Bitter Fruits

While getting ready for Church today, I looked at my email and read something disturbing. Metropolitan Athanasius of Limassol walked out of a Liturgy this morning. The celebrant was the Archbishop of Cyprus and a new bishop, Pankratios of Arsinoe, was to be ordained.

As many of you may know, whenever a primate of an autocephalous Church presides at a Liturgy, the Diptychs are read and all of the primates of the Churches are announced. In this morning’s incident, the Archbishop of Cyprus mentioned the name of Mikhail “Epiphany” Dumenko as “Metropolitan of Kiev and all-Ukraine” during the reading of the Diptychs. Because of this, Athanasius stormed out within minutes of the mention of the false metropolitan’s name. (Since then, revulsion of the Cypriot Primate’s unilateral action has spread to others in the episcopate.)

For those of you who don’t know, Metropolitan Athanasius was the inspiration the books The Mountain of Silence and Gifts of the Desert, by Kyriacos C. Markides, where he is known as “Father Maximos”.  In Orthodox circles, he is known as one of the stalwarts of the Faith.

There are many layers to this scandal, which Gail and I will explore in our first-ever vlog. We hope you enjoy it!

[Editor’s note: Lord willing, we intend to do more and to expand them into LiveChats and Zoom calls, as well. (In the meantime, we learned that His Eminence Archbishop David Mahaffey of Alaska has some health issues. Please keep him in your prayers.)]



  1. I’m glad that Metropolitan Athanasius of Limassol and other Cypriot bishops are taking a stand on this! May God strengthen them in what is right, and that their actions cause other clergy to wake up—and smell the coffee!

  2. What’s sad is that we lost all of Latin speaking Christianity after the Great Schism and it looks like we are about to lose all of Greek speaking Christianity. Lord Have Mercy. Saint Demitrios pray for us 

    • Gus Langis says

      We didn’t lose Romania. Although they too will follow suit as this is a political realignment of those in the EU/NATO anglosohere . The greek race is in a death spiral, collapsed birth rates with the abortion rate higher than in China.  Greece is one of the most liberal countries with their culture quickly eroding. An abrupt decline in Christianity will be seen within the next 20 years. As a Greek myself I was in denial of the statistics but now I realize we have reached the end of our ropes and our extinction is imminent. So yes the Greeks will be lost some to the Unia, some back to paganism, many to atheism but at the end of the day we are going the way of the Hitites. Sad thing being in a tribe that ha no honor nor a future. 

      • Michael Bauman says

        Gus, but that is the saddest part. You stayed a tribe.  Still are a tribe.  Tribes are not flexible nor do they find it easy to adapt to change.  Thus, they get extinguished.   The Greeks have had many, many opportunities to stop being a tribe and just be Christian.  All have been refused.  The real turning point IMO was the crushing of Ligonier.   After that point, Greek Orthodoxy began to die.   I am sorry for the fallout in the rest of the Orthodox world but I no longer lament the death of the Greek.   
        Of course, the Russians, Syrians and others will also have to stop being tribes.   Christianity is not a tribal religion.  Every other faith on the face of the planet is — even Islam.  
        Humanity has yet to adapt to that startling fact.  Neither Greek nor Jew, not black nor white, North or South.  
        We must repent of our tribal tendencies.  Like my parish.  403 families and only 1 Afro-American.  Ethiopians, Lebanese and white folk. Rich and poor. The fissures still present.   Even though our clergy are all blue eyed blonds.   

        • “Of course, the Russians, Syrians and others
          will also have to stop being tribes.”
          Father Andrew would argue that the Russian Orthodox Church already has..
          Consider how many liturgical languages are used in Russia itself.

        • “Christianity is not a tribal religion…  Humanity has yet to adapt to that startling fact. Neither Greek nor Jew, not black nor white, North or South. We must repent of our tribal tendencies. Like my parish. 403 families and only 1 Afro-American. Ethiopians, Lebanese and white folk. Rich and poor. The fissures still present. Even though our clergy are all blue eyed blonds. ”

          God created tribalism at the Tower of Babel, it has been Satan trying to undo that ever since.  Contrary to our own modern theory, the five Ancient Patriarchates came together, within one political unit, primarily on tribal lines, Latin, Greek, Aramaic speaking Semites, and Copt.  One Local Church per nation has worked for us, since, exactly because political units were composed primarily of one tribe.  You keep promoting “racial reconciliation” through Fellowship of St. Moses the Black, but it sounds like poison, with the “our clergy are all blue eyed blonds.”
          I few it as dangerous because already many churches tend to want to let race trump the true faith with the Ethiopians, and let the fourth (dual nature of Christ), fifth (dual wills, human and God), and six (dual energies/etc) Ecumenical Councils be ignored at best, or even openly questioned or even rejected.  All just part of the general trend towards becoming one big lump of nothing under the pan-heresy of Relativistic Universalism that has been Rome since Vatican II.

          • I’ll add my own thoughts from this previous post:

          • God created tribalism at the Tower of Babel, it has been Satan trying to undo that ever since.
            This is only half true, Myst.
            When the Most High came down and confounded tongues of men at Babel, He divided the nations. When He dispensed the tongues of fire, He called all to unity, and with one voice we glorify the Most Holy Spirit.  (Kontakion of Pentecost)
            God actively works against false unities of human hubris – not against unity in His truth and righteousness.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Myst, I am deeply exited and hopeful about the work of the Fellowship. I have an exuberance about the Life of the Church I have not had in a long time. So I get a little single minded.
            The Fellowship is all about reconcilliation in Christ and freeing people to be who they are and through the mercy of Christ being able to commune regardless without the hate, the fear or hurt of the past.  
            I have been a friend of Fr. Moses Berry for 45 years. We have shared a great deal together on our journey to Christ and yet through what was presented in the Seminar through repentance and forgiveness we have come even closer.  Not a one way street.  He is still black and I am white praise God!
            As to my comment on Blue-eyed blonds I find it salutary that in  a parish who’s identity is still strongly Lebanese that our clergy are decidedly not Lebanese.  That is a good thing. It tickles me.  However, the one Afro-American male convert in my parish since I joined in 1993 feels he can no longer come because his grandson was greeted with an ethnic slur by a Lebanese teen in the drive through of our Big Dinner (a serving of Lebanese food). That deeply disturbs my soul especially since I was involved in bringing him into the Church. I know, he belongs here. So does he, but he still fears.  
            The tribalism was “created by God” because of its idolatrous purpose.  To make us weaker outside of Christ.  There is no reason for it to continue in the Church in this land.
            But to become a true North American Church we have to deal with the evil of racism. To say it is anything but evil is just as wrong.
            The Fellowship is made up of people from all jurisdictions, black, white, Hispanic and is a true grass roots Fellowship.  There are some remarkable people in it. 
            The President now, taking over from Fr. Moses because of his ill health is Mother Katherine, the Mother of a Serbian Othodox monastery in Indianapolis.  I have also known her for a long time.  Being around her has always brought joy to me….and wisdom. Intelligent, knowledgeable, extraordinarily articulate and compassionate.  Anyone who cannot learn from her is both brain dead and has a withered soul. That does not make what she says easy because it is a call to repentance.
            It is not a melding of the races that is being taught, heaven forbid, but a mutual recognition of our unique qualities brought together by the mercy of our common Lord, Jesus Christ.   True Reconcilliation. 
            Whatever the social and political reality of the old world it cannot work that way here.
            But, please do not take my word for it. I am a poor messenger.  It has taken me, despite my close personal ties with several, to realize how significant and important what is bring said is.  Decades.  
            God help us.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Ligonier was the high point of American Orthodoxy.  

          • Michael Bauman says

            If the Greeks had accepted it, the GOA and the Patriarchate of Constantinople would be stronger and healthier.  
            Instead the description in Isaiah 53:6 is our fate barring a difficult penance.  

      • The same Greeks who held out so valiantly against the Turks for five hundred years are corrupted by the Whore of Babylon in a mere century. Lord have mercy.

  3. Since only 4 bishops are against this. How long before Cyprus recognizes this vagante group?  Within 6 months.??? As a Greek I recognize all forms of the Greek variety of Orthodoxy that I was baptised into as heretical. Im pretty sure miracles have ceased in their congregations and now even the laity are claiming the holy Communion has been the vector that has been spreading covid. 

    • anonsayswhat says

      We should state 5 bishops. Even though I haven’t yet seen Bishop Neofytos speak out against the Ab’s actions, he did in fact a year ago state (it’s on video) that the Church of Cyprus does not recognize Epifanios, but recognizes as before Ounoufrios of Ukraine as Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine. Is it coincidence that this action occurs after Patriarch of Alexandria visited not so long ago? (Side note: Because of the Patriarch’s actions a year ago commemorating Epifanios last year without permission, forbid him participating in liturgy this year in Cyprus.) So in general, despite this bitter news, I find that Cyprus has many more bishops doing their job properly according to the Church and not falling into heresy, when compared to Greece. Out of the 82 or so bishops in Greece, I find it difficult to name 5 that I trust.
      The problem is the pan-heresy of ecumenism. It is rooted so deeply in the Church currently, only a schism can follow unfortunately. 

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Actually, it’s not the bitter news that’s the problem. It’s the bitter fruit of the spirit that drove Bartholomew to do what he did in Ukraine. There is no fixing it and there is no getting over it.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Unless Dumenko & the EP repent, you’re right, there’s no getting over it.

          Ukraine was the bridge too far.  Montenegro & Macedonia are merely globalist mopping-up operations.  

        • anonsayswhat says

          Of course, I feel the same. I’m just greatly saddened that the synods in Greece and in Cyprus seem to hold no importance anymore. 
          I guess adopting papal-like powers will help the Church unite with Rome much easier. False-union here we come.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Based on the fact that four (perhaps five?) Cypriot bishops are incensed about what Arb Chrysostom did.  Because of their numbers (at least three bishops) are the minimal for a synod, it would not be in schism but a “continuing” Cypriot Church.  
            As I understand the concept of a “continuing” church.

  4. George, it would be great for you to incorporate zoom calls into this format!  Many of us are familiar with it, so please join the club with your direction and insights!

    • Michael Bauman says

      ZOOM irritates me no end.  Its use would lessen my participation which may encourage its use for some.  

      • Gail Sheppard says

        You have said in the past you don’t like videos. Interestingly, some of the younger folk have no love for writing!

      • Jane Tzilvrlus says

        I  will not use Zoom. I am not an appendage of AI.  Never!

        • Gail Sheppard says

          WebEx may be better. No faces necessary. Just call a phone number (it will never change), it will ask you for a code I will publish and you’re in. The code will bring up your screen, too, so I can show you stuff as we’re going along as we’re talking.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Agreed! Faces not nearly as important as voices!

            • Michael Bauman says

              George, how iconoclastic of you.  But I can still sound like a much younger man on voice only.  You see my face and that illusion is gone.   
              I am fundamentally a preacher.  Words are the key both what they mean and how they are said and their context.  Computer videos flatten and distort not just what is said but tend to sap the life out of the people themselves unless they are adept at performing for video.  Also due to contrast assumptions people of color tend to be especially diminished.  
              With the written and spoken word one has to actually think not just passively consume.  It is also easier to incite and succumb to the passions using video.
              Hitler was the first tyrant to recognize that and use it.  Leni Riefenstahl’s work still stands as masterful in that.
              You of course would not do propaganda but there are still many pitfalls to the medium that we have largely learned to deal with better in written and spoken words. 
              That being said, my basic objection is that the way the media is accessed and interactions occur is just irritating. It makes me even grumpier than usual which will upset my lovely wife.  
              God forgive me.  

              • Watching television is essentially passive
                whereas listening to radio is active.
                Those who watched the Nixon-Kennedy debate thought Kennedy won.
                Those who listened on radio thought Nixon won.
                Kennedy was photogenic. Nixon was not.

              • George Michalopulos says

                In any event, Good Lord willing and the crick don’ rise, we will do video/zoom/mass conferences in the future.

          • Wow, that is great to know Gail.  Will look into them.  I am more careful what I say on a Zoom call knowing how porous it is…But then again, here I am on Monomakhos firing away!  Feels good to have a place to witness for Christ and for Patristic Orthodoxy when so many venues are closed to us for doing that.  So thanks for providing this outlet!  

      • MomofToddler says

        I don’t like zoom either or any video chat.  I will use video chat so my boys can talk to their Grandparents every now and then…and only because it means a lot to them.  I was invited to one zoom meeting during the plandemic that I needed to attend and I called in.  Zoom does have a way to let you call in while others chat on video.   Video chat reminds me too much of what I read about in Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future.  What happens to my soul when my talking face is in California and my body is in the middle of America?  It’s a weird thing we are generally desensitized to.  If we still only had snail mail and the telegraph I’d be happy with that.
        When I was in high school, my dad got a laptop and then every night from then on it was glued to his lap as he watched television.  Every time I would try to speak to him he would grimace from annoyance that I had interrupted him. (Now, if he was using it every now and then and I was being a pest that would be something different, but it was most of the time and I spent most of my time in my room doing homework and listening to music with dark, angst-ridden lyrics.)
        As I am getting older, it weird to see the next generation born into technology….I feel sorry for them and the world they will change even more.  

        • jim of olym says

          My dear wife is in a weekly online class using Zoom to play Irish fiddle music. Her teacher is local, but students from far and wide participate, even from the ‘old country’, I think maybe 50 or 60. He had to do this because of the threat that cannot be named, but now has more students than ye ever had before this crisis. So Zoom is not all bad!

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Good to know!

          • Yes Jim of O, I am grateful for specific online activities too.  I love Father Peter Heers classes on Patreon which are soul-enriching and also encouraging to see the chat boxes and realize how many Orthodox across the world have the Patristic view of Orthodoxy I learned and so love and which is threatened in our day.  I don’t know whether Patreon is “better” than Zoom in privacy but if the worker bees hear it and learn something, that’s a good thing for them to learn!  And I put the camera blocker on always anyway…

            • MomofToddler says

              Hi Nicole, Thank you for your kind note below.  I also use Patreon to access Fr. Peter Heer’s classes and am grateful for that.  Now that the “pandora’s box” of technology has been opened and allowed things to happen and already change society, I realize that we can also benefit from technology a bit to get through the trials and changes, but yes, because of my “associations” it’s a struggle.  

        • “I spent most of my time in my room doing homework and listening to music with dark, angst-ridden lyrics”
          Ah, yes, the 1990s. I remember them fondly.

          • Yep Basil:  Right after Kent State and MLK and tanks across the campus pointed our way, our college music changed from the Temptations to “dark, angst-ridden” lyrics too!  Can already feel the angst by association.  Time for Orthodox YouTube!  

        • I hear you Mom of Toddler!  Hurts me to read about your Dad doing that, gives such a sad message to any real person in a room about importance.  I am very sorry.  I grieve to see that everywhere with cell phones out at a table for a family or friend gathering, giving the message perpetually that the “other person or news item on the phone” is more important. Treats other icons of Christ as objects and the phone like a person. And the images on the phone are designed to be addictive and more appealing! Dreadful.  Like TV at a dinner table!

          In case this helps, others who have not had that cruel experience may have different associations and your loving face in full view and giving them your full undivided attention may be healing to them and you may actually seem more present in full view and audio.   I know many oldies like myself tell me how much it means to SEE the loved one who is too far away or too infirm or afraid to visit safely outside during COVID, so you might want to check to see what their associations are if you are trying to help or send love their way.  I found after a few months of COVID that family, friends and patients wanted to see and be seen, preferably in person but second best (safest) by some private video modality.  And   I realized my concerns (and associations) have had more to do about privacy in communication and I was unconsciously then consciously avoiding video visits because of that.  So below is my solution in case useful to you or anyone you love.  Over time seeing the benefit of video calls, I have come to feel differently and look forward to them now.  Facial Expressions can make such a difference as verbal cues. I am told I look sweeter than I sound sometimes in writing so that reassures some folks!  Perhaps seeing helps folks eliminate their own projections of bad associations from the past? Whatever, glad to have found a way to reassure people of my true intent.

          1. For encrypted video visit with another user, text, phone calls:  The app available on IOS or Android  (open source, encrypted, no third party employee or AI listening in/recording as with other videovisits).  A wonderful book on a dreadful topic “The Unwanted Gaze: The Destruction of Privacy in America” by Jeffrey Rosen reveals that our perception of who is listening in or viewing us is what destroys any sense of intimacy in the home or long distance by phone or anywhere.  The Jews used to build with no exterior windows, just courtyards so they knew neighbors were not peeking in, ie, the home was a sanctuary.  Even knowing that a window was there with curtain drawn still introduced the idea that a neighbor COULD listen in.  To me that is part of what we now know — that other persons or AI are literally present or easily can be for cell calls, digital lines, email, texts, and video platforms.    The signal app only works well and is private on phones (or apparently ipads) but is insecure on a PC.  At any rate for my work and personal visits I use the app for texts, phone calls and video calls.  FREE. 

          2. Encrypted emails:  I also use protonmail for personal and work emails as well since all is encrypted between users including attachments except for the subject line, which I keep generic.  FREE or PAID. 

          ?? in ☦️

      • I am with you, Michael.

  5. Glory to God for the Metropolitan. 

  6. It is being reported that the Archbishop wants  to immediately hold a  synod because he knows he finally has a majority who will side with his recognition of the schismatic abomination. If this is the case, what happens to the four bishops who want no parts of this? Will they be forced to follow the majority?

  7. Gail & George, I love the video format, it’s awesome, also really like the idea of Zoom and making it interactive. 
    This was pretty sad news to hear about the Cypriot Archbishop commemorating  Dumenko. Makes you wonder what is being said to the people to make them go from supporting the canonical Church to betraying it for 40 pieces of silver. Very sad. The only “Greek” Church that may be immune to falling is Antioch, they have a majority Arab clergy. Hopefully Jerusalem doesn’t cave, but, I would not be surprised if they did. Wonder if the Holy Fire will descend if they start commemorating schismatics. 
    Like I mentioned in my previous comment, really seems like we are witnessing the cleaving away of Greek speaking Christianity. If it doesn’t become complete Unia it may be this weird “via media” type deal that Anglicanism claims to be. Not everyone in the Greek, Alexandrian & Cypriot Churches wants to go along with this. Will they align themselves with another Church? Will they create their own Church that is affiliated with canonical Orthodoxy. Unless things are going on behind the scenes, it doesn’t really seem like there is much of a plan. 
    And Gail, I 100% agree with you on the reason why our hierarchs closed down the Churches during the pandemic, they have lost the Orthodox phronema 

  8. Lola J. Lee Beno says

    Congratulations on your first vlog!   Couple tips – be sure to have bit of silence before starting so as to get the auto captioning started, and set the language to English. You’ll need to poke around a bit in the settings to kickstart that.  Sometimes if one talks with background noise, the audio gets tagged as Korean, Russian or some other foreign language and I have to just give up on the vlog.And, please position your phone horizontally than vertically. That will get rid of the black sides and make your video look better and more professional. 

  9. If Alexis Toth is a saint and Gabriel Bunge is a priest, then Dumenko is a bishop. I don’t like it any more than anyone else, but it’s the logic of economia. Moscow and the OCA aren’t the only ones who get to wave a magic wand over other churches’ ordinations. And don’t tell me about “repentance,” because Dumenko has submitted to and been received by Constantinople. It’s not just the “good” jurisdictions that don’t have to follow the canons. Either they apply to everyone or they apply to no one.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      As I understand it, Fr. Gabriel Bunge was purportedly a Roman Catholic hieromonk of the Order of Saint Benedict and was later received into Orthodoxy by the Russian Orthodox Church through Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev). Not sure what is uncanonical about that.

      According to Wikipedia, Saint Alexis Toth (or Alexis of Wilkes-Barre; March 18, 1853 – May 7, 1909) was a Ruthenian Orthodox Church in America (then North American diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church) leader in the Midwestern United States who, having resigned his position as a Byzantine Catholic priest in the Ruthenian Catholic Church, became responsible for the conversions of approximately 20,000 Eastern Rite Catholics to the Russian Orthodox Church, which contributed to the growth of Eastern Orthodoxy in the United States and the eventual establishment of the Orthodox Church in America. He was canonized by the Orthodox Church in 1994.” Not sure what’s uncanonical about that either.

      Economia is defined as a discretionary deviation from the letter of the law in order to adhere to the spirit of the law and charity.

      What Bartholomew did was not under the “spirit of the law and charity.” If it were, it would be perceived as such by the greater part of the canonical Church, which it isn’t.

      Had Bartholomew just received people into his own patriarchate, canonically, he would have been fine. But that’s not what he did. He broke as many as 8 rules under this Ukrainian fiasco alone:

      Bartholomew went into another bishop’s territory, uninvited (#1), and pulled together multiple churches headed by ordinary citizens, two of whom had previously been stripped of all clerical responsibilities and rank by a ruling synod of Orthodox bishops and archbishops (#2). He then quickly replaced one of the citizens with someone who was not ordained (#3), and without valid ordination, allowed him to ordain other bishops, priests, deacons, etc. (#4). He later granted this schismatic group autocephaly (#5), under himself, within the territory of another bishop (#6) without the approval of that patriarchate or a council of the Local Churches (#7) causing what is considered to be the greatest travesty to befall the Church; a schism (#8).

    • George Michalopulos says

      James, thank you for your comment.

      If I may: as someone who appreciates repentance (and is greatly unwilling to judge another man’s servant ==or his heart), no one has seen anything resembling repentance in Mikhail Dumenko.  Of so-called Patriarch Filaret, who started this whole fiasco.  

      I see below where Gail has enumerated all the canons that were stomped into the ground in order to create the illegitimate monstrosity that is the sect in question.  No doubt, others can think of more.

      However, I will add my own 2 cents to this argument, and that is this:  the spirit characterized Bartholomew’s actions were hardly motivated by “charity”.  If they were, then he could prove me wrong by doing this single expedient:  he’d recognize the OCA as the autocephalous Church of North America and invite all other jurisdictions to join it and form a synod around the person of the incumbent Metropolitan of All-America and Canada.

      And no, I won’t accept the lame argument that Orthodoxy in America is not “spiritually mature enough” to enjoy its own autocephaly.  Whatever problems the OCA has, it has produced several God-pleasing saints.  Saints incidentally, which the GOA primate recently venerated.  (This is one of the hallmarks of a spiritually mature, grace-filled Church.) The GOA, whatever its successes on the other hand, has produced no saints in America.  

      • George please help me about the American Saints produced in the OCA. I mostly recall men from overseas who came to help us understandably spiritually immature newbies. Were any born here, raised  in and produced by us in the OCA?  Of course Vladika Dmitri hopefully will be recognized for sure.  And for the GOA Elder Ephraim but again he csme from ATHOS to help us all become aware of Patristic Orthodoxy and was not produced by the GOA. Since St Nikolai’s Prologue is a daily source I am likely 50 years behind on Saints. Please enlighten me!

        Re your conviction about the OCA’s spiritual maturity:  The Corinthinians were spiritually immature and needed Paul.   And we individually and jurisdictionally need the wisdom of the Fathers and the Saints and particularly those who came here among us. who came here.   Claiming spiritual maturity for for oneself or one’s jurisdiction is discordant with what I read in the Fathers and lives of the Saints. Similarly would not our contemporary Saints and respected Patristic elders be the ones to evaluate our individual and jurisdictional spiritual maturity rather than we Corinthians ourselves?  If not, can you help me understand why? Always ready to agree to disagree if necessary George and respect your good intentions ??

        • Michael Bauman says

          Nicole, contemporary saints will be revealed, I have no doubt.   It is a patient work of God.  You raise a good point though:  what is spiritual maturity?   
          I find it, forgive me George, largely meaningless. I think it is a point of reference in that OCA autocephaly was denied years ago on the grounds the OCA lacked “spiritual maturity”.  It is a political phrase, nothing more. 
          God makes saints not organizations.  Sanctity is s matter of a combination of belief and doing and the Spirit that creates a life lived for God and others without concern for consequence or aggrandizement.  
          I think there can be a fine line between venerating saints out of piety and humility vs a sort of worship of the saints. 
          The list of recognized  Orthodox saints of the Americas is pretty impressive. I have an icon of 11 of them.  Not bad for a non-Orthodox country.   
          There are others who have not yet been recognized and others still in the making.  
          Glory to God

        • Nicole, can you ask your bird to fly a little lower please.
          It’s blocking out some of your words.

        • Oh, I almost forgot. Matushka Olga of Alaska is not officially a saint but is venerated by many and it is believed it is only a matter of time. Last I heard her daughter is still with us and my friend got to meet her when she visited Alaska a few years ago.

        • Orthodox saints native to America:  St Peter the Aleut, St Sebastian (Dabovich), Matushka Olga of Alaska (not yet formally canonized), and many more who will never be formally recognized, who are/were likely little known, and who will never make it on an icon.  The vast majority of saints are never canonized but live holy lives in relative obscurity. 

          • Michael Bauman says

            FTS. Indeed. I know three Orthodox who have been and continue to be saints in my life….and I do not know a lot of people. These three are well known to me.
            Each of them in their own way is an example of grace and struggle in God that almost compels me to repentance.  
            It would not shock me if one of them made it to an icon someday.  

          • There’s also Saint Varnava from Gary, Indiana.
            Now, the question was, which saints have been produced by the OCA?
            None of them were, if we see the OCA as being the post-1970 body. Saints Sebastian and Varnava were in the Serbian church, Saint Peter the Aleut was in the Russian Church, while Matushka Olga, although dying after autocephaly, was really in the Metropolia, and the Alaskan diocese at that, which was/is more faithful to the old Russian tradition than the churches of the lower 48.  Saints are being produced in these United States (and Canada) but it’s not the OCA that’s been producing them.
            Archbishop Dmitri is the best candidate at the minute, although I am sure that there are more we don’t know about.

            • Technically St Sebastian grew up in the cathedral in San Francisco, which wasn’t Serbian at the time but was a multi-ethnic Orthodox parish under the Russian jurisdiction. 

              There is a canonization commission in the OCA looking at the potential canonization of Metropolitan Leonty in the future.  Met Leonty was largely a son of the Russian church and was in ROCOR for much of his priesthood/episcopate (back in those days when ROCOR and the Metropolia were together, then not, then together, then not, etc……).
              I’m not aware of any formal canonization commission looking into the canonization of Vladyka Dmitri.  Vladyka Dmitri’s legacy is much more popular with the southern and convert OCAers than with the Syosset OCAers.  On the flip side, the legacy of Met. Leonty has much more enthusiasm among the Syosset OCAers than among the southern/convert OCAers.  

              Bottom line though is that most saints never see formal canonization. 

              • Curious (and telling?) posture of the Syosset OCAers re Vladika Dmitri ~ for reasons which are worthy of discovery.   When I personally (pleb that I am) compare his Patristic Commentaries and teaching with Syosset responses to  a Fr Arida or COVID restrictions or bowing to PB or AE or other ecumenist/secular actions, I see a radical difference in foundation which is tragic.  Again praying his spirit will enlighten and attract Syosset more in his repose  than he seemingly able accomplished in temporal life.  All that matters of course is what the more spiritually enlightened Elders and Saints think and advise.

            • George Michalopulos says

              I’m hearing good things about Metropolitan Leonty.

              • Yes, George, you are most correct. There are numerous miracles attributed to Metropolitan Leonty of blessed memory. I truly believe that he will be formally canonized someday, along with Archbishop Dimitri.
                My father, a retired OCA priest, had numerous encounters with Archbishop Dimitri, both as a simple parish priest and as a bishop going back well over 50 years. And, his stories are always the same. Vladyka Dimitri was one of the most humblest men that you could ever meet. There was also something very special about him.

              • Excellent book about Met. Leonty, compiled as part of his potential canonization commission:

                Anyone know if a similar book about Abp Dmitri has been written or is in the works?

            • Yes Basil, thank you.


      Dumenko, et al. were not Uniates.  The Church of Russia, erroneously but out of economy, established a policy of receiving Uniate clergy by vesting.  This is an instance of the Western Captivity of the Russian Church manifesting itself.  We normally do not speak of “validity of orders” but whether consecrations or ordinations or other mysteries are grace-filled.

       I suppose a person received in this way could be joined to the Church through the mystery of the Eucharist and, given that the bishops have the authority to bind and loose, one might make the argument that upon communication of the Eucharist, prior ordinations or consecrations were filled with grace.  I would not make that argument, but bishops are like bears.  The only thing that turns a bear . . . is a bigger bear. 

      In any case, that was the policy of the Church of Russia vis a vis Uniates.  Again, the Ukrainian schismatics were not Uniates.

      The sects purportedly normalized in the Ukraine were schismatics condemned as such by both Moscow and Constantinople, though Constantinople in a monumental exercise of destabilizing travesty “rescinded” its condemnation.  Yet the mother church of the schismatics, from which they broke, still maintains its excommunication and condemnation of them as schismatics.  No one disputes that the MP is canonical.

      That is the dispositive condemnation that renders these sectarians schismatics, not that of Constantinople.  Constantinople had no authority to intervene inasmuch as it was not invited by the MP to do so, the only body that could have requested such an intervention, being the local church from which the schismatics broke.  Thus, these groups remain schismatic.  And by joining with them, Constantinople steps into the shoes of the schismatics.  Thus the subsequent severance of communion of the MP from the Phanar and all those who recognize the OCU.

      But the deeper issue was the self-consecrations referenced in the link above.  This, evidently, is a mercurial Ukrainian thing.  They like to “self-consecrate”.  And there were such “clergy” present within the OCU.  And that was also a source of concern.

      But in any case, unlike the Uniates, the schismatics in Ukraine were under no extension of economia from any local church that had the authority to do so.  Constantinople’s intervention itself was uncanonical, thus any economia arising out of it is ineffective.  Yet even economia cannot regularize “self-consecration”.  And that is what spooked many furry folks.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        I wonder if you can vest someone who has been defrock by the canonical Church. It’s a little different from receiving someone from the Catholic Church, for example.

  10. Hi Nicole,
    I too am reading the Prologue. St Nicholai is amazing in his writings.
    Here are some American born saints. I guess the official designation of ” OCA” saints really isn’t applicable as the Church was,for the most part, one in the US before the Russian revolution.
    St Peter the Aleut, St Jacob Enlightener of Alaska. (Both natives of Alaska)
    Serbian Orthodox St Varnava was born in Gary Indiana. St Sebastian was born in San Francisco.

    • Thank you Tanya and heartening  to know you are reading also!  Yes the OCA designation is the focus of my query…

  11. Gail and George:
    Thanks for your replies. But you don’t address the matter at hand, which is the completely arbitrary nature of economia as it is understood in the modern Church and the even more arbitrary manner in which we balk at its use. Gail, you say you don’t know what’s uncanonical about receiving Fr. Gabriel Bunge and St. Alexis Toth without baptism, chrismation, or ordination. But my point is that it’s the exact same thing that happened in the case of Epiphaniy Dumenko. You may think it’s not in the spirit of the law, but that’s your (forgive me) arbitrary interpretation, and it should be noted that it’s a distinct matter from the invasion of the EP into Ukraine. Bartholomew is adamant that he extended the hand of charity to a group of people who wanted to be a part of the mainstream Orthodox Church. Bringing people into the Church is precisely the principle that allows the MP and the OCA to receive Catholic clergy without initiation. Now, remember, I’m talking strictly about the “ordination” of Dumenko, not the concoction of a new jurisdiction in Ukraine. Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol, if you look carefully, is on record as saying he has no problem accepting the episcopacy of Dumenko in principle. This is because he’s consistent with the position of the modern Church in general. And I’ll remind you that I’m saying all of this because I *don’t* like any of it. I just think we need to be consistent, i.e., stop receiving Catholic clergy that way, or we have no right to complain.
    The autocephaly issue, at least on its face, is about the conceit of Constantinople that it and it alone can grant autocephaly, so I’m not sure what it has to do with the validity of orders. It’s part of the bigger picture, of course. But again, we either need to say that clergy CAN’T be received except by baptism, chrismation, and/or ordination, or we should accept that Dumenko is a legitimate bishop of the EP.
    Oh, and the Church as a whole has not accepted Moscow’s practices regarding Catholics and Orthodox Sacraments (with regard to both vesting and mixed marriage), so that’s not a good standard to apply to Dumenko either.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Economia by its very nature is often going to seem arbitrary even capricious.  That is what it is.  The difficulty is in perceicving actual economia rather than actual capriciousness.  Sometimes quite difficult

      • Johann Sebastian says

        Big difference between Uniates and aspirational/nationalist schismatics who start their own church out of nationalist pride or soreness about not having been elected to the Patriarchate of a canonical Church.
        The Unions of Brest and Uzhgorod were coercive acts against a native Orthodox population by a Roman Catholic polity. It wasn’t exactly a voluntary thing–the other options would have been conversion to the Latin Rite or martyrdom of an entire nation.
        Sometimes we do what we must to survive–as did the MP during the Soviet era. What the Ukrainian schismatics have done is an act of brazenness and aspirational pride.

    • Solitary Priest says

      Some Orthodox bishops have subscribed to the theory that Roman ordination is valid. Never mind Moscow, both within ROCOR and the OCA you will find differences. For example, my bishop required my son’s wife to be baptized before their wedding; her original baptism was Roman Catholic. Yet, the same bishop blessed a large family of Ukrainian Catholics to be received by chrismation. 
                In ROCOR, Archbishop Averky of blessed memory, baptized seminarians, even when they have already been received by chrismation. That seems a bit much, but it was his call, right or wrong. I would prefer to baptize all converts from Roman Catholicism, especially in view of the present pope, who has scandalized even his own faithful. However, it isn’t my call. Economia is bending the rules for the sake of saving souls. I would bet that if the MP had received Fr. Gabriel through rebaptism and reordination, the EP-Fordham-Crestwood crowd would be screaming bloody murder. 

  12. Thank you, also, for publishing these comments. Orthochristian refuses to allow anything like them on their site.

    • And thank you for writing them James.
      You give us much to think on.

    • Amen to that James.  Censorship aboundeth, sad to say, and is revealing about the organization or site every time.  Makes one appreciate respectful freedom of speech greatly.  Thank you George & Gail. 

  13. A priest who reminds me of Met. Athanasios of Limassol: Papa Demetri Carellas. His pre-election email entreaty to and suggestions for us for the next 3 days:

    “But if it seems not good to you to serve the Lord, choose to yourselves this day whom ye will serve … but I and my house will serve the Lord, for He is holy.” [Joshua 24:15]

    My Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,

    May our Most Beloved Panaghia embrace your precious soul — filling it with healing and the never-ending JOY of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!

    In the past 60 years, over two generations, some very significant changes have taken place within our nation. Tonight, I wish to briefly mention three of them: (1) the value of human life, from conception to natural death; (2) the composition of the family unit; and (3) religious freedom.

    In 1961, when I was a freshman at Georgia Tech: (1) Abortion was illegal; (2) The composition of the great majority of family units was mother, father and children. There was no such thing as “transgenderism,” “gender fluidity,” same-sex “marriage,” “test-tube babies,” or surrogate mothers; (3) Christians regularly attended their respective houses of worship. In many States, including my home State of Georgia, “Blue laws” prohibited many stores from opening, until after 1 PM, so as not to interfere with church worship.

    In 2020, a typical first-year college student – like my Granddaughter… – is living in quite a different world than I was when I was her age: (1) Over 61 million babies – over 35% of them, black – have been aborted. In addition to that, aborted babies are being “harvested” for biomedical research every day. These demonic practices continue, because we have taken our eyes off the One Who died on the Cross for us and rose from the dead; (2) On June 25, 2015, by a 5-4 decision, the SCOTUS determined (erroneously) that the US Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. The LGBTQIA and BLM groups (the latter being founded by three women who call themselves “trained Marxist”), are working diligently to redefine the family unit; (3) Since the mid-1960s, church attendance has been on the decline — especially among young adults. The COVID-19 pandemic, especially as it relates to all the Orthodox Jurisdictions in the USA, has exposed our chronic lack of trust in – and commitment to – Christ and His Church.

    As a Greek Orthodox Christian, I plan to vote for the candidates – local, state, and national – who, by their words and actions: defend the sacred and God-given right to life for all pre-born children; seek to reaffirm that the God-established family unit must be in the very foundation of our society’s existence, and encourage the implementation of our guaranteed right to worship freely. Our freedom to worship must be without unconstitutional, draconian restrictions by local and state governments that: limit the number and/or length of our services; require that we do things within our churches that go against our Church’s teachings; and limit the number of people that can attend a worship service.

    Now, I will go from the general to the particular, and concentrate on our Holy Orthodox Church’s reaction to the COVID-19 virus in the USA. God forbid, if there is another “lockdown,” we cannot react in the same manner. (May our Most Beloved Panaghia allow my holy Spiritual Father, the Blessed Geronta Ephraim of Arizona, to intercede for me).

    My very dear co-strugglers on the sea of this temporal life, we must have faith! We need not fear this virus, not only because the mortality rate is extremely low, but because we have been “re-born of water and the Spirit.” We have been “sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.” When we are inside of our Churches, we should never have any fear of physical death! How many times has the All-holy and Life-giving Spirit descended within the walls of our Churches? Can the presence of the Holy Spirit fade away? Absolutely not! On the contrary, our churches become even more filled with the Holy Spirit — with every Divine Liturgy, Baptism, Wedding, Holy Confession, and Holy Unction.

    As the Fool-for-Christ, Gabriel, from the Nation of Georgia exclaimed: ‘If we knew what ineffable holiness takes place during every Divine Liturgy, at the end of each one, we would wash our faces with the dust on the floor!’ There is no need to refrain from kissing the Holy Ikons in Church, no need for “social distancing,” and no need for masks to cover our faces while hiding our personhood from one another. There is definitely no need to change the manner in which we have received Holy Communion for the last 1300 years! In short, when we enter the House of God, where the presence of the Holy Spirit is within the very air, where Angels and Saints come to be with us, we need to leave the ever-changing temporal science of man outside. We must put our complete faith and trust in our never-changing, eternal Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ!

    Forgive the boldness of this filthy and unworthy priest to humbly ask that you consider joining me in doing the following over the next three days: I am going to beg my Most Beloved Panaghia to beg my Most Sweet Lord Jesus to forgive me for my carnal and self-centered way of life, and to bless me with tears of repentance; to forgive me for not loving Him and Panaghia; for not allowing His presence to “speak” to whomever He sends to me in a given day – even if I say no words; for not allowing the Grace of the Holy Priesthood to give the “presence” of His True Church to wherever I happen to be; for not being His light in this world of darkness.

    Through the intercessions of my Blessed, Holy Geronta, I hope to do the following:

    Offer both a Paraklesis (Small Supplicatory Canon) and Akathist to Panaghia on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

    Say the Jesus Prayer – with and without my prayer rope – more than ever before.

    Abstain from food as much as I can on Monday and Tuesday (I will stay hydrated by drinking water and may have some tea or coffee.).

    Celebrate the Divine Liturgy on Tuesday (Brother priests, please consider doing the same. Let us fill our Nation with this holiest of all worship services! St. Maximos the Confessor says that in the entire area around a church in which the Holy Liturgy is being served, everything and everyone within that area receives a blessing! Please encourage your faithful to come to the Liturgy as well.)

    Brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus, please consider doing your own spiritual
    discipline during the next three days. And please pray that this useless slave of God will be able to make his small offering to Him.

    May God’s will be done on November 3rd! And no matter whom God permits to be victorious (Because God is ALWAYS in charge, not man!), may all Orthodox Christians – clergy and laity, from November 4th until He calls us into eternity – triple our efforts to seek His cleansing of our souls, and become His instruments to bring His Truth to our temporal Nation — whose ungodly actions and evil decisions and laws are in danger of causing us to be self-aborted from the womb of the universe.

    Save us, O Most Beloved Panaghia! Please save us! Through thy divine intercessions, may we ALL “serve the Lord, for He is holy!”

    Your unworthy slave,

    +Priest Demetrios