Another Gauntlet Being Thrown

It seems that the wheels on the EP’s little red autocephaly-granting wagon are coming off.

As has been already reported, Ireneus, the Patriarch of Serbia delivered a blistering attack on the Ukrainian autocephaly during his annual Christmas (O.C.) message. This came on the heels of Patriarch John X of Antioch, who issued a startling encyclical, in which he rhetorically restrained Patriarch Bartholomew from proceeding further down the path on which he was embarked. In essence, he told the EP that the Church will remain united even if he can’t turn back. Schism is on him in other words, not the Church.

Now comes word that the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece has rejected Istanbul’s plea to recognize his Ukrainian action. They have chosen instead to refer the entire matter to the Greek episcopate as a whole. To my knowledge, this is unprecedented. After all, what’s a Holy Synod for if they can’t speak for a local Church? This is huge in my humble opinion. It’s one thing for the Slavic-dominated Church’s to side with Russia but the Church of Greece is, well, Hellenic, not Slavic. This is a stunning rebuke.

The bright red cherry on top of this most distasteful sundae is the demand of Ukraine’s Minister for inter-ethnic affairs that the Tomos be returned to Istanbul. In his opinion, the entire Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate must sign this ill-conceived Tomos, otherwise it is invalid.

This raises several questions. First, isn’t the signature of a Patriarch good enough? Doesn’t he represent his Holy Synod, especially if said Synod has voted in favor of an action? Second, doesn’t this contravene both the spirit and the letter of the so-called Great and Holy Council of Crete? After all, according to text of Crete, the EP is the grantor of autocephaly once he has consulted with all other Patriarchs. Methinks that there is a lot more going on behind the scenes on this.

In the meantime, Patriarch Kirill of Russia sat down for an interview and spoke about social media, smartphones and electronic gadgets. His thesis (and he makes a compelling argument) is that the Antichrist will rule the earth with these devices.

What’s important about this particular interview is the fact that he didn’t dwell on the latest kerfuffle in Ukraine. In business terms, this is called “looking beyond the sale”. In the Ukrainian matter, it’s clear that Bartholomew has drastically overplayed his hand and, yes –the wheels are definitely coming off his little red wagon.

Kirill, and the rest of Orthodoxy, have bigger fish to fry. The other primates have decided to let the EP pick up the pieces of his unfortunate misadventure.


  1. Joseph Lipper says

    The local churches basically all said they wouldn’t recognize the Ukrainian autocephaly before it happened. Now they are responding after the granting of autocephaly by saying they don’t recognize it. This was to be expected.

    Still, with exception to Billy Jack Sunday and Patriarch Kyrill, the primates of all the other local churches still commemorate Patriarch Bartholomew as the legitimate Ecumenical Patriarch.

    • Is Met. Epiphany still not commemorating Pat. Kyrill?

      …they don’t recognize it. This was to be expected.

      But hey, full speed ahead. Why should a “Father” care what his sons think?

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Metropolitan Epiphany is likely still not commemorating Patriarch Kyrill, but that’s his problem, and I doubt Patriarch Kyrill cares either way.

  2. Stephen Lilley says


    This is hot off the press from Romfea. I made a preliminary translation (“tweeking” the rough spots of Google translate):

    “A meeting between the Ukrainian Ambassador to Cyprus, Boris Goumenjuk and the Archbishop of Cyprus Kyr Chrysostomos II was held on Wednesday 9 January.

    According to Cypriot media (claiming sources from the Ukrainian Embassy), the Archbishop indicated that he has placed himself on the side of those in favor of Autocephaly in Ukraine.

    The Church News Agency,, contacted the Archbishop of Cyprus, who denied this information by calling it false.

    His Beatitude stressed that “every state is entitled to its Autocephaly, and this depends on the Ukrainian people, but at the moment I see that the Ukrainian people are not moving [i.e. embracing it].”

    “At the moment, Autocephaly is not the primary thing, but rather that Orthodoxy be not divided,” the head of the Church of Cyprus stressed to

    In conclusion, his Beatitude said that the Head of Ukraine [i.e. Epiphaniy] made a proposal to visit Cyprus, something which he [Kyr Chrysostomos] categorically rejected while underlining that he did not commemorate him [i.e. Epiphaniy] in the Divine Liturgy [i.e. in the Diptychs] nor will he commemorate him.

    Original is here:

  3. Constantinos says

    Dear George,
    Thank you for your free thinking and your thoughts on geopolitics. It’s refreshing to read from someone who actually struggles with these issues, churns them, and comes to his own conclusions. Your individual thinking displays a very creative mind at work.
    Okay, now having said that, I just don’t find these shenanigans by these prelates to be spiritually fruitful. By that, I mean I want to know the mind of Christ. I sincerely wonder how much time the EP and MP spend in personal prayer, and are they being led by the Holy Spirit. Also, are they only holy in title, or are they personally holy? You know what I mean. Doesn’t God want the Orthodox Church to grow? Obviously, the Orthodox Church is in much better shape than Rome, but we can be better. In fact, much better. In my opinion, there needs to be more involvement by the laity.
    Okay, this brings me to my major point in a disjointed sort of fashion. You know when the priest is reciting prayer requests from the congregation, I think to myself, “what’s the point?” Perfunctory prayers are not going to get the job done. We need Hades shaking prayer. The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and it takes violent prayer to get the job done. That means staying on your knees until you get an answer from God Himself.
    Not to bore you or your readers, to me this is an example of Hades shaking prayer. I believe that God has given me a gift of healing, but not a healing ministry, and I’m talking about strict Orthodoxy. Last year, my mother was suffering from serious stomach problems; my brother and sister were afraid she had c diff again. I said to my mother, ” I want to pray for you to be healed.” I took some oil, made the sign of the cross on her forehead,and asked God to heal her. The next day she reported to me she was still suffering from her ailment. I was surprised so I said, ” let me pray for you again.” I repeated what I had done the previous day. This time she happened to casually mention a vitamin she was taking. I immediately looked it up on the internet, and told her to stop taking it immediately. Her cessation of this vitamin resulted in her immediate healing. To me, God obviously heard and answered my prayer as she has not suffered from this ailment for over a year, and it stopped after I prayed for her, and God revealed to me the cause of her health crisis. This is what the church really needs. Sincere, intense prayer and an open heart to hear what He is trying to tell us. I hope this may be edifying in some small way. Thank you for the opportunity for me to share with you. May the God of all mercies abundantly bless you and your family. From a sinner who believes that God answers our prayers.

  4. Well, that’s one way to do it – ignore it all and hope it goes away. Yet the Phanar has been at it for almost 100 years. Methinks this is just the latest misadventure and there will be much more to come as long as they are mistakenly tagged as being Orthodox.

    Nonetheless, unless and until church seizures on a large scale commence in the Ukraine, Russia can afford to ignore it. After all, what does it matter if anathematized schismatics unite and drag the Phanar down with them. Two birds with one stone, so to speak.

    That is the only real danger in all of this. Violence in the Ukraine. Apart from that, it is a gift from heaven that the Phanar has chosen to separate itself from Orthodoxy given its history of heteropraxis and heterodoxy.

    The other local churches simply need to sever communion as time and consensus allow. Could be years or decades and after more silly papism from the Phanar.

    When your enemy is busy destroying himself, stay out of his way.

    • Misha: “The other local churches simply need to sever communion as time and consensus allow. ”

      What about a gentle informal shunning and pretending that EP does not exist? Not talking and not listening to. I read that it is how far-east mothers discipline naughty children.

      Perhaps they will go away for good or come back begging for forgiveness?

  5. Antiochene Son says

    Kirill’s comments about social media and electronic devices are spot-on.

  6. Any news from Romania or Alexandria?

    • anonimus per Scorilo says

      The Romanians are pretending this is not happening. The only external news on are about the Christmas celebration in Bethlehem and snow on Mount Athos 🙂

      I think they are not jumping on either bandwagon because the hypocrisy and lack of logical self-consistency of both sides:

      On one hand, the Russian Orthodox Church, who in 1940 (after the Hitler-Stalin pact) has invaded the canonical territory of the Romanian Orthodox Church now claims to be outraged that somebody else dares to invade what they claim to be their own territory.

      Note that the Romanian canonical territory they invaded is recognized in the 1925 Tomos granting the Church of Romania patriarchal rank, received from Constantinople and accepted by most of the other churches at the time (Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Serbia, Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria and Poland). Furthermore, Metropolitan Onuphry himself was head for many years of one of the Metropolias taken in 1940 from the Romanian Orthodox Church (Chernowitz, Bukovina), so his appeals for respect of canonical territory sound quite hollow.

      On the other hand, many of these territories are also claimed by the new Ukrainian church entity, and it is unclear whether the new Ukrainian Tomos from Constantinople recognizes these territories as part of the canonical territory of the Romanian Patriarchate (consistent with the 1925 Romanian Tomos) or the Canonical Territory of the new Ukraininan entity (which would be inconsistent of the 1925).

      Of course, one self-consistent solution to all these problems is to realize that all the “canonical territory” arguments are imperial-era claptrap, and every independent orthodox country should have its own autocephalous church within its territory. The Romanians in fact proposed this solution to the Moldavian problem, but neither Constantinople nor Russia would accept it.

      • If this were just about territory I might agree with you but the issue is eastern popery and invalid ecclesiology on the part of the schematics. You can’t stay above it, claiming hypocrisy on both sides simply doesn’t cut it.

        • Exactly. All are hypocritical but I have greater sympathy for the churches that suffered communist persecution over 50-70 yrs. True Constantinople has suffered pressure from republic of Turkey since 1920s on but this has not been of a direct religious nature but of an anti -Greek nature whose depth matched greek /Turkish relationship. And in anyway after 1923 with population exchange Constantinople become a hollowed out historical hangover. The suffering and killing happened prior to 1924.

          But the important point away and above this, is the fact that the EP is clearly stating that it has powers above that of the Church, to govern the Church and is using zizoulis Trinitarian theology to back it up. This is nascent papism. It is one thing for Moscow to claim St Andrew as a back up for it becoming the ‘first amongst equals’. This is historical pride and third Rome ideology but is not a claim to elevate a Patrarchate above the Church by it’s inherent greater spiritual power. This is the PAPACY.

        • anonimus per Scorilo says

          This is just about territory. Whenever in the past bishops in a liberated orthodox country wanted to gain independence from an empire they were declared schismatics by the church in the empire.

          It happened to the Bulgarians and Romanians when they declared independence from Constantinople, it happened to Bishop Petru of Balti in the Republic of Moldova who was declared schismatic by the Russians after he joined the Romanian Orthodox Church in 1992, and it happened to the guys in Ukraine.

          Moscow unfortunately has recently taken these political shenanigans to new levels of absurdity, not only they suspended and defrocked the guys who wanted freedom from the empire, they also declared them heretics, excommunicated them, anathematized them, cursed them during the Sunday of Orthodoxy service, refused to recognize their baptism (which of course accepting Roman Catholic baptism). It is clear to everyone that they have been acting in bad faith from the very beginning of this crisis, and all the talk about “legitimizing schismatics/heretics/excomunicated people” is just propaganda.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        “…every independent orthodox country should have its own autocephalous church within its territory. ”

        Exactly. The vast majority of Ukrainians identify themselves as Orthodox. It’s a completely valid reason why they should have autocephaly. That was the reason why the schismatics in Ukraine broke off. It was purely political.

        The fact that the Moscow Patriarchate is not supportive at all of Ukrainian autocephaly, and will not even consider it or negotiate with it, reflects a curiously strange ecclesiology of it’s own. It points towards an ideology of “Moscow as the Third Rome” with Patriarch Kyrill as a type of Eastern Pope. This is the same political tactic that Rome played in creating the Unia.

        • Details matter says


          You’re mixing facts, figures, apples, and oranges again. Hopefully not deliberately in order to support a certain narrative.

          The MP is not supportive of Ukrainian autocephaly because for the past few decades such “autocephaly” has been hijacked by deposed/defrocked schismatics and political opportunists masquerading as clergy and hierarchs (e.g., Mikhaïl Denisenko).

          In fact, a very good case has been made (which I agree with) that, were it not for Mikhaïl Denisenko (“Filaret”) and his shenanigans over the past 25 years after he was deposed/defrocked and eventually anathametized, Ukraine would already have a canonical autocephalous Orthodox Church, with probably Met. Onuphry as its first hierarch/primate.

          Be precise. The MP is not supportive of a Ukrainian “autocephaly” (or negotiations for one) that is under the auspices schismatics, pseudo-clergy, politicians, and non-Christian opportunists. And rightly so.

          These fakes are not the Church. The MP should have nothing to do with them except to hear their confessions and accept their repentance.

          • Joseph Lipper says

            “Details matter”,

            Please explain why Crimea is still under the jurisdiction of the “Ukrainian Orthodox Church”? Isn’t Crimea supposed to be Russia now? So what happens if Russia goes on to take Donbass? We can imagine that it will strangely still remain part of the “Ukrainian Orthodox Church” under Metropolitan Onuphrey.

            Metropolitan Onuphrey has a permanent and honored position on the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. He’s paid off. There is no advantage to him leaving. Autocephaly for Metropolitan Onuphrey would be a demotion. As long as he stays with the “Third Rome”, Moscow will take care of him.

            The obvious fact is that if Metropolitan Onuphrey and his bishops had joined the unification council, then they would have far outnumbered everyone else. Metropolitan Onuphrey could have very easily been made the primate of an autocephalous Ukrainian church. He could have put all those bishops of the former “Kievan Patriarchate” in their place, but no, that would have been a demotion for him.

            • Joseph Lipper: “Please explain why Crimea is still under the jurisdiction of the “Ukrainian Orthodox Church”? Isn’t Crimea supposed to be Russia now?”

              For the same reason why Crete and northern Greece are under jurisdiction of EP? Are proposing a transfer of them to the Greek Church?

              Are you proposing changing of EP into Turkish Autocephalous Orthodox Church?

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Martin, there is a strange inconsistency: Moscow recognizes a separate and autonomous “Ukrainian Orthodox Church”, but then annexes part of it, the Crimea peninsula. So, Crimea is no longer part of Ukraine, but now it is Russia. However, Crimea still remains part of the “Ukrainian Orthodox Church” under Metropolitan Onuphrey. Doesn’t that seem a bit scary?

                If Russia were to annex all of Ukraine, would there still be an autonomous “Ukrainian Orthodox Church”? Apparently so. There seems to be a strange precedent forming here with the annexation of Crimea. One has to wonder what this “autonomy” really means if national sovereignty is completely disregarded.

                • Joseph Lipper: “Martin, there is a strange inconsistency: Moscow recognizes a separate and autonomous …”

                  Moscow this, Moscow that. Joseph, can you answer my question?

                  “why Crete and northern Greece are under jurisdiction of EP? Are proposing a transfer of them to the Greek Church?

                  Are you proposing renaming of EP into Turkish Autocephalous Orthodox Church?” (preferably by a Istanbul government decree)

                  • Joseph Lipper says

                    Martin, perhaps there are good arguments for making those changes, but since “the wheels on the EP’s little red autocephaly-granting wagon are coming off,” it’s probably not going to happen.

                    • Joseph Lipper “it’s probably not going to happen.”

                      But it would be fun. I am thinking about various renaming schemes 😉

                • Let’s not confuse the Russian Orthodox Church with the Russian Federation. Of course it makes sense that the Church in Crimea is still a part of the UOC. Just because national borders change doesn’t mean that church jurisdictions fall in line.
                  I am so thankful to God that I descended from Carpatho Rusyn peasants. We never had our own country, we have been spared from the temptations of nationalism and what unites us as a people is our common faith.

                  • “We never had our own country, we have been spared from the temptations of nationalism and what unites us as a people is our common faith.”

                    Yes. The Rusyn cultural story is fascinating.

                    Yet, as always, the common faith part has been messed with too much by politicians (including church bishop politicians). Do Rusyns today share a common faith? Ask the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese, the OCA, and the Ruthenian “Byzantine” Catholic dioceses.

                    Same veneers, same appearances, but different faiths. Two of these Rusyn peoples’ major jurisdictions are Orthodox (though the EP’s current boondoggles — and what that means for ACROD’s legitimacy — notwithstanding). One of these churches is Roman Catholic.

                    The old Byzantine Catholic line of being “Orthodox in communion with Rome” is wishful thinking at best and evil/manipulative at worst.

                    Sadly, the Rusyn people no longer have a common faith, thanks to Uniatism.

              • Antiochene Son says

                Are you proposing changing of EP into Turkish Autocephalous Orthodox Church?

                The EP serves at the pleasure of the Turkish President, and can do nothing without his blessing, so perhaps yes.

          • anonimus per Scorilo says

            Chronology matters also:

            Filaret was suspended/deposed/defrocked/excommunicated/anathematized/cursed/etc. because he supported autocephaly and independence from Moscow.

            Exactly the same happened to Bishop Petru of Balti in the Republic of Moldova, except that the Russians could not go so far down that line because he was received by the Romanian Orthodox Church.

        • George Michalopulos says

          OK, Joseph, let’s play that game.

          1. Why can’t the Macedonians have an autocephalous Church?
          2. ” ” ” Montenegrins ” ” ” “?
          3. Similarly the Finns?
          4. Why not the American$? Oh, I forgot, because we’re “not mature” enough. Yeah, that’$ the ticket! Also, I forgot: we’re Barbarians.

          • Joseph Lipper says

            George, are you saying that any of those countries have a better argument right now for autocephaly than Ukraine? If so, I’m not sure I would agree with that, but I do support American autocephaly. Orthodoxy is not a fundamental part of the American national consciousness though, whereas in Ukraine it is.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Joseph, I think George is saying this sort of request could have come from anywhere.

              The point ISN’T who is asking for autocephaly or whether or not you think they are more deserving than any other place who might want it, too.

              The point IS the EP went into a canonical bishop’s territory, uninvited, and granted autocephaly to schismatics after his brother bishops told him not to.


              You keep defending Ukraine. When will you start defending the Church?

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Gail, you say that “it is not Orthodox for a bishop to do what he wants when his brother bishops are not onboard”, but this is not necessarily true. Isn’t that what Moscow did when autocephaly was granted to the OCA? Isn’t that what St. Mark of Ephesus did when he refused to endorse the Council of Ferrara-Florence? I’m sure there are many other examples.

                Orthodox bishops are not necessarily compelled to act in lockstep with their brother bishops. Acting in lockstep would be the Roman Catholic model.

                I’m not saying that Patriarch Bartholomew is right, but only trying to point out that he is still recognized and commemorated as the legitimate Ecumenical Patriarch by all of the local churches with exception to Moscow. He is still an Orthodox bishop, and whether or not Ukrainian autocephaly is ultimately accepted or rejected in an Ecumenical Council remains to be seen.

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  We’re not talking about Moscow, Joseph. When Moscow does something, let’s discuss it in the context of Moscow.

                  What you’re offering us are “kindergarten” arguments. “But, Teacher, Joe pushed me last week and Jack pretended to throw the ball to me but threw at me instead. Why are you picking on me for throwing a rock at Sue? How come they’re not getting in trouble?”

                  You need to retake Orthodoxy 101. The bishops DO act in lockstep when it comes to meeting about those things with far-reaching consequences for the Church. The EP refused to call a council when his brother bishops asked for it.

                  It is the POPE who makes unilateral decisions, as the EP is doing here. The ink is barely dry on the Tomos, Joseph. The Church moves as slow as molasses. Give it 6 months to a year. If by the end of that time the EP hasn’t been greatly marginalized, if not out of the Church altogether, I would be very surprised.

                  Sometimes, I think you’re batting for the wrong team. Are you even Orthodox?

                  • Joseph Lipper says

                    Gail, I’ve been saying all along that Patriarch Bartholomew will probably be murdered, or evicted from Turkey, or both. I still suspect that this granting of autocephaly is something of a suicide mission for him. It seems that just about everyone is mad at him, or will be soon when things get worse in Ukraine. He could probably write a book right now on how not to win friends and influence people. In worldy terms, I don’t see how this could end well for him. Nonetheless, he believes that what he is doing is right. May God reward him.

                    My bishop still commemorates both Patriarch Bartholomew and Patriarch Kyrill. He also asks people to pray for Metropolitan Onuphrey and the still canonical “Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.” That pretty much sums up my position too. I would also add that we should pray for the Christians of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and that peace will prevail there.

                    This whole thing with taking “sides” regarding the Ukrainian problem is a completely ridiculous, odious, and juvenile affectation for Americans who want a united church in America. Americans should not be breaking communion with other Americans over something that doesn’t involve us directly.

                    I’m for a united Orthodox Church in America, Gail, how about you?

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Joseph, I don’t think anyone wants him murdered! If that were the case, it probably would have been done before now. I don’t think he’ll be evicted from Turkey, either. I don’t know the answer to this question. Maybe you do: If he leaves Turkey, is he still the EP?

                      I think he will be marginalized. We’re already seeing this. For example, Antioch begged the EP to resolve their dispute with Jerusalem but he hasn’t done it. A few weeks ago, Metropolitan Hilarion met with Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem. Among other things, they talked about inter-Orthodox relations. Moscow seems to be going around the EP and doing what he has been unable to do. The patriarchs are seemingly open to it. Why else would they all have all gathered at the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church in November 2017 (minus the EP)?

                      Unfortunately, I believe the EP is hellbent on uniting the Church with the RC before he dies. They’re going to have to stop him. There is talk of Putin being able to call a Great and Holy Council as an “emperor.” They could then redefine the role of an EP so no one man will have the power to operate so independently.

                      I’m with you, Joseph! I very much want a United Church here. At the very minimum, I wish they would normalize a few things. For example, do we need economia across the board with respect to baptism? Do we allow second and third marriages? If a couple has a civil marriage, must they also be married in the Church? If it is a second or third marriage, can they have a crowning ceremony? Is it possible to be baptized after chrismation?

                      I do not, however, want to be brought together, here, under the EP.

                    • No Joseph you are wrong, the Patriarch does not believe what he is doing is right. He believes in the fifty million dollar bribe that came from Ukraine’s coup government. When 14 of 14 other Primates condemn how you have handled a situation it should evident even to Bartholomew that he has sinned. But pride, ego, greed and Hellenism are all more important to him than is Jesus Christ. To hell with conciliariy, Bart wants to be the Pope on the Bosporus.

                    • “Nonetheless, he believes that what he is doing is right. May God reward him.”

                      Joseph, are you familiar with the phrase “wolf in the sheepskin”?

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    Hi, Saunca!

                    I would argue there IS a need for rules. Our rules (canons) are based on the teachings of the Church. They are what define us.

                    There is also a need for economia. As my father lay dying, he was brought into the Church. Obviously, he could not have been submerged in water or participate in the process as a one normally does.

                    I was talking about practices. Doing things differently in different jurisdictions has caused a lot of unnecessary conflict. For example, the calendar issue. Were the jurisdictions in agreement, no one would have cause to fight about it and fight they do!

                    Another example is baptism. Although the Holy Fathers have said baptism is the prescribed mode of entry into the Church, one of our metropolitans decided that the exception, i.e. chrismation only, should be the rule. This caused problems even for me. I had a clipping from the society page in a newspaper that I was baptized at St. Paul’s in San Diego. Frankly, my mother could have fabricated the story, as she wouldn’t step foot in a church. I called St. Paul’s and they had no record of it. However, due to the directive to ignore the rule in cases where a previous baptism might have occurred, my priest was not allowed to baptize me. Withholding a sacrament across the board for a given group of converts is about as “legalistic” as one can get.

                    Again, no one is suggesting that a “one size fits all” approach should be taken in the Church. A bishop or a priest can and should be able to make exceptions on a case by case basis. (It’s one of our “rules!”) However, with respect to normal practice, it would make a whole lot more sense for the jurisdictions to agree on what the day to day practices should be. It shouldn’t be all that difficult to decide how often confession should be expected, how to handle 2nd and 3rd marriages, how to handle new converts who were married outside the Church, etc.

                    There is value in coming to a consensus even if what you’re agreeing to wasn’t what you initially wanted. It’s the only way to move forward as one.

            • George Michalopulos says

              I wish I could agree with you. Ukraine’s spiritual ethos is uniate.

              Ukraine was cobbled together by Latin Catholics for the most part. Iy was the petrie dish of uniatism. That’s why I think the true Orthodox will stay with Onuphriy. Especially when it becomes evident that it was always about the unia.

              Their sense of betrayal will be lasting.

              • Joseph Lipper says

                The Unia was perhaps created to avoid such outcomes as the 1940’s Volhynia massacre, but of course the Unia didn’t prevent it. Ukrainians brutally slaughtered the Catholic Poles in that massacre, some 60,000 lives, mostly women and children. Pope Francis today considers the Unia to be an embarrassment and a failure.

                Today the Uniate population in Ukraine is estimated to be about 7.5% of the populace, whereas those who identify as Orthodox are ten times as many, at about 75%. In addition, the recent push for Ukrainian autocephaly has likely pushed Orthodoxy into the forefront of the national consciousness. Since the Pope of Rome doesn’t grant autocephaly, I would expect the Uniate population to dwindle all the more.

                • Joseph Lipper “The Unia was perhaps created to avoid such outcomes as the 1940’s Volhynia massacre”

                  I am sorry to disappoint you, but Unia was created for a very different reason. Look up Brest Union 1596.

                  • Joseph Lipper says

                    Not disappointed at all. So why then didn’t Rome make the Ukrainians become Latin Catholics? If Rome had done that, then there would have been a lot more Orthodox martyrs.

                    It sounds to me like the Uniates are contemplating joining the Orthodox Church of Ukraine anyways, and that would end up being a reversal of the Unia.

        • Antiochene Son says

          1. You’re accusing the MP of trying to do what the EP has actually done.

          2. The UOC-MP has more autonomy within the MP than the UOC-EP has as an “autocephalous” church.

          • anonimus per Scorilo says

            The UOC-MP has more autonomy within the MP than the UOC-EP has as an “autocephalous” church.”

            This is not correct. The primate of the UOC-MP has to be confirmed by the ROC. The primate of the UOC-EP does not.

            • George Michalopulos says

              ApS, other than that fact, you are otherwise incorrect. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the so-called autocephaly that was just granted to Kiev is not autocephaly at all. It’s not even in the fine print. They have to “consult” with Istanbul on all international matters. Plus, they don’t have a patriarch. That’s a mockery of autocephaly.

  7. Billy Jack Sunday says

    All good news

    However, I think the EP is way underestimated

    He knows what he’s doing

    Beyond everything in the Ukraine and even Crete

    Look now to the Church in America

    His bread and butter

    Of the Orthodox Christians in the United States

    Approximately half are GOA

    Next biggest Church is the OCA

    I dont think any GOA bishops/metropolitans will transfer to another canonical Church. But even if so, I imagine very, very few – and they would be quickly replaced

    The OCA bishops may be in the pocket of the EP. It is yet to be seen

    Remember when Metropolitan Tikhon was invited to concelebrate with the EP on the Sunday of Orthodoxy?

    There was speculation if the OCA was being seduced to go under the omophore of the EP

    Well, the OCA wants to retain autocephaly and at the same time be acknowledged by the EP

    Let’s make a deal!

    However, I hope that the truth is that the OCA bishops and Metropolitan are fiercely resistant to the EP

    What if they are too compromised? What if any resistant bishop gets the Metropolitan Jonah treatment?

    The GOA and the OCA would comprise together about 2/3 of the Orthodox in America

    Forgive if I overlook anyone, but just looking at the jurisdictions that are on the map (or at least somewhat)


    Count the bishops

    If the OCA is United to the EP by bogus autocephaly recognition deal, how many bishops of the approximate 50+ would they have

    They would have the majority of parishioners for sure

    The absolute hold outs

    Would they unite? Probably not

    They would continue to survive but under scrutiny of the EP’s power in America

    America – the greatest country and super power in world history – backs the EP

    The EP is also backed by some of the richest and most intelligent individuals in the world

    This is far from over

    If, however, the OCA demonstrates its fidelity to Orthodox ecclesiology and finds its voice

    Unity of the OCA, ROCOR, Antioch, Serbia (and the few rest) could be possible and a rebuttal to the false autocephaly smoke and mirrors papalism of the Phanar

    If possible, individual GOA parishes could unite with it

    However, until then, I think the best course for the GOA would be to appeal to the Church of Greece in the mean time

    I dont see any course corrections being made for the Church of Constantinople. The prep work for this was done too well, I’m afraid.

    I hope I’m wrong

    The battleground for all this, I feel, is the OCA.

    Look for it

    I am eagerly awaiting to see what they will finally, officially and definitively say about all of this

    • If the OCA is anything, it is conciliar in its ecclesiology. Doubtless some sympathize (I know one OCA deacon/academic often quoted as an ‘expert’ on the Ukraine who clearly does). But with the ecclesiology that prevails in the OCA, I can’t see them accepting what amounts to an eastern pope. It is not who they are, Thank God.

      • George Michalopulos says

        I pray you are right.

      • I am concerned as well says

        Assume that the OCA deacon/academic to whom you refer is Deacon Nicholas Denysenko (hopefully no relation to “Filaret”!). Deacon Nicholas, as one of the leaders of the dubious “Huffington Ecumenical Institute” funded by the openly gay/bisexual Michael Huffington (the ex-husband of is-she-Orthodox-or-not Arianna Huffington) whose openly stated goal is the union of the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches…. well, let’s just say that Deacon Nicholas’s opinions on any topic must be viewed through the lens of his questionable devotion to Christ and His Church. He always has these “academic discussions” which seem to be of pressing academic interest only to him and to his ecumenist friends.

        Thus, Deacon Nicholas’s “expert” opinions on the so-called legitimacy of this fake “Metropolitan Epiphany” should make one run the other way when reading him. His academic discussions are sort of like American foreign policy over the past 25 years — wrong on pretty much everything.

        That being said, the OCA as a group is a lot like the rue Daru group in Western Europe that was just (surprise!) dissolved. Many in the OCA are quite traditionalist Orthodox. Many, however, are strong ecumenists who have great fear of offending the GOA and who are clearly on Patr Bartholomew’s side in this Ukrainian fiasco.

        Thank God I do not think that the bulk of the OCA bishops side with Patr Bartholomew. Metropolitan Tikhon’s regular celebrations with the MP bishop in New York (whom he celebrated with on St Nicholas Day at the St Nicholas Cathedral in NYC on Dec 19th) and his concelebrations with the ROCOR episocopate suggest that Met Tikhon is squarely (and correctly, thank God) in Patriarch Kyrill’s and the Russian Orthodox church’s camp. However, the rest of the OCA “academic leadership” and some of the OCA “first families” — many of whom are not shy about expressing their distaste for traditional Russian Orthodoxy — we are not so sure about.

        I’ve heard that the OCA will probably not exist in its same form in 10-15 years. The traditionalist half will probably go back under the protection of the MP/ROCOR, and the ecumenist half of the OCA will stick with the GOA and thus will eventually become Uniates/Roman Catholic.

        Suffice it to say, the MP has kept the OCA alive for nearly 50 years as a necessary counter to Istanbul’s ridiculous encroachments/claims to all of America. I agree, it was necessary for the MP to keep the OCA alive in this manner. But now that Istanbul is no longer Orthodox and can be written off (because of their own actions) as schismatics, there may be less incentive to keep the OCA as a distinct entity, as an American counter to Istanbul/GOA claims over all of America. After all, if the GOA is no longer really Orthodox anyway, then Istanbul’s claims over all of American territory are meaningless.

        This fact, coupled with the fact that the OCA is roughly half traditionalist and half ecumenist (with maybe another half who don’t know or care what’s going on, as all churches have), makes me think that the OCA’s days as a distinct entity are numbered.

        We will have to see how the “Episcopal Assembly” in the United States plays this Ukrainian debacle out. All I can infer is that the EA must be on its last legs. Who realistically constitutes the EA these days? Just the GOA, ACROD’s one bishop, and the Ukrainians in America?

    • Joseph Lipper says

      I believe Metropolitan Tikhon previously expressed his hope that a future council would resolve the situation in Ukraine, and he also expressed his strong support for Metropolitan Onuphrey.

      That position shouldn’t change. There is no pressure on him from Patriarch Bartholomew, since the EP doesn’t recognize him as an autocephalous primate anyways. The EP is not asking him to commemorate Metropolitan Epiphany . He’s not being asked to change the dyptichs.

      He’s also not required to stop commemorating Patriarch Bartholomew. He’s not bound like ROCOR is to break communion with the Greek Archdiocese. That’s why he attended the last SCOBA meeting, and ROCOR didn’t.

      Metropolitan Tikhon’s example shows us that this whole thing with taking “sides” is completely juvenile for Americans who wanted a united church here. It’s an odious and ridiculous affectation. Americans should not be breaking communion with other Americans over something that doesn’t involve us directly .

    • Gus Langis says

      The GOAA is a shell of its former self. Yes it’s the largest and will remain so. But increasingly more modernist and liberal. They are in bed with the LGBT lobby and no longer hold to the faith and piety of our grandparents.
      Orthodoxy just like broader Christianity will continue to shrink here and abroad which is simply a continuation of the trend of the past 10 years. Secular humanism has seduced the former christian peoples of the west and I imagine if current conflict remains canonical Orthodoxy will divide between a NATO/EU aligned confederation and a more traditional west Asian Orthodoxy.

  8. Bartholomew is no longer Orthodox. He united with schismatics, and so he is now a schismatic. The sooner the other local Churches come to grips with this, the better. The good news for Istanbul? They are now free to unite with the uniates and Roman Catholics. Wait! He awarded the Cross of St Andrew to a uniate? It is happening sooner than I thought!

  9. Virginia Dean says

    And speaking of Gauntlets being thrown, this from holy Russia and Vlad.

    Subject: Russia’s New Generation of Advanced Weapons

    Russia’s New Generation of Advanced Weapons

    Here are some observations on the new generation of advanced weapons now being deployed by Russia, and their strategic significance:

    Deploying a New Generation of Advanced Weapons

    1. Russia has begun to deploy a new generation of advanced strategic weapons.  The development and deployment of these new weapons systems have been a top priority of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government for several years.  According to Russian government spokesmen and military analysts, these new weapons are intended to give Russia an asymmetric strategic advantage over its potential adversaries, particularly the US, China, and Western Europe.  The new Russian weapons emphasize such technologies as nuclear propulsion systems, miniaturized nuclear reactors, and extreme maneuverability at hypersonic speeds.  They are clearly intended to be offensive weapons of potentially enormous lethality.

    2. The Russian government made significant announcements about the new weapons systems on three major occasions in 2018.  The first was during Putin’s annual address to the Russian parliament on March 1, 2018.  The second occasion was the release by the Russian Defense Ministry of video footage of several of the new weapon systems, on July 19.  The third occasion was the highly publicized test launch of one of the new systems, the Avangard, on December 26.  Putin presided over the launch.  In addition, Russian defense experts have discussed the new systems in considerable detail in the local press.

    The Avangard Hypersonic Delivery System

    3. The Avangard is one of the most important new weapon systems under development in Russia today.  It is intended to change the strategic balance of power decisively in Russia’s favor by rendering obsolete the missile defense systems now deployed by the other nuclear powers.  The Avangard consists of an unmanned hypersonic glide vehicle capable of carrying nuclear warheads.  It is designed to be launched atop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

    4. After reaching an altitude of 100,000 feet, the Avangard separates from the ICBM and then glides toward its target, while maneuvering along an irregular, unpredictable flight path.  During this phase of deployment it can reach a maximum speed of Mach 27, or 20,716 miles per hour.  The hypersonic vehicle’s maneuverability distinguishes it from ballistic missiles, which fly along predictable, parabolic trajectories.  Hypersonic vehicles fly at velocities of Mach 5 or higher.  Today’s jet fighters fly at velocities of Mach 2 or 3.  Mach 1 is equivalent to the speed of sound, or 767 miles per hour.

    5. The combination of the Avangard’s extreme velocity and irregular trajectory make it essentially invulnerable to the missile defense systems now in use, according to military analysts.  A test launch of the Avangard was conducted at the Dombarovskiy Russian missile base in the southern Ural Mountains on December 26th.  It reportedly hit a target in the Kura missile test range in the Kamchatka Peninsula, some 3700 miles to the east.  Moscow plans to deploy the Avangard in the Russian strategic rocket forces, beginning in 2019.

    The Burevestnik Nuclear-Powered Cruise Missile

    6.  The second new strategic weapon system in Moscow’s arsenal is the Burevestnik, a nuclear-powered cruise missile.  The missile reportedly utilizes a miniaturized onboard reactor to power its propulsion system.  Instead of burning solid or liquid rocket fuel, the Burevestnik’s engine heats compressed air with thermal energy generated by nuclear fission. Due to the nature of its propulsion system, the missile’s range is theoretically unlimited.  In principle, it can loiter over a potential battlefield indefinitely.

    7. The Burevestnik is built to carry nuclear warheads.  In the event of war, it is designed to serve as either a first or second strike weapons system.  Since the Burevestnik is a cruise missile, it is highly maneuverable and can fly at very low altitudes.  Like the Avangard, it is capable of traveling at hypersonic speeds.  This combination of extreme speed and maneuverability should allow the new missile to evade conventional missile defense systems.  As a nuclear-powered cruise missile, the Burevestnik will probably leave a trail of radioactive exhaust in its wake, potentially contaminating any territory over which it might fly.  Rather than a design flaw, this aspect of the Burevestnik may be part and parcel of its planned destructive capability.

    The Poseidon Nuclear Torpedo

    8. Yet another of the new Russian weapons systems is the Poseidon, an advanced underwater drone capable of carry nuclear warheads.  It is essentially the underwater equivalent of the Burevestnik.  The drone is powered by a miniaturized nuclear reactor, which drives a propulsion unit consisting of a steam turbine.  Its nuclear propulsion system reportedly gives the Poseidon an “unlimited range.”  The Poseidon is intended to be extremely maneuverable and capable of traveling at high speeds, according to Russian sources.  These characteristics would allow it to evade detection and penetrate underwater defense systems.  The Poseidon is designed to attack large targets, such as aircraft carrier groups, coastal naval installations, and ports.  Military analysts believe it could be used to generate localized tsunamis to swamp coastal cities and installations.  The Russian navy has reportedly begun sea trials of this new weapon system.

    The Kinzhal Hypersonic Missile

    9. Russia’s arsenal of next-generation weapons also includes an air-launched, hypersonic anti-ship missile known as the Kinzhal (Russian for “dagger”).  The Kinzhal has a maximum range of 1250 miles.  It is currently deployed on MiG-31 from fighters.  Its maximum velocity is Mach 10.  The Kinzhal’s high velocity and very flat trajectory will permit it to penetrate most missile defense systems used by China and the Western powers.  It can carry either conventional or nuclear warheads.  The new weapon is based upon the Iskandr short-range ballistic missile already in use by the Russian military.  The Kinzhal has reportedly been deployed in Russia’s Southern Military District.

    The Peresvet Laser

    10. Finally, Russia is developing a ground-based battlefield laser system, known as the Peresvet, that could be used to attack drones and aircraft.  The first units of the Peresvet were reportedly deployed by the Russian ground forces in December 2018.  Although little is known about the technical parameters of the new system, military analysts believe it may resemble the US Navy’s Laser Weapons System (LAWS), which was deployed in 2017.  The Peresvet seems designed to destroy or disable both missiles and aircraft, possibly by blinding their sensors.  There is speculation among military analysts that it might also be used as an anti-personnel system, intended to blind or kill troops.

    The Credibility of the New Russian Weapons Program

    11. It is still uncertain just how ready these new weapon systems are for deployment by the Russian military, let alone battlefield use.  Moscow has undoubtedly exaggerated somewhat its success in developing and fielding the new systems, in order to intimidate potential opponents at a time when the Russian leadership feels itself increasingly challenged by adverse strategic trends.  That said, Russia has successfully developed and deployed a number of advanced weapons systems in recent years.  They include the Topol ICBM, the Iskandr and Iskandr M ballistic missiles, and the Kalibr sea-launched cruise missile, as well as the S-300 and S-400 air defense missile systems.  All of these systems are currently in service.  To a great degree, they form the hard technological backbone of the post-Soviet Russian military.

    Russia’s Strategic Logic

    12. On several occasions in 2018, President Putin stated one of the principle strategic goals behind the development of these new weapon systems: preventing the containment of Russia by its perceived adversaries.  In his annual address to the Russian parliament on March 1, Putin defined the importance of Russia’s new generation of weaponry succinctly: “I want to tell all those who have fueled the arms race over the last 15 years, sought to win unilateral advantages over Russia, and introduced unlawful sanctions aimed to contain our country’s development: all that you wanted to impede with your policies has already happened.  You have failed to contain Russia.”

    13. Western observers tend to perceive Russia as an aggressive, bellicose power.  The Russians’ view of their strategic position is radically different.  Moscow perceives itself as threatened from both the east and west by competitors that are far richer and more powerful than Russia.  Russia is in fact far less powerful in military and economic terms than China or the United States.  The Russian GDP in 2018 was an estimated $1.60 trillion, while China’s GDP was $12.5 trillion and that of the United States $20.5 trillion.  Even India’s GDP, at $2.8 trillion, is nearly twice that of Russia.  The reality of Russia’s economic inferiority feeds its perception of risk.

    14. Putin and his government recognize that Russia cannot hope to follow the example of the old Soviet Union in terms of global strategy.  The Soviets used their vast state-controlled economy to support the largest military in the world while simultaneously seeking dominance in advanced military technologies.  Moreover, the Soviet population was twice as large as the current Russian population.  Under Putin, Russia lacks the human and financial resources to emulate the Soviet approach.  He has therefore opted to use advanced military technology  to achieve an asymmetric strategic advantage over wealthier adversaries, including the US, China, and the European powers.

    15. How has Russia, with its limited economic potential, achieved breakthroughs in military technology?  Putin has done so by leveraging one of Russia’s key economic assets — the military-industrial complex inherited from the Soviet Union.  Although Russia conspicuously lacks the tremendous economic dynamism present in the US, Europe, and China, it still possesses formidable defense enterprises staffed by some of the best engineers and scientists in the world.  Moreover, the Russian defense sector is insulated from the global economy to a considerable degree.  Its cost structure is radically different from that of Western defense industry.  Even with its limited budgetary resources, Russia can therefore achieve substantial breakthroughs in selected technologies at a far lower cost than would be possible in the West.

    Toward a New Arms Race

    16.  If the claims made by the Russian government for its new weapons are even half true, Russia does appear to have achieved technological breakthroughs that shift the balance of military power in its favor.  For the first time since the dawn of the ICBM era, the Western powers are vulnerable to a new generation of strategic weapons, against which no defense yet exists.  Moscow will use this considerable, albeit temporary advantage to buy time with which to rebuild its overall position as a great power.  Inter alia, it will probably exploit this advantage to advance its expansionist, neo-imperial policies in the former Soviet Union, the eastern Mediterranean, and the Near East.

    17. Of course, Moscow’s advances in military technology will also stimulate the development of a new arms race, this time focused on the development of hypersonic, highly maneuverable missiles of various types, as well as nuclear-armed, underwater drones.  The competitive development of such weapon systems by Russia and the other great powers will necessarily make the global balance of power less stable and far more fragile.  This development can only be addressed by new, multilateral arms control negotiations, similar to those conducted by the US and the USSR during the Cold War.

    I hope these observations are useful.

    Sent from my iPad

    • Mark Nokistas says

      You know full well Russia has a long history of vaporware. USN never had a nuclear accident, but there are plenty of Russian subs cooling off until eternity deep below. Only England and Israel can match the USA in innovation because of their traditions of freedom. Slavery makes bad innovators.

    • Will Harrington says

      Russia does not want to ever fight a conventional war on Russian soil again. The cost of victory was too high. That was the whole point of the Warsaw pact, to give them a buffer zone. I imagine the recent push for an EU military gave Russia the collective heebee-jeebees. My first thought when that was proposed was that an armed EU financially dominated by Germany and without the UK looks an awful lot like a fourth Reich. So what is the geo-strategic alternative if you can’t match the conventional forces of potential invaders and you don’t want to rely on Father Frost? You make the cost of attacking too high by investing in, or convincing the world you have invested in, serious weapons of mass destruction that will wreak havoc on the attackers homeland. That, theoretically, is why we have a nuclear deterrent, though it seems we have much less to worry about than Russia does. China would like to bite off chunks of the Russian far east if they could manage it and, more importantly, NATO has forces right on Russia’s border. Given our habit of invading the world, I suspect Russia might exaggerate, but I have no doubt that strategic deterrent technologies are indeed something they are putting resources and research into. Doing anything else would be insane.

  10. Tim R. Mortiss says

    Wow, sounds good on paper!

  11. Gail Sheppard says


    Whoot, there it is!

    • Is it me or do uniate bishops say some of the weirdest things? Even low church Protestants have a better understanding of ecclesiology than they do. Honestly I’ve heard Muslim imams that sound more Orthodox than any uniate bishop. There ecclesiology is some of the most far out doctrines imaginable.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        It is weird. I think he may be trying to “feel out” a response from his parishes on the new autocephaly.

        What’s to stop Uniate parishes from quitting the UGCC and joining the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine? All it takes is a parish vote to join, and the government will absolutely support the outcome of that vote. The UGCC may soon find itself in the same situation as the Moscow Patriarchate parishes.

        The big difference is, the UGCC bishop actually supports the autocephaly. One of the main reasons why 7.5% of the Ukrainian populace has remained Uniate is that they don’t want to be part of the Moscow Patriarchate.