An American Horror Story

And the hits just keep on coming.

According to one GOA priest who contacted me,  here’s how Communion should be given per the latest directive from the Direct Archdiocesan District (i.e. New York):

  1. The parish shall use multiple metal spoons for single use.
  2. The parishioner will approach the chalice and be urged to tilt their head back and open their mouth wide so that that the communion will be dropped into their mouth.
  3. The priest will use a new spoon to offer communion and then place the spoon in a separate receptacle before the next parishioner [sic].
  4. In lieu of a communion cloth, the parish will provide disposable napkins available for the faithful and upon approaching the chalice, the parishioner would take the napkin, hold it under their own chin, wipe or dab their mouth, and then dispose of the napkin in a container on the solea, the contents of which will be burned the same day.
  5.  Following each appt, the spoons will be submerged in boiling water to cleanse them.
  6. After having received communion, the faithful should exit the building. [Like Judas?]
  7. Lord have mercy. [OK, point #7 is mine.]

* **

So apart from being ridiculous, the new rules are now potentially lethal. 

Consider a situation where a parent approaches the cup with a wiggly baby whose neck muscles are too weak to control its bobbing head.

How are you to keep your child’s mouth open wide enough not to touch the spoon?  We train our babies to take food from a spoon by closing their lips around it.  We train them to take food from this very spoon!  Now, we’re going to toss the contents down their throats, as if it’s garbage, to be rid of as quickly as possible.  Instead of seeing a content smile on the faces of their parents, they’re going to see stressed, pinched faces, as their parents contort their little bodies into freakish configurations so they can take the Eucharist.

If you tilt an infant’s head back long enough to get the Eucharist into his throat without his tiny mouth touching the spoon, he could aspirate.  The body and blood of Christ could kill him.  At the very minimum, a baby would be traumatized by a gloved, masked stranger approaching him with precision as he drops something wet and spongy down his throat.  Even an infant knows when something is not right and this is not right.  Babies are going to be screaming their little heads off, sucking in air and everything else they have in their mouths.    

These directives could not have come from a bishop who knows Christ and loves the Church.  If he did, he would TRUST the Church; an institution that has survived every plague known to man for over 2,000 years.  Yet in front of whom are our bishops kneeling these days?  They are kneeling at the feet of “experts;” the same “experts” who see infants as a disposable commodity on a wider scale.   (See:  Parenthood, Planned.)  

Frankly, they don’t care much for the elderly, either.  Because of arthritis, we cannot all “tilt our heads back” far enough for a well-meaning priest to drop food into the middle of our throats either.  Like children, our windpipes are also dangerously close to our esophagi.  As the priest struggles to get the Eucharist in our mouths, and not on our clothes, we could aspirate, too, as we will presumably still be breathing.  Look for coughing to increase.  And if some cough, some will accidentally spit out the half-swallowed Eucharist.

This isn’t Church
.  This is an American Horror Story.  When St Paul told the Corinthians that unworthily receiving the Eucharist could lead to sickness and even death, this isn’t what he meant.  


  1. Tim R. Mortiss says

    I think esophagi are the least of the problem here.
    This is not a bad idea for glottal reasons alone.

  2. Alitheia 1875 says

    In a word: blasphemy.

  3. George,
    These directives would be from the Archbishop? Are they posted in writing anywhere?

    • See the bullet points on page 10 of this document from one of the OCA’s bishops:
      I know–from experience–that this head-tilting open-mouth method does not work for children under the age of 2. Essentially, infants and toddlers have been excommunicated for the indefinite future. 

      • The inane, though widespread, coronavirus “ecclesiastical reponse” only works for western-style Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. 
        Protestants can easily watch their services on TV or online.  It really doesn’t matter.  Virtually all Protestant services can be summed up as “a lecture and a concert,” which can easily be watched online/on TV.  Modern protestantism is more or less entirely non-sacramental.
        Roman Catholics can wrap their communion wafer in Saran wrap or in a plastic ramekin and distribute it in an “uber-sanitary” manner.  Infants and toddlers are already excommunicated in Roman Catholicism, so communing them is a non-issue.  
        Orthodox Christianity is different from Protestantism and Roman Catholicism!  Our faith doesn’t work when streamed online, and our services — which call on all of our senses to be used — cannot be “sanitized” for coronavirus.
        Part of me thinks that our over-the-top ecclesiastical responses stem from that 1960s/1970s desire to “just fit in” in the West, to get pews and organ music, the misplaced urge to resemble the Episcopalians down the street.  Didn’t we realize that movement was an abject failure and does not represent what we are called to be — as witnesses to Christ and to our timeless faith, which is “not of this world”?

        • Michigan Orthodox says

          Not when the greatest joy of some of our hierarchs is ecumenical dialogue. If we didn’t go along with the godless Episcopalians and idolatrous Latins, why, we might be seen as triumphalist and backwards.

        • I think the point you make about this being the 2020s version of immigrant Orthodoxy trying to “fit in” is very insightful and could lend itself to some thoughtful exploration and comparison. It’s basically trying to fit in with the “side” of science as static and infallable truth rather than science as a *process* by which empirical data and conclusions are formed, challenged, and reformed, as new information comes available. Members of the general public who try to argue for the latter position tend to be labeled anti-science conspiracy theorist lunatics, so you know…the optics on that aren’t great if you, as a Church, want to be seen as a mainstream player in the American religious arena. 

          • Sarah,
            Exactly – you are correct.  Orthodox Christianity will *never* be a mainstream player in the American religious arena, precisely because what we preach is antithetical to the modern Zeitgeist.  Our faith is only ever a significant “player” when symphonia between an Orthodox Christian state and the Church exists, which of course has not existed for a very long time and has never existed in the West.
            Trying to be taken as a “significant player” has been the downfall of the GOA, as it will be for any other Orthodox Church that tries to be seen as “relevant.”  I have fear that the OCA’s desires to be perceived as a “relevant” American church will also result in its downfall.
            Our Orthodox faith will always be perceived as odd and foreign to secular modernists, as it should be.  Even the most “Americanized” Orthodox parishes are very foreign to mainstream American culture.
            CNN, the NYT, and the Washington Post will never like us.  Even if we go above and beyond to abide by all of the current COVID guidelines.

    From a reflection on the life of one of the most saintly persons this country has known:
    “I only heard him speak harshly one time. He was preaching at Liturgy on a Saturday morning and he was upset with people who would not close their mouths on the spoon when they received Holy Communion. He rebuked them for lack of faith: did they really believe they would get sick from the Body and Blood of Christ, which is the Fountain of Immortality and the Medicine of Incorruption? If Holy Communion never, in fact, touches your lips, how can the Priest say, “Lo, this has touched your lips. It will take away your iniquity and cleanse you of your sins”?”

  5. We badly need some historical context. The Church has been here for two thousand years and this coronavirus certainly isn’t the first time the Church has dealt with a contagious illness. It would be helpful if some informed people could provide us with information on how the Church has acted in past crises. Thanks in advance.

    • Michigan Orthodox says

      They had more services, not fewer. They carried relics and wonderworking icons in massive processions around the city.
      The Paraklesis service most commonly chanted during the Dormition Fast and the feast of the Procession fo the Cross on August 1 developed out of this practice, as plagues often came during the summer. (Are any parishes anywhere chanting this service?)
      They did basically the opposite of what we are doing now.
      People are supposed to run TO God in a crisis, but now we have been made to run away from God. It is so backwards that I truly can’t fathom how spiritually out of touch many of our leadership must be. I can understand being concerned and even taking some measures, but how can any hierarch listen to the secular guidance to the exclusion of the spiritual?
      It seems that every teaching and “meme” that Orthodoxy has been pushing to convert people in recent times is being made into a sham.

      come and see (nope, we’re closed)
      firm and unwavering praxis (disposable everything)
      material objects transmit grace (don’t touch anything)
      the Church is a hospital (go die at home)
      we have bishops to lead us (at best they’re silent)

      God forgive us. We don’t deserve the good things of Orthodoxy.

      Don’t forget that when the Moslem hordes were closing in on Constantinople, and the Patriarch organized one last procession through the city—a literal Hail Mary—, the Mother of God was seen at the top of Hagia Sofia, and then she vanished. It’s possible to lose grace and all good things by faithless actions.

      • While we may have been prepared to be persecuted by the world, which of us thought that we would be persecuted by our own bishops?

        • Michigan Orthodox says

          We thought Diocletian was coming, but we got John Grammatikos.
          While the Synaxarion rightly says many bad things about Diocletian, only John Grammatikos is called in our liturgy the Forerunner of Satan.

    • Here is a parody that may shed some light on the ridiculous directives of the cowardly bishops.

    • Michelle says
    • Michelle says

      St. Dionysius the Great
      St. Dionysius the Great was Pope of Alexandria from 248 to 264. During that time, the Church of Alexandria suffered horrible persecution. Just as that was dying down, an epidemic broke out in the city, just as Pascha was approaching. St. Dionysius described the epidemic, and the Church’s response, in a letter to some of his flock outside of Alexandria. It is especially relevant today, as our current church leaders try to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, which is also happening as we prepare for Pascha.
      St. Dionysius’ letter was printed by Eusebius in his seminal Church History, chapter 7. The following English translation is by G.A. Williamson, published by Dorset Press in 1965 and again in 1984.***[Eusebius writes:] Later, when a severe epidemic followed the war just as the festival [Pascha] was approaching, he [Dionysius] again communicated in writing with the Christian community, revealing the horrors of the disaster:
      Other people would not think this a time for festival: they do not so regard this or any other time, even if, so far from being a time of distress, it is a time of unimaginable joy. Now, alas! all is lamentation, everyone in mourning, and the city resounds with weeping because of the numbers that have died and are dying every day. As Scripture says of the firstborn of the Egyptians, so now  there has been a great cry: there is not a house in which there is not one dead — how I wish it had been only one!
      Many terrible things had happened to use even before this. First we were set on and surrounded by persecutors and murderers, yet we were the only ones to keep festival even then. Every spot where we were attacked became for us a place for celebrations, whether field, desert, ship, inn, or prison. The most brilliant festival of all was kept by the fulfilled martyrs, who were feasted in heaven. After that came war and famine, which struck at Christian and heathen alike. We alone had to bear the injuries they did us, but we profited by what they did to each other and suffered at each other’s hands; so yet again we found joy in the peace which Christ has given to us alone. But when both we and they had been allowed a tiny breathing-space, out of the blue came this disease, a thing more terrifying to them than any terror, more frightful than any disaster whatever, and as a historian of their own [Thucydides] once wrote: ‘the only thing of all that surpassed expectation’. To us it was not that, but a schooling and testing as valuable as all our earlier trials; for it did not pass over us, though its full impact fell on the heathen… [ellipses in original]
      Most of our brother-Christians showed unbounded love and loyalty, never sparing themselves and thinking only of one another. Heedless of the danger, they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ, and with them departed this life serenely happy; for they were infected by others with the disease, drawing on themselves the sickness of their neighbors and cheerfully accepting their pains. Many, in nursing and curing others, transferred their death to themselves and died in their stead, turning the common formula that is normally an empty courtesy into a reality: ‘Your humble servant bids you good-bye.’ The best of our brothers lost their lives in this manner, a number of presbyters, deacons, and laymen winning high commendation, so that death in this form, the result of great piety and strong faith, seems in every way the equal of martyrdom. With willing hands they raised the bodies of the saints to their bosoms; they closed their eyes and mouths, carried them on their shoulders, and laid them out; they clung to them, embraced them, washed them, and wrapped them in grave-clothes. Very soon the same services were done for them, since those left behind were constantly following those gone before.
      The heathen behaved in the very opposite way. At the first onset of the disease, they pushed the sufferers away and fled from their dearest, throwing them into the roads before they were dead and treating unburied corpses as dirt, hoping thereby to avert the spread and contagion of the fatal disease; but do what they might, they found it difficult to escape.

    • Archpriest Paisius McGrath says

      Christ is Risen! I think such a historical context exploration would be good. Orthodox tradition, the Canonical law tradition of both Council canons and canonical commentary as well as examples from lives of the Holy Fathers and Holy men and women would she’d many usual practices and insights for today.

  6. Very sad.

  7. Ronda Wintheiser says

    Tim R. Mortiss… what on earth are “glottal reasons”?

  8. American says

    Change delivery method !!
    One drop Blood on small piece Body done at altar by dozens. Priest places on small tray one at a time. You pick up and put in your mouth in front of him. You step to side, Altar boy wipes your hands, cloth is burned. DONE. No spoons, no liquids. It’s 2020 , boys and girls, we want to put a colony on the moon and a man on Mars. But the Greek tribesmen who run the show can’t innovate and adjust and move forward smartly. They keep knocking us back 3 centuries. 

    • Ronda Wintheiser says

      I do not understand why it has to change. 

      • It does not need to change, Rhonda. And it should not change. We all saw what happened to the Roman Catholics when they embraced innovation.
        I think that “American” is trolling.

  9. How a Monastery In Michigan Remained Open For Pascha with No Restrictions

    • George Michalopulos says

      OMG! This is from a Russian site! Don’t tell the Archons! They’re absolutely crushed that their annual shindig on the Hamptons has to be cancelled:

      • Sage-Girl says

        ? I read hilarious critique on cancellation of Fr. Alex’s annual Blue Dream gala – wow, the Pandemic really blew it out of the water …
        in my humble opinion, Fr. Karloutsos is doing God’s work — + maybe it’s true, his ecclesia is indeed more a ‘Country Club’…
        BUT, maybe it’s his special ‘assignment from angels on high’ to appeal to the ‘corporate church’ – “fat cats” not interested in more serious ‘mystical church’ demands… they who prefer a diluted Orthodoxy without ascesis…
        perhaps it does take a Mega businessman to raise money for Noble work?  I choose to hope + believe his clergyman status like a warrior, uplifts greatly the ultra materialist crowd to a higher plane. 
        However, as an artist I just wish decorations at Blue Dream gala, events etc., showed more symbols of holy Orthodoxy – to be holy means to be set apart — I’m sure it wouldn’t offend visiting unbelievers.

        • “Fr. Karloutsos is doing God’s work”
          No, no, no, no, no…

          • Gail Sheppard says

            I think Basil would agree, there is too much to unpack here. – Sage-Girl, do a Google search on: monomakhos karloutsos

            You will find several discussions on the blog about Karloutsos so you can come up to speed. Otherwise, you’re going to be slapped down every time you try to defend him and I don’t want that. You should at least know what we know before you enter the arena.

            • I went back myself and re-read the cornucopia of articles about Fr. Karloutsos. Not very edifying. Though, I do like the gold cufflinks that he always seems to be wearing in all of his pictures 😉 

              • Gail Sheppard says

                You noticed that, huh?!

                • Oh, yes! I also remember another priest in my area a few years back that always had nice expensive black suits, and gold cufflinks, and fancy car. Incidentally, he was caught with his hand in the jar and, surprisingly, was prosecuted. (Though, the charges were quietly dropped/modified, but he had to pay back a portion of what he stole and do community service.) 

            • Sage-Girl says

              I know I’m slapped down about Vicar Gen. Alex + I accept it …   + it pains me to hear all the attacks —but a friend is a friend…
              it’s impossible for me Not to defend him — I’ve experienced upfront & personal a wholly different AK – in the sphere of a spiritual bond. ⭐️

              • George Michalopulos says

                I’m glad to hear that.  I’m sure he has excellent qualities.

    • This monastery is glorious. They usually support themselves through a restaurant specializing in Eastern European cuisine that gets booked up months in advance. My husband was blown away by the food when we managed to book a meal there. And the gardens are astonishing in the late spring and early summer. Thank God for them!

  10. The Bishops come out with a new narrative almost every week. It is intentional and coordinated. During Lent they attempted to appease those locked out of the Church with the life of St. Mary of Egypt. A few weeks later, they attacked the laity with accusations of selfishness.  This week, you will see the narrative pivot to a lesson in patience. One Metropolitan even chastises the people by calling them immature (like little children) because they are not pleased with the Bishop’s Covid mandates. 

    • Michigan Orthodox says

      What father, when asked for bread, gives his child a video livestream of bread?

  11. Professor of Dogmatic Theology Demetrios Tselengides is that breath of Patristic  Fronema Sanity  so needed and lacking in the unOrthodox and alien thinking and decisions of these hierarchs…See Fr Peter interview him with English transcript as captions at the link below.  Entitled “On our present Spiritual and Ecclesiastical Crisis” (Aka “American Horror Story Freak Show” ).  Axios Professor and Fr Peter!  Read this and rejoice lovers of the Orthodox Tradition!    Glory to God for the hierarchs And priests who do understand and agree with the Professor and may the others humble themselves to learn from him.

  12. Professor of Dogmatic Theology Demetrios Tselengides is that breath of Patristic  Fronema Sanity  so needed and lacking in the unOrthodox and alien thinking and decisions of these hierarchs…See Fr Peter interview him with English transcript as captions below.  Entitled “On our present Spiritual and Ecclesiastical Crisis” (or as you dub it George, “the American Horror Freak Show” ).  Axios Professor and Fr Peter!  Read this and rejoice lovers of the Orthodox Tradition!    May the Lord Jesus Christ illumine the darkness which does not have Him in it!  

  13. Matthew 22:21 Jesus said “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”

    And currently we are witnessing Caesar usurp those things which belong to God.

  14. The Black Sheep says

    Please correct me if I’m wrong. As I understand it, the corona virus is an airborne respiratory virus that must be inhaled into the lungs and attach to the ACE2 receptors of the cells of lung cells, to infect its host, not a gastro-intestinal virus that gains entry via the digestive tract. If that is the case, then why all this erudite, academic, speculative, pseudo-theological arguing about whether the Sacred Body and Blood of the Lord (or the spoon that is dipped into the Sacred Blood and covered with it) can convey the virus and cause infection (an idea that only could spring from disbelief or skepticism, anyway)? And why all of these mandated (not suggested) extreme measures of conveying Communion, apparently based more on fear, ignorance and plain lack of belief in the Holy Mysteries as our source of both physical and spiritual healing and life than on scientific facts? I seem to recall that the question of whether food could convey the virus and had to be ‘sanitised’ before consumption was settled in the negative some weeks ago. If ordinary food is safe to eat without extraordinary ‘sanitary measures’, then why all this concern about the Life-giving Body and Blood of Christ? Is all of this just a ‘red herring’ to distract us from the worse ‘viral infection’ of atheism, scientism and unbelief that is spiritually killing our people?

    Fr. Josiah has concisely summed up what our stance should be. The bishops should heed this wise man.

    • Fr. Josiah tells us that it is completely normal to reject and resist an overreaching and tyrannical civil authority. The Bishops are accepting and mimicking the directives of the civil authorities. So……………..?

  16. CDC guidelines on wearing masks include: 

    “Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth when removing their face covering and wash hands immediately after removing.”  [emphasis added] . 

    Note that well.  You must wash your hands immediately after removing your mask and  before you put the mask back on.   That’s what the CDC directs.

    Now the OCA directive says:  

    “All in attendance, except for choir singers, concelebrants and readers (while reading), must wear cloth masks or face coverings according to CDC recommendations.  These should obviously be removed for communion and promptly applied again.”  [Emphasis added.]

    Please , could someone explain how this can be done in accordance with CDC guidelines ?   How do you promptly apply your mask again after receiving communion if you can’t wash your hands (20 seconds with soap and warm water)  immediately afterwards ?  

    • Good point David. I will contact the Bishops to let them know they need to install hand washing stations in the Communion line. Does anybody know a good plumber?

  17. robert john klancko says

    If we will not be a major player then why do we exist. Is it not our responsibility to evangelize? If so, instead of employing the saint Henny penny syndrome, why don’t we take the St Paul approach and see how we can be innovative. God gave us a multitude of talents and knowledge, why don’t we employ them as our fire father’s did,? We know that alcohol, which is in wine, and boiling water which both are added to the chalice, kill germs,,,,,we know that copper alloys and silver also kill germs ,, which means the spoons and chalices need to be made of these materials,,,and as a sub deacon I know that our people do not know communion etiquette ,,,,so teach them,,,this doom and gloom attitude is shameful,,, make it work,,stop the slandering of the other denominations,,,,,,they are looking at how they can do God’s work,,,where is our zeal,,,,zeal is what enabled us to grow in our early centuries,,and now a lack of it will cause our demise,,,,,,oh one last observation, our Oriental orthodox bretheren use tv monitors to not only show what is going on in the altar but also to show the precise liturgical text being employed,,,,we can learn something from them,,,,so let us go forth and become an essential part of the Christian fabric of this nation,,,I am tired of us playing fourth fiddle

    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

      RE: Playing “fourth fiddle”

      Alas, Orthodoxy Christianity is no longer “fourth” (Islam has secured the fourth corner of the American public square, despite the Nine-Eleven atrocity) or even “fifth” (LDS, or “Mormons,” outnumber us by at least 3 to 1 in the USA, and their missionary outreach is relentless). If we allow for the increasing number of “nones,” then we’re not in the top half of the batting order for sharing our Holy Tradition and personal views on “religion” with the rest of our fellow Americans.

      Whose fault is that? Our own, of course, as too many Orthodox communities continue to huddle in comfortable ethnic enclaves or disdain our culture as  unworthy of our attention or hesitate to “witness” to our families, friends, neighbors, and others or eschew the “public square” as “politics.”

      • George Michalopulos says

        As usual Fr, you continue to hit the nail on the head.

        I must say, given the decrepit nature of American Orthodoxy, especially since the defenestration of the late Arb Iakovos Coucouzis of the GOA (and subsequent ascendance of Byzantine nostalgia/supremacy), it is tempting to me to suggest that we go back into hiding lest we bring converts in and corrupt them as well.

        Tempting indeed. Unfortunately, we would be guilty of doing what the third servant in the parable did, about hiding the one talent and burying it in the ground.

        What to do? At this point, it’s up to the Holy Spirit to salvage what’s left of Orthodoxy in America.

      • r j klancko says

        St pogo the forerunner said it so well,” we have found the enemy and it is us”  just think what our hierarchs in the 40′ s who fought for us to be recognized as the fourth major faith are thinking now,,,,,we have eroded our position,,,,ergo what do our youth have to be proud of,,,,no hospitals, no colleges,,, no Samaritans purse,,,just men with unkempt beards and pony tails, and wierd accents, wearing funny hats,,,,,we do not even have a national cathedral,,,and no national visibility,,,,we are dead but do not know it,,,,and this is the tragedy,,,we have not been good stewards of our legacy

    • “our Oriental orthodox bretheren use tv monitors to not only show what is going on in the altar but also to show the precise liturgical text being employed”
      Oh that’s just rich. Let’s copy the protestants and project words on a movie screen in our Churches…just like the protestants. Actually, seeing the path that the Bishops have taken, such an innovation would not surprise me.

      • r j klancko says

        Of course we copy what works,,,by the way, the Oriental orthodox are not Protestants,,but God gives us the ability to learn, understand, and improve,,,if you do not you are hiding your talent and not using it,,,,,this may mean that you are rejecting Christ’s treachingd

        • Sorry Mr. Klancko. The Orthodox do not copy protestant, or Roman Catholic, or Coptic innovations.  However, the covid has caused them to jump off the cliff. 

          • Disappointed Reader says

            “The Orthodox do not copy protestant, or Roman Catholic, or Coptic …”
            Never heard of “Unseen Warfare”, a warmed-over “Orthodoxized” version Lorenzo Scupoli’s “Spiritual Combat”?

            • Is it patristic? If it was revised and amended to align with the teachings of the holy fathers, then it is not copying the heterodox. 

              • Disappointed Reader says

                Nice moving of the goal posts.  The question was not whether or not “Unseen Warfare” was “patristic”. 
                The question was whether or not Ss. Nicodemos and Theophan copied Scupoli’s “Spiritual Combat”, albeit in a warmed-over “Orthodoxized” form, as I said.
                Clearly they did.

            • Anything good that exists in the Roman Catholics’ teachings is merely a remnant of their former Orthodoxy. That’s why Saint Nikodemos and Saint Theophan were able to use this book after they had excised any weird stuff and added some more patristic teachings.
              See also: The Sunflower by Saint John of Tobolsk, which is from a Latin text called Heliotropium.

              • Disappointed Reader says

                Thank you for highlighting St. John’s use of the Heliotropium. 
                Orthodox have indeed, from time to time, utilized Western Christian writings as the basis for compositions intended for Orthodox consumption and edification.

          • r j klancko says

            Why ?  Those who do not change with the needs of the times end up as the shakers did,,,,,again if you do not possess the zeal and dedication of the early church, then how can you say you are part of the present church,,,,, those who keep their feet in concrete will either there

        • Do the Oriental Orthodox protest against Chalcedon?
          If so, are they not thereby ‘protestants’ with a lower-case ‘p’;
          as opposed to ‘Protestants’ with an upper-case ‘P’?

        • The Oriental “Orthodox” are Protestants – they left the true Church in protest 1500 years ago and still haven’t repented. Oh, and they’re definitely not Orthodox.
          I’m not sure if Mr. Klancko really understands Orthodoxy or not. Sure, most us of here accept that most of our bishops suck. That doesn’t mean that we need to change the praxis of the faith. The purpose of the Church is not to build hospitals or colleges, but to save souls and make saints. All it takes is a Father Seraphim Rose or an Elder Ephraim to make all the difference. The question is: do we deserve such men? We’ve had them, and our ‘Orthodox’ in America rejected and slandered them, despite all the positive work they did in spreading the faith and bringing nominally Orthodox people back to a deeper participation in Church life. When we take that seriously, we’ll see what Orthodoxy really is.
          Until then, building a college, a hospital, buying a wing at St. Jude’s – as Mr. Klancko seems to repeat ad nauseam – or adding big HD screens to our churches isn’t going to make a difference.
          In terms of keeping the youth in the Church, most young people don’t seem to have the slightest idea about what’s going on beyond their parish. Young people leave the Church because their parents haven’t churched them at home; if they don’t do this, two hours of liturgy and and hour of catechism on Sundays – if even that – is not going to keep them in, no matter how many hospitals you build.
          Having subdeacons attack and deride the Church at every opportunity isn’t helping either.

          • Spot on Basil! 
            On another blog, Mr. Klancko was fond of defending and praising the satanic cult known as freemasonry…so what he says…I take with a grain of salt

          • George Michalopulos says

            Basil, I don’t disagree with you at all on your main points except on this:  we Orthodox are indeed called to do philanthropy, whether that be a hospital, soup kitchen, orphanage, etc.  

            The fact that we have failed in this regard, as well as your other points, means that we are now doubly accused.  The Shriner, the lesbian Episcopalian bishopess and the Mormon who at least “feeds the hungry, clothes the naked and heals the sick…” will be better prepared on Judgment ‘Day than the Orthodox bishops/clergy/laity  who not only have succumbed to the spirit of the age but have not even established formal charities.

            • No disagreement from me on those points, George.
              I will only add that good Orthodox philanthropy and social outreach can only come from a healthy parish spiritual life. Those huge parishes that don’t engage deeply with the faith beyond their annual ethnic festivals tend to do much less in terms of charitable giving than those small mission parishes that take the Gospel seriously.
              “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

              • George Michalopulos says

                Of course, Basil.

                In any event, the time has passed.  We have been found wanting in the area of charity but at least we had steadfastness in liturgy.  Now we don’t even have that.

                Our primates folded once, they can do so again.  I’m afraid that institutional Orthodoxy is (at best) a shadow of itself and will offer nothing for the future.  Too many things have changed in the eyes of the people. 

          • r j klancko says

            If one is to understand eastern orthodoxy one must first need to understand what it means to be a Christian. Eastern orthodoxy is the adjective not the noun. Now with all the criticism that I see here, I must question whether these are Christian or eastern orthodox values. I have observed that the zealots amongst us are more pharisical than Christian. Elitist yet not schooled in basic Christian values.  Once we have hospitals, colleges, national charitable out reach, we are in no position to throw stones or point fingers. Remember when a finger is pointed three are pointed backward… If you study the history of our church in the USA if it were not for the Episcopal Church or for our Masonic laity and Masonic clergy we would not be here today. In fact the orthodox square clubs still exist. This is reality not fiction. What we need to do as Christian’s I’d to look for the good that others do and to endeavor to emulate the good. We are all sinners, we are all on the first rung of the ladder. But we gain nothing by criticizing, we do by however by striving to do better.  The others are an example for us. It is time that are no longer the odd group with beards, ponytails, odd accents, and funny hats.  During this crisis we have not been interviewed by the media, we had no presence at the day of prayer ceremony at the white house, etc. In the 40′ s our laity and clerics fought for us to be recognized as the fourth major faith,,,now it seems that we are fighting to become the last major faith and to go the way of the shakers. We need to emulate st Paul and not Judas 

  18. George Michalopulos says