Discretion is the Better Part of Valor: Metropolitan Joseph

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochian archdiocese, has issued a directive to the priests of that jurisdiction. This is in regards to the imperial overreach by the Patriarch of Constantinople.

You can read it for yourself here (my. Comments below.):

[gview file=”https://www.monomakhos.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/2018-11-05-Letter-from-His-Eminence-Metropolitan-JOSEPH.pdf”]

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[gview file=”https://www.monomakhos.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Joint-Statement-of-the-Serbian-and-Antiochian-Orthodox-Patriarchates.pdf”]

I imagine that the non-phanariote hierarchy is planning major pushback.

For those who are curious, the second part of the saying is “for caution is preferable to rash bravery.” (Words spoken by Fallstaff in Henry IV, Part I.)


  1. No freedom of speech in the Orthodox Church.

    Just leadership by tyrants.

    • Fr John Chagnon says

      He’s not addressing ALL the Faithful, just the clergy and he’s asking us to pray, model Christian love to our fellow Orthodox, avoid controversies, and not inadvertently confuse the Faithful. In other words, His Eminence is basically quoting the Apostle Paul.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Never has been “freedom of speech” in the Orthodox Church and I pray to God there never will be. Because that usually means license to dump every piece of garbage out of one’s sinful heart and expect that it be treated equally to the Truth.

      I am obviously not holy because I talk too much.

      We are judged by God on every word that comes out of our mouths. A little prior restraint is a good thing.

      • Michael Bauman,
        In large part I agree with you, and also your response to Sean.

        If I may, when I, in disgust, witness the EP of my Greek Orthodox Church sign and make deals with the current government leaders of Ukraine, because the MP did not do the right thing in 1991, and will perhaps soon hear and witness the current MP, followed by many other jurisdictions declaring The Greek Orthodox, a heretical church, no different than the Roman Catholics. Communion lost to us by corrupt men?

        It is hard to hold my peace, when I begin to realize; Canons, decisions, how things are done, have always and will be always be partially decided by corrupt governments, corrupting bishops, and, or by tyrannical governments forcing their will on bishops.

        Monomakhos in the past three years has opened my eyes to a reality I had hoped ended back when Communist and Islam controlled Orthodoxy. Now I realize it has simply evolved.

        It is hard to hold my peace, after the enslavement, discrimination, and deaths of millions in Orthodoxy’s history, have taught us nothing.

        • Billy Jack Sunday says


          As a member of the GOA, which is directly under the EP, I believe you are in a different position perhaps than the Antiochians

          As far as timing goes

          I think this is the right time for anyone who is directly under the EP to speak out against these actions

          Perhaps it is the responsible thing to do

          Perhaps if it were the Patriarch of Antioch that was committing these actions, it would then be best for the GOA laity to stand by and wait quietly and patiently then

          Not sure what I would do even under that circumstances, though

          A lot has come about because we’ve been conditioned out of fear to never speak up and to trust

          I think a lot of bad has come out of that

          Not that anyone should just show no restraint at any time

          If you catch what I mean

          • Michael Bauman says

            Dino? Not to dismiss you pain and the dislocation you may experience but there has always been such pain and dislocation in the Church and the priests and hierarchs who create it are in for a serious come uppance but I also know that anyone who wants Jesus Christ will receive Jesus Christ even at the hands of the most venal priest there is.

            • Michael and Billy,
              My answer will serve both your replies.

              As bishops, metropolitans, and EP hardly listen, nor reply to 95% of laity, I have come to the conclusion we need to ignore them as well. They are not healthy for our spiritual well being.

              Imagine evangelicals stating Billy Graham is not healthy to their spiritual well being, or the Pope to Catholics, or the current “Prophet” to Mormons, Dalai Lama to Buddhist, etc., yet that is where many in Orthodox are, unless in ignorant bliss, or simply gone from Orthodoxy.

              Yes I will be a steward to my parish and look to my spiritual father for guidance. Yes deep down I will hurt, but the global corruption it is out of my control, so I pray for the best, and God’s Will. Liken to most loving parents towards drug addicted children, they will be enablers, in hopes of their recovery.

              When we are in grave sin, we excommunicate ourselves from the Church, more than any bishop could, the bishops have become irrelevant to their flock, but the Church will never die, so we carry on in hope of a better day.

              Until I witness at least one metropolitan, in the GOA speak up against the EP’s actions, or at the very least question his actions, they are irrelevant to me. Not that they care. They are administrators and “yes” men to the pecking order, and those that keep them well fed.

              There is nothing to fear, speaking up is futile, and ignored, if pockets are not deep. Trust is lost. All that matters is local, and as Michael and I believe, the Body and Blood of Christ will be received, regardless of the irrelevant among us.

              PS, If you believe some jurisdictions are exempt, you are only fooling yourselves. There may be many pockets of good and holy, but that is the exception, not the rule within our leadership. Corruption ensnares.

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            My own humble view is that here in the United States the Orthodox laity are members of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and the clergy are members of their various “jurisdictions”, by necessity. So I am not unduly troubled by these events at the personal level.

            As our priest says, there are many complications at certain levels, but the Orthodox clergy of our State consider themselves broadly as priests of the Orthodox Diocese of Washington (no “jurisdiction” appended).

  2. Beryl Wells Hamilton says

    George, underneath Metropolitan Joseph’s letter, and the wise statement by the Hierarchs, you wrote, “I imagine that the non-phanariote hierarchy is planning major pushback.” Does the juxtaposition of those two things (statements by Hierarchs with your statement following) seem unwieldy to you in any way?

  3. Fr. John Chagnon says

    A wise statement and policy.

  4. Daniel DeLorenzo says

    Rebuke of Universal Jurisdiction within orthodox ecclesiology?

  5. Patrick J. Teague says

    In his statement, Metropolitan Joseph admonished his “Hierarchs, Clergy, Monastics to refer to “The Statement of the Holy Synod of Antioch,” and “The Joint Statement of the Serbian And Antiochian Orthodox Patriarchates”. I was not able to find the Antiochian Synodal Statement. It is below. This statement is more to the point than the Joint Statement.


    Thank you as always, George.

    Most Sincerely,
    Pat Teague

  6. No doubt, Father John is right: “A wise statement and policy.” I have no idea what Whiskey6 means about “no freedom of speech” in the OC. Dear to Christ Beryl, I think George has reference to the operative part of the Joint Statement, with which it concludes–i.e. the appeal DIRECTED TO His All Holiness the EP “to restore the fraternal dialogue” with the ROC in order “to resolve the conflict between the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Moscow and to restore back the bond of peace in the Orthodox Church.” What George is saying is that the Joint Statement puts the onus on Bartholomew.

    At the same time, we should all follow the advice of Met. Joseph and speak little and pray much without getting caught up in predicting schism and continuing chaos.

    Christ is in our midst,

  7. Sean Richardson says

    This all sounds terrific. The problem is, those clergy who are already discrete will follow the directive, and those who are not, won’t. It’s a great idea, but the problem is always in the details.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Sean, the problem is in our hearts. What would you have Met. Joseph do–nothing?

      Hold onto your peace! Do not let anyone else steal it? That is the best spiritual directive I have ever received in my life.

      As far as the order of the Church is concerned, there is little reason to get all hot an bothered, IMO. God is in control even when we try to tear the controls from him and pilot the airplane into the ground. It has always been thus. Why should we be spared? especially since one of the great challenge to the Truth in our times is the delusion that each person’s opinion matters and is equal to everybody else’s.

      It does not make any difference in my life/faith one way or the other unless I allow it to. Whatever happens, I still am called to the same actions: pray, fast, give alms with a merciful heart to those in need nearest me, attended on the sacraments, repent/forgive. But it is so much easier to move the furniture around in Constantinople than to face even one of my own sins.

      Lord forgive us.

      • Hear! Hear!

        • I am troubled to see a photo of Met. Joseph with a short beard. True orthodox don’t cut their beards. Furthermore, the cathedral he served in LA had pews. True Orthodox worship cannot take place in a structure with pews. This man is an Orthodox lite at best but probably an Orthdox imposter. Finally, he promotes the new calendar and is in communion with the GOA. George will probably not post this note because he knows it is the truth. Only the Orthodox Church offers salvation-keep it pure.

          • M. Stankovich says

            I sympathize with you, bro’. You must be terribly distressed.

            I got home last night and my wife was crying over the fact that one of her patient’s, a refugee from Sudan who walked across the desert carrying her children to escape the civil war; who was twice violently beaten by her American husband, on the last occasion every bone in her face was broken; and who, after a year of therapy got up the courage to accompany the US Marshalls to collect her belongings and the court-ordered funds from her bank account that was being hidden from her by her husband. And yesterday, not five days after her accomplishment, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and told she has months to live, with two small children ubder 7-yrs of age.

            This morning, I went in to check on the staff covering the holiday, and I went in to see my student, doing an assessment of a woman who was admitted last night. She is a late 30’s “lower-to-mid-level porn star” (“lower” in the estimation of one of the Marine nurses, “mid-level” in the patient’s opinion). As I was signing charts, the woman told my student that she had been sober – drugs & alcohol, and from sexual relationships outside of her marital relationship (she noted that she had met her husband in the “(porn) industry.” When my student asked how she had managed to achieve this sobriety, she said, “We were both in the Russian Orthodox Church for three years, and what a disaster that was!” Madonna Mia! Really?She described how no one spoke to them, greeted them, or sat with them for coffee. No one made eye-contact, and if they did, they might smile, but said nothing. I interjected, “Do you think they recognized you from your videos?” “Does it matter? We both stopped. We studied with the priest and were received into the Church. We tried to be faithful and were treated like outcasts.” I said to her that I would catch up with her next week. As I finished signing EMR’s, I heard her say, “I’ve pretty much had a different sexual every day for the past year, and I’ve never felt so free.” She is on a handful of meds to prevent withdrawal and protect her from the various consequences of methamphetamine and opiates. I am feeling just so sickened and helpless, because I am so keenly aware that it is my own lack of faith that prevents me from helping.

            And then I come upon your statement. My only conclusion is that you are making a very poor joke – that you would employ the most shallow, moronic, and imbecilic criteria to judge the “Orthodoxy” of a Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church – or, simply put, your an imbecile in and of your own self. There is so much suffering in this world, so much hate, so much hurt, so much helplessness, and when Orthodox Christians finally have the opportunity to extend the Hand of Him who is the Physician of souls, the Consolation of those who suffer, and the Calm Haven of those tossed about in the storm of this life, we cross the street to avoid them. Where is your empathy, your compassion, and your desire to rush to the needy as the Lord instructs us? It’s all caught up in Pharisaic, self-righteous measuring of a man’s facial hair and the “reckoning of the pews.” “Only the Orthodox Church offers salvation,” pal? I would hardly know it by reading you. If only a man could be saved by a long beard, the Old Calendar, and no pews…

            • M. Stankovich,
              A great post, especially on Thanksgiving Day. In this selfish, jealous, and vain world, many of us, myself the most, need to give thanks for what God has given us, True Agape. Love which we must strive to emulate, and not dwell on the perceived “shortcomings” of others.

              When we live without Agape for our neighbor, and primarily for ourselves, we live in confusion, and are easily provoked by the evil one. I dread the day of judgement upon me.

              “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.”(James 3:16)

            • Michael Bauman says

              Michael Stankovich, I am gladdened in my heart that you and I have some common ground that we share without reserve. May the Lord Bless you in your work, strengthen your faith and heal your patients.

            • Linda Albert says

              Are Russians by culture or etiquette reticent with people outside their family? Is privacy or non curiosity about strangers a big thing? Did your patient give an air of hostility? Did she not speak Russian and everyone assumed she didn’t want to converse with them?

              • M. Stankovich says


                Obviously I need to limit what I say in respect of her confidentiality. At the shift change about an hour ago, one of the former military LPN’s (male former Marine – and if it’s porn, they are authorities) had an excerpt from a commercial film where in an interview she spoke a bit more about her time in the Orthodox Church – and in that this was a commercial, for-pay video, I’m presuming it would be considered “public” information – it was my impression it was not an “ethnic” church. But I have yet to see her “real” name as opposed to her “stage name.” She was brought by the police and a probation officer so she is connected to the legal system as well. She was loaded when she came in, and loaded 4 or so hours later when I saw here, so I decided to speak to her in the coming week. It was disheartening all the way around.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Good grief jk, which is the greater sin: a short beard or a judgmental heart. He is not your servant but the Lord’s. Go find a Bishop with a long beard and a parish with no pews and shut up unless of course you are the Patriarch of Antioch then you can tell Met. Joseph and expect obedience.

            I have experienced Jesus walking down the aisle with the priest during the silent entrance of a Liturgy of the pre-sanctified Gifts in my parish with pews. Pews or not what God has cleansed, call thou not unclean.

            I thought encountering Jesus Christ in worship and in prayer confessing our sins is the point of “real Orthodox worship.”. But, hey it may be about long hair and open space. What do I know? I am just a gimpy hick from Kansas who has never left this country and a horribly sinful man but I know God is with us and the place I worship in is sacred space complete with angels and saints. I would encourage you to stay away as I would hate to have your faith diluted by coming into such a plebian and unworthy place.

  8. Beryl Wells Hamilton says

    In addition to the words of the patriarchs posted here, we have the words of Patriarch Kyril after his meeting with Patriarch Bartholomew. We rely on the leaders to do the will of God, and I am sure they are not only praying hard, but also meeting behind the scenes to work out solutions to these issues.

    Patriarch Kirill stated that there is a difference between the dialogue conducted by politicians the dialogue conducted by the Church. The primate said “In dialogues conducted by politicians, everyone defends the interests of their country, and dialogues within the Orthodox Church has a different nature. We, of course, represent the interests of our Churches, but we always aim at our common welfare, the unity of the Holy Church, its ability to carry out its mission in the modern world.

    The dialogue between Local Churches takes place within a single Body – the One Holy Apostolic Church, which imposes us with responsibilities and obligations, but at the same time gives strength and inspiration. That’s why, despite the fact that there were differences in the discussions (at Phanar) and some were quite difficult, I have bright memories with this place, because we never did anything that could damage Universal Orthodoxy, the one Holy Catholic Apostolic Church. We are responsible for the whole Church, for the whole Body of Christ. We are the Primates of the Local Churches”.

    Stating again for emphasis, Patriarch Kyril said regarding the discussions that took place between these two leaders: “we never did anything that could damage Universal Orthodoxy, the one Holy Catholic Apostolic Church. We are responsible for the whole Church, for the whole Body of Christ. We are the Primates of the Local Churches.”

    In response, the Primate of the Church of Constantinople said:
    “We are happy to receive today at the Ecumenical Patriarchate His Beatitude and His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia with the Russian Church delegation. Whenever we meet, this is a joy for both of us, as we have the opportunity to discuss issues of mutual interest. We believe in the power of dialogue. If political leaders use dialogue to solve problems of their countries, then religious leaders should use dialogue to resolve issues, since dialogue is the path that God himself has given us.”

    Stating again for emphasis, Patriarch Bartholomew said this: “We believe in the power of dialogue. If political leaders use dialogue to solve problems of their countries, then religious leaders should use dialogue to resolve issues, since dialogue is the path that God himself has given us.”


  9. There needs to be a council!
    Bartholomew has come into communion with schismatics and must be deposed as soon as possible.

    • M. Stankovich says

      And what, then, shall we do to address the issue of the Patriarch of Moscow communing, as an Orthodox Christian, the president of his country who is on record saying on December 14, 2017:

      As far as abortions, in most modern countries today, it is up to the woman to make this decision. You have to be very careful, weighed, to proceed considering the general mood in society, the moral and ethical norms that have developed in the society. No rushed decision can be taken.

      He is responsible for enabling, funding, providing officially 1,000,000 per year, and no one knows the real number.

      As for Patriarch Kyriil himself, he has made exactly two public addresses regarding abortion since he became patriarch in 2009, yet the city of Moscow and the Moscow Metropolitan District has consistently had the greatest number of abortions of any district in the country every year since he became patriarch. If I am not mistaken, that would be, figuratively speaking, in the Patriarch’s back yard, no? Three surveys – one conducted by a research institute within Russia, and two by researchers from the US) conducted in March, 2018, consistently found that, overall, more than 60% of Russians believed that a medical abortion was morally acceptable if a child would constitute a financial/economic burden, particularly on a single woman.

      Given these circumstances, I have to wonder – you did say previously you were in ROCOR? – how it is that ROCOR has not addressed this issue? How is it that you are able to muster such energy & emotion regarding the EP, yet not a peep about the issue?

      • https://www.hse.ru/mirror/pubs/lib/data/access/ram/ticket/86/1542209029c23378cccc35e080bd26f1291ced523f/DemRev_ENG_50-68.pdf

        There’s nothing to address. You offer a red herring. Abortion has declined precipitously since the demise of the Soviet Union. See the above article and graphs. The government does everything it can to discourage abortion short of outright banning it and bills to ban it except for the life and health of the mother appear regularly.

        Putin has to stay in power in order to do any good. He can only move society so quickly. He’s moving it rapidly in the right direction but perfection is not obtainable immediately without asserting dictatorial powers.


        This is a far, far cry from a sect (which is what the Phanariots are now) which enjoys giving the invocation at the pro-abortion Democratic Convention every four years.


        Apples and oranges.

        • Thank you Misha. I was going to respond similarly to his asinine comments…..but I have chosen to no longer respond to him.

          • M. Stankovich says

            If you are boasting that you are not responding to me, then, in fact, do not respond to me; and that most certainly includes cowardly addresses as you attempted above. At least I can say about Scott that, while I obviously do not agree with him, he addresses me directly, he is competent & thoughtful, from the outset he fully identified himself, and thanks to God, he never whines. The fact is, you had no intention of addressing my “asinine comments” because you are incompetent to do so, and merely hitched a ride off Scott to deliver an insult. A cheap parlor trick, in my estimation, and unworthy of this discussion. You are out of your league, Mijo. And if you have a need to bump chests with your boyz, kindly do it in a conversation away from me. That smell of testosterone gives me such a headache…

            Regardez: You properly notate a continuing thought with three (3) periods “…” followed by a space, as above such a headache… . You’re welcome.

            • Okay, okay, okay Mr. Stankovich. I will respond to you directly again with my testosterone fueled parlor tricks. I suggest you stop sniffing the testosterone if you choose to rid yourself of the headache. (LOL)!

              Here is my statement to you:
              You are making a fool of yourself with ad hominem asinine comments. Perhaps you should hold onto your original promise to leave this forum since it seems to enrage you with the passsions.


              • M. Stankovich says

                I do not recall who made the point – perhaps Gail? – but you are the proof of concept that men are unattractive when whining. My only “passion” in these matters, Mijo, is confronting hypocrisy: one cannot demand the defrocking of a Patriarch for the contrivance of “papism” yet ignore the Patriarch with the blood of the Innocents on his hands (and that very expensive watch he wears). Would you honestly have me believe that our God will bless this church at whose center is the silence of sanctioned abortion that cries out to heaven for vindication? Nearly 65% of Orthodox Christians in Russia reported in March of this year, in three separate studies, that they believed it was morally justified to have an abortion if an unwanted birth would cause an economic/financial burden on a single woman. Nearly 65% of Orthodox Christians in Russia. I say you will answer for your arrogant hypocrisy & silence and be embarrassed: “For whoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.” (Lk. 9:26)

                • The only one who is whining here is you…..and yes…..it is really unattractive. If you would like to start a conversation about abortion, perhaps you could ask George to start a thread? I am staunchly pro-life and would love to participate in such a thread. But you changed the subject and started an “apples to oranges” conversation (as Misha so aptly pointed out).

                  We have here a “Patriarch” who uncanonically interfered into another Church’s affairs and is acting like an Eastern Pope. He has the support of virtually none of the local Churches. The bloodshed in Ukraine will increase, and it will be on his hands. And so I will continue to shout it from the roof tops that this self imposed schismatic must be deposed. Anaxios!

                  As for you Mr. S……..you can continue to whine like a little baby and support the CP. You have free will. But I suggest you do it without all the ad hominem attacks and temper tantrums.

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    I began a discussion about the issue of abortion in Russia in August, 2016 on this site, and many times thereafter. I have raised the issue whenever the issue of the “Third Rome” arises; whenever someone makes the claim that Russia & Mr. Putin are hated because American society is “threatened” by the religious renaissance occurring in Russia. I raise the issue and am told, by Orthodox Christians on this site, that I cannot appreciate the “political” ramifications of changing abortion law; I am told that I cannot appreciate the socioeconomic impact of limiting access to safe & legal abortions in Russia. I am continuously told that the Russian government is doing a superlative job in providing services to children & families by law, in limiting access to 2nd trimester abortions, and providing supportive to single parent head of household families; and the ROC is providing stopgap, adjunctive services to needy families, and particularly children. Two years in a row now I have attended conferences at universities in this city regarding world health and health services provision in the future, and had the opportunity to speak with Russian epidemiologists who told me service provision to Russian families ranks with the “third world,” and that I have been “deceived.” And pardon me, Mijo, but you yourself referred to my presentation of these facts as “asinine commentary,” and apparently with a straight face scold me for disrupting your very serious huffing & puffing over the idea of “bloodshed” in the Ukraine, when I am reporting to you more than one million legally sanctioned abortions of the Innocents is the “Third Rome” of the Orthodox Church. So, in effect, you recommend I take my annoying little “distraction” and have Mr. Michalopulos creat a separate thread, so you might pursue… What? You intend to call a “council” to depose the EP? Here’s an idea: you ask Mr. Michalopulos to start a dedicated thread for you and yours. Good luck & best wishes for a fruitful deposition in our lifetime. Call or write.

                    I at least got a group of physicians to enlist our colleagues in writing letters to congressional committees, individual representatives, the Russian Mission at the UN, and (for those of us who are Orthodox) the Dept. Of External Affairs of the ROC.

                    You are powerless & impotent, and apparently willing to roll-over because someone offers charts from Google. I am not.

                    • M. Stankovich, you are very righteous and moral, condemning sin of abortion.

                      The problem is that if the believing, practicing and zealous Christians are in minority, introducing strict anti-abortion laws (if possible politically) can have reverse effects like case of Ireland has shown.

                      So you should reflect what is you actual objective, reducing number of abortions or taking high moral ground in order to feel superior?

                    • And pardon me, Mijo, but you yourself referred to my presentation of these facts as “asinine commentary,”
                      My name is Mikail. Would you like me to make up a name for you? I can do that. I’m really good at nicknames. Your little games are very immature. Your comments were asinine because you changed the subject and started to compare apples to oranges.
                      and apparently with a straight face scold me for disrupting your very serious huffing & puffing over the idea of “bloodshed” in the Ukraine, when I am reporting to you more than one million legally sanctioned abortions of the Innocents is the “Third Rome” of the Orthodox Church.
                      The little martyrs who have no voice and no choice are being murdered in the womb all over the world. We have much work to do. The subject here is about a Patriarch who has uncanonically overstepped his jurisdiction to legitimize schismatic groups which will lead to much bloodshed. Blood that will be on his hands. Got it? Good.
                      So, in effect, you recommend I take my annoying little “distraction” and have Mr. Michalopulos creat a separate thread, so you might pursue… What?
                      Um…A constructive thread about the horrors of abortion?
                      You intend to call a “council” to depose the EP?
                      No. But I pray that the other Local Churches will.
                      Here’s an idea: you ask Mr. Michalopulos to start a dedicated thread for you and yours.
                      No thanks. That would be a boring subject.
                      I at least got a group of physicians to enlist our colleagues in writing letters to congressional committees, individual representatives, the Russian Mission at the UN, and (for those of us who are Orthodox) the Dept. Of External Affairs of the ROC.
                      Good for you! Hooray!
                      You are powerless & impotent
                      Your continued ad hominem attacks are pathetic. I feel sorry for you.

      • Mr Stankovich “Putin: You have to be very careful, weighed, to proceed considering the general mood in society, the moral and ethical norms that have developed in the society. No rushed decision can be taken.”

        Spoken as a prudent politician. In Ireland they made a radical antiabortion law, and what are the results?

        Seems, you like to take high moral ground and to pelt those below, like Shimei son of Gera, did to David.

        • M. Stankovich says

          It is extremely frustrating to piece together a cogent argument, founded in the Natural Law and the Holy Scripture, that addresses a very fundamental principle in our Orthodox theology of ethics and morality, and have it withheld from this forum. Instead, Scott is the last word, “There’s nothing to address.” I do not believe that it is his privilege to make this determination, but he does so by default. Whatever… Apparently you and Scott need to review your notes of Aristotle’s Nicomacheon Ethics and the basis of Natural Law, received from the very Hand of our God: when something is immoral and/or unethical, it is always immoral and/or unethical, regardless of the perpetrator or the circumstance. You have no argument as to “prudence of government or politic” when you refer to heinous acts against humanity that cry out to heaven itself for vindication. I find your rationalizations shameful.

          Finally, let me say that our God demands we take a high moral ground: “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way [τεθλιμμένη ἡ ὁδὸς], which leads to life, and few there be that find it.” (Matt. 7:14) I would strongly suspect that anyone who is indifferent to this calling will misinterpret any correction or instruction as being “pelted upon from above,” and could easily misidentify Nathan as Shimei, to their own detriment.

  10. Beryl Wells Hamilton says

    Those who feel that Patriarch Bartholomew needs to “repent and stop this insanity” might want to consider the sanity in Metropolitan Alexander (Drabinko)’s words.

    “The statement by the young metropolitan seems to be an unofficial way of expressing the will of the bishops without committing Onufriy himself, whilst at the same time challenging the Moscow synod. For Alexander, the opinions expressed are “logical and constructive. The aim is not to provoke more schism, nor confuse or incite people”. The responsibility for excesses and false interpretations lies with those individuals who support them.”
    From Asia News

    Alexander, a bishop of the Moscow Patriarchate, supports autocephaly for the Kyiv Patriarchate

    Metropolitan Alexander, 40, has held his diocese for 10 years, and is the vicar of the metropolis of Kyiv led by Onufriy (Berezovsky), head of the Ukrainian Church loyal to Moscow. For some years he was also a member of the Permanent Council of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church (Mezhsobornoe Prisutstvie) and represents the young generation of Orthodox bishops in Ukraine.

    On 10 May, in an interview with the magazine Levyj Bereg, he said in no uncertain terms that “regardless of the final decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, I want to openly support the idea of ​​the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church”…
    The statement by the young metropolitan seems to be an unofficial way of expressing the will of the bishops without committing Onufriy himself, whilst at the same time challenging the Moscow synod. For Alexander, the opinions expressed are “logical and constructive. The aim is not to provoke more schism, nor confuse or incite people”. The responsibility for excesses and false interpretations lies with those individuals who support them.


    17 October 2018, 10:12
    Metropolitan Alexander (Drabinko) who proclaimed himself Constantinople cleric says each Ukrainian orthodox bishop should choose whose side to belong

    Kiev, October 17, Interfax – Parish and diocesan meetings and every particular church hierarch should answer the question of their possible conversion to a united local Ukrainian church, Metropolitan Alexander (Drabinko), a well-known hierarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, formerly the secretary of the late Metropolitan Vladimir (Sabodan) of Kiev and currently a vicar bishop of the Metropolitan of Kiev and the father superior of the Savior Transfiguration Cathedral, said.

    “This process should be monitored by the entity that is an arbitrator for us – the Ecumenical Patriarchate […] since the Synod of the Constantinople Patriarchate invalidated at its latest meeting the transfer of the Metropolitan of Kiev to the Moscow Patriarchate. From then on, we can assume that Ukrainian territory is a territory of the reinstated Metropolitan of the Constantinople Patriarchate. Since that moment [when the decision was issued], we all are now clerics of the Church of Constantinople,” Metropolitan Alexander of Pereyaslav-Khmelnitsky and Vishnev said in an interview with Hromadske.TV, an online television channel.

  11. Gail Sheppard says

    Beryl, I’m not trying to be unkind but I am going to be direct: you’re the queen of argumentum ad verecundiam and taking things out of context. Patriarch Kirill was talking about the “bright memories” of days gone by. If they were still “dialoguing,” he wouldn’t have stopped commemorating the Ecumenical Patriarch.

    And when it comes to the EP, he is not our “leader.” He has been and IS acting like a rogue bishop which disqualifies him. The Church’s response to these things is to move away from them. That’s why the different patriarchates and jurisdictions are coming out with their own (sometimes joint) statements. They’re taking their marbles and going home, so to speak. The EP is going to be left standing alone with his own metropolitans. Again, God Bless Archbishop Demetrios (I don’t care WHAT he’s done in the past) for not retiring because the EP would be coming after us next. We are “barbarians” in diaspora to him.

    You seemingly spend a moment formulating an opinion (almost exclusively in opposition) and then hours looking for information to support it. Use your critical thinking skills. Don’t rely “on leaders to do the will of God” or assume they’re “praying hard” and “meeting behind the scenes to work out solutions.” You don’t know that. You can only judge them by what you see.

  12. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    Dino? and Timor: clergy are, according to our Orthodox teaching, parts of the Laos, or People of God. One does not leave the Laos when hands are laid upon one! I, a bishop, am a member of the Laos. I fail, shamefully, to reflect that membership in all my thoughts, words, and deeds. But that means I am a sinful member of the Laos. It’s my CONVICTION that those who are not ordained are no more, no less reprehensible than the ordained. It is the DIVIDER who animates and invigorates this false dichotomy of “laity” vs “clergy.”

  13. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald,

    As I first read your post, I imagined you meant the “DIVIDER” as another word for the evil one/Satan. When I read your post a second, and third time, I am now wondering if you consider people like myself as dividers. If I am, I did not realize it, nor want to be one who promotes division of laity and clergy.

    My entire life I have looked up to priests, monks, nuns, and bishops. In the last ten years I have come to feel sorry how many priests are treated by laity, especially parish council members, and their Metropolitans. Yes we are the People of God, and yes we will shamefully fail one another.

    As I have said before, I am quite confused, and trying not to take sides to all this schism business by our global leaders of all jurisdictions involved. Yes our patriarchs are entangled in this fallen world, but, is it too much to expect, for the most part, attempt to lead as, “salt of the earth” and as examples of, “the light of the world”(Matthew 5:13-14).

    They proclaim the Faith to us, yet so short sighted by pride, vanity, nationalism, and greed? Do they not fear The Judgment Seat of Christ?

    “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for their soul?”(Matthew 16:26)

    “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”(Ephesians 6:12)

    Please forgive me Your Grace, I feel out of order quoting scripture when addressing a bishop in such matters. There is not a God Given spiritual divide between us, but there is a man made, physical, communicational, and multi layered echelon divide among high ranking bishops, and what we generally term laity. The question is who is more responsible for this divide. I will give you credit, and thanks, as you are the only bishop to ever respond to me.

  14. Billy Jack Sunday says

    I find it interesting that


    the OCA and the Antiochian Archdiocese choose to update/expand and /or clarify their electronics communications policies

    at this time

    I also find it interesting that


    are mentioned

    In both

  15. Beryl Wells Hamilton says

    Here is a statement taken directly from the official web site of the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church.

    “On November 15, 2018, under the leadership of His Eminence, the Great Blessed Sava, the Orthodox Metropolitan of Warsaw and Poland, Saint. Council of Bishops of the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church.

    The works concerned external and internal matters.

    External issues:

    The documents received from the Ecumenical Patriarchate regarding administrative matters were read and acknowledged.

    He was asked to invite His Holiness the Serb patriarch Irenaeus to the 800th anniversary celebrations since the episcopal chirotony of St. Sava. At the ceremony in 2019 will go: His Eminence, the Great Blessed Metropolitan of Warsaw and all of Poland Sawa, His Excellency, Archbishop of Lublin and Chełmski Abel, His Excellency, Archbishop of Przemysl and Gorlicki Paisjusz.

    Familiar with the current church situation in Ukraine. The following Resolution No. 341 p.7 was adopted.

    I. “The Holy Council of Bishops receives disturbing news from church life in Ukraine, often affecting the life of Orthodoxy in Poland.

    Considering the above, as well as the general Orthodox concern of the Orthodox Local Churches, resulting from the instability of church life in Ukraine, which destructively affects the whole of Orthodox Church life in the whole of Orthodoxy, Saint. The Bishops’ Council, in the interest of the good of the Holy Orthodox Church, upholds the position expressed in the Council’s resolution of 9 May 2018 No. 340 and reiterates its call to take a decision on the gathering of all the superiors of the Orthodox Churches, together in the spirit of evangelical love, humility and understanding, while maintaining a dogmatic and canonical doctrine, mutual respect lead to a peaceful solution to the issue of divided Orthodoxy on Ukrainian soil.

    Persons deprived of episcopal ordinations and priests can not be leaders in introducing peace in the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Their actions cause even more confusion and scandal.

    Only observance of dogmatic and canonical norms of the Church and preservation of old traditions will protect Orthodoxy from difficult ecclesiastical consequences on an international scale.

    The Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church rises with fervent prayers for the unity of the Holy Orthodox Church and the peace of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

    II. The Holy Council of Bishops prohibits priests of the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church from entering into liturgical and prayer contacts with the “clergy” so-called Kiev Patriarchate and so-called “Autocephalic Orthodox Church”, which in the past actions have done a lot of evil. “

  16. Beryl Wells Hamilton says


    “During the working visit to Cherkasy region, President Petro Poroshenko met with Metropolitan of Cherkasy and Kaniv Sophroniy. The Head of State thanked the Head of the Cherkasy diocese of the UOC-MP for wisdom.

    “I would like to thank you for the meaningful, frank and instructive conversation of a sincere believer who loves Ukraine, loves Cherkasy region, builds temples here and contemplates the future of the Ukrainian church – the future of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. Low bow to you and thank you for your work,” the President noted.
    The Head of State emphasizes that the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church is one of the key elements of creating a sovereign, independent state of Ukraine.”

  17. Constantinos says

    I’m with you, brother. It amazes me that some posters don’t understand the deeper meaning of your post. First of all, a beard is manly; unfortunately there are some posters that hate the smell of testosterone. A beard is a great tool to utilize in the pursuit of deification. Secondly, it helps to eradicate the sin of vanity. Most of the great saints of the Orthodox Church have had magnificent long beards. The monks on the Holy Mountain all wear long beards. Even in Judaism, the Hassidics all have excellent beards
    As far as pews are concerned, the same thing applies. Not having pews is a great aid in our ascetic struggle. I only sit when the priest is delivering his sermon. Although I’m plagued with arthritis, and am as stiff as a board, after the service is over, I feel rejuvenated, and invigorated. Unfortunately, some posters feel the need to post needless boring stories about how their social work is so tremendously important, they can’t understand a simple, yet very profound message. Yes, I’m with you- long beards and no pews. Keep making great points, and pay no attention to self righteous, pompous pontificators who are legends only in their own minds, and love themselves more than they love God. Like Lucifer, they are blinded by the brilliance of their self proclaimed superiority and delusions of grandeur.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      I’ve worn a beard since I was about 20; I’m now 70. I keep it medium-short; not closely-cropped, but not real long.

      A beard may be a “great tool to utilize in the pursuit of deification”, but on the other hand, as one who argued jury cases for nearly 45 years, I found it useful to my own style, which includes how it was trimmed. It was a worldly consideration, to be sure. But there’s lots of those when you have a wife and a large family and a job!

      • Constantinos says

        Mr. Mortiss,
        Years ago, one of my lawyers had a ponytail along with a beard If my recollection is correct, he was Jewish. I agree with you completely,and envy the fact you have had a beard for nearly fifty years. That’s what I call persistence. Thank you for your illumination.
        Also, for some reason, I find I am a better Christian when I have a beard so I better hurry up and grow it back. If anyone needs to be a better Christian, it is me.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Constantinos: I am all for no pews and beards. I love worshiping in my brother’s parish where they have removed many of the pews they inherited and have a holy space that is really beautiful and uncluttered plus lots of beards all around. They are not simply archaic devices.

      However, the lack of pews and the presence of beards do not insure anything. Attitude is crucial. That is why JKs assertions are just ridiculous, condescending drivel that are yet another pseudo-mystic distraction from the real struggle we face.

      Just to add a couple of things:
      Beards do not, in and of themselves, in any way eradicate vanity. In fact, I have known a number of bearded men who become quite vane about their beard. What they can do is make the priests and monks less individually distinct if they are worn with humility as they should be. That is a good thing.

      I would love to be able to grow a beard, but besides the fact that it ends up looking like a mold filled old pot scrubber that refuses to grow long and I end up looking like some B actor out of a very bad Bandito movie (vanity, vanity) it is absolute torture to my skin. I am sure I am not alone in that. I am rather certain that the journey to theosis does not require that I or any one else wear a hair-shirt.

      I would love to go out into the holy space and worship with my entire body, the freedom is wonderful and exactly as you describe. Many people fear that space though–it makes them self-conscious so they congregate around the edges. Personally I can only stand for about 5-10 minutes even with movement before my legs feel numbly on fire and my feet like concrete blocks. If I were ever to get down, I would not get up again without a significant amount of distracting help, so I gratefully stay on the sides in the areas designated for the infirm and do so thankfully when I worship in a pew-less parish. Still….

      God is good and God is merciful

      Here is my experience in parishes without pews, for the most part, George’s parish being and exception. People tend to congregate around the outside of the inner temple. It is a fearful thing to walk out into empty space. It is great for children, because they usually do not have such fears. So, the lack of pews alone does not promote the type of worship that is the goal. We are like cattle, we like our stalls. We fell safe in them.

      • However, the lack of pews and the presence of beards do not insure anything.

        Long beard; no pews

        Now compare


        with these.

        It’s a good idea to make it a practice to bring a tape measure to hierarchical divine Liturgies – just to make sure you’re in an Orthodox Church. The really holy bishops like Philaret understand and are happy to oblige by bringing their chins forward. The others give you quizzical looks and kindly direct you to the nearest pew.

  18. Michael Bauman says

    Mr. C regarding your disagreement with me about respect due to bishops I fully understand your point. I happen to think that it is counter productive to name call anyone, let alone a specific bishop. I know that if I were somehow how a bishop I would likely due a far wore job of it than Met. Philip. One should also take into account the other aspects of the persons work and personality. Worst of all, name calling does more harm to you than it does to the person you dislike. Effectively, you allow the person you do not like to steal your peace, actually they don’t even steal it, you give it away. As a recovering rage-aholic it is critical to my well being that I don’t go there. Alcohol can be used in moderation and even sanctified for salvation. Rage and contempt however cannot.

    Met. Philip did bad things. He hurt people. I get that. I only met the man once and was not impressed but that was my reaction to a very short encounter and I had a lot of bias against him. Why he did bad things only God knows but He is a merciful God. In my best moments I can only say, “Father, forgive him for he knew not what he did.” When I do that, I have my peace back and I am no longer emotionally connected to him to my detriment.

  19. Michael Bauman says

    Here is a question: I have found that many converts, including myself at one point, expect the Protestant notion of fellowship when they come to the Church. I, indeed, would like to have closer personal ties with people in my parish but I am quite a prickly fellow and not easily approached. Apparently, I intimidate people. I am deeply uncomfortable around people I do not know.

    How much is it reasonable and necessary to have that external “fellowship” Protestant style (which I find sentimental and cloying) when the union at the Cup is much deeper and all encompassing. That communion allows us, indeed requires us, to bear one another’s burdens even when we do not want to. Ideally, there would be one person such as her sponsor to whom this lady could have turned. Maybe it was a cold place wholly unequipped to respond to someone as troubled as she. I do not know. Maybe she ran into the “Ethnic Wall”.

    This is a tough nut for many Protestant converts to whom I have spoken. How do we build and support sub-communities within each parish? I have no clue as to how to address it really?

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      An interesting question. As I’ve said before, I was a Protestant (Presbyterian) for 66 years. That whole time, I was a member of a single church, the one I was baptized in in 1948. I went to Sunday School and youth group there, our 5 children were baptized there, I taught 8th grade Sunday School there, our three daughters were married there, I was ordained a Deacon and later an Elder there, my grandparents each in their turn and my parents in theirs had their funeral services held there. And so on. (I myself was married in my wife’s Catholic church– 2 blocks down, on the same street, as my church….)

      My experience in my GOA parish on the “fellowship” front is much the same as it was in my Protestant church: “coffee hour” after church, which in my current situation has considerably better food than at Immanuel Presbyterian, which was pretty much a cookies, coffee, and tea affair, and general socializing. I have found it as friendly as any Protestant experience I’ve had in various churches, and it lasts longer, typically. There are a few older Greeks with whom it was early on hard to socialize with, but that’s changed as I’ve been there longer.
      I had the advantage of having attended many Holy Week and Pascha services there over the years, as well as never missing the festival for nearly 40 years, and I knew quite a few people there already.
      But the long and the short of it is that the fellowship part I have found to be fine from the beginning. There are some other interesting very different things, though, that don’t directly pertain to “fellowship”.

    • Don’t blame all this on Protestants. In the Greek Church I attend the coffee hour is the highlight of the day. Nothing is to interfere with coffee hour.

    • Linda Albert says

      Michael, look around. Are there any elderly? Go shovel snow or mow lawns to them. Tell them you ARE going to run errands for them. Are there any struggling to make ends meet? Buy a bag or two of groceries, put a $50 dollar bill in an envelope marked “gas” (heat, water, electrical, whatever) under their windshield wiper. Anyone homebound? Go visit them. Take a deck of cards or a board game. And a cake or a pie. Drink coffee, eat and play a game with them. Are there those with physical disabilities in your church? Print off the epistle and gospel reading and give to the deaf or hard of hearing. Offer to be a guide for a blind person to help them venerated the icons. Offer your arm to the infirm, especially in the winter. We need to develop eyes that see our neighbor’s need. It would help if the priest would let the congregation know of special situations, like deaths or illnesses, hospitalizations, financial difficulties, etc. Truer fellowship than coffee hour talk.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Linda, Great ideas. I would be happy to do that kind of thing except I am in the category that needs such things. I am home today because I live out in the country and there is a near blizzard going on. Couldn’t face the twenty minute drive to church over icy roads, high winds and penetrating cold. Especially the wind that blows hard and cold in our parking lot.

        Coffee hour is not the kind of fellowship of which I speak. The complaint is that we do not get together to support each other and share the Christian Life. Now it is not an entirely accurate complaint but not in accurate either. I think it falls most heavily on converts who are not integrated into the existing family structure of a parish.

        • Michael,
          I agree. And I like the way you put it.

          “it is not an entirely accurate complaint but not inaccurate either.

          It isn’t as though it never happens, but it is often the exception and not the rule.
          I wonder if some of it isn’t due to the fact that Americans, even if they are ‘ethnic’, have the idea that self-sufficiency is an admirable quality. Few of us want to appear weak or vulnerable, nor do we want to make others feel that way by offering help or even emotional support. And yet we are told to love one another and “bear one another’s burdens,” to be, in incarnate reality, a Body that functions as a body.

          It’s kind of funny that you wrote of others being intimidated by you. My wife and I have had the same experience. Once people get to know us, they often mention that they initially found us so and were surprised to learn that we are just the opposite. In our case, I suspect it is because neither of us has any interest in small talk or superficial relationships, but I suppose it’s the small talk we find so meaningless and uncomfortable that is the necessary beginning of something more.

          I also found it interesting that you mentioned a 30 minute drive to church. It’s more difficult (but not impossible) to live like a community when one doesn’t live in a community. Yet like you, I have never been any closer to my parish than 35-40 minutes. At one time for a period of almost two years our parish was 90 minutes away (one-way), sometime more if the traffic was heavy. This was/is admittedly our own choice. I can drive 35-40 minutes two or three times a week or drive three hours a day every day to and from my work. But we are not alone. Lots of parishioners live similar distances from the church. We have to find a way to overcome the distance created by our modern, mobile culture. Some say we should purposely choose to live close to one another, and I don’t deny that it can be a good idea to do so. But I’ve experienced that as well in years past, and it come with its own challenges.

          My own thoughts about these challenges are that…
          1.) We have to be intentional about living as a community. It doesn’t just happen (and I note that it doesn’t just happen in Protestant churches either). Even if only with a relative few, we need to share each other’s everyday lives. I can almost guarantee that if one feels isolated (like we often did and sometimes still do) there are others who feel the same way.
          2.) Take full advantage of the “small talk.” Listen for others who may, even indirectly, express feelings of isolation; and don’t be afraid to tell others that you sometimes feel isolated. Use this shared isolation as an opportunity to develop community.
          3.) When it comes to perceiving a need, don’t ask. Just do. I know myself that if someone asks me, “Is there anything I can do?” I almost always respond the way most people do. “Thanks, but I’ll be okay.” And, of course, this only makes both of us descend further into isolation.

          I had a boss many years ago who told me the story of what his friend did for him when his father died. After the initial funeral arrangements were made and before the visitation, his friend showed up at his house, picked his best suit from the closet, took him to the barber for a shave and haircut, took his suit to the cleaners, brought him back home, and polished his shoes. These were older men who weren’t comfortable showing emotion. Few words were spoken, but love was shown in a very real and practical way. Things like this are what I mean by “Don’t ask. Just do.”

          I would love to hear other’s ideas. Because I agree. Living as a community is increasingly challenging for all sorts of reasons.

          Oh…and I say we all meet at the Bauman house for a good barn raising. I would absolutely love to meet you and Merry!