Bitter Fruits Are Not of God

This just in from our friends at   Constantinople expects Churches to serve with schismatics in Holy Week Chrism service / OrthoChristian.Com

While you’re at, check out this as well: Patriarch Theodoros acknowledges he has hurt Church unity, according to Alexandrian hierarch / OrthoChristian.Com

The OCA consecrates their own chrism.  It’s a hallmark of a patriarchate or autocephalous Church.  So do Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Georgia (as far as I know).  ROCOR and the MP parishes receive their chrism from Moscow.

Unfortunately, Antioch receives their chrism from Constantinople, as do the autocephalous Churches of Albania, the Czech, the Slovak lands, Jerusalem, and Poland. 

From what I understand, any canonical, diocesan bishop (as opposed to titular and auxiliary bishops) can consecrate their own chrism for distribution in their respective dioceses.  Ironically, the reason diocesan bishops have allowed their primates (whether patriarchs or metropolitans) is to show unity within the local Church to which they belong.  Some of these local Churches have chosen to enlist the help of Constantinople for this sacrament.  This concession may be due to their own writ of autocephaly.  In any event, it’s not deal=breaker because this too demonstrates their our and commitment to unity on an international level.

Chrism, also called myrrh, myron, holy anointing oil, is a consecrated oil used  in the administration of certain sacraments and ecclesiastical functions. Newly ordained priests are anointed with chrism on the palms of their hands [to serve], and newly ordained bishops are anointed on their foreheads [to lead].  Chrism is the oil of God for a Christian (Christos meaning “anointed”), and a physical representation of receiving the Gift of the Holy Spirit. 

I’m not trying to cast aspersions on the autocephalous Churches which receive their chrism from Constantinople.  In a better world, I think it would be a classic sign of love and humility if all Orthodox Churches received their chrism from the Ecumenical Patriarchate.  After all, what better sign of unity could there be?

That said, we don’t live in that “better world,” do we?  And let’s be honest, one of the reasons is because of some petulant, Turkish citizens who have developed some unique ideas about the role of the Ecumenical Patriarchate; you know, that whole “first without equals” nonsense.  (Next stop on this cruise, they get off when they reach the Tiber, I guess.)

However, it is the laying on of hands, by an ordained priest or bishop, with the gift of the Holy Spirit that seals the sacraments (heals the sick, anoints the newly-baptized, blesses the altar, etc.).  Just like the Holy Trinity, it requires all three: an ordained bishop, the laying on of hands, and the gift of the Holy Spirit.     

In the case of the OCU (the schismatic sect in Ukraine), the bishops refused to be ordained.  They did not receive/nor can they offer the laying on of hands.  This means that they can’t even give a proper blessing.  They also do not have the acceptance of the majority of the Local Churches which is a requirement to be part of the Church.  In other words, the chrism they receive is not holy –it’s just oil.    

Without ordained clergy, there is no laying on of hands and the gift of the Holy Spirit in the chrism is absent.  

Why would Bartholomew punish the Local Churches who need the chrism?  Why would he require them to worship with schismatic bishops outside the Church to get it?  Other than being punitive and mean-spirited, what’s the point of turning on his brother bishops like that?  Does he not realize that Moscow might offer it and they might just take them up on it?   Or can those local Churches just go ahead and get their own primates to revive the ritual for themselves?             

Bartholomew used those imaginary “powers” of his to go into Ukraine.  At the behest of a corrupt politician, with fists full of dollars (see below), he went into Ukraine and caused a schism between Constantinople and Moscow and –this is worse–forcing those Churches which receive chrism from Constantinople to make a dreadful choice.  That is to say, go into schism with him.

Poroshenko, former president of Ukraine, was a prominent Ukrainian oligarch with a lucrative career in acquiring and building assets.  He is currently facing charges of high treason.  A prosecutor has alleged that Poroshenko, owner of the Roshen confectionery empire and one of Ukraine’s richest businessmen, was involved in the sale of large amounts of coal that helped finance Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine in 2014-15.  The former leader of Ukraine faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. 

A schism is the worst thing that can happen to the Orthodox Church in that it rends the garment of Christ.  Tying it to the receipt of chrism is particularly heinous.  It withholds the gift of the Holy Spirit from ordained bishops to satisfy the demands of charlatans.    

Per Bartholomew:  a Local Church cannot receive their chrism from Constantinople unless they commune with the OCU.  However, if they commune with the schismatics to receive their chrism, they will be cut off from all those other local Churches which consecrate their own holy chrism.  And these constitute the greater part of the Church.   

Within Ukraine, nothing changes.  The ordained Orthodox bishops will continue to get their chrism from the canonical Church in Moscow.  The schismatic church will continue to play “dress up” under Bartholomew.     

The canonical Churches outside Ukraine who currently get their chrism from Constantinople have a decision to make.  You wouldn’t think this would be a difficult decision or that we would be at this impasse but here we are.

What is it going to take to keep the Ecumenical Patriarchate from dividing the Church?  His end game seems to be to place himself in a position of authority over his brother bishops so they have no choice but to follow him to Rome.  

So to all our brethren in Antioch and places near and far, who don’t want to be swept away with the tide, you might want to get on the horn to the powers-that-be and ask them to rectify this situation once and for all.    

And I would ask them to answer this question:  Would God be putting these machinations into Bartholomew’s head, so he can play fast and loose with the unity of the Church? 

Above all else he has done, trying to divide the Church tells me who he’s been talking to.  (Spoiler Alert:  It’s not God.)   Bitter fruits.     

G & G




  1. It sounds like the CP is trying to deliberately force on other Churches the dilemma of whether to participate in making chrism with the OCU, if previously the CP didn’t use the OCU to make chrism, or should I say schism?

    They probably calculated ahead of time how many Local Churches would still accept the Chrism.

    How does the status of the CP’s new OCU Chrism affect the CP and recipients of this chrism from the perspective of those of us (technically most EOs worldwide) who consider the OCU schismatic but who haven’t broken communion with the CP? Normally this issue would not come up if we were not talking about the CP’s chrism, because AFAIK, other churches don’t use each other to make chrism and distribute it to each other. Serbia didn’t use ROCOR to help make Serbia’s chrism in the 1950’s, for instance, I would guess. Or is that not correct?

    So if an Antiochian in the US gets chrismated into the AOC with the CP’s OCU consecrated chrism, what is the effect?

    • To your ending question, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is part of the EP’s plan: to export chrism tainted by the OCU to as many local churches as possible, throwing as many of their chrismations into doubt as possible until they all just throw up their hands, give up, and recognize the OCU for peace of mind about their own mysteries rather than try to sort out the mess. That such peace of mind would be fictitious considering that the OCU “clergy” who helped make the chrism aren’t even ordained would at that point be swept under the rug in the name of oikonomia and forgotten about.

      Enough of us see through the charade that any such plan is likely to backfire, or at least not affect the entire Church, but this has never stopped the EP from trying before.

      • Peter,
        Thanks for replying. This is an important question, so I want to be clear about it.

        In the EO Church, sacraments performed by heterodox and schismatics are considered to be either in doubt, false, or invalid. We don’t have a settled doctrine that schismatic sacraments are valid, and opinions vary among EOs on that topic. ROCOR goes as far as to demand that heterodox get rebaptized to join ROCOR, and I don’t know if they impose that requirement on schismatics who join ROCOR. Likewise, when it comes to communion, some EOs consider it OK to intercommune with heterodox and schismatics in some exceptional cases, but others consider this to be categorically banned.

        Regardless of which of these views one accepts, the EO Churches has certain theories that apply to this situation. If you get baptized into a schismatic Church, then the EO theory is that your baptism puts you into that Church, unless later you rejoin the canonical Church. Likewise, if you commune in a schismatic Church, then isn’t it also considered that you have joined yourself to that communion?

        If you get a Schismatic chrismation or anointed with Schismatic oil, then what is the theological consequence to you? If you go through the Sacrament of Chrismation or the Sacrament of the Anointing with Oil, like for health, and that Oil is Schismatic, then what is the affect on you? What is this “bitter fruit” of this oil?

        “Let not the oil of the sinner anoint my head” (Psalm 141:5, LXX version). Does this verse has some kind of relation to sacramental consecrated myrrh oil?

        I like to visit Greek Churches. Am I supposed to look out in case the clergy bring out new 2021 CP & OCU Chrism and start anointing those in attendance? Should I consider those who join the AOCNA to be sealed into the CP&OCU or something if the Antiochians get their oil from the CP this year?

        I am looking for the specific theological effects on people who receive the CP’s planned schismatic-consecrated myrrh.

        • If you get a Schismatic chrismation or anointed with Schismatic oil, then what is the theological consequence to you?

          This is as really good point, however, not just this, but the even worse consequence is attending the event and concelebrating with the schismatics, or, receiving communion from a liturgy where a schismatic has concelebrated.

          At this point, if they are willing to commune from schismatics, what is keeping them from communing with roman catholics, which seems to be the real end goal. If you break down the barriers of where the Church clearly is, then there is a perception that the Church is everywhere and Orthodoxy really isn’t that important.

        • Antiochene Son says

          I think God is not bound by our material sacraments. They are the normative way, but in our fallen world and our imperfectly administered Church, we cannot know for certain where the Holy Spirit is not.

          In my opinion it is dangerous to question the validity of Orthodox sacraments absent an anathema. While the OCU’s sacraments certainly could be invalid for that reason (though Russia’s anathema was on the basis of administration not heresy AFAIK), I don’t think every sacrament an OCU “cleric” concelebrates is necessarily in doubt.

          Confusing to the faithful? Absolutely. Likely to lead some astray? Yes. But categorically false? I can’t quite go there. Is an innocent child anointed with chrism made in the presence of an OCU “cleric” automatically outside the Church and condemned for receiving a false sacrament? I don’t think so. Our God is merciful.

          However, God will not be mocked. I think he will show abundant mercy on the flock, but the shepherds who lead the flock astray will find no mercy at the Dread Judgment. They know this, so it is astonishing they continue to act as they do.

          • Antiochene Son,

            There is a range of views in world Orthodoxy on heterodox/schismatic sacraments, from considering them to be valid, to considering them to be incomplete, to invalid, to… I don’t know what the strongest judgment against them is.

            On one end, Alexandria has an agreement with the OOs whereby they both intercommune mixed EO-OO spouses. It’s doubtless that there must have been not a few cases in history where EO clergy intercommuned with heterodox or concelebrated with the knowledge of their bishop.

            On the opposite extreme, when Prof. Osipov of the MP was asked if a person could take RC communion if he were dying, Prof. Osipov said that it would be worse, because the person is already in an extremely bad state, and it would be like getting poison. Over the years, not a few EOs have been banned from EO communion in reaction to their repeatedly taking heterodox communion.

            In Orthodoxy, we consider Orthodox sacraments of the canonical Churches valid, whether the EO clergy performing them has personal heretical teachings on not. In contrast, OCU sacraments are schismatic whether the MP anathematized “KP” Philaret for administrative reasons or heresy. The same implications apply to OCU sacraments as apply to schismatic and heterodox sacraments in general. Every sacrament an OCU “cleric” celebrates is in doubt to the same extent that heterodox and schismatic sacraments in general are.

            With concelebration or joint consecration of oil, we are getting into an arcane issue for me. If an EO priest and a Protestant or a schismatic priest consecrate the host or oil together, then what is the effect?

            Does it create a “bitter fruit” that should be avoided, or does the EO priest’s role in the consecration make the sacrament valid?

          • Antiochene Son “In my opinion it is dangerous to question the validity of Orthodox sacraments absent an anathema.”

            I wonder, when EP in 1439 submitted to the Pope of Rome, was he anathematized? Where the Russian church obtained the chrism?

  2. My thoughts on who will/will not receive chrism from the EP:

    1) Antioch – No, too pro-Russian. Plus, the Patriarch isn’t Greek and neither are the laity.

    2) Albania – Wild card/possibly. Abp. Anastasios seems to be anti-OCU and calling for a council, but, I could see “muh Greek solidarity” winning over.

    3) Czech & Slovak – Nope. Especially after Bartholomew tried (is trying?) to subvert their Church.

    4) Jerusalem – I really don’t think they will. Too pro-Russian cause of all the help they’ve provided. Plus, since the EP is western aligned, and the west is aligned with Zionism, I can’t see them going for it considering their current predicament in Israel.

    5) Poland – Nope

    I’m not sure why Bartholomew thinks that withholding chrism unless they concelebrate with schismatics is going to win anymore over.

    • Petros,
      It’s hard for me to be so solid in agreeing, and there are a couple reasons why some or all of them might keep getting it from the CP. One is the power of inertia- they’ve already been getting it for a long time. Another factor is that some might have this as a requirement in their Tomos from the CP. The CP could yank their Tomos over it. A third factor is that they seem to want to avoid getting into conflict with either “side”.

      A fourth specifically in the case of the JP was a story about the JP’s meeting with supporters of the OCU before the OCU’s formation:

      “Each Orthodox people has the right for its own independent national Local Church,” —

      Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem… During the exchange of gifts, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Andriy Parubiy presented Patriarch Theophilos III with a traditional painted Easter egg. In response, the Patriarch wished the Ukrainian people a lot of stamina in its fight, stating: “Symbolically, an egg is signifier of rejuvenation. One needs to break it, so that a new life may emerge”.

      It’s hard to tell how much these statements were taken out of context. For example, when he made the last statement above, was the JP referring metaphorically and deliberately to Ukrainian EOs breaking out of the MP, or was that just the reporter’s interpretation?

    • Also, I’d love to hear what Jim Jatras has to say on this, I know he posts on here from time to time. He’s had some good talks with Jay Dyer on the Ukrainian schism from a political POV

  3. anonsayswhat says

    According to certain figures, like ΔΙΟΝΥΣΗ ΜΑΚΡΗ in Greece with his media publication, ΣΤΥΛΟΥ ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΙΑΣ: (His YT channel for those who understand Greek: ) – who had contact with the now reposed, Blessed and Saintly Gerontissa Galaktia, said prophetically that she prayed for P. Bartholomew to repent as to not have the terrible end that awaits him after all that he has done. May P. Bartholomew come to his senses quickly… he needs our prayers.

    • Could it be partly a mental “age” thing with P. Bartholomew? He was born in 1940.
      I heard some people get “conservative” in their old age. Some “great” figures historically like Herod the Great and Ivan IV started out “great” or at least OK, and then after a while became punitive and controlling.

      In this case we are talking about his soul and his morality for what he has done to wreck division in the church with his power claims. I mean, maybe his mental faculties have been affected, so that he is not the same person upstairs, so to speak, like he was decades ago when he preached about the difference between EO and RC ecclesiology. But even decades ago he pulled Abp. Iakovos over involvement in SCOBA, right? I heard that some people have certain aspects of their personality come out more in their old age, especially when poor health arises.

      “Lord have mercy on your Servant.”

      • anonsayswhat says

        He’s certainly complex. Despite his age or possible poor health affecting his decisions, he seems perfectly comfortable with his assured protection and support of certain members of the west. What happens when that protection and support is gone?

        • I don’t see that protection ending in his lifetime.

          Maybe after a long time the CP as an institution will cease to be under US/EU influence, and some other faction (Russia?) could become the main political player, and this in turn could impact the position that the CP takes on its supposed supra-Church authority.

          What if in the meantime the CP ossifies its new supremacist teaching and it stays that way for centuries. Does it become the new longterm “Orthodoxy” for the CP?

          It seems hard to predict, but we could be witnessing the beginning of a very deep longterm division in the EO Church globally.

      • Antiochene Son says

        If he is truly mentally impaired, then the blame will fall on those around him who do nothing, and the members of the Holy Synod who go along with him.

        God will not be mocked, there will be a reckoning for those who are responsible for this mess.

  4. Sadly, after be given more than ample time to reverse course and repent, Bartholomew is now on a really big collision course to hit the rocks. And, when that happens, Russia will emerge as the leader of world Orthodoxy. It will happen.

  5. It seems this “kicking the can down the road” approach that some of the autocephalous churches have adopted will reach a wall where they’ll have to make some decision. Granted, never underestimate the power of diplomatic genius to get oneself out of a situation like this, but Bartholomew’s battering ram approach is making that hard. He’s forcing the issue as much as possible, looking for every conceivable situation where he can push some hierarch to go along with him. In this case he’s using chrism as the west is trying to use the SWIFT payment system. Very pathetic.

  6. I wonder. Can canonical synods make their own chrism in emergency or get the blessing from others to do it?

    • Antiochene Son says

      “Ecumenical Worship Service for the Unity of the Churches”

      Bart will dialogue and pray with Catholics and Protestant priestesses, but not his brother primates to deal with serious problems of unity among the (actual) Churches.

      He is stoking the fires for himself, sadly. He wants to be the locus of unity in the Orthodox Church yet he has done nothing to earn it.

  7. In the mean time Phanar announces visit of the Serbian Patriarch.
    Of course, there is no way Serbian Patriarch will serve with Patriarch Bartholomew and commemorate schismatic(s) from Kiev…
    Furthermore with nonsence, Patriarchate of Alexandria initiates a meeting of Primates of 5 Churches. Justinian was the first to use (in 531) the title of “patriarch” to designate exclusively the bishops of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, setting the bishops of these five sees on a level superior to others.
    Its hardly likely that Bishop of Rome would attend this meeting 🙂 so he can be replaced by Bishop of Cyprus.

  8. Great Blessing of Waters in the Kipyachevsky Monastery of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God, one of the very few temples in the region that never jumped ship.

    Maybe this was a trained dove?

  9. If this is all true (it’s hard these days to know if anything is fake or not), it could be very big! CP and PB will not accept it if some say “we are only coming if members of the OCU are not present” like we guess Antioch, Poland and Czech-Slovak (possibly Jerusalem and Albania also) will say, this could cause major rifts between those concerned and the CP. Western media outlets are going mad with anything to do with the Ukraine currently. With this, PB is pushing hard to re-gain momentum for his fake OCU church especially after what happened in Africa and in so doing he will clearly see where loyalties lie, with him or against him. This shows how rotten the CP truly is, they will use any conceivable way to get what they want, like an insurance firm trying its hardest to find a way not to pay a victim. I see absolutely no reason why those churches cannot make chrism themselves, they should, in fact they must! It should be treated as a conciliar thing to do, in the presence of each other every few years in a different patriarchate (or some, as it’s always hard to regroup everyone). I would like to think that any church which will refuse to go will ask another church for chrism or alternatively a kit to do it themselves – I’m sure the MP will help out here! Chrism is important, every baptism uses some and every single parish needs it. I know some parishes in the MP were running low due to covid and lack of travelling between to/from Russia. Some are probably starting to run low and the CP is using this against them in exchange for recognition of the OCU! Outrageous! It’s sad to say it, I feel this is what we need to move forward, if there is to be a division in the Orthodox church (either for/against the US state dept run CP), this will push those churches to show their true colours. The Orthodox church needs a good clear out, only then can we rebuild it!

  10. Antiochene Son says

    If push comes to shove, Antioch will consecrate their own chrism. The practice of getting it from Constantinople is a respectful holdover from the centuries of Greek captivity, which was thrown off by the native Arabs long ago. (Sadly, not so for Jerusalem or Alexandria.)