Is It Just “One of Those Things”?

Is Patriarch Bartholomew being punished for splitting the Church in two, resulting in the loss of Hagia Sophia?  “Not so!” say the Russians.

Mind you, this is not a defense of His Holiness. At best, it’s a back-handed compliment. What it shows (by way of indirection) is that despite all of the Phanar’s grandiosity, at the end of the day, the Archbishop of the New Rome is completely impotent when it comes to his archdiocesan seat.     


Ankara’s Hagia Sophia decision – Russian Orthodox Church

The Russian Orthodox Church said the Istanbul-based Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew did not challenge, but bowed to the decision of the Turkish authorities to reconvert the iconic Hagia Sophia into a mosque, Russia´s news agency RIA Novosti reported on Tuesday.

“Some say Patriarch Bartholomew could have prevented the transformation of Hagia Sophia into a mosque, but he did not,” the agency quoted Ilarion Volokolamskiy, the chair of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, as saying on Montenegrin programme E-Litja.

“He could not prevent it … The Turkish authorities ignore Patriarch Bartholomew,” Volokolamski added.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on July 10 announced the opening of the Hagia Sophia to Muslim worship after Turkey’s highest administrative court ruled that the building’s conversion to a museum by modern Turkey’s founding statesman was illegal.

Originally built as a Byzantine cathedral in 537, the Hagia Sophia was turned into a mosque following the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul on May 29, 1453, and then became a museum in 1935 under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s presidency.

Some media representatives claim that Patriarch Bartholomew himself is to blame for the fact that Hagia Sophia became a mosque, Volokolamski said, “because he split the Orthodox Church, and God punished him for it.”

“The transformation of Hagia Sophia into a mosque is a blow to the entire world of Christianity,” he said.

UNESCO, a number of states, as well as the Russian Orthodox Church and many other churches of the world reacted with regret to Ankara’s decision to transform the formers seat of the Greek Orthodox Church into a mosque.

Russian government authorities have gone on record to say the decision of turning Hagia Sophia into a mosque was Turkey’s internal affair.


  1. Bartholomew attacks the Ukrainian Orthodox Church by invading the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate. He causes turmoil and church raidings and beatings in Ukraine as he gives a tomos of autocephaly to a group of defrocked schismatics. He constantly threatens other jurisdictions with similar actions. He calumniates the Russian Church for not attending the 2016 Cretan robber synod.

    And Russia still throws shade on him!!!!

    Tells me quite a bit.

  2. Sage-Girl says

    Hand of God is striking us down —
    we know the Sins that Patriarch Bartholomew has allowed too long and God will not be mocked …
    this deprivation [though temporary] will give us pause for reflection — just like Covid Plague …

    May It Be Blessed ?

    • Michael Kinsey says

      The signs Jesus Christ spoke of as occurring during the end are occurring in quickly, one after another. there are famines in many parts of the globe, plagues( bioengineered( covid 19) pestilences, (locus), and a scientifically predicted GOE, by many honest scientist of a blue ocean event which will happen by September of this year. 50 GT of extremely potent methane(( ch4 100 times more potent than co2. The months that the Arctic has all it’s winter ice will shrink to 0 over the next 10 years. The hot ocean will melt the frozen sea bed of cathrates that free the methane into the air. The melting poles will raise sea level all over the globe very quickly. plus earthquakes all over the globe in diverse places. The earths oxygen production is being destroyed,  by the loss of 50% of coral reefs, and the destruction of trees by fire and land clearing, especially in the Amazon.  Plus   wars, obvious and roomers of wars. China and USA over south china sea oil. The USA  has been waging weather warfare against Iran for at least 10 years, and also against the American population by nano  toxic  metals. The mysterious Holy Scripture of Daniel of waging war and not touching the ground, is occurring now. Thus, as Iraq, Afghanistan, the northern part of Syria is also claimed with it’s oil. We still wage war in Afghanistan. The Archangel told Daniel This is the beginning of the end.
      Righteousness is the 10 Commandments, the responses  to the 3 temptations in the desert,  The Beatitudes, and the many scriptures in the bible with Voice of Jesus Christ stating God’s Will. Intense focus on how to be meek needs to be brought forth in a person, if they wish to inherit the earth.
      37% of renters and 24% of mortgages are due to be evicted in the autumn months for non payment in the US. The only solution the politicians will offer is FEMA camps. Peace be unto you. I am a worm and nothing.  

  3. Michael Bauman says

    It is indeed just one of those things that is being made a big deal. The EP was ignored as befits his station.

  4. To add a little more insult to injury for Patriarch Bartholomew, the Syrian government, in conjunction with the Russians, is planning on building a mini version of the Hagia Sophia in Syria. Not a ton of information out yet though.
    Only God Himself knows if these things are punishments for the misdeeds of the Patriarch, but, if anyone noticed yesterday the head muzzein for Hagia Sophia died of a heart attack while conducting a service 

    • Wayne Matthew Syvinski says

      I can’t help it – this came to mind.

      The Gospel According to St. Luke, Chapter 13

      1 There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
      2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?
      3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
      4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?
      5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

  5. anonsayswhat says

    On one side you have fake outrage over this… and then you have:
    Archbishop Elpidophoros on Twitter: “Today the Muslim world celebrates #EidALAdha, to commemorate the act of faith of Abraham…” (July 31, 2020)
    No mention of the start of the feast of the Dormition of Panagia on his twitter page. I’ll say it again, the only reason we have “outrage” is because their ecumenist plans have hit an unnecessary road block. They wanted, if anything it to be a shrine in the future for all faiths to marvel and pray in.

  6. Apparently the muezzin/cantor of Ayasofya Mosque just died of a heart attack inside the building. That’s like something straight out of the lives of the saints. Let’s see what happens next…

  7. robert john klancko says

    Instead of being a Christian leader brat black bart is a symbol of myopic Hellenism. The pope is the lightning rod for his denominations whose pronouncements regarding the eastern orthodox church carry more weight than our ethnic prelates.   First step in the USA, break all ties with foreign churches, all foreign born bishops sent back to their native sees. Create an unified American church, focused on doing Christian outreach and charity in the USA, led by American bishops,, with a visible cathedral in Washington. We need to visually espouse Christianity and not ethnic orthodoxy. Orthodoxy is an adjective and Christianity is a noun. The tragedy is that we act like we have them reversed. But most of all time to cut the bleeding of resources off our shores,,,we need the resources to grow here

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      A visible cathedral in Washington, DC? The hills are all taken.

    • I would not want the ties with the “foreign” born bishops severed. We as a country need those ancient traditions because we have lost that connection. Our country is too steeped in western ideals to stand in true orthodoxy because we feel that it must conform or change to our taste. We have not realized that we need to stand firm in orthodoxy first no matter what. Different ethnicity provide flavor and are all part of God. Have some of the clergy gone astray? Yes, but as the laity have we individually walked the path that Christ has set before us? Have we been an example to the clergy? Have we visited the monasteries around us to see what living with God every day is? Have we sought out the patrisitic teachings, or come to understand our faith so that God sees us truly striving to live his commandments and might bring us the clergy that will help us grow more spiritually? Our lives are to be transfigured by walking everyday with Christ. To reject the clergy we have been given, is to reject what we have been given by God. Christ never turned a sinner away. We must pray daily for all of our clergy as they bear the most attacks and they are human just like us, struggling. Do they make mistakes? Yes, but so do we. We need to pray, and we need to walk the path. We are already united every time we participate in the Eucharist and when we pray. In our hearts is where the unity comes from, not tossing out those we deem “foreign” and circling the wagons. We won’t find Christ there, nor unity. This outside dressing is of the world not of the kingdom. The clergy that have gone astray really need our prayers to bring them back to the light of Christ. Put it in His hands because He truly knows what we all need.  As for outreach, what are we doing about it? Is our life an example of Orthodoxy, or western Christianity? We are called to be the light of Christ in the world, are we doing that? Before we blame someone else, we should look within to see were we are not living up to our faith, to Orthodoxy. It’s not easy, but that is what Christ has called us to do, pick up your cross and follow Him.

      • Sage-Girl says


        That’s a fair reprimand worth reflecting on, BUT we Orthodox in USA ?? are worn out bearing brunt of disasters committed by foreign clergy ??/ ??; they just don’t understand American ways…
        ?As Rudyard Kipling aptly said: “Oh, East is East & West is West & never the twain shall meet” …
        however, he also aptly said:
        “But, there is neither East nor West when 2 strong men stand face to face tho’ they come from ends of the earth”?

        We await arrival of those 2 strong men to bring us metamorphosis 

        • Sage-Girl, I am here in the “USA” as well. Within my church we have many different ethnicities, Arabic, Romanian, Serbian, Greek, Russian, Georgia, and American (which is a mix of European as well). I am quite sure I am missing a few. Not to mention we have a Greek and a Russian monastery we can visit. Oh we have Ethiopian as well. There is unity with all of us, we are family. I can see the beauty and Christ in all the different people within our church, I can see what they bring from their cultures which is part of the woven tapestry of mankind that we bring to Christ every time we worship together. We do not look to man for salvation or for two strong men to bring metamorphosis, we look to Christ. My heart cries with the Greeks over what has happened with their clergy, but only God can fix it. My heart cries for all clergy that have gone astray, but I know that Christ said that it would not be easy, so I pray and trust in God. Pray that those who are struggling under clergy that do not have a good shepherd will be given one. I also know that God expects us to work, and if we are not walking the path He knows that we don’t really want to be challenged to grow. We can wander in the desert for 40 years until we cry out in our hearts to Him.
          I think sometimes our American pride for our “ways”, gets in the way of our seeing Christ.  Not all of our American ways are  in line with Christ’s commandments. Our hearts want to do good, but we don’t always know how to do it Christ’s way. These other ethicities that have struggled and stood in the faith for longer than we have been a country have brought us the tradition that Christ gave to his disciples to show us how. Will we get frustrated with them? Yes.  Are we going to have tribulation with the clergy? Yes because we are all mankind and have been separated because of the fall, but we are called to carry that cross. To carry that cross means to forgive, to work on our own problems, to pray to God for the things to big for us to work on (like clergy problems), and the grace of God will help us. We can’t wait for some person to fix the problems, we need Christ to do that and we need to work with him. 
          I feel your frustration, and sometimes I want to say “Hey God can’t you just fix them already?” but I know He has shown an enormous amount of patience and mercy for me, how can I show any less for the clergy and for God, who works all things for the good and for salvation? It crushes me every time I think of all the people that have been hurt by clergy walking away from Christ, but I know He has the last word, I know that He hears my feeble prayers, I know that all the clergy need prayers for they are on the front line for us taking the brunt of the fight. When I make attending church a priority and my prayers a priority, God knows I am serious about following him, when I see all of my fellow parishioners making Christ a priority, God knows we are serious about following him and brings those things we need for our salvation. 
          I feel your frustration Sage-Girl, but trust in God. Find those American ways that align with Christ and keep those, but those that don’t are to be left behind.
          May God strengthen you and bless you.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Sage-girl, I for one don’t want “American ways” as the basis for anything.  “American Ways” lead to revolution, destruction and death. BLM may be using Marxism for cover but we were revolting before they were.  We are reaping the fruits of our Deist Rationalism combined with a denatured Calvinism that valued a patched together political union over fidelity to the ideas they claimed to profess.  
          One of Washington’s first decisive acts as President was to put
          to put down The Whiskey Rebellion which was founded on the principle of no taxation without representation. 
          England had a moral  revolution led by a genuine Christian, Wilberforce, to close down slavery and the slave trade and were later brought to their knees by a non-violent revolution led by Ghandi. We had a bloody civil war which is still not over.  
          We have managed to produce some of the wackiest religious cults ever from the snake handlers to Jim Jones to BLM and still going. 
          We have absolutely NO foundation for the Orthodox faith in this country at least not in our American values.   The real foundation is in our longing for God.  Arguably though some of the best bishops we have were born in this country who derive their Apostolic authority from traditional, authentic Apostolic seats.  
          Our weakness is that it was and is an accidental evangelization.  No need to make it worse by revolution.  

          • Veronica, MB, et al,

            all salient points — need to retreat to my cell + process all!!

            Upset right now, 3 of our churches are to be shut down by AB Elpidoforos; they need money for lawsuits!

            • It breaks my heart to hear that Sage-Girl, I will keep you in my prayers! May God keep you in his embrace and strengthen you in these times. 

              • says

                All of it is a lie – no churches are being sold.

                • GOA:
                  really, it’s a lie? Why are ppl sending me news that 3 churches including East 17th St St John the Baptist is closing + forcing retirement on Fr. Vassily?

                  • Greek Orthodox Direct Archdiocesan District
                    St. John The Baptist Greek Orthodox Church
                    New York, NY
                    Toggle navigation
                    It is with a heavy heart and mind to let all of you know that I have been forcibly retired by our Archbishop. My retirement will take place on Monday, August 31 of this year. Be assured that I did not ask to be removed from St. John’s or to retire at this time. It was based solely on the Archbishop’s decision to retire me. I was told that the Archbishop’s decision to retire me was not based on any wrong doing, or dereliction of duty. As a result, the Archbishop is going in a different direction and as such the Archbishop has decide to retire me. At this time I do not know who will be assigned to St. John’s after I leave on August 31, or if anyone will be assigned to St. John’s. The decision is up to the Archbishop, and he has the final say in the health and wellbeing of our beloved St. John’s. I will keep all of you up to date on the situation in the coming weeks and as we get closer to August 31, 2020. God Bless All Of You, and Thank You For Your Love and Dedication to St. John’s. Fr. Vasilios

                  • says

                    Check your facts – many clergy retire (forced to as well — remember Archbishops Iakovos, Spyridon, and Demetrios?) 
                    But the only property ever sold was the residence Archbishop Iakovos left in his will (which he owned) for all subsequent GOA Archbishops. Demetrios sold it off (for ???) and lives in a mansion on Fifth Avenue . . . paid for and subsidized by a private family. He left his successor nothing….

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Archbishop Demetrios lived in a rented an apartment which, of course, you can’t leave to anybody.

                      The property you’re talking about, the home of Archbishop Iaovos, was left to the Archdiocese and was sold for $3M in 2007. Jerry Dimitriou proposed that some of the proceeds be applied toward the Archdiocese’s then-debt of $7 million but according to Theodoros Kalmoukos, it went missing.

          • Dept of Horses for Courses:
            Gandhi’s tactics would very likely not have worked with Uncle Joe.

            • Archpriest Alexander F.C. Webster says

              I’ve been saying for years (even when I was committed to absolute pacifism) that, if Gandhi had to deal with the Third Reich or the Soviet commissars instead of the British Empire in the 1940s, he would have quickly become a speed bump and his Indian independence movement a forgotten blip in world history.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Father, no doubt.  Pacifism is not the way to political victory.  Ghandi won because he appealed to the vestigial Christian conscience of the British people and plain old English decency.  There were no such vestiges in either Hitler or Stalin or the current rulers of China.   That is nihilism don’t you think?  
                Unfortunately our own politics are slipping into the same abyss.  

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Gandhi was able to succeed for a variety of reasons.  One of them was that the UK was exhausted from WWII.

                • Archpriest Alexander F.C. Webster says

                  Michael, I would not use the word nihilism to characterize the Third Reich and Soviet Union.

                  Those regimes and the atheistic ideologies that drove them–the one a rabid nationalism with an unprecedented virulent hostility toward other ethnic groups, especially Jews, Slavs, Gypsies, and others and the other an extreme classism draped in a phony international fraternity of the proletariat–served ultimately only the elites that put themselves in power in Germany in 1933 and Russia in 1917. Their abominable social, economic, and political visions were sharply focused–not nihilistic in the usual sense of that word–and relentless until each regime collapsed ultimately from the weight of its own evil and from global opposition.

                  I would use the traditional Orthodox word “prelest” to describe the demonic enormity of those evils, just as I apply that concept to the current upheavals in America in an article due for publication in the November-December issue of Touchstone Magazine available in mid-October in time to influence, in part, how Orthodox and other U.S. citizens cast our votes in the November election.

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    Father, I use the term because both Hitler and Stalin were pretty good examples l, IMI, of Nietzsche’s “man who would bear much”  described in The Three Metamorphoses of the Spirit. I agree that neither got to the full expression that we are seeing today. The worship of the demonic darkness. 
                    What is intriguing to me that Nietzsche’s vision is a total inversion of the three temptations of Christ. The outcome also inverted.  
                    Either Nietzsche never saw or did not write about the real out come of his vision. The fourth stage–eternal death. 
                    So while not fully accurate as you point out, I stand by my description. 

              • Michael Bauman says

                Father, I think also that martyrdom offers a third way.  Not seeking anything but the glory of the Lord but standing in the truth. 
                Am I wrong?   

                • Archpriest Alexander F.C. Webster says

                  What you call “martyrdom” here, Michael, I prefer to label more broadly and with some nuance as the “Prophetic Option” in my concluding chapter of the new book from Holy Trinity Publications in Jordanville, NY: Healing Humanity: Confronting Our Moral Crisis. I also serve as one of the co-editors together with Deacon Paul Kentigern Siewers (Bucknell U.) and Professor David Ford (St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Seminary in Pennyslvania). This volume should be available by October 1 of this year. I encourage you and others on this blog to pre-order this book at

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    Father, much better term. Thank you. It also correlates with standing against the nihilist prophet Zarathustra. It also guards against the temptation to seek martyrdom for oneself.  

        • Who are these two strong men? What kind of metamorphosis can they give us?

    • Pat Reardon says

      First step in the USA, break all ties with foreign churches, all foreign born bishops sent back to their native sees.
      Goodness! Those bishops were to America by Apostolic authority.
      In the case of my own Archdiocese, Metropolitan Joseph was sent to this country by exactly the same authority that sent Paul and Barnabas to establish churches throughout the Mediterranean Basin—-namely, the eldership at Antioch. 
      I take this very seriously. I am NOT willing to give it up.
      (To stress this point, our most recent American bishops went over to Damascus to be consecrated. That was a very important and instructive decision. Even as Americans, our new bishops were sent here. This is the meaning of “apostolic” Church.)
      We live in a country that doesn’t even know its own (brief) history, and you want the Orthodox Church here to be pastored by people who were born and educated here? 
      If “ethnicity” is our problem, why create just another ethnic church?

      • Pat,
        Thank you for sharing that about the bishops being consecrated in Damascus. I knew Metropolitan Joseph was, but I did not know that we sent the others over there for it.  I am not willing to give this up either, we really need this here in America, it is what the faith is. 
        Thank you again. 

      • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

        RE: “We live in a country that doesn’t even know its own (brief) history, . . . ”
        Right you are, Father Patrick! And too many are attempting desperately to deny, denounce, and /or pretend that politically incorrect events and persons in our remarkable history as a nation, warts and all, never existed!

        • In addition we Orthodox often don’t know our own history since Christ…In fact as a Roman Catholic I began to realize we never discussed or learned about the first millenium Christians after the Apostles…and of course in reading about the Early Fathers, Councils, etc., I found the Truth of Orthodoxy. Even now this ignorance seems the primary reason for our problems, along with the lack of desire to study our Faith and the Holy Fathers. Instead many Orthodox sadly succumb to the short-term secular and rationalistic world with no awareness even of that history either. All is available and at our fingertips if we choose to read and learn from the Holy Fathers and wise confessors…

  8. robert john klancko says

    Are we American Christians of an ethnic heritage or are we ethnic ghettos pretending to be christian? That is the question. 15 separate canonical jurisdictions plus over 20 non or quasi canonical,,,,this is a travesty,,,divide and conquer at its best. Where will we be in fifty years?

    • Michael Bauman says

      robert the answer to your first question is yes. The answer to your second question is “God knows”.  The Epistle Reading today (NC) pretty much nails it. 1Cor 3:9-17
      Life is messy. The modern fallacy is that not only can we mange the messiness but can make things better: the false myth of “progress”.

      Today’s Gospel points that out.
      Three questions to ask myself: 1. What(who) is my foundation; 2. What caliber are my building materials; 3
      Am I willing to cry out to Jesus when the storms of this world overwhelm me?

    • We are Orthodox Christians first. I think the different jurisdiction are a blessing for us. I can visit a Serbian or Russian or Greek church and still take part in the worship. I enjoyed the Greek services at the monastery even though I did not understand all of the language, I still knew where we were at in the prayers. The second blessing is complex but it allows those wishing to stay faithful to the traditions and canons a place to go if something happens with the clergy stepping outside of those. To shorten, I do not see were there is a problem with having several jurisdictions as it is beneficial for us and were we stand currently. In 50 years only the Lord knows what will be here, but it is up to us to pray and work with the Lord to bring about His will and not our own.

  9. Thanks Veronica …

    for reminding us — that even Christ himself said “It won’t be easy” – so let’s keep in mind there’s “Nothing New Under The Sun” ? 
    My priest Fr. John today in Sunday Sermon told us to ask ourselves: “Is it me Lord?”

    p.s. how lucky to have monastery nearby !

    • Sage-Girl,
       I need to be remind myself, I’ve been hit with that one a lot lately.
      The sermon today from our Father was spot on today with this discussion as well. The Lord knows 🙂
      I feel very blessed to have a monastery close and wish I could make the hour drive more often, but children.
      Thank you for your patience in my long winded reply, I apologize for the length.