For the First Time in Centuries, 3 Patriarchs (and Others) Did Not Commemorate the EP

“The 3 Patriarchs, John X of Antioch, Cyril of Moscow and Irenaeus of Belgrade, have today celebrated Grand Catholic [sic] Orthodox Divine Liturgy in Moscow, in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, commemorating the Feast of St. Mark of Ephesus [Editor’s note: very interesting] the Defender of Orthodoxy and Patriarch Cyril’s 10th anniversary as the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia. Divine Liturgy according to dyptichs was presided by the Patriarch of Antioch. For the first time in centuries, 3 Patriarchs at the Divine Liturgy did not commemorate Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew. Only present bishops were commemorated. Divine Liturgy was also celebrated by His Beatitude Orthodox Metropolitan Rastislav of Czech Lands and Slovakia and His Beatitude Tikhon Orthodox Metropolitan of Washington and all America and Canada. Also by His Beatitude Orthodox Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine Onuphry. Holy Orthodox Patriarchates of Alexandria, Georgia, Romania and Bulgaria also had their bishops present at the Divine Liturgy, as well as the Orthodox Church of Poland.”



  1. Gail Sheppard says

    I see some very somber faces. A few are wiping tears from their faces. This clip was watched 2,289 times up to a few minutes ago.

  2. Gail Sheppard says

    Not finding much about Kiev yet. In the article below, there are a few pictures of Epiphany and one of Poroshenko. I understand his arch-rival Yulia Tymoshenko was also there. TASS reported, the “religious event did not generate interest among ordinary Ukrainians and the square in front of the cathedral was almost empty.” Filaret wasn’t there.

  3. Joseph Lipper says

    That was a cheap trick on the part of the Moscow Patriarchate. Invite everybody to come and join with them in not commemorating the Ecumenical Patriarchate. I think we all saw that coming.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      “Invite everyone to come?!” You’ve got to be kidding me. No one was there because they were “tricked!”

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Gail, I’m sure everyone saw this coming, so it wasn’t exactly a trick, but now the media portrays all the other Primates of the Churches as ceasing to commemorate the Ecumenical Patriarch at the Divine Liturgy. That’s a bit of trick.

        The OCA’s Metropolitan Tikhon and Holy Synod of Bishops just last week wrote a wonderful letter addressing this situation in Ukraine. In this letter, they wrote:

        “it is our earnest hope that a conciliar process be initiated by His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in union with his brothers, the Primates of the Churches. Thus, a Church-wide discussion of primacy and synodality can be undertaken outside of the context of this specific ecclesiastical dispute.”

        It’s my hope this will happen also. There needs to be a discussion on the issue of primacy and synodality in the Church.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          We agree on this, Joseph: They need to get on the same page, especially with regard to primacy and synodality.

        • Mr Lipper YES THEY KNEW BARTHOLOMAIOS WOULD NOT BE MENTIONED. точно така as we say here or as i would say in my mother tongue,κύριε μου, ακριβώς!!
          If it bothered them, they would not have gone.Sadly Greece did not!!
          They are sending a message.

          • Joseph Lipper says

            It was good that everyone went to show their support for the Moscow Patriarchate, for the celebration of the 10th anniversary of Patriarch Kyrill’s enthronement. A show of support like this is important, especially now. It is the right reason to attend.

            Attending for the purpose of sending a group message to the EP by not commemorating him would not be good reason, and I doubt anyone went for that purpose.

      • Kidnaped Gail, by KGB. Surely you know!!
        As u yanks do not do irony I am told ????? I am doing now. !!

        • Christopher says

          “As u yanks do not do irony…”

          This is true. Our habits of the mind and heart – our secularism – has not been tempered by Reality and experience as secularism has in Europe. We are a very “literal” people. Irony is a truth too subtle for us…

          • Hi. I was not being rude but indeed Americans are a more honest people who are sincere in what they say. !!

          • Yes …   I am in Bulgaria and people learnt during communist times to use irony to express their feelings against the system. 

    • George Costalas says

      The EP can’t be defended. He’s wrong. Blatantly. He goes against Church History and Church Tradition. He’s worse than Judas. He sold out.

      • Gjergji Evangjeli says

        There’s a reaction to remember. “Worse than Judas.” Pray tell, how can someone do worse than betray God to His death? Also, while ypu’re at it, can you explain in which ways the EP has gone against Church history and Traditon? I, for one, am all ears.

        • George. The EP is claiming authority above that of any other Patrarchate, Authority thst Constantinople has alone, to intervene as and where he wishes. This is not first amongst equals and is exactly why the 1054 schism. It is also hypocritical, i live in Bulgaria, so we see this clearly!! And changes to suite it’s interests. You must see that in USA.
          Secondy the autocephaly given to two schismatic bodies headed by a defrocked layman Denisenko, a fact recognised by bartholomaios himself in 1993, is much more limited than the autonomy of the autonomous legal church.
          Third Denisenko is a married man and shall we say, of no good character, moral or legal down to possible collusion in murder. All sweet under the carpeted along with sacramental order.

          Fourthly no attempt to understand the particular historical facts uniting and affecting Russian and Ukrainian church,especially 1917-91, has been made.
          George this is a modern start. It’s not a question or greek or Russian.
          As it happens I regard Kyril of Moscow as able man, clever, but more a cardinal richlieu figure than spiritual, but maybe whst needed. But this is irrelevant to our faith. I at first thought this is a bun fight between clerics but No. It is an asault on our faith and a naked attempt by Phanar to aquired real estate and money to make up for it’s sorry state.

  4. I am wondering if the schismatic Bartholomew is getting the message yet?

  5. John Sakelaris says

    Has the Ecumenical Patriarch become an enemy of sorts? Well, then it will help to remember Matthew 5:44, “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”

    Everyone needs to relax and not inflame things. The Church has been through much worse and survived.

    • We do not relax when the enemy is the enemy of the Church. Bartholomew accepted anathematized schismatics. He threatened Elder Ephraim with defrocking if he *didn’t * accept the anathematized schismatics. He has refused to hear the Church, which anathematized Denysenko and company. The Saviour said, “If he will not hear the Church, let him be to you as a publican and heathen.”

      • John Sakelaris says

        Most Orthodox in the US, even very devout ones, have no interest in these matters. You must bear this in mind if you seek to stir up the situation.

        • Speak for yourself.

        • Donald Jones says

          Many of us Orthodox in the US do understand the significance and potential consequences of these matters, and are extremely interested. If you aren’t, that is fine, but please don’t try to speak for all, or even most, of us.

        • John Sakelaris: “Most Orthodox in the US, even very devout ones, have no interest in these matters.”

          How do you know, may I ask? And what do they find most interesting?

          • George Carikas says

            Well, you are right about the Greeks. Plainly most Greek parents would rather have Italian in-laws than Slavic ones.

        • Fr Michael says

          And of course the US is sooo important in Orthodox affairs. Unfortunately the majority of the Orthodox world doesn’t pay much mind to the US.

        • Albion Winslow Land says

          Well, then, they’re not very serious about their Orthodoxy, if they see no problem with recognising as hierarchs people who aren’t even canonically ordained.

          • Solitary Priest says

            Some of them were canonically ordained. The problem is that the EP accepted those who were canonically deposed, like Filaret. It would have at least helped if the Ecumenical Patriarch didn’t act like he had a reset button, as one man opined.

        • The fact that “most Orthodox in the US….have no interest in these matters” has no relevance to the situation. You have a CP who is totally out of control…..normalizing unrepentant schismatics, invading jurisdictions of other Churches, threatening other clergy, and creating chaos. The devout Orthodox in America have very much interest in these matters. It would be an understatement to say they are not pleased.

        • I agree with you re USA. But all due respect that has no BEARING on rights and wrong of situation well described. And might their apathy to the situation be not only a human believer’ s wish to worship in peace but also loss of Orthodox consciousness? To be blunt it is the EP that could have led and sorted autocephaly for USA, which it needs if church to have future, decades ago, but for selfish reasons does not, and will not.
          But mind you if offered as to the schismatic Ukrainian bodies and the layman Denisenko, would u want it.?

        • George Michalopulos says

          I tend to agree with you John. At least in the abstract. Although Bartholomew’s actions are scandalous, it is a testament to faith if the average Orthodox Christian in America can keep his/her faith intact. If anything, it can strengthen an individual’s faith.

          • Christopher says

            Well stated George. By our faith will this (the modern EPatriarchate and every that is wrong {and right} about it) and everything else be healed.

          • George,
            So true!
            For the most part, only cradle Greeks can understand your statement, perhaps in the DNA after so long.

            Maybe Russians, but Greeks have been conditioned this way for centuries. Russians not nearly as much, and it was obvious who the villains were. Greeks always were second guessing there own, on top of dancing around the Muslim boot. Has freedom served them well?

            Greeks expect, and accept religious corruption. We were built with corruption on high levels,and a philotimo guilt based system, in our villages and neighborhoods. Set straight with one look at times.

            For me, this blog is one big cafenio, the shock and awe affects the non-Greeks more, than us. Hot air to pass the time, and shift one’s own personal guilt

            Bottom line: Go to church, go for confession, take communion, read scripture, don’t let too much noise infect you, then rinse, spit, and repeat…

            Nothing changes, except the faces and names.

            • A lot of truth in that, that i recognise but at same time we are in 2019 and not under the boot of islam.  Arguably under another one. But I am waiting for a few bishops to hang, METAPHORICALLY OF COURSE, on that door as in 1821.    Are there any bishops left of the statue and nobility of Chrysostomos of Smryna +1922? 

              • Nikos,
                Unless there are pictures of cake, or other misdeeds, no one hangs.

                Saints/bishops were hung in past centuries willing to die for their church, but has now changed to bishops deserving a metaphoric hanging by THEIR OWN church. Instead of by the boot of Nazis, or Muslims.

                Sometimes when free, from our oppressors, we hang ourselves, in much worst ways than a rope could ever do!

                Heaven and hell will be a interesting place, with many unexpected surprises for the unknowing, ignorant, blissful, and blessed. Far removed from many of those in the “know” with the fancy crowns, and titles.

                • Costa u spot on. Not for nothing do medeval churches in West have the last judgement painted on back Wall of church with a procession of clergy etc being led to hell.

            • George Michalopulos says

              dino, boy have you got us pegged right!

        • Athanasius says

          No interest? Who are you talking to? There is great interest in this situation amongst American Orthodox! Looking forward to the coming council where Bartholemew is antathamatized and this schismatic Ukrainian “church” is called out and declared the farce that it is.

          • Athanasius: “No interest? Who are you talking to? There is great interest in this situation amongst American Orthodox! ”

            Probably his friends are interested primarily in Red Socks games or Kardashians.

            • Yes but not point. Just as most people not interested in knowing how their local doctor is safe to practice until something happens.
              And yes most people more interested in Super Bowl etc, and at that level, Why not, we need some relief!! But the facts remain and will affect slowly any Orthodox in USA who attends church. In same way as rc churches no longer Orthodox

        • Antiochene Son says

          Most Orthodox in the US, even very devout ones, have no interest in these matters.

          Orthodox in the US will have more interest than those in historically Orthodox lands, because of the presence of a multiplicity of churches. Any break in communion will be immediately felt when the many Pan-Orthodox services are canceled during Lent.

          • John Sakelaris says

            Unless such “breaks” are discreetly ignored and the services occur anyway.

            Overall, I sure found a nerve here.

            And for those American Orthodox who are marginal in their level of devotion, a big fuss like this could send a number of them into Catholic or Protestant churches.

            Could we all calm down a bit?

            • John Sakelaris: ” those American Orthodox who are marginal in their level of devotion, a big fuss like this could send a number of them into Catholic or Protestant churches. ”

              “a big fuss”? Like fussy babies having tantrum, you mean? What are you proposing, attracting numbers of church hoppers “marginal in their level of devotion” by not discussing religion and politics at the table?

              • John Sakelaris says

                “Church-hoppers” are a huge part of American Christianity. A church in the US that does not seek to reach the “church-hoppers” will be giving up on much of this country, just like some in Christ’s time wanted to give up on the sinners.

                • John Sakelaris,

                  “Most Orthodox in the US, even very devout ones, have no interest in these matters. You must bear this in mind if you seek to stir up the situation.”

                  I’m sure things seem a bit different in a Goarch parish.  Having attended a Greek church for over 8 years, I can tell you that few there are preoccupied with the faith and most are focused on “Greekness”.  The current controversy does not affect Greekness or its spiritual expression in Goarch (so called “Greek Orthodoxy”, presided over by the Head Greek for the benefit of “our people”) so, no doubt, it is ignored there.  As to “church hopping”, Greek intermarriage with non-Greek Orthodox is up in the 80% range and most of these couples leave the church.  That’s hopping.
                  But now individual priests and sometimes entire congregations are leaving the “church” of Constantinople.  It may be that the entire Archdiocese of Russian Churches in Western European bolts on or about Feb. 23.  They have refused to dissolve and slowly parishes are starting to break for the ROCOR. 
                  So, sleep on American Greeks.  When you wake, there will be a smaller Greek “church” and it will by no means be Orthodox.
                  One thing is very likely as a result of current events though it is unimaginable to Greeks in Goarch.  One can almost take to the bank the eventuality that this means that Goarch will be departing Orthodoxy permanently.  It may end up its own little sect or it may end up uniate.  But I don’t see how it can remain Orthodox given its loyalty to the CP and the CP’s long time trajectory out of the Church and towards a little Eastern papal enclave or to Rome itself.
                  But again, I have met almost no one in Goarch who values the faith.  It’s almost purely an ethnic entity, “faith” being whatever furthers the interest of the tribe in the opinion of the leadership.  It was ugly when I was in it and thank Christ I no longer have to put up with it.

                  • Nikos stone says

                    I am greek and I do have some experience of USA and greek church and greek american son in law now in Greece.  I am living in Bulgaria but have yrs in Uk so saw it all up close. 
                    I have written stuff relating to my really disgusting personal experience elsewhere  on this blog.  
                    Yes there are good clergy and people of course but what u say is so true.  
                    The greek parishes in Southampton uk  that know well, has a priest 12 yrs in Uk from Germany and not a word of english. A wife who takes no interest in the Church apart from attending. 
                    The decor is more and more fancy and the spirituality coming from the altar is  dead or mechanical. And Greek .
                    Money is the obscession . Before I left for Bulgaria they had a sum of money given to them so they decided to replace the rather ELEGANT simple Crystal chandaliers with those kitsch gilt and bad taste typical greek church chandaliers.  When some one questioned about helping the poor, the Parish president, who turns up at Pascha only, asked ‘Are there any poor today ‘ ????  
                    When i suggested they hold a collection for Haiti (2009)earthquake, well they looked at me as if i am mad. 
                    There is in the city now a very active Romanian and russian Parish but no interest or wish to contact or anything what so ever. 
                    I would go as far as to say church run by crooks, literally. I will leave at that.
                    Yes because of greek economy many Greeks in city, but Brexit may change that and for Romaniana too but re Greeks, the Church is relatively  full but if you look closely, ,hardly any from local greek cypriot community, except at Pascha for half an hour,   who are second and third generation now. And people come for memorials etc to whom it is a strange quaint custom with no belief.  Yet the Bishops etc continue to issue their wooden empty worked messages and obscession with greekness. 
                    The Romanian priest works and fluent english as the Russian priest with spiritual  communities .
                    I yesterday got in the post here the beautiful cd recording recommended on this blog,  from Holy Apostles church Oklohoma.   Not only is it superb powerful Orthodox  singing in mostly english with some greek and slavonic, but it shows a live, living. Orthodox community, OCA,  of Greeks, arabs, etc and converts  who while enjoying and celebrate our cultural richness, are focused on the Faith and growing. 
                    The Greek church needs humility  and humbling to the ground and REALITY TO HIT IT,.  It is living in fool’s paradise 

            • Antiochene Son says

              Unless such “breaks” are discreetly ignored and the services occur anyway.

              They won’t be. Some of the laity may be lax, but the clergy are not.

              And for those American Orthodox who are marginal in their level of devotion, a big fuss like this could send a number of them into Catholic or Protestant churches.

              I doubt it. The only thing worse than the state of the Orthodox Church is the state of the Roman Church and the Protestants.

              • What’s going on in Ukraine has far more direct impact in places where there are a multiplicity of overlapping Orthodox jurisdictions, like in America/Canada, Latin and South America, Australia/New Zealand, and in Western Europe.

                In the traditionally Orthodox lands of the world, most people living in one area are all under the same jurisdiction (notable exceptions, like parts of Ukraine, but in Romania, Serbia, Moscow, or Athens, that’s generally how it is). So if Moscow or Belgrade or Bucharest breaks communion with the EP, it affects the daily lives of those in Moscow, Belgrade, or Bucharest very little.

                In America, England, France, and in other parts of the “barbarian world” (now is Paris really “barbarian,” I ask you), we’re clearly impacted by this mess. Maybe this year’s Sunday of Orthodoxy next month will be a jolt of reality in regions that have multiplicities of jurisdictions.

                I find some jurisdictions’ actions to be confusing and nonsensical, though. For example, last week, the OCA posted a clear statement (finally) in support of Metropolitan Onuphry (as it should have, thank God). And yet today on its website, the OCA is encouraging parishioners to apply for scholarships that the GOA is offering.

                Seems schizophrenic. How can you one the one hand go to lengths to distance yourself from the EP and thus support Metropolitan Onuphry, and then on the other hand cozy up to EP/GOA money/scholarship funds. The message this sends to the faithful is that the leadership doesn’t take what is going on in Ukraine seriously.

                It certainly does seem that some jurisdictions are simply ignoring the reality of what’s going on with the EP and (whether they like it or not) its now-schismatic status.

                • Immerse yourself in Brexit and all will be made clear.!!
                  On second thoughts that too much for any living person! !

          • Claes vanOldenphatt says



            You better believe it affects ordinary American lay Orthodox. This will be painfully obvious to all who enjoy the Pan-Orthodox celebration of Sunday of Orthodoxy.
            Maybe this year they will bring back the Anathemas.

      • Exactly! commiserate, visit, teach, love and be present with them, just as the Lord Jesus was with “publicans and heathen!”

  6. Strange that no other patriarchs besides those attending were commemorated, yet Alexandria was represented. If it were meant to convey a message, Alexandria would have been commemorated, unless there is division there too.

    I will assume they mean business when other patriarchates formally excommunicate the Phanar or when Moscow breaks communion with all those remaining in communion with C’pol. Until then it’s not uber serious. Words and gestures are damn near meaningless at this point. Anathemas are determinative. There is nothing left to “say”.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Misha, isn’t Alexandra the second to be commemorated? Admittedly, I don’t know how these things work but maybe the Patriarch of Alexandra wasn’t there because it would confuse the issue. People would wonder if he was being commemorated because he was there or because he replaced the EP as the first among equals. I think they are still hoping the EP will drop his papal tendencies and agree to work side-by-side with them. When I hear them speak, there is great pain there. They don’t want to lose Bartholomew and they definitely don’t want a schism. – As an aside, I am very proud of our hierarchs. This is an amazingly difficult situation and they’re showing a lot of restraint.

      • The main commemoration of all the patriarchs and autocephalous archbishops occurs after the Господи, спаси благочестивыя и услыши ны (Κύριε, σῶσον τοὺς εὐσεβεῖς καὶ ἐπάκουσον ἡμῶν. Lord, save the pious, and hearken unto us)…

        Here, they jump Constantinople and go straight to Alexandria and then the rest. See:

        Note that the MP puts the Georgian Church in 6th and then the Serbian in 7th. H.H. Irinej does not seem to take offense…

        The commemorations that occur during the ecteniae throughout the service are only for those patriarchs/autoceph. metrops. who are present at the liturgy. In this case, the main one is the significant one.

        • Serbian Church said it will let Georgian Church be 6th if other Churches agree, because it is much older than the Balkan Churches.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Indeed, Georgia is the oldest of the daughter autocephalous Churches. I believe Bulgaria is the second oldest, then Serbia, then Russia. Am I correct in the chronology?

            • Nikos stone says

              George I think you right.  
              The Bulgarians when they revolted against the byzantines here in Veliko Tarnovo actually!!  in 1185 proclaimed their first Patrarchate.   I am a bit hazzy but until Basil the bulgar slayer in early 11c they were  I guess a sort of  autonomous church? 
              Then comes Serbia and after Russia, Georgia before us all.  What confuses me still is that Serbia and Bulgaria were originally recognised by the EP as independent but lost it either in war as bulgars, regained ,as bulgars  in 1185 and then with Turkish  conquest of 1397 lost again. 

              • Nikos stone says

                Re Bulgaria it might be 1185 was second patriarchate with first several  centuries before at Ochrid , now in Northern Macedonia. Dangerous territory to be getting in to. I was there in 2017. Beautiful place and monastery of St Naum 

        • Gail Sheppard says

          This was helpful, PYCb.

        • Well, PYCb, that makes more sense. Alexandria was commemorated after all.

          That is how the attending local churches would behave if it had already been agreed upon that Constantinople had left the Church. And that is a step forward, no doubt.

          Now, if Serbia, Antioch, etc. will kindly excommunicate Constantinople we could get on with being Orthodox rather than compromising in what Orthodoxy actually is.

          What many fail to acknowledge in their desire for reconciliation is the imperative to ostracize those who import heresy and schism and are impervious to correction. The bishops have a duty to excommunicate under those circumstances. It is in no way an overreaction or extreme – just basic decency in the service of preserving the integrity of the Orthodox faith and canonical Tradition.

          That is the failing of all the bishops save those of the Church of Russia. Nonetheless, Orthodoxy is a battleship, not a sailboat. Things take time.

          The one thing that will not change is the Phanar’s commitment to create an Eastern papacy and unite with Rome. One can bank on that. Thus, in the long run, the results are foreordained. For the Church to continue being the Church, it must excise Constantinople. There is no other choice than that of apostasy.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            I’m in agreement with Misha. As much as I wish it wasn’t so, the one thing I fear will not change is the Phanar’s commitment to create an Eastern papacy and unite with Rome. Something has to be done about this.

            • Pretend just for a split second what things would look like if some phanar dweller was with Rome.  The old definition of the EP is second in honor or something.  Through the gift of the schism the EP is “first among equals” now.  The day he stops being that he is even less, if that’s possible, than right now.  He is then 2nd fiddle to the pope.  Not nearly zero as now, absolute zero.   Not that he would look much different, same silly hats, but even less press coverage.  The EP simply has no idea how little he matters and when it’s as little (as ANY ancient patriarchate) as it is it’s hard to tell the difference from nothing.  He has a letterhead.  He is like the Egyptian economy, based on pyramids, tourism and a steady source of tombs to excavate.  And Bartholomew is fresh out of tombs. 

              • Gail Sheppard says

                Good point, Bob.

              • Tim R. Mortiss says

                Well put, bob. As recently as 2 or 3 days ago, I saw Pt. Bartholomew described in the NYTimes as “spiritual leader of the Eastern Orthodox faith”. But, of course, this journalistic title has been with us for decades– I remember the same thing 40 years ago in the same paper, when I first realized through study back then how wide of the mark it actually was.
                I think the EP would be dismayed if Western papers would ever stop referring to him this way! I don’t think here it’s ever been particularly deliberate– a combination of journalistic laziness with a mindset in the West that finds it hard to think in non-Papal terms with regard to non-Protestant Christianity.

  7. There needs to be a cleansing. The CP has been playing games for 100 years. It is time they go the way of Rome. They are not going miraculous turn 180 degrees and be a paragon of patristic excellence.

    • Mikail,

      You may be right, but I for one do not claim to read hearts. What is needed is an unequivocal rebuke of the CP by all the Churches with an opportunity to repent. Only after this rebuke and upon a refusal to repent and return to Orthodox ecclesiology is a cleansing justified. It appears this rebuke is only beginning to materialize.

      We can blame the CP all we want (and I think we are right to do so); but let’s face it, it is the other Churches that have allowed CP to morph into what it has become over the last century or more, and they are equally responsible for not definitively correcting him/them sooner. Not doing so was the easier path.

      All are in need of repentance.

      • Christopher says

        “We can blame the CP all we want (and I think we are right to do so); but let’s face it, it is the other Churches that have allowed CP to morph into what it has become over the last century or more, and they are equally responsible for not definitively correcting him/them sooner. Not doing so was the easier path… “

        Yes Brian, thanks for bringing something “new” into the conversation around here. In defense of “the other Churches”, let us remember what their circumstances were as during this last century. Alexandria, Jerusalem, Antioch? They were suffering under the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, WWI & WWII, the rise of post Ottoman secular & Islamic dictatorships, etc. just as Constantinople was. Russia, Georgia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Poland? Do I even need to mention the Bolshevik revolution and subsequent Soviet history?

        Respectfully, let us not call this “the easier path” – let us recognize it for what it really is, a path of martyrdom and survival.

        We need a little patience folks. The modern EP and its peculiar positions are not something that simply “puffed” into existence overnight, and at the same time the response and correction of these peculiarities is not something that will happen, “puff”, overnight with a few anethema’s issued as Misha argues. Like it or not, this is a “big tent” Faith, ecclesiology, and Gospel. All the other Churches will patiently leave the their ninety nine and seek the one (the EP and his flock), and this will take time. Be of good cheer (i.e. don’t panic), the Lord has seen fit to give us this time.

        • Respectfully, let us not call this “the easier path” – let us recognize it for what it really is, a path of martyrdom and survival.


          I stand gently, yet rightly, corrected – at least in terms of what transpired in the 20th century. We can only speak of “the easier path” post 1991 or shortly thereafter.

      • You are correct, Brian. We are at a unique crossroads in history. The other Patriarchs have an opportunity to stand up for the Holy Orthodox faith. Now we will see the difference between true hierarchs…..and pretenders. May God save and protect those who have already taken a strong stance against this abomination created by the Phanar. It is rather depressing to see some of the others continue to kick the can down the road.

  8. I honestly don’t think this is such a big deal. Of course the EP was not commemorated–this Liturgy was in Moscow and headed by Patriarch Kirill. I don’t think it says anything about the other primates wanting to not commemorate the EP.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Hi, Jesse! Do you think that because they were there and not at the enthronement was a message?

      • Jesse Dominick says

        Greetings, Gail. I hope all is well!

        Well, I don’t think we can make too big a deal out of the fact that they were in Moscow INSTEAD of Kiev–the dates just happen to coincide. Epiphany’s enthronement was actually picked cause it was his birthday, and obviously Pat. Kirill’s date was picked long ago, so coincidence there.

        But it’s certainly important that they didn’t send any delegations to Kiev. Nobody but Constantinople recognizes that farce and that was painfully (for them) evident on Sunday.

        • Joseph Lipper says

          Jesse Dominick,

          Before the Ukrainian autocephaly was granted, the EP had hinted at the possibility that it could also be revoked. However, now that it’s been granted, it seems that revoking it could be a far more dangerous proposition given the present instability we see in Ukraine.

          Sure, we might wish this process was never initiated in the first place, but too late, now that’s just our wishful thinking.

          Today we witness that Metropolitan Epiphany commemorates Patriarch Kyrill and has instructions to respect the UOC-MP. The government has also expressed it’s interest in maintaining respectful and peaceful relations. Even if there are good reasons to be cynical of these “good faith” gestures, perhaps the total absence of these, caused by revoking Ukrainian autocephaly, would be far worse. If it is now revoked, it would probably unleash a fury within Ukraine that would shock the world.

          So, what will the “message” of the Local Churches be to the Ecumenical Patriarchate? Revoke the Ukrainian autocephaly? I hope not.

          • JL,

            Ukraine is not autocephalous. There is nothing to revoke. In communing with schismatics, Bartholomew abandoned the Church. Russia’s excommunication of Cple only acknowledges that fact. The rest of Orthodoxy does not accept the “autocephaly”. You project your own heterodoxy onto the situation, as do the RC’s.

            • Joseph Lipper says

              Misha, hey if nothing happened, then what’s everyone so upset about?  
              Is it wrong that Patriarch Bartholomew reconciled schismatics, numbering in the millions of souls, to the Ecumenical Patriarchate?  
              Is it wrong that those former schismatics now commemorate Patriarch Kyrill, whereas before they didn’t?
              Is it wrong that after Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea, Patriarch Kyrill now appears to be a hostage to Putin’s ideological Russkiy Mir project?
              After the annexation of Crimea, Patriarch Kyrill refused to change it’s jurisdiction.  Crimea is now Russia, but it’s still under the jurisdiction of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.  That discrepancy itself speaks of a messaged cry of helplessness.  Patriarch Kyrill is telling us that Crimea is still Ukraine.
              Is it wrong then that Patriarch Bartholomew made sacrificial steps to intervene in Ukraine, after Putin’s annexation of Crimea made Patriarch Kyrill a hostage who is no longer able to intervene himself?

        • Honestly.  They just got their diary dates mixed. Yes, deff bro!!  I often do .

  9. Constantinos says

    I have some advice for the Ecumenical Patriarch, lose the fancy title of his all holiness, get rid of the lavish Byzantine costumes, live humbly, fly coach with interconnecting flights, stay in the cheapest motels, travel only when absolutely necessary, and eat inexpensively.
    The Orthodox Church should also get rid of clergy pensions. Priests should be tent makers, holding down real jobs, and not sponging off the laity. The hierarchy needs to remember they are not kings. They are humble servants of the Lord, just like the rest of us. Our Lord said, “Come unto Me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. My burden is easy, and My yoke is light.”Just like the Pharisees of old, the clergy impose heavy burdens on the laity in contradistinction to the Lord’s explicit words. Our Lord said in regard to the clergy, ” Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing.” There are many wolves out there abusing the flock, and they will answer to God for it. So for all the priests out there, live and act humbly, and you will have treasures in heaven. Also, remember our precious Savior wouldn’t even let the rich young ruler call Him “Good Teacher,” and yet you call yourselves the Very Reverend this, His Eminence that. These things are not from God, but from man.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Regrettably, I am coming around to your opinion Costa on this matter. Or should I say being dragged kicking and screaming to agreement. It is perhaps better that we experience persecution, then all the byzantine folderol will be finally purged.

      I dunno.

      • Christopher says


        If it was ever this way, it was in the early Church before pre-Constantine. Post-Constatine, the bishops became a part of the culture and Empire, and within a few years of Constatine’s death non-Christian Roman functionaries were complaining of how the bishops were using and abusing the Empire’s chariots. Even after the fall of the Empire there has always been a “Byzantine” synthesis between Church and the culture, Bishops and the world. Did the Islamic/Ottoman persecution, or the Soviet one, purge Orthodoxy of any of this? No.

        The answer is not to expect our leaders (lay and clerical) to lead on this, but for us as an Orthodox Christian people to live the poverty and humility of our Lord ourselves. Then and only then our bishops (who are us) reflect us, and we will reflect the Lord…

        • Claes vanOldenphatt says

          Tell it to the Archons and their chaplain Fr. Alex.

          • Nikos stone says

            Why do the Archons have a chaplain? Do not they have their Parish clergy where they live or worship?  Why a Chaplain. ??

        • Nikos stone says

          Sergei Fudel in his deep little book,Light out of darkness,  recounts attending a service in Soviet union  after yrs in the camps ( +1970) where seeing a bishop with his  cloak being supported by a altar served,reminder him of the court of Catherine the Great and a Ball. 
          He also says the ‘concert style’ singing of the main Lenten hymn,  ‘Open into us the gates etc ‘ totally destroyed the meaning.  As an organ would too. 

      • George. A middle course. I think we need more working clergy. But that means lay people will need to do more. They, we. Are called to account too. We can learn by the example of Russian clergy in Europe after revolution. And what is happening in Greece with growing clergy shortage.
        In Uk I know the Romanian Parish in Southampton where the married, with children,priest, very good man, works full time and provides an almost full time service.
        I have felt for some time that the imperial robes of the Bishops need to go and to revert back to the pre -1453 episcopal, simpler robes. Very few bishops look good in these stiff golden robes, especially with short back and sides and token beard.
        Also simple life style. Bishops floating about in expensive cars is not a good look. They sadly took the devil’ s shilling when Constantinople gave free travel to Nicea.

    • Antiochene Son says

      The Orthodox Church should also get rid of clergy pensions. Priests should be tent makers, holding down real jobs, and not sponging off the laity.

      No. If you expect your priest to be available 24/7/365, he needs to be given a fair wage for that—I didn’t say extravagant, I said fair. Or otherwise say goodbye to your house blessings, hospital visits, and Holy Week services.

      When the laity are living as humbly as they expect their clergy to live, then go ahead and cut their pay. But as it is, you sound like a Protestant iconoclast. (The priesthood is also an icon.)

      • Antiochene Son says

        And I could be wrong, but I have always read St. Paul’s remarks about tentmaking as a chastisement, as if to say, “Since you won’t support me, I will make tents and continue to support you (as best I can).”

        Having a tentmaker priest should be a mark of shame, not a goal to aspire to. Unless a parish is a tiny mission with meager means, this is not how we should treat our fathers in Christ. Especially when the rest of us live so extravagantly in our own right.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      When I came into the Church, our parish had maybe 50 people. I say that because I knew all their names. When I left, we must have had around 200. Just think about it. Two priests, who had outside jobs had to be at all services throughout the week, hear confessions, bless homes, be available for every emergency, visit the sick and the dying. . . Their wives dedicated an enormous amount of time, as well. When Kh Lynn Wilson, wife of Fr. Wayne Wilson, passed away, every west coast priest attended her funeral, as did Metropolitan Joseph in recognition of all she did to make St. Barnabus the flagship of parishes. Oh my goodness, did she work hard but it was seemingly effortless for her because she did it with such love in her heart.

      Many of us can’t work when we get old. What are priests to do when their focus is on the Church and not on an outside career allowing them to save up for retirement? After my son died I was too depressed to go Church and was totally out of sync with what was going on. My priest said the 40-day prayers for my son (who was not Orthodox, BTW) without me having to ask or arrange anything because he took his responsibility for me as his daughter in Christ seriously. He did not fail me. That’s not the only time, either, and I was probably the least deserving of his time. Priests are part of our parish family. We MUST take care of them when they retire!

      • We MUST take care of them when they retire!

        And while they’re still working for us – at at least the economic level of the average parishioner in his parish.

        This is my defense to those who would examine me. Do we not have the right to our food and drink? Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a wife, as the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?

        Do I say this on human authority? Does not the law say the same? For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? Does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of a share in the crop. If we have sown spiritual good among you, is it too much if we reap your material benefits? If others share this rightful claim upon you, do not we still more?

        Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.

        -Epistle of Saint Paul to the Church at Corinth.

        Having said this, it should be remembered that Costa is Greek, and Greek Churches are well known for paying their priests quite well (in general) as compared to most other jurisdictions in the U.S. This is NOT a criticism on my part, It is, in fact a good practice, IMO. But it does make it easier to understand where Costa might be coming from in contrast to many who comment here.

        I suspect what he really means (Forgive me, Costa, if I’m wrong here) is that he wants priests who are godly and not merely ‘professionals’ or ‘careerists.’

        • Constantinos says

          Hi Brian,
          I appreciate your kind comments, and gratefully accept them. If I may just make a comment to another poster; I don’t read protestant books.
          We live in a consumerist culture; I’m very guilty of this sin. In fact, I won’t go to Home Depot or Lowes for fear of what I will be tempted to purchase. I mentioned last summer that I had purchased a worm drive skill saw. I have used the saw exactly once. I’ve used my bench grinder only a few times. I have clothes hanging in my closet that I’ve never worn.
          I believe too much luxury is bad for the soul. As a consequence, I’ve given my Corvette to charity along with my Rolex President watch, and diamond rings. My attire of choice now is jeans and work boots.  I have made great strides at rooting out my materialism, but can always do more in this endeavor. I’m ashamed to say I almost bought a Rolls Royce at one time. This phoney baloney, high falutin, showoffishness of mine I now find repulsive. So as far as lifestyle goes, I probably live below the average parishioner.  At least I try in this respect. That’s not to say I don’t have extremely valuable investments, and I’m making more.
          I’ve have grown to hate materialism, and know from sad experience that one’s life does not consist of many possessions. It’s like that man who said that he would build bigger barns, and the Lord said that He was going to take him that very night.
          I believe the Church is infected with materialism. I’ve become nauseated by it along with my own predilections. The Church is very greedy. Look at the St. Nicholas Shrine, the archons, the leadership 100. Does the Church do good works? Not many from my vantage point. So many people have said to me, ” all the Church wants is your money.” In any event, thank you for very kind post. It is appreciated.

          • Costa,
            I thank you sincerely for your kind words.  You are blessed to have come to the realization that a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses. 
            May I share just a couple of thoughts with you?
            I won’t argue that Churches can be greedy.  That has been your experience, and I believe you.  I know it has been the experience of many.   But others have had different experiences.  The total budget, for example, of my parish is under $70,000, and I know there are several other parishes in my area that are similar.  Out of this they pay their priests, maintain their temples, and cover all the other expenses.    Some of these priests work outside jobs while trying to maintain a full schedule of services (at least two a week, not including baptisms, funerals, visitations, feast days…).   Most of their wives must work as well.  They are under-compensated by any measure, yet they serve, as do their wives.  More parishes than you know are like this or very close to it.
            Secondly, whenever I think to myself, “Why doesn’t the Church do more good works?  Why don’t we feed the poor, clothe the naked, etc.?”  My only truly honest reply is, “I am the Church.  Why am I not doing these things?  No one is stopping me.  In fact, those whom we tend to associate most closely with “the Church” (Its bishops, clergy, etc.) are not there primarily to do these things on our behalf or to take our money so someone else can do them for us.  They are there to equip us to do these good works.
            “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ…”
            Lastly, although from what you have written here in the past you are in an entirely different category than I in terms of wealth, I am probably (to my knowledge) the wealthiest person in my parish.  Wealth, as you have said, comes with many thorny temptations that can choke the life out of us.  Yet it also comes with many joyous responsibilities that can be liberating and truly life-giving if we take them up with faith in God (the only sure cure for cynicism I know).
            Never once has my current priest asked me for money – not even once for any reason.  I did have a priest once who knew my circumstances and would very rarely let me know of another parishioner’s specific need, yet without ever putting me under any sense of guilt or obligation.   But even so, if the rich are wise, we will nevertheless heed the words of Paul to Timothy.
            “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”
            Every Christmas season I watch the old version of Scrooge (the one with Alastair Sim).  One scene always haunts me.  On the winter  street are beggars, shivering with hunger in the cold.  Surrounding them, hovering in the air, are the spirits of dead men moaning, mourning, and trying to reach out to them. 
            Scrooge asks, “Why do they lament?”
            The spirit replies, “They seek to interfere for good, but they have lost their power to do so.”
            May God bless you on your journey.  Pray for me.  I need it.

            • Constantinos says

              Thank you Brian. I appreciate your wisdom.

            • Friend thank you for yr wonderful posting.  Says it all.  We often,too western model obscessed, wanting formal structures for the Church to be seen to be doing. And that well worn phrase, ”The Church should etc etc ”  well as u say, who is the Church, but US?. However we have gotten into the idea of the Church as ‘them’  .  How often at great feast do i see many, young,stood in the Church as in a strange place, while at the altar,  ‘THEY’ rambling rambling on! ! as they mistakenly see it,  never judging themselves for anything. 
              When i Collected for childrens ‘ Charity in Uk on street corner, it was often the elderly and not so rich who gave while the young and affluent walked other way. Not totally but enough to notice. 
              This is mind set, especially of those who thinking attending is doing Church a favour . How well I recall one priest who addressed them saying that if church empty of people, it is unseen, full of the Saints and angels praising God. 
              So it is up to us in our individual position to recall the words of Christ. At judgement we will not have the excuse of ‘Lord my local Church never gave ‘. That is not to take away the  obligation from the local Church to show Charity when and as it can but in end is for us. 

            • Nikos stone says

              I wanted to add that compared to what we all know, even current Greece, here the Church in Bulgaria is poor.  All the churches here in Veliko Tarnovo need desparately new decor. My local Parish church inside is black with soot. Only in Sofia and Varna etc will you see churches as you would in Greece but, THANK GOD, without the glitzy kitsch gilt we seem to love.  Why I love the humble church here.
              I am not  a wealthy guy, work for Uk NHS clinically who will be?  But I am comfortable, very,  and MUCH  better of than those around me who get by on 600 dollars a month  . My retired teacher who teaches me bulgarian, has pension of €80 a month!!  So my 40 leva a lesson to her is a gold mine.  She is an excellent teacher and insisting on three hour lessons and I take her out for meal as i insist. When i put 40 leva ,about  25 dollars in plate in church , the lady practically kisses my hand.  
              So you see how blessed we, I, you are. 

            • Nikos stone says

              The parable of Lazarus . ‘When Lord did I see you hungry and naked?, ‘ Many at Goldman Sachs may ask but also  possibly Us!! 

    • Some of that post is Collosally Crackpot! My confessor works tirelessly, and always has. His is no 40-hour-per-week job, but a nearly 24/7 dedication. He lives simply in a very modest house. His wife works a full-time job. They had massive medical bills for one of their children. This priest gives out of his own nearly-empty pocket to anyone who is need. I may not even know a more unselfish person than this priest. Yet you would strip him of his pension and require him to get a “real job”?! SHAME! Who will hear your confession to restore you to the forgiveness of God? Who will pray and fast for the sorrows of you and your family? Who will rejoice for your blessings and successes? Who will ask the Holy Spirit to sanctify the Holy Gifts for the life-bestowing Communion? Who will visit you and yours in the hospital? Who will baptize and marry your children? Who will mourn for you at your funeral and commemorate you at the memorial services? . . . There is no “real” job remotely commensurate with the value of a priest’s work. Yet you would classify him as a “Soviet parasite”. Lord have mercy!

    • Nikos stone says

      My grandfather from Kalavrita, ( sad history in war. 13/12/43) always said, ‘Far from the clergy but attend the liturgy often ‘. Sadly true in many cases.  

      • George Michalopulos says

        Several decades ago I met a survivor of the massacre. He was able to escape from the firing squad due to the mass confusion.

        • Nikos stone says

          George thank you for that.  Yes . I first went there as a student and as it happened walking up the Hill with me with a group of young germans. One of them asking if i spoke english, asked me what happened here .
          To my eternal shame I asnswered rudely and in anger but we lost family members aged 12,14 and 75.  I am older and wiser now.   
          On my bedside cabinet top I have photos of my grandkids,twins, little american greek devils in Thessaloniki who when here keep on mentioning Basil the bulgar slayer!!  And one taken by my brother, of me holding my mother’s arm  on her last trip, as  we walk to the chapel and blocks with names on at Kalavrita .  Memories.    
          Just as the hanging of the 15  young Men in main square in Patra that she witnessed on Great Friday and had to see and walk through.  She was kissing the trees.   
          Greece has suffered much George. 

  10. Constantinos says

    I believe that the Orthodox Church is the one true Church, but in many ways it is a white washed sepulchre full of dead men’s bones. The Orthodox Church allows up to three marriages and divorces. They allow contraception if more child bearing imposes a “hardship.” I was under the impression that all children are a gift from God. Instead of shaking people down with heavy laden burdens, the Church should preach that Orthodox Christians should have more children. Most Orthodox families have only two children. Hmmm… that’s a lot of birth control going on, and I don’t mean abstinence. So the Church teaches if having many children is a burden, you don’t have to embrace this gift from God. How about preaching this: if your financial giving is burdensome, you don’t have to do it. Never in one hundred million years. Hyprocrisy at its finest. No wonder they don’t want the sheeple to think for themselves. Take Euripides advice said, “Question everything.”One more point, I think all these priests who preach tithing are going to Hades because they are binding people to the Old Testament law out of insatiable greed. All these priests who preach tithing belong on the TV show “Pimps of LA.”

    • Gail Sheppard says


      Because the Church, in her wisdom, understands the brokenness of human beings, remarriage is allowed but it is by no means a given. Contrast this with the Catholic Chruch who expects people to annul their marriages to remarry, even though they are denying the legitimacy of their offspring. I certainly don’t hate the Catholics, but my uncle, whom I loved, was married 3 times in the Catholic Church by annulling his first 2 marriages. My cousins still remember how they felt as children when they were denied communion because their father was no longer married their mother. One of these boys grew up and wrote several books. In one of them, it broke my heart to read that because of his experience being denied communion he felt cut off from the church and started investigating other avenues of spiritual fulfillment which now includes speaking to the dead during hypnosis sessions with his clients. He’s a very ethical man who lives a moral life. He’s had but one wife and they are joined at the hip in all they do. This wonderful, caring man with so much to offer the world, was turned away from the church because of something over which he had no control. This breach could cost him his salvation. God is merciful and I pray He will forgive him. One of the many reasons I am so committed to Orthodoxy is because it is reasonable while at the same time helping people to come closer to reaching the bar set by Christ.

      Although you’re correct when you say one cannot marry more than 3 times in the Church, it is certainly not the norm. Even second marriages are under scrutiny. Some need approval from the bishop and in the Antiochian jurisdiction, Metropolitan Joseph has to bless remarriages and it is by no means a given that he’ll say “Yes to the dress!” (A reference to a popular TV show.)

      With regard to contraception, there are no hard and fast rules. The children God sends to a couple are to be embraced; however, contraception is a pastoral call if a couple feels they cannot have more. I don’t think we have any business questioning what a priest allows on an exception basis. Economia is part of the fabric of our Faith and unless a priest is abusing his office, it is HIS call on how it’s handled, end of story. In my current parish, all the young families have many children. I believe the priest has 8. None of them walk around as if they are under a heavy burden. Quite the contrary.

      With regard to “financial giving,” again there are no hard and fast rules. I happened to be at a parish council meeting recently where they discussed giving the priest a bit more money. The motion didn’t pass, not because the parish didn’t want to give it to him, but because there was no money in the budget. A few weeks later the money was collected through donations. This is the way it should be.

      With the exception of one metropolitan, I have never heard anything about tithing, though most people do. If you don’t, you can still go to Church! I know when I tithed to my last parish, I did so even though I was prevented from attending by the few who thought it prudent to threaten me and destroy my property. I tithed when I moved out of state, too. I did it to help cover those families who might not be in a position to. It wasn’t a lot, but it was consistent. I am by no means the ONLY person who does this. Those who have more feel it is their responsibility to give more and do so with a grateful heart. The greatest gift God has bestowed on me was the ability to give throughout much of my life.

      God will save whom He will. He has gone on record saying the last will be first and the first will be last. In other words, it’s foolish to speculate where people belong when they pass from this life to the next and uncharitable to suggest ANYBODY should go to Hades. We all fall short of the glory to God.

      I hope you take this message in the context that it was given. I’m trying to be helpful; not critical. I always wish the best for you.

      • Constantinos says

        Thank you Gail. I appreciate your thoughtful, excellent post. That gives me much to think about. Your post is helpful to me.

  11. A few words about the feast of St. Mark of Ephesus:

    Several years ago, Pat. Kirill had a fateful meeting with Pope Francis from which they issued an infamous Joint Statement. This caused alarm in the Church of Russia and resulted in a number of hierarchs refusing to commemorate Pat. Kirill unless he repented.

    Contrary to the spin placed on the document from all sides, it was certainly heretical and thus the failures to commemorate were justified. And they had an effect. Patriarch Kirill gave an address to the Russian people regarding his perceived responsibilities regarding the protection of the Orthodox faith:

    This was issued less than two month after the Joint Statement and the unrest that resulted. It was no coincidence. It was perceived as Kirill’s way of distancing himself from the more irresponsible statements of the Joint Declaration (“sister churches”, etc.) and emphasizing his role as defender of Orthodoxy from papism.

    That reference is the context of the meeting in Moscow where the participants failed to commemorate Pat. Bartholomew and proceeded as if the Patriarch of Alexandria were first among equals.

    One should bear in mind however, any service in which Russian hierarchs participated could not have commemorated Pat. Bartholomew since he is currently excommunicated by the Russian Church. Thus that may be the only real meaning of the commemorations.

    I for one will welcome the day when other local churches excise the cancer of the Phanar from the Church. But that day has not yet come.

    Moreover, Moscow has never distanced itself from the Ut Unum Sint meme that unification of Christians is a holy duty. That is simply not the traditional meaning of Christ’s words, “that they may be one”, the unity for which He prayed referring to the actual unity of the One Church (the Orthodox Church), not some romantic longing to reconcile heretics and schismatics or split the differences of doctrine with them.

    That is a meme that would not be tolerated in ROCOR and Moscow has a long way to go on that account in the way of repentance and shedding of Western Captivity.

  12. Can we now stop this charade about the myth that the schismatics are larger than the canonical church under Met. Onufry. The overwhelming majority of the laity are in the canonical church. Some polling places go to the western part of the church full of uniates and Poles and count the non-Orthodox as schismatic orthodox to arrive at their numbers.

    • Joseph Lipper says

      Gus, if so many Ukrainians feel shafted by the OCU and it’s “church seizures”, then where is the Ukrainian presidential candidate fighting for UOC-MP justice?  The Ukrainian presidential election is next month.

      • Joseph Lipper: “where is the Ukrainian presidential candidate fighting for UOC-MP justice? ”
        You either are clueless or you are pulling our leg.
        People who are loyal to the canonical church are a big majority among Orthodox, but among general population consisting of atheists, nationalists, neopagans, Uniates, Muslims, Protestants and indifferent, they are a minority.
        I think, you know it very well, Joseph.

        • Joseph Lipper says

          Martin, it is estimated that 78% of Ukraine identifies as “Orthodox”.  If indeed the majority of those “Orthodox” identify as UOC-MP, then surely they must have some political clout.   Surely at least they would have a candidate promoting their interests. 
           Somebody please tell me who that candidate is.  I don’t find anything.  Yes, Petro Poroshenko is trailing in the polls, but the frontrunner, Yulia Tymoshenko, is pro-EU, pro-NATO, and pro-OCU.  That’s the same as Poroshenko.

          • “Martin, it is estimated that 78% of Ukraine identifies as “Orthodox”. If indeed the majority of those “Orthodox” identify as UOC-MP, then surely they must have some political clout. ”

            I am tired with your games, Joseph. Sorry.

          • One likely candidate is Vadim Novinsky of the Opposition Bloc:
            He has been very vocal in defending the canonical Church against raiders and oppressive law bills.
            However, do keep in mind that the Opposition Bloc is merely tolerated, to give a veneer of pluralism in what is essentially an occupied and conquered country. If the very same ex-President Carter stated that the USA are no longer a democracy but an oligarchy, go figure what real leverage has the opposition in Ukraine / The Borderlands.

          • Louis Patilas says

            Ukraine may indeed be overwhelmingly Orthodox but few Americans, even Greeks know that. If you listened to the Sunday Talks Shows at the time of 2013 Maidan, they all suggested the Catholics were a suppressed majority. When I approached Uke Catholics in college about joining the OCF they despised me and did their best to defame me to our professors and administrators. The Wiki agrees with your numbers, known by few.

            • Joseph Lipper says

              Louis Patilas, thank you.

            • I despise both Stalin and Hitler. But there were some disputations of the Ukrainian genocide not unlike the more recent Srebrenica ones. I post it reluctantly, full of doubt and without endorsement.
              “Robert Green, a writer of syndicated articles about conditions in Ukraine, who was indicted last Friday by a Federal grand jury of passport fraud, pleaded guilty yesterday before Federal Judge Francis G Caffey. The judge learned that Green was a fugitive from Colorado State Prison, where he escaped after having served two years of an eight-year term for forgery” NY Times July 16 1935
              “This writer heard in Berlin that this campaign was supported by photographs taken earlier. Some were even said to date from the Volga famine of 1921.”  NY Times Feb 10,1935
              “Again a year of drought coincided with chaotic agricultural conditions; and during the winter of 1932-1933 a great famine, like that of 1921-1922 swept across Soviet Ukraine.” Yale, 1941, p566 History of Ukraine, Mikhail Hrushevsky, 1917-1918 head of state, described by nationalists themselves as Ukraine’s leading historian

              • Gene Fletan: “during the winter of 1932-1933 a great famine, like that of 1921-1922 swept across Soviet Ukraine”
                Famine was not limited to the borders of Soviet Ukrainian Republic, did not affect Western Ukraine (part of Poland at that time), where the theory of Russian nationalists starving Ukrainians has roots, and in large part the victims on eastern Ukraine were ethnic Russians.

                • Johann Sebastian says

                  Maybe Francis Frost would like to add a few words here. After all, this was the work of Dzhugashvili, not the Russians.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Difference between Tymoshenko and Poroshenko is that when Yulia was president several years ago, she worked well with Russia.  She doesn’t strike me as the type as a Western puppet who needlessly pokes the Russian bear.

      • Joseph,
        You are confusing Ukrainians with Ukrainian Orthodox.  Most real Orthodox in the MP church are aggrieved and persecuted by the neo-nazi government in Kiev and its practice of busing in the heterodox to vote to steal UOC churches. 
        Most who call themselves Orthodox in the Ukraine are part of the UOC.  However, Ukraine itself is a mix of Orthodox, schismatics and Uniates.  Moreover, the government being the illegitimate product of an illegal coup d’etat, there is no reliable way to tell what the “Ukrainian people” want other than the polls that have Poroshenko close to single digits.
        The whole thing is an evil fiasco on the part of Satan’s servants:  Bartholomew, Poroshenko and the darlings in the pseudo-church they founded.  May the holy wrath of the Almighty be upon them and every single one who supports them.  Constantinople can never live this down or rationalize what it has done away.  It is past the point of no return and even if it wanted to repent at this point it is too late given what it has perpetrated.
        If anything qualifies as “sin against the Holy Spirit”, which cannot be forgiven, then this is it. 
        Mark my words, Constantinople will not survive the current fiasco as part of the Orthodox Church.  It will not repent and it will be officially severed by the local churches.
        It is only a matter of time.

        • Joseph Lipper says

          Misha, it is estimated that 78% of the Ukrainian population identifies as Orthodox.  For a country of about 45 million, this means that maybe 35 million Ukrainians identify as Orthodox.  That’s a huge demographic. 
          The leading candidate for the upcoming elections is Yulia Tymoshenko.  She was present at the enthronement Liturgy, showing her support for the OCU.  She also happens to be pro EU and pro NATO.  Although it is likely that Petro Poreshenko will lose, there doesn’t seem to be a serious candidate that is pro-Russia and pro-MP in the runnings.  
          What the elections seem to be saying then, is that Ukrainians are not overly disturbed by the OCU and the possibility of “church seizures”.   

          • Lipper its easy to be confused if one depends on old statistics and misinformation. The population of Ukraine was 45 million in the census of 2001. Donbass was most densely populated part of Ukraine with population of 6-7 millions, in the annexed Crimea there was 2.5 half million people and emigration from Ukraine to Poland and Russia has made at least 5 million Ukrainians move out from their homes. So mr. Lipper do the math. In Ukraine absolutely no one trusts statistics, they are just one corrupted tool for entrenched interests of oligarchy. Btw Btw population of Ukraine was 52 million in 1989.

            • Joseph Lipper says

              Thank you.  This link shows the population changes of Ukraine from 1955 to 2019 according to UN estimates:
              Yes, polls and statistics are not always reliable, and these can especially become less reliable with political instability such as in present-day Ukraine.  However, if we look at general population trends over many years and including times of more political stability, we can then get a better understanding.
              The population of Ukraine has been decreasing, as you mention, and decreasing since the 1990’s.   The UN estimates that the current population of Ukraine is 43,879,330, and looking at the population changes over the years, it does appear that this figure includes areas “occupied” by pro-Russian separatists, and also Crimea.
              Those areas “occupied” by pro-Russian separatists in Donbass, and especially Crimea, are no longer considered part of the political process for Ukraine.  The polling stations there are closed, because the Ukrainian government is no longer able to service them.
              The population of “occupied” Donbass has been estimated to be about 3.9 million as of 2014.  Add to that a population of Crimea of 2.5 million, and this would mean an estimated total of 6.4 million “Ukrainians” are no longer considered to be part of the Ukrainian political process.  For the purposes of political elections, it would make sense to subtract these 6.4 million “Ukrainians” from the UN population estimates.

          • Joseph u confused two things, Politics abd the Church  .  Yes no doubt we all do and sin but Timoshenko is a politician and needs the votes. That is fact number one. Just as Proshenko is and has decided that ultra nationalistic side does him well .
            None of them gave a toss about any church ,which is why a truly NEUTRAL SECULAR SOCIETY is best.  They all seek to use the Church and any politician knows to come out for Onoufrios will be to be labelled a Moscow stooge.  Not true and all that, but you only have to look at uk Brexit to see the difference between truth and goebel -like sound bites 
            I have enough faith in God that as with living church in 1920s Soviet Russia, the truth will make you free and reign, even if we suffer to get there.   The EP can put his trust in the west as it did in 1453.  

          • Joseph Lipper: “it is estimated that 78% of the Ukrainian population identifies as Orthodox”
            A nonsense. People who go to the church for the baptism, wedding and funeral, if at all, maybe they “identify” as Orthodox.
            Same way as many “Catholics” in USA, who often are really atheists.

        • Joseph,
          What I am trying to tell you is that among Ukrainians, nationalism is much stronger than Orthodoxy, just like with the Greeks.  Only those under the MP are Orthodox.  The rest are outside the Church.  Which leaves a mixed bag of schismatics, uniates, neo-nazis and secularists.
          One should not expect any good to come from such immersion in Western secular humanism.  What is important to many Ukrainians is their hatred – hatred of Russia.  A close second is their nationalism.  Religion is nothing at all to them more than a nationalistic imprimatur upon spirituality.  I doubt many of them actually believe in God at all.  What God do neo-nazis who venerate pseudo icons with Waffen SS symbols believe in?
          The Ukraine is a mess.  The real tricky thing is to protect the MP Orthodox there without getting otherwise involved in the sinking ship.  When your leading presidential candidates only succeed in getting a tiny fraction of popular support, what it means is that your country has completely lost its soul and has no direction other than its passions.
          That spells disaster.  Russia probably does not want any part of the abomination other than to protect its compatriots in the East and perhaps end or limit the church seizures which are real and organized.
          Schismatics have less than half the parishes of the MP.  It is impossible to count the faithful:
          “About 67.3% of the population declared adherence to one or another strand of Orthodox Christianity (28.7% of the Kiev Patriarchate, 23.4% state simply ‘Orthodox’ with no declaration as to which Patriarchate they belong to, 12.8% of the Moscow Patriarchate, 0.3% Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, and 1.9% other types of Orthodoxy).” –
          Thus the number of faithful in the MP could be up to 36%.  We just don’t know.  There is a meme out there that posits that the schismatics have several times the population of the canonical Church, but that is based on spurious, Western inspired “public opinion” polls and can’t possibly be accurate.
          The West created contemporary Ukraine in a coup d’etat and it is an illegal abomination of a political construction.  I assume that it may disintegrate over time.
          Moscow does need to teach them a very grave lesson regarding church seizures.  However, Moscow knows as well as anyone else that the West has left the country ungovernable.

          • Nikos stone says

            Totally true..  I have greek Catholic friends in London Uk and from this no lover of Russia group.  I recall the late ANNA who i would ask her how her then Polish Pope boss  was, and she would ask mewhst Moscow was talking me to say!!   But she would come with us to the Russian Cathedral and worship happily and they want to Serbian church too 
            Interestingly enough , it was THE  POLES they dislike, deeply and ACTIVELY, this most western part of the puzzle !!

          • Nikos stone says

            bear in mind re Ukraine and statistics that many who asked which church they belonging  to,  will be cautious and give the politically correct answer that nationalism demands .Many of the 23% just Orthodox, may fall into this category. Similar to polls in USSR asking about belief. Although even here in 1936/7 . 2/3  of those questioned who asked, asnswered as believers. 

          • Joseph Lipper says

            Misha, if the UOC-MP actually has more adherents than the OCU, then it’s reasonable to assume this will present itself in Ukraine’s upcoming political election: 


            Instead, what we do see is in this election is an increasing amount of Ukrainian nationalism and hatred for Russia, especially after the annexation of Crimea and the recent Kerch Strait incident.   Generally speaking, Ukrainians are losing faith in Moscow.  Ukrainian people are increasingly leaving their UOC-MP parishes.  

            • Nikos stone says

              Joseph I am not defending Putin He can talk for himself . He not the Church but as us all is a sinning member. There is right and wrong on both sides politically but I hold to all the points George and others have pointed out. 
              What is not debatable is the abuse of Orthodox ecclesiology by Phanar and his dealings with elements who what can we say about them, that has not been already repeatedly said? 
              We as Orthodox cannot and will not accept it.  I do not give a toss if the legal church remained with one church!   What u trying  to prove? In 1920s Russia at one stage most of the churches in Moscow were in revisionist hands. So ?? 

            • Boris Jojic says

              I don’t know quite how to explain this to you, Joseph. But Crimea was never part of Ukraine. Khrushchev “awarded” it to Ukraine in 1954 to celebrate 300 years of union between Russia and Ukraine. If today’s Ukraine wants to be free from the Soviet past, why go along with something which was done by a Soviet successor of Stalin?
                    Oh, by the way. If your Ukrainian church wants to be truly independent of Moscow, why do they still have Mitred Archpriests? That was an innovation of Empress Catherine. Tell us, since you are so smart.

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Boris, I’ve said it before and will say it again, Crimea is a lost cause for Ukrainians to recover.  I don’t advocate Ukrainians trying to take it back.  However, it was part of their country, and now it’s part of Russia, and Russia wants more.  Russia will keep trying to take more of Ukraine if possible, and they won’t be polite about it either.
                So, I think there is some justification for Ukrainian nationalism, and it’s perfectly understandable if Ukrainians hate Russia.
                As for Crimea, Patriarch Kyrill has refused to change it’s jurisdiction.  Crimea is still under the jurisdiction of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.  The message of the Moscow Patriarchate is that Crimea still belongs to Ukraine.  Can you explain that one to me?

              • George Michalopulos says

                For what it’s worth, I’ve never been enamored of the whole “mitred archpriest” phenomenon.  

                I could however be tempted to change my mind if there were ever a truly united American Orthodox Church and in order to fill the dearth of bishops (at least one for every state), an oikonomia could be enacted which allowed certain senior, married men to be awarded a mitre and be given quasi-episcopal powers until such a day as there were enough monastics to take over.  Also, I wouldn’t be averse to reviving the office of oikonomos (Steward/treasurer) for each diocese.  And of course, I could envision the possibility that each diocesan Chancellor could be so dignified.  

                • Monk James Silver says

                  George Michalopulos (February 18, 2019 at 10:27 pm) says:

                  For what it’s worth, I’ve never been enamored of the whole “mitred archpriest” phenomenon. SNIP

                  Without getting into the other areas GM mentions in this post, I’d like to point out that — except in an insupportable garbled misuse of ecclesial terminology in English — there is no sucj thing as an ‘archpriest’, mitered or not.

                  In fact, it’s impossible to translate ‘archpriest’ into, say, Greek or Russian without coming up with a word which means ‘bishop’ We actually have priests, protopriests, and protopresbyters, some of them privileged to wear an episcopal crown (without a cross atop it) purely as a distinction awarded for their service. This dignity carries no episcopal authority, merely the respect and deference due a priest for his long and faithful service, or for his responsibilities in his eparchy. Honorific titles for monastic priests are another matter.

                  There at least used to be a merely ceremonial office of ‘archpriest’ in the most solemn form of the Mass in the old Roman rite, but that isn’t at issue here.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Thank you for the correction.

                    • Monk James Silver says

                      It wasn’t your mistake, dear George, but I appreciate your gracious note.

                      There are a great many irregularities and misapprehensions of terminology in our ecclesial lexicon in English. I just chip away at the problem when it arises, trying not to shoot the messenger.

                • Sensible ideas George. As here in Bulgaria when so few monks. Was today at Arbanassi in hills above city. I recommend a visit. BEAUTIFUL STUNNING MONASTERIES AND CHURCHES , decorated in breath taking frescoes by 15the greek artists . But Sadly All  museums or with one or two nuns. 

          • Constantinos says

            Hi Misha,
            With all due respect, you would have made a good Catholic under the “holy inquisition.” In my opinion, you are the Simon Wiesnthal of Orthodox Christianity. You remember Simon Wiesenthal was the noted Nazi hunter. You are the noted “heresy hunter.” Okay, I’m busting your chops a little bit to make a serious point.
            Here’s my point, brother: First, you believe in toll houses. If you watch the CBS documentary on Mt. Athos, you will see the monks clearly do not believe in toll houses.
            Secondly, you seem to have an affinity for war and  violence. As we know, people who have never served in the armed forces, and advocate sending other people’s children to go off and fight wars are called “chicken hawks.” Although I disagree with everything you post, I know you are a man of great integrity. Would you mind telling me about your experiences when you honorably served in the US Marine Corps? Why do I assume you served in the marines? Because every marine is first a rifleman, and is taught that the spirit of the bayonet is to kill. Would you kindly tell me how long you served in the marines and your various tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq? Thank you for your kind indulgence, brother.
            Mr. Bauman, I pose the same questions to you as well.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Mr. C. I never served in the military. I was excluded as 4F during Vietnam as well as having a high draft number. My son went attempted the Coast Guard because he has a high protective quotient and choose the Coast Guard because it was the most protective branch of the military. He was let go because he was unable to due push ups. He excelled at everything else.

              As I have said repeatedly, I only wish to point out that there is blessed option within the Orthodox Church but it demands a high level of responsibility and is quite difficult in todays military which prefers a universal soldier type playing video games with real results. But perhaps you have not actually read what I wrote.

              Are you familiar with the case of Michael Neu? If not you ought to investigate what happened to him.

              I am tangentially familiar with Fr. McCarthy and simply do not want to subject myself to him any more. Sorry.

  13. Constantinos says

    I don’t want the priest on call 24/7. In my church, there were probably fifty people thirty years ago. If I’m not mistaken, the numbers have dwindled since then. In my church, the subdeacon and his wife do the lion’s share of the work, not the priest.
    If you call reading the Bible and praying every day protestant, well I’ve been dong this since I was in my mid teens.It may be fair to say that many Orthodox Christians know very little of their Bibles. I guess I have protestant tendencies because if an Orthodox teaching contradicts the Bible, I follow the scriptures.
    Many Orthodox Christians believe that God only works through the Church, and there is no grace found outside of it. Well, I happen to think our God is a lot bigger than that. I don’t see anything in the scriptures about blessing houses. To me, that is a man made custom. Most Orthodox Christians have to travel many miles to attend their Church. In my opinion, your community is where you live, and I believe that is where most of your charitable giving should go.
    For example, I believe that Habit for Humanity is doing God’s work. I read of a man from Connecticut who spent over $363,000 during a thirty year period on his marvelous Christmas decorations. He never charged anyone one penny to visit his three acre property enjoying his exquisite Christmas Wonderland. I believe he was doing God’s work.
    I believe that in order to understand giving, one must study Judaism. In Judaism, it is called Tzedekhah which means righteousness. The Jews believe that the world was founded on kindness. Tzedekhah goes one step further.You share with others in your community because it is the righteous and just thing to do.
    When I see all the waste and duplication of resources in the various jurisdictions, I say have one autocephalous Church. With all these man made customs, I believe that if our Lord was walking the earth right now, He would be very hard on the Orthodox Church because we have replaced the love of God with man made traditions. I believe we should go back to the time of the Apostles, and only have house churches.
    I believe our Lord’s attitude toward the Orthodox Church is perfectly expressed in the Book of Revelation. In my opinion, the Orthodox Church is the Church of the Laodiceans; ” I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.
    So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth. Because you say , “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing- and do not know you are wretched, poor, blind, and naked…” If this doesn’t describe the present day Orthodox Church, I don’t know what does.

    • Costa I can’t tackle all u say as take too long.
      But maybe you are in the wrong church because yr thinking is protestant and I get the feeling u are angry with the Orthodox church, but at the level of belief. If so friend, maybe not church for you but you need to come to a resolution.

      The Bible, the Gospels came out of the Church Without the Church,no Gospels or are you taking an islamic view that ‘ The book’ came from heaven in the post?
      As for customs and ceremonies they are an enrichment of our spiritual and physical life and you obviously do not understand the concept of theosis and the sacredness of the physical. You also seem to know little and forgive me if not so, of the persecution of the Church under communism that here in Bulgaria was so cruel and severe that people tell me. As for Russia, it was total for 70 odd years. The martyrs are in their hundreds of thousands, clergy and lay. Do you know of Fr Alexander Men?? I doubt it.
      You seem to know nothing of peopke like St Seraphim of Sarov, bishop Anthony Bloom, Fr Alexander Elchaninov, mother Maria of Paris, fr Dmitri klepenin etc etc.
      And really wonderful protestant mega churches and rest abusing and amassing vast amount of money.?? Perhaps u lack discrimination.
      Yes as a greek, we do have some appalling clergy and I have personal bitter experience, but Judas sat at Christ’ s side and God exists with good and bad clergy and do they not simply reflects US, U AND ME?? And yes God acts in strange places and peopke. Rejoice over that.!!
      Costa my friend the greek church of America is not the limit of the Church, Thank God, but i know some wonderful clergy in it as well as superficial careerists We must work to change that but PLEASE deepen yr Orthodox consciousness.

      • Constantinos says

        Thank you again, Brother Nikos. You make eminently good sense to me. I will try to broaden my Orthodox consciousness.  As usual, I appreciate your wise words. You have given me a lot to think about.

        • Thank you. Costa I understand you and have said same and yes we preach the first shall be last but make sure they go first!!!. I recall as a child a 28/10 celebration at which the only two people there  who had LIVED THAT DAY were my mother and another lady from Patra.  While others made pompius speeches, they were ignored as unimportant .
          I know every moment from my late mum  of the Monday in Patra 28th October 1940 as she made her way to school with the bombs suddenly coming down on market day, so city packed .And the 14km walk being bombed to the village of Saravali.  To sleep in the Church. 
          Costa can i tell you something. ?  It is the suffering of the Slav churches, of the Church of Russia that saved and fortified my faith, even through what was done to my late mother at her death  and failure by the Uk thyateira archbishop Grigorios,  a fundamentally  good but weak man,  to put things right beyond weak words i have kept my faith. But I tell you bluntly if it were not for the Russian church i cannot be sure I would still be here.  God bless .You are a good man. 

    • Constantinos: “I guess I have protestant tendencies because if an Orthodox teaching contradicts the Bible, I follow the scriptures.”
      Which Orthodox teachings contradict the Bible, may I ask?

      • Constantinos says

        Yes Martin,
         You may certainly ask. To be specific , I will list two off the top of my head. The Church’s teachings on divorce and remarriage are in direct contravention of Christ’s explicit command. No one has the right to abrogate any commandment of our Lord and Savior. The other issues in war and peace. When our Lord told St. Peter to put up his sword into his sheathe, He specifically forbade all Christians to renounce violence and warfare for all time and eternity. For the first four hundred years, no Christian would join the military or take up arms against anyone. Conscientious Objection and active work for peace are the only options for the Christian. As I stated before, are we Orthodox Christians who follow the Prince of Peace or are we warmongers?

        • Michael Bauman says

          Constantinos, RE your two examples:

          1. Marriage, the limitation to 3 marriages maximum was to forbid monarchs and others in power from making a complete mockery of marriage. Divorce and remarriage is allowed due to the hardness of our hearts as with Moses. As a beneficiary of that economia, I can attest to the absolute correctness of what the Savior tells us be also attest to the grace the economia allowed in my life and in the life of my wife and her family.

          2. War and being a soldier: your statement that no Christian would join the military before Constantine is likely not true, unprovable at best. The fact remains there are many examples of Christian men serving in the Roman military with great distinction (that meant killing others in battle BTW). Two in particular come to mind St. George and St. Demetrios.

          A couple of stories that indicate a far more flexible view of a military life than you have:
          1. Before the battle of El Alamain in WWII, there are many stories for British and American soldiers being visited by St. George (patron saint of England) to strengthen them in the battle to come so that the Germans might be defeated.

          2. Not only did St. Demetrios bless St. Nestor to kill the Emperor’s gladiator in battle, he is the only saint I know of that is depicted on an icon lancing a human soldier (a Persian). Add to that the time he (after his glorification) led a heavenly army to rout the Persians attacking Thessalonica.

          I have not researched St. Menos enough to tell what his story is, but he is quite renown for protecting folks from the jihad of Islam. A parishioner in my brother’s parish told me the story of when he was a civilian contractor setting up water processing plants in Iraq after Desert Storm. He took a small icon of St. Menos with him. Several times St. Menos intercession was quite evident in protecting him and his co-workers. So much so that when the man left to come home, those in his unit demanded that he leave the icon of St. Menos with them. Now, they were not combatants but they had armed folks protecting them so they could do their jobs (as well as St. Menos).

          Clearly there is a preference for peace within Orthodox teaching and a severe limitation placed on warfare, at least in theory. That does not make us conscientious objectors in the modern sense. Not in the least.

          As a Greek, I would think that the Greek war for independence would also have a place in your heart. There are many things about the Greeks that I have great difficulty, but I have always admired their ability to fight.

          Then there is the “zero sum dilemma” that Fr. Alexander F.C. Webster articulates in his fine work “The Pacifist Option” To paraphrase (apologies to Fr. Alexander if I get it wrong is has been some time since I read it): Refusal to do harm out of a personal moral decision does not stop harm from being done. The refusal to do harm may in fact allow others to come to harm that could have been stopped. Active participation in doing harm seems to increase the harm but may in fact reduce the overall harm by stopping some from doing greater harm.

          In our fallen world, violence is an inescapable fact of life. My decision on how to face the violence (through force of arms or martyrdom) is a personal decision and not a doctrinal one. The attempt to raise it to the doctrinal level is not in accord with Orthodox teaching IMO. It is important that both options be open and even blessed because the reality is that each of us may respond with either option in any given moment.

          I have this waking fantasy that if I am ever near enough to an Islamic jihadist who yells out Alluh Akabar just before he trips his bomb, I have the presence of mind to yell at the top of my lungs: Almasih qam!. Thus saving myself and perhaps the bomber.

          Alternatively, that I have my gun with me (a Colt 1911 .45) and see him before he trips the bomb and am able to stop him dead and the bomb does not explode. I am fine with either way frankly.

          • Constantinos says

            Mr. Bauman,
            I didn’t know you were a fan of Nicolo Machiavelli because what you are espousing is the amoral idea the ends justify the means. As I said previously, our Lord forever forbade Christians from killing anyone when He told St. Peter to put up His sword into his sheathe. When He disarmed Peter, He disarmed all Christians. Put your gun away, Brother, as the Lord commanded us. “It’s not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit saith the Lord.”
            Our Lord and Savior Jesus made His thoughts on divorce and remarriage crystal clear. If you marry a woman while your first husband or wife is alive, you have committed the sin of adultery. So a person will be lonely. So what? You can dedicate yourself to serve the Lord more faithfully. If anyone had a right to remarriage it was me, but I chose to follow our Lord’s instructions. Do I get lonely? Absolutely, but so what? It has made me more outgoing, and friendly. Now, I don’t support the Catholic Church’s practice of annulments. That is merely Catholic divorce, and remarriage. It’s a sham, and a scam.
            You can trust in your Colt .45, as for me, I’m putting my trust in the Lord. Your amoral logic is, well, amoral. Put the Prince away, and read your Bible, especially the Sermon on the Mount.  Hope this helps, my myopic Brother. You have some good ideas,but these are way out there. Stick to baseball. Remember, you heard it right here; the Boston Red Sox will bring another World Series trophy to Titletown. Between the Patriots and the Red Sox, they might as well keep the duck boats fired up all the time. Aaah, there is nothing like winning.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Constantinos, the things we learn about each other (or assume incorrectly due to our own bias). Ah, well.

              I hope the Red Sox do well and defeat the team which shall not be named once again. I also hold out some hope that the Royals will not loose 100 games this year. The team will be entertaining with potentially 6 of the top ten speed guys in the game: Hamilton, Mondesi, Merrifield, Phillips, Dozier and Gore all at or over the 29 ft per second speed that is considered elite. Unfortunately 3 of the six cannot hit. Even so that is a reasonable 180 to 200 stolen bases for the team. A long way from the 341 Ricky and company did with the A’s years ago but not shabby.

              Just so you know, by your standards my God loving wife and I are adulterers, yet my bishop has told me 3 times (when I tried to inquire into the rather odd way we were married and received into communion) that our marriage is blessed by God. Nevertheless I strongly caution anyone else from doing anything even remotely close to what we did. It was dangerous and a bit foolhardy, but still….”What God has cleansed, call thou not unclean.”

              The Church needs to find a way consonant with Holy Tradition to receive those from outside the Church who had broken marriages like my wife who was cheated on twice by abusive cads and had the third one die. Adulteress or beloved of God? To me she is a constant and present blessing from God who I do not deserve, but whom He has given me to protect, guide and restore by His grace and mercy. One of the maimed, halt and lame who He has called into His Feast.

              I have the Colt, I do not carry it, I have never fired it nor even loaded it. Indeed, I doubt that I could actually pull the trigger to kill a fellow human being. That being the case, I do not carry. Still there is a place in the Church for those who can and would bare arms for the protection of others–even at the expense of their own soul. It is a place of great danger and self-sacrifice but not to be denied a blessing.

              The Church has an icon of St. Demetrios spearing a Persian soldier that cannot be explained away as ‘spiritual warfare’ It is the only such icon of which I am aware which testifies to the rarity of the vocation of arms within the Church, but it does exist. It’s existence is not inconsequential.

              You might review this article my son wrote many years ago that I was blessed to work with him on. He studied, prayed and fasted over a three year period to explore the subject.

              If my appreciation of my wife and St. Demetrios as blessing from God makes me Machiavellian, so be it.

              • Tim R. Mortiss says

                Though I’m blessed with a marriage of now nearly 52 years (in the Roman Catholic church in 1967 when we were both 19), I have little doubt but that had I been widowed or divorced, and Orthodox, that I would have sought the economia of remarriage. That’s just how it would have been for me, though I respect Constantinos’ point of view.
                Every Great Lent I read Bp. Kallistos’ essay in the Fabre-published Triodion about Lent. One admonition has especially struck me over the years: follow what the community does in the Fast– do not set up special severities for yourself. Do what the Church in its ancient wisdom prescribes– or allows. So also with marriage, I think.
                As for the 1911 Colt– that would be a lot of gun to carry, indeed. I  don’t own one, but I own several guns, including handguns, and often load them and shoot them at the range. As for long guns, I have been a bird hunter all of my life, and got my first shotgun– a single-shot Winchester 20 gauge– for Christmas at age 12.

              • Constantinos says

                Mr. Bauman, I rejoice in your marital happiness. if it makes you a better Orthodox Christian, that’s all to the good. I honestly couldn’t care less what people do in their private lives, unless they conspire  against me or my family.
                One final thing about weapons; the saints  like St. Cosmas the Aetolian support you. Also, I haven’t got the faintest idea whether you read The Prince or not, nor do I care.
                Now, the one thing I don’t like is weakness. The former priest of our Orthodox Church was divorced, but because he was too weak to honor an oath he freely took , he left Orthodoxy for the Anglican Church, and is now a remarried priest in said church. Can you imagine what I would do to him in business? After her remarriage to a non Orthodox Christian, his former wife served for many years as our Parish President. What a lousy example she sets!
                I have chosen not to remarry because I see no advantages in it. I believe marriage tames a man, and makes him docile. It’s a dog eat dog world out there. I need raging fire, a killer instinct, and ruthlessness to succeed in business. Although I take extremely good care of my employees, and have had them work for me in excess of forty years in many cases, in many ways outside of the way I treat my employees, I run my businesses like a Mafia boss. One of my most prized employees is 6’5″ tall, weighs 270 lbs. of rock solid muscle. I make sure he is fed only the finest, most healthy foods, and part of his work day is spent in my company gym. He must also practice his boxing and jui jitsu skills, I use him to collect rents on my apartment buildings, and jobs that require muscle such as forcing certain individuals out of my town. After all, it is my town, and if someone has harmed my family, I don’t permit them to prance around my town. I never violate the law. It’s just a simple message he delivers, ” you have made yourself a very powerful enemy, he is connected to everybody, and he would feel better if you moved out of town, if you know what I mean.” “What’s going to happen if I don’t move and choose to stay?” “Well , I’m sure he will be very unhappy about it.” That’s all it takes. I believe in ruthlessness, power, a killer instinct in business, and a deeply competitive will to win, and to destroy your enemies when necessary. So docility is a luxury I simply can’t afford.

                • Tim R. Mortiss says


                  • Constantinos says

                    Mr. Mortiss,
                    I don’t live in a monastery, although I have actually found teachings in the Philokalia helpful in the past couple of days. Please pray for me a sinner. Thank you.

            • Costa,
              Every so often, the subject of war comes up, and I feel the need to post these words.
              War is a microcosm of this present world.  It is the ultimate manifestation of the battle in which those of this world are always engaged, albeit stripped of the façade of civility that is commonly referred to as peace.  For war is the logical extension of the hatred which results from the struggle over wealth, power, and pride – and their reduction to the essential violence thereof.
              Those who rightly decry the evil of war need look no further for its cause than the hatred, the selfishness, the lust for power and possessions present in each of our everyday lives.  For war, like pain, death and the struggle for economic survival, is the inescapable consequence of our common fall into sin.  It cannot be avoided whether we are combatants or civilians.  Nor can it be considered “just” from our human point of view, for how is it just that the evil actions or even the apparently justifiable reactions to evil of a few are able to cause the suffering of so many? 
              The essential violence of this present world made manifest in war can only serve to  reveal what is in the hearts of men altogether aside from political motives for armed conflict. War reveals hate and love, selfishness and sacrifice, cowardice and courage, greed and generosity, pride and humility…  All the vices and virtues present in our hearts are brought into sharp relief by the immediacy of the danger of death – to ourselves, our loved ones, our countrymen, our security, our way of life.
              No amount of rationalization can change the fact that all war is evil.  But the evil of war is not external to us personally, something at which we can wave our fingers in condemnation.  It is the shared lot of humanity.  And like all the evils which the providence of God allows us to suffer in common, it can be used for our redemption or our destruction.  It all depends on how we respond to Him in the midst of it.  War can never be said to be just, but it can be transformed into a means of redemption through the deeds of just men caught up in its torrents.
              “There is a time for everything…”

              • “Those who rightly decry the evil of war need look no further for its cause than the hatred, the selfishness, the lust for power and possessions present in each of our everyday lives.”
                Except, of course, the wars that the Lord ordered and any comparable ones.
                Those who believe that all wars are evil are Marcionites, heretics, and reject the Old Testament witness along with much of the New Testament.  Sometimes war is the righteous thing to do.  We have no theory of Just War because we recognize no doctrinal restriction on the commencement or prosecution of war, unlike Roman Catholics. 
                The Old Testament wars that God ordered were sometimes more vicious than anything we have seen in our era.  God ordered the extermination of Amalek and other tribes out of His righteous indignation.  It was holy – the right thing to do.  Sometimes the only real peace to be had is on the other side of war.
                Let me repeat that for effect:
                The genocidal extermination that the Lord ordered in the Old Testament was the holy and right thing to do.
                Modernist Christians of all varieties delve into Marcion’s heresy regarding war misrepresenting the nature of Christ’s remarks regarding violence.  Yet we know the Apostles were armed and that He encouraged them even to sell their possessions to buy arms.  (Luke 22:35-38)
                The non-sequitur has to do with the context of Christ’s remarks regarding violence and persecution.  Israel was not free.  They were slaves to the Romans, an occupied people, with no serious possibility of freeing themselves.  In that context, and only that context, does what Christ said about non-violence make sense.  There is no justice in blessing those who curse you.  But it is the lesser of two evils given the consequences of rebellion.  But bear in mind, He was also famous for speaking in hyperbole so even this must be weighed against common sense (“if your eye offends you, pluck it out”).
                If Christ was a pacifist than neither the Old nor New Testament is authentic in any way and I most certainly am not a Christian.
                “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:  A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
                So we know that hatred and war can be good sometimes.  God himself is spoken of has harboring wrath against all sorts of people and things.  That of course flies in the face of modern morality.  And that is part of the problem with modernism:  It is humanism, not Christianity nor Judaism.
                The hopelessly misguided allegiance to the false gospel of humanism which prompts people to say such things as Brian above.
                Here is what the Lord really has to say about violence in a sovereign context:
                “And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows. And he said to the king of Israel, Put thine hand upon the bow. And he put his hand upon it: and Elisha put his hands upon the king’s hands. And he said, Open the window eastward. And he opened it. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he said, The arrow of the LORD’S deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed them. And he said, Take the arrows. And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice, and stayed. And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice.”  2 Kings 13;15-19
                The problem is one that every Christian should face squarely:
                a. Christ was a pacifist.
                b. Christ was the Yahweh of the Old Testament.
                Both of the above statements cannot possibly be true.  So either we must make the God of the Old Testament a pacifist (which is so utterly absurd as to provoke laughter) or we must explain what Christ said while preserving the morality of the God of the Old Testament whom he claimed to be.
                Thankfully, Christ gives us quite a bit of help by allowing his apostles to bear arms and by ordering them to acquire arms if they didn’t have them.  He also gives us quite a bit of help in his revelation to St. John the Theologian:
                “And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh” – Rev. 19:21
                Thus we know Christ himself will kill his enemies in the last days and, lest we be tempted to think it is a “spiritual” killing, we are told that the “fowls were filled with their flesh”.  Quite gory imagery for pacifists.  Of course, Marcion did not include the Revelation in his abridged list of scriptures.

              • Monk James Silver says

                ‘The boundary between good and evil is within every human heart.’ — Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

                Even so, the war which we must fight and win within ourselves is not the same as an international conflict, where notions of good and evil are relativized to concepts much lower in our imagination, relegated to categories such as finances and trade, silly ethnic pride, and ignoble nationalism.

                It’s true, though, that if the struggle to be good were won in each human heart, external warfare would be unnecessary.

                When people — even a nation of people — choose evil over good, at least some of those who have chosen to be good must respond when evildoers harm others. I’m just not sure that bombing and killing even nations who make the wrong choice is the best way.

                There must be a better way, somewhere in the middle, for Christians to respond.

                • I do not think Christ preached violence as such as a Outlook on life.  As for old Testament, It’s stories of how jews took over a certain geographical area by killing as if not they would be killed. I personally do not believe God personally as it were orders that or not. We have free will.
                  I am not a pacifist ,nor are Greeks in general from history or nature .
                  But re violence or not. I believe it is always what will be the LESSER evil each time. 
                  Example.  I would NOT have been a pacifist  in any shape or form in world war ii. 

              • I worry that people can have a view of God re Old Testament of ordering like some tribal deity, the slaughter of peoples. 
                This is what people rightly find nauseating and reject a God concept. It is reducing God to some  human sized irritable monster. 
                I cannot accept this prinitive view of God. 
                We are flawed as we know and war result.  One only has to see a chimpanzee use a sharpened digging stick to also attack and kill it’s neighbour to see this flawed state in creation.
                Christ showed us a New Creation and way that is ours if we wish.  
                As i stated earlier, I am no pacifist and would not have been in wwii. We have ro make a judgement each time. 

          • Our Parish here in Veliko Tarnovo Bulgaria is of St Minas.  Very popular Saint here. 

            • Malos Calitas says

              It was Trnvo which in 1235 the Bulgarian Comitazis declared Third Rome

              • Arbanassi  actually where revolt started,up the road from here with it’s beautiful breath taking views and equally so churches that i visited on Tuesday.  Decorated by Greeks, breathtakingly beautiful frescos. 15thc.
                Actually.  Malos as for comitadjis,  YOU as an intelligent greek must know that you are re shaping via   French napoleonic 19 and 20th century form nationalism , events, totally unconnected to meaning of that word.  The uprising by Assen brothers in 1185 against the corrupt effete Angeli dynasty in Constantinople that were plotting against each other and calling in crusaders help, while the empire collapsed about their ears , had nothing to do with 19c western secular nationalism . 
                And after the fall of Constantinople in 1204 it was the Bulgarians who defeated the Latin emperor Baldwin and held him captive in Baldwin’ s tower  in Tsaravets here by Veliko Tarnovo, that was the capital. 
                They formed one of the successor Orthodox states opposing Latin power and having Greeks and Bulgarian subjects. 
                The Bulgarians unlike the Serbs never were vassals of turks before their 1393 defeat .
                All our inner Orthodox quarreling did was to aid Ottoman turks 

      • Constantinos says

        Dear Martin, I have sensed some hostility on your part toward me. If I’m not mistaken, the genesis of this hostility is my response to your reply to me on the topic of freemasonry. I’m not going to ask your forgiveness because whether you forgive me or not is neither here nor there, however, my response to you was arrogant, condescending, offensive, unkind, unChristian, and mean spirited. In retrospect, I should have disagreed without being disagreeable. I want to apologize  for my cocky, surly response to you. My response to you was churlish and unwarranted. I regret having offended you.  It’s my fault. Having said that, I believe the Church’s position on freemasonry should be membership in the lodge is between each Orthodox Christian and God.  The terrible things many Orthodox Christians have said about freemasonry are lies, slanderous, and the spreading of hatred. I completely disregard the Church’s teaching on freemasonry because I believe it to be malicious and empty headed. I’m not referring to you, but to the priests who cast my statements aside without giving them a thought. Okay, what is it about the lodge that I really admire? Integrity! This is something the Ecumenical Patriarch sorely lacks. Integrity and transparency. Again, I apologize to you and only to  you personally for my unkind response. Thank you.

        • Constantinos says

          Dear Martin,
          You have caused me to rethink my positions. Yes, the Church is correct in banning freemasonry because it leads to religious indifferentism. We must also obey all the Holy Orthodox teaches. Hope this helps.

        • the major who stopped or at least saved children, AT MAI LAI MASSACRE  was Hugh Thompson jnr, +2006  . A brave good man.   We must realise THAT IT IS WAR ITSELF and the state of society, but above all of war itself, that causes massacre.  
          Does anyone doubt that in a new war that the Geneva convention would only be remembered by the victors,  if any, at the end to hit the defeated with ?

  14. When ROCOR was out of communion with almost the entire Orthodox world, did its bishops or clergy ever concelebrate with the Churches of either Jerusalem or Serbia when the Patriarch of Moscow was commemorated? If so, did this mean ROCOR was in or out of communion with Moscow. Conversely, when clergy of these churches concelebrated with the First Hierarch of ROCOR, were those clergy temporarily not in communion with the Patriarch of Moscow?

    The same can be asked of the OCA and its concelebrations. Does the primate of the OCA renounce the autocephaly of the OCA when concelebrating with hierarchs not including the OCA in the dyptichs? Same between the churches of Jerusalem and Antioch, and any othe number of intra-Orthodox breaks in communion. They are not uncommon, after all (and the more they happen the less the lack of communion with Rome actually means anything much for the Orthodox, if they are willing to pull that hammer out so often.)

    I would be surprised if Orthodox canonists would simply note that the clergy concelebrating with a primate in/out of communion with a church that cleric’s church is not in/out of communion with means absolutely nothing. That is, when churches are not all in/out of communion, that presiding hierarch is the only one making any sort of statement; he is praying as his local church sees fit. At most, the concelebrating clergy simply acknowledge the “uncommemorating” hierarch is within bounds for protesting, and that hierarch’s concelebration with the “commemorating” hierarchs simply means he acknowledges their refusal to protest is also within bounds. That is, this all means nothing for anyone but those directly involved.

  15. Ustamakata says

    Contraception is a definite no in orthodoxy, Those doing it should be excommunicated until they stop doing it. Allowing contraception and giving communion is a novelty introduced by the heretic Athenagoras.

    • Pat Reardon says

      Contraception is a definite no in orthodoxy


      • Michael Bauman says

        Father Pat, unfortunately there are many “definite nos” that are ignored in the name of economia and pastoral care including abortion, homosexual activity/marriage.

        A couple of years ago there was a couple in my parish who defiantly posted on Facebook that they were proud to be married and not have any children and they intended to stay that way so back off.

        What is the laity to do in such cases that are known to us? To follow the Biblical injunction to go to your brother will work in purely personal situations (non-doctrinal) but what of issued that directly involve contravention of the clear teaching of the Church?

        Plus, many are quite disappointed and disheartened when our bishops stay hidden on such things.

        That being said, my priest delivered a homily a couple of weeks ago about the abortion bill in NY that was crystal clear and has also said in the past that if a parishioner favored “a woman’s right to choose” should not approach the cup without repentance.

        As laity in a world that seeks to devour us need that clarity from our priests and bishops. Too many times it appears that there are no standards or unclear ones when it comes to matters of sexuality and public policy.

    • Yes and no. Depending on the circumstances and if it presents greater evil as abortion and these blanket morality bans that do not look at the individual circumstances are neither sensible nor Christian. Christ unlike the ideologies we are surrounded with, related to the PERSON, το πρόσωπο, not the crowd.
      I am not advocating contraception as this week’s glad news, no, but just saying it is easy to be a pharase.

      • Antiochene Son says

        Following rules does not make one a Pharisee. Christ praised the Pharisees for tithing. But following rules for the sake of following rules does.
        If a couple is so afraid of having children that they would resort to abortion for an unplanned pregnancy, they should have never been permitted to marry, and the priest who (should have) counseled them will have blood on his hands.
        A couple that is not prepared to have children, and indeed as many as God gives them, is not prepared to receive the sacrament and is not prepared for the responsibility of sexual activity. It is no question that having children is one of the primary points of marriage, and if anyone disagrees, note how many times having children is mentioned in the marriage service.
        Christians are breeding themselves out of existence.

        • Nikos stone says

          I am greek and I do have some experience of USA and greek church and greek american son in law now in Greece.  I am living in Bulgaria but have yrs in Uk so saw it all up close. 
          I have written stuff relating to my really disgusting personal experience elsewhere  on this blog.  
          Yes there are good clergy and people of course but what u say is so true.  
          The greek parishes in Southampton uk  that know well, has a priest 12 yrs in Uk from Germany and not a word of english. A wife who takes no interest in the Church apart from attending. 
          The decor is more and more fancy and the spirituality coming from the altar is  dead or mechanical. And Greek .
          Money is the obscession . Before I left for Bulgaria they had a sum of money given to them so they decided to replace the rather ELEGANT simple Crystal chandaliers with those kitsch gilt and bad taste typical greek church chandaliers.  When some one questioned about helping the poor, the Parish president, who turns up at Pascha only, asked ‘Are there any poor today ‘ ????  
          When i suggested they hold a collection for Haiti (2009)earthquake, well they looked at me as if i am mad. 
          There is in the city now a very active Romanian and russian Parish but no interest or wish to contact or anything what so ever. 
          I would go as far as to say church run by crooks, literally. I will leave at that.
          Yes because of greek economy many Greeks in city, but Brexit may change that and for Romaniana too but re Greeks, the Church is relatively  full but if you look closely, ,hardly any from local greek cypriot community, except at Pascha for half an hour,   who are second and third generation now. And people come for memorials etc to whom it is a strange quaint custom with no belief.  Yet the Bishops etc continue to issue their wooden empty worked messages and obscession with greekness. 
          The Romanian priest works and fluent english as the Russian priest with spiritual  communities .
          I yesterday got in the post here the beautiful cd recording recommended on this blog,  from Holy Apostles church Oklohoma.   Not only is it superb powerful Orthodox  singing in mostly english with some greek and slavonic, but it shows a live, living. Orthodox community, OCA,  of Greeks, arabs, etc and converts  who while enjoying and celebrate our cultural richness, are focused on the Faith and growing. 
          The Greek church needs humility  and humbling to the ground and REALITY TO HIT IT,.  It is living in fool’s paradise 

        • I should make myself clearer  
          I am in no way defending abortion in any way  or on demand and all that goes with it .Having worked in health care these were daily issues. 
          And yes in the western world we are in danger of, not in danger, but ARE, of declining elderly population. A society without children is sick indeed. As with so many things, simple issues are not, but interelated. 
          But at rock bottom it is not law but the individual  Christian conscience  that is vital .If this is lacking,  even if abortion banned, it will be back street or waved through for the wealthy as something else. 
          Contraception  I do not see in same light as abortion but a LESSER evil. And in Africa etc a protection against aids and Poverty. 
          Others may disagree but this is the reality. 
          But in truth to encourage a society where children are valued, u need social Policies that are PRO CHILD AND PRO ADOPTION. And we know that Sex education sensibly taught with relationship, reduces teenage pregnancy,  as in Holding and Sweden compared to USA and uk ,THIS IS FACT. 
          I do not have any easy answers  and as a clinical health manager had to deal with staff who were having abortion. 

  16. Constantinos says

    Hi George,
    When I’m 1/10th the Christian Gail is, then I will argue with her. It’s not going to happen in this lifetime. She is waaay more forgiving, loving, kind, and compassionate than I could ever hope to be. I totally respect her views and opinions- and take them very seriously. She can correct and admonish me anytime; I appreciate her wisdom and counsel.
    A poster accused me of being a protestant. No, I’m an Orthodox Christian, however I would refer the poster to Corrie Ten Boom of The Hiding Place fame. If there was ever a saint, it was this Godly woman, and she was a pentecostal protestant. How many Jewish lives did she save during the Holocaust? She also was sent to a concentration camp.
    I’ve also been criticized because of my advocacy of brain building. Mr. Bauman particularly found this offensive along with some priests. By nature, I’m a very curious person. I’ve been doing brain building exercises for as long as I can remember, and. lo, what do I discover after all these years? I discover it is the best defense against Alzheimer’s Disease. My father. and both grandmothers died from this dreaded disease. The very thought of this disease scares me to death. My aunt has been suffering in a nursing home for years now because of Alzheimers. So for me, brain building exercises may prevent me from coming down with it. Maybe not. Trust me, the idea of crapping in my pants has no appeal to me whatsoever.
    My mother, a marginal Orthodox Christian at best, loathes and despises the Greek Orthodox Church along with all Greeks. Yes, she is Greek. She always says to me,” All the Orthodox Church cares about is your money.” Other Greek Orthodox Christians have said the same thing to me. It’s really neither here nor there.
    Now, I admit I don’t want anything to do with Russian Orthodoxy. The Bible says we should strive to have a good reputation in our communities. If people ever thought I was a Russia Orthodox, they would view me with contempt. It would be considered treasonous, and unpatriotic.
    In my most humble of opinions, I believe the Orthodox Church really needs to grow up, and lose many un Christian customs. For example, I think kissing a priest’s hand to be not only silly, but unhealthy due to the fact that the hand is a huge carrier of germs. I also think the Church should cut back off on the use of incense. Every time I go to Church, I can’t stop sneezing along with my eyes burning. I also think all that incense is bad for the lungs.
    The Orthodox Church is the true Church, but a deeply flawed one at that.
    One last point, as far as me consigning people to hell., Hans Ur Von Balthasar postulated, “dare we believe that hell is empty?” That;s in God’s hands, not mine. Mind you, he didn’t say hell is empty, he was just struggling on an intellectual level. Personally, I believe hell is real, and I sure don’t want to go there.

    • Nikos stone says

      Costa you obviously think about many things and yes re greek church in USA it has gone down wrong path. But yr anti Russian stance is misplaced and unthought out and frankly racist.
      Do you not know of Patrarch Tikhon?, or as i said in previous post of Mother Maria of Paris, fr Serious Bulkakov and and and?. I have to say to you, you can believe and deny anything u want to. It is yr free human right, but, forgive me, do not be ignorantly racist in relation to Russian church which is not the Russian state. Some of us, including me, may be deeply offended by some international actions of your country, but I, we, do not brand all Americans as somehow evil and Cursed. . I am greek so can say this to you. And Costa I had in Uk a greek priest REFUSE to come to give my dying greek devout mother the last sacraments and then not to buy her without the cash up front with the Bishop totally USELESS . It was the Russian and Romanian church and individual greek cypriot parishioners who showed Christian love as well as the Catholic chaplain of the hospital who gave my mother Communion and anointing as she lay dying. So Costa I address you with alot of pain. DO U UNDERSTAND?
      Yet it was a good greek priest in the autumn of thst year, 2011 in a NY state Parish who helped to heal me and did the first memorial for her in the greek language. I could hate and be angry towards greek clergy and I try not to. And i have gone above it to forgive as hard as it is.And it is hard and I feel anger and yes Hate. As i type this. But Christ HUNG on the Cross. We can do no less

      • Constantinos says

        Hi Nikos, I always appreciate the wise counsel you offer me and others. I learn something new with each of your posts. You give me much to think about. You seem like a very kind and good man. Isn’t it time you moved to the US? We need more good people like you. Thank you, Brother. I appreciate your kindness.

      • Ustamakata says

        Did I miss something? Your mother received the catholic communion?

        • Yes she was dying and asking me where the priest was, in greek, .  Repeatedly . HE did not answer my phone calls or that of nurses.  When challenged by others later he asked who would have paid his Petrol money?   We are talking about a 5km(3.5m) journey there and back and uk gas was about $8 a gallon ( yes never complain !) then and would not I have recompensed him.??, 
          I will add that when arranging the funeral the undertaker was told, to quote,’ there will be no funeral unless we have £500 sterling up front for the body to come to the Church ‘( i was actually going to make a decent donation so their loss)  and because I had requested from the archbishop in London an english speaking priest as many attending would not know greek, but wanted to follow, he refused the use of the Church. This to a deeply devout greek lady who in the war in Greece as a 16 yr old had been tortured and raped by gestapo in 1944 and who had worshiped in that church since it was founded after we came to uk,week by week apart from when as a nurse she had to work Sunday. A deeply spiritual lady with much love inspite of the suffering in her life 
          We as a family were revolted. It got to the local paper.Can u imagine the reputation of the Church?   MUD!!   The local Catholic church offered it’s church for the service, where it was held, but my mother lay unburied for two weeks with the archbishop, Grigorios, totally inaffective 
          We had in end a beautiful funeral with the Church two main chanters ( in Uk no organs)  chanting in  all Greek, and the fluent greek speaking young english priest from London doing his part in mostly  english and  some greek. The coffin was open in the Church  and carried open to the grave. 
          I am told as we were on the way to the Catholic church for service, the priest phoned one of the chanters to tell him the Church doors were open for the coffin. The chanted  just turned the phone of. 
          Every body who attended said what a beautiful moving  ceremony and good priest .Wonderful man. And the open coffin did not freak them out at all.  Indeed they found it meaningful. 
          You mention the Catholic COMNUNION. . PERHAPS you should address that to the greek priest who will answer before God I hope. 
          My dying mother WAS BEGGING ME AND MY DAUGHTER for the priest, to receive Communion and anointing.  What could i do. Leave her to die like a DOG? 
          The Catholic  chaplain priest was a good man. As it turned out he had been in Greece and spoke greek and prayed in greek and Orthodox prayers. My mother accepted the anointing and Communion but with pain on her face. I hope you are not going to pontificate from a high moral place.  I made it plain to the archbishop what followed. He took no action with the Southampton greek priest, just words . I brought some comfort to my dying mother  
          Sadly she died just before the Romanian and Russian parishes were formed.  If they had only been there !! 
          You do not need to ask my feelings and pain as a son and what it costs me now to write this. Even from the distance of Bulgaria . 
          I am grateful for Fr Christo of the Buffalo Parish NY state who that autumn gave me hospitality and did memorial in greek .I knew him from London .   A good man, a good priest.  Hard working and caring and successful community  .
          You will understand i have said enough . I thank God my faith has deepened through all this and the courage this lady showed in her life and her deep faith, have blessed me her son. 

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Niko, God bless that Catholic priest who covered the shame of one our own.  He stepped up when we failed.  God’s hands are never tied.     

            • Nikos stone says

              Gail thank you. I know you have gone through much too.  Indeed for me for lots of reasons those three yrs from my mother’s death were a  trial and Passion for many things at a total level . But it’s the only way we know we on right road.And those on the journey with me with not always the ‘ ‘upright ‘of society.  Indeed quite the opposite. Secularists will not understand that and I do not need them to. Although any sincere thinking person will.  
              Indeed this October I had a visitor here from UK,former adict, who now has a lovely son ( withstood pressure to abort) who attended the services and understood all.  Kissed icons etc as if born to it. At end he said quietly, ‘Very human deep worship as it was before for us’.  What we have lost’ There, a secular young brit !!
              I have had a mail on this site from someone in Southampton uk who knows of me i think ,so have said things in thst mail  I do not need to repeat.   
              I think it was you who recommend the Holy Apostles cd,  which i obtained and is indeed beautiful and if proof needed, that good liturgical english can take it’s place with the rest and that the musical tradition of the Church, ‘an icon in sound’,  as an authentic icon, is readily understood.   We none of us, must despair. I know from my own family, my own health now as well as life and from those around me here in Bulgaria. God bless 

          • Nikos,
            Most important is where your mother is now. Witnessing a parent suffer mentally during their last days is not easy. All I can advise is forgive the heartless priest, and your mother will smile from heaven.

            • Thank you for yr words.  I have posted posts elswhere with stuff relevant to our discussion and hope u will read. 
              Coming close to death etc does stop us in our track to realise how all is vanity and dust .
              This society is drowing in the worship of money to a degree that will bring it down. It is sick 
              Dino re are conversation re Russia.Russia and USA have great similarities and as people and that may explain the tension too. Visit Alaska. 
              The Russian people have suffered over the last 100 yrs in ways we cannot imagine. I know Russia well 
              There are some books I would advise u to buy, St Seraphim of Sarov by valentine Zander.  Inexpensive.  all. 
              Dmitri’s Cross,  Helen Klepenine,  
              This Holy man.  Gillan Crowd 
              And Pearl  of Great Price    Sergei hackel., about mother Maria of Paris 
              And to look up and learn about the lives of 
              Bishop Anthony Bloom  +2003
              Fr Pavel Florovsky +1944
              Bishop surgeon Luke +1961 
              St Nicholas Planas 
              Newly made Saint Fr Amphilochios, who my best man went to confession to as a child 
              Mother Maria of Paris 
              Fr Dmitri klepenin 
              You will learn much 
              Re clergy I have understanding that often it’s the group of lay people around the priest, running the Church,who lose their way in money and become  financially demanding, losing sight of what the Church for. 

          • Dear Nikos, I posted the following comment a couple of months ago and I’m not sure if you saw it, so here it is again:
            “Nikos, I am sorry to hear about the situation with your mother; it is abhorrent. May her memory be eternal. Nonetheless, since you named the priest involved, I thought that I would make my first-ever (and probably only) comment on this site. Fr. Vasilios is the priest that received me by baptism into the Holy Orthodox Church and, despite his not learning English (indefensible, yes, but he does know German from when he served there in the past) we had a steady flow of converts, if not a flood, that were well received and looked after by him. He really made sure that they were properly instructed by designated people at the parish and even delayed reception on at least one occasion because he thought that the godmother-to-be wasn’t sufficiently grounded in the faith, so also needed some instruction.
            He is very close to my godmother and always takes an interest in her (and my) spiritual life, being especially happy to hear that I took up theological studies and the monastic life. There was a wonderful group of young adults at the parish – Greeks, Cypriots, Russians, Arabs, Romanians, and English – and those that he could communicate with held him in high regard. He also looked after a very frail old Schemanun (English) who lived in a small house behind the church.
            I pray that you can forgive this man who, despite having some failings (as we all do), does have some very good qualities and may have repented for his actions in the years that have passed. He has health problems now, so I hope you can join me in praying for him.”

            • Nikos stone says

              Hallo and wonderful to hear from you.  Yes. As u know in a blog difficult to say all or to find right tone. , Yes I actually always liked him ,and found him easy to talk to and aware of modern reality.  So i did not come at it with a bias which why such a shock .   A bit of a wide boy but I have always found enough diamonds had a heart. 
              And yes the Church had made progress and decor wise too  although I hold my opinion on the chandaliers but even in greek homes.!! And yes I, as my family worshipped there Sunday by Sunday and feast by feast and that has been a blessing that money cannot buy . And yes I do forgive him. I HAVE THE PAIN,  but I do forgive him and I have written to him saying that.  
              Yes I remember,  mother Maria the nun. And I was present at her funeral before I left for Bulgaria just after Christmas, 2014.  My late mother nursed her mum in Southampton general hospital before she died. 
              I have many happy memories as a kid from Greece from that Church and at Pascha .And Sotos and Panayiotis, the original singers. they sang at my mother’s funeral. For what it is worth I believe it was the inner clique of cypriots around him whose idea of church is somewhat reduced to finances, who were responsible for message to under taker, but he as priest refused to accept Fr John, SENT BY THE BISHOP,  as described. And Catholic last rites.  What could i have done, left her to die without, with her constant asking, παιδί μου, που είναι ο παπάς;  Γιε μου, που είναι;.  
              Money was not a problem re funeral and summer from her estate was ro go to the Church.  Of course after what happened it did not .  
              I have always tried to be in Southampton at the anniversary with family when as last July ,the memorial was held in Romanian church and previously the Russian and of course here in Bulgaria. 
              There is a lot I could say but best not here as unfair on blog if  too personal stuff.  But my aim and wish has not been Politics ,although Sadly in this life ,all is Politics, especially  now,  but how might we witness to Christ and how can the Church move forward.  
              I was in Southampton this July looking after Romanian friend’s pets while away. The climate was well Greek Amazing.  And had memorial in Romanian church 
              Sadly on the actual anniversary  of my mother’s death, so u can understand, I had a medical emergency, collapsed and almost died with undiagnosed cardiomyopathy , seemingly from birth ,but undetected ,  and a shock to this NON smoking, vegetarian, gym going health professional. 
               I might add in passing for the american audience here, how wonderful and free ( although I have had a professional life time paying in as well as work) is the NHS,  and the excellent care I had in intensive cardiac unit. Luckily i did not have a coronory  as no blocked arteries, good greek olive oil and diet , but massive arythmias from scarring and also  aortic valve regurgitation and aortic dilatation I will never forget the guy opposite me with large coronory so obscessed on the phone with money as family. Even at death’s door.  A lesson for me. 
              I am happy in Bulgaria, near Greece,  and happily we are friendly neighbours  now and medical wise have good doctors and things stable.  I do alot of walking. Veliko Tarnovo beautiful city.  
              As u know there are two other churches in Southampton, Romanian and Russian now.  I think we must ALL keep the words of St Seraphim of Sarov in mind, of keeping our mind in HELL and despairing not. We all believe we living through maximum crisis time re Church but it’s our ego.  When the Church is quiet,it is asleep !
              I will leave you my email is u wish to contact me outside of this 
              I trust u also will remember Fr Andreas ? 
              Best wishes 

    • Michael Bauman says

      Constantinos, I was not offended at all by anything you said, least of all about the brain building. I was merely suggesting that you balance it out a bit.

      Your mother’s comments indicate why there should be no Greek, Russian, Syrian, Serbian, Romanian or any other modifier to Orthodox Christian Church here in the United States.

      At my parish we have Greeks, Romanians, Russians, Ethiopians, Egyptians, Bulgarians as well as the still dominate Lebanese and several mongrel dogs like me. The services are conducted largely in English but include significant portions in Arabic and Greek with an occasional appearance of Slavonic.

      Being a cathedral parish we get quite a few visitors including Greek, Georgian and African hierarchs to name a few.

      What we need are Native Americans and American black people. That will show that we as a parish and the Church in general has actually begun to put down roots in North American soil–something we have failed to do and for the most part do not want to do, IMO.

      • Nikos stone says

        So true but it will happen.  The use of english is key but also a local mind set.  It does not mean that the wealth of ethnic customs and food are given up, why should they be ?  But added to by american ones. And if greek or etc is needed it should be usedand today people will be fluent in say english but want their memorial in greek etc and no problem.  But the normal liturgical and preaching language of the Church should be english and the local issues, those of the Church too.  
        I worship here in bulgarian.  One of the priests likes me to chant the Our Father in greek and if others present , koreans, english,etc here at university and living , they will in their language too. 

  17. Antiochene Son says

    “If people ever thought I was a Russia Orthodox, they would view me with contempt. It would be considered treasonous, and unpatriotic.”

    By whom? Neocons and Democrats who have succeeded in reviving the Cold War?

    Did the early Christians and St. Justin Martyr stop calling the Eucharist “the body and blood of Christ” just because the Romans were calling them cannibals?

    If we are concerned about what other people think, I’d rather be a traitor to my country than to my Church. I think your priorities are backwards.

    In my most humble of opinions, I believe the Orthodox Church really needs to grow up, and lose many un Christian customs.

    This is not a humble opinion, it is a Protestant one, which you are probably getting from all the Protestant books you are reading. It is truth mixed with lies. Lies that you are inadvertently accepting and pushing.

    Protestants have nothing to teach the Orthodox Church. Anything good you can find in Protestantism can be found in Orthodoxy. If you are concerned that people read the Bible, read St. John Chrysostom, who constantly told his flock to read the Bible with no excuses.

    Perhaps if you grew up Orthodox you are not familiar enough with Protestantism to realize its subtle but deep flaws. It’s easy to overlook it all because it’s no longer popular for Protestants to disagree with each other. But that changes nothing.

    I say this not out of blind zeal, but out of serious concern.

    • Thank you. You have said it better and briefer, but i am greek and when are we ever brief!!, then I could, but exactly.  He needs to go deeper   Costas is a good man, with a good heart and feelings.  God GUIDE. HIM  .

    • Constantinos says

      Hi Antiochene Son, I appreciate your deep thinking and thoughtful insights. For the record, I don’t read protestant books, however Ralph Waldo Emerson said,” in some ways every man is my superior, and in that I can learn from him.” I believe that the Orthodox Church is the one true Church, but is by no means infallible.
      If the Church is wrong in one area, then it can and is wrong in other areas as well. For example, when a Russian prelate blesses nuclear weapons, he is in deep sin. There are people on this forum who have advocated going to war, and killing people; this is not from God.. Our gentle Savior condemned all weapons.  Are we Christians or are we warmongers? The Church should be pacifist just like our humble, gentle Savior.
      When the Church practices okonomia, they are abrogating the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Allowing remarriage after divorce violates our Lord’s explicit command. They say it is because of mercy, etc. No, mercy is not condoning public adultery so I disregard the Church in this respect. When I believe the Church is wrong on some issue, I try to call them out on their hypocrisy. I do not believe in okonomia.
      When prelates wear fancy Byzantine costumes and travel first class, they are wrong, pompous and silly. Catholicism has many grievous sins to its credit( the pope never excommunicated Hitler), but I prefer Pope Francis’s humble attire, and the fact he is not driven around in a limousine like the Russian pimps who are flunkies for the nefarious Vladimir Putin.
      It’s funny, you criticize me for the exact same thing the MP does. He puts Russia before Orthodoxy, and approves of the former KGB agent’s every move.
      God works in and through the Orthodox Church as is witnessed by its saints, but He also most assuredly works in protestantism, and Catholicism as well. Believe it or not, He also works in Rabbinic Judaism. There is much wisdom in Judaism, and God hears and answers their prayers as well.  Orthodoxy needs to get off its high horse, From my study of astrophysics, it’s a gigantic universe out there. If Orthodoxy was all it is cracked up to be, it wouldn’t be so illiterate when it comes to science. Don’t forget, the Orthodox Church is a complete failure when it comes to evangelism, but it does pretty well in turning Orthodox Christians into agnostics and atheists. How many former Orthodox Christians are  now atheists and agnostics? It’s scary, my brother.

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        Actually, Orthodox do have things to learn from Protestants, and from Roman Catholics, too. Just not very many things.
        “Nothing” is like “nobody”. Usually an exaggeration….

      • Costa I have already mailed u re Russia and some books and stuff to read and study.  Add to that Fr Arseny . For yr soul’s sake.PLEASE 
        I agree with you re those outside the Church.  God acts where God will That includes outside the Church. Indeed God may act more outside than in and u know the  suffi story of the blind Men describing an elephant??    Yes the Universe is vast and if u think about why, then  there is a GOD.  I personally have no problems with evolution and science. Love science  ( not scientism, but evolution and knowledge)  and quuntum physics almost explains to you how Reserrection happened ( concept of light and nothing is solid  Not that this is important actually.  God acted even through pagan religions. Even the greek philosophy 
        AS for numbers equal to  truth??!, Costa ,the dictators all had adoring Crowds and worship and the Church,weak, old women,babushki,  dead ,dying  and And??! . Yet what is victorious ,the swastika or the Hammer and sickle or THE  CROSS??   Numbers mean nothing.  Only one person may initially know a scientific truth. Does not make it less true? 
        It is not the Church’ s job to be an ever relevant knowledge machine. Yes it should be aware of the issues that are there but IT’S WORK IS HOLINESS,  WHOLENESS COSTA, and to bring us to God. What does  that mean ? It means, which is true meaning of a miracle, to see the world transfigured as it is meant to be and as we are ,but our flawed state prevents without God. To aquire the Holy spirit PHYSICALLY as St Seraphim of Sarov did and showed. 
        Boris Pasternak in his famous Novel Dr Zhivago,  ( Dr Life!)  says that Christ brought history into being.  What did he mean?   He meant thst Christ directed himself as the Church, TO THE PERSON, not to  the proletariat or  to the market or the rich or poor BUT TO THE INDIVIDUAL PERSON. 
        This is Christianity ‘s message.  All the rest u can find in other religions and philosophies but it is this AND THAT GOD ENTERED HUMAN LIFE AS A PERSON .THIS IS PROFOUND. the Church is not a  philosophical  society or the Royal College of Science. nor a shop for  rites as secondary gets pushed over the Esence.  But Costa abuse of something is never an arguement to destroy or ban. Perscription medication is vastly abused in USA . Does this mean we ban it ? Of course not.  Same with abuse and superstion in church .
        I have said alot my friend. Have a think and let me know. 

  18. “In my most humble of opinions, I believe the Orthodox Church really needs to grow up, and lose many un Christian customs. For example, I think kissing a priest’s hand to be not only silly, but unhealthy due to the fact that the hand is a huge carrier of germs. I also think the Church should cut back off on the use of incense.”

    Mama mia! Where were you catechized?!?

  19. Michael Bauman says


    Kissing the priests hand: I used to find it strange and uncomfortable until I finally realized that his hands hold the gifts, it is a bit like kissing an icon. But, really GERMS?
    “What do you get when you kiss a girl, you get enough germs to catch pneumonia and when you do she’ll never phone ya….” At least the priest will come visit you in the hospital. Germs, sheesh. The leprosy of sin I carry in my heart is far worse don’t you think?

    Of course, anything can become an idol. It is not the things or acts themselves that are the problem it is the manner in which they are treated. It is the idolatry that we must avoid. That is why many Christians served in the Roman military with distinction until they were required to offer (guess what?) incense to Caesar as God.

    If someone kisses a priest’s hand because they think the priest, in and of themselves, is special. That is wrong. Done properly, one is honoring God and the sacrifice He made for our salvation.

    Incense: Read the old testament, understand that incense is part of our prayer that we be transformed and transfigured as we are lifted up to God. “Let our prayers arise in thy site as incense…” Of course there is always the description of heavenly worship in Isaiah 6.

    In one sense we are praying that our sins be cleansed and transformed by God’s fire into a sweet savor of blessing. When and how to use the incense is an integral part of our liturgics–or would you prefer the thought of a Methodist friend of mine who said while incensing: “It does no harm, it does no good”?

    Jesus as pacifist: even Jim Forrest has difficulty making that claim. One question: Did Jesus tell the Centurion who came to Him to stop being a soldier?

    What do you mean by “pacifist”? The Church has never been pacifist in the modern ideological manner, but she has always had room for those who want to lead a truly pacifist life and we should not be war mongers. You might try reading Fr. Alexander Webster’s fine book, “The Pacifist Option” While you are at it, pay particularly close attention to what he calls the zero sum dilemma. Also you should know that modern Christian pacifism is the offspring of a non-Orthodox theology that everything is pre-destined including whether or not we are saved. The so-called ‘peace churches’ are all of Anabaptist origin. That does not automatically exclude what they say from consideration but it does make it difficult to give it carte blanche.

    Modern weaponry and increasingly anti-human politics is a significant challenge but simply “being a pacifist” is not enough. Being a peacemaker is much more difficult and challenging and that is what we are called to. IMO sometimes force, even deadly force, is required to stop the ravages of evil. As Vladimir Lossky pointed out the Church is not dialectic, in fact the Church and the Christian life is profoundly un-dialectic. The seeming paradoxes of “both-and” are everywhere in the Church beginning with the reality and doctrine that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man.

    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
    – Hamlet (1.5.167-8),

    • Constantinos says

      Mr. Bauman,
      You have chosen your quote wisely. In my humble opinion, Hamlet is Shakespeare’s finest work. It seems like he really poured his heart and soul into this sublime creation. Of course, it is required of every gentleman to quote from Shakespeare Sonnets to his wife.  Another fascinating work is the eleven volume The History of My Life by Giacomo Casanova. Not only was he a great lover, but he paints an extremely interesting portrait of 18th century Europe. By the way, don’t use any of his tactics in this day and age. Too much political correctness. Well, you’re married so you can use them to the delight of your wife. Start reading, and you’ll see what I mean. No offense intended.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Constantinos, not to brag but my wife loves me because I am direct and honest.  I need only to call her name.   But that is because God brought us together.

    • Constantinos says

      Mr. Bauman,I’ve been thinking about my posts. For the most part, to me. they smack of arrogance, division,and are largely unnecessary. I must humbly learn more about my Orthodox faith. Thank you, brother.

  20. Pokas Kasofertis says

    Check out Bart’s plans to replace all three archbishops of the Anglosphere