The Good ‘Ole Days. . .

On March 16, 2019, Bishop Maxim of the Serbian West American Diocese, made an appeal to all the bishops of America to move forward with their plans to concelebrate the Sunday of Orthodoxy.  In it he said, “. . . we want to encourage our clergy, monastics and faithful to be more earnestly united in the prayer and Eucharistic communion with all Orthodox Christian faithful in America, and more specifically, with representatives of all canonical jurisdictions: Ecumenical Patriarchate (all of its hierarchs and its Dioceses of the United States), Antiochian Patriarchate, Moscow Patriarchate (including the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia), Serbian Patriarchate, Romanian Patriarchate, Bulgarian Patriarchate, Georgian Patriarchate, and the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). By this church-building unity and love, the Serbian Church in America, by action and participation in full fellowship in Christ, by the grace of the Holy Spirit and to the glory of God the Father, give a blameless example to other Orthodox Christians.”

Invitations were sent and accepted.  But did it happen?  I know the event in my own home town was canceled about one-half hour before it was to begin due to “construction in the parish hall” leaving at least one woman I know with a giant bowl of pasta in her refrigerator.  (There was going to be a lenten pot-luck afterwards). I wondered at the late cancellation and how the other concelebrations went.  Unlike in previous years (like in the photo above which was taken about 10 years ago*), where each hierarch in attendance is listed and pictures taken, there is no evidence that I can find that anyone concelebrated anywhere.  Crickets.

So is that where we are, folks?  Are we so stymied by what happened in Ukraine that we can’t concelebrate the Sunday of Orthodoxy here in America?  If so (and I hope I am wrong), what does this say to the Patriarch of Constantinople?  Are we going to let his actions in Ukraine negatively impact our goodwill toward one another?

I would argue the answer is no.  We are not moving forward with anything or under anyone until we are all free to concelebrate.  If Bartholomew thinks he can shake our resolve, he is mistaken.  We are prepared to take this time apart in an effort to come together in a different, more meaningful way:  as one united Church.         (Below are my thoughts in video format as to the broader question.)

*Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas (OCA), Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver (GOA) and Bishop Basil of Wichita (Antioch) concelebrating the Sunday of Orthodoxy.




  1. What a silly man. Doesn’t he know Orthodox won’t be seen in the same room with each other unless they are called PAN Orthodox. The magic word was not spoken.

  2. Tim R. Mortiss says

    So the first question should be answered first, notwithstanding the pasta bowl. Why wonder ‘why not’ if you don’t know ‘if’?

    But that’s the way blogs work….

  3. Austin Martin says

    Actually there’s nothing any of us can do. It’s a medieval plutocracy. Democracy is a lie. Your opinion doesn’t matter. Donate money anyway.

  4. The present situation has opened old wounds, with the long history of Phanarical Hegemony going back hundreds of years: We’re having Pan-Orthodox vespers each Sunday of Lent as usual (though ROCOR never attends).

  5. Rhonda Dodson says

    It seems that in the US & France at least (I haven’t heard about the rest of Europe), the Constantinople crowd celebrated by themselves with the other jurisdictions/Mother Churches concelebrating together. Despite the article’s claims, this actually is a show of unity against the actions & rhetoric of Constantinople, especially that just recently published. Consider that only the MP has officially broken communion with Constantinople.

  6. Not a doubt in my mind that God let the pasta go to waste because the Macedonian Orthodox Church wasn’t mentioned anywhere, but should have been.

    THAT would have been a Christian call to unity.

    • Monk James Silver says

      It would be really something if we could know the will of God by considering our leftover noodles.

    • Solitary Priest says

      You have a canonical Macedonian Orthodox church under Archbishop Jovan. The whole Orthodox world recognises this church. You rebels probably gave Ukraine a model to start their rebellion against the canonical church.
      Look, I agree Serbs can be a pain. I’ve dealt with enough of them. You all want an Autocephalous church? Maybe you will get it. In the meantime, stop persecution of the legitimate Macedonian Orthodox church. It’s as simple as that.

      • Solitary Priest, how shall I put this?…..go and give yourself an uppercut, and make sure you don’t miss.

        Yes, world Orthodoxy recognises Jovan etc., and yes they all in one accord do not recognise the MOC, but really, soooo what? How does that address the fact that the MOC should be recognised? Or are there no funny games played in the Church these days?

        You just give me one good, Christian reason why the Serbs are right to not grant autochephaly, and I’ll shut up. But if you can’t, then you know what to do.

        • Solitary Priest says

          When you can answer with intelligence, instead of making bigoted comments, then we can have a dialog. Your attitude proves why Emperors are needed to rule over our people. Instead of offering explanation as to why a ruling Archbishop is unjustly persecuted, you make with the childish remarks…. Have a nice life.

          • I won’t say I didn’t deserve that. I was a bit- how you say- heavy handed. Apologies.

            But I’m not wrong about the MOC being ripe for recognition. No way.

            And don’t you change the subject. Don’t you do it. Whether it’s right or wrong that the only rightful church in that country gives Archbishop Jovan a hard time, is neither here nor there. Every church has it’s sins and sinners. But what’s that got to do with the Serbs withholding autocephaly for so long? Where’s the Christianity in it? This is the issue here.

      • Monk James Silver says

        Solitary Piest (March 21, 2019 at 8:44 pm) says

        ‘You have a canonical Macedonian Orthodox church under Archbishop Jovan. The whole Orthodox world recognises this church.’
        Perhaps this was an exercise in rhetorical hyperbole? It is certainly not true.

        Or which of the autocephalous churches considers there to be a legitimate independent Orthodox Church of Macedonia? Names, please.

        • Solitary Priest says

          Archbishop Jovan belongs to the Serbian Patriarchate. Moscow recognises him because the New Martyr Fr. Daniel Sisoev served with him in Macedonia. I was under the impression Serbia gave Archbishop Jovan autonomy. He has two other Macedonian bishops with him. Also, I recall Metropolitan Herman, when he was still primate adding his voice to those protesting Archbishop Jovan’s imprisonment.

          • Monk James Silver says

            Those personal connections do not amount to a recognition on any level of an autonomous/autocephalous Orthodox Church of Macedonia.

            I take his response as an indication that ‘Solitary Priest’ is backing off from his earlier that ‘The whole Orthodox world recognises this church.’

  7. In the Chicago area, there were two “Sunday of Orthodoxy” events – the one that was regularly scheduled, which took place at a Greek church, and then another one, which was scheduled later, at a Serbian church.

    In the Milwaukee area – where the ‘big’ jurisdictions are the Greeks and the Serbs, the Vespers were held at a Greek church, and the Serbs quietly held their own service at their Cathedral. This, notwithstanding, there are a number of Pan-Orthodox events coming up in the next few months, and it seems like the attitude is that the Serbs will participate to the extent that they can, and apparently, their bishop hasn’t disallowed participation in events, so long as there’s not a church service. On the part of the non-Serbs, the attitude seems to be to make sure that things are planned that they can participate in (and they’re planning things that they’re hoping others will participate in as well!)

  8. Monk James Silver says

    People seem to be missing Bp Maxim’s point, which is that coming together for the Divine Liturgy and sharing in the Eucharist communion of Christ’s own Body and Blood is the ideal expression of our unity in faith.

    We used to do this in Kansas City, but I’ve been away from there for a quarter of a century and I have no idea what they do there now. Supporting Bp Basil Essey’s initiatives in the matter, I have to say that having an interparochial Evening Service on the first Sunday of the Great Fast misses the point altogether, since that service is the first service of the second Monday of the Fast and has nothing to do with the Seventh Ecumenical Synod’s pronouncements in favor of venerating sacred images.

    Bp Basil’s solution is to hold this service on the evening of the first Saturday of the Fast, which properly observes the restoration of the ikons and the ‘Triumph of Orthodoxy’. But even so, that’s less ideal than serving an interparochial, interjurisdictional Divine Liturgy on the first Sunday of the Fast, at which everyone can receive a portion of the Lord’s own Body and Blood from the same single loaf and the same single cup in a perfect expression of our unity.

    We can rent Madison Square Garden if none of our churches is large enough for such a gathering, but there should be no excuse for not coming together in the Eucharist at least this one time each year.

  9. Claes vanOldenphatt says

    None of the comments above address the 500 lb. gorilla in the room – that Moscow’s breaking of communion with C’ple is the only canonical response possible to the uncanonical invasion of its ecclesiastic territory, which act makes Communion impossible since it is an act of aggression and not love.

    On the polemical level where most Greek hierarchs seem to thrive better platonically anyhow, rather than earthily in actual deeds of pastoral creativity, they seem to be ‘winning’. Leading lights Kallistos and Athanasios, now joined by Maxim(os) relativize blame and isolate Moscow in its ‘egregious and disproportionate ’ response to the Phanar, overlooking the very recent excommunication enacted by the same Phanar against Athens when the latter objected to invasion it its own territory. Likewise the Phanar/Moscow schism of 1996 over Phanar invasion of Estonia.

    I am encouraged to read that on the Incarnational level of concelebration at the Sunday of Orthodoxy in many places such as the little burghs Paris and Los Angeles, Greek bishops had only their own ilk among whom to bask in triumph(alism) – and that makes Maxim a bona fide Phanariot.

    • The "politician-bishop" tradition must die says

      “On the polemical level where most Greek hierarchs seem to thrive better platonically anyhow…”

      Αλήθεια. So true. I’ve heard it said (appropriately) that Greeks to a large extent expect their bishops to be politicians, while Slavs/Russians generally expect their bishops to be monastics/hesychasts and ascetics. There may be historical reasons why Greeks anticipate their bishops to be politicians (the bishop “ethnarch” from the Ottoman times), but that’s a tradition that needs to die.

      As a Greek-American myself, I saw too many times as a kid in the GOA that the only way any layman got any attention from most GOA bishops was to have money, power, and influence. And now, decades later, things are still the same, though at least the Orthodox world is now talking about Greek politician-bishop corruption phenomenon. With Constantinople now having placed itself outside the boundaries of the Church, perhaps now is a time for all Orthodox faithful (regardless of ethnic heritage) to wake up and decide if they will stand with Christ and His Church or not.

      As Metropolitan Jonah says, there is nothing worse than continuing a bad tradition. And the Greek tradition of “politician-bishops” needs to die. Bishops should be loving hierarchs who are monastics/hesychasts/ascetics, as we are all called to the ascetical life — it is how we grow in Christ. The bishop must be our example.

      The Russian/Slavic tradition of expecting their bishops to be monastics/hesychasts and ascetics is the correct approach, hands-down.

      • Zoran Silvic says

        Remember how Hillary had a hissy fit which only accelerated her fall, calling her opponents “deplorables”. Well, check out TNH & PO and you will see Bartlutsos doing the same, only calling their opponents all “unethical”

  10. At Holy Spirit Orthodox Church we happily celebrated Sunday of Orthodoxy for the first time in Venice, Florida. We had two other OCA parishes and a Serbian orthodox neighboring parish and their faithful attend. The service ended with a procession with icons around the Church and we had a lovely Lenten supper with wonderful fellowship afterward. It was a great way to begin out Lenten journey.


    In Chicago we had dueling Sunday of Orthodoxy services. The real service was held at the Serbian Cathedral attended by four bishops, the Serbs, the OCA, the ROCOR, and the Antiochians. The Greeks held their own Greek service at their church.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      We had a real service at our Greek church.

    • For what it’s worth, the OCA clergy in Chicago were instructed to attend either the Serbian or Greek service, and there were OCA clergy at the Greek service in Chicago. I would not by any stretch say this constitutes an endorsement of the CP, but some were there as instructed – presumably as a gesture of American unity.

      As an aside, I was told by another priest (who is neither OCA nor Serbian) that the Serbian bishop of Chicago sort of ‘preempted’ any potential hard feelings or conflicts of conscience well in advance of the beginning of this mess by asking all his clergy (which include those in areas quite far from Chicago) to be at the Serbian service in Chicago.