Darkness is Descending

Mommy Dearest is sending a message alright.  She is sending the message that she is bringing home a special guest.  Uncle Francis is moving in.  In increasing numbers, his family will begin showing up as well.  How long could it be before they begin serving?  No fanfare.  No announcement.  They’re just there.




Liturgy at the Phanar Sends a Message to Moscow

On the occasion of the Thronal Feast of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, many representatives from the Churches of Cyprus and Ukraine and from the Vatican attended the Divine Liturgy which was concelebrated by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria in Constantinople. The event provided an ideal opportunity to show that the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Alexandria remain united despite the pressure and the sanctions of the Patriarchate of Moscow due to the issue of the autocephaly of the Church of Ukraine.

Not surprisingly, the two Patriarchs commemorated Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv which was written in the Diptychs. However, the fact that one bishop from the Church of Cyprus, Metropolitan Vasilios of Constantia and Ammochostos, attended the commemoration was of particular importance. Archbishop Yevstratiy of Chernihiv and Nizhyn from the Orthodox Church of Ukraine also concelebrated the Divine Liturgy.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: Division gives considerable impetus to restore unity

Vasilios Grigoriadis was ordained new Deacon of the Patriarchal Court by the Ecumenical Patriarch. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew praised him for having served as a clergyman at the Phanar despite the significant reduction in the Greek population in Constantinople. He also gave him the name of Apostle Barnabas and advised him to always follow the example of the Saint and to adhere to the principles of good pastoral work.

Metropolitan Makarios of Gortys and Arkadia: Whoever wants to undermine the Mother Church of Constantinople, one must eradicate the Holy Fathers, the tradition, and the legacy of Orthodoxy

Metropolitan Makarios of Gortys and Arkadia stressed that it was a very important day not only for the Ecumenical Patriarchate but also for Orthodoxy as a whole. He also spoke of the Ecumenical Patriarch’s brave decision to grant autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine. He said, “The threats and the libellous things that are said about you are unfair because you managed to grant autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which is a part of an independent state. History will prove your brave decision right. You will be praised by the Orthodox Ukrainian people as you will be a part of their history from now on.”

He added that not granting autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine would be inconsistent with the spirit of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as it is the Ecumenical Patriarchate that has been granting autocephaly to all Orthodox Churches of independent states. He also spoke of the importance of the Ecumenical Patriarchate at many levels within the Church world over the centuries and said that whoever wanted to undermine the Mother Church of Constantinople, one must eradicate the Holy Fathers, the tradition, and the legacy of Orthodoxy. He added, “Orthodoxy is inextricably linked to historical facts, as stated by a very important theologian of the 20th century, Georges Florovsky. To know our history is the only way to enhance our spiritual well-being and to combat dogmatism.”



  1. Joseph Lipper says

    There is nothing scandalous about representatives from the Vatican attending the Divine Liturgy.  I mean really, they should do it more often. 

    • Joseph,
      It’s almost a certainty that you will experience many more “joint” celebrations with the Roman Catholics in your Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America in the years to come.  

      You will probably also experience Roman Catholic clergy filling in and serving in GOA parishes in the near future.

       Thus, feel free to enjoy this innovative “path forward” while the rest of us Orthodox Christians look on in horror!

      • Joseph Lipper says

        I’m pretty sure the main jurisdiction currently pushing the “Western Rite” is ROCOR.  

        • Joseph Lipper says

          How do you like those statues on the altar?

          • Johann Sebastian says
          • What is your point?

            • Joseph Lipper says

              Statues on the altar… tolerated by economia I suppose.  Yet isn’t this an innovative path forward to receiving Western Rite parishes?  And it’s tolerated by ROCOR no less.  I realize these are most likely not consecrated altars by the ROCOR bishop, but where do you draw the line?  Lex orandi, lex credendi.

              • I guess one question would be, in the first 1000 years of Christianity, before the schism, were there statues on Western altars?  I do not know the answer.

                • Johann Sebastian says

                  It matters what we do with the statues (or icons).
                  If we cross the line between proskynesis and latreia, then both are bad. If we know and understand their purpose and our limits, then…whatever.

                • Nelly Raginas says

                  The first millenium was not the paradigm of unity as there were differing western and eastern traditions which agreed to disagree from Constantine until Charlemagne. In fact the church was ONLY unified during those four hundred years of late antiquity to early middle ages, and even that is a stretch.

                  • Antiochene Son says

                    True, but unity and uniformity are different things. We can have the former without the latter.
                    There is great freedom in Christ and there are many ways to be Orthodox, but there are also clearly defined boundaries. Rome’s heresy places her squarely outside those boundaries, while the presence of statuary does not.

          • Antiochene Son says

            Much better than the Pachamama idols and sacred dirt bowls of the Vatican. 

          • I like it alot. Immediately calls to mind the pre-schism Church. Thanks for posting these excellent examples of the breadth of the Orthodox Catholic Church.

          • Johann Sebastian says

            Here’s something that would approximate a pre-schism Latin Rite altar:
            Note that there are rods for curtains as well.

            • Antiochene Son says

              That is basically the same as the altar that was once in the Hagia Sophia.
              Rood screens were commonplace in the West as well, up until the Counter Reformation. They developed from a common ancestor shared with the iconostasis. Western Rite parishes ought to have them.

              • Monk James Silver says

                Yes.  The ‘rood screen’ of ancient western Christian liturgical architecture is a somewhat attenuated version of the templon once seen in all churches, east and west.  In byzantine usage it evolved into the eikonostasion with which most of us are familiar.
                This structure, which was erected to join the nave to the altar by defining sacred spaces has taken different forms in various places over time, but it’s significant for our discussion here to recall that in the Church of the Holy Apostles, erected at Constantinople by the emperor St Constantine in the fourth century, second in size and splendor only to that city’s cathedral of Holy Wisdom, the templon was  surmounted by STATUES of the twelve apostles.
                Despite our modern Orthodox avoidance of religious statuary in general, it remains true that there is no ontological difference between a sculpted image and a painted one, and there are no theological objections to the use of statues in Orthodox Christian piety

                • Antiochene Son says

                  Very interesting, thank you. 
                  I have always cringed at Orthodox who say, “we can have icons, but statues violate the Ten Commandments because they are ‘graven’ images.” Both kinds of images have always been found in the Church. 

                • Joseph Lipper says

                  On the Sunday of Orthodoxy, are there any processions with statues?  The triumph against iconoclasm seems to be entirely devoid of statues as far as I can tell. Even though it’s not expressly denounced by the Church, to add statues now would seem incongrous.

                  • Antiochene Son says

                    Just because statues are not a major part of the Eastern tradition doesn’t make them heretical. The Church has no problem with statues and we find them everywhere.

                  • Monk James Silver says

                    Statues of any sort are generally left in position — they’re usually just too heavy to be carried, although this is done in some RC contexts, usually by a group of strong men assigned to the task.

                    Panel ikons, though, are easily portable and can be carried in religious processions with very little effort, but this fact in no way suggests that they are theologically superior to statues.

                  • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

                    Mr. Lipper, for once on this blog I agree with you!

                    Your critique of statues is, in my estimation, intuitively correct. Especially since the iconoclastic controversy and a renewed appreciation of the Second Commandment, Orthodoxy, as I understand our Holy Tradition, has regarded art in three-dimensions–in contrast to hieratic paintings in two-dimensions capable of spiritual depth–as either too physically realistic or too abstract for proper veneration.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      On the other hand, the Church in the West was not iconoclastic, and thus perhaps didn’t need the lesson!

                    • Monk James Silver says

                      Perhaps the seventh/eighth-century heresies didn’t have much of an effect in western Europe, but that wasn’t the only iconoclastic period in Christian history.

                      ‘Tim R. Mortiss’ would do well to reconsider his words, since western Europe — especially England — is not lacking in churches full of now-empty niches, disfigured images of the saints, and stained-glass windows vandalized by Protestants in and after the sixteenth century.

                      Can this be defined by a word other than ‘iconoclasm’?

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      I didn’t say anything about there having been no iconoclasm in late Western Christianity; i.e. in the Reformation.
                      My simple point is that the Western church was not part of the 7th/8th century iconoclastic heresies which roiled the East. Accordingly, it wasn’t part of the reaction to it upon restoration of Orthodoxy– and my speculation is that that had something to do with the fact that the West’s iconography developed along different lines.
                      Sometimes I find these changes-of-subject confusing!

        • Western Rite Orthodoxy, Joseph, not Western heresy. Don’t obfuscate. I think I can hear a barrel scraping somewhere…

          • Joseph Lipper says

            Basil, do you think ROCOR’s “Western Rite” parishes might be a “bridge” towards union with Rome?

            • Don’t be ridiculous. I have met people in the WR and they have no interest in uniting with Rome. These parishes are created specifically for people leaving heretical Western churches. You’re clutching at straws.

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Yes, it’s currently seen as a bridge away from Rome, yet at the same time it also brings Orthodoxy closer to Rome.  Bridges go both ways.

                • Antiochene Son says

                  ROCOR and Antioch are the only ones who have Western Rite parishes. I don’t see them uniting with Rome; indeed, based on the WR people I know, they are among the harshest critics of Rome. They see Rome as having destroyed their religious cultural heritage.
                  The uber-hellenes who have no cultural ties to Rome are the ones cozying up to false union. 

                  • Monk James Silver says

                    Not long ago, certainly within the past year, the ROCOR was forced — due to a complicated situation in England — to admit that the ‘Western Rite’ was never considered anything more than a temporary arrangement.

                    It wasn’t ever clear to me whether this was intended to describe individual experiences, or if the whole WR enterprise was going to be phased out.

                    The WR has really not served as anything like a lifeboat or even a raft, but as a sort of illusion for people who just couldn’t — they thought — bring themselves to get over their perceived cultural limitations.

                    In any event, I’ve long thought that the WR movement is a failed experiment, and that it would be a good idea for it to be absorbed into byzantine practice kike the rest of the Orthodox Christian world.

                    • I doubt St John Maximovith would have agreed with you.

                    • I ask honestly, in complete ignorance, and without attempting to lead you or any other respondent into some sort of rhetorical trap:

                      1. What liturgy would have been used in the now-British Isles before William the Conqueror?  I believe the Celts did have Orthodoxy.
                      2. Did the Church reach the western Norse, what we would now call Denmark / Norway / Sweden, and if so:  What liturgy would they have used?

                      I am partisan ROCOR, but not out of ethnic affinity, if that helps you to parse this question.  As far as I am aware:  If I wanted to be an ethnophyletist, the opportunity for heresy has been stolen from me by a solid millennium, but it would at least be intellectually interesting if Bart and Frank conspired to give me a chance to lapse.

                    • Monk James Silver,
                      Since I have taken some interest in Western Rite and have heard nothing of what you just claimed, I’m going to ask you to substantiate that first statement of yours.
                      They used a local use of Roman Rite, dependent on location. As for a ‘Celtic Rite,’ the Stowe Missal is considered to generally be more or less a variant of the Roman Rite.

                    • Johann Sebastian says

                      And the Sarum Rite.
                      It should be noted that even in Italy, the Roman Rite wasn’t uniformly used. The Ambrosian Rite was used in the north and was part of the Gallican family of rites, I believe. The Byzantine Rite was widely used in the south.

                • Antiochene Son says

                  No, the true bridge (or rather, superhighway) out of Orthodoxy is the asinine use of economy which allows “mixed” (or rather, unequally yoked) marriages.
                  And this is a phenomenon, in my observation, almost wholly unique to cradle Orthodox. In fact, I don’t know a single convert who went on to marry a heterodox person. In every case they brought their spouse into the Orthodox Church first.
                  Conversely, I know a number of couples with one cradle Orthodox and one Catholic. Sadly, the children of some dear friends of mine are in the middle of this regression as we speak. Their kids tend to be less solid in Orthodoxy and more likely to favor ecumenism. I’m sure some receive communion in both churches.
                  Undue familiarity with heresy leads to more heresy. Mixed marriages do this, while the WR, which is corrected for Orthodox theology, does not. 

                  • Tim R. Mortiss says

                    I have a mixed marriage…as a Presbyterian lad of 19, I married a Catholic girl of 19. This was all in 1967, the Summer of Love! Indeed, I was a student at Cal/Berkeley at the time. The latitudinarian Jesuit back then required only that I promised not to interfere with my wife’s practice of the Roman Catholic faith.
                    Fifty-two and a half years later, I am Orthodox, she is Catholic (though pretty lapsed, when all is said and done), most of our vast progeny are devout Christians, and one son and his four children are Orthodox.
                    So confusing! Sadly! Mixed marriages! Oy vey! America!
                    The good thing is that the whole bunch is orthodox, big O or small o. Could be worse! I have long perceived the Holy Spirit at work in all this; but I can’t be as sure as others, sometimes….

                    • Mr. Mortiss addresses a topic I have thought of often. My wife and I came into the church in 1987 and our path was through a mostly convert Antiochian parish. Since my reception in Orthodoxy I have seen dramatic changes in my life that I can only attribute to exposure to Godly priests { Antiochian-GOA and Serbian } and personal study. All of my family are non Orthodox. Some of them and long time evangelical and RC friends seem to have an “organic” understanding of issues that took me years to come to. All this to say, I am blessed to pray with anyone who names the name of Christ, whether they be in the “true church” or not.

                  • Monk James Silver says

                    Basil (December 3, 2019 at 10:21 pm) says:

                    Monk James Silver, Since I have taken some interest in Western Rite and have heard nothing of what you just claimed, I’m going to ask you to substantiate that first statement of yours.  SNIP

                    Perhaps ‘Basil’ can start here:
                    I encourage interested correspondents to contact Bp Jerome Shaw or any Western Rite priest/parish of ROCOR for further clarification.

                    • Monk James,

                      You said ‘certainly within the past year’ and ‘complicated situation in England.’ This is neither; it was six years ago and occurred in New York or thereabouts. It’s old news. ROCOR’s WR has grown substantially since then.

                • It’s not a bridge, it’s a life raft. People don’t use life rafts to go back to sinking ships.

            • Johann Sebastian says

              You speak as if we believe union with Rome is a bad thing. Union with Rome would be wonderful…if Rome reverted to Orthodoxy. They don’t appear to be on that path.

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Johann Sebastian, I agree with you.  Union with Rome would be wonderful, if Rome reverted to Orthodoxy.

                • Joseph,
                  Union with Rome would be wonderful, if Rome reverted to Orthodoxy, not to the Ecumenist & Syncretist “orthodoxy” preached imposed by Bartholomew.

                  • Johann Sebastian says

                    Amen, Ioannis.

                    Will a day ever come that a Pope and his Curia repudiate and renounce forcefully every heresy and innovation that runs contrary to the first seven Councils of the Church? Only when that day comes can we say yes to reunion.

                    Surely we cannot insist that the Roman Rite (and the multitude of other Western rites that Rome has suppressed) be stripped of every single accretion it has acquired since the 11th Century, since it too is part of a living tradition and as such useful as an instrument to bring Westerners into the True Church. Reevaluate everything since that time. What is contrary to Orthodoxy, cast aside. What is consonant with Orthodoxy, staunchly keep. What doesn’t really matter one way or another–allow it to remain so long as its expression can be construed as reverent and dignified.

                    Even our Byzantine Rite has changed through the centuries–and it too has superseded and absorbed a plurality of other Eastern rites among the duophysite Churches. But the difference between us and the West is that we haven’t abandoned our Orthodoxy whereas the Latins have–and it is plainly visible in the development and integrity of our respective rites.

                  • Joseph Lipper says


                    Syncretist? Well, that seems to describe ROCOR’s tolerance and acceptance for Western Rite praxis. For example, we can see that it’s acceptable to have statues on ROCOR altars now. That’s syncretist.

                    • Johann Sebastian says

                      No it isn’t.
                      Having a statue of Krishna and saying it’s really Christ is.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      The Romans were never iconoclasts. The Syrians and the Copts and the Ethiopians likewise. Who knows how Eastern iconography might have developed had there been no iconoclasm? Its great development was in part a reaction against iconoclasm.
                      So Oriental Orthodox icons have an undeveloped, sometimes primitive quality. Western developments were in an opposite direction. Neither go to the crux of the Faith.
                      The West was always different than the East, and would have been different even without the schism.

                    • Bob Turniral says

                      But this is the great syncretism of those who killed Jesus and stole his religion: Athena the Virgin became Mary, Hercules Khrisna became Jesus and Apollo became Helias (notice they changed him from Elijah to resemble Helios), Mokosh became Paraskeva and so on. Micrea Eliade wrote all about it.

                    • Monk James Silver says

                      An image is an image is an image.
                      There is no theological objection to the use of religious statues by Orthodox Christians.  Some of them survived the heresies of the eighth century, and some of them even remain (mostly in museums) from the islamic destruction of the byzantine empire.
                      In Russia, St Neilos of Sora and St Nicholas, as the guardian of the city of Mozhaisk, are almost always represented as sculptures, sometimes free-standing and sometimes in bas-relief.  Personally, I have a miniature wooden shrine holding a tiny ivory  statue of Christ Pantokrator, carved many years ago in the USSR’s gulag.
                      Our general avoidance of religious sculpture arises from pagan use of three-dimensional idols in Greece, Rome, and elsewhere, 
                      People, even minimally educated in history and theology, are usually able to understand the difference between a pagan idol and a christian religious image.  This is important, since painted images  have often been worshiped as idols, too.
                      There are some real and very serious theological differences between Orthodoxy and heterodoxy;  this isn’t one of them.

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      The pictures on ROCOR’s Western Rite website show a stone altar being used with statues of angelic figures holding trumpets.   Given that the altar was built after the Catholics were anathematized, there are probably some Orthodox who would surmise that such statues actually represent some type of demonic figure appearing as an angel, such as Moroni.  


                    • Joseph, 
                      you know I, for my part, do not want to avoid any of your comments or questions.
                      In this case my reply is that I honestly do not know ROCOR churches at all, for the simple reason I never saw one in Europe, I have never seen those statues myself, and I do not know what they believe about them. 
                      Having said that, the reply from Johann Sebastian makes a lot of sense to me. We do not use statues in Greece Churches but some people do use like statues of angels on their graves in Greece, and nobody cares or thinks something anti-Orthodox about/with/for/by them.
                      So, until I have a personal experience I’ ll stay with Johann Sebastian.

                    • Solitary Priest says

                      First of all, not everyone in ROCOR is a big supporter of this Western Rite business. Metropolitan Hilarion appears to be. Perhaps, he is trying to follow in the footsteps of ROCOR’S first Metropolitan, Anthony Khrapovitsky. Metropolitan Anthony was very supportive of Old Believers being reconciled to the church. In Russia, he supported their being allowed to retain the old rite. I seem to remember a very old priest, long since deceased, who witnessed Metropolitan Anthony serving in the old rite in Russia. Also, as Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine, he was well disposed to moderate Ukrainian nationalism. I came across a picture of him serving a moleben for Hetman Paul Skoropadsky, Ukraine’s monarch in 1918. 
                           Secondly, though I have no doubt that St. John of San Francisco is a real saint, he did make mistakes. It is significant to note that not one of St. John’s fellow Russian bishops would join him in consecration of a bishop for the Western Rite. He was able to consecrate the bishop with the help of Bishop Theophil, a Romanian bishop, then in ROCOR. As I recall, that bishop( Pierre, I think), turned out to be a disaster for ROCOR.
                          Funny you should talk about syncretism, when the EP has been a hotbed of Masonry since at least the time of Meletios Metaxakis. I notice that just about everybody posting here who defends Masonry, also tends to be pro-EP, anti- Russian, and definitely anti- Monarchist. 

                    • Christopher McAvoy says

                      I speak with first hand experience of participating in the role of  being a lay clerk singing Gregorian chant at a ROCOR Latin (Western) Rite mission under a very excellent priest. I recognize the complexity of the educational formation within members of our Vicariate, some having less, some having more. It is a serious task to encourage the development of present day Latin Roman Rite Parishes which more consistently connected to the first 1200 years of Latinity when it was, for the most part, Orthodox.
                      To remove the various manifestations of baroque/late medieval Roman Catholic and or Protestant spiritual practices which are contradictory to Orthodoxy is no overnight task, but nor is it impossible. Some patience is required, as well as challenging peoples comfort zones and allowing them to embrace ancient practices which though unfamiliar, are for our benefit.
                      Many times in missions churches are chosen which are absolutely not ideal for the use of the Orthodox but are neither featuring absolutely forbidden accountrements. In this regard, one may find less ideal “sanctuary” choices used even in missions using the byzantine rite. 
                      Lastly, I believe a fellow by the name of Anthony Bondi (who is no longer orthodox and ) was the person who picked that particular franciscan priory church temple our to be used for annual gatherings. Let it be said that Mr Bondi is known to have made a number of choices during the time he had a role in the vicariate which were not subsequently regarded as what was in everyones best interest. Though his intentions were for the most part, quite noble in spirit and some of his legacy is positive, he was not above making mistakes, in which case some eventually cost him his position of leadership.

                    • Antiochene Son says

                      Solitary Priest: St. John was pretty much reviled by the rest of his brother bishops during his lifetime, was he not? I have heard stories of those who survived to his glorification in 1994, weeping over his relics and begging for forgiveness.
                      Not that the saints are impeccable, but there may have been more at play with those bishops you mentioned than just a dislike for the Western Rite. 

              • Monk James Silver says

                Basil (December 4, 2019 at 1:05 pm) says:

                Monk James,

                You said ‘certainly within the past year’ and ‘complicated situation in England.’ This is neither; it was six years ago and occurred in New York or thereabouts. It’s old news. ROCOR’s WR has grown substantially since then.


                That the ‘ ROCOR’s WR has grown substantially’ seems unlikely, since their bishops decreed, six years ago, that all new WR clergy and parishes would be expected to follow the usual liturgical practices of ‘Eastern Orthodoxy’ while retaining some few ‘necessary’ (undefined) characteristics.

                That document — unless it has been rescinded, which is possible but not probable — provides pretty much everything you need to know about the situation.

                As I mentioned earlier, a recent situation in England caused the ROCOR to be a bit more emphatic about its position on the WR. As I suggested, you are encouraged to investigate this further yourself. Don’t expect me to do your homework for you.

                • Considering that I know people who are involved in ROCOR’s Western Rite, I do actually know that it has grown since 2013, and continues to use Western Rites exclusively (Latin and Gallican). That document is six years old and the situation has changed.
                  You made very clear statements and have not backed them up with any evidence. It’s not doing my homework, it’s supporting your claims. Please provide evidence for your statements, which are of interest to the readers.

        • Henry Tramins says

          Wierd. Some regular Russian ROCOR friends insist original sin is acceptable and they are surprised when I produce Pomazansky to the contrary.
          You have to read Unholy Trinity. 1998. p.152 about how ROCOR was a dupe for Rome, Stalin and plenty others. 

          • The concept of original sin is actually affirmed by the Council of Carthage, which was affirmed by the 6th Ecumenical Council. The idea that original sin includes inherited guilt is what we reject, not the phrase. And I don’t believe Fr. Michael Pomazansky says anything to the contrary.

          • How exactly do you figure ROCOR was a dupe of Stalin or Rome?

    • Joseph [Editor: Removed] Attending? Of course no scandal.  When a Catholic Bishop hands out antidoron with congregants kissing his hands, disgusting.  When Black Bart sits on the bishop’s throne in Latin churches, disgusting.  Don’t know who you are or where your agenda comes from but just join the Roman Church now.  You are clearly no part of us and neither is Black Bart these days.

    • Joseph Lipper,

      “There is nothing scandalous about representatives from the Vatican attending the Divine Liturgy.  I mean really, they should do it more often.”
       I assume you mean that:
      the representatives of the Vatican… should do it more often… until they become  Orthodox”,
      is that correct Joseph?

    • Alitheia1875 says

      You CANNOT pray  with non-Orthodox. It’s as simple as that and as complicated as that. Basic Orthodox ecclesiology. Just ask St. Mark Eugenicos.

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        I am the Patriarch of the [Mortiss] family, the husband of one wife, the father of five children, the father-in-law of three, the grandfather of twelve, and the grandfather-in-law of two. (I count twenty four. This doesn’t count my sister and my four younger brothers and their families.)
        I raised my children as Christians, all remain so and some are especially devout. So also with my grandchildren, on and on. One son and his four children are Orthodox; he and I joined the Church at the same time. He basically told me that it was time to stop ‘fellow traveling’ with the Orthodox and join up. So we did! This was followed not long after by the baptism into the Orthodox faith of my four youngest grandchildren.
        I pray all of the time with all of my family. We have meals with many of the group several times per week, and with everybody regularly. I will pray with them in our Lord’s name ever and always.

        • George Michalopulos says

          We likewise should pray for you and other such Christlike people.

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            I am not that, George, by any means. But I do pray with the non-Orthodox; to wit, my Christian children and grandchildren. Including when I am at their homes and they or their husbands lead the prayers. To use Monk James Silver’s wonderfully condescending phrase (after that bit about feather-dusting):

            “That little bit of housekeeping aside, we often find ourselves in gatherings where someone of another religion is leading some sort of prayer.”

            I visualize the Orthodox arriving in their (small) numbers in the Western hemisphere, in their longboats, or their coracles, or fishing boats, and their wonder at people of “another religion leading some sort of prayer”! How mysterious it all must have seemed! So much so that they’ve kept to themselves ever since….

      • Solitary Priest says

        Look, I agree that we can’t and shouldn’t attempt to drive out non-Orthodox who visit our churches. A wise old ROCOR priest said that if we go that far, we will likely never see them again. Then, we would loose the chance of ever bringing them to the faith.
        BUT, no Orthodox priest should bless people in his flock to commune in non-Orthodox churches. I don’t care who he is. This is why people are confused. One priest’s words contradict another’s. I welcome non-Orthodox visitors. But I wouldn’t bless my people to commune outside the church. If that is offensive to you or others, I’m sorry.

      • Monk James Silver says

        First, we need to be clear about something. The priest who advised Orthodox Christians to ‘receive communion’ in a Roman Catholic church was wrong, wrong as could be. This is not an exercise in sentimentalism, but a statement of ecclesiology, since there is no ‘holy communion’ in the RCC — their people receive only bread and wine (if wine is offered). The Eucharist exists only within The Church, and not outside of it. The canons are clear on this point: any Orthodox Christians who knowingly participates in the rites of ANY other religion automatically excommunicates themselves from the Orthodox Church. They must bring this to confession, and accept an appropriate penitential discipline.

        That little bit of housekeeping aside, we often find ourselves in gatherings where someone of another religion is leading some sort of prayer.

        We’re expected to be faithful, not rude, so we — externally — appear to be doing what everyone else is doing at the same time as we pray silently in our own way.

        If we are blessed to have non-Orthodox visitors come to church with us, we will share what we can and guard what we must, but always kindly. The interesting thing here is that we are not praying with them — they are praying with us!

        This reminds me of a Russian joke I heard a while ago.

        Vanya said to Kolya, ‘I asked the priest if it was OK if I smoked while I said my prayers, and he got pretty angry with me’. Kolya replied, ‘You didn’t ask the right question. Go back and ask if it’s OK to pray while you smoke’, which he did. A week or so later, Kolya asked Vanya if he’d met with the priest again and asked the question as he’d suggested. ‘Yes, yes! The priest told me that we’re supposed to pray at all times!.’

        Context is everything, and our good intentions aren’t lost on the Lord, our only just Judge.

        Still, as our great teacher, the holy apostle Paul, tells us, ‘Let everything be done decently and in order.’

        We have to follow the rules, but we also have to be kind to each other, even to people outside of The Church.

      • Michael Bauman says

        saunca, when non-Orthodox attend Divine services in the Church, they are praying with us, not we with them.  Big difference. 
        I believe the prohibition is aimed at not assembling together to worship, i.e. not communing with them and partaking of their rites.  Prayer is not the same thing if the prayer is to Christ. That we seem to equate them indicates the reduction of our understanding of worshipping together with the Incarnate and Risen Lord.  
        When I first came to an Orthodox Church I fully expected to be asked to leave at some point based on what I had read. I was perplexed and somewhat disappointed that did not happen.   
        To approach God is a fearful thing if one is not prepared and even if there has been preparation.  One should never do it with careless heart expecting, even demanding to he received.  That is the modern way.  

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          Why be disappointed at the practice of the Church? It seems to me that we should not seek to be ‘purer’ or more severe than the given practice of the community.

          I don’t regard all of this as a problem. As one who was a very ‘involved’ Protestant up to my joining the Orthodox Church at age 66, with life-long associations with innumerable non-Orthodox Christians, my own ‘method’ is simple:
          I don’t attend non-Orthodox services for ‘worship purposes’. That is to say, I never go any longer to non-Orthodox Sunday services, or other services, i.e., ‘church services’ as such. I don’t take communion under any circumstances at any such churches. (I definitely agree that communion is obviously not permissible.)
          I do freely go to non-Orthodox services for collateral reasons, so to speak: weddings, funerals and memorial services, some special thing such as a friend inviting me to a baptism, etc. When there I participate in prayer, without regard to ‘they with me’, ‘me with them’, ‘with reservations’, or any other such convolutions. When I pray the Lord’s Prayer with them, I pray it with them. It is the same prayer I have said daily since childhood.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Very well put, TimR.  I think you have provided the correct paradigm when it comes to “joint worship” for “collateral purposes”.

  2. Alitheia1875 says

    Not by accident was reference made to Father Georges Florovsky, who was, of course, Russian. Ironic, too, is the fact that when he retired from Harvard, the Greek Archdiocese said no to his request to live on the Holy Cross campus with his wife and teach, only to be reimbursed via room and board. He went on to teach at Princeton for some 17 years I believe.

    • Archpriest Alexander F.C. Webster says

      “Alitheia1875,” Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology was not uniquely shortsighted and downright foolish in 1964 regarding Fr. Georges Florovsky.

      Here is the “rest of the story.” (Thank you, Paul Harvey!)

      Arguably the greatest Orthodox theologian and scholar in the 20th century, Fr. Georges did not “retire” from Harvard University by choice. By 1964, after teaching at Harvard for a decade, he had reached the biblical age of 70. In those days, before the recent social awareness of the “bigotry” of “ageism,” Harvard imposed that particular age limit on active faculty. And so Fr. Georges was compelled to “retire.” (On a personal note, I arrived at Harvard Divinity School in 1974, ten years later, as one “untimely born”! If Fr. Georges had been allowed to continue at Harvard and lived another decade, as he did and then some in New Jersey, I would have had the distinct privilege of taking courses with him as one of my professors.)

      As you note, Fr. Georges, after the HCGOST rebuff (combined with the Harvard “ageist” folly), picked up and travelled south to Princeton University, which was delighted to welcome him to their faculty at any age. That turned out to be a most prudent and productive decision by both Fr. Georges and Princeton.

  3. I guess the Phanariotes have to throw out Cyril of Alexandria for “undermining” Nestorios. Same goes for St. Maximus the Confessor, St. Sophronios of Jerusalem, St Mark Evgenicus, St. Theodore the Studite and countless others.

  4. It is very interesting to witness the opposite speak that eminates from Phanar. For example, they say that the “Mother Church” is being undermined and threatened. But it is the EP that is undermining the faith and threatening other autocephalous Churches. They say that to “undermine” the Church of Constantinople, is to eradicate the holy Fathers and the Tradition of the faith. And yet it is the EP that is pushing post- patristic nonsense which re-writes the holy Tradition. They quote Georges Florovsky. And yet I am quite certain that he would be horrified at the behavior and actions of today’s EP. They say that history will prove right the EP’s “brave” decision to grant autocephaly to a group of laymen. And yet history will prove that the EP tore the fabric of holy Orthodoxy to pieces with this uncanonical power grab. They claim that the EP will be praised by the Ukrainian people. But in reality, Bartholomew will be remember as a divider of the country. The only thing stated accurately, is the fact that Bartholomew will be part of Ukraine’s history from now on…but not in the way being perceived by the phanariotes. History will show him to be an adversary of the Orthodox faith in Ukraine and throughout the world. It is revealing to see how they condemn themselves with their own words.


    And what a disgusting load of bilge. The legal Church of Ukraine under Onouphrios is JUST AIR BRUSHED OUT OF HISTORY! Not even mentioned. THESE MILLIONS of believers obviously do not live in the same Ukraine then?    And the scandal of the invalidity of sacraments, just ignored 

  6. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    The EP has destroyed the Church’s unity. He has rendered unto Cesar the things of  God and is embracing a false union with Rome that i and many others in the GOAA cannot and must not support. Darkness has truly descended. Much, MUCH prayer and sincere repentance is needed.
    Lord have mercy.
    Peter A. Papoutsis 

    • George C Michalopulos says

      Indeed.  I agree, Peter.  
      And most of us agree that we speak out of sorrow, not anger.  There is no personal animus against the EP.  As Orthodox Christians, we love our Church as it is –with equal, local Churches upholding the Faith.

    • Peter you are right.  And let’s speak in plain language.  Black Bart stuffed $50 million in bribes in his pocket to do his evil deeds.  Hopefully in the next world he will received his just reward.  And it won’t be pretty.

  7. And this just in:
    On the Feast Day of St. Andrew, Pope Francis confirmed the Vatican’s intent -with the Phanar – to move forward with this ‘union.’ 
    You can read the article here, https://spzh.news/en/news/66817-papa-francisk–fanaru-my-tverdo-namereny-vosstanovity-polnoje-obshhenije
    Or you can read it here: 

    The Roman pontiff wrote in his traditional message to Patriarch Bartholomew about the work aimed at “re-establishing full communion” between Catholics and Orthodox.

    On November 30, 2019, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, sent a congratulatory message to the Patriarch of Bartholomew on the occasion of the feast of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called – the holy patron of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
    In the message, the Roman pontiff emphasized that through the delegation of the RCC, which participates in the festivities of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, he conveys “the assurance of the unwavering intention of the Catholic Church, as well as my own, to continue in our commitment to working towards the re-establishment of full communion among Christians of the East and the West.”
    Recalling the 40th anniversary of the Joint International Commission on Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches which is celebrated this year, the head of the RCC noted that the issue of restoring communion “continues to challenge our Churches”.
    “During his visit to Phanar, Pope John Paul II said that “the question we should ask ourselves is not whether we can re-establish full communion but rather whether we have the right to remain separated,” the pontiff wrote. “This question, which is only seemingly rhetorical, continues to challenge our Churches and demands that all the faithful respond with a renewal of both attitude and conduct.”
    At the same time, he emphasized that “the search for the re-establishment of full communion among Catholics and Orthodox is certainly not confined to theological dialogue, but is also accomplished through other channels of ecclesial life.”
    “Our relations are nourished above all through authentic gestures of mutual respect and esteem. <…> The Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church have already embarked upon this promising journey, as testified by our joint initiatives. I trust also that in local contexts all of us will increasingly strengthen the daily dialogue of love and life in shared spiritual, pastoral, cultural and charitable projects,” wrote the RCC head in his address to Patriarch Bartholomew.
    As reported by the UOJ, on November 29 and 30, 2019 at the Phanar, celebrations are held on the occasion of the feast of St. Apostle Andrew the First-Called, attended by Patriarch Theodore, Primate of the Alexandrian Orthodox Church, and representatives of the Roman Catholic Church, headed by Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.

  8. Cyprus will fall next, just watch. This is the same thing we saw with Alexandria, one lone bishop to test the waters…then boom, Alexandria commemorates the schismatics. Mark my words, this is the same thing with Cyprus

    • Menas,
      what Orthodox populations and % of total
      are we talking about?
      These are rounded-off data from Wikipedia:











       North Macedonia 




       Bosnia & Herzegovina 




       United States 










       Russia   80,000,000 43.5%
       Ukraine  31,000,000 16.9%
       Romania  16,300,000 8.9%
       Greece  10,300,000 5.6%
       Serbia  8,500,000 4.6%
       Belarus  4,600,000 2.5%
       Bulgaria  4,400,000 2.4%
       Kazakhstan  4,300,000 2.3%
       Georgia  3,550,000 1.9%
       Moldova  3,160,000 1.7%
       North Macedonia  1,610,000 0.9%
       Germany  1,500,000 0.8%
       Spain  1,500,000 0.8%
       Syria  1,200,000 0.7%
       Bosnia & Herzegovina  1,100,000 0.6%
       Kyrgyzstan  1,000,000 0.5%
       Uzbekistan  1,000,000 0.5%
       Italy  900,000 0.5%
       United States  818,000 0.4%
       Cyprus  782,000 0.4%
       Australia  563,000 0.3%
       Canada  551,000 0.3%
       Montenegro  510,000 0.3%
       Austria  500,000 0.3%
       Transnistria  460,000 0.3%
       Turkmenistan  410,000 0.2%
       Latvia  370,000 0.2%
       Egypt  350,000 0.2%

      • I guess having been born and baptized and lived all my life until now in the GOA that is where I am counted.  I will never ever again consider the Bishop of Istanbul my spiritual leader.  Time to re-examine the numbers.   I look to Theophilus of Jerusalem and God forbid he goes into schism then I look to Moscow.

        • Exactly bro’ !

        • Michael,
          you are very lucky in the US to have so many alternative jurisdictions (forget the single US Church) you can choose a good one.
          On the other hand it’s gonna be kinda hard for us in Greece, outside Athens,
          it’s gonna be either Bartholomew or OC or travelling many hours.
          Any advice?
          What would You do?

          • Antiochene Son says

            I don’t think anyone with credibility has claimed that the sacraments of Constantinople, Alexandria, and Greece are graceless. That would be quite a stretch, as the whole Church except for Moscow remains in communion with them. To claim otherwise is getting into serious “true Orthodox” territory.

          • Ιωάννη. We travel to Thessaloniki Wednesday, from Sofia tomorrow, to see family. We even debating about to go to St Dmitry shrine.
            We are lucky here in Bulgaria in that Church is holding firm but very good patriarch is an ill man, dying many say. If it folds we are stuck unless local bishop does not, but otherwise either the Russian church in Sofia or old calendarists. Or travel across border to Serbia as Church in Macedonia in schism. But we can’t do that every week or feast.

    • Johann Sebastian says
  9. Will there be people within these patriarchates that will stick to Orthodoxy or will Bartholomew be leading them all into schism and heresy? I have a hard time believing that everyone within the Church of Greece and the Patriarchate of Alexandria (especially the sub-Saharan portion) that will go along with this. What is to be done? 
    I am traveling in Europe right now and went into a (seemingly) Slavic parish for Liturgy, as soon as I heard Constantinople commemorate I left, it’s gotten to that point for me
    Lord have Mercy 

    • Peter we go to Greece next week Thessaloniki and will not now for to venerate St Dmitri How do we  feel.!!  
      And if Bulgaria goes, where we live, What do we do. ?  

      • Second thought is re USA. UNDER A MILLION ACTIVE ORTHODOX.   Where did the other 2_3 million go??   What a lot these new in black have to answer for. They still now argueing over the DECK chairs.  Do they not see how irrelevant they are behind their pious bilge??? 

  10. Me thinks that most pious, and right-believing Orthodox Christians will see through all of this ridiculous nonsense coming from the EPC. (At least that’s what I’m hoping for.)

  11. ThePracticalist says

    Let’s not act like the “Orthos” are a great catch for the Catholics. We can’t manage ourselves , we’re broke, corrupt beyond fixing, and the customers are fleeing for the exits, plus–and it’s clear–we DISLIKE each other (read the comments here last the two years). If there’s any deal offered, I’d look at it real carefully. That’s smart business and it’s a survival strategy.  

    • Antiochene Son says

      The last time we united with Rome for the sake of survival, God destroyed Constantinople. 

      • …and the Turk was his instrument. The historical (and religious) irony is that when the Latins failed to rescue the heretic Patriarch and the City fell, Mehmet the Conqueror replaced him with an Orthodox one.

        • Looking to erdogan,  just as LENIN SAVED THE RUSSIAN CHURCH from state was in in 1917  with Rasputin creatures running it. God works in strange ways for each one of us and the  Church 

          • Nikos stone says

            Yes I know Rasputin was killed in December 1916 but his creatures ran the Church. He is interesting figure and not all bad. He opposed wwi and was a helper to those in need and a deep believer, but he was an altogether negative influence on Russian church. As he saw the corruption there and cynically added to it.  
            The Revolution brought Tikhon and a cleansing  and renewing. 
            Do we need same.? 

  12. Michael Bauman says

    “Unity” without union is a delusion and the evident fact that neither Bart, the Betrayer not Francis, the finagler seem to know nor care the the Orthodox Church is not Bart is astoundingly dense.  

    • You might try a tad more respect since your bishop and Archdiocese are in communion with the EP, and so I guess you are too. Our language feeds the wolf we should starve….

      • Gail Sheppard says

        The truth knows no bounds, Anonoca.

        • The TRUTH makes us free, not slaves to bitterness. All these anomalies will pass. I the meantime, we should set some boundaries of civility…

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Who is bitter??? It is the boundaries of what you call “civility” that got us into this mess. “Pay and obey” didn’t get us very far.

            • Gail exactly. This false humility as excuse to do nothing, has got us where we are and it ain’t parade!

      • Michael Bauman says

        Anonoca, for the moment at least, you are correct.  But only in great perplexity and unease.  I was reminded this morning that the brotherly ties between the MP and the AP are deep both here in the United States and in Syria.  As a people and an Archdiocese we will stand with the MP if it comes to that tragic end. We however do not wish it or seek it.  Much less a union with Rome.  
        If Bart, the Betrayer declares union with Rome, he and any who follow him are outside the Church.  My Bishop knows exactly how I feel and why.  He thanked me for telling him and has not rebuked me.  
        May God continue to be merciful to all of us.

  13. Practicalist, the vast majority of the people who post here do not dislike each other. In fact I would venture a guess that more than 90% here are in agreement with the following: (1) Patriarch Bartholomew has inflicted great harm on the Church by his actions in Ukraine (2)A Pan-Orthodox Council needs to be called to deal with the issue of the power to grant autocephalicy  (3)We all believe that the Orthodox Church is Christ’s Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it (4)Not one of us is interested in uniting with the Roman Catholic Church as long as it considers that the Pope has an exclusive pipeline to God and is infallible when he relates what God has told him. The Pope has a first without equals problem, too. Nothing we’re looking for 5) We are deeply troubled by our government using the Orthodox Church to pursue its geo-political goals (6)We are more troubled by our Patriarchs and Archbishops who are cooperating with these globalist bad actors for whatever reasons and incentives (7) And many of us are still waiting for Mt. Athos to boldly speak up to those who are turning believers against believers.
    Finally, Practicalist, as dire as our situation is we don’t need to bail out. We are confident that we are in the Church. As troubled as our situation is, Pope Francis and company are in a much worse place. Only a fool would swim to that shore. In the meantime, we still pray for each other-for Patriarch Bartholemew, Patriarch Kiril and especially for Metropolitan Onufrios and all the believers affected by this terrible mess.We are all still in the Church. There is hope.The Church has faced many crisis in its history. Just read the Epistles in the New Testament. Our faith is that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church. Glory to Jesus Christ! Lord have mercy on all of us!

  14. Michael Bauman says

    Anonoca, for the moment at least, you are correct.  But only in great perplexity and unease.  I was reminded this morning that the brotherly ties between the MP and the AP are deep both here in the United States and in Syria.  As a people and an Archdiocese we will stand with the MP if it comes to that tragic end. We however do not wish it or seek it.  Much less a union with Rome.  
    If Bart, the Betrayer declares union with Rome, he and any who follow him are outside the Church.  My Bishop knows exactly how I feel and why.  He thanked me for telling him and has not rebuked me.  
    May God continue to be merciful to all of us.

    • I am also Antiochian, as well as a convert from Roman Catholicism. I pray to God that not only the Patriarchate of Antioch, but, also the Antiochian Archdiocese stay strong and are not swayed by the EP or GOARCH. 
      I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall during the recent meeting between Abp. Elpidophoros and Met. Joseph. I believe Met. Joseph knows the ultimate end-game for the Archbishop and I hope that he stands against him when the time does come. 
      I also have a hard time believing that the convert-heavy parishes within GOARCH (yes there are some) will go along with this. At the very least I can see those converts, who tend to be more “traditional” leave GOARCH, if they haven’t already done so. 
      If the Antiochian Archdiocese, OCA or ROCOR were wise, they would set up a Greek vicariate much like the OCA has for the Albanians/Bulgarians. Better yet, the three should just combine and fulfill the mission of the OCA to create a unified Church, without GOARCH it seems. 
      Last thought, what is to become of the Ephremite monasteries within GOARCH? I have loved visiting Holy Archangels in Texas and would hate to see it go into schism/heresy where GOA seems to be headed 

      • Antiochene Son says

        I pray that some good came from the meeting between Met. Joseph and Abp. Elpidophoros. Bartholomew is high on his own supply, but maybe—maybe—Elpidophoros would listen to reason before getting the position he is being groomed for. Bartholomew is quite happy to make the first crack, but does Elpidophoros want to see the Church entirely ripped apart in his primacy? I sincerely hope not.

        It’s easy to thumb your nose at other churches when you’re holed up in the Phanar, seated on a throne of glory from days long past, that you didn’t build. But I hope Elpidophoros, in his hopefully short time in America (due to a vacancy in Istanbul) gets a chance to see the fraternal relations that Orthodox Christians have in the US, where we actually live out the unity we espouse, where I can attend any number of jurisdictions without much concern. Does he want to be the one to destroy all that?
        Bartholomew isn’t even willing to have a conversation with others. He will talk with everyone from the State Department to the Vatican, but not to his brother bishops. He is truly in a state of prelest.

      • Menas,
        Archbishop Elpi is the author of “first without equals.” If anything, things will deteriorate further when he becomes Patriarch.

  15. I also agree with Peter, but I would like to add a comment. Mt. Athos is not going to speak up because Bartholomew has divided the monks also. They are no longer able to speak with one voice.

    • Mikhail,
      At the end of the day, the human power lies with the people.
      Let the people stop going to Athos
      and the Athonites will see who is their earthly boss, Bartholomew or the people.

  16. Elder Sophrony (Sakharov) published the linked essay in 1950. In November 2019, Patriarch Bartholomew canonised him. Either Bartholomew had not read the essay, or he canonised St Sophrony through gritted teeth; for no one has ever put a bigger boot through the papalist pretensions of Constantinople than this: https://orthochristian.com/125946.html

  17. Antiochene Son says

    If the EP is all about giving autocephaly to independent states, why did the EP torpedo the effort to give America autocephaly? Is it because the Russians initiated it, so the EP wouldn’t get the credit? 

  18. Joseph Lipper, yes ROCOR along with the Antiochians have a sizeable Western Rite presence. I’m sure they were inspired by the Wonderworker Archbishop John of San Francisco who said:” Never, never, never let anyone tell you that in order to be Orthodox, you must also be Eastern. The West was Orthodox for a thousand years, and her venerable liturgy is older than any of her heresies.”
    I’d like to ask Joseph if I may, why have Patriarch Bartholomew and his schismatics in the Ukraine been cozing up to the Uniats? Are they doing joint services? Does Patriarch Bartholomew plan to unite  the Orthodox ecumenists, Uniates and Ukranian schismatics through joint services? Bartlolemew should be telling the Roman Catholics that we have a Western Rite that can make their transition to the Church easier. The Eastern Rite Catholics need to renounce the Pope and his novel teachings and then we can easily unite. Unity, the Orthodox way is not so difficult.These other schemes lead to perdition.

    • Joseph Lipper says

      Peter, I agree the Eastern Rite Catholics need to renounce the Pope and his novel teachings.  That’s what St. Alexis Toth did.  Liturgically speaking, it’s very easy for them to do this.  However, the difficult part for most Eastern Rite Catholics is that if they convert, then they will often end up abandoning their families also.  This makes it very difficult for them.

      The best solution is probably some type of mass top-down conversion of their hierarchy down to their laity.  I hope that is what Patriarch Bartholomew and the OCU is trying to achieve.  The Eastern Rite Catholics really shouldn’t exist. Even Pope Francis says so.

  19. As well as merging with the RCs of Fr James Martin SJ, I have little doubt that the master plan is to eventually bring the Lutherans into their embrace. Some in the EP and the Jesuits seem to have the same theological ‘bent’ as those in charge of St Paul’s Church in Malmo in Sweden, judging by the artwork on display there: https://m.lifo.gr/now/culture/261376/omofyla-zeygaria-ston-paradeiso-ekklisia-stin-soyidia-apokalypse-ena-monadiko-ergo-kai-egrapse-istoria

    • Lord have mercy, this is in an EP church?

    • Joseph Lipper says

      Brendan, please let me know when St. Paul’s in Malmo, Sweden repents and becomes Orthodox.

      • I have never been to Sweden, though I have been to Denmark frequently in recent years. It was a Greek Orthodox friend of mine who lives and works there who sent me the link. But, if I get any happier news from her on this matter, I will pass it on. Though it may be some time in coming…

  20. Even the traditional Roman Catholics are calling out their own church as fulfillment of  Rome’s return to paganism and becoming the seat of anti-Christ:

    • Gail Sheppard says

      And our hearts break for them. Francis has become as out-of-control as Bartholomew. They’re cut from the same cloth.

      • They are both intending to destroy the unity of their churches and their faithful for the sake of international political interests.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          My comment was meant for something derogatory said about the Greeks. I feel badly for them because there are many good people who are frankly unaware of what’s going on around them.

  21. “The pictures on ROCOR’s Western Rite website show a stone altar being used with statues of angelic figures holding trumpets.   Given that the altar was built after the Catholics were anathematized, there are probably some Orthodox who would surmise that such statues actually represent some type of demonic figure appearing as an angel, such as Moroni.  ”
    Joseph, your attempt to paint ROCOR as ‘syncretist’ because of WR are laughable; a real ‘Hail Mary pass.’ I can still hear that barrel scraping.

    • Joseph Lipper says

      Basil, how many Orthodox priests (outside of the Western Rite, and excluding converts from Catholicism) do you really think would be willing to serve at an altar like that?  It’s interesting that both ROCOR and Antioch have Western Rite parishes, but the Ecumenical Patriarchate doesn’t.  Perhaps the EP should?  I don’t know.

      • Considering that a good number Orthodox mission parishes in North, Central, and South America, Western Europe, and probably even Asia utilize Roman Catholic or Episcopal parishes as locations to have their services in lieu of their own buildings, then quite a few.
        OCA has at least one WR mission (Canada), while the Church of Serbia had WR at one point in the early 20th century, too.

      • Antiochene Son says

        The main argument for the Western Rite, right or wrong, has always been evangelism. The EP is not interested in evangelism.

        • George Michalopulos says


          • Solitary Priest says

            Why WOULD they be interested in evangelism, if one accepts the ecumenist premise that all Christian “churches”, or in some cases, all religions lead to God?
            My first year in seminary, Archbishop Dmitry of Blessed Memory, visited our school. He gave a fascinating lecture about the OCA Mexican mission. In the audience was one instructor, a Greek native, priest, and Halki graduate. He just couldn’t understand why Mexican people would want to become Orthodox. The poison of Ecumenism was at work back then. It didn’t start with Patriarch Bartholomew. One might say it started with Metaxakis, about a hundred years ago. The Ukraine debacle has just brought things to a head.
            Back then, the Russian church couldn’t do much. They had maybe 60, 75 bishops tops, who were tightly controlled by the Soviets. Today, the USSR is no more, and Ukraine’s canonical church alone has 90 bishops. I’ve said it before, and probably shall say it again, the Russian church has risen from her enslavement, and the world doesn’t like it!

        • Antiochene,
          Evangelism costs them money and power, 
          Greekgelism brings them money and power.

  22. Christopher McAvoy says

    The specific portrayal of the baroque free-standing sculptural angels on the ends of the altar may not be in the best spirit of traditional orthodox art (latin and eastern alike), nor would they be the ideal choice of many orthodox priests, but I would also say it is an error to look upon it as any serious heresy.

    So far as I know, the purpose of the Western Rite Vicariate is to allow the Latin (generally Roman Rite) to regain a normality in Orthodoxy, often for those with cultural/spiritual connections to Latin/Western culture, also to recognize the fact that it for a millenia was connected to the Church (so shall still be able to be), but the process to facilitate that demands charity of where shortcomings are present, they will not last. Our purpose is continual growth and forgiveness. I take some of your criticism as constructive, the artforms are not ideal, the point is well taken, but please do not presume to exaggerate the problem as worse than it is. There are many holy people in ROCOR’s Latin Rite vicariate which fear God and indeed do things worthy of respect, much as they are imperfect.

    • Johann Sebastian says

      I don’t think we should be advocating for a Byzantinization of the Latin Rite. We can’t fossilize your practices according to some hypothetical 9th Century standard.
      The liturgical reforms of the 1960s certainly have no place in Orthodox worship. There is no lasting cultural value to them and they occurred recently enough to dispose of.
      On the other hand, some of the greatest Western cultural achievements come to us enshrined in Baroque and Renaissance expressions. Some–but certainly not all–of them are unacceptable to the Orthodox phronema. The things that are acceptable, even if they developed post-schism, are part of Western cultural patrimony–it’s your experience and your heritage.
      Returning to the matter of statues, I don’t care for them, but it boils down to what we are doing with these objects liturgically and how we venerate them. I see many Byzantine Orthodox whose veneration of our two-dimensional images appears to be uncomfortably overdone.
      I also don’t quite understand the drive for parishes to remove their 18th and 19th century icons to replace them with contemporary icons in the mediæval Constantinopolitan style and abandon Russian polyphony for neo-Byzantine chant–which is often not even remotely Byzantine but thoroughly in the mould of contemporary Western serialism and atonality. Revitalizing an old tradition is one thing, but to erase and replace is another.

      • Antiochene Son says

        I’ve heard stories of people excessively venerating icons, but I’m not sure what this actually means or how it’s even possible. Could I get some examples? 
        All honor passes to the prototype, and the veneration of the prototype is in truth the veneration of Christ within him or her. So apart from adoration of a Saint as God, which is frankly unimaginable to me, how can saints or their icons be excessively venerated? 

        • Johann Sebastian says

          Well, after reading this, perhaps my own assessment might need to be reevaluated. I don’t know what is in the minds or hearts of the faithful who approach these images, so if indeed that is their intent, I take no issue with it. It just often appears that some treat them as amulets or lucky charms with inherent magical properties rather than objects that help us direct our thoughts and prayers and through which God may sometimes choose to deliver signs and work miracles.

          • Antiochene Son says

            I see what you mean. Yes, I have seen Orthodox treat these and other “spiritual tools” as sort of magical amulets, without really using them for their intended purpose, and that is a problem.
            This may be more an issue of expectations than anything. Our fundamental prayer of “Lord, have mercy” is a prayer of total deference to God and his divine plan. We can place no demands on him or his saints to act in any particular way, we can only ask and then receive what is best.
            This comes from the same bizarre spirit as indulgences in the Roman faith. “Pray for the pope’s intentions this month and get your time in purgatory reduced,” and that sort of thing. God will do what he will do, as Job teaches us. 

      • John sebastion, yes agree with you.  One extreme is the  dreadful greek american 19th century  old fashioned organ and choir  but the other extreme especially with some converts  is to reduce worship to a depressing mumble with this drone they call byzantine chant but is anything but. .
        I attended one of these liturgical act in Uk that was so painful with a singer, english,now a deacon in antiochan church in Uk that is Unfortunately mostly Anglican unreformed!!  I remember when a greek, who was student at the university and chanter in Greece,  went forward to chant AND TRANSFORMED THE LITURGY. And in english too. 

        • Johann Sebastian says

          I think the main problem with an organ in a Greek church is that the harmonizations provided by the organist just don’t fit the style of the Byzantine tunes. It’s like welding the back end of a Yugo to the front end of a Mercedes. All the stops are pulled out, with various tremolo effects and octave doublings. It becomes tacky and grotesque.

          It’s like what I’ve heard in Armenian churches and also the videos I’ve seen of Indian Syriacs (with an electronic keyboard and synth “sound effects” accompanying the priest’s chanting).

          Even in the West the organ accompaniment was quite discreet, likely only as a means of “keeping the choir in tune.” In fact, in colonial America, special cellos were made for this purpose–the only instrumental accompaniment being to reinforce the bass line for an amateur church choir.

          • John Sebastian. Yes u have exactly described. It’s bad western music, let alone for us. In the West worship is different. It’s a series of prayers, spoken word and hymns or Anthems and as you say mostly the organ is discrete and in Anglican worship.there is the wonderful polyphonic sound of Tallis or Byrd,etc.And the organ music of Bach or Poulenc etc. Recently on our UK visit to spend time in winchester cathedral listening to this was a wonderful experience. As a Bulgarian friend with us said too.
            With us it’s a continual noise. I had to.walk out of Holy Trinity cathedral New York as could not stand it. Have these people never worshipped in a slav church.? I prefer byzantine chant, well done and happily now there is a growing area in this field of orthodox liturgical music with the founding of PSALM and the wonderful record of St Vladimir seminary choir and IN ENGLISH of all traditions And Romana Capella. But there is also Greek polyphony and actually Greek American composers have produced some beautiful Acapella music.
            I know many USA Greek parishes who are ditching the organ. And those still using it are quite defensive now. It was back 80 yrs ago a way for new immigrants to ‘ fit in ‘ as the shaven and dog collared clergy and pews etc.
            Yes sadly the Albanians in some large cities use it now, very sad and the Greek cathedral in Seoul. Very banal and trite that is. We had here in Bulgaria Korean students worship with us who said what a difference the Acapella sound made for prayer.
            And yes the Armenians since their genocide destroyed a tradition. There is now a group in Paris trying to return the very beautiful Armenian chant to the church. And I had one Indian experience in London, a wedding. I guess it sort of went better as Indian culture but it’s as u describe.
            While I am at it, no I have no wish for statues as focus of worship in byzantine rite. We have enough on going problems as is. Yes I agree artistic statues are nice as opposed to kitsch, but if anybody does not recognise the difference between a photo, picture, icon and a statue, well I just walk away. Perhaps we can have small statues of our loved ones in our pocket??
            Re western rite, yes I understand it’s different and people need supporting, but I dislike icons covered in metal where Saint etc can no longer be seen. And if anybody does not feel uneasy watching a statue dressed and shod like a babylonian God, carried out, well!!
            And yes veneration of particular icons as special, if not guarded carefully, can become idolatry, let alone statues. It was in the Romanian empire where a picture of the emperor was sent to the provinces for officials to swear loyalty in front of it to him. It was seen as in some sense as the ruler personified,and from this came how icons were understood. I suggest people read, ‘ The meaning of Icon’s by Vladimir Losky. We have icons in our home of course, new, painted here and old handed down family icons, with icon light and is powerful aid to prayer and expression of belief and faith.
            On Sunday in our local parish church here as usual there was Chesnokov and Rachmaninov from the choir, and perfect byzantine chant from the three chanters, one lady and two men. Bulgaria is wonderful like that. The choir master is a lady, local chemist actually.
            Final point. Actually for voices violins etc are far better and I have heard in Greece and Macedonia the singing of Lamentations with traditional instruments as a para liturgical event.
            Which begs the question re organs. As to the electric harmonium, well what can we say of such bad taste? . In a word, organs, harmoniums, destroy the beauty and freedom of the music and turn it from prayer and an icon in sound, to a trite banal performance.
            As a Greek if we gonna have this, give me a Rembetikko liturgy. More near to my soul and roots!!

  23. Statues are not part of the Orthodox tradition regardless of what any theologian or even saint has to say about them. When we venerate the image it passes onto the archetype. The image itself portrays the archetype in the transfigured state, not the earthy three dimensional body hence icons are called windows into heaven. The councils and canons speak of images painted in colors, on walls, using paints and mosaics. They speak of embroideries and tinselated on  on holy vessels, never does it speak of them being sculpted out of anything.. 

    • Gus Langis: “Statues are not part of the Orthodox tradition regardless of what any theologian or even saint has to say about them. When we venerate the image it passes onto the archetype.”

      But they might be used as a decoration, as it happened over the centuries.

    • Monk James Silver says

      It might be more accurate for Gus Langis to write that statues are not part of his personal experience, rather than to state flatly that they ‘are not part of the Orthodox tradition’.

      No one, especially not I, can deny the theological accuracy of the explanation of our veneration of sacred images offered by the seventh ecumenical synod in A.D. 787, but it’s of some significance that the synod’s very precise definitions always refer to images without excluding sculptures, which continued to appear — even in the byzantine empire — mostly in public places and in larger, more elaborate churches than in the homes of the faithful. This was certainly less a theological statement than an index of the relative expenses associated with the production of a statue rather than a painted image.

      Even since the ravages of iconoclasm and the destruction of Orthodox Christian temples and art by islamic fanatics, some of these statues are preserved in museums, and damaged sculptures in high relief can still be seen in the Cathedral of Holy Wisdom, crosses carved away and saints with their eyes or entire faces gouged out. While paintings were burned, mosaics were often plastered over and so unintentionally preserved. They are now being restored to their rather naturalistic original sixth-century condition. A visit to some museums of byzantine art and culture, or at least reference to the more thorough books on the period, will be of some interest.

      Sacred sculptures did not exist for all those centuries because they weren’t Orthodox, although it can be said that artistic expression of religious subjects tended more toward two-dimensional ikons after the seventh synod simply because they were less likely to be misunderstood as evidence of paganism — not that this made much difference to the muslim vandals.

      In the matter of ‘naturalistic’ as opposed to idealized styles of religious art, it should be noted that the stylizations of late byzantine ikons or even of those from Russia were a long time coming. The earliest examples of panel ikons, many of them painted in colored wax (encaustic) media rather than in egg tempera, are found primarily at the monastery of St Catherine in the Sinai desert. For the most part, these images are extremely naturalistic, depending on the skill of the artisit, and yet retain all the spiritual significance assigned to more idealized portrayals of Christ and the saints.

      Here at home, there’s a plaster casting of a high-relief byzantine sculpture of the holy archangel Michael; I regret that I don’t know the exact date of the original. While this piece seems to straddle the gap between naturalistic and stylistic, it still proves the point: there were/are indeed Orthodox Christian sculptures, and they are not all as other-worldly as Mr Langis insists they must be.

      It would be prudent to think that this is a desirable characteristic, but it is not the only value at work in Orthodox Christian sacred art.

      • Monk James Silver says

        Also, please see Aidan Hart’s well illustrated article. here:

        Many of the sculptures, especially those of the Theotokos and her divine Son, are almost exact replicas of familiar painted ikons.

        • I am even unhappy venerating icons that are so covered in mental as to not see the Saint etc depicted. 
          While in the article some beautiful carvings are shown, FOR US THIS IS ART NOT ICONOGRAPHY . For those in West, it is a big improvment 

        • Monk James Silver,

          “please see Aidan Hart’s well illustrated article”
          Since you like 100% precision:
          Ex-Monk Aidan Hart.

    • Gus agree with you.  In reformation I would have been first in queue to remove the idols.   We venerated, kiss,  carry in procession,  Icons not statues.  We have photos of our loved one, NOT statues.  
      In Terms of Liturgy what ever statues may have been about, it is Icons not statues.  And the early St Catherine  monastery Icons, while not  exactly as later icons, were already in on the way there. 

      • Gus Langis says

        Correct Niko. Yes the empire had statues in the public spheres as art but not as ecclesial objects of veneration. There were carved relief work in churches as well and an occasional statuette (carved but not fully 3 dimensional)
        Even that one large woodcarved statue of St. George in Greece which many like to point to as evidence of statues as icons is placed in a niche in the wall and covered up by a curtain so it cannot be venerated. There are a few statuettes that were actually part of relief work cut out from the wall and placed in museums. Here is one excerpt from the 7th council showing icons were never statues and even the effigies of the emperors processed in parades were also encaustic paintings and never statues:…..Likewise there may be painted the lives of the Saints and Prophets and Martyrs, so that their struggles and agonies may be set forth in brief, for the stirring up and teaching of the people, especially of the unlearned.

        For if the people go forth with lights and incense to meet the laurata and images of the Emperors when they are sent to cities or rural districts, they honour surely not the tablet covered over with wax, but the Emperor himself. How much more is it necessary that in the churches of Christ our God, the image of God our Saviour and of his spotless Mother and of all the holy and blessed fathers and ascetics should be painted? Even as also St. Basil says: Writers and painters set forth the great deeds of war; the one by word, the other by their pencils; and each stirs many to courage….”

        • Icons have one big advantage over Statues:
          They only have TWO dimensions and the third one (depth) is VIRTUAL.
          They even have inverted perspective for special emphasis.
          Having said that,  a statue is useful in some cases like graves etc where it can be seen from 360 degrees around it.
          With a lot of imagination, the icon is a book whilst the statue is a video, approximating/interpreting (parts of) the book.

        • Johann Sebastian says

          Indeed, I agree that it’s probably not the best idea to venerate statues. But for decorative purposes, as is the case with the ROCOR altar that JL posted, I really don’t see a problem.
          My previous defense of statues implied as much.

          • Remember to bear in mind that the altar in that photo is NOT a ROCOR altar; it was a WR service at a Catholic retreat center, where they had their conferences in the past.
            No ROCOR WR parish – to my knowledge – has statues in it.
            Jospeh has successfully turned this conversation about the actual log in Black Bart’s eye to the perceived speck in ROCOR’s. His patriarchate is flying towards union with the papist heretics and he’s trying to deflect criticism to a small missionary element of ROCOR.
            Somebody please tell me what fallacy that is.