Who Just Blinked?

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Time Out

One of the nice things about getting older is hopefully getting wiser.  Part of getting wiser is becoming more discerning like listening for the dog that doesn’t bark or developing a knack for reading between the lines.

This brings us to Metropolitan Seraphim of Zimbabwe:  https://orthochristian.com/144363.html 

Fortunately, reading between His Eminence’s lines was made easier by him giving away the game in the first paragraph:

“The Patriarchate of Constantinople created the problem of Church unity by ignoring conciliar Church decisions, and now the Russian Church is invading Alexandrian territory. . . “

You can’t get much more clear than that.  And given that these words were spoken by a Greek bishop in the Church of Alexandria, I’d have to say it’s a stunner.  No subtlety at all.  None of the oleaginous diplospeak that the Phanar is famous for.  No sirree.  His Eminence places the blame squarely where he thinks it belongs.  

Oh sure, he goes on to say that the Russians didn’t help things when they created an exarchate for Africa.  Truth be told, the Russians probably didn’t see it that way.  They wanted to keep the light on for Alexandria.  I don’t believe for a second Russia wanted Africa but it’s like the grandparents who feel they have to step in to care for their grandchildren when their son or daughter is no longer fit, they felt it was their duty.  To not do so would further punish the larger Church.  As far as Russia is concerned, I’m sure it’s a tragedy we had to lose one of the oldest patriarchates in the Church.  Given their history, however, I guess it shouldn’t come as a complete surprise.

Due to several schisms, the title of the Patriarch of Alexandria is currently claimed by different churches, two of which are part of the Catholic Churcuh and held respectively by four persons: the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria, the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria, the Melkite Patriarch of Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem, and all the East and the Coptic Catholic Patriarchate of Alexandria. Each of the respective churches consider their patriarch as the successor to the original early bishops of Alexandria. The title was also previously held by the Latin Patriarch of Alexandria.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriarch_of_Alexandria

But it wasn’t Russia who took the first swing and orchestrated any of the nonsense we’re facing today.  It was Bartholomew who went into Ukraine on the wings of his own “special powers” allowing him to do anything his little heart desired, even though every one of his brother bishops expressed their deepest concerns for his actions against Metropolitan Onuphriy who was penciled out when Epiphany came on the scene.  The EP ignored the cries of the Church.  I wonder how his special powers are going to help him when Fancy Bear starts releasing the rest of the emails they nabbed off his server.  Russia could have had them published years ago to bury the EP, but they didn’t; only enough to suggest there is probably a whole lot more.    

If they released them now it might make people feel a little less sad about the whole thing.      

Rather than belabor the point, Metropolitan Seraphim of Zimbabwe wastes no time telling it like it is, i.e. we need a Council, lickety-split.  But let’s back up a little.  What exactly are the implications of his critique (and his resolution)? 

For one, it’s an acknowledgment that Patriarch Bartholomew is losing the respect and stature he once commanded as “first among equals”.  But now, without the Church’s buy-in, he’s no longer “first” of anything other than his dwindling patriarchate of roughly 2000 lives.     

Secondly, it puts another nail in the coffin of the Cretan Robber Council of 2016.  After all, the so-called Great and Holy Council was supposed to be an opportunity to resolve the remaining problems the bishops had been discussing during their final meetings in Chambesy.  Several important issues needed resolution, like whether or not a bishop can award himself “superpowers,” undermining the canons (like Canon 22 below), or redefining ecclesiastical terms like “Church” to be more inclusive.  Further discussion on these items was dropped from the Crete Agenda (if they were ever there at all) and will never be seen again.  Bartholomew failed to get a consensus, which bothered him not even a little bit.  He just trudged forward.  He didn’t care who was there or who was MIA.  He made it clear the first day, that the vote would go through with or without them.     

Canon 22. A Bishop shall not intrude upon another city that is not subject to his jurisdiction, nor upon a territory that does not belong to his dominion, for the purpose of ordaining anyone, or of appointing Presbyters or Deacons in regions that are subject to the jurisdiction of another Bishop, except, of course, with the consent and approval of the Bishop proper to the territory in question. If, however, anyone should dare to do such a thing, let the ordination be null and void, and let him be punished by the Synod. (Ap. c. XXXV; c. XII of the 2nd; c. VIII of the 3rd; c. XX of the 6th; c. XIII of Antioch.)

Third, it means the Russians will continue to honor the canons, ignoring the revisionistic view of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.  When the EP stepped all over the canons, he officially left the Church.  Bartholomew will have to go somewhere else to be “first without equal” because it, frankly, isn’t Orthodox.  The EP no longer exists for the Russians or for any patriarchy that communes with Bartholomew or the OCU.   Bartholomew demonstrated territorial boundaries between bishops were fluid to the point of being non-existent so why not go into Africa?   There are people there who love the Church.  Russia is protecting them.  Why would anyone, least of all Russia, want the greater part of the Church to slip into ex-communication because of the poor decisions of a single hierarch? 

By the way, that’s how you become “the third Rome.”  When everyone has left the second Rome.   Just stating the obvious. 

Finally, this might portend a split between Alexandria and Istanbul.  We’ve broken stories before about how Patriarch Theodore II has privately admitted that he had grave concerns in recognizing Epiphony’s State Department-created sect.  I’m sure this is painful to him, as he lived in Ukraine for years and was widely beloved by the people there.  That icon of him kissing Metropolitan Onuphriy resembles those icons of Judas kissing Christ a little too closely.  Through all these leaks –as well as this latest speech by Seraphim, allows him to make his own fig-leaf, even if Bartholomew won’t take his.  (For whatever reason.)    

Repenting is a face-saving way out for Alexandria.    They’ve always said they wanted unity.  I guess we’re going to see how much.  [Edited 2/9/22] 

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Comments

  1. Some solid writing on your part, George. Thanks!

  2. Joseph Lipper says

    Who knew their was a Grandmother Church that can take over for the Mother Church? Perhaps the Alexandrian Patriarchate simply needs a break from parenting and let the Grandmother Church of Russia take over for a while. Apparently the same goes for the Mother Church of Constantinople, and maybe Greece and Cyprus too.

    Grandma loves all her grandchildren! Come to Grandma.

    • Joseph,

      What a hilarious comment — love it.

      The lack of coherent thought on these issues is simply stunning.

      Most of the grannies that I have met as a priest who “feel they have to step in to care for their grandchildren when their son or daughter is no longer fit,” are meddlesome jerks.

      Isn’t “Mind your own business granny!” a scriptural dictum? . . .

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Speaking of. . ., nice to see you back GOA priest. Hitting a little too close home, are we?

        • GOA Priest says

          Gail,

          Not at all too close to home!

          But what happened to the Greek phrase at the end of my post — it’s the cherry on top!

          • Gail Sheppard says

            It wasn’t in English and I didn’t want to look it up.

            • GOA Priest: I would think you would have your hands full explaining your Archbishop’s heresy on abortion and slander on the Holy Theotokos to worry about what anyone else has to say on a blog. I know you think you are clever in your snarkiness. Look where your jurisdiction is going. Some good people are still in it but your Primate is leading it down the crapper fast. I would be more concerned about this.

              By the way, brilliant article George!

          • Ahhh the old saying seems to apply: “You can’t get a man to see something, that his paycheck depends upon him NOT seeing.”

            • Sarah Karcher says

              I think disrespecting a member of the clergy who is assumedly stating their honest opinion is beneath us here.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                If it’s a public figure, people can say whatever they want. I didn’t catch it. Who was being disrespected?

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Keep that sense of humor, Joseph. And relax. You can always go to Papa.

  3. Thought provoking. Now who can call for an Ecumenical Council? Who would preside over such a council and what topics do you think should be on the agenda?

    • After seeing the agenda at Crete and considering the accelerating intellectual decline of the past 500 years and the past 100 in particular, I’d be terrified of another Ecumenical Council turning into our Vatican II. A pan-Orthodox council to address the Ukraine situation and deal with Constantinople’s pseudo-Papal claims should be sufficient.

      Besides, could a true Ecumenical Council even happen without a Roman Emperor to convene it and the assent of the entire Pentarchy, including Rome?

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Pan-Orthodox? This would be a Council specific to the Orthodox Church. Rome would have nothing to do with it.

        • Perhaps not the best term since it carries the stigma of the Robber Council of Crete 2017, but I wrote “pan-Orthodox” because arguably the conditions for an Ecumenical Council can no longer be met. It’s supposed to mean a council at which the whole Orthodox Church is represented, and that’s how I meant it.

          Apart from the question of whether we could convene an EC, not putting it on par with the seven would be a safety measure in case some unexpected innovation were to come out of it. Even well-intentioned and pious clerics can have their perspectives clouded by the Zeitgeist. I agree 100% that we need a council to solve the EP and Ukraine issues, I just don’t trust modern man.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            I hear you, Peter. Thanks for the explanation.

            The problem is a lot of Orthodox bishops feel the Church needs to be tweaked to keep up with the culture. “If only” . . . is their favorite tag line. If only the Church made this one change, it would be perfect.

            The rest of us don’t want “perfect” if it means changing the Church. We want what we have.

            Another problem is that the Church has become so politicalized. Many bend to politicians. Too many.

            Yet another problem is the bishops are all over the map. Some of them are terrified to have a council because the outcome could be very bad. It seems inevitable there will be a major schism and schism is the worst thing that can happen to the Church. Frankly, there is a palatable fear on the part of some of the bishops that the Church might not make it through a council.

            Bartholomew introduced a lot of stuff in that needs to be resolved and it could change the entire direction of the Church. Ukraine is but one problem. The Church is being redefined to be inclusive of every Christian sect, regardless of practice or belief, which is another. I can’t prove this is true but I heard that Pope Francis was hoping for a kumbaya moment at Crete. They call it “unity with diversity”. In other words, each church will continue down its path, replete with heresies, but deliver the sacraments.

            What’s the point of being Orthodox?

            So Ukraine is but one of our many problems.

            If Russia is pushing, at least it’s in the right direction. They don’t want to change the Church and were able to save it by sheer numbers at Crete. I can’t say that about the other Churches. I don’t know where they stand anymore. Alexandra was like a punch in the gut to me. I did not see that coming. How many more are out there? How many more can be bought?

            A council could go either way and that’s terrifying. Again, at least I know where Russia stands and she’s the only one in a position to gain back some of the ground we lost courtesy of the “Green Patriarch.” I wish we could just move the Ecumenical Patriarchate somewhere else. She loses all her “special powers” (real or imagined) if she leaves Turkey. I wonder if Russia is thinking the same thing. One thing unique about Putin is he is willing to protect the Church.

            Can’t say the same about Greece or Cypress or anyone on the receiving end of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. We can’t even rely on the monasteries in the U.S. until we know what they are going to do. The same is true of Mount Athos. Too many support the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

            You are right to distrust modern man, Peter. I’m right there with you. All I can say is pray. God is going to have to put His own house in order. We’ll know when that time is and then we can act.

      • As a former Roman Catholic myself, I tend think that the Holy Spirit is protecting us from an Ecumenical Council precisely because of what happened at Vatican II.

    • Putin.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Let’s ask the question this way: To whom does the greater part of the Church look to for leadership within the Church and where does that patriarch reside? Who holds the political power where that patriarchate resides? Who called the bishops to a meeting in the Fall of 2017 when all but one attended, even bishops who have trouble breathing the same air? Want to guess who that bishop was who did not attend? –

        We’re farther down this road than most people realize.

        History and Etymology for emperor
        Middle English emperour, borrowed from Anglo-French empereor, amperour, going back to Latin imperātōr-, imperātor “person giving orders, commanding officer, title of honor bestowed on a victorious general by his troops, title conferred by the Roman senate on Julius Caesar and Augustus and adopted by later successors,” from imperāre “to demand the production of, levy, give orders, exercise authority, hold political power” (from im- IN- entry 2 + parāre “to supply, provide, make ready”) + -tōr-, -tor, agent suffix — more at PARE

      • George,

        Yes, that would be interesting. Putin has been acknowledged by the monks of Athos as the equivalent of an Orthodox emperor (as has the president of Greece) and it was the emperors who convoked the Great and Holy Synods. But they’d better have their ducks in a row before doing so. Bartholomew botched the last attempt in Crete.

        Also, in the past, Jerusalem has intervened at times to restore order and, IMHO, what really needs to happen is an Amman II synaxis with Antioch in attendance to take control of the ship Orthodoxia.

    • Interesting question John.

      Answer: Any hierarch has the authority to call a council ecumenical or otherwise.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Nope. Only an emperor or the EP can call a (pan-Orthodox Great and Holy) Council.

        • Joseph Lipper says

          Gail, there’s ways around that. For example, if you’re the Patriarch of Russia, then you can invite all the bishops you want to your birthday party:

          http://www.spc.rs/eng/primates_and_representatives_local_orthodox_churches_attend_grand_meeting_dedicated_70th_birthday_hi

          • Gail Sheppard says

            I guess while they were there, they might have said: “Happy 100 Anniversary of Patriarch Tikhon’s Enthronement” or “Happy Birthday” to Putin. It’s only polite.

            But do you honestly think that’s why they were all there while the EP was in Israel protesting against Trump for making Jerusalem the capital?

            Naw.

            Bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Estonia, as well as over 20 other countries with dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church, participated in the Bishops’ Council, which is the supreme governing body of the Church.

            Plenary sessions of the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church took place from November 29 to December 2, with the discussions focusing on current issues of the Russian Orthodox Church’s activities as well as international issues, in particular, the church schism in Ukraine and the persecution of Christians in the Middle East.

            Look! Someone took notes! https://mospat.ru/en/news/47917/

            The presidium consisted of His Beatitude Pope and Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria, His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem, His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel of Romania, His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus, His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana and All Albania, His Beatitude Metropolitan Sawa of Warsaw and All Poland, His Beatitude Metropolitan Rastislav of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of All America and Canada, Metropolitan Theodore of Akhaltsikhe and Tao-Klarjeti – head of the delegation of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Gabriel of Lovech – head of the delegation of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine, and Metropolitan Daniel of Tokyo and All Japan.

            Among those present in the Church Councils Hall, along with the participants in the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church and members of the delegations of the Local Orthodox Churches, were representatives of the Moscow clergy.

            * * *
            This is special.

            Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, read out the message of greetings sent to the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church by His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.

            Expressing his gratitude to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill for the invitation to come to Moscow to attend the celebrations marking the centenary of the convocation of the Local Council which, among other things, had restored Patriarchate in the Russian Church, abolished two centuries earlier by the state, the Primate of the Church of Constantinople also expressed his regret that he could not take part in the celebrations. ‘It does not mean, however, that the Mother Church of Constantinople will ever cease to pray for the good estate and success in God of your Most Holy Church under the guidance of her Patriarch, now Your dear Beatitude, whom we wish long and blessed Primatial ministry. We ask you to convey to all Their Eminences and Graces, your brothers the hierarchs, greetings and blessing from our Mother Church, which embraces them with respect and love and prays for their hierarchical selfless service to be always successful to the glory of God,’ the message reads.

            ‘I express my gratitude to His Holiness for this kind message and, taking this opportunity, I would like to wish him strength, good health and God’s help in shepherding the Church of Constantinople, in carrying out the special ministry pertaining to the cooperation with all the other Orthodox Churches, which His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew performs with dignity,’ His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said after the message had been read out.

            ‘I feel the ineffable joy, having come here as Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria at the invitation of the respected sister Russian Orthodox Church to take part in the celebrations on the occasion of the centenary of the restoration of the Patriarchate of Moscow, All Russia and the Northern Lands,’ the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria said in his address at the grand meeting.

            As His Beatitude noted, the restoration of the Patriarchal throne in Moscow was the most important event after its establishment. ‘The Russian Church foresaw that the restoration of the Patriarchal dignity under the new regime would be a firm guarantee of revival for the Russian people and of the preservation of their faith. Despite numerous afflictions and sufferings, she did not retreat, but got stronger and shone forth with new zealots of faith and godliness. The sorrow of the Russian Church was alleviated by the restoration of the Patriarchate. The Russian Church was crowned with the multitude of martyrs led by the Holy Patriarch Tikhon who had died in sufferings. She has never cut her ties with the people, always supporting them and together with them going through dangerous and endless ordeals,’ His Beatitude Pope and Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria said.

            Presented to commemorate the celebrations was the omophorion, in which the Holy Patriarch Meletius Pigas of Alexandria had signed the Resolution of the Council concerning the granting of the Patriarchal dignity to the Russian Church.

            ‘Your Beatitude, I wholeheartedly thank you. I believe that my gratitude is shared by all the bishops, clergy and laypeople of our Church. You have presented us with a great historical shrine,’ His Holiness Patriarch Kirill said in response, noting that the omophorion will be kept at the museum of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.

            ‘The Antioch – the Church, wherein the disciples of Christ were first called Christians – greets the Holy Russia on this blessed day, when we are celebrating the centenary of the Moscow Local Council that reestablished the Patriarchal dignity of the Russian Church and restored the conciliarity of this Church after the two centuries,’ His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch said in his address, ‘The Church of Antioch, sharing with her sister the Russian Church her joy today, asks St. Tikhon the Confessor for intercession, who by the grace of the Holy Spirit was elected by the members of the Local Council as Patriarch in order to guide this Church and shepherd her at the time of atheism and persecution.’

            As His Beatitude emphasized, the Church of Antioch will always remember what support the Russian Church gave to her faithful in the beginning of the previous century in various spheres, providing free education and medical treatment for the poor. Neither will she forget the Russian Church’s assistance in providing pastors for the Church of Antioch and in building churches. ‘We particularly appreciate the role of the great Patriarch Tikhon in establishing the Antiochian hierarchy in America,’ Patriarch John added, ‘He consecrated the first metropolitan of the Church of Antioch on the American land – St. Raphael, Bishop of Brooklyn, who had studied in Constantinople and in Russia and was the archpastor for the Orthodox Arab-speaking Antiochians on the American continent.’

            The Primate of the Church of Antioch also mentioned the current difficult situation of the Syrian people, noting that as the terrorism withdraws owing to the interference of the Russian army, and as there have appeared prospects for peaceful settlement, the one Orthodox Church is to do all within her power to preserve the unity of Syria and the return of the Syrian Christians to their land, as well as to restore the destroyed churches and monasteries and provide everything which is essential for the dignified life – employment opportunities, adequate nutrition, health services and education for those who have suffered at a cruel time in order to reveal the power of Christ.

            Addressing His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, His Beatitude Patriarch John X emphasized that the Church of Antioch appreciated his position concerning the crisis in Syria, his compassion and noble deeds, such as the rendering of humanitarian aid. ‘We greatly appreciate Russia’s concern and efforts to destroy terrorism, restore peace in Syria and maintain stability in Lebanon,’ the Primate of the Church of Antioch said.

            “Nothing can compare with the joy of the Antioch today, when it is participating in the radiant celebrations whose foundation was laid by the martyrs and confessors who took part in the Local Council of 1917 and whose deeds will be cherished by the whole Orthodoxy,’ the Patriarch of Antioch added, ‘The revival of the Holy Russia is a gift from above to our world. May God help us bear witness to this joy of resurrection through the prayers and intercession of the new martyrs and confessors, zealots of faith and pastors who shone forth in Russia and throughout the Orthodox world in the years of persecution.’

            His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said in response, ‘Your Beatitude, you have deeply moved us by your heartfelt words concerning the current situation in the Middle East, by expressing appreciation for the role of Russia and the Russian Church in overcoming the problems which cause pain to the Syrian people, as well as the problems that exist in Lebanon – the problems of your Church. I assure you that all we do by God’s mercy we do with humility and with full conviction that it is essential to share resources with those who are really suffering these days. We believe that the lasting and just peace will be restored in Syria. We believe that the terrorism will be totally defeated, that the Syrian people will be liberated from this dreadful yoke, and that people will again be building up their life in the canonical territory of your Church. May God grant unto you strength and good health so that you continue to serve your pious and longsuffering people as their Patriarch.’

            In his address to the participants in the grand meeting, His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem said, ‘Having arrived from the Holy City of Jerusalem in the holy and longsuffering Russian land, we convey to you and the Sacred Bishops’ Council of beloved archpastors and to all our Russian Orthodox brothers the intransient message of hope from the Lord of glory, Who was born in Bethlehem, Christ the Godman Who lived in the humble Palestine land. We bless our brothers in Christ by the grace of the All-Holy and Life-Giving Lord.’

            Addressing His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos, the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church said, “Your Beatitude, I cordially thank you for your moving words, in which we feel the spiritual strength and the power of witness coming from the shrines of the City of Jerusalem… You have a special mission – to pray on behalf of all and for all, for the whole Orthodox Church, for the entire humanity before the Golgotha and the Life-Giving Sepulchre and at other holy places which great many pilgrims from the lands of the historical Russia come to venerate. I thank you for taking pastoral care of these pilgrims.’

            Metropolitan Theodore of Akhaltsikhe and Tao-Klarjeti read out a message of greetings from His Holiness and Beatitude Catholicos-Patriarch Iliya II of All Georgia.

            ‘On behalf of the Georgian Orthodox Church and on our behalf we congratulate you and share your spiritual joy over the event of utmost importance – the centenary of the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, which took the historic decision to restore the Patriarchate,’ the message reads, ‘We share you feelings, for the Georgian Orthodox Church felt all the bitterness caused by the abolition of Patriarchate and autocephaly and then the great joy over their restoration…”

            His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia asked the head of the delegation of the Georgian Orthodox Church to convey his profound gratitude to His Holiness and Beatitude the Patriarch-Catholicos of All Georgia for these kind words and expressed his hope that the Lord would grant bodily and spiritual strength to Catholicos-Patriarch Iliya II and would help him for many years to serve for the good of the Holy Orthodox Church and for the benefit of his people.

            ‘It is a particular joy to us to be hear today, leading the delegation of the Serbian Church, in the capital city of Moscow, in the fraternal God-preserved Russia, on the day when the great Russian Church is celebrating an important historical date – the centenary of the restoration of the Patriarchate,’ His Holiness Patriarch Irinej said in his address. ‘My predecessors at the Patriarchal throne and all the Serbian people sincerely shared the joy of their Russian brothers when in the 16th century the Eastern Patriarchs, wise in God, led by His Holiness Patriarch Jeremiah of Constantinople, performed the great and very just deed, pleasing unto God – proclaimed the Moscow Patriarchate so that the Russians and the neighbouring small peoples, gravitating towards the holy Orthodox faith, might have their own Patriarch – of Moscow, All Russia and All the Northern Lands.’

            ‘The restoration of the Russian Patriarchate was a great deed. Such was the significance of this historic event that it happened to affect other Churches as well,’ Patriarch Irinej continued, ‘Less than two years had passed after the restoration of the Russian Patriarchate, when the Serbian Church got reunited within the largest historical area, in which the Serbian Orthodox population had spread, and in 1920 she renewed her ancient and honourable Patriarchal dignity, glorified in the centuries.’

            As the Primate of the Serbian Church noted, the century that began with the event commemorated today, was not peaceful. ‘Our peoples suffered much at the hands of the enemies of faith, enduring dreadful and unprecedented torments and oppression. However, the more the Russian people suffered the stronger their will for salvation and their faith were. Feeble were the attempts of the servants of darkness to quench the light of the Orthodox faith. And now we see the Russian Church and her Patriarchate risen in the greatest, unexampled glory,’ Patriarch Irinej added.

            Patriarch Kirill thanked the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church for the greeting, saying, ‘For us this is also a greeting from the Serbian people who are kin to us, close to us in language and culture, and whose history has so much in common with the history of the peoples of the Holy Russia. We endured the hardest ordeals when our lands were enslaved, we fought to preserve Orthodoxy, trying to endure those years of hardship when our Churches were oppressed on the ideological grounds in the 20th century. And today we rejoice, for our Churches, being part of the Universal Orthodoxy, together with all the other Churches carry out their conciliar work, bearing ever more active witness to Orthodoxy within their own countries and promoting this witness throughout the world.’

            ‘We are in Moscow today to celebrate together the centenary of the restoration of the Patriarchate in the Russian Orthodox Church,’ His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel of Romania said in his address, noting that the Holy Patriarch Tikhon had begun his service at a very difficult period in the history of the Russian people.

            He said that ‘at that time the dignity and responsibility of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia faced with the great suffering because of the persecution carried out by the Bolshevik regime against the Church. The years to follow the restoration of the Patriarchate became ones of severe trials for the whole Russian Orthodox Church as thousands of clergy and monastics were killed; thousands of churches were closed up or destroyed before World War I’… He also said that on the solemn day when the centenary of the restoration of the Patriarchate is celebrated with the participation of representatives of autocephalous Orthodox Churches, ‘we find ourselves in a situation different from what it was in the period of communist persecution. It is a period of the freedom of witness to the faith as well as one of the great pastoral responsibility before new challenges facing today’s society’.

            Speaking in response, Patriarch Kirill said, ‘I am glad that in the run-up to this celebration I had an opportunity to visit the sister Church of Romania. He said that during his recent visit to Bucharest he became a witness to the significant re-birth of the Romanian Orthodox Church as new churches were built and church life was re-organized.

            The message of greetings from His Holiness Neophytus, Patriarch of Bulgaria, was read out by Metropolitan Gabriel of Lovech: ‘We are happy that on this solemn and festive day we share our common joy and the joy of the Holy Russian Orthodox Church so dear to our heart, which by God’s will, one hundred years ago – in the days tumultuous and fateful for fraternal Russia and the whole world, amid the fire of revolution and radical social changes, was able to restore the historical truth by reclaiming the Patriarchal status’, the message reads, ‘On the day when the centenary of the restoration of her Patriarchal status is celebrated, we all wish her every blessing from the Lord, all possible growth in the love of Christ and great successes in her internal and external mission. May God always be with all of you – the holy authority, clergy and laity of the Russian Orthodox Church. May the respect and love of the whole Orthodox world always invariably surround you so that you may continue playing the role which you have always played in the history and life of Holy Orthodoxy!’

            In his message, Patriarch Neophytus points out that for the common witness of the Orthodox Church, her role and mission in the world it is especially important that ‘the glorious and much-suffered Russian Orthodox Church should continue to occupy today her exclusive place in the Orthodox world as a Church, which has gone through so many trials and withstood internal and external threats and persecution and come out of the fire of martyrdom purified and ever more strong in her internal life, respected in inter-Orthodox relations with all the Orthodox Churches in her bright witness to Crucified Christ’.

            Patriarch Kirill asked the Bulgarian delegation to convey to Patriarch Neophytus ‘our gratitude, love, and prayers for his speedy recovery.’

            The Bulgarian people and the peoples of Holy Russia are tied by bonds of cultural communality, linguistic communality and, most importantly, the Orthodox faith, His Holiness stated stressing, ‘In spite of the fact that all kinds of things happened in history, the spiritual ties between people have always been preserved. And the guardian of these bonds are not political regimes or ideology but the Orthodox Church. The Russian and Bulgarian Churches have preserved these spiritual ties, cultivating them in their peoples. God grant that it may continue and that our Churches, together with all the Orthodox Local Churches, may serve the cause of unity of Holy Orthodoxy and Christian Orthodox witness before the whole world.’

            In his turn, His Beatitude Chrysostomos, Archbishop of Cyprus, in his address to the Bishops’ Council final session, said, ‘Together with you, Your Beatitude Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the Most Reverend Participants in the Council, we turn our minds and hearts to all the known and unknown heroes, upholders of the faith, who by their feats helped to restore the Patriarchate in Russia and have given us joy of these celebrations. God, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4), by His inscrutable providence made it possible that at the same time with the restoration of Patriarchate, gusty anti-church winds might blow in this country, inflicting wounds and seriously threatening the pious Russian people for over seventy years. In those hard times, looking at the Russian Orthodox Church we could see that she was like a solid rock in a foaming sea…’ Archbishop Chrysostomos said that her Patriarchs and bishops manifested fearlessness in the critical situation, carrying on their pastoral work. They proved in deed what the Church has always confessed: that throughout her two-millennia-long journey, martyrdom has been the most essential manifestation of her self-awareness. ‘They have taught us that even in the hardest situation a believer can be happy and feel joy of the hope for to-morrow which will be a better one,’ the head of the Church of Cyprus added. He stated that the successful march of Christians through the period when a host of new martyrs was revealed has led the Russian Church to her free existence in the Orthodox world today.

            Speaking about today’s world situation, Archbishop Chrysostomos mentioned the Orthodox East as it sees materialism, mechanicism, relativism being brought there from the West… Though the scientific progress has made life more comfortable and made it possible to raise its quality, we become increasingly aware of the words of Christ that man shall not live on bread alone (Lk. 4:4). Driving God away from man’s life, various social systems proclaim that ‘in the beginning is ‘economics,’ but actually ‘in the beginning’ for the Church is the human being – this unique creation of God.

            Responding to the statements made by Patriarch Kirill, Archbishop Chrysostom said that the Patriarch’s words about what is happening today to the human race are prophetic. These words he believes are a call for the one Church to bear witness to the world different from ‘the broad way,’ which is absorbing almost all the human community. It is difficult to walk against the current, but the Lord said that only a narrow way leads to the Heavenly Kingdom. It is very important that the Church should not lose her vigor in her witness to this narrow way before the world. And the words we have just heard, he said, help us to become aware of our common responsibility not only for our One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church but also for the human race.

            Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana and All Albania spoke about the bright leaders and myriads of clergy and laity who, during that ‘long night’ of persecution, remained, as Patriarch Tikhon predicted, steadfast in their faith and joyous in the Holy Spirit in the midst of severe suffering (cf. 1 Thes. 1:6). The personality of Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow reminds the Orthodox of their constant duty to carry out mission, to oppose schismatic aspirations for the sake of unity and to seal their love of Christ by martyrdom. In this way St. Tikhon fulfilled his apostolic and pastoral duty, baring his witness by deed and blood both inside and outside the country.

            Addressing Archbishop Anastasios, Patriarch Kirill said, ‘We heard your testimony with special attention also because you are the first Primate of the Albanian Church, which has been raised from the dead after a total destruction. And we cherish the experience of your Church and understand the tragedy of the Orthodox people of Albania as they are similar to our understanding of history and our view of the past, which you have described so brightly, and at the same time to our view of the future.’

            Metropolitan Sawa of Warsaw and All Poland, in his speech, cited the Holy Patriarch Tikhon as an example of faithfulness to Christ, hope, reconciliation and love. The faithful of the Polish Church remember him with love also because he was rector of Holm Seminary and later Bishop of Lublin, vicar of the diocese of Warsaw and Holm. During his episcopal service he visited 110 parishes of the diocese. ‘It is gratifying that today we can be with you all and bear witness to it, beseeching: Holy Hierarch Tikhon, pray to God for us!’ he said.

            Patriarch Kirill thanked the Primate of the Polish Church for his words, stressing, ‘May God help us all together and each Church in particular to bear witness before the world without which there will be no way, no life, but something which can threaten the very survival of the human race.’

            His Beatitude Rastislav, Metropolitan of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, spoke about the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, which took place during the hard historical radical turn in October 1917, as it resolved that Patriarchate be restored in the Russian Orthodox Church. Already in November, Metropolitan Tikhon of Moscow and Kolomna was elected Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. It was a most important event not only for the Russian Orthodox Church but also for the whole Universal Orthodoxy, including our Local Church, he said. ‘It was the Patriarch,’ he continued, ‘who became a spiritual beacon pointing to the right way in the time of political chaos, devastation and spiritual destitution. The Orthodox Church, however, not only held out and revived notwithstanding the severe persecution and humiliation but also helped our sister Local Orthodox Churches including the much-suffered Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia.’

            Patriarch Kirill responded by saying that, aware of the difficult history of the Metropolitan’s Church, the Russian Orthodox Church, at a hard time and for historical reasons, had to take upon herself the responsibility for the preservation of Orthodoxy in the Czech Lands of Slovakia. ‘We pray,’ he said, ‘that the Lord may preserve her in unity and her missionary power so essential for the enlightenment of the people around her and support of the faith of her faithful.’

            His Beatitude Tikhon, Metropolitan of All America and Canada, spoke about Bishop Tikhon’s vision of Orthodoxy in America ‘in which the future united Orthodox Church in the New World would include all the national Orthodox communities, with Arabic, Greek and Serbian bishops leading those communities – all united in one Archdiocese led by a Russian Orthodox Archbishop. There is even a written record showing that Archbishop Tikhon saw a future autocephalous Orthodox Church in the New World.’ He pointed out that ‘the restoration of the Patriarchate in 1917 was not simply an administrative and ecclesiastical decision borne out of historical necessity, but was truly a prophetic event that placed a man of a great integrity and holiness in a position which would become the heaviest of crosses for him, but the source of unity for his flock.’ He stressed that ‘even in the midst of the fiery trials, Saint Tikhon stood as an image of “meekness in authority” and an icon of the extreme humility and sacrificial love of Jesus Christ. And today, his life and legacy offer all of us hope that our yearning for a better way of life can be found in the Church, even in this post- and anti-Christian world.’

            Addressing His Beatitude, Patriarch Kirill thanked him for honouring the memory of St. Tikhon, especially in connection to his missionary work in America. ‘It is good that you have drawn a connecting line between his service in America and election to the Patriarchal see. Nothing happened without God’s providence, and our Church at her most difficult time came to be headed by a man of great life experience and, I can say, not a provincial but a global vision of the life of Orthodoxy. It certainly helped His Holiness Tikhon to inspire and strengthen both those who were around him and all the Orthodox people,’ the Primate of the Russian Church said.

            ‘Besides, and perhaps the most important thing to be stated, is that His Holiness Tikhon lived a very rich spiritual life, and precisely this inner spiritual power inspired everyone who came in touch with him,’ Patriarch Kirill continued, ‘There was no external glory or age-old protocol that surrounds the Patriarch of a Church. His Holiness Tikhon had no opportunity for carrying out his service as Primates of Local Church do, but it was in the humiliation he endured that his spiritual power was revealed. It was this spiritual power that gave strength to those who doubted, who were seized by fear, who were ready to waver and fly the track. The personal example of His Holiness stopped very many from committing mistakes, including Orthodox hierarchy and clergy. And most of those who did the mistake of falling unto a schism, those who survived, ultimately returned to the fold of the Holy Orthodox Church, the Church which the persecutors called with disdain ‘Tikhon’s one’ but which revealed her power to all the people and to the whole Universe.’

            Patriarch Kirill thanked all the Primates and representatives of the Local Orthodox Churches ‘who have shared these sacred remembrances with us and shared in our celebrations in honour of the centenary of the restoration of Patriarchate in the Russian Church.’

            Patriarch Kirill also thanked all the archpastors who came to Moscow for the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church and announced the Council adjourned.

            https://mospat.ru/en/news/47912/

            Yes, Joseph, there are always ways around things. Calling it a “Bishop’s Council” might be one of them. – At this point, we all have to wait for the Church to act and then respond. If I were the EP, I would accept these invitations.

            • The problem with moving the embassy to Jerusalem is that it supports the SOI’s claim to the disputed territory. The native Orthodox Christians there are classified as Palestinian and thus on the bad end of that decision. I am glad to hear that CP Bartholomew protested it.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                Yeah, we’ve got problems like that all over the world. It’s called life. If Bartholomew cared so much about the Palestinians, I think the former Metropolitan Philip of the Antiochian Archdiocese would have liked him better. . . or at all. Batholomew had a chance to make things right with the Palestinians and he blew it. That’s why Antioch keeps bringing up Qatar and boycotted Crete.

                Bartholomew is no friend of the Palestinians.

            • Joseph Lipper says

              It was disappointing that nothing big happened for Patriarch Kirill’s 75th birthday last November. My understanding is that a big event was planned and many foreign hierarchs were invited. It was also planned to coincide with the Bishop’s Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, just like it was in 2016. However, it was all cancelled last moment because of “Covid”, and the ROC’s Bishop Council was postponed. Go figure.

              It seems doubtful we will ever see another “council” in Russia of the same magnitude like we did in 2016 with so many foreign hierarchs of Local Churches in attendance. That was their moment of well-deserved glory, and indeed, it was very impressive, but it seems the world is too fractured now.

        • ” Only an emperor or the EP can call a (pan-Orthodox Great and Holy) Council.”

          Well, what about the First Council in Jerusalem, not less authoritative? There was no Constantinople and Claudius was not even invited 😉

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Yeah, and what about when . . . ?

            The one thing both Bartholomew and ROC agree on is that Bartholomew gets to call the Councils. Metropolitan Gregory of Peristeri thinks a pan-Orthodox council should be immediately called to deal with the Russian Church’s African Exarchate. He says Russia’s autocephaly should be revoked for 5 years.

            I think this is a GREAT idea! Let Bartholomew call the Council and they can’t put this to a vote. While they’re there, they can get a few other things straightened out. https://orthochristian.com/144429.html

            • “Yeah, and what about when . . . ?”

              Interesting. What do you mean by this “when” thing?

              • Gail Sheppard says

                I meant we could say “Yeah, and what about when . . .” over and over again. It doesn’t change anything.

            • George Michalopulos says

              This is insane. And it’s obvious to all.

              Where exactly is this protocol that says there are two grades of autocephalous churches, a second one for churches that arose after the Ecumenical Councils?

            • Why could only the CP call a Council?
              Wouldn’t Rome be the highest before 1054?
              Yet Rome and emperors did not call all councils before 1054, AFAIK.

              • George Michalopulos says

                FWIW, none of the Popes (as Bishops of Rome) ever called or presided over an Ecumenical Council.

                If my memory of Norwich is correct (or Papadakis), the Pope was actually living in Cpole during the Fifth (or was it the Sixth?) EC and he didn’t even bother to attend any of the sessions. I’m not even sure if it his legates presided (as they did over the 4EC at Chalcedon).

                Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

              • William Tighe says

                The Lateran Council of 649 was the first papal attempt – strongly supported by St. Maximos the Confessor, then a refugee in Rome from imperial Monothelitism – to convoke an ecumenical council independent of – indeed, against the will of – an emperor:

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lateran_Council_of_649

                The attempt did not turn out well for either Pope Martin or St. Maximos.

            • Gail I believe it was you (or George?) who said that you believed Russia created the Exarchate in order to force a council, you might have been right!

              The Russians doing so really did light a fire under Theodoros

              • Gail Sheppard says

                I hope so! With so many evil influences around, it’s imperative that we keep our house clean. Without order we are vulnerable.

                • Agreed!

                  This stuff with Ukraine couldn’t have happened at a worst time, first that, then covid and the non-unified response from the hierarchs that has come to that. It’s been a rough ride.

                  I guess in more optimistic news, we know which hierarchs to trust and we have our own modern day versions of St. Mark of Ephesus and St. Athanasius to help guide.

        • “Nope. Only an emperor or the EP can call a (pan-Orthodox Great and Holy) Council.”

          From Augustus to 1453, the Roman “empire” remained formally (de jure) a republic, the “emperors” weren’t, they all legally had constitutional offices like Putin/Lukashenko. There’s zero reason a political leader of a modern Orthodox country can’t call a Ecumenical Council, or for the only bishop able to do so to be the EP, especially when the EP is heretical and would be the reason for the Council.

    • Strictly speaking, no one can call an Ecumenical Council. The emperors of Byzantium certainly called pan-Orthodox councils, but it was the consensus of the Church guided by the Holy Spirit that subsequently determined that seven of the councils they called would be regarded as ecumenical.

      • I think I agree with you, Harry.
        Many Councils have claimed the title of ‘Ecumenical’,
        most notoriously the Robber Council of Ephesus of 449 AD.
        Not all are recognised by ‘the Church guided by the Holy Spirit’.

      • This is correct. One can say all 7 Ecumenical councils were called by Emperors. During and after the 4th council, Papal legates co-presided with the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the Ecumenical councils. While the first in rank can call a pan- Orthodox council there actually is no canon that teaches this nor that itss his right alone etc. In fact we know the bishop of Rome had wished to call such councils even declared his hope to hold one in Rome yet they never materialized. We also know an Orthodox council can over time be acknowledged as pan-Orthodox without a first in rank involvement. Such as happened in the 2nd Ecumenical council, and in some regards the Jerusalem council of 1443 and 1672.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          RE: “We also know an Orthodox council can over time be acknowledged as pan-Orthodox without a first in rank involvement.”

          We know because now councils are being called all over the place, with each group of patriarchates trying to dismiss another.

          Just this month, we have some of the Local Churches meeting in Jordon (all were invited), and what Bartholomew considers a “pan-orthodox” meeting of the “ancient patriarchates” with the inclusion of Greece and Cypress. Yet another error Bartholomew has introduced. He doesn’t want a true pan-Orthodox council, with representatives from all the autocephalous Churches, because he knows the outcome would not be to his liking.

          Again, one man causing havoc in the Church.

  4. I came to the conclusion years ago, before I ever encountered Orthodoxy, that when you dress a man up like an emperor you have to expect the consequences. They act like emperors.
    At least many of them do.

    I am not sure that this is the leadership that Jesus had in mind. He didn’t dress like one when he walked on earth.

  5. The status quo is absolutely unacceptable. Redoubled efforts at prayer is the most needful thing at this time, but prayer alone will not solve the problem. It is a copout to say that it will. Concrete action just HAS to be taken…and soon. The apostles were certainly men of prayer, but they themselves gathered at Jerusalem to seek the mind of the Holy Spirit in order to address the problems of the growing Church.

    If the primates of a two-thirds majority of the autocephalous and autonomous local churches considers the ever-widening schism to be of sufficient gravity for a council, then it is a problem indeed. They should call for a council of ALL primates forthwith. How any primate could NOT consider the worldwide Church to be in crisis would be difficult for any sane person to understand.

    The growing cancer which is the Bishopric of Istanbul will not excise itself; drastic measures must be taken to perform the surgery lest the tumor metastasize even further to affect the entire body of Christ. The dread disease has already affected those of us who have been paying attention, and that not for the better. I hope this won’t sound arrogant, but frankly, it’s sometimes embarrassing for me to be numbered as a convert to such a dysfunctional family of God.

    Let the primates hold virtual Zoom or Google meetings every month so that they can get better acquainted and pray together. Their business task would first be to set time and place for an actual meeting of all primates. Time: to be not more than a year hence; Place: to be a secure city in the Mediterranean. The task of the second virtual meeting would be to draw up an agenda for the primates’ plenary council to be held at the time and place now determined.

    The third virtual meeting would address the need for a worldwide plenary session of ALL ruling bishops two or three years hence. ALL ruling bishops would be invited, nay, urged to attend. Local Churches of greater financial means might establish a travelers’ fund to give grants in aid to those bishops who don’t have the financial wherewithal to pay for plane tickets and hotel stays. This pan-orthodox council would deal with this emergent crisis and cover any other concerns that two thirds of the bishops consider to be of great enough importance for all to consider in session.

    In the best of all worlds, one cleric and one layman from each diocese would be invited to attend and to speak at the worldwide council, but not be granted a vote.

    This present crisis is real and the time for the bishops to put their heads …and their hearts… together in order to solve the problem is NOW. May God grant them a heightened sense of urgency and unity of mind to be successful for the sake of Christ’s Church catholic.

  6. Off-topic, but: here’s a man who doesn’t blink..

    JAILHOUSE INTERVIEW: Pastor Art Pawlowski arrested
    on way to border blockade speaks from behind bars

    https://www.rebelnews.com/jailhouse_interview_pastor_art_pawlowski_arrested_on_way_to_border_blockade_speaks_from_behind_bars

    [Video – 11:58]

    ‘ Calgary’s renegade pastor, Artur Pawlowski, was taken into custody — the fifth time in less than two years — for the very serious criminal charges of mischief over $5,000 and interfering with critical infrastructure. …

    Art’s crime, according to the vindictive Calgary Police Service, was attempting to travel to the border blockade in Coutts, Alberta, some three hours south of Cowtown. …

    Art has been a thorn in the side of the pro-lockdown politicians and public health deep state since his first COVID ticket for an illegal public gathering — feeding the homeless on a bitterly cold Calgary winter day.
    https://www.rebelnews.com/fight_the_fines_1_fined_for_feeding_the_homeless_in_calgary

    Since then, he has been ticketed, summonsed, investigated, subjected to secret court orders, arrested, fined, jailed, and slapped with a compelled speech order that required him to give the government’s official media talking points when making public statements about the lockdown that required him — again, not that he ever would — [to] limit his church capacity and turn away worshippers. … ‘

  7. What seems to be overlooked by those reacting to this situation is that there was a Russian presence in Africa for many years before this situation. Many of the priests that have come under the Russian omophor are learned men – who expressed their discomfort with the stance of the AP, and were ignored. It doesn’t help that those who are upset with the priests who joined Moscow, and are calling them illegitimate. Time will tell.

    • But mamma that can’t true! Didn’t a Greek Archbishop under Alexandria just proclaim the African priests are doing it for the money and none of them could find Ukraine on a map? (Sarcasm off!)

      Of course we know that is not true and a slander against these good priests. I hope the Church of Russia gives them a good home and much support in a canonical Church. Not the schismatic mess Alexandria has become.

      It is past time the papal pretender Bishop of Istanbul and all Turkey (but nothing else) repent, resign or be deposed.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Mamma, you bring up some interesting points. Especially the one about African priests being under the omophor of Moscow for several years now.

      Rhetorical question: how is this any different than the situation that obtains in the Americas, Western Europe, Oceania, etc, where there have been competing jurisdictions for generations?

      It doesn’t. Ergo, those African priests who have been under Russia for years (or decades) now are a legitimate interest and present a more authentic mission field.

      • As far as I am aware, there were no African priests under Moscow (with the exception of a Ugandan priest under ROCOR) until recently. What mamma mia is probably referring to are the half dozen or so parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate located in Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco.

        Interestingly enough, the Serbian church also has a couple of parishes in Botswana, although I’m not sure which patriarch they commemorate.

        • When did the Patriarchate of Alexandria first claim
          to be the Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa?

          Were there other Orthodox missions/parishes in Africa before then?
          I am thinking of sub-Saharan Africa as well as the Maghreb.

          • Unfortunately I tried but failed to find a definitive answer to your thoughtful question. My recollection is that it was never adopted by an Ecumenical Council or any other recognized council but was done sua sponte on the initiative of Patriarch Meletios of thrice-wretched memory. This is another new innovation.

          • I think ROCOR had a smattering of communities south of the Sahara, but the largest were in the Maghreb. If memory serves correctly, there were Russian diaspora communities in South Africa, Rhodesia, Ethiopia, and a couple of other places besides the Maghreb.

          • I heard that in the 19th century, Alexandria had an agreement with the MP or recognition by the MP that Alexandria gets purview over all Africa.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              In the Orthodox Church, all that changes if you concelebrate with the heterodox. Unfortunately, that’s what Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria did when he communed with the OCU.

              The head of the OCU, Epiphany was a protege of Filarte (secular name Mykhailo Antonovych Denysenko) who had a very colorful past and was disposed by the Russians. He remains unrepentant. Epiphany and Bartholomew used Filaret’s influence to get Kiev and then kicked him out which he has never accepted. The poor man is running around thinking he is an honorary patriarch.

              The OCU is heretical to the extreme. Alexandria prayed with them. They don’t exist to Russia. Here are only a few of the canons that apply:

              Canon X.
              If any one shall pray, even in a private house, with an excommunicated person, let him also be excommunicated.

              Canon XI.
              If any clergyman shall join in prayer with a deposed clergyman, as if he were a clergyman, let him also be deposed.

              Canon XII. And XIII
              If any one of the clergy or laity who is excommunicated, or not to be received, shall go away, and be received in another city without commendatory letters, let both the receiver and the received be excommunicated. But if he be excommunicated already, let the time of his excommunication be lengthened.

          • A history of the Alexandrian Patriarchate can be found here . Interesting to note that Alexandria was still connected at the hip to Constantinople. And that many of the bishops of that Patriarchate on the continent of Africa are either Greek or of Greek descent. It is a complicated history of who actually holds primacy, as the Copts also hold large territories on the African continent. As I alluded to in my earlier post, there were Russian churches (in diaspora) on the continent of Africa. Looking at the example of the North American continent, if primacy is determined on a continental basis, it should go to the Russians who were here first. But the Greeks/EP still claim it’s theirs.

            a quote from on of the last paragraphs in the above-linked article answers the question about using the primacy of continent as a “style”:

            Photios spent decades on the Alexandrian throne, and he worked to secure his Patriarchate’s independence, expanding its hierarchy to eliminate any future need to appeal to Constantinople for assistance. It was under Photios that Alexandrian dioceses were established outside of Egypt, and Photios’s successor — the larger-than-life Meletius Metaxakis — received the first native sub-Saharan African converts, which led Alexandria to add to its title the words “All Africa.”

            • Gail Sheppard says

              They have a complicated history.

            • The Patriatchates only included the Chalcedonian bishops so we don’t have to include the Copts. Up until the 1950s the Chalcedonians of Egypt were the Greeks. Alexandria was always viewed as a Greek colony by Greeks hence before there was an Ellis Island greek immigration was to Alexandria etc. The innovation is actually the 1930 claim by the heretical Meletios that the entire continent belongs to the Alexandrian patriarch. Historically Africa consisted of a center in Alexandria whose sphere included Egypt, Ethiopia and Nubia. There was also a Latin sphere based in Carthage and it’s reach extended to Tunisia and Morocco and parts of Libya (We’ve all heard of Sts Cyprian and Augustine and even Tertullian etc) . But the “all of Africa” title for Alexandria didn’t come about till 1930

            • A very informative post, thank you.
              However, the link to the article is missing.

  8. I don’t know if petitions achieve anything, but the South African Greek community started this petition (click on my name for access). Outside of East Africa, African Orthodoxy wants to be divorced from “old world” squabbles as much as it is possible (hence most of us aren’t too broken up about Russia’s presence in the continent. They were here at some point, afterall).

    His Eminence seems to understand this sentiment well.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      This was about Russia leaving a door open for Alexandria. Why should they have to suffer the consequences of something they didn’t support in the first place?

  9. What we have is a worldview problem – phronema

    .

  10. Who is Fancy Bear? What emails? I missed this…

  11. A Synod of Patriarch being called by Constantinople to decide on Russian Exarchates? What could possibly go wrong?
    https://www.helleniscope.com/2022/02/11/a-synod-of-the-ancient-patriarchates-is-planned-to-decide-on-russian-exarchates/

    • Gail Sheppard says

      What upsets me about this is Bartholomew’s assumption that if you aren’t from one of the original 5 patriarchates, you’re “autocephalous,” on paper, which can be ripped up at any time by Bartholomew, the “mother” Church. In other words, he can wipe out your Church entirely.

      Would any of you think it’s right to do that to the Russians? If you do, the OCA will go as well. So will all the Local Churches.

      This one patriarchate (that received its own status only because Rome dropped out of the picture), is saying it is considering wiping out the vast majority of Orthodox Christians just to keep a schismatic group who refuses to come into the canonical Church and be ordained.

      I ask you: What kind of “mother” threatens to annihilate her young?

      * * *

      I Kings 3:22-28

      They argued back and forth in front of Solomon, 23 until finally, he said, “Both of you say this live baby is yours. 24 Someone bring me a sword.”

      A sword was brought, and Solomon ordered, 25 “Cut the baby in half! That way each of you can have part of him.”

      26 “Please don’t kill my son,” the baby’s mother screamed. “Your Majesty, I love him very much, but give him to her. Just don’t kill him.”

      The other woman shouted, “Go ahead and cut him in half. Then neither of us will have the baby.”

      27 Solomon said, “Don’t kill the baby.” Then he pointed to the first woman, “She is his real mother. Give the baby to her.”

      28 Everyone in Israel was amazed when they heard how Solomon had made his decision. They realized that God had given him wisdom to judge fairly.

      • When I saw them talking about rescinding Russia’s autocephaly for five years it actually made me laugh a little.

        A patriarch in a Muslim city and country with a flock of 3,000 Orthodox Christians (which I think is a generous number) think that he can take away autocephaly from the largest and most well equipped, financially/politically speaking, Church in Orthodoxy shows just how delusional they are. Constantinople is in a burning building playing with gasoline, holding chrism hostage and trying to hold this robber council prior to Pascha.

        Christ the Savior in Moscow, and probably many other cathedrals across Russia, have more people at a Divine Liturgy on Sunday than the entirety of EP within Turkey and probably then some.

        Also, I think it would be extremely foolish for Antioch or Jerusalem to take part in the meeting being called by Alexandria. They have nothing to gain. My hope is that they respond to Bartholomew and tell him to pound sand. Since the EP is holding the Holy Chrism hostage Antioch & Jerusalem should plan on getting their chrism elsewhere…(btw why do they not consecrate their own chrism? They are ancient patriarchates).

        It will be interesting to see who becomes the new Archbishop of Cyprus. I’ve been told by a Cypriot whose father is a priest that Chrysostomos is wildly unpopular on the island due to scandals, how he has handled covid, the OCU and more recently banning the priests from liturgy bc they aren’t vax’d. As far as I know the EP doesn’t have a say in who the next Cypriot primate will be like he does in Crete, so I would not at all be surprised if the next primate is Met. Neophytos (or at least that is my ardent hope/wishful thinking).

      • George Michalopulos says

        Very well said. If there was any doubt in my mind that the Phanar plays fast-and-loose with the rules, making them up as they go along, it has finally been dispelled.

        This will not end well for those who are malefactors. The Church will survive.

      • Well said, Gail!

    • Antioch probably won’t attend if the JP does, just like Antioch not attending Amman with the JP.

      If the JP goes, it would be disinclined to start trouble with Russia.

      GOC, Alexandria, Cyprus would probably follow the CP. But without Antioch attending, it looks like its decisions would only apply to their own “faction” or coalition, not even to the 4 earliest Patriarchates of the East. (Antioch, Alexandria, JP, Antioch).

      If JP votes NO to something at a council like that, and the CP and Alexandria vote YES against Russia, then do the CP and Alexandria’s votes carry the “council” and impose a decision for the Council?

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Interestingly, not too long ago Antich and JP met in Cypress. They were also at the big Bishop’s Council in Russia that we talked about. They both agree on one thing: They’re not fans of the way Constantinople handled the situation between them.

        NONE of the patriarchates were fans of what happened in Ukraine. Even Alexandria advised against it. Besides Alexandria, none of them has concelebrated with them and now Russia has given Alexandria a way out.

        That’s why I am so anxious to see what that letter said that was sent by Alexandria to Constantinople. It’s all over the news that Bartholomew received it but then he quickly hid the contents. If the letter was what was later reported through RISU, there would have been no need to hide it. The actual letter would have been out there. I suspect Alexandria said something Bartholomew did NOT like.

        This is what a publication called the RISU is saying the letter said: (Notice their source)

        Source: Orthodoxtimes
        The members of the official Delegation of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, Metropolitans Gregory of Cameroon, Ioannis of Zambia, and Bishop Prodromos of Toliara and N. Madagascar, as well as Metropolitan Ignatios of Demitriados and Almyros, Hierarch of the Most Holy Church of Greece, and faithful from Constantinople and abroad.

        On Saturday, January 22, the Ecumenical Patriarch received the Archpriests of the Church of Alexandria, who presented him with a letter from Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria and All Africa regarding the case of the Moscow Patriarchate’s intrusion into the jurisdiction of the Alexandrian Throne.

        It was informed by RISU, that the Patriarchate of Alexandria, after the completion of its working sessions, 12 January issued an announcement.

        As the Patriarchate of Alexandria characteristically pointed out, “for the last two years, due to the recognition by Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria, of the Autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, we have suddenly faced the immoral invasion and intrusion of the Russian Church through non-canonical and indecent methods to ecclesiastical practice and tradition, which was respected by all the predecessors of Patriarch Cyril”.

        The Patriarchate of Alexandria emphasized that the Moscow Patriarchate essentially “acquired” clergy of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, in retaliation and consequently blackmail or revenge.

        The Patriarchate recalled that the creation of an “Exarchate” by Russia within the areas of jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Alexandria is non-canonical and statements on this issue in favor of the Russian side have been made by clergy who have either removed themselves or are of unknown origin, who identify themselves as Orthodox but never belonged to the Patriarchate of Alexandria.

        In its announcement, the Patriarchate spoke of an attempt to alter Orthodox Ecclesiology, “for spiteful reasons, infected with the virus of ethnocentrism, which was condemned by the Synod of 1872”.

        The Patriarchate of Alexandria stressed that these decisions of the Russian Patriarchate even refer to “parameters of neo-colonialism” and “claim to world supremacy” that do not agree with the Orthodox tradition.

        The Patriarchate Alexandria decided to inform both the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the local Church through Patriarchal letters, which will describe the actions of the Russian Church, while applying faithfully and directly what is provided by the rules of ecclesiastical punishment, to offenders.

        https://risu.ua/en/letter-from-the-patriarch-of-alexandria-to-the-ecumenical-patriarch-on-the-russian-intrusion_n125296

        I’ve never heard of this Ukrainian paper but it says the story came from the Orthodoxtimes. That’s not true. This is what the Orthodoxtimess said:

        ‘The members of the official Delegation of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, Metropolitans Gregory of Cameroon, Ioannis of Zambia, and Bishop Prodromos of Toliara and N. Madagascar, as well as Metropolitan Ignatios of Demitriados and Almyros, Hierarch of the Most Holy Church of Greece, and faithful from Constantinople and abroad.

        On Saturday, January 22, the Ecumenical Patriarch received the Archpriests of the Church of Alexandria, who presented him with a letter from Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria and All Africa regarding the case of the Moscow Patriarchate’s intrusion into the jurisdiction of the Alexandrian Throne.

        In the afternoon of the same day, the Ecumenical Patriarch, accompanied by the above Hierarchs and by the Archdeacon Paisios, went to the headquarters of the Association of Children and Youth Housing Workers, where he cut the New Year’s vasilopita and addressed paternal speeches to the members of the Board of Directors. . .”

        https://orthodoxtimes.com/letter-from-the-patriarch-of-alexandria-to-the-ecumenical-patriarch-on-the-russian-intrusion/

        Notice how there’s nothing in the Orthodoxtimes. They skipped right over the letter. You can’t always trust Ukrainian sources.

        • GAIL:
          RISU reported:
          ((The Patriarchate Alexandria decided to inform both the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the local Church through Patriarchal letters, which will describe the actions of the Russian Church, while applying faithfully and directly what is provided by the rules of ecclesiastical punishment, to offenders.))
          RISU cited to the Orthodox Times for this.

          The Orthodox Times article that RISU cited says about the letter only:
          ((On Saturday, January 22, the Ecumenical Patriarch received the Archpriests of the Church of Alexandria, who presented him with a letter from Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria and All Africa regarding the case of the Moscow Patriarchate’s intrusion into the jurisdiction of the Alexandrian Throne.))

          So RISU is citing a detail about the letter (measures to be implemented) that is not in the Orthodox Times article. So it could mean that RISU is making the detail up or getting the detail from an Orthodox Times article that was taken down.

          One question is: How sure and clear are you in your head that you specifically looked at an Orthodox Times article titled about Alexandria saying that recognizing the OCU was a mistake and talking in the article about this same letter, and that you aren’t, say, confusing this with the OrthoChristian article where P. Theodoros admitted this verbally to another Alexandrian clergy?

          I wouldn’t be surprised if you are right and there was some Orthodox Times article on that topic of the letter’s contents that got taken down.

          In any case, we can guess that the Alexandrian hierarch would think that kind of thing because he had been openly previously rejecting the OCU rather strongly, and the OrthoChristian article conforms it.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Interestingly, these words had nothing to do with the letter Bartholomew received from Alexandria on Sat. January 22. This is why you can’t trust these sources.

          These words purportedly (per the EP) came from Alexandria during a meeting he had with them on Jan. 12. Frankly, they don’t sound like anything Alexandra would say, especially the part about how the “non-canonical and statements on this issue in favor of the Russian side have been made by clergy who have either removed themselves or are of unknown origin, who identify themselves as Orthodox but never belonged to the Patriarchate of Alexandria.”

          So the EP wants us to believe this was in a letter delivered on Jan 22 when it was his take on a meeting he had with Alexandria on Jan 12.

          Whatever was in the real letter delivered on Jan 22, Bartholomew doesn’t want us to see. Could Alexandria have written that they will not support the EP? It’s a possibility.

          https://orthodoxtimes.com/patriarchate-of-alexandria-we-face-an-immoral-blow-from-the-orthodox-russians/

          • The January 12 Orthodox Times article says that the Patriarchate of Alexandria’s synod decided as follows:

            To this end, it was decided that:

            A) To advise the Venerable Ecumenical Patriarchate and the local Churches through their Primates, by delivering Patriarchal Letters, which will describe the “plague” of confusion which has fallen on “our children born in Christ”, the faithful Africans, a consequence of the manifest and invisible actions of the commissioned persons of the Russian Church, and

            B) The faithful and direct application of the provisions, of the Divine and Holy Canons, of Ecclesiastical Penalties, to the transgressors.

            This sounds pretty formal and matches the RISU description.
            Any letter approved by the Patriarchal synod (IMO this is considered the highest authority in Alexandria’s Church) would have to at least include these two decisions.

            In the course of this letter, conceivably, the AP Theodoros could have called the decision to recognize the OCU a mistake. Your Who Just Blinked Article’s citation to Met. Seraphim makes this a realistic possibility, combined with your memory of an Orthodox Times Article by that title.

            Do you specifically remember seeing an Orthodox Times article on the Orthodox Times website by that title or something like it (eg. Alexandria Admits Mistake?)

            The suggestion to call a EO Synaxis of Hellenistic/Arab Churches was made by the Alexandrian Primate, so it’s not exactly asking for a truly pan Orthodox synaxis that takes up the MP on its offer, unless Pat. Theodore wrote something differently in his letter than what he has been reported as asking for.

            If Alexandria said that it would not support the CP on the OCU, it would go against the forced pressure that he was put under to accept the OCU, which was a threat of removal by his own synod. I don’t see any hint of that anywhere, and in any case any decision from him on the topic would be practically dependent on the will of that same synod. That is, the Alexandrian synod would have to change its own position.

            My guess is that the most remarkable thing in the letter that is not reported is simply that the OCU decision was a “mistake”, since that was put in the headline and is confirmed as what P. Theodore has told others according to Orthochristian and matches what Met. Seraphim of Zimbabwe said.
            That is, if the letter literally formally rejected the OCU, then this would be more likely in the headline than just calling recognition a “mistake”.

          • STERN WARNING TO MADAGASCAR PRIESTS: THOSE WHO JOIN ROC ARE OUT OF THE CHURCH AND IN DANGER OF HELL
            Antananarivo, Madagascar, February 4, 2022

            Archbishop Ignatios of Antananarivo and North Madagascar of the Patriarchate of Alexandria has issued a very strong warning to his priests about the consequences of joining the Russian Orthodox Church’s African Exarchate.

            ((The Blessed Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and of All Africa, Theodoros II, clearly states that the Patriarchs of Russia and Alexandria have no connection or alliance.

            Therefore, all those who have gone to other Patriarchs have resigned from the priesthood of the Archdiocese of Antananarivo and the northern part of Madagascar, which is ruled by the Patriarch of Alexandria, without the right to celebrate the Liturgy, and the Liturgies and Sacraments they celebrate are not valid according to the holy canonical law of the Church.

            So I beg you to be careful because this is a very difficult thing, the punishment will be so severe that you will lose your souls in Hell, the expelled priests immediately return to the ranks of the laity, and the holy anointing they had received is no longer valid.

            As a result, God’s grace was completely cut off from them and they are no longer members of the Church.))

            https://orthochristian.com/144291.html

            One commentor noted:
            “The double standards here are astounding. This is the precise opposite of the argument they use to support the schism in Ukraine. There, they argued that priests who go into schism – even when formally defrocked – WERE still priests. But apparently in Africa they are not.”

          • Hello Gail. This is not to comment on whether this particular information on RISU is reliable or not; I would however like to point out that RISU is a Greek Catholic (Uniate)-run news source. And the Orthodox Times, as we know, was initiated by the US State Department and received funding from them. I also would like to point out that there are Catholics actively spreading their own versions of what is going on in our Orthodox world. For example, there is a lawyer named Peter Anderson who sends out regular newsletters with his interpretation of Orthodox events, but does not state openly that he is Roman Catholic. Of course, he is completely biased in favor of Constantinople and against the Moscow Patriarchate. Everyone has a right to his own opinion, but one has to wonder how is has the time to put together these long letters as often as twice a week. We Orthodox do not waste time writing about Rome’s problems, so why are these Roman Catholics so actively concerned with commenting on and influencing ours?

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Thank you, Mother. This site was new to me. You, of course, are right about some of the Catholic sites. The RCs are going through similar troubles. Some are right on point and some are way off the mark.

              The articles that are closer to the truth are generally written by the Tradcats (traditional Catholics) and those written by others are more politically motivated. Just like in our neck of the woods.

              The Pope and Bartholomew are nearly indistinguishable at this point. The only thing that separates them is primacy. The Catholic Church would take us in a heartbeat as long as they could keep the Pope.

              Sometimes I think that God may have put Bartholomew where he is at this moment because (forgive me) he is too arrogant to move under any man. He would never agree to take second place.

              Speaking of; has anyone heard about this?

              New Documentary on His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Premieres February 10, 2022
              A special screening of the new documentary “Bartholomew: 30 Years of Patriarchal Ministry” will be presented tomorrow, Thursday, February 10, 2022, at 7pm Istanbul time (11am EST) in the presence of select diplomats and hierarchs at the Arnavutköy Community of the Holy Archangels.

              The Greek version of the film was first screened in Athens during the official patriarchal visit there recently. The English version will appear for the first time at tomorrow night’s event, which will be live-streamed on the Facebook page of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and is fully accessible to both English and Greek speaking viewers.

              The film was sponsored by the Archons of Panagia Pammakaristos in Greece and prepared, produced, and edited with the guidance of Fr. John Chryssavgis.

              • ” he is too arrogant to move under any man. He would never agree to take second place.”
                This reminds me of my practical take on predictions that P. Bartholomew wants to go under Rome.
                If he did that, he would lose his power and status. He and his predecessors are in paintings and photos where he and the Pope meet and stand next to each other as if they are somewhat negotiating on voluntary terms, thus as if they are equals. If the Pope believes that he is supreme and EOs left Rome, why would he talk about EOs with so much respect instead of considering them schismatics? These kind of talks of voluntary reunion come across as situations where the CP and EOs are treated with respect and as partners. It’s not presented as if the EOs are openly trying to come home to Rome.

                Alternately, if the CP did reunite in a way where he went under Rome, then he would become the equivalent of an Eastern Uniate subject of Rome. No more equal terms paintings. The CP would not be made the head of all eastern EOs. He would lose his “First Without Equals” claims. He could not claim appellate powers over Ukraine. Ukrainian Catholics have their own autonomous Church under the Pope, not one under any Eastern Istanbul Catholic Patriarch.

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  In truth, Bartholomew has “united” with the State Department and other globalists, as has the Pope. Either of them would gladly create an “East & West” sort of entity that can be leveraged as one body when it comes to global objectives. Preaching the Gospel would take second place to the environment, migration, vaccination; essentially Agenda 30. These goals would become Christian imperatives. Heresies would no longer be an obstacle and the sacraments would be offered in both Churches. The Pope describes this as “unity with diversity.” – The Orthodox would never go for it.

                • Joseph Lipper says

                  One of the traditional roles of the Ecumenical Patriarch is to reach out to Christianity’s lost sheep. In this context, the frequent meetings between Patriarch Bartholomew and the various Roman Popes of the last 30 years are just an example of him fulfilling that traditional role. Yes, he talks about union, but Gail is absolutely correct that there is no interest in giving up the role of Ecumenical Patriarch, especially to the false “Holy Roman Empire” represented by Pope Francis.

                  It is precisely the Ecumenical Patriarch, however weak he presently is, that stands against the false Second Rome of Pope Francis.

    • If the CP calls a synod of GOC, CP, Cyprus, and Alexandria, JP and Antioch are highly unlikely to both show up because Antioch is having such bad relations with the JP that Antioch skipped the Amman meetings.

      If some kind of “rump synod” (CP + AP minus JP or Antioch, etc) condemns the MP, it’s just going to be a “local council/synod” that just governs its attendant members. It cant even claim to be a synaxis of the 4 Eastern major Greek/Syrian/Arab Patriarchates without Antioch.

      • The Greeks have fallen into prelest. Their newest anti-canonical innovation is something they call the Greek pentarchy. This new pentarchy includes Cyprus because it’s Greek, thus not only are they not hiding their ethnophyletism they are ignoring the diptychs. After Jerusalem the next in rank is Moscow, then comes Serbia. Cyprus is way down the ladder on the order of the diptychs.

  12. The only thing making this situation seem like a crisis is the illusion that Constantinople and Alexandria have some power to do anything about what’s happening. The only power Constantinople has is to repent of its Ukraine folly. Alexandria, by joining it in this folly, is simply reaping the rewards.

    Don’t demand what you can’t take. That’s an old Sicilian proverb.

    As it stands, Constantinople and Alexandria are slowly being shown the door.

  13. Fundamentally, the Church is the bishop, surrounded by his flock, celebrating the Eucharist. The bishop is a successor of the apostles, consecrated by the laying on of hands, and the fidelity to Holy Tradition is the necessary element in this continuity with the Church of the apostles.

    The thing about this image is that it is not attached to a particular person or place. So long as the continuity is preserved, the persons and places are irrelevant. There is the Church.

    So it is not accurate to say that the Church cannot exist without the Patriarch of Constantinople. It has and it likely will. It was founded long before Constantinople became a Christian city, indeed before Rome became Christian. There is no necessity of a bishop of place X to the continuance of the Church. If there were, it would be the bishop of Jerusalem, where the Church was founded at Pentecost. I’m speaking in absolute and temporal terms here because some errant Orthodox have strayed from this understanding and been lulled into the necessity of this or that place or patriarch. This is simply an argument from, “one cannot imagine it any other way”, which is no argument at all. Yes, one does not need too active an imagination to know that Saint James, the brother of the Lord, presided in Jerusalem when the Church was very young. There was no Roman Christianity or Constantinopolitan Christianity then. Just a bishop, surrounded by his flock, celebrating the Eucharist.

    Anywhere this continuity is preserved, to the satisfaction of the Almighty, the Church lives. And so this is why I am loathe to exclude, for example, Greek Old Calendarists or other questionable traditionalists from the definition of Church. God knows His own. And the best testament to Him knowing any such group is their fidelity to the apostolic witness. The Church receives no dictates from anyone other than Christ. She summons the Holy Spirit through conciliarity, as is witnessed by the example of the Apostolic Council of Jerusalem.

    If Constantinople has been right all this time and Rome has been wrong, then Constantinople is wrong today. Because sine paribus directly conflicts with all of the above and there is no doubt what has been described above is Orthodox Christianity.

  14. Today, February 12, Patriarch John of Antioch met with Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon (Ecumenical Patriarchate). The Patriarchate of Antioch immediately issued a communication concerning the meeting.

    “Patriarch John X, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East for the Greek Orthodox, received Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon, an envoy of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, at the patriarchal residence in Balamand. The bishop carried an invitation to participate in the meeting of the four Apostolic Patriarchates proposed to be held before the Great and Holy Week in Constantinople to discuss the issues facing the Orthodox Church. The meeting touched on the historical relations that unite the Churches of Antioch and Constantinople, and the overall issues of the day.”

    As you recall, Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem in an interview with Izvestia, posted on January 29, alluded to a future meeting of Church leaders. (link) He stated in part:

    “I have long believed that communication provides the best solution to our biggest problems. In the Orthodox Churches, it is vital that we continue to meet each other in a spirit of Christian love and brotherhood and discuss issues that too easily divide us. By living hospitably and sharing everything, we invite the Holy Spirit to unite us. I have been very encouraged by the leaders’ willingness to meet and look forward to more opportunities to share my thoughts with them in the coming months.”

    It now appears that the reference in the last sentence is to the meeting which is the subject of the invitation extended today to Patriarch John.

    https://ilsismografo.blogspot.com/2022/02/mondo-future-meeting-of-four-primates.html

    • Gail Sheppard says

      They’ve met before on this mess. https://spzh.news/en/news/61551-na-kipre-prohodit-vstrecha-chetyreh-predstojatelej-po-ukrainskomu-voprosu

      Antioch may go, but I would be very surprised if Patriarch John X will ever accept the UOC or be willing to cut off Russia. I don’t think Jerusalem will either. – But then I was wrong about Alexandria. I think a new metropolitan was just placed over Cypress.

      • “I think a new metropolitan was just placed over Cypress.”

        Possibly you are thinking of the Maronites?
        https://www.lpj.org/posts/new-maronite-archbishop-selim-sfeir-installed-and-welcomed-in-cyprus.html

      • But then I was wrong about Alexandria

        We all were, Gail. I don’t think any of us would have thought that Theodoros would have turned around so quick given his history with Ukraine. I certainly didn’t think that.

        However, should Antioch for whatever reason choose to side with the AP/EP on this (which I still doubt) I think it will be an even bigger blow to Orthodoxy, at least here in the States. Think of how many converts the Antiochan Archdiocese has here in America, etc., that’s why I believe it would would be more serious than the current separation between ROCOR & GOARCH. I would imagine that it would be extended to the Antiochian Archdiocese, which would be terrible. That’s definitely worst case scenario.

        I just have a hard time believing that Patriarch John & Patriarch Theophilos would think that a meeting that includes the EP…the offending party…and giving the EP the power to vote on a problem that he caused while not including Russia, is in any way shape or form a good idea, especially after all of the calls for a pan-Orthodox council on the issue.

        I hope it is not a foreboding that this “council” is to take place right before Passion Week, but I believe that it may be.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          See, here we are sitting on the edge of our seats wondering what our own Patriarchs are going to do. How crazy is that? Alexandria was such a disappointment. Siding with Bartholomew on Ukraine is a huge deviation from where he stood in the beginning.

          Do these hierarchs pray? If they’re talking to the Holy Spirit, why do they keep coming up with different answers? If going into Ukraine was a bad idea before, it’s a worse decision now that it has divided the Church.

          Thankfully, the OCA has reassured us where they stand but I wasn’t always what they were going to do either.

          The confusion Bartholomew has brought into the picture is a crime. It’s a crime against the order of the Church; the very thing the Church depends on.

          • See, here we are sitting on the edge of our seats wondering what our own Patriarchs are going to do. How crazy is that?

            I like to think it’s because we all care, but, also because politics both secular and ecclesiastical are really interesting to me and I assume many others on here lol.

            Might be somewhat of a convert thing as well? Many of us (I know you included) have been through a lot in converting to Orthodoxy and it’s really important to us.

            Third, I think it’s because in Orthodoxy the laity have such a say in what goes on in the Church. From my experience as a former Roman Catholic, that just wasn’t the case. In Orthodoxy we laity have just as much a role in protecting, guarding and defending the Faith just as much as any hierarch, and sometimes it comes down to defending the Faith FROM the hierarchs (Florence-Ferrara & the current craziness).

            I agree, I am glad the OCA has remained with Met. Onuphry, I just hope the rest of the jurisdictions do as well.

            • Might be somewhat of a convert thing as well? Many of us (I know you included) have been through a lot in converting to Orthodoxy and it’s really important to us.

              “A cat that jumps on a hot stove will never jump on a hot stove again. Neither will it jump on a cold stove.” — Michael Cameron

              Converts who have been burned bear scars that make them wary of the leaders of their new religious affiliation.

              • Converts who have been burned bear scars that make them wary of the leaders of their new religious affiliation.

                You’re right Lawrence. Some of the same problems in Roman Catholicism I have noticed in Orthodoxy, but on a much smaller scale. We tend to sound the alarms when we notice these things bc we all know what can happen when they go unchecked.

        • Yes, maybe they will try for some meetings with Antioch before Paskha because Antioch gets chrism from the CP, and the CP is planning to have the OCU help make their chrism this year. It’s supposed to include members of different Churches like Antioch concelebrating

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Under the circumstance, unless something changes, I would be really surprised if they took chrism made by the OCU.

  15. In other ecclesiastical news, the ROCOR-Rue Daru situation has smoothed over and all the clergy that left ROCOR have had their receptions cancelled and are back to being ROCOR clergy, under suspension awaiting repentance: https://orthodox-europe.org/content/colchester-paris-update/

    My take on this: the Patriarchate stepped in and put and end to it. Fr. Andrew Philips’ credibility has been destroyed, s who knows what his next move might be. My guess is that ROCOR may have recognized the former Uniate priest that the Rue Daru received by vesting as a compromise, but we need to wait for confirmation on that.

    We didn’t even have to wait for an official statement from ROCOR. So much for those that said ROCOR was determined to schism from the MP.

    • Fr Andrew’s Orthodox England Events Blog
      now requires a password to gain access.
      I do not know if these matters are connected.

      • I hope he repents and doesn’t, say, turn up in the EP’s ‘Slavonic Vicariate.’

        • Joseph Lipper says

          Here’s the thing: St. John’s in Colchester is about a 20 minute drive from England’s most thriving Orthodox monastery (and probably the most thriving Orthodox monastery in all of Western Europe), the Stavropegial Monastery of St. John the Baptist in the Village of Tolleshunt Knights.

          This is the monastery founded by St. Sophrony of Essex and where he reposed. St. Sophrony was born in Moscow in 1896, later becoming a monk at the Russian monastery of Mt. Athos, and because of poor health moved to France and then England. Even though he was Russian, he purposefully requested that his monastery be placed directly under the Ecumenical Patriarch, so Patriarch Bartholomew is the current bishop of that monastery.

          It really doesn’t make sense for St. John’s in Colchester to be in a one-sided schism with their neighboring Orthodox monastery, founded by a Russian saint no less. This probably frustrates Fr. Andrew Philips to no end.

          • I used to be part of St. John’s parish and knew Fr. Andrew very well. Fr. Andrew spent an awful lot of time bad-mouthing both St. Sophrony and his monastery. Ridiculing both the man, the monastery, and people that attended there.

        • I don’t think they would have him as he regularly attacks Met Anthony of Sourozh of blessed memory

          • I meant the Slavonic Vicariate here in the States (somewhat facetiously), which is a den of defrocked clergy and (allegedly) crooks.

            I had a quick search and the vicariate you’re thinking of (in the UK) doesn’t have that vibe!

    • Thanks.
      The announcement that you posted, Basil, is on the ROCOR-Europe website. It says in part:
      “The Diocese is pleased to confirm that the previously-issued claims of the reception of certain clergymen and parishes of our Diocese (and of the ROCOR more broadly) into the Paris Archdiocese have been rescinded… This brings to a welcome end a period of strained relations caused by those claims.”

      The most apparent implication, in context, is that AROCWE and ROCOR no longer have “strained relations”, and I take it that this is the intent of this sentence in bold.

      However, to anyone aware of the most obvious chronology of the strained relations, the straining did not start with Fr. Andrew leaving ROCOR. Fr. Andrew left ROCOR because of the “straining”.

      This creates a weird implication: The announcement seems to be blaming Fr. Andrew for strained relations and then patching up the conflict by saying that it was his fault, so that now ROCOR and AROCWE are together again. So what is ROCOR’s current stance on Fr. Simmons of AROCWE in Wales who did not meet ROCOR’s qualifications?

      The implication would seem to be that ROCOR UK is in practice retracting its own stance on the initial conflict. Of course, perhaps ROCOR UK might only be limiting its restrictions to Fr. Simmons and not all of AROCWE. But still, the implication would be that ROCOR is at least retracting its stance with regard to AROCWE as a whole.

      There is historically, and not specifically in the EO Church, a practice of blaming or penalizing subordinates for their superiors’ mistakes. In this case, Fr. Andrew was the subordinate (chancellor) of Bp. Irenei, who first broke ties with AROCWE,. Fr. Andrew move to AROCWE was accepted by Bp. Jean of AROCWE, Fr. Andrew’s new superior. However, according to the announcement, Bp. Irenei and Bp. Jean save face and it is Fr. Andrew who is suspended and repeatedly called to repentance.

      Probably this resolution was decided on by the top hierarchy of ROCOR and by the MP. ROCOR in the US would have accepted Fr. Simmons’ status as an EO priest. The implication seems to be that Fr. Andrew should have waited for a decision by the ROCOR synod or by the MP’s synod before “jumping ship”. Those two institutions had spent about a year without resolving the issue, and Fr. Andrew’s answer was that the canons let him leave ROCOR in order to avoid being in schism. Further, if AROCWE and ROCOR UK are now in communion again without AROCWE having changed its stance on Fr. Simmons, the practical conclusion would be that ROCOR UK was mistaken in severing communion with AROCWE. So whether Fr. Andrew chose to wait for higher authorities to resolve the issue, or whether he moved to AROCWE, either potential decision by Fr. Andrew would seem reasonable to me.

      Repenting of choosing the latter course instead of waiting for a decision does not seem particularly bad in light of the fact in hindsight that ROCOR and AROCWE have apparently been able to patch up the issue. However, based on this past history, serving under Bp. Irenei as subordinate clergy could be pretty stressful. Personally I would rather be in the US if I was ROCOR clergy because it doesn’t have this trouble.

      The issue seems like a source for further trouble later, because
      (A) Bp. Irenei has repeatedly claimed that Fr. Simmons’ acceptance by vesting was not canonical, although I’m at least pretty skeptical of Bp. Irenei’s claim. And
      (B) In the announcement, it says:
      ((Bishop Irenei has greeted the news with happiness, stating that ‘all are encouraged by the preservation of brotherly unity in the Church that comes from diligently adhering to the Holy Canons in all things.’))

      • Hi Hal
        Think you make some interesting points but there is a need for clarification.
        1. Father Andrew was not the Chancellor of ROCOR this is Father Paul
        2. Father Andrew was unhappy with Bishop Irenei far before the Fr Simmons scandal this stretches back to (a) his long drawn-out battle with members of the Parish council of the ROCOR Cathedral in London (b) Bishop Irenei trying to calm down his blogging(as he does has a habit of being rather harsh to everyone) and wanting to see everything before it was published (3) His expansion plans without consultation see point 3.
        3. Father Andrew created allot of tension with MP by setting up a Cambridge Parish without permission from the Assembly or the Bishop (he actually purchased a parish without permission) which was a mess Bishop Irenei had to clean up and upset MP(as near their parish)
        4. Father Andrew was suspended with permission to be defrocked by the Synod several months before jumping ship to Paris for starting a previous rebellion – Bishop Irenei actually refused to defrock him and defended him to the synod. FA was upset that he was suspended and was looking for a way out – Simmons was a perfect excuse
        5. MP has never accepted FA move to Paris in fact quite the opposite they have always supported Bishop Irenei – they told all MP priests that they were not allowed to celebrate with him and advised MP laity not to visit FA parishes. MP also stopped a reader who had shifted from ROCOR to Paris from celebrating in their Bristol parish
        6. The Father Simmons affair runs quite deep as he was a Uniate priest who was highly critical of ROCOR’s parish in Cardiff. Also, there was consultation on how he should be received across all three UK jurisdictions but that advice was ignored by Paris

        • I was a member of Fr. Andew’s parish when Bishop Irenei (who I liked a lot) came to the UK. Fr. Andrew took an instant dislike to him and like his bad-mouthing of St. Sophrony (mentioned above), also started doing this behind Bishop Irenei back from day one.

          He mentioned to me right at the beginning that perhaps it was time to join MP. He would refer to Bp Irenier dismissively as “the American.”

          Fr. Andrew was used to ruling the roost in the East of England. The previous Bishop – ABp Mark – would rarely visit, so Fr. Andrew could do what he liked.

          Bp Irenei is strict, also compassionate – in the style of St. John of Shanghai.

          He told Fr. Andrew that he wanted to put in order liturgical standards across the parish. Fr. Andrew did not like this and would ignore him when Bp. Irenei was not there. Fr. Andrew likes to kneel in the altars on Sunday at the weekday points e.g. Lord’s Prayer. He would carry on regardless whenever Bp. Irenei was not there.

          Bp. Irenei wanted to standardise liturgical texts and use the Jordanville edition. Fr. Andrew did not like this and would ignore him when he was not there.

          Fr .Andrew likes to do what he wants. And he liked having an overseas bishop (ABp Mark) who did not visit or pay much attention to what he was up to. Hence he wanted to go under Archbishop John.

          I was completely scandalised by the level of rudeness, disrespect, and disobedience that Fr. Andrew showed. And I was amazed by the patience of Bp Irenei – who has been unjustly slandered.

          Btw, I don’t attend church anymore cos I got tired of all of this kind of stuff. I do feel sorry for Bp Irenei. He has been patient whilst unjustly slandered.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            As an aside, there is no need to be “scandalized” because of how someone treats someone else in the Church (or anywhere else).

            I’m curious: Did you speak to the bishop about this? You can, you know. I don’t think he would want you leaving the Church.

            There is the Church which is solid and beautiful and probably the reason you were attracted to it in the first place. And then there are the people in the Church, who are like people everywhere. Very flawed. It’s an incredibly important distinction. They don’t call it a “hospital” for nothing!

            Why deny yourself the Church because some priest didn’t like the standardization of liturgics (by the way, that’s not unusual), if this is indeed the case? Priests see bishops as infrequently as once a year. They don’t spend a lot of time together, and just because a priest doesn’t like something, doesn’t mean he won’t do it. He’ll do it if his bishop says he has to. You shouldn’t feel the need to protect anyone.

            I’ve been reading what you described (I haven’t paid a lot of attention to the story apart from this), and I honestly don’t see “disrespect”, “disobedience” or “slander” in what you described. These are serious accusations. In the Church, they are generally met with consequences which may have been the case.

            I don’t know.

            “Rudeness?” Maybe, but that would depend on how the bishop felt about it. If he is truly like St. John Maximovich, I suspect he took it in stride.

            It is hard to characterize things accurately from a layman’s POV and harder still for people outside the Church. Bishops and priests have their own style of communication which can seem harsh at times.

            I’ve been doing this a long time and I’m just trying to look out for you, David. If you’re really bothered, ask to speak to the bishop. That’s what he’s there for. If you want my help, I’ll try to contact him for you.

            And go back to Church!!!

        • I’ve had one encounter with Bp. Irenei in the midst of a controversy between clerics. Freshly consecrated, the bishop was young, smart and well-spoken, but very authoritarian. His visit brought a certain clarity, perhaps, but little charity. Swift judgement favored one party and condemned the other. In my view, both parties bore a share of the responsibility and an effort on the bishop’s part in episcopal care might have mended the breach between them.

        • Now it’s all coming out, just like I predicted.

          • Basil,
            For it to all come out, we would need to know why ROCOR Europe broke communion with AROCWE in 2021 over vesting Fr. Siemens, a convert from the Eastern Catholics, since vesting convert priests from them is a centuries long standard practice for the heritage of the OCA, MP, and AROCWE.

            In ROCOR’s whole history, it has not made converting Ukrainian Catholic priests by vesting to be grounds for excommunicating a whole jurisdiction. Then in late 2019, AROCWE leaves the CP, and about a year later in early 2021, Bp. Irenei breaks communion with AROCWE on the grounds of this centuries-long practice…

            OK… What is all coming out about this now?

            • Bishop Irenei stated – rightly or wrongly – that he broke communion due to the reception by vesting.

              The ‘all coming out’ is the additional information supplied above, which gives us a lot more context to work with, as opposed to the highly one-sided commentary that came out of AROCWE’s UK mouthpiece and Fr. Andrew himself.

              My position on this from the very beginning was: 1) we don’t know the full story, as ROCOR said nothing publicly (very generously, it seems, if all of the above is true), 2) Moscow would sort this out, and 3) Bishop Irenei was over the top in his response.

              Only 2) hasn’t been confirmed yet.

              • Sorry, Basil, I don’t see how the information above makes all come out now. We have new info on Fr. Andrew, but not new information on the actual sudden cause in break in relations between AROCWE and ROCOR that started almost a year before Fr. Andrew left ROCOR. Using vesting for taking in Eastern Catholic priests is a very longstanding AROCWE practice.

        • Jason,
          1. Thanks. Maybe I confused him with Fr. Paul. I had good phone contacts with one of them a few years ago when I needed help on an Orthodox internet project.
          2-3. What you mentioned here doesn’t sound like a crucial problem, unless there are some major other details.
          4. What exactly was this previous rebellion? Fr. James Siemens converted in December, 2020:
          https://orthochristian.com/136869.html
          Fr. Andrew Phillips joined AROCWE when, in October 2021?
          So several months earlier, AROCWE would already been having problems with the ROCOR UK, and when Fr. Andrew would have been taking a dim view of that rupture. Could this be related to Fr. Andrew’s suspension?
          5. You could be right that “MP has never accepted FA move to Paris” and that they forbade MP clergy from celebrating with him, since I haven’t read otherwise, but I’d want more proof of that.
          You wrote, “in fact quite the opposite they have always supported Bishop Irenei”. This seems confusing, because how could they have support Bp. Irenei breaking communion with AROCWE over Fr. Siemens’ vesting, when MP Tradition says to convert Greek Catholics by vesting?
          6. You are saying that as a Uniate priest Fr. Siemens was critical of ROCOR and AROCWE ignored ROCOR’s advice to not accept Fr. Siemens by vesting.
          I don’t see how this should change anything.
          – Heterodox people can foreseeably mistakenly criticize Orthodoxy but then convert to Orthodoxy.
          – Fr. Seraphim Rose was received into ROCOR by Chrismation, and St. Alexis Toth was received by vesting. Met. Evlogius, a founding hierarch of AROCWE was (as I recall) accepted into Orthodoxy by vesting. Receiving Ukrainian Catholics into the OCA or MP by Chrismation or vesting without rebaptism is normal for the OCA and MP.

          ROCOR can tell us not to do that, but since it’s our normal longstanding practice going back farther than ROCOR’s existence, I don’t see why we would be subject to ROCOR’s decisionmaking or else subject to excommunication by ROCOR.

          • Interesting points and agree in regrds to reception but shouldn’t Father Siemens’be recieved by at least second rite and not vesting as this is in line with MP’s position.

            • Jason,
              There are a couple issues:
              1. How should Fr. Siemens have been received? Fr. Siemens was received into AROCWE, so jurisdictionally he should be received per AROCWE’s practice like Met. Evlogius was. Do we know for a fact that the MP uses a different method than it did decades ago when it used vezted?

              2. Supposing that AROCWE’s practice is wrong, why did BP. Irenei wait until a year after AROCWE left the CP to make this a church breaking issue when ROCOR has not broken over this in all its existence?

            • AROCWE and ROCOR are both autonomous under the MP, so the MP practice is not controlling. For example, MP accepts Lutherans like Catherine the Great by Chrismation, but ROCOR demands rebaptism. Since ROCOR is autonomous, ROCOR gets to rebaptize unless it’s a big problem for EO Tradition.

          • “Fr. Seraphim Rose was received into ROCOR by Chrismation, and St. Alexis Toth was received by vesting. Met. Evlogius, a founding hierarch of AROCWE was (as I recall) accepted into Orthodoxy by vesting. Receiving Ukrainian Catholics into the OCA or MP by Chrismation or vesting without rebaptism is normal for the OCA and MP.”

            And these were all probably mistakes, regardless of the subsequent piety of those received. Personally, in this age, baptizing everyone is probably the only really pious way to do it. First of all, everything else is economia – period. We confess one baptism for the remission of sins and there are no efficacious mysteries served outside the Church. So we have a lot of unbaptized Orthodox wandering around, in direct contradiction to the Lord’s own imperative to “baptize all nations”.

            It is pure fiction to suggest that anything other than Orthodox baptism has any effect whatsoever beyond being a senseless bath administered by heretics. For political reasons, bishops, even many considered saints in the Church, bent this rule and admitted the heterodox through other means. I do not challenge the efficaciousness of this practice inasmuch as the power to bind and loose is given to the bishops and the grace of God sufficient to admit someone to the Church can be occasioned by any of the mysteries.

            But there is no principled reason under this understanding not to admit Hindus by confession and communion. It is a rejection of the Lord’s mandate by those charged with serving as His servants, not His second guessers. It may have been justifiable under certain conditions in the remote past during the age of the Church Fathers. I do not wish to second guess them within the context of their particular circumstances. But Orthodox synods have on occasion come up with the right solution, to baptize all converts, even Roman Catholics, from time to time. In this age of apostasy, nothing less is warranted.

            It has nothing to do with the authority of ROCOR as opposed to Athos or Valaam, etc. It is a simple recognition that when some clergy in the Church felt that the stakes were very low, they erred on the side of laxity and this has mistakenly become artificial “tradition”, cited as case law.

            The damage could not be more absolutely clear. It is conventional wisdom among some Orthodox that we “recognize” the baptisms of heretics and it has been agreed to by Rome and the Phanar that it is wrong to baptize each others converts, presumably because they are already baptized.

            This corruption of understanding was not what was intended by what may have been the mistaken laxity of otherwise pious bishops in the past. No saint or pious father denies the exclusivity of the Orthodox Church as the one and only holy, catholic and apostolic Church. But that is precisely what is called into question by alternate means of reception and that is why they should all cease and desist.

            If we maintain that we are the sole Church of Christ while receiving converts without baptism from the heterodox, we have no defense against those who call us liars and state that the Church is the body of baptized believers from whatever confession.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              And silly me, a salmon swimming upstream (again) wanted to be baptized into the Church so badly I waited for 3 1/2 years to be able to do it. It’s not like my priest wouldn’t have done it but he couldn’t. None of the priests in my jurisdiction could do it.

              There is something wrong when you cannot follow the tenets of the Church because someone else might think I thought I was more Orthodox than they are because I was baptized and they were not.

              Misa, I’m sure you’ll know I’m telling you the truth when I say that that particular thought never entered my mind.

              Everything you said was spot on.

              We don’t need special rules for coming into the Church. We don’t need special rules for viruses. We don’t need special rules for anything. We just need the bishops to stop improvising and exercise economia only when love demands it. When I think of people like St. John Maximovich, I suspect that he came and went without making any new rules. I don’t know. It’s just a feeling I have.

            • Misha,

              You are bringing up the known difference between ROCOR and the OCA, MP, and AROCWE in how conversions should occur from non-EOs.

              Personally, I had a Lutheran baptism and converted by Chrismation into Orthodoxy 20+ years ago. I would still get a new, separate EO baptism if I believed that it was the Orthodox teaching. But based on what I’ve read it isn’t, eg.:

              First, the 2nd Ecumenical Council (canon 7) taught that heretics such as Arians and Apollinarians were to be chrismated and not rebaptized, and the 6th Ecumenical Council (canon 95) taught likewise that Monophysites and Nestorians are to be received into the Church via a confession of faith.

              ancientinsights.wordpress.com/2021/02/04/why-i-dont-support-re-baptism/

              Plus, I’m in the Russian Tradition, and in general, my understanding is that the longstanding Russian Tradition doesn’t rebaptize Lutherans, ROCOR notwithstanding.

              Of course, I am open minded on the topic and don’t make a judgement against those who get rebaptized into Orthodoxy.

              The other issue is why was it only after AROCWE left the CP for the MP that ROCOR broke with AROCWE over AROCWE’s very old longstanding policy? It makes it look like the root issue perhaps wasn’t really AROCWE’s longstanding policy, but rather major new events involving AROCWE.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                Yeah, but there is this: https://classicalchristianity.com/2015/12/11/15427/

                St. Basil the Great ca. 330-379

                Encratitæ, Saccophors and Apotactitæ all come under the same rule as the Novatians. For a canon was promulgated concerning the latter, although it varies from place to place; whereas nothing specific has been said regarding the former. Be that as it may, we simply rebaptize such persons. If among yourselves the measure of rebaptizing is banned, as it more surely is among the Romans for the sake of some economia, nevertheless let what we say prevail. For their heresy is something of an offshoot of the Marcionites who abominate marriage, and disdain wine, and say that God’s creation is defiled. Therefore we do not receive them into the Church unless they be baptized in our Baptism. And let them not say, ‘We have been baptized in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,’ when they suppose— as they do in a manner rivaling Marcion and the rest of the heresies— that God is the maker of things evil. Hence if this please you, then more bishops must come together and thus set forth the canon, so as to afford security to him who performs [rebaptism], and so that he who defends this practice might be considered trustworthy when responding on such matters.”

                • Here are some good resources explaining the Orthodox teaching, which I have tried to convey:

                  http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/ea_baptism.aspx

                  https://orthodoxethos.com/post/becoming-one-with-christ-the-spiritual-presuppositions-of-participation-in-the-mysteries

                  https://thoughtsintrusive.wordpress.com/2016/01/18/common-misunderstandings-on-the-reception-of-converts/

                  https://pravoslavie.ru/80888.html

                  Really, among traditional believers, the absence of the grace of the mysteries among the heterodox and the exclusive nature of the Orthodox Church as the Church are not in dispute.

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    These are great, Misha.

                  • Hello, Misha,
                    Thanks for the resources. It would be most convenient for discussion to just give a couple arguments directly and briefly.
                    After the Bible, the Ecumenical Councils are the highest authority in Orthodoxy, and they teach taking in heterodox like Monophysites and Nestorians without rebaptism as I cited.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Frankly, with this subject, there are many, many arguments. I think Misha was presenting opinions from various sources who agree.

                    • Hal,

                      No they do not. What they do is record the solution of a particular synod, in economia, to a particular set of facts. Once the situation passed, everything reverted to akrivia, which is baptize everyone. This cannot be stressed enough: Even an Ecumenical Council cannot change the faith from what it has always been. We believe in one baptism for the remission of sins and one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. No valid council purports to challenge these beliefs or that baptism is the sole means of receiving people into the Church formally. Bishops and synods in various times and places have the power to bind and loose and create windows of exceptions on an ad hoc basis which do not serve as precedent to change established doctrine. We may look at them historically if a bishop or synod has a difficult case and wishes to consider the application of economia anew. But economia is never, ever binding. It is always and infallibly the right thing to do to baptize everyone. It may be permissible under particular circumstances assessed anew at the time they occur to allow reception by some economia. But that is never the standard. That is simply not how Orthodoxy works.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Hal,

                      If I could highlight this and put gold stars around what Misha just said, I would. It takes time to reiterate this fact over and over again so this discussion is over for now.

                      As Misha said, there is no circumstance within the Church that overrides the understanding that the reception into the Church is to be baptism. That people within the Church (not the Church) have said and done differently for various reasons (sometimes for no good reason at all) is acknowledged, but it doesn’t change anything.

                      I do appreciate the research you’ve done. It’s been enlightening.

                    • “It takes time to reiterate this fact over and over again so this discussion is over for now.”

                      Gail,

                      I think that’s an important topic, and one that I am interested in, and open minded about. Certainly, it’s your blog, so you can call an end to the discussion if you want to.

                      Best Wishes

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      It’s a very important topic. But when it gets to the point where someone is telling someone else: “It would be most convenient for discussion to just give a couple arguments directly and briefly.” [In other words, “change your delivery because it doesn’t work for me.”]

                      And, “After the Bible, the Ecumenical Councils are the highest authority in Orthodoxy [tradition, teaching, and the Holy Scriptures are the highest authority], and they teach taking in heterodox like Monophysites and Nestorians without rebaptism as I cited [no, they are sighting customs specific to certain groups which may have been negotiated at some point. In other words, this is not the “teaching” of the Church. I am not even sure what you’re quoting is considered valid. See https://sites.google.com/site/canonsoc/home/canons-of-the-ecumenical-councils/i-constantinoplitanum-381 ]

                      The Ecumenical Councils solve issues, restate facts, and clarify. They are guidelines; not “teaching.” The canon you mentioned [Canon 7, II) is NOT about baptism into the Church. It is about heretics.

                      I agree with you. This topic is important. We have a very broad audience and I don’t want to get so far into the weeds that people might walk away with a significant misunderstanding on something that is so important.

                      Plus, although I’m sure you didn’t mean it, this could be construed as “needling” which is definitely against the rules.

                      In conclusion, you did a very good job stating the reason(s) you have reached your conclusions and Misha adequately explained the teaching. I think that’s enough.

                    • Hello, Gail.
                      In my own case, the goal is to understand what the EO teaching is, rather than to impose my own private preference on it, or out of loyalty to heterodoxy.

                      When I converted, I didn’t get a new EO saint’s name. When I learned that this is the standard practice, I took an EO saint’s name that I use in Church life. The same applies to baptism. If I learned or came to an understanding that this was the Orthodox teaching for Lutherans, I would get a separate EO baptism. When I converted, my OCA priest told me that I wouldn’t get a separate EO baptism because we believe in “one baptism”. Like I said, I am open minded on the topic.

                      You wrote, “I am not even sure what you’re quoting [the 2nd Council’s 7th Canon] is considered valid.” Was there something that made you think that EOs might consider it invalid?

                      I have a nice acquaintance who is an OCA priest who doesn’t know Greek. He went to Mt Athos years ago and said that they did not let him commune there because the people there did not know what the OCA was. They said he could commune if he belonged to the Russian Church. I don’t know if this was a language barrier. Then he got a letter from his bishop in the US and went on to commune in the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem together with many other EO clergy.

                      Regards.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      RE: “. . . the goal is to understand what the EO teaching is.”

                      I think we covered that. Eastern Orthodoxy teaches baptism. Again, it’s hard to speak to what certain bishops allow or don’t allow. No one is spiritually penalized if a person follows what a canonical bishop tells them to do.

                      RE: “When I converted, my OCA priest told me that I wouldn’t get a separate EO baptism because we believe in “one baptism.”

                      I can’t believe this came from an OCA priest, but I believe you. As you heard on this blog, the “one baptism” is the baptism into the Orthodox Church. That some bishops accept a previous baptism into another Church as the “one baptism” into the Orthodox Church, is a form of economia many of us did not ask for or even expect. I think ROCOR is right. Any past baptism doesn’t count. It may have made you a “Christian” but it didn’t make you Orthodox; however, if a bishop tells you otherwise, then you are to do what he says. The person is covered 100% by what his bishop tells him to do. That’s why people who are chrismated (only) are not any less Orthodox.

                      RE: “When I converted, I didn’t get a new EO saint’s name.”

                      You take a name when you come into the Church, however, your bishop tells you to do it (baptising/chrismating). Those who already have a Christian name like George or John, usually keep it. In my case, as an example, I took the name Gailina (a priest encouraged me to take that name and he spelled it that way. I wanted “Anna” after my middle name but was told if I took the name Anna I would be expected to change it legally. That’s not something I’ve ever heard a priest say. (I think this priest just really, really wanted me to be Gailina, which is fine.)

                      What would you like your name to be?

                      RE: “If I learned or came to an understanding that this was the Orthodox teaching for Lutherans, I would get a separate EO baptism.”

                      I don’t think being Luthern has any bearing on anything, except a case could be made not to baptize, I guess. You’d still get a Christian name if you didn’t already have one.

                      I’ve never seen the canon about heretics. I gave you a link with the appendix (at the bottom of the page) regarding the number of canons where it says, “. . . the old Latin translations all agree in only giving the first four canons of the Greek text, seems to show that the oldest Greek manuscripts, from which those translations were made, did not contain the fifth, sixth, and seventh, and that these last did not properly belong to this Synod, but were later additions.”

                      RE: “He went to Mt Athos years ago and said that they did not let him commune there because the people there did not know what the OCA was.”

                      I wonder how many years ago this happened. The OCA is not officially recognized by the EP because if he recognized them, he would have no claim to North America. He would prefer to think of us as a diaspora; barbarians under his control. There are, of course, Greeks and Russian monks on Mt. Athos. The OCA only recently sent a monk there I believe. I’m glad it had a happy ending.

                  • Gail,

                    It might have been 20 years ago when this OCA priest went to Athos. It would have been after the 1970 OCA Tomos, certainly. Although the CP doesn’t recognize the OCA as an organization, it does consider OCA clergy to be canonical Orthodox clergy. It just considers them to still be part of the MP. The issue is that the CP doesn’t recognize the OCA’s Tomos. Certainly one factor must be that the CP doesn’t want an autocephalous Church in the US. It’s pretty sad that the CP is reduced to such a small population in the actual city of Constantinople. Maybe if at the time the priest had a letter from his bishop and a CP bishop introducing him it would have made a difference.

                    You wrote: “I’ve never seen the canon about heretics”, referring to Canon 7 of the 2nd Ecumenical Council. The 95th Canon of the 6th Council reiterates that 7th Canon and applies it to the Monophysites (eg. Armenians and Copts). Similar to the 7th Canon, the 95th Canon separates Monophysites and Sabellians into two separate categories.
                    You can find the 95th canon here:
                    https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3814.htm

                    An article on the Holy Trinity OCA Cathedral website talks about Canon 95:
                    “On the Question of the Order of Reception of Persons into the Orthodox Church, Coming to Her from Other Christian Churches”
                    https://www.holy-trinity.org/ecclesiology/pogodin-reception/reception-ch1.html

                    As for a choice of a saint’s name, King Harold Godwinson II is a saint only on the ROCOR calendar. The theory for putting him there seems to be that the Pope supported his competitor, William the Conqueror, who defeated Harold at the Battle of Hastings, quite soon after the Great Schism. King Harold was supported by a bishop appointed before the Great Schism.

                    A few years after my conversion, I agreed with my priest to take my saint’s name from one of King Harold II’s grandsons, who is a saint in the Rus Tradition.

                    On one Orthodox forum, I discussed King Harold II himself as a saint (the saint on the ROCOR calendar), but the other users seemed to tend to take a dim view of him being considered an Orthodox saint.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      RE: “. . . Although the CP doesn’t recognize the OCA as an organization, it does consider OCA clergy to be canonical Orthodox clergy. It just considers them to still be part of the MP. The issue is that the CP doesn’t recognize the OCA’s Tomos.”

                      If the CP recognized the OCA clergy, they would be recognizing the Tomos. Even with the Assembly of Canonical Bishops, the OCA wasn’t going to be let in until former Archbishop Demetrios of the GOA pushed it. (The MP is recognized, though, and they issued the Tomas.)

                      Even then they had to sit at the back of the bus. Bartholomew didn’t invite them to the so-called “Great and Holy Council” in Crete, either.

                      It’s not the “organization” they don’t recognize (The OCA is an Orthodox church; a 501C3); it’s the fact that the OCA is the autocephalous Church in this territory. The minute the EP recognizes the OCA, he kisses his interests in the United States goodbye.

                      You can’t even visit an autocephalous Church’s territory without permission from the bishop of the autocephalous Church. I doubt Metropolitan Tikhon is going to give permission to Bartholomew to claim the United States because he would have to give up the OCA’s autocephally.

                • St Basil explains the reason for rebaptizing the Novatians, saying: “For their heresy is something of an offshoot of the Marcionites” who “say that God’s creation is defiled. ” The complaint is that for Novatians, “God is the maker of things evil.”

                  Encratites and Marcionites were Gnostics, who taught that matter and the world are inherently bad, whereas the spirit is good. In Marcion’s theory, the God of the OT who made the world was not even the same as the good God of the NT.

                  So you would have to consider: Are Lutherans and Catholics more like A) Marcionites/Novatians/Gnostics, or more like B) Nestorians, Apollinarians, Monophysites? Certainly they are closer to the latter category.

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    – I was a long-term Episcopalian and I definitely think I benefited from the prayers of exorcism. Everyone comes into the Church with spiritual baggage that impacts the entire body.

                    If there is to be but ONE baptism, I’m glad I received it from the Church.

                  • Hal,

                    It doesn’t matter because econmia sets no precedent. It is a case confined to its particular facts over which a bishop or synod makes a decision. Even the canonical statements of economia in the councils cited dissipate immediately after the situation passes. They form no norm whatsoever but rather represent episcopal housekeeping over a situation at a distinct time and place. None of it affects the rule to which economia reverts, the akrivia, that everyone entering the Church who has not received an Orthodox baptism must do so in order to be joined to the Church.

                    No one on earth, individual or synod, has the authority to change the mandate of Jesus Christ to baptize all nations in one baptism for the remission of sins – no pope, no synod, no ecumenical council – no one.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      For decades the Antiochian Archdiocese followed the norm of chrismation only for those previously baptized. Now, I think it’s the opposite. – I think economia should be specific, personal, and not advertised.

                    • Hello, Misha!

                      I think you are missing my point when it comes to AROCWE’s precedent and ROCOR’s timing.

                      Issue #1 is whether conversion by vesting is correct. Ekonomia has been used in the past, and now here you are saying, “It doesn’t matter because econmia sets no precedent.”

                      OK, your answer is at least rational in terms of whether conversion by vesting is correct.

                      Issue #2 is separate: Why does ROCOR suddenly break relations with AROCWE now after this has been AROCWE’s and the OCA’s longstanding policy? Why break with AROCWE and not, say, the OCA? Why wait until about a year after AROCWE changes from the CP to MP? This situation and decisionmaking does not seem to make sense in a practical sense.

                      In other words, OK, even if AROCWE’s longstanding practice is mistaken, why is ROCOR UK suddenly singling out AROCWE when AROCWE joins the MP? Did Bps. Irenei and Mark just wake up one morning and decide to suddenly reverse ROCOR’s previous constant position on its relations with AROCWE on this topic?

                      Analogy: Putin’s Russia’s relations with the West tank in 2014. Then suddenly Russia gets convicted of doping scandals by Olympic officials, even though this practice would have been going on for a long time. OK, sure, Yes, a precedent of ignoring Russian doping accusations doesn’t mean that the Olympics must ignore Russia. But the context really makes it look like it’s not so simple as that.

                      Or to give another example: the CP’s relations with Russia tank in 2018-2019. Then in 2019, the CP tries to dissolve its Russian-tradition AROCWE Archdiocese. Certainly the CP can arbitrarily try to dissolve AROCWE at any point, by why at this moment? It makes it look like something else is going on besides just a super-simple case of the CP suddenly trying to dissolve the AROCWE.

                    • @Gail, that’s how I was received into the Church by approval of Bishop Basil, it was only later when I switched to ROCOR that I was given an Orthodox baptism, however, I was not re-chrismated. My Antiochian chrismation was 5 years ago so I can’t speak for the practice now in the AAOA or the Diocese of Wichita.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Petros,

                      Metropolitan Philip would not baptize anyone who was previously “baptized”. My understanding is this was because some of the earlier contingent did not want to be baptized. They didn’t want anyone else to be baptized, either, believing that it made them look bad!

                      Admittedly, there were converts (probably still are) who were overly zealous and paid too much attention to these things, missing the point. I may have been one of them. What some people don’t understand is that many of us came into the Church because of the Holy Fathers and, frankly, we adopted (or try to) their sensibilities; however, the life of a holy father differ in many ways from day to day from the life of the laity. The Church teaches us not to be concerned with what others do. Fasting is an example. When I was new, I served a salad with grated cheese to an Orthodox friend of mine and he picked out the grated cheese before he ate it! I felt very bad. I now know this is ridiculous and if someone served me a hamburger on a fasting day, I would eat it and be grateful.

                      It’s “eyes on ourselves.” Being Orthodox is an individual sport. It’s not our concern what other people do. It’s their bishop’s! A bishop’s blessing covers everything. If your bishop blessed chrismation, you’re covered. That a ROCOR bishop felt the need to baptized you certainly can’t hurt.

                      Catechumens should not have to be concerned with these things.

                  • If you read St. Basils epistle he makes clear that the Novations are also just once removed from the Church. Hence him saying their bishops once they schismed became simple laymen and no longer could baptise. These protestant groups are offshoots of offshoots.
                    Another thing is the fallacy that St. Cyprian’s theology was rejected for eikonomia. When Cyprian was writing the Novations were a new group that had just schismed. What Rome espoused and what Dionysios of Alexandra (as mentioned in basil’s epistle) did was accept gnostic baptism. Pope Stephen was practising eikonomia on gnostic sects and Cyprian’s theology upheld that no eikonomia applied to them Both Basil and the Ecumenical councils rejected this Roman practise. Eikonomia is granted only to those schimatics once removed who still used the same liturgical books and it does not mean they had geace

                    • Hello Gus!
                      Basil’s specific reason in that quote to demanding Novatians’ rebaptism was their Gnostic teaching, among which he emphasizes their rejection of the physical, material world as created corruptively. It’s not just an issue of whether they are once-removed from the Church.

                      Likewise, when the Ecumenical canon says not to rebaptize Monophysites, it doesn’t include a time constraint or get into their internal unity as to whether they are offshoots of offshoots. Malankara Indian OOs are offshoots of the Syriac Orthodox Church of India. The canon applies to Monophysites per se, and not just those of the “canonical” or “first-generation-offshoot” Monophysite/OO Churches.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Baptism is the prescribed way to enter the Church: “Canon XLVI. We ordain that a bishop, or presbyter, who has admitted the baptism or sacrifice of heretics, be deposed. For what concord hath Christ with Belial, or what . . .

                      It’s not a “rebaptism” if it’s done in the Church; the so-called first “baptism” outside the Church is invalid unless it is an economia situation which unfortunately some bishops have applied across the board.

                      It’s interesting to me that you are referring to an Ecumenical (Orthodox) canon that specifically talks about Monophysites (who are heretics because they do not accept a Triune God). To be valid from an Orthodox POV, the previous baptism must be in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

                      Can you provide a link to the canon you’re referring to? I tried to google it and nothing came up.

                    • Hal, the Novatianists were not gnostics, they were just super-rigorous Orthodox who went into schism due to pride. Novatian, the founder of the group, wrote extensively against gnosticism.

                    • Hello Gail,
                      I’m not sure how much I want to argue with you on your own blog.

                      You asked what canons I was referring to. I was referring to this passage on the following website:

                      First, the 2nd Ecumenical Council (canon 7) taught that heretics such as Arians and Apollinarians were to be chrismated and not rebaptized, and the 6th Ecumenical Council (canon 95) taught likewise that Monophysites and Nestorians are to be received into the Church via a confession of faith.

                      SOURCE:
                      ancientinsights.wordpress.com/2021/02/04/why-i-dont-support-re-baptism/

                      “Monophysites” refers to the “Oriental Orthodox” (OOs instead of EOs) like the Copts and Armenians. Certainly they believe in a Triune God. Their problem is that they have different opinions among themselves whether Christ has
                      A. two natures (human and divine),
                      B. one nature that is human and divine, or
                      C. one nature that is only divine.
                      Technically “Monophysitism”, as it’s often been understood by EOs means just category “C,” and “Oriental Orthodox” have been often interpreted by EOs to teach just C. However, in real life OOs give an answer that can range from A to C.

                      Those who don’t teach a Triune God are called “Unitarians”. There are some “Unitarian” Churches in the US. I think that Arians might be a form of Unitarians.

                      You also cited Canon XLVI of the Holy Apostles. One issue here is whether the Canons of the Holy Apostles count as Ecumenical Canons. I recall that this is not actually clear if you check where exactly the Ecumenical Councils spoke sympathetically toward them. However, I welcome anyone here to prove me wrong on that, because I don’t have a very clear memory on that.

                      The second issue is what does it mean for a presbyter to “admit” a heretics’ baptism: Does “admitting” heretics’ baptism mean that the priest considers the heretic baptism to be functionally “valid?” Or does it mean that the heretic baptism itself is admitted into the Church as considered to be done within the Church?

                      The EO Church, including the Russian Church, does not have a solid, official doctrine on the status of heterodox baptisms, nor as to why it does not perform a second, EO baptism in the case of some converts (like Copts). In one theory, heterodox baptisms, are valid, in another theory, they are incomplete, in another theory, the EO baptism ritual is not imposed out of ekonomia. I don’t remember whether there are other theories as well. In any case, when the EO Church does not impose a separate, EO baptism on the converts, it is not making a clear decision that it is “admitting” the heretics’ baptism as functionally valid.

                      Further, the EO Church is not admitting heretic baptisms in the sense of considering them as being admitted into the Church. It’s not as if we have heretic heterodox priests admitted into our parishes and performing baptisms and considering them as performed within the Church.

                      A third issue is that supposing that Canon XLVI means that heretic baptisms can’t be considered valid at all, it is still not saying directly how someone with a heretic baptism is supposed to enter into the Church. You might infer that if heretic baptisms are not admitted, then converts must get a separate EO baptism, but Canon XLVI does not specifically get into that. However, the 2nd and 6th Ecumenical Councils are specifically on point on this question and say not to rebaptize Apollinarians, Nestorians, or Monophysites. If we don’t rebaptise those three groups with their known defective Christologies, then it seems hard to argue that we would need to rebaptize Lutherans and Catholics, whose Christologies don’t differ from ours, at least more greatly so. At most, I’ve heard that Presbyterian theology could somehow be considered “Nestorian”, but this label would only serve to make them more closely fit the qualifications under the 6th Ecumenical Council.

                      On a sidenote, my guess is that ROCOR would still rebaptize Nestorians and Monophysites, despite what the 2nd and 6th Councils say.

                    • Hello, Basil!

                      I was trying to see why the groups that St. Basil mentioned would be “rebaptized” (St. Basil’s term, BTW), whereas the 2nd Ecumenical Council would not rebaptize Apollinarians. St. Basil wrote:

                      Encratitæ, Saccophors and Apotactitæ all come under the same rule as the Novatians. For a canon was promulgated concerning the latter, although it varies from place to place; whereas nothing specific has been said regarding the former. Be that as it may, we simply rebaptize such persons. … For their heresy is something of an offshoot of the Marcionites who abominate marriage, and disdain wine, and say that God’s creation is defiled.

                      St Basil uses the explanation that they should be rebaptised “for” (because) of the nature of their heresy, calling it an offshoot of the Marcionites. You are making a good point that Novitian was not Marciontie.

                      Wikipedia says:

                      Novatian believed that the role of the Holy Spirit is solely the source of blessings given during Baptism. … Novatian believed that being inside the church is not a requirement for salvation, but that the church is a congregation of saints, and if sinners would be let inside the church, it would endanger the church. … According to Theodoret, the Novatians did not use confirmation… Novatians forbade remarriage.

                      So Novatianism has some defective features not shared with Lutherans or Catholics. In deciding whether one should rebaptize Novationists, perhaps one factor could be whether Novationists considered the Holy Spirit to be the only source of blessings in their baptisms. Wouldn’t EOs, Catholics, and Lutherans disagree with this statement?

                      Otherwise, what sense could we make of the Ecumenical decisions to avoid rebaptising Apollinarians, Nestorians, and Monophysites, if St Basil would speak against rebaptising Novationists? If there is no way to distinguish the Novationists’ position as more defective, or to otherwise give an explanation for the disparate treatment that we could apply today, then we should note that St Basil, although important, was not standing with the authority of an ecumenical canon.

                    • Gail and Basil,
                      Canon 7 of the 2nd Ecumenical Council says:
                      ((Canon VII
                      Those who from heresy turn to orthodoxy, and to the portion of those who are being saved, we receive according to the following method and custom: Arians, and Macedonians, and Sabbatians, and Novatians, who call themselves Cathari or Aristori, and Quarto-decimans or Tetradites, and Apollinarians, we receive, upon their giving a written renunciation [of their errors] and anathematize every heresy which is not in accordance with the Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of God. Thereupon, they are first sealed or anointed with the holy oil upon the forehead, eyes, nostrils, mouth, and ears; and when we seal them, we say, “The Seal of the gift of the Holy Ghost.”))
                      The implication is that Novatianists should be accepted via Chrismation. Since there is no mention of baptism, and Chrismation follows baptism, the implication is that they would not be baptised.
                      Ecumenical Canons have greater authority in general in Orthodoxy than individual fathers, however major (St. Basil is important).

                      Canon VII continues:
                      ((But Eunomians, who are baptized with only one immersion, and Montanists, who are here called Phrygians, and Sabellians, who teach the identity of Father and Son, and do sundry other mischievous things, and [the partisans of] all other heresies — for there are many such here, particularly among those who come from the country of the Galatians: — all these, when they desire to turn to orthodoxy, we receive as heathen. On the first day we make them Christians; on the second, catechumens; on the third, we exorcise them by breathing thrice in their face and ears; and thus we instruct them and oblige them to spend some time in the Church, and to hear the Scriptures; and then we baptize them.))
                      Thus, those in the second category (Montanists) get rebaptism because it’s specified. Since Novationists are put in category 1, they wouldn’t be rebaptised.

                      The underlying sense in the distinction seems to be that Category 2 has extreme heresies, like Sabellians identifying the Father with the Son, whereas Category 1 is more “orthodox” (Arians, Apollinarians, Novationists, etc.). Catholics and Lutherans would seem to be less theologically defective than those groups. The distinction between categories seems based on the nature of the groups’ theologies (Sabellians identify the Father and Son), as well as the baptism ritual (Eumonians use single immersion) rather than whether they are offshoots of offshoots.

                    • Just a quick correction, Gail: Monophysites believe Christ had only a divine nature and no human nature. They accept the triune God, same as we do, and baptize accordingly.

                      As far as receiving by baptism is concerned, Misha has covered the canonical reasons in depth, but beyond that I’ve seen first-hand the spiritual trauma the recognition of a non-Orthodox body’s baptism can cause for those received by oikonomia. Once so received, either the person alienates himself from the rigorists by accepting his situation or from his bishop by getting an Orthodox baptism on Athos or elsewhere. Either way, there’s no scenario where someone is received by chrismation alone and is recognized as Orthodox in good standing by everyone in the Church without some deception (eg. getting baptized behind his bishop’s back), which comes with its own host of problems.

                      So for both canonical and pastoral reasons I fully support ROCOR always receiving by baptism and am baffled the rest don’t follow suit. Worst case scenario, some of them are ineffective and the person got a cold bath. The “worst case” in reception by oikonomia is far more damaging.

                    • I’ve seen first-hand the spiritual trauma the recognition of a non-Orthodox body’s baptism can cause for those received by oikonomia.

                      Hello, Peter.
                      I converted to Orthodoxy via Chrismation in the OCA. In the Orthodox Church, the canons are second in authority after the Bible. If the shoe was on the other foot, and the Ecumenical Canons and Russian Tradition said to undergo rebaptism, I would do that. For me, or for a Monophysite convert to Orthodoxy, to go back and undergo a separate EO baptism would seem not just “ineffective” but not following the Ecumenical canonical and Russian Traditional prescriptions, like trying to be more “Orthodox” than Orthodoxy.

                      To give an analogy, the Bible says that fasting is good for spirituality. Does this mean that it’s better for Orthodox jurisdictions to extend their own modern fasting rules to cut out all animal products, wine, and oil for the whole year? Or if in Orthodoxy women can’t go to communion at certain health times because they could pass liquid, should we extend this principle and decide that Orthodox should try to avoid going to the bathroom 9 hours before communion?

                      The goal here is to follow Orthodoxy, following its Ecumenical Canons and Tradition. If they say to do one thing, and a jurisdiction imposes a new mandatory rule that is “stricter” than the canons (like no bathroom use before communion), then it’s really questionable whether one is being more loyal to the canons or more loyal to Orthodox spirituality than the canons.

                      I have heard that on Athos some places require communicants to have a separate EO rebaptism. I don’t know if that’s still true. I would imagine that the Russian monastery there (St Panteleimon) follows the Russian Tradition on such questions. Would they deny communion to St. Alexis Toth on this grounds? I’m an open minded person, and so under some other conditions, like if I became a Mount Athos monk and submitted to their tradition, maybe I would rebaptise.

                      But Mount Athos has its own big problems now. They are under the CP who recognizes the OCU schismatics and is calling himself the practical supreme head over all EOs. CP Bartholomew is going to be making its chrism this year with the participation of the Schismatic OCU. Chrism is used for purposes like anointing sanctuaries and new converts. Meanwhile, the OCA and MP make their own chrism. Do I really need to believe that Mount Athos must be following the canons better than the MP, or automatically feel less worthy or less Orthodox if I barred from communion by Mount Athos? Would a “strict” EO rebaptism and Chrismation on Mount Athos with the CP’s new OCU-made chrism be spiritually superior to a Russian Traditional, ecumenically canonical chrismation into the OCA?

                      Might the “Worst case” scenario for conversion by Rebaptism be one where you
                      – Get Rebaptized, and rebaptism turned out to be in violation of the ecumenical canons’ indication, and it was into a Schismatic jurisdiction, then you got Chrismated with schismatic-made myrrh, then got Prelest thinking that you are more “Orthodox” than those like St. Alexis Toth who didn’t get rebaptized, and finally break communion with all jurisdictions that accept converts without rebaptism.

                      Out of the things in that scenario, I don’t see people getting rebaptised as an inherent problem. I don’t see the Ecumenical Canons as saying that a rebaptized person is being a rule breaker or something. I would have a hard time imagining a classic EO Church penalizing clergy for rebaptising Monophysites who wanted rebaptism.

                      At the opposite end, the worst danger in the scenario that I gave might be either Prelest or schismating with those Churches who don’t rebaptise. As I recall, rebaptising heterodox starting growing a lot as a practice in ROCOR on the West Coast maybe 50 years ago due to the influence of some fringe groups.

                      Regards.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      [Note: This is fine because we’re not arguing about what the Church teaches. In fact, this sort of discussion is what we welcome!]

                    • @Hal

                      When attempting to parse every facet of this problem,
                      it is easy to understand how the German proverb:
                      “Der liebe Gott steckt im detail” (“God is in the detail”)
                      became transmuted into: “The devil is in the detail”.

                    • The main practical contexts where I’ve seen the EO rebaptism issue come up have been ROCOR and Mt Athos. The latest ROCOR UK – AROCWE dispute relates to the ROCOR position on accepting converts. I don’t know if Bp. Irenei personally feels the same way as he did a year ago about how this should affect ROCOR’s relations with Churches that don’t rebaptise or who accept EC priests by vesting. But it seems that since he is a major hierarch in ROCOR, that this same issue could come up again in the future.

                      As far as Mt Athos is concerned, Yes, it would be a downer if I went there and they wouldn’t commune me if I wasn’t rebaptised. But the point of communing there in the first place should be out of spirituality and Orthodoxy, rather than just out of feelings of being accepted. The goal should be to achieve and follow an Orthodox understanding on the topic.

                      Certainly if I would join Mt Athos and join their spiritual tradition and submit to them, it would be a different picture. This would certainly point me in the direction of rebaptism out of subordinating myself to Mt. Athos’ Spiritual Fathers and its Bishops. However, instead I joined the OCA and the Russian Tradition that was passed down to the OCA. I checked Russian materials online just a few years ago, and according to what I read, the MP is still avoiding rebaptism for Catholics and Lutherans. It gave several theories for the MP’s practice on the topic.

                      Mt Athos’ internal division over the OCU is kind of disconcerting, and lowers my estimation of Mt Athos as a whole as a touchstone measure of Orthodoxy. How can they treat heterodox, chrismated converts into Orthodoxy as if these are not Orthodox while considering the schismatic OCU as canonical? The OCU never had any ritual reception into canonical Orthodoxy at all in 2018-2019. The OCU didn’t even undergo vesting. The CP simply declared their hierarchs canonical.

              • There has never been an Ecumenical Council that has said as a matter of doctrine that reception by any means other than baptism is valid or that mysteries served outside the Church are efficacious. I do not think you are either a) reading the sources accurately or, b) understanding their significance. Not even an Ecumenical Council would have the authority to change a command of Christ or the doctrine of the Apostles as revealed in Scripture. And none has tried. At various times, given particular exigencies, exceptions in economia have been made for good or bad reasons.

                No one is advocating rebaptism. If, for example, a person received baptism in the Church, but then apostatized, then they might be received back by chrismation or some other mystery. However, if the baptism was not Orthodox, there was no baptism at all and nothing to repeat. Anything to the contrary is erroneous regardless of whether a saint wrote it in passing. For it is certainly not the consensus of the Fathers which is necessary for a thing to be considered catholic.

                And this is essential to understand: The canons of an Ecumenical Council might be seen at the time as a guide to how to receive particularly identified groups at that time, but no permanent rule is made by these ad hoc allowances. It only applies to that place and that time by the authority of the bishops of the council. Even the bishops of an ecumenical council simply do not have the authority to add a means of reception to the Church other than baptism except through economia. They cannot contradict Orthodox doctrine already established. They also cannot recognize mysteries served outside of the Church as valid, but only as empty forms to be filled in economia by grace upon reception by whatever method the bishop prescribes.

                I repeat, an Ecumenical Council cannot change the boundaries of the Church nor can it recognize the mysteries of those outside the Church as valid. It does not have the power to do so any more than it has the power to change the Trinity to a Quaternity.

                • Greetings, Misha.
                  I am happy to continue discussing the Ecumenical Canons that I gave that discuss converting heterodox without rebaptism and would like to. But I get the feeling that the blog owners want us to move on from the topic for now. If you like, I am happy discussing it on an Orthodox internet forum or Discord if you use them. I try to be open minded on the topic. There is an Orthodox tradition/custom (a folk custom?) of bathing on Theophany for already baptized EOs, BTW. I have met EOs who have gotten rebaptised even if their jurisdiction didn’t impose it, and have heard that the priest can use words in those cases like “If the Servant has not already been baptised, then…”

                  Kind Regards.

                  • It’s all good, Hal. No worries.

                  • Hal,

                    The whole back and forth here is because you do not understand what you are reading when you look at past Orthodox practice. However, that is not your fault in the least. It points to a broader problem which is the source of this type of confusion as well as comparable confusion on a number of other issues.

                    During the middle of the twentieth century up until around the 1980’s and even into the 1990’s, a pall of spiritual apostasy descended on broad swaths of Orthodoxy in the West. Among the modernists here in America, including among the GOA and the neo-Patristics, there was a tacit acceptance of secular atheism or agnosticism, consciously or unconsciously, as “the way things really are”. This led to religion being conceived of as therapy, social service and vapid spiritualism.

                    It masqueraded as a back to basics revision of Orthodoxy along the same lines as some Protestant sects and Vatican II Catholicism. It was essentially a surrender to Darwin and the notion that man is, in fact, an evolved animal and all this talk of religion is just poetic art that can be morphed according to the priorities of modern sensibilities, however conservative, which are superior to that of the Fathers.

                    This produced the approach of the neo-Patristics and the modernist Orthodox attitude toward the ecumenical movement and that is the origin of the heterodox notions about “where the Church is” and “what constitutes baptism”. It seemed as though all the colors were bleeding into one inasmuch as there was no objective truth and no exclusive theological or ecclesiological ground in Orthodoxy. In effect, if not directly, it is a rejection of the faith and the identity of the Orthodox Church as the one and only holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

                    It’s in the aftermath of this where we are now and that’s why we are hearing ignorant priests and bishops repeat heterodox statements regarding heterodox baptism, the boundaries of the Church and the prevalence of the grace of the mysteries outside the Church. It is simply a corruption of the faith. And it is the great task of post-modernist, traditionalist Orthodoxy to witness to the faith in the face of the remnants of these terrible ideas.

                    These heterodox notions and heteropraxis are a drop in the bucket of historical world Orthodoxy and so this too shall pass.

                    • Misha,
                      I am glad to talk with you about this more on an Orthodox Forum someplace or Discord server. There are a lot to choose from.
                      In my case, I am going by Canons 7 and 95 of Ecumenical Councils 2 and 6, respectively, as well as the longstanding centuries old Russian tradition. The OCA inherited this from the pre-MP Russian Church.

                      Canons of the Holy Apostles give me pause when they say that heretic baptism cannot be admitted. The main question I would ask about this is where do the Ecumenical Councils affirm this canon of the Holy Apostles? I recall looking into Ecumenical affirmation of the Canons of the Holy Apostles (COTHA) in general, and what I found looked like it was not actually a literal affirmation imposing the COTHA (eg. “We accept all of the COTHA”), but just a general sympathetic reference to them, or else selective, specific use of them.

                      St John Maximovich got into a conflict with ROCOR because he wanted to continue the Russian practice of taking in heterodox without rebaptism. I recall reading that he got called to a Spiritual Court over it but that he didn’t retract his position. I recall reading that ROCOR began Rebaptism as its practice in the mid-20th century.

                      I understand your perception of avoiding Rebaptism as being part of Modernism of the mid-20th century. But Modernism is really not what I am going by on this particular issue, since avoiding Rebaptism is a much older Russian practice that is part of the OCA’s pre-MP original Russian inherited traditions. St Tikhon’s ikon shows him getting ordained (Eastern Catholic) in 1878, then received in 1891 by Bishop Vladimir Sokolovsky of Alaska:
                      https://www.oca.org/media/photos/the-life-of-st.-alexis-toth

                      I don’t want to be negative or dismissive of what you are saying. I recall reading that after the Unia, the Greeks received ex-Uniates by rebaptism, but I don’t know how much of a rule that was or how long they did this for. I recall hearing that the Greek Church (like GOARCH maybe) in modern times was rebaptising converts, but if so, I don’t know when they stopped. Maybe GOARCH really did change its practice on the topic partly as a result of Modernism. I’m not as familiar with the modern Greek tradition. Sometimes these kinds of secondary differences between the Russian and Greek tradition occasionally pop up.

                      A curious little difference between the Russian and Greek traditions, one that I know more about, is that status of the Deuterocanon. Trullo Canon 2 seems ambiguous, listing other lists of canons that accept Deuterocanonical books piecemeal. The Eastern Fathers seem to approve the Deuterocanon only piecemeal. Typically what happens is that a Church Father approves almost all the OT Protocanon, plus a bit of the Deuterocanon, but which parts they choose to accept is inconsistent. The modern Russian Tradition reads Trullo’s second canon usually exclusively, whereas the modern Greek Tradition reads it inclusively, ie. that all the Deuterocanon is thus included into the canon as a result. Incidentally, Canon 2 of Trullo seems to say that it accepts 1 and 2 Clement from COTHA as canon, but that it also does not accept the COTHA’s endorsement of the “Apostolic Constitutions.” This is what I meant by the Ecumenical Councils accepting COTHA selectively.

                      The modern Russian Tradition in general usually treats the Deuterocanon as “noncanonical”. The 17th century Council of Jerusalem under Pat. Dositheus approved much of the Deuterocanon as kind of a “Counterreformation”, and likely as a result, the modern Greek Tradition affirms the Deuterocanonical books listed piecemeal in Trullo Canon 2 as “canon.”

                      I don’t want to sound too negative about ROCOR either. I remember back in 2005 I visited Belarus and at a parish church, one priest told me that he hoped that ROCOR and the MP would reunite, as if he had positive feelings toward both. At the time, ROCOR would still be considered schismatic, but reunion happened just 2 years later.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Can we please that the Church recognizes only one baptism?

                      There is no “re”-baptism, as you put it. If a previous baptism is insufficient to constitute baptism into the Church, it is cast
                      aside and they are baptized (not “re”-baptized) into the Church, when the valid baptism is performed. We leave the “old man” behind not several times, but once.

                      With respect to your comments about St. John Maximovich, you might find this of interest:

                      “This missive was written, poignantly, less than a month before the repose of the great Saint by an American man who describes his spiritual path to Russian Orthodoxy. Despite meanderings into dreadful atheist belief, this person who went on to become a monastic at Jordanville somehow managed to strike the right timing!

                      First, he was able to see St John serving at the Old Holy Virgin Cathedral along with Archimandrite Spyridon [ Efimov ] and other venerable Rocor clergy of the area: Archimandrite Mitrophan [Manuilov] a long time supporter of St John; Fr. Ilya Wen who was with St John in Shanghai; probably Protopriest John Shachneff.

                      Second, this fortunate young man was able to secure St John’s permission for reception into Rocor by Holy Baptism on June 10, 1966.”

                      * * *
                      “A Grasp on Eternity: Petition for Reception into the Church

                      Often, doc­u­ments which by rights belong in a cli­mate-con­trolled archive will appear as if out of thin air, pre­served by God’s grace to open a win­dow onto his­to­ry in dan­ger of being for­got­ten. We offer one such record below — a peti­tion from one Lau­rence E. Camp­bell to Arch­bish­op John of West­ern Amer­i­ca and San Fran­cis­co (glo­ri­fied by the Church in 1994 as St John of Shang­hai and San Fran­cis­co) for recep­tion into the Ortho­dox Church. We have pre­served the author’s orig­i­nal text, despite some defi­cient translit­er­a­tions of Rus­sian names….

                      San Fran­cis­co, Cal­i­for­nia
                      June 8, 1966

                      The Very Emi­nent John
                      Arch­bish­op of West­ern Amer­i­ca and San Fran­cis­co
                      St Tikhon’s Home
                      598 – 15th Avenue
                      San Fran­cis­co, Cal­i­for­nia

                      Your Emi­nence:

                      It is with much trep­i­da­tion – and hope – that I request your per­mis­sion for entrance into the Rus­sian Ortho­dox Church.

                      At your sug­ges­tion I dis­cussed my desires in this mat­ter with Archi­man­drite Ambrosy. I trust that he will have com­mu­ni­cat­ed to you his impres­sions of me by the time you receive this let­ter.

                      My rea­sons for wish­ing to join the One, Holy, Catholic and Apos­tolic Church arise out of the fol­low­ing expe­ri­ences:

                      I am reli­gious by nature, hav­ing been reared accord­ing to the teach­ings of Protes­tantism, specif­i­cal­ly the Methodist Church. Being of an inquis­i­tive nature, I exam­ined all oth­er vari­eties of reli­gious teach­ing with which I came in con­tact. This search­ing led me to affil­i­ate with the Mor­mon Church dur­ing my twen­ti­eth year. This asso­ci­a­tion seemed to fill my needs for sev­er­al years. Dur­ing my aca­d­e­mic career I began to study the philoso­phers; this, in turn, led me to con­clude that all of my reli­gious expe­ri­ence was invalid, i.e., super­sti­tion, fables, etc. I arrived at the con­clu­sion that Marx was basi­cal­ly cor­rect in his esti­mate of reli­gion. I began to live accord­ing to stan­dards of my own mak­ing, doing things which were sin­ful under the old, reject­ed stan­dards. But pur­pose­less liv­ing began to depress me, and the idea of pur­pose­less exis­tence drove me at times to despair.

                      One evening at dusk I fol­lowed an inten­tion which I had car­ried with me for a long time; I went to the Old Sobor on Ful­ton Street1 to see how the Rus­sians wor­shipped. I had stud­ied all reli­gions in the world, either super­fi­cial­ly or care­ful­ly, had attend­ed the wor­ship ser­vices of all the var­i­ous Chris­tian Church­es – Protes­tant, Roman Catholic, even the Greek Ortho­dox – and found lit­tle or noth­ing to com­mend them to my search­ing mind. I had, on one pre­vi­ous occa­sion, dropped in on the spur of the moment at the Green Street Sobor [ the OCA main church in San Francisco ] of the dur­ing a Sun­day Litur­gy and was pleas­ant­ly sur­prised at the beau­ty of the ser­vice and much puz­zled at all I did not under­stand. Through the tele­phone direc­to­ry, I learned of the exis­tence of the Holy Vir­gin Cathe­dral and since it was near­er to where I lived I chose to go there. I was hard­ly pre­pared for what I found. When I entered the Church I entered the realm of time­less­ness. There in the light of flick­er­ing can­dles, in the pres­ence of God and His Moth­er and myr­i­ads of Saints por­trayed in the Icons, I saw Your Emi­nence and the oth­er Cler­gy (Father Ilia, Father Spiri­don, Father John, Father Nicholai, Father Met­riphon [sic], and Father Con­stan­ti­ne) chant­i­ng the Ves­per Ser­vice. I felt that I was in the pres­ence of The Holy – I knew no oth­er way to express it at the time. This expe­ri­ence took place in Octo­ber 1964. I have been attend­ing your Church con­tin­u­ous­ly (though at first spo­rad­i­cal­ly) ever since. I dis­cov­ered the Ortho­dox Book Store on Geary Boule­vard not long after­ward. Through many and long dis­cus­sions with Eugene Rose and Gleb Pod­moshin­sky [sic], through read­ing their mag­a­zine Orthodox Wordand many of their oth­er books and pam­phlets avail­able in Eng­lish on Ortho­dox Sub­jects, through care­ful study of the Ser­vice Books avail­able in Eng­lish, through grad­u­al­ly learn­ing how to pray and how to wor­ship (even though clum­si­ly) through being allowed to be present at all of the Beau­ti­ful Ser­vices, through being allowed to feel with my sin-blunt­ed sen­si­tiv­i­ties that I am asso­ci­at­ing with indi­vid­u­als like Your Emi­nence who seem to have a grasp on Eter­ni­ty and to know exact­ly what they are doing and where they are going, I have acquired a desire to join the fel­low­ship of Chris­tians, to par­tic­i­pate ful­ly in the life of the Church, to receive the indis­pens­able bless­ing of the Sacra­ments and their help in the bat­tle with sin. I am con­vinced, although my faith is very weak, that Ortho­doxy, as it has been lived and wit­nessed to by all of the Holy Fathers and the Saints and as it is present­ly wit­nessed to by God’s Appoint­ed Ser­vants, the Hier­ar­chs of the Rus­sian Ortho­dox Abroad and all oth­er tru­ly Ortho­dox peo­ple through­out the world, is that Church which Christ estab­lished Him­self when in the flesh, and that my sal­va­tion can come through no oth­er means.

                      On this basis, although acute­ly aware of my man­i­fold wicked­ness and weak­ness­es, I earnest­ly ask that you con­sid­er my request and grant me the bless­ing of your approval.

                      Respect­ful­ly yours,

                      Lau­rence E. Camp­bell

                      Lau­rence Camp­bell was grant­ed his request and received Holy Bap­tism two days after com­pos­ing this let­ter. His spon­sor was Eugene Rose, the future Fr Seraphim. Even­tu­al­ly he embarked on the monas­tic path, being ton­sured into the rias­sa at Holy Trin­i­ty Monastery, in Jor­danville, in 1979. In 2012, just two years before his blessed repose, he was ton­sured into the lesser schema with the name John, in hon­or of the saint­ly bish­op with whose bless­ing he was received into the Church 46 years pri­or. Monk John reposed in the Lord on Novem­ber 3, 2014. He is remem­bered through­out the Eng­lish-speak­ing Ortho­dox world as a pro­lific trans­la­tor of litur­gi­cal texts.”

                      http://orthodoxlife.org/church-life/a-g … he-church/

                      * * * *
                      Our charter for this blog is not to teach (or review for appropriateness) the teachings of the Church. As many have tried to tell you, the vehicle for entering the Church is baptism. The Ecumenical Councils have produced guidelines; however, a bishop is free to change them, if the situation calls for it.

                      For example, George and I were granted a Church wedding not because remarriage is taught in the Orthodox Church. Quite the contrary. But because our bishop felt it was appropriate given the circumstances (which had nothing to do with the blog, BTW). It was an act of love and mercy on his part for which we are very grateful.

                      This is hard to explain to people who don’t understand the role of economia in the Church, and the synergy between the Ecumenical Councils, the Holy Fathers, the teachings of the Apostles, and the Holy Scripture. It’s very fluid. There is not one thing that has overriding “authority,” as you suggested in one of your previous comments.

                      There are no hard and fast rules that must be followed. It’s more of a “come now and let us reason together” sort of thing. An organic body, the Church ebbs and flows with the grace of the Holy Spirit. It’s alive and cannot be tethered to any one thing specifically. The highest authority is God. If you read God’s dialog with Moses or Jesus’ interaction with the crowd, you will see that the Holy Spirit is moved by an active, tangible love.

                      If guidelines are softened by a bishop to accommodate a particular set of circumstances, it doesn’t change the validity or understanding of anything that came before. It’s just the way the Church moves. You can’t explain it logically.

                      Twice, now, you have extended an invitation to Misha. I’m sure he’s seen your request.

                      (2nd request: Let’s move on.)

                    • It’s nice writing to you, Gail.
                      I like hearing people’s conversion stories.
                      It is also nice for me that you left Anglicanism for Orthodoxy.

                      The English monarchy forced everyone in England to join the COE, so it’s only natural that ever since, Anglicans have two wings quite far apart, like a loosely Lutheran/High Church/Anglo-Catholic/pro-Orthodox wing and a Reformed/Calvinist/Low Church one. My biggest stigma with the COE is their history of persecuting Catholic people. Today, the Catholic Church in England is miniscule.

                      As far as I know, a new, EO marriage is normal even in the Russian tradition once someone has been married outside the Church. It’s nice. Congratulations!

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      I didn’t leave Anglicanism for Orthodoxy. I left the Episcopal Church a few decades before I became Orthodox. – I wouldn’t say remarriage is “normal.” It is allowed in certain circumstances.

                    • CS Louis says

                      During the 1960’s with influence from Greek Old Calendarists there was a push in ROCOR to begin strictly requiring all converts to receive Orthodox baptism. However, my understanding is that converts are still often accepted in ROCOR by chrismation depending on the priest and with the blessing of the bishop in cases when it is requested and provided there previously was a Trinitarian baptism with water. I am acquainted with number of people who were received this way within the past year.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      As with the Greeks, it has a lot to do with whether or not we’re talking about parishes or monasteries.

    • Good to hear! The last thing we need is more internal squabbling.

  16. Let’s continue to pray for the unity of the Local Orthodox Churches and for the unity of all Orthodox in order to protect the whole of humanity, and our planet. Like the Holy Apostles during their Apostolic Synod in the First Century, we need to pray to the Holy Spirit to protect us.

    Christians, for the past two thousand years, as well as future generations, will carry on respecting the history of Christianity.

    The canon of the First Ecumenical Council is very accurate in that it confirms the special canonical pastoral care of the Patriarchate of Alexandria in Africa, which was there from the first century, even before Rome and Constantinople.

    So there is no confusion in Africa, Alexandria as to the unity with the Local Orthodox Churches.

    The question is simple: If we are not very careful, anybody who rejects the resolutions of the Ecumenical Councils is no more Orthodox than those who call themselves patriarchs but don’t belong to the Body of Christ of the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

    So let’s all of us pray for Metanoia, repentance, and if we claim that we are the continuation of the Holy and Apostolic Church of the First Century, come together like the first Christian community and find peaceful solutions so we can live together, sharing the communion of the Holy Spirit in love, and assisting one another as Christ would want us to do.

    I like your points but above all, we should follow the example of our Apostles and of our saints. We have their names. May God protect us all in unity and love. Amen.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Thank you, Your Eminence. We will continue to pray for resolution within our beloved Church.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Thank you your Eminence as well for commenting on our blog.

        You are correct: prayer and repentance are called for.

    • Thank you your Eminence.
      It’s really nice when leaders of the Churches of Alexandria, Cyprus, or Greece, or Constantinople speak to regular people on these current troubling topics in Church relations.

      I think that you are referring to Nicea’s CANON VI.

      LET the ancient customs in Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis prevail, that the Bishop of Alexandria have jurisdiction in all these, since the like is customary for the Bishop of Rome also.

      SOURCE: http://legalhistorysources.com/Canon Law/Nicea/CanonsCouncilNiceae.htm

      Eastern Libya was also called Cyrenaica and “Pentapolis”. A famous figure in the Gospels from Cyrenaica was “Simon of Cyrene” who carried Jesus’ cross.

      • Unfortunately the part of “All of Africa” was a 1930 invention of a heretic named Meletios. North Africa was divided between the Greek sphere centered in Alexandria and the Latin half centered in Carthage. This area whose most famous bishop was St.Cyprian covered modern day Tunisia, Algeria, Morroco and part of Libya etc.
        Jurisdiction in subSaharan Africa was never really addressed

  17. The Pentapolis were 5 Greek colonies on the coast of Libya. Unfortunately the part of “All of Africa” was a 1930 invention of a heretic named Meletios. North Africa was divided between the Greek sphere centered in Alexandria and the Latin half centered in Carthage. The latin area covered modern day Tunisia, Algeria, Morroco and part of Libya etc.

    • Indeed. And Roman <em Africa referred to what is now
      Tunisia and the western part of the coast of Libya.

      Also, “in Africa” and “of Africa” are not necessarily the same.

  18. George Michalopulos says

    Personally, I have no problem with “All Africa” (meaning the entire continent) is lumped in with the Alexandrian papacy. It’s just that said papacy has to be proven capable of ministering the Gospel to all Africans and stop being another ethnocentric Greek-diaspora neighborhood where the local Phanariotes skim off the top of all donations sent to the sub-Saharan parishes.

  19. Gail Sheppard says

    Bartholomew, specifically, is credited with trying to bring Pope Francis into our midst. He has demonstrated this in prayer and in deed. If the Second Rome of Pope Francis is “false,” then Bartholomew is “false” for pursuing it.

    He doesn’t view the RCs as “lost sheep.” If he did he would try to save them; not entertain the idea of “unity with diversity,” leaving them in a heretical state.

    Opening our doors to RCs would bring the Orthodox Church into a heretical state, as well. I have never heard anyone say that this is the way we would want to reunite with Rome. Only Bartholomew. One man, who left the Church because of his need to be relevant and important in the eyes of the world. Had he occupied any other position within the Church, he would have found himself in spiritual court.

    • Joseph Lipper says

      It’s at least Patriarch Bartholomew’s job to talk with the Roman Pope. As for Patriarch Kirill, I’m not so sure.

      It doesn’t sound like Patriarch Kirill thinks that Pope Francis is lost sheep either. Here’s what Patriarch Kirill wrote Pope Francis last December:

      “As Primates of the two largest Christian Churches in the world, we have a special responsibility for the future of humankind. This responsibility has a global dimension, as evidenced by our meeting in Havana and the Joint Declaration we signed. I am glad to note that while remaining faithful to their own traditions, our Churches have achieved a high level of cooperation. It enables us to work together to glorify the name of God throughout the world, strengthen the imperishable moral ideals in society, promote interfaith dialogue, and give proper responses to the present-day challenges.”

      https://mospat.ru/en/news/88656/

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Tell Pope Francis that! He’s beating down the doors of the MP. We’re all in agreement that Francis is no “lost sheep”.

        • Joseph Lipper says

          From this letter, it sounds like Patriarch Kirill is beating down the doors of the Vatican, although usually it’s Metropolitan Hilarion Alfayev being sent to do all the knocking.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Oh, for goodness sake! It was a flowery birthday card.

            HIS HOLINESS FRANCIS
            POPE OF ROME

            Your Holiness,

            Please accept my heartfelt greetings on this memorable date – your 85th birthday.

            For many years you have been serving God the Bestower of great gifts, always ready to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear (1 Pet 3:15), and encouraging your contemporaries to live in accordance with God’s commandments and perform works of love and mercy, so that they by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality (Rom 2:7).

            As Primates of the two largest Christian Churches in the world, we have a special responsibility for the future of humankind. This responsibility has a global dimension, as evidenced by our meeting in Havana and the Joint Declaration we signed. I am glad to note that while remaining faithful to their own traditions, our Churches have achieved a high level of cooperation. It enables us to work together to glorify the name of God throughout the world, strengthen the imperishable moral ideals in society, promote interfaith dialogue, and give proper responses to the present-day challenges.

            Greeting Your Holiness on this memorable day, I am praying that God may give you strength in body and spirit and that you may always remain not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord (Rom 12:11), succeeding in your Primatial labours.

            Many and good years to you.

            With love in Christ Jesus,

            +KIRILL

            PATRIARCH OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA​

            https://mospat.ru/en/news/88656/
            (The official website of the Russian Orthodox Church, December 2021)

      • Patriarch Kirill: “It enables us to work together
        to glorify the name of God throughout the world”.

        Pope Francis: “Pachamama?”

  20. This is the pan-heresy of ecumenism. There is no effectual joint responsibility as Christianity is meant to be based on the local level not the global level. The moral and spiritual decline of the Christian religion itself especially in Europe where the secular ‘judeo Christian’ values rule has shown how ineffective it is for sects to work together it does nothing to promote personal holiness. Each diocese is responsible for their faithful not some global corporate synod. In fact the Havana statement makes no sense as evidenced by the light of how jurisdictions jealousy guard their territories from the meddling of external bishops!

  21. So, if Patriarch Bartholomew were to bring Francis and his flock back, would Francis then become the Patriarch of Rome? Would Francis then follow Batholomew’s example and knock him out of the claimed Primacy – because….History. Rome was the first Rome. Constantinople was the 2d Rome. And Moscow was the 3rd Rome. It would certainly be an interesting thing to watch. Not that I think it will happen. But interesting to ponder.

    • Francis is the Patriarch of Rome,
      just not the Orthodox Patriarch…

    • George Michalopulos says

      “There can be no fourth…” –St Philotheus of Psvov

    • Joseph Lipper says

      It’s a Roman Catholic narrative that Constantinople is “Second Rome”. The point of that narrative is to assert the primacy of the Pope of Rome and to assign the Orthodox Churches as “Second Rome”, or “Third Rome”, etc.

      When the Roman emperor, St. Constantine, moved his capitol from Rome to Constantinople, he was not creating a secondary Rome. The Roman Catholics tend to label this as “Byzantium” to try to make it sound like a secondary empire. That’s just spin. The people who lived in Constantinople actually considered themselves Romans, not “Byzantines”, and their heritage and legacy is that of the actual Roman Empire. The “Second Rome” was created in the year 800 when Charlemagne, the King of the Franks, briefly united Western Europe and had the Pope of Rome crown him “Roman Emperor”.

      Is it possible to have a “Third Rome” like Charlemagne’s “Second Rome”? Yes of course, and couldn’t the former Serbian and Bulgarian empires be considered as fourth and fifth “Romes” also? This is one of the main reasons why we have autocephalous churches. Yet no matter how many “Romes” you have, there is still only one historic Roman Empire. Today, the order of the Orthodox Church exists as the legacy of that actual, one and only Roman Empire. It’s the same empire we read about in the New Testament. The Orthodox Church has never been the ordered according to a different “Roman” empire.

      • Hello Joseph!
        The political capitol of the Roman empire under Constantine moved to Constantinople, but the new capitol’s name did not change to Rome. Nor did the See of Rome move its cathedra to Constantinople. I am not aware of the bishops of Constantinople taking their succession from Rome. Then the empire fell into separate “Eastern” and “Western” Roman Empires.

        As far as I know, Rome’s See in Rome would remain at the top of the diptychs until the Great Schism, minus any temporary lapses in communion until the 11th century.

        So I don’t think one can reasonably make the argument that in the early Church, Rome held primacy and then the Patriarchates had some ecumenical consensus to transfer primacy from Rome to Constantinople.

        Had the See of Rome transferred to Constantinople like how Antioch’s patriarchal see is now in Damascus, you would have a better case for claiming that Constantinople is the same See as the “First Rome.”

        What defines Rome is not whether it’s a capitol, but the city’s own identity. The word “Rome” does not mean capitol. Just because the empire’s capitol moved to Constantinople does not mean that Rome moved to Constantinople. Otherwise, Constantine would better have renamed Byzantium “Rome” or “Rome-Byzantium” or something like that.

        Constantinople is a “second Rome” in the sense of being the original city of Rome’s successor in terms of political and imperial power. However, I am not aware of Constantinople calling itself “The First Rome” or “Rome” or something like that.

      • Joseph Lipper: “When the Roman emperor, St. Constantine,
        moved his capitol from Rome to Constantinople,
        he was not creating a secondary Rome…”

        Err…
        “In 324, the ancient city of Byzantium was renamed “New Rome”
        and declared the new capital of the Roman Empire by Emperor Constantine the Great,
        after whom it was renamed, and dedicated on 11 May 330.”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantinople

        “Constantine was unsure where to locate his new capital. Old Rome was never considered. He understood the infrastructure of the city was declining; its economy was stagnant and the only source of income was becoming scarce. Nicomedia had everything he could want for a capital —a palace, a basilica and even a circus— but it had been the capital of his predecessors, and he wanted something new. Although he had been tempted to build his capital on the site of ancient Troy, Constantine decided it was best to locate his new city at the site of old Byzantium, claiming it to be a New Rome (Nova Roma).”
        https://www.worldhistory.org/Constantinople/

        One Empire, two Romes; which is why
        the Roman Eagle grew another head…

        • Joseph Lipper says

          There’s the moniker of New Rome, and it has a new capitol and religion, but it’s still the same empire.

          The crusaders of the “Holy Roman Empire” who later attacked and pillaged Constantinople in 1204 were from a completely different empire, a “Second Rome” that was vying for primacy and control of the Church. Although the crusaders were unsuccessful at destroying Orthodoxy, they did take back with them the symbol of the double-headed eagle among other things. Granted, their’s was a Christian empire. At one time it was even considered an autocephalous empire within the Orthodox Church. Yet their’s was never the actual Roman Empire that has shaped and ordered the Orthodox Church up to the present.

          Today it seems we have Russia alluding to being another “Holy Roman Empire”, or a “Third Rome”. They certainly have enough nuclear weapons, and they’ve even got Steven Seagal. That should be enough, right?

      • Yet Constantinople styles itself as “the New Rome” as did the Council of Chalcedon:

        “Following in all things the decisions of the holy Fathers, and acknowledging the canon, which has been just read, of the One Hundred and Fifty Bishops beloved-of-God (who assembled in the imperial city of Constantinople, which is New Rome, in the time of the Emperor Theodosius of happy memory), we also do enact and decree the same things concerning the privileges of the most holy Church of Constantinople, which is New Rome.”

        “Rome” is a euphemism for the imperial center of the Orthodox oikonomia, the Orthodox world. That is its usage in the observation of Philotheos that Moscow is the “Third Rome” and there will be no fourth; i.e., that Moscow follows Old Rome and Constantinople as the new imperial center of Orthodoxy, and there will be no subsequent center. Orthodox Russia had fought off Latin/Teutonic aggression in the time of St. Alexander Nevsky and had just thrown off the Mongol yoke with its faith intact. It appeared as if Moscow was the last, insurmountable imperial center of Orthodoxy.

        • Sorry, I had “economia” on the brain. the last word of the first sentence of the last paragraph above should be “oikumene”.

        • Joseph Lipper says

          Some folks probably find the powerlessness of the present day Phanar to be offensive. I mean, they are basically operating out of a hallway janitor’s closet. Meanwhile in Russia, the Moscow Patriarchate has the full support of one of the world’s most advanced militaries. Similarly, the Pope of Rome has enjoyed the full support of the world’s most advanced militaries also, and maybe he still does.

        • You all leave me totally confused. I read from your comments that any work that God does outside the Orthodox Church is totally invalid.

          Does that include reading from the Orthodox Study Bible, because the New Testament is from the New King James Version.

          So basically, does God work outside the Orthodox Church? Is He waiting for the Orthodox Church to convert the world? Or has He gone on ahead?

          If a person is baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, is that baptism only effective if it is done by a certain kind of person? Does that person have more power than God?

          What does it mean to do something in the “in the name of” someone else? I say this in part, because at this time I am doing some research shopping in the name of my daughter. I tell everyone that she will pay the bill, I am just saving her some time and energy. I need the facts for her. I am not her.

          I understand that the Church that God founded has many believers who are known only to Him.

          I understand that God is all- knowing and we are not.

          I understand that God keeps working when we do not.

          I understand that the Church Fathers spoke at a time when there was one Church. Today there are millions of people around the world who believe that Jesus is the Savior of the world who have never heard of the Orthodox Church. And they are suffering and dying for their belief. What box do you put them in?

          Perhaps we need a better definition of what the Church is and who may or may not be in it. Or maybe we should go back to the original definition. Is God’s Church a political organization or is it something else? Certainly at this juncture in time there are many people who outwardly profess to be in the Church but inwardly reject its teachings and go their own way.

          These are exciting and challenging times we live in!

          • Gail Sheppard says

            “We know where God is. We don’t know where God isn’t.” Isn’t that the saying? We know God is in the Church. He could also be . . . well anywhere, right?

            All things considered, I’m glad I’m in the Church.

          • Lina,

            I think you misunderstand what I and some others have been saying. I can only speak for myself but I’m not saying anything more or less than what the consensus of the Fathers indicates. I am not saying that the Holy Spirit does not work outside the Church or that the grace of God does not permeate all creation, regardless of whether all His creatures are receptive to it or not. For example, I do believe that God works among some Protestants and some Catholics by moving them to achieve His purposes even though they err in their theological and ecclesiological beliefs. It is folly, for example, to assert that Mother Teresa was not moved by God toward charitable works. Scripture is clear that God works even among the heathen to His own purposes.

            This is something different than the grace of the mysteries of God as experienced in the Church, however. If we are to retain the belief in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church that is the “pillar and ground of truth”, then we cannot recognize the power of those outside of it to add or subtract anything from it. If I sell you a membership to someone else’s club, I am a charlatan and the membership is worthless and entitles you to nothing. The Church has never accepted St. Augustine’s musings on the operations of sacramental grace outside the Church. Augustine is a saint for piety’s sake, not a Church Father in Orthodoxy. Even if some were to consider him as such, his notions about the grace of the mysteries operating beyond the boundaries of the Church do not enjoy catholicity and are actually mutually exclusive with the teaching of the Fathers.

            • I think Saint Augustine’s teaching on prevenient and sanctifying grace (i.e. the grace outside and the grace within the Church) are helpful here, although not his idea of sacramental operation outside the Church.

          • Joseph Lipper says

            The Church is a Divine-human organism. Following the very example of Christ’s obedience unto death by crucifixion, the Church has considered herself subject to earthly government authority, the “minister of God” as St. Paul writes about in Romans 13. In St. Paul’s context, he was of course referring to the Roman Empire that crucified Christ and martyred the saints, but the same concept of obedience unto death would naturally apply to any other earthly authority where the Church finds herself.

            While we can easily see it was the Roman Empire that allowed for the spread of the Gospel and the growth of the Church from Judea unto the ends of the known earth, there nonetheless have been other earthly authorities, other empires, sometimes even other Orthodox Christian empires. We can point out that since the fall of Constantinople in 1453, there was no ruling emperor. At the same time, Frederick III was ruling in Europe as the schismatic “Holy Roman Emperor”, and Ivan the Terrible would later proclaim himself Tsar of All Russia in 1547.

            While some will argue that the Roman Empire of Constantinople is dead, yet it still does exist, living through the the very order of the Church, through the canons of the Ecumenical Councils, through the liturgy, through the bishops and through the saints. Orthodox Christians are essentially Romans, the real Roman Catholics of today, and irrespective of what government they live under.

  22. Patriarch Theodore, who recognized the OCU,
    remembers “30 pieces of silver”

    https://spzh.news/en/news/86405-priznavshij-pcu-feodor-vspomnil-o-30-srebrenikah

    ‘ The Primate of the Church of Alexandria said that Africa does not need “self-proclaimed” patrons and saviors.

    On February 13, on the occasion of the consecration of Archimandrite Nektarios as Bishop of Gulu and North Uganda, Patriarch Theodore addressed him with a word in which he spoke unflatteringly about the clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church, orthodoxianewsagency reports.

    He also stated that the newly ordained bishop would have to face a lot of difficulties and temptations coming from the “false brothers”. Obviously, Theodore had in mind the clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church. He also stressed that the “false brothers” for “30 pieces of silver” will try to distract the bishop from the Mother Church, which is the Patriarchate of Alexandria for the entire African continent.

    In 2019, after visiting Ukraine and expressing support for the canonical UOC and its Primate Metropolitan Onuphry, Patriarch Theodore recognized the schismatic OCU by a sole decision.

    As the UOJ wrote earlier, Patriarch Theodore was handed over a letter where he was called Judas. ‘

    Pots and kettles, Patriarch.
    Pots and kettles…

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Re: “He also stated that the newly ordained bishop would have to face a lot of difficulties and temptations coming from the “false brothers”. Obviously, Theodore had in mind the clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church.

      I’m not sure I agree that he was talking about the Russian Orthodox Church. This is what he purportedly said (from another publication):

      “. . .Continuing his speech, the tone of His Beatitude’s voice suddenly changed and looking him in the eyes with emotion and paternal affection he said that in Africa the Continent of the future as he described it, where the grace of God required us to serve, needs a “vision” and he [the Patriarch of Alexandria] needs “faith”, illuminating with these two strong and from the heart words the path that he must follow in his Hierarchical course.

      He set before him the difficulties but also the possible temptations that he may encounter from the whispers of the false brothers as he called them, who for “30 silver” will try to distract him from the Mother Church which, as His Beatitude for all of Africa, is the Patriarchate of Alexandria. [Not the Ecumenical Patriarchate.]

      He also spoke with heartache about the coveted unity of the Church and the faithful, following with his speech the example of the sacrifice of Theophoros Saint Ignatius who, while leading as he characteristically said to the sacrifice, north of the lions, wrote letters addressed to the Churches of Ephesus, Of Smyrna and Philadelphia pleading as a true imitator of Christ for a single theme, Unity.”

      https://www.orthodoxianewsagency.gr/patriarxeia/patriarxio_aleksandrias/aleksandreias-stin-ipeiro-tou-mellontos-xreiazetai-orama-kai-pisti-i-xeirotonia-tou-episkopou-gkoulou-nektariou/

      He is talking about his commitment to unity.

      Where is he likely to find “unity?” With the EP (who has roughly 2000 people) or with 2/3rds of the rest of the Church who agree on one thing: Going into Ukraine was a mistake.

      If someone is offering “30 pieces of silver” who would that be? Bartholomew? The one who is rumored to have been financially rewarded by the State Department, NATO, and/or Poroshenko for opening up Ukraine? Did the powers-that-be try to bribe him to keep Africa in the EP because it’s the “continent of the future”? https://blogfactory.co.uk/2018/11/22/us-state-dept-paid-25-mil-bribe-to-patriarch-of-constantinople-to-foment-religious-chaos-in-ukraine/

      If he put any of this in the letter to Bartholomew, I can understand why Bartholomew wouldn’t share it. He doesn’t want a saint going to the lions, for Pete’s sake! He wants someone who will say, “I’m going with Bartholomew. Yeah, that’s the ticket.”

      What’s your take?

      • Hopefully the new Alexandrian bishop doesn’t resort to this, similar tactics to the OCU in Ukraine:

        https://russian-faith.com/news-anti-ecumenism-church-politics/punished-becoming-russian-orthodox-water-and-medical-aid-cut

        What’s your take?

        I actually think he is referring to the Russian Church. Theodoros hasn’t really been critical at all of Bartholomew, yet he is in the process of calling a “council” to rebuff the MP. That along with the claims that Africans are only joining the MP for money tell me that’s exactly what he’s referring to.

      • I’m looking at this schism same way. The Globalists will be the EU/NATO aligned countries eventually all will be new calendarists. You will have left Russia, Serbia, and probably Antioch as Orthodox.

        While there maybe elements in each church opposing this Ukrainian schismatic sect, the globalists can just wait out those elements till they die.

  23. He depends upon the Greek Government for funds.
    The Greek Government is a sock puppet of the State Department.
    I think someone read him a Rule of the Rules Based International Order
    (ie: the New World Rules Based International Order) and he crumbled.
    Perhaps he did not wish to die in a helicopter crash, or similar…

  24. Removing water and medical care if you are not with Alexandria? An article about an Orthodox congregation in Tanzania:
    https://russian-faith.com/news-anti-ecumenism-church-politics/punished-becoming-russian-orthodox-water-and-medical-aid-cut

    • Gail Sheppard says

      This is positively horrible. No wonder they all bailed on the EP.

      Jeremiah 17:13

      O Lord, the hope of Israel,
      All who forsake You will be put to shame.
      Those who turn away on earth will be written down,
      Because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, even the Lord.

  25. Gail Sheppard says

    So do you all believe me now?! Russia is withdrawing. Russia was never going to invade Ukraine. Ever.

    This is why you can’t believe the mainstream media, NATO, or anyone else. They lied about a possible nuclear war. Why? To make Russia look bad. Obviously, a false flag. Another fail by Biden, NATO, and everyone else connected with this.

    According to Putin, they don’t want NATO in eastern Ukraine which is what I told you.

    I’m not trying to say, “I told you so,” although it might seem like that. I’m trying to tell you that you cannot believe anything our Administration says. They’re a joke.

    I hope Putin knows we’re not all this stupid.

    • Lol. I guess I was one of the few that knows Russia will not invade Ukraine as well. Russia should not withdraw from their own land neither. Russia needing to withdraw from Russia makes no sense.
      America/EU/NATO and their media have proven to be demonic creatures. Good thing they have low IQ or else we’d really be in trouble.
      .

    • As I’ve always said, repeatedly, there was a possibility that Putin would move into the Donbass and even further even to the region known as Novorossiya along the south of the country. This is logical, rather than any attempt to subdue the whole country or to take Kiev. The population in these regions are largely sympathetic and they serve a strategic purpose as a buffer for Russia and, regarding Novorossiya, additional security for forces in Crimea. Putin’s remarks in his speech about avenging the deaths of those burned to death by the Ukrofascists in Odessa may have been a veiled threat to expand his current action into Novorossiya.

      Putin sent an attempt to settle matters in Eastern Europe to the US and NATO recently. What he insists on, and will establish by military force if necessary, is a “Russian Neutral Zone” (for all of you trekkies who recall the Romulan Neutral Zone). It is a strategic imperative for Russia due to its geographic vulnerability to invasion and the NATO propensity to stage first strike weapons close to Russia’s border. It is the equivalent of an ongoing Cuban Missile Crisis.

      As Tulsi Gabbard discussed in a recent video, Ukraine is far from a democracy. Its present regime was established by an American coup d’etat driving out a president sympathetic to both Russia and the West. It is politically repressive.

      This is just more chickens coming home to roost. Don’t be fooled by the crap that comes out in the MSM and even FoxNews. It is the revenge of the neocons and a load of bs from top to bottom.

      Biden and the US brought this upon themselves, begging for war for weeks and asking for it since 2014. What has resulted is a change in policy in the RF. Prior to yesterday, Russia had no intention of annexing the provinces in question and pleaded with the US and Ukies to follow through on Minsk to establish autonomous governments there for the Russo-Ukrainian populations who had hitherto been discriminated against and sometimes persecuted and attacked by the Ukies.

      Witnessing the Ukies open up on Eastern Ukraine combined with the war rhetoric coming out of DC was too much for Putin. He has to face his own generals, after all.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Putin announced his intentions, again, just days ago.

        I can clearly see how the West is ignoring every narrative that is not their own. Was it always like this? Have they just bulldozed their way into these things?

        • Gail,

          I got booted off RedState back in 2008 for pointing out the obvious truth behind the Russo-Georgian conflict of that year. This is a blind spot practically across the entire American political spectrum. I’ve seen Tucker, Steve Turley, Jack Posobiec and Tulsi Gabbard challenge it to some extent, but that’s about it. Samuel Huntington wrote about it in The Clash of Civilizations, which was semi-prophetic in retrospect.

          It’s rooted in xenophobia. Russians write funny, have funny accents, have an exotic religion, etc. It’s also a holdover from the Cold War which some simply can’t believe has ended because they don’t appreciate the Russian worldview of strong central rule, market economics and Orthodox Christianity that has prevailed there. Basically, it is fear of the unknown and unfamiliar which is exploited by corrupt forces in the West.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            I clicked on this link after I heard Biden speak. There is NO WAR in Ukraine. So we’re sanctioning Russia for doing nothing. Go, Brandon! This is a cool site BTW.

            https://beforeitsnews.com/prophecy/2022/02/new-monkey-werx-breaking-russia-ukraine-war-has-begun-february-2022-2528218.html

            • This is hilarious if you understand what is being conveyed.

              Putin asks Sergei Naryshkin, head of the foreign intelligence service (SVR), whether he agrees with the decision before them, to recognize the independence of the two republics. Naryshkin is visibly flustered and intimidated by Putin’s rather non-chalant prompts and thoughtlessly agrees to incorporate them into the RF. Putin reminds him that that is not what is being discussed.

              Now, this is obviously stagecraft. Its purpose is to contrast the fact that whereas the DS runs foreign policy under the Biden Regime, Putin dictates policy even to his equivalent of the director of our CIA to the point that he can get him tongue tied and overcompensating without even raising his voice or appearing anything other than mildly irritated.

              It is designed to humiliate Biden, convey that Russia speaks with one voice and the Putin can go as far as he wants and his underlings will salute and follow dutifully.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                It’s all been designed to humiliate Biden. Every time they put him in front of a microphone.

                • Here is Putin’s address on the present “special military operation”.

                  “The purpose of this operation is to protect people who, for eight years now, have been facing humiliation and genocide perpetrated by the Kiev regime. To this end, we will seek to demilitarise and denazify Ukraine, as well as bring to trial those who perpetrated numerous bloody crimes against civilians, including against citizens of the Russian Federation.

                  It is not our plan to occupy the Ukrainian territory. We do not intend to impose anything on anyone by force.”

                  My guess, though God only knows at this point, is that Putin is being forthright in what he intends. I believe this change in policy was caused by the Biden Regime’s constant wagging the dog and the Kievan government’s actions resulting combined with the renewed pleas of the governments of the separatist regions for recognition.

                  What I expect, therefore is “occupation” only of the Donbass and possibly a swath along the south historically known as Novorossiya. However, Putin is targeting Ukraine’s defenses wherever they may be in order to preempt any resistance. Furthermore, he may very well occupy or seige Kiev in order to decapitate the government and capture the criminals who have ruled the country since 2014.

                  I do not fault him one iota for doing so and am actually surprised that he has been as patient as he has. I do not think the West can do thing one about it and that this situation is completely the consequence of the globalists’ miscalculations.

                  • The development of events has forced everyone to re-evaluate, myself included. Zelensky did an exceedingly stupid thing in calling for his country to develop a nuclear deterrent. I believe that is what moved Putin to complete subjugation of the Ukrainian state as opposed to simply recognizing and defending the Donbas republics. When the West cheered and applauded Zelensky in his remarks, I’m told that that was the last straw and that was when Putin decided to demilitarize and denazify the Ukraine.

                    You will hear lots of bs about Zelensky being Jewish as a shield against accusations of neo-Nazi activity in the Ukraine. That is nonsense. Pravy Sektor and Svoboda served as the spearhead of the coup d’etat and it is neo-Nazis from these organizations and the Azov Brigade that are causing the most serious problems in Eastern Ukraine.

                    Moreover, reports that Russian forces have been repelled here and there or that they are facing stiff resistance are entirely delusional – Baghdad Bob fiction. What the Russians are doing is taking their time to surround both the major Ukrainian cities and the Ukrainian military (ground forces). They have already destroyed the Ukrainian air force and navy. This is the Mongolian method of warfare. You develop strategic superiority by surrounding the enemy, cut him off from aid and then demand surrender or gradually strangle him.

                    With the surrounded Ukrainian military, they will demand surrender or wipe them out. With the civilian cities, they will simply surround them and wait until reality takes hold. My guess is that a week from now, if not sooner, it will be effectively over in all but the cleanup.

                    I do not expect the Russians to occupy the whole country but to replace the current regime with a friendly one and leave it to them to clean up their own country. Probably the Russian forces will retreat to bases and gradually return to Russia as the situation stabilizes.

                    Biden and the Banderists (sounds like the name of a band) caused this. Biden baited the Russians mercilessly. The Banderists with their renewed attacks in the Donbas were creating a refugee crisis that prompted the Donetsk and Lugansk republics to once again seek Russian recognition, which was finally granted. Then Zelensky opened his stupid mouth about nukes and the whole thing went to hell in a hand basket.

                    Recall that up until a week or two ago, the Russians were still begging the Kiev government to honor the Minsk accords which retained the eastern regions as autonomous regions. That has been Putin’s preference for eight long years. Finally, his patience wore out.

              • Tangent: There is a theory that GW Bush/Biden/Obama, etc. (in the US) and Putin (in Russia)were not the most powerful people, but rather that they in effect had individual superiors. However, who these individuals were/are and how that system works, I don’t know.

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  huh?

                • There is a theory that Cheney was GWB’s handler
                  and there is another theory that Obama is Biden’s handler.
                  Whether these are true or not, I have no idea;
                  and beyond them I will not go…

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    No, that’s correct. W, realizing that he’d been had by Cheney, refused to pardon Scooter Libby (who was Cheney’s chief of staff and his handler). He did this to spite Cheney.

                    As for the present regime, Obama is pulling the strings. No doubt about it.

                    Speaking of Putin, if he can withstand the onslaught of negative propaganda and neutralize the Ukraine, then we’ll find out some interesting things about who really controls that poor, unfortunate country. If he can’t get ahold of things, then the kompramat that he has on Biden can be used to exact concessions during the negotiations.

        • PS:

          I should say the following too, though: Piling on Putin helps Biden and the Democrats and their Orwellian designs. Republicans and conservatives of all stripes, MAGA and the rest, are idiots to the extent that they sing along with the tune regarding Russia’s posture and intentions. It is the line prescribed by the DS for the media to tow and it only serves that globalist agenda. That is the sad part about it – the realization that the American people may be too stupid to fight off the Orwellian Democrats. This is shared trauma/common enemy politics designed to rally the country around an illegitimate, corrupt, totalitarian regime.

          It may be the America people are too stupid to deserve their freedom:

          https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x5jm14m

  26. Looks like Antioch is not so enthused about a meeting of the Pentarchy:

    https://orthochristian.com/144503.html

    Antioch seems to be playing level-headed while Constantinople is playing it up.

  27. https://www.pravmir.com/responding-to-the-fire-bell-in-the-night-2022-clergy-seminar-of-the-diocese-of-los-angeles-and-the-west/

    Met. Joseph has been making a pastoral visit to the Diocese of the West, where he is still acting bishop as they have no bishop. Maybe I’m reading too much into his wording but I get the impression that he realizes the amount of damage covid has done to the Church and the actions the bishops took shutting the people out.

    Maybe this is the start of a Mea Culpa?

    Also, maybe they eventually they will address the glaring problem that is Abp. Elpidophoros.

    According to Patriarch John the Antiochian Synod will be meeting soon to discuss the current issues in the Church:

    “His Beatitude reiterated to the Alexandrian delegation what he had told the envoy of the Ecumenical Patriarch, Elder Metropolitan of Chalcedon, Emmanuel, that the Holy Antiochian Synod would meet soon to confer the developments in the Orthodox Church and take an appropriate stance on them.”

  28. Zelensky actually made a pretty good speech. Especially in contrast to Putin’s unhinged rant from earlier in the week.

    Not going to change what happens next though.

    • Here is Putin’s speech from Monday. It does not sound the least bit “unhinged” to me, though globalists would paint it thus. The entire thing is either historically accurate or defensible opinion from the Russian perspective.

      As to the commencement of real hostilities within the last 24 hours, I still maintain that Putin’s territorial ambitions are limited to the Donbass and Novorossiya. More than that is not in Russia’s geostrategic national interest. Putin has no desire to govern and economically support a host of ungrateful nationalist ideologues spearheaded by neo-Nazis. I do not see him creating a quagmire, which is what occupation of resistance prone land invites. Now they do seem to be attacking Ukrainian military targets more widely than in the Donbass, but that does not mean he intends to occupy the entire country.

      Of course, I could be wrong. Displacing the neo-Nazi influence in the Ukrainian government and its effect on the Russian speaking population would justify an occupation, IMHO. However, it would be a mess.

  29. Welcome back, George and Gail.
    Did you find out what (or who) the problem was?