An Orthodox Response to George Weigel, Neo-Conservatism and Latin Hatred of Russia

Like many Orthodox Christians, I took offense to a recent screed written by George Weigel, a Latin-triumphalist who excoriated the Russian Orthodox Church. Frs Alexander F C Webster, Victor Potapov and Mr James G Jartras recently wrote an open letter to Mr Weigel, calling him out on his delusional Russophobia. [Courtesy: American Orthodox Institute.]

It is my fervent hope that the day of the Neo-conservative stranglehold over American foreign policy is over. Weigel is an exponent of this dreadful, Trotskyite ideology and everything he writes must be viewed through the prism hatred of a resurgent, Christianized Russia.

Indeed, I detect a subtle –but no less real–envy of Orthodoxy by Mr Weigel and others like him. This is most unfortunate but given the aimlessness of Pope Francis, the veil of moral authority that used to envelope the Catholic Church has now been lifted. (More on this forthcoming.)

In the meantime, please take the time to read this excellent broadside in its entirety.

Patriarch Kirill and Russian Orthodoxy Deserve Respect Not Insults: An Open Letter to George Weigel*

St. Basil Cathedral

Source: AOI

by Fr. Alexander F. C. Webster, James George Jatras, and Fr. Victor Potapov

I. Introduction

As longtime friendly colleagues in the pursuit of a faithful Christian public moral witness in America, we are profoundly saddened and shocked at your unfounded, insulting accusations against the moral integrity of the senior leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church since the Ukrainian crisis erupted in February 2014.

The initial broadside appeared in your column in the Denver Catholic Register on March 18, 2014, when you dismissed Patriarch Kirill of Moscow as “duplicitous” and Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfayev), chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, as “mendacious.” We take increased umbrage at the steady escalation of your Szechuan ad hominem prose since then:

  • “These [Ukrainian Greek Catholic] bishops, like other western Christians, have not been duped by the extraordinary campaign of lies that has issued from the Kremlin these past seven months, but…all of us who cherish the spiritual patrimony of Russian Orthodoxy…are deeply saddened when you and Metropolitan Hilarion, your chief ecumenical officer, amplify the falsehoods of President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov.” [June 17, 2014]
  • “Russian Orthodoxy’s leadership today functions as a Kremlin mouthpiece in matters Ukrainian, even as it lies about the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church’s role in the current crisis and betrays its ecumenical commitments in doing so…[February 17, 2015]
  • “Serious ecumenical theological dialogue is impossible with men who are acting in the world as agents of Russian state power. Pretending otherwise emboldens the Russian Orthodox leadership.” [August 4, 2015]

The condescending, hubristic tone of those comments is surpassed in offensiveness only by your resort to uncharitable epithets—liars, mouthpieces, and dupes—which hardly constitute a reasoned argument. It is well-nigh impossible in this “open letter” to defend Patriarch Kirill and Metropolitan Hilarion from your omniscient pretense to know their hearts and minds. However, we shall attempt here to set the record straight by accurately citing and explaining their public positions on the Ukrainian crisis.

II. Symphonia—Not  “Separation”—of Church & State

Far from a throwback to Soviet-era practices—as you have suggested, both in your own words and though uncritical quotation of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church’s (UGCC) Major-Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk (“Ukraine Rising,” National Review, Nov. 10, 2014), the close cooperation between Church and state in Russia today is more reminiscent of the pre-1917 symphonia, the Orthodox standard throughout our history since the time of Byzantine Emperor Theodosios I in the late fourth century. That organic instead of adversarial understanding of the sacerdotium and the imperium united, harmoniously albeit with some tension, in a single Christian commonwealth is obviously antithetical to the neo-Jeffersonian principle of strict “separation” of church and state, now political dogma in virtually all Western countries imbued with the notion of secular liberal democracy.

In the restored symbiosis in post-Soviet Russia it is hardly clear that the Church is the junior partner dutifully “amplifying” state policy. To the contrary, as Professor Nicolai N. Petro of the University of Rhode Island pointed out (“Russia’s Orthodox Soft Power,” Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, March 23, 2015), Kremlin policies “are popular precisely because they have the blessing of the Russian Orthodox Church.” Grounded in a religio-cultural vision of Russky mir—the “Russian World” descended from ancient Kievan Rus’ and embracing the people in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and perhaps Kazakhstan—the balance in the contemporary Russian neo-symphonia, as it were, depends on the respective priorities of Patriarch Kirill and the Putin government. As Petro astutely observed, Russky mir is, for the state, “a political or a cultural concept” by which the Russian Orthodox Church “can be a useful tool” for Russia’s domestic and international advancement. But Russky mir is, for the Church, “a religious concept” by which the national governments can be “tools” for the “second Christianization” of the historic lands of Kievan Rus.’

We would argue that, since AD 2000, the Russian neo-symphonia has begun to tip in favor of the Church, not the state, and praise God the Holy Trinity for that! The comprehensive document titled, Bases of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church, produced by the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate under the leadership of Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfayev)—whose moral character you have besmirched—is the gold standard of contemporary, yet very traditional, Orthodox social ethics. Other ecclesial initiatives have provided the main impetus for recent Russian laws—decried, alas, by Western liberals—to curb propagandizing and proselytizing of young Russians by “gay rights” advocates, reduce the enormity of abortions in post-Soviet Russia, and protect the sanctity of religious temples from unwanted intrusions by miscreant groups like “Pussy Riot.” In addition, the Russian Church has established a profound inter-confessional collaboration with U.S. evangelicals to promote strong families and traditional marriage between one man and one woman alone.

None of those accomplishments was possible throughout most of the twentieth century. As each of the co-authors of this open letter have acknowledged often in print, Russian Orthodoxy had to endure the godless Soviets for 74 years, including the shameless betrayal of faithful confessors and martyrs by Orthodox hierarchical collaborators with that regime. For you to compare that horrific era to the miraculous re-emergence and moral integrity of the Church since 1991 is shameless.

Whatever criticisms one might have of the symphonia model, blanket condemnation is hardly appropriate as we witness the trend in our own country, where Christianity is increasingly marginalized, moral vices are officially promoted as virtues, and abortion “rights” and homosexual “rights,” in particular, are now key components of U.S. foreign policy—a trend we are sure you deplore no less than we.

III. The Russian Church—a Rival, Not an “Enemy”

Patriarch Kirill, Metropolitan Hilarion, and other prelates of the Russian Orthodox Church have been consistent on two points with respect to Ukraine. First, they voice support for Russia’s policies. Second, they call for restraint in what they see as a deplorable, fratricidal conflict, which pits the Russky Mir against itself.

You need not accept their point of view. Perhaps based on your own religious heritage, you may prefer to believe that the UGCC is “a safe-deposit box of Ukrainian national culture and identity,” despite the mere 15%, at most, of Ukraine’s population who identify as Catholics (Latin or Eastern rite). Underlying the current conflict are some sharp as yet unanswered questions: What exactly is Ukraine (“Borderland”) and who are Ukrainians? Are they an aspiring part of (an increasingly godless and libertine) “Europe” defined in Brussels or an integral part of the Russky Mir? Who was on the “right” or “wrong” side of World War II? Ukrainians themselves are at odds on these questions, largely along regional and confessional lines.

When Ukraine became an independent republic in 1991, those questions lay dormant under a deceptively calm surface. But they remained a fatal weakness in the very fiber of the new state, along with an unbelievable level of oligarchic corruption. The unconstitutional unseating of the flawed but democratically elected government in February 2014 shattered what was already a fragile unity. That, not some mythical Russian aggression, has torn Ukraine apart.

Worse, the overturn of the legal government would not have succeeded without violence or the participation of extreme nationalist elements. You write that Ukraine “rose up against post-Communist corruption and stagnation,” and that Archbishop Shevchuk’s “Church played a central role in the Maidan Revolution of Dignity,’ its bishops and priests dodging Russian bullets to tend to those demonstrating nonviolently for freedom and justice.” However:

  • Surely you are aware of the leaked phone call between the EU’s Catherine Ashton and Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, indicating the true source of sniping on the Maidan.
  • Surely you know that “those demonstrating nonviolently” included members of violent radical groups like Right Sector, using spiked clubs, Molotov cocktails, and even guns against riot police to seize government buildings—behavior that, in Washington, would be put down immediately with deadly force.
  • Surely you know of the May 2014 massacre in Odessa of dozens of anti-Euromaidan demonstrators—or maybe that was just more nonviolent struggle for “freedom and justice”?
  • Surely you know of the new law criminalizing criticism of the wartime Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), sinister fascists guilty of participation in massacres of Jews and of slaughtering tens of thousands of Roman Catholic Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia. Perhaps that’s an example of the “Revolution of Dignity”?
  • Surely you know that only two days after the President Viktor Yanukovich fled from Kiev in February 2014 the Ukraine parliament repealed by an 86% majority a 2012 law ensuring, among other things, the official use of Russian as a second language in the predominantly Russian-speaking Donbass region in Eastern Ukraine, where the civil war has since proved most violent. Was that punitive, provocative measure indicative of Ukrainian “freedom and justice”?
  • Surely you know that the Ukrainian military’s Azov Brigade engaged in combat in the Donbass region includes self-proclaimed neo-Nazis, perhaps as much as 20% of the unit (according to USA Today, March 10, 2015), complete with swastikas, as well as the infamous “SS” runes and an inverted version of the Wolfsangel symbol used widely during World War II by Nazi German Waffen-SS divisions. Are German broadcaster ZDF and Norwegian broadcaster TV2, which filmed the latter, and NBC News (who reported the incidents online on September 9, 2014), also “dupes” and “mouthpieces” of the Kremlin?

Your trumpeting of a single Ukrainian national will may fit in well with a “good vs. evil” Manichaean narrative to depict the Ukraine conflict as one of West vs. East, democracy vs. tyranny, Ukraine vs. Russia, and, by implication, Catholic vs. Orthodox. It may be great fare for readers of the Denver Catholic Register, National Review, and other publications who may be unaware of past and present complexities. But it is not conducive to a peaceful and just resolution of the Ukraine crisis or averting an even broader conflict that would imperil Europe and the world, including the U.S. Nor is it an excuse to hurl verbal Molotov cocktails at honorable Christian pastors who happen to disagree with you.

*George Weigel is a distinguished lay Roman Catholic theologian and author of the magisterial Witness to Hope: The Biography of John Paul II (Harper Perennial: 2004 [updated edition].

Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, PhD, is a retired U.S. Army Chaplain (Colonel), author of four books on Orthodox social ethics, and rector of St. Herman of Alaska Russian Orthodox Church in Stafford, Virginia. James George Jatras, Esq., is Deputy Director of the American Institute in Ukraine, former foreign policy adviser to the U.S. Senate Republican leadership, and a Greek Orthodox layman. Mitred Archpriest Victor Potapov is the dean of St. John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Washington, DC, and a retired Russian language broadcaster for the Voice of America.

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Comments

  1. What a beautiful piece of rhetoric! Ciceronian, I’d say.

    I’m surprised that nobody brought up Zbigniew Brzezinski’s asinine comment from about fifteen years, saying that now that the Soviet Union is gone, the last enemy in Russia is the Orthodox Church. I myself heard him say that in a TV broadcast.

    Then, of course, there’s the vexed matter of Ukraine. People don’t know russian history and so get sucked into the propaganda mill which tries to make us all think that Ukraine has always been an independent culture, now a nation which doesn’t want to be resorbed into a neorussian empire.

    The fact is, though, that it was the culture of Rus’, centered on Kiev, which became Russia! There’s a proverb: Kiev — mat’ russkikh gorodov (‘Kiev is the mother of Russian cities.’)

    When the Tatars invaded Rus’, everyone who could fled north: the royal court, the church administration, etc. After centuries of abandonment following the wanton destruction and poisoning of the land by the Tatars, Ukraine was gradually repopulated not only by Russians (hence the fact that a large area in central and eastern Ukraine is mostly Russian-speaking) but also by Poles and others from countries bordering that province on the west — hence its name: ‘at the border’ is a fairly close rendering of u kraina.

    Those western immigrants brought their own (mostly polish) customs and languages to the area surrounding Lvov, now the center of ukrainian uniatism and dialect. Those people, quixotically, have as their main purpose in life to be neither russian nor orthodox, and they get violent about it.

    The fact remains that the land and the people of all the provinces of Rus’ are all one land and one people, and they should be at peace with each other, especially those of them who purport to be Christians.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Monk James, I think the day is coming when (in the words of Orthodox England) we will be able to pile “Christ-haters” and “Russophobes” into the same dirt pile. Zbig will certainly occupy a place of (dis)honor in that slagheap. As will most sodomophiliacs, idolators and other secularists and libertines.

    • Someone asked me what I meant by provinces of Rus’.

      Those would be Velikorus’, Malorus’, and Belorus’, or Great Russia, Little Russia, and White Russia (the last one largely ignored by vaticanist think-tanks) all of whose people (now) speak different dialects of (attestably)the same east-slavic language.

      Asian nations (Azerbaijan, Ingushetia, Uzbekistan, etc., which were once willy-nilly part of the tsarist empire or of the Soviet Union are not part of that small group. Whether or not those countries remain in any sort of federation with Russia remains to be seen, but that’s a question very different from the relationship between Ukraine and Russia, which has unique historic characteristics deserving consideration.

      These special factors probably do not include ukrainian or even belorusin independence or statehood, no matter what George Weigel or fanatical nationalists in Lvovshchina think. But whatever they do, they ought to do it with peaceful negotiations, kindly, without violence and with fraternal love, admit their mistakes, mend their fences, embrace each other in Christ, and work together for the edification of His Body on Earth, His holy orthodox Church.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      President Putin speaks at opening of new mosque in Moscow; the video clip of his speech is interesting.

  2. Thanks, George, for posting this, and thank you Frs. Alexander and Victor and Mr. Jatras for writing it. My it be widely disseminated and read.

    lxc

  3. “It is my fervent hope that the day of the Neo-conservative stranglehold over American foreign policy is over.”

    Says the man who gushes praise over the despicable serial-killing psychopath Chris Kyle.

    You can’t have it both ways, George.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Sorry, Kyle was a warrior –and a magnificent one at that–serving his nation. If the policy was wrongheaded then the rulers who ordered him into battle will be held to account. Both history and God will judge.

      Just curious though, how do you feel about Gen William Tecumseh Sherman? Or George Armstrong Custer? Or the guy who flew the Enola Gay?

      • That’s a real rogues gallery. Kyle was no warrior in the real sense of the term. He hid like a snake and killed with a seeming glee. Didn’t he state in his diary that his only regret was that he didn’t kill more?

        Sherman was a rapist of the land while he went destroying and burning everything in his path…..making war on civilians. Custer was your typical Anglo, Manifest Destiny colonialist. As for the men who flew the Enola Gay, well, I hope they are/were able to sleep at night knowing that in a second they murdered thousands of innocent non-combatants.

        • George Michalopulos says

          He did’t “hide like a snake” all the time. He actually led an expedition as documented in the movie. And besides, snipers are an accepted part of conventional warfare.

      • “Just curious though, how do you feel about Gen William Tecumseh Sherman? Or George Armstrong Custer? Or the guy who flew the Enola Gay?”

        Overall, negatively. Same with Kyle, though with differences. On top of everything, Kyle most certainly slandered Ventura to sell his book. Now neocon media say his estate is unsuable, whether or not he was guilty. Don’t ally with this scum.

        On the “warrior” question, Kyle was not sniping off Muslims to protect Smyrna or something, he was killing mostly nationalists fighting an invader (plus whatever poor innocent people approached a checkpoint the wrong way). Dishonourable.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          I have a high opinion of Sherman, though I refrain from expressing it in light of our host’s views. At the very least, however, I would recommend his memoirs, which are a welcome change from the usual 19th century rhodomontade and circumlocution, especially where the Civil War was concerned.

  4. I think the Orthodox are engaged in a civilizational struggle with both Western Liberalism and Islam. We should expect no more cooperation from Rome than from Cairo. Traditional Orthodox symphonia is quite different from Enlightenment secularism or political Islam.

    It’s amazing that people who call themselves Christians can support the West against Russia. Western cultural imperialism is decidedly anti-Christian: abortion, no fault divorce, normalization of homosexuality, destruction of the patriarchy – even driving religion out of the public square here in America. This is what so-called Christians in America are supporting by demonizing Russia and by forcing more tradition-minded cultures to abide by the norms of the EU or international human rights organizations in exchange for favorable trade status or inclusion in free trade zones.

    People stuck in Cold War redux mode should really ask themselves if the “enemy” is really the same. The Soviet Union was an atheistic, socialist state. Russia is an Orthodox, mixed market capitalist society. That it may harbor ideas of governance that do not comport with Western Liberalism does not make Russia evil or wrong. Given the absolutely universal decadence into which Western democracies have fallen, is it not spiritual suicide for Christians to support these failed experiments?

    Such so-called Christians are extremely myopic. Weigel is merely par for the course. He indirectly condemns his own Church’s political activity for most of its history in favor of supporting a political ideology which consistently works against traditional Catholic morality. He is to be pitied.

    • George Michalopulos says

      It’s strange, isn’t it? We used to be a force for good in the world, now we’re putting grandmothers in jail for obeying their Christian consciences. Lord have mercy.

      • George,

        Yes, it is strange. We were a force for good to the extent that we opposed an atheistic, communist regime. Atheism and rejection of market economics were its sins with which humanity could not put up. In its repression of natural human desires for the divine and for self-embetterment, it murdered millions of people and repressed all under its control.

        And that society has now passed into the dustbin of history.

        Today, Russia is certainly not atheistic. And this upsets a lot of progressives. Nor is it particularly socialistic. And, this too upsets a lot of progressives. Nor is it particularly liberal in its social mores. And this, perhaps most of all, upsets a lot of progressives. So Russia has few friends on the left in the US and the EU.

        Yet, on the right, at least the new right, we have equally entrenched hostility. This, I think, is primarily economic. If it had really to do with authoritarian rule, then the new right would be the grandaddy of all hypocrites – though there are many neocons who, tragically, still believe that the spread of democracy will solve all human problems. Well, it certainly won’t solve the problems of abortion, normalization of homosexuality, no-fault divorce and high divorce rates that leave an abundance of single parent homes, etc. It will not solve the problem of the social pathologies that result from out of wedlock births and broken homes such as high crime rates, poverty, etc.

        Russia does not want the expansion of free trade into Eastern Europe to elbow it out, nor does it want countries on its borders caught up in Western military alliances which would serve to put “defensive” weaponry close to Russia. A military strategist has to assume the worst intentions of his adversaries given their military capabilities, not the best. To do otherwise would be foolhardy. Russia has a long history of being invaded. Moreover, many hawks on the right simply can’t get over the Cold War. They do not want to see an independent Eurasian military or economic bloc.

        Now, wiser politicians would take advantage of this situation to save their own skins. America cannot continue to be the world’s policeman. We simply cannot afford it. Samuel Huntington had the right idea with his book, Clash of Civilizations. We should welcome Russia and China keeping order in their sphere. We should be attempting to build up a regional hegemon to control the Middle East and North Africa as well. They could keep order and, as a result, we could quit printing money and losing thousands of American lives.

        Yet this would mean not opening up new markets for Western companies, or at least making them compete with the East for Eastern European market share. It would also mean treating Russia not as a power to be contained (through NATO expansion and the occasional anti-democratic coup d’etat, as in Ukraine), but as an ally. Yet we forsook that route back during the Clinton administration when we decided, against our previous assurances to the contrary, to expand NATO ever eastward. What business does Georgia have in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization?

        No, no, better to antagonize a nuclear power and drive them into the arms of America’s greatest economic rival. What could go wrong? Actually, I’m gratified, in a way. The West is so morally decadent and hell-bent on spreading its ideological poison world wide that I am happy that it alienated Russia and that it is encountering firm resistance. The hand of God is in this.

        George, I would give you a much better grade on this than Carl and suspect that his sample of Orthodox opinion makers is a bit skewed toward those in our tiny, tiny little corner of Orthodoxy. In Eastern Europe, they (who constitute the vast majority of Orthodox worldwide) feel very different than most Americans about these issues.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Misha, in reality the Neoconservatives and Conservatism, Inc (really, cuckservatives who agree with cultural Marxism) are not really “right” at all. Certainly not in the Burkean sense. America, which has a president who sends Federal officers to the funerals of thugs but nary so much as a phone call to the widow of a fallen policemen, is no longer “America” in any meaningful sense of the word.

          We’ve gone the full Gramsci (gay “marriage”, feminazism anyone?) and are now unAmerica. Our goal now is to unleash our transgendered, feminized and homosexualized legions on countries to force down throats the glories of abortion, sodomy, the destruction of the family and other secular glories.

          Something tells me that Thomas Jefferson wouldn’t be happy.

          • George, do what you like, but the whole “cuckservative” thing is really offputting. I have no idea if whether the charges of it first starting in racist corners of the blogosphere are true, but the word just sounds nasty and foul-mouthed (with appropriate plausible deniability, as with any schoolyard taunt), which is what I suspect made it catch on. I guess “RINO” had just lost its punch.

            I would also note that many of today’s younger Republicans don’t know what real “RINO’s” are. We used to have a whole contingent of mainly northeastern Republicans — Jim Jeffords, Lincoln Chaffee, Arlen Specter, etc who voted with the GOP only when it came to electing legislative leadership and voted with the Democrats on everything else (only the threat of losing his chairmanship of the Judiciary committee forced Specter into supporting most Republican judicial nominees). All of the names I mentioned became Democrats formally as soon as it was expedient for them to do so.

            Guys like Jeffords voted conservative 0% of the time, and deserved censure for that. But I don’t like seeing fairly conservative guys labelled like I am seeing these days.

            I don’t like neoconservative foreign policy, don’t much care for the traditional neoconservative way of thinking in general, and think we need a dramatic restriction on immigration — legal and illegal both.

            But when basically honorable men like Jeb Bush (who governed quite conservatively — go back to read the screaming headlines from liberal newspapers during that time) are smeared with what sounds like a filthy term just because of policy differences, a lot of people like me are simply going to decide we want no part of the process. It was tough dragging me out to vote for squishy guys like McCain and Romney. Don’t think it will be any easier getting me out to vote for a boor like Trump just because he talks tough on immigration.

            • George Michalopulos says

              the irony is that the GOP has five great governors running for president: Perry, Bush, Kasich, Walker and Jindal. All would make good presidents in any other time. However all of them fail in this regard: they have acceded to the cultural Marxist (albeit nation-destroying) theme that illegal immigration is a net good.

              The difference between the corporatist Right (WalMart, Chamber of Commerce, etc.) and the Left (the New Immoralists) is immaterial at this point.

              • cynthia curran says

                Well, the republicans should have jumped on Bush when he got into office fining companies instead they waited until 2006 to complain about it. I support a e-verify in the data based so good that you know when a work visa expires. The farming visas could be changed so the farmers hire less illegal immirgrants. Trump uses work visas at his hotels. Its an industry that hires a lot of immirgrants either legally through the work visas or illegality.

              • I agree about the seriousness of the immigration issue, but if you seriously think that Trump would make a better president than any of those men, you really are blinded by a single issue. I have contempt for what government has become. I do not yet have so much contempt for my own country that I would be able to vote for Trump. I have voted Republican in every presidential election of my life, half of the time unenthusiastically because the candidate wasn’t conservative enough. I doubt I would be alone in staying home rather than voting for Trump. I can guarantee that my wife will stay home for the first time in 35 years. I doubt we are alone. I have to say that I am furious that we have a lineup of candidates that we conservatives would love to have had in virtually every election since Reagan — and we may be stuck with this guy?

                • George Michalopulos says

                  I actually think he would. We are at a point in our history in which a vainglorious man who takes no quarter is what might be needed to reverse illegal immigration. Remember, Lincoln was by all accounts a tyrant who believed that the ends (maintaining the Union) justified the means (scorched-earth tactics against the South).

                  • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                    Speaking of illegal immigration, why not sell the Statue of Liberty to Angela Merkel’s Germany? End our hypocrisy and our crocodile tears over Syrians!!

          • George Michalopulos wrote:
            Conservatism, Inc (really, cuckservatives who agree with cultural Marxism)

            https://twitter.com/search?q=culturalmarxism&src=typd

            plus

            https://twitter.com/search?q=cuckservative&src=typd

            equals Monomakhos

          • Isa Almisry says

            Not a fan of Jefferson, I couldn’t care less about his happiness.

            Weigle and the rest of the neo-cons fail to notice that the Second American Republic (which tried to keep any thought of the First under the Articles of Confederation out of mind) has fallen, Injustice Kennedy is just shooting the corpse to be sure of that. We should be thinking of what comes next.

            Russia hopefully learned from its mistakes. Can America (and the West) learn from theirs?

      • Mark E. Fisus says

        now we’re putting grandmothers in jail for obeying their Christian consciences

        No, ultimately Kim Davis is in jail because she wants a paycheck. She was already free to obey her Christian conscience — she could have resigned. But she chose not to take up her cross and give up that cushy job. History is filled with martyrs who’ve cheerfully accepted worse fates.

        I oppose Obergefell and so-called homosexual “marriage,” but Davis gets no sympathy from me.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Not really. She was elected by the people of that county. She also is upholding the Kentucky plebiscite which voted 75% for marriage as properly understood.

          I think she should stay in jail and force the magistrates of Kentucky to force her from that position, through impeachment if necessary. And then they can face the political consequences.

          • To me, the real problem with the Kim Davis incident is the political reality that is being created as a result. No longer can Christians hold public office who morally object to doing anything to further the normalization of homosexuality, at least not public offices which might be used to rubberstamp homosexual conduct or relationships. In effect, there is now a “religious test” for public office. One must be a secular humanist to be county clerk.

            And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you recall that Oregon couple who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple – they suffered a $135,000 judgement against them, to be paid to the couple, for violating a “civil rights” ordinance up there.

            Recall the words of the late Francis Cardinal George:

            “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”

            • M. Stankovich says

              I believe that one can realistically be elected and hold public office who morally object to furthering the normalization of homosexuality in some states & in some jurisdictions, and judging by the local response, Kim Davis may well have served as a proof of concept. But I believed she compromised her integrity – and in fact became hypocritical – by appealing to the legal system (even as far as the SCOTUS) and then claiming she would only obey “God’s Law,” while fully prepared to accept “man’s” law had the ruling been favorable. You can’t have it both ways – martyrdom , day at the beach – and be taken seriously.

              • One can be elected, to be sure. However, it remains incontrovertible that you will not be allowed to exercise office if you refuse to endorse same-sex unions. St. Paul also counseled us to obey the law unless it conflicted with the faith. Obviously he thought we could “have it both ways”. Moreover, he even appealed to the Roman law as a Roman citizen.

        • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

          We are all free to oppose homosexual marriage, but, after all, we really took our time about it: the 22nd country to lregalize it. That woman, though, was not elected by the voters or by God to be a watchdog over morals. Atheists must be rejoicing in her claim that it is not she but Gods Who refuses to issue state licenses to prospective homosexual spouses. It is NOT God that forbids homosexuals to abandon promiscuity and adopt monogamy. God does not insist on unbridled promiscuity, as that vain clerk does! If she continues such lying and even claims to be defending traditional marriage of one man and one woman, she should be impeached for having FOUR(4) husbands!
          And all this childish and uneducated blather about our society taking the lead in sin! When John Maynard Keynes (himself a notoriously promiscuous homosexual) was employed in Whitehall’s India Office in 1906 he wrote, ” in the last census, returns no less than 500,000 persons gave “catamitre” as their trade, profession or occupation…” …. I think that dame has a bad case of ISIS ENVY, today’s REAL plague!
          (Anybody know her outlook on Russian Orthodoxy?

        • Pere LaChaise says

          Mark, I concur. Davis is a tasteless narcissistic opportunist who deserves no respect among traditionally religious people. Her antics disturb public order and foster anarchy. Worse, her appeal makes a perfect argument for Sharia law. Think about it – heretics waving crosses in our faces are indistinguishable from Islamist fanatics, touting their own personal assessment of ‘divine law’ over ‘mad-made law’. Even speaking to these people is a defeat for civilization, and acceptance of every scurrilous form of exceptionalism. This isn’t about gays, it’s about epistemology. And we are losing the argument because the gay issue splits us.

  5. so much anger, meanness and acerbic love for others

  6. Carl Kraeff says

    This vigorous rebuttal of the perceived sins of George Weigel would have been more effective had it been, well, less vigorous. As it is, one gets the impression of two kids hurling insults to each other. That said, there is quite a bit of substance on both sides. Weigel is not alone in regretting the close state-church relationship that has arisen in Russia. As late as 1991, Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfayev) himself had advised against such a development. Weigel and neoconservatives are not alone in believing that Putin’s Russia is the aggressor in Ukraine. That said, I don’t know of too many Orthodox thinkers who are as irredeemably paleoconservative as our esteemed host. However, I did appreciate the inclusion of a sober pro-Russian analysis (Prof. Petro’s article). All in all, a C minus.

    • Mark E. Fisus says

      That Russia is the aggressor — no kidding. Their denials are as amateurish as the ones from their Soviet predecessors.

      However, Fr. Webster is right in criticizing Weigle’s characterization of the conflict as one between Catholic and Orthodox. It’s a secular conflict between sub-ethnic groups, mixed with differences in political orientation between Europe or Russia. It’s really not our fight, except to the extent the Orthodox Church is involved, and here I will focus my attention.

      While I disagree with Weigle’s ridiculous demonization of the Moscow Patriarchate, I do think the patriarch has failed to speak out about the destructive actions of the Russian state. The patriarchate’s error is not one of deliberate complicity but of passive acquiescence. The Russian church has allowed itself to become tied up with ethno-nationalism, and silence is concession.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Why do you assume that Russia is the “aggressor”? Did not a Western-inspired rebellion remove the legally elected president of Ukraine? Why yes, I believe it was.

        • A western funded rebellion topped off by a coup d’etat led by fascists, to be exact. If it happened on our doorstep we would have boots on the ground.

        • Carl Kraeff says

          George–Your Russophilia and phobia against neo-conservatism is influencing you; you are falling hook, line and sinker for Russian propaganda, misinformation and disinformation. It is truly futile to reason with you at this time as you are mesmerized and unable to employ your wonderful intellectual gifts.

        • It is important to remember that rather than use its influence to get the additional half-dozen or so votes in a second impeachment vote of Yanukovych (because the vote was juuuuuust short of the consitutional requirement) and help resolve the crisis cleanly, Russia decided to help by….invading and annexing Crimea and directly supporting revolt in Eastern Ukraine.

          I suppose I should be glad I don’t live in the same neighborhood as Mr. Michalopulos. When confronted with an argument between a neighbor husband and wife, Mr. Michalopulos would seem to be inclined to engage in What Would Putin Do? In this case, rather than heading over to mediate and maybe show some pictures from their wedding he attended and “hey, haven’t there been some good times?”, Mr. Michalopulos would instead annex the neighbors backyard shed where he stores his snowblower and help the couple’s disgruntled teenage son burn down their garage.

        • George,

          It seems as if they have run out of actual arguments and are now in the “Russian propaganda!” phase, unable to muster any real facts which refute this “propaganda”. Propaganda is sometimes true, sometimes false. It is information weaponized. In this case, most of the Russian propaganda happens to be verifiable from accepted Western sources. It’s just that our media has put such a spin on facts that it obscures the underlying reality. “Putin admits . . .” rather than “Putin stated . . .”. It’s all how you report things, with what spin. This creates an overwhelming context where everybody holds opinions within the same range, the range dictated by the major media. That is why there is so much resistance to the Russian point of view. It is thoroughly factual and quite understandable if you actually look at events. It’s just that our political masters in the media have rejected the truth for ideological reasons and, unfortunately, the media is where the public conscience is formed.

          • “In this case, most of the Russian propaganda happens to be verifiable from accepted Western sources.”

            Nice spin.

  7. Francis Frost says

    In his letter to Mr. Weigle, Father Webster expresses outrage at that writer’s characterization of the Moscow Patriarchate. In truth, the only authentic aspect of Father Webster’s epistle is its indignant outrage at the exposure of his organization’s hypocrisy and its crimes. Father Webster is horrified at the description of Patriarch krill’s mendacity. That mendacity, however, is a clearly documented and publicly verifiable fact.

    In a recent public address to Patriarch Theophilos of Alexandria on August 28, 2015 , Kirill stated:

    Our Church, unlike the Greek Catholic Church and schismatic groups, does not support any of the conflict parties because our faithful are both in the east and the west of Ukraine. We believe our mission is that of reconciliation. We should not inspire some for struggle with others. Just as Patriarch Tikhon refused to take a one-sided stand in the civil war, which began after the 1917 Revolution, so our Ukrainian Orthodox Church refuses to take a one-sided stand. We know that Patriarch Tikhon proved to be right, and if he had not taken that stand, it would have been difficult to understand what would happen to the Church and Orthodoxy. Therefore we are confident that the stand taken today by Metropolitan Onufry, the episcopate of our Church and our faithful is the only right one. It will be appreciated by the whole Ukrainian people and very soon at that’.

    Patriarch Krill drew his interlocutor’s special attention to the statement made by Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine during the recent public celebrations: ‘I believe that His Beatitude Onufry made a prophetic speech in the presence of the authorities. It was really the voice of God speaking the truth on the need to reconcile people and saying that no war can heal this conflict. I very much hope that the Primates of Churches will be with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church today, so that no pretext could be given to the enemies of the Church to believe that Local Orthodox Churches give indirect support to the schism and give insufficient support to canonical Orthodoxy’.

    The Orthodox solidarity in defending God’s truth and non-politicized position of the Church are the only right choice that should extend not only to Ukraine but any other place where the Orthodox Church is present, Patriarch Kirill said.

    These statements are clearly demonstrable lies. For 25 years the Moscow Patriarchate has been an active participant in the Russian military invasion and occupation of the Republic of Georgia. Bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate have publicly blessed the military actions against civilian populations. Clergy under the rule of the Moscow Patriarchate have expelled the legitimate Orthodox clergy from the occupied territories. The Moscow Patriarchate has insttituted schismatic “Eparchies” within the universally recognized territory of the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate in violation of the Sacred Canons.

    After the Georgian nation seceded from the Soviet state, leaders of the unreformed Russian state made continuous attempts to destroy the Geogian people and the Georgian state. In South Ossetia, nearly 100,000 ethnic Georgians were expelled from their homes in 1991, while Russian “peacekeepers” armed and protected the Ossetian militias during the fighting.  In 1992, Abkhazia the Apsua minority (Abkhazian people) declared war on their ethnic Georgian neighbors, who comprised 47% of the population in Abkhazia. With the help of the Russian military and allies in the “Union of the Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus”, a Muslim confederacy, the Apsua all but exterminated the Georgian community in Abkhazia. Nearly 47,000 Georgian Orthodox Christians were killed, and nearly 300,000 were driven into exile. This brutal invasion was carried out with horrific acts of torture and mass murder. The entire Georgian population of Gagra was herded into the soccer stadium and cut down by machine gun fire. Entire families were thrown down their own wells and killed with grenades in order to poison the wells. Young girls were gang raped and then their bodies cut up and displayed in a depraved demonstration of the Russians’ determination to divide the Georgian people. Other were buried alive.

    Descriptions of the suffering of the victims of this genocidal campaign can be read at:

    http://digitalcaucasus.blogspot.com/2007_12_02_archive.html

    After the 1992-93 invasion of Abkhazia, the Russian Orthodox Church created a schismatic “Abkhaz Orthodox Eparchy” on the ruins of the legitimate Orthodox Diocese of Tskhumi and all Abkhazia. The “leader” of this schismatic church is the de-frocked Archimandrite Vissarion Apliaa. Despite the obvious schismatic, un-canonical nature of this so-called “Eparchy”; the Moscow Patriarchate ordained and assigned clergy to this diocese, and funded its work. The 2008 documentary “Orthodox Occupation” describes the participation of the Moscow Patriarchate and its clergy in the history of the aggression against the Georgian nation and the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate. 

     In the “Orthodox Occupation” television documentary, the Russian Bishop Panteleimon of Karabadino-Adyghe is shown con-celebrating with the schismatic Vissarion Apliaa, and officially awarding him the Order of St Seraphim of Sarov on behalf of the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate. This demonstrates the direct involvement of the Moscow Patriarchate in the creation of the schismatic “Eparchy”   
     
    Following the 2008 invasion of Georgia, this same Vissarion Apliaa led the forces that expelled the last legitimate Orthodox clergy from the newly occupied Gali and Kodori districts in eastern Abkhazia in April 2009.  Vissarion Apliaa was received into the ranks of the clergy by the Moscow Patriarchate without a canonical release; and Patriarch Kirill personally con-celebrated with this renegade monk in violation of the Sacred Canons of the Orthodox Church. Reports of the persecution of the legitimate Georgian Orthodox church by the schismatic “Abkhaz Eparchy” and its sponsors may be read at the Forum 18 Religious Freedom web-site:

    http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=1183

    http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=1118

    http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?query=&religion=all&country=25

    During the genocidal campaign of 1992, Hieromonk Andrea Kurashvili and the Subdeacon Giorgi Adua ,who were restorers and guardians of the Shrine of the Repose of St John Chrysostom in Komana, were brutally tortured and martyred. You may read the their Life and Martyrdom on the Mystagogy web-site at:

    http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2012/01/hieromonk-andrew-new-martyr-of-comana.html

    The Human Rights Watch Organization has posted updated reports on the on-going persecution of the Georgian Orthodox faithful in occupied Abkhazia

    http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2011/02/18/georgians-gali

    http://www.hrw.org/en/features/abkhazia-living-limbo

    In August 2008, the Russian bishops, Panteleimon of Kabardino-Adyghe and Feofan of Saratov (since transferred to Machkhala) accompanied the invasion forces and publicly “blessed” the weapons used to attack civilian populations. These “blessings” were televised first in Russia and then in Georgia. You may watch the video with your own eyes as it is included in the “Orthodox Occupation” video on You Tube. These infernal “blessings” are also included in Andrei Nekrasov’s documentary “Uroki Russkogo” (Russian Lessons), which debunks the Russian government’s propaganda campaign of justification for its invasion of Georgia. Mr. Nekrasov’s documentary is also available on You Tube in 12 segments, some with English sub-titles for those who do not understand the Russian language.

    On August 8, 2008, the missiles “blessed” by Bishop Feofan were used attack the ancient Ghvrtaeba Cathedral and the Shrine of the Protomartyr Razhden in Nikazi. On August 9th, the Russian military and their Ossetian allies looted, desecrated and burned this ancient House of God. These “blessed” weapons were used in bombing raids and missile attacks on civilian populations throughout Georgia, including areas well outside the so-called “zone of conflict”.

    The 2008 documentary “Orthodox Occupation” has been re-released and posted on You Tube at the following url:
     
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FRMy143Nm0
     
    Portions of this documentary plus additional footage are now available with English voice over, titled “Orthodox Occupancy Part 1 and Part 2” at the following urls:
     
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dWSx4scmP0
     
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmw7jY3gzj4&feature=related
     
    A television documentary on the destruction of Ghvertaeba and the work of reconstruction carried out by Metropolitan Isaiah may be viewed at:

    http://pik.tv/en/war/film/1755

    For the past two years, Metropolitan Isaiah has been detained in the occupied territory, as the occupying forces have informed him, that should he cross back over into free Georgian territory, he will subsequently be refused re-admission to the occupied zone. Unwilling to abandon his beleaguered flack, Meupe Isaiah remains in Akhalgori, and is cut off from the rest of his long suffering flock.

    This past month (August 2015) the Moscow Patriarchate entered into negotiation with the South Ossetian puppet regime in order to create another schismatic Eparchy in Tskhinvali on the occupied territory of the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate in defiance of the Apostolic Canons.

    By their own actions, the bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate have violated the ancient Apostolic Canons, and have spurned the Lord’s commandment to “Love your neighbor as yourself”. They have specifically violated the Apostolic Canons 11-16, and 30 -35.  The prescribed penalty for any one of these crimes against the church is deposition and or excommunication, both for the offender and any who continue to commune with him!
     
    Through their infernal “blessing” of military weapons of mass destruction, the Russian bishops have blasphemed against the Holy Spirit, since through their actions they have invoked the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life in the cause of murder, mayhem and destruction. Without profound repentance, this sin will not be forgiven; not in this world nor in the next. 
     
    Despite the enormity of these crimes, His Holiness, Patriarch Ilya II and the Holy Synod of the Georgian Patriarchate have followed the apostolic example of long-suffering and conciliation. “When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we try to conciliate.”  I Corinthians 4:9.  The Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate twice sent a delegation headed by Metropolitan Gerasime of Zugdidi to Moscow to conciliate. Three times, His Holiness Patriarch Ilya II met Patriarch Kirill with only one request: to be allowed to visit his flock in the occupied territories.

    In September of 2011, the representatives of the four ancient Patriarchates, meeting in Cyprus admonished each Patriarchate “to remain within its own boundaries”.   All of these appeals have been to no avail. The leaders of the Moscow Patriarchate believe that they may violate the Sacred Canons and the Savior’s commandments with impunity. The tragedy of the Russian Church is that its leaders have chosen to serve a master who is not Christ.

    These past twenty-five years of persecution have caused enormous suffering for the Georgian Orthodox faithful. Nearly 50,000 innocent civilians have lost their lives. Almost 300,000 have lost their homes and livelihoods. Two entire dioceses have been laid waste. Heretics are promoted and the legitimate churches destroyed.
     
    Many will say that we cannot worry or be concerned about something that happened on the other side of the globe; but this attitude betrays a lack of Christian faith and a renunciation of the unity of the Body of Christ. Examples of the suffering of innocents can be read at:
     
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/georgia/5956499/South-Ossetia-one-year-on-Georgians-wait-in-fear-for-Russians-to-return.html
     
    Related photo album is at:
     
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/worldnews/5955829/Georgia-one-year-on.html
     
     The Apostle Paul tells us: “For as the body is one and has many members of that one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body,…and if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it…” 
    I Corinthians 12:12-13,26.
     
    By these abominations of wickedness, the Russian bishops have “crucified again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame”  (Hebrews 6:4-6), for as the Lord Himself said, “as you did it to these the least of my brethren, so you did it to Me”  Matthew 25:40.  

    Father Webster’s own ROCOR has its own shameful record of un-canonical activity. During its eight decades in schism, the ROCOR created schismatic “traditionalist” dioceses within the canonical jurisdiction of the Church of Greece, The Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Bulgarian Patriarchate. In 1996, these schismatic “True Orthodox “ entities attempted to spur a canonical coup Georgia, when they ordained as bishops refugee priests associated with the exiled president Zviad Gamsakhurdia as rivals to the legitimate Holy Synod of the Georgian Orthodox Chuch. That attempt failed completely. While the ROCOR now has disowned its daughter jurisdictions, the question remains. If the children are illegitimate, then what is the mother?

    Despite it’s own public and flagrant violations of the Sacred Canons, with multiple invasions and occupations of the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate, the MP now cynically decries other ‘ uncanonical interlopers’ on its own presumed territory.

    The ROCOR – MP re-union was personally engineered and financed by Vladimir Putin. This reunion is the real incarnation of the heretical phyletist “Russkiy Mir” doctrine. This entity, which encompasses the entire world (Russia and the entire world outside of Russia) crosses the canonical territory of every ancient Patriarchate. The MP-ROCOR entity is in effect a universal jurisdiction. As St Gregory the Dialogos wrote: “I say it without the least hesitation, whoever calls himself the universal bishop, or desires this title, is, by his pride, the precursor of Antichrist.

    While Father Webster takes umbrage at those who would disparage his Master, Kirill; it is Kirill’s own actions that have forever tarnished his reputation and the position of the Russian Church in the Orthodox world. It is Kirill who lives as a sumptuary. It is Kirill who amassed a 4 Billion USD fortune using the church’s tax exempt status to sell discounted cigarettes and alcohol, thereby profiting from the moral and physical destruction of the Russian people.
    It is Kirill who co-habits with one Lidia Leonova, who is discretely described as a “distant cousin” in order to avoid scandal. It is Kirill who used his cohabitant ‘relative’ to enter into a un-canonical lawsuit against his neighbor Yuriy Shevchenko, a renowned surgeon, former Russian health minister, and an Orthodox priest, in order to seize Father Yuriy’s property. It is Kirill who publicly lied about his ownership of a $40,00 Breguet wristwatch and then had to admit to that lie when his assistant forgot to photoshop out the reflection of the offending wristwatch in Kirill’s polished parquet table in an official photo.

    Farther Webster’s epistle simply mimics and confirms the culture of mendacity that informs the life if the idolatrous Putinist cult and the heretical phyletist “Ruskiy Mir” doctrine. This heretical doctrine has been used to justify systematic violence against fellow Orthodox Christians. The Russian government, with the public televised “blessing” of the Moscow Patriarchate, has murdered tens of thousands of innocent Orthodox Christians, and has driven some 1.5 million Orthodox Christians into exile fro their ancestral homes. The Moscow Patriarchate has repeatedly violated the Apostolic Canons of the Orthodox Church and has violated the Savior’s commandments in order to serve their Master, who is not Christ.

    Even now, as “God’s impending righteous chastisement” is knocking at the door, Fr Webster refuses to acknowledge his sin and the sins of his Moscow Patriarchate. Instead he bellows his rage at the fact that his hypocrisy and mendacity have been exposed and rebuked by an outsider. Even so, Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Just Judge and no respecter of persons will judge all these things very soon.

    “But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality;  but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath,  tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil” Romans 2:5-9

    “You have become a dissatisfaction to Me; I will not forgive your sins.  When you stretch forth your hands to Me, I will turn My eyes from you. Although you make many prayers, I will not listen to you. Your hands are full of blood.”       Isaiah 1:15

    The Relevant Apostolic Canons
    Canon X. (XI.)
    If any one shall pray, even in a private house, with an excommunicated person, let him also be excommunicated.

    Canon XI. (XII.)
    If any clergyman shall join in prayer with a deposed clergyman, as if he were a clergyman, let him also be deposed.

    Canon XII. And XIII (XIII.)
    If any one of the clergy or laity who is excommunicated, or not to be received, shall go away, and be received in another city without commendatory letters, let both the receiver and the received be excommunicated. But if he be excommunicated already, let the time of his excommunication be lengthened.

    Canon XIV.
    A bishop is not to be allowed to leave his own parish, and pass over into another, although he may be pressed by many to do so, unless there be some proper cause constraining him. as if he can confer some greater benefit upon the persons of that place in the word of godliness. And this must be done not of his own accord, but by the judgment of many bishops, and at their earnest exhortation.

    Canon XV.
    If any presbyter, or deacon, or any other of the list of the clergy, shall leave his own parish, and go into another, and having entirely forsaken his own, shall make his abode in the other parish without the permission of his own bishop, we ordain that he shall no longer perform divine service; more especially if his own bishop having exhorted him to return he has refused to do so, and persists in his disorderly conduct. But let him communicate there as a layman.

    Canon XVI.
    If, however, the bishop, with whom any such persons are staying, shall disregard the command that they are to cease from performing divine offices, and shall receive them as clergymen, let him be excommunicated, as a teacher of disorder.
    Canon XXX. (XXXI.)
    If any bishop obtain possession of a church by the aid of the temporal powers, let him be deposed and excommunicated, and all who communicate with him.

    Canon XXXI. (XXXII.)
    If any presbyter, despising his own bishop, shall collect a separate congregation, and erect another altar, not having any grounds for condemning the bishop with regard to religion or justice, let him be deposed for his ambition; for he is a tyrant; in like manner also the rest of the clergy, and as many as join him; and let laymen be excommunicated. Let this, however, be done after a first, second, and third admonition from the bishop.

    Canon XXXII. (XXXIII.)
    If any presbyter or deacon has been excommunicated by a bishop, he may not be received into communion again by any other than by him who excommunicated him, unless it happen that the bishop who excommunicated him be dead.

    Canon XXXIII. (XXXIV.)
    No foreign bishop, presbyter, or deacon, may be received without commendatory letters; and when they are produced let the persons be examined; and if they be preachers of godliness, let them be received. Otherwise, although you supply them with what they need, you must not receive them into communion, for many things are done surreptitiously.

    Canon XXXV. (XXXVI.)
    Let not a bishop dare to ordain beyond his own limits, in cities and places not subject to him. But if he be convicted of doing so, without the consent of those persons who have authority over such cities and places, let him be deposed, and those also whom he has ordained.

    Francis Frost

    • George Michalopulos says

      Dear-to-Christ Francis, what (if anything) do your beloved Canons say about parallel jurisdictions? Or simony? Or sodomy?

      Anything? [crickets chirping.]

      • Pere LaChaise says

        George,
        Whataboutism does not make a logical argument. Francis’ argument exposes the spiritual wekaness and phoniness of Moscow, and you can’t deny it. The liberal agenda of Western politicians is a different category; Frost exposes MP complicity with military conquest of Georgian Patriarchate territory, and you have nothing with which to refute the facts of that enormous crime.
        Russia is only officially Orthodox and remains as atheistic as anyplace on earth.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Actually, it does –after a fashion. One also must remember that Russia was not the aggressor in this conflict. According to international law, if the original victim of aggression takes land from the aggressor, it by right belongs to him. This is why Israel holds on to the Golan Heights. It was attacked by Syria in 1967.

          • Francis Frost says

            George writes:

            Actually, it does –after a fashion. One also must remember that Russia was not the aggressor in this conflict. According to international law, if the original victim of aggression takes land from the aggressor, it by right belongs to him. This is why Israel holds on to the Golan Heights. It was attacked by Syria in 1967.

            And of course this is utter nonsense. Russia recruited and armed mercenary Muslim militias and used them to invade Georgian territory in 1991 and 1992 and carried out horrendous acts of barbarity while Russian military units protected the murderers of Christians. This is clearly documented history. George is disingenuous when he claims that Georgia started these wars. Not one Georgian soldier has ever stet foot for even one centimeter into Russian territory. All these wars have been fought on Georgian territory.

            The United Nations charter and international law give every nation the absolute right to defend its own territory and its citizens. Its is legally impossible for Georgia to invade its own territory. It is logically and legally clear that Russia has been the aggressor against its neighbors.

            “Lawlessness is sin ” (1 John 2:28-3:10)

            Father James augments about “Little Russia” are legally irrelevant. The Russian Federation signed onto the international treaty for Ukraine’s nuclear disarmament in 1994. That treaty “guarantees” Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity. Putin’s scofflaw attitude is already proving disastrous for the Russian nation and its people.

            The hated “West” bailed out a bankrupt Russia twice in 1992 and again in 1999. The next and imminent bankruptcy will find no relief from the international community. Russian government employees and pensioners are already suffering cuts. Businesses are collapsing and Russians are again experiencing real hunger. Putins’ response to this. He publicly bulldozed per 100,000 tons of food in a display of his contempt for the poor. Flunky official across the country are copying that stunt. So Russians starve while food is destroyed. This is “good” for Russia and Russians? Only ignorant stupefied Russophile wannabes would think so.

            Misha accuses me of sowing discord between the Georgians has Russians. Get real. An entire generation of Georgians haver grown up with daily Russian attacks, threats and persecution. In 2008, Sergei Lavrov publicly threatened to “annihilate” the Georgian nation. And you, Mishka, accuse me of sowing discord? Get real.

            The Georgian Patriarchate has been extremely long suffering in its response the Russian aggression; the irenic and long suffering virtue of His All Holiness and the members of the Holy Synod, however, in no way excuses the un-canonical, un-Orthodox and un-Christian behavior of the the Moscow Patriarchate and its bishops.

            In 1811, when Russia annexed Georgia, St Seraphim of Sarov wrote to Tsar Aleksandr I, ” Georgia is the inheritance of the Most Holy Mother of God. If you make war on the Georgians, God will make war on you and Russia will be destroyed.” In 1992, St Gabriel of Tbilisi and Mtskheta prophesied: ” If the Russians take Abkhazia, the Mother of God will never forgive them”. Today, Russia is abandoned of God and accursed. The time of God’s righteous chastisement is already at hand.

            Even so the leaders of the Russian government, the Moscow Patriarchate and their cheerleaders here in the West are unrepentant and smug in their “might makes right attitude”

            “Instead, there is gaiety and gladness, Killing of cattle and slaughtering of sheep, Eating of meat and drinking of wine: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we may die.” But the LORD of hosts revealed Himself to me, “Surely this iniquity shall not be forgiven you Until you die,” says the Lord GOD of hosts.

            Isaiah 22:13-14

            Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn once said: “It is the duty of every man, especially of every Christian to oppose the Great Lie” It is precisely the Russian attitude of impunity to God’s Law that constitutes this Great Lie.

            The LORD God taught us three times in he Holy Scriptures: “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord, your God.” Deuteronomy 32:35, Romans 12:19 and Hebrews 10:30

            Putin like Jannes and Jambre will soon be swallowed up, along with those who take their stand with him.

            • George Michalopulos says

              If you want to posit the most holy Theotokos being on the side of these illicit “color” revolutions, then by all means, have at it. And then on Judgment Day you can try to explain to Her Son why you think the Western LGBTQAEIEOU agenda needed to promulgated into Orthodox nations, especially the one that is “beholden to her.” (I suppose you’re giddy about the excision of Kosovo from Serbia. I suppose it’s God’s will that a criminal Muslim thugocracy was established on holy Orthodox territory.)

              As for the Western stooge Shaakashvili, he needed Ukrainian citizenship to avoid jail time in the country which he betrayed. I have yet to hear any positive commentary about this miscreant from the saner precincts of Georgia.

            • “And you, Mishka, accuse me of sowing discord? Get real.”

              Yes, Frosty, let’s get real. Saakashvili is considered a fleeing criminal in your beloved Georgia. Meanwhile, the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church has endeavored to rebuild cordial relations with the ROC.

              As to God’s judgment upon Russia: South Ossetia and Abkhazia operate today and for the foreseeable future as independent states under Russian protection. Georgia lost them through its murderous attacks on civilians there. Georgia started the war by bombarding civilian areas in South Ossetia. Russia simply reacted to the murder of its peacekeepers there.

              You see, there is a Northern Ossetia which is part of Russia. Whoever made the decision to include South Ossetia and Abkhazia as part of Georgia was not thinking too clearly. Neither region ever accepted the division and immediately fought wars of independence against the Georgian state. A stalemate ensued and the areas remained autonomous, with occasional dust ups, until the criminal Saakashvili decided to start the war. The number of victims of his aggression was overestimated initially but still there was a significant death toll, not the least of which were a number of Russian peacekeepers stationed there.

              Then Russian took off the gloves, drove the Georgians out and invaded Georgia. It was time to make a statement. And I’m sure the message got through loud and clear. Georgia will not be so aggressive in the future, nor will it be joining NATO since parts of its claimed territory are now no longer under its control. It is against NATO policy to admit countries not in control of their own territory since this would commit NATO to immediate military action in defense of the new member. This, of course, is the case with the Ukraine as well.

              All in all, well done. If this is God’s judgment on Russia, alleluia!

          • Isa Almisry says

            No. The Zionists shot first in 1967 (and 1948, and…)

      • Francis Frost says

        George writes:

        If you want to posit the most holy Theotokos being on the side of these illicit “color” revolutions, then by all means, have at it. And then on Judgment Day you can try to explain to Her Son why you think the Western LGBTQAEIEOU agenda needed to promulgated into Orthodox nations, especially the one that is “beholden to her.” (I suppose you’re giddy about the excision of Kosovo from Serbia. I suppose it’s God’s will that a criminal Muslim thugocracy was established on holy Orthodox territory.)

        As for the Western stooge Shaakashvili, he needed Ukrainian citizenship to avoid jail time in the country which he betrayed. I have yet to hear any positive commentary about this miscreant from the saner precincts of Georgia.

        George, I have posited no such thing. The Georgian Orthodox Church has taken no part in politic, except to criticize government actions, his All holiness deemed unjust or immoral.

        But that is in fact, irrelevant. The actions of the Georgina government can in no way justify the three Russian invasions, the acts of outright genocide, ethnic cleansing and deliberate destruction of civilian communities. Neither can it justify the Moscow Patriarchate’s uncanonical intrusion onto the universally recognized territory off the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate.

        It is YOU, George Micahalopoulos, who want to use politic to justify murder and ethnic cleansing. The “West” allows abortion and gay marriage. Please explain how that can possibly justify invasion and attacks on Georgia or Ukraine, neither of whom allow gay marriage. As for abortion, Russia has a rate of abortion 6 times that of the US and 10 times that or western Europe. Would that fact justify war against the Russian people?

        Your reasoning is faulty, if not depraved and corrupt.

        • Historical correction: It was Georgia which depended on NATO promises of support that invaded Ossetia. NATO reneged and left Saakashvili high and dry.

    • On relations between the two churches:

      http://www.patriarchate.ge/_en/?action=news_show&mode=news&id=232

      http://www.rt.com/op-edge/patriarch-georgia-russia-ties-438/

      So Patriarch Ilia does not seem as bitter as some more extreme elements in Georgian society. Now, despite the fact that the Patriarch has a 92% approval rating, he and the GOC are getting the same treatment in the West at times as is the ROC. This story highlights the cooperation between Georgian church and state and the results when politicians there embrace Western decadence.

      http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-23103853

      Francis merely seeks to sow discord between Georgians and Russians. Patriarch Ilia seeks to repair the bridges burnt as a result of Georgia’s embrace of Western social, economic and military policy. Yet the West will demonize him and the GOC insofar as it resists Western moral corruption.

      The war is between Orthodoxy and Western liberalism, not Georgians and Russians. Meanwhile, Saakashvili, who started the Georgian-Russian war, is a wanted criminal in his own country. Much of his cabinet has been jailed. Now, Poroshenko in Ukraine has given him instant Ukrainian citizenship and made him governor of the Odessa region there. A region bordering on a territory (Transdniestria) with a significant pro-Russian population and military presence.

      http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/mikheil-saakashvili-leads-foreign-reformers-in-ukraine-1.2233651

      It’s amateur hour in the Ukraine. What could go wrong? My money says the Ukrainian mafia will off him in short order.

      “Through their infernal “blessing” of military weapons of mass destruction, the Russian bishops have blasphemed against the Holy Spirit, since through their actions they have invoked the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life in the cause of murder, mayhem and destruction. Without profound repentance, this sin will not be forgiven; not in this world nor in the next. ”

      http://www.orthocuban.com/2014/02/blessing-of-weapons-and-the-orthodox/

      I think they are on solid ground, no need to fear temporal or eternal consequences. It was also part of the Serbian service books but recent ones might omit it. But one could pen a blessing from any number of psalms from the Old Testament – – unless, of course, you think that the God of the Old Testament was in fact Demiurge . . .

      BTW, Francis, you will love this:

      http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/church-offers-atomic-blessing/194570.html

      And it is from the Moscow Times which is far from being pro-Kremlin

      • It is sad to read that Patriarch Ilia praised Stalin in the interview in the second link you posted.

      • Francis Frost says

        Mishka, Mishka, Mishka,

        You still don’t get it. They entered, whiteout blessing or permission onto the territory of the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate and “blessed” the Russian invasion. By entering the territory of the Georgian Patriarchate without invitation or blessing of the Patriarchate, they excommunicated themselves. Read the Canons posted above.

        Period. End of story.

        His Holiness Patriarch Ilya II is quite able to criticize the Georgian government and has done so with some regularity. His All Holiness has NEVER agreed nor assented to the Russian agression against the Georgian nation or the Georgian Orthodox faithful.

        Gos will judge the offenders and God will repay them in full. Vengeance is Mine, says the LORD you God.”

        The Georgianfaithful are consoled by 5,000 years of history with many periods of defeat, occupation and tragedy; yet this nation which is the exclusive possession of the Most Holy Theotokos has always arisen from its tragic suffering renewed in the Orthodox faith and washed with the blood of hundreds of thousands of holy Martyrs.
        The Holy Martyrs Andria Kurashvklisi and Giorgi Adua are to be canonized next year. The invaders and persecutors of the Georgian people have all suffered God’s divine justice in the end.

        • Frosty, Frosty, Frosty!,

          I’m glad to hear that you are now an expert in canon law and have been consecrated a bishop. Perhaps you can tell me exactly how the MP managed to excommunicate itself? It seems that the other churches, including the Church of Georgia, have not gotten the memo. I did not know that this type of excommunication was dependent on the opinion of laymen. What if laymen disagree? Should we have a plebescite? Someone better consult the bishops on this matter, could get out of hand.

          But seriously, after Georgia began its murderous bombardment of South Ossetian civilian neighborhoods at the beginning of the conflict, South Ossetians were fleeing in the direction of the arriving Russian forces from whom they were seeking protection. It is quite understandable that some temporary canonical anomalies might result from this fiasco.

          In one of the articles to which I linked above, Pat. Kirill agreed that the situation needs to be normalized and Patriarch Ilya certainly does not seem as worked up about this as Frosty, who seems to have been dosing on hard core, radical Georgian propaganda for years now.

          I’m sure cooler heads will prevail. BTW, Russia has had a few martyrs lately . . .

          As to divine justice, Saakashvili was driven out of office and is a wanted criminal in Georgia. Half his cabinet is in prison. I would have to consider that about right. Good luck to the idiots in Ukraine who gave him safe haven and a governorship. What could go wrong?

  8. Patrick Henry Reardon says

    Thank you for publishing this important essay, George.

    Permit me to add, please, that the current Russian government and the Orthodox Church in Russia are two of the world’s most reliable friends of the endangered and persecuted Christians of the Middle East.

    Should I comment, at this point, on the dangerous policies of NATO relative to the current situation in Ukraine? No, I don’t think I will—at least for now.

  9. “Sorry, Kyle was a warrior –and a magnificent one at that–serving his nation. If the policy was wrongheaded then the rulers who ordered him into battle will be held to account. Both history and God will judge.

    Just curious though, how do you feel about Gen William Tecumseh Sherman? Or George Armstrong Custer? Or the guy who flew the Enola Gay?”

    ——-

    No, Kyle was a mentally deranged serial killer. What he did had nothing to do with “serving his nation,” or defending it. There is no “if the policy was wrongheaded.” Of course it was, but Kyle willingly, of his own volition went to kill people who represented no threat whatsoever to the USA. Seriously, George, have you read NOTHING about what this psychopath did, or did you just get your “facts” from “American Sniper?”

    Sherman was of the same ilk as Kyle, as was his boss. Why do you seek to glorify bloodthirsty killers?

    • George Michalopulos says

      Cyprian, you obviously didn’t see the movie. Kyle was clearly distraught by his actions as well as the legitimacy of the war.

      Still, I must give you credit re your consistency regarding Sherman and his boss. I suppose you are in sympathy to the Confederacy? One can’t have it both ways. If Sherman was a war criminal then the legitimacy of Southern independence is clear.

      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

        Non sequitur, George.

        • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

          For those who don;t understand non sequitur, here it means that the legitimacy of Southern independence does not depend on General Sherman’s virtues or sins. Get it?

  10. “Cyprian, you obviously didn’t see the movie. Kyle was clearly distraught by his actions as well as the legitimacy of the war.

    Still, I must give you credit re your consistency regarding Sherman and his boss. I suppose you are in sympathy to the Confederacy? One can’t have it both ways. If Sherman was a war criminal then the legitimacy of Southern independence is clear.”

    —————————–

    George, you have GOT to be kidding me. You make your assessment of Chris Kyle based on his portrayal by an actor in a Hollywood movie? Seriously???

    If you had done any actual research about this deranged killer, you would know the depiction of Kyle was far from the truth. Kyle willingly, voluntarily killed over 150 souls, many of them innocents, because this is what he chose to do. This is who he was. And you cannot blame the USG for their terribly misguided foreign policy, as Kyle made the decision to do what he did. Kill, and keep on killing. And George thinks he’s a hero.

    Now, if you wish to discuss the War of Northern Aggression, I’d suggest you start a thread for it. Until then, I suggest that you do some research to find out the truth about the real Chris Kyle.

    You won’t find that out with NetFlix.

  11. Francis Frost says

    And there is one more thing…

    American law allows every pastor the right to preach and speak out on matters of morals and even good government. Our clergy are not only permitted; but required to speak out against abortion and perverse sexuality.

    It is, however, quite another thing to acts spokesman for a an alien, and belligerent dictator, such as Putin. To do do is, in fact, to become nothing less than an unregistered foreign agent – Anna Chapman in a Rasso. Given the fact that Mr. Putin’s government has publicly declared America as Russia’s enemy number one in its published military doctrine; given that the invasions of Georgia and Russia have both been justified as proxy wars against the United States and its allies; given that Mr. Putin’s government controlled press publicly bragged of its ability to turn america’s cities and its children “into piles of radioactive dust”; the public support for the Putinist regime by Orthodox clergymen careens dangerously close to an act of treason against he United States.

    Our clergy should remember that not only civil statutes; but our own canon law forbids the clergy from active participation in politics. To act as activists for an anti-American dictator who is already waging a proxy war against America and whose military forces are daily threatening America’s homeland coasts, is an act of unconscionable irresponsibility. Do they really think that they can build the Orthodox Church here in America by acting as willing shills for a man who threatens to destroy the American nation?

    The estimable Fr Alexander F. C. Webster, PhD took an oath as a military member to “defend and protect the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic”; and now this same estimable priest suborns his preaching of the Gospel to act as a public spokesman an anti-American dictator and a mass murderer of Orthodox Christians. This is not only irresponsible. It is reprehensible and evil.

    Sadly, our “Orthodox” activists have neither conscience nor shame. It is these “advocates for life” who shrug off the mass murder of innocent civilians and the ethnic cleansing of entire Orthodox communities and dioceses.

    It is these “pious Christiasn’ who support and approve the desecration and destruction of Orthodox holy places.

    And let’s note, not one of these has ever once refuted a single fact of the documented history. They simply shrug off the truth as did Pilate: “What is truth?” John 18:32

    By denying the reality of suffering Orthodox Christian, by acting as advocates for the persecutors of Christians, these individuals have abandoned Christ Himself.

    Our Lord said: “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:19.

    Yet our “Orthodox activists” justify military campaigns and the murder of innocents as acts of piety! May the Lord rebuke them ! They renounce the Lord of love for a “political Orthodoxy” devoid of love, devoid of faith, devoid of mercy. This is the very ‘internal apostasy’ predicted by Russia’s own prophetic saints.

    Of such, the Holy Apostle Peter wrote:

    Accursed children! Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.

    These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. II Peter 2:15

    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

      RE: “shills,” “treason,” “evil”

      To which supercharged invective I reply: I know George Weigel. George Weigel is (was?) a friend of mine. Mr. Frost, you’re no George Weigel!

      Nor are you a biblical prophet. I suggest you go to Holy Confession and do penance.

      • Pere LaChaise says

        Very Reverend Doctor,
        Your advice reeks of self-conceited hypocrisy.

      • Fr. Alexander,

        “The line between good and evil runs through the heart of man.” Francis is a real piece of work. He has become totally deranged by focusing on the fiercest, most polemic victimology regarding Georgia. These types of derangements tend to be self destructive because of the unbalanced emotions, thoughts and actions that result from unbridled righteous indignation. I will pray for him and for all the victims of violence on both sides of these conflicts.

      • Francis Frost says

        Dear Father Webster:

        I have made no claim to be Mr Weigle’s equal. What a thought!.

        I am, however, an Orthodox Christian since childhood, and a cantor, more than a little worse for the wear, nothing more. But even so, I am an Orthodox Christian, a child of God no less than you.

        You on the other hand are a blow hard.

        You have not answered one single fact or assertion in any of my postings. Rather you have waved your your titles and your credentials like talismans to silence the truth.

        If I have spoken an untruth, the near witness to that lie. If I have spoken the truth, then why are you complaining?

        The simple truth is that you have no answer to the truth. The fact is you cannot handle the truth.

        What are you hiding from? You make bold to debate a highly educated person such as Mr. Weigle; but you are too afraid to take me on ??? Me, a broken down old psalomshchik from the hind end of no-where?

        Wonders never cease!

        You hate the light of truth because your cause is unjust! you would prefer to hide in the darkness of cant and blather.

        “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.… Ephesian 5:11

        Our Lord said ” The truth will make you free”. But you are hiding from the truth which that our Christ declared:
        ” as you did it to the least of these my brethren, so you diid it to Me?” Matthew 25.

        By rejecting the victims of mass murder and ethnic cleansing you, Father Alexander, have rejected the Lord, Himself. and on that Day, he will renounce you!

        “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” Luke 9:26

        So Jesus said to them, “My time is not yet here, but your time is always opportune. “The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil.”

        You make bold to give me spiritual direction? Are You my confessor? Get over yourself.

        The sad fact is that you have prostituted your priesthood in order to preach Putinist propaganda against the United States of America. You have betrayed the Gospel of Christ to preach the cause of a belligerent, anti-America tyrant a mass murderer and the persecutor of Orthodox Christians. May the Lord rebuke you!

        You are offended that I dare recite the Sacred Canons; because you know that your Patriarch and your Patriarchate are in clear violation of the Canons. Truth hurts. Get over it.

        You are like the the high priests and Pharisees who had no answer for Stephen; but could only gnash their teeth in rage. As they heard these things, they became so angry against Stephen, that they gnashed on him with their teeth, like wild beasts. Act 7.

        So, dear Father Alexander, gnash on… you will need the practice on that Day when the deeds of everyone will be revealed by the light of Christ.

        You Father Alexander have joined yourself to a foreign dictator and now you preach Putin’s gospel of might makes right rather than Christ’s Gospel: “you shall love your neighbor”

        You have forgotten that a man cannot serve two Masters. for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24

        The tragedy is that you, Father Alexander, have chosen to serve a master, who is not Christ. You have betrayed the Lord, just as you betrayed the church that educated and ordained you, just as you have betrayed the country that you promised to defend.

        What a shame and what a horror. May God have mercy on you while there is still time.

        • Estonian Slovak says

          Just curious, Mr. Frost. I am no huge Putin fan, but are you holding Fr. Alexander responsible for any atrocities Putin may have committed? If so, let me ask you, what about those Americans who were members of the MP during Stalin’s tenure? Would you hold THEM responsible for Stalin’s atrocities? What about the Russians who switched sides and fought on Hitler’s side against Stalin even when it was clear Hitler was about to lose WW II ? Are they responsible for the Nazi atrocities against Jews? What about the Finns and Spaniards who fought on the side of Hitler against Stalin? I’m grateful to them for trying to free Russia from the horrible Stalinist regime.Neither the Finns nor Spanish had any beef with the Western allies. Spain was officially neutral and only sent volunteers against Stalin, Finland fought to regain what territory Stalin had grabbed from them.
          Going further, we have two other Hitler allies, Admiral Horthy’s Hungary and Bulgaria.The old Admiral wanted to regain as much Hungarian territory as possible from Slovakia, Romania, and Yugoslavia, thus he allied with Hitler and sent troops to fight the Soviets. However, he did not turn his Jews over to Hitler; indeed many Slovak Jews fled to Hungary for refuge.
          Then you have Bulgaria, another Hitler ally. However, Bulgaria would not surrender her Jews either, and refused to send troops against the Soviets. I forgot to mention that Finland didn’t hand over Jews either, only eight Jews perished in Finland at Nazi hands, they were Polish Jews, hence the Finns couldn’t save them.
          Why do I mention all this? Because you seem to hold Fr. Alexander responsible for Putin’s actions. Didn’t US soldiers commit atrocities in Vietnam? Were you an adult American citizen at the time? Are you responsible for atrocities committed by SOME soldiers of your country? Just curious.

      • “It is, however, quite another thing to acts spokesman for a an alien, and belligerent dictator, such as Putin. To do do is, in fact, to become nothing less than an unregistered foreign agent – Anna Chapman in a Rasso. Given the fact that Mr. Putin’s government has publicly declared America as Russia’s enemy number one in its published military doctrine; given that the invasions of Georgia and Russia have both been justified as proxy wars against the United States and its allies; given that Mr. Putin’s government controlled press publicly bragged of its ability to turn america’s cities and its children “into piles of radioactive dust”; the public support for the Putinist regime by Orthodox clergymen careens dangerously close to an act of treason against he United States.”

        Fr Alexander–So, you do not think that, if not careening dangerously close to an act of treason, the pro-ROC, pro-Putin crowd, especially those who are in the ROC/ROCOR, do not run the danger of at least appearing to be somewhat suspect?

        • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

          Mr. Kraef, as a fellow retired U.S. military officer, you should know how extremely offensive it is for Mr. Frost to hurl an accusation of “treason,” among other absurd, scurrilous, and dastardly ad hominems, in his latest, typically overwrought post. I am disappointed that you would traffic in that sort of thing.

          • I am also disappointed: you are trying to deflect my simply question. Would you tell me instead if the following is a reasonable analysis of the state of affairs:

            “The Kremlin is using anti-Americanism as a strategic tool for pursuing domestic and foreign policy goals. Through media controlled or owned by the state, the Russian government is deliberately spreading poisonous anti-U.S. propaganda at home and abroad, blaming many of Russia’s problems on the West, particularly the United States.” (my emphasis)
            http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2010/02/russian-anti-americanism-a-priority-target-for-us-public-diplomacy

            If so, would you please answer the following question: If the ROC is seen as a partner of the state in Russia, how long do you think it will be before folks in the USA will start feeling uncomfortable in attending ROC/ROCOR churches?

            • Cark,

              I think you are taking this too seriously with accusations of treason. I do not always agree with Fr. Alexander but the United States and Russia still cooperate on a number of issues (Iran, space exploration, etc.). There is a geopolitical rivalry in Ukraine and, generally, in Russia’s near abroad. Don’t make it sound like the end of the world.

              As to the polemics regarding “poisonous anti-US propaganda”, the fact is that Russia’s problems in the Ukraine are certainly in part due to a Western backed coup d’état. It is also a fact that as a result of Russia’s strategic objections to this coup, the West has imposed sanctions on Russia. So, yes, some problems Russia has at the moment have an American pedigree.

              I don’t think that anyone who actually understands the situation will feel uncomfortable in ROCOR. I know ROCOR parishes where Russians, Belorussians, Ukrainians, Georgians and Serbs worship side by side without much, if any, internal conflict. I don’t see why Americans would get upset if the actual parties to these conflicts can see past transient politics into the faith itself.

            • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

              Carl, your Heritage “report” was authored by two well-known Russophobes, neither of which is an American. Naturally, they ignore the poisonous anti-Russian propaganda spread at home and abroad by US government-controlled media like VOA. Here’s a recent example: http://www.voanews.com/content/russian-orthodox-americans-support-church-tradition-not-politics/2951912.html

              • PRONOUNS!!!

                Of all people, Pdn BPM writes of two persons: ‘neither of which’ . In fact, though, he means ‘neither of WHOM’ .

                Yet he castigates me, calling me wrong and confused about relative pronouns. Maybe he should resign from the grammar squad.

                Sorry to be so smarmy, but I really couldn’t resist the temptation to mention this, considering all the vexatious back and forth we’ve had on this issue.

                • “Which hunting” in Internet posts is not so much smarmy as it is officious. Please recall that the good Protodeacon was not correcting the English you use in your posts, he was correcting your (unsupported) categorical pronouncement on what is and isn’t a pronoun in proper English.

                • “Neither of which” can easily be argued to be an archaism.

                  After all, “Our Father, which art in Heaven…” is the older, 16th century Modern English, version of the Lord’s Prayer.

            • http://www.heritage.org/constitution/#!/articles/3/essays/119/treason

              “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.”

              Article III, Section 3, Clause 1

              By the way, those like Frosty and Carl who like to throw around words like “treason” really ought to study the subject a bit. Nothing anyone here has done is even in the same ball park. First, you need a real enemy of the United States (as in active violent hostilities against the US). Nothing Fr. Alexander said is “dangerously close” to treason. To assert otherwise betrays both ignorance and intemperance.

              This is nothing more than normal political conversation.

            • Who to Blame says

              Carl, you said: “If the ROC is seen as a partner of the state in Russia, how long do you think it will be before folks in the USA will start feeling uncomfortable in attending ROC/ROCOR churches?”

              You have a point. Look what has happened recently in California:

              Intruder attacks Russian church in San Francisco
              http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=12324

              There is a serious potential for some bad things to happen as pro-Russian rhetoric heats up.

              • There is reportedly much more to that story. Not at all what you imply. Besides, if one were to try to find a “nationalistic” Russian church in SF, St. Tikhon’s would be the last place you’d choose. The presence of God and of St. John saturate its very walls. It is all about prayer there.

              • Oh, stuff like that happens. And it may increase due to the political propaganda produced in the West by secular-gospel spreading liberals and Cold War nostalgic “conservatives”. However, I personally witnessed instances of verbal abuse directed at Russians in front of their own churches, and this before all the Sturm and Drang over Ukraine. I remember a young Russian mother loading her children into a minivan being cursed by neighbors living across the street from the church. Sad.

                It was worse during the Cold War, btw. You had to explain that you were the good Russians, not the bad Bolsheviks. Distinctions like that are above Joe Sixpack’s pay grade just like the distinction between mixed marked capitalistic, Russian Orthodox Russia and the old atheistic, communist Soviet Union are apparently above the pay grades of Neanderthals like Sens McCain and Graham.

              • Who to blame–I tend to agree with the response given by Edward above. Misha above has actually supported the thrust of your remark, but not because common folks consider this pro-Russian sentiments to be treasonous. My question was simple and I will reiterate here and invite Fr Alexander once again to answer it”

                ” If the ROC is seen as a partner of the state in Russia, how long do you think it will be before folks in the USA will start feeling uncomfortable in attending ROC/ROCOR churches?”

                Please note that I am not saying anything even remotely close to “treason.” That said, the root of most interpersonal bad feelings is the “us versus them” phenomenon. Most folks may not know the exact points of disagreement but they will at least raise an eyebrow when somebody something that translate into “the USA is bad, Russia is good.” This is as good as any to get the ball rolling into the direction of “us versus them” feelings that grow into resentment and eventually hatred.

                • “If the ROC is seen as a partner of the state in Russia, how long do you think it will be before folks in the USA will start feeling uncomfortable in attending ROC/ROCOR churches?”

                  I suppose we will have to wait for an answer to your question. I have neither heard nor seen any exodus from ROCOR parishes. What I see is Russians, Americans, Ukrainians, Belarussians and Georgians worshipping together.

                  Yet, even worst case scenario, there’s a “so what?” factor here. The ROC is the largest Orthodox church in the world, probably as large or larger than the rest of Orthodoxy combined. The total number of Orthodox in America is perhaps around 3 million. That is from all jurisdictions. In fact, that includes pretty much everyone who ever set foot in an Orthodox church here. That might be 1/40th of the number of laity in the ROC if one counts Russia, Ukraine, Belarus’ and all of the other Russian Orthodox possessions around the world including ROCOR.

                  So why would the ROC decide to betray its own country’s interests in order to coddle to the neocon jingoism of a handful of converts or potential converts in a very, very tiny corner of Orthodoxy? Especially since the vast majority of the Russian public support the government and the Church’s stance?

                  Hopefully, Americans will be able to see past the strained propaganda of the American media with respect to international politics and the relationship of the Russian state to the ROC. But if they can’t, and that is a stumbling block – – well, so be it. Go your way in peace.

                  However, as a practical matter, these things always blow over. Remember the Russo-Georgian war? Lotsa huffing and puffing, Sturm and Drang and . . . nothing. I saw no exodus then. Europe is already chomping at the bit to lift sanctions. Much ado . . .

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      Francis Frost wrote, “And there is one more thing…”

      From him this is never an encouraging thing to hear.

  12. Francis Frost says

    There is just one motte thing. ..

    Perhaps, Misha might explain how a “blessing” of a weapon legitimizes its use against unarmed civilians.; or how the “blessing” of missiles allows their use to attack and destroy Orthodox holy places.

    Frankly, Misha, I am at a loss to determine whether you are just being smug and silly, or if you might actually believe in such a demented religion.

    All too often our Orthodox partisans are simply spewing out Satanic bilge, the fruit of corrupted hearts and demonic spirituality.

    Lord have mercy!

    • Blessings don’t legitimize the use of weapons. Their use is either warranted or not. War is always replete with civilian casualties and the firing of weapons is not directed by the clergy. Nonetheless, the tradition of blessing troops and weapons has existed in Eastern Europe and still exists in Russia. You don’t have to like it for it to be true.

      Nothing, for example, could have legitimized the bombardment of civilian neighborhoods by the Georgian military at the beginning of the war, blessing or no. If you can’t stand the heat, don’t enter the kitchen.

  13. http://www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/news/2015/07/russia-church-and-state-sign-agreement-to-prevent-abortion/#.Vf2Yp3bH_IV

    I found this interesting. The Russian govt signed an agreement with the ROC to cooperate to reduce the number of abortions in the country by various means. We should welcome this form of church/state cooperation. Imagine this happening in the West. Can’t? Neither can I.

    * * *

    Article 9 of the 21 article agreement establishes cooperation “on the protection of maternal and child health, including reproductive health, promotion of family values and prevention of abortion.”

    The agreement includes joint actions with medical institutions for the

    “creation of crisis pregnancy centers at hospitals with the participation of psychologists and participation of representatives of religious organizations of the Russian Orthodox Church in advising women who are planning to terminate the pregnancy, in medical institutions”

    and for the provision of space for

    “posting information of religious organizations of the Russian Orthodox Church on the stands in medical institutions.”

    Additionally, the two parties will also undertake

    “joint efforts to provide assistance and support to pregnant women whose prenatal diagnosis indicate to the malformation of the fetus, as well as mothers who give birth to a child with developmental disabilities.”

    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

      Thanks, Misha, for sharing that wonderful news.

      Meanwhile in the USA, the inept Republican Party cannot, despite majorities in both houses of the Congress, stop federal funding for the abominable Planned Parenthood organization, the wicked Democrat Party is, with few exceptions, in the back pocket of PP and all other abortion “providers,” the President of the US will not even consider any restrictions on the abortion license in this country, and the U.S. Department of State seems hell-bent on exporting–rather forcefully–its radical pro-abortion and homosexual “marriage” ideologies to other countries. Our national leaders are sinking further into barbarism, while the Russian Orthodox Church and some political leaders are trying to restore that nation’s pre-Soviet moral compass and church-state symphonia.

      • Meanwhile, our president continues to give the middle finger to middle America, appointing the first openly gay Secretary of the Army. Our leader states he is proud of making history.

        And on the subject of the Ecumenical Patriarch (would his archons give an award without his blessing?) giving Joe Biden a big Grand Pooh-bah award, let’s not forget that as well as being a relentless supporter of baby killing, Biden was the elected official who did more than anyone to drive the gay marriage train forward. I already had little enough respect for the EP — I now have even less.

  14. Michael Bauman says

    Fr. Alexander the Republican party wiil not risk their political capital on “social issues” that will only bring them ridicule from their fellow politically elite class and do nothing to enhance their power. They are mendacious cowards who refuse to do what they are elected to do and often don’t believe what they say they. They are as secular as the democrats.

    I, for one, am no longer represented in government. “Taxation without representation is tyranny”. Judicial fiat is even worse.

  15. Francis Frost says

    Mishka wrote:

    I found this interesting. The Russian govt signed an agreement with the ROC to cooperate to reduce the number of abortions in the country by various means. We should welcome this form of church/state cooperation. Imagine this happening in the West. Can’t? Neither can I.

    Of course, this is so much political window dressing. This is like Bill Clinton saying “abortion should be safe, legal and rare”

    The Putin government could, if it willed, outlaw abortion in a matter of hours; but it has not done so. After all 70% of the Russian population self identifies as Orthodox Christian. The Yedina Rossiya party has overwhelming majorities in both houses of the Parliament. Both Putin and Prime minister Medvedyev claim to be pious Orthodox Christians. They could outlaw abortion in a day – just as they overthrew international law and Russia’s covenanted agreements to recognize the independence and territorial integrity of its neighbors in Ukraine and Georgia.

    The fact is that abortion is legal and readily available in government clinics in Russia, as it is in every ‘Orthodox’ country, except those in Muslim majority lands. The fact is that Russian women abort their babies at a rate 6 times that in the US, 10 times that in Western Europe according to WHO statistics. Of course, the Russian government might want to improve its birth rate, to forestall the coming demographic death spiral.

    The past decade provided a temporary respite in the free fall of the Russian population; due not to any current actions of the Russian authorities; but due to the larger cohort of babies borne in the mid 1980’s due to Gorbachov’s anti-alcolohol campaign and a coresponding minor rebound baby boom in the early 2000’s. The coming cohort of prospective parent (those born in the 1990’s), however is exceedingly small and the number of births per woman is still well below the number needed to maintain a stable population. While Russian now has the distinction of harboring more HIV infections than the entirety of Europe, the Russian government is now banning the import of the condoms that might prevent the spread of infection.

    The Moscow Patriarchate has not only failed to ban abortions in Russia, the Moscow Patriarchate has has publicly condoned and even blessed the massacre of innocent civilians both those born and unborn. This is a documented fact, although our resident Russophile wannabes ignore that fact.

    Over the course of these many debates, I have provided clear documentary proof of the MP’s complicity in acts of genocide, ethnic cleansing and repeated breaches of the Canons of the Orthodox Church.

    In response, Fr. Alexander F. C Webster PhD has provided not one contradictory fact or countervailing argument. No, all he has is his own wounded pride. This demonstrates the essential narcissism that underlies his moral posturing.

    Repentance, like charity must begin at home. When our self appointed moral prophets are ready to decry the many horrific crimes against humanity, crimes against Christ, Himself – crimes committed by Orthodox Christians against Orthodox Christians with the “blessing” of Orthodox bishops; well then and only then will they have the authenticity and moral authority to effect change. But, that of course, would require moral courage.

    Fr. Webster PhD is irate because Archbishop Demitrios gave a humanitarian award to Joe Biden in thanks for a political favor to the Phanar. At he same time, Fr. Alexander’s hero in the Kremlin has literally slaughtered hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians with the public blessing of Fr. Alexander’s own bishops. There are some 50,000 dead from the 3 invasions of Georgia, over 100,000 dead from the 2000 reconquest of Chechnya and 8,400 already dead from the invasion of Donbas. not to mention the over 6,000 Russian mothers whose sons have been killed in this insane and fratricidal war. To make matters even worse, these mothers of Russian soldiers are denied survivors pensions and in many cases even the decency of a public funeral for their sons who have been killed for the sake of Putin’s madness.

    Even so, the good Father Webster PhD spouts Putinist propaganda in the guise of Orthodox morality. And despite Fr. Alexander’s open support for a mass murderer, Fr. Alexander has the gall, the unmitigated gall to call himself “Pro-Life”. Count me unimpressed.

    Get real

    • This is not a fair criticism. Under Putin, the abortion law *has* been tightened significantly (and the birth rate has risen from 1.3 to 1.6). The abortion rate has come down significantly, although I suspect that is simply through more widespread use of condoms.

      There are bills in front of parliament now that would tighten the law further by making it very expensive and cumbersome and installing huge fines and penalties for abortions outside state hospitals. It is estimated that would cut the rate in half again.

      United Russia is a diverse party and most of the Russian population does not support banning abortion, so I do not suspect that Putin feels he can snap his fingers and pass such a law. I do not know if he would even favour such a law.

      If your point is simply that many paleoconservatives and Orthodox converts idolise Putin and pretend he is the building the Third Rome, then fine. I lived in Russia and know that is false. At the same time, Putin is a sort of political guarantor of Christian civilisation today, a role that does not require personal piety.

      The rest of your post contains numerous errors:
      1.”The past decade provided a temporary respite in the free fall of the Russian population; due not to any current actions of the Russian authorities; but due to the larger cohort of babies borne in the mid 1980’s due to Gorbachov’s anti-alcolohol campaign”

      —That’s bizarre! No, the birth rate began to recover from a low in the 1990s because in the 90s the economy was in free fall. There was much unemployment and even more uncertainty for some employed (i.e., many state workers did not get paid regularly). Putin fixed that so with a level of economic security, the birth rate went up. Also, there were other little policies like one-off payments for births.

      2.”While Russian now has the distinction of harboring more HIV infections than the entirety of Europe”

      —Unless by “Europe”, you mean the EU, that is false. And btw, the Ukraine has a higher HIV rate.

      3.”the Russian government is now banning the import of the condoms that might prevent the spread of infection”

      —Isn’t that a response in the tit-for-tat sanctions the West started? And I am surprised you want them to import condoms due to your deep interest in promoting Russian pregnancies.

      4.”The Moscow Patriarchate has not only failed to ban abortions in Russia, the Moscow Patriarchate has has publicly condoned and even blessed the massacre of innocent civilians both those born and unborn”

      —Absolutely false. Even in the Ukraine, the MP has been very moderate while its priests are harassed and churches defaced by Ukro-nationalist fanatics from Svoboda.

      5.”Over the course of these many debates, I have provided clear documentary proof of the MP’s complicity in acts of genocide, ethnic cleansing”

      —The only genocide in the ex-USSR is the depopulation of not only Russians, but all non-Turkic peoples by a declining birth rate and (for a while) declining life expectancy. Yel’tsin was impeached for “genocide”, by the way. The culprits here are atheistic liberalism and defeat in the Cold War. Ethnic cleansing, well, there have been several local attempts of this, but not really in Russia. They have tried to cleanse Russians from the Baltics, but that has calmed down a bit. The Ukro-nationalists want to cleanse Western Ukraine from Russian culture and many Russians have left from there. There is the Armenian-Azeri conflict. Georgia-Abkhazia and Ossetia-Abkhazia. If you mean Chechnya, however, there were two wars and refugees from those wars but now a Chechen clan controls it. Any idea that Moscow just wanted to kill Chechens, a disproportionately powerful group even in Moscow itself, is ridiculous.

      6.”There are some 50,000 dead from the 3 invasions of Georgia”

      —No. Firstly, there was one invasion. Secondly, it did not kill anywhere near 50k. I think you are counting the Abkhaz war from the early 90s as a “Russian invasion”. The Georgian position on that war was wrong.

      Are saying Russia cannot attack any forces in Chechnya, but Abkhazia must bend to Tbilisi’s will?

      7.”over 100,000 dead from the 2000 reconquest of Chechnya”

      —50-80k, but the Russian position was correct. The Russian position on the First Chechen war under Yel’tsin was weaker. There you had a more Abraham Lincoln posture – a region demands more autonomy and the central government says, “No, we are a union” and seeks to kill even its moderate political leaders. The Second War began in Daghestan (not Chechnya) and I criticised it at the time, thinking it was a political diversion. Maybe it was a vehicle for getting the newly appointed Prime Minister Putin into the Presidency over the Communists. But in retrospect, the problem was what we see in Syria today – foreign jihadis were pouring over the border and declaring their own political autonomy in the name of the people residing there. Russia did not attack the local government of Chechnya in the second war.

      It is widely reported by eyewitnesses that Chechens are fighting in Syria in Al-Nusra and ISIS both, and you know they are veterans of this war.

      Do you think the Caucasus should be like Syria? Speaking of which, who prevented a NATO invasion there in 2013?

      8.”8,400 already dead from the invasion of Donbas”

      —Kiev started the war by overthrowing the lawful government that 90% in that region voted for and replacing it with something nearly the whole region opposed. They then tried to suppress their language and heritage and denied them autonomy. I am sure Russian intelligence organised volunteers to Donbass and they probably supply them to a degree but there is no military invasion.

      Do you think NATO should be on the Russian border?

      • Thomas,

        I applaud your fact based response to Frosty, however, he is utterly incorrigible. I did the same thing many months ago – point by point refutations of one of his tomes. He is impervious to such responses because he has been completely enthralled in radical Georgian anti-Russian politics and media outlets. It’s an addiction with him. That the Georgian government wants peace and the Georgian Patriarch wants rapprochement with Russia now, the government having ousted Saakashvili and charged him and his cabinet criminally, is lost on Frosty.

        He thinks NATO should be in the Kremlin.

        • Yes, Saakashvili, the Georgian patriot who skedaddled as soon as he lost power and is now the Governor of Odessa Oblast’. That’s one way to avoid jail.

          I have seen that “Frosty” has a Georgian wife, so probably he adopted some of her political views. I studied the Georgian language, for what it is worth, and had a radical nationalist teacher – pro-Gamsaxurdia and later pro-Saakashvili, radically anti-Shevardnadze. Other Georgian academics I have met do not share these views to this degree, however.

          Most Georgians have bought into NATO and Europeanism, which is odd given that their culture is quite Oriental in some ways, but the militant crazies are at least a minority. I wonder what form the imposed gay rights agenda will take there? They are in for a surprise.

      • Francis Frost says

        Thomas SM wrote:

        There are some 50,000 dead from the 3 invasions of Georgia”

        —No. Firstly, there was one invasion. Secondly, it did not kill anywhere near 50k. I think you are counting the Abkhaz war from the early 90s as a “Russian invasion”. The Georgian position on that war was wrong.

        Are saying Russia cannot attack any forces in Chechnya, but Abkhazia must bend to Tbilisi’s will?

        7.”over 100,000 dead from the 2000 reconquest of Chechnya”

        —50-80k, but the Russian position was correct. The Russian position on the First Chechen war under Yel’tsin was weaker. There you had a more Abraham Lincoln posture – a region demands more autonomy and the central government says, “No, we are a union” and seeks to kill even its moderate political leaders. The Second War began in Daghestan (not Chechnya) and I criticised it at the time, thinking it was a political diversion. Maybe it was a vehicle for getting the newly appointed Prime Minister Putin into the Presidency over the Communists. But in retrospect, the problem was what we see in Syria today – foreign jihadis were pouring over the border and declaring their own political autonomy in the name of the people residing there. Russia did not attack the local government of Chechnya in the second war.

        It is widely reported by eyewitnesses that Chechens are fighting in Syria in Al-Nusra and ISIS both, and you know they are veterans of this war.

        Do you think the Caucasus should be like Syria? Speaking of which, who prevented a NATO invasion there in 2013?

        8.”8,400 already dead from the invasion of Donbas”

        —Kiev started the war by overthrowing the lawful government that 90% in that region voted for and replacing it with something nearly the whole region opposed. They then tried to suppress their language and heritage and denied them autonomy. I am sure Russian intelligence organised volunteers to Donbass and they probably supply them to a degree but there is no military invasion.

        Do you think NATO should be on the Russian border?

        Thomas:

        First there have been three invasions of Georgi: the invasion of Tskhinvali in 1991, the invasion of Abkhazeti in 1992-3 and the 2008 August war. In these wars the Russian military used Muslim militias along with non uniformed Cossack irregulars to attack the Orthodox people of Georgia. You can argue offer the exact statistics of civilian casualties, 80,000 is as horrific as 100,000 when the dead are innocent civilians who are tortured and massacred in their own ancestral villages simply because the are in the way of the Russian’s insane attempt to rebuild the Soviet empire. Those whom you write off a numbers, collateral damage, are our relatives, neighbors and friends. The fact that you cannot acknowledge their humanity, and their right to life is proof of your own spiritual vacuity. As to the actual number,s the UM estimates are based on survivor surveys. In Abkhazeti, where entire families and villages were slaughtered and sometimes buried alive, all too often there were no survivors to give such reports.

        Second, Mas murder and the carpet bombing of civilian populations can never be “correct” Such actions are defined as war crimes and are punishable by international law, not to mention the Law of God.

        Third. It is precisely the Russian military that created, armed and radicalized the Muslims of the North Caucasus and used them as mercenaries in the invasions of Georgia and Ukraine. Actions have consequences. Those same militias then turned on their Russian masters and fought the Russian army to a standstill in 1996. It was only by massacring 100,000 civilians in 199-2000 and then buying off the Kadyrov family that Moscow re-gained control over Chechnya. These same militias have now morphed into radical Jihadists. You are correct in that fully one forth of the ISIS forces are Russian citizens from the North Caucasus.

        Once the fighting in Syria ends, one way or another, where do you think those most radical of jihadists will be headed.? At the same time, as Russia runs out of money and is no longer able to pay Kadyrov his $2 billion annual tribute, what do you think will happen to Russia then?

        It is Putin who has ruined the Russian nation, not the West. It is Putin who has massacred hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens, not the West. It is Putin who is bulldozing food while babushkas go hungry; all to spite the West. You support Putin who does these things to Russia, and you accuse ME of hating Russia and the Russian people.? Get real !

        We need to remember one thing the world is now governed by international law. Putin has chosen to flaunt that law. By so doing he has isolated the Russian nation. Is Russia better off for it? No.

        Russia has no “rights” over the now free, former Soviet colonies. Get over it. The Russian invasions and oppression of its neighbors has generated an indelible antipathy against Russia and any thing Russian. Every one of Russia’s neighbors will join both the European Union and NATO at the earliest opportunity, not because the necessarily love the “West” but because the despise Russian chauvinism and Russian aggression. Three invasions and a change of government in Tbilisi have not swayed the Georgians’ resolve to resist Russia and embrace the modern world, no matter the cost. The current Georgian Dream coalition government has not changed its policy towards the occupation one iota from that of the preceding UNM party. Get over it.

        As for Ukraine, Yanukovich was not ousted by a ‘putch’ and Mishka claims, He was ousted by a vote of the Parliament, including members of his own Party of Regions. There are over 1 million refugees from the Donbas. The so called local militias are composed of Russian soldiers, and Russian covert operatives such as Strelkov / Girkin. The Russian casualties from the fighting at Donetsk airport were all Chechens. The figures for Russian casualties in Donbas have been compiled by the “Mothers of Russian Soldiers” organization using internet sites to compile stories of their sins who died in this insane fratricidal war. You claim to be a Russian patriot; but it is your heroes in the Kremlin who forced Russian boys into war and then hid their deaths and in many cases hid their bodies to cover their own illegal conduct of this invasion.

        There scripts tell us: “Lawlessness is sin” I John 3:4

        You cannot be an Orthodox Christian and engage in military aggression against your neighbor. St. Sergius of Radonezh blessed Prince Dmitri only for a defensive battle to protect his own people. In 1811, St Seraphim of Sarov warned Tsar Aleksandr I: “Georgia is the inheritance of the Most Holy Mother of God. If you make war on Georgia, then God will make war on you, and Russia will be destroyed:. This is now happening before our eyes in our own day.

        • It is asinine to imagine Russia was trying to restore the USSR when it was in economic, political, and moral free fall in the early 1990s.

          Let’s be honest – Abkhazia and South Ossetia broke away because they did not want to be under radical nationalist Georgian rule. It’s that simple. Abkhazia in the 1989 Census was about 45% Georgian, the rest almost evenly divided between Russian, Armenian, and Abkhaz (and I think it was about 4% Pontic Greek). Well, gee, who would assume Russians and Armenians would rather live in Georgia? All it took then was idiot radical nationalists proposing to suppress the Abkhaz, and all other languages, in favour of Georgian, and voilà. Beyond that, I’m not taking sides in the conflict, but I insist (a) the Georgian nationalists I have talked to about this destroy their own credibility by claiming there were no underlying ethnolinguistic problems (that the Russkies provoked the whole thing) and that the Georgian government handled the situation perfectly well; and (b) Gamsaxurdia made allies with the Chechen nationalists and different Caucasian factions fought on both sides.

          If Russia wanted to invade, it darn well could have. NATO had not yet expanded to its borders. But, as I remind you, it was in free fall itself, and even if its secret services could help coordinate some ragtag Muslims and get them some kalashnikovs, the war occurred because of this tendency of breakaway republics to be unitary, radical nationalist states that do not permit the autonomy of any region themselves.

          There were no Russian invasions except for the one everyone admits, in 2008, which even the EU concluded was Georgia’s fault. I don’t know if you live in the middle of nowhere Kansas or something with your Georgian wife, but this is how the world saw the conflict (I was in Norway, so maybe two timezones off): All world media report on the Georgian assault on Tskhinvali and we wake up the morning of 8-8-8 to this taped footage. In mid-morning, they report Russian tanks heading towards the border. The US wakes up, at least on some channels like FOX, to the same taped footage from Tskhinvali with the headline “Russia invades Georgia” – no context, no previous events explained. Total bull! So when you run around whining that Russia invaded to harm this poor, heroic little republic, nobody with any knowledge of the situation takes you seriously. You just look like another Cheney or Feith or Wolfowitz or McCain.

          You always try to lecture everyone about God’s law concerning killing, while you are allied to the worst killers on the planet. Are you are about to defend Saakashvili’s actions in Tskhinvali? I bet you will. The eyewitness reports coming from there were not too encouraging for the Georgians’ moral cause. Even if you want to defend it, you do understand Saakashvili was given a false signal by the American neocons? They were not actually going to shed our blood for South Ossetia.

          “Once the fighting in Syria ends, one way or another, where do you think those most radical of jihadists will be headed.?”

          —What’s your point? We all know they work for the Saudis and Qataris, and indirectly for US intelligence. It sounds like you are gloating that they can come back through the Pankisi Gorge, now infested with ex-ISIS according to the BBC, to fight Putin.

          ” At the same time, as Russia runs out of money and is no longer able to pay Kadyrov his $2 billion annual tribute”

          —Kadyrov’s $2 billion? On top of Putin’s $4 billion? They used to talk about Luzhkov’s wife owning everything, but that kinda died. They tried to claim Illarionov was a billionaire from the take, but then he defected, so he’s apparently okay. (btw, this is all BS, you know, kind of like the highest inflated numbers for victims of Stalin – try to have a little sense of proportion)

          “It is Putin who has ruined the Russian nation, not the West. It is Putin who has massacred hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens, not the West”

          —Hold on a second, you were just gloating that jihadis will be brought back over the border (the obvious implication is – through Georgia). But when it happened before – it was “a massacre of Russian citizens” that is Putin’s fault. Who do you think is facilitating such campaigns?

          “You support Putin who does these things to Russia, and you accuse ME of hating Russia and the Russian people.?”

          —(a) No, I never was a Putin supporter within Russian politics. My own views are closer to the KPRF, which was a huge critic of the first Chechen war, fwiw. Nearly the entire Russian political spectrum gives some support to Putin in foreign policy *now* (not in his first term), because Russia is on the defensive and is also a sort of leader of the opposition to NATO-EU globalist tyranny (and the NATO-Wahhabi angels of death). The only dissidents now are liberals who were initially Putin supporters (never radical oppositionists).
          (b) Do you realise what Russia was like around the year 2000? Nobody on the ground, except radical liberals (1-2% of the population) thinks Russia was better off at the end of the 90s, when revenues were not collected, salaries and pensions unpaid, separatist wars provoked, constant defaults and devaluations, and crime was high.
          (c) Yes. You hate Russia. This seems to be the consensus. I even googled you and you go on rants about Russia in comments that are not even related to the topic of the article. It is an emotional, illogical obsession.

          “Every one of Russia’s neighbors will join both the European Union and NATO at the earliest opportunity, not because the necessarily love the “West” but because the despise Russian chauvinism and Russian aggression”

          —Well, then, Georgians will enjoy learning a lot about homosexuality, transgendered people, and feminism. People want to join “Europe” because they think it will make them rich and they can work and study in Germany. The politicians are often creations of the NGOs (Georgia’s cabinet 10 years ago, like the Ukraine’s now, is full of young people given scholarships in the US). As an American, I object to the existence of NATO and its use by the neocons to commit my people to suffer on behalf of buffoons like Saakashvili or traitors like Yatsenyuk. There is a genuine complaint about Russian chauvinism, which I have seen many times for myself, but it is a mere annoyance. Russian “aggression” compared to American or British or French (these days) or Saudi is a bad joke.

          “As for Ukraine, Yanukovich was not ousted by a ‘putch’ and Mishka claims, He was ousted by a vote of the Parliament, including members of his own Party of Regions”

          —Yes, it was a putsch. The police were in contact with the American Embassy, they withdrew after the provocation of sniper fire (which they did not start), mobs ransacked the government buildings. Yanukovych fled but so did about one third of parliament. Some PoR stayed and defected. The KPU remained at risk to themselves. Parliament voted to remove Yanukovych from office, but did not have the votes for a legal impeachment, which is supposed to follow a lengthier process anyway, and this occurred in an atmosphere of armed radical nationalists surrounding the Rada. So it is as if a majority of the Senate just votes to remove Obama and simply votes on whom to replace him after he withdraws from the White House under threat.

          That’s a pretty common sort of coup.

          “The Russian casualties from the fighting at Donetsk airport were all Chechens”

          —Is that so? Then maybe you should charge Kiev with genocide?

          • ” . . [T]his is how the world saw the conflict (I was in Norway, so maybe two timezones off): All world media report on the Georgian assault on Tskhinvali and we wake up the morning of 8-8-8 to this taped footage. In mid-morning, they report Russian tanks heading towards the border. The US wakes up, at least on some channels like FOX, to the same taped footage from Tskhinvali with the headline “Russia invades Georgia” – no context, no previous events explained. Total bull! ”

            Thomas, I was at the office early that day due to insomnia, probably around 6am or so EST. I remember how the story morphed over the course of the morning. Originally, it was a straightforward story about Georgian aggression. Then after Russia intervened, it totally turned to a Russian invasion, completely devoid of context. It was truly Orwellian. That was the event that actually took me out of the Americanist political orbit altogether. It became clear to me that the Western media was a major, perhaps The Major, political actor here in America and that neither they nor the American political parties had any intention of approaching the matter honestly. It was in the interest of US and EU business to have Georgia (and now Ukraine) in the western camp and thus the heroes and villians were pre-ordained.

            I had had my misgivings about “Americanism” before, but for me, that was the day the music died.

  16. Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

    Here is a general announcement to the folks on this message board who like to fulminate and engage in vicious personal attacks in lieu of reasonable discussion and serious argument: I do not respond to questions accompanied by epithets such as “treason,” “betrayal,” or “apostasy,” or warnings about my everlasting soul even–and especially–when they are purportedly supported by biblical quotations. Stop wasting everyone’s time and testing everyone’s patience.

  17. A little side note that might be of interest to somebody.

    When Maidan occurred, Ancient Faith Radio immediately produced an interview with an American Ukrainian priest about how great it was and how the Ukraine will finally unite with “Europe” where it belongs and the divided Orthodox church in Kiev will unite under the KP since there is no longer a corrupt authoritarian political system.

    I, and several others, complained immediately on Kevin Allen’s FB page (he conducted the interview). Allen thought I was the most articulate and offered that I do a response, but his superiors blocked it. I pressed the issue and said I did not need to do it but someone did, so eventually they recruited Jatras and interviewed him. My read was that Allen was genuinely not well informed (he relied on me to consult him about relevant questions) and apt to avoid controversy but his “superiors” (that Midwestern family, I forgot their name) were/are anti-Russian and only begrudgingly accepted running another segment.

    When Allen resigned from his main show a year or so ago, he went on tirades about the Greeks and Russians both.

    I know they are all Antiochians and that explains their special sympathy for Syrians and Palestinians, but it is strange to produce programmes with views even less popular than pro-Russian ones among the general population as well as running constant programmes and interviews with the off-putting zealot Fr Trenham, but then revert to standard media coverage of other geopolitical news and pretend that Russian and Greek churches are unappealing to converts.