Kicking the Can Down the Road

Earlier this morning, a commentator sent me an email from He Kathimerini (a major Greek newspaper) that the Holy Synod was looking favorably upon their recognition of the new sect. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper.

However, Randy, another one of our commentators, just broke the news that the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece decided not to recognize the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” the bastard step-child of Ukronazi oligarchs, the Phanar, and the State Department . . . for now.   

So, while it’s a little too early to reach for the champagne just yet, I’m gonna go to the pantry and make sure I’ve got some.  For now, let us praise the Good Lord that they at least have enough support to kick the can down the road.

All glory to Him!

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  1. When is the decision going to be made? Was not sure if it meant this October or October of 2020
    At what point are the hierarchs of the autocephalous Churches finally going to get together in council to work out this problem? 

    • Antiochene Son says

      I suppose the impetus would be on Alexandria—which, along with Jerusalem, has a Greek-dominated hierarchy. Maybe Alexandria and Antioch can work together to call a synaxis together.

      Am I right in my understanding that all the Byzantine churches, including the ancient patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, still receive their chrism from Constantinople? (A holdover from the Ottoman period)

  2. A very good article on the matter comes from, which sources its info from Romfea. They give a good synopsis of what happened at the synod this morning. I was very happy to see that the bishops of the synod were well aware and disturbed by the fact that the so-called “autocephaly” was given to a group of un-ordained schismatics. 
    It’s in French, but google translate does a good job:

    • George Michalopulos says

      Thanks for keeping us posted” Randy!

      • No problem! I really do think the Holy Spirit worked wonders earlier today at the synod to preserve the canonicity of the Greek Church. I know that the Greek synod was under immense pressure to recognize the schismatics, everyone was expecting as such, even the writers at OrthoChristian. It was really quite wonderful to wake up to to be honest. 

  3. George Osborne says

    This may be – and probably is – just a stalling tactic. The synod deferred judgement to the full synod in October. This sad musical hasn’t nearly played itself out yet. 

    • So how will this Synod come to a decision?  

      Will it have to be a unanimous vote?  
      A majority?

      Does Archbishop Ieronymos have the the right to approve or veto the Synod’s decision?

      • Antiochene Son says

        On a matter of such importance, I would hope that unanimity and speaking with one voice would be required.

      • Ieronymos has four problems:
        _how to face Bartholomew
        _how to face Moscow
        _how to face the people of Greece
        _Last but not least, how to save his Throne and Glory

    • Frankly I think the “kick the can” path is the best possible path the CoG can take right now. Anything that keeps the synod from joining a schism is good in my opinion.
      From a very well spoken man on Byztex:
      “The Church of Greece knows very well that recognition of the schismatic Church raiders will cause their own internal schism. If they are in fear of the wrath of Constantinople, then they should continue to kick the can down the road while asking for a council to decide the matter. The worst thing they could do is recognize a group of non-ordained schismatics who beat the women and elderly while seizing their Churches. If they do this, it will cause massive division within their own ranks…and the Church as a whole.”

  4. But how come no dissent in the EP’s own ranks (e.g. GOA, ACROD, etc.)? Are they cowed by the might of the EP or worse, are they just indifferent?

    St. Paisios the Hagiorite spoke these words to the enablers of his time:

    What unsettles me is the reigning mood of tranquility.

    Today they’re trying to destroy faith, and for the edifice of faith to fall they quietly pull out one stone, then another. But we’re all responsible for the destruction; not just those who destroy but we who see how faith is being undermined and make no effort to strengthen it.

    In our day it’s a true witness to speak up for one’s people, for the state is waging war against divine law. It’s laws are directed against the Law of God. But we are responsible for not letting the enemies of the Church corrupt everything. Though I’ve heard even priests say: “Don’t get involved in that. It’s none of your business!” If they had reached such a non-striving condition through prayer I would kiss their feet.

    But no! They’re indifferent because they want to please everyone and live in comfort. Indifference is unacceptable even for laymen, and all the more so for the clergy. An honest, spiritual man doesn’t do anything with indifference.

    The spirit of lukewarmness reigns. There’s no manliness at all! We’ve been spoiled for good! How does God still tolerate us? Today’s generation is the generation of indifference. There are no warriors.

    They’re silent out of indifference. What’s bad is that even people who’ve got something inside have begun to grow cool, saying: “Can I really do anything to change the situation?”

    Spiritual meekness is one thing, and softness and indifference are quite another. Some say: “I’m a Christian and therefore I have to be joyful and calm.” But they’re not Christian. They’re simply indifferent.

    In our age audacity has become a rarity. Water, not blood, flows in people’s veins.

    If a person refuses to strive to become courageous, and doesn’t strive for real love, then when a difficult situation arises he’ll become a laughingstock.

    The warrior takes joy in the fact that he’s dying so that others won’t have to.

    • Amen!

    • Mom of Toddler says

      “But how come no dissent in the EP’s own ranks (e.g. GOA, ACROD, etc.)? Are they cowed by the might of the EP or worse, are they just indifferent?”
      I have wondered this same thing.  As a layperson in the OCA, I don’t really understand the “unity” that we are trying to preserve by staying in communion with the EP.  It seems more like artificial unity than real Christian unity.  It seems that to have this view, someone would tell me that I’m wanting schism.  But of course, I don’t want that.  I just really want to understand if we take what the Bible says seriously and what the Holy Fathers say seriously, how did the OCA arrive at these conclusions and actions of wanting to stay in the good graces of the EP?  I am honestly asking…is there something I am missing?

      • Mom,
        ” I am honestly asking…is there something I am missing?”
        Bartholomew is constantly studying Canon Law since he was a Deacon of 26 years old. According to e.g. the Patriarchate’s web-site, B. then went to the Pontifical(!) School in Italy to specialise in this topic. BTW the school was a an Eastern section (read Uniate) of the greater academy founded by none less than Ignatius of Loyola, and  yes the Jesuit!

        The question is why did B. go to the Jesuit school and not to another similar one Cple, Athens, Moscow? Did Ecumenist Athenagoras select B. as a future EP (like Clinton for POTUS), and thus lead the steps of the young deacon?

        So, with his specialty, B. can do any juggling with the letter of the Canons and he can intimidate OCA. 

        The answer is the spirit of the law and transparency. 
        And prayer as well.

        • Someone in a comment to one of Rod Dreher’s columns quoted Dostoyevski as saying that Catholicism is an organization while Orthodoxy is an organism. Organizations depend on and operate on the basis of rules, while I always, perhaps naively, thought that Orthodoxy operated on the basis of the Holy Spirit.

          Now we see that Bartholomew and Elpidophoros produce reams of analyses of the finer points of canon law in order to prove that Constantinople is uber alles. All of it is pettifoggery, something I am familiar with as a result of my profession. Legalistic analyses have an appropriate role to play in some areas of human endeavor, but I think that at best they have only a limited role to play in Orthodoxy.

          I may be wrong and if I am I welcome the correction.

    • Solitary Priest says

      At least one ACROD priest that I know is very concerned. He may do something about it in the not so distant future. But what is stopping you from becoming a priest and doing it right, since the rest of us are doing it wrong?
          Believe me, before becoming a priest, I was very judgmental about clergy. Now, many years later, I’m only sorry I didn’t do more. So I invite you and others who would criticize us. Take the yoke upon you yourselves! See how you like being called a “modernist” for trimming your beard. Or a “fanatic” if you don’t. Or see how you like having your wife and children used as pawns in a game against you. Like the good old American saying says,”Put up or shut up!”

  5. Ioan,
    “But how come no dissent in the EP’s own ranks (e.g. GOA, ACROD, etc.)? Are they cowed by the might of the EP or worse, are they just indifferent?”

    Some may be indifferent.
    For the others there is IRON DISCIPLINE: B. demonstrated that decades ago, when the Theologian N.Sotiropoulos criticised the anti-christian sermon of a Bishop.
    Then B. excommunicated Sotiropoulos IN ABSENTIA!  without giving him the chance to defend himself!

    Rich people from other religions, B. kisses on both cheeks.
    But you try to disobey his slightest order…

  6. Solitary Priest, I like you very much!
    You seem to be far more of a real priest than some others out there.

    Chrysostom says he believes most priests will not be saved, because they have promised things they have not done. (Homily to Acts).

    Yet, I disagree with your invitation to priesthood:
    “But what is stopping you from becoming a priest and doing it right?”

    To paraphrase another of Chrysostom’s homilies,
    “if you think you can become a priest, or a bishop,
    you cannot!”

    I do sympathize with you on the various comments like
    “modernist” of “fanatic”. At the end of the day your conscience, the Bible, the Fathers tell you what is right or wrong.

    • Solitary Priest says

      Dear Ioannis;
      Two points; I’m really not a good priest. If I were, I’d be spending my time reading Chrysostom and St. Basil the Great. I’m sure you read them and God bless you for it. That’s what I should be doing instead of posting here so much. I suspect Chrysostom’s words apply to me. I certainly should not have become a priest when I was a foolish, immature kid in my 20’s. I only remain in the priesthood because a few souls may be benefiting from my work. If I stepped down, I would be hurting some souls who trust in me, though I’m totally unworthy.
      Secondly, I wasn’t addressing you personally. I issue a general statement to those who complain about how things ought to be. One man whines about Byzantine miters,etc, another bemoans Roman collars, someone blasts headgear, beards, and pony tails, while yet another calls for “furry” clergy. That’s my rant for the day.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Solitary Priest, I dunno but you sound like a real priest to me. I have no way of deciding who is a good priest. All I know for sure is that I judge my priests too much and expect too much from them and too little of myself.

        God is merciful in any case. We are all unworthy of His mercy because as Shakespeare said, “In the course of justice, none of us should see salvation.”

        Every liturgy you serve, you ask everyone to forgive you, those that hate you and those that love you. If even once you meant it (and I suspect you mean it far more often than not), then you are a real priest and a blessing in the Church. It matters not what language you speak, if you are furry or not, if you put people to sleep with your homilies or anything else.

        May God bless and keep you and allow your priesthood to be fruitful and reveal to you at least a little of that fruit.

        BTW the list of reasons I could not be a priest is quite long, my judgment of them the least of the reasons. Suffice it to say that if any bishop were deluded enough to ordain me, he would likely have to suspend me in the first week. If any parishioner attacked my family, I would be tempted to punch them out. But, by God’s grace, I am forever barred from that holy calling.

        I am amazed that anyone puts up with all of the abuse you suffer other than participating deeply in the mystery of the Cross.

        Interestingly enough the worst priest I have ever personally met, the man who laid hands on me and my family to bring us into the Church, is the priest who taught me the most about the mercy of God and brought me closer to Him in the process even though I still carry the scars of his ineptitude and his mistakes. Unfortunately, he took a path far away from the Church and her mercy, yet I still pray for him and thank God for him both.

        By your prayers, Father.

  7. Solitary Priest says

    An elderly parish council president did attack my wife. Not physically, but verbally. She apologized to him for having offended him. But he, like a Mafia capo, demanded that she apologize to him in front of the whole congregation. That she refused, and rightly so. Had he been in his 50’s instead of his 80’s, I probably would have punched him out and risked loosing my priesthood.

  8. Professor essentially and respectfully rebuts Met. Hierotheos in letter to the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece re the Ukraine

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      Very, very good! I hope they hear his words and this terrible episode of recognizing schismatics comes to end. The EP should NEVER have done this and caused such disunity in the Church!

  9. Michael Bauman 
    “I have no way of deciding who is a good priest.”
    Michael with all respect (you know that):
    You are right, and yet,
    the GoldenMouthed St.J.Chrysostom does give us a practical advice,
    he gave it to women, not to men, not to clergy,
    and it affects not just priests but Bishops and indeed the Archbishop of Constantinople (he was not called Ecumenical Patriarch then!):

    ” But he went into the baptistery, and called Olympias, a lady who spent all her time in the church, and Pentadia, and Procle, the deaconesses,243 and Silvina, the widow of the blessed Nevridius,244 who adorned her widowhood by a beautiful life, and said to them, “Come here, my daughters, and listen to me. I see that the things concerning me have an end; 245 I have finished my course 246 and perhaps you will see my face no more.247 What I want to ask you is this: let no one dissever you from the good-will you have always borne to the Church; and whoever succeeds me, if |87 he be brought forward for ordination not by his own wish, and without place-hunting, with the approval of all, bow your heads to him, as you have done to John. The Church cannot exist without a bishop. And so may you find mercy. Remember me in your prayers.”(The Life of Chrysostom, Chapter X).

    • Michael Bauman says

      Ioannis, those standards are fine, but for the sake of my own soul, I dare not judge the servant of another knowing as I do that however bad they appear to me, in the same situation if I were a priest I would do worse. That is just plain fact.

      • Michael,
        that’s certainly a good point.

      • On the other hand Michael,
        say you are a heavy smoker, you have cancer from it, the doctors have told you to stop smoking, BUT you are so addicted that you cannot stop it.
        Then, one day, you meet another person who smokes very much, BUT NOT AS MUCH AS YOU DO.
        Then you do one of two things:
        (1) Say: “Friend please do not smoke, it is very bad for you…etc”
        (2) Say nothing, thinking:
        “Who am I to tell this person, when I smoke much more than him? I am actually a lot worse!”
        I am sorry, I appreciate the correct humility of your point, but I tend to think the less “evil” of the two is to tell the other the truth. Or, do I miss something?

        In other words, I am really wondering:

        How/When do I choose something “for the sake of my own soul” instead of the broader benefit to the Church?
        I think St.Paul said something similar like “sacrificing his soul for the benefit of his brethren”? Or am I wrong?

        Michael, I am not telling you, I am asking you, because I value your opinion greatly.

        • Solitary Priest says

          Correction; a woman brutalizing her children.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Ionnis, there is a time for either option I think. I only speak for myself. While I certainly do not hesitate to speak to priests in situations where I feel I can help them or I think something is wrong. It is quite dangerous for me to venture into the confrontation territory, even lovingly. I have done it to be sure but it has always been on very specific items. Even when I did not do it lovingly, the priests had enough humility that we ended up being friends afterwards.

          I have found over the years that my better course is to trust God, going over the priest’s head so to speak. It is amazing what grace can be drawn through such priests.

          Part of my approach though rests in my absolute trust in my bishop to oversee the priests in his diocese.

          So, I know not what course other’s may take, but I have to be quite careful of direct confrontation. Indeed, I recently had to ask forgiveness from a priest whom I had judged inappropriately that had nothing to do with his priesthood at all frankly.

          There was one instance years ago where a young priest assistant in my parish needed something though. Although he did not generally hear confessions, he did hear my confession once. During the whole confession he kept apologizing to me for being a young priest in the midst of some very sound direction. It was annoying and distracting to me and quite unnecessary.

          The next time I saw him, I took him aside and upbraided him for apologizing to me. No matter how young (about 25 years younger than me and a priest of about a year) he was a priest and that is why I came to confession. I did not care about his chronological age or how short a time he had been a priest. He took it quite well, I think. However, that says more about him than about me. He has since gone on to pastor his own parish and appears to be a real blessing there despite inheriting the position from a less than upright man.

          I have been quite blessed, the only struggling priest I have personally known was my first priest and even with him, I have trouble calling him a “bad” priest despite his many defects, despite the injury he inflicted on me and my family. He should never have been ordained. He did not have the capacity in any way to deal with a priest’s life. Quite sad. The last time I saw him, after he had defected to the Byzantine Catholics, was at the funeral for a long-time parishioner at the Orthodox parish he had severed. He would not even look me in the eye when I greeted him with genuine cordiality. Still, he could never quite bring himself to full repentance and his journey away from the Church and our Lord’s mercy was quite a dark path.

          It took a long time but I finally forgave him and now am deeply thankful for the grace of God that I did receive through him.

          So, what is a bad priest? What do you say?

          • Michael, thank you for your comprehensive post with your experience. It is certainly (as always) very helpful.
            I fully understand your feelings.
            Unfortunately I cannot have absolute trust in my geographical bishop because he kind of keeps “equal distances” between good and bad, or if you prefer between Moscow and Cple.
            Now “bad” is getting worse every day. A few minutes ago I posted the latest news about the Pope. 

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            Thanks you Michael. That was a true blessing. May i develop such humility in myself. God bless you brother.

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            As a short-timer, I’ve only had any real significant contact with three priests, and all have been very good indeed. Two of the three are extraordinary. Not to deprecate the third at all; he is good but not as seasoned as the other two.
            My exposure to bishops is slight. My GOA bishop seems a bit remote, but I have no basis to judge and no complaints.
            On the other hand, seeing and hearing  Bishop Basil of San Francisco, the OCA bishop in the early 1980s, was a life-changing experience, and led directly to my becoming Orthodox, albeit many years later. It was a liturgy on the Feast of the Transfiguration at tiny Holy Trinity church in the village of Wilkeson, in the Cascade foothills. His homily on the Transfiguration impacted me deeply and permanently.

  10. Solitary Priest:
    “I only wish it were as easy to abstain from sin as it is to grow the beard.”

    Yes, certainly.

    Actually, St.Chrysostom said “it is not either or”. It is rather a priority.:
    So, yes, “abstain from sin” has the priority, but after that “grow the beard”.
    In actual fact you need to do NOTHING at all to grow a beard. It’s …automatic! And you do not waste time with secular hairs.
    Then, hairs are no longer a distraction from “abstain from sin”.

    Now if you say, “why grow a beard?”
    I would reply: -“why use incense?”
    Or even……..: – “why fast?”
    They are from the Old Testament AND the first Church!
    If we start changing these things, where do we stop?

    I am very sorry that I have a different opinion in THIS case.

    • Solitary Priest says

      Actually, Ioannis, I attempted to delete the above post. Unsuccessfully, as you see. In retrospect, I’ve learned a great many things from a great many laypeople, many of them not Orthodox. And they were right to call me out on things I did which were wrong. 
             I wear the hair and beard because it IS part of our tradition. But I served for over a year in a church where the rector was clean shaven and wore a Roman collar. He never asked me why I didn’t have a similar appearance, and I didn’t think it my place to say anything to him. He and his bishop were kind enough to accept me, when the parish in which I had previously served became unbearable.