An Urgent Appeal from Your Friends at Monomakhos

Recently, Yours Truly posted a column about the incipient totalitarianism  foisted upon us by a group of people who have become known as Karens.  One commentator took me to task for besmirching this fine name.  You were right to do so and I beg forgiveness from you and anybody else who either has that name or is close to somebody named Karen.

It was wrong of me to follow the Zeitgeist and add my labors to making it worse for such people.  Again, I ask your forgiveness.

Furthermore, I do so because there is a much better appellation that can be ascribed to such busybodies and know-it-alls.  One which should meet with more acceptance and one which, frankly, is more apropos.  I therefore humbly suggest that all of the Gretchen Whitmers of the world who derive pleasure from putting on their jackboots and stepping on the necks of ordinary Americans be called “Gretchens”.

Gretchen is more apt in my opinion.  In retrospect, it should have been blazingly obvious from the outset.

For one thing, it’s not that common of a name.  Second, it rhymes with “wretched” and third, who cares?  Just look at this picture of the governor of the Great State of Michigan.  You can almost see the erotic thrill she gets when she issue a new diktat which makes absolutely no sense.

Now mind you, this is not fascism.  Whatever else his sins, the late Mr Mussolini actually liked the Italian people and wanted to make things right by them.  This fact was recognized by Winston Churchill who pointed out that “at least he made the trains run on time”.   

The Gretchens of the world on the other hand, have no so such compunction.  They really don’t care anything about alleviating pain and suffering.  Their mindset is topsy-turvy.  Are you an axe-murderer who needs a new hatchet to ply your trade?  You can go to Lowe’s and as long as you don’t step over the yellow tape, you’re good.  On the other hand, if you are an unemployed laborer who would like to buy some seeds to start your own vegetable garden so that you can augment your families meals –sorry, no can do.  The seed packets are on the other side of the yellow tape.

And let us not forget, that the reason your grandfather can’t get his much-needed knee replacement is because that’s “non-essential”.  Your fifteen year old niece on the other hand can immediately get her fetus chopped up into little bits because according to Gretchen Whitmer, abortion is “life-sustaining”.

See? it all makes perfect sense.  

In this spirit, I will do whatever I can do insert this word into the public lexicon.  I ask for your help.  When you, Dear Reader,wants to use the word Karen to describe these people, I beg you to insert the word Gretchen instead.

Thank you,

–Your friends here at Monomakhos



  1. George,
    There is already a term extant to describe the wretched creatures to which you refer.  It is “Democrat”.  Or, in my parlance from this epic clusterf*ck forward, “Demshevik”.
    They are anti-God, deify the state, disregard civil liberties and in general behave as little tin gods.  I blame them all – those at the top and those who identify by name with the Jackass Party. 
    Demsheviki, one and all.
    And they deserve to be completely ostracized no less than card carrying commies who still fly the hammer and sickle and card carrying Nazis who fly the swastika.  Loathsome monsters, one and all.
    This does not mean one needs to be a Republican to be a decent person.  Far from it.  One can be an independent, a libertarian, a monarchist and so on . . .  However, “Democrat” has become a dirty word.  They are totalitarians from top to bottom and should be treated with contempt.
    Be proud to be a Trumpist and, if it floats your boat, a Putinist.  Defy the Left and ostracize them to the extent practicable.  They are not just nice, misguided people.  One might have made that argument before, though given the reality of abortion it was a stretch.  Now it is simply laughable.
    Monsters, one and all.

  2. Sage-Girl says

    Misha – succinctly said! I just read about the retired Pope Ratzinger is writing biography + feels he’s being silenced about his conservative views… I still can’t believe the embarrassment that took his place.
    As a Trump girl volunteer during campaign, let me tell you how insane Leftists are — they would wait outside Trump Tower so they’d harass us if we wore MAGA hat or a button. Police had to escort us for protection.
    No, I will never campaign again. ??

    • Which is ironic since Pope Benedict (Ratzinger) was solidly in the “liberal” camp during the Second Vatican Council. He seems to have changed his tune over the decades and even though he may seem more conservative that John Paul the 2nd, or, certainly Francis, he is still not on par with the pre-Vatican 2 popes 

  3. George Michalopulos says
    • I doubt it will happen, but it would be most interesting if the Flu Klux Klan actually threw down with the cops, if only to see which of the “back the badge” and “Blue Lives Matter” supporters would stick with the latter over the former.

      • George Michalopulos says

        What can I say?  Politics makes strange bedfellows.

        Seriously, I’d say most cops & military over the age of 35 are sympathetic to the Patriot cause.  They are doing what they have to do because Gov Gretchen Jackass or Mayor Gretchen DeBlasio has put them in an untenable position upholding their progressive fantasies.  

        I’m sure that there are die-hard Blue fanatics in the police forces and in the military, especially in the more politically appointed positions.  Of course they can do a lot of damage. 

        One thing to keep in mind though is that among the more politically astute/cynically minded, even those who mouth the right liberal platitudes are cognizant of which way the political winds are blowing.  Yesterday for example, two Republicans won special elections, one Wisconsin and another in California.  One was a GOP hold the other was a GOP pickup.  The term being used is that 2020 may be a “Red Shockwave”.  

    • Anonymous says

      The problem for most brains is they are unequipped to comprehend mitigation.   Mitigation can be many things.  Masks.  Staying 6 feet away from people.  Not congregating in small buildings.  Birth control.  
      Fortunately, the bishops of the OCA understand mitigation and we have a hierarchical church, not a democracy, and silly little boys can’t refute it and pretend it isn’t.

  4. George,
    The following little exercise bears repeating at this point:
    “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” – 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution
    This amendment is so bold that it has been misrepresented by any number of interests to twist it into saying anything other than what it obviously, logically conveys.  People who want to restrict gun ownership have tried to sell the fallacy that the right is only present in a well regulated militia.  People who wanted to keep arms out of the hands of blacks have asserted that it is not a personal right . . . and so on, and so forth.
    But it is extraordinarily simple if you reflect on it for a minute.  The question is “who are the ‘people’ to whom the right belongs?”  Are they distinguishable from the militia mentioned in the opening phrase?
    So lets assume that the militia and the people are the same discreet group.  It should thus be possible to replace “militia” with “people” in that instance, or replace “people” with “militia” and have the statement make sense:
    “A well regulated People, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
    No, that does not sound right.  If the people are to be regulated, then one would not leave that to the people themselves.  The assertion becomes a mess if you read it that way. 
    “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the Militia to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
    This is the way many would have you read it.  However, there are several problems with this.  First, the military needs no special authorization in an amendment to keep and bear arms.  That is the function of the military itself.  If you create a military under the Constitution, you don’t need a 2nd amendment to arm it.  At that time, “militia” = “military”.
    Moreover, how is one to accomplish the regulation of the militia, which seems to be the purpose of the leading clause?  Can an armed militia regulate itself?  I think the colonists would answer that in the negative vis a vis the British Army in the colonies.
    So what does the amendment actually mean, plain, on its face?  It means that since it is necessary to keep the military under some sort of civilian control, all people must be allowed to bear arms as a deterrent to abuse.
    Any other reading is irrational.  Moreover, you will notice that this amendment, unlike several others, does not say “Congress shall (not) . . .”  It is possible that this amendment alone was originally meant to apply to state governments as well as the feds.  Regardless, it was incorporated to the states under DC v. Heller in 2010.

    • Fr.Deacon John says

      The issue here is the language of the times.  Militia didn’t mean the military, and still doesn’t.  It meant an armed citizenry, the People.  “Regulated” did not mean regulations or rules – it meant equipped and capable.  So my interpretation is “A well equipped and capable armed citizenry, being necessary to the security……..
      Plus – “The People” and derivatives of it, are used elsewhere in both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and Bill of Rights.  Thus, the “right of the People to keep and bear arms….”  means an individual right to us, each individual American citizen.  Not the National Guard, nor the Reserves, etc.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Thank you very much, Fr, for this excellent summation.

      • Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution:

        “To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions . . .”

        The national guard, reserves, etc. are examples of militias.  -  Again, militia meant military.  As a term of art, the Founders were referring to any regulated/organized armed body.  I would need cites to understand your exposition of “regulated”. 

        A militia would not be mutually exclusive with the armed citizenry, of course.  But it implies military organization.  The Constitution would not call simply on an “armed citizenry” to suppress insurrections (presumably led by an armed citizenry).

        Nonetheless, your conclusion is correct.  The Constitution recognizes an individual right to keep and bear arms.  The People are the last line of defense against the abuse of all forms of military establishment.  Some Founding Fathers saw an armed citizenry as being the weight that would skew clashes between state and federal troops one way or another in favor of that side most accommodating to the people:

        “[T]he people, without exaggeration, may be said to be entirely the masters of their own fate. Power being almost always the rival of power, the general government will at all times stand ready to check the usurpations of the state governments, and these will have the same disposition towards the general government. The people by throwing themselves into either scale, will infallibly make it preponderate. If their rights are invaded by either, they can make use of the other as the instrument of redress. How wise will it be in them by cherishing the union to preserve to themselves an advantage which can never be too highly prized!” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Papers No. 28


        • Fr.Deacon John says

          Thank you for your insights into this very controversial issue.  You are citing some of the same references I have seen before, especially when it comes to the definition of the militia. Most, if not all, of the references I have seen were put together by liberal outlets or universities who wish to twist the meaning of the word “militia” to suit their purposes in opposition to private gun ownership under the 2A.  The militia was then and is still now an organized group of volunteer citizens who happen to be trained and armed.  In the 18th Century the militia was the first line of defense until the Continental Army could be formed, organized, equipped and trained.
          For “regulated” I have only one source, who is now deceased, Colonel James Bamburry, who was my ROTC commander and also my professor of military history.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Fr Dn, I’m leaning to your interpretation of militia. In fact, if memory serves, the Supreme Court a long time ago that the militia were all American male citizens between the ages of 17 and 59.

              You are referring to this, or some variant, George.  For what it’s worth, I don’t deny that this definition of militia is valid.  However, if you look at the words of the 2nd amendment, it is clearly referring to a state militia charged with defending “the security of a free state”. 
              The amendment was primarily, though possibly not exclusively, aimed at the federal government; i.e., Congress.  There are two simultaneous dynamics at work: 
              The first is that the Framers wanted to prohibit Congress from restricting the right of the people to bear arms so as to ensure the viability of the state militias.  At this time, the states were the main political units in the minds of all.  They were like little countries or nation states.  Their defense was of particular concern to the citizens of each state inasmuch as more authority was being ceded to the federal government at this point.  They did not want a federal standing army to supercede state militias.
              The other simultaneous consideration was that any militia can be used to abuse the public at large.  Thus the terminology “a well-regulated militia”; i.e., a well disciplined militia, not prone to exploit its armed status against the general populace.
              As a practical matter, regardless of the definition of militia, we are talking about a military entity.  It is not the United States Army, of course.  But its function is for armed conflict and, in absence of command structure and training, it is merely a mob.  With command structure and training it is military or, at least, a paramilitary entity. 
              That was my only point.  But the right to keep and bear arms is not restricted to able bodied males 17-45 either.  It belongs to the people at large, not the militia.  And that is the ultimate point to absorb.

            • If the “militia” is males up to 59, I presume sane people would make 60 + males subject to some laws other than the 2nd amendment coverage?  It wouldn’t mean NO guns, but some laws that make sense, for once.  I would expect that all of the well armed mob be subject to the normal requirements of all military recruits.  Height and weight restrictions.  Eyesight tests, physical fitness tests.  On a particular day all “militia” hopefuls should report at the place designated by each state’s governor (regulation, right?).  They would be tested on pull ups, push ups, sit ups.  Most would be eliminated at once, or just after the weigh-in and eye test.  More would go because of chronic diseases.  Then since all they came for was firing a gun, they would proceed to the rifle range for testing, which would be reached after a 3 mile run, to be completed in 20 minutes or less.  Very few would get to the target practice phase.  That would make us all safer because the “militia” tends to use the rest of us for target practice.  Over the last 2 years the “militia” has killed more Americans than the viral epidemic has in just a few months.  I guess the virus should have constitutional protection too, it kills with just as much discrimination as the “militia” does and offers me just as much protection.

          • Michigan Orthodox says

            The Unorganized Militia is defined by the US Code as the entire populace. 

  5. This brings name calling to a new low on multiple levels. George, you are better than this.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Don’t be such a “Debbie Downer” or “Negative Nancy”! 😉

      Now, be honest, have you ever used any of the following? Chatty Cathy, Dirty Dan, Tricky Ricky (our name for the Easter Bunny when my children were growing up), Silly Billy (what I’d call our dogs when they did something silly like chase their tails), Silly Goose (my name for my niece when she was little, which we later shortened to “Goose”), Billy Willy, Simple Simon, Mad Max. . .

      One of the reasons we, as women, have trouble getting men to take us seriously is that we play the “you can’t say that about a woman” card too frequently. A “Karen” is about a type of person. We’ve all known them.

      Karen is a mocking slang term for an entitled, obnoxious, middle-aged white woman. Especially as featured in memes, Karen is generally stereotyped as having a blonde bob haircut, asking to speak to retail and restaurant managers to voice complaints or make demands, and being a nagging, often divorced mother from Generation X.

  6. Don’t cuck, George! Keep Karen-ing the Karens!

    • George Michalopulos says

      I’m not cucking! I do believe “Gretchen” is a better appellation and will do whatever is within my power to make it so.

      As for the broader culture, “Karen” may be here to stay. If so, I can’t reverse that tide.

      Anyway, I hope y’all realize I was being sardonic and that this was a piece of satire.

  7. Ronda Wintheiser says

    Good Lord.  This is not name-calling. 


    [ˈnām ˌkôliNG]


    abusive language or insults.

    It’s simply a description of behavior.  A Gretchen behaves a certain way.  And it just so happens that the behavior is abusive and insulting. 

    It’s not unlike saying someone is a soccer mom.


  8. George, keep on “Karening”.. in our born in America Greek family we use the name Nancy that was coined by my YiaYia. Just recently my 10 year old 4th generation  granddaughter said to me, “ that’s a Nancy sized piece of cake”! Meaning Greeks and ethnics tend to “bigger is better “.  We us Nancy as anything non ethnic. 

    • In England, a ‘Nancy’ is an unmasculine male.
      In Scotland, a ‘Jessie’ is the same.

  9. George is doing just fine.
    “Let the big dog run.”  (As we say)

  10. Archpriest Paisius McGrath says

    What we are seeing is a revival of a Know Nothing Party. The Republican Party of Lincoln and Jack Kemp is dead, as is Conservatism of W.F. Buckley and George Will. It is replaced by a Know Nothing, nativist populism, the same Radical Republicanism that foisted Reconstructionism on my native South. I am and will always remain a true Jeffersonian Democrat.. i.e a conservative Democrat who fights against the progressive pro abortion lobby just as much as I fight against the anti-patriotic pro- monarchy loyalist nativist protectionist carnival barking Any Rand influenced masses that call themselves Tea Party Patriots but in the American Revolution were called Loyalists!

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Gee, I didn’t know there were democrats out there who fight against the pro-abortion lobby. May I ask for the name of one of these candidates?

      • James Keys says

        The organization “Democrats for Life” might be helpful in your search.

      • On a national level, there are five, which is to say countable with the fingers and thumb of one hand.

        • Archpriest Paisius McGrath says

          And many more have either retired or been voted out of office by the twin attacks from both right and left by those whose lobbying efforts are rooted in the same goal of proving that there is only two political choices: Progressive Left and Neo- Know Nothings. We may not have the numbers right know but we do exist and we are there!

          • You do not have the the numbers right now, and you never will again. The Democrats have been moving left for decades. It has been recently declared by Democratic party chairman Tom Perez, that pro-life Democrats are not welcome in the party. The entire party has moved to the point of no return, dear Father. But there is something else at work here. You refer to the Democrats on the left as the “Progressive left”.  And you refer to far right Republicans as the “Neo-Know Nothings.”  It is very interesting that you use a proper description for those you dislike on the left…and a flaming insult for those you do not like on the right.

            • Archpriest Paisius McGrath says

              Not, not an insult at all. It is a reference to what I see as a return to the nativist populist Know Nothing Party that had some sway, popular support and minimal power for several decades up to the middle of the 1800’s. It is a historical and political judgment call on my part. While you may disagree, that is fine, but don’t attribute to me an insult when none has been given.

              • Come on Father…I’m not that naive. If you refer to someone (or a group of people) as a “know-nothing”…it is most assuredly an insult.

          • I agree, Father.  I also agree with Johann below.  And although I generally lean Conservative when voting, I always vote for the candidate who protects (or attempts to protect) life and marriage.
            For example, there once was a pro-life Democratic Senator in my state who ran against an otherwise Conservative Republican who was pro-choice.  I, of course, voted for the Democratic Senator because in my mind if one cannot get the issue of life correct, nothing else, no matter how laudable it may otherwise be, will ever be rightly done.  

            It may, admittedly, do little good, but some good is far better than none. I always vote this way if only to “put a finger in the dam” that holds back the flood of evil.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Brian, may I ask how that particular Democrat Senator voted once in office, i.e. did he honor his commitment to the pro-Life position?

              • George,
                Hard to believe as I look back on it, but it was 40 years ago.  His  record on what most pro-life people (including myself) would think of as pro-life votes was rather mixed, as I recall.  But he never changed his position to retain his party’s support (as most seem to do), and he voted to confirm Conservative SCOTUS judges.  He was, as I recall, somewhat like Joe Manchin – not perfect, but better than his full-on “it’s a woman’s right to choose” opponent at the time.
                I’ve never looked for perfection in a candidate.  In my view, it’s unrealistic.  I look for which of the choices is better on the most important matter of all:  lives created in God’s image.  He was the first and only member of the Democratic party for whom I was eligible to vote to meet that criteria.  There have been none since.

            • Archpriest Paisius McGrath says

              I agree, Brian. While I am a registered Democrat I never vote straight party line, but judge each candidate on their merits and their positions. I am under no illusion that the Democrat Party will ever return to its roots, but nonetheless I see it as my duty to stand by my political convictions and to do what I can to “put a finger in dam.”

    • I suppose ‘No Rand’ is better than ‘Any Rand’.

      • Archpriest Paisius McGrath says

        Good sir Brendan. I meant the philosopher Ayn Rand. Erin Go Bragh!

    • Sorry Father. There are no more conservative Democrats. If you vote Democrat, you vote Socialist. They want God out of their platform, and pro-lifers are not welcome.

      • Archpriest Paisius McGrath says

        Good to know that myself and all those of like mind do not exist in your view of the world, dear Mikhail!

        • Gail Sheppard says

          That’s hardly a fair statement, Father. We know you exist but you’re part of an extremely small minority. When you say “all those of like mind,” you’re talking about a handful. Democrats are overwhelmingly pro-choice. It would be far more advantageous, politically, to support a liberal republican who is pro-life than a pro-life democrat who is marginalized by his entire party.

          • Archpriest Paisius McGrath says

            I said that simply to address the claim that there are no conservative democrats by another respondent.

            • Mikhail has a point. How can anyone who votes for the Democratic Party, given its current policies, identify as conservative?
              It’s like the Uniates claiming to be “Orthodox in union with Rome.” It  makes no sense.

            • George Michalopulos says

              At the end of the day, Fr, what good is it to believe in the ideal (that there are pro-life Democrats) while the reality on the ground is that such people carry absolutely no weight within their Party?

              The priest and the Levite were fastidious in their religious observance. What good did that do to the man who was set upon by robbers and beaten?

          • RIP (reluctant internet poster) says

            “That’s hardly a fair statement, Father. We know you exist but you’re part of an extremely small minority. When you say “all those of like mind,” you’re talking about a handful. Democrats are overwhelmingly pro-choice. It would be far more advantageous, politically, to support a liberal republican…”
            Unfortunately, the latter have become even fewer in number (or, at least, of as little political relevance) than the former.  Meaning, to be a liberal Republican these days is just as quixotic, if not more so, than you believe being a pro-life Democrat to be.  That’s my experience, anyway.

        • It’s a terrible thing to know that an Orthodox priest attempts to defend a political party which is overwhelmingly dedicated to the destruction of life in the womb.

          • Archpriest Paisius McGrath says

            Again, I did not defend anything. I’m merely laying out my political philosophy which is that of the traditional Democrat Party the southern democrats of old. I oppose Abortion where ever I find it, I oppose gay marriage, and I’m not a socialist or a communist. That was my overall point that not all those who are registered Democrats support either of those and not all Democrats are Socialists. I never vote for a candidate because they are Democrat. I’m under no illusion that my understanding and viewpoints are popular or of wide support in either the Democrat Party or with anyone who takes the media driven position that you if are a Democrat you accept all the Party positions or else you must be a Republican or whatever the Grand Ole Party is these days. I’m under no illusion that my political beliefs will influence many or win friends, they are what they are.

            • I could not understand some of your post due to missing words. However, I would like to ask you a question. You oppose abortion and gay marriage. When you lived in Western PA, there were very few Democrats who were pro-life and traditional marriage. You say that Dahlkemper was one of them. Although Bob Casey tries to claim he is pro-life, he has certainly proved otherwise and he is in favor of so-called gay marriage. So you must have voted for mostly Republicans during your tenure in that state, correct?

              • Gail Sheppard says

                Or not voted at all.

                • Archpriest Paisius McGrath says

                  Since becoming eligible to vote, I have voted in every election whether local, state or nation.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    I must say, Fr, that’s better than me. There have beennquite a few municipal elections that crept upon me and thence, I failed to get a mail-in ballot. (I was usually working out of town on those days.)

              • Archpriest Paisius McGrath says

                Yes, I have voted for candidates from different parties over the years in PA and other places. I examine each candidates record and policy statements.  

        • Michigan Orthodox says

          With respect, it does not matter if you exist. The Democrat party will murder children whether its members agree or not. The only way to stop that is to not elect Democrats.
          Some might say abortion is not the most important issue. I disagree. If a politician can’t get baby murder right, the right to be born, they can’t be trusted on anything. 

          • You are correct, Michigan Orthodox. The Democrats are the party of abortion, euthanasia, gay “marriage” and gender self identification. I am a one issue voter…pro-life. I cannot see how it would be possible for a person who claims to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, to possibly vote for a man or woman who supports the murder of His little ones in the womb. I cannot see how a Christian can call themselves a Democrat in good conscience.

          • Michigan Orthodox,
            While I certainly agree with you, I understand the good Father to be saying that he holds to the views of the Democratic Party of old (particularly that of the South) – not the Progressive, Leftist party of death it has since become.
            Scroll down to the graph on this page to see a picture of what I mean.

    • Johann Sebastian says

      I abandoned any sense of patriotism long ago after realizing that this country–regardless of whether in Democrat or Republican hands–has a certain way of operating when it comes to geopolitical and social issues. Outcomes are the same no matter who’s in charge: a few bones are thrown to particular constituencies to mollify their agitations to a degree and secure votes. But tell me–is there ever any *real* movement when it comes to rethinking geopolitical alignments, who our real friends and enemies are, or serious consideration of historical realities/potential long-term ramifications when we “take sides” and meddle in another country’s internal or near-abroad conflicts, or a rethinking of clear double standards from a nation that prides itself on its supposed justice and fairness? Is there ever any *real* movement when it comes to tackling lax migration policies? Is there ever any *real* abatement of programs and legislation that have created a climate that punishes individual initiative and rewards laziness, ignorance, and entitlement? Both liberals and those who would style themselves as conservative continue to facilitate this nation’s downward slide into the cultural abyss While I don’t pine after the conservatism Fr. Paisius says is dead (it’s a conservatism whose fruit is neocon Anglo-Zionism), I do believe the Republican party is in grave danger of devolving into a new Know Nothing Party. We need something modelled after Old Right lines–refined, erudite, reasoned, and capable of making effective arguments rooted in fact.

      • Archpriest Paisius McGrath says

        I often wonder how the last great American true Conservative  William F. Buckley Jr,whose intellectual and political refined erudition was respected by even those who disagreed with him, would say about the current state of social and political affairs.

        • Buckley-type conservatives are just slow progressives. What he’d say is what his National Review said a few years ago: defending transgenderism is ackshually a conservative position.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Fr, bless. Christ is Risen!

          I must take umbrage at your assessment of the Left/Right paradigm. First of all, Wm F Buckley, Jr was a conservative but he was part of the controlled opposition. A former CIA agent, his elevation to “godfather” status of the conservative movement was to control the narrative. For example, he expelled Ayn Rand from the conservative movement as well as the John Birch Society. He then buckled under the pressure of neocons such as Norman Podhoretz and his wife, Midge Dector, who leaned on him to excise Joe Sobran from his magazine. Then he refused to take on the open-borders lobby when he kicked out Peter Brimelow.

          After his death, his magazine, National Review complete cucked out and removed several prominent patriotic voices such as Ann Coulter and John Derbyshire because they would not accede to the Jacobin narrative of open borders.

          As for Abraham Lincoln, he was a mixed bag. In his defense, I will say that he was a Unionist and a nativist. He was also a believer in the high tariff wall that was normative for the United States until the free-trader/neoliberals carried the day. Had he lived, the South would have been treated much better than the odious Radical Republicans did. In fact, he envisioned a Jim Crow style of governance in which the freed slaves would be repatriated to either Africa or the Caribbean.

          As for your assertion that there are pro-life Democrats, I agree with you. However once they are ensconced in power, they always buckle under the pressure of the Pelosis of their party. As a pro-life (former) Democrat such as myself, what choice do I have? Continue to be bamboozled by the pro-life Dem candidate who always folds or the tepidly pro-life Rep who will at least nominate a solidly conservative judge to the federal bench?

          You fight with the army you got, not the one that exists in our ideals.

          I thank you as well because you have enervated my mind to compose a column about the GOP/Dem shifts that had happened since the War of the Northern Aggression.

          • Archpriest Paisius McGrath says

            Christ is Risen! Thank you for your response, George. I appreciate your points but I stand by my own. We can agree and disagree reasonably. And I look forward to your future column as well. As a son of Virginia born in the city built by Thomas Jefferson and now living in Mississippi, I will enjoy hearing more of your thoughts on the War of Northern Agression!

          • ‘…enervated [your] mind’?
            ‘…taken away [your] mental or moral strength’?
            I do hope not, George…   🙂

        • Johann Sebastian says

          There was a time when I thought more highly of him, but that may have been owing to some of our common interests.

  11. Archpriest Paisius McGrath says

    There are Democrats who oppose Abortion including numerous Democrat Pro Life organizations scattered throughout the country. They don’t get the headlines much unfortunately and too many people assume that all Democrats follow the party. The US House 3rd District in northwestern PA had one such representative in Kathy Diehlkamper. I voted for her in 2009 and 2011, she lost her re-election bid in part due to lobbying smear campaign that convinced too many voters that because she was a Democrat she had to be liberal like Pelosi and pro abortion despite her very clear conservative track record.

    • You have named a representative from about a decade ago who apparently lost because she wasn’t enough like Pelosi? Lord have mercy! 2020 showed us one of the largest fields of Democratic presidential candidates in history. Not one was pro-life. The Democrats are the party of the death of the child in the womb.

    • Dear Father,
      Wonderful to learn of your pro-life stance which can no longer be assumed for Orthodox priests.
      Since you have volunteered part of your voting pattern and rationale, would you be willing to share whether you have voted in elections FOR any candidate who is pro-abortion/pro-choice?  And if so, on what theological or philosophical basis?  Apologies if you have answered this already.  
      Hoping you will wish to answer, but will respect your decision not to do so of course.   

      • Archpriest Paisius McGrath says

        I have always been opposed to Abortion as well as opposed to Capital punishment on both theological and philosophical grounds. I never vote on a strict party line but my practice is to look at the whole spectrum of a candidates positions and many years of presidential elections have voted way down the ballot for a third party candidate such as in 2000 and again in 2016. I take no pride in the fact that one or two times I did vote for a candidate whose record was pro-choice while holding the proverbial noise, as the anti-abortion candidate was so odious and noxious that I simply could not in good conscience vote for them.

        • “Odious and noxious” in style of personal  life or presentation?  Should that outweigh odious action in supporting the killing of holy innocents as those you voted for did, thus rendering you complicit?  I ask because today so many of us in the US (sadly priests too?) vote on the basis of our feeling of like rather than on substance.  And because you say you “take no pride” rather than saying you feel the need to repent or feel remorse for doing so.  That is hard for me to read of a priest in the OCA I believe, but I thank you for your honest reply.  Much preferable to those who believe what you do but do not admit it.  Thank you for your candor Father and I pray you change your mind and decide at least to stay home rather than vote for someone you know means to cause harm to the innocent or vulnerable.  Please consider.  

          • Archpriest Paisius McGrath says

            Christ is Risen! Of course I felt remorse, being conflicted and need for repentance at those times. I have never voted on the basis of like over substance, I have always looked at each candidate’s entire record and tried to vote accordingly.  I have always tried to vote on the basis of policy and which candidate’s stated policy aims and positions best match in totality what I believe to be the best overall. That is what my conscience tells me even if at times it is with sadness at not being a 100 percent match on every issue. By “odious” and “noxious” sometimes it is because of a candidates personal life and sometimes it is because of their presentation of their positions.

            • You are confused Father Paisius. There is only one issue…to protect the holy innocent lives in the womb. They have no voice. They have no choice.

              For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast protected me from my mother’s womb.   Ps: 138:13
              Give ear, ye islands, and hearken, ye people from afar. The Lord hath called me from the womb, from the bowels of my mother he hath been mindful of my name.   Isaias: 49:1
              Before I formed thee in the bowels of thy mother, I knew thee: and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and made thee a prophet unto the nations.    Jer: 1:5
              And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. 
              Luke 1:41

  12. Archpriest Paisius McGrath says

    I mentioned her because she came to mind. She lost not because she was not enough like Pelosi but because the surrogates and campaign of her opponent falsely pushed the narrative that she was like Pelosi despite her conservative voting record. And linking a candidate to Pelosi is a favorite political tool whether the claim is true or not. She was elected in a heavily Republican leaning district because she was conservative but the next election she lost because Pelosi is toxic.

    • The point being, that Pelosi is toxic, as is the Democratic party…and today…if you vote for a Democrat…you are voting for Socialism and abortion.
      Dahlkemper was defeated by Mike Kelly, who is an excellent congressman. She currently serves as the county executive of Erie right now. She was a strong advocate for ObamaCare…and at one point referred to him as a pro-life president. Here is an interesting article.

      • Archpriest Paisius McGrath says

        Having lived for nearly eight years, I can assure you not all of the good people of the former 3rd District of western Pa would agree on your assessment of Mr. Kelly. And yes, Obama Care is not perfect and needs much updating but nonetheless I support it in part because as someone with pre-existing conditions I am fully insured only since ObamaCare.

        • I’ve lived in Western PA for nearly sixty years, and I assure you Mr.Kelly is a very well liked and popular congressman.
          And yes…I had an inkling that you probably supported the abomination that we know as ObamaCare.

          • Archpriest Paisius McGrath says

            Yes, I know there are many people who do support and really like Mike Kelly. My point was there are others, even in his hometown where I lived for 14 years, who have a different view.

            • There are always those who are going to have an opposing view. Mike Kelly is very popular and well respected and I will vote for him as long as he is on the ballot.

        • Again, I thank you for your candor, Father, but hope that the self-interest you express in voting for Democrats because of Obamacare does not make you miss the other things written into that bill which involve death panels (I read the original bill even though Nancy P said not to!). And a second topic:  freedom of religion.  Hopefully that very important topic would elicit your interest and support as being quite important as well.  A number of Orthodox make use of faith-based health insurance and have told me that has helped them both economically and medically.  Hoping you can learn about that too!  Best in Christ, Nicole

          • Archpriest Paisius McGrath says

            Christ is Risen! As for Obamacare, yes it overreached on not more carefully allowing for freedom of conscience for those opposed to providing for abortions and other mandated medical procedures. As for “death panels”, I did not then nor do I know accept that this was part of Obama Care. Section 1233 of the original bill which caused the claim of alleged “death panels” death with the reimbursement from medicare for medical professions for counseling sessions end of life issues, advanced directives, wills and other similar issues. Prior legislation going back to at least 1991 included similar provision. Section 1233 was an amendment in the original bill was proposed by a Democrat congressman and co-sponsored by three Republican congressman. It was supported by different medical organizations but opposed by the right to life groups. The claim that this provision in the bill brought about “death panels” was first coined by Sarah Pailin and then picked up by others. Regardless, the amendment was removed and withdrawn from the final version of the bill which passed the Senate

            • “As for Obamacare, yes it overreached on not more carefully allowing for freedom of conscience for those opposed to providing for abortions…”
              Yeah…that’s an understatement. 

            • …and lowering the cost of healthcare, and saving the average family $2,500 on insurance premiums, and being able to keep the insurance plan you had prior, as well as the doctor you prefer, and ensuring everyone has sufficient coverage, and preventing bankruptcy for low wage earners, and ensuring your electronic health records are available to any provider anywhere, and that those same electronic health records would improve the practice of medicine, and that it’s premiums are not a tax (unless, that is, you need to argue its constitutionality in court), and…, and…, and…

    • George Michalopulos says

      Respectfully Fr, aren’t you proving the larger point? That a decent, upstanding Democrat office-holder lost her reelection bid because of the general odiousness of the Democrat Party and its leaders?

      Kinda like that old cliché: if you lay down with dogs don’t be surprised if you wake up with flees.

  13. Don’t forget that William Buckley also marginalized Pat Buchanan for has foreign policy views.

    • Johann Sebastian says

      It’s a shame Buchanan was never successful in his presidential campaigns. Given what I’ve observed though, had he been elected, he wouldn’t have gotten very far. I’d hoped for something approaching him–albeit rougher around the edges–when I voted for Trump.

      • George Michalopulos says

        JS, Buchanan was like Goldwater:  a harbinger of things to come provided the right vehicle came along.  In Goldwater’s case, it was Reagan, in Buchanan’s case, it is Trump.

    • George Michalopulos says

      I forgot about that.  
      Please understand:  I think that Bill Buckley was a renaissance man of the first water.  Yes, he did revive the conservative movement and made Goldwater then Reagan possible.  But given the restraints put on him by the CIA (and possibly FBI), he was allowed to take conservatism only so far and with certain clearly-defined parameters.  
      Still, I take my hat off to him for what he did accomplish.  And I so miss Firing Line and the Firing Line debates that he hosted.  He was a gargantuan figure in many respects.  I recommend his son Christopher’s book “Losing Mum and Pup” to get an idea of how larger-than-life he was.  (It was a hatchet job on his mother though.)

    • George Michalopulos says

      He did.  That was one of the most execrable things he did. 

  14. Michigan Orthodox says

    Michigan’s curve is flat. New cases of covid are down to the dozens even with thousands of tests per day.

    Whitmer’s stay home order exempts churches explicitly.

    Protestant churches are opening.

    Orthodox churches remain closed.


    Where are the men? The leaders?

    Reminder to clergy: Symphonia is only a thing in Orthodox monarchies. We need to be fighting the state that unreasonably attacks us.

    We have a right to worship God in this country. Only our clergy are denying it.

    • Yes, Michigan Orthodox…the Bishops have abandoned us in their ignorance.
      When St Peter displayed profound ignorance toward Christ…the Holy Apostle heard these words: 
      Go behind me, Satan, thou art a scandal unto me: because thou savourest not the things that are of God, but the things that are of men. (Matthew 16:23).

      • Michigan Orthodox says

        Yes, the bishops have left priests to fend for themselves. I have heard that at least one bishop is AWOL and basically said, don’t ask me if you can open.
        Other priests are asking lawyers in their parishes whether they can open and nobody agrees.
        Still other priests refuse to do anything until Fr. So-and-so opens his church first.
        Some priests will not even serve communion privately because they don’t know if it’s allowed.
        With all seriousness I ask, what the hell is going on? This is hell’s triumph during the very season of Pascha. These people are not living like Christ trampled down death.
        Thank God we are not undergoing a soviet style persecution, because this has revealed our clergy will fold like a damp paper towel and sell out the flock over nothing. 
        The bishops aren’t even communicating with us. Nobody knows what is going on. 
        I understand there was a lot of fear and uncertainty back in March. Millions dead they said. Fine.
        But the all-holy DATA and all-revered SCIENCE has now shown the danger is small and can be mitigated.
        For the love of God open our churches. Maybe some don’t love God, or fear him. 

        • The socialist Governors and politicians who are forcing the shut down of Ameica have finally found their “magic pill” for controlling the masses. It’ called FEAR. Who is the author of fear? The Bishops have totally invested into the hysteria.  Let us pray that more people wake up before the damage is irreversible.

          • Michigan Orthodox says

            There will be lasting damage to the church. How many people, after two or three months (or longer) of sleeping-in on Sunday morning are going to decide Church is too much of a hassle?

            This is giving people a good, long taste of that forbidden fruit.

            Souls will be lost because of this. I suppose our bishops will have to tell God whether it was worth it in the dread judgment.
            It takes on average 66 days to break a habit. We are less than two weeks away from that milestone.

            It also occurs to me that our uncanonical hierarchy is contributing to the problem. Bishops are ruling over states far from where they live. It’s hard enough to understand the ever-changing situation in one state, let alone five or fifty.

            It seems that many bishops are simply washing their hands of it and will wait till the Catholics re-open their churches, or something.

            If your bishop lived within your state, he at least would have an easier time understanding the local situation. Maybe you could even go over to his house and give him a piece of your mind. Not so here; the bishops are far removed from their flocks, doing who knows what.

    • Michigan Orthodox says

      Also I should add, I know a nurse who works in Wayne County near Detroit. She told me yesterday that no one in her office knows anyone who has Covid.
      This truth is, this disease is spreading mostly in the projects, where people are close together in poor conditions. African Americans tend to suffer from vitamin D deficiency, which is a huge factor with this disease. 
      We have tons of data now, but our government has other motives.
      And our clergy have no guts to say the Emperor has no clothes. 

      • Archpriest Paisius McGrath says

        And there is a nurse, my niece Hannah in New Orleans, who tells a completely different story than what you report Michigan Orthodox.

        • Michigan Orthodox says

          Different situations in different places I guess, but this lady lives two doors down and we were at their house for over an hour talking about it. She’s been a nurse for longer than I’ve been alive so she knows what’s up. 
          We were breaking the stay home order by the way, like everybody. Come get me, Whitmer. Just in my immediate neighborhood I saw four houses where large groups were grilling and having picnics in their front yards. Nobody cares anymore. She’ll probably get on TV tomorrow again and wag her finger and say, I hope I don’t have to extend the order because of you. 

      • Johann Sebastian says

        I got this disease, my dad died from it. We’re not exactly in one of the so-called “underserved” groups, nor are/were we among the uninformed. We are also a staunchly conservative family, although my father was a bit more trusting of establishment variety Republicans.
        Of course, this is California, so maybe that was the intent all along with all the bumbling and bungling this state has done. Maybe they want us out, I don’t know. But I’m tired of people who take opportunities to push political agendas, in this case identity politics.

        I was interviewed by the LA Times shortly after my father’s death (probably because of the lengthy obituary I had published on Pascha) and when asked about causes took opportunity to offer–in a temperate way–criticism of China and those whose “solutions” are polluted by ideology. That didn’t make the cut, nor did I expect it to. That I’d caught the reporter off-guard by my commentary was palpable–by external appearances and names (i.e., what the left likes to call “profiling”) we were assumed to be firmly in the Democrat grip.

        I stand by my assertion that the weakest links were China, those who were more concerned about enterprises manufacturing and importing throwaway plastic shit, and most certainly those who peddled their incessant accusations of xenophobia and racism at containment attempts during the opening days of this catastrophe. After that, there was plenty of blame to go around on all sides–whether because of ineptitude or unwitting ignorance–but by that point it was like controlling a fire on a lake of gasoline anyway. China did it, and those who deflect that responsibility–in any form and for whatever reason–are her accomplices.

        • Michigan Orthodox says

          I’m sorry for your loss, Johann. May his memory be eternal, and Christ is risen!

        • Michigan Orthodox says

          My great-great aunt is likely to be a COVID-19 casualty in the next few days. Not because she caught it, but because her nursing home banned visitors, and her niece (who is dying of cancer herself) was the only one who would spend the 1-2 hours per day it took to feed her. After she was banned from visiting, the nursing staff wouldn’t take the time, so she wasted away with no food and little human contact. She has dementia and is only calm around familiar people.
          Anyway she was hospitalized and given IV fluids and nutrition, which saved her from the brink but the lasting damage was done. She is in hospice now, and only her niece may visit, and once per day at that. Not even her pastor can visit because of Whitmer’s orders (even though I have not seen the language that bans pastors from hospice patients, and the home won’t produce it).
          Very sad. It didn’t have to happen. I hold Whitmer personally responsible for this likely death. So if I come across as a little agitated, this is part of the reason.

          • “…the nursing staff wouldn’t take the time,”
            It seems that ‘nursing’ is become like ‘common’ sense,
            an exceedingly rare and mis-named commodity.
            May God bless your great-great aunt.

  15. George Michalopulos says

    In the spirit of snark, I humbly present you this charming video:


    • It’d be funny if it wasn’t so true. Anarcho-tyranny, we have arrived.

      • Why are our Bishops buying into this scam? I just read another Church-opening directive…thus time from an Antiochian Church. It is odious beyond comprehension.
        Do not dare to kiss or touch Icons. Temperature taken before entering the Church. Mandatory masks for people. Mandatory mask for priest during Communion. Names documented for contact tracing. Markers on pews and floor indicating where you can sit and stand. Do not dare to close your mouth around the Communion spoon.
        Who would anyone desire to even attend such a service?

        • Such parishes should be boycotted.

        • Antiochene Son says

          Those are beyond the directives the Metropolitan issued. Masks for example were recommended but nowhere were they mandatory. Must be a frightened priest.
          There may be a certain amount of playing along with this, too. I think Trump got to that point too, he tried to downplay it until he couldn’t anymore, so he just went for it. People will get tired of it before long, just like people are tired of staying home. 
          Here’s an idea though: stop the uncalled for liturgical abuse of people sharing the the kiss of peace, which is proper to the clergy. Nothing wrecks a liturgy like people glad handing for two minutes. 

          • Antiochene Son, I agree 100% with you! While it is a nice thought…nothing wrecks a liturgy like people glad handing (shaking hands) for two minutes. I’ve really only seen that done in Antiochian parishes here in the U.S. I have a dear friend who actually grew up in Lebanon and she has told me that there was never any hand shaking or kisses exchanged between laity during liturgies. I always wondered how that custom started? (I know that Anglicans do it.)

            • The uniates do it.

              • Probably because the (Latin) rite Catholics do it. (Monkey see, monkey do!) I went to a Catholic baptism years ago—sitting in the back, and there was a communion service and at one point everyone was shaking hands. One guy told me his name as we shook hands, and stated that he was in the insurance business, and slipped me his card. Now, that was strange!

                • Tim R. Mortiss says

                  So far, I’ve never seen the glad-handing kiss-of-peace stuff in an Orthodox service of any kind. One of the seldom-remarked good things about becoming a convert.

          • Antiochian Son,
            I am seeing the “mandatory” clause from most Churches. I just read new directives from one of the Greek Metropolis’….almost identical to the Antiochian directives. There is a common narrative and collusion amongst the bishops.
            I couldn’t agree more about the interruption caused by the silly handshaking.

            • Antiochene Son says

              The language in his letter says: “the faithful are highly encouraged to wear face coverings” and then it punts to the local bishop, so it’s possible bishops are imposing stricter rules. What states are you looking at?
              Also noteworthy, there is nothing mentioning icons or not venerating them. Only a general rule to clean surfaces after services, “especially pews.” No ban on service books, but the tray must not be passed (which is fine, it’s another Protestant influence I hate). 

              • “the faithful are highly encouraged to wear face coverings”
                “Highly Encouraged” is a polite way of saying…you better do it!  Can you show us the new directives from Met. Joseph? I can’t seem to find them.

    • Sage-Girl says

      Hilarious video — thanks George
      sending to a surfer ?‍♀️ friend in state of disbelief!
       How much longer of this??

  16. Michigan Orthodox says

    Like a new Moses, Whitmer has descended from the divine heights to issue her latest diktat which deigns to allow 10 people to gather in one place. (Churches continue to be legally exempt from all restrictions.)
    The state has given our parishes cover to open to a handful of people per service. Thank God—I mean, thank Whitmer.

    But it will still take weeks or months for larger parishes to get everyone through the door even once. If our parishes are serious about ministering to those long absent from the Mysteries, until this is over, in addition to Sundays they will have liturgy every Saturday and as many weekdays as necessary to enable every parishioner to attend liturgy at least once per month.

    Either let the people come to church when they want, or you have to provide enough liturgies for them to attend when they are allowed.

  17. “…or you have to provide enough liturgies for them to attend when they are allowed.”
    I know one priest who is doing this very thing.  No more than once a day, mind you (as prescribed); but at least three times a week.  It allows him to be obedient to his bishop and meet the people’s needs.  I hope others will follow.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Fr. Ambrose at Holy Apostles (OCA), in Bixby, OK does Liturgy every day, except this coming Tuesday, as he has to take his 5-year-old to a specialist.

      Every day, folks. He does liturgy every day. But if what I’ve seen from the GOA is anything like what we’re going to see in the OCA with regard to what “Church” is going to look like going forward, I’m afraid people will just give up.

      This from the Chicago Greek Metropolis:

      1. Create COVID Parish Safety Team:
      • Priest (required)
      • Parish Council President (required)
      • Legal advisor (required)
      • Medical advisor (required)
      • Other members (optional)

      2. Assign responsibilities to COVID Parish Safety Team:
      • Organize & Educate
      • Initial Cleaning
      • Limit or Prohibit Access
      • Exonarthex & Narthex
      • In the Nave
      • Preparing for After the Celebration

      3. Prepare contact information sheet for COVID Parish Safety Team. Consider including:
      • COVID Parish Safety Team Members
      • Parish Maintenance Staff/Cleaning Vendor
      • Cleaning Supply Vendor
      • Police Department (include nonemergency)
      • Fire Department and EMT (if different)
      • Hospital(s)

      4. Review on a regular basis local, state, and federal guidelines and directives for group gatherings and public health.

      5. Establish weekly status meeting.

      6. Devise system for identifying and notifying parishioners for attendance at services.

      7. Devise system for tracking parishioner attendance and attendance count, and establish a seating matrix.

      8. Prepare communication to parish regarding restrictions (no coffee hour, no paper bulletins, etc.) and guidelines for in-person attendance at parish building (reminder to wear facemask, social distance).

      9. Determine cleaning areas (areas to be accessible by parishioners).

      10. Determine necessary cleaning supplies required for Building (not supplies needed for use by parishioners).

      11. Coordinate with maintenance staff regarding:
      • Cleaning supply inventory
      • Usher supply inventory (disinfectant spray, hand sanitizer, wipes)
      • Supply order expectations – frequency
      • Budget for cleaning supplies

      12. Where practical, remove soft surfaces in public areas. Examples of soft surfaces are:
      • Area rugs and non-attached runners
      • Cushions
      • Fabric icon stand runners
      NOTE: remaining soft surfaces will require cleaning and sanitation. Weather should guide if runners required for safety.

      13. Flush water systems.

      14. Change air handling filters; run air handlers during services. Consider opening windows, if practical.

      15. Remove fabric hand towels from restrooms.

      16. If budget permits, and if available, consider for restrooms:
      • Touchless soap dispensing
      • Touchless water faucet
      • Touchless paper towel dispensing

      17. Determine parishioner access points to Church Building. If possible, have one access point for entry, and a separate access point for exit.

      18. Determine areas of the Church Building that should have no access by parishioners and prevent access to those areas.

      19. If a coat room cannot be locked, remove all hangers, coats, umbrellas, and other items from coat rooms. The room should be bare.

      20. Block or disengage all drinking fountains.

      21. Establish a location for Usher Supplies:
      • Disinfectant spray
      • Disinfectant wipes
      • Hand sanitizer

      22. Signs at entry and at Nave entry reminding:
      • No physical veneration of sacred items and icons (cordon-off area)
      • Wear face covering over nose and mouth

      23. Established hand sanitizer stations with small waste basket with liner:
      • Entry to building
      • Entry to Narthex
      • Entry to Nave

      24. Candle stand (Πανγαρι):
      • Remove all candles
      • Add donation tray or donation box (keep candles and donations separated to minimize contact points)
      • Consider adding a sign that donations are appreciated for candles
      • Candles will be distributed by a designated member of the parish; the person must wear gloves
      • After lighting a candle, parishioners must disinfect their hands

      25. Candle box – set table with spaced candles for parishioner lighting.

      26. As possible, method to keep doors open between Exonarthex, Narthex, and Nave.

      27. Remove all items from pews, including Bibles, books, and guides.

      28. Cordon-off pews to allow for a minimum of 6-feet between people. Mark spaces where individual may be seated in pews in an effort to assist ushers. Same-household families may be in one pew.

      29. Hand sanitizer station at front near Solea for use prior to Holy Communion.

      30. Usher to direct each row for Holy Communion and for dismissal.

      31. Clean and disinfect all surfaces.

      32. Clean and sanitize restrooms.

      33. Remove and replace all wastebasket liners.

      34. Replenish and restock hand sanitizer stations and supply stations.

      • Michigan Orthodox says

        While my priest hasn’t the boldness I’d like to see, I’m sure his response to this would be “yeah– no.”
        What’s all the obsession with soft surfaces like coats and fabric? Even the scientists say the virus does not survive more than 1-2 hours on such surfaces. And why aren’t outdoor services being presented as an option? Even Whitmer doesn’t ban those. 
        Maybe they’re devising such absurd regulations as a signal not to follow them, like when people under duress “confess” to ridiculously over-the-top crimes. The mayor of Chicago is a nut job, after all. 

        • Gail Sheppard says

          It’s insane, isn’t it? I don’t want this kind of “Church experience.”

        • George Michalopulos says

          MO, it’s amazing how a majority of our episcopate has bought into the “scientific” paradigms. Whereas some Catholic bishops and Protestant pastors are actively fighting back, ours have folded like cheap suits, wanting the acclaim of the Fauci’s of the world.

          • They spend  so much time preparing to consider how to agree on consultations over the practicalities of how liturgies should be held that they have, in practice, no time to hold liturgies.

          • Michigan Orthodox says

            It’s amazing indeed. It’s a disgrace to every martyr who lost life and limb for Christ, when there is literally ZERO penalty for carrying on as usual.
            I’m sure some want to be hailed by the Faucis as “being on the right side of history,” but I suspect more are just flooded with abject fear of not falling in line. I really don’t understand it, especially when so many are now willing to step out of line.
            Yes, some people may catch COVID at church and even die. But how many souls are perishing right now? How many Orthodox, now weakened by long absence from communion, will be taken in by a heterodox church that is actually meeting people’s needs.
            I know one person in particular who has been playing footsie with Rome for a year or two, and if Rome’s parishes open while ours remain closed, I see a real possibility that he jumps ship.
            How about it, bishops? Do you want to answer for such cases at the dread judgment? I think there will be a stiffer penalty for a lost sheep than one who prematurely goes to the Lord.

            • Kyno Watts says

              Contemporary Orthodox EldersFr. Josiah Trenham
              The nature of spiritual direction and eldership in the Church is unfolded through an examination of the lives of influential elders who have served Christ and who are either still living or have reposed in the Lord within the last 50 years. The lives and teaching of these seven great elders from Romania, Greece, England and America are majestic love gifts from the reigning Christ to His Flock on earth, and their radiant witness serves as a clear guide for all who wish to enter into the Kingdom of God: Father Zacharias of Essex is a disciple of Elder Sophrony (of blessed memory), who was a disciple of St. Silouan of Mount Athos. Fr. Zacharias has been for forty years a monk in the Monastery founded by Elder Sophrony: The Patriarchal Stavropegic Monastery of St. John the Baptist, Tolleshunt Knights by Maldon, Essex, England.
              Many people are in confusion and others panic because of the threat of the Coronavirus epidemic that spread in the whole world. I think, however, that this should not happen, for whatever God does with us, He does it out of love. The God of Christians is a good God, a God of mercy and lovingkindness, ‘Who loveth mankind’. God created us out of His goodness in order to share His life and even His glory with us. When we fell into sin, He allowed death to enter our life again out of goodness, so that we may not become immortal in our wickedness, but to seek for a way of salvation. Although we have fallen, God has never stopped to provide for us, not only material goods in order to sustain our race, but He also sent prophets and righteous, preparing His way so that He might come and solve our tragedy, and bring eternal salvation through the Cross and Resurrection of His inconceivable love. He came and took upon Himself the curse of sin, and He showed His love to the end: ‘Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end’ (John 13:1). All the things that God did when He created us, when He provided goods in order to sustain the world, when He prepared His way for Him to come on earth, when He came Himself in person and wrought our salvation in such an awesome way, all these things He did out of goodness. His goodness is boundless. He saves us and is so longsuffering towards us, waiting until we ‘come to the knowledge of the truth’ (1 Tim. 2:4) and bring true repentance, so that we may be with Him for all eternity. Thus, at every stage of His relationship with man, our God shows only His goodness and mercy, ‘which is better than life’ (Ps. 63:3); goodness is His Nature and He does all things for the benefit and salvation of man.Consequently, when He shall come again to judge the world, will a different God judge it? Will it not be the same good God, the God of mercy and lovingkindness, Who loves mankind? Let us be certain that we shall not appear before any other God than Him Who created us and saved us. And so, it is again with the same mercy and love that He will judge us. For this reason, we should neither panic nor waver, for it will be the same God that will receive us in the other life and will judge us with the same kindness and compassion. Some fear that the hour of their end has come. This plague of Coronavirus has also a positive aspect, because we have a few weeks from the moment it will assail us until our end. Therefore, we can dedicate this time to prepare ourselves for our meeting with God, so that our departure may not occur unexpectedly and without preparation, but after we have run through our whole life each time we stand in prayer before God, at times with thanksgiving unto the end for all the things God has done for us and at other times with repentance, seeking the forgiveness of our transgressions. Nothing can harm us with such a God, Who allows all things out of His goodness. We must simply keep thanksgiving unto the end and the humble prayer of repentance for the forgiveness of our sins.As for myself, this plague is helping me. I longed to find again the prayer I had before, with which I can run through my whole life from my birth until now, thanking God for all His benefits ‘whereof I know and whereof I know not’; and also, with which I can run through my whole life repenting for all my sins and transgressions. It is wonderful to be able to run through your life praying, bringing all things before God with persistence in prayer. Then you feel that your life is redeemed. This is why this situation is truly helping me. I am not panicking but ‘I will be sorry for my sin’ (Ps. 38:18).We must see the goodness of God in all the things that are happening now. The Holy Fathers did see His lovingkindness. A similar epidemic occurred in the 4th century in the Egyptian desert, which harvested more than a third of the monks, and the Fathers were saying with great inspiration that, ‘God is harvesting souls of saints for His Kingdom,’ and they did not waver. The Lord Himself speaks in the Gospel about the last days, about the trials and afflictions which the world will go through before His Second Coming. However, we discern neither morbid sadness nor despair in His words. The Lord Who prayed in the garden of Gethsemane with a sweat of blood for the salvation of the whole world, says that when we see the terrible things that precede His Second Coming, we should lift up our heads with inspiration, for our redemption draws nigh (cf. Luke 21:28). Some tell me, ‘May God extend His helping hand.’ But this is precisely the hand of God. He desires and works our salvation ‘at sundry times and in divers manners’ (Heb. 1:1): ‘My Father worketh hitherto, and I work’ (John 5:17). This virus may be a means that God uses in order to bring many to themselves and to repentance, and to harvest many ready souls for His eternal Kingdom. Therefore, for those who surrender and entrust themselves to the Providence of God all will contribute for their good: ‘All things work together for good to them that love God’ (Rom. 8:28).Thus, there is no room for morbid dismay. Neither should we resist the measures that the government is taking in order to diminish the spreading of the afflictions we see in the lives of so many people. It is wrong to go against the authorities. We should do whatever the Government says, because they are not asking for us to deny our faith, they are only asking us to take a few measures for the common wellfare of all people, so that this trial may pass, and this is not at all unreasonable. Some people take it too confessionally, they raise flags and play the martyrs and the confessors. For us there is no doubt: we shall show pure submission to the orders of the Government. It is unfair to disobey the Government since, when we fall ill, it is to their hospitals that we run and they are the ones who undertake all the expenses and our care. Why not listen to Part IIThis is the ethos of Christ that God showed in His life on earth and this is the apostolic commandment that we have received: ‘…be subject to principalities and powers, obey magistrates, be ready to every good work, speak evil of no man, be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men’ (cf. Tit. 3: 1-2); and ‘Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme…’ (see 1 Pet. 2:13-17). If we do not obey our governors who are not asking much, how will we obey God, Who gives us a divine law, which is far more sublime than any human law? If we keep the law of God we are above human laws, as the apologists of the 2nd century said during the Roman Empire which was persecuting the Christians. It is surprising to see in the country where we live, in the United Kingdom, that the footballers show such understanding and discernment so as to be the first to withdraw from their activities with docility towards the indications of the Government to take prophylactic measures. It would be sad for us, people of faith, to fail reaching the measure of the footballers and showing the same docility towards the authorities for which our Church prays.If they ask us to stop our Church services, let us simply surrender and bless the Providence of God. Besides, this reminds us of an old tradition that the Fathers had in Palestine: in Great Lent, on the Sunday of Cheese fare, after the mutual forgiveness, they would go out in the desert for forty days without Liturgy; they would only continue in fasting and prayer so as to prepare and return on Palm Sunday to celebrate in a godly way the Passion and the Resurrection of the Lord. And so, our present circumstances force us to live again that which existed of old in the bosom of the Church. That is to say, they force us to live a more hesychastic life, with more prayer, which will however make up for the lack of the Divine Liturgy and will prepare us to celebrate with greater desire and inspiration the Passion and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Thus, we will turn this plague into a triumph of hesychasm. In any case, whatever God allows in our life is out of His goodness for the well-being of man, for He never wants His creature to be harmed in any way.Certainly, if we will be deprived of the Divine Liturgy for a longer period of time, we can endure it. What do we receive in the Liturgy? We partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, which are filled with His grace. This is a great honour and benefit for us, but we also receive the grace of God in many other ways. When we practice hesychastic prayer, we abide in the Presence of God with the mind in the heart calling upon the holy Name of Christ. The Divine Name brings us the grace of Christ because it is inseparable from His Person and leads us into His Presence. This Presence of Christ which is purifying, cleanses us from our transgressions and sins, it renews and illumines our heart so that the image of God our Saviour, Christ, may be formed therein.If we shall not have Easter in the Church, let us remember that every contact with Christ is Easter. We receive grace in the Divine Liturgy because the Lord Jesus is present in it, He performs the sacrament and He is the One imparted to the faithful. However, when we invoke His Name, we enter the same Presence of Christ and receive the same grace. Therefore, if we are deprived of the Liturgy, we always have His Name, we are not deprived of the Lord. Moreover, we also have His word, especially His Gospel. If His word dwells continually in our heart, if we study it and pray it, if it becomes our language with which we speak to God as He spoke to us, then we shall have again the grace of the Lord. For His words are words of eternal life (John 6:68), and the same mystery is performed, we receive His grace and are sanctified.Furthermore, each time we show kindness to our brethren the Lord is well-pleased, He considers that we did it in His Name and He rewards us. We show kindness to our brethren and the Lord rewards us with His grace. This is another way in which we can live in the Presence of the Lord. We can have the grace of the Lord through fasting, alms giving and every good deed. So, if we are forced to avoid gathering in Church, we can also be united in spirit in these holy virtues which are known within the Body of Christ, the holy Church, and which preserve the unity of the faithful with Christ and with the other members of His Body. All the things we do for God is a Liturgy, for they minister unto our salvation. The Liturgy is the great event of the life of the Church, wherein the faithful have the possibility to exchange their little life with the boundless life of God. However, the power of this event depends on the preparation we perform before, through all the things we have mentioned, through prayer, good deeds, fasting, love for neighbour, repentance.Therefore, my dear brethren, it is not necessary to make heroic confessions against the Government for the prophylactic measures that it takes for the good of all people. Neither should we despair, but only wisely machinate ways so as not to lose our living communication with the Person of Christ. Nothing can harm us, we must simply be patient for a certain period of time and God will see our patience, take away every obstacle, every temptation and we shall again see the dawn of joyful days, and we shall celebrate our common hope and love that we have in Christ Jesus.

          • George,
            And if the Bishops think this will all be over and things will “go back to normal” in the near future, I think they’re sorely mistaken. Our governor in Delaware just issued a ghastly edict on Monday for “Communities of worship” that bans (among other things)
            • person-to-person Communion
            •unmasked choir of more than 2
            •clergy to hold a candidate for Baptism
            •Services longer than 1 hour
            In issuing this order, the governor didn’t specify what “phase” this is part of or when (if ever) these rules will be relaxed. If we don’t realize now that this has nothing to do with “safety” and everything to do with obedience conditioning and decide to fight for our freedoms then we will never get them back.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Jon, why even have a church at this point in Delaware?  Maybe we should just fold up our tents and head to wherever.

              I have spoken against “Sergianism” in the past.  Many of us have.  And not sympathetically.  But at least the Sergianists had a more tolerable excuse:  either bend to the Soviets or risk complete annihilation.  I’m talking Gulag being the least, worst option there.

              The Russian Orthodox Church could make this point: they were making a strategic retreat. And because Russia had the grace of centuries of holy saints, it could (conceivably) bounce back, stronger than ever. It did.

              We here in the US have no such “cushion” to sustain us or which we could fall back on. Given the pussilanimity of our American episcopate, if the Gov of Wherever says “no services longer than an hour”, then it’s going to become canonical for us.

              What’s our excuse here in “the land of the free, home of the brave”?

              • George Michalopulos says

                Ultimately, the believers had enough faith to persevere believing that in time, the Faith would “snap back” and reassert itself.  
                It did.  However, this was a huge risk and happened only because Russia had centuries of literally thousands of grace-filled saints in its land.

                We in the US don’t have such a “cushion” which will allow us to bounce back to the pre-COVID days of American Orthodox religiosity.  We will not only be comfortable with live-streaming liturgies but shortened ones as well.  Moreover, the loss of the simple pieties –kissing the priest’s hand, grabbing our own antidoro, venerating icons, etc.–will be permanent.  After all, we were told that they weren’t necessary in the first place.

                Heck, we won’t even have coffee hour.

                • Sage-Girl says

                  Your right George – no more coffee ☕️ hour! The eventual lack of church social connection will hurt us
                  & most probably,
                  at my cathedral, say goodbye to Weds night spiritual group … 
                  it’s like an atomic bomb ? hit us!

              • George Michalopulos says

                Jon, if I may add, I believe that something has “snapped” in the psyches of Orthodox Christians here in America.

                Our obedience to the bishops were cordial but tenuous at best.  The reputation of the episcopate as a whole has been eroded.  Consider for example, Arb LP’s “COVID Relief Fund”.  It went over like a lead balloon.  Not only was there no positive response to it, there was no negative response. In essence, the jig is up.

                Some wise man once said that the opposite of love was not hate, but apathy.  We’re seeing a lot of apathy here.  Unfortunately, it’s going to be the parish priests who are going to suffer the most.

                • “Our obedience to the bishops were cordial but tenuous at best.  The reputation of the episcopate as a whole has been eroded. “
                  Indeed! When any of the betrayer bishops are visiting a parish or a monastery for a feast day or pilgrimage or special occasion…you can be assured that Mikhail will not be in attendance. 
                  In a sense, this is a blessing. The betrayers bishops have shed their disguises and shown their true colors. The facade has been revealed by a virus!

                • George,
                  Gail put it best in the last paragraph of her latest post when she said, “And what, exactly, are we supposed to do now? Go back to Church as if nothing happened?” Many of the bishops have lost all credibility. How are we supposed to ever trust them again? When we needed them most, many of us have felt abandoned by them. There aren’t words that can soothe the pain and the betrayal that we feel. It feels wrong to even think it, but it’s almost as if The Hierarchs supporting the unconstitutional and illegal government orders (and even preempting them in certain cases) have become our persecutors. Lord have mercy!

            • Michigan Orthodox says

              Flood our bishops with letters, emails, and phone calls begging them to stand up. That is the only chance we have.

              If the faithful aren’t clamoring for parishes to open, they will listen to those who want them closed.

            • This is from the Babylon Bee, but how much longer will this stuff be a “joke” — it is beginning to look very, very real:

              California Allows Churches To Reopen As Long As Members Drink Blood Of Slain Goat, Renounce Christ

              SACRAMENTO, CA — California is finally loosening up lockdown restrictions on churches, Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Monday. While social distancing orders will remain in place, churches will be allowed to begin meeting again as long as they follow some newly released guidelines including:

              — Churchgoers may not sing, but they may hambone, tap dance, or chant worshipfully about the greatness of Governor Gavin Newsom.
              — Congregants must remain six feet away from the Holy Spirit at all times.
              — Money may not be put in the offering plate but burnt offerings may be made to the California political leader of your choice.
              — All returning church members must drink the blood of a slain goat that is spotless, over a year old, preferably the firstborn of its flock. 
              — Christ must be denied fully before reentering church premises.
              — Facemasks must be worn at all times while inside the building.

              Liberal church leaders praised Newsom for his willingness to “come their way” to reopen and were happy to comply.


      • George Michalopulos says

        I ask all of us to pray for Fr Ambrose and his family.

        • Axios Fr Ambrose, a son of Vladika Dmitri for sure.  What beautiful self-sacrifice for his flock,  no surprise.  Praying for Father and his family.  

      • Good old ‘cool Met’ Nathanael.

      • Anonymous II says

        Lord have mercy, the Chicago Greek directives look something like the Reformation or Vatican II.
        No thanks. 

        • George Michalopulos says

          It’s funny you should say that. Lately I’ve been thinking that something has “snapped” in the minds of American Orthodox. That we no longer believe the pomp and circumstance or that there is an overarching spirituality evident. Too much worldliness.

          It’s not unlike what happened to American Catholics post-Vatican II. Specifically post April, 1969, when Pope Paul VI ordered all RC churches to abandon the Tridentine Mass and start celebrating the Novus Ordo Mass. It was as if a switch flipped off, then off. Before that date, you knew what it was to be an observant Catholic. (TimR can back me up on this.) After that, liturgical chaos reigned.

          Is that what is going to happen to us here in America? I fear that that is indeed going to be the case. I hope I’m wrong.

          • Michigan Orthodox says

            Why would the faithful believe in it, if it can be so cavalierly set aside?
            If God exists, then worshiping him is the most important thing we can do. But if the Church is just a social club, we can indeed set it aside for awhile. So which is it?
            Clergy who continue searching for every reason to stay closed have a lot of explaining to do.

            With apologies to St. Chrysostom, it seems that the road to hell is getting a new cranium-paved bypass. Perhaps Gretchen “damn roads” Whitmer will be overseeing the project.

    • Michigan Orthodox says

      Axios to these pastors, who put the faithful first. I’d wager without even being told to take these measures. True Shepherds. 

  18. Michigan Orthodox says

    With the inspiration of Saint Constantine, President Trump has declared churches to be critical infrastructure and all churches must open this weekend.
    If any governor objects he says he will overrule them without question. 

    • George Michalopulos says

      AXIOS! Can you imagine if Hitlery was POTUS? Or Hussein?

      • I, too, am emboldened by this news. It will be interesting to see how our bishops respond to this. Their response–or lack of thereof–will say something about where they think true authority lies.

        • The Bishops will not respond. They will stay silent and go about the business of sanitation…just like when they stayed silent as Bartholomew created the horrific Ukrainian schism.

          • Michigan Orthodox says

            Actions speak louder than words.
            It occurred to me—when is the only time Christ closes the door of the Kingdom? To the foolish virgins.
            The bishops ought to have enough self-awareness to see how this looks. We are being played the fool, in more ways than one.

      • Steven J. M. says

        I can imagine also how much more like Hitler Trump must seem now to the Left. They will have freaked out at a statement like that. And that’s the problem with it, isn’t it?
        Deep down, as Comte or Ecco or I don’t know who said, the revolution is against (what the Left sees) as the greatest fascism of all: the idea that truth exists. If it does – and it does – then it’s going to wield authority; and fancy having to be bound by pesky rules (all the while failing to notice that if a person doesn’t follow righteousness, then they have to follow unrighteousness – the ruts of which are by now well worn, and which they dutifully follow)
        For instance, I saw a video last night about a guy who’s now ‘free’. He doesn’t work, he bludges off everyone, he’s in touch with nature and gets up to other less repeatable things. According to ‘his’ philosophy, there is no right or wrong, or truth or meaning – apart from what he says is all those things – and so when he’s faced with the teachings of the Church, all he sees is pure satanism. 
        Poor fella. 
        And like the Left, in general, he’s bound hand and foot by a dogma of his own, while being caught up in behaviour that’s way too low.
        Yet progressivism doesn’t see it. 
        And so when someone like Trump takes a strong position in favour of worship, imagine the terror that’s now befallen them!