Frick & Frack Build Orthodox Monastery Under Catholic Diocese

So, people are abuzz that Pope Francis has endorsed same-sex civil unions.  It’s a pretty safe bet that these civil unions will materialize into marriages within the Catholic Church. (What now, my Tradcat brethren?)

Elpi has broached the same subject on our own front, albeit a little differently.  At a Leadership 100 meeting in Boca Raton, he turned off the mic and spoke about allowing spouses of Orthodox Christians to take the Eucharist.  The fact that these spouses could have been married as same sex couples outside the Church was the elephant in the room. 

March of 2018, I posted something I found curious.  Cardinal Kurt Koch and the Bishop of Eisenstadt (capital of the Burgenland), Ägidius Zsifkovics, presented Bartholomew with a donation from the Pope of 100,00 euros to start the first Orthodox monastery in Austria.  It was to be built at St Andrä in Austria’s easternmost province of Burgenland over which the Bishop of Eisenstadt presides.

Koch recalled that Pope Francis had supported the monastery project “from its very beginnings” and recalled that Pope John Paul II had underlined the importance of Austria’s easternmost diocese’s bridge building function between the people of eastern and western Europe.

Recently, they began breaking ground in the presence of state, local, diplomatic and church authorities, as well as many faithful.  Neither the Pope or Bartholomew were there, but Bartholomew sent his good wishes and “Cardinal Kurt Koch conveyed the wishes on behalf of Pope Francis, stressing the importance of the Holy Monastery for the unity of Christians.”

There’s that pesky word “unity,” again.

Bartholomew previously stated that, “. . . the establishment and operation of an Orthodox monastery in the jurisdiction of the Diocese and Exarchate was a wish from the beginning of his priesthood in December 2011.”    

Although the new monastery is to be known as the  Monastery of Agia Skepi and Saint Paisios, its Brotherhood (Catholic) has been established since 2016.

The Orthodox monastery will exist under Austria’s easternmost Catholic diocese.

I may be wrong, but I think this is the first Orthodox monastery under the Catholic Church, folks.

And some still say we’re not going to Rome.  Ha!

Mrs. M



  1. So this is their game. Slow roll a unia with no pronouncements until it becomes defacto. BTW, there is no such thing as an Orthodox anything under the RC. Whatever it is it ceases to be Orthodox.

  2. “Although the new monastery is to be known as the Monastery of Agia Skepi and Saint Paisios, its Brotherhood (Catholic) has been established since 2016.”

    I don’t know that the brotherhood is Roman Catholic. If so, it is not an Orthodox monastery. Regardless, those not in communion with Constantinople need not concern themselves.

  3. “I may be wrong, but I think this is the first Orthodox monastery under the Catholic Church, folks.”
    Hey Gail, I’m not sure if I’m misunderstanding how you mean this, but it looks like the monastery will be under Met. Arsenios of Austria, an Orthodox metropolitan. I’m not sure if it is being set up as a main monastery or in connection with another established one, and I wasn’t clear on who the Brotherhood was, but I didn’t see anything in that particular article indicating the monastery would be connected to the Catholic Church in any way, aside from the sizable donation from the Pope. Was I missing something?

  4. Wayne M Syvinski says

    Let me put this as gently and diplomatically as I can.

    The Ecumenist Heresiarch of Istanbul can cram it.

  5. Wow! Who is their bishop? Is their bishop Orthodox or Catholic?

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I don’t know!!! They’re framing it in such a confusing way. I think it may be on purpose, so we won’t figure it out right away.

      • Wayne M Syvinski says

        That was the modus operandi for the development of the documents of the Second Vatican Council:  make statements exceedingly opaque and ambiguous in order to sow confusion at the time of their release, and then be interpreted in the most modernist way possible down the road.

        As Yogi Berra said, “It’s deja vu all over again.”

  6. Jane Tzilvelis says

    I am not confused.  I am very clear as to what is happening.  I will not engage.

    These “forerunners” of the Antichrist also direct that world-wide process which the Apostle St. Paul called “apostasy” (II Thess. 2:3). The essence of this process is Christian mankind’s ever greater departure from the genuine, uncorrupted teaching of the Gospel and the replacement of the Gospel commands with other ideals. The destructive nature of these ideals proposed to mankind by the Antichrist’s forerunners is that they sometimes seem acceptable for Christians, compatible with Christianity, while in reality they are profoundly opposed to it…
    – Archbishop Averky (Taushev)

    • Amen, Jane.  Fittingly, I never see Pope Francis or Pope (excuse me) Patriarch Bartholomew alluding to or quoting the Holy Fathers accurately, do you?  

  7. So, people are abuzz that Pope Francis has endorsed same-sex civil unions.
    Dang!  A rhetorical question that once served well as an affirmative answer to a stupid question will now elicit nothing but quizzical looks – particularly from Roman Catholics.  What next?  Will bears defecate in public restrooms?

    • Thomas Barker says

      If anyone has given antipope Francis the benefit of the doubt until now, this same-sex declaration should make it clear how far along we are. It’s a good reminder that we are travelers in a strange land.

    • Brilliant Brian, just brilliant.

  8. The gifting of land and money by the Catholic Church for the purpose of creating an Orthodox monastery in Austria under Greek authority in not unlike what Pope John Paul II did in 2004 when he gave the 6th century basilica of San Teodoro on the Palatine Hill to the Greek Orthodox community of Rome for its use.  Same motive? Who’s kidding whom?  At the inaugural ceremony, Cardinal Koch used the German word, Einheit (unity) eight times during his lengthy and gratuitous remarks. Gail was right when speaking of that “pesky” word.  

  9. Pat Reardon says

    Until I learn more details about this project, I will treat it as no big deal.
    When I visited the monastery of St Gregory on the Caelian Hill a quarter-century ago, there were TWO monastic groups living together in a single community; one was Romanian Orthodox, and the other was Camaldolese Benedictine. 
    They worshipped separately, with the Orthodox using a side chapel with a different altar. The monks arranged their times of the Eucharist and the canonical hours so as not to be in conflict. In this way, monastic prayer was taking place in church TWICE as often.
    For the rest, the two communities were completely integrated, working together, eating together, studying together, and so forth.
    The arrangement seemed fine to me.
    Indeed, I thought the whole thing quite lovely— all those monks gathered in brotherhood in the very house from which Saint Gregory dispatched the monks to Canterbury at the end of the sixth century. They were doing their best with the tragic history we Christians have inherited. 
    I went  immediately into the nave and chanted the Trisagion in Greek and Latin and Slavonic. On the next Sunday, I returned and concelebrated the Divine Liturgy with the Orthodox monks; the Romanians let me chant my parts in Italian.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Father, please let us know if you find out more.

      You see, for me, nothing is as it was before Ukraine. Where I can see two brotherhoods living together and working side by side like you described with respect to St Gregory on the Celian Hill a quarter-century ago, I do not believe this would be possible under anything connected to Pope Francis or Bartholomew.

      They just held a joint prayer service with Muslims, Buddhists, and who knows who else. Why would we have any reason to believe the monastery they’ve jointly created would fail to pray together, as they, themselves, often do? Bartholomew even prays with unrepentant, unordained, schismatics.

      We have heard them talk about unity on the 1700 anniversary of the first Nicene Council in 2025. We have seen Bartholomew try to redefine “Church” to be all-inclusive. We have heard how communing the spouses of individuals who may have had a same-sex marriage outside the Church is being discussed here in America, while Pope Francis talks about the legitimacy of same-sex union in the RC world.

      Together, they speak of love for human beings in every context, but rarely ever about the love for God or the love for the Church. It’s a sin to love the created more than the creator.

      Father, everything has changed.

      • “Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God,” Francis said in one of his sit-down interviews for the film. “You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.”

        I give him the benefit of the doubt in only one respect: I am inclined to believe that he means well. But most fools mean well.

        In one brief statement he has managed to redefine both the family and the meaning of love. And as with all misguided fools who succumb to devilish lies, he presents a false choice of only two options: complete acceptance or hatred – neither of which is Christian.

        • Michael Bauman says

          There is that truly nasty word “right” born of Deism and atheist scholars and enshrined in our Anti-Christian founding documents. 
          Everywhere that concept leads-Satan follows in its train.
          Human beings out of our own will have no rights.  Our primary responsibilities are obedience to God and contrition in prayer, fasting, almsgiving and confession.
          Even that gets all skewed by things like having a “right” to receive the Holy Gifts as we worship Him.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Michael, I don’t disagree with you regarding the Enlightenment concept of rights except in this regard: at present they are a metastasis of what are properly understood, in the Christian sense. God instituted government from the outset of creation itself with the first man. He had not only duties and obligations but rights, even in a paradisical world.

            After the Fall, his descendants enjoyed certain prerogatives as well.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Government-yes. Hierarchical govenment.  As a exercise try looking at what you say are “rights” in the Bible and try not to interpret them in an “Enlightenment” sense.
              This is the ultimate challenge of learning from history: not looking at everything through the understanding of the present.  Especially today where we all “are getting better and better everyday”  
              Do I have a right to a bishop who agrees with me?  Including a right to receive the Sacraments when and how I like?  
              If we have any “natural rights” then the Pope is correct.  Our “natural rights” override any appeal to a Godly order because “we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”  
              Jefferson’s original thought was “life, liberty and property”.  Slaves were property to him. 
              This worldview precludes an Incarnate Savior or the need for one. Obviously the RCC and much of what is called the Orthodox Church agrees.  
              Theology and the spiritual life has been reduced to a Beatles song or worse.  

            • Michael Bauman says

              George, not being critical just wondering what the phrase “not disagreeing” actually means. Sounds to my ear in a written forum like someone who is in an argument with a spouse but doesn’t want to provoke.  If you do disagree I am fine with that.  
              I used to think highly of the Declaration and the Constitution and Bill of Rights.  
              Not any more 

            • George, I believe you are relying too much upon Locke’s interpretation of creation and the Fall. Instead of condemning the rights and absolutisms of kings that he was writing against, Locke applied those same rights to the people (well specifically to the aristocracy). Locke was merely the Martin Luther of politics.

              To better understand the hierarchical government that Michael speaks of and of the angelic world in general, I recommend listening to the podcast Lord of Spirits by Fr. Stephen Dammick and Fr. Stephen de Young. A good series of articles on this topic is found on Russian-faith.
              Of course the best source for dissecting the problems with the Enlightenment is Fr. Seraphim Rose who is truly a saint and prophet of our times.

        • If a baptized Christian enters into a homosexual ‘marriage’ they are in open apostasy against their faith. 

      • George Michalopulos says

        To all: so much has changed, hasn’t it? Not in a good way mind you but God in His mercy has allowed “those of us who have eyes” to see the Grand Uglification in all its hideous crapulence, hasn’t He?

        I dare say that even those who are not sympathetic, i.e. those who may not “have eyes to see” know which way the wind is blowing.

        If Misha doesn’t mind, I’m going to channel him, let me put it this way: the scales have come off our eyes in 2020. But it’s only fair: we’ve now caught up with those of our countrymen who are anti-American/Christian/patriotic, the scales came off their eyes in 2016.


          I found these guys, kinda like orthodoxinfo.   Might be helpful.  I like people who document their assertions.

          The scales began to drop from my eyes leading up to the Robber Council of Crete and its ensuing travesty.  Ukraine just sealed the deal.

          I couldn’t care less about catching Covid.  Catching heresy is another matter entirely.  Lie down with dogs, rise up with fleas.  Do you not think that the Pontifical Institute in Rome ruined both Patriarch Bartholomew and Sister Vassa?  Tis the season for building fences.

          Long ago I posted occasionally on Touchstone but realized I was in fundamental disagreement with its raison d’etre and ceased.  I recall that years ago Fr. Thomas Hopko penned a “what if” article regarding what the Roman Catholic Church would need to do in order for there to be a restoration of communion.  At the time, I thought it as a decent summary though I would have changed a few things.

          However, now I have to say that ecumenism and the Hopko approach are really not the Orthodox way.  I love all people.  I love heretics and schismatics.  I love those of other faiths entirely.  At the level of individuals, there is only love and and an ever present open door for them to enter the Church as soon as they are moved to do so.  

          But I have come to the conclusion that it is fundamentally wrong to negotiate with them institutionally.  That is what all Catholic-Orthodox theological, dogmatic and canonical dialogue boil down to.  Negotiation.  Horse trading.

          The Orthodox Church is the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.  No other confession is.  They may be reconciled as schismatics if, indeed, they are schismatics who repent.  They may be reconciled as heretics if they are heretics who have repented and wish to renounce their heresy and enter the Church.  They are eagerly invited and more than welcome.  There is no triumphalism in this whatsoever.  I did not invent the Orthodox Faith but rather am simply fortunate enough that God led me to it and Him.  There is only a humble assertion that, lowly sinner that I am, the worst of all I am compelled to confess, that my faith is correct and all deviation from it is not pleasing to God.

          Mother Theresa will probably enter heaven long before I do.  She treated the least of these like Jesus Christ Himself.  Yet, her faith was misguided.  And, in fact, it later came out that she despaired for much of her life.  She was not, in fact, a saint and was prevented from attaining noetic illumination by her heresy.
          That is sad.  It is not the end of the world.  But if it did not matter, the Church Fathers would never have taken such extraordinary pains to exhort us to avoid heresy and not to pray with schismatics or heretics.  

    • MomofToddler says

      “For the rest, the two communities were completely integrated, working together, eating together, studying together, and so forth.” –  Even this seems to be pushing the boundaries in ecumenism…but the movement started 100 years ago or so I guess.

    • I would be interested in seeing where the Synaxarion tells us about Orthodox monks living and working alongside heretics as if it was all fine and dandy. Wait, here’s one:
      This is the witness of the god-fearing Abba Zosimus and the vision that accompanied it. Abba Zosimus was a wandering foreigner with a pure soul and upright character. He was even deemed worthy of sojourning with the venerable Peter and holding fast to the untainted faith. Zosimus told me that after living at Raitho and Mount Sinai with the Orthodox fathers, he left and journeyed to Jerusalem. He had grown to love life in the Holy Land and was constantly coming and going, seeking a place to settle. He came at last to Bethel, where Jacob the Patriarch had seen the vision of the ladder, and there he found favor with the caretaker of the place. The monk begged Zosimus incessantly to stay with him and promised that he could guarantee him a place of peace unlike any other. Abba Zosimus told him truthfully that he could not stay, for he had no communion with the dissenters of Chalcedon. But the monk insisted and promised that in that isolated place no one would give him trouble on that account. He said, “Stay here. You will sing the psalter with me and care for this place.”
      Zosimus had almost been won over by these allurements when one night he had a dream: He saw Jacob the Patriarch, dressed in white, solemn and brooding, walking about the place. He was dressed in a cloak with a rod in his hand. He drew near and said, “How can you, one who has communion with the Orthodox, consider dwelling here? Do not forsake your faith for me, but flee these renegades as quickly as you can, and [you will lack neither peace nor anything else you require.” So Zosimus left and remained steadfast in good works and the Orthodox faith till the end of his days.
      Hat tip:

  10. The Catholic church loans and gifts properties to Orthodox churches all over Europe, including to conservative jurisdictions: largely because there aren’t enough practicing Catholics and largely because the Orthodox churches are appealing to immigrants who don’t have much money. In general it is fine.

  11. It’s not an Orthodox monastery if it’s under a “Bishop” of the Roman Parasynagogue.