Did the Good Archbishop Fall Off the Patriarchal Map?

Photo by Ecumenical Patriarchate/Nikos Manginas

I ask because Archbishop Elpidophoros is not seen or listed as part of the new “Ecumenical Court”.

Now I know they rotate people in and out of the “Synod” but this says “Ecumenical Court”.  Is this a distinction without a difference?  Seems to me The National Herald would use the right term and if they meant “synod”, they would have used synod.   

Maybe he’s coming home to fill Bartholomew’s shoes and the GOA will just roll up under him, per the new charter. 

Maybe Rome has special plans for him that do not include Bartholomew.  Ha!

Or maybe, he helped the GOA finally break free and they are now their own patriarchate.  It is rumored that the OCA under  Metropolitan Tikhon will be “recognized” at some point.  Will he be the new Metropolitan under a new Patriarchate of America with the other jurisdictions represented as members of a single Holy Synod?  

Mrs. M

* * *

New Hierarchs and Promotions at the Ecumenical Patriarchate

CONSTANTINOPLE – The Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in its recent meeting under the presidency of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew elected Chief Secretary Joachim as Metropolitan of Prousa/Bursa.

Also, the Holy Synod elected Great Chancellor Andreas as the new Metropolitan of Saranta Ekklision (The Forty Churches).

The Ecumenical Patriarch also announced that Grand Archdeacon Theodore was elected as the Chancellor of the Patriarchate; Deacon Paisios Kokkinakis, Director of the Private Patriarchal Office, was promoted to Grand Archdeacon; Grand Ecclesiarch, Aetios, was appointed as the new Director of the Private Office of the Patriarchal Court.

The newly elected Metropolitans Andreas of Saranta Ekklision and Joachim of Bursa with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. (Photo by Ecumenical Patriarchate/Nikos Manginas)

According to the decision of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Undersecretary Deacon Grigorios Fraggakis was also promoted to Chief Secretary of the Holy Synod; the Synodal scribe, Deacon Vosporios Magkafas, became Undersecretary, and the Patriarchal Deacon Ecumenios Amanatidis was appointed to perform the duties of the Synodal scribe until further notice.

The Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate now meets with its new composition, which is as follows: Metropolitan Geron Emmanuel of Chalcedon; Dimitrios of Metres and Athyra; Ambrosios of Karpathos and Kasos; Apostolos of Militos; Alexios of Atlanta; Joseph of Proconnesus; Meliton of Philadelphia; Joseph of Buenos Aires; Cleopas of Sweden and all Scandinavia; Maximos of Selyvria; Makarios of Australia; and Kyrillos of Imbros and Tenedos.








  1. Will he be the new Metropolitan under a new Patriarchate of America with the other jurisdictions represented as members of a single Holy Synod?

    Not to sound like a pessimist, but, a Patriarchate of America under pretty much any current hierarch in America would be a complete and utter disaster. Given how they all reacted…and are still reacting…to covid, I wouldn’t trust any of them.

    I also don’t see Archbishop Makarios of Australia in the pic, either he’s not pictured, or, he’s gotten the shaft due to his lavish lifestyle in Sydney that has gotten him into hot water with Greeks in Australia

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I think at one point the plan was to bring Australia under Elpi. I suspect Makarios would wind up as a member of the Synod representing Australia under Elpi.

      • It’s going to be interesting to see what happens when the dust settles and the new charter comes out. I guess it’s a good sign (?) that it didn’t just poof out of thin air since that would obviously mean they’ve had it drafted since the get-go. Again, I am going to remain cautiously optimistic, though I feel I will eventually be eating crow knowing the history of GOARCH.

    • Any talk of a “patriarchate” in America is delusional. We are a church far too young, immature, and with no deep roots here yet. We are still merely tilling the soil in America.

      Our love for Christ should burn deep, but we don’t need and shouldn’t have a “patriarchate” for that. Any talk of a patriarchate in America is prideful hubris.

      At best we should by an autonomous church under the only jurisdiction that has demonstrated its love for the American people (of all backgrounds) and its desire to spread Christ and His Church in this land – that is, the church of St Herman of Alaska and of St Tikhon – the Russian Orthodox Church.

      The older I get, the more I realize that though I have western European blood and am very much an American – I know no other home – at heart I am a Christian who has learned how to love Christ in the Russian Orthodox tradition. Millions of Russian Orthodox are not Russian at all. This fact confuses uber-“rational” westerners to no end, but that’s ok.

      But a patriarchate in America? Come on. At best maybe a few tens of thousands of American Orthodox Christians attend liturgy on any given Sunday in America, total in all of the Orthodox parishes here. Out of more than 330 million people. And those are pre-Covid numbers. And these numbers are far less than the active Orthodox Christian numbers in America from 40 or 50 years ago.

      I used to be a big OCA autocephaly fan until I grew to realize that we’re not mature enough for that yet here. We’re not yet ready to be independent of our mother, and I fear that as American society grows more and more anti-Christian, we need her even more now.

      • Agreed. I used to be a big proponent of American autocephaly, but, the longer I become Orthodox the more I think that would be a huge mistake, for the reasons you mentioned above. I still think mission work here should go to the Church of Russia since they were the first to evangelize N.A, or at least the West Coast.

        But, just because we don’t have autocephaly doesn’t mean we have to keep doing all of this non-canonical mess with multiple bishops in places.

        Interestingly enough, covid might actually be sorting this out for us organically. GOARCH lost 100K people between 2010-2020…and that was BEFORE covid. Also, people post all the time that they have left parishes (usually OCA & GOA) for other jurisdictions bc of the restrictions. I get the feeling the bishops dont think the lay people are paying attention when we actually are.

        • George Michalopulos says

          FTS, Petros, everything you say is spot on. However, plz read Gail’s comment below. Outside of Russia, every other patriarchate will “pick at our bones”.

          It’s chilling.

          So where does that leave us? As much as I wish that Moscow would clean up our mess, the American kakistocracy will not allow it.

          Hence we are caught on the horns of a dilemma. It’s basically up to the Holy Spirit at this point.

          • St Louisan says

            The discussion of whether America is ready for autocephaly surely must grapple with the fact that, if one accepts the 1970 tomos as valid, the American church is already autocephalous, whether ready for it or not. Any jurisdicitonal solution would have to square with that one way or another.

            There’s an old joke about U.S. immigration policy: “What policy do you favor?” “I just favor having one at all.” Sometimes things are so chaotic that almost any single policy would be an improvement. American jurisdictional issues look similar–no one can really, in their heart of hearts, believe that a dozen different and geographically duplicative hierarchies and a disputed autocephaly in the mix is good for the Church…but no one wants to be the one to lose clout.

            The truly sad thing is–if the Patriarchs and Metropolitans truly believed what Christ said, they would be *competing* to lay aside some of their own authority, to be able to say they had lessened themselves in service to the greater Church.

            • As far as I am aware, the only Orthodox Church
              that ever evangelized in the North American continent
              (or the South, for that matter) is the Russian Orthodox Church.
              So if any Church deserves Primacy in America, it is the Russian Church.

            • George Michalopulos says

              St Louisian, I agree that since 1970, the question is moot. There is an autocephalous Church here in America (the OCA). Whether it’s “mature” or not is likewise moot. Given that COVID laid bare the immaturity of some of the Old World Churches, churches which are far more ancient than America’s, that question is likewise moot.

              Gail is right: if we can’t accomplish unification under the extant autocephalous Church, then the Old World will indeed “pick at our bones”.

            • Michael Bauman says

              No one is “ready for autocephaly. It id questionable in my mind whether any Hierarch csn “grant it”. Obviously the OCA does not have enough for others to follow her.

    • “The Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate now meets with its new composition, which is as follows: Metropolitan Geron Emmanuel of Chalcedon; Dimitrios of Metres and Athyra…Makarios of Australia…”

      The photo has nothing to do with the synod.

      Even so, quite a few therein do look rather “Grand.” Mary must ‘olding their ‘and. There ‘earts must be beatin like a big brass band. Oh… it’s a jolly ‘oliday!

  2. I could be wrong, but maybe the Patriarchal Court is those clergy that work directly for the EP at the Phanar, as opposed to those hierarchs who are actually ‘on-site’ at some diocese or other.

    “Grand Prime-Chancellor of the Patriarchal Court” sounds like a slightly inflated title, to be honest.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Mark 10:42.

    • A Glaswegian response would be:
      “Grand Prime-Chancellor?
      Aa oor Prime-Chancellors is Grand…”

      [Aa = All]

    • Prime probably refers to first. Prime sounds better than first when you’re narcissistic.

      • Prime Minister: Head of the UK Government
        First Minister: Head of the Scottish Government

        Swap the adjectives and the meaning stays the same.

        Prime is from Latin primus
        and first is from Old English fyrst.

        Prime is posh-talk.
        First is people-talk.

  3. Austin Martin says

    Most likely he died of “multiple complications”.

  4. robert john klancko says

    It is the time for an american patriarchate under the oca. Once we finally see the light, and get mature enough that we must break all foreign ties, stop letting our critical resources from being sent off shore, and truly become part of the fabric of this country, we will deserve to be a patriarchate. Since 1920 the oca is the only one to operate as an independent entity,,, over one hundred years. So let us all see reality and make it happen. By doing so, we will fulfill the legacy of our first and only patriarch of america, joseph klimovich of springfield mass, of blessed memory

    • Gail Sheppard says

      If we don’t step up to the plate the other patriarchates will pick at our bones.

    • Ben David says

      If Ukraine or Japan don’t have a patriarch, why would we think we deserve one?

      • rjklancko says

        Why don’t we? We could become the fourth time,,,,,we all need goals. And success comes from dreams.

        • And that is why we won’t have a Patriarch. We need repentance, not dreams or positive thinking. The first in this world shall be last and the last shall be first. Maybe like Russia we will have our patriarch when the American empire is destroyed. As God wills.

          • rjklancko says

            I do not think repentance is the key here,,it is vision and finite goals along with the backbone God has given all of us,,,if we repent it is that we have not had the vision and fortitude to do gods will and build an american church

    • Klimovich?


      He separated himself for the church and helped create a whole bunch of vagante groups. That’s no legacy to try and fulfil, sorry.

      • rjklancko says

        But he was a patriarch,,,,I have his photo and file,,,,perhaps he was a visionary who showed it was possible,,,his cathedral has been part of the oca for years

      • Of course there is a legacy here. First if all the only difference between a vagante and a canonical is a pen stroke. Klimovich created the mold and model, thusly proved the concept and model. His cathedral has been part of the oca sixty years. The oca had proved itself for over two hundred years,,,it has been autocephalous for fifty years,,,,isn’t it time for it to be a patriarchate and for those affiliated with foreign churches to break their foreign ties and truly become an american church under the oca.

        • He was a charlatan and I’m not even sure that he was ever consecrated by legitimate bishops. There doesn’t seem to be much out there to suggest that he was. Even if he was, he left the Church to start his own thing and created a succession of bizarre and delusional ‘patriarchates’ with about as much connection genuine Orthodox tradition as they have with reality.

          His cathedral was legally seized from the “THEOCACNA” and handed to the OCA.

          The OCA hasn’t existed for 200 years. It’s been around for 50. Before that, it was part of the Russian Orthodox Church and supported by the imperial government. After that, it was affiliated on and off with ROCOR for a few decades before going out on its own and separating from everyone else. The OCA has done much good and produced a number of good people, but I hardly think that’s it’s proved itself worthy of being a Patriarchate when somewhere like Cyprus is only under an archbishop

          • George Michalopulos says

            Basil if I may interject on a minor point: whether an autocephalous Church is headed by a patriarch, metropolitan or archbishop is not germane. Cyprus is not any less of an autocephalous Church because its primate is “only” an archbishop.

            Otherwise, your critique is not without merit.

          • rj klancko says

            Klimovich came out of the 97st cathedral,,,,archbishop michael even made overtures to meet with him,,,,he served a need that the others were not fulfilling and created a multiethnic synod and saw that an america church was necessary,,,,,instead of damning him, we should study him, perhaps we could learn something. The oca came out of the Russian mission which began in 1794, in alaska. It is an unbroken chain. The mission evolved from a dependent mission to an autocephalous church. To me that is what growth and maturation is all about,,,,,,all the others are like little children still dependent upon their mothers, riding their bikes with training wheels, afraid to ride without them. So, when do we create an american patriarchate, with its seat in washington d c?

            • Michael Bauman says

              God forbid that the seat of a united Orthodox Church be in Washington D C. It should be in the heartland. Wichita or Kansas City seem good.

              God help any bishop of Washington DC, the demon city.

        • ” The oca had proved itself for over two hundred years,,,it has been autocephalous for fifty years,,,,isn’t it time for it to be a patriarchate and for those affiliated with foreign churches to break their foreign ties and truly become an american church under the oca.”

          Russia is the new America, the USA is the new USSR. I’ll take hard pass on the OCA being the “American” church, because their statement on the Floyd event made clear which irreconcilable version of “America” they’re on board with.

          • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

            Myst, please provide a weblink to the OCA statement on “the Floyd event.”

          • I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the OCA as it was the first jurisdiction where I ever heard our Liturgy in my native language, and it has done so much for English-language missionary work to this country, music translations, publishing, and more.

            In 2021, the OCA would have far more moral weight if it:

            1. Unequivocally denounced Istanbul and the Patr of C’ple’s boondoggles in Ukraine and elsewhere
            2. Unequivocally denounced C’ple’s “first without equals” nonsense
            3. Unequivocally supported the saintly Met. Onuphry in Ukraine and thereby also the autonomous UOC in the Patr of Moscow.
            4. Unequivocally denounced cultural Marxism and all of these garbage anti-Christ and anti-family movements that are taking hold in the secular West.

            The OCA’s mission is overwhelmingly hard: to missionize Christ and His Church in an anti-Christian culture whose natural cultural worldview is Russophobic (and thus anti-Orthodox), in a land that has a miniscule foundation of deep Orthodox roots, and in a land where the cultural worldview believes that basic Christianity equals a Baptist Bible study.

            Add to all of that the jurisdictional mess that we have here, and I mean, come on – why on earth would the OCA feel called to tackle this behemoth of American mission alone in tiny autocephaly, cut off from its mother?

            As an American Orthodox Christian, and as we walk with Christ this week to His Passion and then to the empty tomb, I’m feeling so much love and connection with my Orthodox brothers in the rest of the world. I feel pity and pain for my fellow countrymen who increasingly act like those who crucified Him – those who run American culture just don’t want Christ around. They don’t want to see Him or remember Him.

            So terrible – and yet as a result of God’s overwhelming love for us, Christ conquers death and the world.

            This current secular Marxist America will fall – no doubt about that – and I pray that Christ and His Church is there to build the foundation of what will be next.

            Much love to all this Holy Week!!

          • Myst, please elaborate on “irreconcilable version”.

      • William Tighe says
      • rj klancko says

        did he separate timself or did we shun him? when politics suits us we condemn then when it suits us we forgive ,,,, it is just a big chess board isnt it,, but with a plethora of kings and bishops and not enough pawns to support them

    • Austin Martin says

      Metropolitan Jonah as archimandrite made a similar argument. I understand the chain of logic, but what it never considered is whether the OCA deserves to be the American patriarchate.

      You can’t demand people submit to you, as though you have the right to be obeyed. You have to be the kind of leader people want to follow. If the OCA lived up to it’s name, the multi-jurisdictional situation would have ended decades ago.

      I am in the OCA because I found a really good priest. Beyond that local connection, what does the OCA have to offer? I’m not saying it has nothing to offer. It’s a a real question. Why would someone want to submit to the OCA? Why does the OCA deserve to be submitted to?

      • rj klancko says

        It offers a witness to america as an unencumbered american church ,,,,something that no other orthodox church can

  5. How is the Church going to grow up if it constantly babied?

  6. “It is rumored that the OCA under Metropolitan Tikhon will be “recognized” at some point.”

    Sorry, Mrs. M, but those rumors are only rumors. The vast majority of the clergy and laity in the OCA want nothing to do with the EPC and its financially drowning Greek Archdiocese here in the U.S. (Though, those whom want to play with people that can’t handle money properly, and do other strange things…well, then more power to them.)

    • rj klancko says

      Just because a jealous despot in turkey likes to play games does not mean that the oca is not a legitimate player. The oca needs to lead the way and cut through the archaic byzantine politics. It is a matter of the survival of the eastern orthodox church in the americas.

      • So, rj klancko, are you in the OCA? And, do you actually want the OCA to merge with the GOA? If so, I must say…it ain’t gonna happen on our watch!

        • Rjklancko says

          The oca is my mother church,,,and no I do not want, not endorse the oca joining with the oca,,,,,I do however advocate that the his become a humble christian church and join the oca…..but of course that will not happen because the oca is american and the goal is greek. Just a perspective,,but I do laud the oca on making it on their own. That is true maturity and competentcy

          • rj klancko says

            Sorry, my auto-correct threw a curve ball. The oca should not join the goa,,,,,,,,the goa must join the oca,,,,,,,,,that is what I wanted to say

            • Excellent. Thanks for the clarification, rj klancko.

              I myself would love to see the old OCA-AOCA Joint Committee For Canonical Unity revived, which was composed of both clergy and laity. There was lots of positive action in the late 80s and early 90s, but it suddenly just disappeared. In my opinion, things need to start with the OCA and Antiochian Archdiocese. Get those two bodies moving again in the right direction, then there’s some hope for Orthodox unity in America.

              • George Michalopulos says

                I agree with you. Unless the GOA can give up its byzantine pretensions –and this would include repudiating what Bartholomew did in the Ukraine–then the OCA & Antioch would be grafting themselves onto a schismatic body.

              • “I myself would love to see the old OCA-AOCA Joint Committee For Canonical Unity revived…”

                Wonderful idea. But is there any evidence to suggest that the Patriarchate of Antioch has any interest in losing the support it has from its parishes in America?

                The only two Orthodox jurisdictions in America that don’t give a dime to anyone overseas (unless it is for goodwill charitable giving, in love) are the OCA and ROCOR.

                ROCOR does not give a dime to the Patriarchate of Moscow, and it works the other way too, ROCOR receives nothing financially from Moscow. Which is why most ROCOR priests continue to be tentmakers in the tradition of St Paul and typically have no health insurance or retirement unless it is provided via their secular employment (or via the matushka’s secular employment).

        • It’s just worrywarts who are focusing their anxiety on Metropolitan Tikhon’s good relations with GOA and failing to see the big picture.

          The OCA is committed to autocephaly in America, while the GOA is against it. American Autocephaly doesn’t serve the GOA well. The “Assembly of Bishops” simultaneously serves Metropolitan Tikhon’s commitment to autocephaly and Archbishop Elpidophorus commitment against it.

          The same type of worrywarts see Patriarch Kyrill hugging Pope Francis in Cuba and are certain this means that the Russian Orthodox are merging with Rome.

      • Brian Jackson says

        Ok. We’re waiting….

  7. https://im4.ezgif.com/tmp/ezgif-4-d64b6dc5ca83.webp

    Good recent quote from Metropolitan Neofit of Morphou, I believe he may be right

    • Brian Jackson says

      404 error. Could you please provide the quote, site, and context?

      • Ah dang, just realized that.

        The basics was that covid was a trial sent by God to show our lack of faith and that covid was something necessary that needed to happen prior to the war that has been prophesied

  8. I have spent my life in Orthodox, as a young person we were told of the promise of “America’s Best Kept Secret”, we listened to sermons about heroic Orthodox figures and learned about their lives in Sunday School. Time passed and nothing happened. Orthodox ministry organizations are led by the same folks who use the same empty words while taking no accountability for the people they lead. Current data at http://www.orthodoxreality.org show a shrinking church with leaders in denial. Meanwhile, the ultimate criteria for church leadership is personal wealth. Orthodox bishops lead suburban lifestyles while creating an unhealthy co-dependency with their flocks. Then COVID-19 hits and we see our leaders seeking self-interest rather than service to the Gospel less they lose their suburban comfort. The damage to the Church from the Pandemic will take generations to recover from and that is only if we allow the present leadership dysfunction to burn itself out like a forest fire.

    • Indeed. A saw on a parish website in Texas who has a priest that I greatly respect say that you can return to normal parish life once you receive the vaccine..this was at the behest of Archbishop Alexander. The rot has set in an ossified in many, many places

  9. Brian Jackson says

    But there’s also the Holy Spirit. Maybe winnowing is in order; maybe not. All I and you can do is pray, strive, and invite. My parish has almost 70 catechumens. I refuse to believe that that is not replicable EVERYWHERE.

    • My parish has almost 70 catechumens

      What jurisdiction & region do you belong to? Always curious if these numbers of converts are geographic.

      What have you all done that has attracted this many people?

      • Brian Jackson says

        Southern California. Antiochian.

        I made an attempt to answer you weeks ago in an earlier post: “Petros, that is a good question, and I can speculate. The principal thing which occurs to me is that evangelism and catechesis have been a strong emphasis by our priest since before my family joined the parish. Several in the parish participate in teaching, and the program runs through the entire year with the catechumens being dismissed for teaching after the homily, becoming more intense during Lent when the catechumens have additional lectures on Saturdays before Great Vespers. There is additional teaching occurring most Wednesday nights. On the one hand, this is a pretty high expectation which might be expected to dissuade; on the other hand, I think that when much preparation and expectation are put into something for the sake of the Gospel, God then brings the fulfillment.

        Other considerations: Perhaps our location in Southern California helps. I also think many have their interest piqued because the quality of the homilies is quite good. The choir is beautiful. The congregation is a diverse mix of ethnicities, languages, religious backgrounds, and I think many potential converts are able to link with parishioners whose personal histories are relatable to their own. Although the services are mostly English, we have a frequent peppering of Arabic and Greek, and some Slavonic and Spanish. I hear parishioners around me lifting up their voices in these portions, and I realize that there is great value in this.

        In the end, though, thank God! May we both experience a profitable Lent.”

  10. I suggest all the new calendar churches unite under the Phanar (the mother of the new calendar) and all the old calendar churches unite under Jerusalem and Moscow, then we’ll see who’s still around in a hundred years.

    With Antioch and Romania as wild cards, I suspect that is what will happen anyway. Give it a decade and the new calendarists will be Uniates – problem solved, Church pruned, onward and upward.

  11. rjklancko says

    The uniates are in the way to rejoin their mother church,,,,the romans treat them like second class citizens and continually latinize them,,,,they are wiltering on the vine. There is no future with the goa,,,,hellenism rules as does their non inspiring byzantine chant,,,,,they refuse to be part of the fabric of america,,,,they are more involved in byzantine politics and hellenic culture than spreading the word. So I believe in a completely different scenarios that favors the oca and the welcoming of the uniates back into the fold.

  12. What calendar does God use? and why do you say this?

    • God, the doormat, the ethereal and nebulous confirmer of whatever your heart tells you according to your emotions, is not worth believing in. He is but the idolatrous projection of your own feelings.

      The God of the Church Fathers, on the other hand, . . .

  13. This is the state of some OCA Diocese of the South parishes, it is such a shame. I am familiar with this particular parish and would not have thought this would be the case:

    As of April 11th, we began an eight-week timeline toward the removal of all restrictions on attendance at St. Sava parish. As such, all over the age of 16 who have not yet been vaccinated and would like to be are encouraged to receive your first dose over the next two weeks. Once you have received the first dose, you are allowed another four weeks to get the second dose. After this, you are asked to allow another two weeks to allow for full protection. Nothing about being vaccinated should keep you away from church. Once everyone who wishes to be vaccinated is fully vaccinated and has had a two-week buffer period, all precautions and restrictions on attendance at St. Sava parish will be lifted, and we shall return to full parish life as of Sunday, June 6th, which is two weeks before Pentecost.

    • Is this St Sava parish north of Dallas toward McKinney? There you have it, “vaccine passports,” OCA-style.

      See my post above on how the OCA has lost so much of its moral weight recently.
      Add to the list point #5: Stop behaving like fearful secular leftists when you talk about COVID. Seriously, it’s time.

      The OCA has so sunk in moral authority since they threw Metropolitan Jonah under the bus, almost 10 years ago now.

      Hope they are aware, but (without a doubt) the triumvirate who ushered the OCA/Metropolia into its heyday (Frs Alexander Schmemann, John Meyendorff, and Georges Florovsky) would shudder at the current state of their former jurisdiction. Frs Alexander Schmemann, John Meyendorff, and Georges Florovsky would feel far more at home in the ROCOR of today than in what has become the current OCA.

      After carefully detailing how their plan for “removal of all restrictions on attendance” is fully based on a schedule of getting vaccinated, they then claim that “Nothing about being vaccinated should keep you away from church.”

      Life is messy. Life is full of pain and sorrow and suffering. This includes pain and sorrow and suffering due to COVID. Many Orthodox parishes have proven that the pain and sorrow and suffering due to COVID are just too much for them to handle. Sorry parishioners, you’re on your own.

      In my point #4 above, on how the OCA could work to recover some of its moral gravitas,
      “4. Unequivocally denounce cultural Marxism and all of these garbage anti-Christ and anti-family movements that are taking hold in the secular West”

      Maybe it’s too hard for the current OCA leadership to unequivocally denounce cultural Marxism and to not act like CNN when it comes to COVID because they are simply too absorbed in — maybe too much a part of? — the modern secular West? Are the movers and the shakers in the OCA of 2021 all secular Americans?

      This is why I don’t think the OCA can handle autocephaly. Orthodoxy in America is such a teeny tiny goldfish in a sea of sharks, and we just don’t have the leadership that can handle it. We need our mother’s protection now more than ever. Autonomy under the Russian Church is the safest, most wise option.

      Or better yet, just join ROCOR, which is defining itself in the 21st century as the Orthodox missionary arm to the English-speaking and Latin American worlds. Even Fr Victor Potapov of St John the Baptist Cathedral (ROCOR) in Washington D.C. recently pointed out, of the 80+ parishes in the ROCOR Eastern American diocese, fewer than 10 are primarily Russian-speaking parishes. Convert-heavy and non-Russian-language parishes are the wave of the future for ROCOR in the English-speaking and Latin American worlds. One could even say that ROCOR of the 2020s has the missionary energy that the OCA had in the 1960s-1970s, before Fr Alexander Schmemann’s repose.

      • Yep, St. Sava’s. I was honestly really shocked by that, like I said I am familiar with the parish and with Fr. Photios, which is why I was very surprised this was on their website.

        • I think to some extent you misunderstand the post they have on the St. Sava site. The bishop has set certain rules. You disagree with them, but that is not the priest’s or parish’s fault. The post is ultimately saying that once everyone who wants to (not required) has had a chance to get vaccinated (if they choose to do so) then the parish is opening up completely. No mask mandate, No vaccine mandate, just open to all without capacity limits. After the June 6 date wear a mask or not, be vaccinated or not, just come to the services. We may wish it wasn’t this way, but it is unseemly to denigrate a good priest and parish doing the best they can under the circumstances.

          To “FTS” I say, your “there you have it ‘vaccine passports,’ OCA style” is wrong. There are NO vaccine passports. No one is going to be checking on who is vaccinated or not.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Vincent, not wishing to be disputatious, but what exactly do these directives mean? Now don’t get me wrong, but I can’t make heads or tails of them. Are you going to be able to come with or without vaccine after a certain date? Will you have to wear a mask or not?

            In addition, I worry about that “June 6” date. Is this written in stone or will Dr Faucius change the rules in midstream again?

            This also doesn’t address the horribleness of the masquerade in the first place. The Canons are pretty specific about how dehumanizing they are. At least in a church setting.

            My problem therefore is that we have conceded way too much to the secular authorities in the first place.

            • George,
              I answered your questions in my first response. With or without a mask, come. With or without a vaccine, come. You wont have to do either. The June 6 date is based on the directions from the Archbishop. I have no idea if he will change his directions or not. I understand what your problem is and am sympathetic to it. I am saying that from my perspective the priest and parish are doing the best they can to navigate this issue as are so many of our other parishes. The division of opinions runs deep, at St. Seraphim Cathedral too as at many other parishes.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Thank you Vincent.

                At my age, I subscribe to a simple adage: KISS. “Keep it simple, Stupid”. This directive is too wordy, hence my confusion.

                • Former OCAer says

                  I’ve read the statement again, actually 3-4 times again. I am still scratching my head to understand what the purpose of the statement is. If the intent is to open the doors to anyone on June 6th, with “all precautions and restrictions lifted”, could there not have been a big bold sentence or banner on the website that simply said:

                  “We shall return to full parish life as of Sunday, June 6th !”

                  Nothing more need be said, right? The last thing I want to see from my parish priest is anything related to vaccination guidance. Nor do I need to be told by my priest when to get my prostate exam, or my flu shot, or my skin cancer screening.

          • Vincent,

            That was my take on it also. I know folks are touchy on the subject of vaccination, myself included; but I do not think some of these conclusions are warranted.

            “Once everyone who wishes to be vaccinated…”

    • Former OCAer says

      This is insane. And evil. And what is bizarre is that the policies attributed to Archbishop Alexander are not even followed at his church, St Seraphim Cathedral in Dallas. (Yes, I know he lives up North and isn’t there all that much.) I like and respect Fr. Gerasim at St. Seraphim but I just don’t understand where some OCA DoS parishes have draconian rules that go far beyond government and CDC guidelines and then they use “obedience to the Archbishop” as their excuse – even though the Cathedral in Dallas doesn’t do the same.

      Mandates for everyone to wear a mask at all times, stand on your assigned spot, leave immediately after and not socialize – even outside. Someone to monitor the hand sanitizer station upon entry, etc etc. Good grief.

      Below is a video of Palm Sunday in Dallas. Masks are clearly optional, social distancing not rigorously enforced, etc. Liturgy is offered as it should be with parishioners making their own health decisions. I have no issue with how Fr. Gerasim is handling services in Dallas. As for St. Sava and a couple other DoS parishes I could name… I cannot for the life of me understand how and why parishioners put up with it. It is NOT under the guise of obedience to the Archbishop (otherwise Dallas would look quite different.). It is obedience to whacky parish priests who have germophobia issues and are using COVID as an excuse to hide their own shortcomings.


      • Like I mentioned above, I am really familiar with St. Sava’s and Fr. Photios, and to a lesser extent St. Seraphim’s and Fr. Gerasim, but, if you would have told me 5 years ago that St. Sava’s would do that I would have never believed you. The irony is that I would have bet that if any church were to cave it would be Holy Trinity GOC in Dallas, and they seem to be going on as normal. Guess I would be having to eat crow

    • ChristineFevronia says

      This is a tragedy for many reasons! I have been notified by my employer that once the FDA clears one of the vaccines for full use (not its current trial use), I will be forced to get the vaccine as part of the conditions of my employment. I have been praying that I will be able to get a religious waiver, based on the wonderful work that Fr. Alexander wrote and other research I have seen on LifeSite News and The Defender. But if the Orthodox leadership of this country is pushing vaccines, what does that mean for asking for a religious waiver? I live in a state in which the mandatory vax requirement is coming for all age groups, and had hoped to claim religious exemption. But with Orthodox leaders publicly urging Orthodox Christians to get vaccinated, there is no chance my waiver request will be taken seriously. Some states are prepping laws to make being unvaccinated against Covid a misdemeanor. It is hard to not enter into despair. How can the leaders of our beloved Mother Church be so influenced by the same scientific community that denies every single tenet of our faith, and works actively to turn people away from Christ and Holy Scripture! What strange bedfellows! Lord have mercy.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        The vaccine must be a real vaccine (some would argue that nothing we have, to date, meets that qualification) and must be FDA approved, which they aren’t (yet). They are only approved for emergency use. https://www.statnews.com/2021/02/23/federal-law-prohibits-employers-and-others-from-requiring-vaccination-with-a-covid-19-vaccine-distributed-under-an-eua/


        • ChristineFevronia says

          Thank you, Gail. This is what employees received last week where I work. I had planned to be one of the “minimal” religious exemptions, and still hope my diocese will sign off on the waiver. My husband, sister, and brother-in-law received similar notices.

          “As part of our return to work, we will be requiring everyone who comes to the worksite to be vaccinated for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The requirement is contingent on the availability of the vaccines and on one of the four available vaccines being officially approved by the FDA. And we have been told that the FDA expects to certify at least one of the vaccines in the coming weeks. A work group is developing an online tool to collect attestation of vaccinations. Until then, those returning to the worksite should self-report their vaccination status in the comments of their online Return to Work form. Employees currently working onsite who have not attested to their vaccination status via the online form must resubmit it with a comment confirming that they have been vaccinated. Of course, there will be the minimal exceptions based on medical or religious grounds, but, all in all, the worksite will be safe.”

          • Gail Sheppard says

            I think the FDA no longer “expects to certify” anything anytime soon, but that’s just my guess. – I’m not sure the bishops will agree to sign off on a waiver when the first thing they say to us about taking the vaccine is that it is safe and effective when it is neither.

            I would put the following on your form:

            Status: Pending FDA approval of experimental vaccines.

          • Former OCAer says

            No mention of COVID 19 immunity via antibodies that have been built after being infected and recovering? The only way to go to work (other than “minimal exceptions”) is if you have received the shot? That is a sure sign we are dealing with compliance to social policies, not science.

        • Former OCAer says

          Sadly Gail, while I agree with what you wrote I think this is only the early winds of a larger storm. Even if we dodge this (forced vax, contact tracing, etc.) there does not seem to be light at the end of the tunnel.

          Against federal law? No problem, write new laws or issue executive orders. The only recourse then is the Supreme Court. Ah, they are not in lockstep? No problem, add 4 more justices who will turn a blind eye towards the new “Build Back Better” mandates.

          Where does that leave us? Clinging to God under the guidance of a small number of faithful holy fathers who will join us (and lead us) in our unwavering commitment to the Holy Church above all else.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            If that’s where it leaves us, we’ve done pretty well.

            • George Michalopulos says


              One of the things which I agreed with Pope Benedict XV! was at the outset of his pontificate, he said he would “rather see a Church that was smaller and stronger than one which is global in reach and timid”. (A paraphrase.)

              • rj klancko says

                except for the oca, we are all smaller and timid,, adraid to be taken to woodshed. as one who had to kneel on crushed coal in the corner, i learned early on that strong will, a solid vision, and leadership would be the solution and indeed it was. god gave is strong minds, God gave us free will, God gave us information/data/education, God gave us opportunity,,,if we squander all of these, are we not hiding the talent that God gave us? btw just think of the number of st jude type hospitals we could have sponsored if we were not saddled with paying foreign prelates for their patronage. isnt it time to stop and take care of business in our own back yards?

            • Fomer OCAer says

              Yeah, I was feeling positive this morning as I got ready to head to presanctified Liturgy. That’s my best case scenario and would be OK with that outcome for me and my family.

            • Catacombs services with World War III coming.

  14. Image of Christ Appears to Weep and Open Its Shut Eyes


  15. Finnish Politician Charged With Hate Crimes for
    Tweeting Bible Verse, Criticising Homosexuality


    ‘ A Christian Finnish politician has been charged with multiple hate crimes, after she tweeted a Bible verse and criticised homosexuality, and could face up to 6 years in prison as a result.

    Päivi Räsänen, a current Finnish Member of Parliament, and former Minister of the Interior, was charged last week on three hate crimes counts, having been accused of engaging in hate speech for posting about her Christian beliefs on homosexuality. The Finnish Prosecutor General, a leftist who considers communist Nelson Mandela to be her “guru,” announced that after opening the investigation into Räsänen in September 2019, the state had enough evidence to charge her.

    The three incidents that Räsänen, who previously led the Christian Democrats, is being charged with, spans a time period of well over a decade. In 2004, she published a booklet about the Bible and sexuality. In 2018, Räsänen was spoke on a talk radio show on the topic of “what would Jesus think about homosexuals.” In 2019, she posted the Bible verse Romans 1:24-27, in order to criticise the participation of the Finnish Lutheran Church in the LGBT Pride festival that took place last year, with this last “offence” being the one that triggered the investigation as a whole. …

    In a statement, Räsänen said she couldn’t accept that voicing her religious beliefs could result in imprisonment. “I do not consider myself guilty of threatening, slandering or insulting anyone,” she added:

    ” My statements were all based on the Bible’s teachings on marriage and sexuality. I will defend my right to confess my faith, so that no one else would be deprived of their right to freedom of religion and speech. I hold on to the view that my expressions are legal and they should not be censored. I will not back down from my views. I will not be intimidated into hiding my faith. The more Christians keep silent on controversial themes, the narrower the space for freedom of speech gets.” … ‘

    From 2004 to 2021? How hatred simmers gay!