Blue Painted Tree

The OCA Holy Synod issued a strong statement at the 20th All-American Council week.  A very strong statement.  To which we add a hearty AXIOI!!!

It’s about the very thing we’ve been talking about on the blog.  I can’t help but think that [Blue] Painted Tree’s video might have had something to do with it because the Holy Synod made it absolutely clear that the Church teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman, period.  

Unlike the theologians of the past who believed that it was their role to teach the faith, as given to them, the self-proclaimed theologians of today believe the Truth, first given to us by Christ, then the Apostles, and then the Church is malleable and subject to change with the times. 

They don’t seem to understand the reality of what is.  In their minds, we should have discussions about how the Church should be changed to suit the world around them.  In other words, it is the Church that must bend to the culture and not the other way around. 

However, culture does not dictate to the Church.  Nor is it worth discussing, because at no point will it ever happen.   As G K Chesterton wrote many decades ago, “he who weds the spirit of the age will soon enough find himself a widower.” 

It is my hope that those who call themselves “theologians,” specifically those featured in the [Blue] Painted Tree video, will cease talking about opening up sexual expression beyond the boundary of marriage. 

It is also my hope that these same people will be sanctioned.  

The following is the position that has been taught and will continue to be taught, by the Church.  According to this powerful statement by the Holy Synod of the OCA, no one, including “clergy, theologians, teachers, and laypersons,” are to teach otherwise.   

The quickest way to achieve this goal would be to remove their platforms.  

In any event, please take the time to read the following statement from the Holy Synod.  When it was announced earlier today, it was met with thunderous applause by the delegates assembled in Baltimore.


Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of America’s Statement:

“The Orthodox Church teaches that the union between a man and a woman in marriage reflects the union between Christ and His Church (Eph. 5). As such, marriage is by this reflection monogamous and heterosexual. Within this marriage, sexual relations between a husband and wife are an expression of their love that has been blessed by God. Such is God’s plan for male and female, created in his image and likeness, from the beginning, and such remains his plan for all time. Any other form of sexual expression is by its nature disordered, and cannot be blessed by the Church in any way, whether directly or indirectly.

That said, the Holy Synod of Bishops expresses its pastoral concern and paternal love for all who desire to come to Christ and who struggle with their passions, temptations, and besetting sins, whatever those might be. The Church is a hospital for the sick; Our Lord has come as a physician to heal those who are ailing. Imitating our Savior, who stretched his arms wide on the Cross, we welcome with open arms all who desire the life of repentance in Christ.

Over the course of recent years, His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon and the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America have made numerous pronouncements affirming the Orthodox Christian teaching on marriage and sexuality. Metropolitan Tikhon, at the 18th All-American Council in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 20, 2015, in his opening address, stated that:

“… the Orthodox Church must continue to proclaim what she has always taught: that marriage is the union between one man and one woman and the Orthodox Church in America can in no way deviate from this teaching…”

Among the Holy Synod’s affirmations of the same teaching are the “Synodal Affirmations on Marriage, Family, Sexuality, and the Sanctity of Life,” from the 10th All-American Council, Miami, Florida, taking place from July 26-31, 1992; the “Synodal Reaffirmation of the SCOBA statement titled ‘On the Moral Crisis in our Nation,’” issued May 17, 2004; and the synodal “Statement concerning the June 26 US Supreme Court decision,” issued June 28, 2015.

Therefore, in accord with the timeless plan of God our Creator, the unchanging teaching of Christ the Savior announced through his holy apostles and their successors, and the consistent witness of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America, the Holy Synod affirms what the Scriptures clearly and plainly proclaim and the holy fathers unerringly confess, namely: that God made human beings in two sexes, male and female, in his own image, and that chaste and pure sexual relationships are reserved to one man and one woman in the bond of marriage.

As such, we affirm that sexual relationships are blessed only within the context of a marriage between one man and one woman. Motivated by love and out of sincere care for souls, we call those who suffer from the passion of same-sex attraction to a life of steadfast chastity and repentance, the same life of chastity and repentance to which all mankind is called in Christ.

We call upon all clergy, theologians, teachers, and lay persons within the Orthodox Church in America never to contradict these teachings by preaching or teaching against the Church’s clear moral position; by publishing books, magazines, and articles which do the same; or producing or publishing similar content online. We reject any attempt to create a theological framework which would normalize same-sex erotic relationships or distort humanity’s God-given sexual identity. The holy apostle Paul writes that such teachings will “increase to more ungodliness,” and that such a “message will spread like gangrene” (2 Tim 2:16-17), misleading the faithful and inquirers seeking the truth.

Any clergy, theologian, teacher, or lay person who contravenes our directive thus undermines the authority of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America by disregarding the Holy Synod’s consistent and unwavering teaching on these matters. We call on any such persons to cease their disruptive activities, which threaten the peace and tranquility of the Orthodox Church in America, cause scandal and uncertainty, and tempt those who struggle against their disordered passions to stumble. Consequently, those who teach these errors become participants in the sin of those whom they have tempted or whom they have failed to correct, and thus should seek remission of this sin in the mystery of holy confession. Those who refuse correction open themselves to ecclesiastical discipline.

Thus, we, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in Americas, conclude by once again affirming that all clergy, theologians, teachers, and lay persons of the Orthodox Church in America should teach nothing other than the fullness of the Orthodox faith, which is the fullness of the saving truth.

We remind our faithful and clergy that every person of goodwill is welcome to visit our parishes. However, reception into the Church, and continued communion in Christ at the sacred Chalice, is reserved for those who strive to live a life of repentance and humility in light of these God-given truths, conforming themselves to the commandments of God as the only path of salvation in Christ. All of us are sinners, but it is for precisely this reason that Our Lord Jesus Christ calls us to “Repent and believe in the Gospel, for the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mk. 1:15)”

[Statement courtesy of M


  1. Yes, VERY thunderous…I was there! Take that Archbishop Elpi, and Sr. Vassa! 🙂

    • Gail Sheppard says


    • Athanasia says

      Standing, sustained thunderous applause. (I’m here too!)

      There was also a very sound resolution regarding Ukraine.

    • That’s very good to hear Alex! Axios!

    • Solidarity Priest says

      Let’s not be too triumphant here. The bishops did the right thing, they stepped up to the plate, and addressed the issues squarely. That doesn’t mean that our adversaries will go away. If nothing else, they will continue their attacks. They have most of the secular world and virtually all of the mass media on their side…

      • Indeed. As Churchill might have said:
        “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end.
        But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

      • Gail Sheppard says

        So if we can’t change the entire world it’s not worth getting excited about? Gee, if that were true, Jesus wouldn’t have come.

        • Solidarity Priest is right.
          We have won a battle, but we have not won the war.
          But that does not mean we cannot go on to win this war.

          To paraphrase John Paul Jones (another Scotsman):
          “We have not yet begun to fight!”

          • In a sense you’re all right. The war isn’t over. It never will be on before the return of Christ. However, it is a blessing that in this age of compromise our bishops did stand up and reaffirm the Truth. We need good leadership and this is a vital step. Bannockburn didn’t end the war, but the war wouldn’t have ended without it.

      • Wayne Matthew Syvinski says

        The best reply to this, IMO, comes from the Talmud (yes, yes, I know….)

        “It is not your responsibility to finish the work of perfecting the world, but neither are you free to desist from it.” – Rabbi Tarfon, Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers)

  2. Mark E. Fisus says


  3. Tony Tangalos says

    With this very decisive and incontrovertible statement emphatically disallowing any hope of same sex sodomites introducing their DEVIANT SEXUAL PERVERSION into O.C.A. church culture now or in the future; we can now add the O.C.A. to the short list of Orthodox branches that join ROCOR in staying true and pure to ancient Orthodoxy.

    Unless someone replaces “Black Bart” and turns the G.O.A. direction around at the E.P. level, “the fish will continue to rot from the head first”. I call on all G.O.A. laity to wake up, observe where the G.O.A. hierarchy is headed and find a branch of Orthodoxy that is remaining steadfast in the ancient dogma and doctrine. O.C.A. can now be added to ROCOR as a branch that has made their position on condemning sodomy clear.

    May other branches “find their religion” and join the O.C.A. in concurring that Jesus never changes and there is no place for sodomy being condoned in the Orthodox Christian Church, ever, period, end of story.

    To Peter Sanfilippo and his sodomy sympathetic “Orthodoxy in Dialogue” agenda; who has the profound audacity to in his own words “rejects this Synodal directive and its false premises” I remind you Peter, that JESUS NEVER CHANGES, and His teachings are clear that you are wrong to promote acceptance of sodomy in church. Last month you lost the litigation to Josiah Trenham and today you lost any hope of the O.C.A. falling for your failed sodomite agenda. I pray that you renounce your sodomite sympathy before Jesus comes to judge us for Jesus made his position clear, He never changes!

    To Orthodox Christians who are elated with this strong, unequivocal posture of the O.C.A., please write an e-mail to the O.C.A. letting them know how happy you are to see them take a stand for ancient dogma and doctrine. Peter Sanfilippo and his sodomite supporters at Orthodoxy in Dialogue are waging their own e-mail writing campaign to condemn the O.C.A. & the O.C.A. needs to hear from us THANKING THEM!
    Well done O.C.A., well done!

    • George Michalopulos says

      Tony, Alex, etc (Gail already knows): I just heard from a priest-delegate at the Antiochian national convention (which was going on at the same time).

      Met Joseph, spoke forcefully about the faith (but obliquely about LP, as Met. Joseph is a true Christian gentleman) and received thunderous applause and standing ovations. Everybody there knew who he was talking about –and what.

      Also, Joseph and the other primates had been talking for several weeks about LP and his shenanigans before they sent the first letter. Again, as per Scripture. When they saw that there were not getting anywhere, it was only then when they wrote the first letter. Then when he condescendingly replied with his letter, they went back to him again.

      And the Lord is good! They carried the day.

      Axios! to Met Joseph and the other primates who stood up to the Byzantine globalists.

      • This is great to hear George. Thanks for sharing. It seems the OCA/Antioch/ROCOR bloc has been solidified. The only one on the outside looking in is GOARCH

      • Thanks for the update, George!

      • George,
        I heard Metropolitan Joseph speak in person, earlier this summer. He directly referenced the goofy statement made by LP at the March for Life and then he clearlyand emphatically reiterated the 2,000 year old teaching of The Church. It was glorious.

        • From things I’ve heard people say who know Met. Joseph I get the impression that he, and other bishops of the jurisdictions, have been beyond fed up with Elpidophoros for quite some time.

          Elpi is a blemish on American Orthodoxy that seriously undermines our mission. If you were an inquirer and you saw his baptism scandal, his wishy-washy March for Life statement, and the list goes on…and that’s your impression of Orthodoxy, what would you think?

          And this comes at a time when parishes are exploding with catechumens and new converts and Met. Joseph and the other bishops know this.

          That’s why they really need to remove him from the AoB, and possibly just disband it and create a new one with ROCOR. The recent statements from the OCA & Antioch are not a coincidence, they’re a direct rebuff of Elpi, but, I’m sure they are also very aware that in not saying anything a large portion of their parishioners would leave for ROCOR (I’ve said this before). Many of us gave them the benefit of the doubt during covid, but they’ve spent all of their “capital” on that and other things attacking the Faith won’t be tolerated.

          Just my two cents.

          • The March for Life statement looks OK to me when I read it carefully, as he didn’t say anything actually endorsing abortion. But the recent baptism photo op is really hard to get one’s head around from a normal EO point of view.
            First, why didn’t they use local clergy in Greece for the baptism? The likely answer is that local clergy wouldn’t have been comfortable or felt ecclessiologically safe from repercussions doing it.
            Second, if they wanted to use American clergy, why use the top Greek one? One answer could be that lower ranking US clergy wouldn’t feel safe from repercussions from the Church of Greece (COG) or from broader Church pressure either. This can be reflected in the COG’s letter to the CP complaining about Abp. Elpidophoros’ action.
            A second answer could be that the clients (child’s “guardians?”) were high profile Americans, and so they wanted a high profile clergyman.
            A third answer could be that Abp. Elpidophoros wanted to make a strong statement by his action.

      • Lola J. Lee Beno says

        Could you please define who is “LP”?

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Short for Elpi which is short for Archbishop Elpidophoros.

          I can’t remember names, especially Greek names, so when Elpi was Elpidophoros of Bursa I started calling him “Epidural of Bursitis” to help me remember it.

          George did like that so we shortened it to Elpi so I could remember it. Elpi sounds like LP so some use that.

          Though I’ve known George since 2009, I couldn’t remember how to spell his name either. That’s why I didn’t take it when we were married. I have it on my “to do” list!

          • George Michalopulos says

            I’m holding you to that, Dear!

            (BTW. I have an excellent military sitrep (situation report) ready to go: “Part III: the Military situation so far”.

  4. Interesting that so much focus is on homosexuality, a small part of our population, whereas the much larger and prominent issue involves heterosexual relations outside of marriage, particularly couples living together before marriage. Only one sentence in the entire document even hinted at the much larger, broad and pervasive issue, which, in the case of premarital sexual relations, is erased once the couple is married, and they can go on living in good standing in the church, though possibly with never having repented. May God have mercy on us all.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Why not celebrate what was said rather than find something, anything, wrong with it?

      Everyone knows sex outside of marriage is a sin. With regard to homosexuality, there are people IN THE CHURCH, who believe same-sex activity is not [a sin], even though in the context of the Church, it is alway outside of marriage and, therefore, always a sin.

      That’s what makes the OCA’s and Antioch’s statements so powerful. It’s not about the numbers [i.e. more people living together than those having homosexual sex].

      It’s 100% about knowing and communicating the teaching of the Church, accurately, and not misleading others as these self-proclaimed theologians are doing.

  5. Austin Martin says

    “Very strong statement”? It didn’t mention procreation once. How can you make a theological document about sexuality without even mentioning the purpose of sexuality? It’s like saying, “Only food made from actual foodstuffs should be eaten, not plastic fruit.”

    If it were a strong statement that went against the culture, it would say that any non-procreative sex is a sin. But instead they did the safe, moderate thing to get applause from the internet crowd.

    I’m not necessarily saying that all sex must be procreative. Only that that is what would be strong and counter-cultural. “Sodomy is bad” is not counter-cultural.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Austin, sometimes there is a second message contained within a seemingly innocuous one. They have never said this before:

      “We are putting these self-proclaimed theologians and the clergy who support them, on notice. We are not going to allow them to deceive others when it comes to the teachings of the Church.”

      • Austin Martin says

        Well I hope you’re right, but I’m very black pill towards the brahmin caste.

    • Stratos Fotopoulos says

      …any non-procreative sex is a sin.

      No, they would not say that non-procreative sex is a sin or that procreation is “the” [one and only] purpose of sex. Because those ideas are not Orthodox. Nor did they set out to issue an exhaustive panegyric dissertation on the matter. Their measured approach responded to specific issues they’re dealing with and which (refreshingly) includes a canonical remedy for those in their clerical ranks who undermine the unassailably Orthodox position they articulated. Fr. Kosmas of Australia (I think on this talk: notes that there are two canons anathematizing those who insist that the sole purpose of marital sex is procreation. For a quick overview of the Orthodox view of sexual relations see the OrthoWiki entry at

      • “It is a biological fact that sex is about procreation.”

        Ecclesiastes 4:11
        Again, if two lie together, then they have heat:
        but how can one be warm alone?

        After the menopause, women can have many years of happy sex
        without any possibility of procreation occurring;
        barring such miracles as happened to Sarah and Elizabeth

      • [Editor Note” I removed everything about the subject and rather than cause more dispersions, I figure we should take Father’s name off here, as well. If you don’t agree, let me know.]

        You might be black-pilled, but that’s no excuse to keep casting aspersions on good men from your know-it-all POV.

        As your patron saint said, “in all things, charity.”

    • Austin Martin says of the OCA statement: “It’s like saying, “Only food made from actual foodstuffs should be eaten, not plastic fruit.””

      Perhaps, but if there was a body of people in the Church proclaiming loudly that plastic fruit was perfectly healthy, nutritious food, I’d call such a statement a good start.

    • Antiochene Son says

      “Sodomy is bad” is not counter-cultural.

      What planet have you been on for the last 20 years?

  6. I’ve not read any Gk bishop in U.S.A. say anything about the gay baptism. WHY’S THAT???

    • Sadly, they will speak when they have permission to speak. In other words, they are, or at least appear to be, heirarchs in name only because they are little more than castrated, disposable servants of the Phanar. This, again sadly, is why the GOAA is incapable of self-correction. The P of C has cultivated a culture of clerical fear, even among bishops. It is either this or they approve of what Elpidophoros did, and I doubt that the latter is true – at least in the case of most of them

      How I wish they would prove me wrong! The crow would be delicious.

    • Most of them are probably gay. GOA picks bishops from the few celibate men (bachelor’s) coming out of the seminary. None are actual monks who’ve resided in monasteries.

  7. So I’m going to ask the stupid question since I may not be the only person wondering: what is the [Blue] Painted Tree? I tried to Google it and came up empty.

    • Gail Sheppard says
      • Katherine says

        Off topic, but I want to ask as one of Painted Tree’s videos is about Sr. Vassa:
        Are any of you as uncomfortable as I am about Sr. Vassa? I don’t mean her content but rather that an Orthodox nun is occupied with anything but being an Orthodox nun? The nuns I know are occupied in prayer, repentance and good works. They are utterly removed from the secular world. Also, I call them Mother not Sister. Maybe I’m being petty…

        • Gail Sheppard says

          You call them “Mother” because they have progressed beyond the first level, which is not the case with Sr. Vassa. She became a rassaphor nun (the first step) at 19 and as far as I know left (she says it was with a blessing) to continue her studies.

          Interestingly, I know another woman who lives a secular life who was also made a rassaphor nun under ROCOR.

          Because Sr Vassa does not live as a nun and hasn’t for many years, as far as I know, I don’t think she should be able to dress as a nun in front of her viewers, especially since she has a personal problem with the teachings of the Orthodox Church as she demonstrates here:

          Maybe someone else can answer this. Why is she allowed to be hearing confessions with penitents?

          She tends to make the same errors over and over again. She believes she knows God’s heart better than the Church and insists there are degrees to sin.

          The Church doesn’t teach this. Sin means missing the mark. You can miss the mark by an inch or by a mile and it’s still sin. The Church teaches that sin separates us from God. Having sex outside of marriage is a sin. One’s sexual orientation is immaterial.

          She’ll excuse something by saying, “That’s (meaning homosexual sex) not as bad as something else (like heterosexual sex which she believes is far more rampant), and if God forgives that He is required to forgive you because you are not culpable; you were born that way.” I’m paraphrasing here. But she is judging. You can judge someone guilty or you can judge someone innocent. In both cases it’s “judging” and in both cases, it’s wrong.

          What she’s doing falls under the 7 things God hates the most; not according to what I think (lest you think I’m taking too many liberties here), but according to Scripture:

          “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. Proverbs 6:16-19

          We saw the haughtiness in the video that was recently published. This may sound harsh, but she is also lying, both by dressing as a nun when she chose not to pursue living as a nun and by teaching that which is not supported by the Church. Her willingness to support global politics (like the gay pride parade) when it flies in the face of the Church’s teaching is certainly wicked (immoral) and it has caused considerable discord among us.

          In spite of the multiple occasions she’s been told that what she is doing is wrong, she refuses to accept it. Each time, her feet “make haste” to the same errors which she repeats again and again by giving people her tacit approval to continue to live a life of sin instead of struggling against it.

          God is merciful, but I would never suggest that it’s OK to sin because sin has a way of multiplying in a person’s life.

          I’m not sure where ROCOR is in all this. I hope Metropolitan Joseph can at least pursue this as far as Ancient Faith is concerned.

          • I’m legit surprised that Vassa hasn’t been censured or laicized by the Russians. I wonder if she, and others like her, are a hold over from Met. Hilarion Alfayev and his more ecumenist leanings.

            I’ve thought the same about Seraphim Aldea from Mull Monastery, but he’s under the Romanians

          • Interestingly, I know another woman who lives a secular life who was also made a rassaphor nun under ROCOR.

            Does this person also still claim to be a nun?

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Yes, in her heart she does. She doesn’t make money off of it.

              • I mean, if she left the monastery, she’s no longer a nun. There’s no impediments for rassophores who leave. Those who have taken the schema, on the other hand, have serious impediments for abandoning the monastic life, namely perdition.

          • Orthodox nun says

            Someone directed me to your site and asked me to reply to this. A nun who is a superior will hear confessions of her nuns and then the nuns will approach a priest for the prayer of absolution. Sometimes a priest has asked for assistance in hearing a woman’s confession and providing spiritual counsel. Again, that woman must return to the priest for absolution. Sister Vassa should not be parading as a nun nor hearing confessions.

          • Mark E. Fisus says

            You said:

            Because Sr Vassa does not live as a nun

            How to put this obliquely. Which of the nun vows does Sr. Vassa lack adherence to? None of the nun vows? (Sorry, had to.)

          • So…..based on what you write, Vassa is not actually a nun but plays one on YouTube?

            If this is the case, it is a serious deception on her part. If this is the case, perhaps there should be a response to this deception—like a video outlining the deception or even a channel strike.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              I wouldn’t say “based on what I write.” The thing is, I don’t know her story. There is a lot out there about her accomplishments. She was on the path of being a nun many years ago and she wants her listeners to believe she is a nun today; a nun who is keeping up with the cultural changes and says things that require no spiritual growth.

          • Katherine says

            Wow. What a shock. Who is her Bishop? And why doesn’t he intervene? I knew Metropolitan Hilarion and he was indeed a kind and humble man, but she is a stumbling block and the kind thing would have been to censure her, both for her own soul and the souls of others she may influence. When I was in a ROCOR parish several years ago, the Priest and the majority of the people spoke little, if any, English. (hard to believe in this day and age, but true) Does she fly under the radar because of a language gap? Is the predominate language in ROCOR parishes English or Russian? The parish I used to attend is still, in 2022, a place where people speak Russian and the entire service is in Church Slavonic.

        • In the Russian tradition, only nuns who have taken their vows (small schema) are referred to as mother. Sister Vassa, despite “being a nun” for quite a while has never taken her full monastic vows because… she hasn’t lived in a monastery in years.

          I hope the next Metropolitan of ROCOR comes crashing down on her. She got lucky because Metropolitan Hilarion was very gentle.

          • The whole “Sister Vassa” phenomenon is very uncharacteristic of ROCOR. I have never understood it.

            • Mark E. Fisus says

              She speaks to a Western audience, not a Russian one. Maybe that’s why they don’t care. Globohomo for thee, but not for me.

            • Apparently her father is a very well-respected and beloved (and very traditional) parish priest, so maybe she was allowed to get away with his out of concern for him.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                The problem is she is hurting herself in so many ways.

                • And others too. Reading the comments of her misled and fawning followers on that trashy facebook thread was painful. She helps to maintain their anti-ecclesial delusion.

                  • Christine says

                    Yes, if you scroll through all her posts and the comments on the open Coffee with Sister Vassa Facebook page, it’s outrageous. She really encourages a “Sister Vassa good, traditional Christianity bad” vibe. It’s really abhorrent.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Christine, the deception is real –and dangerous. Not all that long ago, when I was working as a bartender in an English pub here in T-Town, I met a (high church) Episcopal priest who was a regular. Very traditional and conservative. When he realized that I was an Orthodox Christian we sat down and had a great time. He mentioned Sr Vassa and how much he enjoyed her podcasts. The gist of the conversation is that he thought because she wore a cassock, was well-spoken, and Orthodox, then she was conservative. I quickly changed the subject, not wanting to scandalize him.

                      I realize that from his perspective (being in the Episcopal Church and all), anybody to the right of Jane Fonda –and who wears a cassock–must be “traditional.” So yes, she is doing great damage.

                      Not wanting to cast stones however, we should consider asking her to actually join a monastery. Not only would that be good for the broader Orthosphere but possibly for her soul as well.

  8. Μωλον Λαβε says

    In order to effect changes and set the temporal world on the right path, we must first (remove the beam from our own eye) ensure we are complete in Our Lord’s teachings.
    Once, more of us have Our Lord in the center of our lives, we can affect the world around us and thus bring Heaven to earth as much as possible.
    Many have been distracted by illusions and fear. Many worship the almighty dollar and strayed from the Almighty.
    There is a calling that we find our way back to the narrow path of truth in the love, mercy and simplicity of Our Lord who allows us to fall – and learn from His teachings.

    Do not despair, do not fear. WE have much work to do to remove the darkness that has seeped into our world and be worthy as God’s heirs to His Kingdom.

    Forgive me for preaching to the choir

  9. Christine says

    This actually brought tears to my eyes. I am so grateful. They are righting the ship! Praise God for the OCA’s leadership who composed this document and the previous documents! After last week’s GOA “gay baptism” that made international headlines, they could have remained silent. Instead, they claimed their mantle of responsibility and leadership, and not only made a statement, but took it all the way into action and accountability — they will not tolerate any academics, theologians, clergy debating this topic. It is sealed in Scripture, and the OCA is standing with the Church Fathers. I am having a moment here…

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Me, too. The tears came with the OCA’s statement and Metropolitan Joseph’s. This is what LEADERSHIP looks like folks.

  10. Joseph Lipper says

    This is certainly a good statement from the OCA’s Holy Synod of Bishops. Yet it doesn’t really say anything particularly new or different from what they’ve already said before. It also fails to directly address the current controversy over the baptism in Greece by Archbishop Elpidophoros of a same-sex couple’s children.

    In Greece, it is illegal for same-sex couples to adopt children. So it is completely understandable that the Church of Greece would be upset that the adopted children of a same-sex couple were baptized in Greece, of all places. Even though Archbishop Elpidophoros was not trying to draw any attention, and he has not published any photographs or anything about this, the news still handily got out through tabloid journalism. Indeed, the story of this baptism portrays such adoption of children by a same-sex couple as being legitimate in the eyes of the Church and even in contrast to Greece’s law prohibiting this. It thus sends the completely wrong and inconsistent message that the Church functions outside of secular laws, despite the fact that the children were likely adopted in the U.S. rather than Greece, and Archbishop Elpidophoros probably didn’t actually break any of Greece’s secular laws. (I’m, at least, not aware of any warrant for his arrest by the Greek secular authorities.) As for the baptism itself, it was likely the same as any other Orthodox infant baptism.

    It seems to me the core issue is how the Church responds when same-sex couples are legally allowed by the State to adopt children. In Greece, this isn’t supposed to be an issue, because it’s not legal. However, where it is legal, then the Church has to respond. The Church has to recognize a child’s legal guardian(s). Perhaps it’s unfortunate that the OCA’s Holy Synod of Bishops doesn’t offer more clarity on this with their current statement. However, perhaps that’s also intentional, as any baptism has to be evaluated pastorally on a case by case basis.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Joseph, for me, it was not about the laws, how happy Elpi looked, or about anything else you said.

      It was the fact that these children have a snowball’s chance in hell of being brought up in the Orthodox Church. Yes, they had Godparents, but when the Godmothers show up with bare midriffs, one questions how much they can bring to the table in this regard.

      You made an interesting point when you said, “. . . any baptism has to be evaluated pastorally on a case by case basis.” In this case, Elpi pulled a fast one on the “pastorally in charge bishop, Metropolitan Bishop Antonios of Glyfada.

      He granted permission for the baptism of Dundas and Evangelo Bousis’ children but said he did not know the ceremony involved a same-sex couple.

      “His Eminence the Archbishop of America acted unilaterally, on his own initiative and in an improper manner, in the full knowledge that these children (of God) do not belong to our (religious) family.”

      • George Michalopulos says

        Well said, my dear.

        There’s a meme going around with this photo (which will live in infamy): “Keeping up with the Kardashians.”

        Maybe when all is said and done, the Archbishop and the Archons can have a reality show.

      • Perhaps it’s a Turkish thing…

        Turkey has its first ever, accidental, same-sex marriage

        ‘ Turkey has witnessed its first ever same-sex marriage – but the historic union will soon be annulled, local media reported, after it was revealed to be a mistake.

        The two men parted ways nearly as quickly as they had come together as man and husband, but only because they had never intended to get married in the first place.

        When Zekeriya Karatas and the woman he believed he had married, Gulsah Yilmaz, returned home after their wedding ceremony at the municipality wedding office in Soma, southwestern Turkey, the couple experienced quite a shock.

        Looking down at their wedding certificate, Karatas found he had married the wrong Yilmaz.

        Instead of Gulsah, Karatas had married Muzaffer Yilmaz, the father of the bride.

        “We looked at the marriage certificate and my wife’s name wasn’t anywhere on it,” Karatas told Ihlas news agency.

        “We’d never seen a marriage certificate before and we were in shock, so we checked again,” he explained.

        The shocked couple rushed over to wedding office, fearing they would not be able to correct the error before the office closed for the day.

        Although they caught a clerk on the stairs as he was about to leave the building, who explained his colleague must have made the error, Karatas remains “married” to his father-in-law. … ‘

        “…they caught a clerk…who explained his colleague must have made the error…”

        It wisnae me! A big boy done it an ran away!

      • Gail,
        Spot on with the ABC Entertainment article. The readers will take the Orthodox Church of Greece as antiquated but good ol’ Elpi is progressive and welcoming.

        “Every person, no matter who they are, or what they have done – for better or for worse – is worthy of God’s love. And if they are worthy of God’s love, then they are worthy of our love, too,” Elpidophoros said. “The Church will never reject anyone on the basis of their personhood.”

        • In response to the archbishop’s statement, I would say this, if asked. The Church and the Church’s God welcome all who come to her. God welcome us just as we are, but he loves us too much to leave us as we were. That is the reason for the sacrament of confession, i.e., that we may respond to God’s love by repenting of our sins and turning from our iniquities to the end that we may grow into the persons that we were intended to be from the beginning.

          Having homosexual attractions but redirecting them toward holy things is much like being drawn to drink in excess but turning away from the bottle toward healthier activities.

          • “The Church and the Church’s God welcome all who come to her. God welcome us just as we are, but he loves us too much to leave us as we were. ”

            Yes, I suspect that fixation on homosexuality is a Protestant/Western thing. St Paul lists this particular sin together with others – adultery, slander, idolatry, drunkenness, greed etc … See 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

            • Joseph Lipper says

              There has to be a balance. Reactions against homosexuality all too often risk neglecting or even excusing other sins, including the much more prevalent sin of unchaste heterosexuality. So there is a great risk in such reactions of “straining a gnat and swallowing a camel”.

              It’s not surprising that televangelists like Jerry Falwell spoke out against homosexuality so much, because this was largely a sin that his followers did not actually deal with. Reacting against homosexuality is an easy way to virtue-signal for most people.

              Of course the balance is sexual chastity, which is difficult and near impossible for anyone who struggles with sexuality. Yet by the grace of God, what is impossible for men is possible with God. That’s what the OCA Holy Synod’s statement once again affirms and calls us to.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                Joseph, where did you get the idea that there “has to be a balance.” No one (here) is excusing anyone else’s sins. The problem is that a lot of homosexuals in the Church want to normalize it so they can continue doing it. You wouldn’t see someone who committed a sexual indiscretion running around the Church saying, “What’s so bad about having sex outside of marriage? I like doing it. The act is widespread in the culture so the Church should accept it, too.”

                Orthodoxy is not for everyone. If you don’t have a problem with having sex outside of marriage then you aren’t Orthodox.

                • Joseph Lipper says

                  Gail, I’m pointing out the OCA Holy Synod’s statement as being balanced. Do you disagree?

                  As for people in the Church, not necessarily on this blog, trying to normalize unchaste heterosexual relations, yes, I see it all the time. For example, I’ve heard Orthodox men try to make the point that multiple wives and even concubines should be acceptable in the Orthodox Church.

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    Balanced how? It was clear. It was straightforward. Not sure I know what you mean.

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Gail, in order for there to be balance, there has to be a positive rather than negative understanding of chastity. Perhaps the OCA statement only briefly touches on this subject, but it still probably provides enough balance.

                      It is a chaste love of God, rather than marriage, that is “the calling of every Christian”.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      A Christian does not try to fit God into their own sinful paradigm. They change themselves to fit into His.

                      Joseph, the calling of every Christian is to pick up their cross and follow Christ. We are to die to ourselves as He did for us. Struggling against sin is the way we show our love of God. It’s what makes us Christian.

                      In terms of balance, it is a sin to have sexual relations outside of marriage for both homosexuals and heterosexuals but for some reason, homosexuals feel the rules should be different for them. Why is that?

            • Martin, you’ve fallen into that trap of saying anything you don’t like is “literally Western.” That’s dumb.

              The “fixation on,” or rather, concern regarding sodomy, is because, unlike the rest of the sins on that list, there is a faction trying to normalize this soul-destroying problem. Go find me some “Orthodox” academics promoting other vices, like drunkenness or adultery.

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Adultery is sometimes normalized in the Church, though, when second and third marriages are blessed. Jesus Christ is quite clear about this: “Every one that putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery.” (Luke 16:18)

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  Joseph, it is a sin. One that is confessed and for which one generally serves a penance. However, it is NOT normalized. It is NOT the norm.

                • Well, first off, it’s not adultery if the Church blesses a marriage. And second, it’s not ‘normalizing’ but salvaging a situation.

                  Again, as I have posted several times on here recently, situations of ‘natural’ (i.e. heterosexual) sin can be salvaged through repentance, but sodomy cannot. It is unnatural and has always been seen as far worse than fornication. It’s one of the “screaming sins” that call out to Heaven for vengeance.

                  • Joseph Lipper says

                    Basil, what’s the reason then why fourth marriages aren’t blessed in the Church?

                    Sometimes the Church will refuse to bless second, third, and even first marriages. As an example of not even blessing first marriages, the Church cannot properly bless the marriage of an Orthodox Christian to a non-Christian.

                    A chaste love of God is our primary calling. If the Church won’t bless a marriage, whether it be a first, second, third, fourth, or even a homosexual “marriage”, then probably those relationships are just not the path of our calling as Christians. God always has better things.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      You’re living in a fantasy.

                    • Henry Bellman says

                      “what’s the reason then why fourth marriages aren’t blessed in the Church?”
                      For the same reason unrepentant people are denied communion. The Church gives people the benefit of the doubt concerning repentance and penance, but after a time it becomes clear that the person is not repentant.

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Gail, please tell me, what fantasy is that?

        • Lonnie Lemburtner says

          Is Orthodox Christianity progressive? Michelle Boorstein Washington Post 11-4-09 Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew spoke about the spiritual imperative for nonviolence, universal health care and reducing consumption to help the environment.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Orthodox Christianity is Christ-centered and follows the teachings handed down by the Apostles and tradition. – There are people in the Church who are more progressive and I would say many more who are not. Bartholomew is but one person and speaks only for himself.

        • Our personhood is Christ if we are members of His Church though our Baptism.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Baptism is under the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And according to some, anyone’s baptism will do as long as those particular words are said.

      • It baffles me how Elpi is still walking around smiling for the cameras like nothing happened

        • Gail Sheppard says

          He may think he has performed a victory. The question is: A victory for whom?

          • Gail,
            perhaps….a victory for his boss?

          • Oh I’m sure he’s aware he has indeed had a victory, and for whom? His handlers, including and especially Bartholomew.

            There has been zip, zilch reprimanding by the synod of the Constantinople Patriarchate. That’s all you need to know.

            The hubris and pride out of the EP is astounding.

            At this point since Elpi isn’t going to be reprimanded then I think it’s probably time the AoB needs to be disbanded and a new one formed with ROCOR.

            I was trying to hold out hope but now I’m wholly 100% convinced that Constantinople/GOARCH are just going to fade into oblivion and go out with a whimper. The rest of the American bishops will continue to avoid and distance themselves from the GOA and the other patriarchs will do the same with Bartholomew.

          • It is hard to believe that at their level, Epli & Bart are not aware that each step promoting pathways into hierarchical acceptance of sodomy is ultimately a victory for the enemy Lucifer. We either serve Jesus Christ or the enemy in matters like this, there is no middle ground to stand on. We either stand against sodomite behavior or support it. This is not to judge sodomites, that is not our role but God’s job alone. It IS hierarchs’ job to stand for ancient church dogma, morality and tradition and to flatly reject heretical Sodomite behavior as the Holy Synod of Bishops of the OCA recently did. That Elpi’s actions promote Sodomy and we nothing but crickets from Bart is sufficient evidence that the G.O.A. laity are being betrayed by their hierarchy and they should consider finding another branch of Orthodoxy to find an Orthodox Church that is build upon rock and not sand.

          • Henry Bellman says

            Go to his Facebook page and you’ll see who the victory is for. He has quite a number of followers who just gush over him in every post.

            Thats who he serves, and thats the only people he cares about.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Gail, when children are baptized, they are given a guardian angel to protect them. So if there is any impetus at all to raise children in the Church, even if the parents or legal guardians are not Orthodox Christians themselves, then I think baptism should be encouraged. Would you rather these children be brought up in a homosexual household without the guardian angel assigned at baptism and with no exposure to the Church?

        Sure, it’s not a perfect situation by any means. Yet despite our deficiencies, it is amazing what God does through the sacraments and prayers of the Church. May God help and protect the newly baptized Alexios and Eleni. I understand the Greek Metropolitan’s concern over the message this baptism portrays in the tabloids of a “family” that goes against what both the Church of Greece and Greek secular law defines as family. Yet, at the very least, both the Orthodox grandmother and uncle were present, and does that not constitute Orthodox family?

        • Gail Sheppard says

          God provides the guardian angel, Joseph. Everyone has at least one.

          • Joseph Lipper says

            Yes, but it’s also in the prayers of baptism that another angel be assigned to the baptized:

            “Assign to his (her) life an Angel of light who
            shall deliver him (her) from every snare of the adversary, from
            encounter with evil, from the demon of the noonday, and from evil


            • Gail Sheppard says

              Yes, Joseph, these are petitions to God. [And, yes, through the intercession of your guardian angel.]

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Also in the prayers to our guardian angel given at Baptism:

                “Holy Angel of Christ, I fall down and pray to thee, my holy Guardian, given me from holy Baptism for the protection of my sinful body and soul. By my laziness and bad habits, I have angered thy most pure light, and have driven thee away from me by all my shameful deeds, lies, slanders, envy, condemnation, scorn, disobedience, brotherly-hatred, grudges, love of money, adultery, anger, meanness, greed, excess, talkativeness, negative and evil thoughts, proud ways, dissolute madness, having self-will in all the desires of the flesh. O my evil will, which even the dumb animals do not follow! How canst thou look at me or approach me who am like a stinking dog? With what eyes, O Angel of Christ, wilt thou look at me so badly snared in evil deeds? How can I ask forgiveness for my bitter, evil and wicked deeds, into which I fall every day and night, and every hour? But I fall down and pray, O my holy Guardian: pity me, thy sinful and unworthy servant (Name). Be my helper and protector against my wicked enemy, by thy holy prayers, and make me a partaker of the Kingdom of God with all the Saints, always, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.”


        • Antiochene Son says

          Guardian Angels are not magicians, however.

    • Joseph: “Even though Archbishop Elpidophoros
      was not trying to draw any attention…”

      Pull the other one. It’s got bells on it…

    • Joseph,

      The second sentence of your first paragraph is incorrect. The OCA synod has indeed spoken on this issue many times, but this is the first time they have ever explicitly stated that those who refuse to obey can and will face ecclesiastical discipline.

      In other words, there is now no question whatsoever that anyone who refuses to follow the clear teaching of the Church knowingly subjects his/her self to sanction.

      That is what makes this both different and so very encouraging to so many.

      I suspect there is many a priest who is relieved to know for certain that the bishops will have his back on this matter.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Brian, I disagree. What it says is, “those who refuse correction open themselves to ecclesiastical discipline.” That’s nothing new, and it’s always been the case.

        The statement doesn’t even say that ecclesiastical discipline will happen, but of course we can hope that it does happen eventually.

        • Perhaps. But it has not always been the case that clergy could be certain that all the bishops will back them unequivocally in such cases. Think of all that Arida, for example, has said and done with relative impunity, and you will understand what I mean.

  11. Jesus is Lord of Lord and King of Kings!
    Amen, Amen,Amen.
    The silence of some of our Orthodox brethren is defeaning. Where do they stand? On God’s side or the evil one?

  12. OrthodoxNetwork Editors says

    AXIOS! The OCA Synod has publicly proclaimed what other Orthodox Christian priests and teachers have been preaching for a long time.

    “Do not self-identify with any sin or any passion. You are not your sin. If you are a Christian and believe that Jesus Christ is Lord, the Son and Word of the living God, True God of True God, the Redeemer and Saviour of all mankind, then you must reject and abandon the “gay” or “homosexual” identity or label. “You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

    You are a man or a woman made in the image and likeness of GOD. A creature that must continually cling to Christ and walk the narrow road that leads to salvation. A human being that can become divine and holy through God’s grace, Christ’s love, and the power of the Holy Spirit, through the intercession of the Saints, and help from prayers and the holy sacraments, worship, and practices of the Holy Orthodox Church.” – Fr. Ioannes Apiarius

    Not Gay or Homosexual, but Men and Women Created in the Image and Likeness of God

  13. Fr. James Bernstein says


  14. Painted Tree says

    I am certain that my videos in no way prompted the excellent OCA statement. This pastoral statement came from years of reflection and careful writing process. May the OCA follow it carefully. ROCOR and Antioch are also holding to the tradition.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      It wasn’t your video, per se. It was what you caught on camera while you were making your video that was the real eye-opener. Seeing these people outside their self-manufactured bubbles was EXTREMELY enlightening.

  15. Fr David says

    The Antiochian Clergy Symposium was very encouraging. Only cassocks and very traditional priests, including many young traditional ones. Clear statements on pro-life & clear statements on LGBTQ… Issues. Things are looking bright for the Archdiocese. ☦️

    • George Michalopulos says

      Fr David, thank you for this inspirational picture.

    • FrDavid, that’s very good to hear. Nice to see the Antiochians are making a big turn around from the Met. Philip (Memory Eternal) and Evangelical Orthodox era

    • Antiochene Son says

      I have heard similar reports from the Symposium. Glory to God!

  16. Wayne Matthew Syvinski says

    Wow. I didn’t think the OCA had the…guts…to publish something like this. (applause)

    I would have like to seen a statement like “If you sexualize children, we are going to come down on you like a ton of bricks.” I doubt I’ll see such a message with that packaging, but I hope to see the substance of it.

    But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18:6, NKJV)

  17. Does anyone know what bishop or monastery Sr. Vassa is affiliated with?

    • Gail Sheppard says

      She mentions Archbishop Mark Arndt.

      • Metropolitan Mark is a ROCOR hierarch
        who was strongly in favour of reunion with Moscow.

        On the face of it, he doesn’t sound like the sort of chap
        who would be in sympathy with Sr Vassa’s ‘interests’.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          I believe she receives “blessings” from him. That does not make him her bishop.

    • Christine says

      She is under the ROCOR Bishop of Germany. Its current Vicar is Bishop Job since Bishop Mark is acting as President of the Holy Synod.

      You may wish to check out her open Facebook page’s recent posting. She posted a letter from a woman slandering Fr. Josiah (legit legal slander, as in Amber Heard fraudulent abuse defamation and slander) and complaining about her daughter not being allowed to serve in the altar like boys do. Nun Vassa’s response is a real head scratcher! I’m clueless why ROCOR allows her a position of so much authority on social media.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Thank you, Christine. That’s helpful.

      • “ I’m clueless why ROCOR allows her a position of so much authority on social media.”

        My guess has always been that ROCOR gives Sr Vassa such latitude and freedom (and so little oversight!) and little to no correction when she says something stupid because of her family pedigree.

        Her dad was the wonderful pastor of the ROCOR parish in Nyack, NY, and I believe at least some of her family came over with St John from Shanghai.

        Orthodoxy was so tiny and fledgling back in the day – literally hanging on by a thread – that these families who gave their all for the Church have weight that goes a long way. Maybe it should? I don’t know.

        Same thing exists in the OCA – the Schmemanns, the Meyendorffs, the others.

        This is all part of our human nature in being deferential to the families whom we love. Sometimes deferential to a fault, it seems.

        This has always been my 2 cents concerning Sr Vassa, FWIW.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          I’m thinking she isn’t under ROCOR anymore.

        • Mark E. Fisus says

          This is all part of our human nature in being deferential to the families whom we love. Sometimes deferential to a fault, it seems.

          Well, the Lord did say, so the last will be first and the first last.

      • Wow, I looked at that post and the comments. What a toilet.

        It’s telling that she makes these posts and lets the commentators go off in all sorts of strange slanderous/hyper-critical/anti-ecclesial/heretical directions with absolutely no moderation.

        She probably loves the chaos and attention, sorry, “dialogue.”

        . . .

  18. Mark E. Fisus says

    The synodal statement is a warning notice. It should be a prelude to imminent excommunications of those who do not comply promptly.

    Come on, Synod, let’s see those anathemata fly.

    Should not be limited to OCA communicants. Any Orthodox on American soil should be subject to excommunication by the OCA Synod. Force the issue of the overlapping jurisdictions in the diaspora.

    Toasting the OCA Synod with my glass full of liberal tears.

    • I agree

      And going a step further I still think that this and the same that was met with a thunderous applause by the Antiochians is a prelude to Elpi being removed from the AoB.

      He’s now a pariah not only by all the jurisdictions in America but by the entire Orthodox world including Greece.

  19. V. Rev. Dr. Mark Hodges says

    An excellent statement. Well written, loving, and saying what needs to be said. Axios to all who wrote it and voted for it! Very needed, both externally and, tragically, internally. Externally, out of love for the world, such statements are needed with regularity, whenever major events challenge timeless truth and love –for the sake of love of neighbor exposing darkness so those with any light may see the truth (Eph 5:11f). Internally, let us hope and pray that this statement corrects those in the OCA who have veered away from such clear Orthodox teaching, and their bishops who look the other way.

    • George Karpilas says

      Fr Hodges was suspended for going to Stop the Steal, and yet one of his early pastors, Steve Morris, is now married to a man.

      • Since his suspension was lifted and a great many people have “former pastors” who do all sorts of weird stuff, I fail to grasp whatever point you intended to make.

        • There’s no point. These facts are true, true, and unrelated. It’s telling a surgeon “you’re a great surgeon but you ran a red light three years ago.” Who cares? It’s using an ad hominem to attack a man when they have nothing else. The ad hominem attack is the plea of the truly desperate.

          Interesting story though, on the former priest mentioned. It was about 30 years ago and I had a good friend who was at Columbia University in Morningside Heights in Manhattan in the early 1990s. He became Orthodox through the former priest’s parish there (St Mary Magdalen (OCA)), which is still in existence. Was founded as an English-language mission in the 1980s.

          I recall meeting the former Fr Stephen Morris at the small chapel there. Pleasant guy, but seemed very much the emotionally detached Western academic type. When I had later heard that he became deluded by the homosexual lifestyle, I was in complete shock — I was young and had never heard of an Orthodox priest succumbing to that delusion before. Talk about being shocked out of naivete.

          I often pray for him and for his family, including his former wife/matushka.

          Sadly, I’ve observed over the years that the emotionally detached, academic or “pseudo-academic” types seem to be high risk for succumbing to the homosexual delusion. I’ve read that the homosexual delusion is at heart an emotional disorder, and after growing up and living in emotionally stunted Western culture (just being honest — we in the West do not value emotional health or emotional expression), I believe it.

          We in the West tend to shame or look down upon more emotionally expressive cultures of Africa, South America, India, Eastern/Southern Europe, etc., — yet these cultures seem to be much more in-tune with the Divine, natural order than we are. God gives us emotions; it is not virtuous to suppress them.

          As Fr Seraphim Rose said, for the Western “intellectual” man, the thing that he often must do — which is often very difficult for him to do — is to “crucify his mind,” to learn that the “logic” we rely on to navigate life in the West is often flawed and deluded. The simplest people are often the wisest people. I believe Fr Seraphim to be 100% correct.

          • FTS,

            I couldn’t agree more. A mind – any mind, simple or brilliant – that is undisciplined by the commandments of God is bound (quite literally bound) to delusion.

            And one of the main reasons so many otherwise brilliant ‘theologians’ go so far astray is their extreme delusion that the Church or an synod or even an ecumenical council has the authority to alter God’s commandments. The Bride of Christ doesn’t exercise authority over her Husband.

          • Neither does the Church have the authority to alter the very nature of reality ad God made it.

      • Art Samouris says

        The media are full of Orthodox Christian clergy and lay “pillars” sucking up to powerful politicians, also attending events and marching for political causes. No disciplinary action is ever taken for this. Do you smell what is cooking?


    Seems the EP must be prepping for the eventual leaving of Met. Isaiah, probably one of the only good Metropolitans in GOARCH.

    • It is reasonable to expect that Metropolitan Isaiah will retire soon given that he is in his late 80s. And, yes, he is one of the only good metropolitans in GOARCH. Some would say the only best one. Some would also say it’s about time Father Constantine will become a bishop.

  21. What is “Blue Painted Tree”? Link?

  22. George and Gail,
    First off, thank you for your “time and talents” that you put into this blog. Great perspective.
    Just a few thoughts about the OCA Synod’s latest.
    Yes, thank God they’ve taken a stand and put into “stone” ‘what is, is.” Kudos to them.
    However, my question is then: Why did they succumb to The Man in their prior statement of 2018 on trans-pronoun usage and sodomite sexuality in “party-politics”? Does this still “go” or has that changed with their new statement?
    Below, I’m passing along an article about their PC capitulation and embrace of ‘transgender-transhuman-transdelusional’ acceptance of the Zeitgeist.
    Keep up the “good fight!”
    Doxa to Theo, John D.
    On October 24, 2018, the OCA Synod of Bishops approved an updated sexual harassment policy to be adopted in OCA churches
    NY Churches Forced to Pledge Special Protection for Transgenders and Homosexuals Dušan JosipovićFeb 5, 2019
    The Orthodox Church in America (OCA) is an unfortunate victim of these Draconian new laws. In obedience to the state of New York, the OCA now provides explicit recognition and protection to people on the basis of “sexual orientation”, “gender identity”, and “the status of being transgender”.
    On October 24, 2018, the OCA Synod of Bishops approved an updated sexual harassment policy to be adopted in OCA churches. On the official website of the OCA, here are the newly mandated guidelines: OCA Sexual Harassment Policy
    For a “spot on” analysis and history of the OCA’s beginnings, and Ven. Father Seraphim’s positive review- See:
    A History of the Russian Church Abroad Book Review by Fr. Seraphim Rose
    Un-rewritten History of ROCOR 1917-1971

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Thanks, John. – I think the reason they may have implemented the policy (if this is true) has to do with the Sidebottom case and the advice of their attorneys. They were obligated to implement strict sexual harassment policies as a part of a settlement.

    • The OCA is incorporated in New York State. The use of the language contained in that doc is essentially required by New York State. That’s really all there is to it.

  23. Reference clarification.
    Thanks again.
    A History of the Russian Church Abroad Book Review by Fr. Seraphim Rose
    Un-rewritten History of ROCOR 1917-1971
    note: “Metropolia” was the old name of the OCA (Orthodox Church of America today, 2014, under OCA Primate Tikhon Mollard)
    Orthodox Word #44 May/June 1972 Book Review by Fr. Seraphim Rose
    A History of the Russian Church Abroad edited by Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Boston.
    St. Nectarios Orthodox Church, Seattle, 1972. 209 pp.
    Pdf download of book:

  24. Dormaninu says

    Middle Ages as in Western

  25. Mark E. Fisus says

    The OCA national congress should also have taken another victory lap for the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Hopefully the people there weren’t afraid of the women. Comparably easy to say something about homosexuality when homosexuals are only 1% of the population.

  26. Linda Lapera says

    Are we to emulate the Methodists and schism along gay marriage lines?

  27. In the midst of all this chaos, God is in control. We must never forget that. ” God is working his purpose out, ” as the poem begins. We are like an ant traversing an oriental rug. We see one color at a time. God looks down and sees the whole pattern. At times like these we need to learn to focus on him and not on the chaos around us. In the story of Noah and the ark. Noah was told to put the windows in the topmost part of the walls. What did Noah and family see when they looked up and out? Not the destruction caused by the rising waters. They looked up to the heavens.

    God is in the process of purifying his Church. It is a messy business.