Are the Orthodox Bishops Serious about Charlottesville?

Forgive the seeming impertinence of this question. I will explain in due course why I’m asking it.

As you may know by now, the Episcopal Assembly of the United States of America (EAUSA) recently came out with a strong statement (see below) condemning white supremacy and the violence that was perpetrated in Charlottesville, Virginia. It’s an excellent statement, and except for one particular section,* one that I cannot argue with.

Words are fine things, especially if they’re spoken in truth. However words are meaningless if they are not followed by actions. But for reasons which I will enunciate shortly, I’m afraid that no meaningful action will be taken by this august body. Hence, they will be ignored.

Why do I say this? First, let me say that I have nothing at all against national Orthodox churches. The Orthodox homelands remain to this day because they are truly national churches. No Christian confession has suffered more than the Orthodox East. The very fact that nations like Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, etc continue to exist to this day is because of their respective churches. The nation, like the family, is a charism of the Holy Spirit. After all, we work out our salvation in the temporal sphere therefore we desire political stability, otherwise it’d be extremely difficult to do so.

Because of this, we have rejected papalism at every turn. It’s not our business model if you will. That’s not a small thing. In fact, given the state of the present papacy, I’d say that’s a darn good thing. As for the Protestant confessions, well, let’s just say that the lesbian “Archbishop” of Stockholm is not going to wax eloquent on anything in a way that doesn’t cause hearty guffaws. And now the Anglican Communion is thinking about a liturgical service for those men who want to cut off their penises. It’s all entertaining in a way but one can’t always be a cynic. When viewed in a sober fashion, it is most regrettable in that at this point, Sharia may be the only viable option for civilisational sanity as far as Europe is concerned.

So why am I a little concerned about the recent statement by the EAUSA? It rings hollow. Don’t believe me? How many black bishops are there in that body? How many mestizos? Any converts from Judaism? Are there any in the pipeline? I thought not. They’re all as white as the eighth Earl of Sandwich.

Now, you can say that we’re dealing with a largely immigrant-descended population. Immigrants from white homelands. True enough. So let’s cut them some slack in that regards. But only some.

Because if they really believed in the fundamental equality of all races then they’d have to do some pretty dramatic things. Things they’d rather not do. Things like cutting off all ties to the mother churches. Or adhering to the canons of “one city, one bishop”. The Archons would have to stop playing Byzantine dress-up and the GOA would have to quit their Greco-triumphalism. I for one am not holding my breath.

Are they sure they want to go this route? The GOA would have to stop practicing the ethnic segregation which is found not only in the Greek contingent but their Ukrainian, Carpatho-Russian and Palestinian contingents as well. Does anybody honestly foresee the next GOA Metropolitan of Chicago being a Serb, much less a convert?

I’m not GOA-bashing only here. The OCA has a Romanian diocese, a Bulgarian diocese and an Albanian one as well. Is Syosset willing to dissolve these dioceses and let the parishes which make up these ethnic dioceses be under the nearest local bishop? In other words be a true territorial church? As for the Bulgarian, Romanian and Serbian patriarchal jurisdictions, are they willing to let go of them and allow them to meld into an authentically American one? How about ROCOR and the Moscow patriarchate parishes?

To ask the question is to answer it. We know why this will never happen in our lifetimes (if ever). Because no Greek-American wants to place his parish under a Lebanese bishop even if he is an American citizen; likewise no Ukrainian wants to take the chance of being under a Russian bishop, even if he is a third-generation American. And so on.

And of course no oversees patriarch –not just Bartholomew–wants to see the creation of an authentic American Orthodox Church. Ever heard of Ligonier?

It’s not probable but it is possible.

Here’s a thought experiment: at the next meeting of the EAUSA, why don’t they claim autocephaly? That’d be a giant first step. Everything else that would follow would be a piece of cake.

They could place all their names in a chalice. Draw one out and make him the Archbishop of Washington, DC and Metropolitan of All-America. Then pull out the other names one by one. The next one could be the Bishop of Albany, the next would be Bishop of Baltimore, then Boston, then Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, and so on in alphabetical order.

There are fifty States in our beloved country. I believe there are fifty-five bishops on the Episcopal Assembly. More than enough to go around. Texas alone could support three bishops; New York five, California four. Oklahoma has twelve Orthodox churches. One bishop in Oklahoma City could care for them quite handily.

As for the particular rubrics, they should be honored. Ethnic apostalates or usages could be instituted. If the Bishop of (say) Phoenix doesn’t know anything about Albanian liturgics he could ask for advice from the Bishop of Boston. A Greek-American bishop of Atlanta could ask for advice on Serbian usages from the Bishop of Chicago. And so on.

Why stop there? Soon there will be Anglican and Spanish usages. I can envision an Aleutian usage or a Native American one. Here in the South we are actually seeing an incipient Southron sentiment emerging.

Prove me wrong. I’d love to eat some crow on this one. But until they come to their senses and stop all the ethnic oneupsmanship, then their words decrying white “supremacy” will ring hollow.

Come, Lord Jesus.

*The exception that I find most worrisome is the mention of the Council of Constantinople in 1872. While it condemned “ethnophyletism” this was merely a smokescreen, one which was used to club the local Bulgarian populace into submission. Since then, ethnophyletism has been used as a cudgel to deprive non-Greek churches of their independence while maintaining Greek separatism. Also known as “What’s mine is mine and what’s your’s is mine.”


  1. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    So Many Horse Feathers, George! One example: “likewise no Ukrainian wants to take the chance of being under a Russian bishop, even if he is a third-generation American. And so on.” Most of the Ukrainian Orthodox are in the canonical Church of the Ukraine under Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev. He is a member of the Holy Synod of the Church of Russia. Our parish rector here in Los Angeles in the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Mary, Rescue of the Perishing, is a native of Chernivtsi, Ukraine. He attended the same schools as another Chermivtsi man, Arseny Yatseniuk. He serves in English and Church Slavonic and preaches in English and in Russian. His spiritual father is Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev. I think you may be living in the past, George, when St Seraphim Church in Dallas was still under the omophorion of Bishop Bohdan Shpilka, who ordained Dimitri Royster to the Priesthood. What you wrote, about “no Ukrainian,” is not true. Many Ukrainians considered that the greatest persecutors of Ukrainians in history were the Russian Communists, and they do avoid any association with Russians. You often resort to such hyperbole and exaggeration in your pleadings, such as this present essay–perhaps you yourself are not quite sure about the points you want to get across, so you resort to such devices? “NO Ukrainian?”

    • George Michalopulos says

      I’m sure you have your facts correct Your Grace and while I applaud how wonderful things are in your neck of the woods, I can assure wholeheartedly that there are Ukrainian parishioners in the US which would burn down their parishes before they allowed a Russian-American bishop to step foot in them.

      • Monk James says

        That’s only because they’ve believed the great lie that Ukraine is not the very heart of Russia, and they have exalted a putative nationalism over their Orthodox Christian faith. As a result, their political views gave become weakened by distancing themselves emotionally from Russia, a process which is allowing them to be manipulated by pro-Catholic, pro-western separatists. This could not happen if their Orthodoxy were stronger, not sapped by uniatism and sectarianism such as practiced by the ‘Patriarchate of Kiev’. Let’s remember that Philaret Denisenko was ‘Russian Orthodox’ before he developed a bad case of ecclesial ‘sour grapes’ and began to think that being ‘Ukrainian Orthodox’ would work to his own very selfish personal advantage, and tore Christ’s seamless robe in Kiev.

        • Johann Sebastian says

          There is no Russia without Ukraine. Every genuine Ukrainian Ruthenian knows this.

          The title of “greatest persecutor” is a tough one to call. Sure, there’s that Bolshevik Georgian who committed the most visible crimes against us and that everyone likes to call “Russian.”

          But what people conveniently forget is the greatest Polish joke of all time: the Union of Brest-Litovsk. That and its Habsburg clone that followed some 50 years later, the Union of Uzhgorod, are a huge source of the ills that continue drive a wedge between us Ruthenians and our Great Russian brethren. Totally by design.

  2. George are you trying to correlate racism with the fact we have no black or brown bishops? If that is the case you are starting to sound like our liberal friends trying to force feed some sort of affirmative action upon us. We are what we are George we can’t force feed any color into our church. As more and more mixed marriages come into our church someday in the future will see more bishops of color and other, but for now it’s just the way it is. Think of Greece or Europe 50 years ago if an African said he was a Greek citizen most people would scratch their heads, now not so much. Things must take a natural course, nothing really fishy here.

    Now Bishops giving up a little authority, for the common good of our churches. Come on dude don’t make me laugh. Hard enough to get them to support our priests when large donors are looming. Next you’ll tell me Demomcrats and Republicans, should/might put their egos aside and/or risk their positions and work together for our children’s future.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Not at all Dino. I clearly stated that the Orthodox jurisdictions are immigrant-descended for the most part. In time I’m sure that there will be minority bishops (or at least I hope so).

      What I decried was the ethno-triumphalism of all the jurisdictions against each other or “oneupsmanship”. You can’t divorce that from “supremacy”.

      I could have written about how in the Church of Jerusalem, the Greek bishops go out of their way to make sure no celibate Arab men are ordained to the priesthood. If memory serves, about 10 years ago the Israeli government had to step in and force the patriarchate to ordain an Arab celibate.

      It’s little games like these that go back all the time to St Raphael Hawaweeny of Brooklyn who was similarly put upon by the EP of his day.

  3. Christopher Keller says

    You know, I’ve often disagreed with your posts, but I have to say I heartily agree with this one. I can’t claim to know the motives of the leadership, so I’ll leave that out, but a move to “one city one bishop” and to a more representative mix of cultures would be a blessing. The Church grew strong from taking in and refining all the cultures of the ancient near East and Europe. It’s time to add to that list the modern American cultures.

  4. Monk James says

    The Orthodox Church in America’s Holy Synod of Bishops includes a significant number of adult converts to the Faith, as does its clergy altogether, among whom are an increasing number of black men Here in New Jersey, the OCA has just established a mission parish which comprises a large proportion of black people.

    In the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, although all the bishops are of arabic descent, there’s a very high proportion of adult converts in the clergy who come from all sorts of ethnic backgrounds. And I know of several priests in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese who are adult converts not of hellenic ancestry, including one former Hindu.

    Fifty years ago, I met a black priest at the Patriarchate of Moscow’s cathedral in New York City, and a significant number of the clergy and at least two bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia are converts.

    Strictly ethnic parishes and jurisdictions will lose their appeal as younger generations prefer English in the services and don’t care so much for kibbee or sarma, arni roti or halushki, but would rather have a barbecue for Paskha. If their church families don’t accommodate this cultural evolution, young people will — as they sometimes have — reaffiliate themselves with a more ‘American’ parish, or forget about the Church altogether. We have to keep ahead of this trend.

    So, maybe it’s not so doomy-gloomy as we think here in the United States. It’ll take time, God’s time, but the process of Americanization is well under way.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      Good post. As to the former Hindu, he uses a lot of Greek, and long-time parishioners say that his Greek is better than any of theirs! But then, his first service as a priest was in Cyprus.

    • Monk James

      Things aren’t as bad as it seems. No, they are much worse!

      What, one East Indian convert compared to an entire unbelievable global population of non-Orthodox, let alone non-Christian hindu population – of which have a huge representation within the United States? Thats like calling Star Wars diversified because of Lando Calrissian! Call him Lando Caledonian!!

      The Hindenburg isn’t known for its few survivors

      Orthodoxy in America – oh, the humanity!!

      • George Michalopulos says

        LOL! I totally dig your sense of humor! Seriously, think about starting a blog!

        • Thanks, George – that’s a sincere compliment coming from you – as I really appreciate what you do

          Like an Orthodox Jerry Seinfeld, I’d love to to provide my observations regarding our current state of being via blog.

          However, I’d probably be about as well received as Michael Richards at The Apollo

  5. “They agreed that the promotion of racial or national supremacy and ethnic bias or dissension in the Church of Christ is to be censured as contrary to the sacred teachings of the Christian Gospel and the holy canons of the Church.”

    What is the difference again between promoting “racial supremacy” and “racial advancement” again? Is the NAACP, La Raza or something like David Duke’s NAAWP okay, but Alt-Right is not? Or is “ethnophyletism” only one of those sins that white Americans can commit (neither Jew nor Greek, only white privileged or unjustly oppressed). Unless the Orthodox Bishops are going to speak out about fashionable ethnonationalist movements and groups that are the darlings of the Progs, and not just condemn the violence but condemn the movement when they shoot cops, it is hard to see how they are going to be viewed little more than political partisans.

    Also, can we give Greece back to the Turks, since Greek Independence was clearly about restoring national supremacy to the Greeks? At least Cyprus maybe?

    “The venerable bishop Germanos held the Cross of Jesus Christ aloft on the 25th day of March, 1821, and proclaimed freedom for all Greek Orthodox Christians. It was a motion seconded by every Hellene in the country. In addition to engaging in a war of independence, the Greek people were actually waging a holy war because it was not only Greek against Turk but Christian against the Muslim, and the subsequent Greek victory was a triumph of Christianity.”

    • George Michalopulos says


    • Will Harrington says

      I have been thinking about this lately. It comes down to the purpose of brotherly love, I think. This love should lead us to love outside ourselves and to seek the good of our family, our city, our nation, above our own. But it should not stop there. It should also lead us to love the stranger beyond the border as the Good Samaritan did. If it fails to do that, if it turns inward and focuses our love solely upon the group, then it becomes idolatry. A group (NAACP, La Raza, etc.) should be evaluated by that standard.

      • It seems to me that any politicized organization on the basis of racial or ethnic identity tends to de facto supremacy, consistent with Disraeli’s observations (who I grant is not Orthodox).

        I will grant that the NAACP had a real and legitimate rationale for its early existence (but today?), but groups like Black Lives Matter, well the name says it all! I don’t think the Church is going to maintain itself as an authority if it cooperates with Prog double standards. By all means ex communicate white nationalists, but make sure you boot anyone with affiliations with BLM, La Raza, or any other Marxist ethnonationalist front or “antifa” Communist terrorists.

  6. Fr. Michael Molloy says

    At first, I naively had hope for unity in America with the establishment of the Assembly of Bishops, but no longer. Until we all, including myself, place Christ first in our lives, real unity will remain last on our agenda. So far now, we continue to “defend our turf” while denying our own Savior, Who prayed to the Father “that they may be one as We are.” Yes, we have our excuses, but what excuse will we have at the Judgment?

  7. Here, here says

    Good post, George. I believe that was “the plan” back in the 1970s, that the ethnic designations of the “Romanian Episcopate,” “Bulgarian Diocese,” and “Albanian Archdiocese” were only temporary until they could be absorbed into the OCA’s other territorial dioceses. “Temporary” still, 40+ years later. I don’t think it will ever happen, at least during/in the OCA’s current form of existence. It certainly won’t happen anytime soon, since no one wants to do anything to upset already tense situations in these “ethnic” dioceses. Much of the ROEA keeps threatening to bolt for the Romanian Patriarchate anyway, not to mention with all this drama involving Archbp Nathaniel and “former-bishop” Ireneu. These “ethnic” dioceses are given special consideration — they can largely do their own thing, tax-free, if you will. Remember that the Bulgarian Diocese came into the OCA under Archbp Kyrill of blessed memory from ROCOR, for reasons that no one probably remembers anymore.

    The “Albanian Archdiocese” has the interesting distinction in that it descends from the Albanian Orthodox contingent who kept Albanian Orthodoxy alive when it was expressly forbidden in Albania during most of the 1900s. Albanian Orthodoxy grew out of Boston during the 1900s, not out of Albania. Compare the OCA’s AA with the “other” Albanian jurisdiction in America under the Greeks/EP, which has about 2 or 3 Albanian parishes I believe.

    One can certainly argue that now, in the post-communist era, what is the point of these “ethnic” dioceses.

    I think it’s important to point out that the most multi-national of the Orthodox churches — which best manifests the spirit of St Herman of Alaska and the other Alaskan missionary saints, who did not make the native Alaskans into “Russians” but who helped to make their native cultures Orthodox — is the Russian Orthodox Church (MP). It is the most multi-national of Orthodox churches, from Japan to Indonesia to Haiti to Pakistan to Ukraine to America and Canada — you name it. Christ is the goal, not “becoming Russian.”

    And autocephaly in any Orthodox church happens only *after* Orthodoxy has begun to affect and transform the culture. In America, we Orthodox number less than 0.5% of the American population, and if you count active Orthodox Christians, it’s even less than that. We haven’t even made a dent in American culture. We largely cannot make a dent in our culture, since Orthodoxy must “take root” in something, and most of American culture is less than half an inch deep and offers nothing to take root in. We won’t take root in Wal-Mart America until the secularist/consumerist “American” culture collapses and dies. Till then, we must witness to America from the cultural frameworks that our Orthodox churches come from. But “autocephaly” in America, with our numbers, with our lack of impact on the American population? Sort of laughable, don’t you think? What would be the point of it?

    • Will Harrington says

      It is an interesting point. I would argue that America does not have a culture and is actively pursuing an anti-culture where the past is simply forgotten. But…the United States of America was never a nation in the conventional sense. There were several centuries where English colonists became something other than Englishmen before the banded together to throw off British rule and stayed together in a federation because, if they didn’t, Britain could have picked them off one by one. We were a federation, not a nation. We were many co-operating nations shaped by local environments and the unique demographics that made each state. Kansas is not the same as Wisconsin which is not the same as Washington State (just to name the three I have spent the most time in). In spite of all of the efforts of corporate and media giants to make us all rootless and cultureless, they have not yet succeeded. I think we need to seek out these local cultures and graft ourselves in. This might actually be easier in Rural areas, but the Church, unfortunately, does not focus on small towns and rural areas when it comes to new missions.

  8. r j klancko says

    If we examine the plight of the orthodox church in the usa today, it is in tragic shape due to a very major, non christian philosophy — this is ethno-centricity. we place our ethnic heritage and being before our christian faith. we know this because we relish in using ethni descriptors in our names instead of using an ethnic descriptor on our names. if were we serious about being christians, we would then need to use the noun christian, we are an orthodox christian comminity. nothing else! our immigrant members came here, to america, for a better life. one major requisite of this better life is to embrace the country in which they reside. i do not see this happening when there is resistance to becoming part of the fabric of the communities in which our adherents reside. we love to stay separated and to criticize others, yet in doing so we compromise the fundmental teachings of christianity.

    also, the mother churches in foreign lands make a mockery of all of this. why, because instead of encourageing the fairthful who now reside in here in america to become american, and be part of an american orthodox christian church, they thrive on ethic division. i must question does this pass the wwjd, or wdjt tests? this is what would jesus do, or what does jesus teach tests. they are exhibiting non christian mannerisms.

    how can we espouse the teachings of christianity, yet fail to encompass each other as fellow brothers and sisters. our standards for parish membership many times far surpass those of the most elitiest of country clubs. we truly need to rethink who we are, and what we are, and what is our future. the boat is sinking rapidly for us.

    perhaps we need to find a foreign diocese for every foreign born bishop — perhaps they would be more happy in the country of their birth. I do not see american leadership from them, but do see them as conduits for money to be sent back to the so called ‘old country’.
    where are our orthodox hospitals, colleges, universities etc? oops there are none, yet we are critical of the other religious demoninations with their jewish, presbyterian, roman catholic – hospitals, or baptist, episcopalian, lutheran, roman catholic etc colleges and universities — way can they do it and we cannot???? planned and deliberate ethno-centricity

    at this point, we have been in then usa long enough to have cut our foreign ties. perhaps it is time for our bishops to be american born, american educated, and be part of the fabtic of america and not relics of an obsolete past

    we also need to change the vision of our myopic laity and hve them realize that their church needs to be a community church, and that their churches need to follow in st paul’s footsteps and that they be missionaries in their own towns

    i have read the works of alexie kindratch, and they are sobering. we are slowly dying, we are much too ethno-centric, we are not part of the fabric of the communities in which our churches exist, we need to change our habits

    we have churches in africa, asia, europe, australia, north and south america —- we have black bishops, asian bishops, spanish speaking bishops — this is a reality —- but alas not here in america

    here in connecticut alone, we have 50 parishes under 7 different bishops — does this pass the sanity test??????

    if we are to survive here in america, we really need to evaluate what is the anchor around our neck, what is the elephant in the room —- in my mind it is ethno-centricity

    we need to sever all administrative ties with foreign bodies and their control — we need to become truly an american church and as such recapture the christian faith that we say we have but which has been supplanted by ethno-centric sectiarianism. many times we act more like a sect than a church

    it is time to recapture our true chrisitanity, it is time for us to reinvent ourselves, it is time to throw away the unneeded externalities – it is time to return to the faith of our fathers

    • Michael Bauman says


      You are factually incorrect in stating there are no Orthodox colleges. St. Katherine’s College in California is one such college. It may not meet your standards but is is purposely founded as an institution of higher learning on the Orthodox faith.

      Unfortunately, most of the institutions you mention are strongly under the control of the secular/nihilist politically correct power mongers.

      It is unlikely an Orthodox hospital refusing to give abortions would ever open. If it did it would likely be sold down the river by fellow Orthodox.

      Modernity holds the field.

  9. Francis Frost says

    Dear George:
    It would seem that some of your “Southron Orthodox” are unapologetic blatant racists and neo-Nazis.
    Last Friday, ABNC’s “20/20” news program highlighted the participants in the Charlottesville melee. To my surprise and discomfort the leader of the neo-Nazi gang, a Matthew Heimbach, was prominently wearing an Orthodox style cross outside the shirt of his uniforms in nearly every scene. I thought it must be a an unfortunate co-incidence. Unfortunately, it was not.

    White Supremacy and Orthodox Christianity: A Dangerous Connection Rears it’s Head in Charlottesville
    by Katherine Kleidis
    When I first wrote about the growing popularity of Eastern Orthodox Christianity among those on the far-right for Religion Dispatches in November of last year, I was regularly told that Matthew Heimbach’s excommunication from the Orthodox Church was the end of the problem. They told me that in making connections between the so-called alt-right and Orthodoxy I was overreacting.
    But last week, there was Heimbach, at the center of those organizing the “Unite the Right” march in Charlottesville—and marching, as Inga Leonova writes at Fordham’s Public Orthodoxy, while “waving ‘Orthodoxy or Death’ banners.”
    The events of the past week make it shockingly clear that with reference  to the growing threat of white nationalist groups, overreacting may not be the problem. I feel this especially because I spent the week before the events in Charlottesville researching the converts whom Orthodox Christianity and white supremacy share.
    My guide into this world was Tim (who asked that I not use his real name). Tim inquired on Facebook  if I had written the article referenced above and I said yes, expecting the same apologia I had received before. Instead, I was introduced to dossier of evidence that suggests that the “nationalist problem” is far from contained and presents a serious, ongoing challenge for American Orthodoxy.
    While the Neo-Nazis and Neo-Confederates may be relatively few in number, there is increasing evidence that Orthodoxy has become an integral part of the ideological and recruitment apparatus within some segments of the white supremacist movement. Importantly, these ideas and the converts to them are being tolerated, and frequently exploited, by much more powerful voices. This growing attachment to Eastern Orthodox Christianity  among a segment of white nationalists has serious implications for more mainstream currents in contemporary Orthodox life.
    One name that Tim mentioned early on was one that I had heard again and again: Matthew Raphael Johnson. Johnson was also present in Virginia this last weekend.  He has a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska and is, for what it is worth, the intellectual powerhouse of Orthodox nationalism in America.
    Johnson’s podcast is on the TradYouth website, the cyber arm of  the Traditionalist Workers Party (the political party founded by Matthew Heimbach and his political collaborator and father-in-law Matthew Parrott). For years, Johnson was a priest in a breakaway Orthodox group called the Old Calendarist Greek Orthodox Autonomous Orthodox Metropolia before being defrocked for phyletism (essentially for being a racist).
    And yet, even from these far-off margins of the Orthodox world Johnson has managed to have an impact on the mainstream. His books are Slavophilic revisions of Eastern European history and completely marginalized in academic circles. His first book The Third Rome: Holy Russia, Tsarism and Orthodoxy, however,  enjoyed enough mainstream acceptance within Orthodoxy that it first came out it was sold at the canonical  Orthodox Church in America (OCA) parish I attended in college.
    Johnson’s books and podcast, The Orthodox Nationalist, push the same brand of nationalism that adherents refer to as “traditionalism.” This ideology, which attempts to distance itself from more recognizable white supremacy, blends nationalism  with an anti-globalist agrarianism that in many ways does not sound dissimilar to the rhetoric coming out of the White House.
    Yet among the traditionalists, one finds a whole host of other, far more rare, beliefs—many of which find more than a passing precedent in more conservative, but still decidedly mainstream, strains of Eastern Christian thought. There are, for example, monarchists, calling for a restoration of Imperial Russia or even a new Byzantine Empire.
    While this may seem extreme, a strain of pro-monarchism runs through a great deal of even modern Orthodox thought, particularly within the Russian tradition where Tsar Nicholas II and his family are venerated as “passion-bearers.”

    There is no evidence that the institutional Orthodox churches in America, its clergy, and the vast majority of its laity has anything but disdain for these extremists co-opting Eastern Christianity. The episcopal hierarchy of American Orthodoxy has been slow to respond to the events in Charlottesville but there has, a week later, finally come a statement from the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America—a response that while delayed was unusually strongly worded for the Assembly
    Before this, only one major jurisdiction released a statement: The Orthodox Church in America. It is worth noting that this statement makes, if not explicit, clear reference to those within the white supremacist movement who have attached themselves to Orthodoxy. The statement reads, in part:
     At the same time, we exhort our clergy and faithful to reject any attempts by individuals or groups to claim for themselves the name of “Orthodox Christian” in order to promote racism, hatred, white supremacy, white nationalism or neo-Nazism.
    If nothing else, this single sentence is the most clear and public official acknowledgement made by the official Orthodox hierarchy that there is a problem with nationalists within the church.
    If this statement will manifest into any real action remains to be seen. But what cannot be ignored is that  when you are tolerant of some kinds of extreme hatred, it opens the door for other less socially acceptable forms of hatred. It sets the Church up to be a mouthpiece of white supremacy and extreme nationalism.
    It is obvious why American Orthodox Christians want to minimize the problem as much as possible. It touches too closes to so many self-inflicted wounds. But if something is not done, there is a real danger that American Orthodoxy will be further implicated within the white nationalist movement. And ignorance, especially willful ignorance, is no defense.

    Read the entire article at:

    How Orthodox Christianity Became the Spiritual Home of White Nationalism
    by Katherine Kleidis

    When Matthew Heimbach made national news for shoving protester Kashiya Nwan­guma at a Trump rally in April, the 25-year-old white nationalist and co-founder of the far-right Traditionalist Workers Party was, not surprisingly, completely unknown to the vast majority of Americans. Nonetheless, Ryan Lenz, the editor of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch blog, told the Washington Post‘s Joe Heim that Heimbach should “be taken as seriously as David Duke.”
    The same article that declared Matthew Heimbach a rising star of the far-right also mentioned in passing that his racial views had “led to his excommunication from his Orthodox Christian church.” It was mercifully excluded that Heimbach’s excommunication came only weeks after his formal reception into the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America and then only after immense pressure following the online circulation of photographs in which Heimbach appears to be beating a University of Indiana at Bloomington SlutWalk participant with an Orthodox cross.
    While Heimbach’s excommunication by the Antiochian bishop (actually Metropolitan Joseph) means that he is technically unable to receive the sacraments in any canonical Orthodox church, he claims to have found a sympathetic priest in Romania who allows him to communion with full knowledge of the priest’s bishop. It might be easy to dismiss this claim as a half-hearted attempt to save face by a self-aggrandizing racist. Heimbach’s story, however, is not just plausible. It is, in light of so much of the modern Orthodox church’s relationship with the far-right, highly likely.
    It is this relationship that has, at least in part, propelled Orthodoxy into the position of “go-to religion” for the white supremacist movement that would prefer to be known as the “alt-right“—not just in the United States, but around the world. When priests in Corinth sprinkle holy water around the new campaign office of the Greek Neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn and the Patriarch of Moscow embraces Vladimir Putin with a gusto that might have embarrassed his tsarist predecessors, there is little doubt as to why Orthodoxy seems appealing to a white nationalist movement. This is especially true since Orthodox opposition to neo-fascism of this kind has been far less frequent and considerably less public.
    But contemporary political alliance is only half of the answer, perhaps not even the most important half. The white nationalist movement is invested in a very specific historical narrative. Within this narrative, Western civilization has been felled by attack from without and decay from within. The only hope for its continued survival is a stubborn insistence on resistance, a hunkering down behind the barricades. The two great historical empires that embraced Orthodox Christianity, the Byzantine Empire and the Russian Empire, both provide plenty of fodder for anyone seeking precedence of this narrative.
    The Orthodox communion is governed through a highly decentralized, synodical system in which 15 self-governing churches—traditionally organized along national/ethnic lines—act with autonomy. While this system of ecclesiastical governance predates by centuries modern concepts of race and nationalism, for a nationalist steeped in the rhetoric of racial separatism, it is impossible not to see a reflection of separatist beliefs.
    This is not, by the way, an unusual interpretation of Orthodoxy’s system. As modern racial and nationalist ideology took root in traditionally Orthodox lands throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, plenty of nationalists saw Orthodoxy’s national division as an endorsement of their views. This lead to the condemnation of such ideas by a pan-Orthodox synod at Istanbul in 1872. There the gathered bishops declared, “We renounce, censure and condemn racism, that is racial discrimination, ethnic feuds, hatreds and dissensions within the Church of Christ, as contrary to the teaching of the Gospel and the holy canons of our blessed fathers…”
    This synod called the heresy it condemned “phyletism.” It was for this heresy that Matthew Heimbach was formally excommunicated, a charge he and other nationalist Orthodox deny. Nationalism, they argue, is not phyletism. As evidence, they point back to those priests, bishops, and patriarchs who gleefully embrace their political brethren from Moscow to Athens to Belgrade. There might even be a priest in Romania willing to offer them the Eucharist when the P.C. police in Indiana would deny it to them.
    But a single priest, who may or may not exist, in Romania is not the problem. Heimbach is just the most visible of Orthodoxy’s new neo-fascist converts. An even cursory perusal of the “alt-right” web reveals a large and growing love affair between the threatening margins of our modern Western political discourse and the ancient Christian faith of the East. The double-headed eagle appears on internet message boards and Orthodox crosses adorn the necks of thugs. What the response of the institutional Church to this courting will be is still yet to be written. Arguably, thus far, it has not been swift, public, or bold enough, because it has not been enough to stop it. If Orthodox churches, in America and abroad, only object to fascists in their midst when it becomes publicly embarrassing, then unflattering internet memes are just the least of our problems.

    Read the entire article at :

    The irony is that it is these same anti-immigrant KKK’ers who attacked Orthodox immigrants in the 1920’s and 30’s, who are now trying to take over the church from the inside. The AHEPA was specifically organized to help protect Greek-Americans from threats and boycotts. The OCA’s Nativity of the Virgin May in Desloge Missouri was closed for decades after the KKK drove the founding generation of Russian immigrants out of town. Now these racist cretins are trying to push their vile agenda using our church as their vector of infection.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Intellectually sloppy of Miss Kleidis. Two Orthodox men involved in anti-Antifa groups does not constitute a movement.

      I would also caution all cradle Orthodox against mounting the anti-nationalist/supremacist horse. If they weren’t so intellectually lazy they’d find out that there are more than a few heroes in their own nations’ respective pasts which would make them feel rather uncomfortable. This not only goes for them, but for American liberals who are Old Stock and of course for Jews who support Zionism. (Boy, you don’t want to examine the writings of Herzl and Zhabotinsky too closely. Or the Talmud for that matter. Hint: it makes the Volkischer Beobachter look positively tolerant.)

      There’s an old Greek saying regarding marriage: “Before you get married, look with both eyes, after marriage, close one”.

      • Jerry Wilson says

        Anti-Antifa? How about anti-Semite white supremacist…

      • Nationalism=/=phyletism says

        Those articles are just tired hit pieces from someone that doesn’t understand the fuller picture. A commentator appropriately pointed out that she has no right writing ‘as an Orthodox Christian,’ because she writes for extreme liberal, pro-abortion, pro-sodomy publications like Salon magazine. Oh, and Fordham’s “Orthodox” section.

        George’s comment is spot-on. Historically, Orthodoxy has been very nationalist. You don’t have to go too far back in history to see this. Even today, the bishops in Greece frequently evoke Hellenism and ‘the Greek nation’ in their homilies and writings. Bishops in Serbia bring up Kosovo often enough. The list goes on and there’s nothing wrong with that!

        Nationalism is not phyletism. Nationalism is a political doctrine, based on patriotism, that be can be good or bad depending on its implementation. Phyletism is a heresy, but not one you often see people actually supporting, because it’s so ridiculous.

        You’re more likely to find actual textbook phyletism (although admittedly based on ignorance in most cases) in a parish where someone tells potential converts “THIS Church is for Greeks/Serbs/Russians, Americans go to THAT church.” Does this not happen?

        The problem with the loonies nowadays is that, for them, nationalism = phyletism and racism, which is simply not the case. No one that Miss Kleidis mentioned advocated not baptising non-whites or similar phyletistic practices. Fr. Matthew Raphael Johnson, mentioned in the article, has even stated in his voluminous writings that he is against race-based politics. He is a serious scholar, despite the author pooh-poohing him.

        For Miss Kleidis and her ilk, if you’re politically right of Clinton, you’re a “white supremacist neo-nazi” and if you’re more traditional than Patriarch Bartholomew, you’re an “Orthodox fundamentalist.” Sadly, but not surprisingly, our bishops seem to be swayed by this sort of nonsense. As Mikhail states below, where’s the condemnation of antifa and BLM violence? These guys will be tearing down crosses from churches in a few years, mark my words. Today Confederacy, tomorrow Christianity.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Thank you. The church of any nation can comprise any number of phylloi (or “tribes”). Several years ago, Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens (of blessed memory) organized a parish for Anglophone expatriates who lived in Athens. He appointed a Scottish priest who was a convert to serve as rector and celebrate the services in English. This was an amazing act of love, done by an archpastor who truly cared about all the people in his diocese.

          National churches can do things such as this. Hence my suggestion that there be several “usages” for the various founding-stock ethnic groups (i.e. Bulgars, Serbs, Greeks, etc) as well as for potential convert populations (i.e. Anglican-rite, Hispanic, Amerindian, etc.)

          BTW, if anybody is wondering, I got the word usage from Isa Al-misri. An all-around good guy and visionary.

        • I think Matthew Raphael Johnson was defrocked, and Heimbech was excommunicated, so it does seem as if the Church, at least with respect to Old Stock Americans, interprets nationalism = phyletism. [I’m sure the same rules don’t apply to Greek Nationalism, naturally. . .] It doesn’t actually matter whether this is historically accurate or consistent, it is. The Hierarchy is much closer to Miss Kleidis then they are to people like Johnson, for good or ill. [Gathering ground for the swelling ranks of the nouveau Black Hundreds the American Orthodox Church is not.]

          • Nationalism=/=phyletism says

            The Hierarchy is much closer to Miss Kleidis then they are to people like Johnson, for good or ill.

            Yes, the same hierarchy that takes no action when clergy openly teach against the Orthodox position on sodomy. The same hierarchy that refuses to excommunicate ‘Orthodox’ politicians who act in favor of abortion. The same hierarchy that gives awards to Andrew Cuneo.

            Any idea why many are not taking them seriously? They’re speaking out of political correctness while flying down the mainline at 100mph. I’m not exactly a hardcore ‘true Orthodox’ (I’m even on the new calendar) but I simply do not trust the majority of bishops in North America.

            As for MRJ, he is a good scholar and enjoyable to read. His defrocking was a farce too. If you spend some time reading the documents and his responses, it was all nonsense based, again, in PCness.

            • Nationalism=/=phyletism says

              I should add that this statement has ore or less given the ‘Orthodox antifa’ (yes, they do exist) carte blanche to start a witch hunt againt anyone they disagree with – white supremacist or otherwise. I’ve seen it all over social media – a small cabal of supposed Orthodox Christians (some even open communists and homosexuals) threatening to ‘dox’ people, threatening people with violence, making spurious accusations of white supremacism and neo-nazism against anyone who happens to stroll into their firing line.

              They’ve even publicly attacked the traditional and conservative priests Fr. John Whiteford and Fr. Josiah Trenham, who definitely do not fall under the bishops’ censure! Other prominent conservative clergy, like Fr. Patrick Reardon and Fr. Alexander Webster, both commentators here at Monomakhos, could very well be next on their list.

              If this goes unchecked, then the above encyclical is proved to be meaningless.

    • Umm…..let’s see. The article has been embraced by the goons at Fordham……..and the author has written for publications such as “Salon.” What a load of garbage.

    • Christopher says

      Katherine Kleidis is one of several neo-Episcopalian “progressive” women who has pushed for the apostasy of the Church regarding homosexualism for a while now. These folks have mistaken their secular, bourgeois middle class mind/worldview for Christianity (to say nothing of Orthodox Christianity). This comes across as a seeming concern for the Church “being taken over from within” and the like but it is their religion (and make no mistake: their “progressive” morality is a religion) that is the contradiction. This sort of thing has been problem since the very beginning of the Church as anyone with even a passing familiarity with the the letters of the Apostles knows…

    • Michael Bauman says

      Robert Heimbach was received into the Orthodox Church some years ago. When his views became known his priest confronted him privately and urged him to repent. When he refused he was suspended from communion and has never been reinstated. He continues to use a puesdo-Orthodox identity. His situation and status were both widely broadcast on the internet at the time including here I believe. He was widely and routinely chastized. That he may have found some idiot somewhere to give him cover does not mean his status has been normaluzed any more than the self described Roman Catholics who are apologists for abortion.

      To try to tie him to the Church or any Orthodox communion or George is either disingeneous or ignorant. In either case the rest of your post after that becomes meaningless.

      Especially your “sky is falling” hand wringing. Thugs have always been part of the Church. To expect purity of political and social belief is idiotic.

      The Church will prevail. Perhaps not in your time in your way but she will prevail.

      Ideological nonesense.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Francis Frost,

      RE: “It would seem that some of your “Southron Orthodox” are unapologetic blatant racists and neo-Nazis.”

      In Heimbach’s case, this is kind of stupid thing to say when the articles you copied and pasted clearly state he is NOT Orthodox. (What he thinks he is, is irrelevant.) You are aware that his actions have not been embraced by the Church. To suggest otherwise is kind of disingenuous, don’t you think?

      It’s frustrating when the rest of us make an attempt to further our understanding regarding various issues and others just throw garbage out there for the shock value. Individual people don’t speak for the Church; her Teachings do.

      I think that’s why the Assembly of Canonical Bishop worded their statement the way they did. They didn’t say “ethnicity is not part of our landscape;” they said it is not our teaching.

      I know for a fact that many bishops do not like the way things are but there is nothing they can do about it because many of our jurisdictions are constitutionally tied to their Mother Churches over whom they have no control. It’s an unfortunate situation and it will take a revolution to change it. I still hold out hope for our bishops, though. At some point, I honestly believe they’re going to fix this and because of the nature of the problem, I doubt we’ll hear anything about it until it happens.

      A territory of “all” is really “no-one’s territory” so the EP does not have jurisdiction. It’s Christ’s Church so God’s hand is on them. With His help, I think we’ll see a lot of unselfish acts and true sacrifices down the road. The bishops who fight this battle and step aside for our greater good will be Saints in my eyes.

  10. Michael Bauman says

    r j have you read the stories on Journey to Orthodoxy? It is happening and outside the major cities the ethno-centrism is simply not as strong.

    My bishop long ago renamed my parish from St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church to St. George Orthodox now Cathedral for the very reason you cite.

    George is correct though that until we get one bishop in one city it won’t matter.

  11. That’s odd……I did not see a condemnation of the extremist group who burns and loots cities, and bludgeons people with clubs, and supports the murder of police officers, and hurls urine bombs, and spits on people, and shuts down the speech of anyone who opposes their narrow ideological view, and covers their faces like the terrorists whom they imitate.

    Hey OCA bishops…..the group is named “Antifa!”

  12. r j klancko says

    where is the term christian in your parish name — the point is that we easily forget we are christians, but use the term orthodox as an institutional roadblcok —- it is essential that we actively espouse christianity

  13. Do you remember that time a bunch of racist white men in robes called a bunch of racist white men in robes a bunch of racist white men in robes?

    • George Michalopulos says

      I heard Mark Steyn the other day say something witty about Antifa vs the KKK: this was a war between the two paramilitary wings of the Democrat Party.

      I laughed so hard that my coworkers wondered what was wrong (I was wearing my bluetooth so they didn’t know I was listening to Rush).

      • I agree that is pretty funny. Since Nixon, you could probably count all the KKK cretins in the Democratic Party on one hand. Some people are easily amused.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Actually, if you want to know where FBI informants are on any given day, just go to the local Klavern.

          • Sounds like you speak from experience. This irrational non-sequitur is typical, but my point was there are no Democratic Klansmen. Haven’t been any for decades. Steyn’s lame joke is ridiculous.

        • Estonian Slovak says

          Er, George Wallace, Lester Maddox; perhaps not Kluxers, but at least sympathetic, both were Democrats who ran third party Presidential campaigns. Wallace returned as Democratic Governor of Alabama. At least, he did renounce his segregationist views, to give him credit.
          It does seem, however, that if you pledge loyalty to the Democrats, all past sins can be forgiven. It is like the so-called Patriarch Filaret of Ukraine. Jump on the Ukrainian Nationalist bandwagon and all else is forgiven. Even if you had served the KGB or been anti-Ukrainian in the old USSR.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Interesting take on that ES! I shouldn’t let Mike or the Dems off the hook so easily. Bubba Bill’s mentor was J William Fulbright, Al Gore Jr’s was Al Gore Sr and Hillary spoke glowingly about Robert K Byrd. The last was an actual Klansman and Fulbright was an author of The Southern Manifesto. I believe Gore Sr was as well.

            • Estonian Slovak says

              Not sure if Gore Sr. was a Kluxer, but it is said that he was a racist who used the “N” word, as did many white Southerners back then.
              When Clinton and Gore ran for office in ’92, one of the campaign posters or bumper stickers featured their names with the Stars n Bars. How come it wasn’t a racist symbol when they used it?

          • Gail Sheppard says

            We might as well include Lyndon B. Johnson. He was a racist, too. Even MSNBC says so which should appeal to Nemesis. Sure, he supported the “nigger bill,” but then he called it the “nigger bill.” (Never cared for that man.) For two decades, Johnson “was a reliable member of the Southern bloc, helping to stonewall civil rights legislation” in Congress.

        • Nemesis, Mike Myers, Bonhoeffer

          I don’t care your real name. I am also a pseudonym. Whatwould you like me to call you?

  14. Mark E. Fisus says

    Because if they really believed in the fundamental equality of all races then they’d have to do some pretty dramatic things. Things they’d rather not do. Things like cutting off all ties to the mother churches. Or adhering to the canons of “one city, one bishop”.

    Race is only one factor in why the American church hasn’t been consolidated yet. Other church politics matters play a role, and the laity play a role too. Bishops dress up like royalty but the truth is they cannot do anything which the laity would vehemently oppose.

  15. Mark

    I only agree with the fact that the bishops won’t oppose the laity that are the insular ethnic centered blue haired meal tickets. They won’t bite the hands of the Arcons that feed. The rest of the laity they happily ignore. You can watch many videos of the bishops on youtube interacting with them in meetings doing exactly that – dismissing the general laity (but appealing to the bank rolling elites) in the most condescending tones. It’s appalling and at times even racist