Will Schism be the EP’s Legacy?

If Metropolitan Hilarian Alfeyev is correct, then what Patriarch Bartholomew is doing in the Ukraine will result in a formal schism.

For those who may or may not know, the present Ukrainian honchos (who were brought into power by neocons at the State Department because of “muh democracy”) have petitioned the Ecumenical Patriarch to grant them an autocephalous church.

This of course would rile the waters on a good day. In previous times, Bartholomew wouldn’t touch this issue with a ten-foot pole, wisely choosing to table the discussion for another day. After all, his recognition of Estonian autocephaly has proven to be nothing but a joke. The recognition of Ukrainian autocephaly on the other hand, would be anything but a joke. Especially if the Ukrainian government used the military to confiscate the properties of Orthodox Christians who are under the omorphorion of the Patriarch of Moscow.

Anyway you slice it it’s not good. Not good at all. Given the neocons who are still trying to get us in a shooting war with Russia, it’s not too much of a stretch to see the possibility of an actual hostilities break out between NATO and the Russian Federation. Indeed, this may be the plan all along.

Leaving the geopolitics aside, one doesn’t have to be a canonist to see that Constantinople’s writ in the Ukraine is bogus. After all, if it was solid, then the Phanar would have never used the words “Ukraine’s true mother church” in its memorandum. In poker, we call that a “tell”.

It’s not even certain that the other Orthodox churches would go along with it. Last November, a conclave of about 280 bishops was held in Russia, honoring the centennial of the re-institution of the Moscow patriarchate. Every primate from every church was there, save for Bartholomew and the Archbishop of Athens. Even Tikhon, the Metropolitan of All-America and Canada was there.

If Crete was a robber council, is this the real one? See larger image

Contrast this with the so-called Great and Holy Council which was held on the island of Crete. Now widely derided as a “robber council”, it tried to shove some startling claims down the throat of the Orthodox churches. Fortunately one of the attendees, Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos of Nafpaktos, was able to raise a ruckus and alert the rest of Orthodoxy as to what was going on.

One of these claims was that the other Christian denominations were in fact “churches”. Vlachos made them take out that language and they were called “communions” and/or “ecclesial bodies” instead. This is crucial. Why? Because if they are actually churches then we are implicitly in communion with them. After all, according to Orthodox ecclesiology, the only “churches” that exist are those within the Orthodox faith. All those heterodox bodies outside of the Orthodox faith are by definition schismatic (or at least descended from a schismatic body).

What Crete proposed was nothing less than the subtle introduction of a heretical concept. Hence it’s immediate derision as a Robber Council.

The question is, Why?

Now this is where it gets interesting. The Ecumenical Patriarchate is essentially a moribund archdiocese, numbering perhaps two thousand Greek Orthodox believers in Istanbul. It’s numbers however are augmented by the Greek diaspora elsewhere. Even here the numbers are paltry. Furthermore, given the fact that the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA) is struggling mightily with debt and other scandals, it’s not even clear that it can come to the Phanar’s aid anytime soon. It’s doubtful that it can even survive at this point in its present form. Regardless, it’s certainly not viewed as the “jewel in the crown” anymore.

On the other hand, there are other eparchies which belong to the Phanar, which are not Greek in origin. One of three Orthodox bodies in the Ukraine constitute one such eparchy. And it is Bartholomew’s largest one. And what the Ukrainian regime is proposing is the merging of two of these eparchies into one, autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church. A combination of these two eparchies would augment the Phanar’s population statistics significantly.

And then there’s the fact that although the Ukraine is the most corrupt and poverty-stricken nation in Europe (approaching African standards), it’s still a nation with rich mineral resources. The potential for monies from that state, even if it’s a failed state, is there. Said monies of course would fill the dwindling coffers of the Phanar, now that the GOA is financially crippled. This must be a concern.

This is where it gets tricky.

Ukrainian nationalism is intense. Understandably so. Whether it is informed by Orthodoxy however is another question. Recently, the current President, Petro Poroshenko stated that Ukrainian Independence Day was “more important than even the Nativity and Pascha”. This of course is scandalous to say the least. It certainly raises questions about his own devotion to the Orthodox Faith. One cannot even imagine a nominal Orthodox Christian believing such nonsense, much less espousing it.

As for the Uniates who reside in the western part of that nation, they have long labored under the illusion that they are an Orthodox church, albeit one in communion with Rome. Another of Bartholomew’s long-stated goals was to effect a reunion between the Orthodox and Catholic churches. The solidification of the verbiage of the Cretan Declaration, that is to say that other Christian churches exist outside the fold of Orthodoxy, would have made this easier to accomplish.

Given the nonchalant attitude of Poroshenko towards religion and his desire to unite all Ukrainians into a significant ecclesial force that could possibly withstand Russian pressures, it becomes easy to envision an “autocephalous Orthodox” church which is in communion with Rome and politically aligned with the European Union. A Byzantine but Western-aligned Poland so to speak, which like Poland, is culturally estranged from Russia.

So what is the EP striving to accomplish? The creation of yet another autocephalous Orthodox church or the effecting of a unia? Or both? Would this explain why he was recently given a hundred thousand Euros to “finance” the construction of a monastery that already exists? Or why the intelligence agencies of the US, Great Britain and Israel were heavily invested in making sure that Crete went off without a hitch?

Without a doubt, Bartholomew has been testing the papalist waters for quite awhile now. Press releases for Western media regularly describe him as the “spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians around the world”. And his yearly encyclicals are addressed to “the Plenitude of the Faith”. This is all indicative of someone who has had a Jesuit education and is at home in globalist circles.

And the claims of Metropolitan Elpidophorous Lambrianides (his probable successor) that the Archbishop of Constantinople is “primus sine parabus” (first without equals) as opposed to the traditional formulation of “primus inter pares” (first among equals) is shocking to say the least. Lambrianides’ startling assertions don’t merely stop there: he tries to buttress this claim by referring to the interior life of the Trinity. This is scandalous at best. To compare the primacy of the Patriarch of Constantinople to the Father (who is fons et origo) is not only impious but ahistorical nonsense. Regardless, it is both a gigantic red flag as well as a needless provocation to the other Orthodox primates.

That the well-educated Lambrianides feels no compunction in trotting it out in the first place is what we would expect from a “metropolitan” of an extinct diocese. And no one to give account to. Like him and his many colleagues in the Ecumenical Patriarchate –who are likewise “metropolitans” of yet other extinct dioceses–is what we could expect. Basically, under their stewardship, that patriarchate has devolved into a bureaucracy, a Byzantine Curia but one with no absolutely no pastoral responsibilities. For all the scandals that plague the national churches, one cannot lay this charge at their feet. Even the bishops of the GOA care for real people in real parishes who have real problems to contend with. Bursa, Chalcedon, Philadelphia, et al, exist only in the realm of fantasy.

Likewise, “Constantinople” no longer exists –and it hasn’t for half a millennium. And to call it the “New Rome” makes a mockery of Evangelism, which was the true legacy of Romanitas.

The Lord however has other plans. The studied apathy that was greeted by Crete by the rest of the Orthodox world is one such wrench thrown into the EP’s globalist schemes. The other is the tarnish that has appeared on the GOA with its various scandals. The annexation of the Crimea into the Russian Federation is yet a third. Then there is the de facto division of the Ukrainian polity into an EU quasi-aligned western part and a defiantly pro-Muscovite eastern half.

But most importantly was the conclave which transpired in Russia that was mentioned earlier. Not only was it more well-attended but the there was no controversy surrounding it. More importantly, the Pope of Alexandria was given the honors at all events. Since he is second in the diptychs, this looks like a shot across Istanbul’s bow.

After all, the Pope of Rome was once first in the diptychs as well.

About GShep

Comments

  1. The Russian church has always been in schism ever since Moscow Autocephaly. The Holy Planet of America can no longer tolerate this islamosoviet farce of a religion.

  2. Johann Sebastian says

    Here’s a bit of stupidity for your Saturday:

    https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2018-05-10/you-might-be-less-happy-if-you-belong-to-this-religion

    Last year we were dismissed as right wingnuts; this year we’re leftist libtards.

    They’ll claim anything to trivialize and marginalize us.

    • Antiochene Son says

      Good thing Christianity (true Christianity) is not about happiness—however they define “happiness.” I guess we’re doing it right.

    • Eraklis Sopanikas says

      This paper shows that Eastern Orthodox
      believers are less happy compared with Catholics and
      Protestants using data covering more than 100 countries
      around the world. Consistent with the happiness results, the
      paper also finds that relative to Catholics, Protestants,
      and non-believers, those of Eastern Orthodox religion have
      less social capital and prefer old ideas and safe jobs. In
      addition, Orthodoxy is associated with left-leaning
      political preferences and stronger support for government
      involvement in the economy. Compared with non-believers and
      Orthodox adherents, Catholics and Protestants are less
      likely to agree that government ownership is a good thing,
      and Protestants are less likely to agree that getting rich
      can only happen at the expense of others. These differences
      in life satisfaction and other attitudes and values
      persisted despite the fact that communist elites sought to
      eradicate church-going in Eastern Europe, since communists
      maintained many aspects of Orthodox theology which were
      useful for the advancement of the communist doctrine. The
      findings are consistent with Berdyaev’s hypothesis that
      communism is a successor of Orthodoxy.

      “Djankov, Simeon; Nikolova, Elena. 2018. Communism as the Unhappy Coming. Policy Research Working Paper;No. 8399. World Bank, Washington, DC. © World Bank. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/29669 License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.”
      URI

      • Gail Sheppard says

        This is the Berdyaev & Janos “dog and pony” show. They are trying to sell you on an old idea by repackaging it in a seemingly well-researched paper. Academics use a number of tricks to do this.

        1. They’ll take a statement that could have been written by any number of sources and cite one (anyone will do) to pad their reference list. For example, if I wanted to support the assertion that JFK was a philanderer, all I would have to do is Google JFK and Marilyn Monroe and a bunch of sources would pop up. I could then pick one. – They’ll pull a name, any name, and they’ll use it only once. Nunn is an example. You see his name one time and one time only. 80% of the references for this paper fall into the “one hit wonder” category.

        2, Conversely, they’ll cite the same name several times within a handful of sentences, as is the case with Huntington (page 10). If they truly drew from this source, the name Huntington would be dispersed throughout the paper.

        3. They’ll use sources of sources. An example might be Marx or Lenin. You’ll see a quote here and an idea there that they could have easily pulled from another source’s material.

        4. They’ll list references whose names do not appear AT ALL in the piece thinking no one will notice! Gorodnichenko, Y. and G. Roland, Stan, L. and L. Turcescu, and Tonnes, B. are examples.

        5. They’ll rotate the order of the authors on a given work, so if there are 5 authors (one work) they’ll list each author separately. (Entries are supposed to be alphabetized by the last name of the FIRST author of the work.) Barro, R. J. and R. M. McCleary (2003): “Religion and Economic Growth Across Countries” is an example where they took a “twofer.”

        6. They’ll over-represent themselves. Simeon Djankova and/or Elena Nikolova appear approximately 20 different times in this piece.

        7. They’ll include ludicrous facts they should probably omit like the prevalence of Orthodoxy in the United States is 0.00 (page 46).

        8. They’ll float preposterous ideas to sell you on the premise. For example, saying they’re significant “contributors to the research on happiness.” Just because they loosely correlated happiness, or lack thereof, with other obscure facts (if that’s what they are), does not mean they’re contributing to anything. For example, they state the Orthodox are not as happy as the Catholic/Protestant population. What does that mean, exactly? Are we as happy as Buddhists? Who knows? They don’t. (I’ve got to look up this study to see how they measure “happiness.” Chances are I’m not going to find it compelling. It would be hard to measure something like this. I can see where the Orthodox might be more sober-minded because our form of worhsip is more sober.)

        Oh, and the idea they’re trying to peddle? “. . . political elites can effectively manipulate both formal institutions and attitudes and beliefs.” That would be the hope of the World Bank Group, now wouldn’t it? Got to get that “unpolished work” out there to “impact policy discussions around the world” before someone can refute it.

        I hate globalists. Can’t you tell?

        • George Michalopulos says

          Gail, happiness is one of those words that can mean anything. Just like fundamentalist, they both have a surplus of meaning.

          Regardless, thank you for exposing the legedermain that academics have long employed to hoodwink us laymen.

        • George Michalopulos says

          P.S. I hate globalists too?!

  3. Johann Sebastian says

    http://www.stalkerzone.org/how-austria-created-ukrainians-from-the-rusyns-of-galicia/

    Not all western “Ukrainians” have been brainwashed into accepting the Uniate myth.

  4. anonymus per Scorilo says

    3 comments:

    there are other eparchies which belong to the Phanar … One of three Orthodox bodies in the Ukraine constitute one such eparchy.

    1. This is incorrect, none of the two non-canonical jurisdictions belongs to the Phanar.

    2. both Alexandria and Jerusalem and Constantinople get their green light from Greek foreign ministry; do not imagine for a second that the patriarch of Alexandria went to Russia without their blessing.

    3. Arguments are much better received if one does not spike them with “Russian troll / 02varvara” idioms such as: Robber Council, the Ukraine, Junta, Novorossia, etc.

    • Estonian Slovak says

      Hristos a Înviat si multumesc!

      • George Michalopulos says

        ES, I have decided to take some of your advice. I will no longer call those on the left “libtards” but progs, libs, proglibs, socialists, etc.

        However I will continue to use the word cuck and cuckservative when describing those on the right who give no thought to giving over their nation to enemies. They are no different than actual cuckolds who turn their wives over to other men and they deserve all the derision that that scabrous term implies.

        I can’t remember who it was who said “when you have only one bullet and you have to choose between an enemy or a traitor, shoot the traitor.”

        • Estonian Slovak says

          George, the only point I’m trying to make is that we should not sink to the level of our opponents. They throw out words like “fundamentalist” to shut down us traditionalists. Then the charge, if you’re anti same-sex marriage, you must also be a racist. Even my leftist brother concedes that the one has nothing to do with the other.

        • George, that was Codreanu. Not really a shining example of Orthodoxy, but a good quote, nonetheless.

    • Nadia Bazuk says

      To anonymus per Scorilo

      “here are other eparchies which belong to the Phanar … One of three Orthodox bodies in the Ukraine constitute one such eparchy.”
      1. This is incorrect, none of the two non-canonical jurisdictions belongs to the Phanar.”

      May be the UAOC was meant here. They commemorate Ecumenical Patriarch at Divine Liturgies since 2010:
      https://risu.org.ua/en/index/all_news/orthodox/uapc/36519/

      And now they seem to ask his blessing to ordain a new bishop…
      I saw this link on Reddit a couple of days ago: http://www.picturetrail.com/sfx/album/view/24808408

  5. Alitheia1875 says

    Not just spiritual leader of the Orthodox but also the term “world Orthodoxy” (of which there is no such thing) was coined to support the contention that the EP is, at least nominally, the pope of the east. Some years ago while in the Poli I went into several of the churches there. In one the caretaker was placing the two and three candle holders on the altar table. I asked if this meant a bishop would be coming the next day (it was Saturday when I visited)? He said one of the metropolitans was there every week because this was the only church he had. Of some concern are comments coming out of the MP that the MP is the largest of the Orthodox churches which should count for something, regardless of the primacy afforded Alexandria at the meetings in Moscow.

  6. Gail Sheppard says

    You hit this out of the park, George!

    There is truth to the statement that Ukrainian Independence Day is “more important than even the Nativity and Pascha.” Through unification around the UOC-KP, they hope to mobilize a greater number of people against Russian interference. This is purely a political move. If the EP capitulates, not only will he create a schism, he will be announcing to the world that the State controls the Church.

    The Pope is probably in cahoots. He may have broken off his bromance with the EP last November to keep the rest of us from connecting the dots too soon. He’s under the gun to unite the two Churches to fulfill his commitment to the globalists so they’ll get off his back. They were all for him until the discussions over synodality and primacy (Chieti) began to falter. That’s when they started to bad mouth him to the press, causing his popularity to plummet. He has to turn this around quickly and it wouldn’t surprise me if he and Poroshenko hached the whole plan.

    It seems our bishops knew, which is why they were all together last November/December, minus the EP. Further, it explains why the Pope gave 100,000 euros to the EP to “build” an Orthodox Monastery in Austria, which already exists under an ex-Catholic priest. He probably wanted to give the EP a soft landing when the you-know-what hits the fan.

    It may also explain Erdogan’s visit (first ever) to the Vatican in February. The Pope was probably telling him to play nice with the EP because he will be out of Turkey soon. Offering to reopen the Theological School of Halki may be a ruse to show the world that when the EP leaves, it’s not because of him.

    The EP, of course, will unite with the RC and take whoever is foolish enough to follow him. They will then set out to unite with the rest of the Christian world. The globalists will be able to leverage the Christian population through the Pope. This may be why the Pope is trying to decentralize the RC, as well as implement other ecumenical changes. The RC has to make herself palatable to the world. If she is successful, the REAL spiritual war will begin. It will be us against them.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Gail, as usual you are connecting some very interesting dots.

      My hope continues to be that the EP will come to his senses soon enough.

      Let us all pray that he does so.

      • George Osborne says

        George and Gail…I just realized a coincidence when reading your exchange. Not to get too esoteric here but with regard to the proposed unification of the Ukrainian churches and, perhaps, papal involvement by involving the Unia in the mix, RCs could see this as a prophetic fulfillment of the Fatima demand that Russian be consecrated to the Virgin Mary (as they put it ). Pope’s at least up to JPII took Fatima seriously and by assisting in the creation of a unified Ukrainian church possibly with inclusion of the Unia, one could make another “connect the dots” scenario regardless of its far-fetched nature. Just speculating!!

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Hi, George (Osborne)! Thanks for you comment.

          Pope Francis and the EP could very well have been thinking about this.

          Pope Pius XII tried to do a “consecration” twice. The first time was in 1942 when he consecrated the *world.* (He said that because Russia was in the world, he was consecrating Russia.) The second time was in 1953 where he specifically called out the people of Russia, yet it was done a third time by Pope John Paul II in 1982. The fact that the RC felt the need to perform this ceremony, for lack of a better word, three separate times does not bode well for the RC. The RC was warned there would be disastrous consequences if they failed to comply.

          “Consecrate” means to *set apart* for a *specific purpose*. In the context of the Church, it is to be set apart for a Holy purpose. You can’t get more holy than being consecrated to the “Immaculate Virgin Mother!” It makes no sense to consecrate the world, nor does it make sense to consecrate the world AND Russia. In both cases, Russia would not be set apart for anything specific. The RC did not take this prophecy seriously, which was later acknowledged to the children in subsequent visions.

          The “Immaculate Virgin Mother” means something different to an Orthodox Christian. The RC doesn’t accept Orthodox theology when it comes to original sin. The Church teaches we inherit the *consequences* of ancestral sin, i.e. death, but are not “stained” by it. Our “Mother,” of course, is the Church and she is the “Immaculate Virgin” because she is the Bride of Christ, who is presented to God without blemish. When the children were told Russia is to be consecrated to the “Immaculate Virgin Mother,” Russia was to be *set apart* within and for the Church for a Holy purpose.

          I personally believe the children saw and heard what they reported. I also believe the RC knew and knows the true meaning of the prophecy, as they are aware of Orthodox teaching. I think the prophecy required the RC to “consecrate” (set apart) Russia for the purpose of being the Third Rome, the new Holy See, replacing Rome and Constantinople. If I am correct, one can understand why the RC did not want the prophecy to be revealed and then dragged their feet trying to address it. This would also explain the convoluted way they went about it.

          When the prophecy talks about how Russia will “spread errors,” this may refer to the Bolshevik revolution. Had the Third Rome existed in Russia, it would have been difficult if not impossible for communism to take root in 1917. The Bolsheviks seized power through the October Revolution. This was the first time any group with a decidedly Marxist viewpoint managed to seize power. It quickly infected Germany and later China and because Marxist ideas are taught in universities, it has produced generations of young people who are predisposed to defer to, rely upon and support the State in the West. They’ve been taught that God does not exist and even if He did, He is not as important as the State.

          Crete was probably their most recent attempt to legitimize their attempts to fulfill the prophecy. They probably thought they could redefine the word “Church” to include all Christian entities, join them together and announce the fulfillment of the prophecy the following year on the 100th anniversary of Fatima. If all had gone as planned, Russia would be in communion so they could claim it was “consecrated.” This may be why the EP refused to postpone Crete. He was on a tight timeline.

          You may be right about the Ukraine. This could be (what are we up to, now???) Plan E for them. The only problem is that Russia will not cooperate. It appears God has taken matters into His own hands, as was promised to the children of Fatima. The true Church knows Russia is the Third Rome, which is why all of our bishops were present, on Russian soil, when summoned last December. . . except for the EP, of course.

          We live in interesting times, don’t we?

          • George Michalopulos says

            Very interesting times, Mrs Sheppard, very interesting indeed!

            Personally, I’ve been wrestling with the whole Fatima thing as last year was the centenary of it but couldn’t come up with a cogent analysis. I believe that you may just have given it to me.

            Let’s try this on for size (again, thank you George O): by effecting a unia/autocephaly in Ukraine (aka “Little Russia”) where Holy Rus’ initiated in the first place (“the baptistry of the Dnieper”), the Pope and EP may be trying to honor the dictum of the Fatima vision.

            What say ye all?

            • Estonian Slovak says

              I say this, I would like to see a legitimate autocephaly in Ukraine. I don’t have a problem with that. I just question the timing and motivation of the EP. There is little, if anything, in what Gail wrote that I disagree with.

            • You’re paranoid….

            • I say, when I witness George, Gail, fill in the blank/etc, get worked up upon one conspiracy after another, I sigh, shake my head, and think of my dog chasing it’s tail. In the beginning I let my dog have it’s fun and chase away, but after a while it becomes annoying and unhealthy so I tell her to stop spinning.

              Schism has/is always present. Francis Frost has hit the nail on the head. Never thought of it that way, but so true, IMHO.

              I don’t know how accurate Mr. Frost’s history lesson was in regards to 20th century Orthodoxy infighting, politico, king of the canonical hill, and imperial margin hats playing ring around the roses, but his general point is spot on. Nothing new, just men believing their imperial margin hat is more relevant than the others, and behaving very badly, with deadly consequences.

              All this IS a turn off for most spiritual and Christ minded folks, especially Americans, with no connection to mother church, wherever it may be. So as long as bishops blur the lines between the lies and corruption of their governments that they support, and by which their palms are greased, and the truth of borderless, and boundless Orthodoxy, well, what can I say, not good.

              For forums like ours, it’s sporting good fun, like chasing ones tail, circle after circle, story after story. Nothing changes except the names, and places. And then we wonder why Americans don’t care to know us, nor care about us, and our old world and foreign church. Americans don’t crave bishops behaving like little princes, kings, and in many cases childish and selfish, they crave Jesus Christ.

              What does this say about our Church leaders? What does it say about us? Especially here in America. Does the dog accomplish anything? Will Orthodoxy in America accomplish anything when it mainly survives clinging to unhealthy kingdoms abroad in countries most Americans are suspicious of, and rightly so. Meanwhile, here in America, GOA supported, directed by fortune 500 Greek elites, sending our money to a foreign leader in a country that is 99% Muslim.

              Our voices will never be heard, and our church never grow as we believe it should, until we become a church that tithes, and not one controlled by, foreign politicians, foreigners, and ethno-minded billionaires, who can’t let go of the motherland.

              Sure we will always get small percentage of Americans who are inquisitive, and culture hounds, looking outside their bubble, but most won’t. The Protestant/Evangelical and Roman Catholic church understands the soil their churches sit upon, and it’s culture. We do not care, because we are Orthodox, and blah blah blah…

              Until Orthodoxy laity in America steps up financially this is the church you get. Big wallets, and big foreign governments will define us, and expect our allegiance to them via our greased bishops. Sooner or later many will not care about weddings and baptisms, the evangelicals, and our selfish vanity will overcome the majority of us.

              Until then? Just one scandal, after another, and unchristian infighting by so called brother bishops trying to position themselves above each other, like lost souls in hell’s pit, pushing each other down, instead of helping each other out of their pit. Russia even outlawed most Evangelical missionaries out of their country. It’s Orthodoxy or Hell for their Russian citizens in their Third Rome.

              Yes Moscow, Russia, Third Rome, ohhh goose pimples. As if anyone outside Orthodoxy’s small circles care. Do you believe Christ cares?

              Good thing God is on our side, and we are His church.

              • George Michalopulos says

                I mean no offense but I kinda think Christ cares about which of the orthodox churches are upholding the truth or not.

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  In Revelations, there are five warnings to seven local churches that have both immediate and end-time consequences so I would say you’re right, George. He cares.

                  • Of course God cares about our churches upholding the truth, but…

                    The Truth does not need a city to call his own. BUT, Ye lovers of Camelot, and kingdoms sure do.

                    1st Rome? 2nd Rome? 3rd Rome? How about no Rome?

                    As I said before, kings, queens, and holy kingdoms, within earthly kingdoms are obsolete. Could be argued never a good idea to begin with, except for the fact Saint Constantine catapulted Christianity forward to the world, right quick.

                    I imagine Moe, creator of Islam got such grand ideas from Saint Constantine. Kingdoms backed by God, who would dare argue.

                    Well, now are we not a little more enlightened, if not by history alone.

                    Except that our EP’s are slow to get out of burning buildings. How many centuries under the Moslems, and now Muslims?( Joke, I Googled it long ago)

                    Hmmm, what if George, and the world were ahead of the curve 150 years ago and The Russian Empire became third Rome, all hunky dory, until Russian Empire, become the Soviet Union, not so great.

                    Putin will not live nor rule Russia forever. The next Bossman of Russia might not like our religion, or bishops, or both. Might not like the power they hold as third Rome. Might put them in their place, under his thumb.

                    As a result, Russia’s and Orthodoxy’s new Boss-elect, and ruler of the EP or MP, will be elected by all colors of Russians, under many flags, and allegiances in fraudulent elections, won by the highest bidder, and sharpest blade. Not good!

                    Forgive me for saying this, but I feel many deep down inside almost wish the EP will seek unia with Rome, so that schism will occur, and Third Rome Moscow will be born.

                    How about we only hold councils on Mount Athos or Jerusalem, vote when to have them, don’t show up, then lose your vote period, and call it good with holy early kingdoms. EP can stay in Istanbul if he wishes, on his dime, and by individual donors, if they wish to give to him, not collective Greek Orthodoxy in America. He may stand guard, in the good old stubborn Greek way of OXI! Just in case Saint Paisios, of Mount Athos, prophecies come true. Stranger things have happened.

                    Rome belongs to the Roman Catholics, Constantinople is Istanbul, and belongs to Islam, and Moscow belongs to Putin for now…

                    We are The Universal Church, let no earthly king or kingdom disappoint, martyr, nor soil us again.

                    One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Dino, I hear you. The question is not secondary or tertiary things like the proper order of the diptychs and such, but which people are righteous.

                      Israel was God’s chosen and they were set apart for a specific purpose. Likewise Rome which was the world-state at the time when the church began. The church fathers ate in agreement about this –even though Rome crucified her Founder.

                      I’m not comfortable with the idea of Russia being the third Rome but my feelings are beside the point. Being a flag-waving American, I’m ashamed that our legacy is nihilism in all its forms: feminism, faggotry, consumerism and materialism. I find it hard to believe that God will honor that.

                      Since I don’t believe God is done with His creation yet, it stands to reason that He’s going to set apart a new Rome to safeguard the gospel.

                      Barring a major repentance, I can’t see it being America. Certainly not Istanbul.

                    • May I ask what does safeguarding the gospel exactly mean to you?

                      BTW

                      Honor has left the building. You may find it in rare, and small isolated pockets of the world, but there are no longer honorable governments. Our earthly world is run by wolves, at best wolves in sheep’s clothing. Sooner or later the fangs come out, and the meek first to go.

                      Personally tragic for us as Greek-Americans, is that Greece was the last true Orthodox Christian country, and government on earth that honored her church, and supported her. Now the European Union, and a Communist, tieless, piece of shit Prime Minister runs Greece into the ground, and away from God and Church. I would spit in that commie’s face if I ever met him!

                      The jury is still out on Russia. I understand your hope for her. Sorry history has jaded me beyond repair. especially my own. Forgive me for pissing on your parade, so often. I still think the world of you and Gail, we just can’t agree on everything.

            • Monk James says

              One of the promises which the Mother of God is said to have given to the three children at Fatima in 1918 was that — if the Roman pope consecrated Russia to her ‘immaculate heart’ — Russia would be ‘converted’ and not spread its ‘errors’.

              Many people since then have theorized that the conversion mentioned here had to do with Russia’s turning from communism, which was, in their thinking, the great error.

              In the 1960s, the Kazan ikon of the Mother of God was auctioned by a private owner. The Orthodox failed to raise enough money ro rescue it, and the ‘Blue Army of Fatima’ ended up owning it for more than half a century. It then passed to Pope John Paul ii, who returned it to Russia.

              Some time after the ‘Blue Army’ gained ownership of the ikon, I was curious to know how they understood the prophecy. One of their officials wrote to say — in the clearest terms — that the conversion in question was from Orthodoxy to Catholicism, and the error itself was Orthodoxy.

              How about THAT?!

              • George Michalopulos says

                I think the error was communism. And the “immaculate heart” is the church, who is the bride of Christ

              • Gail Sheppard says

                The error itself was Orthodoxy!!! Poppycock! (Haven’t used THAT word in a long time.)

                • Monk James says

                  Of course it’s all nonsense, but that’s what the ‘Blue Amy’ told me when I asked, way back when.

                  Maybe we should ask them again?

            • Alitheia1875 says

              Depends whether you think/believe the Fatima experience came from the Light or the Dark.

  7. When entering Orthodoxy, I had a choice of churches – there’s a reason I skipped the EP church in town.

    • I am greek Orthodox living in Bulgaria where Joy to worship as this morning. Anything connected to CONSTANTINOPLE and Sadly Athens, you never know as u sit in your pew, when the harmonium will give u a blast etc. And if you say ‘outward trivialities, ‘ yes say I as a psychologist very used to west, ‘ LEX orandi , LEX credendi
      These people are already uniates. Indeed Ukrainian ones in worship more Orthodox.
      CONSTANTINOPLE is an empty sham and nothing dogmatic about it’s place in pecking order. I would think Alexandria with it’s outreach to.Aftrica etc would do nicely for ‘chairman of the board ‘ The papacy has become a soap operatic farce, divorced even from the Catholic wider church body

  8. Francis Frost says

    George:

    Christ Is Risen!

    Well we seem to have the usual Monomakhos confabulation of misinformation, disinformation and wishful thinking. You want to sound the alarm: “The schism is coming – The schism is coming”; but your alarm is for a fire that has been burning for a long time.

    First, schism is not “coming”, it’s been a part of our history from its inception. Schism was present even in the Apostolic age.

    “for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.” I Corinthians 11:19

    In the past century there has been nearly constant schism and factionalism, and clever ecclesiastical politicians willing to exploit the opportunities.

    For example, the ROCOR spent over eight decades in schism from some or all of the Orthodox Patriarchates, with a shifting list of those they were in communion with (the Serbian Patriarchate) and those they were not in communion with (the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Moscow Patriarchate). Never mind that the Serbian Patriarch was in communion with both the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Moscow Patriarchate. What is more, the ROCOR bishops created schismatic Old Calendarist daughter jurisdictions in Greece, Bulgaria and in Russia itself. In 1996, ROCOR’s “daughters” tried to foment an ecclesiastical coup against Patriarch Ilya in Georgia, by consecrating as bishops three clergymen associated with Gamsakhurdia’s government in exile. Their goal was to take control of the Georgian Patriarchate and use it to create an alternative “Traditionalist” religion in opposition to what they derisively called “World Orthodoxy”. Now that the ROCOR is back in communion with Moscow, ROCOR is no longer in communion with its own “daughter” jurisdictions. Well, if the daughters are illegitimate, then what is the mother?

    For several years the Patriarchate of Jerusalem was not in communion with the Romanian Patriarchate over a dispute concerning a Romanian pilgrimage facility in the West Bank. Currently, the Antiochian Patriarchate is not in communion with the Jerusalem Patriarchate in a dispute over who “owns” the church in Qatar.

    So, if the sky is falling, well it’s been falling for a really long time, and no the Parousia has not dawned just yet. So…. take a deep breath and carry on…

    The truth is that ‘canonicity’ is far more of popularity contest than an actual and logical application of the Sacred Canons.

    The Moscow Patriarchate unilaterally proclaimed its autocephaly in 1448. That autocephaly was only recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1589 – after a substantial emolument, of course.

    The Moscow Patriarchate did not include the Orthodox churches in what is now Ukraine until after the conquest of Ukraine in the time of Catherine the Great. So yes, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has a prior claim to be the “mother church” for the Ukrainians to the MP’s claims.

    The Moscow Patriarchate would like to invoke the Sacred Canons to protect its interests in Ukraine. Unfortunately, the Moscow Patriarchate has, itself, been in constant and flagrant violation of these same Canons for the past 25 years. The Moscow Patriarchate has uncanonically invaded and occupied 2 entire dioceses of the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate. Muscovite clergy literally participated in the invasions of Georgian territory and publicly “blessed” the violence against civilian populations.

    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.

    The 2008 documentary “Orthodox Occupancy” 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 Occupancy” 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.  
     
    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.

    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, were brutally tortured and martyred. You may read the their Life and Martyrdom on the Mystagogy web-site.

    In August 2008, the Russian bishops, Panteleimon of Kabardino-Adyghe and Feofan of Saratov 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 Occupancy” 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.

    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 Nikozi. On August 9th, the Russian military and their Ossetian allies looted, desecrated and burned this ancient House of God. These weapons were used in bombing raids and missile attacks on civilian populations throughout Georgia.

    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. The Georgian Patriarchate offered to grant the status of a metochion to the Russian clergy operating in the occupied territories. The Russians refused that offer and demanded the right of conquest.  
     
    The Muscovites, now want to invoke the Sacred Canons: those same Canons that they have wantonly violated with impunity. So last October, the MP dispatched Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev to meet His All-Holiness, Patrriarch Ilya II with two requests. First, Patriarch Ilya was invited to the gala celebration of the centennial anniversary of the enthronement of St. Tikhon as Patriarch of Moscow. Secondly, the Russians asked the Holy Synod of the Georgian Patriarchate to renew its offer of the fig-leaf metochion status to its occupation of the Georgian dioceses. His All-Holiness initially agreed to attend the anniversary; but then changed his mind, citing his own frail health. The second request was never considered at all. The Muscovites are still self condemned by the very Canons they want to cite.

     So, George, the gala that you now call an ‘council’ did not include the heads of all the autocephalous churches. Patriarch Ilya deliberately chose to not attend.

    Your speculations about ecclesiastical skullduggery are fun to read: a guilty pleasure, like reading a cheesy spy novel. The reality is that the Orthodox church is experiencing a canonical melt down that may well have tragic consequences.

    What is more, if there is a war between Putin’s Russia and the West, where do you think that will leave our churches here in the United States? Do you expect our clergy and faithful to swear fealty to a belligerent foreign dictator – who has publicly threatened to “turn American cities into piles of radioactive dust” ? Do you think our church will survive in this country if they do? That is what you really ought to be thinking about – but I’m not going to hold my breath waiting.

    • George Osborne says

      Love the last couple of paragraphs. Similar to a post I made notvtoo long ago. This issue of ROCOR supporting a rabidly anti-American dictator through its MP affiliation bothers me a lot.

    • You make many valid points say I greek living in Bulgaria and knowing USA and Russia well.
      American Orthodox are Americans, full stop. End of.
      About time the greek archdiocese ditched the harmoniums, dog collar and allied mentality and stated to worship and think in english. I worship in bulgarian here
      Kyrill I find without humility or spiritual words and his march visit to Bulgaria here went down like a lead baloon with his totally political words.
      And he would like to be boss. So so far from Saint Martyr Tikhon etc
      However having said that, as even the EU has said, the Georgia, as the Ukrainian events were west initiated and re Georgia Russia acted with restraint but war is disgusting, even when yanks do the killing which seems to be frequently does it not!?.
      The Crimea was never part of Ukraine until Kruschev made a technical present of it in 1954 to the Ukrainian SSR.
      It was obvious the aim of the events in 2014, illegal and not needed, were path to pushing Russia out of it’s Sevastopol naval BASE. ( ask the yanks to give up their torture camp and leave Guantanimo please) SO can u wonder Russia acted to control a region historically Russian and got by Russian blood.
      And how would Americans react to an independent Texas with hostile intent to USA and meddling by say Russia!?
      Anyway all this is Politics and to get back to church.
      Yes you are right hypocrisy and double dealing so common and you can but wonder where CHRIST is in all of this filth and why people walk away in disgust.
      I believe the arrangement where Constantinople is the ‘ chairman of the board ‘ has due to historical reasons lived beyond it’s sale by date. Nothing dogmatic,not even apostolic, relating to it and the byzantine phanar Fantasy world needs the curtain pulled on it.
      Alexandria with it’s African opening would seem to be a better option. Certainly not Moscow. Size is not everything!! ?
      This is not dogma but a practical arrangement.

      Bulgaria chutch for 70 yrs in schism outlawed by Phanar, because they dared to worship in bulgarian and wanted their own church, accused of RACISM by the Phanar which ruled the BALKANS for the turks in greek!! for several hundred yrs.
      I am greek and totally proud of my language and Culture and its historical significance.But I respect equally the slavonic role on Orthodoxy as Romanian etc.

      Please when can we talk about CHRIST. EVANGELIZATION, the american protestant judaizers heresy rampant and LOVE OF GOD. Thank You.

      • If can add to my above post. If not in schism / heresy. The Pope and Patrarch of Rome as successor to Saint Peter would be the Chairman of the board, First amongst equals with recognised perogatives as ‘court of appeal ‘ as it were, as was in first 8 centuries. A far cry from the modern papacy which is a hang over from loss of political power in 1870 United Italy and seeking tp keep it spiritually!! So so similar to the Phanar lot, although the Pope etc are pastors to real people and parishes.

    • More mindless drivel from Francis, much like his last fanciful post. However, Moscow’s autocephaly originated from the fact that the Phanar had become apostate during a period when Moscow needed a new metropolitan, normally appointed by the Greeks:

      https://orthodoxwiki.org/Council_of_Florence

      Later, after the Phanar rejoined the Church, it then was so gracious as to recognize Moscow’s autocephaly (very gracious of them).

      And, following that, in 1686 a decree of Patriarch Dionysios of Constantinople, ratified by the Holy Synod of Constantinople and a number of other Patriarchs, officially transferred the Metropolia of Kiev to the omophor of the Patriarch of Moscow:

      * * *

      The Decree of His Holiness Patriarch Dionysios of Constantinople was signed by all the Holy Synod members including the Metropolitans of Chalcedon, Nikodemia, Lycia, Thessaloniki and others – altogether 20 hierarchs. Besides, this decision was approved by His Holiness Patriarch Dositheos of Jerusalem, who also issued a confirming decree. Moreover, in his special official letter to the bishops and all the Orthodox living in Poland, Patriarch Dositheos told them to obey the Moscow-appointed Metropolitan Gedeon of Kiev, ‘who is accepted and recognized by all the patriarchs as a true and authentic metropolitan’. The documents confirming this are kept with care at the Russian State Archives of Ancient Acts and well known to the scholarly community from studies by famous Russian historian N. F. Kapterev published in the late 19th – early 20th century. These facts have never been challenged by other researchers, even those with no special liking for Moscow. For instance, Prof. I. I. Ogiyenko, a well-known Ukrainian historian (later the head of the unrecognized ‘Autocephalous Ukrainian Church in Canada’), in his study ‘Ukrainska Tserkva: Narisi z istorii Ukrainskoi Pravoslavnoi Tserkvi’, confirms that the envoys from Moscow and Kiev came back home with ‘all the necessary acts signed by the whole council’.” – http://www.monachos.net/conversation/topic/719-moscow-patriarch-at-odds-with-constantinople-on-ukraine/https://mospat.ru/ru/text/e_news/id/8954.html

      * * *

      The thing that is often overlooked is that, religion and politics aside, Ukrainians and Russians are the same “people”, or “narod” in Russian. That is to say, Russians, Belorussians and Ukrainians are all Eastern Slavs and their respective languages are all really dialects of Eastern Slavic, though Ukrainian has been greatly influenced by Polish due to historical changes in borders, government. So the entire question of Ukrainian nationalism is a political question, not a religious question. We do not redraw the boundaries of national churches normally to satisfy the caprice of political factionalism.

      However, as I have remarked in the past, if Bartholomew wishes to start a Holy War in the Ukraine, so be it. It has been a long time in coming.

      Russians know that it is the Pope and his evil minions who are behind it all, then, during the period of the founding of the Unia and now.

      It’s not a secret.

      • Misha,

        Your view of Russia’s relationship with Constantinople post-Florence is anachronistic. For instance, Fr. Meyendorff states:

        “in 1441, in a highly respectful letter to Patriarch Metrophanes, the Grand-Prince begged the Patriarch to ‘authorize the appointment of a metropolitan, effected in our own country. The need for a long and difficult voyage (to Constantinople and back), the invasion of godless Agarenes upon our Christian world, the troubles and fights occurring in our neighboring countries and the multiplication of powers, are the reasons for our request’. Metrophanes was a supporter of the Union, and obviously did not reply.”

        THEREFORE, Muscovy was requesting a Metropolitan from apostates three years after Florence. They waited seven more years to consecrate Metropolitan Jonas in 1448. And even after Jonas was enthroned as the Metropolitan of Kiev and all Russia they continued the same policy. Fr. Meyendorff again:

        “in 1451, Basil sent a letter to the new Byzantine Emperor Constantine, addressing him with all the customary titles. ‘We beg your Holy Majesty not to accuse us of spite, because we acted as we did, without consulting your Lordship… [Even now after Jonas’ enthronement], the most holy metropolitanate of Russia requests and seeks the blessing of the holy ecumenical, catholic and apostolic church of the Wisdom of God, in Constantinople and submits itself to it in accordance with ancient Orthodoxy.”

        Fr. Meyendorff continues: “Rejection of Florence, but also politeness of and reserve towards the desperate and wavering authorities in Constantinople had been, therefore, the official attitude of the Russians in 1439-1453.”

        Even when Ivan IV the Terrible was crowned Tsar, he requested a formal recognition of his title from Constantinople and he received a reply that only the Pope or the Patriarch of Constantinople had the right to crown emperors legitimately. Also, Patriarch Jeremias II granted Moscow autocephaly after he rejected the Russian’s offer to place him in Vladimir and to make that city the center of Orthodoxy.

        You said: “We do not redraw the boundaries of national churches normally to satisfy the caprice of political factionalism.”

        But what about when Russia abolished the autocephalous status of the Georgian Church in 1811? Georgia’s bishops unilaterally restored the autocephaly of the Georgian Orthodox Church in 1917 but this wasn’t recognized by the Russian until 1943, and by Constantinople in 1990.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Maximus, the delay in asking the Uniate patriarch in Cpole for autocephaly after Ferrara-Florence is not uncommon. Such delays were par for course during the Middle Ages (because of travel, distance, etc.). Things move at a glacial pace in Christendom, mainly to give the offending party time to repent.

          For example, the date of 1054 which is given for the Great Schism is recognized by all historians (church as well as secular) to be a fiction. The Schism started earlier and didn’t really “take” until 1204. For many in the East, the Schism had already taken place when they found out that the Latins used unleavened bread for Communion. They were designated with the pejorative of “azymes” and Easterners were regularly in the habit of not communicating with Latins because of this scandalous practice.

          The irony of course is that during Ferrara-Florence, the Greeks had to admit that the use of unleavened bread was not heretical after all.

          So two further points: the crowning/anointing of the Grand Duke of Moscow as an emperor was a fait accompli. We also can’t forget that the Church itself views salvation history (as well as ecclesiology) in an anachronistic light. Consider that there never was a “pentarchy” as we envision it in existence. Nobody ever referred to the provinces of the five patriarchates as such and the borders were often indistinct. Most of modern day Greece today belonged to the Papacy during the first Millennium. Likewise the emancipation of a Daughter Church as autocephalous was nowhere near as convoluted as the present EP wishes to imply. (It was Monophysite Patriarch of Antioch named Peter the Fuller who unilaterally granted autocephaly to the Georgians.)

          Likewise the title “Ecumenical Patriarch” has undergone radical (one could say completely ahistorical) revision in understanding.

          • George,

            When anachronism forces one to make historical errors then obviously this kind must be rejected. True piety lies in embracing the truth. For instance, the seven year wait was not because it took seven years to travel, the Russians waited out of prudence and respect for Constantinople and the Eastern Patriarchs.

            You guys should read Fr. Florovsky’s “Ways of Russian Theology”, Fr. Meyendorff’s “Rome, Constantinople and Moscow”, “Byzantium and the Rise of Russia” and “Russia, Ritual and Reform” by Paul Meyendorff. Frs. Florovsky and Meyendorff have demonstrated that the “Third Rome” theory was formulated in an apocalyptic context wherein Monk Filofie of Pskov was calling the Grand-Prince to repentance because of the imminence of the Second Coming. The Third Rome was to be last Rome

            Fr. Meyendorff: “Politically, the appeal had little practical application. The Muscovite sovereigns were in the process of building up a national empire, largely inspired by Western Renaissance models and ideas, and they had little use for apocalyptics. The Theory of the Third Rome, or that of a translatio imperii from Constantinople to Moscow, was never accepted as official state theory.” (Rome, Constantinople and Moscow, p. 136)

            Fr. Florovsky holds that the Empire was indeed transferred… but to a kingdom wandering in the wilderness:

            “The first traces of the famous “Third Rome Theory” are sketched out precisely in…perspectives of apocalyptical unrest. The theory is intrinsically an eschatological one, and the monk Filofei sustains its eschatological tones and categories. “For two Romes have fallen, a third stands, and a fourth there cannot be.” The pattern is a familiar one taken from Byzantine apocalyptical literature: it is the translatio imperii, or more accurately, the image of the wandering Kingdom — the Kingdom or city wandering or straying until the hour comes for it to flee into the desert.

            …For a “Josephite”, the “Third Rome” meant that great and newly constructed Christian kingdom of Muscovy. By contrast, for Maxim, [St. Maxim the Greek] the “Third Rome” signified a City wandering in the wilderness.” (Ways of Russian Theology)

            Most people nowadays interpret Third Rome in precisely the “Josephite” context. They don’t even realize that there is another option. More often than not, these types put all their eggs in Moscow’s basket. Which I have no problem with per se, but I find that they tend to excuse Moscow’s errors and simultaneously judge other local churches with extreme strictness.

            But are you guys seriously asserting that the Russians considered Constantinople to be apostate on the official level? The Tsar and the Patriarch certainly didn’t behave as though they did. Did Moscow reform their liturgical practices based upon the recommendations of a church they held to be apostate? Patriarch Nikon of Moscow discovered that the conciliar letter from Pat. Jeremias II indicated that Moscow “is to agree in everything with the Ecumenical Patriarchs”. And he did just that and it resulted in a Schism that persists to this day.

            Regarding the “radical revision ahistorical of the role of the EP”, Constantinople has been dealing with the Slavs in a high-handed way since the beginning.

            …[O]fficial documents described the role of the Church of Constantinople in terms of ‘universal solicitude’. A document issued in 1355 by Patriarch Callistus is particularly revealing. It is addressed to the group of hesychast monks in Bulgaria — including St. Theodosius of Trnovo — who apparently were advocates of Constantinopolitan centralism. They were, together with Callistus himself, fellow disciples of St. Gregory of Sinai on Mount Athos. In this document, Callistus sternly criticizes the Bulgarian Patriarch of Trnovo for failing to mention the Ecumenical Patriarch, as his superior. The Patriarch of Constantinople, according to Callistus, ‘judges in appeal, straightens out, confirms and authenticates’ the judgments of the other three ancient Patriarchs: Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. How much more, he asks, he must also be recognized as lord (kyrios) of the Church of Bulgaria, whose primate, according to Callistus, has received the title of ‘Patriarch’ in only an honorific sense, but is not essentially different from one of the metropolitans, subjected to Constantinople… This restrictive view was hardly shared by the Patriarch of Trnovo himself who, in 1352, had even consecrated a Metropolitan of Kiev without referring to Constantinople.

            This trend toward reaffirmation of Constantinople’s primacy is also apparent in patriarchal documents relative to Russia. In 1354, the synodal act of Patriarch Philotheos appointing Bishop Alexis as Metropolitan of Kiev and all Russia proclaimed: ‘The holy, catholic and apostolic Church of God [i.e. of Constantinople], which administers always all things for the better, according to the unfailing privilege and power granted to it from on high, by the grace of Christ, manifests its concern and solicitude over all the most holy churches wherever they are found, so that they may be governed and directed for the good and in accordance with the Lord’s law. In 1370, addressing Grand-prince Dimitri of Moscow, Philotheos calls himself bluntly the ‘common father, established by the Most-High God, of all the Christians found everywhere on earth’. In another letter, written in the same year to the princes of Russia, urging them to submit themselves to their Metropolitan Alexis, Philotheos expresses the theory of ‘universal solicitude’ in a way, practically indistinguishable from the most authoritarian pronouncements of the Roman Popes:

            “Since God has appointed Our Humility as leader of Christians found anywhere in the inhabited earth, as solicitor and guardian of their souls, all of them depend on me, the father and teacher of them all. If that were possible, therefore, it would have been my duty to walk everywhere on earth by the cities and the countries and to teach there the Word of God. I would have to do so unfailingly, since this is my duty. However, since it is beyond the possibility of one weak and mightless man to walk around the entire inhabited earth, Our Humility chooses the best among men, the most eminent in virtue, establishes and ordains them as pastors, teachers and high-priests, and sends them to the ends of the universe. One of them goes to your great country, to the multitudes which inhabit it, another reaches other areas of the earth, and still another goes elsewhere, sos that each one, in the country and place which was appointed for him, enjoys territorial rights, an episcopal chair and the rights of Our Humility.”

            In 1393, Patriarch Anthony (1389-90, 1391-7) not only reaffirms, in a letter to Novgorod, his leadership of ‘all the Christians in the universe’, but also, in his letter to the Muscovite Grand-prince Basil I, indignantly reproaches Basil for having forgotten that ‘the Patriarch is the vicar of Christ and sits on the very throne of the Master’. (Fr. Meyendorff, Byzantium and the Rise of Russia, pp. 112-115)

            Fr. Laurent Cleenewerck:

            After the failure of the council of Florence (1439) and the fall of the Eastern Roman Empire (1453), the patriarchate of Constantinople (‘New Rome’) progressively assumed in the East the ecumenical privileges of the ‘Old Rome’ whose past prerogatives were thus indirectly recognized. At the council of Moscow in 1592, the ‘apostolic Throne’ of Constantinople agreed to the establishment of a patriarchate in Moscow but proclaimed itself “head and primate of the other patriarchates.” A few years later, the patriarchal and synodical tomos of 1663 contained the following question and answer:

            Q: Can the judgment of other churches be brought to appeal to the throne of Constantinople and can this throne resolve all ecclesiastical cases?

            A: This privilege was that of the pope before the tearing asunder of the Church by presumption and wickedness. But since the Church is now torn, all the cases of the other Churches are brought to the throne of Constantinople, which will pronounce the sentence inasmuch as according to the canons, this see has the same primacy as ancient Rome.

            His Broken Body: Understanding and Healing the Schism Between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches (p. 134). Euclid University Consortium Press. Kindle Edition.

            Nothing new is actually going on… May God bless His inheritance.

            • George Michalopulos says

              As you say, “the Third Rome…is apocalyptic”. Very much so. The monk Theophilus said that “there would be no other”. The implication is that when the Third Rome ceases to be, then the end will come. Third Rome political science and eschatology are not mutually exclusive as all nations shall cease to be when the end comes. The difference is that “that which restraineth [the anti-Christ]” is “lawful authority”. When that is removed, then the “son of perdition” shall rise.

              “Rome” not only implies lawfulness, that is the opposite of anarchy, but nationhood –by definition. And as long as Rome existed (first the Western Empire, then Byzantium, then Russia) then evil was restrained. Consider, the 20th century was the most blood-soaked century in human history. Compound that with the fact that more Christians dies in that century alone than in all other centuries combined.

              So yes, Russia is the Third Rome. As to whether it ceased to be in 1917 or that the period between 1917 and 1991 was an interregnum is open to debate. But when Russia does cease to fulfill this function, then that will signal the rise of the anti-Christ.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Also, the letters which you cite and the implications of their centralism (from Philotheus IV Coccinus, et al) were somewhat controversial. For one thing, they resurrected the old title of “ecumenical patriarch” which John IV Neusteutes conjured up some 1000 years earlier and which was slapped down immediately by Pope Gregory I the Great as sounding “blasphemous”.

                John vainly tried to defend this use by saying that “ecumenical” did not mean universal but merely “imperial”. (In our day, we would say that the Archbishop of Washington, DC was the “Federal patriarch” for example. This distinction was lost on Gregory however.)

                In any event, no patriarch after John IV (inclusive) ever used that term again. It was only revived one thousand years later after the split with Rome became complete. And then, without the restraining hand of an orthodox Pope in Rome, its meaning changed.

                Having said all that, it becomes clear that its revival has been largely self-serving and thus cannot logically or historically be used to validate the novel claims of Cpole in the post-Schism period.

                • George,

                  I do agree that the EP has papal pretensions. I’m against these pretensions whenever and wherever its manifested. IMO, all this Rome stuff (First, Second, Third) has proven to be a temptation for the Church. This is exactly what Pope St. Gregory was against.

                  FYI, the title of EP was not conjured up by St. John the Faster. It was actually first given to Pope Dioscorus of Alexandria during the Robber Synod, and then was used to refer to Pope St. Leo the Great during Chalcedon. St. Justinian’s Novellaes used the title to refer to the Archbishop of Cnople, therefore it became enshrined in Eastern Roman law (ca. 530s). St. John does seem to be the first to apply the title to himself.

                  Pope St. Gregory lost that battle, btw. The title made it’s way into the laws, Emperor Maurice thought the issue was irritating nuisance, and the succeeding Archbishop of Cnople, Kyriakos utilized the title to refer to himself. Additionally, the other Patriarchs thought of the whole affair as a non-issue.

                  Please look up why the Patriarch of Moscow and Slavic Metropolitans wear a white klobuk. It comes from the Legend of the White Cowl, a Slavic derivation of the Donation of Constantine, which was being utilized by Eastern bishops. Emperor Constantine supposedly gave the cowl to Pope Sylvester, and it then it supposedly ended up in Novgorod. The point I’m trying to make is that we can’t be upset at Rome and Cnople, but excuse Moscow. No, I’m not inherently against white klobuks; but IMO, all this Rome stuff (First, Second, Third) has proven to be a temptation for pride in the Church. This is exactly what Pope St. Gregory was against.

              • George,

                I would agree that Moscow is the Third Rome but I do not see that ceasing to play that role is necessary for the eschaton to commence. We may assume that the millenium, the 1000 years when the devil would be restrained, has already passed and that the period of the devil’s playground, so to speak, the time when the devil will have carte blanche before the End, has already commenced.

                I tend to think that the 1000 years was not literal but figurative of a long era, that era would have been the era of Christendom, the time from when Orthodoxy became the imperial religion to the time when it waned and other powers became dominant. Following that period, there is to be a short spell when the devil runs rampant. I assume that would be the twentieth century, the time from the end of the last Christian Empire (Romanov Russia) to, roughly, the present. This period would be characterized by widespread carnage, apostasy and immorality.

                Sounds about right.

                Of course, no one knows the time or season of the Second Coming or Tribulation. Protestants misreading of Scripture gives us “the Rapture”. While it is true that Christ’s followers will rise in the sky to meet Him at the Second Coming, there is nothing indicating that the faithful will disappear before the Great Tribulation prophesied by Christ Himself.

                As to Moscow, it is hard to say how it will fare in the eschaton because it is not in that area that the Apostles would have referred to as “the World”; i.e., Asia Minor and North Africa. That was their “world”, so to speak and so it is difficult to say what applies to territories outside of the area.

                • George Osborne says

                  I would opine that if the title “Third Rome” is taken literally, it would seem perjorative rather than laudatory. Rome mark I and Rome mark II didn’t do such a hot job in the first instance. Not sure I’d want them to be used as a basis of comparison if it applied to me!

                  • GO,

                    Ah, but the essence of the “Third Rome” remark by the monk Filofei is that it stands as long as the Church stands, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it:

                    https://orthodoxwiki.org/Third_Rome

                    Though Russia was ruled by militant atheists for over 70 years, still about 1/3 of its population remained Orthodox at least in self identification, even during the darkest days of the Khrushchev regime’s reinvigoration of persecution when barely 500 churches functioned in Soviet Russia.

                    Now, from a relative low of 7,000 at the beginning of glasnost’, there are considerably more than 30,000 functioning churches in Russia and over two thirds of its population identifies as Orthodox. That is much less than the near 60,000 churches before the revolution, but still a phenomenal achievement and a testament to the glory of the Almighty and the Orthodox Faith.

                    This will not go to waste. Russia is committed to an authoritarian form of government, Orthodox Christianity and is a nuclear power with a formidable military for its own protection and projection of power.

                    No doubt Putin’s successor, whoever that may be eventually, will adhere to the same style of governance, worldview and politics as Putin himself. Why else would he allow someone to rise in the wings to succeed him? By all accounts from Western polls taken in Russia, the Russian people are with Putin to the tune of up to 80 percent popularity – over 70 percent in the last election.

                    “Two Romes have fallen. The third stands. And there will not be a fourth.”

                    What is happening is that increasingly, because of its unique character as both a world power and propagator of the Christian faith, it is starting to become the dominant pole in world power politics.

                    People have been concerned about China because of its economic success. Russia has risen despite outright economic warfare waged against it since the Clinton Administration’s ill fated decision to support the expansion of the EU and NATO ever eastward.

                    That is what scares the hell out of the Powers that Be here in the West and why they feel the pathological need to denigrate Russia with every other breath.

                    One does not kick a dead dog.

                  • George Osbourne,

                    Amen.

    • Johann Sebastian says

      The Russians didn’t conquer Ukraine. They liberated it from Polish occupation. That’s a fact. Stop framing it as a conquest.

  9. Billy Jack Sunday says

    I may be very generous when it comes to defending a person who believes in Jesus Christ – regardless of communion/faith community

    I may even compliment certain faith communities for their earnest spiritual endeavors

    But I am extremely stingy when it comes to identifying the true Church Of Jesus Christ – The Holy Orthodox Catholic Church

    As such, I will always be defensive on behalf of our Church

    So therefore I am not on board with modern ecumenicism

    I certainly hope the EP will back off of any potential powder keg schismatic rift as well

  10. J Clivas says

    If, as we are told, Bartholomew now is “in perfect health” after just being hospitalized, why did he cancel his planned trip to Egypt for May?

  11. Gail Sheppard says

    Things to keep in mind when you’re reading this blog:

    1) It’s often hard to understand what’s wrong with something from the outside looking in. It would be like diagnosing an electrical problem when you aren’t an electrician and have never been in the house.

    2) Many of us have a history with the people who post here and there are some who are determined to “improve” the Church to fit their own agenda. Getting them to use their own names is difficult but it’s not hard to recognize their voices. They will attempt to delegitimize those people and institutions who hold most closely to the teachings of the Church.

    3) This is an Orthodox blog. We don’t all agree on everything, to be sure, but we do speak the same language. In contrast, there are some of you who are just learning. It takes time to become fluent. Assumptions you may have based on previous experiences may not apply from the standpoint that the Church is probably not like anything you’ve ever encountered before. One can’t even trust their gut-level reactions sometimes because how you feel about something today is likely to change as you gain more exposure. That’s the hope anyway.

    4) Finally, some people are flat out dishonest about their intentions. They aren’t interested in having a dialog. Their only interest in this site is to derail it. You can tell who they are because they will make one unsupported statement after another. They’ll rarely respond if you take the time to reply unless they use your name in passing so they can segway into the next point. On another list, we used to call them “dive-bys” because they use a rapid-fire approach. It would take volumes to refute each and every claim and they know it. Few people try. You probably know who these people are based on my description. They begin their sentences with, “And what about . . .?” The old adage, “consider the source,” will serve you well. They are not interested in the truth. They want to put as much garbage out there as possible before people tire of it and move on. They are on every blog and every list and have been for decades. There was a time when I used to research each and every statement and discovered that all of it was coming from the same handful of people. For example, when you hear about the monasteries from the POV of someone who might have lived there, it’s coming one or two sources. How do I know? Because the stories don’t change and it is very old news. We were talking about the same stuff when I joined the Church back in 2005.

    Happy blogging everyone!

  12. Brzezinski and his protege le Donne are correct to demand the dismantling of the fictional country of Russia into five components, reversing the Battle of Poltava. Koenigsburg and Petersburg must be returned to the Swedish Teutonic Knights. Khordokovsky can lead the Varangians from Novgorod. Muscovy is the moist, mouldy magog obsina heir to the devil’s grandchildren. Ukraine must be returned to the LitwoPolish Jagelonian Empire.
    The land between Urals and Volga will revive as Scythia. Siberia will be returned to the Uyghurs of Xinjiang Mongolia. Then the planet will be content and Carolingian Europe will be united forever more. Also this will expose the fictional nature of their faith.

    Poltava and the Geopolitics of Western Eurasia, John LeDonne, Harvard Ukrainian Studies, Vol. 31, No. 1/4, pp. 177-191

    Russia’s Ambitions in the Black Sea Basin, 1737-1834, John P. LeDonne, International History Review, Vol. 28, No. 1 (Mar., 2006), pp. 1-41

    http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a341161.pdf

    • George Michalopulos says

      Makes sense. While we’re at it we can dismantle these United States: make the southwest Aztlan, let Texas be a republic and let the South free. Send all the liberals to California and New England.

      And then we won’t have to bomb other countries into oblivion because of muh democracy.

      All in favor, say “aye!”

      • Estonian Slovak says

        Aye, aye, sir! But Texas is part of the South. Likewise, Missouri and Kentucky.

        • George Michalopulos says

          True. But I went satirical because we ‘Muricans need to stop believing all this globalist nonsense about how Russia (or whatever other country we have in our cross-hairs) should comport themselves.

          Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we tended to our own knitting? But noooooooo, we’ve got to poke the Russian bear, because reasons.

          • Estonian Slovak says

            Well, if the USA can meddle over there, why couldn’t Putin help us bring back the Confederacy? After all, it lasted longer than Ukraine the first time around.

          • George Osborne says

            George…. some of us are of the historically mistaken opinion that the South never actually surrendered. We have just been conducting a cultural guerrilla war for the past 150 years!

  13. I have great difficulty believing that the Patriarch of Constantinople is plotting to capitulate to the Roman Pontiff. He would instantly become a minor bishop. All pretentions of grandeur melted away.

  14. Billy Jack Sunday says

    Nay

    I thought you were a pharmacist, George

    Not a crack head

  15. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the Orthodox Christian website.

    ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATE POSTPONES CONSIDERATION OF UKRAINIAN AUTOCEPHALY ISSUE
    Constantinople, May 16, 2018

    http://orthochristian.com/112987.html

    • Gail Sheppard says

      The EP is between a rock and a hard place. He should have just sidestepped the whole issue from the get-go. He is now under an enormous amount of pressure from both sides.

      THIS is why it’s a mistake to venture too far from the support of family; in this case, the Church. It’s kind of like when you’re a kid playing on the beach. Your parents tell you to keep the umbrella within eyesight. You don’t pay too much attention because you’re playing in the water right in front of them with your sand pail. You look up, expecting to see the umbrella, and it’s gone! The water has carried you so far down the beach you can’t see it.

      The EP has drifted down the beach and I’ll bet he’s feeling it. He is far from the safety of his brother bishops and the Church, who would have advised him NOT to even entertain the idea had he asked. No wonder the poor guy has been hospitalized. The GOA is blowing up, (the) Ukraine is heating up and it’s all on him. Like the prodigal son he needs to go back to his brother bishops and together they need to issue a statement. They also need to start floating the idea of letting Antioch absorb the GOA. It would be the first big move toward unity in this country.

      Here at home, we need to start the conversation about the “divorce.” Our bishops should tell the “kids” (laity) “mummy & daddy” are splitting up but they will always love them. They need to go to their respective attorneys and start working out a settlement agreement. Divorce is hard but this marriage can’t be saved. We should have never entered into a plural marriage in the first place. It’s not the Orthodox way.

      • Jane Rachel says

        “They also need to start floating the idea of letting Antioch absorb the GOA.”

        Will Antioch get the GOA monasteries TOO?

        • Gail Sheppard says

          The monasteries aren’t the ones imploding, Jane. There is no need for them to move anywhere. It’s the rest of the GOA that’s in trouble.

          Let me ask you this: Who had administrative oversight of the rebuilding of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine at the World Trade Center, Jane?

          And who was the individual on the Monastery Review Committee, you quoted, who led the charge against the monasteries saying, “The Monasteries in the United States are NOT following the regulations set forth by the Synod nor are they complying with the direction of their Metropolitans. They are functioning independent and do not follow the rules or the direction of their Metropolitans in most cases?”

          Jerry Dimitriou, right? Now, in light of recent events, what does this tell you about his credibility with respect to what he said about the monasteries and their failure to fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities?

          Of course, they have industrial sized kitchens! St. Anthonys receives tens of thousands of visitors each year and they feed them. The food is delicious but it’s healthy, not typically “baked goods and delicacies.” They serve things like figs for dessert. The monks don’t do all that work by themselves on the grounds either, visitors do a lot of it. When you stay at a monastery for a few days, you work there. The one monk you mentioned whom you believe had no access to water was in charge of serving food so he had ample access to water. I know, because one of my high school boyfriends who lived there worked under him helping him serve. I’d be happy to put you in touch with him if you’d like to talk with him directly. (BTW, you can get diarrhea from probiotics and it’s the *diarrhea* that causes dehydration and can land you in the hospital, especially here in AZ where it’s so hot.)

          They don’t hold fundraisers there, either. They have a very modest bookstore that is about the size of a studio apartment. Their money comes from donors who want to make sure our traditions don’t die at the hands of the kind of people who think it makes sense to ask a priest to “hold the bread” when preparing the Gifts because it might still have gluten or some strange thing in it AFTER it is changed into the body and blood of Christ (courtesy of another article you provided)!!!

          Do you REALLY believe they make all that money selling overpriced candles?! You’ve got to see this place and judge for yourself. I have a hard time believing that monks are selling “their wares” at local parish Greek Festivals, too, given they don’t really even have “wares;” they primarily sell books and the monks rarely leave the grounds unless they have to take people to and from the airports.

          If the local parishes struggle to pay their assessments and meet their recurring bills, how is that the monastery’s fault? You have been sold a bill of goods, Jane, and unless you go, you’ll never know the truth. I live in Tucson and I would be SO HAPPY to take you there. We don’t have to stay. Just one day is all it would take for you to come to a very different conclusion, freeing all those investigative talents of yours to work on something much more worthy of your time.

          If you take me up on my offer, you’ll see I’m sort of a girly-girl with makeup, nails and highlighted hair. I don’t wear jeans to the monastery, but I wear them most everywhere else. I am very “normal” in that regard so you won’t be met by someone who looks like they belong on the set of “Little House on the Prairie,” not that there’s anything wrong with that.

          We’re not the weird people you have been led to believe we are. We’re traditionalists, not fundamentalists. There is a HUGE difference. We just want to protect the Traditions and teachings of the Church and we have every right to do so. I would go as far as saying it’s my obligation. There is nothing weird about any of this.

          • Jane Rachel says

            Gail Sheppard,

            1. So when the Antiochians take over the GOA, the monasteries will be independent?

            2. Concerning your allegations against Jerry Dimitriou: You should do few more clicks before you start throwing stones. I wasn’t there, I don’t know, but I can read. http://www.pappaspost.com/ousted-archdiocese-administrator-sends-explosive-letter-archbishop-america/

            3. The point about the monasteries having large kitchens, was, I thought, related to the fact that they often sell their wares at local Greek Festivals, where the baked goods, etc. are traditionally made by the local Greek Orthodox faithful and sold to raise money specifically for the parish…. Oh all right, then! UNCLE!

            4. I’m not going to address the issue about the dehydration.

            5. I did NOT provide the link to the article about the peeps with celiac disorder, etc. I did provide this link: “The rules that govern our Monasteries require that baptisms only occur there when there is a COMPELLING REASON DEEMED ACCEPTABLE BY THE LOCAL METROPOLITAN. Is it even possible to think of a compelling reason for there to be three different families having their baptisms at the same time and place?”
            http://weareorthodox.com/ourblog/monastery-violates-obedience-of-goa-general-regulations/

            6. Gail asks, “Do you REALLY believe they make all that money selling overpriced candles?! ” to which I reply, “WOW!!! What a question!!”

            7. If I were the only one with concerns, it would be a different story altogether. However, if I were the only one with concerns, I would not have any concerns at all. The reality is that my concerns are not my own, but belong to many, many, many, many, many…. people.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Jane, I just got back from visiting one such monastery and am rather tired but I’d like to address just one if your points, specifically the baptism thing.

              These monasteries do not want to be parish purchases, that’s why weddings and baptisms are not encouraged. After awhile some people are going to expect banquets and even dancing.

              More to follow.

              • Jane Rachel says

                Hi George,

                Just a quick response. The editor of weareorthodox.com says, “that the Saint Anthony’s Monastery in Arizona has apparently violated the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.” Three baptisms were performed at Saint Anthony’s Monastery “at the same time and place.” A video of the baptisms was posted and later removed. You can read the article at the link provided. He states, “The rules that govern our Monasteries require that baptisms only occur there when there is a COMPELLING REASON DEEMED ACCEPTABLE BY THE LOCAL METROPOLITAN. Is it even possible to think of a compelling reason for there to be three different families having their baptisms at the same time and place?… It is more likely that the Metropolitan in question had no prior knowledge of the baptisms. Is a disobedient Monastery a good example of humility and obedience to the ruling Hierarch and the GOA itself?”
                http://weareorthodox.com/ourblog/monastery-violates-obedience-of-goa-general-regulations/

                • George Michalopulos says

                  You were assuming that they were being disobedient. Are you sure that the local metropolitan did not give the ok? Clearly the families requested thismass baptism. I for one can’t think that the elder would give the go ahead without consulting Gerasimos.

                  • Jane Rachel says

                    George,
                    I feel quite sure even the editor of weareorthodox.com is not “assuming” Saint Anthony’s Monastery was being disobedient, but that the editor is *questioning* the event(s). In the long run, the question is not whether Metropolitan Gerasimos knew about these baptisms or not, but that the baptisms did not occur at the local parish. Even if the families requested that the baptisms occur at the monastery rather than the local church, the point being made here (and it has been made many times, and not only about baptisms), is that the parishes are being undermined.

                    Here, read this and disagree as much as you want to: http://gotruthreform.org/mainstream-orthodoxy-vs-ephraimite-fundamentalism
                    “3. Burials, Sponsoring Weddings, Exploiting Opportunities
                    Mainstream Orthodox Christianity

                    Athonite Monasteries do not encourage weddings, baptisms and funerals to take place at their respective monasteries. Nor do they pressure people (through fear, intimidation, or pseudo agape) to bury people there. Thus there is no adverse effect upon local Parish communities.

                    Ephraimite Fundamentalist View
                    Baptisms and burials frequently take place at Ephraimite Monasteries. Ephraimite Monasteries seek “membership supporters” from Parishioners of established Parishes, thus giving the laity the sense that they do not have to be members at their Parish, but can be members of the Monastery instead. GOA Parishioners have also been told by leaders of the Ephraimite Monasteries that the Monastery will sponsor the cost of their weddings if the couple becomes a member of the Monastery for life. When burials take place on the Monastery grounds, they are typical done at 2-3 times the costs of burials at a typical cemetery – suggesting that they are using burials for membership drive opportunities and to generate revenue. The families of the deceased are told that this is in the best interest of their departed loved one because the monks will pray for them every day. People should ask, aren’t the monks supposed to do that anyway, regardless of where the deceased are buried?

                    4. Monastery Revenue Generation
                    Mainstream Orthodox Christianity

                    Athonite Monasteries do not operate mail order businesses. They do not have their monastics cook pastries to be sold at businesses or festivals by the monks themselves.

                    Ephraimite Fundamentalist View
                    Ephraimite Fundamentalist Monasteries have engaged in internet businesses and other businesses to generate revenue. The fundamentalist Ephraimite Monasteries appear to have no problem collecting money, while our local Parishes by and large are struggling. Some of the monasteries of Ephraim have industrial sized kitchen facilities wherein the monks engage in the production of pastries that are sold in businesses, Parish festivals, or other public venues. In some cases, the monks are selling their items themselves. Not only do they sell pastries and other things, but they put monastics in public venues to solicit and erode financial support that compromises the financial revenues of the Parish. Additionally, monastics and their supporters place donation boxes at Orthodox Christian businesses. If the business owner refuses, he/she is diminished and even labeled as “anti-monastic” and “unspiritual”. This is atypical of Athonite Monasticism.

                    If this were the extent of the differences, we wouldn’t be as concerned. Unfortunately, the differences extend to the following: “… and the beat goes on…

                • M. Stankovich says

                  Mr. Michalopulos,

                  “More to follow.” And not soon enough. But I strongly suspect that you are simply adding fuel to a circular argument Obsession is obsession and it is always ugly, is always mean, and it is always relentlessly closed to alternative interpretations, discussion, and questioning of any sort. This endless, mindless, numbing repetition of the identical information with the hope that repetition this time will the distinguishing difference from the last time is the character of of obsession. By definition…

                  By following one link or another inside one of the articles provided, I ended up on a page that is a Scott Nevins Memorial page, and while I will not pursue a discussion of this site, I will simply say that the contents – which dates back to November, 2014 – is nothing but intentional slander, misrepresentation, distortion, and flat-out intentional falsehood & lies in regard to the sacred Dogmatic Theology of the Orthodox Church in every and any aspect imaginable. Despicable as it is superficially, if you read things more closely – at what first appear to be a list of “citations” accompanying each article – you will find have little specifically to do with the context of “citations,” other than to use the reference as a pretext to attack Gerona Ephraim for whatever is being discussed. One article, for example, is an outdated, neo-Freudian interpretation of pathological grief as the basis for hallucinations in PTSD (Seriously?), while displaying the Geronda in vestments holding a skull in his epitrachilion with the caption, “Elder Ephraim holding his mother’s skull. Say he often speaks to her and has seen her.” The obvious implication – if you even accept this neo-Freudian trash – Geronda (and hey, for argument’s sake, let’s toss in St. John of Shanghai and his friend Bp. Basil (Rodzianko) who both notoriously experienced the same “symptoms”) is deeply disturbed. Really want to know how deeply disturbed monasticism, ecclesiology, soteriology, Christology, [fill-in-blank]-ology has been perverted by the Orthodox? You will find it here. But you will quickly find it has been quickly & poorly produced by an imbecile(s) who cut & paste, the beginning of the “theses” of no concern to the ending, and no concern for logical conclusions.

                  I have mentioned this site, nevertheless, for the one specific reason I have already mentioned previously. I came across an essay about parents – as best I recall from Albuquerque (and I’m not looking it up again) – who “lost” their son (a 32-year old man) to a new GOA monastery and embarked upon a crusade to get him back when he did not to leave. The article begins with a long letter they wrote to a right-wing radio talk show host, who apparently had a very influential website of “cults or groups believed to be cults.” If your “group” was listed on his site – correctly or incorrectly – it was next to impossible to repair your group’s reputation among his listeners & beyond. They gave all the reasons that the GOA monasteries and Geronda Ephraim qualified for his list, and they had other parents petition as well. He never responded. These parents wrote to anyone and everyone in the Greek Orthodox Church seeking intervention, from the EC down, and presented lies about his physical/mental health & well-being, all to no avail. Their son reported he was well and satisfied where he was. In fact, a posted comment noted that a visitor to the monastery worked with their son on a garden work crew and found him pleasant, calm, patient, a pleasure to be with. He was nothing like his parents described him. What was extremely telling is what they wrote to other parents in the same situation: Ephraim is appealing to the extreme “ultra-Orthodox element” in the GOA and must be stopped. I personally heard this identical argument from parents in NY, PA, Chicago, and CA. I heard this from parents, on Great and Holy Friday here in San Diego, who had brought their school-age children to the Royal Hours “retreat” for kids, but did not come in themselves. They stood outside, passing out Starbucks orders to one another.

                  Imagine these creeps – and I use the word with every pejorative possible – who have contrived every sort of blasphemy and indecency against against the Orthodox Church in four concerted years of effort, even indecently & shamelessly post a photo of an Athonite monk in his vestments holding a skull, where the remains of the departed are often moved, re-buried, and so on, and are certainly not indicative of “mental illness” – and mocking him. Do they do this in OCA monasteries? Did we mock those who re-vested Archbishop Dmitri’s incorrupted remains, perhaps accusing Mr. Michalopulos of mental illness? Were those who re-vested Sts. John of Shanghai or Herman of Alaska mentally ill?

                  What to make of the Holy Gospel:

                  If the world hate you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do to you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. He that hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this comes to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. (Jn. 15:18-25)

                  The question, Mr. Michalopulos, is when has the saturation point been reached? I believe you can continue to support the First Amendment, yet draw the line at uncorroborated, unsupportable, and unsustainable murderous gossip at the hands of obsessed Google scholars. I challenge those obsessed with this “issue” to print out you exhaustive investigations, take to all the affected attorneys general and shut up. Nothing, and I repeat, nothing that is uncorroborated will become true by repetition. Ever.

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    M. Stankovich is very good at drawing a line. We reached the saturation point YEARS AGO when this unrelenting attack began. We have definitely reached that point on this blog.

                  • Jane Rachel says

                    Michael,

                    “Murderous gossip”? “Obsessed Google Scholars”? What a couple of monikers! Thank you!

                    Money. Laudering. Court documents. Depositions. Links.

                    Repetition gets the words into the brains of those who have ears to hear. You think I WANT to fight this battle alone on this blog? I have news for you. I am not alone. Many are fighting behind the scenes and on other web sites, and I know it to be true. “Keep on going,” they tell me. So, I keep on going. (Oh, and by the way, Bishop Nikolai and Father Robert Kondratick are still innocent and Bishop Nikoai’s letter to Bishop Benjamin is still available online. Just saying. Go ahead and attack away. I could not care less.)

                    ONE CAN HOPE there are ongoing exhaustive investigations, and that once the evidence has been compiled, the evidence will be taken to the attorneys general. Clearly, I cannot find enough “corroborative evidence” online, but I have provided far more that YOU have. We have been through this before. Despite your desire to see it happen, I ain’t a gonna shut up.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Let me say to you very directly, by name: I find you[r arguments] extraordinarily childish, immature, rude & offensive, unjustifiably entitled and sarcastic, and astonishingly annoying. As I said previously, I believe you “are” because you are allowed to stand in the dark shadow of internet anonymity and throw stones & fits at will. But you are fighting a battle on this site? With whom and exactly for whom are you fighting? You are neither an investigator, a researcher, nor do you speak Greek. You are simply reading “stuff” off the internet by people you don’t know, nor can you evaluate their motivation or behaviour. In effect, you are merely playing the game of Vickie Vale at the Gotham News. You repeatedly rely on the fact that they “sound sincere.” Please, Jane, hop on a plane to America’s finest City and I will gladly introduce to a band of gentlemen I promise will impress you with their level of sincerity. Nevertheless, I will not allow you to carry your purse/wallet into the same room with you, as the probability that it will be in Mexico within several hours will dramatically increase, as happened to several of our esteemed visitors. Further, you are suggesting that I am attacking you and my desire is that you shut up? Both your “righteous mission” and your persecution are contrived, and this ain’t my house. You will obviously rule by your own arrogance. I am most certainly not attacking you. I am, however, stating the obvious.

                      As if it isn’t already abundant clear, my experiences – some of which seemed merciless – convinced me that justice is not of this world. Nevertheless, the satisfaction that the Word of our God is the Truth as He promised, and He will not suffer injustice against the righteous, but will vindicate us, has been, in the words of the late Prof. Christopher Lasch, a “haven in a heartless world.”

                      When you have lost that simple connection, I believe you immediately begin to lose the connection to two equally fundamental foundations:

                      We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Why take to you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Eph. 6:12-17)

                      Of what could St. Paul be speaking? It is pitifully mocked on the Nevins’ site and intended to scorn Geronda Ephraim by describing a monk standing at the gate begging the prayers & forgiveness of his monastic brothers as he did penance for criticizing his Spiritual Father. “How childish, how pitiful, and ego-serving the order!” they said, without appreciating the obedience was not to Ephraim, but to the Lord Himself, “Whoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever will save his life shall lose it; but whoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.” (Mk. 8:34-35) With the loss of trust in the deliverance of the Lord comes the impatience for “action” and the urge to “move the process along,” as if to believe God “desires” my intervention; contemporary “christians,” for example, have solemnly justified the murder of physicians who conduct abortions as “the greater good.”

                      It is then an easy move to loose the last connection:

                      Yes, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble (cf. Prov. 3:34) Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care on him; for he cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brothers that are in the world. (1 Pet. 5:5-9)

                      The last hope we have, in the end, is one another. We are not saved alone, individually, one at a time, but we are saved as the Church, or we are not saved at all. You have no battle ALONE, you obviously are unfit, you seek a justice that is not yours,” and despite the fact that you admit you have no evidence that what you say is true – you rage against this Athonite monastic, in the line of Orthodox monastic tradition – because this old, quiet, gentle man whom any number of us has met and experienced as warm and loving – frightens you. “Clearly, I cannot find enough “corroborative evidence” online, but I have provided far more that YOU have.” Jane, and thanks to God.

                      It is ironic that the Nevin’s site published a 2001 article written by a psychiatrist, Panagiotis Grigoriou, MD, from the Halkidiki General Hospital (which he says in the Greek managed care system covered Mt. Athos for for both primary health and mental health care. Dr. Grigoriou wrote responding to a published, fabulously medieval interview of an Athos monk regarding psychiatry, Athonite monks, and psychotropic medications. Dr. Grigoriou put the issue in perspective very simply: Athos is no different than the “world” in the preponderance of mental illness, and in his opinion, the monastics and Geronda are sensitive and protective of the monks with such problems, and the vast majority support the use of medications when necessary. He concludes in a statement that seems to me fitting for this situation:

                      [monk who was interviewed] accuses holy people – humble and obscure to the general public – but accomplished in the heart of whoever knew those who apparently “raised themselves as charismatic figures” to captivate souls! It is a shame for a monk to offer his brothers and fathers as victims to the Moloch of publicity in exchange for the silver pieces and the honorary title of “debunker” and “whistle-blower” who apparently tells everything out right. The monastic life starts out with promises of obedience, humility, and devotion to the brotherhood. Self-projection and self-complacency are not included in these promises. In searching for the deeper “why”, I would say that [the monk]’s position against the Holy Mountain, in a psychodynamic interpretation, serves as a personal apology. Finally, I want to reassure and cheer up those who were perhaps troubled by reading the [interview]. No! The Mountain is not a “concentration camp,” nor some “mental hospital” for dissidents. The Kassandres and those appearing as benevolent dirge singers have no place here! Mount Athos did not lose the “rota”, it is not sinking! The Holy Mountain continues to sail correctly as it has for centuries. For over a thousand years, the rowers stand vigilant night and day at their oar. The Captain—the Lady of the Mount—holds the steering wheel firmly and the compass firmly shows God’s Kingdom. It is not shipwrecked and it collects castaways!

                      Finally, I would note the very troubled thoughts of our Blessed Father John Climacus, who wrote about the fact that he had had simply seen a brother monastic laughing “exuberantly,” and had believed gossip he had overheard about him. St. John said it had changed and “coloured” his thoughts and opinion of this brother all the way until St. John came to him to visit him on his death bed. And it was then that the Lord revealed to St. John that he had been incorrect – that this monk instead had been of great piety, and of great service to the brothers who were sick and dying over the years, a source of great comfort to them. St. John was able to ask his forgiveness before he died, and St. John left to weep over his judgment. He wrote a significant letter instructing us against judgment “even if we believe we have witnessed wrong-doing with our own eyes,” because the devil uses these opportunities to trick us. God will judge, and always justly.

                  • Thank you Dr. Michael Stankovich, as usual spot on.

                    Many here enjoy chasing their tails, as I’ve stated before.

                    One point if I may add, we should be mindful not to become a Jane, or Ashley. I have thanked Jane Rachel, when she first posted a couple weeks ago. She has opened my eyes to sinful obsessions in regards to accusations, bloated opinions of church scandals, cult like figures, monastery life, and for many of us, GOA problems, EP worries, and unias, etc. Hence I have toned down my opinions, as if they matter, and wait for the outcome to play out.

                    The world in general has a hard time understanding, and accepting monasteries, and monastics. That is to be expected, NO?

                    Be the Bee, not the fly, applies to all of us.

                    Many people tell me they are scandalized because they see many things wrong in the Church. I tell them if you ask a fly,”Are there any flowers in the area?” It will say,”I don’t know about flowers, but over there in that heap of rubbish you can find all the filth you want.” And it will go on to list all the unclean things it has been to.

                    Now if you ask a honeybee,”Have you seen any unclean things in this area?” It will reply,”Unclean things? No, I have not seen any;the place here is filled with the most fragrant flowers.” And it will go on to name all of the flowers in the garden, or meadow.

                    You see the fly only knows where the unclean things are, while the honeybee only knows where the beautiful iris, or hyacinth is.

                    As I have come to understand, some people resemble the honeybee, and some resemble the fly. Those who resemble the fly seek to find evil in every circumstance, and are preoccupied with it;they see no good anywhere. But those who resemble the honeybee only see the good in everything they see. The stupid person, thinks stupidly, and takes everything in the wrong way, whereas the person who has good thoughts, no matter what he sees, no matter what you tell him, maintains a positive, and good thought.(Saint Paisios of Mount Athos,”Good and Evil thoughts,” Spiritual Council III, Spiritual Struggle)

                  • Jane Rachel says

                    Michael Stankovich,

                    I was advised not to use my real name. I suggested it, believe me.

                    Your words are so many and so vile, that with you, Michael Stankovich, as far as I am concerned, Silence Is Golden. Let the reader read. I HAVE provided plenty of evidence; however, that evidence is not mine to submit.

                    Go ahead and rage away, Michael Stankovich. God is in complete control of everything.

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      Oh, and since I could get caught on a noodle for writing, “The evidence is not mine to submit,” I should add for anyone else’s benefit that I meant this: The evidence I have posted, though real evidence, is not mine to submit to the “proper authorities.”

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      OK, Jane. Sure. Whatever… When you have finally figured out how to to remove yourself from the corner you have painted yourself into, we’ll talk. “Rage away…” Trust me, rage is a profound human emotion I can clearly identify in myself. That’s not it.” There is simply an overwhelming sadness – in the very light of Pentecost – watching the savouring of the worst of human behaviour over all else. You end up mocking the Spirit of Truth Himself, because it is insignificant to you if it is really true or not, because you’ve already “read too much.” While our courts use a standard of the “preponderance of evidence” in civil proceedings,and the considerably higher standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt” in the criminal courts, no one uses the standard of “plenty of evidence.” And certainly no one is ever asked to prove themselves innocent against murderous gossip, such that, “No one has presented evidence to counteract these concerns.”

                      “Silence Is Golden. Let the reader read.” You certainly have provided plenty. If the topic dies without your further intervention, you have your answer. You have been the delivery girl for the salt that has lost its flavour (cf. Matt. 5:13), or better, has seen a better day.

              • M. Stankovich says

                Mr. Michalopulos,

                “More to follow.” And not soon enough. But I strongly suspect that you are simply adding fuel to a circular argument Obsession is obsession and it is always ugly, is always mean, and it is always relentlessly closed to alternative interpretations, discussion, and questioning of any sort. This endless, mindless, numbing repetition of the identical information with the hope that repetition this time will the distinguishing difference from the last time is the character of of obsession. By definition…

                By following one link or another inside one of the articles provided, I ended up on a page that is a Scott Nevins Memorial page, and while I will not pursue a discussion of this site, I will simply say that the contents – which dates back to November, 2014 – is nothing but intentional slander, misrepresentation, distortion, and flat-out intentional falsehood & lies in regard to the sacred Dogmatic Theology of the Orthodox Church in every and any aspect imaginable. Despicable as it is superficially, if you read things more closely – at what first appear to be a list of “citations” accompanying each article – you will find have little specifically to do with the context of “citations,” other than to use the reference as a pretext to attack Gerona Ephraim for whatever is being discussed. One article, for example, is an outdated, neo-Freudian interpretation of pathological grief as the basis for hallucinations in PTSD (Seriously?), while displaying the Geronda in vestments holding a skull in his epitrachilion with the caption, “Elder Ephraim holding his mother’s skull. Say he often speaks to her and has seen her.” The obvious implication – if you even accept this neo-Freudian trash – Geronda (and hey, for argument’s sake, let’s toss in St. John of Shanghai and his friend Bp. Basil (Rodzianko) who both notoriously experienced the same “symptoms”) is deeply disturbed. Really want to know how deeply disturbed monasticism, ecclesiology, soteriology, Christology, [fill-in-blank]-ology has been perverted by the Orthodox? You will find it here. But you will quickly find it has been quickly & poorly produced by an imbecile(s) who cut & paste, the beginning of the “theses” of no concern to the ending, and no concern for logical conclusions.

                I have mentioned this site, nevertheless, for the one specific reason I have already mentioned previously. I came across an essay about parents – as best I recall from Albuquerque (and I’m not looking it up again) – who “lost” their son (a 32-year old man) to a new GOA monastery and embarked upon a crusade to get him back when he did not to leave. The article begins with a long letter they wrote to a right-wing radio talk show host, who apparently had a very influential website of “cults or groups believed to be cults.” If your “group” was listed on his site – correctly or incorrectly – it was next to impossible to repair your group’s reputation among his listeners & beyond. They gave all the reasons that the GOA monasteries and Geronda Ephraim qualified for his list, and they had other parents petition as well. He never responded. These parents wrote to anyone and everyone in the Greek Orthodox Church seeking intervention, from the EC down, and presented lies about his physical/mental health & well-being, all to no avail. Their son reported he was well and satisfied where he was. In fact, a posted comment noted that a visitor to the monastery worked with their son on a garden work crew and found him pleasant, calm, patient, a pleasure to be with. He was nothing like his parents described him. What was extremely telling is what they wrote to other parents in the same situation: Ephraim is appealing to the extreme “ultra-Orthodox element” in the GOA and must be stopped. I personally heard this identical argument from parents in NY, PA, Chicago, and CA. I heard this from parents, on Great and Holy Friday here in San Diego, who had brought their school-age children to the Royal Hours “retreat” for kids, but did not come in themselves. They stood outside, passing out Starbucks orders to one another.

                Imagine these creeps – and I use the word with every pejorative possible – who have contrived every sort of blasphemy and indecency against against the Orthodox Church in four concerted years of effort, even indecently & shamelessly post a photo of an Athonite monk in his vestments holding a skull, where the remains of the departed are often moved, re-buried, and so on, and are certainly not indicative of “mental illness” – and mocking him. Do they do this in OCA monasteries? Did we mock those who re-vested Archbishop Dmitri’s incorrupted remains, perhaps accusing Mr. Michalopulos of mental illness? Were those who re-vested Sts. John of Shanghai or Herman of Alaska mentally ill?

                What to make of the Holy Gospel:

                If the world hate you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do to you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. He that hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this comes to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. (Jn. 15:18-25)

                The question, Mr. Michalopulos, is when has the saturation point been reached? I believe you can continue to support the First Amendment, yet draw the line at uncorroborated, unsupportable, and unsustainable murderous gossip at the hands of obsessed Google scholars. I challenge those obsessed with this “issue” to print out your exhaustive “investigations,” take to all the affected attorneys general and shut up. The fact is, it will never happen because the goal you seek is not “justice,” but attention, or you certainly would not be here. Nothing, and I repeat, nothing that is uncorroborated will become true by repetition. Ever.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Michael S. Is that “influential website on cults” the one run by the now Orthodox man aka The Bible Answer Man”–Hank Hanegraaff?

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    Michael Bauman,

                    It is only out of my love for you, my brother, that I went back to the Nevins site to look. I failed to find it. I wish I hadn’t gone. I may try again. I landed on an article entitled, St Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery, Now Im On Psych Meds (Nikos from California). This is the “golden boy” witness. I feel manipulated by what was not presented about him, but now I know I’ve been trolled. “Do you think he would lie?” Today’s word is “incredulous,” brought to you by “Consider the Source Before Biting, Kids.” I’ll get back to you.

                    • Gail Sheppard says
                    • I can personally attest to at least one story where Ashley Nevins stretches/blends truths. At least in regards to his post, about Father Matthew Gilbert, memory eternal. Ashley Nevins is disingenuous, in my opinion.

                      Ashley Nevins combines two different news stories, into one, to perhaps deceive the readers? One is the news story of Father Matthew Gilbert honoring graduating Sunday school students, by taking them down to Saint Anthony Monastery.

                      Then on the same post shows a picture, from a totally different story, of Father Matthew, with a subtitle below his picture, stating:”Father Matthew Gilbert is one of three Utah priests who have been ordered to suspend priestly ministries due to a pay cut by the cash strapped parish council.” Two different stories, from the Salt Lake Tribune, made to sound as one?

                      I can tell you, the trips never caused any monetary hardship upon the parish. Yet why did Mr. Nevins mix the two stories?

                      One story so insignificant, to his obsession, and no matter how innocent, and kind of a priest to take kids to experience a monastery for the first time. Yet when mixed with a scandalous story, about “cash strapped” parish, and priests laid off, on a completely different story and topic, it all but shows how desperate Mr. Nevins is to cast shade upon Saint Anthony’s.

                      The priest’s pay were cut because there was a campaign put together by the parish council to force the Metropolitan Isaiah to remove Father Michael Kouremetis. The Metropolitan went nuclear, and removed all three priests of their duties until full pay was returned to all three. This all going back to a conflict where some in our parish no longer wanted two churches controlled by one parish council. Father Michael led that group. Long story short, the priests were paid, and with back pay, miraculously.

                      Point is NO monetary short fall, fell upon our church, because of any shenanigans by the Monastery. Could this be just one example of a “truth” stretched, cut, paste, and combined? Don’t know, but this I do know, this is exactly what happened. IMHO.

                      Pray for the Nevins family. Their hill is steep, and cross is heavy.

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Michael Stankovich, thank you I did not mean to cause you pain brother. I was just asking if it was CRI. Hank Hanagraaff posted some misleading statements about the Orthodox Church for many years until his conversion. Protestants in general have no clue and tend to think of us as just another bunch of Catholics.

                      Protesting does not work well in the Church, IMO. Repentance works better. I have enough sins of my own to worry about without looking at the possible sins of others.

                      Forgive me.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      You were on the right trail, Gail! The link to which I had referred is about 15 articles below yours, but still closer than me: Rick Ross is asked to add Fr. Ephraim to his Suspected Cults Home Page (John & Jo Ann Pantanizopoulos, 1999) and links here. It was not the man you were referring to, Michael Bauman.

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      Dino, I read that article and looked at the photo. Seems obvious to me that Mr. Nevins posted the article because it was related to the monastery, and cut and pasted the photo from a different article just to include a photo of Father Matthew Gilbert. The caption under the photo wasn’t written by Mr. Nevins.

                      https://scottnevinssuicide.wordpress.com/category/fr-matthew-gilbert/

                • Jane Rachel says

                  Listen you two Michaels,

                  This has gone far enough. I was around when Spiritual Counterfeits Project was formed, I know the founders, and I have been around plenty of cults. You feel like you can discredit the truth, scoff, tell me to shut up, insult me, a person, tell me I know nothing of monasticism, or of Orthodoxy, and call me out like I don’t know what I’m talking about, like I’m a schoolgirl who needs correction? You go ahead, I’m not out to stop you. But I will say this. I KNOW what I am talking about.

                  • Constantinos says

                    Hi Jane,
                    I find that you are a breath of fresh air. It’s not right the way everyone pounces on you. Many people have complained about unhealthy guruism. I haven’t made up my mind completely about Elder Ephraim but I lean toward the negative. You are doing good work, and, personally, I believe you deserve a fair hearing.

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      Thanks, Constantinos! I’m really not a bad sort, once you get to know me! Glory to God for everything!

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    Jane I never insulted you. My question to Michael S was just a question. Did not even have you in mind. I am sure you do know a lot of things but your posts here do seem obsessive in nature. I am an ignorant man. I have no way to evaluate your claims but the manner in which you present them does not make me want search them any further. You have succeeded in immunizing me against them.

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    I am going to say this once to you, Jane: I am not the least bit interested in “engaging” you, correcting you, discrediting you, shutting you up, or providing you with whatever attention-seeking focus you seek. You are a troll in every classic sense of the word. You beg people to tell you to leave or shut up to strengthen your resolve and convoluted sense of persecution. And don’t y’all have a t-shirt, “I’m glad I’m embarrassing myself.” Where were you before you returned here, Jane? Were you banned, asked to leave, or did they just ignore you?

                    There isn’t a troll alive with the ambition to start their own site – where they can mock you and your mother as she lay dying – without the fear of offending anyone. No, better to come here and leech off of Mr. Michalopulos for free – Oh, and please, insult him too. You have rights. No, Jane, the bottom-line as to why you’re here and not on your own site: nobody would come and read it. Pardon me, but who cares, Jane?

                    In my favour? That post mocking Geronda Ephraim’s mother dying, Jane? Shame on you & a short toll shelf-life. And Mr. Michalopulos, what the hell were you thinking in allowing that to be posted? Shame on you as well. There is a First Amendment, and there is also dignity, respect, and honor. Κυρίε ἐκέκραξα!

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    JANE: “Seems obvious to me that Mr. Nevins posted the article because it was related to the monastery, and cut and pasted the photo from a different article just to include a photo of Father Matthew Gilbert. The caption under the photo wasn’t written by Mr. Nevins.”

                    Well, Jane, what seems obvious to you doesn’t necessarily make sense to anyone else, as you can see by the majority of the comments you’ve received. A caption doesn’t come over with a picture. You first have to grab the picture and then go back to grab the caption.

                    You can’t know WHO posted, it, Jane, unless you are one of the people who thought it would be a good idea to use this young man’s webpage after he succumbed to what was probably schizophrenia. Schizophrenia generally hits men in young adulthood, i.e. the early 20s. Scott met far more than (the required) two qualifying criteria, i.e. (1) a “flattening” of one’s emotions and unusual speech, as evidenced by his short, noncommunicative replies (alogia) and disinterest in the family that his mother reported after visiting him. (2) Paranoia, as evidenced by his exaggerated fear that someone from the monastery was after him, requiring him to purchase guns and knives for protection. (3) Avolition, as evidenced by his enrollment in college but his inability to meet the demands. (4) Agitation and disorganized thinking, as evidenced by the urgency he felt to go back to get his mouth retainer, in the dead of night, which his mother said he didn’t need, 15 months after he left the monastery. As an aside, seeing her son succumb to this horrible nightmare must have been the worst experience of her life.

                    Given the above, he quite possibly suffered from delusions, as well, so his perceived concerns about the monastery at the end is just further proof he was slipping into an alternate reality. What I want to know is WHY anyone would take advantage of this kid and use his death as a platform for their agenda? It’s especially distasteful considering how much he loved the monastery when he was there, as evidenced by his pleas with his parents to leave them alone when they were filing reports and making TV appearances.

                    Frankly, the structured nature of the environment, coupled with a diet that is rich in niacin and B3 and the unlikelihood of mold in a dry climate, may have prolonged his stability while he was there. If the monastery had, in fact, kidnapped him, why would they just let him go? Wouldn’t it have made more sense just to keep him there as they had for so many years?

                    Scott was free to come, stay, and go. No one was manipulating him. Many, many individuals have chosen this way of life and yet we only hear of a handful of cases of people with an ax to grind and they tend to have psychological problems that are beyond their control.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      If I may add this Gail: young, single men need structure. In the past the armed services provided such structure. Monasteries do so as well.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              1. I am more concerned about the laity having a parish to worship in. The monasteries are kind of self-sufficient.

              2. I wasn’t making any allegations against Jerry Dimitriou. I was pointing out who he is and letting you draw your own conclusions.

              5. One of your links linked to the other site.

              7. I think you should research your concerns. But I hope, at some point, you do it by gathering your own first-hand impressions.

              • George Michalopulos says

                True that Gail. Unless people do their research firsthand I must always be a little skeptical

              • Jane Rachel says

                Gail,
                1. If the GOA is absorbed by the Antiochians, the monasteries will be independent, won’t they? Will they still call themselves Greek Orthodox? What part of the Church will they be?

                2. I can’t draw any conclusions about Mr. Dimitriou because I wasn’t there. I simply linked to his letter. I do believe his letter was heartfelt and moving. It seems to me that you were insinuating more about him than you are willing to admit now.

                5. Gail, I wasn’t in the least interested in that celiac/bread/Eucharist article because it isn’t pertinent IMO, but… oh well, I guess you know better than I do what I posted.

                7. I’m sure I would be treated well and oh, how quiet it would be. All that water everywhere! On the other hand, what if I accidentally asked a blessing from a monk who uses electrical cords for reasons other than connecting a light bulb to a socket? What if the “demons” attacked me, since according to Elder Ephraim they are swarming all around those poor noviatiates until they are thrown to the ground in agony? Even worse, what if I got killed on the road and got stuck in a toll house controlled by demons on my way to heaven or hell? See what I am saying? We are told to “keep from all appearance of evil,” and I’m sorry, but in my book, that ain’t happening at those monasteries – not by a long shot. Nope, I would rather walk along the river near my home and attend my local parish, or visit Dormition Monastery or any number of other non-Ephraimite monasteries. As for what you and George see when you visit the monasteries, well, you see what they want you to see. “No one knows what goes on behind closed doors.”

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Jane, I just returned from Holy Archangels and I must protest, your characterization is ludicrous.

                  It appears you already have your mind made up. That’s not being intellectually honest.

                  • Jane Rachel says

                    George,

                    I wish I could change my mind, but I have read too much at this point. No one has presented evidence to counteract these concerns. I am not the only one, as you know.

                    I didn’t make up the testimony about the electrical cord and how Niko was told to use it at Saint Anthony’s Monastery, nor did I make up the other statements made by people we are no longer allowed to mention on this blog.

                    IF Niko is not lying, then why would I want to associate with such a place, or any other Greek Orthodox Ephraimite Monastery?

                    I provided a link to a video where Elder Ephraim says a young monk was thrown to the ground by demons and tormented. Why would I want to visit a place where these “spiritual attacks by demons” occur?

                    The teaching about Toll Houses and other strange teachings that come out of the mouths of these elders? Really? It’s one thing to discuss them intellectually, but it’s another thing altogether if the teachings are right. See what I am saying? “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:2)

                    And then there’s the connection to money laundering. And Orthodox Christian Laity, and Michael Jaharis’ speech, the statements made by Bill Stotis, and the countless testimonies and evidence that has not been made public, but I’m sure it’s there.

                    What about the Monastery Review Committee report that has not been published? We simply do not know all the facts, and visiting a monastery is not going to help a simple lay person to know the facts.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Jane, demons do torment some people by throwing them on the ground. As for self-flagellation, who knows to what degree it is practiced and by whom. It’s a tool. It may seem a little weird but it serves a medical propose, as well as helps to eradicate libidinous thoughts so who are we to judge?

                      Having said all that, I can easily refute your caricatures by very good authority: my own personal experiences at two of these monasteries.

                      I am not a fundie and I’m certainly not a moralist –never have been, never will be. I’ve been a “man of the world” all my life. Read into that what you will, but I can say that I’ve never met more normal people than I have at these monasteries –both residents and pilgrims.

                      Do some have hangups? Of course. But I work in healthcare and what I see on a daily basis makes me want to throw everything away at times and join these men, as they are a lot healthier than the average person walking down the street in today’s world.

                      Having said my peace, I will say that I’m in the process of publishing an apologia for monasticism. Therefore, in the interest of amity, no further commentary, especially if it is inflammatory and/or unsubstantiated, will be allowed for the interim.

                      After the publication of said apologia, commentary will be allowed to recommence but only if it is decorous and substantive.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Jane, you have serious concerns about Elder Ephraim. Have you addressed them directly with him?

                  If you have not, then you are simply being spiteful and contentious and need to stop.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Regrettably, I agree.

                  • Jane Rachel says

                    Michael Bauman, Dino, George, Gail, all,

                    Here is an article posted on Orthodox Christian Laity:

                    By Theodore Kalmoukos

                    The Orthodox Christian Organization (OCL) during a recent meeting adopted resolutions relating to monasteries that operate in many parts of the United States. The Christian Newswire reported on the issue as well.

                    The National Herald has reported many timesabout the issue of the monasteries and more specifically about their ecclesiastic belonging, theological teachings, and financial issues.

                    There are 18 total monasteries and nunneries in the United States. Technically, these monasteries are under the ecclesiastical and canonical jurisdiction of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and consequently, the local metropolises in which operate. Actually, though, they are under the total control of the priest monk Ephraim and his close associates, whose headquarters are at St. Anthony’s monastery in Florence, AZ.

                    TNH reported that a few years ago the Archdiocesan Council, with the insistence of itslate Vice Chairman Michael Jaharis, had instituted a special committee to conduct a thorough examination of the monasteries, including their finances, but the issue was stalled because the metropolitans did not cooperate with the committee.
                    TNH has learned that a fundamentalist movement has been created in the Archdiocese, deriving from the monasteries called “Ephraimism.” Many priests in the parishes have been influenced, and consequently, they pass their influence onto their parishes. Even at the School of Theology in Boston there are fanatic followers of elder Ephraim.

                    Archbishop Demetrios seems to be fully aware of what is going on with the monasteries but,unfortunately,he does not seem willing to confront the issue. Not even the Archdiocesan Regulations that specify the operation of the monasteries are implemented, and thus we have a situation whereby “a Church has been created within the Church.” Also, the Ecumenical Patriarchate is fully aware of the monasteries and their teachings. There are plenty of videos onlinewith homilies of Fr. Ephraim that are quite revealing about his teachings and even “his prophesies.”

                    The OCL has brought the issue into light again asking about the implementation of the Regulations of governance of the monasteries.The resolutions follow:

                    “OCL respectfully calls upon the Eparchial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America to enforce its own Regulations relating to the Monasteries operating under its auspices in the United States; that each metropolitan who has monasteries within his metropolis require full compliance by those monasteries with the letter and spirit of those Regulations; and, that all information concerning the operations of those monasteries, including but not limited to financial disclosures, be made public.

                    “OCL respectfully calls upon the Assembly of Bishops to request that all jurisdictions that have not yet done so adopt regulations regarding monasteries in the United States requiring transparency and accountability in financial reporting and Hierarchical oversight of theological teachings; that the Assembly encourage full compliance by those monasteries with the letter and spirit of those Regulations; and, that information relating to the well-being of the Church be made public.”

                    The Resolutions were adopted after the Board reviewed the provisions of the “General Regulations for the Establishment and Operation of Holy Monasteries in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America” [Protocol #95] issued by the Ecumenical Patriarchate on February 16, 2005. The Regulations are set forth in the Official Documents of the Archdiocese on its website (goarch.org).

                    Article 4 of the Regulations set forth the “Rights and Duties of the Metropolitan,” which include: “…the highest oversight” and “The auditing of the financial records of the Monastery.”

                    Article 14 requires the permission of the local metropolitan for the construction of buildings.

                    Article 15 (b) requires monasteries to “contribute financial assistance to the local metropolis and the Archdiocese for the benefit of the Church and the community.” (c) requires every monastery to submit to the metropolis a financial report for the previous year and a budget for the coming year. (e) requires each monastery to judiciously maintain financial records “detailing the exact daily income and expenditures, as well as documents pertaining to their entities.”

                    Article 16 (d) states: “The Monastery Sanctuary is not a parish church. As such, the celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage is fully prohibited in monasteries of the Archdiocese…. In special cases, the Sacraments of baptism and chrismation may be conducted in the monasteries, provided there is a compelling reason that is deemed acceptable by the local metropolitan, who grants the requisite episcopal permission for the celebration of the Sacrament and issues the proper certificate. In any case, the registration of such baptism and/or chrismation shall be done in the official books of the parish to which the one baptized or chrismated (anointed) belongs.”

                    I’ll leave it at that.

          • Gail, if the Ephraim monasteries were “upholding the teachings off the Church” as you claim, they would be using English. The monasteries are as ethnocentric as the many of the GOA parishes.

            I know for a fact the Ephraim convent in WA runs a restaurant because I ate there. Great food!

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Well, Father, they use English with me! I have heard the food is wonderful out of that restaurant!

              • You have heard English in a worship service?

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  Johnkal,

                  I think it is incumbent upon all of us not to be purposely disingenuous when communicating with one another. It’s bearing false witness to twist someone’s words. I did not say I heard English used in “worship services” at St. Anthonys. I said they use English with me. My point was not everything they do is in Greek. They are quite sensitive about using English when communicating with people who don’t speak the language.

                  Interestingly, I don’t have trouble following the Liturgy in other languages. I am familiar enough with the process to know where we are at any given point. I imagine most Orthodox are.

                  A monastery is not a parish. Their primary role is not to minister to the surrounding community, as they receive visitors from around the globe. When we enter those gates, we enter their world. They have no obligation to accommodate ours and yet out of hospitality, they make the effort.

                  • Many of the monks don’t speak or understand Greek. We should worship in a language we understand.

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      johnkal: “We should worship in a language we understand”. Why? What difference does our understanding have to do with worship? We are either offering our hearts, our lives and each other to God or we are not.

                      Of all the arguments to conduct worship in a country’s primary language, our personal understanding is the least strong.

                      The real reason to worship in an area’s primary language is that it is part of the commitment to and baptism of the people who speak that language, part of the love of the Church for the people who speak that language, part of the transformation of the people who speak that language.

                      The failure of the Church to really adopt the English language is largely due to the fact that we have not been founded in this country as a mission Church but as an immigrant Church. After centuries, we still don’t get it. There is an obvious lack of care for English speaking people, our culture and our lives. That is what I do not understand. Still, people seeking the truth come.

                      Besides, even with my extremely limited language skills, I can understand the worship in practically any language. One of the most worshipful experiences I have ever had was when the father of a native Syrian priest who was assistant priest at my parish visited his son. The father only speaks Arabic, he is a chanter of great heart, skill and experience. When he chanted, even though I did not understand a word, I was lifted up in joy. Before that, early in my life in the Church before I was received, His Grace Bishop Antoun, of blessed memory, came to my parish. The sermon he gave was almost entirely in Arabic about how important it was to use the English language. Still, in the midst of his sermon, the entire temple was filled with light as he spoke words I did not understand.

                      Going down the “understanding” trail is a road to Gnosticism in my view. In some hands it can become dismissive and denigrating. “We will throw you a bone and you can have your services in English since you are not elevated enough to understand the real language.”

                      I am not suggesting, johnkal, that you are doing that, but I have seen it.

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      Dear Michael Bauman,

                      I think you are a fine writer, and you write in English; however, I am sitting in my living room after having read through your post several times, and I’m trying my best to understand what you just wrote.

                      Many non-Greek speaking people attend the monastery services. Many attend the monastery services instead of the services in their own parishes. How can a child, for example, be expected to sit through services that are entirely in a language she does not understand? The Orthodox Church is all about teaching, learning, hearing and understanding – both in word and in deed and through icons, incense, and everything. It’s all about everything. At Pentecost, the words of the Apostles were heard with understanding by a miracle as fire landed on their heads and they began to speak in tongues the many varieties of people there could understand. It’s what Pentecost is all about. “Their proclamation has gone out into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the universe.” (Ps 8/19:4)

                      You have a great time at the services, but you are already Orthodox. We are far more concerned about everybody else, aren’t we?

  16. Jonas Pernaly says
  17. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the AsiaNews.it website.

    05/17/2018, 09.46 – RUSSIA

    Tikhon, Putin’s spiritual father, becomes metropolitan of Pskov
    by Vladimir Rozanskij

    http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Tikhon,-Putin's-spiritual-father,-becomes-metropolitan-of-Pskov-43902.html

  18. Vyacheslav Lopkavskii says

    Do you ever do any actual research before you write a post?

    I realize that you have adopted an openly pro-Russian and anti-Maidan position here regarding Ukraine, but this post is filled with both inaccuracies and a wild conspiracy theory.

    First, the Kyivan Metropolia was under the jurisdiction of Constantinople until it was sold to the MP in 1686. The 1686 “transfer” followed the Treaty of Pereiaslav in 1654, and was contested within Kyiv. The presence of Ukrainian clergy in the upper stratospheres of the Muscovite church intelligentsia created lots of problems on account of Kyivan practices that did not conform to Muscovite customs. The situation worsened under Catherine (someone above here mentioned her) – she issued an edict forcing Ukrainians to change their pronunciation of Church Slavonic in the theological academies in 1786. The process started under Peter I, who issued an ukaz requiring absolute publishing conformity to the Moscow editio typica in 1720.

    When Ukraine became an independent republic in 1918, with four different ruling governments until the Soviets established control in 1920, they sought autocephaly and the use of Ukrainian in worship. Autocephaly failed when the All-Ukrainian council of 1918 voted for autonomy, and not autocephaly, in 1918, a controversial decision since a large cohort of pro-autocephaly members were forcibly removed from the council prior to the vote (all of this is covered in the scholarship of Andriy Starodub and Feodosiy Protsiuk). The Ukrainians who remained in favor of autocephaly – including a large portion outside of the USSR – continued to attempt to obtain the advocacy of the EP, beginning in 1919 and continuing up until this day. (Note also that during WWII, when Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky wrote both Archbishop Ilarion Ohienko and Metropolitan Alexy Hromadsky seeking a Kyivan Church in communion with both Rome and Constantinople, they both responded politely, but declined).

    From the very beginning (starting in 1918), Ukrainian autocephaly has been fueled by two primary objectives: the restoration of an independent Kyivan Metropolia and liberation from Muscovite colonialism. The petition to the EP by the president and parliament has nothing to do with the UGCC – it follows the pattern of trying to settle Church disputes to unite the people. If the EP issues a tomos, it will not be for union with Rome – it will be to gain a valuable ally against the MP in the ongoing cold war between the two patriarchates. Don’t expect the EP to issue the tomos; it does not fit the pattern of the Ukrainian thirst for autocephaly. And there are bishops within the MP who have openly declared their support for the peition – two of the public declarations of support are from Metropolitan Oleksander (Drabinko) and Metropolitan Sophroniy. There are dozens of essays written by Ukrainians online, including Drabinko, who had his long essay translated into English here:

    http://vectornews.eu/exclusive/81708-ukrainian-autocephaly-as-moral-challenge.html

    There is plenty of decent literature covering this topic from people on the inside, both pro and con. Why don’t you mention it? Are you unaware of it? Take whatever position on Ukraine and Putin and Crimea and Donbas you wish, but your claim that the latest in Ukrainian autocephaly is actually a plot for a new “unia” is beyond speculation. It’s just plain false.

    • Jane Rachel says

      Vyacheslav Lopkavskii, this was a great post and a very interesting read. Thank you for the link to the article by Metropolitan Oleksandr (Drabinko).

      I wonder what you think about the idea that this movement by Poroshenko for autocephaly might be supported and pushed by the likes of George Soros and the globalists, partially to undermine Russia and Putin’s commitment to a multi-polar world, where countries rule themselves and are entitled to sovereignty, and to further undermine, confuse, and separate the people from within Ukraine? From a CNN interview in 2015: “ZAKARIA: First on Ukraine, one of the things that many people recognized about you was that you during the revolutions of 1989 funded a lot of dissident activities, civil society groups in eastern Europe and Poland, the Czech Republic. Are you doing similar things in Ukraine? SOROS: Well, I set up a foundation in Ukraine before Ukraine became independent of Russia. And the foundation has been functioning ever since and played an important part in events now.”

      We have certainly seen a globalist agenda here in the United States; in the non-stop lying by the mainstream media; and in their non-stop criticism of anything having to do with Russia. (I don’t want to get in trouble for this, but I thank God that Russia is helping Syria to keep her sovereignty.) Is Russia really out to control Ukraine for evil, nefarious purposes, or are the globalists out to control Ukraine for their own gain, caring nothing for the people? Would autocephaly really help Ukraine at this juncture in time, given the unstable world stage right now?

      Again, thank your for your thoughtful, informative post.

      • Vyacheslav Lopkavskii says

        History demonstrates that some presidents of post-Soviet Ukraine has advocated for autocephaly, beginning with Leonid Kravchuk through Poroshenko (to be sure, Kuchma joined the bandwagon later and Yanukovych wholeheartedly endorsed Patriarch Kirill’s Russkii mir ideology). Church leaders persuaded Kravchuk that an autocephalous Church in a predominantly Orthodox sovereign republic is legitimate (whatever issues one may have with this, it is true). In April 1992, what is now the UOC-MP had all but three of its bishops in favor of autocephaly (and the documents include all of their signatures). Even after the Kharkiv Council of 1992, the UOC-MP committed itself to becoming an autocephalous Church, a process that was halted internally in 1996. The idea that autocephaly will be granted to the KP and UAOC is not entirely accurate (pace the second post of this blog’s editor). Autocephaly would be given to a new Church structure – while the UAOC and KP signed the document submitted by the president to the EP, at least 10 bishops of the UOC-MP also signed it (according to an interview with Metropolitan Sophronii of Cherkassk, who also spoke quite openly about the need for autocephaly in a televised round table with a bishop of the KP). The idea is a compromise: to permit two patriarchates (Moscow and Ukrainian) to coexist in the same country – canonical plurality. Poroshenko has many motivations, but the primary one is re-election. If he is successful in this venture, he will gain the momentum he needs to win a second term.

        Pro-Russia oligarchs in Ukraine have much more influence in this drama than the Americans (who certainly support neutralizing Muscovite influence – I won’t deny that because it is true). Read up on Vadim Novynskyy, a deputy in Ukrainian Parliament. Not only does he fund the operations in the Pecherska Lavra, but he has been flying bishops from one Orthodox center to another to plead for opposition to autocephaly. He got himself in trouble when he threatened to assault Metropolitan Oleksander about a year ago, but he is powerful and is hoping that defying the EP will undermine Poroshenko and lead the Opponents Bloc to an election victory. By no means did the Americans invent this scheme – it’s a new twist on complicated Church-state relations not only in Ukraine, but throughout the world (keeping in mind that Yanukovych, a saint and hero to some here, tried to eradicate Ukrainian identity from the MP in Ukraine, especially with the activities surrounding the 2013 celebration of the Baptism of Rus’).

        Consider also the testimony of Archimandrite Cyril Hovorun, who worked for the MP in Ukraine and was also a theological adviser to Patriarch Kirill himself for several years. (And he is still under the omophorion of the MP).

        http://euromaidanpress.com/2018/05/18/hovorun-ukraine-autocephalous-orthodox-church/

        • Jane Rachel says

          Greetings, thanks for the reply. I am typing on my phone so I am limited by that until I get home, but a couple of questions come to mind.

          Do you believe that autocephaly would help Ukraine in terms of giving them better negotiations with Russia concerning Donbass?

          Also, what do you think of Motorola and Givi?

    • Drabinko doesn’t pull any punches in that essay. He confirmed what I have recently begun to strongly suspect about the MP, and gave a good answer as to why the MP granted autocephaly to the OCA (which I have wondered about).

      I always hear the Ukrainian issue framed as “muh holy rus” vs. “muh soros, maidan and Sodomite West” – although it sounds as though the truth is more complex. On second thought, it may be more simple, when you consider that it is only natural for people to not want to be dominated by a neighboring empire who has ground them under its boot before.

      • David,

        It is not any more complicated than that. See the latest story about Pope Francis “coming out” in favor of accepting homosexuality. This is the monstrosity that Patriarch Bartholomew wishes his see and whichever ones he can peel away from the Church to merge under. That was the point of Crete and recognizing other “churches”. That is also why there were Roman representatives there and why they were so rabid in their arm twisting.

        There are no neutrals in this. Those who do not acknowledge what the Phanar is doing are part of the heretical problem within the Church which needs to be purged.

  19. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Orthodox Christianity website.

    SERBIAN, RUSSIAN, POLISH ORTHODOX CHURCHES EXPRESS SUPPORT FOR CANONICAL UKRAINIAN CHURCH
    Peć, Kosovo; Moscow; Warsaw, May 18, 2018

    http://orthochristian.com/113031.html

  20. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find another article from today on the Orthodox Christianity website.

    FIRST 10,000 SIGNATURES IN DEFENSE OF CANONICAL UKRAINIAN CHURCH GIVEN TO PATRIARCH BARTHOLOMEW
    Constantinople, May 18, 2018

    http://orthochristian.com/113020.html

  21. Eraklis Sopanikas says

    So are you the molotov-throwing accomplice from Esphrigmenou in the Texas shooting?

  22. Nadia Bazuk says

    At a celebration of the 125th anniversary of Hieromartyr Symeon Lukach on April 28, the Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Sviatoslav Shevchuk spoke about the unity of Christians and the significance of the UGCC today.

    “So many have recently been talking about the unity of Christians. Someone even wants to create the One Local Church. But the question is – where do you get that unity? What idea of the unity of the Church left us Christians, Jesus Christ himself, of the third millennium? The Blessed Lukach gives us an answer: “The banner of the Church is not the president, not another patriarch, but the heir to the apostle Peter – the Holy Father, the Pope”, – the UGCC Major Archbishop Sviatoslav said.

    It wasn’t the first time His Beatitude Sviatoslav spoke on the issue of the One Local Orthodox Church of Ukraine which has been on top of the national agenda since mid-April. He also discussed this topic with US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch on April 17 and probably with some Vatican officials.

    In all his recent speeches, Sviatoslav Shevchuk stressed out that his Church doesn’t interfere in this process. However, having cited the Ecumenical Concept of the UGCC, its Major Archbishop Sviatoslav clearly supported the creation of the One Ukrainian Church as an important step towards the reunion of the “Churches of Volodymyr the Great’s Baptism” and then towards the global Catholic-Orthodox Christian unity. And the UGCC Primate’s speech at the 125th birth anniversary of Bishop Symeon Lukach shows what kind of At a celebration of the 125th anniversary of Hieromartyr Symeon Lukach on April 28, the Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Sviatoslav Shevchuk spoke about the unity of Christians and the significance of the UGCC today.

    However, by now the fulfillment of the “Fatima prophecy” seems to be unreal. The UGCC is still a minor denomination in Ukraine: its flock is concentrated only in three western regions: Lviv, Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk. And their attempts to spread Unia in the messy eastern regions proved not to be successful.

    Uniates became an important political force during the Maidan protests, bringing their nationalist youth to the streets. Now its members are in Parliament, and even President Poroshenko, an Orthodox Christian believer, takes communion only in the UGCC since the very inauguration. That’s why it was an excellent opportunity for the UGCC to present themselves as a leading patriotic confession in Ukraine which can bring peace and unity to the polarized society, help refugees and the needy in the war-torn Donbass region, put something against the Kremlin’s propaganda, connect Ukraine with the West through the mainly Greek Catholic diaspora and the Vatican’s political influence.

    However, this plan hasn’t worked. Humanitarian activity and patriotic slogans didn’t evangelize atheists or convince Orthodox believers to accept Filioque and Papal infallibility. New temples of the UGCC that opened in Odessa and other regions historically not accustomed to the Unia fail to be self-sustaining and depend on the financial assistance from the Major Archeparchy.

    That’s why it’s too early for Ukrainian Greek Catholics to think of their ultimate goal – bringing former Soviet states and then all the Orthodox World under the rule of the Vatican. At least, they see it’s not an accomplishable mission of their lifetime. But there is something they can achieve by supporting the Ukrainian autocephaly right now.

    The would-be autocephaly will provoke many disputes for eparchies, positions etc. And a lot of schismatic hierarchs will split off and join the UGCC.

    Facing the creation of an Orthodox Patriarchate in Ukraine it will be easier for the UGCC to demand the patriarchal status for themselves. Patriarchate is a long-nurtured dream of Ukrainian Greek Catholics who have asked the Vatican to elevate their status for decades since the time of Josyf Slipyj, but with no success. Supreme Archbishop of Kyiv and Galicia has long been referred to as Patriarch at the UGCC website, in internal documents and the Ukrainian media. And it stands to reason that the prospect of having an Orthodox Patriarchate in Ukraine while there are only two Catholic Archdioceses (Roman Catholic and Greek Catholic ones) will be highly undesirable for the Vatican.

    Those in the know of internal UGCC’s affairs admit that the work on the issue of Greek Catholic Patriarchate has intensified recently. They step up pressure on the Vatican urging it not to miss the unique chance to absorb Orthodox splinters that will appear in the run-up to the would-be autocephaly, and especially after it is granted. Who knows whether such good opportunity to gain a foothold in Eastern Ukraine will ever occur again.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Well, I guess the uniats cat is now out of the bag.

      Wonderful. Saves us time having to connect the dots.

    • You know, more and more I find myself agreeing with Misha (yes, I am making myself vulnerable here, but that is ok — this is a “safe place”!). Will the EP just arbitrarily create the schismatic “independent” church in Ukraine out of thin air already. Let the schism follow, and let things play out. It becomes clearer day after day that one of the safest places for an Orthodox Christian’s soul these days is under the omophor of Patriarch Kyrill.

      Do journalists not understand the ridiculousness of this sentence: “Now its members are in Parliament, and even President Poroshenko, an Orthodox Christian believer, takes communion only in the UGCC since the very inauguration.” If he is allegedly Orthodox but receives Holy Communion in a UGCC church, then he has excommunicated himself. He is clearly not an “Orthodox Christian believer,” as the piece erroneously states.

      The suffering Orthodox Christians in Ukraine caught in the political chess match need another Metropolitan Orestes or St Alexis (Toth)! If folks haven’t read it, now is a fantastic time to read the wonderful biography of Metropolitan Orestes: “Good victory: Metropolitan Orestes Chornock and the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Diocese” (available on Amazon, usually as a used book, not sure if it is being printed any longer). This book gives a clear picture of the cruelty and cunning with which many from the Vatican operate.

      To quote Metropolitan Jonah, “The history of scholasticism in the Western church is a complete disaster.”

  23. Jane Rachel says
    • You know at one time I was attracted to OCL but quickly I got turned off by their propensity for renovationism and idolization of unity. OCL should be avoided.

      • Jane Rachel says

        In that case, Dan, we had better negate the article. Right?

      • Jane Rachel says

        Dear “dan,”

        Amazing. Since I started posting again here on Monomakhos, I’ve been name-called, threatened (kind of…), told to shut up, cut off at the pass so to speak, accused of being a “murderous gossip,” told I’m being “spiteful,” told to talk to E.E. in person (what should I do, tell him he gives me the willies? Go to him for confession?), I’ve been told self-flagellation is okay, told “no more commentary on this,” (oh well!) and now I’m advised to disregard an entire article because you think OCL should be “avoided.” It’s almost too much, but not quite.

        Question to be avoided at all costs: Do the GOA monasteries meet the following requirements?

        “The Resolutions were adopted after the Board reviewed the provisions of the “General Regulations for the Establishment and Operation of Holy Monasteries in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America” [Protocol #95] issued by the Ecumenical Patriarchate on February 16, 2005. The Regulations are set forth in the Official Documents of the Archdiocese on its website (goarch.org).

        Article 4 of the Regulations set forth the “Rights and Duties of the Metropolitan,” which include: “…the highest oversight” and “The auditing of the financial records of the Monastery.”

        Article 14 requires the permission of the local metropolitan for the construction of buildings.

        Article 15 (b) requires monasteries to “contribute financial assistance to the local metropolis and the Archdiocese for the benefit of the Church and the community.” (c) requires every monastery to submit to the metropolis a financial report for the previous year and a budget for the coming year. (e) requires each monastery to judiciously maintain financial records “detailing the exact daily income and expenditures, as well as documents pertaining to their entities.”

        Article 16 (d) states: “The Monastery Sanctuary is not a parish church. As such, the celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage is fully prohibited in monasteries of the Archdiocese…. In special cases, the Sacraments of baptism and chrismation may be conducted in the monasteries, provided there is a compelling reason that is deemed acceptable by the local metropolitan, who grants the requisite episcopal permission for the celebration of the Sacrament and issues the proper certificate. In any case, the registration of such baptism and/or chrismation shall be done in the official books of the parish to which the one baptized or chrismated (anointed) belongs.”

    • Michael Bauman says

      Jane Rachel you have not done two things which would make your position much more credible: 1. Go to Elder Ephraim and share your concerns with him as the Bible instructs; 2. Use sources that offer a variety of perspectives.

      Though I have not gone to any of Elder Ephraim’s monasteries, I happen to know many people who I love, respect and trust who have actually gone to the monasteries in question and report quite positively on them.

      I have a bias for them because of that and I have a bias against strident repetition of “facts” unsupported by anything other than bureaucratic entities with an ax to grind.

      “Facts” out of context mean nothing, prove nothing. All I get from your tedious posts is that you don’t like Elder Ephraim or his monasteries. I got that a long time ago.

      The more you go on, the less credible I find you.

  24. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Orthodox Christianity website.

    “ANYONE WHO HELPS THE UKRAINIAN SCHISMATICS IS AN ENEMY OF ALL ORTHODOX SLAVIC NATIONS AND THE ENTIRE ORTHODOX WORLD”—PAT. IRINEJ OF SERBIA
    Moscow, May 24, 2018

    http://orthochristian.com/113192.html

  25. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the
    Orthodox Christianity website.

    UKRAINIAN AUTHORITIES PRESSURING CANONICAL CLERGY TO BACK POROSHENKO’S AUTOCEPHALY BID
    Kiev, May 25, 2018

    http://orthochristian.com/113246.html

  26. Michael Bauman says

    Jane Rachel: RE your comment here https://www.monomakhos.com/goolag-or-how-to-know-youre-winning-an-argument/#comment-122737

    Thank you for your compliment but I evidently am not good enough to make myself clear. But I do not think being Orthodox is a pre-requisite to anything I said. A child will learn of the presence of the Holy Spirit in many ways just be being present in the Liturgy and they are quite capable of comprehending many languages in ways adults do not. What is communicated is not dependent on the language nor our understanding of it.

    Also the manner in which you describe the Orthodox Church is very rational and modern, i.e, missing a lot. The Orthodox Church is about the presence of our Incarnate Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ. She is a place, perhaps the place, to enter into union with Him and our fellows. In the simplest terms that requires neither learning, nor teaching, least of all understanding. Any God I can understand is not a God I would worship.

    Neither do I think that the Sacraments are for evangelical purposes. In fact allowing non-Orthodox to attend at times is a bit like throwing our pearls before the swine. They are not performances. I have done enough theater in my life to know the difference.

    While I am quite aware of the danger of ‘guruism’ almost any approach to obedience looks like “giving up control” to the modern mind. It is a surprisingly difficult thing to discern within the Church where our theology is correct.

    Guess what, we are not in control. The modern delusion seduces us with the same temptation that our forefathers experienced in the Garden. Obedience is absolutely required for any real spiritual growth.

    The problem with your arguments is that they require an acceptance of a premise that something is wrong with the monasteries in question to be troubled by what you write.

    That is why you are not persuasive. You pile emotion on conjecture to create and rehash more conjecture. Your style is quite like that of Mr. Nevins himself.

    While my bias is in favor of the monasteries, I am by no means an apologist for them. I would like to know the truth but nothing you say puts a dent in my bias. Primarily because all of the sources you present have a pre-existing bias against the monasteries in question. All you communicate is that you do not like or trust Fr. Ephraim.

  27. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article posted on Friday by Stetson Univerity on the Eastern Orthodox Christian News website.

    RUSSIA RELIGION NEWS
    Leadership of Ukrainian church warns against consequences of autocephaly

    UPTs MP SYNOD ADOPTS APPEAL REGARDING CONSTANTINOPLE GRANTING AUTOCEPHALY TO UKRAINIAN CHURCH
    Portal-Credo.ru, 25 May 2018

    https://www2.stetson.edu/~psteeves/relnews/180525c.html

  28. BECOMA PART OF OUR ROYAL HOUSE.

    BECOME PART OUR ROYAL HOUSE

    WIKIPEDIA/ WIKIDOC

    GOV IUKAC EMPIRE

    http://wikkiroyal.wikidot.com/

    HOUSE OF STEWART

    UNIONS OF THE CROWN COMMONWEALTH

    HOUSE STEWART TITLE AVAILABLE DEPEND AVAILABLE BEGIN 900 TO
    9000 DOLLARS DEPEND OF TITLE LEGACY.

    http://wikiroyalstweart.wikidot.com/

    HOUSE OF SOBIESKI AND ASUTRIA HUNGARY TITLE AVAILABLE BEGIN 900 TO 10000..
    DEPEND OF TITLE

    HOUSE OF SOBIESKI/ HASBURGO

    KINGDOM OF POLAND

    http://wikkisobieski.wikidot.com/

    GRAND KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN

    http://www.reino-nueva-espana.mex.tl

    CAN BECOME PART OF OUR NOBILITY OF KINGDOM OF NEW
    SPAIN OTHER TITLE AVAILABLE.

    ROYAL HOUSE NEW SPAIN

    KING DEPEND AVAILABLE>>>>> 800 DOLLARS

    PRINCE 775 DOLLARS

    DUKE 750 DOLLARS

    MARQUESS 700 DOLLARS

    COUNT 650 DOLLARS

    BARON 600 DOLLARS

    LORD 575 DOLLARS

    LORD OF MANOR 550 DOLLARS