Councils Are Called to Resolve Disagreements

Not if you’re the Ecumenical Patriarch, they aren’t.  As he recently indicated to Antioch:  “The Ecumenical Patriarchate has good reason to refrain from such a meeting at the Pan-Orthodox level, which would be useless inasmuch as it would only lead to agreement that the participants are in disagreement with each other.”  Perhaps that is why he went into Crete with a pre-determined outcome, disguising it as an agenda:  so there could be no disagreement.

Let’s get to the nub of the matter: Patriarch Bartholomew is seriously angry at Jerusalem for convening a Council to resolve the incipient schism within Orthodoxy. His arguments, however, are specious. The very idea that Jerusalem cannot convene a Council is belied by the historical record. And the fact that he is angered that she calls herself the “Mother Church of Christianity” is preposterous. To even say this aloud to our brothers from other faith confessions would immediately make us look like fools. After all, everybody has read the Book of Acts. Even atheists.

We could go on and on about the errors being spewed out by the Phanar and its sycophants in the Anglosphere, but that would be a waste of time at this point. Where we should instead be looking is at the world from their vantage point, realizing they’re just beginning to get a clue that they have lost the moral high ground. Everything they have done from the get-go has been nothing but a series of unforced errors.

In the political world, unforced errors cause candidates to lose confidence and they can no longer make an intellectual case for their candidacy. Arms begin to flail in a debate, lieutenants start leaking damaging information about the inner workings of the campaign and ordinary partisans start seriously thinking about staying home on election day. Think of Michael Dukakis trying to rescue his faltering campaign by taking a ride in a tank. Once seen, it cannot be unseen. He so beclowned himself that he could never make the case that he was commander-in-chief material, hence his electoral rout by Yankee blue-blood George H W Bush.

So, too, with the Ecumenical Patriarch. His ecclesiological errors have gotten so egregious that it is being made clear, for all to see, that he wants to take the Orthodox Church to places we have no intention of going. And regrettably, his praxis follows his theoria (as we saw in Ukraine). Unlike Dukakis in that tank –who at the very least pulled his own strings–Orthodox Christians, everywhere, know that Bartholomew is dancing to another man’s tune. Our question, at this point, is who is the puppet-master: Soros, the EU, the Clintons or the State Department?

Perhaps we will never know who is behind Bartholomew’s globalist jig. (Although, I continue to hold out hope that Wikileaks will eventually release the necessary documents.) What we do know is damage is being done to Orthodoxy. We can also discern what things must look like to Bartholomew and his inner circle.  Nothing has gone as planned. Let us enumerate the missteps seriatim:

1. The incursion into Ukraine, startling everybody within the Orthodox world, particularly the primates of all the local Churches. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. They were supposed to just accept it. Worse, nobody believed him when he said that the Kievan eparchy was always part of Constantinople.

2. The assurances by the State Department and the Fordhamite brain trust that the other Churches would eventually fall into place were proven to be spectacularly wrong. Unlike the secularists at the State Department, we Orthodox know what papalism looks like. And we ain’t buying it. (Don’t believe me? Google 1054, Lyons and Ferrara-Florence.)

3. Schisms deepening; not merely between Istanbul and Moscow but within the Greek-dominated Churches (Albania, Greece, Cyprus, Jerusalem, and Alexandria). Of the four, Greece and Alexandria agreed (after a fashion) to recognize the new schismatic sect in Ukraine but in contradiction to established protocols. Elegant it was not. This leads us to:

4. St Paul exhortation to the Church to do all things “in good order.”  Any sense of good order (or any order for that matter) has been lost in recent events. Already in the process of establishing a “stavropeghial” monastery on the territory of the Czech and Slovak Church, he has gone on to pull another “Ukraine” in Montenegro and Macedonia, further angering the Serbian Church.  He may be pulling a “Ukraine” here, by encouraging the new GOA archbishop to sweet-talk the OCA into giving up their autocephalous status so they, too, can be recognized as autocephalous by His Holiness, with Elpi the helm. 

5. Making an “apostolic journey” to America and to deflect attention from the afore-mentioned misdeeds, giving the keynote address at Notre Dame. He will no doubt be introduced by the mayor of South Bend, Pete Buttigieg, whose father Joseph, a notorious Marxist and atheist, taught at that ostensibly “Catholic” university.

6. Instructing his primate in America to say all the “right” things to all the well-heeled laymen, most especially in the realm of open Communion. This is by design to soften up the Anglosphere, highlighting the fact that his patriarchate is more “tolerant” and “inclusive” than Moscow.

The list goes on. But that is not the point of this column. After all, in a fallen world, storms regularly cause the Ark of Salvation to toss and turn. But it cannot be capsized. This is why we have validly ordained bishops. And now is the time for them to step up and right the ship.  We saw this presently in Amman, Jordan, where several bishops met under the chairmanship of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilus III.  Though their joint statement expressing their displeasure may have been somewhat anodyne, it’s a start. There is a saying that God allows bad things to happen so good men will stand up.  I believe this is so.

Sadly, one of the truly martyric Orthodox Churches –that of Antioch–did not attend the “fraternal gathering” of Orthodox Churches in Jordan called by the patriarch of Jerusalem.  The reason, as we all know, had to do with their dispute with Jerusalem over a single parish in Qatar. I cannot sugarcoat their non-attendance: it was a major disappointment. (Antioch should have been there; a fig leaf of an excuse could have been fabricated to “table” the issue of Qatar for a future date.) Georgia and Bulgaria should have been there, too. 

But such quibbles miss the point. Two points actually: first, that the Churches that did attend chose to attend, and secondly, that Patriarch Bartholomew believed they could not meet without him. They did, despite his protestations, and they plan to do so again. Some of the invitees who did not attend, like many on the Bulgarian synod who failed to receive notification, will be on the lookout for their invitations in the future. I imagine that more local Churches will attend once it becomes more obvious to them that Bartholomew has no intention of giving up on his papalist dreams. I believe (hope, pray actually) that time is on their side.

It’s a start and for this, we should be hopeful. In the meantime, be on the lookout for more unforced errors by the Ecumenical Patriarch and his followers.


  1. As things turn progressively more tenuous for Bart, he is leaning on a scorched earth policy. He will never back down. He would rather burn it all to the ground. Thankfully, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has supplied many of the Orthodox Hierarchs with powerful fire extinguishers. It’s time to use them.

    • Amen! Hard to add to that.
      Obviously, when Bartholomew and his ‘team’ thought of this project, it was hardly done on a whim. I’m sure they anticipated a lot of the negativity but miscalculated that if they just kept at it, they’d get their way and score a major victory. Now it’s a question of how long the denial can go on for before they see the writing on the wall, though as history often shows, some people never see it and would rather go down in flames. That’s usually when palace revolts become a real threat.
      Every fiber of me wants Patriarch Bartholomew to back down and repent, but I fear that he may have gone too far. God, though, can work wonders. I can only hope…

  2. “Bartholomew has no intention of giving up on his papalist dreams”

    He is threatening to re-defenestrate Prague:

    • Gail Sheppard says

      In this article you posted it says:

      “Recall that the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia first received a tomos of autocephaly from the Moscow Patriarchate in 1951—its Mother Church at the time—that granted full and complete independence. However, Constantinople never recognized this autocephaly, and in an effort to regularize its relations with Constantinople, the Czech-Slovak Church was obliged to accept a new tomos from Constantinople in 1998 that significantly curtailed its freedoms and independence.”

      Could you not remove the dates and substitute the OCA for the Czech-Slovak Church and have it still make sense? THIS IS WHAT HE IS DOING HERE!!!! Pray the OCA doesn’t fall for it.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Gail, I have till April for me to make good (hopefully right after Easter) on my bet for a single-malt Scots whiskey.

        • Gail Sheppard says


        • “…my bet for a single-malt Scots whiskey”
          You lose. It’s ‘Scotch’, not ‘Scots’.
          And ‘whiskey’ is Irish (and assorted imitators).
          Scotch is ‘Whisky’.   🙂

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            True, all of it. That said, I still prefer the blended Scotches of my childhood (my dad was a Johnnie Walker man) to the single malts. Pretty much makes me the odd man out in Scotch circles these days.
            Scotch has gotten very expensive. One must often drink Bourbon, though it be whiskey. This has its own compensations.

            • Alitheia 1875 says

              Try Linkwood 21 Speyside. Expensive, but, if you have really deep pockets, Balvenie 30. Scotch will soon become very, very expensive when tariffs apply.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        No matter how bad things get for the Greek Archdiocese, would they even consider being part of the OCA?  No.
        As such, Patriarch Bartholomew will never recognize the OCA as autocephalous.  It’s not even a possibility.  The only theoretical though perhaps improbable option would be for him to grant the Greek Archdiocese in America autocephaly and then invite the OCA to merge with it.  
        Incidentally, there’s the story about how Metropolitan Herman was on the patriarch’s yacht in the Golden Horn and point blank asked His All Holiness, “When will you recognize the OCA’s autocephaly?”  Patriarch Bartholomew responded very simply, “Never.”

        • Gail Sheppard says

          I hear you, Joseph. But why would the OCA allow themselves to be quoted (more than once) saying they are looking forward to concelebrating with GOA? I agree that Bartholomew will never recognize their current autocephaly. Their current status would have to change. Bartholomew is big on dividing up responsibility. Maybe Bartholomew told them he will split up the responsibility and let the OCA keep their parishes, the GOA keep theirs, Antioch keep theirs, etc. Metropolitan Tikhon would represent the OCA on the Holy Synod of the North American Patriarchate, with Elpi as our primate. That’s the way I think Bartholomew hopes to go.

          • Joseph Lipper says

            Gail, that sounds good to me.  I hope that happens.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Regrettably, Joseph I must disagree with you. 

              The problem has gone beyond turf wars at this point but accepting the globalist doctrines of the EP and others.  Communion would be impossible under this type of scheme.

              • Joseph Lipper says

                True that even if the Greek Archdiocese were granted autocephaly, it would not be recognized by Moscow, and thus it would still not solve the current problem of schism we have in America.  Even with full autocephaly, Moscow would still view GOA in the same way as it does now.
                The important question remains, how do we have Orthodox full unity in America?  Apparently from Moscow’s perspective, the OCA is not the answer, or otherwise Moscow would encourage ROCOR and the MP parishes merging with it.  
                If we want Orthodox full unity in America, then is the only currently possible solution to have everyone (including the OCA) bow down to Moscow?  Furthermore, does Moscow even want Orthodox unity in America?  I don’t think so.

                • Let’s just cut to the chase here, Joseph.
                  Who here desires “unity” on the terms dictated by Phanar?

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Joseph, there is no reason at all to “bow down to Moscow” for us to unify in America.

                  • Joseph Lipper says

                    George, it’s what I’m hearing from people in ROCOR.  They are generally not supportive of the OCA.  The Greek Archdiocese and the Assembly of Canonical Bishops no longer exists to them either. What do you propose?

                • Surely, Joseph, you can at least understand and perhaps even empathize, if not sympathize, with the points of view expressed by many here, including me.
                  You see, many of us have faithful bishops (of whatever jurisdiction) who don’t concern themselves with lording their authority over us.  They simply do their job of teaching, preaching, leading, and being Christ to us, however imperfectly.  Most are entirely unconcerned with the glory or prestige of their office. 
                  Though they may be proud of the godly spiritual lineage in which they were reared, they view that lineage as an example to be emulated in humility and not as a right of inheritance to virtues not their own.
                  Like any godly parent, they do not remind us constantly about their being our ‘protectors’ or ‘benefactors’ or prattle on endlessly about how we simply cannot live without them or whatever ‘Mother Church’ they represent.  They serve us in the spirit of Christ, glorify Him, and ever encourage us to look to Him for our protection whilst forgetting not all His benefits.
                  Although they desire the unity of all Orthodox Christians, they know that unity is a gift already shared by those who do God’s will.  Being largely unconcerned with pecking orders, primacy, or who does or does not think highly of their jurisdiction, they will not sacrifice genuine Christian unity on the altar of what for many has become the idol of jurisdictional unity.  It is the Spirit that gives life and unity.  The canons serve to preserve it when followed in the Spirit, but they cannot create it.
                  These men are the shepherds of Christ’s rational flock, servants of the Great Shepherd of the sheep whose authority, while certainly ‘canonical’, rests primarily in their speaking and acting according to Christ’s commandments.  They are respected and obeyed not because of the ‘canonical’ power they wield, but because the sheep hear in them the loving, authoritative voice of their Shepherd.
                  The vast majority of them do not shepherd their flocks in these ways because of the ecclesiastical authorities to whom they submit.  Sadly, they sometimes find it necessary to do so despite them.  They love their Lord above all and ever seek His glory.  Delusions of ecclesial superiority are abhorrent to them, whether in themselves or others; for they know that such things are contrary to the Spirit of Christ.
                  Even those among us who do not have such bishops can nevertheless testify to having priests or spiritual fathers who impart the Faith of our Lord Jesus Christ to them in the godly manner here described.
                  Surely then, you can at least begin to understand how foreign to us are the words and actions of the Constantinople patriarchate, how alien to the purity the Gospel, and how utterly scandalized we are when men who claim the authority of Christ do the exact opposite of true lovers and servants of His – men who seek to make themselves lords over the faith of others, who go about preaching themselves and their own authority, who claim powers that would make the Apostles themselves blush with shame, who habitually show partiality to the rich and powerful of this world, and who claim to be the source of unity while continually disturbing the peace of the Church.
                  Was [the Ecumenical Patriarch] crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of [Patriarchate of Constantinople]?   …For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power…  For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ…  So then, let there be no more boasting in [primacy].  All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.”

                  • LonelyDn says

                    Very well written, Brian.

                  • Joseph Lipper says

                    Brian, we have schism in America.  How do we end the schism? ROCOR neither acknowledges the Greek Archdiocese, nor the Assembly of Canonical Bishops in America.  ROCOR is not supportive of the OCA either.  So should all the Orthodox churches in America (OCA included) unite with ROCOR and bow down in repentance to Moscow?  
                    Of course Patriarch Kyrill was not crucified for anybody either.  Neither was anybody baptized in Patriarch Kyrill’s name.  Yet if we are all truly bowing down in repentance to Christ, then the sign of that repentance will be unity, not the present schism that we have. Sure, we always need to separate the wheat from the chaff. Yet this schism we have in America is between two different Patriarchs on the opposite side of the globe and has nothing directly to do with the state of our repentance here. Is Holy Trinity Monastery of Jordanville in schism with St. Anthony’s Monastery of Arizona because of the latter’s unrepentance?

                    Brian, you seem to be suggesting that the Greek Archdiocese should separate itself from Constantinople. OK, and then what? Join Antioch? Join the OCA? Join ROCOR?

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Joseph, there are a number of things you’ve said that are just plain wrong:

                      (1) America is not in schism. We have jurisdictional irregularities. They were not caused by disobedience. They were caused by massive and rapid immigration. People brought their Churches with them because there was no one Church in North America that could accommodate the various needs of each unique community. What would Christ have preferred? That Orthodoxy failed in North America because there was no one Church that could unify these disparate people under a single umbrella? I don’t think so. As bad as our situation is, at least His Church has a presence here.

                      (2) If ROCOR is not supportive of the Assembly of Canonical Bishops, it is because it was created under the direction of the EP with the intent to unify what he calls the diaspora under him. No one wants to be under the EP other than the GOA. The other jurisdictions participated so we could come together quickly and function as one unified body if God presented the opportunity*. Only the GOA envisioned unity under Constantinople.

                      (3) If we were one autocephalous body, our own patriarchate, we would not be bowing down to anybody. Any of the local Churches recognized by both Constantinople and Russia could offer us this opportunity*.

                      (4) The problem with unifying under the OCA is that Constantinople will not recognize them under any circumstances. Because the moment they do, they lose control over North America. I wish the OCA had not gotten rid of Met. Jonah, because under him the OCA would have developed a stronger relationship with ROCOR and the MP. For whatever reason (probably because ROCOR and the MP don’t embrace the LGBTXYZ movement), the Holy Synod views them as a threat and still does. It was/is shortsighted, IMO, and may very well cost the OCA the opportunity to be the Church under which we unify. Met. Tikhon cozying up to Constantinople isn’t helping. That the OCA doesn’t see this is hard to understand. If the OCA truly does look forward to concelebrating with the GOA (comments attributed to Met. Tikhon on the GOA website), they’ll lose members, especially given the widespread reporting of the corruption in the GOA and Elpi’s mission to align us all under “His All Holiness.” That Metropolitan Tikhon thinks this is something to work toward is very concerning. His mother was an Episcopal priest. Perhaps what he is really looking forward to is the day when “His All Craziness” unites with the Pope and the Pope brings in the Episcopal Church.

                      (5) We are not torn between “two different patriarchs.” We have allegiances to many different patriarchs in this country. The Antiochian Archdiocese is an example. Don’t mistake “self-rule” with being independent. The Antiochians are very much tied to Antioch, not to the EP or MP.

                      (6) We’re talking about individuals; not the Archdiocese when we talk about people separating from Constantinople. And, yes, they could join whatever jurisdiction they want.

                      *Any Church recognized by both Constantinople and the MP could come into North America and if they did it right, with English and Greek-speaking priests, we could unite under them and become our own patriarchate. Don’t think that won’t happen.

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Joseph you are spectacularly wrong in nearly everything you say. If there is Schism here it is due to the Greeks. Ever hear of Ligonier? Who shot that down and the last GOA archbishop who had any substance with it. 

                    • Jοseph,___“if we are all truly bowing down in repentance to Christ, then the sign of that repentance will be unity”,

                       “humility” is needed in order to  get “unity”:

                      How can Bartholomew achieve Unity if he has no Humility?
                      Obviously he does not think much of humility.
                      He prefers secular support and power to intimidate his brethren and thus achieve Unity.

                    • Joseph, you’ll see what real schism looks like when Phanar takes those who are united to him into union with Rome.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Joseph, I for one appreciate your insights. However I must point out that –as Gail points out–the Church in America is not in schism. Nor has it ever been. Hence, any analysis that proceeds from this faulty premise is wrong.

                      In the interest of fairness to the EP I will add this: to his credit, he is right to be alarmed by the irregular situation here in the States. Unfortunately, his actions these last few years have provided nothing but scandal. Ukraine is just the tip of the iceberg. Gail has provided an excellent summation of what we’re talking about.

                      Rather than enumerate them, I would ask you instead to consider the point of view of those who have been scandalized.

                    • Joseph,
                      I just returned from a beautiful Cannon of Saint Andrew at my local parish at which our bishop happened to be present.  Other than the usual prayers for our heirarchs (all of them worldwide) and the customary “Eis pola eti despota” not a word – not one word – was about him or about our ‘jurisdiction.’   Not even when he spoke afterward.   It was all about our repentance toward God, including his own.
                      The next time you are in church for any liturgy -Divine, Vespers, Canon of Saint Andrew, Presanctified, Bridegroom… whatever – listen carefully for any mention of the importance of jurisdiction.  Then get back to me, and we can discuss what it is that we should separate ourselves from and who it is that we should unite “under.”

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Brian, I’m astounded.  All the responses to my previous comment seem to deny or willfuly ignore the schism that exists in America between ROCOR and the Greek Archdiocese. 
                      This coming Sunday, the Orthodox faithful in America traditionally celebrate a “pan-Orthodox” vespers with clergy and faithful gathering from different jurisdictions.  Unfortunately this year, as with last year’s, we won’t expect to find ROCOR with GOA clergy coming together in prayer.  ROCOR clergy won’t even pray together with GOA clergy in the same room.  Is this not schism?
                      Yes, I expect many clergy and parishioners will choose to just stay at home instead of attending the “pan-Orthodox” vespers this Sunday.  Schism… what schism?

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      But, Joseph, you said America was in schism. WE are not in schism.

                      It is Bartholomew who left the Church. He moved forward in Crete without 2/3s of the Church. He refused to listen to 12 of the 15 Local Churches over Ukraine.

                      You can’t blame ROCOR, the GOA or America. We’re the victims of the choices of a single hierarch.

                      We’re still here, Joseph. People go in and out of communion with another. This Sunday of Orthodoxy is just another day of the year, Joseph.

                      When 2025 rolls around, you will see where the permanent lines have been drawn and the Sundays of Orthodoxy after that will show the true split.

                    • Joseph,
                      There is an emerging schism in World Orthodoxy between the proto-Uniates (those aligned with Constantinople/OCU) and the Orthodox (those unaligned with Constantinople/OCU).  The Church of Russia, and the ROCOR, are simply the first Orthodox bodies to formalize this schism since Constantinople invaded the previously universally acknowledged (even by the Phanar) canonical territory of the Church of Russia and set up a fake church led by men not even consecrated in apostolic succession (which no one has the power to do, even the pope would not claim this power in his heretical confession).  The MP had no choice but to excommunicate the Phanar since they rendered themselves schismatics according to canon law by purporting to rehabilitate those excommunicated by another local church.  The Phanar had previously formally recognized this excommunication and then turned on its heels once it became convenient to do so according to its broader plans pursuing a new Unia.
                      The Churches of Russia and Serbia, for example, are united, just not under one synod.  The unity of the local Orthodox churches is unity in the eucharist and faith.
                      The problem is that Constantinople and those aligned with them no longer hold the Orthodox faith with respect not only to ecclesiology but other matters (see the writings of Met. John of Pergamon and Archbishop Elpidophoros).
                      What America lacks is jurisdictional unity inasmuch as it has been settled by those from all around the world.  Among the Orthodox to settle here, each local church by and large chose to remain under its own national hierarchy until the territory of America is ready for autocephaly.
                      You will know when the American Orthodox are ready for autocephaly when “ethnic Orthodox” comprise only a small fraction of each jurisdiction and the various jurisdictions abandon their respective ethnic designations on their signs, stationery and at the county clerk’s office (legal names). 
                      Until then, autocephaly is a fool’s errand. 
                      As to the OCA, name me another autocephalous church on earth that does not claim some territory as its exclusive jurisdiction, albeit with agreed exceptions (patriarchal parishes, etc.).

                    • The schism does affect us here in the Americas. “When one member suffers, all suffer with him.” There is no getting around it.

                      It is an extreme irony that the one who desires to wield ‘authority’’ in the Church himself holds the power to end the schism but can’t seem to bring  himself to it. All he has to do is submit to the Church.

                      Even more ironic (in the case of the Ukraine) is that it’s quite probable that the Church would find a way to reconcile to herself the group of people who constitute what is known as the UOC.
                      But alas…
                      Joseph is concerned about schism, and rightly so.  Tragically, his patriarch doesn’t seem to share his concern.  I would ask all those who find Bartholomew’s actions loathsome to pray for him. Pray for him and his synod.  We may know them as enemies, but that’s the point of our Lord’s command, after all.

                    • Jοseph,___”Brian, we have schism in America…”

                      “Nothing will so avail to divide the Church as love of power”.
                      St.John Chrysostom, Homily XI to the Ephesians

                      Which Bishop has the greatest love of power?

                      Which Bishop wants to be “First without equals”?

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Brian, the argument that “we’ve been victimized by Bartholomew” only goes so far.  Sure, sometimes bishops do things that may throw us for a loop, but we move on.  Case in point of moving on is Metropolitan Joseph’s renewed presence at the Assembly of Canonical Bishop’s Executive Commitee, and he should really be commended for his return.  At the end of the day, we’re all Americans here, and our focus should be on building up Orthodoxy in America rather than being “tyrannized” by foreign patriarchates.


                  • E M Cimmins says

                    Hi Brian,
                    When you wrote “… they view that lineage as an example to be emulated in humility and not as a right of inheritance to virtues not their own”, I nearly jumped out of my chair and shouted with joy!
                    This a powerful statement, and cuts to the quick, and is what I pray will be a moment of clarity and divining-rod, for separating those who we would want to lead us from all the rest.
                    Somebody else gets it!
                    Thank you, Brian.
                    E M Cimmins

                    • This is one of the finest and most lucid pieces of writing I’ve read.  Thank you, Brian.

                    • E M Cimmings & Brian, indeed:

                      “… they view that lineage as an example to be emulated in humility and not as a right of inheritance to virtues not their own”

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      I must agree with Brian. The burden “lineage” is a great one if one wears this as merely an inheritance, one which compels him to lord it over others. We Greeks are all too often guilty of this hubris. It never ends well.

                      Ultimately I suppose that this is the reason I dread the arrogance which comes out of the Phanar and their minions among the Archons. Not because they possess certain titles or have certain canonical privileges but because they view them as a birthright rather than a charism.

                      Worse, the incessant carping on this leads many to believe that there is “no Christ here”.

                    • Brian I add my voice to respect for yr eloquent,  Christ – filled words. 
                      Such a contrast to the empty fashionable words of those we know. 

                    • Joseph advised: “At the end of the day, we’re all Americans here, and our focus should be on building up Orthodoxy in America rather than being ‘tyrannized’ by foreign patriarchates.”

                      Elpidophoros begs to differ. He believes American Orthodox should focus on being tyrannized!

                      Elpidophoros from 2009:

                      “With regards to the United States, the submission to the First Throne of the Church, that is, to the Ecumenical Patriarchate is not only fitting with the American society and mentality but also it opens up the horizons of possibilities for this much-promising region, which is capable of becoming an example of Pan-Orthodox unity and witness.“

                      Joseph, your Archbishop shows he is pretty clueless about American “society” and “mentality” if he thinks that Americans would find “submission” to a Turkish “throne” to be “fitting” in any kind of way.

                      Elpidophoros’ statement is more befitting a Turkish minion than any kind of American.

                  • Amen, Brian, God bless you, very well written!

                    • OK Elpidophoros made that perhaps naive statement about the American “mentality” way back in 2009, and as a born and raised Turk he had a limited perspective on American “mentality” due to his own lifelong subjection (in both his secular and spiritual lives) to Turkish rule.
                      Fast-forward five years to 2014 and now he tells us that not only should we submit ourselves to the same “First Throne” circa 2009, but that we must now submit to a tyrant who has somehow raised himself to become “First Without Equals.”
                      Joseph, your advice to focus on building up the Orthodox Church in America makes me glad that maybe you are reaching a point where you too might throw off the Turkish yoke as your fellow Monomakhosites have done!

                    • Ioan,
                      “Elpidophoros made that perhaps naive statement about the American “mentality” way back in 2009, ….
                      Fast-forward five years to 2014 and now he tells us…
                      …“First Without Equals.” “

                      Well, he wasn’t naive in 2014, but rather practical,
                      because his new thesis guarantees two “profits”:
                      a) his master was so glad that he gave Elp. the best promotion ultimately leading to the EP throne.
                      b) when Elp. does comes to the throne he will have himself a higher status,  i.e. “First Without Equals”.


                    • Since His Eminence Elpidophoros is influential in the patriarchate of Constantinople and may in a very short time be elected patriarch himself, let us hope that he is enlightened and personally touched by the courtesy shown him by those on Assembly of Canonical Bishop’s Executive Committee, a significant portion of whom (it should be noted) have not recognized Bartholomew’s creation in the Ukraine.  It is, after all, far more difficult (though not unheard of) to betray or ‘tyrannize’ those whom we have come to know and respect personally.  
                      Perhaps – just perhaps – the fruit of their labors in America and their gentle spirits of humility and service to God for the sake of this land will serve as a transformative witness to him of what is and is not important, as well as of how unity is realized in truth and not merely in law.  Let us hope so anyway.
                      I suppose this is why, though the hubris of Constantinople is repugnant to the Spirit in the Churches and I admit to frustration at those who have yet to take a firm stand against it (as ROCOR has), I can understand why, in America at least, some have taken what could be called a softer approach – at least for the time being.
                      I have hopeful confidence that if push comes to shove, they will not submit to ecclesiological heresy – just as they show no real sign that I have seen (in spite of rumors to the contrary) of compromising on its most glaring recent manifestation (the Ukraine).
                      In this season, let us be attentive and add our sincere voices to the prayer of Saint Basil that we will hear in the Divine Liturgy and implore the One who alone has the power to bring an end to schism in the Churches. 
                      Visit us in your goodness, O Lord. Reveal yourself to us in your rich compassion… By the power of your Holy Spirit, bring an end to schism in the Churches, extinguish the raging of the nations, and quickly put down the upsurges of heresy. Accept us all into your kingdom, showing us to be children of the light and of the day. Grant us your peace and love, O Lord our God, for you have given us everything.
                      “And grant that with one voice and one heart we may glorify and praise your most honored and magnificent name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and ever and forever
                      Though we are angry, let us “sin not..  for the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God.”

                    • Ioan,
                      “Joseph, your advice to focus on building up the Orthodox Church in America makes me glad that maybe you are reaching a point where you too might throw off the Turkish yoke as your fellow Monomakhosites have done!”

                      Our beloved brother Joseph, has expressed a severe problem:

                      “Essentially, if the hierarchy of the Church is undermined, then we end up with protestant chaos, and synodal relations, such as councils, break down also”:
                      April 8, 2019 at 8:46 am
                      Apparently he does not believe that Orthodox bishops are capable of cooperation and they need a terrifying Boss, preferably “First without equals”, just like a RC Pope.

                      Look how the RC church has no chaos:
                      Brother Joseph  has also ignored the words of St.John Chrysostom which I wrote to him recently and he skipped them without a reply:

                      “–“Nothing will so avail to divide the Church as love of power”.
                      St.John Chrysostom
                      , Homily XI to the Ephesians

                      Which Bishop has the greatest love of power?

                      Which Bishop wants to be “First without equals”?

                      I hope and pray,
                      that you are right, Ioan.

        • Did I hear right? The Patrarchal yatcht??   What is HE DOING WITH A YACHT.??  Can I have one.?  We are near the Black Sea and Danube. 
          Am I the only one SICKENED!!???? 

          • Joseph Lipper says

            Nikos, by all means, yes, you have my full permission to have a yacht, car, a horse and buggy, whatever you need.
            The Phanar is right next to the waters of the Golden Horn leading into the Bosphorus.  Having a yacht enables the Patriarch to flee if he has to, and is also for trips to Halki.  

            • “Flee” from what? Just how fast is this boat?
              Picture him fleeing like this Bond villain

              with Joe “Semper Fi” Tyrannis blazing away on the machine gun to cover his escape!

          • George Michalopulos says

            No, I was shocked, too.  And what the heck was Met Herman doing on that yacht, as well?

            • Joseph Lipper says

              Metropolitan Herman visited the Phanar back in 2003 after he was elected Metropolitan of the OCA.

              As for the Patriarchal yacht, I suppose that’s what archons are for.  The yacht was shown on 60 minutes years ago:
              Not to worry, Patriarch Kyrill’s yacht is undoubtedly much nicer:

              The yacht “is used by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill, including for visits to the diocese.”


              • Queen Elizabeth II used to have a Royal Yacht
                for visiting parts of ‘the Empire on which the sun never sets’.
                Now the sun has set on the greater part of that particular Empire,
                the yacht has been sold.

                • I am not too happy with Kyril life style either but to be fair his yatcht is used to facilitate pastoral work and in the context of the great rivers  of Russia makes sense, and NO ONE  begrudges with Bartholomaios or  Kyril some ‘ me time’,  although many of the flock get little of  that.   
                  However there is a difference between a head of a large church and one of under 3000 plus what he claims abroad.   He has halki to retreat to for rest which is peaceful and beautiful.  Is the YACHT used for other  activity or mored up just for him?.  
                  The YACHT from Putin is a gift from head of state and the monastery in question is based on water ways and a boat will be a very functional way of getting  about etc. 
                  But in general a Church in bed with the mega rich is not a good look, is it? 

              • Joseph,___“As for the Patriarchal yacht, I suppose that’s what archons are for”.

                So, the Archons are for the yacht, and in return they get the title “Leader” and they lead the Church. It’s all a matter of $m(b)illions?
                Surely, Joseph, it doesn’t remind you of the leaders of the original Church. 

                • Joseph Lipper says

                  St. Joseph of Arimathea was a wealthy man, and he provided Christ’s extravagant tomb.  In that capacity itself, St. Joseph was a lay leader of the Early Church.
                  As for boats, well, Christ was always on boats in the Gospels.  Those boats had to at least accomodate His disciples.  They weren’t just little dinghys.

                  • Jοseph,___you cannot compare St. Joseph of Arimathea with the Archons who pay money (100k plus) and they get a title and try to lead the Church.
                    St. Joseph of Arimathea never did such things. He came and helped at a specific moment when he was needed.

                  • Jοseph,___Does your Church have hymns about the Archons, like we have hymns about the Righteous St. Joseph of Arimathea?
                    If yes, then your Church and you may consistently compare the Archons with St. Joseph of Arimathea.

            • We’ve been sailing with a cargo full of love and devotion
              So I’d like to know where, you got the notion
              Said I’d like to know where, you got the notion
              So I’d like to know where, you got the notion
              Said I’d like to know where, you got the notion
              (To rock the boat), don’t rock the boat baby
              (Rock the boat), don’t tip the boat over
              (Rock the boat), don’t rock the boat, baby
              (Rock the boat), don’t tip the boat over


            • George,  i can’t AFFORD a YACHT.!  But it’s not the YACHT alone, it’s the context in which it comes. WHO, WHO FUNDS THIS LIFE STYLE.? AND  if needed IN ORDER TO FLEE?.  
              Bishop Chrysostom of Smyrna in  September 1922  did not FLEE on his yatcht, if he had one,  or even on the offered French boat,  but stayed with his flock to his horrendous end in the barber shop ,  witnessing as a   TRUE shepherd.  And he was an EP bishop.  How have they fallen.  And i repeat, WHO FUNDS THE PHANAR LIFE STYLE? WHO? . I could again include the Easter Day  story told me by Aria from Drama,  married to a phanariot,  on visiting there,  but i have several times here so hopefully many of u will recall. 

    • Estonian Slovak says

      This is not the first time the EP interfered in the affairs of the Czechoslovak church. The bishop of Prague was Gorazd(Pavlik), consecrated in 1921 by the Patriarch of Serbia for the Orthodox Church of the newly-formed country of Czechoslovakia. Not long afterwards, Constantinople consecrated a rival bishop, Savatty, a Czech from Volyn in Ukraine.

  3. There is a power play from Istanbul that has only just begun. The OCA can and will be ignored but the GOA may indeed get faux autocepholy to establish a solitary claim to N. America. Similarly the Istanbulites are likely to continue to attack the Church of the Czech and Slovak people, attempt to undermine Serbia,etc – anything to establish dominance. Will these be unforced errors? Only to the extent there is not widespread and active resistance from the Churches together. To date there is only Moscow taking an active stand against these machinations and Russia is continually demonized in both North America and Europe.
    The question becomes what does resistance look like? It goes without saying this lust for power, dominance and control is the spirit of antiChrist. We are told to expect apostasy and evil even from alleged Christian leaders. But how we react is a test not for “canonical Orthodoxy” but the ability of all the Churches to act with Christian patience, with love, with forbearance – to image Christ. Met Onophry has literally become a living icon of Christ precisely because of his behavior in the face of this evil. May his example prevail amongst all the local Churches.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Agreed, on all counts, especially that Met Onophry has literally become a living icon of Christ. He knows something we keep forgetting: The true Church will prevail.

      • George Michalopulos says


        Personally, I’m oblivious to Bartholomew’s machinations any more. Not that he isn’t doing massive amounts of damage (evangelism is for all intents and purposes impossible under the present circumstances) but at the end of the day his legacy is written: Metaxakis on steroids.

        We should pray for the man.

        • Agreed, Bart Efendi is throwing all he’s got into a legacy that will put-dastard Metaxakis, as though that scoundrel had started a trend Bart needs to epitomize. If the rest of the church had the chutzpah, for the sake of the consciences of all the faithful, Metaxakis and all his foul deeds should be anathematized so as to excise the corrupt limb that grows from them. 
          Seeing as the public record (with press releases) of many official visits by US State Dept. officials appointed by the president (impeached) of the United States D. Trump, enacting diplomatic efforts led by Sec. of State Mike Pompeo and Ambassador G. Pyatt are the obvious and proximate external influence on the Fener policies we both abhor, mention of QAnon bogeyman G. Soros seriously undercuts your arguments. Especially seen in historic light of such US-Fener collusion going back to Athenagoras about which you can read this minute on Matthew Namee’s excellent
          George, I appreciate your stance defending Orthodoxy, but you need to show some principles, unless you want to be seen as the Orthodox equivalent of Alex Jones. Which truth be told you already are. Nobody takes conspiracy theory twaddle this seriously. 

          • Gail Sheppard says

            It undercuts the arguments only for those who don’t know any better. You can lead a horse to water. . . Well, you know how it goes. It’s surprising that thirsty horses unwilling to drink keep coming back to the same watering hole. Maybe they think it’s a mirage or something.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Thank you Gail for this insight.

              Claes, one need not be a “conspiracy theorist” to recognize patterns in human behavior. What we are seeing with our State Dept for example, are the hidebound actions of bureaucrats who are bound by ideology. There is nothing nefarious per se about such attitudes.

              Same with The Swamp. These people are no more evil than you or I. It’s just that they are stuck in a rut and are emotionally and financially compensated for their actions. Also for their inactions. Think of The Swamp as a club, once you’re in, you’re in and you’re pretty well immunized from any incompetent acts. We are seeing this at present in the GOA/EP axis vis-à-vis the St Nicholas Shrine and Bereavement Center.

              Short of revolution it requires an Alexander the Great figure, one who can “cut the Gordian knot” and scramble the game pieces. (BTW, Trump did that when he killed Soleimani: it totally reordered the chessboard in the Middle East.)

              That’s why revolutions are needed every now and then. Because those “in the club” cannot see a way out.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Claes, I am not a “conspiracy theorist” but a “conspiracy analyst”. Truth be told, the CIA weaponized the term “conspiracy theorist” after the Kennedy assassination in order to preemptively humiliate those who brought up anomalies about the official story. The words are neutral: there is nothing wrong with believing in conspiracies (DAs do it all the time) and/or theorizing about them (again, this is what DAs do before they go to a grand jury).

            Having said that, I agree with you re Matthew Namee’s excellent site.

            On the other hand, I will thank you to call the acquitted POTUS “Glorious Leader”. Now that he is on a tear with AG Barr and DNI Ric Grenell (and is batting close to a 1000 on the federal courts), I feel it prudent to inform you that we are watching you.

            • Ok now it’s in the realm of high comedy (for you), but I don’t think trump is the least bit funny. The alt-right lexicon you employ is understood: you think democracy is a joke. Laugh now, cry later. 

              • Democracy is a joke, that’s the thing. Rule by the rich, for the rich. Do you think the unwashed masses have a say in any of this? Banks, media, arms companies, etc. makes the decisions and we the people just ‘elect’ their representative.
                We’re killing millions of babies a year. No one voted for this to be legalized, and no one can vote for it to be banned. Democracy is a joke.

          • Antiochene Son says

            Conspiracy facts. 

          • Claes,
            You are incorrect. I take conspiracy theories seriously. They have proven infinetly more accurate than any of the drivel promulgated by mainstream sources irregardless of the topic.
            As George pointed out – even the term conspiracy theory was created as a straw man and a smear by which the powers that be could malign the honest conclusions of  those still capable of independent thinking and analysis.
            One either pursues truth wherever it leads or buries their head in a bucket of sand conveniently delivered to your metaphorical doorstep by the local paperboy, the internet fact checker, or the editors of Time, Newsweek and the like.
            Truth really is stranger than the fiction brought to your lap by the evening news.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Claes, if Alex Jones was truly a buffoon, then why was he taken down on Aug 8th, 2018?

      • Amen. 
        These are great words by Met Onuphry:

        • Gail Sheppard says

          I would love to meet this man one day.

          • George Michalopulos says

            It would be a highlight, wouldn’t it?

          • Dear Gail,
            I did, and I could confirm 100% whatever opinion of him as a good and wise hierarch. Lest somebody berates my words by stating that, as an Italian Orthodox, I have no means to really know him and Ukrainian matters, etc, etc… let me state that I was his guest at the Chernovtsy chancery for one month when he was the local archbishop (it was the summer of the year 2000), and much to my surprise and honour, he reciprocated with a visit to my church in Turin in the following year. If I were given the choice of one single bishop to follow, I would have no doubts.
            Hegumen Ambrose
            Turin, Italy

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Thank you for sharing that, Father. Maybe he’s the reason fewer people than projected left the canonical Church.

            • anonimus per Scorilo says

              Of course, the Chernovits/Cernăuți archdiocese is part of the canonical territory of the Romanian Orthodox Church, recognized as such by the 1924 Tomos establishing the Romanian Patriarchate.This archdiocese never in its history ever belonged to the Russian Orthodox Church, except after the Hitler-Stalin (Ribbentrop-Molotov) treaty.
              So the gentle and pious Metropolitan Onuphry was himself very comfortable with the violation/invasion of the canonical territory of other churches. And it does not appear he has repented of this, while in the same time loudly complaining of Constantinople’s invasion.

              • For Chernivtsi being temporary under Romanian patriarch there were number of lawless and horrible events- WW1, sponsored by western money Russian revolution. The city was founded by great great grandson of St Vladimir – Yaroslav Osmomysl in 12 century , he was married to Olga – daughter or founder of Moscow prince Yuriy .  Majority of European countries( including Poland)  had pacts and agreements with Hitler prior to Molotov pact. It is those agreement allowed Hitler to annex Czechia under silent approval of European leaders .  As result of Molotov pact- USSR ( Russia) was able to return part of  territories which were lost less than 20 yr prior . Those territories never had their own independence ( excluding Litva long time ago )  

    • RE: “The question becomes what does resistance look like?”

      God willing, it will sound and look like this for a start:
      O Lord and Master of my life,

      A spirit of idleness, despondency, ambition,

      and idle talking give me not.
      But rather a spirit of chastity, humble-mindedness,

      Patience, and love bestow upon me Thy servant.

      Yea, O Lord King, grant me to see my own failings

      And not condemn my brother;
      for blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages.
      Then twelve bows from the waist, saying at each bow:
      O God, cleanse me a sinner.
      And again, without division, the same prayer entirely to the end,
      And one prostration.

    • Greg, the resistance will have a “look” once each if us picks a side.
      St. Paisios the Hagiorite said:
      “Today they’re trying to destroy faith, and for the edifice of faith to fall they quietly pull out one stone, then another. But we’re all responsible for the destruction; not just those who destroy but we who see how faith is being undermined and make no effort to strengthen it.”
      “Those who’ve in some way helped the cause of good will be rewarded, and those who do evil will be punished. God will put everyone in their place in the end, but each of us will answer for what they did in these difficult years, both in prayer and in deeds.”
      Too many Orthodox Christians are either too ignorant or too passive, not wanting to “rock the boat” or in this case “Ark of Salvation” too much as to strain the already strained too the point of breaking communion.
      The Istanbulites [good one, Greg, I’m going to use it] are counting on this passivity in order to further advance their imposition of their new church order.
      U.S. General George Patton said:
      “Fixed fortifications are monuments to man’s stupidity.”
      because they allow the enemy to seize the initiative.
      Istanbulites, like Patton know:
      “We as attackers have the initiative, we know exactly what we are going to do, while the enemy is ignorant of our intentions and can only parry our blows. We must retain this tremendous advantage by always attacking rapidly, ruthlessly, viciously, and without rest.”
      In order to resist, we must first pick a side.
       The Istanbulites, due to their timetable -Nicaea 2025 which doesn’t leave them much time – will continue their attacks “rapidly” and “without rest.”
      So they will force the issue, because they MUST assimilate or destroy our Church before 2025.
      There will be a split, a Schism.
      Pick a side and then we will do resistance.

    • Greg, the resistance will have a “look” once each if us picks a side.
      St. Paisios the Hagiorite said:
      “Today they’re trying to destroy faith, and for the edifice of faith to fall they quietly pull out one stone, then another. But we’re all responsible for the destruction; not just those who destroy but we who see how faith is being undermined and make no effort to strengthen it.”
      “Those who’ve in some way helped the cause of good will be rewarded, and those who do evil will be punished. God will put everyone in their place in the end, but each of us will answer for what they did in these difficult years, both in prayer and in deeds.”
      Too many Orthodox Christians are either too ignorant or too passive, not wanting to “rock the boat” or in this case rock the “Ark of Salvation” too much as to strain the already too-strained to the point of breaking communion.
      The Istanbulites [good one, Greg, I’m going to use it] are counting on this passivity in order to further advance the imposition of their new church order.

      U.S. General George Patton said:
      “Fixed fortifications are monuments to man’s stupidity.”
      because they allow the enemy to seize the initiative.
      Istanbulites, like Patton know:
      “We as attackers have the initiative, we know exactly what we are going to do, while the enemy is ignorant of our intentions and can only parry our blows. We must retain this tremendous advantage by always attacking rapidly, ruthlessly, viciously, and without rest.”
      The Istanbulites, due to their timetable (Nicaea 2025 – time is running out) will continue their attacks “rapidly” and “without rest.”
      Istanbulites will force the issue, a schism because they MUST assimilate or destroy our Church before 2025.
      There will be a split, a Schism. We who were formerly brothers and sisters will face off against each other over a great divide.

      That’s what a fighting Church resistance will look like.

      “For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.”

      – 1 Corinthians 11:19

      • George Michalopulos says

        Ioan, very wise words.

        A caveat if I may add: what you are describing as “relentless” and “ruthless” force is realistic. It is also a recipe for disaster for those who seek to destroy the Ark of Salvation. For one thing, they lead precisely to what I described in the column above: and that is “unforced errors”.

        Throughout Bartholomew’s enter archpastorate, we have seen nothing but unforced errors: Ligonier, Estonian autocephaly, temporary schisms with the Church of Greece over the Northern Lands, Ukrainian incursion, now Macedonia/Montenegro, etc.

        All in all, it’s been a litany of failure and provocations.

        • Will a majority of our Greek Orthodox brethren fall into step with Bartholmew-Elpidophoros’ drumbeat of ”HellenismHellenismHellenism?”
          I recall that at the outset of the announcement of Ukrainian schismatic semi-autocephaly, Dumenko boasted that the Churches of Hellas, Alexandria, Jerusalem and Albania – the so-called “Greek” Churches would be the first to recognize the OCU.
          Will more Greek hierarchs like the two Metropolitan Seraphims of the Hellas Church and Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol (Cyprus) stand up for us poor lay brothers and sisters or will they be silent, if not obedient, to their Archbishops who have betrayed us?

    • Maybe resistance will look something like this

  4. Nothing a good thorough reformation wouldn’t solve.

  5. If the other Churches don’t seriously confront Bart’s implementation of “the primacy of power”…there will continue to be chaos.

  6. Ukraine, Bilderberg, Patriarchates, Pope, etc.
    Lecture by D. Makris

    Volos Orthodox Society “Saint Maximos the Confessor”

    Lecture by D. Makris in Volos on 22, Feb. 2020.
    Ukraine, Bilderberg, Patriarchates, Pope, etc.

    In Greek, duration: 2:52:35ἡ-λέσχη-μπίλντεμπεργκ-τὸ-οὐκρανικὸ/

  7. anon on purpose says

    I am a convert to Orthodoxy, not to any jurisdiction.  In this I am an ordinary American Orthodox person.  We value the faith, not church politics.
    Years ago I found this site as I was searching for an American Orthodox witness.
    I wish it could be that, but it is not.  This is a personal political whetstone, not an Orthodox Christian resource, and readers would be well-warned that the battles done here are political, not spiritual.
    Tomorrow we beg forgiveness of each other, and I do of every person who reads this.  I pray for you all, and for those who, like me, visit randomly and irregularly in hopes George and his readers have changed focus to the things that will matter on our deathbeds.  

    • George Michalopulos says

      AOP, I take your criticism sincerely. Just so you know, this blog is going into its second decade. From the start, it was always about politics, culture and religion. Its politics have been Burkean conservative with a dash of classical liberalism (in the Jeffersonian sense). Its religion has been high-church/Judaeo-Christian –what I believe to be what is meant by the word Christendom.

      Since then, I have come to cast off most Catholic/Protestant presuppositions; I only now accept what I call the “ecumenism of the trenches”, i.e. manning the barricades of the pro-life movement and/or making common cause with believers who are trying to hold on to traditionalism and common-sensical beliefs (i.e. anal sex does not equal marriage, biological males should not compete in women’s athletics, etc.)

      Politics cannot be divorced from this paradigm. Why? Because culture is as important as religion; St Paul said that we “work out our salvation” here in the physical plane. One can’t work out his salvation if he’s been reduced to eating out of a dumpster or his wife is forced to sell her body in order to feed the kids. Politics, law, economics matter. As such, I have no problem with doing all I can to make sure that Bernie Sanders doesn’t become president –or any of the current crop of Democrats for that matter.

      We can argue about this and if I’m wrong about Trump I’ll take my lumps. But because I’m a pro-life, 2nd Amendment, constitutionalist, I can safely say that Trump has scored at least an A- on all these points. Hence, I do not apologize for my political advocacy in this respect (or this blog’s).

      Today however is Forgiveness Vespers. As such I ask for forgiveness from all whom I have offended. “God forgives and I forgive.”

      • Don’t disparage a Bernie presidency, or any Democrat, for that matter. Feeling the Bern of a full-scale liberal assault on traditional Christianity will sort the men from the boys and we might even find ourselves with a stronger, albeit smaller, Church in America.
        Don’t worry; read the Book of the Apocalypse. We win in the end, anyway.

    • Hello Anon on purpose,
      A blessed forgiveness Sunday to you, and a blessed start of Great Lent.  
      It’s so important to point out that in forgiving someone, it most certainly does not mean that we continue to let them cross inappropriate boundaries and walk all over us. I can forgive someone who robs my home, but I certainly won’t let them ever house-sit for me. 

      Emotional and cultural dysfunction is sadly very prevalent in many Orthodox societies and groups. Tragically when some hear “forgiveness” what they really hear is continued license to abuse.  That’s why it’s crucial to express forgiveness but also to establish and maintain firm boundaries with respect to what’s ok and what is not ok. 

      For example, the Patr of C’ple’s latest actions in Prague are disgusting. We can forgive him and his synod, as we should, but by no means does that imply we simply sit by quietly and allow their abusive behavior to go unchallenged.  C’ple is blackmailing a hierarch in another Orthodox Church, and quite publicly (
      “Met. Apostolos then hints that Constantinople could disgrace the Czech hierarch with details of his personal life:
      We have previously received news of your life, which is not at all befitting a hierarch of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Orthodox Church, in which the leader as First, as determined by the sacred canons and martyric consecrated practice and Tradition of the Church, is the Archbishop of Constantinople—New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch….”
      This sounds more like Patriarch Tony Soprano than an Orthodox hierarch.  And they still don’t understand Orthodox ecclesiology, continuing to view themselves as the non-sensical  “Orthodox papacy.”  And for the millionth time, the “leader” of our Church is Christ Himself, not the Patr of C’ple.

      Pointing out and commenting on these huge issues/problems facing our Church (which we love) and also giving forgiveness are not mutually exclusive. 

      • Yes. Forgiveness is always on offer.
        But the abusive behaviour must cease.

      • Antiochene Son says

        But in order to be forgiven, one must first repent and ask for forgiveness. Maybe this is wrong, but I’ve never been a fan of this notion of “preemptive forgiveness.” Christ requires us to repent first, and then obtain forgiveness; otherwise there would be no point in confessing our sins.
        I’m ready to forgive the EP when he decides to ask for it. I hope he does; he just turned 80 and his time is short.

  8. A brother helped by a brother is as a strong and high city (Prov. 18:19)
    Met Onuphry’s word to the faithful of Montenegro: 


  9. “Orthodox Press”: 
    Questions about Bartholomew’s paradoxical Cross.
    The Greek newspaper “Orthodoxos Typos” criticises the unusual “Crux ansata” worn by Bartholomew in a photograph a year ago with JP and the President of Greece.
    The cross looks like the ones used in ancient Egyptian religions.
    It has a shape of a large letter T, with an oval “handle” or “loop” on the top.ἐρωτήματα-διὰ-παράδοξον-ἐγκόλπιον-σ/

    • Antiochene Son says

      He must have learned about using weird crosses from recent popes. 

    • Looks like a “Tau” cross that is commonly associated with the Franciscan Order (Roman Catholic).
      Hmmmm, now why do “Francis” and “Catholic” ring a bell?

      • Ioan,
        “Looks like a “Tau” cross that is commonly associated with the Franciscan Order (Roman Catholic)”.

        The Orthodox have nothing to do with Papal orders and “saints” after the Great Schism. 

        • George Michalopulos says

          Well, this is most disquieting, if true.

          • The “Tau” was in fact the shape of the Holy Cross upon which our Lord gave Himself up for the life of the world. The top arm is where the accusation against Him was posted. In fact, the “rasson” of the clergy and monks, when laid flat, makes a “Tau” so that they might never forget that they are taking up their own cross. I could not see the “engolpion” clearly in the photo; perhaps some are reading a bit too much into this.

            • Antiochene Son says

              ‘The “Tau” was in fact the shape of the Holy Cross upon which our Lord gave Himself up for the life of the world.’
              Upon what evidence is this based? Considering St. Helen found the actual Cross, and every icon shows it in its familiar configuration, I have to say I doubt the Cross was “actually” shaped like a capital T.

              Furthermore we have Christian art depicting the familiar shape of the Cross that goes back to the times when crucifixion was still done, so they would have known what crosses look like.

  10. George Michalopulos says

    This is interesting:

    Looks like the Serbian patriarch paid a visit to the State Dept and the Atlantic Council (the latter of which is the chief warmongering lobby in the US). Hopefully he did some good.

    As I’ve said in another context: God bless the Serbs. They have always been the “Guardians at the Gate”. First at Kosovo, then when they recognized ROCOR, now when they stood up to the EP and went to Amman. I’m sure there are other instances in which they did the stand-up thing.

  11. John Parakyrkas says

    Do you understand what is going on in Greece? NATO has always wanted Turkey to take back Thrace to prevent Russia accessing the straits. Just like they did a Karjina in Contsaneple in 1955. See:

    • Joseph Lipper says

      Yes, but now it would probably be more or even all of Greece than just Thrace.  The Greek maritime borders are problematic for the EU.  So, it would seem natural that the EU will want to redraw it’s borders and perhaps create a two-tiered Europe. The EU will probably even receive encouragement to do so.
      Of course the result of this would be a fierce battle between Turkey and Russia. Then look for an unchecked Israeli expansion to happen simultaneously.  Turkey and Russia both stand in the way of Zionist goals.  Keeping both countries occupied in a battle is a simple strategy for Zionist expansion.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Joseph, what you assert it most disturbing. However I believe you are correct, at least in your first paragraph. I’m not so sure about your second paragraph. I believe that Trump has secretly ceded the Middle East to Russia, hence his desire to withdraw all American forces from Syria and Afghanistan. Iraq, we’ll be there I suppose as a check on Iran for the foreseeable future.

        What do you think? Anybody?

        • Antiochene Son says

          It continues to boggle my mind that both Obama and Trump were elected promising to end Middle Eastern wars and have not been able to do so, and in Obama’s case expanded them. Have they been told that the brass won’t follow orders if they are told to withdraw?
          I’ve never voted for a Democrat in my life, but I voted for Tulsi Gabbard in my state’s primary because she is the only candidate who has a sane foreign policy.

          • Gus Langis says

            In America there is only one party. The war party. The war hawks have major sway on both sides of the aisle. It’s hard to disentangle foreign policy from the military industrial complex and their intelligience arm who give the briefings and advice on how to proceed. And in many cases operate covertly apart from our representatives.

          • I abandoned Democratic Party registration in order to vote for Ron Paul in the Republican Party a few years ago.  He and Dennis Kucinich were about the only ones worth voting for, on foreign policy issues at least, in those days.  A month after voting for Ron Paul, I reregistered as a No Party Preference voter.
            As for Tulsi Gabbard, I voted for her in the primary (the Democratic Primary in my state is an open one), and I plan to vote for her in November, even if I have to write in her name.
            Why?  Here are a couple of reasons:

  12. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Saturday, February 29th, on the RISU website and which has been reposted on the Orthodox Christian Laity website.
    Source: Religious Information Service of Ukraine (RISU)
    By Vitaliy Portnikov

    • Gus Langis says

      That OCL article makes no sense. But it’s good that they exposed themselves as cheerleaders of the heretical Crete robber council. Will keep that in mind

  13. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Monday, March 3rd, on the Orthodox Christianity website.
    Archpriest Vladislav Tsypin
    Translation by Matfey Shaheen

  14. Johann Sebastian says

    Muslim Support for the Orthodox Church Under Attack in Montenegro

  15. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the Orthodox Times website.
    Home > Orthodoxy > Ecumenical Patriarchate
    Ecumenical Patriarch: Autocephaly of Orthodox Church of Ukraine is now fait accompl
    Mar 14, 2020 | 17:24