orthodox Church.

            Then, all prayer is from the heart, not only doxology, but all prayer — even such prayer as David the Psalmist expresses when he asks the Lord to deliver him from his ‘enemies who persecute (him) without a cause’.

            I know just ho he eels.

            • “I know just ho he eels.”

              Now there’s a miss-translation with severe theological consequences!

              Smile, Father. I’m JUST TEASING! Where is Bishop Tikhon when we need his commentary on such posts to make us smile?

  55. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Wednesday on the Asian News website.

    08/2018, 09.58 – RUSSIA-TURKEY
    Kirill and Bartholomew to meet at months’ end for Orthodox peace in Ukraine
    by Vladimir Rozanskij

    http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Kirill-and-Bartholomew-to-meet-at-months'-end-for-Orthodox-peace-in-Ukraine-44615.html

  56. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the OCL website.

    Meet George Matsoukas and George Karcazes of Orthodox Christian Laity (OCL)
    BY WEBMASTER ON AUGUST 14, 2018
    OCL NEWS, ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN LAITY, ORTHODOX NEWS, ORTHODOX NEWS TOP STORIES
    Source: Voyage Chicago Magazine

    https://ocl.org/meet-george-matsoukas-and-george-karcazes-of-orthodox-christian-laity-ocl/

  57. Greatly Saddened says

    Xronia Polla/Many Years and a most blessed feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos to all my brothers and sisters in Christ!

  58. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Saturday in The National Herald.

    Tensions between Bartholomew and Ieronymos
    By Theodore Kalmoukos – August 18, 2018

    https://www.thenationalherald.com/210868/tensions-between-bartholomew-and-ieronymos/

  59. Michael Bauman says

    A Points to Consider:
    * The institutional ‘church’ of all denominations is decrepit and crumbling and will likely fail in the not to distant future.
    *The Body of Christ (which for me means those in communion in the non heretical portions of the Orthodox Church based on Tradition is still alive and doing well in many areas.
    *Folks need to determine to which their bishop belongs and migrate if they need to.

    • M. Stankovich says

      Your words are golden, Michael Bauman. From the Kontakion of the Ascension: “I am with you, and no one can be against You!”

  60. Greatly Saddened says

    All seems quiet on the western front, but then again, it is August. I guess the boys at the GOAA must be away during these dog days of summer.

  61. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from August 9th on the OCL website.

    10 reasons Americans go to church — and 9 reasons they don’t

    BY WEBMASTER ON AUGUST 9, 2018
    ORTHODOX NEWS, ORTHODOX NEWS TOP STORIES
    Source: CNN
    By Daniel Burke, CNN Religion Editor

    https://ocl.org/10-reasons-americans-go-to-church-and-9-reasons-they-dont/

  62. Monk James Silver says

    Alitheia1875 (August 23, 2018 at 5:25 am) says:

    George, anyone here have anything to say about the Holy Transfiguration Monastery’s (Brookline Massachusetts) translations of the Psalter and Menaion?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    While I have not seen HTM’s Menaion, I find that the ‘Brookline Psalter’ is rife with inaccuracies and theological problems — not to mention its tortures, artificially archaic language. These issues also affect their Pentekostarion and Horologion, in both of which it appears that words and phrases of hymns have either been omitted or created in order to preserve Byzantine meter.

    In the specific matter of the HTM Psalter, I suggest that you compare their rendering of Psalm 50 with this one, and see if you understand this more accurately translated version — and its theology — a bit better
    PSALM 50 (51 Hebrew)
    1. At the end; a psalm of David,
    2. when the prophet Nathan came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba’, the wife of `UriyYah.
    3. Have mercy on me, O God, in accordance with Your great mercy. And, in accordance with Your abundant compassion, wipe away my lawless deed.
    4. Wash me thoroughly clean of my lawlessness, and purge me of my sin.
    5. For I recognize my lawlessness, and my sin is ever in my sight.
    6. I sinned against You alone, and I did evil in Your sight. You will then be justified in the sentence You give, and You will be vindicated when You pass judgement.
    7. For behold, I was conceived amid lawless deeds, and in the midst of sins my mother bore me.
    8. For behold, You love truth; You explain to me the unknown secrets of Your wisdom.
    9. You will sprinkle me with hyssop, and I will be purified. You will wash me clean, and I will become whiter than snow.
    10. You will make me hear joy and gladness; my humiliated bones will rejoice.
    11. Turn Your face from my sins, and wipe away all my lawless deeds.
    12. Create a pure heart within me, O God, and renew an upright spirit deep inside me.
    13. Do not cast me away from Your face, or take Your Holy Spirit away from me.
    14. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and strengthen me with Your guiding Spirit.
    15. I will instruct lawless people in Your ways, and irreverent people will turn back to You.
    16. Rescue me from bloodshed, O God, God of my salvation! My tongue will rejoice in Your righteousness!
    17. Lord, You will open my lips and my mouth will proclaim Your praise.
    18. Had You desired a sacrifice, I would have given it. But You will not be pleased by whole-burnt offerings.
    19. A broken spirit is a sacrifice to God; God will not spurn a humbled, broken heart.
    20. Lord, be good to Zion in Your good will,
    so that the walls of Jerusalem may be built.
    21. Then You will take pleasure in a sacrifice of righteousness, in an oblation or in whole-burnt offerings. Then they will offer young bulls upon Your altar.

    • M. Stankovich says

      O Madonna Mia! Me and my “humiliated bones” have suffered through this monument to your ego how many times now and have “scorned” it. Nevertheless, I am grateful to you for posting it for the simple reason that it serves as testimony to my point that there are no standards, and complain as anyone might, thankfully, the most reliable and trustworthy translations to date are from Protestant scholars.

      This convolution is not a translation. It is a minutiae fanatic’s poor riff on the KJV, that corrects no theological errors whatsoever in the original KJV; literally detracts and, in my estimation, mocks the single best best translation of the Orthodox Septuagint by L.C.L. Brenton; and needlessly, and pointlessly takes Brenton’s simple phraseology – which is undoubtedly familiar and recognizable to any of us, given the frequency that this Psalm is utilized liturgically – and makes it unintelligible.

      And for heaven’s sake, no, it most certainly is not more “accurately translated,” and suffers from amateurish errors. Quite frequently, the meaning of a Greek word will only be determined by its context, Take for example, verse 16, rendered here as “Rescue me from bloodshed, O God,” the Septuagint reads, “ρῦσαί με ἐξ αἱμάτων, ὁ Θεὸς…” αἵματα refers to “blood,”(αἷμά) but can mean, “bloodthirsty” and so on. And clearly, the Ancient Greek (judging by the literature and fine arts alone) were well aware of the distinction for murder ( ὅμαιμον), mayhem, and blood shed. But in the evolution and “transformation” of concepts by the Lord Himself, so did the language itself evolve, and while we may read in Matt. 26:28 & Lk. 22:20, “And He took the cup saying, ‘This is my blood [τὸ αἷμά μου] shed for you and for and for many…” the verb is not derived from αἷμα, “blood” (as in “bloodshed”) but ἐκχέω meaning “poured out” (meaning “sacrificed”): “which is sacrificed for you [τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν ἐκχυνόμενον] and for many for the remission of sins.” This led L.C.L. Brenton (like everyone else ) to translate v. 16 in a very literal sense, speaking to the exact sin of King David: he placed a man in a position in battle where he would undoubtedly be killed; David was guilty for his blood. “Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God” has been read in English since the 18th century. Is there a theological error cured by changing it? Does it clarify the extent of David’s shame before the Lord to change this one word? I say, don’t waste your time comparing this overblown mess to the Brookline Psalter, compare it to the KJV, or better, to the OSB/NKJV. If you would rather wade through this – and good Lord, I can only imagine an entire Psalter of this convolution – knock yourself out, or better, I believe one or two kathismata of this version will surely knock you out. Again I say: no one has blessed this for use, no one will bless this, and we are all better off for scholars such as L.C.L Brenton et al.

    • All that I know is the group at Transfiguration is not in communion with the Orthodox Church. They have jumped from one jurisdiction to another and have also been a haven for homosexual behavior, led by the former abbot or as the group called him elder, Pantelemon.

  63. Michael Bauman says

    Greeks need to get over themselves. It stopped being cute a long time ago.

  64. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the OCL website.

    The Church of America was Autonomous (1922-1930)
    BY WEBMASTER ON AUGUST 23, 2018
    GOVERNANCE & UNITY ESSAYS, 
    GOVERNANCE & UNITY NEWS
    Peter S. Makrias
    Source: Estiator Magazine

    http://ocl.org/the-church-of-america-was-autonomous-1922-1930/