Cray-Cray Talk from Canada

The late, great political philosopher Leo Strauss once said that there was a new logical fallacy that had taken hold in the West.  He called it the reductio ad Hitlerum.  Roughly, when all else fails, reduce every argument to Hitler or at least try to tie him to your opponent.

Strauss, who was Jewish, saw the vapidity of this argument.  If I had to guess, he realized that in the end, it was just another “boy who cried wolf” stratagem, one which was doomed to fail.  

Anyway, it goes something like this: 

Assertion A:  “We can’t go on spending money that we don’t have, it will result in hyperinflation”.  

Rebuttal B:  “What are you? Some type of Nazi?”  Or:  “Hitler said the same thing!”


Assertion A:  “I love the autumn. It’s such a beautiful time of year.  We really need to enjoy nature more”.

Rebuttal B:  “What are you, some type of Nazi?  Hitler loved nature.  That’s what all those Hitler Youth camps were for:  to inculcate a love of nature into the Aryan superman!”

The point of this fallacy is to frighten one side and possibly make him throw in the towel.  By invoking the magic name of Hitler, all further discussion immediately ceases.

Now, we all recognize the buffoonery involved here.  Substitute the name “Hitler” for “Taliban” and you have another example of this same rhetorical trap.  Regardless, as in the first example, it’s just as  ridiculous. 

And so now we get to the nub of the matter.  Metropolitan Soterios of Toronto, characterize Orthodox Christians who disagree with the egregious actions of Patriarch Bartholomew in Ukraine, as “lacking an ecclesial consciousness [but] are also deserving of the title of Orthodox ‘Taliban’.”  And if they don’t agree with the whole primus sine paribus nostrum, they’re “lucifarean” as well!  (Here it is straight from the horse’s mouth:

Yup, we’re not only Taliban, we’re Satanists.  


For good measure though,

“If you read certain Orthodox blogs, whether by Patriarch, hierarchs, priests, elders, or monks, you can see that the authors lack love, peace, prudence, humility and judgment.”

How’s that for irony?  Don’t you just feel the love?

Yeah, me neither.  

Now I realize, that in taking on a theologically trained hierarch, I’m out of my depth.  However, I will do so and thus stand firmly beside the title of this essay.  Why? because it is crazy talk.  It also indicates that the man who is casting this aspersion is doing so from a position of weakness.  I’ll go further and state that those who believe this know that the jig is up. 

For centuries, the ecclesiology of the Orthodox Church stated that the the Archbishop of Constantinople was primus inter pares –first among equals.  This was uncontroversial and universally accepted by all Orthodox Christians, whether they were hierarchs, priests or laymen.  It is literally in every Orthodox catechism or historical text.  The requisite canons likewise accept this formulation.  In fact, there was nothing controversial about it at all.  

The incumbent Patriarch of Constantinople however, has been caught on the horns of a dilemma.  Why?  Because the traditional view of his office would constrain him from realizing his worldly ambitions.  Hence, the novel formula primus sine paribus (first without equals) was produced out of thin air.  

Problem solved.

This is startling to say the least.  Like many slogans used in the political sphere, the triumphalists over at the Phanar thought they could slip this revision by the faithful.  Such was not the case.  There’s too many of us out there now and we’re not all ignorant peasants. 

We know a con when we see one and this new formula is so blatant that anybody can see it.  It does nothing less than turn Orthodox ecclesiology on its head.  It is in fact no different than Roman papalism.  

In the secular sphere, for example, we first heard of “global warming”.  However, when the data collected from various universities showed otherwise, the globalists turned on a dime and went into hyperdrive.  Almost overnight, they started talking about “climate change” instead.

Likewise, when obesity rates started exploding worldwide, “childhood malnutrition” became “food insecurity”.  And so on. 

Soterios accepts this new thinking by use of the clever stratagem:  according to him, the traditional formula “makes no sense”.  Why?  Because he believes that only an Archbishop of Constantinople can convene a council.  That, by necessity, makes him more than equal (in his mind at least).

This, of course, is ridiculous.  Not only logically, but historically.  The third Ecumenical Council, for example, was called in order to try the doctrines of Nestorius who was then Patriarch of Constantinople.  Nestorius actually stood in the docket while the assembled bishops served as his jurors.  In the end, they decided that he was preaching heresy.  And that is why we call the Blessed Virgin the “Theotokos” to this very day (as opposed to “Christotokos”).  

Our Catholic brethren have no problem with this.  In fact, they are more straightforward:  the Pope —and only the Pope–has a special charism that no other bishop possesses.  All other bishops, in fact, are his  auxiliaries.  That’s been their bailiwick for the last one thousand years.  (That’s why he’s the only Latin bishop to change his name upon his election.)

Soterios, Elpidophoros, and other bishops in the See of Constantinople do not have the courage (presently) to be so boldly papalist but give them enough time, and I’m sure they will find the extra-canonical wherewithal to come out and promulgate that very doctrine.  

What we are witnessing is a debate in which one side knows he has no case so he’s flailing around.  As the days go by, this rhetorical flailing becomes even more obvious.  And what makes it especially pathetic is that the bishops who uphold this formula know that their argument is specious.  Hence, the necessity of hurling invectives at those who dare to criticize them.  

In any event, to call your opponent a member of the Taliban or to accuse him of being a “Luciferian” is simply beyond the pale.  Especially when you damn well know this is not the case.

So yeah, I’m gonna say that this is crazy talk.  It certainly isn’t rational.  And if it allowed to stand, then schism will follow. 

What’s especially ironic though is will this new formula be allowed to stand once Bartholomew (or most likely, his successsor) achieve a unia with Rome? I’m going to say “no”.  As another Roman said about one of his rivals for supreme power:  “The world is big enough for only one Caesar”.  

About GShep


  1. William Tighe says

    “The Fourth Ecumenical Council, for example, was called in order to try the doctrines of Nestorius …”

    The fourth? Are you quite sure of this?

    • George Michalopulos says

      Thank you Fr.

      • Archpriest Paisius McGrath says

        What you were thinking of was Third Ecumenical Council at Ephesus in 431 and not 4th Ecumenical Council at Chalcedon
        . In the dock were the writings of Nestorious which were debated between the two competing Councils that met at Ephesus with the subsequent Council at Chalcedon recognized one Ephesus as Ecumenical following the Reunion Formula reached post Ephesus between Saint Cyril and John of Antioch who represented the two Councils that met in 431.

  2. The loony toons at Fordham were only bold enough to call us “fundamentalists”. The Archbishop picked up the ball and put it on steroids. It is fascinating to see these people self-destruct.

  3. I hate to be the bearer of bad news and sound like a pessimist, but, the Fordhamites and the likes of Abp. Sotirios will win…at least the battle, but not the war.

    Why? Because our hierarchs have proven themselves UTTERLY incapable of preserving the faith or fighting any force that is thrown against it whether inside or outside the Church. That has been painfully obvious this past year both in regards to COVID and Ukraine.

    Why have Public Orthodoxy or Orthodoxy in Dialogue not been censured? Why have the other hierarchs not publicly denounced Abp. Elpidophoros, Patriarch Bartholomew, Fordham, etc?

    For those of us who were formerly Roman Catholic, it’s not hard to see the same writing on the wall, the same strategies being used, the same names being called.

    If what George and American said about parishes losing 40-70% of their members, maybe that has to unfortunately happen for more Orthodox parishes and jurisdictions to flourish

  4. GOA Priest says


    As I have recently commented in a previous thread, what we are seeing are the fruits of an ecclesiological breach in the Church whereby the episcopacy has made themselves accountable to no one by accreting unknown powers to themselves. The EP’s (hereafter Bothros) tacit agreement with Eplidoktonos’ yarns about his unique magnificence and sovereignty is simply the (il)logical conclusion on this type of ecclesiology.

    What we see in the ravings of Sonefarious of Canada is a pickled mind nourished on these false teachings to wit, the liar is the truth teller, the destroyer is the builder. Like the Demoncrats who are suddenly labeling all dissenting voices as insurrectionists in an attempt to reverse the narrative (i.e. they are the real insurrectionists), we see the same here. It is the hierarchy who are the taliban. Examples aren’t hard to find, and we recently saw one with Paul Iamagreekios and the Fr. Mark debacle.

    Here’s another: Nathanael (hereafter Dorodiavolos) has censured a presbyter in his Kingdom from hearing confessions. Dorodiavolos has not permitted the priest, who happens to be one of the most respected presbyters in the region, from defending himself against this suspension of sacramental privilege – no trial, no jury. After all, the presbyter is only a priest by delegation, not ordination. Dorodiavolos, fed on the milk of Zizioulasism, knows that what he as Master and lord delegates, he can also rescind. Absolute sovereignty without reference to anyone. Sounds like a mini Bothrite Kingdom where the first has no equal, follows no rules, and all shall bend their knee, those on earth, below the earth, and well, you get the picture.

    Joseph the Arabizer is likewise guilty as his recently indigestible letter to his clergy demonstrates.

    Who are the Taliban? Who are in league with the devil?

    Sonefarious is only expressing what has come to him honestly: a broken and false ecclesiology. So let’s not be too hard on the old fool. He’s only doing what he was trained to do.

  5. V. Rev. A. James Bernstein says


    In my humble opinion I submit the following for consideration. I am no scholar but all that I have known teaches that the Orthodox Church has NEVER had a Patriarch that was First WITHOUT Equals.
    Prior to the Great Schism the Pope of Rome (Old Rome) was considered to be first AMONG equals. He had Primacy not Supremacy, Was Fallible not Infallible and had only Local Jurisdiction not Universal Jurisdiction. Yet No Pope of Rome called, officiated or even attended an Ecumenical Council prior to the great schism of 1054 AD.
    Decisions of those Ecumenical Councils though binding upon all were not first reviewed by or approved by the Pope. They were not submitted to him as the FINAL arbiter of truth.
    Following the Great Schism in 1054 the Pope increasingly claimed to be first WITHOUT equals.
    In present day Roman Catholicism: “The pope alone has the right to convoke, suspend, and dissolve an ecumenical council; he also presides over it or chooses someone else to do so and determines the agenda (can. 338).
    The vacancy of the Holy See automatically suspends an ecumenical council. Laws or teachings issued by an ecumenical council require the confirmation of the pope, who alone has the right to promulgate them (can. 341).
    The role of the pope in an ecumenical council is a distinct feature of the Catholic Church.”

    Prior to the Great Schism the Orthodox Church NEVER claimed to have a Patriarch that is first without equals.
    There have been a number of times in which Patriarchs have become heretical. A prime example is the Patriarch of Constantinople Nestorius, after which the heresy of Nestorianism is named.

    None of the 9 Orthodox Ecumenical Councils, including the 8th Ecumenical Council (4th Council of Constantinople 879-880) that condemned the Filioque. And the 9th Ecumenical Council (5th Council of Constantinople 1341-1351) that confirmed the essence/energy distinction and upheld St. Gregory Palamas and hesychasm were convened by either the Pope or the Ecumenical Patriarch. (They were typically convened by the Emperor.)

    IF any hierarch claims today to be First Without Equals, it is an Orthodox expression of PAPISM pure and simple and should be heartedly condemned by all faithful Orthodox Christians who want to preserve the UNITY of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. To do otherwise is to encourage schism and worse. Lord have mercy!

    See my 17page chart contrasting Roman Catholicism with Orthodoxy previously posted on this Monomakhos web site here:

    • Art Samouris says

      Amen Fr. Bernstein!!!

    • Brilliant!

      Excellent post Fr James!

      And the comparison paper: very good!

      Thanks so much!

      Your pamphlets and example have been a blessing to us for a long time.

      Many years!

    • Amen! Maybe the Church should do away with the title “First Among Equals,” it seems to cause the sin of pride, and eventual apostasy, throughout history.

  6. So what do you expect when you dress a man up in emperor’s clothes and put a crown on his head?

    Jesus didn’t wear a crown on earth. St. Paul ran the race to earn one, but not on this earth.

    So where did this all come from? And maybe God himself doesn’t like it.

    Very comforting and encouraging.

  8. P. Antonio Arganda says

    The Phanar has a reputation as a hotbed of homosexuals.

  9. For a long time, I assumed that this “first without equal” nonsense was a theological/ecclesiological error and, at its core, a real disagreement over the interpretation of the canons. However, I am increasingly of the opinion that the theological/ecclesiological arguments set forth by Constantinople and its sycophants most likely, in reality, have nothing to do theology or ecclesiology. Rather, I suspect these assertions of theirs are a means to end while the arguments are window dressing intended to reinforce the perception they wish to create – not so much in the eyes of the Church as much as in the eyes of the world. Sure, they seem to have made some ‘true believers’ in the process, but this only serves to further what seems (to me anyway) to be their primary aim.

    It is becoming increasingly clear that, much as the P of C for many centuries drew worldly power from the Turks because the Turks could manipulate and control the Church through him in civil affairs, so he/they seem to want to create this same perception in the eyes of political leaders in the West. They seem to crave worldly power primarily, and the perception of their having power over the Church is simply a means to that end. In other words, it appears to me that their primary aim is to gain (and to a lesser extent maintain) power and influence in/over worldly political affairs, and the means by which they accomplish this aim is to convince politicians that they have the ability to influence the world’s population of Orthodox Christians.

    If one looks at what actually they do (how they use the power of the perception they have created and seek to expand upon) as opposed to the otherwise ridiculous theological/ecclesiological arguments they put before the Church (and thus the world), it appears to me that this is the motive behind it all. They seem desperate to prove that they are important, a relevant player in world politics, a ‘force for good in the world.’ Observe how Pat. Bartholomew and his sycophants behave on the world stage. Whether it is the “Great Council of Crete,” his meddling in other Churches (always in the interest of Western powers), “climate change,” equivocation and/or blind eye to abortion, his intentional ignoring of the obvious evils he allows and passively promotes by his actions, his steadfast refusal to submit to a council of his ‘brethren,’ the actions of his GOA archbishop and others throughout the world…the list of examples that point in this direction are practically endless and increasingly difficult to ignore.

    Like virtually every other political figure in our day, the P of C simply says what he wants and does whatever he perceives to be in his own interest in the guise of selfless sacrifice and doing good for the world, all the while demonizing anyone who would stand in the way of his objectives. He may even have come to believe his own rhetoric; I really cannot say. He wouldn’t be the first to fall into the delusion that whatever serves his or his institution’s interests also serves the Church.

    In any case, if this perception is correct (and I freely admit that I could be wrong), this whole “first without equals” ploy is most likely not a real ‘theological/ecclesiological’ argument even in their own minds – at least not in the minds of those who are executing this as strategy. The lie is so big, so bold, so audacious, and so seemingly confidently affirmed as ‘the truth’ that it smacks of the sort of thing wily ‘progressive’ politicians employ to distract from the real objective which is always more power. And if they manage to gain some true believers along the way, all the better.

    Barring repentance, I would advise his All-Holiness and fellow sycophants to enjoy the many benefits that Western powers – and the United States in particular – bestow upon the regimes of first-without-equal rulers who make alliance with them. But be aware that once you have sold your soul for what they can give there will be no one to help you when your usefulness has been exhausted.

    • Good article, George. Timely.

      Good reply, Brian. I have been mulling this over in my mind for the last few years and I have an observation or two.

      Bartholomew was installed in office in 1991. During that time, he’d seen Reagan’s pressures on the Soviet Union, Gorbachev’s programs of openness unfold, and ultimately (at the time) the collapse of the USSR.

      With the exception of one or two of the Balts and Poland, Bartholomew then witnessed the breakdown and lawlessness of civil and economic life across the former SU/Warsaw Pact region. We all know of the breathtaking looting of the Russian economy by Western powers and domestic oligarcs, of the two horrible Chechen wars of that time, the very controversial Yeltsin presidency, and finally of the bankruptcy of Russia in 1999.

      Through all this, one cannot but have compassion for the captive populations having to suffer through these crises. It would be perfectly normal for any reasoning person to believe the Russian state was finished and would not recover. It is not a stretch to think Bartholomew also believed this.

      Yet it seems as though, behind the scene and unnoticed by most of the West, an enormous revival of the churches of the Russian and other Orthodox countries (along with Uniates and the Catholic churches in the region) was unfolding. Without exaggeration, this has been a time of great Christian revival. There has been hardly a murmur about it in the largely Protestant/atheist West; it is either ignored, or considered some kind of threat.

      It is simply not possible to rationally downplay the amazing rise of the Orthodox Church in the former Soviet lands any longer.

      With regards to Met Soterios of Toronto’s remarks, either this great revival of the Rus and other traditional Orthodox Churches is of God, or diabolically-wrought.

      Sure, Putin, Lavrov, Alexy II and Pat Kyrill all have serious issues in their past lives. We can’t afford to ignore them. We also can’t afford to ignore the many issues with Bartholomew, Elpidiphoros, Karloutsos, the missing millions, and the undeniable meddling of the US State Dept in the tragedies of the Ecumenical Patriarch and the ongoing ruination/further corruption of Ukraine. We are also unwise to ignore the current atmosphere of disobedience by priests to their heirarchs and to the Church; we need to ask who they are, what jurisdictions they are a part of, and what is the motivation behind their public behaviors.

      I think Bartholomew, Elpidiphoros and the others are reacting in desperation and alarm. The Russian Church and Her affiliates have become entirely too strong now. Met Soterios represents the growing rhetoric against this.

      Because these are tragedies. And with the leadership in such disarray, it really is up to the laity to hold to what they’ve been given, Holy Tradition. It is an unfailing yardstick by which to “rightly divide the word of Truth”. It may be a way the “knowledge . . . much increased” will work for us now.

      We also have the prophecies of Greek and Russian Saints to look back upon, plus the predictions of such a man as Fr Seraphim Rose (obm). From my recollections, the Greeks spoke more of a general falling-away in future times; the Russians and Rose were more specific to the resurgence of Russia. In my opinion, they have all been shown to be correct.

      Patriarch Kyrill now says Bartholomew lost Hagia Sophia as a result of grasping for Kiev. Archpriest Andrew Philips believes the coronavirus to be a movement of God to bring people to repentance, and as a way to limit and warn the West against further harm to the Orthodox Churchof the last forty years (remember Serbia).

      I think the truth is plain to those of us unencumbered enough to see all of the men involved in this crisis are far from perfect, as all men are. Only one group however, is clearly departing from the Truth.

    • Brian and Hans,

      Fantastic posts and insights. Thank you.

      Patr B and the Church of C’ple could appropriately honor the resurgence of the Church in Russia as a wonderful thing, praising their brother in Christ Patr Kyrill and his brethren in the Russian church.

      They could humbly take their place as the primus inter pares among the Orthodox episcopate, all the while acknowledging that the Russian Church is by far the largest and thereby most influential worldwide among the Orthodox family of churches.

      They chose not to take this path, but to instead, as you all accurately point out, hitch their wagon to the waning secular/atheist post-Protestant West.

      Crazy and stupid move, for so many reasons.

    • Consider the doctrine of Primus Inter Paribus as a garment
      issuing from the hand of the master tailor Elpidophorous.
      Replace King with Patriarch – and listen:

      Should we not all be the little boy?

  10. Hans,

    Can you clarify what you mean by…

    We are also unwise to ignore the current atmosphere of disobedience by priests to their heirarchs and to the Church; we need to ask who they are, what jurisdictions they are a part of, and what is the motivation behind their public behaviors.

    I am definitely relating to your overall thoughts, but I am unclear about what it is you are referring to here.

  11. Students of ecclesiastical history will recognize multiple similarities between what transpired in the years leading up to the Fall of Constantinople and the current spiritual state in the Church hierarchy (see the descriptions of Joseph Vryennios, and the orations of St. Mark of Ephesos at the pseudo-council of Ferrara).

    It is perhaps also a good time to remember the prophesies of St. Kosmas Aitolos, who said among other things…”the clergy will become the worst and most disrespectful of all”

    In this light, the word “disrespectful” and “heretical” can easily be observed and interchanged, based on what we see and hear…where can we begin concerning the signs of the times?

    1) When St. Paisios made the statement “it is best to put out a fire when it is small, before it turns into a raging wildfire and consumes you”, was he referring to “early career publications” like this one, which coined the phrase “First without equals”, by someone who is being a “forerunner” of his own ambitions for the Patriarchal throne? (This is a copy of the 2014 publication):

    Why would the Pope presiding over the Ferrara pseudo council of 1439 bother saying «Ἐποιήσαμεν λοιπὸν οὐδέν» (we have achieved nothing) given that he had already secured the Patriarch’s signature, but not that of St. Mark of Ephesus? Just this historical detail alone proves that there is not historical basis for a “Pope of the East”…otherwise, we are well aware of what would have occurred.

    2) Why isn’t anyone calling out hypocrisy on the topic of heresy, coming from the same person, during the SAME sermon? see this link:
    At minute 3:46, Elpidophoros reminds us “do you know how many HERESIES came about because they did not accept one word or the other? He actually goes on to mention all the churches who did not ascribe to the 4th Ecumenical Synod…this was accurate and good…but wait…

    Then, in minute 10:00, he references the epistle reading from Titus “A heretical man, after the 1st and 2nd admonition(counseling), abandon him…”
    He arrogantly tells a Greek-speaking congregation in Astoria, NY that because the “ancient word heretic” is difficult to understand, that’s what the sermon is for” (a.k.a. let ME tell you what it means).
    Elpidophoros’ definition? “A heretic is one who creates arguments, one who creates divisions, one who brings about bitter quarrels, hate, etc (10:50)
    And finally, at 11:30, he says “The other churches who are Christian, are NOT heretical”…

    So in the SAME sermon,
    a) he correctly used the term Heresy when he spoke about those ideologies of the past that did NOT accept a certain word,
    b) he correctly identified several churches that have not agreed with the 4th Ecumenical Synod
    c) he provided a DIFFERENT definition of heresy than that of St. Basil when he defined the terms schism/heresy/illegal congregation…(Is Elpidophoros telling the Greeks in Astoria that he knows ancient Greek better than St. Basil?)

    Isn’t there an argument here to classify this sermon as both disrespectful and heretical?

    3) So why are we surprised now that someone like Sotirios, with his track record, comes along to “define what is Orthodox”” and what is “extremism”? Why are we surprised with his recent attempts to “redefine” what is a correct prayer and what isn’t (concerning his ridiculous comments about the Jesus prayer)? Why are we surprised that Sotirios’ definition of “prayer” doesn’t match the biblical and patristic definition of the Publican’s prayer “Ο Θεος, ιλασθητι μοι τω αμαρτωλω.” (Luke) 18:13. Old and senile sometimes go together…that’s what we can conclude here.

    The problem here is that most of these problematic hierarchs believe we are all a bunch of illiterate sheep. They won’t realize that this is not the case until they are left with empty buildings to preach their non-Orthodox opinions in… we, the laity have free will to find good bishops, under any Canonical jurisdiction. The Canons are clear that you only need 3 Canonical bishops to continue a viable Church, and thank God, 3 good bishops still exist in this world…

    In the days of Christ, there were 12 disciples, one of whom was a thief and traitor….perhaps, in our day and age, this ratio of thieves and traitors is much, much worse….we have to take care and discern who we listen too. It is always polite to say to a hierarch, “until your face is among the iconography of this church, I prefer to listen to the saints that are already up there, and not to you”

  12. Anonymous II says

    Russian Orthodox Church against the protests in Russia:

    Metropolitan Hilarion, the head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, made a statement, without mentioning his name, against the Russian opposition politician and blogger Alexei Navalny, as well as a proportion of Russian citizens who participate in anti-government protests these days in Moscow and other cities.

    Following the Kremlin’s official line of communication, Metropolitan Hilarion used “encouragement/participation of children and adolescents in political events” as the main argument against the protests.

    This is one of the main arguments used by the Kremlin’s communication strategy to accuse Navalny and the other organizers of the protests.

    “The participation of children and adolescents in political activities is a completely unacceptable violation of civil law and order, and I think that the perpetrators should be held accountable for this,” said the Metropolitan.

    He even compared the current situation in Russia with the situation before the revolution of 1917 when “various propagandists” appeared, “some of whom were in the country and others abroad, in prosperous and peaceful Switzerland, and acted from there,” thus reiterating the Kremlin’s arguments for “foreign agents” inciting the mobilizations.

    He admitted that the country had many social problems and faced great corruption, however, “this is not a reason to call teenagers to take to the streets.” Elsewhere he said: “We know where the revolution led (…) The state must develop in an evolutionary way and not in a revolutionary way. We must not repeat the mistakes of the past, we must solve social problems together,” said Metropolitan Hilarion.

    Yesterday, January 31, thousands of Russians took to the streets of major cities to protest against state corruption and demand the release of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. More than 5,100 people were arrested by police for participating in the protests as they are officially considered illegal.

    • Christine Fevronia says

      FYI, that statement was made by Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of the Russian Orthodox Church, not to be confused with Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral) First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad (ROCOR) here in Eastern America. Met. Hilarion (Alfeyev) has the role of leading the Russian Orthodox Church’s Dept for External Church Relations in Russia and is responsible for issuing statements like this regarding the political life of Russians, so this sort of statement is not unusual.

      Navalny has criticized our beloved Patriarch Kirill on a number of occasions, has called for the Russian Orthodox Church to change its stance on allowing same-sex couples to adopt children, and is pro-abortion. He also has openly called for revolution against the Kremlin. While he has self-identified as a “typical post-soviet believer” in terms of Orthodoxy, he says he is “quite happy to live in an atheist milieu.” He has spread many lies to incite revolution, including the newest one about Putin’s Palace which doesn’t even belong to the Russian President. Now the U.S. State Department has inserted itself and the U.S. Embassy has made statements supporting Navalny’s protests (of course). Navalny’s primary supporters come from the impressionable younger generation, fueled by social media. I don’t pretend to be a subject matter expert on this at all, but I am giving the Russian Orthodox Church kudos for being very clear about where they stand. In this case, it isn’t so much that they are pro-Putin, rather it is that they are defending the morals of the Church at the intersection of westernized society, especially on behalf of the younger generation who are being incited to violence and overthrow of the government. I very much appreciate the Church coming out with a statement on where they stand regarding the riots and protests. It’s refreshing to have Church leaders who are not afraid to provide clear and concise guidance to their flocks during times of social upheaval and unrest. (Ahem…)

  13. George, the link is malformed. Should be .org rather than .lrg

    Makes me wonder if anyone actually went and read the piece before commenting on it. Never a good practice to take someone else’s word on the words of another.

  14. Only emperors could convene councils. The Orthodox bishop in Italy is not located in Rome because that would make him Pope of Rome. All Orthodox bishops use the name they were given when tonsured monks. Of course, nowadays, at least in the US in the GOA, one is tonsured a monk on Saturday, ordained a deacon on Sunday and eventually ordained a priest. Then, a few years down the line, is made an archimandrite, a title reserved for the igumen, or abbot, of a monastery.

  15. George Michalopulos says

    For those who have had trouble linking on the site, please go to and then click on the link inside the body of that essay.