Some Thoughts on Recent Events in Orthodoxy

OK Peeps, things are getting hot and heavy in Orthodoxy –both here and abroad. In the vlog below, I offer some comments on creeping secularism, the Ukrainian situation, the St Nicholas Shrine and the continued implosion of the GOA.

I realize that it has been some weeks since I’ve commented on certain pressing issues but that’s because things have been quite busy on the home front and I’m having serious computer issues.  Therefore I thank you ahead of time for your forbearance.

That being said, the topics which I do discuss are by no means exhaustive but I do hope that they stimulate much commentary –again, I ask that we keep things to the argument, not the man.

P.S.  I promise to publish my piece about Athonite monasticism here in America soon.  (Again, depending on getting all the bugs worked out on my computer.)

P.S.S.  In the meantime, until I post my essay on Athonite monasticism, I’m going to again request that there be no further commentary about this subject –whether pro and con–for the time being.  Things were getting just a little too personal and so I will not publish any more comments until after the editorial is completed.   So, whatever you were going to say, just save it for the time being.

Thank you for understanding. 


  1. Fr. David Hovik says
  2. Antiochene Son says

    I’d like to see Met. Isaiah’s encyclical about the gluten-free Eucharist. Has it been pulled?

  3. Francis Frost says

    Dear George:

    A Happy Feast to All:

    In your comments on the situation in Ukraine you are pre-supposing facts not in evidence. You assume that there is an agreed upon method to grant autocephaly. There is not. You further assume that the Moscow Patriarchate is the “Mother Church” of Ukrainian Orthodoxy. That assumption is historically arguable. Thirdly, you assume that those in schism will remain so in perpetuity, and that they are deprived of God’s mercy through the sacraments. That, too is historically debatable

    First, the Russian Orthodox church’s own web site acknowledges that there is no agreed upon procedure for granting autocephaly. Below is an except from an article, which you may read in entirety on the Byztex blog site.

    Moscow’s church relations dept. on granting autocephaly

    (ROC) – The Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople has stated its intention to discuss with all the Local Orthodox Churches the appeal made to it by Ukrainian President Petr Poroshenko to create an autocephalous Church in Ukraine. Is there today a commonly accepted procedure for granting church independence – autocephaly and what does canon law say about this mechanism? – a detailed explanation given to RIA Novosti by the vice-chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations, Archpriest Nikolay Balashov.

    – Father Nikolay, why does the question of granting independence to a particular Church have no clear answer given once and for all, why there are no appropriate fundamental prescriptions?

    – Indeed, the conditions and procedure for granting autocephaly are not explicitly prescribed in the acts of Ecumenical Councils (their decisions are fundamental and paramount for all the Churches – ed.).

    For this reason, when preparations began for a pan-Orthodox Council in 1961 in Rhodes, this topic by common agreement was included in the catalogue of issues for discussion. The Local Orthodox Churches began to consider it actually at the meeting of the Inter-Orthodox Preparatory Commission (IPC) in Chambesy, near Geneva in 1993.

    By that time eight Local Orthodox Churches had presented their papers on ‘Autocephaly and Ways of Declaring It’. In the diversity of opinions, two conceptually different positions can be singled out.

    End quote.

    After nearly 6 decades of discussion the autocephalous churches still have not been able to iron out a uniform method for granting or recognizing autocephaly. Indeed, the Moscow Patriarchate, itself, began with a unilateral self declaration of its autocephaly – a declaration that was only recognized the Ecumenical Patriarch a 150 years later.

    Notions of what is canonical or non-canonical are often as not simply a matter of perspective. As I pointed out to you earlier, the ROCOR spent 80 years in schism from at least some of the canonical Patriarchates, if not all of them. during that time the ROCOR created 3 schismatic churches on the territories of 3 of the canonical Patriarchates. It attempted to create a 4th schismatic church in Georgia; but failed. Despite all that, when the ROCOR reconciled to the MP, all the past controversies were not only forgotten, they were “consigned to oblivion” in the words of the reconciliation agreement. In other words, what is non-canonical / schismatic / heretical today, may well be canonical tomorrow.

    As for the question of who is exactly the “Mother Church” of Ukrainian Orthodoxy, the EP as at least as good a claim to that title as does the MP, if not a better claim. Unfortunately, the Russians tend to believe that facts on the ground mean more than history, and they want to believe that any territory once claimed by the Russian Empire still belongs to them, in spite of the law or the wishes of the actual residents of those lands.

    You decry nationalism as a basis for ecclesiological propriety. You want an American Orthodox church; but you want to deny the Ukrainians a church of their own. The simple fact is that nationalism / phyletism is the only guiding principle that governs the Orthodox Churches in this age. Every single Old World Patriarchate claims universal jurisdiction over its diaspora – never mind the warning of St. Gregory Dialogos that those who claim “universal jurisdiction” are of necessity forerunners of the Antichrist.

    Living here, not over there, you miss one of the drivers of Ukrainian nationalism or of any post Soviet nationalism. That driver is generalized resentment of the perpetual Great Russian chauvinism, Russian criminality and Russian war-making. It was the Soviet attempt to remove the Georgian language as the official language of the Georgian SSR, that led to the the Georgian declaration of independence form the USSR. While the older generation of Georgina can remember a time that Russian tourists came to party in Georgia, the younger generation, those under he age of 50; remember only repeated invasions, mass murders, ethnic cleansing and repeated threats to “annihilate the Georgian nation” (in the words of Sergei Lavrov televised on 8/08/2008). Those younger Georgians’ entree lives have been marked by poverty, deprivation, war, and suffering. caused by Russian aggression. For years the Russians routinely cut off gas suppliers during the cold winter months so the Georgian people lived without heat, light or running water every winter until Georgia developed it own hydroelectric power and alternate gas supplies – that is for over 20 years! Younger Georgians not only do not regard Russia as a fellow Orthodox nation. They loath Russia, Russian culture and the Russian church -despite the eirenic statements that issue from the Patriarchate.

    The move for Ukrainians to separate from the MP took off AFTER the occupation of Crimea and the invasion of Donbas. To date over 1/3 of the UOC-MP’s parishes and clergy have defected to one or the other of the ‘schismatic’ Ukrainian churches. Those Ukrainians, including many Russian speakers, choose to live in schism rather thank to live a lie. You and I might not approve of that decision; but we must at least try to understand it. What is more, the Uniate churches (or at least some of their leaders) have offered to return to Orthodoxy as part of a unified Ukrainian church. While you can decry the Uniates as heretics, you should know that the universal practice of the Russian church has been to receive them by confession alone – not re-baptism, not re-chrismation, not re-ordination. In fact, until the 1970’s the Russian Orthodox church received all Roman Catholics that way – as that practice was specified in the Church Regulation of Tsar Peter the Great. Also, the last I heard, Mr. Poroshenko was communicant of the UOC-MP. I f you have documentation to the contrary, I would be interested to see it.

    In the end, Putin’s imperialist bullying has driven his neighbors out of the ‘Russian world’ orbit, and has hardened their resolve to live free of Russia’s interference in their lives, their governments and their church. Even Armenia is now undergoing it;s own ‘color revolution’.

    As you say yourself, this cannot end well- but not for the reasons you suppose or in the way you expect.

    • George C Michalopulos says

      I never said that there was an “agreed upon” method for recognizing autocephaly. That however works against the EP’s papalist pretensions as well, if not more so, than the “mother church” scenario. Which btw is valid: Antioch granted autocephaly to Georgia unilaterally centuries ago.

      As for the so-called Kyiv Patriarchate, every Orthodox church considers it to be schismatic and thus, bereft of grace. It goes without saying that its orders and mysteries are hence, invalid.

      On these two propositions, you hurt your case.

    • Monk James Silver says

      While I generally agree with what my dear friend, Francis Frost, has written here, he has omitted a signal fact of Russian church history, which is that the Patriarchate of Moscow retained — for centuries — the title of Kiev.

      When the Tatars were about to sweep in from Asia and lay waste the lands of the eastern Slavs, the Great Prince of Kiev, the Metropolitan, all their court and clergy and as many of the citizenry as could, moved north into the defensive circle of fortified cities still known as the _zolotoye kol’tso_ (‘golden ring’) where they felt that they could be safe from the invaders.

      As it happened, the Tatars (the ‘Golden Horde’ — Genghis Khan’s armies) pretty much destroyed southwestern Russia. They killed everyone they found there, burned their towns, and salted the land so that nothing grew there for another couple of centuries. Their own local town, Kazan, was finally overcome by the Russians only at great cost in treasure and loss of life.

      In any event, a few centuries later, the Poles (primarily) began to repopulate southwestern Russia, and began to refer to the area as _ukraina_ (‘at the border’).

      Once the Russians realized that it was safe to move back to that part of their kingdom, they also began to resettle there.

      But, by the 1500s. Roman Catholic influences had already begun to make their mark there, so when the _unia_ was first proposed as an option near the end of the 16th century, the locals were ripe for it, under the pressure Polish rule as they were. They didn’t get much in return for their betrayal of Orthodoxy.

      This did not go down well with the Orthodox Christians of Russia then, nor does it now.

      Recent developments have shown that we Orthodox are prey to the uniats — if we let them. .

      Let’s not.

      • George C Michalopulos says

        Thank you, Monk James for your history lesson. Things need to be put in perspective and I believe you just did so.

        Apropos of nothing at all, I’m rather curious. Isn’t it strange that those liberals here in America who condemned the ethno-nationalism of the Charlottesville protesters last year nowhere to be found in condemning the same nationalist spirit which animated the Maidan coup and of course the sudden “need” for an autocephalous Church in the Ukraine? I’m not only speaking about the usual gang of Russophobic laymen (i.e. the useful idiots of the American neoconservative warfare state) but the Episcopal Assembly who lost no time in condemning the Charlottesville protesters.

        This is especially ironic because the Bandero-Hitlerian spirit that informs modern Ukrainian nationalism is far worse than the neo-Confederate secessionism that modern day American nationalists draw from.

        A little consistency would be much appreciated.

        Just sayin’.

        • Monk James Silver says

          Scratch a nationalist of ANY country just a little, and under that veneer there will appear a fascist.

          Patriotism, on the other hand, is a virtue.

          In a nutshell, the difference, as I’ve written before, is something like this: A nationalist will say ‘I love my country, and if you don’t love it, too, I’ll kill you.’ But a patriot will say ‘I love my country, and I hope you love it, too. Welcome!’

        • Charlottesville as “ethno-nationalism”?! That was pure and simple literal Nazism (“Blood and soil”), racism and anti-Semitism (“Jews will not replace us”), not to mention historical amnesia (“One people, one nation, end immigration”). Stop watching infowars.

          • George Michalopulos says

            And the difference between that and Ukrainian Banderist nationalism is what exactly?

            • Vladimiro says

              The percentage of legit neo-nazis in Charlottesville was very small. The percentage of Holocaust denying Pravy Sektor Banderists involved in the Euro-Maidan coup and the slaughter of Slavs in Odessa and East Ukraine on the other hand… I mean, Bandera – who was the leader of the SS Halychyna – is a national hero in modern Ukraine.

    • Ah Francis, your misrepresentations are legion:

      “Indeed, the Moscow Patriarchate, itself, began with a unilateral self declaration of its autocephaly – a declaration that was only recognized the Ecumenical Patriarch a 150 years later.”

      Not exactly. The Church of Russia became autocephalous because its mother church, Constantinople, fell into apostasy pursuant to the Council of Florence (a sin it is repeating at present, btw) and Russia had no choice but to appoint its own metropolitans.

      “As I pointed out to you earlier, the ROCOR spent 80 years in schism from at least some of the canonical Patriarchates, . . .”

      The only canonical Patriarchate which ROCOR spent 80 years in schism from was the MP pursuant to the ukase of the last defensibly honest patriarch in the Soviet Union, Pat. Tikhon (the famous Ukase 362). As for breaking communion with other patriarchates, most of whom recognized the ROCOR, this only began to occur in the 1960’s as ecumenism became increasingly intolerable. See Vladimir Moss’ essay (albeit from a hyper-strict Russian Old Calendarist perspective):

      “The ROCOR\’s official policies regarding concelebration with jurisdictions other then those mentioned above, were never consistent, and the policy as it developed in the 1960\’s and onward, of mostly not concelebrating, was unwritten and de facto, not de jure. The ROCOR synod allowed the diocesan bishops almost complete discretion in this matter, and therefore the practice varied from one diocese to another. The most obvious contrast was between the North American dioceses, which were generally strict, and the European diocese, most of whose clergy, following the lead of their ‘abba,’ Abp. Anthony of Geneva, always saw themselves as part of ‘World’ Orthodoxy and were willing to concelebrate with anyone other than the Soviets and the Evlogians, including the Ecumenical Patriarchate. –

      It is simply not true to suggest that ROCOR has been isolated since its inception. This only began with respect to non-Russian jurisdictions in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and even this was never official.

      “. . . all the past controversies were not only forgotten, they were “consigned to oblivion” in the words of the reconciliation agreement. In other words, what is non-canonical / schismatic / heretical today, may well be canonical tomorrow.”

      Neither the ROCOR nor the MP was ever “non-canonical”. That is simply a lie.

      As is this:

      “As for the question of who is exactly the “Mother Church” of Ukrainian Orthodoxy, the EP as at least as good a claim to that title as does the MP, if not a better claim.”

      The EP recognized the omophorion of the Church of Russia over the Ukraine in the 1680’s:

      “In 1685 the Ukrainian Orthodox Church came under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church when Gedeon Svyatopolk-Chetvertynsky was elected the Metropolitan of Kyiv, Galicia and all Russia with the help of the Hetman of Zaporizhian Host Ivan Samoylovych. At that time all six eparchies (dioceses) of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in Ukraine were transferred to the Russian Orthodox Church.” –

      The background on this is interesting inasmuch as Moscow was, at the time, the champion of Orthodoxy and the Ukraine was going through a tumultuous period of division due to creeping Uniatism. Constantinople had left the Church and then become re-established as an Orthodox local church when it granted omophorion of the Ukraine to Russia. That is to say, Constaninople was hardly reliably Orthodox at a time when Papists were making war on the Church in the Ukraine. Moscow was the hero of this period.

      As for the Georgians, they got exactly what they deserved for their presumptuous and murderous actions that began the Russo-Georgia war in 2008 (the context of Lavrov’s remarks, taken out of context). When neo-cons in America inspired Saakashvili to bombard and then invade the autonomous provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, killing many civilians and a number of Russian peacekeepers, Russia decided to make an example of Georgia.

      When the Russian army does battle, part of the doctrine of the RF is that they make a sufficient impression on the enemy that they never have to return. No doubt they did that in Georgia because no such action has been repeated and Saakashvili was run out of the country after a number of his henchmen were imprisoned by the Georgian authorities. Saakashvili has since even lost his position in the Ukraine. A born loser:

      The only thing that kept the Russians from taking Tblisi was the fact that the US airdropped Condi Rice in in order to prevent it. So much for Georgia.

      “The move for Ukrainians to separate from the MP took off AFTER the occupation of Crimea and the invasion of Donbas.”

      The West staged a coup d’etat in the Ukraine, overturning the freely elected Viktor Yukanovich by a movement (Maidan) inspired and bankrolled by the US and spearheaded by Ukrainian fascists such as Pravy Sektor and Svoboda. Yanukovich was never even legally impeached, the opposition lacking sufficient votes to accomplish this essential feat.

      Thus the regime in Kiev is an outlaw regime. However, in the interests of peace, Russia has condescended to negotiate with it. Yet early on in the conflict, the new regime contemplated outlawing the Russian language.

      One must bear in mind, the economy of Eastern Ukraine is completely tied up in production for the Russian military. Moreover, the language of most Eastern Ukrainians is Russian and they are indistinguishable ethnically and culturally from their Russian brethren across the border. The West having established a fateful precedent in the Balkans with the establishment of a Muslim KLA run terrorist state (Kosovo) in the heart of Europe, in general, Russians are deaf to assertions of the inviolable nature of borders.

      As to Poroshenko, the fact that this criminal has not been excommunicated certainly gives the lie to accusations that the UOC(MP) has not attempted to remain neutral in the conflict.

      “In the end, Putin’s imperialist bullying has driven his neighbors out of the ‘Russian world’ orbit, and has hardened their resolve to live free of Russia’s interference in their lives, their governments and their church. Even Armenia is now undergoing it;s own ‘color revolution’.

      As you say yourself, this cannot end well- but not for the reasons you suppose or in the way you expect.”

      Actually, Francis, it will all end perfectly well. What is likely to happen is that the Eastern Bloc of traditional Orthodoxy (led by Russia) and the Chinese will continue to overtake the Western Bloc consisting of Rome, the liberal Protestants and Feminist Secular Humanists, the three becoming increasingly indistinguishable in their moral bankruptcy.

      That is the trend; there is no sign of it changing; and that is what scares the hell out of the American and European MSM: Their entire way of live is slowly coming to an end with the advent of the Next Big Thing – the restoration of authoritarian governance and the death of democracy.

      Glory to God for all things.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Francis, since Misha addressed you by name, I am temporarily lifting the embargo I have placed on you until you answer the question which I have asked you (and you still won’t answer).

        You are allowed to answer Misha’s criticisms of you and/or your positions. Of course inbsoing so, you may also answer that particular question.

        If you do so, the ban will be permanently lifted.

        Thank you

        • Ah, George, I hadn’t been keeping up with your current back and forth with Francis. I apologize for giving him a forum he might not otherwise have. Mea maxima culpa.

          That being said, and this does not relate to Francis at all really, it has occurred to me that the West is making a major and terrible mistake in the way it frames its conflict with Russia. Most of the influential thinkers, whether progressive or neo-con, note the absence of an ideological component to the conflict – this in contradistinction to the Cold War ideological conflict with the Soviet Union and the present tensions with the PRC. For example:

          “This is why Stephen Walt was right when he argued in March that the current competition is dissimilar to the Cold War (China, however, might prove a different story). It is not borne of a bipolar system, has no universalist ideological conflict behind it, and will not shape international politics as that period of confrontation did.” –


          “. . . there is no serious ideological rivalry at play today. America’s liberal brand may have been tarnished of late, but Russia’s ideological appeal outside its borders is minimal. Marxism-Leninism captured the imaginations and loyalties of millions of adherents around the world, but Putinism has appeal only to a handful of oligarchs or would-be autocrats.” –

          The thing that the West is missing is that rather than Putinism being the ideology which Russia is pursuing, the real inspiration for Russian policy is not the man, Vladimir Putin, but the religion, Russian Orthodox Christianity. Orthodoxy, viewed as a religious ideology, rejects the cultural imperialism of Western secular humanist governments. This is so much in the same way as Islam generally rejects the Western political thesis.

          That it took Russia almost two decades to come to this realization about its cultural incompatibility with Western, feminist, secular humanism is no matter. As the political situation in Russia evolved and the power and cultural prestige of the Russian Orthodox Church has grown (7,000 churches in 1988; perhaps 35,000 today), it has had a dramatic effect on Russian politics. Putin saw this dynamic and decided to go with the flow, believing it to be in the best interest of Russia.

          As I have remarked in the past, there are only really three universalist mindsets extant today on earth: Western, feminist secular humanism; Islam; and Orthodoxy. That Orthodoxy has the least adherents of the three is irrelevant since its values resound with other traditionally minded forms of Christianity. It will not just be an ideological struggle of Orthodoxy against these other mindsets but of (what’s left of) Christianity itself.

          That is the thing that Western analysts are either missing or in denial about. And I hope and pray that their myopia continues leading them sooner rather than later to the dustbin of history.

  4. Greatly Saddened says

    Antiochene Son,
    Per your request, below please find my original post under:

    Breaking: Demetrios to Take the Fall!

    Greatly Saddened says:
    May 17, 2018 at 10:44 am

    Below please find a posting from Monday on the Byzantine, Texas website. When reading, please also take note of the comments below as well.

    Monday, May 14, 2018
    Metropolis of Denver teleturgical messages are the best

    When the official letter makes it to the metropolitan website, I’ll make the necessary updates below.

  5. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Thursday on the Byzantine, Texas website.

    Thursday, May 24, 2018

    Abp. Evstratiy (Zorya) [UOC-KP] communes at OCA parish

    • Helen T. says

      In speaking my mind, and thank you George, did naot know about the GOA Denver site of encyclicals. So above’s comments from Greatly Saddened, directed me to a more personal interest post, the concept of gluten still remaining in the Eucharist. Being a decades-long student in nutrition, non-certified, but phd-level-read, will say that the posts of byztex May 14 on gluten are a breath of fresh air. This is hardly the post to bring any of this up, but am very grateful for the discussions above pointing to over there notwithstanding these strong and well-written posts of George on recent events.

  6. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Friday by OC Media and was posted on the Eastern Orthodox Christian News website.

    Eastern Orthodox Christian News

    Georgian Orthodox Church calls for boycott of Rustavi 2
    25 MAY 2018

  7. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Thursday on the Orthodox Christianity website.

    Moscow, May 24, 2018

  8. Greatly Saddened says

    Happy Feast of the Pentecost to all! May God bless you and your families.

  9. Constantinos says

    I would like to respond to some remarks by a churlish poster who made many unfounded accusations against me. I am emphatically not a supporter of Rome or the Papacy. I see no scriptural support for the Papal Monarchy.
    I am a faithful Orthodox Christian who believes all that holy Orthodoxy teaches. I believe the Orthodox Church is the one true Church.
    As far as the freemasons are concerned, I do not support them or believe that an Orthodox Christian can be one in good conscience.
    As far as megachurches go, I do not support them in the slightest. When I spoke about renewal, I meant it from an Orthodox perspective. I’m in need of renewal and forgiveness every day.
    In my opinion, one of my greatest sins is a serious addiction to chocolate and pistacchio ice cream, however I have much to be humble about. I’m also very cranky. I not moody because I’m always in a bad mood. That could be a result of the medication I take.

  10. Alitheia1875 says

    No one, and I repeat, no one, has ever reliably documented a case of illness being transmitted by partaking of Holy Communion from the common Cup, and that includes clergy who must consume all that remains after the Liturgy. That means allergies, sensitivities or germs. Not only does wine kill it all, if it’s present at all before the consecration, but gold itself is not conducive to having pathogens cling to it. There are no documented cases as well of anyone having an allergic reaction. Roman Catholics have the option of taking the wafer into their hands instead of having the priest place it in their mouth. Plain and simple, that is blasphemy of the highest order.

    • Linda Albert, says

      There are some vineyards now that are producing sulfate free wines. You might consider finding one and seeing if you have the same reaction and then if you don’t, asking your priest to use that. I would try looking first in the organic wines section or at an organic food store.

      • As a owner/founder of a family winery with nearly 600 national and international awards; 23 plus years in business; and two Professional International Wine Judges on staff – family winery. lol I can tell you that there is no such thing as a totally sulfite free wine. As the yeast eats the sugars during fermentation, they give off a certain amount of natural sulfites. It is, at least in our fruit and berry wines, about 16 parts per million – actually less than your body produces naturally. We make natural fruit and berry wines, meads, and sangrias – as well as grape wines.
        Our signature line is Elderberry – made from real elderberries.
        Sulfites are usually added to red grape wines. They are fermenting on the skins to get the red color, and there is wild yeast on the grapes that needs to be killed for the wine yeasts to take over and make the wine the way they want it to turn out. Sulfites are added to kill the wild yeasts.
        Another interesting fact – we do not use corks. As corks grow in nature, they incorporate up to 380 different mold spores and bacterias, as well as all the pollution that is in the air. These cannot be sterilized out, so they leach into your wines. 1 in 12 corks do not seal properly either, also causing problems. Over 12% of the wines that use corks are ruined by the corks. In big wine competitions, if you have a corked wine, you have to send five samples because the chance of it being ruined are so high. If you use – as we do – the Stelvin Closure, you only need to send two. State-of-the-Art in wine closures has become the non-cork options. Plastic corks are not a good choice – in my opinion anyway – because they are such trouble to open and I hate the taste that they seem to give the wine.
        If you want wines with no sulfites added, then I would suggest you get natural fruit and berry wines; meads; or any non-red grape wine. Even then some places use them for preservation, so it does well to check the labels and origins – if you are sulfite sensitive. Not selling or promoting anything on this site. Just wanted to correct what elaborate a bit with some knowledge. My husband posts here often, and he was talking about your post, and I just had to clarify this. Forgive me if I impose. But also happy to answer any questions you might have anytime.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Merry, you are welcome to post here any time! And I need to come visit your winery. I love elderberry wine!

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          “Where willows shade the riverbank,
          She urged that I recline;
          She fed me figs, and poured me full
          Of pomegranate wine.”
          — Navarth

          Got any of that?

          • Michael Bauman says

            Timor, Rasberries, blueberries, elderberry fine, but we don’t have that pomegranate wine. Mead and jalapeno, and Cabernet to boot but we don’t have no pomegranate to sweeten your snoot. Strawberry-rhubarb sweet wines and dry. That we don’t have pomegranate brings a tear to my eye.

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              There is a winery in Washington State on Hood Canal called Hoodsport Winery. In addition to vinifera wines they have a line of berry wines and they maintain a few American grape wines from very old vines in the Puget Sound area.

              But their greatest wine was their Raspberry wine, widely sold in supermarkets hereabouts. It was totally dry, the only one I’ve had like that; very, very good and a long time favorite of ours– really the only berry wine I’ve liked for long-term use. Then we couldn’t find it anymore.

              I went by the winery last summer while headed to a hiking trip, and they had none and told us they no longer made it. They said many people dropped by asking for it. They could give no satisfactory explanation; some lame thing about the raspberry crops in recent years, which I didn’t believe.

              Have you got something on those lines? That was the real thing.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Edward, I am not the expert on the lines of wines at Wyldewood Cellars, but if you call my wife Merry at the winery 316-554-9453 x203 she will be able to find a fit for you. Her knowledge of the wines and how they fit people’s varying tastes is extraordinary.

                I totally believe the explanation you got BTW. Raspberries are quite delicate and it takes a lot of fruit to make a batch of wine. Of course, they could have just dropped it from their repertoire.

                My favorite wine from Wyldewood Cellars is their Elderberry Dry Reserve.

                • Tim R. Mortiss says

                  I shall do so. Thanks.

                  • Billy Jack Sunday says

                    I’ve had pretty good wines, I’ve had bad ones

                    All alcoholic drinks have been pretty hit and miss with me

                    Except one

                    There is nothing finer to me than a 40 of OE

                    Old English

                    I’m totally serious

                    That’s what I’m having

                    It’s got it all and at a great price

                    And if you wanna be fancy, just stick yo’ pinkie out, nigga

    • Linda A. says

      None of the chemical preservatives, artificial colors or flavors that cause reactions in some people existed before the 1880’s. Before that people used salt and fermentation to preserve food. Some people that are gluten intolerant can eat Lon fermented sourdough bread where bread made with the modern rapid yeast method will cause them discomfort. So, yes, fine, if we all had sulfate free natural, organic wine and traditionally fermented bread made with organic wheat, nobody should have problems with communion, but our foodstuffs today are hardly ever how God first created them. Please believe and have some compassion on people with food sensitivities.

  11. Alithea, apparently you are unfamiliar with the liturgy of St. James. The liturgy is celebrated occasionally in some places during the feast of St. James but primarily is in disuse. During that liturgy, which by the way I have participated in on 2 occasions, the Eucharist is received directly into the hands of the receiver. So what you call blasphemy is an authentic practice of the church.

    • Alitheia1875 says

      The reason the Roman Catholics receive the wafer in their hands is because of the fear of germs and not because of any historical reality. That is blasphemy of the highest order.

      • M. Stankovich says

        Fascinating. But when the ordained clergy receive the Eucharist into their hands it is not blasphemy? I would be interested in seeing something in the church’s theology of the priesthood that supports this idea. Is there any chance that when the church expanded into the “empire,” it became too difficult and uncontrollable logistically (i.e. limiting the Eucharist only to those initiates of the Church), rather than posing a theological problem? Hint: I believe it was the practice of the church prior to Constantine and the “state religion” that Christians received the Eucharist in their hands (and even were given the pre-sanctified Eucharist to take home to spiritually “nourish” themselves during the week).

        • Alitheia1875 says

          That the clergy commune separately of the two species is an ancient practice. Besides, they all drink from the same chalice. It is not blasphemy that Orthodox clergy commune in this manner as they have always done so. Again, I was addressing the Roman Catholic reasoning, which comes from concern about germs. It was the practice of the first 2 or 3 centuries for the laity to receive the species separately, the Body in the hand and the Blood by sipping from a common Chalice. This was apparently done not just in the Liturgy of St. James.

      • aquinas138 says

        I think the Roman Catholic development of “communion in the hand” comes more from heretical post-Vatican II attitudes about the laity; concerns about germs are usually attempts to shut down efforts to be more traditional in praxis. Historically, RCs receive on the tongue, kneeling. The liturgical iconoclasts after Vatican II insisted that this was an inappropriately servile way to commune; there’s also an element of adopting Protestant “priesthood of all believers” ideas to minimize or even eliminate distinctions between laity and the priest. Thus, the laity should stand and receive in their hands. Also, though not approved by the Vatican, there are even liberal parishes where the communicants take up the Host from the paten themselves. Stunning arrogance at such a moment in a Eucharistic liturgy!

        I would make one comment about Johnkal’s statement that communion in the hand is “an authentic practice of the church.” While it is certainly true it was practiced in past eras, it is also completely inarguable that it was discontinued throughout Orthodoxy and the Roman Catholic Church. Modern celebrations of the Liturgy of St. James are archaeologizing projects that remind me uncomfortably of the liturgical experimentation that obtained in many quarters in Roman Catholic circles in the decades preceding Vatican II. If we believe the Holy Spirit guides the Church, then the holy fathers did not make the change to communing with the spoon lightly, and it strikes me as rash to set aside what has become universal Orthodox practice with respect to receiving the Mysteries.

    • Alitheia1875 says

      The practice of receiving the species separately, even for the liturgy of St. James, ended somewhere in the 2nd to 3rd centuries. Where does this separate partaking continue to take place today in St. Jame’s liturgy? Is it among Orthodox or among Syriac or Copts, etc.? It is, simply put, not the common practice among Orthodox churches.

      • Alithea, you have gone from calling reception of the Eucharist by hand blasphemous to
        accepting that it was practiced in the early church. I have participated in the liturgy of St James about 30 years ago, receiving the Eucharist in my hand, in a GOA church was that blasphemy.

  12. Michael Bauman says

    The Liturgy of St. James is beautiful. It is clearly less refined and more visceral. It has been a long time so I do not remember the manner of reception but it fits.

  13. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Orthodox Church in America website.

    May 28, 2018
    OCA represented at anniversary celebrations in Poland

  14. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Union Of Orthodox Journalists website.

    UOC condemns provocative statements of Metropolitan Alexander (Drabinko)
    28 May 2018, 11:21  Editorial board UOJ 56

  15. Whiskey Six says

    Did any Orthodox Church celebrate memorial day? The only mention was in the bulletin that the church office would be closed. The Catholic and Presbyterian churches had flags and services in my town.

    • My parish usually has a Trisagion service on the Sunday before Memorial Day, but we didn’t this year because of the addition of Kneeling Vespers. The kneeling prayers have lengthy sections for the dead, so I would say that covers it. That said, I wish my parish did more.

      I would like to see more Orthodox parishes offer services on major civic holidays—Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veteran’s Day. Doesn’t have to be a Liturgy; some kind of moleben appropriate to the day.

    • Many of our ethnic parishes don’t miss an opportunity to celebrate their native country’s holidays, though. I think our bishops ought to make this a priority, and even require that an appropriate service be offered on these days.

    • Michael Bauman says

      In my parish the annual tradition is to go to a local cemetery on memorial day bless the graves and pray the Trisagion. Special remembrances for those who served in the military. Quiet, unassuming remembering but not joining in the self-congratulatory narcissism of so many of those photo-opp political fests that makes me want to vomit.

      Memorial Day should be a time of remembrance and repentance.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      We go to the local cemetery which holds most of the Orthodox graves and our priest sprinkles holy water on them as we walk around the fine old graveyard. Sang Christos Anesti repeatedly. The custom in this parish goes back quite awhile.

      • Greatly Saddened says

        How sad is it that here in this wonderful country of ours, it seems the Orthodox Church seems to pay little attention, if any, to our three major military/armed forces celebrations. Those being: Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veteran’s Day.

        These may not be religious holidays, but nevertheless, they should be acknowledged by each individual parish throughout the great land of ours with at least some form of dedication and prayer. If not on that specific day, at least on the Sunday before each of these holidays.

        • Constantinos says

          Greatly Saddened,
          What should we do? Ask God to help us kill more people. Our defense budget for this fiscal year is a staggering 717 billion dollars. more than the top eight countries combined. Those are three holidays we can do without.

          • Greatly Saddened says


            I find nothing wrong with a priest saying a prayer for the men and women who have given their lives for our country, as well as for the men and women who have in the past or are presently serving our country in the armed forces.

  16. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an address this past Friday, made by the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and posted on the Orthodox Christianity website.


    At its session on May 25 at the Holy Dormition-Kiev Caves Lavra, the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church adopted an address to the bishops, clergy, monastics, and laity regarding the initiative for “providing a tomos of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.”

    With the blessing of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, this address will be read out in all the churches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

  17. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the Byzantine, TX website.

    Monday, May 28, 2018
    Evangelical – Orthodox conference set for June at Holy Cross

    • Alitheia1875 says

      But, more importantly, and most importantly, will there be joint prayer services conducted in the Holy Cross Chapel?

  18. Greatly Saddened says

    Please excuse my misspelling up above. I meant to type Veterans Day. Sorry!

  19. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the Ecumenical Patriarchate website.


    8th International Conference of Orthodox Theology
    May 29, 2018

  20. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find a copy of the address by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew made at the Vatican on Saturday, on the Ecumenical Patriarchate website.

    ADDRESS His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew “A Common Christian Agenda for the Common Good” (Vatican, May 26, 2018)

    • Constantinos says

      Greatly Saddened,
      His “All Holiness” would not like our founding fathers because one had to be a property owner to vote. If he doesn’t want to be accused of open and gross hypocrisy, he could disband his merry band of Archons, and cease presenting the Athenagoras Human Rights Award.

      • Greatly Saddened says

        Here is a poem which expresses it best!
        “It is the Soldier, not the minister
        Who has given us freedom of religion.
        It is the Soldier, not the reporter
        Who has given us freedom of the press.
        It is the Soldier, not the poet
        Who has given us freedom of speech.
        It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
        Who has given us freedom to protest.
        It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
        Who has given us the right to a fair trial.
        It is the Soldier, not the politician
        Who has given us the right to vote.
        It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
        Who serves beneath the flag,
        And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
        Who allows the protester to burn the flag.”

        Charles M. Province

    • Alitheia1875 says

      The EP clearly learned nothing from the fiasco that was his attempt of a council on Crete. Not only were many primates missing but those there greatly objected to the use of the word “church” to describe other groups of Christians. But here he is, calling Rome a church. He is delusional if he thinks he can become pope of the east with a unified church. Who/what will be unified? Rome, the EP, perhaps the Anglicans? Certainly not evangelists like Jimmy Swaggert and his ilk here in the US. Benny HInn perhaps? And, no, Rome has not preserved the faith as it was “once delivered to the saints”; far from it. Of course, union with the Anglicans will allow the EP to concelebrate a pseudo eucharistic service alongside female bishops and hierarchs and clergy who are in openly homosexual relationships. One needs to be very, very careful of what one wishes for.

    • Words from the professor meaning nothing in reality. Perhaps blessing Turkish arms in Syria. As my kumbaraos in Athens, said, as soon as average layman hears, they run the other way. As meaningful as these celeb UN special envoys. Spare me the obscenity. ME? I did 30 yrs in front line mental health care and voluntary work abroad. The professional professor in the planar, actually better standard than those around him but living a delusional lie SAD AS THE GREAT MAN SAYS.

  21. What ever other views I have re Constantinople, every word of this address was excellent and needs to be read especially by the bureaucrats of GOA.
    But the crisis in GOA cannot even begin to be sorted until it brings it’s worship into line with the rest of the Orthodox world. THAT IS. it gets rid of organs. Stop turning the Church into a Theatre with it’s regimented pews. There are other ways of provided seating to those who need it as opposed to the just lazy. And hollywood choir and organ….. Really it’s so passe! and engaged the congregation and tithing. Abolish greekfests as most people think greek churches are cultural food centres. No do not stop eating greek food or dancing greek dances? Why should we, but for ourselves and our shared identity

  22. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Orthodox Christianity website.

    Constantinople, May 31, 2018

  23. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Orthodoxy Cognate Page website.

    Ukrainian Autocephaly – A step to Canonical Unity or a False Union with Rome?

  24. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today in The National Herald.

    FYROM Breakaway Orthodox Church Wants to Join Patriarchate
    By TNH Staff May 31, 2018

  25. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today in The National Herald. Unfortunately, the article is locked and doesn’t appear in its entirety. I will continue to be on the lookout for the article in its entirety and if found, I will post.

    Archbishop Demetrios Shows Total Defiance toward Patriarch Bartholomew
    By Theodoros Kalmoukos – May 31, 2018

    • Greatly Saddened says

      Below please find a few comnents to the article below in The National Herald.

      Archbishop Demetrios Shows Total Defiance toward Patriarch Bartholomew
      By Theodoros Kalmoukos – June 2, 2018

      Jeffdiner says:
      May 30, 2018 at 1:51 pm
      The ones who caused the problems can never be the ones to fix them. The fact the Archbishop refuses to resign along with certain metropolitans shows just how deep the swamp really is. I personally like the Archbishop but feel he would make a better educator and college professor than an administrator. I don’t think anyone can argue or disagree with that and if you do you are blind to what is happening in our Archdiocese.

      repanidi1908 says:
      June 2, 2018 at 8:59 am
      Evangelos is easily the least qualified of the metropolitans to become archbishop. And, truth be told, none of the others have the stature, foresight and vision, not to mention piety, that is needed today, perhaps more than ever before.

      2nd Generation says:
      May 31, 2018 at 2:40 am
      You make a valid point that those who created the problem can not fix it, however, that adage is better applied to the Patriacahte, which started this mess with the forced resignation of the late Archbishop Iakovos. After gutting any laity authority from the Archdiocese Charter, they elevated the US Bishops to Metroplotains, reporting to the Patriarch, and left the Archbishop of America with little authority, and a structure doomed to fail.

      Toula Keystone says:
      June 1, 2018 at 9:20 am
      Sadly, hindsight, as it is said, is “20-20”.
      We are in a quagmire. There is also an expression: “as the Archdiocese goes, so goes HC/HC” We see this with record low numbers in attendance and at least two of the more qualified professors resigning. Also, as stated by Fr. Metropolus, the president of HC/HC, there is no money to pay the now very past due bills.
      Answers, I don’t have. Pray that our Loving God will continue to humble us and guide us. The Church is not a business, but it must be administered to competently. Most of our clergy are priests, not businessmen. They have no administrative skills or background. Sad.

      repanidi1908 says:
      June 2, 2018 at 8:55 am
      The deans of the respective schools resigned their positions but will remain at the school as teachers. HCHC has been touted as the flagship institution of the Archdiocese since, well, forever. But it is an orphan flagship. After 80 years its endowment is perhaps $25 million. And, it is continuously borrowed against to make ends meet. The school has never been adequately supported financially either by the Archdiocese or by the Greek American community, which is especially sad, shameful and embarrassing, because of the socioeconomically successful position to which Greek Americans have risen. The endowment should be in the range of $250-500 million and perhaps even more.

      Michael says:
      June 2, 2018 at 1:06 pm
      Very true the endowment should be bigger. But having watched our money misused and stolen and largely going to fund a luxurious lifestyle for our princeling bishops, many of us have shut our wallets until we see transparency and accountability. Sadly, I don’t expect to see that day in my lifetime.

  26. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find a “Letter to the Editor” from today in The National Herald, written by Vivian T. Arfaras of New Port Richey, FL. Please be sure to read the comments below the letter as well.

    Letter to the Editor: Jesus’ Ethnicity?
    May 31, 2018

    • Greatly Saddened says

      Below please find a comment to the above “Letter to the Editor” in The National Herald.

      Letter to the Editor: Jesus’ Ethnicity?
      May 31, 2018

      Michael Albano says:
      May 31, 2018 at 11:28am

      The royal Messiah will be descended from the tribe of Judah, as it say, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the root of Jesse, that stands for an ensign of the peoples, unto him shall the nations seek” (Isa 11:10)
      (Genesis Rabbah 97)

      “Turning to the New Testament, we can discern in Gabriels words, addressed to the virgin “Mary of Nazareth”, the ideal king, of “Davidic” origin, the long-awited King – Messiah. This person is, of course, none other than Jesus, whose birth Gabriel is about to announce, “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord god will give to him the throne of his ancestor “David”. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end”. (Luke 1:32-33 NRSV) (Jesus The Messiah in the Hebrew Bible – Eugen J. Pentiuc)

      It is truly sad how little we know about our own faith – about the origins of Christianity. It is unfortunate how little our priests and bishops teach us (their flock). It is rare to see a Greek Orthodox church (especially in the tri-state area) with a full scale teaching ministry. My church does not offer such a ministry.

      Our faith begins with the word of God which in written down in the Old and New Testaments. It is not enough to attend a portion of the divine liturgy on Sundays or a few of the services during Holy Week. To be a Christian takes work.

      The ultimate goal in life is to find out, who we are? We can only figure this out up to a certain point. The answer to this and many other questions will come from the Bible.

    • Greatly Saddened says

      Below please find two more comments to the above “Letter to the Editor” in The National Herald.
      We may find the first comment from Father Basil humorous, but the truth of the matter is, it is actually quite sad, to say the least. I would venture to guess there are many more of these people in our churches than we may be willing to admit.

      Fr. Basil Papanikolaou says:
      June 1, 2018 at 10:49am

      This story about Jesus’ ethnicity reminds me of a hilarious incident that happened years ago, during a Bible Class I had in my Parish: Frank and Maria, an older immigrant couple were in attendance, not being able to fully understand our discussion. At some point Frank heard about the Lord’s Jewishness and turned to his wife, saying, “Maria, did they say Christ was Jewish?” “Yes, Frankie, He was Jewish!” Frank arose rather angry and told her, “Let’s get out of here! They don’t know what they’re talking about! Christ was Greek!”


      Michael Albano says:
      June 1, 2018 at 6:11 pm

      Fr. B – I find the Frank and Maria story funny.
      But the reality is, there are a lot of Frank and Maria’s in our churches who are totally in the dark when it comes to our faith and Christianity as a whole. How can we be saved if we do not know who Jesus is? Do not receive the Agape – Heavenly love only He can offer?
      Lord have mercy!

  27. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today in the Independent Balkan News Agency website.

    Orthodox Church of fYROMacedonia returns to normality
    By Spiros Sideris / Published on: 31-05-2018, 13:10

  28. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Monday on the Hurriyet Daily News website.

    Greek Orthodox orphanage, Europe’s largest wooden building, awaits salvation off Istanbul
    ISTANBUL – Agence France-Presse

  29. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Orthodox Christianity website.

    Kiev, June 1, 2018

  30. Greatly Saddened says

    Please accept my apology. Yesterday, I noticed I inadvertently attached the wrong link to the above referenced article from Monday on the Hurriyet Daily News website.

    News Turkey Local – May 28 2018 11:31:57
    Greek Orthodox orphanage, Europe’s largest wooden building, awaits salvation off Istanbul
    ISTANBUL – Agence France-Presse

  31. Greatly Saddened says

    In an article today in the Ethnikos Kyrix, it states the Parish of Holy Trinity of Lowell. MA, has decided to send in half of its annual archdiocesan assessment of $48,000.
    Unfortunately, the article is locked. I will be on the lookout and if found in its entirety, I will either translate from Greek or post from The National Herald.

  32. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the Orthodox Church of America website.

    June 1, 2018
    Archbishop Alexander consecrates Miami’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral

  33. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Conference of European Churches website.

    Orthodox reflect together on challenges
    2 June, 2018

  34. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find a press release on the Ecumenical Patriarchate website.

    Toward a Greener Attica Preserving the Planet and Protecting its Peoples
    June 5-8, 2018
    The Saronic Islands, Greece

  35. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today in The National Herald.

    President Pavlopoulos Meets Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
    By ANA – June 4, 2018

  36. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Orthodox Christianity website.

    Evia, Greece, June 4, 2018

    • Constantinos says

      Greatly Saddened,
      What an inspiring, awesome, wonderful saint! Thank you, I had never heard of him before.

  37. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Saturday on the Brown Political Review website.

    The Lament Over Jerusalem: The Consequences of the Greek Orthodox Church’s Land Sale Policy in Israel/Palestine
    Matthew Jarrell – JUNE 2, 2018

  38. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find a “Letter to the Editor” by Paul J. Kutscera, Esq. of Bayside, NY, in today’s The National Herald.

    Letter to the Editor: Who Cares? I Care and Many Others
    June 5, 2018

  39. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article by Mark Arey, from May 7th, originally on Public Orthodoxy. It was posted today on OCL’s website.

    Source: Public Orthodoxy
    Originally published on May 7, 2018
    by Mark Arey

  40. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Orthodox Christianity website.

    Athens, June 6, 2018

  41. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday in The National Herald. Unfortunately, the article is locked and doesn’t appear in its entirety. I will continue to be on the lookout for the article in its entirety and if found, I will post.

    The Demetrios Doctrine: “Let It Burn”
    By Antonis H. Diamataris – June 6, 2018

    • Greatly Saddened says

      Below please find the above article from yesterday in The National Herald, which has been posted in its entirety today on OCL’s website.

      Please note, right below the first article, there is a second article from Saturday in The National Herald, which has also been posted in its entirety on OCL’s website.

      The Demetrios Doctrine: “Let It Burn”
      By Antonia H. Diamataris – June 6, 2018
      BY WEBMASTER ON JUNE 6, 2018

      By Theodoros Kalmoukos
      Published on June 2, 2018

      • Jane Rachel says

        Greatly Saddened,
        Does anyone know whether there’s any evidence, anywhere, that Patriarch Bartholomew, in truth, “invited” Archbishop Demetrios to resign, and that Archbishop Demetrios, in “total defiance,” refused to resign; saying, in essence, “Let it burn,” as stated in the articles? The articles cite no evidence, direct quotes, or links to back up the claims. These are very big claims, indeed.

        The article states,
        “Bartholomew invited Demetrios into his office for a private discussion and told him it is time to think of resigning. The archbishop refused.”

        If the meeting was private between the two men, who “spilled the beans,” Patriarch Bartholomew or Archbishop Demetrios?

      • Greatly Saddened says

        Below please find some comments from an article in last Wednesday’s The National Herald.

        The Demetrios Doctrine: “Let It Burn”
        By Antonis H. Diamataris – June 6, 2018

        ggeorgou says:
        June 6, 2018 at 10:16 am

        Perhaps the Patriarch is trying to be respectful of the Archbishop’s age and past interactions… It’s harsh to fire a 90 year old, grandfatherly figure who is well liked, despite the obvious problems here. 

        Michael Albano says:
        June 6, 2018 at 11:16 am

        ggeorgou – I agree with you, it is “harsh” to fire the primate and geronta of the Greek Orthodox church of America – we do not need anymore negative headlines in the New York Post. However, he should accept responsibility and apologize to the Greek American faithful for the horrendous predicament our beloved Orthodox Church is (afterall it is he that micro-managed every aspect of the day to day operations of the Archdiocese and HCHC for twenty years). Then he should resign with the humility of a Christian man and allow the recovery process to begin. We will thrive in the future.

        Anonymous says:
        June 6, 2018 at 12:19 pm

        Before His Eminence resigns or retires, he should set the record straight regarding the statements made by the Archdiocesan Executive board and the Bishop accusing dedicated individuals of wrong doing. The Vice Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary of the Archdiocesan Council should be removed for their lies,. accusations and the path of destruction they caused our church.

        The Bishop should be reprimanded for NOT following the rules regulations regarding the GOA sexual misconduct policy. The CFO who also wears a collar should be removed for producing inaccurate, false financial reports. He along with the Executive board Treasurer distributed misinformation to the press which has caused this embarrassment and chaos to our Church.

        Let us converge on Boston with one common goals; to insist on the truth, to insist this board be removed, to insist the sexual misconduct rules be enforced and those clergy who are part of a cover up of the collar be defrocked, to insist they apologize for the damage they created and to band together as faithful Greek Orthodox Christians to move forward for our Church.

        Michael says:
        June 7, 2018 at 11:19 pm

        Michael I agree with most of what you say. But the EP shares responsibility for this mess. It deliberately creates an ungovernable structure to ensure there would never be another Archbishop Iakovos. Combine the more powerful roles of the Metropolitans with the weak men put in the jobs and you had a recipe from day one.

  42. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from May 28th, by George Matsoukas, OCL Executive Director, on the OCL website.

    Musings of the OCL Executive Director – Pentecost 2018
    BY WEBMASTER ON MAY 28, 2018

  43. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an open letter by Mr. Michael Huffington, from today in The National Herald.

    Open Letter to the Archbishop & the Greek Community
    By Michael Huffington – June 7, 2018

    • Crazy days are here to stay says

      Oh Lord Have Mercy. Michael Huffington is a self-proclaimed bisexual and LGBT activist. Yes he was formerly married to Arianna Huffington, which is how he got his GOA connection. He has contributed to organizations whose goal is to “normalize” sodomy and same-sex “marriage” in Orthodox Churches.

      Regardless of his views on the GOA’s current predicament, only in crazy 21st century America would this man be considered a “public voice” of Orthodoxy!

    • Greatly Saddened says

      And another comment from the open letter by Mr. Michael Huffington in The National Herald.

      Michael says:
      June 7, 2018 at 11:13 pm

      Mr. Huffington you have given us a lot to chew on here, and I commend you for doing so. I have also reluctantly come to the conclusion that his eminence is past the point where he can effectively govern the Archdiocese. It is time for a new leader.

      Where I disagree with you is in thinking the Phanar can solve our problems. This EP created the current system of Metropolitans that has destroyed the Archdiocese as a cohesive united entity. And for the sole reason of ensuring there would never be another Archbishop Iakovos.

      We can love the Mother Church, but every daughter comes to the point where she cuts the apron strings and moves out on her own.

      We are entitled to an autocephalous American Orthodox Church, respecting and loving our Mother Church in Constantinople, but governing ourselves based on American values and sensibilities.

      We are the Phanar’s cash cow and the EP is unwilling to see anything change that might stop the flow of dollars to Turkey. That is a lousy reason to deny us our own American Church.

      It is no wonder the GOA is moving towards a collapse. Only bold action will save it. Replacing the Archbishop with one of the current unimpressive Metropolitans or flying someone in from Turkey for the job will be a huge step backwards.

  44. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Orthodox Christianity website.

    Moscow, June 7, 2018

  45. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find a comment from the above open letter by Mr. Michael Huffington in yesterday’s The National Herald.

    Michael says:
    June 7, 2018 at 11:13 pm

    Mr. Huffington you have given us a lot to chew on here, and I commend you for doing so. I have also reluctantly come to the conclusion that his eminence is past the point where he can effectively govern the Archdiocese. It is time for a new leader.

    Where I disagree with you is in thinking the Phanar can solve our problems. This EP created the current system of Metropolitans that has destroyed the Archdiocese as a cohesive united entity. And for the sole reason of ensuring there would never be another Archbishop Iakovos.

    We can love the Mother Church, but every daughter comes to the point where she cuts the apron strings and moves out on her own.

    We are entitled to an autocephalous American Orthodox Church, respecting and loving our Mother Church in Constantinople, but governing ourselves based on American values and sensibilities.

    We are the Phanar’s cash cow and the EP is unwilling to see anything change that might stop the flow of dollars to Turkey. That is a lousy reason to deny us our own American Church.

    It is no wonder the GOA is moving towards a collapse. Only bold action will save it. Replacing the Archbishop with one of the current unimpressive Metropolitans or flying someone in from Turkey for the job will be a huge step backwards.

    • Greatly Saddened says

      Below please find a comment from the open letter by Mr. Michael Huffington in The National Herald.

      Alitheia1875 says:
      June 8, 2018 at 5:50 pm

      Basil312, of course the process was flawed in the past, with a few exceptions, but those presidents (Fr. Nicholas Triantafilou, Fr. Leonidas Contos, Fr. Byron Patrinacos, and of course Dr. Lelon simply because he was a layman) because the archbishop, whichever one holds the position, is automatically chair of the trustees according to the bylaws. What would it take to change the bylaws? Believe me, there are quite a few trustees who want that change. The school is an archdiocesan institution so that’s the only way. Then bring on board a few trustees who themselves have experience in higher education. Then have the process transparent. Surely, at this point pressure from the laity, and I mean real pressure, yelling and stamping of feet, demonstrating in the parking lot in front of the library and administration building type of pressure. One of the major problems with the governance and advancement of the school has been the general indifference and lack of support from the laity. It’s about time that changes. Many people responding to various articles in this newspaper keep calling for change, for the laity to demand change and effect change. Well, aside from cleaning up the archdiocese, the school is absolutely the second item on the list.

  46. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Orthodox Christianity website.

    Metropolitan Antony (Pakanich), Natalia Goroshkova

  47. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today in The National Herald.

    TNH Publisher-Editor to Kathimerini: “Your Eminence, It’s a Question of Trust”
    By TNH Staff – June 9, 2018

  48. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the Eastern Orthodox Christian News website.

    The participation of government officials in church matters is unacceptable – declares Primate of the Czech Church
    Friday, 08.06.2018 22:43

  49. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the Arab Orthodoxy Blogspot website.

    Notes on Arab Orthodoxy
    Friday, June 8, 2018

    The Holy Synod of Antioch on Avoiding Schism through Unanimity

    • Am I the only one who got a chuckle out of Samn’s Notes on Arab Orthodoxy introductory note?

      “This translation is, of course, unofficial.”

  50. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today in The National Herald.

    The Late Archbishop Iakovos & U.S.-Greece Relations
    By Aris Papadopoulos – June 10, 2018

  51. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the Orthodoxy Cognate Page website.

    High Representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate received by the Serbian Patriarch

    • Jane Rachel says

      Greatly Saddened,

      Thanks for the link! What are we doing, saying the EP has no purpose?

    • Jane Rachel says

      It’s true. The Ecumenical Patriarch has a huge role to play and is vital in the world today. Here is an excerpt from an article in “In Serbia Today” The world is the stage:

      “Taking part in the liturgy were the patriarchs of Moscow, Jerusalem and Serbia and archbishops of Orthodox churches.

      “Today we are celebrating a great historical event that changed the face of the world, an event that divided the time into the pagan and the Christian,” Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) Patriarch Irinej said in the sermon to close the service.

      Closing the sermon, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said that the great and divine ceremony represents the obligation of the Orthodox Church to re-examine itself so that everyone could get resurrected individually.

      He pointed to the persecution of Christians before the Edict of Milan was issued, adding that the Edict is the source from which the principle of religious freedom arose and was proclaimed to the entire world.

      The liturgy was attended by Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and other Serbian government officials, Republika Srpska (RS) President Milorad Dodik, representatives of other Christian churches and religious communities.

      The liturgy was attended also by a large number of religious followers, and estimates by the Nis police department and the SPC say there were over 15,000 people. The celebration of the 1,700th Edict of Milan anniversary was rounded off with awarding prominent participants in the religious and political life with the SPC Order of St. Emperor Constantine the Great.

      The Order was given to all present patriarchs and heads of churches led by Ecumenical Bishop Bartholomew and to representatives of secular and political life, including to the Serbian president, Prime Minister Ivica Dacic, Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic (who was not present), the RS president and Serbian Crown Prince Aleksandar.”

  52. M. Stankovich says

    I accidentally clicked on Fr. Hans’ site yesterday, a site I no longer visit because he practices an ugly form of censorship that excludes those outside his christian right partnership form of Orthodoxy. He refers to the love of the Holy Scripture, a sacred Tradition of the Patristic Fathers on whose lips were the very words of our Savior, as “proof texting,” and who refers to the fathers of our generation – Priests Georges Florovsky, Alexander Schmemann, John Meyendorff, Michael Pomazansky, and Professor SS Verhovskoy, and so on – as “outdated,” and incomprehensible outside of their “context” and time. And worse, he allows half-wit, self-proclaimed “theologians” to sandbag these modern lights of Orthodoxy who opened our minds to an insatiable pursuit of the Patristic wisdom of the Church, in our land, on our continent, as “liturgical experimenters” and “Parisian Orthodox,” when they have offered nothing but scurrilous criticism and unoriginal critique.

    I came upon an essay Fr. Hans published by Rod Drehr that again gives airtime to the filth that is Public Orthodoxy; again gives credibility, albeit negative, to Peter San Filipo, who I knew personally at SVS as someone who, literally, struggled for mediocrity, and whose crowning “achievement” was to defrocked from the sacred priesthood; and again tops it off with his crown jewel of disparaging Priest Robert Arida. My comment will never see the light of day on that site. Mr. Michalopulos defends free speech:

    First, there is absolutely no question in my mind that these “dialogs” and their intentions are subversive, divisive, and intended to, in an expression of the Holy Fathers, “rent the seamless garment of the Savior”; the obvious reference being to the fact that soldiers did not divide the cloak of the Lord at the Cross, “casting lots,” (cf. Jn. 19:24) but more importantly, referring to the unity of the Church. So, I have to ask myself, as one who is at the “frontline” of these issues, who was literally forced from my job for refusing to refer to a transitioning male as “her” – or worse, “it” as he wished, and so the county policy dictated I do because of his preference – or refer to an individual as other than their birth gender in an electronic medical record; who am now avoided, received “cautiously” and “cooly,” and even full-on shunned by certain colleagues; and who knows I will never be called to lecture or consult again in certain facilities, why it is I am unaffected by the concerns of Mr. Drehr and the rest? Simply because I do not read the blasphemy of Public Orthodoxy; I personally knew and confirm that Peter San Filiopo struggled to be, at best, a mediocre seminary student, was a scandal and embarrassment as an Orthodox priest, and a perpetrator of domestic violence; and I simply have no reason to post, under my name, for which I am responsible and answerable, direct links to websites – even if in my madness I imagine someone needs to be educated beyond my vivid description – the filth and perversity that the links on this page alone direct one. This is shameful in my opinion, Fr. Hans. You and Mr. Drehr are quite literally begging your readers to go to these sites and “see for themselves.” And for a man who has railed against pornography, I am simply astounded that you can’t see the association, Fr. Hans: the intoxication of blasphemy and filth, these narcotizing and deceiving arguments that utilize the Holy Scripture itself to twist the Spirit of Truth are absolutely no different and no more intoxicating than sexual pornography, and you and Mr. Drehr provide the the open door. I will not waste my time providing you with the opinion of the Holy Fathers as to “flirting” with blasphemy and heresy lest you accuse me of “proof testing,” but you promote walking among the wolves for no good reason I can see. The overwhelming majority of the faithful, myself included, would never hear of, nor even imagine how they might find such filth were it not for the “service” you and other sites provide.

    And finally, I will say to you again, you are deeply indebted to Priest Robert Arida for providing you exactly three words for which you have gotten four years of mileage: “related to human sexuality.” Now these three words constitute a “turgid piece arguing for the homosexualization of the Orthodox Church.” What is so sad about your assignation of this phrase to your “swift” list of mediocre responses, is that the entire statement of Fr. Robert is negated, and in each case, the concerns he expressed in 2014 are as true today as they were then: “Among the most controversial of these issues are those related to human sexuality, the configuration of the family, the beginning and ending of human life, the economy and the care and utilization of the environment including the care, dignity and quality of all human life.” Should I have turned to the Bishops, to the ordained clergy when I took a stand, Fr. Hans? Should I have turned to you? Are you, in fact, my champion, Fr. Hans? Or would you kill the messenger?

  53. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today in The National Herald. Unfortunately, the article is locked and doesn’t appear in its entirety. I will continue to be on the lookout for the article in its entirety and if found, I will post.

    As Archdiocese’s Woes Spill Over, Beware of Rabble-Rousers
    By Christopher Tripoulas – June 12, 2018

    • Michael Bauman says

      GS: A phrase from one of the opening sentence of the article is enough for me:

      the Greek-American community and Hellenism worldwide – considering the importance of this eparchy

      I am sorry but worldwide Hellenism? That sounds quite a bit like the Bund to me. That is the problem. Whatever else the gentleman has to say is fuel on the fire.

    • Greatly Saddened says

      Below please find the above article from Tuesday in The National Herald, which has been posted in its entirety on the OCL website.

      As Archdiocese’s Woes Spill Over, Beware of Rabble-Rousers
      By Christopher Tripoulas – June 12, 2018

      BY WEBMASTER ON JUNE 12, 2018

      • Jane Rachel says

        Greatly Saddened, there’s a lot to think about in the article. Thanks so much for posting all these links, and for your input.

  54. Jane Rachel says

    In keeping with “Recent Events in Orthodoxy,” here is recent news. Without a connection to the rest of the world, we lose ourselves:

    Serbian Bishops in America Express Concern Over Attacks on Religious Freedom in Kosovo

    • George Michalopulos says

      Dear-to-Christ Francis: I’m still waiting for your answer regarding what NATO did to Serbia 20 years ago.

      When you answer, then you can contribute again.

  55. Jane Rachel says

    Here is more Recent News in Orthodoxy, straight from the Syriac Patriachate web site. My question is this: Why does the United States media lie about President Assad?

    “In his speech, His Holiness welcomed the guests at Mor Aphrem Monastery and considered that this “gathering today at this Iftar in Ramadan at a Christian Monastery is the strongest message to be sent to the entire world about the Syrian way of living which is a paradigm of the relations among a nation’s people despite their various ethnic and religious backgrounds”. He added that “ our message today is that we will not let go of our values in living together, agreeing to love our country and defend it despite our differences, because this is what protected us during the crisis and what will guarantee for us a peaceful future for the generations to come”.
    His Holiness pointed out that “with this great victory, our battle to rebuild our dear country Syria begins… the biggest challenge is to rebuild the Syrian citizen because wars and crises affect hugelythe souls of people and leads to their moral and social corruption”.
    His Holiness spoke about the “important role that the churches are doing in Syria facing the crisis” which is proportionally equal and efen greater to what the other social entities are offering in raising aware and guiding the people towards keeping higher moral standards.”

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Jane, maybe it’s because he is totally inept at governing his country, a monster or both. My money is on “both,” as his family owns 60% of the wealth of Syria and his father was responsible for the 1982 Humma massacre where there were as many as 40,000 reported deaths. Don’t let that mild-mannered, western educated, meek little mouse behind the curtain fool you. The Assads were bred for power and will do anything to hold onto it. It’s part of their DNA.

      You’ve got to understand something about that part of the world: Just because an Orthodox Patriarch or bishop or lay person says everything is hunky dory doesn’t make it so. Their political leanings take precedence over the truth. Interestingly, they do not consider this to be dishonest, as they have what is called a “tribal mentality.” Their loyalty to their benefactor is unwavering in spite of what they know to be true. Just because Assad has protected Christians and given many of them cushy government jobs (something we have paid him to do, BTW) does not make him a good man no matter who tells you differently.

      To illustrate, Metropolitan Philip sent a delegation of priests to Syria 5 months after the most recent uprising began. Assad orchestrated their visit so they wouldn’t see what was going on. Predictably, the priests came home with glowing reports that Syria was “safe and secure.” In reality, Assad was sitting a powder keg and he knew it; however, because we were paying him to keep the peace for our beloved Christians, he didn’t want *us* (the Antiochian jurisdiction) to know it. He fooled our street savvy priests into thinking what the media was reporting wasn’t true. Father Patrick Reardon reported in October 2011: “So, let me sum up my impression of security in Syria. On a security scale of 1-to-10, I would give Syria 9.7. Using that same scale, I would give Detroit 4, Philadelphia 6, and Disney World 8.5.”

      As far as the Palestinians are concerned, they keep “poking the bear” and have refused to accept the many peace agreements that have come their way. They want to hurt Isreal more than they want peace and because Israel is stronger, they will continue to come out on the losing end again and again. You can’t “save” people who want to keep fighting. You’re going to find the attached unbelievable. A Palestinian father wants Israeli soldiers to kill his toddler son for propaganda (don’t worry, they don’t). THIS is how far they will go:

      • Jane Rachel says

        Gail, regarding Syria, you have no idea. Don’t believe everything you read or hear. I had a long discussion with Father Patrick Reardon right on this blog years ago, right after he came back from Syria, and I foolishly disagreed with him, as if I knew what was going on. Boy, was I STUPID. I could not believe that western media was lying, but after I began to look into it, and found people who could testify to the truth, I changed my tune and repented. We ARE being lied to by the western, controlled media. Period. Here is the truth.

        And then this, for starters.
        Assad did not gas his people. The White Helmets are the monsters.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Jane, just curious. How do you know I have “no idea” about Syria or that I believe everything I see and hear?

          I suggest you talk with Fr. Pat again and ask him if he has changed his mind about how “safe and secure” Syria was 5 months after the initial uprising.

          Remember what I said about the people who toe the party line by singing the praises of their benefactors? That applies to the Antioch Patriarchate, as well.

          Assad either lost control of his cache of chemical weapons, lost control of his own guard (as he has admitted in the past) or he authorized the gassing of his own people. The evidence shows he gassed his own people but no matter how it happened, the result is the same. People were gassed and as the leader of Syria, the buck stops with Assad.

          The White Helmets are media mongers, not warmongers! They didn’t gas anybody. They just fudged on their pictures which CNN also does.

          • Jane Rachel says

            “The Dirty War on Syria has relied on a level of mass disinformation not seen in living memory. In seeking regime change the big powers sought to hide their hand, using proxy armies of Islamists , demonising the Syrian Government and constantly accusing it of atrocities. In this way Syrian President Bashar al Assad, a mild-mannered eye doctor, became the new evil in the world. The popular myths of this dirty war that it is a civil war , a popular revolt or a sectarian conflict hide a murderous spree of regime change across the region. The attack on Syria was a necessary consequence of Washington s ambition, stated openly in 2006, to create a New Middle East .”

          • George Michalopulos says

            To all: I’m going to put on my tinfoil hat here and posit something truly conspiratorial: the gassing was done deliberately in order to make Singapore happen.

            Within a week of that gas attack,Pompeo had announced that Kim Jong-un had agreed to a summit with Pres Trump. It was a classic case of misdirection which allowed Pompeo the necessary cover to fly secretly to North Korea to give Kim an ultimatum.

            Therefore if Assad did do the gas attack, he was acting in concert with the West.

            How will we know of this is true? Watch to see if the war against Assad de-escalates.

            Remember what triggered this entire sequence of strikes against Syria: Putin’s supposed killing of that Russian journalist in Salisbury.

            You can rest assured that Putin didn’t order that hit. Why? Because he was part of a spy exchange with the West in which he got Anna Chapman back.

            The Russians doalot of things but they play by the rules she when comes to spy exchanges.

            • Jane Rachel says
              • George Michalopulos says

                I used to fervently believe he did not. Now, I’m not as fervent. Put me down as skeptical either way.

                What I am not skeptical about was the quick resolution to the Korean crisis that transpired after our show of muscle I Syria

                • Jane Rachel says

                  George, the two links I posted prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that President Assad did NOT gas his people. Opinions mean nothing here.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Small empirical data point. A client of the insurance agency I work in is a native of Syria and an opponent of Assad. This is hersay but the folliwinh was told to me by his agent:

                  This gentleman is known to Assad’s secret police and he left Syria because he did not want to to die.
                  He went back a few years ago. While he was there a Syrian missle, barrel bomb actually, hit the building he was in. Not anything around it. He escaped but others did not. He has no plans to go back.

                  To think that Assad does not target legitimate citizens of the country he rules is absurd. He does. He also protects some. Gail is right it is the tribal way. She was not part of Met. Philip’s tribe so she knows what that is like.

                  In a lesser way, I was not either and got significantly less of an attack but still got a small slap. Gail got the barrel bomb. I will always remember that.

                  What is the “truth” about Syria? All hands are bloody, all are guitly but our various interventions make it worse.

                  The Patriarchs are correct. We need to butt out, but we won’t. That is nihilism in action. The demonic lust of power. But of course that does not exist according to Jane.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    You and Gail know of what you speak. That’s why I went from the “why would Assad do such a thing?” To “he may very well done such a thing”.

                    And you’re right: no one’s hands are clean in that part of the world.

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      No, George, Michael and Gail do not know of which they speak.
                      Doctor Bashar Jaafari DOES.
                      “Syria’s permanent representative to the UN, Dr. Bashar Jaafari raises important questions during UNSC session on Monday, 9 April 2018 to discuss reports of an alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria.”

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      George, the Palestinians don’t want to kill all the Israelis and march them into the sea, although Jesus Himself said that it would be better that a millstone be tied around their necks and they be thrown into the sea, than that they offend the least of these, My little ones.

                      I’ve fallen in love with the Palestinians with whom I’ve had the pleasure of finding out about since I first started looking into the facts in order that I might be informed.

                      Have you ever read Manal Tamimi’s Facebook page? You should go there and visit her page… My goodness, what they have to suffer!


                      Have you visited Dr. Nurit Peled Elhanan’s Facebook page? She is an Israeli whose father, Matti Peled was a general in the Israeli army. Nurit’s daughter was killed in a bus bomb attack by a Palestinian woman. She is a fascinating woman, so intelligent and eloquent.


                      Do you know about Miko Peled, Nurit’s brother?

                      Miko Peled and Nurit Peled-Elhanan are Israelis who could help with negotiations and find solutions, if they were only allowed to present their case. It’s not so easy as you might think. We must not judge that which we do not understand.

                      I can provide many more if this is not acceptable to our discerning eyes.

                      In this haunting video, a young man in a green shirt is shot dead by an Israeli sniper. He returned to the area where he used to live after Israel bombed Gaza. He was looking for his parents ( I know because I’ve watched a longer version of the video and read statements by his parents). How do you expect the Palestinians to negotiate? How can any of us begin to criticize the Palestiniansm when we we don’t understand?

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Jane, it’s a difficult situation, I grant you. But those of us in the West see things through the prism of Palestinian terrorism and the exterminationist talk of their leaders.

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      No, George. In fact, the opposite is true. People in the West see things through the dark, lying, lazy, armchair glass of the Golden Calf called Western Media. “Israeli” leaders and their ilk are, in fact, the terrorists who seek the extermination of the Palestinians.

                      Nurit Peled-Elhanan on the torture Palestinian women go through under the brutal occupation of “Israel”:

                      “I have never experienced the suffering Palestinian women undergo every day, every hour. I don’t know the kind of violence that turns a woman’s life into constant hell. This daily physical and mental torture of women who are deprived of their basic human rights and needs of privacy and dignity, women whose homes are broken in at any moment of day and night, who are ordered at a gun-point to strip naked in front of strangers and their own children, whose houses are demolished, who are deprived of their livelihood and of any normal family life. This is not part of my personal ordeal. But I am a victim of violence against women insofar as violence against children is actually violence against mothers. ”


                    • George Michalopulos says

                      I totally disbelieve the western media and have they’ve been peddling for decades, both foreign and domestic.

                      The Israelis are no angels. Someday, I’ll write about the USS Liberty. Having said that, I find it hard to believe that the Palestinians have a viable future as a state. I could be wrong. Maybe I am.

                  • Jane Rachel says

                    Michael, Gail and George:

                    I’m only talking about facts, here. If you would examine the photos from the last two links I posted, you will see for certain that President Assad DID NOT gas his people. A second-hand story about a barrel bomb and a businessman who left Syria and went back isn’t going to cut it. As before, I am presenting irrefutable evidence. There is so much evidence, in fact, that I would take up a whole book just posting links. About barrel bombs:




                    The ‘Aleppo Hospital’ Smokescreen: Covering up Al Qaeda Massacres in Syria, Once Again

                    If you don’t look at the evidence, well, I”m not here to care what you decide to do, or to think. I’m here to present the truth, which has been told by others who know the truth and are not lying.

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Jane, actually I tend to think that Assad did not gas his people, but that does not make him an angel. Revolution/Civil War is always nasty, dirty, deadly and destructive. It invites the intervention of other countries to promote their own interests. They never really produce much of anything positive. I include our own civil war in that BTW.

                      The Assad family has long tried to protect its rule by making arrangements with organizations within the Arab Muslim Community to leave Assad alone in exchange for support abroad. He made a lot of other people mad by doing this. The Assad family has long used oppressive means to maintain control as well. What dictator does not?

                      The real tragedy here is that the Orthodox Christian communities were on their way back because Assad left them largely alone. Bishop Sava of the Homs Diocese from which many of the founders of my parish came was a guest of our community for about a year prior to his elevation to the Episcopate. He is a gentle, wise and prudent man with great skill in motivating people. A true bishop I think. I cannot even imagine the sorrow and grief that is on him as well as our Patriarch John whose own brother was kidnapped over five years ago and remains missing.

                      We also have to realize that we Americans have zero idea of what having a home country is like. The Christians in Syria have an unbroken 2000 year history of living in that land, of burying their families for generations as well as long established faith communities that include parishes and monasteries creating an organic basis for the faith that we can probably never know.

                      Islam is a late comer.

                      If the west had really wanted to help, we would have supported the indigenous Christian populations in these countries to promote a balanced government that also took into account the Muslim population. Unfortunately, that would not allow us direct control and promotion of “demonocracy”. The chaos of such a political ideal which is really nihilism at work is what we are witnessing.

                      We have continued to support his work monetarily as well as with prayer since. By God’s grace, he was making great progress with programs that cared for both Christians and Muslims. That has been destroyed.

                      I rather think that is one of the reason’s for the revolution in the first place.

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      Listen to Bashar Al-Jaafari, Syria’s ambassador to the UN:

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Jane, I screwed up when I published that last comment of yours. Like pretty much everybody else on this blog (Gail included), I’ve censored comments which I thought were too personal. For some reason (maybe because I was at work and I was under the gun), I let your riposte to Gail go through.

                      I would ask that we all heed Michael Bauman’s advice and be more considerate –that goes double for me, btw.

                      Having said that, Gail and I have been on opposite sides regarding the Assad family. She’s been an inveterate foe, I’ve been more sympathetic. While she thinks that Assad is more than able to gas his own people, I’ve been more skeptical. Her view comes from harsh personal experience whereas mine comes from a lasting disdain for neocons who I believe would manufacture any false flag operation in order to get us involved in yet another quagmire. My default position is “neocon/bad; everybody they hate/good”. Simplistic, I know.

                      Having said that, I’ve learned to heed her instincts in matters Levantine. She pretty much called the game back in October when she explained what was going on with the GOA scandals. I withheld my judgment back then but the way things are playing out it looks like she was right.

                      As for Assad (and for most Arab leaders for that matter), I am now more inclined to believe that they can exact a bloody revenge even when there is no benefit or need to do so. They don’t think the way we Europeans do when it comes to these matters. In the desert culture from which they arose, any personal slight against the tribal sheikh is met with swift revenge, otherwise, others will rise up to challenge the sheikh. It’s all or nothing with them.

                      Case in point: the late Metropolitan Philip Saliba was outraged when several convert priests took him to task for bending the rules regarding the widowed priest who wanted to remarry. In the Levantine culture, any questioning of the leader –especially one who went out on a limb for his underlings–is met with a swift reprisal. We saw what he did for example with the three seminarians which he withdrew from SVS at the drop of the hat. It’s hardball on steroids.

                      Having said that, I continue to be agnostic about whether Assad did what he was accused of doing. What I am not agnostic about is the Palestinian father who goaded Israeli troops to kill his son. Now I realize that the skirmish was being filmed so he more or less knew that the Israelis wouldn’t do anything so foolish as to kill a little boy on live TV.

                      That’s not the issue for me however. The very fact that any parent would actively put his child in harm’s way, for political gain or whatever, is beyond the pale. And that is why the Palestinians will probably never get their own state. Whether they deserve one is beside the point given such suicidal stunts.

                      Of course I realize that the Israelis are no angels. That’s not the point either. And yes, Jewish terror and duplicity helped bring Israel into existence. That however is not the point either. To make a state, one has to bring something constructive to the table –the carrot as well as the stick. The Israelis (for all their faults) have created a nation that has way more positive aspects to it than negative. More carrot than stick. The Palestinians on the other hand cannot posit a constructive case for their own nationhood other than “Israel is bad”.

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Jane, their is seldom anything that is “irrefutable evidence” especially when there is an ideological war going on. The level of bias, misinformation and the fog of war is too great. I am sure you have a level of experience and knowledge that helps but to make such categorical claims is less convincing than a more reasonable approach that reflects your certainity of the truth of your own evidence.

                      Facts are actually mutable things that often rely on context, bias and interpretation for their status as facts. Facts alone are not complete evidence.

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      When the evidence is presented and people refuse to see it, there’s a problem. Opinions mean nothing without evidence, and we can’t base our opinons on mainstream media.

                      “Clueless” happens. Being stupid happens. I’ve been clueless myself, more than once, and stupid, and I have been called out on it, and corrected. I’ve been clueless especially about “Israel” and Syria. I have not, however, been guilty of “murderous gossip,” and that sailed right through.

                      If you follow the evidence I’ve presented here, you will see that President Assad DID NOT gas his own people.

                      Since this is an opinion blog and, often, not a fact-presenting blog, I can understand how opinions and discussions rule the day. Nevertheless, facts are facts. Take the time to look at the facts. Listen to Ambassador Jafa’ari.

                      As for the little boy in Palestine. The father and his kids and neighbors protest the all the time. The soldiers probably knew the child, and he recognized them. The father KNEW the child would not be hurt. He knew there were cameras on them, he knew it would be seen. The child was not being put in harm’s way by his father. The child LIVES in harm’s way, George, but the killing is done when the cameras aren’t showing. There is no safety anywhere for the Palestinians. I’ve seen SO many videos where the IDF shoots, maims, tortures, teargasses, bombs, terrorizes, frames children using knives, shoots pregnant women and schoolchildren. Those videos are shot in secret, not in plain view and are available on YouTube.

                      Palestinians are beautiful, intelligent people. When a giant lizard is crashing through your land, it’s pretty difficult to negotiate.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Jane, I myself have often been “clueless” –and downright stupid. (That’s kinda where I’m at right now personally.) And I’m going to compound my stupidity by sounding like a Zionist shill now (and remember: I hate neoconservatism with a purple passion) but I gotta go where the facts take us. The Palestinians had ample opportunities to come to a negotiated settlement time and time again.

                      That’s not what bothers me though. What vexes me is that they have never made an effort to create a culture that is ethnogenetic. It’s just “let’s kill all the Yehud and drive them into the sea”. (Which is ironic because the Arabs of Gaza have more authentic Jewish blood than do the Ashkenazim who founded Israel.) It’s doubly ironic because the Palestinian diaspora is well-known for their entrepreneurial talents.

                      And yes, like Gail, I stand by my criticism of the Palestinian father who did put his child in harm’s way. That’s anathema in my book. I’m not above political stunts but not with children, especially if there’s just the possibility that they could get hurt. It’s stunts like this which drives Western opinion against the Palestinians.

                    • Antiochene Son says

                      I’m with you, Jane. I think it is extremely unlikely Assad is attacking his own peaceful civilians. (Now, if Neocons are using weaselly language like “his own people” to mean “Syrian citizens who are part of ISIS,” that’s another story.)

                      If we want to talk about killing civilians, let us look to George W. Bush and Barack Obama, both of whom have killed more civilians than probably any Middle Eastern dictator.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      You’ve got me there, AS.

                      And The Bamster got the Nobel Peace Prize within months of his inauguration –just for not being W. In truth, he was worse than W. We went from two wars to seven.

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      H.E. Dr. Bashar Jaafari statement at the Security Council 9-4-2018


              • Jane Rachel says

                “It is deeply disturbing that the photographer now being lauded globally for the ‘the boy in the ambulance’ photo only a short time ago posed with and praised men who were well-known for having publicly beheaded a wounded child. Incidentally, Raslan is also wearing the same shirt on both occasions (see him go in and out of the footage which captured the moments the little boy was placed in the ambulance).”

                • Jane Rachel says

                  Here is a statement from President Assad about the boy in the ambulance:
                  READ THIS. LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW: “Speaking with Swiss broadcaster SRF on Tuesday, President Bashar al-Assad was shown the image of boy and was asked if he wanted to say something to the Daqneesh family.

                  “There’s something I would like to say to you first of all,” Assad told journalist Sandro Brotz. “I want you to go back after my interview and go to the Internet to see the same picture of the same child with his sister, both were rescued by what they call them in the West, White Helmets.

                  “They were rescued twice, each one in different incidents and just as part of the publicity of those White Helmets. None of these incidents were true,” the president said.”

                  Evidence is presented. The children were used more than once by the terrorists. I have seen the photos of these children. They were not photoshopped. President Assad IS NOT LYING.

                  Just to press more truth into the mold, AP, meaning Associated Press, used photography from a man who associates with known terrorists who cut the heads off of live children. There is no way to photoshop the evidence presented here.

                  Opinions don’t matter. Truth matters. The Holy Spirit leads us into all truth. I’m not so stupid or blind that I can’t see the truth when it is put before my eyes.

            • Deep Steak says

              you did not just put on your tinfoil hat you stuck your head in the microwave afterwards

              the russian assassination attempt in salisbury did not trigger any strikes it was the douma chemical attack that caused the tomahawk chop

              you are suggesting the trump administration conspired with assad to conduct a chemical warfare attack against civilians to facilitate the north korean summit?!?! u loco

              suppose if kremlin cucking requires suggesting trump is engaging in crimes against humanity you do what you gotta do

              • George Michalopulos says

                It’s a possibility. The sequence of events that took place in light of the Salisbury assassination were all rather tidy if you ask me. Too tidy in fact.

                Also, it’s all rather interesting that the Germans and the French are starting to break ranks with the U.S. when it comes to the Russian sanctions.

  56. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find a posting from Saturday, on the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago website.

    June 9, 2018
    Metropolis Listening Tour Begins
    His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael of Chicago

    • Greatly Saddened says

      I will admit, it is still too early to tell, but what a great way for His Eminence Nathanael to begin his episcopacy, than by reaching out to his flock on a listening tour. A good sign to show he truly cares.

      Also, a fine example for the other metropolitans to see and even learn from. Who knows, perhaps they too may be encouraged to do the same. How wonderful would that be!

      Humility, a very basic word, but yet, a word that unfortunately doesn’t seem to be synonymous with these men. Rather, it seems to be … “it’s all about me!”

      • George Michalopulos says

        He appears to be a humble man.

      • Jane Rachel says

        Imagine how difficult it will be for Metropolitan Nathanael to address the piercing questions from the laity. I sure do pray for His Grace. This is the problem many Orthodox Patriarchs face. We laity do not get how difficult it is for Orthodox bishops worldwide.

  57. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find the Patriarchal and Synodical Epistle from Sunday on the Bulgarian Patriarchate website.

    Patriarchal and Synodical Epistle on the occasion of the 1000th anniversary of the establishment of the Bulgarian Archbishopric of Ohrid 10th June 2018

  58. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Friday on the Al-Monitor website.

    Iraq’s Christians, Muslims agree to revive site of ancient church
    Saad Salloum – June 8, 2018

    • Jane Rachel says

      GS: Thank you! An interview with Greek Orthodox Bishop for Baghdad, Ghattas Hazim:

      90 % of Iraq’s Christians are displaced

      Samuel Smith reports in The Christian Post 30 October 2014

      As Islamic State extremists continue their reign of terror through Iraq and Syria, the chaos, violence and persecution forced upon the thousands of people in the region has caused 90 percent of Orthodox Christians in Iraq to flee the sanctity of their homes, according to the Greek Orthodox Bishop for Baghdad, Ghattas Hazim. Hazim, who is also the Greek Orthodox Bishop of Kuwait and other surrounding areas, said in a recent interview with Al Monitor that he fears for the future of the Orthodox Christian presence in Iraq, Syria, and the whole Mesopotamia region. Citing unspecified statistics, Hazim said that 90 percent of Iraqi Orthodox Christians have been displaced from their homes. He added that only 30 of 600 Orthodox families remain in Baghdad as ISIS’ quest to conquer the city continues.

      In Mosul, the Islamic State’s stronghold in Iraq in the northern Nineveh province, Hazim said only 10 Orthodox families remain, although it’s believed that the only Christians left in Mosul are those who could not afford to, or physically, flee.

      “We have a strong heritage, since before Christianity and during Christianity and Islam,” Hazim said.

      “This heritage is in danger and we see that through the violation of shrines and all other cultural sites. We fear for the culture of acceptance and coexistence because it is in danger as well.”

      While a United Nations report from earlier this month points out that over 1.8 million people have been displaced in Iraq as of Aug. 30, with two-thirds of those displaced in areas under ISIS control, Hazim said that western Christians are not doing enough to help Middle Eastern Christians emigrate to areas of safety.

      “It is not true that the West is facilitating the emigration of Christians,” Hazim said.

      “I know many Christians and Orthodox in particular who went to embassies and did not get visas. Others resorted to the United Nations and other international organizations in order to emigrate and it did not work out.”

      Hazim said he will remain in Iraq to make sure the word or God remains in the region, while many other church leaders, especially in Mosul, have fled the country or fled to Christian-accepted regions of the country, like Ebril and Dohock.

      Earlier this month, Canon Andrew White, the Vicar of Baghdad who serves the only Anglican church in Iraq, fled the country after being asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury to do so.

      “I will carry the word of God to my parish in Baghdad and Kuwait: Fear not, little flock, for I am with you,” Hazim said.

      “If they persecute you, remember that they persecuted me before you. We will not fear, because this is not the first time in history that this has happened. We will stay, as long as faith remains and as long as our God exists, we will remain present.”

      Commenting on a recent trip that he took to Israel, Palestine and Iraqi Kurdistan, Archbishop of Oklahoma City Paul Coakley, who is also the chairman of Catholic Relief Services, told Independent Catholic News Service that there are basically no churches left in Mosul and that all of the priests had fled, along with Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Mosul, Emil Nona, to Ebril.

      “When we were in Erbil, we met with Archbishop Amel Nona, Chaldean Catholic Archeparch of Mosul, now exiled in Erbil, who along with his priests and all of the faithful of the archdiocese, have been driven out,” Coakley said.

      “He is, in effect, the archbishop of a Church that no longer exists. They’ve all been scattered. There are no more Christians in his archdiocese. That’s a traumatic, but illustrative situation, of what’s happening there, and what can happen, if things don’t improve.”

      Coakley further asserted that the plight of Christians in the Middle East is not just limited to Iraq and Syria, noting that Christians are also fleeing from Israel and Palestine in large numbers.

      “Our politics in the U.S. are so pro-Israel, it’s very hard to criticize some of the policies, and to point out some of the effects those policies are having in the lives of innocent people, Palestinians in this case, some of whom are Christians,” Coakley argued.

      “But many of the Christians, unfortunately because of those policies, have been driven out of Israel and Palestine.”

      “So the Christians are really the ones who are kind of suffering between a rock and a hard place,” he said about the declining Christian population of the Holy Land.

      “Like so much of the Middle East, it has dropped precipitously in the last 40 years.”

    • Jane Rachel says

      ‘We Palestinian Christians say Allahu Akbar’

      “The only Palestinian Orthodox Christian bishop in the Holy Land speaking about the suffering of Palestinian Christians, their unity with Muslims in the Palestinian struggle, about Orthodox Christian martyrs, and Ukraine.
      The only Palestinian Orthodox Christian bishop in the Holy Land speaking about the suffering of Palestinian Christians, their unity with Muslims in the Palestinian struggle, about Orthodox Christian martyrs, and Ukraine.

      Archbishop Sebastia Theodosios (Atallah Hanna), 49, is the only Orthodox Christian archbishop from Palestine stationed in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, while all other bishops of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem are Greeks. The Israeli authorities had detained him several times, or stopped him at the border, and taken away his passport. Among all Jerusalem clergymen he is the only one who has no privilege of passing through the VIP gate in the airport – because of his nationality. “For the Israeli authorities, I am not a bishop, but rather a Palestinian,” explains his Beatitude. When talking on the phone he says a lot of words you would normally hear from a Muslim: “Alhamdulillah, Insha’Allah, Masha’Allah”. He speaks Arabic, and the Arabic for ‘god’ is Allah, whether you are a Christian or a Muslim.

      Your Beatitude, what’s it like being the Palestinian bishop in the Holy Land?

      Firstly, I’d like to confirm that I am the only Palestinian bishop in the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem. A fellow bishop is serving in the city of Irbid in the north of Jordan; and there are also several Palestinian priests.

      I take pride in belonging to this great religious institution that’s over 2,000 years old.

      My church has been protecting the Christian presence in the Holy Land and the sacred items related to the life of Christ and Christian Church history.

      I am proud of my religion and nationality, I am proud to belong to my fatherland. I am a Palestinian, and I belong to this religious people who are fighting for the sake of their freedom and dignity to implement their dreams and national rights.

      I support Palestinians and share their cause and their issues. We the Palestinian Orthodox Christians are not detached from their hardships.

      The Palestinian issue is a problem that concerns all of us, Christians and Muslims alike. It’s a problem of every free intellectual individual aspiring for justice and freedom in this world.

      We the Palestinian Christians suffer along with the rest of Palestinians from occupation and hardships of our economic situation. Muslims and Christians suffer equally, as there is no difference in suffering for any of us. We are all living in the same complicated circumstances, and overcoming the same difficulties.

      As a church and as individuals we protect this people, and we hope a day will come when Palestinians get their freedom and dignity.

      A Christian pilgrim holds a cross as he dips in the water after a ceremony at the baptismal site known as Qasr el-Yahud on the banks of the Jordan River near the West Bank city of Jericho January 18, 2015. (Reuters/Mohamad Torokman)

      For those coming to visit the Holy Land there are few opportunities to see how hard the Palestinians’ situation is. What would you like to say to those wishing to understand better the Palestinian problem?

      The Israel authorities treat the Palestinian people in a way we can never accept or approve, first and foremost because Israel treats Palestinians as foreigners, as if we were strangers in our land.

      Palestinians have never been strangers either to Jerusalem or to the entire homeland. Israel is an occupation force which treats us as visitors or some temporary residents. But we are the native people of this land. We didn’t come here, we have always been here. In contrast, Israel appeared out of the blue.

      They are treating us as if we came here from elsewhere, as if we accidentally and recently strayed into this land. But we are the rightful owners of this land. We didn’t intrude into Israel. Israel intruded into our lives in 1948, and in 1967 it occupied Eastern Jerusalem. We have been here long before Israel. By the time Israel came here, our forefathers had been living here for many centuries.

      This is why we cannot accept Israel treating us like strangers to our own homeland. I shall be honest and say it over again: both Christians and Muslims suffer the same from the Israeli authorities.

      Is visiting Jerusalem as difficult to a Christian Palestinian from the West Bank as for a Muslim?

      They don’t ask if a person arriving from Beit Jala or Ramallah to Jerusalem is a Christian or a Muslim. They only ask one question, “Do you have a permit to enter Jerusalem or not?”

      The pass allowing a Palestinian to enter Jerusalem is issued by Israel. No one can come through without one. In pursuing its racist policy towards the Palestinian people Israel disregards different confessions. We are all targeted just the same. It all depends on getting a pass, whether you’re a Christian or a Muslim.

      We all are their targets.

      On top of that, Israel took control of a lot of property of the Orthodox Christian Church and is interfering with the internal affairs of the Church. They put pressure on the Palestinian Christians in all sorts of ways trying to force them to leave.

      There is only one cause of suffering for both Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land.

      The recent attack on the French satirical magazine triggered a wave of anti-Muslim marches in Europe. Netanyahu walked in the front row of such a march. What it your attitude to what happened?

      We denounce the attacks in Paris which were committed by the people allegedly representing a particular religion.

      But they do not represent any religion – they are murderers.

      This attack was committed by the people, who claimed to have faith, but they definitely don’t represent Islam and cannot act on behalf of Islam, they only do harm and hurt the image of Islam through what they do.

      At the same time, we denounce just as much terrorist operations in Syria and Iraq as we denounce the terrorist attacks in Paris.

      Those who committed the terror attack in Paris and elsewhere, belong to the same groups that are engaged in terrorism in Syria and Iraq and attack sacred places, desecrate churches and kidnap religious leaders.

      They attack women and children in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.

      We were witnesses of the terror act in Lebanon’s Tripoli just days ago which killed dozens of innocent people who were at a café.

      We condemn the terror attacks in Paris and we equally condemn any such attacks in any part of the world. We strongly oppose the idea of connecting these attacks to Islam.

      We are currently preparing for an international conference that religious figures – Christian, Muslim and Judaist – from many countries will take part in to assert that we, the representatives of the three monotheistic religions, are against terror, fanaticism and violence used under religious slogans. The conference might take place in Amman, Jordan.

      To a Western mind, Allahu Akbar sounds like a threat. What do Christians of the Holy Land think about them?

      We Christians also say Allahu Akbar. This is an expression of our understanding that the Creator is great. We don’t want this phrase to be related to terrorism and crimes.

      We refuse to associate these words with massacres and murders.

      We speak against using this phrase in this context. Those who do, they insult our religion and our religious values.

      Those using these words while taking some unreligious, unspiritual, uncivilized actions are harming the religion.

      Allahu Akbar is an expression of our faith.

      One must not use these words for non-religion-related purposes in order to justify violence and terror.

      Christian priests hold a Christmas Midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem December 25, 2014. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)

      Do people say Allahu Akbar in church?

      Of course.

      For us, Allah is not an Islamic term. This is a word used in Arabic to indicate the Creator who’s made the world we are living in. So when we say Allah in our prayers we mean the Creator of this world.

      In our prayers and pleas, in our Orthodox Christian religious ceremonies we use exactly this word. We say, glory be to Allah in all times. We say Allah a lot during our liturgy. It’s erroneous to think that the word Allah is only used by Muslims.

      We the Arab Christians say Allah in our Arabic language as a way to identify and address the Creator in our prayers.

      Is this all about Christ? Was he the one to provoke a religious split in the Holy Land? Christians and Muslims recognize that Jesus Christ had been born, and they are awaiting his second coming, and the judgment day. Jews deny this however, and await their Messiah.

      We Christians believe that Jesus has already come. We have recently celebrated Christmas as a reminder that Jesus came into this world, that he was born in Bethlehem, and began his road here in the Holy Land for the sake of all mankind, and for the salvation of the world.

      So as far as we are concerned, Jesus has already come.

      Jews believe that he hasn’t come yet, and await his coming. This is the main disagreement between Jews and us. We believe that Jesus has already come, whereas they don’t.

      Despite this fact, we are not at war with Jews. We do not express aggression against Jews or anyone else in the world, despite any differences in our beliefs.

      We pray for those who disagree with us.

      When Jesus came into this world he didn’t tell us to hate, ignore, or be at war with one or the other; he didn’t tell us to kill this one or that one. He gave us one very simple instruction: to love one another. When Jesus told us to love one another this love wasn’t conditioned by what a person was like, or what he was doing. If we are indeed true Christians it is our debt to love all people, and to treat them with positivity, and with love.

      When we see someone who’s sinful, lost, and distant from Allah and from faith, someone who acts wrongly, then it is our duty to pray for him although he might be different from us and our religion. When we have religious disagreements with people we pray that Allah would guide them the right way. Hatred, anger, and accusations of having a wrong faith are not a part of our ethics as Christians. This is the key disagreement and difference between the Jewish religion and ours. The Jewish religion that had existed before Christ is the religion of people who were awaiting Jesus’ coming. Many Jews followed him, yet there were those who didn’t believe in him, and rejected him.

      We know that Jesus was persecuted, and so were the early Christians. For instance, Herod the King killed thousands of babies in Bethlehem thinking that Jesus would be among them. The book of the Acts of the Apostles, as well as sacred tradition, talk about numerous instances of persecution of early Christians.

      Despite that, we see each person who disagrees with us on religion as our brother, our fellow human. Allah created all of us, he gave us life, therefore it is our duty to love each person, and to pray for those who are mistaken or are misunderstanding, so that Allah would guide them the right way.

      Is that why Christians and Muslims are persecuted?

      We don’t divide the Palestinian people based on who is Christian and who is Muslim, who is religious and who isn’t, who is left or what party they are a member of. We don’t divide the people based on convictions and religion.

      For the resistance it doesn’t matter whether they are Muslim or Christian.

      Regardless of what their political views may be, all Palestinians actively support the idea that the Palestinian people should be able to exercise their rights and achieve their dream.

      Yes, a number Christians have been killed since 1948 to this day. Some Christians have been driven away from their houses. Some Christian villages have been completely destroyed, and now there’s not a single house or resident there, for example, Al Galil in the Golan Heights.

      Many churches have been attacked in Jerusalem; there have been attempts to seize their property and lands.

      There are Christians in Israeli prisons – not as many as Muslims, but there are some. The Christian community is smaller in general, but we have our own martyrs who were killed and prisoners who spent years and years behind bars.

      Christians suffer under the Israeli occupation just the same as Muslims – the entire Palestinian population suffers under it. They don’t distinguish between us.

      Are there any special aspects when it comes to Christians living in the Holy Land?

      Here’s one of the many examples, connected to the Russian Orthodox Church.

      The Holy Trinity Cathedral located in the western part of Jerusalem belonged to the Russian Orthodox Church, but after 1948 Israel used the situation in Russia to its advantage and seized some of the buildings around the Cathedral, using them as police quarters and a prison with torture practices.

      When someone says “moskobiya”, referring to something connected to the Moscow Patriarchate, something holy and spiritual, the first thing that comes to the mind of a Palestinian living in Jerusalem is torture, police, interrogation and prison.

      In Nazareth, for example, the word “moskobiya” is associated exclusively with the old Russian school where the Palestinian cultural elite, scientists and politicians studied. Although it was closed after the 1917 Revolution in Russia, its fame lives on.

      So it’s only for the Palestinians in Jerusalem.

      What do Palestinian Christians, I mean Orthodox Christians first of all, think of the Ukraine crisis?

      Overall, we are deeply concerned with the divide in Ukraine. We still believe all Ukrainian Christians must stay within the fold of the Mother Church that is the Moscow Patriarchate.

      I wish the Ukraine crisis would resolve through dialogue so that we see reconciliation and an end to violence and bloodshed.

      Christians do not need wars, killings and massacres. This political crisis must be resolved in a peaceful way. The Church must work hard to ensure that the divisions are bridged and overcome.

      The Orthodox Church in Ukraine is strong because most of the people preach Orthodox Christianity.

      Divisions must be healed. We really hope that the efforts by the Moscow Patriarchate and the Patriarchate of Constantinople will help to re-unite the Ukrainian Church.

      I believe the split can be reversed and those who broke away could come back. But in order for that to happen we need humility, belief and strong will.

      We pray for the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.”

      • Jane Rachel says

        Gail, Since the discussion (if there is a discussion) will involve two separate countries, Palestine and Syria, I will address your comment about Palestine under this statement by Archbishop Sebastia Theodosios (Atallah Hanna) here. If you would kindly read his statement first, and then respond to what he has said, it might be a good place to start.

        If you would like to respond to me, that’s fine, too. If not, fine.

        You wrote:
        “As far as the Palestinians are concerned, they keep “poking the bear” and have refused to accept the many peace agreements that have come their way. They want to hurt Isreal more than they want peace and because Israel is stronger, they will continue to come out on the losing end again and again. You can’t “save” people who want to keep fighting. You’re going to find the attached unbelievable. A Palestinian father wants Israeli soldiers to kill his toddler son for propaganda (don’t worry, they don’t). THIS is how far they will go:

        Gail, I have been told I am nothing more than a “google scholar” but I can tell you this. I have hundreds of friends on my Facebook page and many of them are Palestinians who live in Palestine, or outside Palestine, and they KNOW what they are talking about. (Many others are Syrians who both live in Syria, and who live outside Syria, and many of them are scholars, lecturers, authors and activists, and they KNOW what they are talking about.)

        Regarding the video you linked to. Those IDF soldiers had no intention of shooting that little boy right in front of the camera, and the father knew it. I have watched many, many, many videos of the IDF shooting children, on the streets, school girls, little boys, spraying skunk spray on little ones, killing innocent, pregnant women, planting evidence and knives on dead Palestinian boys, dropping the equivalent of an atomic bomb on Gaza with “Israeli citizens” sitting in easy chairs, eating popcorn and watching the show, bombing houses with whole families in them in Gaza, giving the families no warning. IDF snipers shooting little boys from the rooftops and laughing about it. Torturing Palestinian Christians and Muslims indiscriminately. I have direct contact with Palestinian journalists, photo-journalists and families who live there. I have contact with activists – both Israeli and Palestinians – who KNOW what is going on. I can provide more evidence than you want to see. In the meantime, feel free to tell me what is really going on. “Israel” imprisons children and tortures them. Want evidence? I will provide it, gladly.

        Please look up Nurit Peled Elhanan, Miko Peled, Matti Peled, Hamde Abu Rahma, Ahed Tamimi, Manal Tamimi, Janna Jihad, for starters.

        To mix in a bit of genius, here’s Andrew Korybko:

        I’m not out to pick a fight, but since I think it’s important that the truth is told, I’m willing to tell it.

        “Israel” is fulfilled in the Church.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          If you know anything about Atallah Hanna, you know how controversial he is. If your intent is to convince me of something, choose someone else. I’m not a fan.

          Not sure why you want me to look up these other people. Look them up with regard to what, specifically? You *do* realize I’m not pro Israel, don’t you? Just because I said the Israelis were stronger than the Palestinians doesn’t mean I necessarily support them. I was just stating a fact.

          • Jane Rachel says

            Gail, Glad you cleared that up.

          • Jane Rachel says

            Gail, Is Bishop Atallah Hanna an infidel, or what?

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Jane, to answer your question, Atallah Hanna is a known terrorist sympathizer. Of course, he would probably call them “freedom fighters.”

              • Michael Bauman says

                Jane Rachel, Gail may be wrong but she is never clueless. That is beyond the pale rude. As much as I disagree with you and find your thoughts very difficult to understand and your conclusions often wrong, you are not clueless.

                You owe her an apology. This is her house BTW almost as much as it is George’s.

                The trouble with the Assad debate is that there is no trustworthy evidence from either side. There are no white knights. It is a country destroyed more by outside evil than internal evil, but evil is at work. Let us not compound that evil by being nasty to each other.

                I have obviously provoked you too, please forgive me.

              • George Michalopulos says

                She’s definitely not clueless.

        • Constantinos says

          This is my final comment. Jane, you are the most intelligent poster on this forum. You know more than everyone else combined. Thank you for exposing the truth about the rogue, apartheid state of Israel. Anyone who says that the fault is with the Palestinians is as stupid as the day is long. The Palestinians are innocent victims of Israeli crimes against humanity.
          Jane, keep doing the great work in exposing the truth. Don’t let the haters and poseurs get to you. They will try to intimidate and brow beat you to death. Don’t let them. You are 100% correct in everything you have written about Syria and the poor Palestinians. I’m a fan of Atallah Hana. He is controversial because he dares to stand up to the criminal regime in Israel.
          I’m also a fan of yours. Thank you for the excellent work you are doing,. Keep it up. If your opponents had one tenth your intelligence, they would be one hundred times smarter than they are. Thank you so much for your outstanding posts. You are fantastic. Adio!

          • Jane Rachel says

            Constantinos, many thanks for the encouragement!

          • Jane Rachel says

            P.S. Constantinos, in a word, please keep posting when you have time. You seem to be thinking along two lines at times. It’s called getting your readers to THINK.

  59. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Orthodox Christianity website.

    Athens, June 13, 2018

  60. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today in The National Herald.

    John A. Catsimatidis Calls on Archbishop Demetrios to Resign
    By TNH Staff – June 13, 2018

  61. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the Orthodox Christianity website.

    Constantinople, June 13, 2018

    • Joseph Lipper says


    • Interesting article but hardly unequivocal. I guess church leaders speak in diplomatic language and legalese as much as political leaders, perhaps sometimes of necessity.

      What I would like to hear from the Ecumenical Patriarch is a clear statement that a deliberate and conscious wandering into schism, as Filaret and his minions have done, will never lead to the purported issuance of a tomos by Constantinople. The Church of Zeus was founded together, was baptized in blood together under the ungodly communists and must keep its unity, as the seamless cloak of our Lord.

      As a Greek Orthodox Christian I treasure our unity with the Church of Russia and her legitimate daughter Church of Ukraine under Metropolitan Onouphry. I ask the Ecumenical Patriarch to grow that unity and not take any reckless action that would threaten it.

  62. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the Orthodox Christianity website.

    Sofia, June 13, 2018

  63. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological School website.

    SVOTS resurrects renowned Orthodox voices through digitized recordings
    13 June 2018 • Yonkers, NY

  64. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Tuesday on The Lutheran World Federation website.

    Strengthening relationships between LWF and Orthodox Church

  65. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today in The National Herald.

    International Orthodox Christian Charities Responds after Baltimore Flooding
    By TNH Staff – June 14, 2018

  66. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the Greek Reporter website.

    Younger Greeks Turning their Back on Religion, New Research Claims
    By Tasos Kokkinidis – June 14, 2018

  67. Greatly Saddened says

    Once again, I echo my sentiments of the past and I know, many will disagree with me. With the limited amount of possible candidates, along with the overall lack of qualified candidates with leadership potential from the celibate ranks, time has come to open up the selection process to include married priests as well. As it once was many years ago, before being changed to celibates only!

    I know that for this to happen, it would take more than a mere miracle, but the issue, along with so many others, needs to be addressed.

    Let’s face it, the pickings are slim to say the least, and the quality of the celibate candidates is much to be desired. For example, one needs not go any further than to look at the present metropolitans of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America for proof positive.

    As I have said, it would take more than a mere miracle for this to happen, but time has come to be able to select the best of the best and not the slim of the few, or the least of the worst!

  68. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from last Friday on the Haaretz website.

    Widow of Jaffa’s Arab Christian Leader Found Stabbed to Death

    Pedaya Cadis was found in her apartment last night with marks on her body. The two suspects arrested by the police will be brought to court Friday for a hearing.

    Josh Breiner
    08.06.2018 | 13:56

  69. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Thursday on the Jerusalem Patriarchate website.

    In category : Current News — @ 20:00

  70. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an announcement from Monday on the Orthodox Church in America website.

    June 11, 2018
    Search for new SVOTS Academic Dean enters final stages
    YONKERS, NY [SVOTS Communications

  71. Gail Sheppard says

    Jane, PLEASE don’t post huge articles like this with no explanation. We don’t know what the point is and I can’t imagine anyone reading through all this to try to figure it out. In any case, it takes up an enormous amount of space to scroll through. Post a few snippets that make whatever point you’re trying to make and then post the link where we can read more if we want to.

  72. Gail Sheppard says


    The two links above do NOT say Assad did not gas his people. They said there WAS no evidence of gassing because some of the pictures show that a few of the casualties have trauma like head wounds (which others have postulated came from falling on the ground or perhaps due to some later injury, as not all people die immediately from gas attacks or necessarily, at all) and possible neck wounds no one can really see but presume are there because if you squint your right eye while jumping up and down on your left foot you can kind of, almost sort of, see them (being facetious).

    This information came from a wiki site but one doesn’t have to do too much digging to discover the author is a guy who studied history at a school given an overall score of 30/100.0 by US News and World Report. (No word on whether or not he graduated from this stellar institution.) Since 2011, he has purportedly studied events in Libya, Syria, and Ukraine following Western-backed regime-change operations ON A VOLUNTEER BASIS.

    This is your source of information, Jane: A volunteer history major.

    Forgive me, if I don’t agree that the musings of a self-described, “independent investigator,” constitutes irrefutable “proof” of anything.

    • Jane Rachel says

      For anyone who is interested (…) the wiki discussion is an investigation into the events surrounding a particular so-called “gassing” of the people of Syria, and which was used by mainstream media to demonize President Assad.

      There is no doubt that the investigation was done to provide evidence that Assad DID NOT GAS HIS PEOPLE. The “gassing” by Assad did not happen. The poor souls lying on the ground in the photos were gassed by terrorists we call “rebels” and “heroes” using chlorine gas (and no protective covering), then loaded into lorries or dragged out from an enclosed area, and dumped on the ground, hosed down, and photographed. The chlorine gas is provided courtesy of the West. Evidence abounds.

      Petri Krohn is extremely reliable and has far more knowledge and ability to discern the truth than you or I do. The photos clearly show that children were murdered by “rebels” who are terrorists, and who call themselves heroes and White Helmets. There is no doubt about this. The children were kidnapped from a village not far from the area where the sarin gas attack was alleged to have occurred. They were murdered by being hit over the head.

      Photos were taken of four dead children in one spot, lying next to one another. Next to that photo is another photo of the SAME CHILDREN, lying in the area where the gassing was said to have happened. The dead children were murdered in one place, then moved to accommodate the FAKE filming. These “rebels” are in fact terrorists brought in from other countries, usually Wahabbis, tanked up on captagon, and they are murderers who cut the heads off of live children, and use live children again and again in videos and photographs, often being pulled out of rubble in different areas controlled by the terrorists.

      I posted evidence on this blog that the man who photographed and videotaped the “dusty boy in the orange ambulance” (we are all aware of this boy) is the same man who videotaped and took a selfie of himself with more of these terrorists cutting the head off of a live Palestinian boy.

      Here is an article entitled ‘”About the Nerve Agent Attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria,” written by Professor Thedore Postol of MIT:

      “At that time (August 30, 2013) the Obama White House also issued an intelligence report containing obvious inaccuracies. For example, that report stated without equivocation that the sarin carrying artillery rocket used in Damascus had been fired from Syrian government controlled areas. As it turned out, the particular munition used in that attack could not go further than roughly 2 km, very far short of any boundary controlled by the Syrian government at that time. The White House report at that time also contained other
      critical and important errors that might properly be described as amateurish. For example, the report claimed that the locations of the launch and impact of points of the artillery rockets were observed by US satellites. This claim was absolutely false and any competent intelligence analyst would have known that.”

  73. Jane Rachel says

    Thanks for clearing that up, Gail.

  74. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the World Council of Churches website.

    Ecumenical Patriarch praises “common pilgrimage” of WCC over 70 years
    17 June 2018

  75. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Orthodox Christianity website.

    19 hierarchs concelebrate 25th anniversary of rebirth of monastic life at Kiev’s Goloseevsky Monastery
    Kiev, June 18, 2018

  76. Gail Sheppard says

    Michael B.,

    I think it’s important to note that Jane is not talking about whether or not Assad gassed his own people. It is her contention that no one was gassed in Syria. . . EVER. If it didn’t happen, how could Assad have done it? Or so her thinking goes.

    Jane supports Caustic-Logic’s (aka Adam Larson, volunteer/history major) analysis of pictures circulating on the Internet that for all practical purposes may be faked, as so many are, which both Jane and her cohort freely admit. They think the handful of pictures they’ve reviewed proved gas attacks did not take place in Syria at any time.

    In contrast, OPCW (ORGANISATION FOR THE PROHIBITION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS) drew its conclusions based on epidemiological samples and environmental evidence. According to OPCW, the first gas attack in 2018 occurred in the area between Douma and Harasta in Damascus Ghouta on January 13, 2018, the second attack took place on January 22, 2018, in the north-western area of Douma, and the third attack took place on February 1, 2018, in Douma.

    OPCW gave its report to the United Nations Secretary-General. I don’t think the UN Security-General asked for Caustic-Logic’s report but Jane could tell you more about that.

    • Jane Rachel says

      Gail, I read your Newsweek article. You put words into my mouth. Gas attacks DID occur and DO occur in Syria, but the people of Syria are being attacked by the terrorists, not the Syrian government. The dead children were moved and photographed twice. If you don’t like the source I used, then consider the words of Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari, Ph.D. as a source instead. Take a look at his credentials:

      If you disagree with him, or if you can find a way to convince yourself that he is lying, then there’s not much more anyone can do.

      The source for the Newsweek article you cite is “syria watchdog”:
      “The “watchdog” that has been cited by The Independent is none other than the Syrian Network for Human Rights, a long term purveyor of the barrel bomb myth and one of the multitude of NGOs affiliated with the anti-Syria-war-propaganda-impresario, George Soros, along with the Ford Foundation & the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.”

      Please read and see photos:

      “We should also remember that on the 28th February 2018, Syria’s permanent representative to the UN, New York, Dr Bashar Al Jaafari reported that on the 20th February Turkey “had transported barrels of weapons-grade chlorine into Idlib towns run by Turkish terrorists. One school has been turned into a warehouse of these chemical weapons. The terrorists are preparing to use these weapons on a large scale and to accuse the SAR. The conspiracy is meant to coincide with the Eighty-Seventh Executive Council of the OPCW meeting, beginning on 13 March.”

      In addition, an interview with Vanessa Beeley from the Ron Paul Liberty Report:

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Jane, you’re now changing your tune because the two links you provided which you say PROVE Assad did not gas his own people are the musings of the volunteer history major from Washington State, Adam Larson, who questions whether or not the children in some of these pictures were gassed at all. It is his contention that they probably died from blunt force trauma to the head and possibly had their throats slit. How this “proves” Assad did not gas his people is beyond me. I have tried to follow your logic to the degree possible and just when I think I can say, “Oh, THIS is what she means,” your story changes. I’m done responding to you. I hope others come to the same conclusion.

        • M. Stankovich says


          Dino – below – seems to think I was doggin’ you with my post – also below. WAT! Nah. You know me: verbose encouragement for, “I’m done.” You beat me to the punch with this!

          Calvin Klein made so much money off of Obsession that he is expanding, and good for him. Obsession, the symptom, however, gives me a headache, bordering on a migraine, as does vanilla. Personally, Skin Musk, a deep, dark, earthy mixture of musk oil and sandalwood, elevates my male mind (and they label it for women?). Not to put you on the spot (as he puts her on the spot), but would you mind telling me what you were feeling at approximately 1800 on 06/19/2018; no other commentary necessary.

          Finally, Milton Erickson, MD is often referred to as the father of hypnosis. But do notice the “MD.” He was not the guy who made you squawk like a chicken or, much more importantly, do, say, believe anything, or act in any way that was contrary to your established morals or values; in fact, he did not believe it possible, and neither do I. But it is fascinating to watch the old videos of his technique… for about 5-minutes. They are numbingly boring, by design. The engagement and “message” are embedded in long, detailed-to-the-max stories (e.g. to illustrate that children need parents on the “same page,” the story of a group of vacationers who hire the best flight crew available to safely transport them to their vacation destination; as the flight crew angrily argues over a trivial point about the route, the plan crashes – took 90-minutes!). He wrote extensively on his research as to who might be more accessible to hypnosis and why, and his only discovery was that, when asked to “Look up and roll back your eye as far as possible,” the larger the white space below the iris, it seemed the more amenable to hypnotic suggestion. Let me clarify: filling the damn page with “stuff” is not “engaging you in my “storytelling.” I’ll bet, Gail, your eyes are getting heavy… That’s called boredom…

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Michael S.

            At 1800 on 06/19/2018 I was feeling like Charlie Brown and hoping someone would go all “roadhouse” on Lucy for constantly moving the ball.

            I was hungry as well as frustrated.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Ouch! For once, I felt sorry for Lucy?

            • Jane Rachel says

              Hey! Get over yourselves… because NO MATTER WHAT, President Assad DID NOT GAS HIS PEOPLE!!

              • Michael Bauman says

                Maybe we are incorrigible?

              • M. Stankovich says

                Who, exactly, are you speaking to in such a manner, Rachel? I have this vision of a patient who stood in my office literally tearing the hair out of head and stomping her feet. I called 911. Mr. Michalopulos, you are the next best thing.

                “Read this,” “Look at this,” twisting and manipulating the truth. NO MATTER WHAT? This is an out-of-control, child tantrum, “hold my breath until you dumbasses agree with with me” manipulation of this forum. Please Mr. Michalopulos. This is just not funny.

        • Jane Rachel says

          The links I posted about the Idlib attack are a discussion that led to articles like this one:

          The murdered children’s photos were taken and used worldwide by the media to claim that Khan Sheikhoun was a sarin gas attack by Syria’s President Assad. I can’t understand why this is not obvious. Here are two more another articles and discussions:

          Here is another article about the East Ghouta chemical attack:

          A friend of mine is an Army Captain with very high security clearance. At first, he told me in no uncertain terms that “Assad did it” (East Ghouta sarin gas attack on Syrian people). A couple of months later he told me directly, “You were right. Assad did not do it.”

          Again, I post this article by former UN weapons inspector Richard Lloyd and Theodore A. Postol, Professor of Science, Technology, and National Security Policy
          Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

          The article is entitled:
          Possible Implications of Faulty US Technical Intelligence in the Damascus
          Nerve Agent Attack of August 21, 2013

          As I said, my friend, who is a Captain in the Army with very high security clearance, told me in person that he had received faulty US technical intelligence, and that I was right, President Assad did not gas his people.

          • Jane Rachel says

            Despite complaints that I not post long excerpts or articles, I’ve been asked to do so on behalf of people who don’t have complete access to the internet and can’t get to the websites I’ve linked to concerning Syria. If you don’t want to read it, scroll on by, it doesn’t hurt, I promise.

            “Merely hours after the alleged chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhun, supposedly by the Syrian government, holes are beginning to emerge from opposition sources, discrediting the Al-Qaeda affiliated White Helmets claims.

            “For one, seen in the above picture, the White Helmets are handling the corpses of people without sufficient safety gear, most particularly with the masks mostly used , as well as no gloves. Although this may seem insignificant, understanding the nature of sarin gas that the opposition claim was used, only opens questions.

            “Within seconds of exposure to sarin, the affects of the gas begins to target the muscle and nervous system. There is an almost immediate release of the bowels and the bladder, and vomiting is induced. When sarin is used in a concentrated area, it has the likelihood of killing thousands of people. Yet, such a dangerous gas, and the White Helmets are treating bodies with little concern to their exposed skin. This has to raise questions…It is known that about 250 people from Majdal and Khattab were kidnapped by Al-Qaeda terrorists last week. Local sources have claimed that many of those dead from the chemical weapons were those from Majdal and Khattab…This would suggest that on the eve of upcoming peace negotiations, terrorist forces have once again created a false flag scenario. This bears resemblance to the Ghouta chemical weapons attack in 2013 where the Syrian Army was accused of using the weapons of mass destruction on the day that United Nations Weapon’s Inspectors arrived in Damascus…In response to the allegations, the Syrian Arab Army soldiers in northern Hama denied the use of chemicals weapons today. This is consistent with the Russian Ministry of Defense who denied any involvement in the attack.
            The army “has not and does not use them, not in the past and not in the future, because it does not have them in the first place,” a military source said.

            “And this of course begs the question. With the Syrian Army and its allies in a comfortable position in Syria, making advances across the country, and recovering lost points in rural Hama, why would they now resort to using chemical weapons? It is a very simple question with no clear answer. It defies any logic that on the eve of a Syria conference in Brussels and a week before peace negotiations are to resume, that the Syrian government would blatantly use chemical weapons. All evidence suggests this is another false chemical attack allegation made against the government as seen in the Khan-al-Assal 2013 attack where the terrorist groups hoped that former President Obama’s “red-line” would be crossed leading to US-intervention in Syria against the government.”
            “Possible Implications of Faulty US Technical Intelligence in the Damascus
            Nerve Agent Attack of August 21, 2013 Richard Lloyd, Former UN Weapons Inspector, Tesla Laboratories Inc.|Arlington, VA, Theodore A. Postol, Professor of Science, Technology, and National Security Policy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT Science, Technology, and Global Security Working Group
            What is the Main Policy Issue?
            The Syrian Improvised Chemical Munitions that Were Used in the August 21,
            Nerve Agent Attack in Damascus Have a Range of About 2 Kilometers
            The UN Independent Assessment of the Range of the Chemical Munition Is in
            Exact Agreement with Our Findings
            This Indicates That These Munitions Could Not Possibly Have Been Fired at
            East Ghouta from the “Heart”, or from the Eastern Edge, of the Syrian
            Government Controlled Area Shown in the Intelligence Map Published by the
            White House on August 30, 2013.
            This mistaken Intelligence Could Have Led to an Unjustified US Military Action Based on False Intelligence.
            A Proper Vetting of the Fact That the Munition Was of Such Short Range Would Have Led to a Completely Different Assessment of the Situation from
            the Gathered Data
            Whatever the Reasons for the Egregious Errors in the Intelligence, the Source of These Errors Needs to Be Explained.
            If the Source of These Errors Is Not Identified, the Procedures that Led to this Intelligence Failure Will Go Uncorrected, and the Chances of a Future Policy Disaster Will Grow With Certainty.”

    • M. Stankovich says


      Somehow, clueless & stupit seems a step up from barefoot & pregnant, but what does a cis male know. I went fishing previously with a little twist, if you will, on Stienbeck – Of Mice and Brooms – but nobody was biting. Maybe a bit of stunning, dramatic Shastakovich (Shastakovich led the NBC Orchestra? Madonna Mia! A better place, a better time…) accompaniment will bring it to life. Maybe a restoration of Disney’s original animation makes the story leap out to you. But watch what happens at 4:16: just when you thought you had put out the fire, someone (Don Henley) shatters the illusion with the reality, “[You can] stab it with [your] steely knives, But [you] just can’t kill the beast.” [Bonus Point: name that source, 3-2-1… Hotel California]. Only in your version, dem brooms is relentless: the suicide of one morphs seamlessly into the Geronda, morphs seamlessly into the EP, morphs seamlessly into Albania, morphs seamlessly into Syria, morphs seamlessly into Assad, morphs seamlessly into… OK, Gail, whatever bait topic is behind door number one is already yours. But I’m going to offer you $500 instead [Crowd: “Gail, take the money & educate yourself!”]… You are sincere in what you are saying, Gail. But you certainly are no match for dem brooms. Oh, their names? Obsession.

      My last point: what do you think would happen if the handful of people going back and forth here, accepting the insults and rudeness, asking for an apology that will never come, each says tomorrow, “Rachel, I’m convinced. You are right,” and Mr. M. announces, “Thank you everyone, I’m now closing the thread to further comment?”

      • Let it be Michael Stankovich, there is no cure for big bleeding hearts. Gail’s that is. That’s why we love her so, and you as well. Godly passion for our neighbor is a great virtue, no matter how annoying for the annoyed.

  77. Michael Bauman says

    Jane you say,

    Opinions mean nothing without evidence, and we can’t base our opinons on mainstream media.

    I agree with the last half of that statement but these days all media is mainstream and sourcing is a problem for everybody. As to the first part of you statement however, I disagree. Opinions are quite useful and necessary in their own right for one primary reason: They help reveal bias. That in turn helps in the evaluation of that person or entity as a source.

    Case in point: The Southern Poverty Law Center has an obvious opinion that any political group on the right spectrum is evil. So, it makes it impossible to trust anything they say about any organization, even if it happens to be true. I find it ironic that that the Southern “Poverty” Law Center just paid out millions of dollars to an Islamic Organization that they accused of being extremely anti-Muslim simple because they are against jihadists.

    Even opinions with out evidence can be quite useful and instructive. You do realize that a significant portion of the world makes the claim that faith is merely an opinion without evidence, therefore unreliable any useless? Of course, even when they are presented with “irrefutable evidence” they deny the evidence is evidence or even a fact.

    That is when one’s own work on repentance, transformation, decorum, honesty and integrity becomes more important. You become the evidence.

    When I was lacking decorum in my initial forays into the internet blog world I was given a word by my bishop. He said, “Hold your peace! That does not mean to shut up. Don’t let them (the folks you disagree with) steal your peace.”

    In my fitful attempts to be obedient to his word for me over the years, I have found it much easier to encounter and engage folks on the internet. Shoot, I even learned to like and respect some folks I used to get quite mad at. One of them a frequent poster here.

    You obviously have spent a lot of time on these issues and care deeply about them. You are an intelligent woman. Your presentation of the story is disrupted and done damage however when you allow anyone else to steal your peace. If you have the real goods, no worry. The truth has a way of making its own impact even in the face of initial denials and resistance and you too will understand more. God will give the increase.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Excellent observation. I’ve learned to immediately discount anything from the $PLC, the ADL and pretty much anything put out by an NGO.

  78. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today in The National Herald. Unfortunately, the article is locked and doesn’t appear in its entirety. I will continue to be on the lookout for the article in its entirety and if found, I will post.

    One Substantial Change on Clergy Laity Congress Schedule
    By Theodoros Kalmoukos – June 19, 2018

  79. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find the above article from today in The National Herald, which has been posted in its entirety on the OCL website.

    One Substantial Change on GOA Clergy Laity Congress Schedule
    Source: The National Herald
    By Theodoros Kalmoukos


  80. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find a copy of the letter Metropolitan Tikhon sent to President Trump on the Orthodox Church in America website.

    Metropolitan Tikhon addresses President Trump on the separation of families
    June 19, 2018

    • Estonian Slovak says

      Nobody in thé West gave a crap when Slavic children were separated from their families by the Nazis and the Communists. Let’s get real now.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Likewise nobody gave a crap when tens of thousands of Greek children were swept up in the paidomasoma during the Greek civil war in the 1950s and forcibly sent to Iron Curtain countries.

        It’s ironic though: many on the left are wanting to revisit birthright citizenship because many Eastern European and East Asian women are relocating temporarily to the United States right about the time they give birth so they return to wherever with a potential anchor baby nursing at their breast. This is for that time when things go south in China (or wherever) and they can grab the first flight out to San Francisco/NYC and claim their welfare benefits.

        Of course, these women are the “wrong race” and their babies will grow up to vote Republican. Hence the concern of some on the left.

        • George,
          Giving a crap or not, for us, is not even the issue. The issue is the left does not give a crap about these children, but use the children as another ploy to destroy Trump, and distract from other current events, like clockwork, whenever positive Trump news takes center stage. What is ironic is that Trump is exposing not only the media of “fake news” which as in this case, they only report on half of the story that promotes their agenda; open borders, and destroy Trump. Children be damned, allows the left, long as ends justify the means. Damned? Why you may ask.

          If Democrats really cared for children, they would come to the table with Trump, change the catch and release policy for family units, finance and set up detention centers that would separate real families, from criminals buying/using children,( not their own), from horrible parents, who allow, give, trade or sell their children to coyotes, sex slave traders, and drug traffickers.

          Democrats want open borders, by any means. Catch and release loophole allows adult illegal aliens with children(not theirs) a free pass into our country with only a citation. No deportation, no vetting process to assure the children are with their real parents, and not a stranger, sold off by their parents.

          Trump is enforcing an old policy and law, that has been ignored for years, and that is what over turned the apple cart, for the bleeding heart liberals. The border is closed to another loophole, and while not a perfect or great situation, the alternative is better. Why? Consider: Where were the tears, all these years, for children sold and separated from their parents, and sent over the border ending up God knows where, and many abused by God knows who.

          Life is complicated, and many don’t care about messy truths, just their agenda. The left wing media wants images that are cathartic ones-talisman-that avoids doubt and complication, and goes straight to the emotional jugular. Pain and pity are is simple, but its causes seldom are. Videos, photographs, and the media have a greater responsibility than just to assert that pain exists.

          That is what we should give a crap about.


          Rich Lowry at National Review explains the details. Basically, children are being used as “chits”, free passes into the country because of current policies regarding the entry of families as opposed to individuals.

          The alternative is to let families enter with impunity since no one is going to arrest the kids. DHHS ends up with custody of them, but can only hold them 20 days under the present law. If adults contest their arrest as illegal entrants, their processing through the justice system can take more than 20 days. So those that plead guilty are quickly reunited; those that don’t are not.

          Not the most merciful way to get it done, but if you are interested in 100% enforcement regarding adults, it is necessary until Congress changes the law and/or provides for more facilities for families at the border.

          The difference from the Obama policy is that previously whole families were forced into grossly substandard facilities and there was no policy of 100% enforcement. All Trump really changed was to institute a policy that all illegal adults must be arrested and go to hearing. The complications with the children flow from that.

  81. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find a statement from today by His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael, on the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago website.

    June 19, 2018  – Press
    Statement on “Zero Tolerance” Policy on Unlawful Immigration

    • Antiochene Son says

      His Eminence should focus on cleaning up Chicago. How many children in his diocese are killed every year by stray bullets fired by gang members?

      • George Michalopulos says

        Good point. Also, don’t we separate children from their parents when we incarcerate an adult who committed a felony?

      • Billy Jack Sunday says


        You are right

        This makes me mad

        Gotham City has been full of nothing but gangsters

        From the streets to the elected offices

        Including ecclesiastical offices

        I was hoping they wouldn’t seat yet another Joker

        Does the “Listening Tour” include the peanut gallery of the internet?

        Because if it does

        Nigga, please

  82. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Orthodox Christianity website.

    MYTHS ABOUT THE BYZANTINE EMPIREOn the Church, the state and emperor, the inner world of the Rhomaioi, wealth and piety, and Russia as the Byzantine Empire’s successor
    By Pavel Kuzenkov, Yuri Pushchaev

  83. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from the Orthodox Observer which has been posted on the OCL website.

    Is Ministry Preparing Kids for Life in the Church? 
    Source: Orthodox Observer
    By Steven Christoforou


  84. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Tuesday on the Times of Israel website.

    Churches ask Netanyahu to thwart bill restricting land salesHeads of Armenian, Greek Orthodox and Catholic churches accuse government of failing to stick to deal reached after Holy Sepulchre was shuttered in protest
    By AFP and TOI STAFF 19 Jun 2018, 12:14 am

  85. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Monday on the Interfax-Religion website.

    18 June 2018, 12:29
    Church and Russian Health Ministry to chair the program of helping Syrian children

  86. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the Pappas Post website.

    Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Condemns Trump Administration’s Usage of Bible to Justify Controversial Policy
    written by Darden Livesay – June 19, 2018

  87. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Orthodox Christianity website.

    Washington, D.C., June 21, 2018

  88. Michael Bauman says

    Wouldn’t it be refreshing if they would address Mat. Kallistos, et. al. In same spirit of concern?

  89. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the Christianity Today website.


    Global Religious Freedom Takes Its Biggest Hit in Over a Decade
    Christianity is the biggest religion in the world. It’s also still the most restricted.
    JUNE 21, 2018 – 10:00 AM

  90. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Christianity Today which has been posted on the OCL website.

    Perplexed by America on Syria, Russian evangelicals and Middle East Christians debate if Moscow really cares.
    Source: Christianity Today

    Mideast Christians See Russia—not the US—as Defender of Their Faith


  91. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the Agenzia Fides website.

    ASIA/MIDDLE EAST – UN Secretary-General: repatriation of Christians who fled from Iraq and Syria should be encouraged
    June 21, 2018