Can We Believe the News Out of Ukraine?

It’s a well-known truism that “truth is the first casualty of war”. That’s true for cold wars and cold peaces as well.

What we have going on in Ukraine (thanks to the intervention of the State Dept which orchestrated the Maidan Revolution).

Anyway, it would be wise to take most everything which comes out of Ukraine with a grain of salt. Make that more like a bushel of salt.




  1. if the news is being reported by russian state media a whole salt mine

    • Ronda Wintheiser says

      So a Ukrainian media source would be preferable, Deep Steak?

      • whataboutism will not fix people treating russia state media as credible
        what about people drinking bleach is a bad comeback to questioning somebody drinking rat poison

        • Deep State : “whataboutism will not fix people treating russia state media as credible what about people drinking bleach is a bad comeback to questioning somebody drinking rat poison”
          It is not clear what you want to say. Any examples?

    • Or any American news outlet for that matter.

      • Jacob Lee says: “Or any American news outlet for that matter.”

        Any news from any country. News are just what some people say. (Journalists are people too, with their biases and interests).

        If one cannot be critical and figure out what is really going on, and needs to believe blindly what someone else says, perhaps he should occupy himself with more useful things. Like tending his garden for example.

  2. Joseph Lipper says

    It sounds like what’s happening in Ukraine is shaping up to be another repeat of the Soviet-Afghan war we witnessed back in the 1980’s. Everyone knew it was Russia vs. U.S., but the media had to diplomatically portray it as a “civil war” so as not to escalate tensions between the world superpowers.

    Expect more complaints then from the Ukrainian embassy going forward, because this war will continue to be portrayed as a “civil war”, despite that both the U.S. and Russia have obviously way too much fire-power invested in it. The current “civil war” narrative of OCU vs. UOC-MP is just a diplomatic cover. Lest we forget, this war wasn’t started by a tomos of autocephaly. It’s been going on for over four years now with some 10,000 fatalities.

    Without the tomos, the “civil war” narrative would have still continued and with the same trajectory. It would still be the schismatic “Kievan Patriarchate” vs the canonical “Ukrainian Orthodox Church”. In fact, from the point of view of Russia, that narrative hasn’t even changed.

    In a proxy battle between the U.S. and Russia on Ukraine soil, it’s the Ukrainians who will ultimately lose, just like the Afghans did. Thus, I believe what Patriarch Bartholomew did will be vindicated. He removed the barrier of Ukrainian nationalism from the Church. In the final analysis, that will be proven the right action. At the very least, Ukrainian soldiers can now defend their borders with a clear conscience, and the OCU now prays for Moscow’s Patriarch Kirill.

    • To paraphrase you, Mr. Lipper: Patriarch Bartholomew will be vindicated for unifying with schismatics in order to steal the territory of a canonical Orthodox church so that vicious nationalists inflamed with hatred of their Ukranian and Russian Orthodox brothers will have a cleaner conscience about murdering them and vandalizing and stealing their temples.
      I am not sure which master you think this action will vindicate him in the eyes of, but it is not our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Sean, the former schismatics reconciled with the EP.  Patriarch Bartholomew told them to respect their brothers who wish to remain in the Russian Church.  The former schismatics know pray for Patriarch Kirill.  
        Sure, things will probably take a turn for the worse soon.  The U.S. is putting pressure on Ukraine to take back Crimea.  At least Ukrainians don’t have to make the choice now between defending their country and Orthodoxy.

  3. Dan Di Lorenzo says

    Pawns in world chess game once again. Ukraine, fertile plain between countless warring powers since the beginning of recorded history, may very well fint itself the front line in the last war of recorded history. The US, (only country ever to use nuclear weapons) just cancelled the Intermediate nuclear waepons treaty with Russia. Immediately, we see Pavlo Klimkin off to Washington to “discuss the matter with John Bolton”! Nukes in Poltava, Kharkiv, and or Mariupol? You can only pray not!

  4. John Sakelaris says

    So many Americans cannot find Ukraine on a map. Or Estonia, Latvia, or Lithuania, for that matter.

    In retrospect, one of America’s worst foreign policy errors began in the 1990s and has continued under both of our political parties. I refer to a policy of goading and threatening Russians where they actually live and of stirring up anti-Russian forces around the borderlands of Russia.

    From the 1990s virulent anti-Russian newspaper columns of Georgie Anne Geyer, to the expansion of NATO in violation of a promise to not do that, to the 1990s destruction of Yugoslavia and bombing of Belgrade without regard to Russian concerns for their Serbian friends, to sympathy for Chechen terrorists and Pussy Riot creeps, to supporting and guiding a 2014 violent overthrow of a government in Kiev that was seen as too friendly to Russia, the US has started a new Cold War–and at a time when there truly is a huge need for the US and Russia to instead be cooperating with one another against radical Islamic terrorism and against left-wing extremism.

    Our mainstream media, both liberal and conservative, has played a major role in accepting and pushing this anti-Russian line.

  5. Solitary Priest says

    I’m convinced you are not living in reality, Joseph. The Patriarch removed the barrier of Ukrainian nationalism from the Church? Surely you jest. I may have asked this before, can you actually speak or read Ukrainian? I can. I used to be a fanatic Ukrainian nationalist who hated everything Russian. I am happy to say that I got over that self destructive hatred, though I’m still sinful and quite unworthy to stand before the holy altar.
    Perhaps, Moscow could have defused the situation by giving the church in Ukraine autocephaly. I have raised this question with Ukrainian nationalists. Their answer is that it isn’t Moscow’s to give. I have had dialogues with Ukrainian Catholics who often speak derogatorily about Rome, and a willingness to join a united Ukrainian “church”. When I remind them that Ukraine united with Russia precisely because of Orthodoxy, the dialog invariably ends.
    Please don’t think that all of us who oppose the current “autocephaly” subscribe to Misha’s extremist views, calling our opponents vermin, etc. No reasonable Orthodox should want war. None of us should enjoy the current situation. But how do you dialog with someone who won’t be satisfied until Ukraine is ethnicly cleansed of everything Russian? Has Ireland managed to throw out all the English in almost 100 years as an independent state? No, in fact the majority of Irish still speak the second official language, English. But the fanatical hatred of the Protestant Orangemen in Northern Ireland closely resembles that of many Ukrainian nationalists.
    Perhaps, we should recall a saint celebrated today, St. Nicholas, the Enlightener of Japan. He was the bishop in Japan during the Russo-Japanese war. He refrained from serving during that time because he could not pray for victory against his own country. But he allowed Japanese clergy under his jurisdiction to do so. After the war, I believe both sides understood his position.

    • Joseph Lipper says

      Solitary Priest,
      Even in Ukraine it is evident that there are many Ukrainians who don’t support the tomos, many who are indifferent to it, and yet many, possibly even a majority, who do support it.  From a purely nationalistic perspective, the tomos hasn’t changed much for Ukrainians.  It certainly hasn’t stopped Russian aggression, nor has it brought respect and support of the other Local Churches.  Instead, what has changed pertains to matters of faith.  For those Ukrainian soldiers who died while defending their borders, and who were denied Orthodox burial for doing so, they now can have an Orthodox burial.  For those families of soldiers, this too is a great consolation.  
      The example of St. Nicholas of Japan is a good one.  As you point out, St. Nicholas of Japan refrained from serving the Liturgy during that war.  He respected the nationalism of the Japanese people.  Do we see the same respect in the UOC-MP for the nationalism of the Ukrainian people?  If the UOC-MP is denying Orthodox burial for Ukrainian soldiers, then I would say the answer is no.

      • Re burial I agree 100% Disgraceful   but Joseph that not the wider point . The wider point is as i have explained over and over.   In wwii the allied bombed and murdered German civilians by the hundreds of thousands and Sadly mostly yank troops when entering France in 1944 commited wide spread rape, yes in France, our ally.  
        Does all this vindicate Hitler?  No  of course not. Point   made 

    • Exactly and a rational explanation of reality..Often lacking. Thank you fr. 
        It’s the same as looking at the Russian/Ukrainian Orthodox church under the last Tsars and to not understand that along  with the holiness and the staretz  and the intellegentsia and Bulgaria,and Tikhon etc was extreme ignorance of Christianity amongst the peasants  and a ritualistic semi pagan outward religion that had nothing to offer a Russian  peasant trying to rise above this.  The peasant  saying, ‘ Icons are useful for praying with but also covering a cooking pot’, says it all .
      That in villages the local priest was frequently a negative  uneducated figure often seen as a sellar of sacraments and a demander of money,  who would keep couples waiting at the altar as he haggled over money, as he tried to keep his family on little money.   Often the Church was the upholder of superstition and even witchcraft trials let alone as with Belis in 1913,  of so called Jewish ritualistic murder crimes Thst the priest was seen as a Tsarist bureaucrat along with policeman.
      Of course there were saintly clergy not like this, dedicating their lives to their people and bishops doing same and effort of reform and profound holiness and deep faith and beautiful services , but to not understand the full reality and the rasputin domination of the Church in the 1912-16, is to fail to understand why the communist attack on the Church initially command support. Why in 1917  pre communism!!  when army church attendance was not enforced after March revolution, very few soldiers attended the liturgy or took Communion 
      That new industrial areas such as the Donestsk basic in eastern Ukraine had one church for 20000 workers pre 1917 and new industrial area of Moscow  of 40000 workers with one church. This mirrors the situation in 19th England that the building of Anglican churches in industrial areas tried to improve.  Most of them now converted pubs and other use building as a Russian friend was shocked to see on a visit. .   So the communists later did not need to do much to close the churches there in these industrial  areas where indeed there were few open in firdt place.
      That in the decades pre 1917 there was a reduction in congregation sizes with fewer workers attending Church or fasting etc  and near universal atheism with the upper classes.
      This picture of the Russian church pre -1917 may not be popular in certain circles but is accurate.  As i say this is not to lose sight of the rest of the picture and the wish to reform that to be honest the last Tsar, devout man though he was  but held back  .
        Thst he apointed bishops such as the openly homosexual Varnava and  equally corrupt Pitirim as Metropolitan  of Moscow,  pushing out Vladimir, all through the influence of Rasputin 
      But we will not understand why the communist asault on the Church nor our current issues if we live under a veil of  Holy Russia ideology without for instance reading Chekhov or Bunin. 
      The urge to go back to  pre-1917 past is a flight from reality.  Patrarch Tikhon in the short period he had a limited freedom urgently tried to move the Church forward. 
      Anti -semitism and nationalism will neither serve Christ or the Church. 

  6. The schismatic Bartholomew will never be vindicated for his Church destroying tomos. He will be remembered as the Patriarch who caused the second great schism. He will be remembered as the Patriarch who helped to legalize the seizure of canonical Churches and Monasteries in Ukraine. He will be remembered as the Patriarch who accepted schismatics without repentance. He will be remembered as the Patriarch with the blood of innocent Ukrainians on his hands. After his repose, he will be remembered with a simple phrase after his name. That phrase will be: “of thrice wretched memory.” There is still time for him to repent and stop this madness. I pray that he does.

  7. And you honestly think this is an improvement?

  8. Johann Sebastian says

    Don’t be silly, Joseph. Four years? This has been going on since at least 1569, and arguably since the early 14th Century!

    • Joseph Lipper says

      Johann Sebastian, good point!

    • Joseph Lipper says

      It seems Poland tried to do the same thing to Ukraine that we see Russia doing today.  And who will forget the Volhynia massacre?
      It’s certainly disturbing that the Ukrainian government supports ultra far-right nationalists today, but given that Ukraine doesn’t have much in the way of big weaponry, having given up their nuclear weapons, it’s an easy card for them to play in the face of the giant Russian Federation.  How can anyone really blame them for this?  And unfortunately, it’s probably the U.S. government that’s ultimately exploiting the Ukrainian far-right nationalists and empowering them.  That’s the typical CIA playbook.

      • Johann Sebastian says

        Thanks for acknowledging what Poland did to our people. Also don’t forget Operation Vistula and the Talerhof concentration camp, both of which were directed against us Carpatho Russians (Rusyns, Lemkos, heck I’ll even concede Ukrainian as much as it pains me to use that word) by the Poles and the Austrians, respectively.
        So many people give Poland a free pass while making Russia out to be the universal bad guy when it comes to Ukraine. Dialogue is possible only once the whole story is laid out on the table.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          It would be good if the whole story was taken off of the table for good.
          Or if people who don’t live there anymore stopped caring about it. As for those who live there, well, they will never forget anyway. But that’s what the Atlantic Ocean is for.

        • Monk James Silver says

          The main thing here is the need to realize that — at least in the past — the hostility of the Poles and the Austro-Hungarian empire wase directed pretty much exclusively to Orthodox Christians. The Talerhof massacres and the martyrdom of St Maksim Sandovich are still painful memories for many of the Orthodox.

          They were persecuted for the faith — not the politics — which they shared with the Russians. This distinction is crucial to understanding the dynamics of Orthodox existence in that part of the world.

          Yet, only recently (as these things go), there were reports from Poland which told of a movement to make it illegal for Catholic priests to be married. This initiative seems to have grown out of a sort of Roman Catholic ‘pride of place’: the Latin clergy had to remain unmarried, and they resented their Greek Catholic brothers who had wives. The fact is, though, that the Polish border had shifted several times and now included historically eastern-rite Catholic territories which had formerly been Orthodox.

          But the motion never grew legs and died before any action could be taken by the Polish government. Still, this betrayal caused a certain number of uniats to convert to Orthodoxy.

          • I have London Greek Catholic friends.  They have a semi – connected relationship to Rome and increasing reverting to byzantine rite more but clearly not outwardly totally normal Orthodox ,but not sure about Ukrainian Orthodox. They share the Icons and Cross on the table in front of screen . 
            They also have, as you say, an anti- Polish attitude. 

          • George Michalopulos says

            Interesting observation! What’s ironic is this: would the Polish gov’t be justified in legislating enforced celibacy on all Catholic priests? If not, why not?

            After all, that’s what the Rada is attempting to do in forcing a name change on the canonical Church.

            • Monk James Silver says

              In Latin America, many countries have laws on the books making it impossible for a married man to be ordained as a Catholic priest, or for a Catholic priest to get married. I suspect that Poland was appealing to this model in its most recent hostilities toward the uniats.

              This particular aspect of (heavily Catholic-influenced) civil law notwithstanding, many Roman Catholic priests in Central and South America live openly with women and have children with them, women who must be regarded in civil law as ‘concubines’ rather than wives. This is not merely a matter of the clergy’s natural instincts, but more the expectations of their flocks. After all, they reason, if no woman would have this man, why should he be our pastor?

              Although there is a general rejection of RC practice regarding heterosexual discipline in Latin America, the rampant homosexuality among theoretically ‘celibate’ RC priests has caused the entire RC episcopate of Peru to resign in embarrassment. The appropriate (if there be any such) results of last week’s meetings at the Vatican will tell us a lot about the RCs and their religion. Altogether, though, I suspect that if they don’t get off this notion of an unmarried priesthood as some sort of a mistaken ideal which they’ve never yet achieved, they’ll just implode.

              The putative country of Ukraine’s putative government’s decisions in ecclesial matters is an entirely different issue, but they really ought to butt out. Their nationalism has done more than enough damage in politics, and they should be firmly stopped from interfering in the lives of Christians. The Patriarchate of Moscow began in Kiev more than a thousand years ago, and the Orthodox Christian people of that province are still Russian Orthodox, no matter what the ‘Rada’ says.

            • Joseph Lipper says

              It’s almost as if the Rada is telling the UOC-MP they can’t have children.

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            I recommend “God’s Playground”, Norman Davies’ 2-volume history of Poland, written in the early 1980s. Since the fall of the Communists, it has become kind of a semi-official history of Poland, translated into Polish, and Davies has been given many awards in Poland. (He’s written many fine European histories since.)

            I have taken many things away from this work, which I read some years ago. Not the least of them is the near-incomprehensibility of Central and Eastern European history, given its enormous complexity. One thing: there is injustice enough for all, every ‘side’, a thousand times over.

            One thing of great interest is how nearly Poland came to being a Protestant state; instead of becoming the Slavic ‘bulwark’ of Roman Catholicism. Another thing: it’s the only book I’ve read that really details all of the Rusyns, Russians– Great, small, Red, and White, Carpathians, ‘Ukranians’, all of it– dear to the hearts of many here; otherwise mind-twisting to Anglos such as myself.

  9. Constantinos says

    Dear George,
    I don’t know where to park this post. I’ve become interested in St Paisios. On YouTube, there is a video about the Saint’s end times prophecies. He is quoted as saying that Zionists want to rule the world. This is a false prophecy because of its anti – semitic content. In my opinion, another “saint” bites the dust. Anyone who espouses anti- semitism in any form can never be a “saint,” therefore, I can’t follow him. Very disappointed. No wonder the Russians love the man. Also, since you seem to accept Misha’s bizarre, disturbing ideas about Holy Orthodoxy, I fear this forum has become a haven of fundamentalism. Sorry.

    • i am afraid unconscious anti semitism is in Orthodox dna.  I am waiting for the day and the hour when the word censors have a look at the books, especially the Triodion. They will have a field day. 

      • Stop being offended.  That’s the solution.  We are not going to change our service books for fear of the Jews.  Get over it.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          Ah, yes– ‘fear of the Jews’….indeed?
          I’ve been law partners and business partners with Jews for 45 years, up to and including the present. And with Greeks, Croatians, Italians, Scandinavians, Cambodians, Chinese, and maybe a couple of Englishmen. No fear, believe me!
          My old law firm could be the classic WWII movie platoon, with the addition of some Loos and Lims to  bring it up to date from the -skis, -iches, -felds, -polouses, -dettis, -sons, and the rest!

        • You mistake me. I am not advocating changing anything .I am just saying. The ‘ no body can be offended ‘ brigade always looking to be so and retrograde recording of history.  
          The jews get a free run because of the european holocaust but now we know thst kushner was demanding his FATHER’S disgusting criminal actions, be tried under rabbinic law,  where the reaction to this arrogant demand to over turn USA secular law? If he were Muslim!! !!   ? 

    • Monk James Silver says

      Constantinos (February 17, 2019 at 7:11 am )says:

      (Dear George,
      I don’t know where to park this post. I’ve become interested in St Paisios. On YouTube, there is a video about the Saint’s end times prophecies. He is quoted as saying that Zionists want to rule the world. This is a false prophecy because of its anti – semitic content. In my opinion, another “saint” bites the dust. Anyone who espouses anti- semitism in any form can never be a “saint,” therefore, I can’t follow him. Very disappointed. No wonder the Russians love the man. Also, since you seem to accept Misha’s bizarre, disturbing ideas about Holy Orthodoxy, I fear this forum has become a haven of fundamentalism. Sorry.
      It hasn’t yet been proved that St Paisios actually said what people have accused him of saying about Zionists and Jews altogether, and he’s not here to explain whatever he actually did say.

      It might be premature to write him off as just another bigot instead of a saint, but if — big IF — he was actually of such an evil mind, then, yes, he is probably not a saint.

      Personally, I’m inclined to give St Paisios the benefit of the doubt, and ascribe the slanderous things he said about the Jews not to him, but to other people who are using his reputation as a propaganda vehicle for their own bigotry.

    • Dear Constantinos:

      Being called an Orthodox “fundamentalist” is highly complimentary, since adhering to the Fundamentals of Orthodoxy is what we are all called to do.

      That said, please consider immersing yourself in the works of St. Paisios available on Amazon: his Spiritual Counsels in five volumes, beginning with volume I. With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man. Don’t judge him but let his holy thinking and life transform your soul and guide you. The saints cause us to look at and judge ourselves alone. It is a wonderful life-giving experience and really helps lead us to humility and gratitude to Christ.

      All the best in Christ on your path.

      • Constantinos says

        Dear Nicole,The only reason I’m responding to your post to me is because it is very kind. Other than that, I have no intention of posting on this forum. In my humble opinion, much of what is written on this forum is deeply heretical. I’m speaking of the adulation of Seraphim Rose, the endorsement of the Ephraimite monasteries, and the worship of Russian Orthodoxy.
        I’m deeply disappointed in the amen chorus on Monomakhos.  I will say this: The Sermon on the Mount cannot be abrogated by anyone on earth. The Church has no authority to arrogate unto itself which of Christ’s commands we are to follow and which we are to disobey. I was listening to a sermon by St. Paisios, and it is clear that Christ’s words must be obeyed in all circumstances, and he explicitly rejects any of the toll house nonsense. His sermons are excellent, and I will purchase the books by him, and the ones written by others who knew him.
        One of the things that deeply disturbs me about many of the posters on this forum is their disobedience to The Sermon on the Mount. Christ, Himself, permits no divorce and remarriage.  Christ told us to love our enemies and do good to those who persecute us. To listen to the nitwits on this forum, one would be led to believe that He said,” Blessed are the warmongers, not blessed are the peacemakers.” All who follow Christ must take up their cross and follow His teachings on nonviolent love of friends and enemies. People may condone wars, but never in our Savior’s holy, precious Name. Christ is our peace, and He reigns as the Prince of Peace. Christ proscribed war and racism in all its nefarious forms. People who deny our Lord’s teachings in The Sermon on the Mount are most definitely not Christians because they are disobedient to His teachings. 
        Martin Luther King preached nonviolence because that is what Jesus taught. I don’t think I am correct, I am 100,000% certain beyond any and all doubt that I am completely correct. As for the warmongers on this forum, I am certain the Lord will say to each and everyone of them, “Depart from Me, I never knew you,”  and they never knew Him, that’s why they disobey His Sermon on the Mount.  Again, a person can kill and destroy in war, but that person must never take the name of our sweet Savior in vain by suggesting that our Lord is with them. He is not with them, but will spew them out of His mouth. I’ve been studying the nonviolent Jesus for over fifty years so I will defer to no one on this subject. As the church father Tertullian said, “When He disarmed St. Peter, our Lord Jesus disarmed all Christians for all time and eternity. Anyone who believes otherwise is from their father the devil. As our Lord said, “the thief comes not but to kill and destroy. To the Orthodox warmongers on this forum, stop worshipping Satan, and start worshipping our Lord Jesus Christ. Failing that, you can at least shut your nefarious, traducing, malevolent mouths. Our Christian Manifesto is the Sermon on the Mount, and our Savior said, “not one jot or tittle shall pass away from it.” He also asked, “Why do you call Me Lord, when you don’t obey what I say?” So to all the satanic warmongers, you can all go to hell where you belong. I think the reason the warmongers disobey our Lord is that they love the Russian Orthodox Church more than they do our Savior.

      • Constantinos says

        To all the fake Christians on this forum;
        This is from the year 2016, on the HuffPost by the Jesuit nonviolent priest Father John Dear,” For its first three centuries, Christianity required the practice of active nonviolence as taught by Jesus. The early Christians refused to serve the Roman Empire or kill in its wars, and so they were routinely arrested and killed. All that changed in the year 313 when Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity. He baptized his troops and established Christianity as the official religion of the Empire. Christians could now serve in the Roman military, and kill Rome’s enemies. In effect, he threw out the Sermon on the Mount and the commandment to love one’s enemies, and turned to the pagan Cicero to justify Christian violence, sowing the seeds for the so called “Just War theory.” Over time, justified warfare became the norm, Christians everywhere waged war and everyone forgot that Jesus was nonviolent.
        For the last 1700 years, as we all know, Christians have waged war, led crusades, burned women at the stake, systematically persecuted Jews and Muslima, kept millions of people  as slaves, ran concentration camps, blessed conquests, prayed for successful bombing raids, and built and used nuclear weapons.” 
        All of these things are not of God, but the devil. “Holy Russia” is the second largest exporter of weapons, and the Russian hierarchs say not a word. Jesus is nonviolent and all His followers must renounce violence and warfare in all its mutations. This subject is not open for discussion. I am completely right, and the purveyors of war are totally wrong. You know the saying, “stupid is as stupid does.” Now, I must shake the dirt off my feet because I don’t associate with phony, fake Christian warmongers. I believe the first people in hell will be “Christian warmongers.” Enjoy the trip, you have earned it by using our precious Savior to justify your cowardly lust for war and violence.

        • Matthew Panchisin says

          Dear Constantinos,
          I have a dear friend of who has departed this life, he suffered much in one of Hitler’s concentration camp hells. I’ll spare you the details, he was exceedingly grateful to be liberated by many Christians and other people who were on the right side during the war.
          So my terribly suffering friend and many others saw those who freed them from captivity in the realm of blessed are the peacemakers knowing many of them had been killed in action, lost limbs etc., suffered much but nevertheless with valor defeated the enemy.
          Try to be at peace with us Orthodox Christians Constantinos.

  10. Take care of your website, George says


    While I often used to feel better informed by reading your site, as of late it seems to be filled with pretty much only just invective and vitriol.

    Many who call themselves Orthodox Christians here seem to either have never read Scriptures where we are told that Christ transcends national divisions, or we’ve read it and simply don’t care.

    I do believe that one side is correct and one side is wrong in this Ukrainian mess. The best way to tell is to discern which side is preaching a Christ who transcends national divisions, as compared with which side is preaching nothing but nationalism and is trying to use their church as a vehicle to advance their cause (Hellenism or Ukrainianism). Christ will not allow His church to be used in that manner.

    George, you may want to regulate the amount of hatred and vitriol that comes through on your site, lest it go down the drain. Honestly, if I were an Orthodox Christian inquirer and came across half of the messages that I read here, I’d run to the nearest Baptist church where kind people greet you at the door (even if they do offer only mere grape juice once a month as only a symbolic gesture) instead of going to a Divine Liturgy that I would think would be infused with old country nationalism.

    I find this quote from Elie Wiesel quite relevant to the Ukrainian mess, particularly with respect to those who think it is virtuous to remain “neutral”:

    “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

    How much persecution must Metropolitan Onuphry and his flock undergo before those who think it is virtuous to remain “neutral” realize that their neutrality is much more about making them feel better about themselves than it is about helping those oppressed. How many canonical Ukrainian churches must be seized before “neutrality” is no longer cool? How many canonical Ukrainian bishops have to be deported by Poroshenko’s government, or how many Ukrainian churches have to be vandalized with Nazi symbols before this lie of “virtuous neutrality” is abandoned?

    • Thank God for sanity and I just posted re Holy Russia pre 1917 .And i am a russophile in best meaning  of word and support Moscow ( although they not perfect by any means ,but in this are Orthodox  ands orting out 70 yrs of persecution ).  We need to look at the truth to make us free.   
      Young Ukrainians, young anyone,  are looking for a message that is spiritually meaningful and not full of hate.   If they do not hear it they will, are walking away. 
      I live in Bulgaria.    On a Sunday 4% of the people attend Church , Easter, Church is full but you would not know from  street or wider society it is Easter or Christmas . 45 yrs of atheism .  And now consumerism.  I am not down hearted.  I see and have hope but Please we need the byzantine glory  put  in the  bin with the emperor’s robes that ill fit business looking fat Men posing as bishops . We need humility AND WE NEED CHRIST..  I DO NOT SEE IT I DO NOT HEAR IT.  I must say while in Uk with bishop Anthony Bloom I HEARD AND SAW IT. 

      • Mirkos COntogonas says

        Russia was not Holy before 1917. 
        Lincoln repeatedly saw Russian serfdom as worse than Amerian slavery (see Lincoln’s Virtues). Central Europeans fleeing the 1848 oppression freed Americas slaves, built American industry and tamed the vast farmland of the midwest. Former president Ulysses Grant was one of the main initiators of a rally in New York in 1882 protesting anti-Jewish atrocities in Russia. The vile czars and their pogroms were an assault on all humanity.
        Russian Fleet Myth Re-Examined, Thomas A. Bailey,   Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Vol. 38, No. 1 (Jun., 1951), pp. 81-90  “The traditional tale is that Czar Alexander II sent his two fleets to the United States in the autumn of 1863 primarily as a gesture of friendship, and with the tacit understanding that they wouldfight for the UJnion should France and Britain attempt armed in-tervention on behalf of the South. This legend received a heavyblow in 1915 when Dr. Frank A. Golder published an article, basedon documents in the Russian archives, which proved that the fleetshad come primarily because of the Polish crisis. The Russian gov-ernment, faced with the strong probability of war with both Britainand France, wanted to get its ships out of icebound and British-dominated seas and base them on neutral ports, whence they couldsally forth and ravage the commerce of the enemy”

        • George Michalopulos says

          Pres Grant chose to protest the supposed mistreatment of Jews in the Ukraine because he wanted to atone for his own anti-Semitic actions in General Orders No. 11, in which he ordered the exile of all Jews from Tennessee. (Mainly because they were pro-Southern and provided materiel to the Confederate armies, as well as engaged in the slave trade.)

          As for the treatment of Jews (mostly in Ukraine), there is no evidence whatsoever that these actions were ordered by the Czars. Indeed, the first pogrom, which took place in Odessa ca 1820, was between the Greeks who were resident there and the local Jewish population. And it was the Jews who attacked the Greeks. The Russian authorities had to step in and protect the Greek population.

          The pogroms –in the Ukraine especially–were a “bottom-up” affair, carried out by the locals most of whom had an especial hatred of Jews because they had served as arendetors, leasing agents, and landlords for the Poles and Lithuanians who had conquered the Ukraine centuries earlier. Once Catherine the Great had conquered that land, she allowed the Jews to have monopolies on taverns, inns and distilleries while the local Orthodox (and uniate) population was reduced to serfdom. This same loathing for Jews was found in Spain after the Reconquista because the indigenous Celt-Iberians felt that the original Moorish conquest of Iberia was aided and abetted by the local Jews who resided in the Visigothic kingdoms (regardless of whether they were ruled by Arian or Orthodox kings).

          Beginning with Tsar Alexander II, serfdom was abolished and the special privileges of the local Jews were abolished as well. The only preferential treatment afforded to Jews from that point was that they were allowed to enter universities based on a strict quota system which in turn was based on their overall numbers in the local oblast. A type of affirmative action if you will.

          This of course put out many young Jews who because they had bumped up into the quota, felt disenfranchised. BTW, we see this same phenomenon operating today in the US, where many Ivy League schools actively discriminate against Asian students in favor or African-American and Latino students.

          • Exactly.   But truth never gets in way of good story.  Re Russian fleet.  In 1860s there was no threatening war with uk as was in 1878 and of course moving fleet was done for reasons Russia needed,but fact still stands that they guarded american parts from threatening.  UK attack 

            • Ro add re Russian fleet in 1863.   Yes of course russisn interests but hard to work out how have  their entire fleet far from Russian ports, unable to Project Russia if attacked,makes any sense   And also a USA / GB war seemed very imminent in 1863 so was not protecting Russian fleet but putting it in direct line of fire potentially . Nine of this makes sense solely looking at Russian interests alone. 

          • Andrei Gotamin says

            Prince Alexis Pavlovich Scherbatow was born in St. Petersburg and was a US Army translator at Yalta. He argued that Russian anti-Semitism was in fact Polish anti-Semitism. However many Jews insist Jagiello took in Jews from the Spanish inquisition. The Jagielloinian record during the nazi holocaust was hardly good. Most of the camp were in Jagiellonian (Litwo-Polish) lands. COnsider also that the bloodiest Bolshevik, Feliks Dzierżyński was a Polish Jesuit

    • Joseph Lipper says

      When Patriarch Bartholomew advised Metropolitan Epiphany to respect the UOC-MP and to pray for Patriarch Kirill, was that an example of hatred?  I just don’t see the hatred in that.
      I don’t find any hate speech coming out of the government directed at the UOC-MP either.   Sure, the government is insisting on a name change, but only that “Russia” is somehow added to their name.  That’s just a practicality.  Is ROCOR complaining about having “Russia” in their name?

      • Mr Lipper you are stuck on the repeating record.  The autonomous church of Ukraine under Moscow IS A CHURCH OF UKRAINIANS  IN UKRAINE. It so happens that currently it is technically under Moscow BUT AS A UKRAINIAN church, running it’s own affects, so why would it have Russian added to it’s name?????. 
        The RCOR is the Church of those who declare themselves as Russian either emotionally, or actually, or wish to be so. So their name makes perfect sense .

        The members of OCU are UKRAINIAN  and to be fair of any who regard themselves as ethnically Russian ,although Ukrainian citizens.  
        The attempt to hoist the word Russian on them is an obvious clever RACIST ATTEMPT to paint this church as ‘Other’ and foreign. Totally racist in concept which tells one all one  needs to know.  What part of that do you find difficult to  get? Go Figure. 

        • By OCU I am meaning the cannonical legal church. It is a Ukrainian  Orthodox church in the Ukraine that currently is autonomous with Moscow as it’s mother church.  The Politics are not a concern of the Church. But  you may as well call it Greek as Russian.  It is a Ukrainian church for Ukrainian citizens regardless if they are Russian,Ukrainian and or Russian or Ukrainian speaking. It just happens it is autonomous under Moscow.  Nationalists may not like this, but when bulgarian nationalists in 1870  organised a bulgarian speaking church, the EP condemed them as racist and had it on the black list til 1945.
          One law for one and not for the other. And the bulgarian Church had no questions outside of EP actions, of  ordination problems etc 

        • Joseph Lipper says

          Nikos, you make it sound like being Russian Orthodox is a bad thing.  What’s wrong with being Russian Orthodox in Ukraine?  If people want to remain part of the Moscow Patriarchate, then it would make sense for them to advertise themselves truthfully as parishes under the Russian Patriarch.  It  certainly would help for the sake of clarity.  Here in America, almost every Orthodox Church is prefaced with either “Russian”, “Greek”, “Antiochian”, “Serbian”, “Ukrainian”, and even “Bulgarian”.  So really, what’s the big deal?

          • “Here in America, almost every Orthodox Church is prefaced with either “Russian”, “Greek”, “Antiochian”, “Serbian”, “Ukrainian”, and even “Bulgarian”. So really, what’s the big deal?”
            First it is autonomous Ukrainian Church, not Russian one. Second you know very well that present Ukraine differs from America. In America the government does not force  Episcopalians to change their name to the English Church, and does not call them British agents.

          • Because your compassion is false. In USA churches are prefixed with greek or russisn or Ukrainian or Serbian because these churches were founded by Greeks or Serbs etc and maintain that connection. 
            The autonomous church of Ukraine IS UKRAINIAN,  OF UKRAINIAN CITIZENS . And any russisn citizens living in Ukraine who are believers will attend it too as i attend the bulgarian Church here in Bulgaria.  I do not insist it calls itself the greek church. 
            That the autonomous church is autonomous with Russia as it’s mother church, does not make it Russian . There are many Ukrainians living in Russia who may attend the Russian church. That does not make the Russian church Ukrainian. 
            But I repeat the autonomous church in Ukraine is a Ukrainian church of generally  Ukrainian citizens in the same way as the schismatic body is.  So why except for political  reasons,would you call it the russisn church???  

            • Joseph Lipper says

              The Moscow Patriarchate parishes in Ukraine don’t want people from the OCU in their churches anyways.  What better way to advertise this than to put “Russian” in the name?   They can still keep “Ukrainian” if they want, such as “Ukrainian-Russian Orthodox Church”.
              Their present name “Ukrainian Orthodox Church” is also associated with the former Metropolitan of Kiev, Filaret, who received limited autonomy from Patriarch Alexis II in 1990.  A name change would rid themselves of that association. 
              The UOC-MP’s resistance to government compliance with such a small change that makes absolutely no difference in matters of faith, unfortunately shows that the Moscow Patriachate is not interested in peaceful resolution with the Ukrainian government. 

              • Playing at words Joseph and u know it.  I repeat it is an autonomous Ukrainian church AND THE ONLY LEGAL ONE, so it has no reason to call itself Russian, why should it?. The illegal schismatic and CROOKS AND CRIMINALS may like it to have RUSSIAN up there in name for their political reasons ,but that is their problem.  Perhaps Denisenko could add, DEFROCKED LAY MAN AFTER HIS TITLE? Or do u deny he is a defrocked layman and not for political reasons. 
                That he is a defrocked lay man is a fact publically acknowledged by Bartholomaios in 1993 acting as eucumenical Patriarch .. 
                Joseph, next Fantasy excuse.  

                • Ps. And to add before u get there, that by ORTHODOX CANNONICAL. Law, it is ONLY the Church of Russia thst can revert that decision IF HE PUBLICALLY REPENTS. And this Fraudster,ATHEIST, MURDERER , REPENTS of nothing. Certainly not his daily abuse of celibacy and abuse of his children over the years in denial and lack of love . He has not even kept his promise to resign but retains his pseudo Patrarchate title. ANATHEMA ANATHEMA ANATHEMA .ACCURSED. 
                  The Ukrainian state is a secular state and yet it has interefered in Church affairs openly.  
                  If you listened to their robber synod, God’s not mentioned or even prayed to. 

                  • Joseph Lipper says


                    Ukraine is a sovereign nation, and the Ukrainian government has some right to interfere in church matters. Russia itself has a long history of government interference in church matters. For example, we can think of the awful reforms of Tsar Peter the Great.

                    What’s being asked in Ukraine, though, does not change the faith. They’re not being asked to identify as “Muslim”, “Jewish”, or “Satanists”. No, these are parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate, and they are being asked to identify as such.

                    If the UOC-MP doesn’t want to change it’s name, that’s fine with me. Ukrainians have to figure this out for themselves.
                    Unfortunately, if the UOC-MP doesn’t change their name, then it looks like they are opening themselves up to emminent domain law and the possible seizure of church properties. Is the UOC-MP trying to force such a confrontation?

                    Perhaps that might give Russia some excuse to invade Ukraine, and perhaps that’s what Russia and UOC-MP actually want.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      That’s not freedom of religion though, is it Joseph? It’s a naked attempt to stigmatize the authentic, native Ukrainian Church. How would we like it if the Congress forced us to identify our jurisdictions here in America as “non-American”? Even the GOA is called “the Greek Orthodox Church of America“. Ditto all of the other ethnic, foreign-based jurisdictions.

                      On another note, I meant to get back to you on another point you made (which was valid as far as it went), when you said that Bartholomew tried to get Epiphaniy to mention Kirill during the Liturgy. You are correct, and I’m sure in Bartholomew’s mind that was a gracious thing to do.

                      Here’s where your critique falls apart though: Imagine if I were your boss and you and I went and we effected a hostile takeover of somebody else’s business and then I placed you in charge of it. And then at the next board of directors meeting I told you that you needed to say something nice about the guy we threw out. That’s a more apt analogy of what went on in the Ukraine.

                      Dr Shevzova made it abundantly clear that is exactly what happened to Onuphriy was horrendous and the fact that Emmanuel couldn’t see it makes me question my allegiance to episcopal celibacy. I imagine that if Bartholomew and the other bishops were married that at least one of their wives would have said something to put the brakes on this eccelesial atrocity.

                    • Nikos stone says

                      Joseph you are either being naive or duplicitious.  
                      The Ukrainian government has no right to  have interefered in Church affairs.Especially as if they are even Orthodox.  NOR DOES PUTIN, , two wrongs do not make a right. But in this case I do not see where PUTIN has interefered. 
                      Now as to the suffix Russian.  Joseph if the autonomous church was a church for Russian ex -pats and their families living in Ukraine , then YOU WOULD BE TOTALLY RIGHT, It would be the Russian church in Ukraine. 
                      But this is not so.  While there may be ethnic russians attending,who i assume at this juncture would be Ukrainian citizens,  the vast majority of it’s believers are UKRAINIAN. There for it is a Ukrainian Orthodox church.  It is autonomous under the Church of Russia as the japonese Orthodox church was.  Etc.  Now one can argue if it should be autocephalous but they themselves seem quite happy how it is.  
                      The CHURCH DOES NOT RELATE TO PUTIN BUT TO CHURCH OF RUSSIA AS A CHURCH OF UKRAINE. What ever the politicians may say or think,  they do not run the Church.  Yes I know how things were but not today.  As it happens I am not too keen on Kyril but that irrelevant. 
                      Re Constantinople.  As a greek the situation gives me great pain as also the situation in Turkey that Constantinople is in.  
                      We as Orthodox, all, need to give some thought as to how we can support and perhaps there needs to be a Council to.start from scratch so to speak, to establish a working relationship with Constantinople related to modern reality,  and defining it’s perogatives in law as it were and as powers LOANED TO IT AS SIGN OF UNITY BY THE PATRIARCHATES. 
                      But it first has to come up in the real world and out it’s byzantine mythology where it belongs currently . 

                    • Monk James Silver says

                      Joseph Lipper (February 26, 2019 at 2:21 pm) says:

                      Ukraine is a sovereign nation, and SNIP


                      History strongly suggests otherwise, a couple of missteps in the 20th century notwithstanding.

                      In fact, all the rest of Joseph Lipper’s misunderstandings here seem to be based on that one great error. In reality, Ukraine is not now, nor has it evger been, a country separate from Russia.

                      ‘Little Russia’, with Kiev at its heart, is the same nation which eventually grew into Great Russia and the Russian Empire. The very name ‘Ukraine’ (‘at the border’) is a point of reference for Poland, not Russia.

                      And its only the nationalistic aspirations of immigrants and uniats which are driving the current crisis. No, history is not at all well served in these moves for Ukraine’s independence, especially not within the Orthodox Christian Church, whose Russian patriarchate began in Kiev.

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            Our blessed Lord and Savior told us to put our lamp on a stand for all to see, not to cover it with a bushel basket. Even more importantly, he warned us of the dire consequences of burying the talent given us.
            Why does the Orthodox Church in this country hide its lamp? Why does it bury its talent in the dirt? I have actually heard some here say over the years that Orthodoxy doesn’t even belong in America– justifying outright its continued obscurity! Generation after generation, it remains the same…
            As far as I am concerned, it is a very ‘big deal’ indeed how most of our churches are ethnically ‘prefixed’. Let’s just admit it: nationality is more important than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s just a fact.
            And, just as obviously, it’s true everywhere, as the last months of endless preoccupation here show.

            • Amen.

            • Exactly.   the only Orthodox church in  USA should be american.  No matter what other languages apart from english used. The old world Patrarchs should be given the kick up the episcopal robe on their way to the airport. 

              • Michael Bauman says

                Nikos, at this juncture any “American” (aka US) Orthodox Church would not remain a traditional church for very long, at least the majority of it. I think you might very well see some largely OCA-Greek-Modern Slavs and Arabs. Then there would be the traditional side of things mostly consisting of Traditional Slavs/Antiochians/Greeks, etc. although each would have to subsume their ethnic identity. Then there would be those who still cling to their ethnic identities.

                Seven tests:
                1. American born bishops, consecrated in this country
                2. Services primarily in high quality English
                3. No to abortion
                4. No to homosexual unions
                5. No to the ordination of women
                6. No to intentionally childless marriages.
                7. A monastic foundation not dependent on Mt. Athos for well formed monks.

                If we expect to survive we would have to have outreach to Native Americans and Black Americans–and be welcoming to them as they came. We would have to stop trying to be a global church and be a truly local church with a real local synod of bishops. We would have to politely but firmly say no to all of the old country churches except in matters of charity and demand to be invited to any sort of council as equals. We would need to find ways to build strong communities that lessened the necessity of families having to move simply for jobs and career. Develop our own hymnography but still traditional. And many, many more such things. Of course, we will never be ready to move out of our parents basement, we just have to move out. Canadians need to find their own way out of their own basements.

                • Monk James Silver says

                  This pretty much describes the OCA as it is now, but it is still a work in progress.

                  In the meantime, the often petty ‘jurisdictionalism’ of the other Orthodox in North America wastes time and money amd dilutes our efforts to preach and live the Gospel.

                  Imagine what we could accoumplish if all this energy and resources and personnel were all working together for the glory of God instead of for their nationalistic ‘mother churches’ abroad!

            • Tim R. Mortiss and Nikos: “As far as I am concerned, it is a very ‘big deal’ indeed how most of our churches are ethnically ‘prefixed’. Let’s just admit it: nationality is more important than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s just a fact.”
              You are a nationalist. Should Canadians suppress the French identity or English suppress the Welsh? What about Navaho or Cherokee?

              • Tim R. Mortiss says

                Here’s the formal mission statement of my GOA church:

                “St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church proclaims and teaches the Gospel in accordance with the Orthodox Faith; sanctifies the faithful through God’s grace in worship, the Divine Liturgy, and other sacraments; enhances parishioners’ spiritual life; and adds to the faithful by receiving individuals into the Church through instruction, baptism, and/or chrismation.”

                How is this best to be achieved here in North America?

                • Michael,  Tim, Martin, Monk Sylvester.  As a non American but with connections and knowing USA I agree with all you say.  
                  It us witnessing LOCALLY. This is the key, in Politics and for Church. 
                  Also as you say building on all the inheritence of traditions to something from tradition but american. This is what all Orthodox Cultures did. 
                  But being aware as one of you said, of the dangerous Culture you are in of secular protestantism and remaining linked in to wider Orthodoxy. Monasteries connected to the local church can play a vital role here. I know even compared to uk,  how such things as fasting etc totally foreign in USA and without a wider connection there are dangers.
                  We often here have to be quite depressed re Church but not for this as there is in USA a developing tradition in english of superb worship . I am thinking of the cd I recently got from Holy Apostles church in Oklohoma, and Sheehan at St Tikhon monastery, Boston Choir, just to name a tiny few  of a developing rich tradition .
                  Leaving aside the appalling organ which seems ro be biting the dust.,  even greek America has developed some beautiful choral music if in Greek. 
                  And it is in organization where we currently are so wasteful and acting as if greek, Russian etc, are separate denominations. 
                  In Southampton Uk where is a greek church for many yrs, there is now also a Romanian and russian.  You Americans would well understand this!!  
                  Of course it’s complex and language related, but not totally. It is about being psychologically open and not giving the attitude it is something for the yiayia and Baba, but not for grand children. Indeed discouraging them or giving to them as a cultural budge. 
                  I was brought up as a greek in greek Orthodox church in Greece and uk, but always that the Culture was only a vehicle for the Faith,not other way round.!!
                  On a different level there is a need for an intellectual defense of the Faith that people can understand, because I see how since fall of communism, and I live now as u may know, in Bulgaria,  there is a determined attack on Orthodoxy as retrograde,  fanatical,  lost in a medeval Fantasy world with eyes clossed to modern world or thinking to relate in superficial silly way.  Sadly sometimes the Church does it’s best to show that. 
                  Many thanks for yr views.  Although it’s important ,but we need perhaps here as Orthodox to be thinking and facing these issues of belief above Politics. Yes, Ukraine is more than Politics as i and others point out but we must not get lost in it.  

  11. Constantinos says

    Orthodox Christians who support war don’t have faintest idea what they are talking about. The Church Father Tertullian said,” when Christ disarmed Peter, He disarmed all Christians. Our calling is to martydom. Someone on this forum suggested that there is redemption in the sufferings from war. That is a direct contradiction to what the Apostle Paul clearly stated.  St. Paul stated that we never do evil that good may come of it. For the first three hundred years of Christianity, a Christian was not allowed to participate in warfare or carry a weapon.
    For those who say the Orthodox Church has nothing to learn from anyone outside the Orthodox Church( a preposterously ridiculous statement), check out Father Emmanuel Charles McCarthy’s youtube videos on Christian non violent love for friends and enemies alike. Following in the example of our Savior, Martin Luther King Jr. practiced non violent resistance. So, no, a true Christian can never participate in warfare, support the death penalty or kill anyone under any circumstances whatsoever.

    • So what you are saying Constantinos (ironic name for a pacifist) is that there can never be a Christian state and that Christians are always condemned by God to live under foreign/pagan rule.
      I missed that in the Fathers and in the Scriptures where God occasionally commanded genocide.
      In any case, it brings us to the conclusion of matters.  Monomakhos has degenerated in two senses.  One is that it is populated by so many who know so little about the faith and who are fundamentally dishonest about their intentions and loyalties.  That is but one problem.
      The bigger problem, and it is a function of Orthodoxy itself that bleeds into Monomakhos, is that Orthodoxy does not know what it is anymore.  It is different, and mutually exclusive, depending on the eyes of the beholder.  Phanar Hellinism is a different religion than Antiochian new calendarism which is a different religion than ROCOR Orthodoxy, etc.
      I will endeavor to refrain from commenting on Orthodoxy at all from now on since it is fruitless and it appears we are near the gates of hell:
      What the Orthodox need to take to heart is what we used to tell the Anglicans:  “We will be happy to have a dialogue with Anglicanism as soon as Anglicans bother to define who they, in fact, are.”
      There is no use in speaking to the Orthodox when they refuse to draw consistent lines.  In such a case, there is no Orthodoxy, only holy art.

      • “…Orthodoxy does not know what it is anymore…”
        Not quite right Misha, but you are on to something important.  Orthodoxy is struggling to be Orthodox, ontologically, in the modern and secular cultural context.  This struggle is relatively new, and the “old” Orthodox cultural synthesis of first post Constantine, then post Empire Ottoman and slavic situations (as varied as they were) are not “working”.  This present struggle comes out in many ways, around theological “progressives” vs. “traditionalists”, language, ethnicity, ecumenism, evangelization, and of course here where Constantinos on the one hand idealizes and over simplifies the semi-pacifistic context of the pre-Constine church, and then crudely applies it to our present context, even going so far as to say “…a true Christian can never participate in warfare, support the death penalty or kill anyone under any circumstances whatsoever.” as if he is some sort of authority as to what a “true Christian” even is.  Mr. Constantinos, sit down and do your homework please 😉
        Given these facts about the “situation” of Orthodoxy in secularism, why do you believe “drawing consistent lines” seems to be eluding us?

        • Christopher yr post is important because these are the issues we need to be discussing here .
          As i am often saying cos true and maybe brings  a non USA vision to the table, I live now in Bulgaria.
          .  I am greek but lived many yrs working in Uk in health care clinically .  As Fr Alex SCHMEMANN of blessed memory  noted decades ago, there is no Orthodox secular Culture now. If he felt this in 1970s,  how much more so is fact today!!!  
          There may be remnants of this Culture but if you look at modern Greece or here in Bulgaria you will understand there is no Orthodox Culture. And often the most indifference and secularity are to be found in  the villages.  The word  pagan,  is quickly getting back it’s Latin meaning of country person. 
          Orthodoxy has survived 70 yrs of often violent persecution and emmigration to west .This is to thank God for and countries faithful. I know what it was like here in Bulgaria .  
          However its answer to modern world seems to be either a superficial liturgical and clerical westernized  turn, of which i have said enough,  or a retreat as Fr Alexander put it, of  huddling in  a corner shouting at the rest of the world to go away. 
          When i hear sermons refering to Adam and Eve as two distinct people in time in a garden ( yes the Persia paradizza, meant an enclossed garden) and creation as six days, i try to believe the priest is understanding  all this as profound ‘ mythos’ as originally understood,  a metaphor for the human and of Creation, condition.  However what will the educated layman, young adult make of it?  Psychologically, to hold the faith , it means putting ONE’S Faith  in a special box, separate from real world, marked ethnic and UNREAD and disconected  to spiritual struggle. 
          Temptation,  yes we must struggle always but now we understanding the role of hormones in physiological process,  etc etc etc,  we understanding far more about addiction etc and re sexual matters. 
          The role and place of the female in church and society . Some of what is coming out of Russia for instance is as fundamentalist as any islamic world vision .  
          That i may be attacked here,FALSELY,  for advocating female clergy,  and advanced feminism,  just  will prove my point. Cos I am not ,just the facing of scientific truth and reality. 
          Those two things were what caused the 4th century use of greek philosophy to explain the belief of the Church to the educated society of the time.   Yes we are not wanting to change the faith of the Church,  but we have  frozen the wording as sacred,when indeed it is merely the vehicle used and a 21st century person may be in a very different place to a 5th century person in seeing the Universe. 
          Our use of language, ‘Came down from heaven,” Was made man for us Men’ ( when the original greek says δια τους ανθρώπους,  ( for us people) just some obvious example of language that grates. And no, again, i am not shouting about extreme inclusive language as some will say, just about  common sense and dignity. 
          If we continue to explain the faith through words that mean nothing or point to pre- scientific ( although every age had science actually ) understanding of cosmos,  how can we keep our young?. Sometimes better in language they may not understand!!! 
          It is often forgotten thst pre 1917 there was much ferment in Russian church to renewal and development in terms of worship, liturgical language, congregational involvement, the role of the deaconess and lay involvement in running church, ecumenism etc etc as it was seen that the Church was losing the educated and the newly emerging industry worker class to socialist and atheism and was declining . We as Orthodox have struggled to bring the faith to an industrial society. Now we need not bother because we are post industrial.!!!!!!  Somebody should tell the Bishops. 
          That the communist revolution and the 1920s Living Church  betrayal of Tikhon and , heresy,  stopped dead ANY logical thought about any of this as modernism  ,is our tragedy. 
          For me, my faith is helped and supported by modern science and our knowledge of the vast  cosmos we live in and in the vast immensity of time.  In quuntum physics , that communist ideology banned etc. 
          But if the Orthodox church remains locked in a mythical byzantine world led by make believe patrarchs indulging in fantasy titles and or, clinging on to globalist free talk,  the Outlook is dim.
          There is also the need to have a theology  regarding non Christian religions. It will not do to simply refere to them as  irrelevant pagans.  Again I can hear the missles flying towards me as i am accused of denying Christ etc etc. What can i say to these people but grow up and face yr neighbours.. 
          Same as regards modern science. For the Church to formulate it’s beliefs and social thought, IF IT HAS ANY, without reference to modern scientific reality ,is dim indeed. 
          It is sad that as the western church has learnt, to destroy the outward liturgical expression for something cheap and passing,while keeping the prinitive language, does not do. 
          But I would submit that for all the chaos and failure and surrender to fashion,  some truth and reality, thst we urgent need, is coming from the west. 
          Lastly I raise the concern if we harbour in our midst similar sexual scandal to the rc church? ? But with no will to roots out. 
          The cancer is to have non monastic in real  authentic sense ,bishops,  celibacy and living in the world. This combination is legal. Celibacy needs to be supported and regulated at all times. 
          Monasteries need to be intergrated into the life of the local church. 
          Mount Athos needs to be respected and supported BUT NOT IDOLISED .THEY can be ignorant and venal as well as devout and Holy.  This is the spiritual struggle after all. We need judgement .
          And the life style of our bishops. They are monks!! No one is asking them to mortify the fresh and live in a cave. Just to live simply and to CHUCK THE BLOODY POMPOUS TITLES AND MOST HUMBLE HYPOCRITICAL LANGUAGE AND GET REAL. And to stop the vanity projects,  

          • Christopher says

            Somehow I missed your reply until now and I am sorry.  Yes, the two false paths to which Fr. Schmemann wrote so well about:   a legalistic “fundamentalism” (though he did not use that word and it is very problematic word which is probably best avoided) on the one hand, and a compromising/incoherent  mashup with modernist/secularist thought and way of life with Christian ones on the other is THE question of the day.  It is an “ontological” question – how to be Orthodox in a modern word/society/culture.
            Your asking the right questions.  How does the Church speak (which is to say, what language and ideas does it use) to the modern mind, one that is “educated” and “scientific” as you say.  I would encourage you to think deeply about what a myth is.  One of the insights of men such as C.S. Lewis was that the modern “scientific” mind is full of myth.  This is not to say that science is a myth in the sense of mere legend, mere fable told to children, but it is to say that behind, underneath “science” are presuppositions about reality that are themselves articles of faith.  For example, look up the history of nominalism and it’s place in science.  Christianity (and Greek philosophy in general – the neo-platonic milieu that was the culture/society where Christian was forged in the first millennium) is realist in its understanding of God, Man (anthropos), Creation, Time – everything. 
            What all this means is what you are sensing:  the modern educated young person can not hear the Christian myth (and here I am using myth in its positive sense – something that reveals the deep truth of the world and our place in it) because he is always interpreting and filtering it through the myth of Science.  Whatever the truth of methodological materialism (i.e. real science) the myth of Science and secularism keeps the mind from hearing Christianity.  As Fr. Scmemann put it, it is the “negation of worship” – the negation of hearing the truth in the myth (of the Adam and Eve in the Garden for example).
            Yes, these are the conversations we as Orthodox Christians need to be having.  Notice I did not use “humans” or “peoples” as you did – I stuck with the archaic “man/he” or the Greek (anthropos) because here in America, human is “gender neutral” and implies agreement with the presuppositions of modernist anthropology.  Thus, “man” is still the better translation anthropos than “human”, at least in my culture.

            • Monk James Silver says

              Christopher (March 5, 2019 at 11:47 am) says:

              SNIP ‘Notice I did not use “humans” or “peoples” as you did – I stuck with the archaic “man/he” or the Greek (anthropos) because here in America, human is “gender neutral” and implies agreement with the presuppositions of modernist anthropology. Thus, “man” is still the better translation anthropos than “human”, at least in my culture.’

              While I don’t know from what ‘culture’ our correspondent ‘Christopher’ writes, I can say for a fact that in standard English there are four grammatical genders: masculine, feminine, neither, and both. And in mammalian (human) biology, there are two sexes, male and female.

              Grammatically, ‘human’ and ‘people’ are not gender neutral, but gender inclusive, hence they fall into the category of ‘both’. These distinctions can be demonstrated by an analogy with farm fowl: rooster, hen, egg, chickens.

              There are three uses of gender in language: gender known and expressed, gender unknown, gender concealed. It’s only the last category which is being used to advance misguided notions of sexual equality. That men and women are equal was never a real issue, but men and women are definitely different both as sexes and as individuals.

              Now, I don’t do ‘political correctness’ or any sort of politics at all, so please understand what I’m writing here as simply commenting on language.

              There used to be a grammatical rule that indefinite distributive forms such as ‘everyone’ or ‘nobody’ were to be treated as singular nouns, and would take the masculine singular pronoun ‘he’ as a referent even if there were only one male in the group. On this model, a completely female group would be referenced by ‘she’.

              But this clearly doesn’t work, political correctness aside. For example, we can’t say ‘Everyone I know came to meet me at the train. and I was really happy to see him.’

              So let’s not be too doctrinaire about these referents. On the other hand, ‘Man’ (capital M) is a perfectly good term for the human race, but ‘people’ is on a much different level. While ‘people’/’peoples’ will obviously require a plural referent (‘we’ or ‘they’) ‘Man’ only appears to require a singular, ‘he’.

              A male human being, a ‘man’ will be referenced by ‘he’ and a female human being by ‘she’, but “Man’ includes both men and women, and so — as strange as it might feel — ‘Man’ takes a plural referent. It is grammatically correct to write that ‘Man have not yet found a formula for a true peace.’

              Because the strict grammar here falls so strangely on our ears, we do best to avoid ‘Man’ except in constructions which don’t require pronominal referents, such as ‘the works of Man’. Otherwise, we should recast our expressions with ‘mankind’, ‘human beings/race’, ‘humanity, etc.

              What I staunchly do resist, though, are forms using ‘person’ to replace ‘man’ in such words as ‘chairman’, spokesman’, ‘selectman’ and so on. If people want to be gender inclusive, they might say ‘leader/head’, representative, ‘official’, etc. But worst of all is referencing a singular noun with a plural pronoun. ‘The customer had to pack their own groceries’.

              In today’s reading from St Luke’sgospel, St Peter is twice reported as having addressed two male speakers as ‘man’ (anthrOpe) after addressing a serving girl as ‘wpman’ (gynai). It should be clear that first-century Greek, of which St Luke was a native speaker, did not consider ‘anthrOpos’ gender-inclusive enough for the girl, but possibly gender=exclusive enough for the two men. Obviously, the problem is not limited to English.

              I miss the bold/italics/lines function! Was it sacrificed to allow editing? Can’t we have both functions?

          • “For the Church to formulate it’s beliefs and social thought, IF IT HAS ANY, without reference to modern scientific reality ,is dim indeed. ”
            What “scientific reality” do you mean? Do you mean Newton physics or quantum theory? Or perhaps Krebs cycle?

            • George Michalopulos says

              Interestingly enough, I just found out that many scientific experiments which are punished in the various peer-reviewed journals can’t be reproduced, even by the scientists who first performed them!

              This is beyond the Heisenberg uncertainty principle (Which only deals with subatomic particles). We’re talking macro-level here.

              • Exactly.  marerialistic 19c science that Lenin saw the world through is dead.  And yes there is a scientificism, seen in the likes of Dawkins et al and fed through to society where people think they are talking science but are actually giving their philosiphical view of what science means, as if reality comes with an atheist price tag. 
                The assumed prejudice of the secular brigade trying to pretend they argueing from a neutral stance ( nature abhors a vacuunm hey!!) does not I think need me to demonstrate as they do well enough 

                • Nikos: “Exactly. materialistic 19c science that Lenin saw the world through is dead. ”
                  Actually Lenin saw the world through something else, through the dialectical materialism. This what is understood by materialism today was rejected by the serious Marxists as a “vulgar, bourgeois and mechanistic” materialism.
                  Marxist matter is closer to the Hegelian or Neoplatonic concepts of a world moving toward divine self-realization. Dialectically, as Marx was a Hegelian.

                  • Yes. That is true that marxist has this teleological  eschatology underpinning it so as some people says,can be regarded as a secular religion. That is why marxist happily accepted Hitler as a process on the road to outcome.

              • Monk James Silver says

                That’s why they’re punished, I trow.

              • Michael Bauman says

                George, did you mean to say “published in various peer reviewed journals….” rather than punished?

              • Blatsaras Vastenteras says

                Punished? Revealing yourself?  Only the freedom of the Anglosphere, including Israel and India produces real innovations, like new building materials, microscopy, neuroscience, genetics and extraterrestrial propulsion. Iakovos was upset Papanicolaou shunned church for work. Crysostom wrote the hideous totalitarianism “Questioning is the subversion of faith” (Homily I on I Timothy I). Russia’s technology, however, has traditionally has either been stolen or bluster vaporware and even lysenkoism. Look at the spironolactone clinical trials scandal. Unfree nations can’t compete in modern science because they shun peer review, even a Greece that allows cults to persecute you for blasphemy is not free. Alexandrians invented the steam engine and computer two millenia ago but lacked the patent and corporation system to exploit them for greater good.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Nikos says: “For the Church to formulate it’s beliefs and social thought, IF IT HAS ANY, without reference to modern scientific reality ,is dim indeed.”

            That depends on what you mean by “scientific reality”. What is the basis of that reality? What are the assumptions that are used to construct, carry out and evaluate various experiments and build theories?

            In fact, the revealed truth in the Orthodox Church about the nature of the creation, man and our interrelationship to our Creator is beyond anything that “modern science” can even comprehend. In fact, good science can only be carried out based on the noetic understanding of creation revealed in the Church.

            Christopher was spot on with his comment

            • Nikos stone says

              I agree with you .. All I am saying is if you comnunicate with people using a language they find falling short of anything they can relate to,there is a problem.  I critique scientificism,  as  expressed by Dawkins and every secular hack journalistic fool as the heresy of our time. They arrogantly fail or chose not to understand ,that they have moved from scientific fact  to their view of the meaning of these facts. 
              What i basically was trying to say is that if one is trying to dialogue with a. Modern typical secular person, that one will not get anywhere using language when relating to how we understanding what is around us,  in words that  seem to be pre- suposing that the earth is flat and heaven is horizontolly above us .That was the simple point i was making. 

      • Misha,
        I hope you change your mind. In a time where the pan- Orthodox heresy of ecumenism is being embraced and promulgated by so many… we need a voice such as yours.

      • Constantinos says

        You are correct; there can be no “Christian” state. Did not our Lord say His kingdom is not of this world? Why do you think the story of the first martyr St. Stephen is given such prominence? Because as Christians, we are to follow his example.

        • The tortures of St Charalampus at the hands of the Romans should show you who really killed Jesus – the Roman 666 evil empire you are so proud to continue as your Byzantine and Russian and EU/Bru666elles empires. The Babel tells us to be independent nations but you heathens pray for the ?union of all? under your 666 world government. Further your worst extremists also seek to perpetuate the very calendar used by those who killed Jesus. Anyone who knows the cruel, vindictive ending of Vercingetorix, Spartacus and Carthage knows who really killed Jesus. Columbus set sail with shiploads of Jews the day after the Spanish Inquisition expelled Jews. The Plymouth Pilgrims were followers of Cromwell who brought the Jews back to England. American Democracy (1 Sam 8, L A Times Jan 27 1918 Rev Herbert Booth Smith, p.III20) and Capitalism (Gen 2:12) is from the Jews. God helps those who help the Jews.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Constantinos, you are wrong.

  12. I recall when I ceased commenting on Touchstone. I had to admit that my project was at fundamental odds with that of the Touchstone crew, ecumenism.

    Over the last month or so, I get a similar feeling re Monomakhos – ideological mutual exclusivity. Christ said not to cast pearls before swine. Our gracious host excepted, it has begun to smell like a pig farm here. There are many forums out there and, in fact, though our words get to many, methinks they influence very few.

    At the end of the day this will turn into a fight between the omogenia and everyone else.

    • I am curious Misha, what exactly is your project?  Your right about Touchstone, they are an example of an honest to goodness quest for a neo-patristic synthesis and by that I mean what Florovsky really meant by the term, and not several the popular and academic misconstruals.  They see the correlation between say, a St. Nicolia Vermivich and a St. Clive Staples Lewis, and then work/reason/pray from there.  They are by no means perfect, but such a project is deeply rooted in the a Patristic understanding of the ambiguity of our life in Christ this side of the Eschaton and the ascetic disposition towards this ambiguity, this present life “hidden with Christin God” as St. Paul put it. 
      That is not what your about.  What are you about?  Honest question!

    • George Michalopulos says

      Misha, on many topics I find myself agreeing with you.  Keep fighting the good fight 

      • George, according to Misha’s ecclisiology you are outside the true church being a member of The OCA. Your statement makes no sense.

    • Joseph Lipper says

      Misha, my father confessor is always telling me the inner monologue is the pathway to hell, and that true prayer to God is the restoration of dialogue and the pathway to heaven.  So, please forgive my tendency to monologue.  Though I may not always be agreeable, I appreciate your attempts to dialogue with me.

    • That is because Jesus told us to pray our way through difficulties and we prefer to reason with one another and reason rarely works.

  13. Re burial I agree 100% Disgraceful   but Joseph that not the wider point . The wider point is as i have explained over and over.   In wwii the allied bombed and murdered German civilians by the hundreds of thousands and Sadly mostly yank troops when entering France in 1944 commited wide spread rape, yes in France, our ally.  
    Does all this vindicate Hitler?  No  of course not. Point   made 

    • Joseph Lipper says

      I’m trying to understand your point.  It sounds like you are saying that Hitler wasn’t vindicated because of the atrocities of the Allied forces who fought against him?  Yes that’s true.  Still not sure I understand your point though.  Please forgive my feeble mind.
      If you are drawing a parallel between Ukraine and Nazi Germany, I would say there is a big difference.   Ukrainians are not trying to conquer the world.

      • i am not saying Ukrainian and nazis same. Just that people may be wrong on particulars but  right on over all stance. As George says Dresden etc are crimes against innocent civilians. Because Germany did same does not make it right and fire bombed  tokyo actually in sense possibly  worse  ‘ ‘conventional’ crime than Nagasaki etc. But this still leaves Hitler as the villein !!
        Re Ukraine I am all for autocephaly and many all round victims BUT I AM NOT AND NEVER WILL BE, in agreement with how done and with whom for all the reasons repeated here non stop and by me.  

        • George Michalopulos says

          Nikos, the problems ultimately with how a supposed autocephaly was foisted on Ukraine are manifold. The biggest problem however is the self-identity of many of the Ukro-nazis who espouse an especial hatred for the Russians. One cannot build an authentic Church on such hateful foundations. Hence it will fail. Perhaps even before the Ukrainian polity as it is presently constructed will fail.

    • George Michalopulos says

      The firebombing of Dresden and Tokyo were particularly egregious war crimes in my opinion .

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.
        As the years go by, ever more good books come out about the War, based upon updated statistical studies, release of all records, etc.  The mystery is never resolved, though: what were Berlin and Tokyo thinking?

        • Tim, wars and thought seldom go together.  What was Greece thinking when in August 1922 members of my greek  family who came back at end to Greece to die,  were sat outside of Ankara on a hundreds of miles donkey power support line? 
          The greek invasion of Turkey, as Metaxas said, has given Turkey the endless line of ‘ Eternal Greek aggession’, as well as end of Asia minor greek civilization. 

  14. John Sakelaris says

    Yes, it is getting nasty on here.   I really hope these matters involving Orthodox Christianity in Ukraine can be smoothed over peacefully.   Sadly, I am afraid that many others on here eagerly want a situation from which they can claim a clearly recognized victory.  

  15. Matthew Panchisin says

    Dear Misha,
    In days like these Matushka (91 years old) reminds that traditionally within the Orthodox Church when things are difficult it’s good to keep the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in mind often.
    “There are many forums out there and, in fact, though our words get to many, methinks they influence very few.” What you have mentioned is very true, some forums I recall started out with good and fruitful conversations however  in the end it doesn’t matter much. People who really don’t know what they are saying end up driving away others who are not interested in intellectually dishonest encounters, which makes sense?

    • Matthew,
      Words certainly matter. Many years ago there was a contingency of Orthodox Christians posting on the the Catholic Answers forum (yourself included). Your words (and the words of many other Orthodox Christians) opened the door for my conversion to the Holy Orthodox Church. Ultimately, most of those Orthodox Christians were banned by the administrators of the Catholic Answers forum. But I will be forever grateful. Thank you, my brother in Christ.

      • Matthew Panchisin says

        Thanks be to God your comments bring back more sweet than bitter memories Mikail, after purging all the Orthodox Christian posts (presented over several years) they even banned sweet hearted Father Ambrose as well, what nerve!? Come to think of it, that was around the time the “my favorite papist” of the Orthodox Father Corapi (he cared about the RC environment) was being formally rendered inactive so at least we were in good measure as far as purging goes. Cardinals like Theodore McCarrick were against him, we were for him, both are more of less incommunicado these days.
        Well nowadays the Latin minded east and west are formally purging in Ukraine, as we no they are not incommunicado.
        I hope all is well with you and your family, have a blessed Great Lent and Pascha, Slava Bogu!

  16. Joseph Lipper says

    Cyprus Church condemns Russia’s aggressive policy toward Orthodox Church of Ukraine
    “the Church of Cyprus fully supports Ukraine in its desire to create its own local Church. It is noted that Ukraine had every right to ask the Ecumenical Patriarchate to grant them autocephaly. Also, the decision criticizes Russia and its aggressive behavior toward the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU). ‘The priests note that the representatives of the Russian Church had the opportunity to come to the Council and state their position openly and negotiate a dialogue, but this was never done, therefore, they did not have the right to ignore the Council and interfere in the OCU’s affairs, and they shall not have such right in the future,’ TSN quotes the decision of the Synod.”
    Read more on UNIAN:

  17. Joseph Lipper says

    Synod of the Cyprus Orthodox Church declares it will not recognise OCU
    “According to the decisions of the Synod, which took place on February 18, the Church of Cyprus does not intend to recognise the OCU in its current status.

    “The reason for this is the invalidity of the priestly and episcopal ordinations in the OCUand the lack of church unity in Ukraine. The translation of the final document on the session results is published by the spokesperson of the UOC Protopriest Nikolai Danilevich on his Facebook page.
    “According to him, the OCU, in fact, is not even mentioned in the text of the decision, but the arguments presented leave no doubt what is meant.
    “Paragraph 1 states that every nation has the right to its own church autocephaly.
    “In paragraphs 2 and 3, Churches that did not participate in the Crete Council, where the issue of autocephaly could be agreed upon, are criticized. If this happened, then, perhaps, this situation would not have arisen today.
    “Paragraphs 4 and 5 state that it is impossible to break Eucharistic communion due to the resolution of interchurch disputes. “Unfortunately, this is not the first time. There are cases of break-up between the Patriarchates of Antioch and Jerusalem, and recent cases – between the Ecumenical and Jerusalem Patriarchates, as well as the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Athens.”
    “Paragraph 6 states that “the two-thousand-year experience of the Church of Cyprus, as well as of the entire Orthodox Church, gives us reason to doubt the possibility of retroactive recognition of the chirotonies that were made by banned, excommunicated or anathematised bishops. The ban, excommunication, and anathema of some individuals who initiated the Ukrainian crisis were recognized by all Orthodox Christians”.
    “Father Nikolai explains that the position of the Cyprus Church on the Ukrainian issue is as follows:
    “The intention of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to grant autocephaly to Ukraine was dictated by the desire for reconciliation and unity, but this was not achieved. The Church of Cyprus calls on the Patriarchate of Constantinople to convene a Pan-Orthodox Council or Assembly of Primates. But even in this case, it is necessary to resolve the issue of the invalidity of ordinations committed in the schism in order to “calm the minds of believers”.  Also, unity between the Orthodox in Ukraine must be achieved.
    “The Church of Cyprus itself declares its readiness to be a mediator in this crisis issue: “The Church of Cyprus is at the disposal of all concerned with the goal of reconciling the Church,” “which the Lord obtained with His own Blood”.

  18. Yeah. Right. The canonical Church is beating it’s own priests and parishioners and burning down it’s own Churches and faking deportations and interrogations of clergy. Why do you insist on posting this propaganda Joe. The SBU is frightening…very much like former KGB. Let us see what else the Church of Cyprus said:
    “The 2,000-year experience of the Church of Cyprus, and the entire Orthodox Church, gives us reason to doubt the possibility of retroactively recognizing consecrations celebrated by suspended, excommunicated, or anathematized bishops. ”

    • Joseph Lipper says

      You’re probably right that the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) is pretty much the same as the Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB).  Probably neither is to be trusted.  The accusation, though, seems to be that the Russian FSB is trying to instigate instability in Ukraine.  That certainly sounds plausible.  Whether or not the Ukrainian SBU is faking this, I don’t know.
      I wanted to draw attention, though, to the Synodal meeting of the Church of Cyprus and their conclusions on the Ukrainian situation.  They’re presently rejecting the OCU and asking for a Church Council on the matter.  (This also seems to be the general conclusion of the other Local Churches. )  They also point out that the Ecumenical Patriarchate has not adequately explained how apostolic succession has been preserved in the newly created OCU.   So, this points out an issue for a future Church Council to address.  
      As for the unity of Orthodoxy in Ukraine, the Synod of the Cyprus Church is pointing out that the canonical UOC-MP is not doing their part.  They didn’t even send a representative to the Unification Council to state their own position.  The UOC-MP is refusing to negotiate, refusing to make peace, and even refusing to state their position in the form of a rebuke.  Metropolitan Epiphany has pointed out that nobody from the UOC-MP has even approached him with an argument against the newly created OCU.
      This is disturbing, because it points to a need for the Moscow Patriarchate to preserve a “civil war” narrative in Ukraine.   The MP is not showing itself to be interested in peaceful resolutions of any kind.  Rather, the position of the Moscow Patriarchate appears to be that fighting a “civil war” is the only path forward in Ukraine.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Joseph, thank you for your judicious analysis. Unfortunately it breaks apart at the end, where you state that nobody from the UOC/MP was there or reached out. That’s the problem. These schismatics are playing squatter’s rights on real estate that doesn’t belong to them. You don’t negotiate with thieves.

        • Joseph Lipper says

          George, so far the transfer of properties from UOC-MP to OCU has been noticeably underwhelming.  Where”s the thievery?  The UOC-MP still has the vast majority of their properties. 
          Given the small number of transfers, it’s still reasonable to assume that most, if not all, of these transfers have been done with at least a two-thirds parish vote.  That’s not using eminent domain law.
          However, let’s just say for the sake of argument that the Ukrainian government does use eminent domain law.  That would be awful.  There would be bloodshed.  If that happens, then should Russia militarily invade Ukraine to resolve the matter? 
          No, because Ukraine is a sovereign nation.  Those properties don’t belong to Russia.  Those Ukrainian properties belong to the Ukrainian people of the UOC-MP.   

        • Can i recommend Joseph for the bartholomaios Novel prize for well, defending  Bartholomaios.  He does it will.  
          The Church of Cyprus is very sensible, saying Moscow needs to be more humble and respectful to Ukrainian self consciousness. However as we all ,it condems the at a stroke of a pen making good and over riding church of Russia, let alone  bartholomaios earlier 1993 declaration. And states that this new body is schismatic and cannot be recognised.  

      • They didn’t even send a representative to the Unification Council to state their own position.”
        Um….do you think that it might be because the UOC is the canonical Church and did not ask for Istanbul to invade the territory and create a fake “church”?

    • Joseph Lipper says

      Connection spotted between Russia’s invasion plans and churches in Ukraine targeted for arson attacks
      “A map showing churches across Ukraine targeted for arson attacks by the Russian FSB was published by a Ukrainian blogger Oleksandr Snidalov, who added to the map locations of Russian military and navy units in the relevant proximity to those sites. ”
      Read more on UNIAN:

      • Gail Sheppard says

        This is one of those Ukrainian pages that one has to be careful with.

        • Joseph Lipper says

          Gail, it’s a Ukrainian website showing where the church arson attacks took place, and the location of those attacks can easily be validated. 
          Well, it’s certainly not Fox news.  Did you see the ridiculous blurb on Fox news?


          • George Michalopulos says

            Joseph, for what it’s worth, Cyprus is a tax haven for Ukrainian and Russian organized crime figures and oligarchs. The biggest oligarch in Ukraine has both Cypriot and Israeli citizenship as well. Joe Biden’s son (Hunter or Beau, I can’t remember which one died recently) serves on the board of directors of his shale oil corporation.

            Interestingly, most of the shale oil production is in the eastern part of Ukraine –the pro-Russia part. This explains the neoliberal/conservative fascination all of a sudden with “muh democracy”.

            It’$ alway$ good to keep the$e thing$ in mind when watching the new$. Just sayin’.

      • Nonsense. Why do you keep posting the propaganda site?

  19. Michael Bauman says

    Well, the Antiochian Archdiocese magazine, The Word, just came out. The lead article in both English and Arabic is Patriarch John’s letter to Bartholomew asking Bartholomew to stop his actions in the Ukraine.

    I have been receiving The Word for over 30 years now and have never seen anything like that. It seems to be officially, but subtly, notifying everybody in the Archdiocese in North America that there is a problem with the EP. It also means that Met. Joseph and all of our bishops are supportive.

    To me that is a major step taking the matter to a more serious level. It is no longer just between hierarchs. It is not going away.

    • Gail Sheppard says


    • Joseph Lipper says

      The EP has pointed out there is a present political situation that prevents Antioch from being supportive of, or even considering, Ukrainian autocephaly.  Any guess to what the EP is referring to?
        My guess would be the Antioch Patriarchate mainly can’t afford to lose Russian military support in Syria, and perhaps there is also the risk of Lebanese nationalism surfacing and requesting independence.

      • How about this Joe. Patriarch John recognized that the CP has invaded the jurisdiction of another Church and normalized a bunch of defrocked schismatics while issuing a tomos of autocephaly against the wishes of every other Church. He has decided to stand for the truth. There….I corrected it for you.

  20. Joseph Lipper says

    How Putin Uses Russian Orthodoxy to Grow His Empire
    “Putin blamed Ukrainian politicians for the church split, accusing them of ‘meddling’ in the church’s affairs and dismissing the Ukrainian church’s departure as a ‘secular political project.’  He then positioned Russia as somehow a defender of religious freedom, saying, ‘We reserve the right to react and do everything to protect human rights, including the freedom of worship.'”

  21. Joseph Lipper says

    Monk James,

    Ukraine not only has it’s own ecclesiastical autonomy from Russia, but it also has it’s own political independence, and you’re saying that does not constitute a sovereign nation? Then what does? Yes, it’s right and natural for Ukraine to have close and friendly relations with Russia, and together, they are both more powerful. However, until Russia makes amends and respects the sovereignty of Ukraine, those friendly relations won’t resume.

    • Monk James Silver says

      I don’t do politics, but I can read and make sense of accurately reported history.

      And history might allow us to think of, say, Poland as a sovereign nation with its own history, rulers, international alliances, etc. But not Ukraine, whose history is Russian, whose rulers were the tsars, and which is largely unallied with other countries.

      As it happened, Little Russia was briefly ‘independent’ in the early 20th century during the confusion following the bolshevik revolution. It then became one of the many fictive ‘republics’ comprised by the USSR. . Again, in the late 20th century, it became ‘independent’ once more in the confusion following the break-up of the USSR.

      Both of these constructs took place when the central government at Moscow was at low points of power. It was a great mistake for anyone — especially Moscow and Kiev — to even imagine the modern Russian Federation without Ukraine. But sectarian and nationalist elements largely got their way in Ukraine, and not because they were so much for Ukraine as that they were against Russia. This was culturally suicidal and economically foolish.

      As a result of its longer history and more concentrated population, Ukraine has always been acknowledged as the heartland of the Russian Orthodox Church. The great ancient monastic centers there produced many saints, nd a very high proportion of the clergy have consistently been men of Ukrainian birth and ancestry. It was an administrative convenience for Moscow to assign a limited autonomy to Kiev, but the current crisis might cause that arrangement to be reconsidered.

      All of this is a lot like describing Americans (of whatever characteristics) as people of their states rather than as Americans. Ukraine is Russia. A Russian expression says that ‘Kiev is the mother of Russian cities’. It’s only recently that other forces have been brought to bear on the historical unity of Russia, and the destruction which has ensued suggests that it is a bad idea to sunder the relationship between Russia and its mother, Ukraine.

      • George Michalopulos says

        I hate to say this, but this entire “construct” was set in motion when the Unia was created. At the risk of committing sociology, I have this sneaking suspicion that the desire to break of Ukraine from Russia was to salve the consciences of those Ukrainians (Little Russians, Ugro-Rusyns) for converting to Catholicism.

        Why do I say this? Because the Uniates continue to cling tightly to the forms of Orthodoxy even more so (in some cases) than the Orthodox (for example here in America). I can’t tell you how many times I have heard Catholic and/or Uniate apologists maintain that they are “Orthodox Christians in communion with Rome”. The fact that they are neither fish nor fowl stings and causes them to say such bizarre things, or so I believe.

        • Yes. Ukrainian nationalism did not exist prior to it’s  19c growth in uniate Galicia under Austro – Hungary and it’s Greatest champions  were uniate clergy.  Even the language ( ditto with so called macedonian  by  Tito attempting to de- bulgarise it, as it is a bulgarian dialect as i can confirm having visited with bulgarian group a year or so ago)  so  they tried to distance written etc Ukrainian from Russian. Of course Ukrainians have a distinct consciousness as say Texans in that sense. 
          And yes uniates think of themselves as Orthodox and certainly having seen them at worship in London uk. they have a very Orthodox piety, much more than seen in any greek american church.   They moved me greatly, prostrating themselves , singing the liturgy with the chanters etc. 

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Monk James, thank you for answering my question. 
        Some people say that Russia’s granting of autocephaly to the OCA was also a  mistake.  It’s certainly been easy for people to criticize the OCA for various reasons, and it’s highly unlikely that Russia would have granted autocephaly to the American ‘Metropolia’ today.  American autocephaly probably doesn’t fit as neatly into the current ideological zeitgeist of Putin’s Russkiy Mir project as well as ROCOR does.  Nonetheless, the OCA has very close and friendly relations with Moscow, as just witnessed by Metropolitan Tikhon’s recent visit.  This benefits Americans, and it also benefits Moscow.
        Mistaken or not, the intended autocephaly of the OCA is a strong testament of proper Orthodox ecclesiology.  It shows that Orthodoxy is not an inherently unstable globalist system like the Roman Catholic.  To the degree the OCA’s autocephaly can be recognized, it gives Orthodox ecclesiology credibility.
        So with Ukraine, whether or not it was a mistake for Russia to grant autonomy and allow for Ukrainian political independence, regardless, that independence now exists.  There is no neat way to put things back.  That’s nostalgia.  The question now is whether the Church will side with the ideological zeitgeist of Putin’s Russkiy Mir project, or will the Church resist it.   Supporting and nourishing an ecclesiastically independent Ukraine resists that globalist zeitgeist.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Valuable insights there, Joseph.

          • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

            What “valuable insights,” George?

            • Monk James Silver says

              Oh, you’re as swift as ever, Father Alexander, just as I remember from our conversations during OTSA meetings.

        • Monk James Silver says

          Joseph Lipper (February 28, 2019 at 10:16 am) says:

          Monk James, thank you for answering my question.

          Some people say that Russia’s granting of autocephaly to the OCA was also a mistake. SNIP


          Dialogue is good, ranting is not, so I’m happy to be in dialogue.

          The OCA’s autocephaly was a delicately negotiated accomplishment., and it is not at all similar to the current situation in Russia.

          After defeating the Nazis in Europe (with help from the U.S. and its allies on the western side of the problem — Eisenhower allowed Zhukov to get to Berlin first because the sovyet army wasn’t too ethical about how it got there) Stalin took Russian nationalism for a victory lap which included using the Russian Orthodox Church as a propaganda machine. So, only partly because — and this is documented history — many uniats in Ukraine sided with the Nazis because they hated the Russians. It was a serious miscalculation on the part of the uniats. In any event, part of Stalin’s punishment was the false ‘Synod of Lvov’ in 1946, during which the uniat Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church officially dissolved itself and became ‘Orthodox’. Yeah, right. They just went underground, at least those who actually remained faithful to Rome in spite of centuries of abuse and neglect.

          At the same time, Stalin also required a sort of ‘loyalty oath’ from the bishops and lower clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church, and a great many of the Orthodox swore to be fathful to the USSR. Since the ‘Metropolia here (the American Mission of the ROC), comprising pretty much all the Russian Orthodox Christians in North America could not conscientiously sign such an oath, the ‘Cleveland Sobor’ of 1946 — except for a few parishes which then came to be called ‘patriarchal’ — rejected Moscow’s demands. The rest of the Russian Orthodox Americans split into two groups: some went to the ROCOR and the majority stayed in place as the Metropolia, but in schism from Moscow. The schism lasted until 1970, twenty-four years, a generation.

          In the late 1960s, the leadership of the Metropolia — not to mention the laity — began to realize that the schism wasn’t going to end anytime soon without some proactive moves on their part. So they sent a delegation to Constantinople asking for help in regularizing their ecclesial status. The Ecumenical Patriarch rebuffed them with the advice: ‘You are Russians. Go to your mother church.’ So, at least then, fifty years ago, Constantinople admitted that it had no authority to intervene in the affairs of the church of Russia.

          I personally knew several of the bishops involved in the negotiations which eventuated in the OCA’s autocephaly, and it was all done by the book. Everyone knew how greatly the Russian church was suffering, and everyone also agreed not to make an issue of it. Confronting the USSR about its policies toward religion at that time would have made things unimaginably worse. But the new OCA assisted its mother church in many ways, respecting the faithfulness of many of its clergy and laity. It took another thirty-five years or so for the ROCOR to come to the same conclusion and make peace with Moscow, but they did, and that schism was healed, too.

          The OCA’s autocephaly grew out of several concerns which transcended the simple fact of communist persecution in Russia. First, there was the question of time and growth. The American Mission had been operating since 1794 and was functioning as an autocephalous church even though its chain of command with Moscow was broken. Second, the mother church needed the daughter church’s help, and the autocephaly was a way of restoring normal interactions.

          The current situation obtaining in Ukraine, though, is exacerbated by the influences of sectarianism and nationalism, led by malicious personalities, and further ruined by Constantinople’s uncanonical interference in Russian church affairs. No one has ever yet pointed out that the very autonomy (NOT autocephaly) n ecclesial matters which Moscow granted Kiev was not contested by Constantinople.

          Altogether, the OCA’s gratefully received autocephaly and the unlawful separation of Kiev from Moscow by an outside party with no canonical standing in the matter, can clearly be seen as events with completely different causes and processes.

          • Joseph Lipper says

            Monk James,

            As you point out, after the Nazi’s defeat “Stalin took Russian nationalism for a victory lap which included using the Russian Orthodox Church as a propaganda machine.” This “victory lap” included Stalin sending Patriarch Alexei abroad to Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem to try to convince those “Old World” patriarchates to let Moscow replace Constantinople as a powerful “Third Rome”. The same argument was used then that we hear today. Russia is effective and powerful, and Constantinople is inept and powerless. Patriarch Alexei even tried calling a Church Council, but the best he could canonically do was invite those same “Old World” patriarchates to Moscow to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Russian autocephaly, somewhat like Patriarch Kyrill’s recent invitation to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his enthronement. Stalin’s “victory lap” fizzled when the world soon became suspicious of Russia’s overt political agenda behind the guise of the Moscow Patriarchate.

            Monk James, you bring up the false reunification of the Ukrainian Greek Catholics with the ROC in 1946. It was a blatant example of Stalin using the Church for social control and oppression, and this was perhaps the beginnings of the Soviet “Russkiy Mir” ideology, though certainly the “Third Rome” ideology dates back much further to maybe the late 15th century.

            Nonetheless, I believe there is such a thing as a proper symphonia of church and state when the church uses the state as a means to her own ends also. Within the actual geographical boundaries of the Russian Federation today, we are probably witnessing that now. The Russian Orthodox Church has miraculously blossomed in recent years, and it’s a wonderful thing, certainly attributed to God, and probably also to a proper symphonia of church and state.

            In Ukraine, however, this symphonia broke down. Especially after the annexation of Crimea, the canonical church and the Ukrainian state became alienated from each other. The canonical church became identified with the ideology of “Russkiy Mir”, while the fragmented Ukrainian state was defending against this very same ideology. The canonical church’s Russian ideology was frustrating Ukrainians, and this brought about an exodus from the canonical church, many going to the schismatic “Kievan Patriarchate”.

            The main obstacle that always kept the schismatic “Kievan Patriarchate” from ever being canonically received was most likely it’s demand for autocephaly. The Moscow Patriarchate’s refusal to grant autocephaly in 1991 to the canonical Ukrainian church was followed by the insistent demand for it by the former Metropolitan of Kiev, Filaret. This was the beginning of the “Kievan Patriarchate”, and even if “Patriarch Filaret” had repented or died, he would have just been replaced by someone else who made the same demands.

            So when the Ukrainian state finally aligned with this goal of autocephaly in 2008, President Viktor Yushchenko invited the Ecumenical Patriarch to Ukraine in hopes of intervention. Then again in 2016 and 2018, President Petro Poroshenko invited the EP, also hoping for intervention. Yushchenko and Poroshenko did what “Patriarch Filaret” was unable to do: invite the Ecumenical Patriarch to intervene. As heads of the sovereign nation of Ukraine, they had the right to ask the EP for help, whereas “Patriarch Filaret” apparently did not. That was a type of symphonia. The heads of state intervened on the behalf of “Patriarch Filaret” and Ukraine’s ecclesial problem.

            The ecclesial problem in Ukraine was never it’s canonical autonomy, granted by Russia in 1990. That was a good thing, and yes, it was supported by Constantinople. Rather, I believe the ecclesial problem was, and still remains, the canonical church’s almost inherent “Russkiy Mir” ideology that clashed, and still clashes, with Ukrainian sovereignty.

            “Russkiy Mir” may work just great inside of the Russian Federation, but it doesn’t seem to work well in Ukraine.

            • Monk James Silver says

              The problem here is that ‘Ukraine’ is and always has been within the _Russkiy Mir_. It’s a demonstrable fact of history that ‘Ukraine’ is the province where Russia was born, called ‘Little Russia’ after the nation expanded into ‘Great Russia’ and the Russian Empire — yet always mindful of its birthplace in Kiev.

              In the last century and a half, though, non-Orthodox and non-Russian elements in Little Russia have become vocally and violently anti-Russian. They’re committing cultural suicide, but the sectarians and non-native populations don’t care. They just want not to be Russian or Orthodox, and there are many places in the world where they can indulge their ideology — but not in Russia, of which ‘Ukraine’ is a province.

              In a properly understood ecclesiology, symphonic or not, Poroshenko had no standing to invite the patriarch of Constantinople to intervene in a matter internal to the Russian Orthodox Church, and Pat. Bartholomew wasn’t thinking in terms of the canons when he foolishly accepted that invitation. We can only hope that Putin and his government will not similarly interfere in matters appropriately handled by the patriarch of Moscow and his holy synod of bishops.

              PatB’s astonishing behavior is especially shocking when we read that his doctoral dissertation was in ‘canon law’ — a Roman Catholic area. The additional fact that he founded an organization specifically for the study of ‘canon law’ makes his lawless interference in the church of Russia all the more difficult to understand.

              Now he and his patriarchate are in schism from the Orthodox, as are all the people of Little Russia who are not loyal to the Russian Orthodox Church led by Met. Onufriy. This is unnecessary and scandalous, not only to the Orthodox, but to all Christians, and to the world altogether.

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Yes, the present day Ukraine is an important part of the “Russian world”, and I believe even Petro Poroshenko would agree with this.  The concept of “Russkiy Mir” should be a source of commonality, shared history and culture.  It should be a concept that helps unite Russia and Ukraine in respectful, close and friendly relations.  Unfortunately that’s not the case.
                Instead, “Russkiy Mir” has become characterized as a political and nationalistic ideology of Russian eminence that undermines Ukrainian sovereignty.  Russia’s annexation of Crimea was an uninvited political intervention into sovereign Ukrainian territory.  This was done without agreement or compensation.  Even though most Crimeans may have voted to join Russia, there still has to be a respectful and compensatory process with the nation of Ukraine.  That didn’t happen.  Russia still needs to make amends.   
                So, the Ukrainian church was put into a difficult position, as their duty is to prayerfully support the Ukrainian government and armed forces.  Actually doing that, however, puts them at odds with Russia.  Instead of being at odds with Russia, it seems the UOC-MP had come to accept the political ideology of Russian eminence, accepting Ukraine as Russian territory.  This means the UOC-MP had been compromised and was not doing it’s job as the Ukrainian Church.  It seems this is why so many Ukrainians have found the UOC-MP to be intolerable and have left.  
                It would be an entirely different matter if most Ukrainians were in favor of giving up Ukrainian sovereignty and joining Russia.  However, that’s not what we are seeing in the current Ukrainian elections.  There’s not a strong pro-Russian sentiment there to be found. 
                So, the Ukrainian church had lost it’s salt, backed away from it’s duty to defend Ukrainian sovereignty, and instead accepted the political ideology of Russian eminence.  If the Church was not doing it’s job, and the Moscow Patriarchate was not willing to listen, then the political leader, Petro Poroshenko, had a duty to reach out to the Ecumenical Patriarch.   An intervention by the Ecumenical Patriarchate was then justified.

        • Looking at history and at the numbers says

          Most think that the MP’s granting the OCA autocephaly in the late 1960s/1970 was a smart move, given the circumstances. Pretty much all of Slavic Orthodoxy was behind the Iron Curtain at the time. Slavic Orthodoxy was being written off as irrelevant or hopelessly compromised by the communists by many Greeks and many other Westerners at the time. Recall that this was the time of the CIA-boosted rise of the Patriarchate of Constantinople as the “leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians” (something that the Church of Constantinople was never called before the 20th century, regardless of its primus inter parus ecclesiological status in the Orthodox world). The CIA and American government couldn’t care less about Orthodox Christianity (as they don’t care about it today); what they were interested in in the 20th century and remain actively involved in today is using the Church in Constantinople as a disposable chess piece against Russia (Ukraine, anyone?).

          We know now in hindsight, thanks to the voluminous testimony of millions of persecuted Christians and martyrs, the testimony ignited by Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago, that the Slavic Orthodox behind the Iron Curtain were far from irrelevant or to be written off — rather, for most believers behind the Iron Curtain it was a truly a time to be crucified for one’s faith.

          For most Orthodox Christians paying attention, Constantinople’s journey away from Orthodoxy and toward Rome began in the early 20th century. I believe that the MP knew this, and thus giving the OCA autocephaly was a creative bulwark against the expansionist tendencies of the EP/GOA, which had (itself, creatively) laid Orthodox claims to all of North America based on the “barbarian lands” clause. For Orthodox Americans who felt themselves to be fully Orthodox and also fully American, the OCA was (and probably remains today) a very attractive option.

          Plus, recall that being known as “Russian” in America during the 20th century drew all sorts of shame (according to some and to our media, it still does today). The OCA allowed Orthodox Americans an opportunity to distance themselves from the Russian moniker while retaining their Orthodox identity. I’m not saying that this was a good thing, but your average Russian Orthodox teenager in an American high school in the 1950s-1970s wasn’t crazy about broadcasting his identity as Russian Orthodox. Most Americans weren’t aware of and couldn’t care less that communists are not true Russians; that’s an argument that’s too complex for most to handle or to care about.

          People remember Colonel Boris Pash (Pashkovsky), an American World War II Army leader who was one also of the parish leaders spearheading the design and construction of the OCA’s St Nicholas Cathedral on Massachusetts Avenue in D.C. His father was Metropolitan Theophilus (first hierarch of the Russian Metropolia in the 1930s-1940s, during part of the time that the Metropolia/OCA was back together with ROCOR). Colonel Pash was both Orthodox and obviously also fully American – a niche that the OCA has always tried to fill (admirably, in my opinion, though I don’t think the numbers support its full autocephaly).

          The communists in charge of the USSR likely did not stop the MP’s granting of OCA autocephaly since they were always more than happy to do whatever they could do to take attention away from ROCOR, which always (and thanks be to God for it) consistently did what it could to be a thorn in the communist government’s side.

          Personally, I think it is far-fetched to claim that a church that comprises such a small fraction of a country’s population can be functionally and effectively autocephalous in a land that is hostile to Christianity, that goes out of its way to forget God. That is my chief beef with the autocephaly project — that it creates an “American” church in a hostile land fending for itself like an iceberg floating in turbulent waters. Virtually all of the authors of the autocephaly project were grounded in traditional Orthodoxy from traditionally Orthodox lands (Schmemann (though via the Russian expat community), Meyendorff, Met. Leonty, and most of the other OCA movers and shakers of years ago), but that is more or less all gone now.

          From the available data, on average there are about 30,000 OCA faithful attending liturgy on any given Sunday. To be generous, let’s say it’s 50,000 (and this includes the parishes in Canada). Out of an American population of 330 million, this amounts to 0.015% of the population. To think that a church can effectively function as autocephalous in a traditionally protestant (now atheist) land when it numbers only 0.015% of the population is sort of insane, in my opinion.

          So in sum, I think the MP’s granting of the OCA autocephaly may have been a smart move as a counter to the EP/GOA encroachment claims on American Orthodoxy. There have been many saintly men and women in Russian Orthodoxy who foresaw Constantinople’s coming apostasy. Time will tell if the OCA will persist in its same autocephalous form in the years to come. God knows that we don’t need 3 overlapping jurisdictions of Russian Orthodoxy (OCA, the MP parishes, and ROCOR) in America.

          The OCA has to deal with many of the same issues that the Rue Daru jurisdiction in Europe is dealing with now — they enjoy their Russian roots, but sadly a good percentage of their faithful are so westernized/secularized that they consider it scandalous and a step backwards to “return to Moscow.” I think both need more strengthening and nurturance from their mother Church, as it is particularly hard to survive as a daughter church in hostile western secularism; thus both should return to Moscow for now (possibly with autonomy, like the Church in Japan), until the American and European churches can achieve sufficient cohesion to blossom in autocephaly.

          • Johann Sebastian says

            Looking at history and at the numbers said:
            “Plus, recall that being known as “Russian” in America during the 20th century drew all sorts of shame (according to some and to our media, it still does today). The OCA allowed Orthodox Americans an opportunity to distance themselves from the Russian moniker while retaining their Orthodox identity. I’m not saying that this was a good thing, but your average Russian Orthodox teenager in an American high school in the 1950s-1970s wasn’t crazy about broadcasting his identity as Russian Orthodox.”
            My family are Rusyns and were among the first wave of Uniates brought into the Metropolia in Pennsylvania during the early 20th Century.
            We have always identified as (Little) Russians and still do.
            In the 1960s, my great-grandmother was paid a visit by the FBI on account of her receiving the Karpatska Rus’ newsletter.
            Also, when my mother was a child in the 1950s, she was told by her parents never to tell anyone she was “Russian.” They themselves would say things like “Greek” or “Slavish” (sic). She defied them and broadcast it whenever she had an opportunity to.
            When she was in high school in the 1960s, a teacher–not on account of any political leaning, but by virtue of her heritage–called her a “goddamned Communist.” She retorted irately, “Well I’d rather be a goddamned Communist than a goddamned Jew.”
            She was sent to the principal’s office and a place in a new class was offered to her. She declined and insisted that she be assigned a seat in the front row of the class so the teacher “would have to look her in the eye every single day for the rest of the year.”
            And so it was.

          • Joseph Lipper says

            The obvious problem with the idea of the OCA giving up autocephaly right now is that this would only create further division among the faithful in America. If the OCA were to join with ROCOR, then this would break communion with the Greek Archdiocese. If the OCA were to join with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, then this would break communion with ROCOR and the MP. For the OCA to give up autocephaly right now is a no-win situation towards the goal of an united American Church.

            A much better solution towards an united American Church would be for the American ROCOR parishes to join with the OCA somehow, perhaps even as a separate temporary “Russian” diocese just like the OCA’s “Bulgarian”, “Romanian”, and “Albanian” dioceses.

            • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

              RE: ‘A much better solution towards an united American Church would be for the American ROCOR parishes to join with the OCA somehow, perhaps even as a separate temporary “Russian” diocese just like the OCA’s “Bulgarian”, “Romanian”, and “Albanian” dioceses.’
              Mr. Lipper, if you know anything about ROCOR (and the rest of Russian Orthodox Church, for that matter), you cannot be serious. Your “modest proposal” must be an attempt at satire. 

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster,  relations between the U.S. and Russia are becoming increasingly tenuous.  If history repeats itself, and the U.S. finds itself cut off from Russia once again, then what will become of ROCOR?  Taking on autocephaly with the OCA is a viable option, and might even become the only option.  It would likely add ROCOR’s eight ruling bishops in America to the OCA synod. 
                Metropolitan Tikhon, when he was Bishop of Eastern PA, shared the commitee for OCA and ROCOR reconciliation with Bishop George of Mayfield.  He is well aware of the difficulties and obstacles to overcome.  I realize such a merger is not currently realistic, but someday it might be the only option.  You know, like when hell freezes over.

                • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

                  That is a reasonable reply, Joseph, and a conceivable scenario. However, the two historical and political situations are in no way comparable.
                  The USA was never “cut off from Russia.”  It was, of course, not “Russia” but rather the godless Soviet Union, which President Reagan famously–and correctly–mocked as the “evil empire” in the 1980s, that had become the mortal enemy of the of the USA, the “Free World,” and every human being on the planet. 

                  So, no, “history” cannot and will not “repeat itself” if the USA continues down the dubious path of needlessly and foolishly creating, this time, an enemy out of a post-Soviet, free Russia that gives almost full rein to the Orthodox Church in society and seeks, arguably, to be respected as a great military and global power with nuclear weapons (like the USA) and with particular geopolitical (not ideological) interests in its own region (again, like the USA in the Western Hemisphere).

                  The clergy and faithful of ROCOR are quite aware of the true spiritual realities on the ground in the Russian Federation and are neither confused nor blinded by the uninformed, counter-productive, and absurd Russophobia that has gripped so many here in the USA.

                  Therefore, joining with or otherwise consolidating with the OCA, as it is currently configured, is not “a viable option” for ROCOR.  In fact, it is not even on our radar.

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    Father, unfortunately the understanding of a synergy between Church and state that many Orthodox hold, makes it more difficult for we Orthodox to separate ourselves and our faith from the actions of the state whose appellation we carry. Most people identify the “Russian” appellation with the Russian state rather than the Russian people and the particular ethos of faith, worship and practice developed in Russia.

                  • Joseph Lipper says

                    Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, 
                    Yes, Russia was formerly cut off by the Soviets, but today it seems Russia is being cut off by the foreign policy of the U.S.   It’s a foreign policy we see approved in the “amen corner” of the highest positions of the U.S. government such as with Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, and John Bolton, all of whom are devout “Evangelical Christians”. 
                    So what are the “geopolitical interests” the U.S. is defending in the “West” by involvement in a proxy-war in Ukraine?  Really, is it Europe?  Is it NATO?   President Donald Trump has been using NATO as a bargaining chip with the EU.  So, from that perspective it doesn’t really make sense for the U.S. to be so invested in the situation in Ukraine.  Rather, it seems the U.S. is trying to keep Russia distracted and entangled in an Ukrainian war, perhaps to keep Russia away from support of Syria and Iran. 
                    The “Israel Peace Plan”, still waiting to be unleashed, is likely threatened by Russia’s support of both Syria and Iran, both being the declared enemies of the Zionist state.  It also happens to be the main foreign policy of American “Evangelical Christians” to support the nation-state of Israel, justified by their false ideology of “Christian” Zionism.  Being “pro-Israel” goes beyond merely supporting geopolitical interests for these people.  So, it may not be much longer when we once again see Russia cut off from the U.S., but this time by Zionist “Evangelical Christians”.

                    • “it may not be much longer when we once again see Russia cut off from the U.S.”
                      Very sad. Cutting off, like sanctions works both ways. Maybe it is time for an honest “reset”?
                      Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Interesting observation of mine here: sanctions are so not working in Russia. All they do is penalize uber-wealthy oligarchs from taking part in the International banking system.

                      This has had the unintended consequence of forcing them to put their money into internal enterprises. Hence, the massive amount of infrastructure spending I witnessed this last July.

                      And also Putin proposing the (deeply unpopular) raising of the retirement age.

                      But yes, blessed are the peacemakers. And thus I pray that the neocons are brought before the bar of justice.

  22. Zel Carnikas says

    You need to check out Unholy trinity, aka Ratlines.Aarons and Loftus devote most of the book to exposing the Nazi ties of Rome, bu tin the back they show how Prince Turkul was a soviet triple agent who set up ROCOR as a way to make the Czarist look foolish

  23. Kironis Fotacles says

    When the Tsar defeated Napoleon, his troops demanded food fast,  bystra hence “bistro”. His nephew precipitated the Crimean War, as the Crusade against the Heresy of Photius,  to get revenge for his uncle’s defeat! The Napoleons saw themselves as Carolingian and invented the modern dictatorships so emulated by the Venizelists (1909, 1917, 1923 & 1935).  Before Caesar, a durachy of consuls ruled except in tumultus where dictaturs and decemvriates, like Caesar and Napoleon, were appointed. This is the origin of most modern ditatorships and indeed fascism itself. Guess who considered himself the heir of Charlemagne & Napoleon? Hitler.
    A J P Taylor,  Hamish: London, 1993, p. 220 Napoleon III pushed into war in order to overthrow the balance of power and to clear the way for French domination

    • Michael Bauman says

      A J P Taylor, there is blast from the past, a really good English historian who had a different point of view than many on Hitler and WWII.

      Dictatorship is the inevitable result of the modern mind. Only repentance and an attempt to rebuild a traditional society will have any impact. Unfortunately, the US- Anglo-Saxon culture has really few places that allow for traditional roots.

      The Native American, Afro-American and even the Hispanic communities have at least a semblance of a traditional culture. The Inuit are trying in some places to take back their culture and rebuild it. If the Orthodox Church here gets lost in the ethnic wars of the old country we may well loose a great opportunity. That is the main cost of being Greek, Arab, Russian, etc.

  24. Joseph Lipper says

    “‘Poroshenko did the right thing in unifying the churches,’ says Sergiy, a Ukrainian soldier, as he crosses himself outside the cathedral in the Western city of Lviv.

    “Until a recent injury, Sergiy was fighting Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, in a conflict that has claimed some 13,000 lives.

    “God is one. God is neither Russian nor Ukrainian,” says Sergiy, who nonetheless highlights an independent Church as a major factor in his support for Poroshenko.

    “‘If he isn’t president, I won’t fight for Ukraine anymore.'”

    • Monk James Silver says

      As a civil official, the layman Poroshenko has no standing in church affairs,

      If he gets to be a bishop in the schismatic group which he favors, he will still have no ecclesial standing among the Orthodox.

      What’s so hard to understand here?