Ashley Nevins: Time Out

I, your humble correspondent, have been getting a lot of grief over the past year because of Ashley Nevins and his criticism of the Orthodox Church.

To Ashley: in the interest of our Lenten journey and for equanimity’s sake, I want you to agree to these conditions:

1. You must state which denomination (i.e. “true Church of Christ”) you attend, and

2. You must restrict all posts to five hundred words or less. (Splitting long posts into a stream of 500 word short ones wont fly.)

Meet these conditions and I won’t put your posts on moderation. Ignore them I will moderate all future posts.

To our readers: Monomakhos regrets this momentary excursion into censorship but nobody but it is getting difficult to bear Ashley’s tomes. Honest dialogue is the goal for Monomakhos and we are trying to maintain that in as equitable way as possible.

That being said, let us pray for him — and for each other.


  1. Michael Bauman says

    George, it is not censorship. All that Mr. Nevins has to say can be read by anyone who visits this blog. If you really feel your actions are censorship, however, create a special archive of his posts (one would be sufficient) and put a link to in on your home page. With that, he would no longer need to post here since he never offers anything new or positive. If he wanted to post he could simply link to the achived post and with well under 500 words.

    Of course, he would have to fulfill your requirement #1 which he is unlikely to do as I doubt that he attends anywhere except the church of the hatred and pain of ashley. He has turned his pain, real once, into a grotesque idol that he worships in place of Christ.

    God save us all from the idols of our own mind.

  2. Jane Rachel says

    Let’s let George be George. it’s a good post, George, and a wise way to handle it.

  3. Its not censorship. The persona Ashley Nevins is just trying to hijack this blog and make a mockery out of what you post. I say that because they automatically started attacking the Church and calling it a cult when you posted about Andrew Breitbart. It was completely uncalled for and you have the right to establish guidelines and enforce them and if a person doesnt want to abide by the rules then they can go else where or start a blog.

    Over the years we have helped people out and given them a place to live while they get on their feet, we found out early on that certain ground rules had to be set and enforced, otherwise people tend to take advantage of you. Which in my opinion is what this persona Ashley Nevins is doing, they are taking advantage of your blog. Are some of the points that this persona makes valid? maybe but its also full of bitterness, hatred, and disinformation and circular reasoning. They argue just to be arguing and condems everybody elses point of view. You are doing right to draw a line and if they do not want to follow then they should be banned from being able to make comments. Your not censoring.

  4. George,

    Thanks for your moderation as the moderator in the monitoring of AN. I am not sure that he can add anything new to what he has already said here and other places. We know how he feels about the Ephraimite monks, the Elder, and Orthodoxy. I don’t believe that all his writing here and other places has helped him to deal with the root causes of his bitterness, in fact, it may just make it worse. His soapbox is well known.

    A “timeout” might cause him to do some recollection, it is worth a try. Every other effort here so far has not worked.

  5. Why should AN have to disclose what “denomination” he attends? Isn’t that a loaded statement in itself? Many people here seemed to be critical of Orthodoxy in one way or another? OTH, a 500 word restriction, applicable to all, is not a bad idea.

    • Choosing which “letters to the editor” are not published is not censoring when standards for content, intent, and tone for such are stated up front and enforced.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      I’ll tell you why: the judgmentalism and emphasis on perfection that Mr Nevins expects is impossible in this sphere of existence. Therefore to calumniate our Church (which was founded by Christ Himself), he must tell us exactly where we are wrong and why the Church he (ostensibly) belongs to is perfect.

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      You have my full name. Anybody can figure out by going through the site archive just which parish I go to and which jurisdiction my parish belongs in. Nobody can do that with Mr. Nevins.

      George, thank you. I trust that comments will now be more readable.

  6. THanks George. Take a look around. seems dormant. Monomakhos is a treasure of a blog and should strive to continue it practice of hard hitting orthodox opinion. George, whether you like it or not your website has assumed a leadership position in Orthodox America. I hope the original opinion pieces continue.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Andrew, you make me blush. Thanks for all your alls’ readership! You guys make Monomakhos what it is.

  7. Ashley Nevins says

    George, not at a problem.

    The best,

    Ashley Nevins

  8. Patrick Henry Reardon says

    I think Mr Nevins removal, George, is a small step in the right direction.

    It is still an affront to Christian charity, however, that you permit the correspondents on this blog to engage in personal (often anonymous) attacks. Some of the comments directed against Nevins were as offensive as anything Nevins wrote.

    By the way, I will be in Herakleides’ own city tomorrow.

  9. Heracleides says

    Lol. Highly unlikely – I live in a remote rural area. No matter.

    Just curious though, wouldn’t your time be better spent in return travel to Syria as the tool of your Despot and amending your previous propaganda piece to reflect even a modicum of the actual truth… you know, reality, on the ground? I would think restoring your credibility amongst your fan base would be priority one; but then perhaps the Butcher of Damascus is rather busy at the moment and unable to wine & dine you and your entourage to the same extent as last time?

    In any event, keep trying to silence me Reverend Father; Herr Goebbels would be proud of your efforts to date.

    • Heracleides says

      P.S. I thought you said you were leaving Monomakhos never to return? Or was that simply more creative fiction..,er, “reporting” on your part?

      • George, Heracleides ought to be next.

        • He is certainly “heading in that direction.”

          • Heracleides says

            George is of course welcome to do so. He’s bowed to pressure for censorship once, the second time is always easier. You’ll note I was not one of the rabble clamoring for Nivens silencing. I typically ignore him, which works well enough for me. Perhaps you Touchstone groupies should try it sometime.

            Fr. Reardon is a master at what he does – there *is* a reason he was chosen as Assad’s pimp by the Despot; if naught else, Bp. Philip chooses his tools well. Fr. Patrick’s mention of me in his post above was simply gratuitous and has served his ends well with the likes of you two jumping on the bandwagon. Like Herr Goebbels, Priest Reardon ably serves his own particular master and if this current attempt at silencing me fails, he will doubtless collect his toys and once more stomp off “never to return” – until that is – his next appearance and assault. Hell hath no fury like a cleric questioned. And so it goes.

            • Jane Rachel says

              I hear you, Heracleides.

            • Do you consider yourself a Christian?

              I certainly see no evidence of it.

              • Heracleides says

                Let’s see qwfwq… by my reckoning, that’s the fourth time you’ve asked that question or something similar. As stated previously:

                “Let me [NOT] extend my apology for having apparently gored one of your favorite oxen. I’d urge you not to overly vex yourself as this is not the first time Fr. Patrick and I have sparred and yet somehow we both manage to slog onward. Now, back to your prostrations before your favorite issue of Touchstone magazine.”

                Or whatever it is you do in the john with that publication.

              • Heracleides says


                Since you appear fascinated with me and the state of my religious affiliation, I decided to give you some serious consideration (likely more than you deserve) by using my professional skills to become better aquatinted with you. In the interest of full disclosure, I was initially inclined towards thinking that you are perhaps simply the Reverend Reardon acting under a different name. I was, that, is, until I stumbled across this gem penned by yourself:

                “I live in a part of Chicago about a mile away from where the Mumbai massacre planner lived. It is a disjarring nightmare to see these freak women, dressed entirely in black, walk down the sidewalk in a neighborhood with sunshine, pretty houses, neat yards, and white picket fences. These people have to be blasted back to where they came from. They are evil.”

                Much as I disagree with Fr. Patrick, I can in no way imagine him writing anything even remotely as abhorrent as the above. So, while you both hale from Chicago, I must conclude that you are not Priest Reardon. In fact, given that you wish to kill, maim, and murder females simply because they wear black clothing, I myself am left wondering:

                “Do you consider yourself a Christian?”

                “I certainly see no evidence of it.”


    • @Heracleides, you are being childish.

      @George, thank you… it was about time.

      @Fr. Patrick, AN was running his nails across a many worded blackboard.

      • Heracleides says

        Doubtless; the false witness of a tool tends to give rise to my baser passions. Especially when the falsehoods are cloaked in the dignity of vestments (whited vestments in this instance, but vestments nonetheless). Go figure.

      • I second all of the above. God is infinitely charitable, but unfortunately, most of us fallen humans can only put up with so much from a provocateur like Mr. Nevins.

    • Whatever our opinions of the reporting on events in Syria (and I have made mine known), we should at the very least be charitable toward one another. I, for one, welcome Fr. Pat back and look forward to hearing what he has to say.

      • Me too, and I will always respect his Priesthood.

        • geo michalopulos says

          I too welcome Fr Patrick back. This blog is for free speech. Let’s keep it civil. I despise the Assad regime, but we must be mindful of our Christian brethren in that part of the world. Even Israel’s partisans are concerned about a post-Assad future.

  10. Archpriest John Morris says

    One serious problem with us Americans is that we make the mistake of thinking that our ideas of freedom can be exported to different cultures. As Orthodox Christians we should try to understand the situation facing our brothers and sisters in the Muslim world. Sometimes, the only way to preserve a measure of freedom is to have a ruler strong enough to protect religious and other minorities from oppression by the majority. If I were a Syrian Christian and had seen what happened to the Christians in Iraq and Egypt, I too would be very afraid to support the removal of a leader no matter how dictatorial he may be who uses his power to prevent the Muslim majority from imposing Sharia law and unleashing a wave of persecution against non-Muslims. Instead of criticizing those who see Assad as their best hope to withstand the wave of Islamic fundamentalism sweeping through the Middle East, we should try to understand what they are facing and pray for them. Besides, I am not sure that the current American administration is all that committed to religious freedom given its recent decision to force religious related institutions to pay for abortive means of birth control and the so called morning after pill even if this violates their beliefs. Therefore we should take care of our own house before we criticize others.

    Archpriest John Morris

    • I second what Father John has written. While I too have willy-nilly a certain antipathy to some of Father Patrick’s ecclesiastical stances, one must recognize that the opposition to Assad comes mostly from the same nursery which nurtured Osama Bin Laden, the Taliban and the very worst, most extreme sectarianism of Sunni Islam. Assad belongs to a somewhat deviant wing of Shia Islam closer to Iran’s islam than that of Saudi Arabia. Further, the “Syrian” rebellion has been fortified by Sunnis from Iraq who lost everything when Hussein was toppled in the American invasion and occupation there. Assad, like the Islamic Republic of Iran’s government, tolerates religious deviation (although Iran historically has not been friendly to Carmelites and Jesuits and prevented them from working among the age-old Armenian Christian communities in Iran, and is VERY unfriendly to Pentecostal and other ‘saving’ missionaries). The rebellion in Syria is the rebellion of those who insist on the shariah law and the complete veiling of women, etc., while Assad’s government has always tolerated the customs of non-Muslims vis-a-vis dress and diet. No doubt, the rebellion in Syria is well-financed not by just Egyptian fundamentalists, but by the virulently anti-Christian government of megalomanical Saudi Arabia. Remember Iran and Syria have Christian communities, some of them with very, very prosperous families indeed. In Saudi Arabia, America is allowed to station airmen and soldiers, but our Jewish chaplains may not wear the Star of David in their lapels, and the Christian chaplains may not wear the cross on their lapels, and if those chaplains want to hold worship services, they are required to insure that the services may neither be seen nor heard by any Saudis. This means that sometimes on Sundays they have to go out in the desert behind a big sand dune, in order to meet for worship. Is there any reason at all to wonder why Metropolitan Philip and the rest of the Patriarchate of Antioch (ours, the Melkites’, the Maronites’, and the Jacobites’) is not vocalizing and exclaiming over the plight of the Syrian “Freedom” fighters?
      Saudi Arabia is our “ally” against Iran, but a Saudi Iran would be much more anti-Christian than the present Islamic Republic of Iran is. The Saudis are frantically jealous of the Iranians and will do anything to prevent Iran from continuing to rival them in prestige in the region. The Saudis, although giving lip-service to supporting the Palestinians, will actually tolerate ANYTHING done by Israel, if it only hurts Iran, preferably bombing Iran into extinction.

      • Dear Vladyka,

        I look in unto the USA, living next to the Elephant, and let me say American political hubris will be paid for with a heavy price. Since they defeated the Germans in WWII, the USA has NEVER won another war.The USA as it is constituted today, is incapable to conduct never mind win any wars they start. And wars they start like they are having a sale on it. I will not go into the reasons why… obviously. But let me just state my observation that the USA seems to be entering a state of insanity that is the foreboding of its demise.

        There are now wars being proposed and bandied about, called for willy-nilly anywhere and randomly, without visible purpose and without need. Criminal wars! Rome, with all its wars, at least had a purpose, the enlargement of the Empire. The USA is just pissing into the wind…

        I shudder to think where this will end.

        Just for the record, I am no modernist, leftist or progressive… in fact I am a reactionary traditionalist and a monarchist.

        Lord have mercy on us all….

        • Daniel E. Fall says

          A fool believes war can be ‘won’. I cannot idly stand by and allow such jibberish.

          And for the record, I’m slightly on the left side of the bell, mainly because I know how dumb people are and how raunchy society would be if we required idiots to steal chickens. Most folks here know the what, not the why. I’m only telling you because I’m not a likely war drum beater.

          And as for war, I see it as a sad, oft necessary-, oft not-desirable chivalry.

          War is never won.

          I’m a dove, but Iran is fully stupid. Rather than embracing the US, they have named us an enemy. They have publicly spoken about Israel’s demise, and then they believe the US won’t take action. They must think Americans have no memory beyond a day or two. Iran has given us very little political wiggle room. Obama himself will ultimately have little power to stop the eventuality.

          Syria is nearly equally stupid shelling whole towns. If the US government started random shelling your town because of a militia group, how would you react?

          War is a sad necessity when stupidity is prevalent.

    • Jane Rachel says

      Father John, that’s all true, I’m sure. Just one comment about the article that was written about the delegation to Syria, and no more. The situation is too touchy to touch upon. In my opinion, which is only that, it was overdone.

      By contrast, comparing leaders, good and bad whether over there, or over here, I’m deeply affected today after watching a PBS “Independent Lens” program last night on Benazir Bhutto, her life, her family, and Pakistan.

    • Amen to everything you said Father….

    • Diogenes says

      Apparently you have drank the Koolaid of the Antiochian Archdiocese. It goes like this: “Let’s support Assad because without him, our churches in Syria & Lebannon will fall to the radical Muslims.” Well, maybe, maybe not. However, this is not the issue. The issue is, Assad is a dictator who has turned to murdering thousands of his own people to stay in power. He is no better than Hitler, Stalin, Saddam, Quadafy, etc. Doesn’t it bother you that + Philip supports Assad? Doesn’t it bother you that + Philip supported Saddam? What does this tell you?

      • @ Diogenes,

        It tells you and the world, that Metropolitan +Philip knows more about the human condition than obviously you do. You have no qualms, sitting somewhere in safety, to pontificate about the situation of a people you have no idea about. A situation way beyond your limited imagination. For you it is abstract “democracy” or some idealistic nonsense out of a progressive textbook. For the people in Syria (and elsewhere in reach of American radar), the Christians, it is a matter of life and death…

        Your spouting here is what makes, for many people in the world, the “American” unpalatable. Albuquerque saving the world… provincialism trumps all. And when the “experiment in demo-crazy” ends in disaster (as it always does), oh chucks, we’ll move on to “save” the next third world hovel for demo-crazy….

        After the good the USA did in defeating the National Socialist in WWII, it seems it went to the heads of the following generations that they are God’s gift to humanity and the saviour of the oppressed. In reality, the USA has become a blind Elephant, oh never mind Elephant, it has become a blind and deaf Mastodon, trampling around in an antique porcelain store…

        I think the Mastodon is now dancing quite close to the beaches of the tar-sands…. Oh well, maybe we Canadians will one fine day in the future pump it out again and use it as fuel to heat our igloos… or sell the goo to the Chinese.

        I am sorry but this nonsense REALLY upsets me greatly…

        • Joseph,

          You bring a cold hard dose of reality into this conversation, which for some might be a jarring blow when it comes to the foreign policy of the USA. No one condones the brutal attempts of any government to put down a revolt of its people but in looking at the alternative that is rising up in Syria, a militant group of Islamists, Syria may not be the better for it.

          Metropolitan Philip has pillared by the likes of Mark Stokoe and his sidekick Bp. Mark Maymon who teamed up to paint +Philip the focus of all things bad in the Antiochian Archdiocese. Maymon supplied Stokoe with all the information that Stokoe spun on his website when Maymon was doing his best to bite the hand of his brother bishop and Metropolitan.

          It is common knowledge now that Met. Philip revamped his entire Archdiocese to protect it from the likes of Maymon, a disobedient cleric who refused an assignment in the Archdiocese in the Northwest because of his undiagnosed condition of S.A.D. He played the role of “the victim” much to the delight of Stokoe who used that to beat up on +Philip.

          And so, sadly, the OCA picked up the disobedient +Mark and he promptly wreaked havoc on the OCA DOS and immorally used the private emails of Fr. Joseph Fester as a weapon to get rid of Fester and to show his ungrateful nature against another Metropolitan, this time Jonah; again using his sidekick Stokoe. But, alas, +Mark again played the poor misunderstood victim card, which he does to this day as he travels around the DOS and actively campaigns for the vacant See of Dallas.

          +Philip is a tough customer when he needs to be and that is when he is called to protect his flock from wolves. I do not go so far as to equate him with Assad or Assad with him, but I too am not going to dismiss out of hand the positions of Russia and China either who blocked the UN Resolutions against Syria.

          There is no doubt that if Assad falls to this rag tag bunch of Islamist militants, Christians and other religious minorities in Syria will be under the knife of Islam. And lest we forget, when our nation was faced with Civil War, nearly 700,000 Americans, North and South died. And when faced with the “relocation” of the Native American population, we did not think twice to “relocate” them by any and all means possible.

          I pray for all involved in the Syria because God knows the real score and he will finally settle it.

          • Amazing how everyone gets carried away on tangents here. The issue I was remarking about was that certain Orthodox bishops support the actions of Assad. They do this because who is better, “the devil they know or the devil they don’t know.” Radical Islam has been part of the Mideast since the Muslims conquered Jerusalem. It’s not going away. The support of a ruler who is a mass murderer of his own people cannot be condoned by any Christian church for any reason. Murder is murder no matter how you sugar-coat it or whatever your reasoning. The world stood by hoping Stalin would stop his purges. The world stood by hoping Hitler would stop. The world stood hoping Saddam would stop. Etc. The U.N. was formed to stop these crazy rulers and their murderous campaigns and wars. It is past time that the U.S. get directly involved and destroy the Syrian army. Send in the drones. Send in the Special Ops. Capture Assad and send him to the Hague for trial of crimes against humanity. And with the Israeli offensive against the innocent Palestinian peoples of Gaza several years ago, maybe the Israeli leaders should be taken to the Hague also.

            • Clergy in the Antiochian Archdiocese are not going to stand up to Met.Phillip because he control everything in the diocese to such a degree that he controls who gets the plum speaking jobs at Parish Life Conferences to which books get sold or not sold by Concilliar Press…
              It will be interesting to see what happens when Met.Phillip passes into Eternity..the entire House of Cards could collapse..

              • StephenD,

                The AOCA is not an “autocephalous” church as the OCA fashions itself. The “self-rule” phase of the AOCA was never fully recognized by Antioch. +Met. Philip is the man from Antioch here in the USA. As you said, he rules and controls. That is just a fact of life for the Archdiocese.

                My guess is that when he reposes, Antioch will not lessen its grip on the AOCA but will tighten it. Frankly all the “House of Cards” will collapse here in the USA if the Assembly of Bishops present to the Great and Holy Council the plan for a local Orthodox Church here. If, they do, that is.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  BTW, StephenD, right now I’ll take life in the AOCA over any other jurisdiction out there. At least in Bp Basil’s diocese the focus is on living a simply Orthodox life: building up the resources to allow us to do that–including monstaries, schools, health organizations, ministries to the poor, pregnant women while creating missions here and abroad.

                  Met. Philip and the other bishops will/are working to increase the stability to allow that to continue. We have four new bishops, most of whom are American born and spent most of their lives here.

                  The ties to the old country and the byzantine politics that go with it, plus Met. Philip’s good-old-boy network are concerns but I’m sure there are contingincies being created to address those issues when Met. Philip decides to go.

                  • The AOCA issue I find difficult to ignore is Met. Philip’s refusal to allow an independent external audit of AOCA finances, including those funds controlled by Met. Philip.

                    • Can you imagine what an independent audit would show? An independent audit will never happen..Father Patrick and Father John know it too.. The OCA has made great progress on this issue..Met.Jonah has shown excellent leadership on this issue..

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      The audit is another transition issue. It won’t happen as long as Met. Philip is alive nor as long as the friends of Philip have control but there are fewer FOP’s than you might expect.

                      Personally as much as I find a great number of Met. Philip’s actions and his entire attutude not to my liking I’m still grateful for him (although that gratitude is new).

                      We will see what happens when Bp Joseph takes over, Bp Antoun retires. As I say, there are preparations being made and all know the issues that will need to be addressed.

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      I can give you a major reason why many of us did not want an external audit. It would cost over $100,000. That is enough. My Parish Council discussed the issue and was strongly opposed to spending that much money on an external audit. I think that money could be better spent on missions or some other cause. In any case, I trust the Metropolitan, our Bishops and the Board of Trustees of the Archdiocese to take care of such matters. I am too busy trying to take care of my parish to criticize them. I try to be a good priest and to obey my bishop.
                      I think that the self-appointed critics of the leadership of American Orthodoxy should take care of their own salvation and let God take care of His Church. I believe that all the discussion has done great harm to the OCA. If half the bad things that have appeared on this and other sites on the internet about the problems of the OCA are true, no one in their right mind would want to be part of the OCA. I am not saying that they are true, and am not criticizing the OCA. I am criticizing people like Stokoe and his critics who have given the OCA a very bad public image that does not lead any serious Orthodox Christian to want to be part of the OCA. I am not saying that I believe all the bad stuff written about the OCA. I don’t want to believe such terrible things about any Orthodox Christian jurisdiction.

                      Archpriest John W. Morris

                    • Fr. Morris,

                      RE It would cost over $100,000.

                      Just to clarify. When you say “it” are you referring to the cost of an audit of:

                      1. Your own parish.
                      2. All the AOCA headquarters organizations and departments, including those funds controlled by the Met. himself.
                      3. The Archdiocese headquarters (#2, above), each diocese, and all the parishes.

                      Thank you.

                    • Father John, the OCA may have its problems, but at least I know where my money is going.

                      The cost of an external audit depends on a number of factors, none of which are ameliorated by putting off the audit for several years. What harm could it do to confirm the archdiocese’s financial statements?

                      If Metropolitan Philip has “millions” in assets, then a comprehensive audit for $100k shouldn’t be overly burdensome, although I would like to see whatever paperwork that shows that an audit would actually cost that much and how far it would reach.

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      Father John Morris wrote: “I believe that all the discussion has done great harm to the OCA.”

                      Why do you blame the laity when it is the leaders who are at fault? Have you nothing to say about what the bishops and their priests (and their head-in -the-sand parishioners) have done and are doing to the Church?

                      No, the discussion has brought the truth to light, and the evidence and testimony bear witness to the truth whether you “want” to believe it or not. Were you devastated by what happened in the OCA? I thought not. A lot of people were. No, it is not the discussion among innocent, truth-seeking laity that has hurt the OCA (though we are easier to blame), but the corrupt leaders with agendas and those who followed them that has brought her to where she is today.

                      I get tired of talking about it, but when people start criticizing the victims, well, that just gets my dander up. Google “John Jillions” and look under his “interests,” then go to and look at the photos. See? Eric Wheeler. Father Robert Arida. Fr. John Jillions. Etc. Etc. Etc.

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      Edit: “No, it is not the discussion among innocent, truth-seeking clergy and laity that has hurt the OCA (though we are easier to blame), but the corrupt leaders with agendas and those who followed them that has brought her to where she is today.”

                  • I just don’t think there will be a mass exodus of “converts” from the Antiochian Archdiocese. The doors of Antioch were open for many of us weary travelers and we remember that hospitality and safe haven so whatever rough patches there may be we know that the Faith is here and God will preserve us. That’s why we pray for our bishops and each other and we bear each others burdens when the hard times come. Despite what you may have heard on OCANews there are advantages to being in the Antiochian Archdiocese and a future, I think, worth staying for.

                    Fr John Chagnon
                    St. Paul, MN

              • Michael Bauman says

                StephenD, it may surprise you to know that there is a real succession strategy being worked on for the passing into eternal life of Met. Philip. It will not be easy, but neither will everything fall apart. The real issue is going to be how to absorb all of the coming refugees from Syria, Lebanon and Israel. That will be the test and it could very well turn the AOCA back into an inner focused ethinic ghetto. If that happens, many of the non-Arab converts of the last 20 years will leave.

                • Michael, what do you think the non-Arab converts will leave for?

                  There are many Antiochian parishes where the converts are an overwhelming majority and the priest speaks little to no Arabic. I have a hard time imagining those parishes going totally ethnic. They might transfer jurisdictions, though.

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    Helga, I’m probably overstating the case, but there is a significant number of folks and parishes, particularly east of the Mississippi and on the west coast where the Arabic culture is more important than the Church and where us white guys are not all that welcome. It will be a strain and it is quite possible that the amount of Arabic in services will increase dramatically and pressure may be brought to bear on the priests to learn it.

                    Here in the heartland its not so much that way but still there.

                    That is precisely the wrong direction and with the majority of the bishops now not native Arabic speakers, I may be entirely wrong.

                    And changing jurisdictions is what I meant by leaving.

                    • The Antiochian parish here is called “Ramallah West” and the service is primarily in Arabic..Converts attend either the OCA parish or ,get this, the GOA parish..The GOA parish Chrismated three adults today at Divine Liturgy..

                • Parishes in the Antiochian Archdiocese have been absorbing immigrants for decades. By and large they are an asset to the congregations that welcome them. Of course they’ll want to have a bit of their old home in their new location, so would I if I was living somewhere other than the United States. Over time people settle, accommodate, and adjust, just like our ancestors did.
                  I’m sure that there will be parishes which go to either end on the “ethnic” scale but by and large we seem to find a way to make it work.

                  Fr John Chagnon
                  St. Paul, MN

            • And when will you enlist Diogenes or have your children enlist to fight another war in the mideast? It is easy to bomb, send troops, “win” a military victory, but then what? More USA national building? Yeah, good luck with that. If our record was batting average, we would be batting .000 since WWII.

              In one sentence you say “mass murderer of his own people cannot be condoned by any Christian church for any reason” and then you go on to say, “Send in drones….Special Ops….” Drones kill innocent people. Special Ops to capture Assad? This is not a Tom Clancy novel.

              Our vital interest in the region has always been oil. and being the backstop for Israel. The USA could care a rip for the people of the Middle East unless it has to do with Israel or oil.

              I agree with you that Assad will answer for his decisions but when did the USA become judge and jury for the world?

              Try this on for size, until the people of the USA authorize a war and are willing to pay for it, why don’t we stop borrowing money from the Chinese to pay for our prosecution of adventurism. If the American people want to go to war, so be it.Then we pay for it, and I would go so far as to say, bring back the draft so that all men and women do their duty instead of a professional mercenary force we have now. These non-declared wars have put us in the poor house. Enough is enough.

              • Sending in drones and Special Forces TO STOP THE MURDERING OF INNOCENT PEOPLE is exactly what the U.N. should be doing. Not a full war, but the protection of innocent people with limited, but effective force. There is no justification for Assad. There is no justification for Netanyahu for shelling the innocent people of Gaza using phosphorus to burn the children. These are crimes against humanity. These leaders need to be tried in the Hague or executed.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Diogenes, there is no such thing as a just execution of war. All war breeds atrocities on all sides of the war. That is just the way it is. You don’t stop atrocities by waging war and there is really no such thing as a limited war that does not involve civilians. All military action, particularly these days, means that civlians will be killed. Not all of them are non-combatants, but who really knows? The more one is removed by technology from the actual violence, the more bloody and indiscriminate the violence becomes. The drones, the black opps,the weapons that kill from a distance all destroy the lives and livelihoods of civilians if there is such a thing in the Middle East.

                  If you want to go the war crimes route, you’d have to try every leader in every war in history. All are culpable. In reality, it is the winner who decides. These days, no one seems to want to win, just sustain the conflict and draw it out as long as possible thus insuring the greater destruction of lives, property and morals. It is not about military conquest it is about breaking and controlling the will of the people and breeding more soldiers.

                  The reality is that Islam has always been at war with anything that is not Islam. It always will be. Sure there are many Muslims who don’t look for a fight, but that does not mean they won’t join one.

                  The founders of my parish home knew this well. They were forced out of their ancestoral homes, some of which are the centers of the current violence in Syria today. They were forcd out of their homes at the hands of their Mulim ‘neighbors’ with whom they had lived side by side for generations. Suddenly, there was a pogrom called for my some mufti or other and the blood letting began. St. Raphael came to America because of that after his spiritual father, St. Joseph was murdered in the streets while tending to members of his flock.

                  The choice for Chrisitans is stark: live as dhimmi under a relatively benign tryannt, leave their homes or prepare for martyrdom. Cooperation in arms with the Muslim rebels would not do them much good I think and they know this.

                  I don’t know what choice I would make, I hope I never have to make such a choice, but it is arrogant beyond belief to think we can make the choice for them.

                  I still remember when Mother Theresa went to Lebanon many years ago in the middle of violence to save some children. She came, the guns were silenced. It was not just a cease fire or it didn’t feel like it at the time. The guns went silent for the brief time she was there.

                  So take your choice send in the drones or send in the clowns. If you let the UN do it, you may get both.

                  • o Hamartolos says

                    Thanks for the Mother Theresa story. This is exactly the kind of “foreign aid” that is effective. Bombs, CIA, guns and more bombs do not solve anything. Diogenes, if you are so concerned about the Syrians get on a plane, fly to Jordan or Cairo, then take the next flight to Damascus and go on your humanitarian mission. Hey, I might even send you some money, for real. But, until you are willing to put yourself in harms way, don’t demand our men and women in uniform do so. That’s just hypocritical.

                  • Michael Baumann, please explain the part about St. Raphael coming to America because of islamic persecution at home. I understood he left home not for America, but for Russia; that he studied his theology in Russia and was ordained in Russia, rather than by the Grecian-dominated Hierarchy of the Antiochian Patriarchate at the time. Or? Then he was made a Bishop (vicar) by the Russian Bishop in America. At what point did the incident involving his spiritual father take place and at what point did St. Raphael come to America and from what port, exactly?

                  • Archpriest John Morris says

                    St. Joseph of Damascus was murdered by an Islamic mob in 1860. St. Raphael’s mother, who was pregnant with him at the time with him, and his father escaped to Lebanon from Damascus. At the time that St. Raphael went to Russia, the Patriarchate of Antioch had very close relations with Moscow because Moscow refused to break communion after Constantinople broke refused to recognize the election of Metius II who was an Arab, At that time the Russian Church supported schools and provided other kinds of aid to the Antiochian Church through the Imperial Palestinian Society. Thus, it was only natural that St. Raphael should seek his higher education in Russia. However, at the same time Arab Christians suffered under Islamic domination and at the hands of the Turks , who were going through a wave of nationalism led by the Young Turks.

                    Archpriest John W. Morris

                • …..Not a full war, but the protection of innocent people with limited, but effective force.

                  THAT is exactly what I am objecting to…. this pittling into a serious business as is war. This is insanity writ large. Just look at the trail of USA intervention during the last 50 or so years, one disaster after the other. In none of the cases was the USA itself attacked. In none of the cases did the USA have the gonads to actually conduct a real war.

                  To start wars all over the place to make oneself feel good about oneself is, to be polite, criminally insane.

                  Since the USA does not see itself as Empire, a war should only be conducted if attacked and as a defensive measure. Then, if she goes to war, it should be conducted with all the force and ferocity available in order to quickly squash and completely defeat the enemy. Any War is horrific and prolonging it by half-ass diddling, is beyond criminal, it is evil in the biblical sense. However, exactly, this type of “conflict-resolution, protecting innocent people, nation-building” and what other bromides are being fed to the gullible is what you promote and what goes as “war” in the USA these days.

                  If the USA has ANY interest in the Middle East, it is oil. So, then take it and I would have no problems with that… but do not pretend to meddle into the affairs of other countries under the name of humanitarian-doohdah.

                  And bloody well learn how to conduct a war properly…

                • I don’t believe that it can be demonstrated that sending in the drones stopped or lessened the murdering of innocent people at all. You say the UN should be doing that? Since when do UN Forces have drones? You speak of prosecuting the responsible instances. I think they should line up to be prosecuted right behind W. Vincent Bugliosi’s good book on why W. should be prosecuted for murder is spot on. Is the phosphorus being used in Gaza any worse than the Shock and Awe which destroyed the infrastructure of Iraq and killed thousands of innocents. As for the value of taking down Saddam Hussein….we closed our eyes much more quickly to his use of mustard gas against the Iranians than we are doing to fascist Israel’s use of phosphorous in its mad drive for Lebensraum. Senator Dole said it very plainly. “It’s all about oil, o-i-l, OIL!” The Afghans and Afghanistan are being blamed by McCain and Co. for 9/11, while in fact all the agents of 9/11, including Osama Bin Laden were nurtured by Saudi Arabia made right with American money and LOVE by the U.S.government and business. Why doesn’t McCain want to invade Saudi Arabia?
                  Drones!!!!! No amount of drones can balance out the actions of one Master Race soldier going berserk in Afghanistan. He’s being EXCUSED for going “berserk,” you know.

              • Well said Jacob . . . very well said.

            • @Diogenes

              Sorry about the tangent, but it serves as another example of how the “facts” we were fed by Stokoe were a cold dish of self-serving baloney and Maymon was too self-centered to know he was being played. Now he really believes the Stokoe storyline that he was a “victim.” More baloney. Ask the folks in the DOS. They want no part of him, but he still hangs around living off inviting himself to parishes so he can get a check.

            • Michael Bauman says

              The UN is largely run with American money by equally crazy rulers. They but Libya on the human rights board don’t forget. It is corrupt and under the thrall of anti-Christian ideology that has no regard for actual people.

            • o Hamartolos says

              The ramifications of the ideas you are promoting, I’m quite sure, are just the sort of thing that create Assads, Husseins, and Bin-Ladins. Every time, I mean every time, we have taken out one leader and put in another, “our guy” was worse than the one he replaced, think Nicaragua, Guatemala, Iran, Iraq, Kosovo, Georgia etc. Who has given us, the US, the right to be the moral conscience and policeman of the world? Who? Who gives you the right to demand that our men and women in uniform lay down their lives? Who gives you the right require the vast majority of Americans to bear the heavy financial burden of such wars? If the president does not constitutionally have that right, who are you?

              In this lenten season the thought that America, especially in its treatment of other nations, is like the pharisee in the parable has come to me often.

      • Archpriest John W. Morris says

        Do you really think that we accomplished anything real in Iraq. I have no doubt that in a very short time radical Muslims will take over that country as they will Afghanistan. Majority rule does not equal democracy. A real democracy can only exist is the majority respects the basic rights of the minority. Them problem is that Islamic law mandates that non -Muslims occupy an inferior status in all aspects of society. As bad as he was Saddam kept the radical Muslims under some control. Now that there is no one to keep them under control, the Christian community of Iraq has been all but destroyed by the radical Muslims. Since they are next door to Iraq, and can also see what is happening to the Egyptian Christians, the Syrian Christians are terrified that the same thing will happen to them if Assad is driven from power. Since we are not in their position, I do not think that we Americans are in a position to judge them. If Vietnam or Mogadishu (Black Hawk Down) taught us anything, it should have taught us that we should stay out of the problems of other peoples. We do not do a very good job at nation building.
        We keep making the same mistake that Wilson made at the end of the First World War. He greatly undermined the possibility of democracy in Germany, by forcing the Germans to adopt his views of government before he would agree to an end of the war. Because they felt that it had been forced on them by Wilson, the German people had no real commitment to the Weimar Republic, which made its fall to Hitler inevitable. We cannot expect other cultures to adopt our values. Besides I do not believe that our democracy is working very well right now. We Americans should clean up our own act before we try to tell others how they should live.

        Archpriest John W. Morris

        • Fr. John, well said!

          I just want to add one more thing to my rants above.

          After 30 years of war in Germany, with almost one third of the population vanished, the nations of Europe settled on the Treaty of Westphalia. This treaty, guaranteeing the non-interference of sovereign nations into the affairs of other sovereign nations, was adhered to almost to an iota for three and a half century.

          No, it did not prevent wars among nations, but that was not its intend. It allowed for any nation to arrange its internal affairs as it saw fit. Which greatly contributed to the well being of their citizens.

          The American hubris of ignoring and violating these traditions, will come back to haunt her. What can she protest, if other nations, using a temporary or even fatal weakness in her, will cut her up and force their ideas and customs on her? Nothing! She was the first to ignore and break the treaty…

  11. Ashley Nevins should “wise up” and go “thump his bible” somewhere else ’cause this is our “corner of the street.”

  12. George, the All-Knowing, All-Seeing, Self-elected/appointed Pope of the Church of Modernity who speaks Ex Cathedra, Ashley Nevins, has already failed to abide by your two conditions presented to him upfront and in writing as necessary for him to continue bloggin here. He has merited for himself moderation, asap.

  13. I don’t think the fact that your are limiting Ashley’s word count qualifies as censorship. Ashley has posted his views on this blog numerous times. His writing is often just a variation on his main theme of general dislike for the Orthodox Church and all of those posts are still available for viewing via the “Read all comments by” link.

  14. G. Sheppard says

    In an article entitled, “The Historic Trip,” detailing the activities of Metropolitan Philip while in Syria in June of 2002, Father Joseph Antypas said something very telling: “We are very proud indeed of our Orthodox faithful in Syria, who serve their country in the highest capacities as public officials.” – Father John Morris talks about “non-Muslims occupying inferior status,” when that is precisely why people are protesting in the streets! THEY occupy “inferior status.” THEY are poor and hungry, which interestingly, makes them vulnerable to the very extremists Christians fear. THEY are the ones being slaughtered, while “Christians” bury their heads and sit on their hands. On what planet is it OK to support a leader who has no compunction against mowing down his own people to maintain political advantage? Those who find nothing wrong with this may have found themselves acting out of self-preservation when put to the test. – “What’s in it for me” is the fuel of every despot’s power.

  15. Daniel E. Fall says

    A long overdue necessity George….I actually tried to read one of the posts and stopped about halfway through. I’ve read almost everyone else’s posts entirely.

    You own this blog and when people behave badly; it does have a reflection on you.

    I’m just saying…

  16. G. Sheppard says

    Sorry, Samn, your argument doesn’t hold water. “Do unto others . . . ” doesn’t have an “opt out” clause. You want to call yourself a “Christian,” then you embrace ALL of it: ” . . . as you would have them do unto you.” Of all the reasons people do or do not do the right thing, fear is the least respectable, because it implies a lack of Faith.

    • The Lord never condemned people protecting their families.

      • Heracleides says

        Aye. A pinch of incense for the Emperor (er, Dictator) and all bases are covered.

    • Your kind of self-satisfied sniping at suffering Christians from a place of safety is the worst kind of hypocrisy.

      • G. Sheppard says

        The Lord saves; He does not condemn. We do that all by ourselves. – I saw a clip on the news awhile back . A Syrian man had just lost his 15 year-old son. The poor kid went out for bread and got caught up in sniper fire. I could tell the man was a Christian, because in his hands you could see a tightly clutched prayer rope. In the same news clip, they interviewed another man. He, too, lost a son. This man was Muslim. You know, Samn, it didn’t matter to me which one was Christian and which one was Muslim . . . I wept for them both.

        • G. Sheppard, you seem to be operating on the assumption that the Syrian rebels, once in power, would somehow be better than Assad. May I ask why you think that? Given events elsewhere in the Middle East it doesn’t exactly seem like a given to me.

          I’m with Samn! on this one. I can’t condemn Syrian Christians who prefer the devil they know. Of course, based on the story about Fr. Basilius Nassar you link below, maybe the Christians will end up being shot at by both sides.

      • Patrick Henry Reardon says

        Actually, Samn, your sane and sound appeal to facts (about Syria and the Middle East) will carry little weight with some of your correspondents on this blog site.

        The ones I have in mind are so full of hatred for Metropolitan Philip and/or the Antiochian Archdiocese that they lose every vestige of rationality when the subject under discussion comes to close to the Western half of the Fertile Crescent.

        It will be easy to discover them. Just watch who responds to this message.

        • G. Sheppard says

          Though I am responding, I think we should level set with our readers, Father Pat. You are NOT talking about me, for I have *personally* assured you that I pray for Metropolitan Philip every day. Do you remember that? It was when we were discussing the 50th Antiochian Archdiocese Convention where our Metropolitan emphatically declared that he had “no doubt” where the laity and clergy who opposed him would “be standing on the Day of Judgment,“ thus consigning everyone to hell.

          Ever heard the joke about the man who goes to a doctor, raising his arms, saying: “But, Doctor, it hurts when I do that?” The doctor says: “Well, then don’t do that!” – What’s “irrational” is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Arab tribal ways have never worked. In order for one side to win, the other must lose. I think the Syrian Christians have an opportunity to change that dynamic. Exercising Christian values, e.g. love, charity, compassion, etc. has a way of turning things around no matter what the situation. Do you disagree? – Mark said something about getting shot by both sides. Frankly, there are worse things than getting shot. Publicly supporting those who indiscriminately kill on your behalf is definitely worse, in my opinion, because one day you will have to answer to a higher authority who may find you culpable. Of course people want to protect their families so I understand the need to keep silent. I understand the need to leave. I do not understand *publicly* supporting the “devil you know,” which is one of the reasons I wanted an external audit in our Archdiocese. Metropolitan Philip was/is far too eager to “share the wealth” with the proverbial “devil” and I want no part of it.

      • Amen…!

        • My “Amen” comes in support of Samn…!

          I never knew to what heights of hypocrisy some of my brothers in the faith are able to ascend. One always learns…

  17. G. Sheppard says

    God bless Father Basilius Nassar, a true icon of what it means to be Christian:

  18. G. Sheppard says

    I don’t think either solution is tenable, Mark. Hope that answers your question.

  19. G. Sheppard says

    I wish I could believe this money is going to the widows, orphans, people who have lost their homes, etc. but if this were the case, it would be perceived by the Assad regime as a betrayal and Metropolitan Philip would never risk that. So if it’s not going to them, to whom is it going????

    March, 2012

    Beloved Hierarchs, esteemed members of the Board of Trustees, members of our Archdiocesan Organizations and all faithful of our God Protected Archdiocese,

    Greetings and blessings to you in the spirit of this Holy and Great Lent. I am certain that you have been following the tragic events in Syria from where many of us have originated. Besides our cultural and historical roots which are planted in Syria, Syria has a great spiritual significance to all of us and all Christians. Damascus is considered the most ancient city in the world. Syria and the entire Fertile Crescent gave the world its first known civilization.

    Damascus is a holy city for us. It has been the center of our Patriarchate since the Patriarchate moved from Antioch. Our venerable Patriarch lives on the Straight Street where St. Paul walked to be baptized after his conversion to Christianity. (Acts 9:11)

    Dear brothers and sisters,

    For more than one year, Syria, the land of saints and martyrs, has been victimized by external and internal evil forces. Syria refused to be a tool in the hands of great powers. The purpose of this letter is not to analyze the political situation in Syria; others have done that. We intend from this letter to direct your attention to the extent of the tragedy in Syria: thousands of people have lost their lives, many children have become orphans, thousands of women have been widowed, and thousands of homes have been destroyed. All of us have our spiritual roots in Syria, and many do come from Syria, and they are our brothers and sisters.

    Your Archdiocese has always extended a helping hand to victims of natural and social catastrophes. I would like to mention but a few of them: The natural disasters in our own country, i.e., hurricanes and tornadoes, the earthquake in Mexico, the Chilean earthquake, starvation in Africa, the victims of the uncivil war in Lebanon, the ongoing Palestinian tragedy, and many others throughout the world. We have helped many people throughout the years, especially through our Food for Hungry People program.

    My dear brothers and sisters,

    For more than one year, Syria has been plagued by a wave of extremists just like the extremists who caused the destruction and death of Americans on September 11, 2001. We cannot wash our hands from the Syrian blood. I appeal to you in the spirit of this Great Lent and in the spirit of the suffering Christ and His glorious Resurrection to respond generously to this appeal, and send your contribution to our Archdiocese as soon as possible earmarked Syrian Appeal. May the rest of your journey to the empty tomb be spiritually rewarding.

    Your father in Christ,

    Metropolitan Philip, Primate
    Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

    P.S. We have learned that one of our Orthodox Priests was murdered in the city of Hamat and another Orthodox Deacon was shot in Homs, both by terrorists. Please pray for the repose of their souls.