Breaking: EP Proclaims Autocephaly for Orthodox Church of Selene

[Dateline: Oct 9, 2118]. According to the Associated Press, His All-Holiness Bartholomew III, Ecumenical Patriarch and Archbishop of New Rome, issued a tomos of autocephaly to the breakaway Orthodox Church of Selene.

Selene (pronounced sel-LEE-knee) was formerly under the omorphor of the Russian Orthodox Church and was known as the Diocese of Tranquility. It was founded in December of 2059, when the first permanent lunar colony was founded by the Russians on the Sea of Tranquility. That lunar base was first colonized by the Russians some 10 years earlier when it became clear the the United States had decided to bypass the Moon in favor of a Mars expedition.

Within eight years, seven Orthodox parishes had been erected and in another three years, a diocese was established with Archimandrite Germogen (Zaitsev) elected as its first bishop. By 2098, a small skete was established. Because of its distance from Earth, it quietly achieved semi-autonomous status and its bishops were allowed to be nominated from among the clergy by the laity of Tranquility Base and then the name of the candidate was sent to Moscow for ratification by the Holy Synod. Whenever possible, Moscow would send a team of three bishops to the moon in order to consecrate the new bishop but more often than not, the bishop-elect would have to wait for the next booster rocket to come and retrieve him in order to go back to Russia for his consecration.

In 2081 however, there had been a confrontation within the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church as to who should ascend to the patriarchal throne. His Eminence Archbishop Rostislav (Miloshenko) of Rostov-on-the-Don had been the odds-on favorite to succeed Patriarch Adrian IV but because of scandalous rumors, the synod decided to quietly elect Metropolitan Mikhail (Pugachev) of St Petersburg instead. Rostislav then went to the moon and set up a schismatic diocese which he renamed “the Patriarchate of Selene”.

Because of the precedent set in 2018 by the then Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the See of Constantinople began to intrude all over the world in areas that it labeled “the Diaspora” and even in local, autocephalous Orthodox Churches. This was a controversial move which more often than not resulted in increased schism, acrimony and even civil war. Ukraine for example, had been reduced to a rump state centered around Kyiv after the Poles reconquered Lviv and the rest of western Ukraine. (The Dontesk and Lugansk regions in the east had long been absorbed into the Russian Federation.) Still, the newly-emboldened Ecumenical Patriarchate found justification for these actions based on long-forgotten encyclicals and/or letters.

According to some critics, some of these documents were merely cut-and-paste jobs which only heightened tensions and further strained relations with Constantinople. One such encyclical for example, (which had been found in 2023 by Ecumenical Patriarch Elpidophorus) was particularly controversial. It had been dated 1789 and supposedly addressed a local situation in Moldavia. Unfortunately, it contained the word “Pontiac” in it which immediately cast doubt on its authenticity. This fact was brought up by the Orthodox gadfly/muckraker known as “Monomakhos” however he was silenced by Metropolitan Eric Wheeler of the OCA and confined to Shady Rest Nursing Home under house arrest. Wheeler, long a proponent of progressive causes, calculated that the only way to sanction gay marriage in the Orthodox Church was to place the OCA under the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Patriarch Elpidophorus did not help his case when he stated that this was not necessarily an anachronism as there was an Indian chief named Pontiac who flourished around that time. As to what Chief Pontiac had to do with with the situation in Moldavia, he couldn’t say. “You can’t prove a negative” was his terse response. (When he was told that the real name of the chief was “Obwandiag” and that “Pontiac” was a mistranslation made by American settlers who could not properly pronounce Algonquin words, he reportedly flew into a rage and called his critics “barely canonical”.)

Such contretemps however did not stop subsequent Ecumenical Patriarchs from revising history. This is the backdrop to the present crisis on the Moon. Bartholomew III for instance could not rely on the discredited Canon 28 of Chalcedon but instead proclaimed the Lunar Colony to be part of his patriarchate because the first man to land there was Neil Armstrong.

When it was pointed out that Armstrong was not an Orthodox Christian, Bartholomew III stated that Armstrong was of Scottish descent and “as everyone knows, the Scots are descended from ancient Greek mariners, who named that land ‘Scotland’, because it was dark.” (The Greek word for dark is skotos.) When it was pointed out that these supposed founders were themselves pagans and not Christians, Bartholomew said that “there’s no difference, after all, one of my predecessors even gave ‘holy’ Koran to the CEO of Coca-Cola way back in 2009. Another of my predecessors, [Athenagoras II] gave a Greek translation of the Book of Mormon to President Willard Romney when he paid an ecclesiastical visit to Salt Lake City.” He then went on to say that “Selene” was the authentic name for the Moon because “that’s what the Ancient Greeks called it. So yes, we have the right to adjudicate the Lunar Schism”.

This action angered the Russians who directly petitioned Emperor Donald Trump III to rein in the State Department. His Imperial Majesty informed the Russian ambassador that “His Excellency, the Grand Steward of the United States, Gerald Pence, will address the Senate at its next session in order to discuss this matter when it meets again early next year”. (After the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings a century ago, relations had been so poisoned within that body that it was decided that the Senate could only meet once or twice a year and then only for a week at a time. Both sides had to be separated by two broadswords’ length between them.) When reached, the Grand Steward’s office said that they would consider Russia’s concerns “because it’s clear that the See of Constantinople had long fallen under Freemasonic influence and that’s been a real bugbear for His Excellency since Day One”.

The Kremlin, speaking for His Imperial Majesty Czar Michael II, decided that this was the best that could be hoped for given the strained relations between Washington and Moscow. Rumors abounded though that the Russian Emperor was going to send an expeditionary force to Tranquility Base in order to better “assess” the situation.

“As of now, it’s basically a frozen conflict” said Kremlin spokesman Vladimir Golitsyn. “It’s probably the best we could hope for given the present circumstances.”


  1. Billy Jack Sunday says

    An excellent parody

    Except for the part about the harmless fraternal gentlemen who wear red space helmets and cruise around on those tiny speederbikes

    Says Tim R. Mortiss

  2. How stupid. Other than Moscow, there are ZERO autocephalous Orthodox Churches that do not think that Ukraine should be autocephalous. Moscow just knows that there is a disagreement on whether EP vs. Pan-Orthodox authority is the effective agent. It will happen one way or the other. Better that the Church be equal and separate from the corrupt Ukrainian government than under Russia’s corrupt government. While I am glad when the devil spends his money on building churches in Russia (Lord continue to use man’s evil intentions for Your good purposes!), he is still the devil.

    • Joseph Lipper says

      “Other than Moscow, there are ZERO autocephalous Orthodox Churches that do not think that Ukraine should be autocephalous.”

      Excellent point, FrHL.

      Ukrainian autocephaly should have been brought up at the Crete Council. When Poroshenko asked for autocephaly one month prior to the Council in 2016, Moscow then threatened to pull out. Even though Patriarchate Bartholomew willingly sidelined the Ukrainian autocephaly, presumably in deference to Moscow, the Russians still didn’t show up. Moscow does not want Ukrainian autocephaly.

  3. Joseph Lipper says

    Greek Church set to rebuff Russian Call for talks on Ukraine in Orthodox riff

    dated October 9th, 2018

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed this satirical yet poignant piece.
    It was funny yet sad that there is a basis in reality.
    May God intervene so unity is maintained.

  5. Splendid satire—Bulgakov would love it!

  6. Joseph Lipper says

    “Other than Moscow, there are ZERO autocephalous Orthodox Churches that do not think that Ukraine should be autocephalous.”

    Excellent point, FrHL.

    Ukrainian autocephaly should have been brought up at the Crete Council. When Poroshenko asked for autocephaly one month prior to the Council in 2016, Moscow then threatened to pull out. Even though Patriarchate Bartholomew willingly sidelined the Ukrainian autocephaly, presumably in deference to Moscow, the Russians still didn’t show up. Moscow does not want Ukrainian autocephaly.

  7. Makis Lemonakis says

    On the contrary, by the 28th canon of the 4th oecumenical synod, Selene is part of the Diaspora, hence under the universal patriarch of Constantinople.

  8. Actually almost all of the autocephalous churches agree with Russia that Constantinople should not presume to unilaterally grant autocephaly pursuant to fictitious history and that the direction of the American State Department. Last count I think it was 12/15 which supported Met. Onuphry.

    The matter has nothing to do with the Greeks in the Phanar. They are pathological liars interested in nothing more than power for the omogenia.

  9. Isa Almisry says

    Who is standing with the Phanar against Met. Onufriy?

    • Joseph Lipper says

      Isa Almisry,

      I don’t believe the Phanar is against Metropolitan Onufriy. The Phanar is pointing out that Metropolitan Onufriy should canonically be commemorating the Ecumenical Patriarchate as the Mother Church, but of course he’s not going to do that. I don’t blame him either. He’s part of the Moscow Patriarchate. How he can just switch over to being part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate just because of an history lesson from the EP? Rather, it is Metropolitan Onufriy and the Moscow Patriarchate that have cut off communication with the EP. It is Metropolitan Onufriy and the Moscow Patriarchate that are against the EP.

      From the document released today, the Ecumenical Patriarchate is clear it doesn’t want any violence or property seizure and is also willing to accept the presence of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine.

      • Isa Almisry says

        Joseph, cut the crap.

        It wasn’t a history lesson, it was an example of revisionism. The EP himself was in Ukraine, and it wasn’t with either Filaret nor Makary that he concelebrated. It was with Patriarch Kirill, and Metropolitans Vladimir and Onufriy.

        Ukraine was then, and is now, part of the Patriarchate of Moscow. Even the Phanar upheld that until the recent attack on the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church under Met. Onufriy. 12 /15 of the Church still stand, according to Misha, so I ask, who are the other two who have fallen into schism with the Phanar?

        The PoM, UOC and the 12 are for Orthodoxy.

        • Billy Jack Sunday says

          Isa Almisry

          Joking aside, I would like to know who stands with the Phanar according to Misha’s count

          If it’s 12/15 – I’m guessing that he is including the OCA for a total of 15 Churches

          That leaves 3 Churches:


          OCA (I’m guessing Misha added them because they did not state an official position and seem to be more and more team EP)

          If correct, that leaves one mystery Church that is “standing with the Phanar”

          Who indeed?

          Misha, is this correct and who is the other Church standing with the Phanar?


          • I have counted twelve supporting Met. Onuphry. That does not mean anyone but Constantinople supports Bartholomew. I do recall reading something about the Church of Greece falling in line behind him but I’m not sure. For awhile, everyday it seemed another patriarchate came out in support of Russia. It makes sense though. It could just as easily be their ox gored.

    • Billy Jack Sunday says

      Isa Almisry

      “Who is standing with the Phanar against Met. Onufriy?”

      I will tell you who


  10. Billy Jack Sunday says

    In addition, approximately 33 years after this event, Starfleet will be established – giving the Metropolitan of San Francisco that much more to “strut about.”

    Quote from Quark, Metropolitan of San Francisco and of all Ferenginar

    “All space exploration is now under Starfleet Command, which is located [just South of the Golden Gate Bridge] within the diocese of the Metropolis of San Francisco. Thus, all of outer space falls under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. We will not abandon our duty to the Mothership.”

    Metropolitan Quark continued:

    “As Earth is located in space, it has been determined (by canon lawyers as well as historians of the EP), that the entire planet of Earth actually falls under the jurisdiction of the Church of Constantinople. Therefore, all Orthodox globally as well as within the known universe falls under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The effects of this understanding takes effect immediately.”


    “A statue of His All Holiness, Bartholomew III (depicted with visor) is being erected alongside the statue of Zefram Cochrane – in Bozeman, Montana [EP relocation site and location of 2nd and 4th Rome – “of a 3rd there is no need”].”

    Members of the Starship Enterprise were reached for comment:

    It was noted that Lieutenant Sulu [OCA] seemed exceedingly pleased, stating, “OH, MY . . .” upon hearing the announcement. He then flipped open a bedazzled communicator and quickly dismissed himself.

    Ensign Chekov [R.O.C.O.R] did not respond in English. A Russian translation of his statement was determined to be unfit for print and therefore censored by Starfleet Command

  11. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    Did Selene break away from its mother Church- MU?


    Bartholomew evidently blinked for now. Russia should make sure it uses the time to insulate itself as much as possible for the time when the CP moves forward.

    I must say, I’m disappointed. I thought there was a clear shot at getting rid of Bartholomew for the forseeable future. However, it may spare bloodshed in the Ukraine, which is a good thing.

    Their synod has monthly meetings. Maybe next month.


    Still a hopeless mess. Waiting for confirmation from the Phanar but it seems that what they have done is postponed autocephaly for the moment but purported to reinstate the two renegade schismatic groups to canonicity.

    The ROC can afford to live without the Phanariots or their sympathizers. It’s time to lose their number.

  14. Dan De Lorenzo says

    The vast majority of Ukrainians don’t worship regularly through regular Sunday Liturgy. I have heard figures that cite around 5-7%. Most are Baptized and buried with rhe Church. According to the plan that Fillerett Denysenko outlined. They all will be afforded the opportunity to vote in their Parish elections, which will determine Church affiliation. Due to the Nationalistic ferver of secular Ukrainians, many, many, Churches will be turned over to the new Church. The people behind this, the “Ukrainian Diaspora”, and Nationalists are largely secular, and very liberal morally, when it cones to the Culture war issues destroying the west. Modernists, pro-gay, feminists, and supporters of unlimited immigration.

    • M. Stankovich says

      Dude, three major studies published between January and March, 2018 – two from research groups inside Russia and one conducted by sociologist from the the US – identified exactly the same situation in Russia. The only significant difference I could see from what you are saying – and I would like to see your source – is that a bit more than 50% of Russians polled believed it was morally justifiable for a woman to have an abortion when there were economic difficulties in supporting children, while more than 70% believed homosexuality was immoral. This past spring, Met Hilarion (Alfeyev), who directs the Dept. of External Affairs, was extremely candid about the results of these studies and the errors the ROC has made since the fall of the Soviet regime, specifically that, to this day, the church has never been forgiven for its collaboration with the Soviets, and the ROC has done very little “repentance.” Met Hilarion pointed out that the surveys consistently & overwhelmingly indicate that people want the church to have to have little to no influence in matters of the state, though many find it helpful in their personal lives. If your comment is to suggest that, for the sake of maintaining a “model” of piety after which to pattern themselves, they would be better off with the Russians than the Byzantines, 6 of one, half dozen of the other.

      • Since this discussion has been directed partly into whataboutism about the MP, how about a few whys and why nots about the EP in the same vein:

        –Why hasn’t the EP leaned on the Greek Archdiocese of America (which it easily can do) to excommunicate elected Greek Orthodox officials in America who support same-sex marriage and abortion?
        –Why instead does it seem so negative toward what EP-connected folks deride as “fundamentalist” Orthodox–i.e. folks such as “Ephraimite” monastics and their supporters, and ROCOR folks?
        –Why does a great scholar like Fr. Peter Heers show so well in his scholarship the problems with so much of the history of the EP in the 20th century with regard to ecumenism, when the EP was not under the communist yoke, but was getting realclose to Western power, money, and the global version of what C.S. Lewis called “the inside circle”?
        –Why doesn’t it support a gathering of Churches to discuss the Ukraine situation?
        –Why do EP-governed jurisdictions show a decided lack of evangelism and growth and a high loss of young people by comparison with growth in Russia or in some other American jurisdictions?

        But enough of whataboutism or whyaboutism: What’s weird about the EP’s action is the lack of conciliar process and the language used. Read the EP statement again. Do you recall St. John Chrysostom ever using that kind of hubristic language as Patriarch of Constantinople about his office? Me neither. In fact, in the first millennium the Orthodox world would look often to the Patriarch of Rome for correcting issues that had gotten messed up on the EP’s desk, so to speak.

        There’s no reason to suppose that today, minus Rome, there’s not supposed to be conciliarity in sorting things out, or a recognition that the EP can be fallible.

        So far as phyletism goes, it’s deep in the world of Greek Orthodoxy generally under the EP. In America, that gets translated into elito-phyletism: Assimilated hyphented-American Orthodox often seem to like melding Orthodoxy into their view of being globalist Americans. Then they poke at American converts for being too serious about Orthodoxy.

        Yes, every jurisidiction has problems, so is the history of the Church. Yes, we need to pray for peace in the Church and respect hierarchs, while still recognizing our own duty to our Lord and His Church.

        Meanwhile whataboutism on this topic is like a tennis ball thrown around to distract a dog. It’s not going to work on this issue, because the stakes are too large and serious.

  15. “Constantinople, Constantinople! What Have You Done?”

  16. Joseph Lipper says

    Isa Almisry,

    I believe Patriarch Bartholomew last visited Ukraine in 2008. He concelebrated with Patriarch Alexy II, and with Metropolitan Kirill (now Patriarch), and with Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev, and presumably also with Metropolitan Onufriy of Chernivitsi (now Metropolitan of Ukraine).

    Patriarch Bartholomew even in 2008 expressed his grave concern regarding the schism in Ukraine. He was confrontational in his talks with Patriarch Alexy II, clearly voicing that the Ukrainian schism should be overcome and in a canonical way.

    The Ukrainian Church had unanimously voted to become autocephalous in 1991 when Ukraine became an independent nation, and Patriarch Alexy II rejected this request. The Ukrainian schism immediately followed Patriarch Alexy II’s rejection of Ukrainian autocephaly.

    The Ecumenical Patriarchate has always viewed herself as the Mother Church of Ukraine, even in the 2008 visit you reference. Just prior to that visit in 2008, Metropolitan Emmanuel said “the Ecumenical Patriarchate is closely watching developments in the Ukrainian church and aspires, as the Mother Church, to assist in resolving these problems.”

    Isa Almisry, you yourself have said that Moscow should be granting autocephaly to Ukraine. And why then haven’t they?

    • George Michalopulos says

      Joseph, just because Cpole “always viewed itself as the mother church of Ukraine” doesn’t make it so.

      It likewise”views” Canon 28 as valid when the historical fact shows that Pope Gregory the great invalidated it and the Patriarch of Cpole at the time immediately agreed with him.

  17. Joseph Lipper says

    “The process of unification, the Kyiv Patriarchate said, ‘must be voluntary, peaceful, and without coercion. Every member of the church, as well as every community of laity or monks, will have the right to freely choose the center of their church subordination — to belong to the Ukrainian or Russian church.'”

    • Billy Jack Sunday says

      Joseph Lipper

      “The process of unification, the Kyiv Patriarchate said, ‘must be voluntary, peaceful, and without coercion. Every member of the church, as well as every community of laity or monks, will have the right to freely choose the center of their church subordination — to belong to the Ukrainian or Russian church.’”

      How fair that sounds – instead of insidious

      However, it actually reads this way

      “The process of unification, the Kyiv Patriarchate said, ‘must be voluntary, peaceful, and without coercion. Every member of the church, as well as every community of laity or monks, will have the right to freely choose the center of their church subordination — to belong to the [schismatics] or [actual canonical Orthodox] church.’”

      This statement reminds me of the guy who made a really nice classical song on YouTube by recording one of his farts.

      I once played it at a McDonald’s drive through window. A close associate of mine almost had a seizure he was laughing so hard

      Just type fart music in the YouTube search bar. You will find it

      Along with this statement

    • George Michalopulos says

      So lemme get this straight: according to Bartholomew, there is now a patriarch of Kiev and a metropolitan of Kiev?

      Something tells me that this wasn’t thought through completely.

    • Beryl Wells Hamilton says

      Here is a statement from President Poroshenko:
      “No one will be forced to visit the church consecrated by the Tomos. Once again I emphasize that this is a free choice for every believer. I guarantee that the authorities will respect the choice of those who decide to stay in the church structure, which preserves unity with the Russian Orthodox Church. This is their choice and we must respect it,” the President said during a prayer meeting for Ukraine.
      At the same time, the Head of State guarantees that the state will protect the rights of those priests and believers of the UOC of Moscow Patriarchate who voluntarily decide to leave Moscow in order to create, together with other Orthodox, a unified Ukrainian Orthodox Autocephalous Church.
      “In general, the state has its mission in the religious issue. And this mission has already been fulfilled. We received good news from Constantinople. Now, there are internal questions that the secular authorities cannot intervene in,” the President stressed.
      The Head of State stressed that the Ecumenical Patriarchate made a decision on autocephaly and Tomos will be handed over to a primate of the church – a worthy, authoritative, experienced leader who will be chosen by the united Bishops’ Council. According to him, with the blessing of the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Mother Church, the Council will convene all bishops of the UOC of Kyiv Patriarchate, the UAOC, as well as several bishops of the UOC of Moscow Patriarchate, “who have chosen the cross between the Kremlin star and the Orthodox cross, have chosen Ukraine between Ukraine and Russia”.

  18. Beryl Wells Hamilton says
  19. Beryl Jane Rachel says

    “President Petro Poroshenko emphasizes that the issue of the Tomos and autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church goes far beyond the bounds of church life – it is a matter of Ukrainian national security and statehood.
    “No one will stop the Ukrainian people. And we will ask no permission from anyone, because Ukraine and its people, fighting for freedom and the future, shall decide. Autocephaly is the most important event of the same series as our aspiration for joining the European Union and NATO, the Association Agreement, visa-free regime with the European Union, withdrawal from the CIS, rejection of the deceptive Treaty on Friendship with Russia,” the President said during the prayer for Ukraine. He stressed that all that was the basis of Ukrainian own path of development.
    “This is an issue of global geopolitics. And if this is not the case, then explain me why the decision of the Ecumenical Patriarch the day before yesterday was discussed on the Security Council of the Russian Federation under the chairmanship of Putin?” the Head of State noted.
    “Moscow’s reaction to the actions of Kyiv and Fener demonstrates that we are on the right way,” Petro Poroshenko said.
    The Head of State stresses that autocephaly is part of the state’s pro-European and pro-Ukrainian strategy, which the authorities have consistently implemented over the last 4.5 years and will continue to do so in the future.”

  20. Beryl Wells Hamilton says

    “Putin had said in a state television interview that ‘Communist ideology is very similar to Christianity’ and compared the Bolshevik leader’s mausoleum in Moscow’s Red Square the relics of saints.

    The politician, who has enjoyed increasingly close relations with the Russian Orthodox Church, also said that the political ideology emerged naturally from teachings in the Bible.

    Putin said in an interview for the documentary Valaam, an excerpt of which was broadcast on Russia 1: ‘Maybe I’ll say something that someone might dislike, but that’s the way I see it. First of all, faith has always accompanied us, becoming stronger every time our country, our people, have been through hard times.

    ‘There were those years of militant atheism when priests were eradicated, churches destroyed, but at the same time a new religion was being created. Communist ideology is very similar to Christianity, in fact: freedom, equality, brotherhood, justice – everything is laid out in the Holy Scripture, it’s all there. And the code of the builder of communism? This is sublimation, it’s just such a primitive excerpt from the Bible, nothing new was invented.’

    Putin went on to compare the Communists’ attitude to Lenin to the veneration of saints in Christianity. He said: ‘Look, Lenin was put in a mausoleum. How is this different from the relics of saints for Orthodox Christians and just for Christians? When they say that there’s no such tradition in Christianity, well, how come, go to Athos and take a look, there are relics of the saints there, and we have holy relics here.’

    • Frightening comments by Putin – reminiscent of how Christians were duped in the midst of the Russian revolution. May God bless Bishop Yevtikhy for his courage and conviction.

      …in fact: freedom, equality, brotherhood, justice – everything is laid out in the Holy Scripture, it’s all there.

      Also eerily similar to how many Christians in our own midst are duped today. I can almost hear the “AMENs,” were these words spoken by anyone but Putin.

  21. Joseph Lipper says

    Majority of Ukrainians support autocephaly of Ukrainian church – poll

    17 October 2018 UKRAINE

    “Residents of Ukraine’s western and central regions support the creation of the single local church mostly.”

    “In terms of confessions, the initiative of autocephaly has the greatest support (over 75%) among the parishioners of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP).”

    • Beryl Wells Hamilton says

      Statistics and information from Clear, factual and to the point.

      “A Memorandum to the Orthodox Christian Clergy and Laity regarding Unity In Ukraine”
      Reason given for granting autocephaly:
      “The entire Church structure in Ukraine has fractured into a desperate condition. ”

      Makes sense, right?

      • A Memorandum to the Orthodox Christian Clergy and Laity regarding Unity In Ukraine (

        • 1992 May – The UOC-MP convenes a synod in Kharkiv – without Metropolitan Filaret (arguably in violation of canonical law) – and elects Metropolitan Volodymyr Sabodan as the new primate of UOC-MP. The council of clergy of the UOC-MP declares its firm commitment to obtaining canonical autocephaly. The Moscow Patriarchate deposes Metropolitan Filaret from holy orders on the charge of leading the Church into schism. Metropolitan Filaret appeals this deposition to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and to other Autocephalous Orthodox Churches. To date, his appeal has not been decided.

        All the worldly politics referenced in this memo aside, once again there you have it. Twenty-six years of dithering inaction resulting in ever deepening roots of bitterness.

        The Ecumenical Patriarchate bears the responsibility of setting matters in ecclesiastical and canonical order because it alone has the canonical privilege as well as the prayer and blessing of the Church and the Ecumenical Councils to carry out this supreme and exceptional duty as a nurturing Mother and birth-giver of Churches. If the Ecumenical Patriarchate denies its responsibility and removes itself from the inter-Orthodox scene, then the local Churches will proceed “as sheep without a shepherd” (Matt. 9.36), expending their energy in ecclesiastical initiatives that conflate the humility of faith and the arrogance of power.

        It bears repeating: Twenty-six years of allowing the wolves (whoever one thinks they are) to ravage the sheep. Makes sense, right?

        • Beryl Wells Hamilton says

          Brian, I don’t know, does it? What does make sense to me, is that “The entire Church structure in Ukraine has fractured into a desperate condition,” and that something needed to be done. The problem is that we are not behind the scenes and don’t know what the EP has done quietly, what deals were made, and what good has been done by the EP. If a film were played with two plots (think “It’s a Wonderful Life), how would the world scene play out WITHOUT the presence of the EP? Do you think that if you were in charge, you would have dissolved the EP by now, or if you were yourself chosen to be the Ecumenical Patriarch, what would you have done differently? There’s the rub.

          • 1992 May…Metropolitan Filaret appeals this deposition to the Ecumenical Patriarchate…To date, his appeal has not been decided.

            Instead of ruling on the appeal at the time – even allowing for a reasonable amount of time to work behind the scenes for the parties to come together – it was left undecided for twenty-six years. Small wonder that…

            “The entire Church structure in Ukraine has fractured into a desperate condition.”

            Some of us, Beryl, don’t/didn’t want to do away with the EP. We just want/wanted the EP to do live up to his canonical role and do his job. Forgive me, but it’s rather late in the game to be speaking lofty words about the Churches being sheep without a shepherd apart from him.

            It would be much easier to swallow some of what he is doing now if he at least acknowledged his own contribution to this desperate condition by his failure to act on the appeal in a timely manner, as is his duty. Even now he is not acting on the appeal. He is asserting his rights as EP and doing something altogether unrelated to an appeal that should have been settled at least twenty years ago, if not sooner. There is no such thing as ‘rights’ of office in the Church without responsibilities.

            What would I have done (not that it matters)? I would have done then what I would do today. I would lock the factions in a room and not let them out until they renounced national and political considerations, reconciled as brothers, and started humbly acting as worthy shepherds of the flock of Christ – those who prefer to surrender power for His peoples’ sake. And I would be inclined to favor the first to do so as being the one worthy of retaining it.

    • Beryl Wells Hamilton says

      The Documents Speak

      “The principal argument proposed in this regard is that
      Ukraine “constitutes the canonical territory of the Patriarchate of
      Moscow” and that, consequently, such an act on the part of the
      Ecumenical Patriarchate would comprise an “intervention” into a
      foreign ecclesiastical jurisdiction.
      Therefore, it has been deemed necessary for the Ecumenical
      Patriarchate to remind everyone of the historical and canonical truth
      with regard to the relationship of the Church of Constantinople to the
      Church of Ukraine as derived from the surviving formal documents,
      which unfortunately are either disregarded or else deliberately
      obscured for apparent reasons.”

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      Joseph Lipper, what does the popularity of autocephaly amongst Ukrainians have to do with ANYTHING?

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Bishop Tikhon, Your Grace,

        The Moscow Patriarchate contends that the Ukrainian people don’t want autocephaly, that it’s an unpopular directive being forced on Ukraine by the Phanar. This appears to be Moscow’s main rationale for not granting autocephaly to the canonical UOC-MP.

        Apparently the Moscow Patriarchate only consulted with those Ukrainians who say they don’t want autocephaly.

        • Joseph Lipper “Apparently the Moscow Patriarchate only consulted with those Ukrainians who say they don’t want autocephaly.”

          MP consulted church going Orthodox, not the Uniates, nationalists, atheists and others like that. Only the first count.

          • Joseph Lipper says


            the MP is creating a ruse. They are purposefully trying to avoid and deflect the topic of Ukrainian autocephaly, even though it was unanimously requested by the canonical Ukrainian church in 1991.

            Is Moscow even capable of granting canonical autocephaly to Ukraine? I don’t think so. The church in Moscow was born out of the church in Kiev, not the other way around. Moscow is not the true mother of Ukraine.

        • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

          “The people” have no vote on the granting of autocephaly, Joseph. In the case of the Ukrainian church, while it is , of course, Moscow, not Constantinople, that may grant the Ukrainian church autocephaly, Patriarch Kiril does not make one decision or utter one syllable without the blessing of President Putin who obviously feels that such autocephaly supports Ukrainian separateness. The Orthodox Ukrainians are caught between Putin and Bartholomew. There is no question that Bartholomew is uncanonically interfering in the life of the Russian and Ukrainian Churches and that he and the President of Ukraine just want to keep polishing Washington’s apple out of greed.

          • Perfectly said, Your Grace!
            Now if something good can come out of all this is the real question, hope, and prayer.

            Hopefully others here can see how simple and true your comment was, instead of going on and on for days, and for what?

            Team West against team East? Yeah Constantinople! Yeah Moscow New Third Rome!

            Can we all now go back to our parishes, and pray for One Holy Catholic, and Apostolic Church?

          • Joseph Lipper says

            Bishop Tikhon, Your Grace,

            If the Moscow Patriarchate was forthright, they would admit they are against Ukrainian autocephaly because, as you say, it “supports Ukrainian separateness.” Instead the Moscow Patriarchate creates a public relations ruse about how they don’t want Ukrainian autocephaly because it is unpopular and unwanted by the people of the canonical Ukrainian church. The MP would have us believe their hands are tied by the will of the Ukrainian people! Of course, the Moscow Patriarchate doesn’t mention that Ukrainians are leaving the dwindling canonical church, and they are leaving primarily because the canonical church is against an Ukrainian autocephaly.

            According to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Moscow is not the “mother church” of Ukraine anyways, and therefore Moscow would be incapable of granting canonical autocephaly, even if it wanted to. The EP contends that the Ukrainian church has been illegally subject to Moscow since about the year 1686.

  22. Michael Woerl says

    This fight for the Moon could have been avoided if only they had learned a lesson from the Ukraine Insanity of the Boys on the Bosporus! Any autocephaly after that ridiculous episode should definitely specify: “NO TAKEBACKS!”

  23. Gail Sheppard says

    “The status of the Constantinople Patriarch according to the Lausanne Peace Treaty of 1923 is limited to church services for the Greeks living in Turkey” so the Turkish Orthodox Church is suing the EP for his involvement in Ukraine! I don’t think this tiny little church is even Orthodox but given that Russia is cosying up with Turkey, it sure would be funny if they won!

    • Joseph Lipper says

      Funny? That would be awful.

      I’m not surprised though that someone is taking legal action against the EP. It might even be Russia supporting this legal action through the “Turkish Orthodox Church”.

      This is why I believe the Phanar is sincere. They are knowingly putting themselves out on a limb to grant Ukrainian autocephaly, enduring chastisement, slander, and now a lawsuit. The EP will probably get thrown out of Turkey.

      • As a Greek-American who has marched and gone to DC and written letters to Congress for the Ecumenical Patriarch for more than thirty years, I am disgusted beyond all telling with my Patriarch’s actions.

        I hope the Turks win this suit and toss old Bart back to Greece. It is better than he deserved. Even better they give Saint George Cathedral in the Phanar tobthe Russians as a metochion church.

        Bart has lost all credibility with this Greek and I stand with my brothers and sisters in the canonical Orthodox Church in Ukraine led by Met. Onoufry. I have actually been to the Caves Monastery in Kiev over a decade ago. If Bart’s actions lead to bloodshed at this venerable place, may it be returned on him tenfold at the Phanar. I hope Bart hears the disgust that many of his “flock” are feeling for him today.

  24. Tongue in Cheek says

    As a keen observer of recent events, I have reached the inescapable conclusion that those who desire autocephaly for the American Church have been going about it all wrong.
    We are mostly getting along with each other in our parallel jurisdictions, recognizing one another’s canonicity, freely communing in each other’s’ jurisdictions, and even largely encouraging our bishops to work closely with one another toward a shared witness and clergy discipline.

    What we really need is a good war among ourselves, started by a few hearty anathemas of entire jurisdictions, and fights over territory (the more violent the better), and someone big enough and brave enough to declare himself Patriarch of America, a really BIG schism over who owns this great American territory. Only then will Russia be put her place. OCA? What right did the Russians have to do that? GOA? This is Russian territory! Serbs, Romanians, Maecdonians? What are you doing here? And Antiochians? Don’t get me started on the Arabs.

    Orthodox brothers of America! Yours is the canonical Church, and the documents prove it beyond all doubt. Take up your arms and fight against all those of other jurisdictions. Seize the schismatic churches built on your territory. Remember what those people did to your people. Never forget. Never forgive. Never compromise. Remember that you are Americans first. Only then will you be granted autocephaly and the freedom to be one, united, autocephalous, AMERICAN Church.

  25. Beryl Wells Hamilton says
  26. Beryl Wells Hamilton says
    • Beryl,

      For what it’s worth, I agree with you. Assad had nothing to gain and everything to lose from doing what he is accused of doing. Not that I think he’s the saint some make him out to be; only that in this matter it makes no sense whatsoever. He was already winning, and regardless of what the Western media would like us to think, he is not a madman. Not a “good man,” perhaps; but not a madman. Someone, I can’t say who – could have been any number of suspects, most likely set him up in order to take him down.