According to two different sources, Syosset has been in negotiations to cede its autocephaly and go under Istanbul. One source says that this is “a done deal”, the other says that negotiations are “ongoing”.

No matter which way you slice it, it’s bad news for the people of the OCA. Although this has long been the dream of Fr Leonid Kishkovsky, it is certainly not the wishes of great swaths of the laity. I can’t imagine some of the bishops and priests being all that happy about it for that matter. In fact, I can foresee a schism within the OCA if what I am reporting is indeed the case.

The irony, of course, is that Metropolitan Jonah Paffhausen was taken to the woodshed several years ago when he gave an unequivocal and robust defense of the autocephaly of the OCA –by the same Fr Leonid.

What would this entail? Word on the street is that the OCA would become a “vicariate” under the EP (with Arb Elpidophorus Lambrianides as the man they would have to “consult” with); the other option would be the type of “autocephaly” that the new schismatic “church” in Ukraine “enjoys”. A recognition by the EP of our autocephaly but under international restrictions. The latter, of course, is very Micky Mouse. In any event, nothing that the Phanar promises is worth the paper it’s printed on as the Russian Exarchate for Western Europe recently found out, much to its chagrin.

In any event, I imagine that this will provide growth opportunities in the United States for ROCOR.

More to follow.

Thought I’d add this:

The Spider and the Fly
A Fable

      • by 

Mary Howitt

      •  (1799-1888)

“Will you walk into my parlor?” said the spider to the fly;
“’Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spy.
The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
And I have many pretty things to show when you are there.”
“O no, no,” said the little fly, “to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.”

“I’m sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?” said the spider to the fly.
“There are pretty curtains drawn around, the sheets are fine and thin,
And if you like to rest awhile, I’ll snugly tuck you in.”
“O no, no,” said the little fly, “for I’ve often heard it said,
They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed.”

Said the cunning spider to the fly, “Dear friend, what shall I do,
To prove the warm affection I’ve always felt for you?
I have within my pantry good store of all that’s nice;
I’m sure you’re very welcome; will you please to take a slice?”
“O no, no,” said the little fly, “kind sir, that cannot be;
I’ve heard what’s in your pantry, and I do not wish to see.”

“Sweet creature!” said the spider, “You’re witty and you’re wise!
How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
I have a little looking-glass upon my parlor shelf,
If you’ll step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself.”
“I thank you, gentle sir,” she said, “for what you’re pleased to say,
And bidding you good-morning now, I’ll call another day.”

The spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly fly would soon be back again:
So he wove a subtle web, in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready to dine upon the fly.
Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing
“Come hither, hither, pretty fly, with the pearl and silver wing:
Your robes are green and purple; there’s a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead.”

Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little fly,
Hearing his wily flattering words, came slowly flitting by.
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue;
Thinking only of her crested head — poor foolish thing! At last,
Up jumped the cunning spider, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den,
Within his little parlor; but she ne’er came out again!

And now, dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly, flattering words, I pray you ne’er give heed;
Unto an evil counselor close heart, and ear, and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale of the Spider and the Fly.


  1. Michael Bauman says

    George, do not forget the Antiochians. Through St. Raphael there is a natural connection to the Russian Church, especially if the OCA goes Greek, God forbid.

    If the OCA goes Greek will they grant canonical releases?

    • I am shocked.  
      If this is true of OCA  my contempt for Orthodox bishops is at highest levels.  This is DISGUSTING AND DISGRACE AND WILL PUSH ORTHODOX DECLINE IN USA FASTER.  VESHNAYA PAMYIAT. And bastard deceivers and worse. 

      • This, for example, is what Vladyka Averky said in his welcoming speech to Metropolitan Philaret on his name day, December 1/14, 1967: “We are going through a terrible time. But not only because the forces of world evil are gaining a greater and greater hold over the world, but still more because – terrible to say! – many highly-placed hierarchs of the Church of Christ are carrying out a very real betrayal of our holy faith and Church. Some completely new epoch in Christianity is being proclaimed. They are thinking to create new church into which not only all the Orthodox must enter, but also the heterodox, and even the Muslims, Jews, and pagans. They are even talking about some kind of “dialogue” with the atheists! In this way, instead of the true faith and the true Church, a false faith or, in the expression of our great Spirit-bearing lamp, Bishop Theophan the Recluse, an evil faith and a false church, is arising.“And it is in these terrible times that we wish to see in your person our steadfast and unshakeable spiritual leader inspiring us all for the holy struggle – the holy battle – for the true faith and the true Church against this false faith and false church.

        • Solitary Priest says

          Yes, we had saintly bishops like Metropolitan Philaret and Archbishop Averky. And we(myself included) did not fully appreciate them while they were with us. Now, we blubber about bishops being too worldly, even stupid remarks about cufflinks, etc. Just proves no matter what a bishop or priest does or doesn’t do, someone will always complain.

          • Solitary priest. Yes we fail to  see saints in our midst.  But when people notice the cufflinks, or the imperial robes, OR THE WATCHES, EITHER WORN OR STOLEN BY MALE ESCORTS THE DAY AFRER SEX  , it’s because they have already seen  the corruption and good living. So they notice the ‘ extras’ 

            • Solitary Priest says

              Well, the solution is not to ordain or consecrate sodomites. Some one else posted something here about a cleric who protested the upcoming consecration of a sodimite to the episcopacy. The Metropolitan, on hearing that Fr. X was a homosexual, responded,”Of course he is! That’s how we control them!” That also worked for the Soviets in controlling priests during the Soviet period; not just sodomy, but priests cheating on their wives with other women. I imagine if you worked hard enough for the KGB, they would even procure women for you. Or a woman working for the KGB, might seduce a priest and then he’d have to work for them, or else.
                  What I object to is the clown who calls for abandoning the monastic episcopate, not really practical. The bishop is married to the diocese. If a married priest barely finds time for his wife and children, after ministering to a flock, how would that work when you have to minister to several flocks?
                 And the stupid remark about the deacon mumbling a few words while the bishop puts on his cuffs. Hello, McFly, anybody home? Anyone familiar with Greek liturgical practice knows that the bishop almost always vests in the altar during Orthros. I’ve only seen Russians, Serbs, and Ukrainians vest in the open before the flock. I once served with the Bulgarian Metropolitan Joseph here in the States. Not only was he fully vested at the beginning of Orthros, but he began the service himself!

      • Nikos,
        Save your outrage for the malefactor who actually started this rumor against the OCA.
        The source of this lie is Abp. Elpidophoros himself. He tells his clergy that his discussion with Metr. Tikhon leads him to believe that the OCA Primate intends to hand over the leadership of the OCA to him. He says this in semi-public gatherings wherever he goes among GOARCH clergy. This is how the newly-appointed Phanariot is going to achieve ‘unity’ among jurisdictions North America.  Having met privately with Metr. Tikhon, he goes to the forum to tell everyone that the OCA is just about finished and is coming ‘back’ to the EP; Elpidophoros is going to deliver this coup to the Ecumenical Throne.  This is the new polemic against the OCA from our Greek friends. 
        Thanks, George, for doing such a great job providing the platform official GOARCH sites can’t. By claiming to be independent of oversight, you just made your blog a weapon of the Fener against the Local Church. 

        • Monk James Silver says

          Abp Elpidophoros started the rumor that the OCA would be subsumed by Constantinople?!

          I don’t believe a word of this.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      If the OCA goes Greek, no one needs a canonical release because the Russians don’t recognize the Greeks as being canonical.  They’ve already taken in some priests.   

      • Not true – break in communion does not mean not recognition of canonicity. ROCOR’s pre-2007 history is a case in point.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          ocaanon, are you suggesting all these priests had a canonical release?
          In his personal story, one of the priest’s said:  “—I wrote a letter to Met. Hilarion in mid-September.  . .  so I wrote to him and asked that if this disaster occurs, could I be received? And he understood that once communion is broken, there’s no need for a canonical release. So I sent my letter of resignation to Met. Gregory after speaking with Met. Hilarion on the evening when Eucharistic relations were completely broken between the two Patriarchates.”

          • Not at all… ROCOR received clergy for decades without canonical release – but the reception of clergy without canonical release is not the same thing as non-recognition of canonical status, as you stated. Otherwise, the Ascension Thursday 2007 reunification of the MP and ROCOR would have been fraught with problems. It might be the case, but is not of necessity. And in fact is usually not, the “understanding” of a given clergyman notwithstanding….

            • Monk James Silver says

              Right, but the reconciliation between the ROCOR and the Patriarchate of Moscow EXPLICITLY chose to ignore certain canonical irregularities which occurred with some frequency during their years of estrangement. The basic agreement was that such things would not be allowed in the future.

      • “Russians don’t recognize the Greeks as being canonical.  ”
        There is a confusion. Russians might be not recognizing America as a canonical territory for the Greeks, canonical otherwise.

  2. O Lord, save the people and bless thine inheritance.

    •  There is no inheritence the way it’s going. If this is so than all I can say that  the  majority of Orthodox bishops are careerist atheist bastards, do not excuse my language cos there is worse.  I cannot believe they would go in to heresy,YES HERESY, THE PHANAR IS HERETICAL IN IFS ECCLESIOLOGY as well as modernist in it’s liturgical life and corrupt and closset gay in it’s sordid life. . 

      • Yes, and what are our options now?  Leave our EP churches and our OCA churches?  We endured the EP up til now, but with the new admin, make some new personal choices? Surely the new admin is about sucking up new monies from here. How are the monasteries coping? Can we expect to have an influx of new ROCOR churches here in various states. If Orthodoxy is our last hope, where do we go?  I ask in all naivete.  Many of us converted to get away from some of these aspects (notwithstanding the lame theology there) in the protestant world.  Endure and pray?  Our communion?  Still blessed by God?  seriously what?

        • Dear Helen, you are right,
          where do we go from here?
          I think, pray a lot to the Lord, pray really, with tears and HE will help you. There are some holy clergy out there, Christ will help you identify them in your place. Clergy with fear of God, not seekers of Glory. Look for simple humble deacons, priests and Bishops, preferably not those who have tried to become clergy, but who were elected by the people and they did not want! This is the advice from St.John Chrysostom.  

          • George Michalopulos says

            Helen, I wouldn’t worry too much. For one thing, I think the Athonite monasteries provide much spiritual refuge. I also have this feeling that something is going to “break” in the near future.

  3. Since the Russian Church is one the one that granted them autocephaly, does Russia have any say in this decision, should it be true?  I am aware that the OCA’s canonical status is murky, but the connection to Moscow is not.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Actually, yes. In the past, whenever the Phanar would talk with the OCA, the latter was told that because the OCA wasn’t “really” autocephalous, but merely an autonomous (or semi-autonomous) eparchy of Moscow, it would have to go to the MP first to obtain a release.

      This is what I mean by “Mickey Mouse”.

      Follow me here: Within the illusory self-understanding of Cpole, only it (or an Ecumenical Council) can grant autocephaly to a daughter church –hence the OCA cannot be autocephalous. Because Cpole is “straining on the gnat” in this regard, to “swallow the camel” of granting autocephaly to an autocephalous church or to accept an eparchy which belongs to another autocephalous church (i.e. Ukraine) it has to find some irregularity within the original tomoi that established said autocephalous church or eparchy.

      I pointed out why Istanbul in the past could not/would not accept the OCA: in their view it wasn’t autocephalous but still belonged to Moscow in some way, shape, manner or form. How did they accomplish this with Ukraine (which wasn’t autocephalous but an eparchy of Moscow?)

      Simple: It merely tore up the original tomos of transfer of 1688 (?) and said it was null and void. Basically, it made up an excuse that the original tomos of transfer was signed under duress. Although it was complete nonsense, if you accept the Phanar’s misreading of history, Ukraine was “always” an eparchy of Cpole, not Moscow. In this hallucinatory light, then what they did was perfectly legal.

      In any case, the letter of the law –i.e. requiring a canonical release–needs to be observed. The only way that the OCA can be “given a release” from its “mother church” would be for the EP to suspend the autocephaly of Moscow and “return it” to its omorphor. Then, and only then, could the MP “grant” the OCA a “release” in order to go under Cpole.

      Get that?

      • George Michalopulos says

        Or Cpole could just make up something to justify its neopapalist pretensions. That is also what I mean by Mickey Mouse.

  4. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    It would seem that the plan of Rome and Constantinople is coming to fruition.

    • What are we going to do about it??.  I personally object to paedophile bishops and clergy even before the heretical bit. 

    • Yuri Elfrink says

      We have been through worse trials and tribulations, whether it be Moslems taking over Constantinople, or Marxist-atheists taking over Russia. Now, communism has long collapsed and Christianity has returned to the Russian lands. The Moslems still have control of Constantinople, but the Turkish civilization, and I’d argue the entire Moslem civilization as well is a shell of it’s former self. What is a rogue Istanbul Patriarchate to past challenges?

  5. George Michalopulos says

    And then we could all go under Rome!  Whoop-de-do!

    • George being under Rome and escaping Phanar. MIGHT BE THE LIGHT AT THE  END OF  THE TUNNEL ???

  6. Really?!? What sources! Why not just say “unfounded rumor” because Tikhon went to see Lambriniades the other day. Really, Lone Warrior! You stir the pot but it’s empty to begin with….

  7. Fr. James Parsells says

    I think there is no way the majority of OCA clergy would agree to go under Constantinople in any way, shape or form. The OCA is committed to the autocephaly it has received.  There is no benefit for either the OCA or Orthodoxy in the USA to benefit from a relinquishment of autocepahly status.

  8. David Nektarios says

    I’m going to choose to not trip about this, because I have faith our parish can get on and work through this with a good solution.
    That being said, I will say that “homie don’t play that.”

    • What is a good solution? Anything but telling LAMBRIONIDIS to naff off, is not a good solution. I am non american but I am sick and tired on yr behalf for carpet bagging pretentious pseudo jerks , AKA Phanar bishops,  to live of you and keep you in the retarded state they seem happy with. Maybe 1777 is not the only independence struggle if one is Orthodox. 
      All these guy’s are offering you is make believe la la la land.  Greek omoyeneia,  where is that when it’s at home?. The folks back at the ranch, AKA Greece,  have not felt the Church as their Bond for some time as it’s a putrid corrupt body, only outdone by Jerusalem.  .And for record I am a proud but sad and ASHAMED greek.  

  9. Gail Sheppard says

    The EP has probably told the OCA that they will finally have their seat at the table.  (They never really got over having to sit in the back at the Assembly of Canonical Bishops.)

    Both the Greeks and the OCA better start paying closer attention to their benefactor.  They’re like two kids whose parents have told them they’re going to be moving into a better house and later find out they have to share the same room.  The Greeks won’t like it any better than the OCA.  They’re a whole lot more hoity-toity than my mother (and that’s saying something) only in their world, it’s all about being Greek.  They see the OCA as a bunch of ne’er-do-wells, with our long skirts, headscarves, and babies in both arms.  They don’t want any part of it.  We even see it on this blog.

    So we know the State Department is sticking it to the EP.  Wonder what they have on the OCA.  It’s got to be something.            

    • LaughingHeartily says

      An OCA Bishop is currently the Treasurer of the AOB, and the OCA Bishops are well respected by the others at the Assembly. 

      • Gail Sheppard says

        They were seated at the back and wouldn’t have been seated AT ALL if it hadn’t been for Archbishop Demetrios.  Bartholomew didn’t want them.  I’m sure if you asked Archbishop Michael, he would “respectfully” agree.  You can even GOOGLE it on Wikipedia.  –  Hard to understand how you can find any of this funny.  But it can’t be easy being you or you’d use your own name. 

        • StillLaughing says

          Perhaps I just know more than you?

        • Joseph Lipper says

          At the last (9th) Assembly of Canonical Bishops, Metropolitan Tikhon stood right beside Archbishop Demetrios.  The OCA had nine hierarchs present.  The Antiochian Archdiocese was represented only by Bishop Thomas.  Of course neither the MP bishop nor any of the ROCOR bishops were present.


          If anything, it appears the OCA has a bit more leverage now with the EP and GOA ever since Moscow has broken communion with Constantinople.

          • Monk James Silver says

            It might be premature and excessive to read too much into this.

            Maybe fifteen years ago or so, I was visiting with a friend, a bishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, at their headquarters on East 79th Street in Manhattan, New York City. My friend was telling me that his superior, Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis, was preparing to host the annual service of prayer at the GOA’s Holy Trinity Cathedral for the Orthodox Christians on the staff of the United Nations.

            He also told me that Abp D had wondered aloud ‘What will I do if Metropolitan Theodosius (Lazor of the Orthodox Church in America) is there? He is the head of an autocephalous church. He will take precedence and I’ll have to serve second in my own cathedral!’

            It’s not an accident that Abp D has been removed, retired, and replaced.

            • Joseph Lipper says

              I don’t remember Metropolitan Theodosius ever serving Divine Liturgy with the EP.  I’m pretty sure neither did Metropolitan Herman or Jonah.  However,  Metropolitan Tikhon has now “concelebrated” Divine Liturgy twice with Patriarch Bartholomew.  The first time being at the Patriarchal Cathedral at the Phanar for Sunday of Orthodoxy in 2016.  The second time being in an outdoor Divine Liturgy in Cappadocia last June.
              True that Metropolitan Tikhon wasn’t recognized as the Primate of an Autocephalous Church for both of these liturgies, however this shouldn’t be misunderstood as “giving up on autocephaly”.  In fact, it is because of the OCA’s autocephaly that Metropolitan Tikhon is free to “concelebrate” with the Ecumenical Patriarch, while the bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate are not.

              • Met. Theodosius welcomed then-Ec. Patriarch Demetrios to the OCA’s St Nicholas Cathedral on Mass. Ave. in D.C. in 1990, during the then-EP Demetrios’s visit to the USA. Hard to believe this is nearly 30 years ago now! It was well-publicized at the time in OCA circles.

                I don’t recall if they concelebrated a liturgy then, though. Maybe some older-timers than me have a better recollection of that?

                • George C Michalopulos says

                  Although HH Demetrius served in the Altar during the Divine Liturgy and it was a joyous event, it was not a “concelebration”.   The reason it was not I was told is that the EP did not recognize the autocephaly of the OCA.

                  • Estonian Slovak says

                    I’m confused, then. Did or did not the Patriarch serve liturgy with Metropolitan Theodosius as one of the concelebrating bishops?
                        I know Constantinople did not and does not recognize the OCA autocephaly. However, up to this time, both churches maintain communion. 

            • George Michalopulos says

              Well, there you have it!  Arb D knew what the protocols were.  

          • Gail Sheppard says

            I think you’re right, Joseph.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      If you read some of the past posts on this blog you’ll see there have been many, many comments about long dresses, beards, wearing cassocks, i.e. anything associated with modesty or tradition, that have been launched against the OCA, the Antiochian Archdiocese and just about any parish outside the GOA, like you just did. Perception is reality.

      • Gail the only OCA church i have experienced is St Nicholas ( take a photo outside and u could claim u in Moscow, then nip round corner to new Greek church and claim Athens!! ?) in Whitestone,New York ( city).  I attended with none Orthodox parents of friend who felt very  at home. All in english, approachable bishop,  beautiful choir.  Benches but plenty of room to prostrate or kneel and plenty of room to move around and venerate icons and good frescos.  Good priest.  I can’t recall skirts etc but certainly none of the greek ‘ I’m going clubbing ‘ look.  Congregation included sone Greeks.  While I love my greek byzantine tradition deeply, If i were in USA i and family could worship there happily. And american management.!!  That they may sell their souls to LAMBRIONIDIS feels me with disgust because he wants nothing good for u outside of money making cow for Phanar and to keep you ‘ filthy hairy BARBARIANS, in the current retarded  State. 
        Amazing autocephaly was good for Finns etc but NEVER FOR YOU. ? 

        • Gail Sheppard says

          They are very creative with the truth. The diaspora does not pertain to us but they pretend it does. They were pretending when they told Filaret he was a patriarch. I think they are pretending they’re going to recognize the OCA. They’ll insist they’re the only ones who can grant autocephalous status so it’s got to come from Constantinople. I’m not making any of this up. They have actually said these things. They get their “sisters” and “daughters” mixed up but there is no confusion with respect to who they think the “Mother” is, which they say gives them special powers (they call them responsibilities). – They can keep their superpowers as far as I’m concerned.

          • Gail yes so true. I’ve noticed the Phanar lot beginning to look more conservative now,  re beards and rassa.  
            But if they think I’m going to be grateful because they have ‘adopted the look’,  well they in for a surprise.  My arguement for priestly appearance has deeper meaning that won’t go into now. But actors adopting the pose, do not fool me, or others. By their works you will know them! 

            • George Michalopulos says

              Niko, for what it’s worth, I follow Trad Catholic/Sede Vacantist sites every now and then. During the first iteration of the pederast crisis (ca 2000-2010) I received some keen insights.

              But first a little context: As we all know, Vatican II was the beginning of apostasy for the RCC as far as the RCCs are concerned. Then came the Novus Ordo mass. For many actively homosexual priests (not necessarily pederasts per se), they found a niche in liturgical rigor which made them very popular with the disgruntled masses. It was a great way to pretend to be a conservative (and thus being “moral”) while not actually being one. In other words, a classic case of misdirection.

              Is this what you are describing?

              • George as always you get it. As a psychologist this makes perfect sense.  One recalls the brown shirts in Hitler’s night of the  long knives,  of many being found in bed with each other as they were arrested and shot. Ernst Rohn was!!  Many had Jewish boyfriends.  
                I Sadly had my God parent’s son as priest in Uk who i discovered through my work ( turning up for treatment at London sexual health clinic when i was attached to it)  that he was gay. When Kokkinakis died and Methodios Fuyas became the boss, Methodios cleaned out the active gay coterie at London thyteira house and My God father’s son was sent to Sweden. He was clean shaven till Methodios ordered otherwise. His Athens mum, my Godmother’s extolled Catholic clergy and called Orthodox ones dirty and unkempr and said monasteries should be clossed. Now they clever with their potemkin villages!!
                Maybe the old formation of a bishop through monastic and education path is no longer viable today but the professional archimandrite is a threat to the Church. 

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Niko, if anything, we need more authentic monastic formation, not less.

                  The dirty little secret in the US as far as the GOA was concerned was that in any given class at HC/HC, fully 90+% were straight and wanted to get married ASAP and then get ordained and quickly assigned to a parish. The remaining ~10% were not necessarily homosexual but perhaps had little desire for the married life (as it were). This remainder knew all they had to do was bide their time because the 90% automatically took themselves out of contention. They were pretty much a “sure thing”. As such, academic rigor wasn’t all that crucial and as there were no GOA monasteries they didn’t have to do the monastic thing. All they had to do was get some sinecure in the NY/Boston corridor and then after 10 years become an “archimandrite”, basically a full-bird colonel, make the right connection and then when the time comes, become bishop of some extinct mountaintop in Anatolia.

                  • I just took time to read the Saint Sophia Los Angeles  on – line church magazine. 
                    It really is a facinating look into their works.  Good people, active community, Good works and oprah style pep talks. And yes mission statements does give a nod to Christ but the whole exercise comes over to me as therapy sessions with good works along with baklava bakeing and greek dancing and of course greek festival.
                    Yes of course a lot of good works and dedicated clergy and people but why do we need the religion bit? It could all be done down at the country club ( where Church  golf tournament held.)  

  10. I am hearing from clergy connected with OCA and EP that this is tying into the EP union with Rome 2025.  

    • Gail Sheppard says

      That is the end game, my friend. Go back and read the blog in the October/November 2017 timeframe. Quite a bit of discussion about it and more than a few who said a schism would never happen in Ukraine and we will never unite with Rome. Wish they had been right.

    • George Michalopulos says

      The irony of course is that in agreeing to any type of “maximally autonomous” status under the EP it won’t be recognized.  The double irony is that when the EP unites with Rome (as a “co-equal”/Eastern Pope), that won’t be recognized either.  

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Well, George, the EP isn’t fully recognized now.  The MP won’t commemorate him and the Local Churches have made it clear they don’t support his recent actions in Ukraine.  I think around 2/3s didn’t show up at Crete.  It’s very disappointing to find that Metropolitan Tikhon is following someone who doesn’t have the support of the greater part of the Church.

        • Tikhon is a brocade coat-hanger. But note who is Tikhon’s chief fixer now, not a flaccid D.Min. type, but a canonist with a Pontifical credential – granted the POI stuff was in liturgy, but Vlad’s already had a Taftisch liturgy guy, so… ten years later he’s just the man to iron out all the OCAs canonical wrinkles in line with the nea ekklesiologike in the Phanar and make some powerful new pals in the process.

      • George re GOA USA and Europe too. You put the problem exactly.  I notice things and understanding  yrs ago that the clergy in St Sophia Bayswater, London except the married ones but mostly they were archimandrites,  were shall we say ‘HAPPY” .  I think quite a few scandals there were kept hidden. 
        As you say until a healthy monasticism is established nothing  changes. 

    • Dannyboy,
      This is also what I’ve heard…to correspond/commemorate the 1700 year anniversary of the Council of Nicea.
      One thing is for sure, it would take an AAC to make any decision on this. If their “trial balloon” tells them that the people want this and they go down this path, it should be an interesting AAC in Baltimore. Lord have mercy!

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      Bingo! Rome rules in the West and Constantinople in the East. That’s the deal that was struck. Wild card is Moscow. What will Moscow and ROCOR do?
      I think even Antioch will eventually capitulate. When as to that i do not know.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis: “What will Moscow and ROCOR do?”
        Easy question. MP will accept some OCA parishes, ROCOR the others. EP will keep the remainder.

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          Moscow is also corrupt and has its own nationist problems that will eventually lead ROCOR and the MP splitting again. So not only what will Moscow do but what will the rest of us do?


          • Estonian Slovak says

            What would you have us do, Peter? Go to the Greek Old Calendar churches? Haven’t you had some experience with them? My own spiritual father is a Greek American. He is also a ROCOR priest. He says that we won’t find perfection in this world and I agree. I didn’t care for the 2007 agreement between the MP and ROCOR. I went along because I was tired of all the divisions within American Orthodoxy. I don’t enjoy bashing the EP or anyone else. But the church will prevail. We have Our Lord’s promise. 

            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              I agree. Also i do not recommend going with the old calendarists. What I’m saying is that you will not find a perfect jurisdiction. Unless it goes full heretical, which could happen with the GOAA, stay where you are at and work on your salvation. That’s all.

              Peter A. Papoutsis

          • Brute from bygone ages says

             Usually when Americans complain about corruption in Russia, there is CIA arround. Even if there is corruption, it’s not sufficient reason for breaking of Communion. Pray for your salvation, and salvation of any corrupt priests. Don’t bother yourlsef about Moscow to much. It’s 10 million city. Pray for them, Lord know what they need. City council or bishop supported by US media is last thing they need. 

            • George Michalopulos says

              Well said, Brute. My problem with the whole “muh democracy” crowd here in the West is that we barely have a democracy at this point (yeah, I know, we’re a republic but go with me here). Think of it, we have a national police force (the FBI) which is run by a cabal of miscreants who together with elements in the CIA, feel like they have the right to overturn an election.

              If this isn’t sedition, nothing is. Regardless, it ain’t democracy.

              Here’s a suggestion: let’s start cleaning up our own house before we start casting stones at others.

  11. The OCA is like a girl who wants to get into trouble…but doesn’t know how!

    • The OCA is like a girl who has got into so much trouble that she’s decided she needs a rich daddy after all, even if it is Jeffrey Epstein

  12. Solitary Priest says

    If the OCA does give up autocephaly, Moscow won’t be bound by the Tomos of 1970. Then she and ROCOR will be able to accept OCA parishes not willing to go along with this foolishness 

    • George Michalopulos says

      SP, I imagine that priests, parishes and even dioceses can be accepted “at will” at that point, with no need for canonical release.  After all, the CP is not in communion with MP/ROCOR.

      Any canonist out there willing to comment?

    • George Michalopulos says

      And truly, what a horrendous slap in the face to our Mother Church, after all she did for us!

  13. Fr Andrew Phillips of St John of Shanghai & San Francisco Orthodox Church in Colchester, England (ROCOR), called this a long time ago. His blog on his Orthodox England site ( is a fantastic resource. He’s pretty much on the money with virtually all of his predictions. He has suffered a lot under the various jurisdictions of Orthodoxy in Western Europe and seems to know what makes them all tick; his intuition and foresight is uncannily accurate.
    This “breaking news” seems consistent with his prior prediction that the OCA would eventually break up, with the modernist contingent going with the EP (mind you, this is the northeastern-United-States OCA types… not the vibrant, missionary parts of the OCA that are found in the South, Midwest, and West). The traditional/more missionary minded part of the OCA would likely go under ROCOR, and then the smaller group of traditional/missionary-minded OCAers who hate Russia (i.e., mostly American evangelical converts who still can’t get out from under the irrational American Russia-hatred) would go with the Antiochians.
    If George’s “breaking news” is true, this may not be a bad thing. North America certainly needs fewer Orthodox jurisdictions. Hopefully most OCA parishes in the South, Midwest, and West will petition Met. Hilarion in New York, Abp. Peter in Chicago, and Abp. Kyrill of San Francisco to be received under the ROCOR omophorion (which, by all accounts, is really where they belong). Let the OCA modernist contingent go with C’ple, and then if they want let them all unify with Rome in 2025. (“Yes, let’s all jump on a pederastic, sexual-abuse-laden sinking ship! Sounds like fun!”) Hopefully the more Christ-centered of those who join with C’ple/Rome will eventually sense this tremendous error in judgment and come back to an Orthodox parish in due time.
    Fr Andrew Phillips is indeed correct: ROCOR and the Russian Church inside Russia is well-poised to be the overarching church for Orthodox Christians in Russia, Western Europe (via the MP and its exarchates), and in the English-speaking/French Canada/Caribbean and Latin American world (the British isles, USA/Canada, Latin America, Australia/Oceania, via ROCOR). ROCOR will be transmitting Orthodoxy to the English-speaking/French Canada/Caribbean and Latin American world via the 5 languages spoken in these regions (English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Dutch), as it is doing now but on a much larger scale in the years to come, for those who truly seek Christ.
    Regardless of what happens, I will be forever grateful to those OCA clergy (many now deceased… memory eternal!) who helped me to see the light of Christ decades ago and who taught me that our Church is not simply an ethnic club that one happens to be born into. However, it is high time that the OCA reunite with its rightful mother, the Russian Orthodox Church, for an independent OCA is too fragile, and American culture is too hostile a land, for her to stand alone.
    May God’s will be done!

    • George Michalopulos says

      Fr Andrew Phillips has always been a beacon in an otherwise murky world.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      “The saints unite us; people of this world disunite us.” Father Andrew said this once and no truer words were spoken.

      Yes, there will be fewer jurisdictions but there will be more demarcation because the MP does not recognize the EP. This is a thousand times worse than multiple jurisdictions getting along until they can unify. Forget about concelebration on Orthodox Sunday! And how do you think the non-Greek parishes who go under the EP are going to be treated? We’re talking about the Greeks here. Gotta love them but they believe that one must be Greek to be Orthodox, which you alluded to in your comment. Any non-Greek parish will quickly discover that the “sister” relationship they envisioned is really just a “Cinderella” role. No one likes being a stepchild in their own country.

      If Metropolitan Tikhon continues down this path, he will forever be known as the hierarch who killed the possibility of unity in this country. The EP’s actions in Ukraine are reverberating, as was predicted.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Unfortunately, Gail, you are correct.

        As proud as I am of my Greek heritage (and I am exceedingly proud –in a good way–of it), the fact remains that the Phanariote DNA (not necessarily the Greek DNA) will never allow for any type of equality between the ethnicities. They can’t conceive of it, no matter how much they trot out photos of MLK and Iakovos every MLK Day.

        We just saw this in Western Europe with the Russian Exarchate. While the EP is more than willing to allow complete autonomy for any of its exarchates (Ukrainian/USA, Carpatho-Russian/USA, Palestinian/USA), when push comes to shove, they will throw them under the bus when the they feel it serves their interests.

        Sad to say, but true.

      • Gail, George,
        if a Greek loves his ethnicity more than Orthodoxy
        he is not really Orthodox.
        So, please count him with any other category of Greeks like:
        pagans, atheists etc.
        I guess the same applies to other ethnicities as well.
        After all, Christ has said:
        “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matth.10,37)

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          Not to mention Paul, who tells us that in Christ there is no Jew nor Greek, male nor female, slave nor free man.

      • Dino Tsortanidis says

        May our Mother, The Theotokos, protect us.

      • Gale did not anybody tell you  that God only speaks Greek!! ? 

  14. Joseph Lipper says

    Metropolitan Tikhon has stated before that the OCA remains committed to autocephaly in America.  So, if the EP were to grant autocephaly to the Greek Archdiocese, then it’s theoretically possible for the OCA and the GOA to dissolve and form a new united entity.   However, that would mean being a new “sister” church with Constantinople, and not being “under” Constantinople.   
    So why on earth would it be a bad thing for Constantinople to grant autocephaly to the Greek Archdiocese?  That sounds good to me.

    • George Michalopulos says

      It would be a wonderful thing! That’s why it ain’t going to happen.

      Snark off, in my idealistic naivete, I can see where LP goes to all thr jurisdictions and says, “let’s get together, no BS, all equal, divide up the US equitably. Nobody is over anybody except the Primate. Bartholomew’s on board with this. I’m talking total autocephaly.”

      It would be a true kum-ba-ya moment. And it would be a total game-changer. Excellent in every way.

      The trouble is that the Phanar has made an absolute hash of Ukraine. Schism upon schism. Istanbul doesn’t have a track record of success to point to anything like this. Worse, as we saw in Ukraine and the Russian Exarchate, the word of the Phanar is worthless. I mean, I don’t feel sorry for the clowns in the UCO, KP, because they are totally bad actors but you couldn’t say this for the Russian Exarchate guys. They totally played by the rules and then one bright morning they got the rug pulled out from under them.

      • The rue Daru Russian Exarchate guys certainly don’t all “play by the rules.”  
        Many of their movers & shakers are “Orthodox Protestants” as big as they come, and they’ve been shopping for hierarchs that let them do what they want for a long time. 
        If they played by the rules, they’d have gone back under the MP or ROCOR a long time ago, rather than sticking with C’ple. Now that C’ple is no longer leaving them alone, it’s crisis time.  

      • george what Phanar is after as stage one of process, is for OCA to agree to receive autocephaly from Phanar and this at stroke back  up their Ukraine actions and  ecclesiology. 
        Then next stop to unite with Greeks with lambrionidis top dog.  Then when bart has to face his Maker, Labrionidis can know his pension plan well paid for in his homey  play monastery on!’mouse island’. 
        While not our problem, Thank God,Rome is dying.DYING.  France is effectively none Christian, Germany following and Italy is habit and running family business. Historical Christianity is dying and they arranging the bleedin’ deckchairs. And not forgeting Ground Zero obscenity.  

        • George Michalopulos says

          Niko, what is going on behind the scenes (and there is something going on, my sources still stand by what they told me yesterday morning about 0715) may be along the lines of what you say. Mind you, it’s all very Mickey Mouse. For one thing, for Moscow to rescind the autocephaly of the OCA would still be a tacit admission that Moscow (or any autocephalous church) could issue a tomos of autocephaly in the first place. That there alone violates one of Cpole’s cardinal precepts.

          In addition, as Monk James has pointed out, Met Tikhon violated an ecclesiastical protocol when he went to NYC to pay a visit to Arb LP. The OCA is autocephalous; don’t forget that Met Tikhon and Pat Bartholomew “co-celebrated” the Divine Liturgy last month when the former was in Turkey. Co-celebrations can only happen when two or more hierarchs are of equal rank. So far, nobody has disputed this fact, hence, the autocephaly of the OCA is now a fait accompli as far as the EP is concerned. (Again, I ask any canonist out there to prove me wrong.)

          Because of this concelebration, Met Tikhon is equal to any of the other 14 primates. As such, Arb LP should have gone to Syosset (or DC) to pay a visit to Met Tikhon, not the other way around.

          Still, nothing, no matter how irregular, facetious, or ridiculous is off the table. The reason is because Cpole has allowed itself to be used by the State Dept and is caught over a barrel. As such, it is desperate to extricate itself out from this briar patch which it created for itself in Ukraine. Neopapalism is proving to be quite a tar-baby.

          To all: I have received several emails from you regarding this story in which you all assure me that I am incorrect. Some of you have talked with bishops. I appreciate you getting back to me. I do ask that you post your responses on this blog as a comment (anonymously of course should you so desire). I ask this because they are very enlightening and would provide much food for thought and counter-argument.

          • Just a slight correction: when you say that “Co-celebrations can only happen when two or more hierarchs are of equal rank,” the equal rank you speak of is that both are members of the episcopacy. This does not confer absolute equality of position. Pat. Kirill co-celebrates all the time with his bishops, even vicar bishops, and they are clearly not equal (in the Slavic tradition, all bishops wear crowns). In the Constantinopolitan tradition, the ONLY bishops who wear crowns when co-celebrating with the Patriarch are the Heads of any autocephalous church. Tikhon, like Herman and Theodosius before him, co-celebrates with the Ecumenical Patriarch without his crown, only with his klobuk like the other hierarchs. It is an obvious sign that he is not recognized by the EP as the Head of an autocephalous church.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Thanks for the info. Then why doesn’t Syosset set the record straight? I distinctly remember that there was a lot of talk after this concelebration that this was indeed a “concelebration”. It either was or it wasn’t. Either way, it doesn’t bode well for the autocephaly argument, does it? Especially when it was Met Tikhon who went to pay a visit to Arb Elpid. and not the other way around.

              • Tikhon did nothing different than his predecessors have been doing since the inception of the OCA. He really didn’t owe anyone an explanation. The truth is, outside of the MP, the OCA has long since given up the pretense of autocephaly, settling for invitations to lunch. Remember, even by our own standards, we are last in everybody’s diptychs (acceptance of the Filbert bunch would at least bump us up one notch!). As for the visit to Lambriniades, it might have just been a courtesy since he was in Cappadocia with EP for the GOA enthronement. Or it could have been more “kishkovskian” antics by the new back alley chump, Rentel. Or both…. One thing is for sure, anyone who thinks that Tikhon is steering the OCA ship in any direction should be bidding for that bridge in Brooklyn. 

    • Wow, Joseph… the “King of the Strawman.”
      Nowhere in George’s initial post or in any of the comments has anyone mentioned potential “autocephaly of the GOA.”  GOA autocephaly is not on the table, and it’s not what anyone here is talking about. 

      • George Michalopulos says

        Would that it (autocephaly for the GOA) were so.

        • r j klancko says

          let us look at this from a different perspective,,,perhaps a more global one, perhaps one that on the checkerboard could be a viable option,,,,,what if moscow allowed its circa 50 parishes in the usa to join the oca,,,after all they came from the oca, and most were founded by the same lemko/galician people most of the oca parishes were. now st nicholas on 97th st becomes the moscow representation church in the usa.  also, those rocor parishes who wish to join the oca are allowed to do so. those remaining russian die hards can remain with rocor, which we know within 20 years will no longer exist. The master plan as i see it, is that all the russian parishes in europe will be under moscow and that each country will have its own diocese, led by its own bishop, and will be a national orthodox church, all put together by the russians   — the greeks not with standing,,,, because they are just too etho-centric to buy into the national church idea.
          this move will strengthen the oca, which indeed has been becoming, and in many ways is a national american church.  this is a fact the phanar needs to comprehend. i can also see kyrill influencing his fellow eastern european patriarchs to relinquish their turf in america for the good of the whole in america. the only group that may resist is the serbians, but the romanians, bulgarians, and albanians are just a small foot print. so this may be a viable move.
          we know that quite soon the ukrainians and carpatho-russians are soon to be absorbed in to the hellenic horde, so becoming part of the oca, where there can be positive synergism may be a more comfortable reality.
          in many ways the oca, albeit not being as wealthy as the goa,,,is more stable in many ways and is becoming part of the fabric of the usa. i also see the oca archdioceses of canada and mexico becoming their own automonos churches under the oca.
          as for the antiochians, they will need to fish or cut bait,,,,, they will need to sever ties with the middle east in the next 20 years anyway. in order to keep their youth, they will need to shed their middle eastern identity,,,,metropolitan antony understood this very well. also, they historically have found more of a home with the russians than the greeks. if it were not for the greeks, the melkite eastern rite church would not have formed,, and if it were not for the russian palestine society, they would not have been protected.
          i would not sell the oca out short,,,,, i have faith that there are greater God inspired minds at work,,,, this is a chess game,,,,and in the world of chess i would look to kryill as being a grand master.  in my view he is playng chess while brat bart is playing checkers.
          my true saddness comes is that we all just cannot play together as loving christians in the same sand box and we not allow our egos, and anti biblical intrigue govern what we do.
          I pray that wht is right is done,,,and that we cease to continue to act in a way thst is contrary to the teachings of our Lord and Savior.  No wonder so many of our youth are leving the church, for we are not giving them reason to have faith in us.      

        • You mean like what was implemented in The Ukraine?  That was not autocephaly but methonks that is what is being offered to get the OCA hierarchs to sell out.

          • George Michalopulos says

            What happened in Ukraine was a calamity by any definition. 

            The sikver lining is that the new schematic sect appears to be going nowhere.

            Why in God’s name would anybody in their right mind want to replicate what happened there, here?

      • Joseph Lipper says

        A merger of the OCA with GOA?  If the OCA remains committed to autocephaly, then I think such a merger would require autocephaly. 

        • “…then I think such a merger would require autocephaly.” 

          Which, according to the CP, can only be truly granted by an ecumenical council.  If otherwise granted, the entity remains just another subservient “daughter”

          How convenient.

          Not that I believe any of this will actually happen.

      • George as u say murky water.   As a Orthodox layman I have read what Phanar claims for itself  in Greek and english, and they are pure papal type claims, founded on a defunct, and gone,  medeval empire.  
        Let alone as an Orthodox I cannot accept the ecclesiology,  but it is 2019 and we are running church on  la la land, fantasy world . WHAT IS THERE ABOUT THIS THAT TIKHON AND OTHERS DO NOT GET??? 

  15. Seraphim98 says

    If the OCA finds itself moving to the EP, then may it please God for the Diocese of the South to petition Mocow to be taken in by them directly or through ROCOR. And failing that, Antioch.  If not, i will be seriously looking for another canonical jurisdiction.

  16. Fellow American Orthodox Christians, we are all united around the chalice in Christ. Whatever our ethnic group, jurisdiction, gender, race etc, we are one in Christ. We are being manipulated by those outside the Church for whatever crazy, diabolical geopolitical reasons. We must not  be manipulated and break our sacred unity in Christ. Let’s remember the lessons from this past Sunday’s epistle. We want canonical unity in America, but that unity must be come about from the wisest and most faithful of our leaders who will make decisions that are beneficial for the salvation of all Orthodox living in America and for the preaching of the gospel in America. We must not serve or be manipulated by those in high positions working the deeds of the evil one.Let’s come to our senses and stay united in faith and truth. We are all called to defend Christ’s teachings and His holy Church and oppose those who seek to cause divisions in the Church.

    • Solitary Priest says

      I’d say the evil one was manipulating when he inspired the Mason Patriarch Metaxakis to change the calendar. That was just the start. I don’t enjoy talking about this and I’m not bashing Greeks. My spiritual father is a Greek American. He bailed from the GOA upon reaching maturity. He started off as an OCA priest, later switched to ROCOR. My late spiritual father was also Greek American. He joined the Serbian church and began his priestly service there. Later, he came into ROCOR and died as a monastic. They saw the rot firsthand. If I’m compelled to come under the EP, then to quote the late great Victor Borge, ” I’m delighted to announce that I’m positively not going to do it.”

  17. Monk James Silver says

    Since this rumor that the Orthodox Church in America would or would even contemplate submitting to the authority of Constantinople on any basis first appeared on Monomakhos early this morning, I have heard exactly nothing to corroborate it.
    As I wrote here several days ago, while the patriarchates of Moscow and Constantinople are not in communion with each other for the moment, the Orthodox Church in America is in communion with both of them. 
    It was therefore not unusual, during his recent visit to Turkey,  for Metropolitan Tikhon to serve the Divine Liturgy together with Patriarch Bartholomew.  Since each of them is the primate of an autocephalous church (the relative ages of those churches notwithstanding) , and therefore each other’s equal in terms of ecclesiological authority, precedence always being conceded to the older church or to the local church’s primate, Pat B serve in first place, followed by Met T and the other bishops in turn according to seniority.  This is normal Orthodox Christian interchurch practice.
    On the other hand, Met T’s visit to Archbishop Elpidophoros this week is a bit out of order, ecclesiologically speaking.  Following ancient protocols, the lesser always comes to the greater.
    While it is a good thing for the OCA to maintain good relations with the Greek Orthodox Diocese of America, Abp E is an exarch of Constantinople, not the primate of an autocephalous church.  Were the primate of the OCA and the exarch of Constantinople to meet on within the structures of proper ecclesiological protocols on any official basis, the OCA’s primate would invite Cple’s exarch to come to him. On the other hand, the OCA’s primate could send a local bishop accompanied by the OCA’s Director of External Church Relations to visit Cple’s exarch in America.
    For the OCA’s primate to have visited he exarch of Cple suggests either that the OCA is conceding authority to Cple, or that the OCA’s people in charge of arranging such meetings are unaware of their canonical implications.
    At the moment, I am more likely to believe the latter than the former, since the OCA, my own church, has consistently failed to keep itself in proper canonical order.

    Having said all that, I’d like to add that the clergy and laity of the OCA, at least as many of those whose opinions are known to me (a rather large group) would never consider affiliating with Constantinople, especially since its recent missteps regarding the Russian Orthodox Church

    • George Michalopulos says

      Monk James, I still have not received word as to whether Met Tikhon and Pat Bartholomew “concelebrated” the liturgy while the former was in Turkey. I was told that “concelebration” could only happen between two bishops of the same rank. If there was indeed a concelebration, then this means that Bartholomew recognizes the OCA as an autocephalous Church and Tikhon as his peer.

      This of course would mean that the GOA should be under the OCA, does it not?

      • Monk James Silver says

        I can’t speak to whatever word George Michalopulos has received or not, but all sources confirm that Metropolitan Tikhon served the Divine Liturgy together with Patriarch Bartholomew.

        GM’s understanding of the ecclesiological meaning of this event is correct.

        Whatever happens later will be either a corroboration of this ecclesiological relationship, or a repudiation of it, but it must be one or the other.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Metropolitan Tikhon said they concelebrated but also said, “The Eucharistic communion and concelebration on the Sunday of Orthodoxy showed visibly and publicly the often-expressed conviction of His All-Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch, that the Orthodox Church in America, her bishops, clergy, and people are included in the family of canonical Orthodox Churches, while at the same time maintaining the position that the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in America is not recognized.” Doesn’t make sense. Maybe the OCA is now being told they are an honorary autocephalous Church in the same way that Filaret was told he was an honorary patriarch. We all know how that turned out.

        • Monk James Silver says

          No. This is all wrong, badly misstated by everyone, including our dear correspondent Gail.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Hey, I provided a link! P.S. I don’t believe the OCA was really told they were an honorary autocephalous Chruch! I was being facetious.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        The OCA, on both occasions, upholds that Metropolitan Tikhon “concelebrated” with Patriarch Bartholomew.  This is consistent with the OCA’s claim that Metropolitan Tikhon is Primate of an autocephalous church.   So, the wording suggests that the OCA is not backing down on it’s claim of autocephaly.
        From the point of view of Constantinople and most others, perhaps Metropolitan Tikhon only “served” the Divine Liturgy with Patriarch Bartholomew.  Even though Metropolitan Tikhon wouldn’t have been mentioned in the Dyptychs at those liturgies, that doesn’t stop the OCA from upholding it’s autocephaly, and apparently it doesn’t stop Metropolitan Tikhon from “concelebrating” with the EP either.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Very true, Joseph. Metropolitan Tikhon seemingly has no compunction against concelebrating with the EP.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          You’re right, Joseph. Metropolitan Tikhon seemingly has no compunction against concelebrating (his word) with the EP and as you can see by the comments here, this concerns many of us in the OCA.

        • Monk James Silver says

          Joseph Lipper (August 17, 2019 at 9:37 am) says

          The OCA, on both occasions, upholds that Metropolitan Tikhon “concelebrated” with Patriarch Bartholomew. This is consistent with the OCA’s claim that Metropolitan Tikhon is Primate of an autocephalous church. So, the wording suggests that the OCA is not backing down on it’s claim of autocephaly.

          From the point of view of Constantinople and most others, perhaps Metropolitan Tikhon only “served” the Divine Liturgy with Patriarch Bartholomew. Even though Metropolitan Tikhon wouldn’t have been mentioned in the Dyptychs at those liturgies, that doesn’t stop the OCA from upholding it’s autocephaly, and apparently it doesn’t stop Metropolitan Tikhon from “concelebrating” with the EP either.

          We must be careful with our words.

          Joseph Lipper writes here that ‘perhaps Metropolitan Tikhon only “served” the Divine Liturgy with Patriarch Bartholomew’. He seems to think that serving the Divine Liturgy together’ is a step down from ‘concelebrating the Divine Liturgy’, but this isn’t true.

          In the first place, as I have written here before, Orthodox Christian bishops and priests do not and can not ‘concelebrate’ the Divine Liturgy together because they don’t ever ‘celebrate’ the Divine Liturgy as individuals. The word ‘celebrate’ is not to be found in the Orthodox Christian vocabulary of verbs describing what bishops and priests do in their eucharistic service.

          So, leaving that word aside, we find in Greek that a bishop or priest ‘liturgizes’ or ‘co-liturgizes’ (_sylleitourgetai) when we translate the verb into literal English, but they are rather awkward.

          But we have options in English!

          In Church Slavonic, the action of a priest in the Divine Liturgy is described by the verb _sluzhiti_ (‘serve’). If several priests/bishops do this together, the verb is _sosluzhiti_ (co-serve). But that’s awkward, too.

          Since the Greek-based expressions ‘co-liturgize’ or even ‘liturgize together’ are unlikely to gain any serious linguistic traction, it seems best and more natural for us in English, relying on the Church Slavonic idiom, to say that several priests/bishops officiating at the same Divine Liturgy ‘serve together’.

          This is not only better English than the other options, but it also avoids the heterodox word ‘concelebrate’, which — as I wrote here earlier — is replete with concepts foreign to Orthodox Christianity.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Question Father: It was Met. Tikhon who used the term “concelebrate” and when one uses that term (incorrectly, from what you said) doesn’t it commonly mean (1) the Churches they represent are autocephalous and (2) the participants are of equal rank? If so, I can see where Joseph might call it a step down” if these two conditions were not met.

            Frankly, when I read Met. Tikhon’s statement about his visit to Istanbul (see below), I got the impression he was trying to convey both messages, i.e. they were serving as primates and their respective Churches were autocephalous, and that’s why he used the term “concelebrate.”

            Met. Tikhon: “I have just returned from a visit to Constantinople, where I was invited to concelebrate with His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, for the Feast of the Sunday of Orthodoxy at the Ecumenical Patriarchate. One of my central responsibilities as Primate is to represent the Orthodox Church in America in its relations with other Orthodox Churches.

  18. Manolo Cueto says

    why anyone would take this article seriously is beyond me. I just contacted the OCA here in NY where I live and they just laughed and said the author of this article should be taken as serious as Demacopoulos and Public Orthodoxy.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Mr Cueto, I will be the first to stand on the table and say I was wrong. I will not only say “mea culpa!” but “mea maxima culpa!

      I will do so gladly. To show how serious I am about this story being true (and hoping that it’s not), shall we place a friendly wager? A bottle of single-malt Scotch perhaps. (Nothing too pricey.) There must be a time limit however. I’m thinking six months. By then we should know what the Phanar’s plans are for the US.

      • Christopher says

        I will take you up on this wager George.
        Even the N.E. “progressive” & secularized Orthodox (in the OCA or any other jurisdiction that is not truly in the ICU) are too deep into their parochialism to seriously ever consider this idea.  This is not to say that a handful of idealists would not openly champion it, or that men like Met. Tikhon would not sit giving the appearance of actually listening, possibly saying something like “why don’t you get together a proposal and topical papers and present it to such and such committee…”

        • George C Michalopulos says

          Done!  Let’s give it a time-frame:  Say six months from today?

          • George Osborne says

            I’d like to get in on this sucker bet as well, George. I’ve got a bottle of MacAllen 12-year old that says you’re dead wrong.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Let’s make it no more than $30. I’m just a humble worker in the Vineyard of the Lord.

              • Christopher says

                Spit in the hand and all that.  The thing is, we won’t get a “Shermanesque” level of denial (or rather affirmation of the OCA’s autcephelly) I believe for reasons I will state below…

  19. Linda Albert says

    On hell, no!

  20. A.M. Fedec says

    I find this all to be too bizarre to be true. This whole thing about giving up autocephaly…would have to be also ‘stamped’ by the laity at the All-American Church Council. The OCA faithful (and clergy) won’t follow some rogue bishops off of a stupid cliff!

  21. MakeOrthodoxyGreatAgain says

    This OCA story is fake news. Why would OCA want to be required to upstream millions in cash to Istanbul and also have Karlootsos rummaging through their wealthy. Also , they’d be tagged to help re-open the White Elephant known as St Nick with millions in “allotments” . This makes no sense. It’s likely a disinformation story by Greeks in reprisal for massive disinformation campaign by Moscow Kyrill-Putin over Ukraine. 

    • George Michalopulos says

      I don’t necessarily dispute what you say but let’s be real: There are no “millions” in the OCA which the GOA would vacuum up to pay for their various boondoggles.

      I realize that this was the game plan regarding Ukraine but there’s a huge difference and that is that Ukraine at least is a nation-state and despite its poverty, does have resources that non-state actors (such as the OCA) can never have. As such Ukraine can use things like shale oil, grain exports, transit fees, etc. from which it can allocate a “cut” –say 2%–to the EP. (To say nothing about the 4,000 Euros from every parish that Bartholomew wants.)

      In comparison, the OCA has nothing along these lines. And I’ll be perfectly frank, GOA bishops have turned their nose up at the OCA, decrying them as “nothing but a bunch of poor Slavs”.

      None of this means that the EP doesn’t want to fold the OCA into the GOA or that EP-fanboys (such as Kishkovsky and Jillions) don’t want to be taken into Cpole. They do. Money doesn’t have to change hands, just honors. And the desire to travel around the world attending useless conferences on the dime of whoever is the paymaster of the Phanar.

      All roads lead to Rome, some of them by way of Volos.

      • George,  your post about the OCA going under the EP made it on to (!
        You’ve got international influence, man!  Impressive!
        Though the folks shot down the veracity of your original post. 

        • George Michalopulos says

          When I see a Shermanesque statement to the contrary, I will offer an apology. And only then.

        • George Michalopulos says

          I’m a huge fan of And very flattered by their mention of this blog. Having said that, they did not “…sho[o]t down the veracity of [the] original post”, but merely reiterate what somebody in the OCA said about it.

          • You are moving the goalposts here. You should post a retraction or further cause more confusion. 

            • George Michalopulos says

              How am I moving the goalposts? I can’t prove that these negotiations took place other than what I was told.

              It could have been nothing more than a trial balloon but I rather doubt it. It’s more likely that it was leaked in order to put the kibosh on any possible future capitulation to the EP.

              Either way, it’s clear that the people of the OCA are completely against any loss of our autocephaly. And that’s a good thing.

      • Volos very nice city and the Pilio region very beautiful.  ? . I won’t ask you why u mention Volos as may spoil my delusions.  Not many left. 

  22. Filip'os Weldehazen says

    This website is hilarious! Goodness y’all are good for a laugh, glad I checked in again!

  23. I don’t slight you for believing your sources George, but this scoop was a little bit much for me.
    This just in:

  24. Rhonda Dodson says

    I just ran across this article…

  25. You talk a lot of trash, George, but this takes the cake. 
    On whose authority do you receive the rumor of OCA forfeiture? I don’t see anything resembling a quotation in your scurrilous post. You cite Metr. Jonah’s past defense of OCA autocephaly and disparage Fr. Leonid Kishkovsky for undercutting it. Fie on your perfidy!
    To the contrary on both counts, I personally attest that Metr. Jonah — a longtime friend and mentor — told me and several other people with him on the sidewalk by his Cathedral in DC in summer 2010, shortly after his excellent defense of it, that the OCA Tomos of Autocephaly is ‘on the table’ as negotiable with both Moscow and the Phanar. 
    During a coffee break at the AAC in Parma, Ohio in 2012, Fr. Leonid Kishkovsky related to me how the Chancery and Synod of the OCA has had to defend the Tomos from as early as the 1990s when Patr. Kirill first began efforts to take it back. It was obvious to all intelligent people by then that Metr. Jonah was too easily impressed by Muscovite grandeur and that they had bowled him over with the red carpet treatment. Fr. Leonid has always defended the OCA’s autocephaly, not just sometimes. 
    I am disgusted by your irresponsible clickbait rumor-mongering. You should be ashamed of yourself. 
    A very fulsome MEA CULPA is in order and I suggest you see your priest for confession of sins against the church community who adopted you when the Greeks became intolerable.  

    • George Michalopulos says

      And yet, there has been (and unfortunately still is) a faction within the leadership of the OCA which is completely on board with the modernism and ecumenism which fortunately for everybody else, only resides within the “New Rome”. I can honestly tell you that this wasn’t the first time that certain others within the OCA have not thought about “swimming the Bosporus”.

      I will grant you this: That Met Jonah was “impressed by the grandeur of Moscow” (even a blind man would be so impressed). And yet on both occasions in which His then-Beatitude was feted in Moscow, it was as an equal. When he returned to America he gave a Declaration of Independence at the Dallas cathedral that was by any measure a call to arms. He was chastised by Syosset because it was viewed as inflammatory to the EP.

      BTW, I’m very impressed with your command of English invective; it has been years since I’ve heard the phrase “Fie on your perfidy!” I rather like that.

      Since you so believe in the stability of our autocephaly, are you not concerned that the proper ecclesiastical protocols were not observed when HB Tikhon (a real primate) paid a visit to HE Elpidophorus (a mere exarch)? They may mean nothing to you but they do mean a lot to the hierarchy.

      The question ultimately at this juncture is not whether the OCA is and behaves as an autocephalous church but whether the EP and his exarch in America believes that the OCA is an autocephalous church. Once you start thinking along these lines then you will easily begin to envision a prospect in which the OCA’s autocephaly is open to debate as far as they are concerned. As a Greek, I will tell you –indeed, I assure you–that as far as Cpole and its eparchies are concerned, the the legitimacy of OCA’s autocephaly is as open question. In fact, it is a dead letter.

      Since you mentioned Met Jonah, as a staunch defender of his, I asked an open question to the Holy Synod of the OCA in the early days of that scandal, and it was this: If you want to put all rumors to rest, please issue a categorical statement along these lines: “Metropolitan Jonah is the Primate of the OCA. All rumors the contrary are baseless and we stand behind him without any reservation.” They did not.

      To put this story to rest and to quell any further dissent, I now ask the Holy Synod to issue the following proclamation and for them to append their signatures to it:

      “We, the Holy Synod of the OCA are the local, territorial and autocephalous Orthodox Church in North America. Although in the spirit of Christian love we respect and recognize the other canonical jurisdictions which reside on this continent, we have no intention of ceding any portion of our autocephaly –now or in the future–to any other Orthodox Church, whether it be another local Church or one of its eparchies.”

      It has to be that Shermanesque.*

      *So named after Gen Wm Tecumseh Sherman, who when asked to run for President said “If nominated I will not run and if elected I will not serve”.

      • George, 
        You begin your defense of your indefensible clickbaitery falling flat on your face with, “and yet… modernism and ecumenism blah blah”. I can’t follow your argument and you still haven’t substantiated your absurd claims by anything more than a red herring.
        As Iwanuq cites below, you need to recant this gross misstatement. 

        • George Michalopulos says

          Interestingly, you seem to avoid all mention of the ecumenism which is driving the Constantinopolitan drive for world hegemony. Are you perhaps frightened that the closer you look, the more disheartened you will become. (That is unless you are on board with all of Cpole’s schemes. Maybe I should at this point ask you where you sit on this spectrum?)

          For one who is so assured of my error, you seem awfully exercised about my assertions.

          • George for me the Ukrainian events were an eye opened.  As most Greeks with Faith, I had always regarded the Phanar with sympathy and sorrow re it’s situation and as a Greek I have felt pain for 1453 and anger for rest.  And over the yrs put my cash in collection for Phanar at Pascha etc and dutifully listened to the dry as dust professorial encyclicals. I must have been only one in the Church doing.g that.   And yes I had become aware being in Uk for some yrs that Phanar seemed to mean poor governance and  lack of clerical over sight and an  ignoring of liturgical disorder.  I also in the mid 1990s picked up on the attempt to make Bart’s  Uk visit into a “Papal style” triumphant entry. This fell flat on it’s face as the Greek cypriots gave the   finger up to it and the arm  extended flat palm  well saluted!  
            Since those virginal days where I gave respect and benefit of the doubt to Phanar bishops and rest, we have fallen a long way.
            Now I do not trust or believe any of them, indeed ACTIVELY dislike them and if not for my wider experience and Church life, I would be amongst the spiritual but unchurched. 
            They are time serving jerks posturing with hot air out of their reversed end, dressed up in their finary, inhabiting a la la land greek make believe land. If there are any on this blog,  my regards to you yr rotten humbleness here ??? My spiritual advice.  GO AND GET A JOB LIKE THE SUCKERS WHO KEEP U IN WATCHES AND NICE APPARTMENTS. Or just in yr cozy batchelor life. The previous generation were just nice bachelors enjoying their status etc that the real world would not give them .  This one however are  power hungry evil bastards and worse. Careerist happy bachelors.   

      • Christopher says

        One thing to note about your Shermanesque statement of OCA’s autocephaly is the modern (because of circumstances) yet ironic (given the intended use and spirit of the canon’s originally and in spirit) use of “canonical”.
        You see, “canonically” the OCA can not on the one hand assert itself as “the” local and canonical church and on the other “recognize” other canonical churches within its territory.   It’s a contradiction and the canons are as they are to prevent just such an occurrence.
        Also, the part about “{intentional} or in the future” would not be uttered in North America today by any bishop worth his salt because it is designed to close off any truly “canonical” solution to our uncanonical situation.  In other words such a an utterance is designed to simply under gird the status quo.  It is reactionary to what most folks here would say is the uncanonical actions/ecclesiology of the EP…..yet at the same time it is uttered from a position of weakness (in real politic terms) and uncanonicity (in canonical terms) in that the OCA’s ontology (by which I mean it’s *real* position as a church in the world) is uncanonical – it “recognizes” other bishops from other churches in its territory as a matter of course (explained away as a matter of love, etc.).
        Most bishops in NA would take a much more nuanced and realistic stance in any statement such as this – one that was more honest to both the cannons themselves and the actual history and situation of the Church in NA…..One that recognizes that since the Empire fell we don’t have any written “canonical” solution for the Church in the modern world – yet – it is in the future.  What we have instead is a messy, ad hoc mosaic of compromises…

        • George Michalopulos says

          Christopher, for the time being I will not address the historicity of the Russian-American mission on North America and how even Ecum Pat Benjamin III recognized it, nor the historical reality (the OCA’s “position of weakness”). Instead, I will point out to you that you are making my point. Perhaps unintentionally.

          Consider: By being realistic in the appraisal of the North American situation, when you state that any triumphalist statement would not be uttered because it would “…close off any truly ‘canonical’ solution…” you mean that dialogue, diplomacy and negotiation are necessary in order to rectify “…our uncanonical situation”.

          This is the very definition of diplomacy, which of course would entail the ceding of the OCA’s autocephaly or at least to be open to it. (I of course am not open to it. That’s why I’m screaming from the rooftops.) The reason of course is because of our “position of weakness” vis-a-vis the other jurisdictions. We are thus in agreement.

          What does this say about the stability of our autocephaly? Surely if you can see it, we can rest assured that Cpole sees it as well.

          Regardless, thank you for your cogent analysis.

          • Christopher says

            We are making each others point 😉
            Push the logic further – what does the (unstable) application of a canonical ecclesiology built on assumptions of Empire to a Church in the world as it is today (i.e. fall of said Empire, east-west split, nation states, secular culture, etc.) really look like? Not only autocephaly, but the stability of our entire ecclesiastical structure?  The common criticism from the west is “the Orthodox Church is just a collection of national and ethnic churches – they have lost their unam sanctam”, to which we reply “yea but we have dogmatic/liturgical/ascetical unity and Rome’s unity is a facade”.  Thing is, but assertions are true to a degree.
            Everyone sees this, or should.  Declarations and statements certainly can and are used in a real politic sort of way, but these sorts of positional plays are exactly the sort of “diplomacy” that got us to where we are today and will do nothing but further the status quo.  In this I am not very interested in it, because it does not go to the root of the problem.  Short of a real council, such negotiations and diplomacy is a game of tic tac toe and the only winning move is not to play – which is why any statement will be minimal because in the end we all want the same thing which is a real “canonical” solution to NA, autocephaly , so called “metropolitan’s” and “patriarch’s”, territory, etc. etc.
            I understand this in not very popular because if forces us to see the reality:  we all in fact stand on unstable (canonical) ground.  No one in NA is in fact “canonical”, and if you believe you are….then I have some beachfront property in Arizona I would like to show you.
            All this means that if your daily spiritual grounding is built upon being “canonical”, well then you have a very serious problem.  The Good News is that you too can be saved 😉

            • Monk James Silver says

              Suggesting, as ‘Christopher’ does here, that ‘no one in NA (North America?) is canonical’ has historically been the plaint of various sectarians and their groups which have splintered off from the legitimate Orthodox Christian ‘jurisdictions’ functioning in the western hemisphere.

              The fact is, though, that ALL of the legitimate ‘jurisdictions’ in North America are ‘canonical’ — it’s just that their putative reasons for existence pretty much evaporated with the creation of the Orthodox Church in America in 1970.

              While some ‘jurisdictions continue in operation apart from the OCA (they’d be welcome to affiliate at any time), some groups understood the implications of the OCA’s autocephalous status almost immediately, and joined it.

              These groups include the Albanians, most of the Bulgarians and a majority of Romanians, all of which retained their own internal administrations as eparchies and preserved many of the ethnic customs and languages which set them apart from other Orthodox Christians all within the same local autocephalous church. There was even an early movement to establish a Russian eparchy within the OCA, but the effort never built up enough momentum to become a reality.

              Altogether, ‘Christopher’ needs to rethink the meaning of ‘canonical’, and learn to recognize it when he sees it in action.

              • Christopher says

                No reason to refute this strange reading of the canons and history.  You find a comfort and even a kind of necessity from the products of the discursive mind ‘James’ that has withstood much more than anything that could be said by me or anyone else.
                I really just wanted to say ‘James’, you know, with the quotes… 😉

                • Christopher I salute yr wanting  to cut the crap  and the Church to talk the reality of now!! and not as Phanar, to live in a none existent Universe where some one has their hand over the mouth of the little kid trying to shout ‘ Mister u got no clothes “!!!
                  I get all the ambivilance re OCA autocephaly  as it tried for good relationships all round, but especially today, with the papal pretensions of Phanar plain to see, and hear, IF WE DO NOT DEFEND AND ACKNOWLEDGE OCA AND ACT ACCORDINGLY, then you in America are falling in to line with Phanar and furthering it’s delusions and consigning Orthodoxy in USA to the rubbish bin.

                • Monk James Silver says

                  While the intended meaning of this post from ‘Christopher’ is unclear, I would like to explain my use of quotation marks around his name, since he apparently thinks that it is some sort of insult. It is not.

                  When correspondents write here using their full, identifiable, real names, I don’t refer to them with quotation marks. Pseudonyms, though, as well as specious titles, nicknames and first names which could belong to just about anybody get set off by quotation marks because they aren’t real or complete names, just made-up words. That’s all there is to it.

                  My name, expressed without fear or shame, doesn’t qualify for such special treatment.

                  Now, if ‘Christopher’ would like to address the substance of my reply to his post, I’m sure that we’d all find his words interesting.

    • Correction: Patr. Alexei in the 90s. Also, the same admin in Moscow tried to intimidate Abp. Alexander Golitzin and failed. 

  26. From Bishop David of Alaska on Facebook:
    Beloved in the Lord. There is a very vicious rumor being circulated by someone with “impeccable sources” concerning the status of the OCA that is completely false. I will not even mention the rumor here because I will not be fuel it any further, but suffice it to say, IT IS COMPLETELY FALSE. Gossip at its lowest level. May God have mercy on all those who perpetrate lies. I John 4:20

    • Grorge Osborne says

      Pretty Shermanesque to me!!

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I was so surprised to hear His Grace characterize our concerns as “gossip at its lowest level,” especially since he had no trouble entering the fray with his 2 cents and a cup of coffee, I went to his Facebook page to look for the comment you mentioned. I couldn’t find it anywhere. Please provide a link. It would have been enough for him to say that as far as he knows, the story is untrue.  To accuse George and the rest of us of being “vicious” is as unnecessary as it is inaccurate and uncharitable.        

      • “To accuse George and the rest of us of being “vicious” is as unnecessary as it is inaccurate and uncharitable.”This whole “article” is made up from whole cloth. Literally no Bishop that has been asked has even heard of such a plan. It’s complete fabrication. The uncharitable is to simply assume it’s true, because of your own delusional biases, which are born from half-truths, and a lot of assumptions. There is not a shred of evidence that the OCA has even thought for a second about going under the EP, and several statements here paint a picture of certain individuals in the OCA which are the exact opposite of those people’s actual views. What. A. Joke…Btw, the comment is currently the second post on Bishop David’s FB page. It’s pretty much impossible to miss.  

        • George Michalopulos says

          You’re being quite categorical there.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          I half expected you to jump out at me and yell, “Made you look, made you look.” You know there is nothing on his page. His second post is his profile pic. The last time he posted something on Facebook was last month. Get a life, bud. You’ve got too much time on your hands.

          • Most of his posts aren’t public. You have to be friends with him to see it. 

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Then it would probably best if the few whom he chose to see it did not share it with 3,500 people.

              • I think private is his default posting setting, not something he chose especially for this post. He posts very frequently.  The tonet of the denial suggests that he wants it widely heard. 

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Thank you, PresterJ. I appreciate the heads up. I had forgotten that about FB. After reading your post, I went to Bishop David directly and he confirmed his words.

              It’s hard to know what’s real and what isn’t these days. When something like this comes from an individual who basically sticks their tongue out at you and says he’s “laughing” because “he knows more than you do,” it’s kind of hard to take anything he says seriously. If a bishop has something to say, I would encourage him to pick up the phone and tell George directly so their position doesn’t get buried in comments from the peanut gallery. George could have included Bishop David’s comments had he known. It might have changed the direction of the entire piece or Bishop David might have learned more about George knows. Having a dialog is never a mistake even if nothing comes of it.

      • Fr. George Washburn says

        Gail is surprised to hear last Thursday’s article criticized as “gossip at its lowest level.”  
        Precisely!  You folks are so far down the rabbit hole of internet skirmishing  you cannot see yourselves, actions, and biases clearly.  Some of us here try to do so from time to time, albeit in my case not charitably or gently enough on various occasions.  I apologize.  
        Ask yourself how you would feel if someone who has your phone number and email publicly accused you of a sneaky undermining of your closest family members … without checking the “facts” with you first.   (That is the closest I can come to analogizing the Mono allegations to what little I know of your lives and what we all clearly know of Met. Tikhon’s office and duties.) 
        I do not for one second think you folks would engage in such conduct toward your own biological family!   Which makes it sadder when we look down at the signature line on the license to do this to your spiritual one …. and see you signed it yourselves.  

      • Fr. George Washburn says

        Gail is surprised to hear last Thursday’s article criticized as “gossip at its lowest level.”  
        Precisely!  You folks are so far down the rabbit hole of internet skirmishing  you cannot see yourselves, actions, and biases clearly.  Some of us here try to do so from time to time, albeit in my case not charitably or gently enough on various occasions.  I apologize.  
        Ask yourself how you would feel if someone who has your phone number and email publicly accused you of a sneaky undermining of your closest family members … without checking the “facts” with you first.   (That is the closest I can come to analogizing the Mono allegations to what little I know of your lives and what we all clearly know of Met. Tikhon’s office and duties.) 
        I do not for one second think you folks would engage in such conduct toward your own biological family!   Which makes it sadder when we look down at the signature line on the license to do this to your spiritual one …. and see you signed it yourselves.  
        I have proved capable of making and repeating many mistakes, and there is a lifetime of evidence to support that view.  With that firmly in mind, I hope I am charitable in recognizing your best intentions while recommending some amended rules of engagement.  

        • Michael Bauman says

          Father, unfortunately even if the particular proposal was not planned, it is still a feasible possibility given the actions and attitudes of some members of the hierarchy in the past.

          The GOA in particular.

          The internet can certainly be a place on which and through which rumor is fomented and propagated, but it is also a place where actions and activities folks want hidden can be reveled both personally and corporately.

          It behooves each of us to discern and try not to be lead by fear.

          All I can say that given the hierarchical flux right now, I am praying: “Lord God of hosts, be with us for we have none other hope in times of trouble but you. O Lord of Hosts have mercy on us.”

          I started singing that prayer in earnest on 9/11.

          Whatever the particulars, we are in a time of troubles for the Church. We need more public and consistent leadership from our bishops than they are used to giving. That alone would dispel many rumors. Right now, we are not getting that from any of them as far as I can see. Reactivity, waffling and self-serving statements that do not say much of anything also foments and propagates rumors.

          There are three fundamental ways to respond to rumors, true, partly true or false: 1. The Queen of Hearts method: “Off with their heads”, i.e. attack; 2. Pusillanimous statements of non-denial denials; 3. Real authoritative, Christ based leadership that is public, consistent and proactive that takes into consideration and addresses the very real concerns of laity and clergy alike.

          Only #3 will actually reduce rumors. #1 and #2 serve only to increase the rumors and support their veracity.

          I know good, sober people who have expressed to me the plausibility of claims George has published here.

          The truth is in the pudding. I tend to favor the theory that the plans were real but revealing them at this juncture put a temporary halt to them. That does not mean that I am going down a rabbit hole. It is more reflective of the fact that I do not trust most of the hierarchy in most jurisdictions. Most have not earned my trust.

          The fact of the matter is that if the plans are real and if they are pursued, the OCA will be split. The, what appear to me, to be heretical acts and beliefs of the EP and his people have triggered this. Confronting heresy or the possibility of heresy is a heart rending task and it always leads to people be declared anathema. Not a pleasant prospect. But repentance is always a possibility. Confronting heresy or seeming heresy also opens the path to greater and deeper repentance on the part of us all. Done properly, it actually strengthens the Church and allows for deeper healing.

          If our hierarchy from all jurisdictions does not confront openly and honestly the issues that given rise to such possibilities, then we will all have a much more difficult time and the sheep will be scattered and subject to wolves and other predators.

          That is the overwhelming message I get from the conversation here–a plea for the bishops to act openly, honestly and in a Christ centered way to protect us.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Michael, as usual, you hit the nail right on the head with one pithy observation: You do not put whole lot of “trust in the hierarchy…as most have not earned my trust”.


            Case in point: Ligonier; Estonia, Ukraine, the constant confusion of “sister” and “mother/daughter” relationships between the local churches, and now a curious reinterpretation of the word autocephaly. In addition, an almost non-stop revisionism of the historical and Scriptural record to fit whatever scenario is required at the moment.

            • Michael Bauman says

              George, beyond even what you mention is the failure of even the best of the bishops to lead openly and pastorally on everyday things in a consistent manner.  Even the best of them often seem to be invisible.  
              Certainly there are many bishops I do trust but still there is a void of leadership. In the absence of clear consistent leadership, rumors abound.  To me, “Rightly dividing the word of Truth” is what we are missing.  

            • Christopher says

              Michael, George, and Gail:
              Without trust, there is no real communication (and even more to the point no real communion).  Gail asks why would not Met. Tikhon call up George and set the record straight? My reaction is “Why would he?!”  There is no foundation of trust and thus no real relationship.  George does not run a “journalistic” enterprise (in that Walter Cronkite sort of way that never actually existed).  George is a controversialist, and this site is about agendas and opinions and “answers” to difficult questions.  This is not a criticism, it is a fact and I appreciate much of the work George has done through the years.
              On the other hand Fr. George Washburn, Met. Tikhon, and every other cleric are company men.  They assume a “family” as Fr. George put it that may or may not be real (the “family” could be fundamentally dysfunctional, divorced, a historic fiction, etc.).  As company men they put the external unity of the company in front of everything else, sometimes even over and against the truth.  Their first and last instinct is to hold things together. 
              Here is a hard truth Michael, the bishops of NA are not “openly and honestly the issues that given rise to such possibilities….” because on the one had it goes against their institution first instincts, and on the other (and more important) they don’t have the answers.  They are by and large average men with average minds, habits, characters, etc. and they don’t know what the answers  – in this case exactly how to be Orthodox “canonically” in our modern time and place.
              So what’s an average man without answers and whose purposes are generally not in line with George’s going to do?  Call George up just to verify that George thinks differently and “knows” what the answer here in NA, Ukraine, and the rest of the word is…what’s the point in that?
              I am with Rod Dreher on much of this.  Traditional Christians need to stop looking toward the hierarchy for answers.  The hierarchy are only as healthy as the Body from which they come.  It is obvious that our (NA and for that matter world) Orthodox hierarchy are mere reflections of a highly secularized and ‘punch drunk’ Body who still has not figured out how to be Orthodox in a secular culture…

              • George Michalopulos says

                A very perceptive analysis, Christopher. My only quibble is that I don’t view myself as a “controversialist” (at least I hope not) but as a polemicist and on occasion, observer.

                And while I agree with you and Rod Dreher about the nature and efficacy of the hierarchy, such an understanding can lead to a regrettable conclusion: That if they are that superfluous, then perhaps we should strip them of their quasi-imperial regalia and titles.

                • Christopher says

                  That’s right George.  What exactly is the meaning of all this quasi-imperial symbolism in this modern world?  Really, what is, exactly, a “Metropolitan” or a “Patriarch” in any culture/government of the present? 
                  The Kingdom of God is a Kingdom obviously, and not a quasi-democratic culture built around comfort and prosperity, so there is a truth of course in this older symbolism that we should not just “update” in that modern progressive way like the Fordham boys would have us do.
                  Yet, what is the fruit of the present Imperial Church of the East – simply carrying forward a deep and profound memory of the Empire and a ecclesiology that assumes it and is built for it?
                  One place to start might be to ask ourselves why we reflexively avoid the question.  Notice how you find considering it “regrettable”.  Do we suffer from nostalgia, or is there more to it?

              • Michael Bauman says

                Christopher, they do not have to “have the answers”. I do not expect them to have the answers. It would be nice if they would lead though. Leaders do not need to have the answers, they need to be just confident enough to admit that and then go look for the answers together with others, realizing that there is no “right place” to come to. It is a dynamic process that every living community goes through, dysfunction or not.

                People are hurting, people who love God and Jesus Christ and the Church. It is enough to know that and respond with love, compassion, respect and leadership instead of moving the deck chairs on the Titanic relying on outgrown lifeless protocols and formulas.

                Dare to be human and step out of the boat in the middle of the storm looking to follow Jesus. They might be surprised at how many folks do the same.

                Question 1: Whom do I serve?
                Question 2: How does this action stand in light of the two great commandments of our LORD?

                The bishops I trust I know to be good and loving men no matter what other flaws and limitations they may have. I either know this from personal encounters or the testimony of others or the record of their actions and statements. Most of them are in my jurisdiction but not all. I do not need to trust them all, I need to trust just one, that they are indeed open to the direction of the Holy Spirit.

                Part of the problem which I have been lamenting for years is that few bishops seem to have any real connection to a parish or the people of their diocese. If they exist only in a vacuum, then all they are, are manikins for fancy anachronistic costumes. They are not the representatives of the Incarnate Lord.

                Forgive me if I am wrong, but I do not want anything to do with any Greek bishop.

                • Christopher says

                  “…relying on outgrown lifeless protocols and formulas….Part of the problem which I have been lamenting for years is that few bishops seem to have any real connection to a parish or the people of their diocese. If they exist only in a vacuum, then all they are, are manikins for fancy anachronistic costumes….”

                  A handful in the Church have directly addressed what you point out here Michael. Fr. Schmemann did years ago, Fr. Hopko more recently. Currently Fr. Lawrence Farley does in his book “The Empty Throne: Reflections on the History and Future of the Orthodox Episcopacy”

                  However I will have to disagree with you that the bishops do not have the answers, or that even you and I don’t. The Church, as it really is in the present in each of its instances, is an answer. The bishops by their life, work, and place within the hierarchy are the answer, even if it is not a very good answer. It is in fact yesterday’s answer, or more accurately it is an answer for a different culture and time – the post-Constantine Empire. Our NA version is just a variation on this answer.

                  You and I, by being in communion with these bishops are also now part of the that (granted old and in many ways dysfunctional) answer. This is part of the reason I can only hold them accountable to a certain degree, because they are us.

                  I don’t like these sorts of answers I have made myself a part of. So I can rightly be called a “Benedict Option” Christian now. Orthodoxy is not a sub-culture, or a counter-culture, or a “Christendom” within secularism. Rather it is mostly a mere reflection of the dominant secular culture, with a few (or rather many 😉 ) “lord have mercy’s” thrown in. This is not to say that its ‘ortho-doxia’ is not true, just that it is not very well lived and so it does not bear much good fruit.

                  I suppose I am saying that to wait on a hierarchy that actually leads in some kind of obviously clear Christian and moral way (the very thing needed in this secular and sentimental Age) is the same as waiting on the Lord.

                  • Christopher, 
                    your post is a very good one, with valid points.
                    SO, WHAT DO WE DO NOW, we, laity, about some hierarchy?
                    We do not listen to them, but rather follow the word of God (Bible), not like the Protestants, but as interpreted and analysed by the Holy Fathers of the Church like St. john Chrysostom et al.
                    There are some Bishops out-there who simply love these ancient regalia and all the Glory of the Bishop.
                    That is why Chrysostom clearly instructs us how much we must bow our heads to specific Bishops:
                    St.John Chrysostom, at the end of his life as Archpishop of Cpole   said something very important about the respect shown to various Bishops:
                    ” But he went into the baptistery, and called Olympias, a lady who spent all her time in the church, and Pentadia, and Procle, the deaconesses,243 and Silvina, the widow of the blessed Nevridius,244 who adorned her widowhood by a beautiful life, and said to them, “Come here, my daughters, and listen to me. I see that the things concerning me have an end; 245 I have finished my course 246 and perhaps you will see my face no more.247 What I want to ask you is this: let no one dissever you from the good-will you have always borne to the Church; and whoever succeeds me, if |87 he be brought forward for ordination not by his own wish, and without place-hunting, with the approval of all, bow your heads to him, as you have done to John. The Church cannot exist without a bishop. And so may you find mercy. Remember me in your prayers.”(The Life of Chrysostom, Chapter X).

                    Notice that Chrysostom gave this advice to the most obedient part of the congregation, the women. So, he includes all of us men, even priests and younger bishops, not to bow our heads to specific hierarchy!

                    It seems, we must do our home work, and decide how much we must bow to specific hierarchy. If we find out that they have done everything to become Bishops, let us remember Chrysostom, they will also do everything to remain Bishops (e.g for the regalia, the glory etc). If such is the case, it is better for our soul, and for theirs, to leave them and go to good hierarchy.

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Christopher, your statement that without trust there is no communion has been on my mind.  While it is certainly true on one level–our ability to realize and consciously partake of the communion. On a deeper level I think it misstates the reality.  

                      We live in communion with God whether we know it or not.  If that were not so, we would cease to exist. Without it, forgiveness and mercy are impossible.  

                      The unbreakable reality of our communion with God is shown by Jesus’ words on the Cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

                      As Orthodox Christians we are initiated into a deeper participation of communion through Baptism, Chrismation and our continuing to live in the sacraments, the mysteries. 

                      The communion goes on nevertheless. None of us create it, none of us control it. We are open to it or not by degrees. However It just is, a fundamental expression of the I Am.
                      Now we can pollute and deny that reality as much as we want or we can open to it’s existence and share in the life.  

                      Doing that in trying circumstances where we have been hurt or even betrayed is a challenge, but the example is before us:. Our Lord on the Cross.  

                      May His mercy sustain us.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      I know that this is rather late in the day but for what it’s worth, one of my sources for this story told me a little over two years ago that Met Elpidophoros “was going to be the next Arb of the GOA”.  The only reason he wasn’t already in place on 79th St was because Arb Demetrios was dragging his heels and the Phanar was trying to find a way to force him out.

                      So, yeah, I believed him now because he was 100% correct then.  

                      Just sayin’.

          • Fr. George Washburn says

            The key phrase in Mr. Bauman’s reply is “ I tend to favor the theory…”  that Met. Tikhon and the OCA bishops were engaged in clandestine maneuvers which they now falsely deny.   This candor is very helpful.  
            Once such theories hold sway, and we detach ourselves from reliable moorings such as “ be very suspicious of hearsay,” “doubt sources who cannot be named,” and “presume innocence in the absence of credible evidence appropriate to the magnitude of the charges,” it is a short distance indeed before arriving at “shoot first and ask questions later” or “shoot ‘em all and let God sort ‘em out.”  
            Had George published a headline and text that said “I am worried that the OCA leaders might….because two anonymous people I trust said so” I would only be criticizing him for not asking the bishops first.  The four ways in which he punched up the headline and resulting text to anoint his fears as fact, if not fait accompli, highlights the degree to which fear mongering and gossip trading holds sway.  
            Hardly the way to encourage episcopal candor, is it, if the people who claim to want an honest dialogue are so ready to measure, if not fit, them for a noose beforehand?  
            Fr. G

            • Christopher says

              Fr. George,
              Thing is, there are indeed ecclesiastical and even theological “factions” within the OCA and every other NA jurisdiction.  For example, did you notice how some within the OCA treated Met. Jonah?  Did you notice how Met. Tikhon & Jillions handled (both past and present) Fr. Arida (and bishop Nikon) who wish to reform Orthodoxies normative anthropological and moral tradition to account for the “new” anthropology and culture of homosexualism?  This accounting could go on and on.
              The distance between these factions is large, and there is no trust – and for good reason.  In a sense, a divorce has happened in Orthodoxy – between the secularized and worldly “progressives” and those whom they label as “traditionalists” with they proviso that they are “falsely” traditional).
              Do those who have suffered a divorce and betrayal assume that the other will tell the truth, or talk to them except under the most guarded circumstances?

              • Fr. George Washburn says

                I normally don’t reply to a comment unaccompanied by a real first and last name, but your message seems to raise an important issue in a sincere, non-pejorative way, Christopher.  The issue: how do we conduct ourselves when there is reason to suspect clandestine maneuvers by people known, or at least suspected, to have done wrong before?   
                Clint Eastwood, or at least his script writers, typified the formula.  1.  A good guy with or without a good cause. 2.  A bad guy with or without a bad cause.  3.  Some affront or grievous injury by the bad guy to the good guy or his family.  4.  Big conflict.  5.  Vengeance, with the good guy, despite some wounds and losses, winning.  
                We were raised on the media’s firehose delivery of such formulaic fantasy and distraction during the post-war decades.  And we have gotten attuned, if not addicted, to the emotional manipulations and payoffs when the good guy gets the girl, the bad guy, or both.  
                Does the Church (or this little expression of it) do well to tout uncorroborated fear or suspicion as a BREAKING fact, a done deal?   No, because a poke in the eye or its internet equivalent provokes the kind of Clint Eastwood style mistrust, emotion and retaliation that will quickly make loving unity in the Body of Christ impossible.  
                Ask questions if we must (“Does OCA concelebration with Greeks auger closer ties with or submission to the EP?” for example) and seek and report factual answers, but the breathless posting of uncorroborated, uninvestigated and highly-charged claims, such as we have just seen, only promotes more of the sad, human tit-for-tatism we learned as little children ….and have seen poison politics, blogs, communities, marriages, churches, international relations, etc. minute by minute, day by day, all our lives.   

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  Father George,

                  When you ask “Does the Church . . . do well to tout uncorroborated fear or suspicion as a BREAKING fact . . .” you seem to be forgetting that George was told it was a BREAKING fact and it was cohobated. Frankly, I suspect the powers-that-be might have considered going down this path and then thought better of it after seeing the reaction of this “little expression of the Church” we like to call “the laity.”

                  You seem to be missing the greater point here. Ask yourself WHY would we do this? We do this because we love the OCA and she doesn’t have to negotiate with terrorists. If Bartholomew wants to unite this country, and he is under all kinds of pressure to do exactly that, he’s going have to do it without unseating her. There’s no way we’re going to have our Church become a stepchild of the EP in our own country. The OCA is perfectly capable of handling different parishes with different ethnic backgrounds frankly a LOT better than anyone else. Any time we sense Bartholomew is getting creative about rolling her up under him, you’re going to see this kind of pushback. We don’t want some “Ukrocephalous” arrangement recognized by no one here. Bartholomew can go back to his gaming room in Turkey where he and his bishops who rule over extinct dioceses that no longer exist think up these crazy things. No one will bother him. However, if he wants to come through OUR door he’s going to have to do it through the cooperation of the Locals Churches and the OCA, who for once should have the place of honor.

                  • Fr. George Washburn says

                    Let’s define terms, in this case corroboration.  
                    If Met. Tikhon was accused of chewing gum with his mouth open, corroboration from just about anybody, even a photo, would be just fine.  After all it would only be a minor social faux pas of no impact to his integrity or suitability to lead.  
                    Here the accusation was the exact opposite.  A clandestine conspiracy to unilaterally undermine the identity and status of the OCA, not to mention its relations with the other Churches and institutions with which it cooperates, and circumvent the OCA statute.   
                    What is the predictable effect of such a claim?   Undermining of the laity’s trust in the Metropolitan?   The sowing of discord among brethren?  Distraction of people from attending to their salvation?   The further debasing of what passes for dialogue among the members of the Body of Christ?  Loss of financial support? All of the above?   You guys don’t care! 
                    IF this blog’s pretensions to journalistic objectivity and reliability were valid, and George believed the redcoats were coming that very day, the responsible thing to have done (considering the potential impact of being mistaken) – after asking for public comment from OCA leaders ready to be identified by name – would have been to ask a public question, not pass on anonymous accusations as fact.   
                    And Gail, the fact that George did it without your involvement until after posting is a distinction without a difference.  You quickly endorsed it, and waited until after posting your public support to think of asking Bp. David about it.  

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Father George,

                      The only reason I went to Bishop David is to confirm if he said what the anonymous poster claimed he did. He can verify that for you as FB tracks these exchanges. I couldn’t find it on his public FB page and the link Ortho Christianity provided went nowhere. It was my intention to delete the comment if I couldn’t substantiate it. The anonymous person who posted his comments used multiple names tied to the same IP address which is suspicious, especially since I don’t know the individual. I didn’t want to embarrass Bishop David if he was misquoted.

                      You, however, just admitted you trashed me to over 3500 people having no evidence I had any involvement, whatsoever, in what George posted, yet you attributed the entire thing to me. When challenged, how did you respond? Did you apologize? Did you say you misunderstood? No. You said it was “a distinction without a difference.” In other words, you see no problem leading all these people to believe I tried to “undermine the laity’s trust in the Metropolitan” which was what you thought was the intended goal of all this. – In my book, we don’t call it a “distinction without a difference.” We call it defamation. You wanted to undermine my credibility with Syosset and the laity.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Fr, you’re being rather unfair to Gail. You after all, are a lawyer (if memory serves). Clearly as someone who has a legal degree, you would have seen that I was quite careful in my wording in the original post (which was published one week ago today). One of my sources said that the recognition of the OCA by the EP was “a done deal”. Another one said that the negotiations were “on-going”. That is what I wrote.

                      Gail, and I must assume thousands of others within the OCA were horrified at this prospect, and thus the phones at Syosset and the various chanceries melted down. Perhaps we were overly hasty to be so worried (I certainly hope so). Regardless, your critique beginning in paragraph #3 is not without merit; as a priest you offer wise counsel to the perplexed in the laity. That is, until you get to the 5th paragraph: “Distraction of people from attending to their salvation?”

                      Respectfully, yes, this is a distraction and that’s not a good thing. But the context is important and cannot be ignored. We, the laity of the OCA are not engaging in gossip or dissension but are rightly concerned that what we and the Holy Spirit has wrought in our Church on these shores could be imperiled. Let me be blunt: As much as we love our GOA brethren, we (how shall I put this delicately?) don’t necessarily see the grass as being greener over on 79th Street. I’d rather not engage in a pissing contest here with other jurisdictions but merely point out that when it comes to evangelism to the American Old Stock demographic, pastoral care for immigrant-derived ethnic groups, and commitment to the pro-life cause, the OCA is not found wanting by any means.

                      Similarly, on an experiential, pastoral level, the OCA has won the language wars regarding the liturgical services. And unless I’m mistaken, the liturgical rubrics (e.g. antiphons, litany of the catechumens, etc.) are celebrated in correct order and without dissension. And they have been achieved in the OCA in an aesthetically pleasing (i.e. not excruciatingly ugly) modernist fashion. And of course there is the practice of Confession, which has been in abeyance in the GOA since its inception.

                      Whatever our deficits are, I can honestly say that I have never regretted joining the OCA. Because of familial ties, I keep a toe-hold in the GOA and I can’t tell you that liturgically and linguistically speaking, things have gotten any better in that jurisdiction. Of course, I make an annual pilgrimage to the GOA monastery but that’s a horse of a completely different color.

                      Then there is the issue of the ecumenism, devotion to globalism and modernism that many of us feel is intrinsic to the See of Constantinople. I would add heresy but the novel primus sine parabus doctrine exposited by the present exarch has not been ruled as such yet by a church council. Let us agree instead that it is very startling to Orthodox sensibilities at the very least. I can’t imagine that you, as a priest in Antioch, would disagree with this assessment.

                      Regardless, because of mine (and Gail’s and everybody else’s) devotion to our autocephaly and other attendant benefits (as recounted above), we all were rightly aroused by any attempts –rumored or otherwise–to submit ourselves to the exarchate of the EP. And we would be right to be so aroused.

                  • Well  said Gail!

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Well said. As a member of the OCA I see no reason at all why we should submit to the EP. The GOA maybe richer but their experiences in evangelism is nil at least here in America.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Fr. George, succinctly put my understanding of what you wrote to Christopher is to love your enemies and bless those that curse you, no matter how often they do it. If they want your jacket, give them a cloak.

                  The companion to that is the old folk saying: Bishops die, babushkas live forever.

                  Perhaps we do expect too much from bishops. We give them too much credit and too much blame. Christopher is correct that if we want better bishops, we have to be better Christians, stronger Christian communities.

                  None of that, however, really addresses the existential reality that the EP is going around creating chaos in the Church. As a lay person I cannot do much of anything about it. If I thought I could get in front of the new Greek Archbishop I would address him personally as the Bible instructs us. If he maintains his current path of disruption, then I could write him off Scripturally. Seems that it is not too much to expect our bishops to do something similarly. They at least can get to see him.

                  But, given the experience that folks in the OCA have had with their bishops, it is understandable that they do not have a great deal of trust.

                  • Excuse me Mr. Baumann, but what kind of experience of OCA laity would be making them distrust their bishops?

                    Are you still referring obliquely to the early retirement of my friend Metr. Jonah Paffhausen? Anyone with both feet in the OCA should understand by this late date the many reasons why our pastor and mentor, the former Abbot Jonah did not work out as Primate. This isn’t even controversial except among you revanchist sticks in the mud.

                    And by the way, George M. is completely out of line publishing this clickbait about the EP gobbling up the OCA – his ‘diligent reportage’ is rumor-mongering and served only the devil’s agenda to divide and cast doubt. Where are his sources? I will save you the effort of looking. It is Abp. Elpidophorus himself if not his mentor, Black Bart!

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Claes, perhaps the laity of the OCA does not, but given their actions in the past I would not trust them.  

                • Christopher says

                  “The issue: how do we conduct ourselves…”
                  It appears you have a chicken or egg problem here Fr. George.  On the one hand you rightly want a conduct that is simply said, mature and Christian.  On the other hand trust is built upon something real – actual past behavior – and is not a kind of blind and heroic leap of faith.  Trust and conduct are related.  People “conduct” themselves differently around people they do not and/or can not trust, and this differing conduct is prudential and salutary.
                  Putting aside your criticism of post-war culture (which is at best marginally relevant), are you as a man and as a priest of the Church also in some form or fashion addressing the conduct to which I referred and is at the root of lack of trust?
                  Are you suffering from clericalism  – blaming everyday human sin, Clint Eastwood, “the internet”, and whatever else instead the root cause of the mistrust which is the bishops (and in fact everyone who is in communion with them) faithlessness and finger-in-the-air-progressivism which is the source of the factions?

                  • Fr. George Washburn says

                    Let’s define terms, in this case corroboration.  
                    If Met. Tikhon was accused of chewing gum with his mouth open, corroboration from just about anybody, even a photo, would be just fine.  After all it would only be a minor social faux pas of no impact to his integrity or suitability to lead.  
                    Here the accusation was the exact opposite.  A clandestine conspiracy to unilaterally undermine the identity and status of the OCA, not to mention its relations with the other Churches and institutions with which it cooperates, and circumvent the OCA statute.   
                    What is the predictable effect of such a claim?   Undermining of the laity’s trust in the Metropolitan?   The sowing of discord among brethren?  Distraction of people from attending to their salvation?   The further debasing of what passes for dialogue among the members of the Body of Christ?  Loss of financial support.   All of the above?   You guys don’t care! 
                    IF this blog’s pretensions to journalistic objectivity and reliability were valid, and George believed the redcoats were coming that very day, the responsible thing to have done (considering the potential impact of being mistaken) – after asking for public comment from OCA leaders ready to be identified by name – would have been to ask a public question, not pass on anonymous accusations as fact.   
                    And Gail, the fact that George did it without your involvement until after posting is a distinction without a difference.  You quickly endorsed it, and waited until after posting your public support to think of asking Bp. David about it.  

                  • Fr. George Washburn says

                    Replying briefly to both Mr. Bauman and Christopher, of course I am not advocating blind trust.  I am suggesting that Christian love starts by believing the best and in light of prudence and experience proceeds to check (always with the accused, not just the accuser) and verify insofar as possible before making public accusations.   Especially Christian leaders.  
                    Taking the law into a posse’s hands in a cowboy movie can be analogized to stringing up a bishop on the Internet because two whisperers spun a story that suits one’s ears & narrative.  
                    Doing so without the fundamental cautions and safeguards we’d all want someone to follow before trumpeting negativity about us  is violating the Golden Rule writ small … in a situation where the posse leader is tempted, not to say impelled, to take chances with the reputation and ministry of a bishop essentially powerless to protect himself.  

                • “…the breathless posting of uncorroborated, uninvestigated and highly-charged claims, such as we have just seen, only promotes more of the sad, human tit-for-tatism we learned as little children.”
                  The above quote is why I left Facebook a long time ago. FB (or Twitter, or whatever) thrives and survives on “the breathless posting of uncorroborated, uninvestigated and highly-charged claims.”
                  I no longer wanted to support that power that we give to these social media platforms.
                  Plus, FB/Twitter/et al. make money off of internet/social media addiction. Just like I have a moral problem with the bartender continuing to serve drinks to the guy at the counter who’s clearly drunk, I could no longer support social media’s corrupt capitalism at the expense of those whom it knows very well have internet/social media addiction. 

            • Michael Bauman says

              As with Christopher’s comment yours has been on my mind as well.  Similar vein.  
              Just because I have a strong bias, a working hypothesis if you will which I think reasonable because of my own study and experience, a hypothesis that leads me to mistrust, does not mean I have a rope in my hand.  
              That is a leap you make which is not valid for everyone, but I see some of the reasons you make that leap.  
              The solution the same in any case.  What keeps me from taking the step of going to my brother and entering into the Biblical process of loving confrontation is the strong possibility that the end will not be reconciliation but the necessity described in Scripture of “having nothing more to do with that person”. 
              Thus we have Hamlet’s dilemma choosing to bear the ills we know rather than to take arms against a sea of troubles.  
              God is merciful in either case.

              • Fr. George Washburn says

                Michael, I never said or thought you had a rope in your hand.  Not so with George, et. al.   
                George regales us with the tale of spider and fly, clearly comparing his hierarch, Met. Tikhon to a vain and stupid little insect.   Is this OCA loyalty OK style, or O.K. Corral style,?    
                Let me offer instead the story of Chicken Little, or maybe the boy who cried “wolf.”   The stupid and unnecessary kerfluffles created by ignoring the conventions of mature Christian or secular discourse in my opinion only waste energy and dissipate the goodwill that is always needed to deal effectively with the threats posed by secular and Church political agendas and correctness …  or other human follies.
                I did not find George’s piece carefully worded, unless he is referring to some niceties of vocabulary and syntax that totally escaped me once I understood the gist, the accusation that His Eminence was a Benedict Arnold *presently engaged in and committed to* clandestine spiritual treason.   
                St. James told us two millenia ago that the tongue is a deadly poison, a world of evil set on fire by hell.  Do the powers and temptations of instantaneous internet attack make “ the tongue” more or less dangerous? Do careless and/or self-anointed accusers here unwittingly fan the devil’s flames?    
                If George could only be half as suspicious of himself and his methods as he is of others, we’d be better off. But as Christopher observes, this blog is an exercise in carefully crafted partisanship resembling news reporting, but at heart not cautious or reliable investigative journalism.  Hopefully this incident will help us never to forget that.  

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Fr, with all due respect, your critique is quite interesting. First of all, it’s “His Beatitude” not “His Eminence“. Secondly, I never accused anybody of treason or called that person a “Benedict Arnold”. (Nor do I have a rope in my hand.) Nor did I ever compare His Beatitude to a “vain and stupid little insect”. If you cannot see that the fable of the Ant and the Spider is quite apropos given the novel doctrines peddled by Pat Bartholomew and his exarch here in America, well, then there is no chance of honest dialogue.

                  And I must again state that I did not say who was engaging in these alleged negotiations. Nor if they were engaged in “spiritual treason”. Fr forgive me, but you way overstate the case.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Father George,

          I had nothing to do with George’s piece. I was not privy to any of the conversations that led up to it. I did not know or talk to any of his sources, nor did I know anything was afoot until I read the story hours after George published it. I had no facts to verify, and if I did, I wouldn’t know how to contact Metropolitan Tikhon. I don’t have his phone number or email address; never have. When I learned about Bishop David’s feelings, I did follow up with him, though. He thanked me for the pleasant exchange and I walked away with a better understanding of Syosset’s position which, of course, I shared with George. This was last night.

          Was it “uncharitable” of you to accuse me of all these “sneaky” things that one would be ashamed to have on their spiritual resume. Yes. None of it is true. Do I feel you “recognized my best intentions”? No.

          • Fr. George Washburn says

            If you look carefully at my message, Gail, you will see no claim by me that you participated in the TH article by George before he posted it. 
            I did detect some energetic support for it by you after it appeared.  Including your surprise that it could be considered low gossip.  
            Your later check with the Bishop of Alaska is one of the reasons why I normally credit you with such good intentions.  
            You are avoiding the thrust of my four point critique of the article, that overblown headline with the word BREAKING, all caps, etc., etc.  What is left for the headline writing department to do if/when something real and corroborated comes along?   

            • Gail Sheppard says

              You say I should look at this closely and I will find “no claim by you that I participated in the TH article by George before he posted it.” Let’s do that, Father. Let’s look at what you said closely, line by line.

              Your Defamatory Comment:

              Gail is surprised to hear last Thursday’s article criticized as “gossip at its lowest level.”
              Precisely! You folks are so far down the rabbit hole of internet skirmishing you cannot see yourselves, actions, and biases clearly. Some of us here try to do so from time to time, albeit in my case not charitably or gently enough on various occasions. I apologize.
              Ask yourself how you would feel if someone who has your phone number and email publicly accused you of a sneaky undermining of your closest family members … without checking the “facts” with you first. (That is the closest I can come to analogizing the Mono allegations to what little I know of your lives and what we all clearly know of Met. Tikhon’s office and duties.)
              I do not for one second think you folks would engage in such conduct toward your own biological family! Which makes it sadder when we look down at the signature line on the license to do this to your spiritual one …. and see you signed it yourselves.
              I have proved capable of making and repeating many mistakes, and there is a lifetime of evidence to support that view. With that firmly in mind, I hope I am charitable in recognizing your best intentions while recommending some amended rules of engagement.

              To whom were you replying? Me

              Whose name is in your first sentence? Mine

              Whose comment regarding “gossip” were you referring to? Mine

              When you said, “. . . you cannot see yourselves, actions, and biases clearly,” was this in response to what was written in the article? Yes

              When you said, “Ask Yourself. . .,” “You folks. . .,” etc. who was the only person you mentioned who might fall into these categories? Me

              By way of explanation, when you later said you were reacting to the “overblown headline”, does this headline appear anywhere in your comment? No

              In my “energetic support” as you characterized it, after George’s article appeared, did I say anything about trying to lead a revolt against the Metropolitan, as you later indicate? No

              When you said you included “recognizing my best intentions” because I had gone to Bishop David, had I given you any indication I was going to reach out to him? No

              If you had no idea I was going to reach out to him, could you have been referring to it at this juncture? No

              I think it would be difficult for any reasonable person to conclude you were not speaking about the article and not singling me out as responsible for the article throughout the entire comment in question, as well as in subsequent comments in your attempt to wiggle out of what you said originally! You also stupidly indicate that my end game is to generate distrust of the Metropolitan. This is 100% false and THIS, Father, is how nasty rumors are started. Even now, in your denial, you are misrepresenting my interpretation of your comments when they are all there in black and white.

              You have gone so far as calling me “sneaky” and suggested what I do is akin to “undermining my closest family members.” You even had the audacity to say, “when we look down at the signature line on the license to do this to your spiritual one …. and see you signed it yourselves.” These are terrible, inflammatory things to say a member of the Church.

              You targeted me and you manufactured my involvement in some kind of imaginary conspiracy, to which you ascribed some preposterous motive. A motive which is diametrically opposed to what I am really trying to do which is to support our bishops against the intrusion of the EP. This is supported by virtually every comment I have ever made on the subject.

              If you say such irresponsible things on a public forum, which is read (not just accessed) by well over 3500 different people per day, one can only imagine the damage you’ve done offline.

              It is you who is leading a revolt, Father, and you have launched it against me. Because you’re a priest, someone in whom we should be able to place our trust, you have seriously damaged my credibility and you’ve done it with malice. This is not the first or second time, either. You have made a mission out of discrediting me. Your responses after George’s interviews is further evidence of that fact. You did everything within your power to suggest that my story wasn’t true up to and including saying I hadn’t provided any evidence, which is blatantly untrue, as you received it, personally.

              Again, no reasonable person could conclude, differently, and when I challenged you about connecting me with the article, did you deny it as you’re trying to do now? No, you said, “it’s a distinction without a difference.”

              You can save your comments for my attorney.

              • George Michalopulos says

                To all: As this is now a legal matter, there will be no further comments posted on the above issue.

          • Fr. George Washburn says

            Gail chides me for falsely claiming here that she helped George write the TH a.m. BREAKING piece.  I accept her statement she did not, and have not claimed she did.  I will publicly apologize to her here if/when she quotes for us the exact language of a post where I did.  
            I do stand by stating that she has partaken in George’s mistakes and any damage flowing from them by publicly endorsing them here.   On TH afternoon, Aug. 15 @ 3:43 p.m. as part of a volley of posts that supported George’s article she posted a message that stated in part “It is very disappointing to find that Metropolitan Tikhon is following someone who doesn’t have the support of the greater part of the Church.”   (Emphasis added)  
            How were readers, whether in Syosset, Santa Cruz or in between, to take that?   Given what George had stated as fact, the only possible read is that Met. Tikhon is following the Greek hierarchy.  
            Once Gail posted this, which she has never retracted, OCA leaders did not need me or anyone else to characterize her views.  So my point was valid, that her distance from the actual writing of George’s piece was meaningless in light of such a prompt endorsement of its fundamental accusation.

  27. Matthew Panchisin says

    Since the E.P. claims that it has the prerogative to grant and rescind autocephaly (whenever its see fits) then the patriarchates of Moscow, Serbia, Bulgaria etc. would be subject to being in the same boat as the OCA according to the pretensions of the Constantinople these days. Constantinople is in the same boat as Rome, so there’s the scoop? Is that right George?

  28. Metropolitan Tikhon has forcefully denied the rumors (see The meeting’s main point was to secure OCA’s commitment to concelebration of the Eucharist.  And the point of that is to make sure that OCA does not join it’s rightful  Mother Church in Russia by ceasing to commemorate or participate with the EP. 

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Thank you, Isidora. I think you stated it very clearly. We now know where he stands.

    • Joseph Lipper says

      The OCA is asserting autocephaly, not as a “daughter” of Russia, but as a “sister” of Russia.  That “sisterhood” was granted by the Moscow Patriarchate, and Metropolitan Tikhon is exercising it to build up Orthodoxy in America.  This is an example of the OCA behaving like an autocephalous church.

    • You are all missing the main point. The OCA is courting the EP not the MP. That’s the huge story!

      • Gail Sheppard says

        I’m guessing they’re rethinking this about now.

      • Monk James Silver says

        Nate (August 22, 2019 at 12:11 am) says :

        You are all missing the main point. The OCA is courting the EP not the MP. That’s the huge story!
        How does ‘Nate’ know this for a fact?

        If he can’t provide verifiable sources, it would seem best that the rest of us regard this as merely his subjective interpretation of events, and an expression of his individual opinion — just another rumor, not anything like a true representation of the facts..

        • George Michalopulos says

          Monk James, if I may come to Nate’s (and the OCA’s) defense: All he said was that “the OCA was courting the EP”. There was no mention of what (if anything) was mentioned.

          Technically speaking, Nate is correct: Met Tikhon went to Arb Elpidophoros to pay him a visit (for whatever reason). As you rightly pointed out in another post, this is backwards, because Tikhon is the primate of an autocephalous Church (which has been de facto recognized by the EP when he concelebrated with him in Turkey). LP on the other hand is an exarch of an archdiocese of a foreign patriarchate.

          As somebody else wrote here, it’s LP’s duty to present chocolates and roses to Tikhon, who then invites him for lunch or supper. Not the other way around.

          • Monk James Silver says

            I disagree, George.

            As I also wrote earlier, it seemed to me that this reversal of protocol was probably the result of a misunderstanding on the part of responsible people in the OCA who should have known better.

            With regard to ‘courting’, the image is one of making oneself known and attractive to a potential spouse. The signs are usually clear and unmistakable, pehaps in modern parlance evidenced by ‘going steady’.

            This isn’t anything like a commitment to marriage, but it’s part of the process, and courting is a process, a sequence of events and a way of relating.

            So, if ‘Nate’ saw anything like a pattern of such behavior by the OCA toward Constantinople apart from Met. Tikhon’s gaffe with Abp Elpidophoros — a one-time incident — then he ought to provide some substantiation.

            Or at least retract his assertion: ‘The OCA is courting the EP not the MP. That’s the huge story!’.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Yes, Father, you did address this earlier, but in fairness to Nate, wouldn’t your conclusions also be a “subjective interpretation of events?”

              In my business life, I’ve heard the word “courting” used in the context of a company wanting to attract a buyer or obtain financing. If the word is being used in the context of the OCA wanting to appear attractive to the EP so they’ll be recognized (if true), it would be appropriate.

              Like all of us, Nate is just interpreting events in lieu of any direct evidence to the contrary. His addition of “instead of the MP,” is the logical conclusion one would draw if his first supposition is true. Sadly, because of Ukraine, one cannot support both the EP and Russia at the same time in matters where the two of them are intertwined.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Gail, that in a nutshell is what I mean by “ukrocephaly”. 

                What’s being peddled is doublethink which violates the straight talk that both Jesus and St James exhorted of their followers.  

          • Again, there has been neither de jure nor de facto recognition of the OCA’s autocephaly by the EP – Tikhon celebrated as a just another bishop – without his crown and without standing next to the Patriarch ( only Heads of autocephalous Churches stand next to the Patriarch with crowns). To recognize the primate of the OCA as a bishop and serve the Holy Liturgy with him is business as usual (and was done both with Herman and Theodosius in the exact same manner  (contrary to what one of your correspondents wrote). Nothing to see here. Read into it whatever you want, but at least recognize local practice and it’s meaning.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Anonoca, George wasn’t talking about the way anybody was “celebrating.” He was talking about Met Tikhon going to Arb Elpidophoros to pay him a visit.

              • Please read the entire thread (the him is Met. Tikhon)
                George – “(which has been de facto recognized by the EP when he concelebrated with him in Turkey)”

              • George Michalopulos says

                Anonoca, if I may add to Gail’s point, ten or so years ago when then Archimandrite Lambrianides gave his broadside at Holy Cross, the contempt for the OCA that emerged from his talk was shocking.  He even went out of his way to mispronounce Met Jonah’s name, calling him “Jonas”.  
                Gail’s critique is based on “past performance” as we say in the business world.  Though it’s “not a guarantee of future results” it cannot be ignored, especially if said performance consistently produced negative results.  

                • That’s fine — my point was simple – you wrote that the OCA’s autocephaly had been “de facto recognized by the EP when he [Tikhon] concelebrated with him [Bartholomew] in Turkey” – this simply is not true. Period. And BTW, “Jonas” is Greek for Jonah, so it may have been simply a matter of native language, and not disparagement. 

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    The speech he gave was in perfect, grammatical English. He knew what he was doing. He even sputtered the words: “The OCA is barely canonical”. He might as well have said that we all live in swamps and swill moonshine.

                    As to your first point, you continue to make mine: And that is when is autocephaly not autocephaly? When is “concelebration” not “concelebration”?

                    For what it’s worth, I was the first to state that what transpired in Turkey was not a “concelebration”. Mainly because it would necessitate the recognition of the OCA as an autocephalous Church. To this day, others maintain that it was.

                    • I am hardly making any of your points … you seem to be unaware of or simply resistant to understanding how episcopal concelebration works.  When the late Metropolitan Vladimir (Sabodan) of Kiev concelebrated with the EP in Constantinople, he did not wear a crown. But the late Pat. Alexy did. The former was the head of an autonomous Church, the latter the head of an autocephalous. Met. Tikhon did indeed concelebrate with Bartholomew, but not as the head of an autocephalous Church, except, I suppose, in his own mind and in the understanding of those of us in the OCA. Why is this so hard for you to get? Unless you simply do not want to, and prefer to spin some kind of ambiguity that serves no apparent purpose. As for Lambriniades and his speech of years ago – whatever personal affront you feel I truly regret. I’m sure you don’t live in a swamp (although there’s nothing wrong with living in a swamp), and if you do like moonshine (I’ve had some excellent homemade over the years), I’m also sure you don’t swill anything. Peace out.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Sir, it is not so “hard to get” as you seem to imply. However I stand by my assertion: You are unwittingly making my point because you accept the terms of the debate re “concelebration”. Clearly Met Tikhon did not wear a mitre during the Liturgy, thus the final, canonical status of the OCA is still an open question as far as Cpole is concerned.

                      While I admit that this should be a tip-off to those of us in the OCA (myself included) who thought that the autocephaly would be recognized by Cpole, it should also serve as a clear signal that discussions between the OCA and the EP are ultimately fruitless if we continue to assert our autocephaly.

                  • Jill Lenis says

                    Stephanopoulos dad translated Trempelas 1973 tract codemning OCA autocephaly: Autocephaly of the Metropolia in America, 1973
                    by Panagiotes Nikolaou Trempelas (Author)

                    • Yes, Trempelas did not live long enough to see Bartholomew and his ouvertures.
                      You can’t compare 1973 with 2019.

                    • Solitary Priest says

                      Oh come, now! Trempelas was alive in the 60′ s, when Patriarch Athenagoras was already kissing up to the Pope. It didn’t start with Bartholomew, you know.

                    • Indeed, Trempelas was alive in the 60s.
                      Only thing, Bartholomew went even further than the mason Athenegoras.
                      So, what do you make of Trempelas?

  29. Yuri Elfrink says

    The OCA follows Russian traditions. I reckon a potential Hellenizing the OCA will not go smoothly at all. Should that happen, God forbid, there will be a lot of dissentions within the OCA ranks. Now forgive me, I am a layman who still new to the Church (still in the Catechumate), but wouldn’t that prompt many Clergymen in the OCA to move over to other Russian Churches, like the ROCOR?Also, from what I read on this matter, other autocephalous recognize the OCA as an autocephalous church, whereas the EP does not. The EP can be overruled on this, no?

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Recognition of the OCA’s autocephalous status is the carrot Bartholomew is danging in front of Met. Tikhon’s but if he were to recognize the OCA’s status, he would be acknowledging that any autocephalous Church (in this case, Russia) can grant it. This flies in the face of his insistence that only he can grant autocephaly. He also says the OCU has the same rights and privileges as any autocephalous Church when in fact, their Tomos restricts them from creating their own structures outside of Ukraine. Not a single one of the previously-issued tomoi has such a requirement. In terms of relationships, he is all over the map, as well. He’ll refer to a Chruch (most recently Russia) as a “sister” Church and within the same breath, call her a “daughter” of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

      There is only one point where he remains steadfast: By virtue of being the head of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, he is afforded special privileges and one is being the final arbitrator in all things. In other words, he is the Pope.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        At this point, there is no pretense that the EP could even possibly recognize the autocephaly of the OCA. The only hopeful outcome is that perhaps one day the EP will grant autocephaly to the Greek Archdiocese. If and when that happens, then the OCA could join in.

  30. Monk James Silver says

    Reports of OCA giving up its autocephaly are unfounded, say OCAhierarchs

    New York, August 16, 2019
    Updated 8/16/19, 9:20 PM

    The OrthodoxChurch in America will celebrate the 50th anniversary of itsautocephaly next year, with several events dedicated to theanniversary throughout America. Its tomos of autocephaly,granted by the Moscow Patriarchate, was signed by His HolinessPatriarch Alexei I and the 14 hierarchs of the Holy Synod inMoscow on April 10, 1970.

    However,rumors and reports of the OCA’s plans to forfeit its autocephalyhave been fairly commonplace in the past few years. While allLocal Churches recognize the OCA as a true Orthodox Church,currently only the Russian, Bulgarian, Georgian, Polish,Serbian, and Czech and Slovak Churches recognize itsautocephaly. Thus, there are those who believe the OCA wouldgive up its autocephaly to “normalize” its situation.

    Mostnotably, the Patriarchate of Constantinople refuses to recognizethe OCA’s independence, arguing that it alone has the authorityto grant autocephaly. Thus, the OCA was not invited toparticipate in 2016’s “Great and Holy Council” on the island ofCrete.

    Morerecently, the primate of the OCA, His Beatitude MetropolitanTikhon of America and All Canada concelebrated with PatriarchBartholomew of Constantinople in Cappadocia on the Sunday of AllSaints in June this year, which, along with the OCA’s stance againstthe schismatics of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” led toaccusations of “back room deals,” though, as OrthoChristian reported,sources involved in the trip denied these rumors.

    Having beenin Cappadocia when Archbishop Elpidophoros was enthroned in NewYork as head of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Met.Tikhon instead paid his first visit to the new Archbishop at theArchdiocesan headquarters on Wednesday.

    The nextday, a report appeared on the blog Monomakhos entitled, “Breaking: The OCA to gounder EP!” with reference to two sources claiming that theOCA “has been in negotiations to cede its autocephaly and gounder Istanbul.”

    “One sourcesays that this is ‘a done deal,’ the other says thatnegotiations are ‘ongoing,’” the report reads, adding that theOCA could either become a vicariate of the Greek Archdiocese orAmerica, or receive an impaired form of autocephaly, such as the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” received from Constantinople inJanuary.

    However, aswith the rumors surrounding His Beatitude’s trip to Cappadocia,OrthoChristian has been assured by multiple sources within theOCA administration that the Church has no such plans to give upits autocephaly.

    One suchsource, His Eminence Archbishop Michael of New York and NewJersey, the Secretary of the OCA Holy Synod, assured: “The OCAis not giving up its autocephaly— it will be celebrating theGolden Jubilee of getting it next year … a number of times andin a number of places: May (South Canaan), August (Alaska), andNovember (Washington DC). There will be symposia on the historyof it, the meaning of it and the future of it, etc.”

    “As theSecretary of the OCA Synod of Bishops, I know of no suchmovement … and I know of no such intention by His Beatitude(or any of our hierarchs),” His Eminence added.

    Moreover,the OCA’s administrative organization would seem to effectivelypreclude any such secret deals. The Statute of the OCA defines theChurch as autocephalous: “The Orthodox Church in America is anautocephalous Church with territorial jurisdiction in the UnitedStates of America and in Canada.” And while the Holy Synod of the OCA holdscompetency over “All matters involving doctrine, canonicalorder, morals, and liturgical practice,” it is the All-American Council that possessesthe authority to “Adopt and amend the Statute.”

    TheAll-American Council is convened periodically, normally atintervals of three years, as per the Statute. Its membersinclude the hierarchs, clergy, and lay representatives. The lastAll-American Council was held in St. Louis, Missouri last year.


    Update: His Grace Bishop DavidMahaffey of Alaska has also responded to the rumors, onhis Facebook page, stating: “Beloved in the Lord. There is avery vicious rumor being circulated … concerning the status ofthe OCA that is completely false. I will not even mention therumor here because I will not be fuel it any further, butsuffice it to say, IT IS COMPLETELY FALSE.”

    • Gail Sheppard says

      BTW, Father, if you click on the link OrthoChristianity provided for His Grace Bishop David Mahaffey, it goes nowhere.  They may have picked this up here (on George’s blog) when some unknown poster claimed His Grace said this on his Facebook page.  The last time His Grace posted anything on FB was last month or so it would seem.  

      • Monk James Silver says

        I regret that the link didn’t work, but I’m not responsible for that.

        Myself, I quit FaceBook a while ago. It seemed that whenever I attempted to correct people who wrote hateful, unchristian, bigoted things there, I got shot down. I finally wised up and realized that my participation in these discussions was a waste of my time and energy. God bless all those people, anyway.

        Bp David Mahaffey of Sitka — a good man by all standards — expressed himself in a minimal way on FaceBook to refute the rumor that the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) was about to relinquish its autocephalous status and become an exarchate of Constantinople.

        As we’ve all noticed, this tumor was false, as I suggested here three days ago, and that’s pretty much the end of the story.

        It would be interesting, though, for us to know who started that false rumor, and why.

      • Gail, the link works. Perhaps his privacy settings don’t allow you to see it.

  31. John Sakelaris says

    The legalisms discussed on this page make my head swim.    And the bitterness makes me sad.  

    Little was accomplished in the last two days for the glory of the Lord from the comments that were in reaction to this apparently fake news

    • Gail Sheppard says

      John, fake news is a term reserved for news or stories that were created to deliberately misinform or deceive. This is quite different from informing one’s readers about something you heard from two highly placed sources. What on earth would make you think George was being duplicitous? He wouldn’t still be here after 10 years or be read by over 3500 people a day if that were the case. And what makes you think what he reported was untrue. Frankly, it isn’t George you have to worry about.

      I disagree that “little was accomplished.” The Church is about being in relationship and it’s not fighting that kills a relationship; it’s apathy. People are showing they give a damn. (Excuse my French.) That’s encouraging!

      • Monk James Silver says

        Yes! Gail is exactly right here.

        It’s often been rightly said that the opposite of love is not hatred, but indifference.

        To say ‘I don’t give a &%$# about you’ is considerably deadlier than ‘I hate you.’

        As we sing on Holy Friday, ‘Lord, spare us from such inhumanity.’

      • Gail right.  Kites are hoisted to see if they fly. They want people to be greekfestingt and baklava or piroshki making, while they ‘ run things’    You can’t do that in today’s world, let alone the theology. And NOT in USA.!!  
        If the OCA does not have the confidence in it’s autocephaly and continues live it  as if it’s fake. IT IS DOOMED.  
        It’s obvious end game is Epi to hoover up all the jusrisdictions in one big  Greek one, making  him look on right side of history.   But folks it’s very neat.  The Phanar will then grant it either pretend autocephaly A LA UKRAINE, or  pseudo autonomous status with tomes meaning nothing, ensuring IT OWNS PRIME USA  REAL ESTATE AND HAS GUARRANTEED GREEN BACKS GOING IN TO TURKISH BANK.  
        Behind the crap la la land words it’s about MONEY AND POWER.  And having base to oppose Russian Church.  These people are CRUCIFYING CHRIST DAILY WITH THEIR EVIL CRAP. Yes I said evil crap and that too polite.
        Of course most punters attend their local church weekly or far less and do not know or care or understand and these elite evil pseudo humble waste of space play actors, know it. Oh they talk a good game as they jet across the world and rest. Harsh words, yes, they need to be to wake up Orthodox believers if they want a Church.
        If we don’t,  FINE, let’s all go  back to sleep and we can send you our fav stiffado recipe ( from Kerkyra)  for greekfest. AMEN. 

    • George Michalopulos says

      John, I’m not unsympathetic with your critique. But sometimes we have to “fight the good fight”. It can be disheartening I grant you that.

  32. John Sakelaris 

    Apart from your obviously well-meant generic criticism, which is very easy,
    why don’t you do a bit more difficult work
    and write some constructive specific comments and ideas, 
    avoiding legalisms,
    accomplishing at last something for the glory of the Lord?

  33. Seraphim98 says

    It seems as if you are taking a few dings for reporting on what your sources told you. If one takes your personal integrity as granted, I see only a few reasons this is causing such a stir.
    1. Your sources were honest but mistaken, misinterpreting something they were privy to.
    2. Your sources were honest but misled.
    3. Your sources were deliberatly putting the worst face on something they knew with the intention of kicking up some dust.
    4. Your sources maliciously passed on an untruth in persuit of some other agenda.
    5. The information is true and many of the high placed denials are true–but not all of them since those that know have tried to keep such dealings close to the breast until it is effectivly a done deal.
    6. There are at least two, maybe three, high placed factions at odds behind the scenes, one anti MP, ecumenicallists, EP leaning (as an anti rigorist wedge against Moscow and ROCOR and traditionalists in the OCA), the other strongly supportive of the Tomos and wanting to undercut the back room machinations of the EP faction. This group is not necissarily very antiecumenical as well, they just want the OCA to be free of outside control. And they are in alliance to a point with a possible third but weaker faction, those who are very simpathetic to a more traditional approach to the Orthodox faith, but like His Beattitude Metropolitan Jonah would be willing to cede the Tomos back to Moscow in an effort to regularize the OCAs status vis a vis World Orthodoxy, and once some house cleaning was done reissue the Tomos in a manner better accepted. I might even be willing to speculate that it was a former alliance of the pro tomos and anti MP factions that worked to undermine, depose, and punish Met Jonah out of fear that his supporters would jump ship with him if push came to shove.
    7. The sources were true, but the information was a trial balloon, as George said. and once the direction of the wind was duly ascertained, the fervant denials were issued with all deliberate dispatch.

    And or some combination of all the above.
    For my money i think the most sense is made by this news being made as a trial ballon, or as an act of sabotage by one of two or three factions at odds in the synod or syossett behind the scenes. 
    It is in times like these I miss Archbishop Dimitri, may he be glorified among the saints. Pray for us, beloved Pastor, and through your prayers guard the Diocese of the South, Archbishop Alexander, and all the faithful of the OCA.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Thank you, Seraphim, for looking beyond what I know we can all take for granted, i.e. that George would not fabricate something like this. After 10 years doing this blog and the number of visitors he has each day (it’s up to 3,563), I think we can take him at his word.

      I suspect that what you’re postulating in 6 and 7 are the closest to the truth and what better way to float a “trial balloon” than to use this blog.

      I never met Archbishop Dimitri. I so wish I had. A priest once told the saints will intervene if we ask for their prayers. Thank you for asking for his and I will do the same. I believe Archbishop Dimitri is probably the closest thing we’ve ever had to a real saint in recent times.

    • The Uk is in a tizzy over leave government documents that no deal Brexit will be chaos on day. The gov then denied saying it was outlook before Johnson got working on it.
      I have no wish to argue Brexit here but it’s same situation as OCA news. Same games .  

    • Christopher says

      “…..7. The sources were true, but the information was a trial balloon, as George said. and once the direction of the wind was duly ascertained, the fervent denials were issued with all deliberate dispatch…..”

      I don’t think so, because none of said “factions” (taken as a group) are naive and inexperienced enough (in the OCA in particular and NA Orthodoxy as church, culture, and institution in general) to need such a “trial balloon” to ascertain “the direction of the wind”. This is not to say that certain individuals might not be, and one or two of these could indeed be George’s source….but really if they have been Orthodox (to say nothing of OCA) for more than 10 years, well they are poor judges in general.

      So your ranking of the first three is correct IMO and explanatory. #1 is most likely, then #2, then #3. In the current climate, “misinterpreting” is normal and passions are high…

      • George Michalopulos says

        For the record I never said in the original story that this was a “trial balloon”.

        It’s plausible but I don’t believe that any Orthodox jurisdiction in the US operates this way. For one thing it’s dishonest, for another, it requires a level of sophistication that requires a level of finesse.

        For my money, it was an accident. And that given the levels of academic obfuscation, sounded like a good idea at the time.

        • Joseph Lipper says

          The fact that this story came out last Thursday, when most of the OCA was celebrating the Feast of the Holy Dormition of the Mother of God, sounds like someone is trying to somehow cause damage to the OCA.     I don’t care to know who the anonymous sources are, but I have to wonder, are these sources from outside of the OCA?

  34. george osborne says

    The bottom line of this journalistic debacle is that it must fall under the title of rumor-mongering.  A rumor may be true or false but the spreading of a rumor is mongering and is most certainly un-Cristian and most decidedly un-helpful.  George’s sources may have his ear but that is entirely beside the point, as is whether or not George trusts them.  Spreading rumor is never, ever helpful and can be most destructive.  In this case, potentially inflaming the already sensitive issue of how the Orthodox world could, would, or should respond to the non-canonical encroachment by the Instanbul patriarchy on the territory of another local church.  Blowing on the flame, George, my brother, is not helpful.  Respond  to fact – hard core, certified fact – not rumor.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Mr Osborne, before you declare victory and label the story of Thursday last to be a “journalistic debacle”, I kindly ask you to read the recent editorial by Jim Jatras (which I just published).

      Jim’s  a great geo-strategic thinker, diplomat and veteran Cold Warrior.  As such, he learned how to read “Kremlinese”.   In the ecclesiastical sphere, there is another such language called “Vaticanese”.  We Orthodox are not immune from such obscurantist language. We saw it on display in Ukraine’s tomos of “autocephaly”.

      ‘Nuff said.

      • Fr. George Washburn says

        No George, not “‘nuff said.”   
        I have not been following every message carefully, but I have not noticed any comment focusing on the title of the Thursday article.  It deserves focused attention for four special, message-conveying attributes.
        First, the use of all caps.  This is a very unusual thing with George.   The conventions of journalism reserve its use for the truly momentous … lest the readership comes to suspect the outlet of “crying wolf.”   
        Second, the introductory term “BREAKING,” which is meant to convey breathless urgency, isn’t it?   It sells newspapers.  
        Third, the phrasing of the title as a flat out statement of what is going on.   Not a question.  Not a rumor.   Not concern.   Nor a statement of confirmed facts followed by possible interpretationS.   
        Fourth, an exclamation point at the end of the title.  
        The average reader surely then began to read the text of the article with the expectation something official and momentous was underway.  Back, fill and parse the article’s text and people’s comments as one may, I believe the four  ways in which this title was “punched up” don’t pass muster as a responsible introduction to the facts as they presently seem known.  
        At least not if we are all members of the Body of Christ.  If we aren’t, …..
        Fr. George

  35. These are complete LIES! The OCA is not going under Istanbul today, tomorrow or EVER. If the Greeks in the U.S. want to come under the OCA, OK, but never the other way around. Canon Law dictates that each territory have its own AUTOCEPHALOUS CHURCH, which the OCA is and was brought into existence via what SCOBA instructed beginning in 1961. Foreign bishops cannot have a diocese beyond their own territory (Orthodox Canon Law).  So, neither Istanbul, Moscow, Damascus, etc. have any canonical authority here.

  36. I think what is more interesting than what the EP will or won’t do is that, in November 2016, Metropolitan Tikhon served as primate of a local church with His Beatitude, Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa; His Holiness, Theophilus III, Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and All Palestine; His Holiness and Beatitude, Ilia II Patriarch Catholicos of All Georgia and Archbishop of Mtskheta and Tbilisi; His Holiness, Irinej, Archbishop of Pech, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch; His Beatitude, Chrysostomos II, Archbishop of New Justiniana and All Cyprus; His Beatitude, Anastasios, Archbishop of Tirana, Durres, and All Albania; His Beatitude, Sawa, Metropolitan of Warsaw and All Poland; and His Beatitude Rostislav, Metropolitan of the Czech Lands and Slovakia.  See photos at 
    Further, in February 2019, Metropolitan Tikhon served a primate of a local church with His Holiness, Patriarch John X of Antioch, Patriarch Irinej of Serbia, and His Beatitude, Metropolitan Rastislav of the Czech Lands and Slovakia.  See photos at 

  37. Abramo Burnardo says

    Who cares what Bart thinks?  He is the carcass of a dead whale deteriorating in the ocean.
    OCA has its autocephaly.  MOVE FORWARD and ignore the Little Pretender in Istanbul !
    If OCA really cares about getting Bart’s “paper blessing” on its status, BUY it from him.  The precedent has been set with Ukraine, and it is there for the whole world to see.
    Perhaps Bart would offer the OCA the same terms as those for the Ukranian schismatics:  $25,000,000.  Or perhaps he would just impose his own “Bart’s Istanbul Dhemitude Tax” …  10% of your plate offerings, in perpetuity.  “Such a deal I have for you…,” saith Bart !
    This guy is a barnacle on the Goodship Orthodoxy.  Walk Away !  Everyone !