Grant Rest, to these, Thy Servants

The five women martyrs of Dagestan were finally laid to rest. May their memory be eternal!

I’m coming to the conclusion that they won’t be the last. The way things are going in the country, specifically the murderous rage that I see and hear by the left leads me to believe that the American experiment in Constitutionalism has run its course.

Is it possible that mankind is reverting to its norm? I don’t know. I certainly hope not. But I am prepared for the less rosy outcome.

Anyway, Come, Lord Jesus!


  1. Anyone interested in knowing more about the Forgiveness Vespers killings can look here — a second GetReligion report with details from a report on the website of the Sretenskiy Monastery.

    The women were buried in the church courtyard, creating a site for pilgrims to visit. There are other fascinating Orthodox details to the story as well.

  2. George,

    I’m hoping that Trump will be successful in his little project of turning America into a dominant party system rather than a two party system that is currently failing us. If he reduced the Democratic Party to third party status as a result of illegal activities and scandal including incarceration of a significant percentage of their leadership, then it might be feasible.

    However, Trump is one man and will only be in office, best case scenario, for 8 years. He’s not a consistent, structurally minded leader but rather a businessman. He’s reforming a corporation but I’m not sure if he realizes that the corporation extends out into the MSM and academia. He has to reform them, not embitter them and drive them into perpetual opposition. Undercutting them is the wise move and he is more like a bull in a china shop.

    However, it may be that this is a multi-president project in any case and that Trump is simply the intial wave of shock troops to be followed by those who can win hearts and minds more effectively. If he were to be succeeded by Pence, for instance, then patience and perseverance might just reward the project.

    But it is a long way from killing the main domestic dragon – Feminism, Inc. That is the evil demon behind oh so many American ills including abortion, crime and the LGBT follies. It is why our export of our way of life has come to a grinding, bitter halt.

    His progress on that front is as important as the progress on trade but may take much longer to come to fruition.

    • jimofolym says

      Misha, you think Pence would be favorable towards Orthodoxy, you got another think coming. Fundies and Evies hate us with a passion. they would burn our churches and icons and put our clergy to the fire if they had their iconoclastic ways with us. We are worse than the RCs in their book, if you look into it.

      • jimofolym,

        Actually, I think American evangelicals and pentecostals are starting to come around to seeing the value of good ole fashioned traditional Orthodoxy. I say this because of the experience of Franklin Graham with the Church of Russia and the inroads into the American Christian community made by the MP through the NRA:

        Most of the coverage of the NRA connection is through the leftist MSM, so the tone is negative, but nonetheless, Moscow is reaching out through some venerable American institutions, the NRA included, toward conservative (Christian) Americans.

        It should be no surprise. Putin is a very masculine dude by all accounts. He is more inclined to hunt and release for sport (tranquilizer rounds), given conditions in Russia. But the macho cultural thing is definitely there.

        PS: You will notice Pence standing in front of a banner for the World Summit for Persecuted Christians. The summit was originally scheduled to be held in Moscow. A law against evangelical proselytizing (i.e., sheep stealing, many evangelicals are still ambiguous about the status of Russian Orthodoxy) caused the organizers to move it to DC, but the ROC was well represented and met with Pence.

        There is a grain of truth to what you are saying though. Sooner or later the Evangelicals will have to decide corporately on whether Eastern Orthodoxy is “slavific” or not. If so, they should refer converts in Russia to the ROC. If not, then they will need to expect hindrances in historically Orthodox countries.

        • Billy Jack Sunday says


          It is true that a few Evangelicals/Pentecostals have warned up to the Orthodox Church and some have even converted

          But make no mistake. On the whole, the Evangelical/Pentecotal world absolutely loathes the Orthodox Church/Faith

          Ironically, we are considered a cult and our teachings to be against the Bible [and God!] by more than just a few of them

          Remember what those Presbyterians were saying about Hank Hanegraff? That wasnt just a few fringe Christians popping off at the mouth (granted, Calvinists always seem to be more jerkface about it for some reason). That’s closer to the common consensus in the Evangelical world. That world dwarfs ours many times over here in America

          • Joseph Lipper says

            One time when I invited an “Evangelical” to Divine Liturgy, he left convinced that we were practicing witchcraft, no matter how much I tried to explain to him that we weren’t.

            That’s probably not the usual response, but it was an interesting one. I learned to be a little more careful too.

          • It has always been my hope/intuition/opinion (what to call it?) that the Evangelical Christian world’s almost relentless pursuit of so-called ‘relevance’ to the modern world, with the ‘feel-good’ emptiness of soul and incremental apostasy that it breads, will sooner or later leave those who know their God (and I firmly believe there are many) with no alternative but to recognize Him in the Orthodox Christian Faith. In the end they will face a choice, however reluctantly, of remaining faithful to their group’s tradition (even as whatever truth, beauty, and goodness that once remained in it has faded away) or remain faithful to Christ.

            The only questions are …

            Will we be found a faithful refuge, or will we ourselves have squandered the truth, beauty, and goodness we have been given in the same manner as they?

            Will we receive these weary, reluctant faithful with open arms, understanding, and patience with what they will need to unlearn?

            I don’t know when it will happen in significant numbers, but I am convinced that it will, possibly within a generation. The downward slope of modern Evangelical culture is steep.

            • Constaninos says

              The majority of disaffected Evangelicals swim the Tiber, and will continue to do so. The amount of Evangelicals who convert to Rome is staggering in comparison to the trickle who embrace Orthodoxy, most of whom leave the Orthodox Church soon after anyway. Quo Vadis Petri? Back to Rome.
              When you have Orthodox posters like Misha, is it really any wonder?

              • Constaninos,

                Sadly, Rome is no refuge any longer. This is the Age of Pope “who am I to judge?” Francis. He’s leading his own people to perdition on the fast track rather than the slower one favored by his predecessor.

                Soon there will be no place for conservative Christians to go but the more fundamentalist Protestant confessions and Orthodoxy. And the Protestant confessions are inherently unstable and will not be able to hold out indefinitely.

                Only the Church will.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Misha, I agree with you on this one. It will not be easy for us. At some point there is apt to be an official schism much like the Living Church in Soviet Russia. I hope our Bishops have the strength to stand up to modernism when it also requires standing up to fellow bishops in public.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Constaninos, Wow! You do see how we contend with Misha don’t you, when necessary? I would also like some documentation on your claim that majority of Evangelical converts soon leave the Church.

                Evangelicals swim the Tiber because they really do not have to change much. Their theology came from the heretical fountain of the RCC. Follow the rules and you are in. Iconoclasm is endemic in both.

                Many people have difficulty with the comparative lack of rules within the Orthodox Church, even faithful adherents. Many have trouble with the iconographic reality of the Christian faith because they reject the Incarnation.

                The Orthodox Church has always been contentious, she will always be because our faith demands the Truth, not just mental acceptance of some idea. It demands struggle with the evil and sin in our own hearts. It demands watchfulness. She declares without exception the Incarnation of our Lord, God and Savior and participation in that Incarnation as revealed through the Apostles as essential for salvation, for life. Union with God. “The Seal of the Gift of the Holy Spirit”.

                Indeed, Jesus Himself promised only contention in this life because the world rejects Him, hates Him and wishes to destroy Him, so it does us as well.

                She is open to anyone but not everyone is open to her.

                • Constaninos says

                  Thank you Mr. Bauman. You are a fount of wisdom. I’ve learned quite a bit from reading your posts.

                • Tim R. Mortiss says

                  Mr. Bauman, never have I heard Roman Catholicism described as being iconoclastic. Insufficient in its theology of icons; but iconoclasm? I’d be interested in a fuller explanation of that.

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    Probably a stretch now, but they are becoming more that way since JPII who loved icons and sought to reinstitute them into the RCC. He failed. Francis on the other hand impresses me as someone who is infected with modernism. As a modern, he is a defacto iconoclast.

                    Iconoclasm is more than just about icons. It also involves an anthropology that devalues human worth as made in unique image of God so that we are able to realize union with Him and commune with each other by His uncreated grace.

                    The “created grace” idea that was the heart of the Palamite controversy was also about icons. If the Kingdom is not open to us here and now so that we can participate in it by His life, why icons at all? Really no reason. They are either windows to the Kingdom or just weird anachronistic pictures useful in a sentimental piety perhaps but of no real value.

                    As I was writing that part of my previous point, I was thinking of the RC Cathedral of the Plains in northwestern Kansas, built in the late 19th century at great expense and sacrifice by the people of Victoria. (Our Archdiocese has our Lenten Men’s retreat at the monastery there every year).

                    The monks take good care of us but the Cathedral itself has grandeur but no human warmth and no presence IMO. Same with other RC churches I have been in recently including the Cathedral in Wichita. They are both neo-Gothic in style.

                    Since the Gothic period RC churches have been built as if God were not everywhere present He is somewhere else (read Henry Adams, “Mt. Saint Michele and Chartres” for a perspective on this). Some modern RC churches around here have no sense of Christian architecture at all, ignoring even the normal standards of the RCC to be more “Relevant”

                    The worst example which has since been torn down was the Big Mac Catholic Church. It looked like a Big Mac from the outside and the altar was “in the round” sunken as in an amphitheater, not lifted up, just like going to a play, the congregation spectators. All of this speaks to whether or not the RCC is iconoclastic or icondule.

                    The statues the RC had before Vatican II were examples of deficient theology regarding icons. The bare, cold or crazy congregational spaces that exist now are examples of an incipient iconoclasm IMO. Even the RC funerals practically ignore the person who has reposed whose body is lying right there in favor of an impersonal Mass. Its creepy especially when pubescent altar girls do most of the work on the altar. That is another example of iconoclasm IMO.

                    Human beings make either icons or idols. That is what we do. We cannot serve two master no matter how hard we try. To the extent that anything survives the fire of which St. Paul speaks in 1 Corinthians it will be our personal iconography even though it be rude and incomplete.

                    The Orthodox Church is alone in our love of icons. We are alone in a spiritual practice that builds human icons. That is no small matter. It sets us apart against the modern world in a real and concrete way. That is why the Church celebrates the restoration of the icons and St. Gregory Palamas on the early Sunday’s of Lent.

                    We have so much to share. It is no accident that the Synodikon of Orthodoxy that we declare yearly on the first Sunday of Lent was articulated in response the iconoclastic delusion. That delusion still inhabits the world.

                    So we all believe!
                    We all are so minded!
                    We all give our consent and have signed.

                    As the prophets beheld,
                    As the Apostles have taught,
                    As the Church has received,
                    As the teachers have dogmatized,
                    As the universe has agreed,
                    As grace has illumined
                    As truth has revealed,
                    As falsehood has been dispelled,
                    As wisdom has presented,
                    As Christ has triumphed:

                    This we believe,
                    This we declare,
                    This we preach:

                    Christ our true God, and His saints we honor in words, in writings, in thoughts, in sacrifices, in temples, in icons, on the one hand bowing down and worshipping Christ as God and Master, on the other hand honoring the saints as true servants of the Master of all, and offering to them due veneration.

                    This is the faith of the Apostles!
                    This is the faith of the Fathers!
                    This is the faith of the Orthodox!
                    This is the faith that has established the Universe!

                    Therefore, with fraternal and filial love, we praise the heralds of the faith, those who with glory and honor have struggled for the faith, and we say:
                    For the champions of Orthodoxy, faithful emperors, most-holy patriarchs, hierarchs, teachers, martyrs, and confessors: May their memory be eternal!

                    Believing in one God, celebrated in Trinity, we salute the honorable images!

                    Those who do not so hold: Let them be anathema!
                    Those who do not thus think: Let them be driven far away from the Church.

                    We follow the most ancient legislation of the Catholic Church.
                    We keep the laws of the Fathers.
                    We anathematize those who add anything to or take anything away from the Catholic Church.
                    We anathematize the introduced novelty of the revilers of Christians.
                    We salute the venerable images.
                    We place under anathema those who do not do this.

                    To those who presume to apply to the venerable images the things said in Holy Scripture about as idols: Anathema!
                    To those who do not salute the holy and venerable images: Anathema!
                    To those who call the sacred images idols: Anathema!
                    To those who say that Christians resort to the sacred images as to gods: Anathema!
                    To those who say that any other delivered us from idols except Christ our God: Anathema!
                    To those who dare to say that at any time the Catholic Church received idols Anathema!

  3. Alitheia1875 says

    Immoral, unethical, adulterer, sexual predator, liar, supreme narcissist, sociopath, ignorant, boor, possible collusion and obstruction of justice, using political office for immediate personal gain…

    • Constaninos says

      Hi Alitheia,
      I’m under the impression that you are a fan of President Trump’s. I share your sentiments about him. The really sad thing is this buffoon is going to be re -elected in 2020. Lord, have mercy!

    • Most of those accusations is true of most of our presidents in the past hundred years. Some just shine a little brighter and accomplish a lot more for the good of the nation .

    • Ronda Wintheiser says

      In other words, Alitheia, an abject sinner.

      As many of the occupants of the White House have been. And as many of the individuals God has chosen as His instruments since time began.

      Strange way to comment, however, considering the season.

    • Ronda Wintheiser says

      In other words, Alitheia, an abject sinner.

      As many of the occupants of the White House have been. And as many of the individuals God has chosen as His instruments since time began.

      Strange comment, however, considering the season.

      • Michael Bauman says

        It is Lent, such a season can and often does bring sins to the fore, especially judgement of others. Why be surprised?

    • Alitheia,

      Yep, they’ve thrown all of that stuff at him, and much more, and he’s still standing.

      Probably will be the last man standing in this little war. War’s not about who’s right, but rather who’s left. Many disagree with him and thus hurl invectives. Some of the invectives are true, some are not. But the question in the minds of those who support his policies is whether he will win, not whether he has ever sinned.

      How much graft he stole or how many “nuns” he raped when he was an impressionable youth, before politics, is beside the point. Indict him or let it go.

      • Alitheia1875 says

        What many don’t understand is the reason he is able to withstand what is thrown at him. It’s because of his extraordinary narcissism which prevents him from looking at issues and problems from different perspectives. And anyone who has any idea of the psychological workings of such people, well…….

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          You’ve got to be one of three types now to hope to be President. First is Clinton types– you can take everything thrown at you no matter what for years and decades and refuse to quit. That was their virtue.
          Second is Mitt Romney types: actually clean of any peccadillo in a long life. This would leave mostly Mormons, maybe a few others.
          Third is Trump. One might agree with Alitheia and put him in the Clinton category. In my opinion it’s this: he’s done all the “offensive and outrageous” things before he ever went onto the political stage, and he never apologizes. Therefore he can’t be touched by “revelations”.

          But this leaves no room for some great people to become President. Countless numbers have stopped going into politics at all, and the pipeline has emptied out. Very sad and very dangerous, I think.

          • Antiochene Son says

            No decent person wants to be in proximity to the swamp, which leaves only swamp creatures.

            The Federal Civil Service was a tremendous mistake. The federal government should never have become large enough to need such an institution, but look what it has become. It is so entrenched that possibly only a dissolution of the union could really drain the swamp.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Agreed. The Pendleton Act needs to be repealed. The Spoils System is far superior. I’m serious.

              • You want to destroy our nation, our union. Believe me… you *will* be opposed. And you *will* be defeated… just as you were the first time around.

                Rd. Constantine Wright

                • Antiochene Son says

                  Nay, I long for the breakup of this Union, where in my state is able to pursue it’s goals apart from the meddling of California and DC. And I expect most Californians feel the same way.

                  But repealing the federal civilian workforce is not that, it’s just window dressing.

                  Enjoy fighting for your lost cause. I guarantee the USA will not exist in it’s present configuration a century from now.

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    Antiochene, you are correct. To be governable without the use of tyrannical force, a nation needs a certain homogeneity. As it is now, there is little homogeneity. I have suggested for a long time that the U.S. makes more sense as 6 to six nations perhaps loosely confederated.
                    Nation #1: The North East
                    Nation #2: the South
                    Nation #3: The Midwest
                    Nation #4: The Plains, including Texas
                    Nation #5: the Mountains, (could be folded into the Plains).
                    Nation #6: The West (including Alaska and Hawaii).

                    The borders would not have to follow existing state borders. For instance the eastern half of Pennsylvania would be in the Northeast, the western half in the Midwest. Chicago would be in The Midwest, Downstate would be in the south and the area along the Mississippi would be in the Plains.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Mr. Wright, as much as I like Andrew Jackson his famous formula: “Liberty and Union, one and inseparable” sounds nice but even when he spoke it had serious flaws. In modern hands it is a formula for tyranny.

                  Interestingly enough, despite Andrew Jackson’s almost mystical approach to union, he was adamantly against both a central bank and what was called “internal improvements” i.e. the use of Federal money to pay for roads, bridges and waterways within the confines of any state.

                  Lacking consistency however he saw no problem having Federal troops remove the native tribes from within the borders of states. And, of course, threatened to send Federal Troops to take over South Carolina to enforce Federal tariff law. It must have been fun for Jackson to have John C. Calhoun as his Vice-President.

                  With the gradual rejection of the limits placed on government by the Constitution which began with Jackson really, union is now little more than subservience to the Federal government and its bureaucracy, even down to the type of light bulbs one can buy, what types of toilets, etc.

                  Relying on the state, any state, to ensure liberty is letting the fox into the hen house.

  4. Michael Bauman says

    Alitheia, I assume you are describing Bill Clinton or Hillary?

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      I thought he was talking about Obummer.

      Peter A Papoutsis

    • Alitheia1875 says

      Bill Clinton and Hillary are irrelevant, he when he left the presidency, she when she lost the election. Donald Trump is a master of the best defense is a good offense. Forget about them. Neither has the power, and the responsibility, of the president.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Thank God for that! Can you imagine the corruption that would continue under Hillary? Even if Trump died tomorrow the fact remains that his election caused the American people to realize the extent of the national police state that exists. I’m not going to say that he’s cut off all the tentacles of the anti-Christian system that was slowly strangling us but it’s possible that we may yet win this thing.

        If not, the respite before the storm is acceptable as well. It’s not like that last burst of lucidity that a dying man experiences before he draws his last breath.

  5. Can we get back to talking about Orthodoxy and the five women killed in Russia, moments after Forgiveness Vespers?


    • Michael Bauman says

      Shocking yes. Unfortunately it is not too surprising. My parish just hired a police officer to be there on Sundays gun and all. Parish Council thought it was prudent.

      There is a deep digust for all things Christian in the US.

      • Constaninos says

        Mr. Bauman,
        Are we going to trust in Christ or are we going to trust in guns?

        • Michael Bauman says

          That is the question isn’t.

        • Antiochene Son says

          Why not both? May Christ guide the bullets to find their mark, according to his will.

          • Constaninos says

            No, Antiochene Son, our kingdom is not of this world. As the early church father Tertullian said,” When Christ disarmed Peter, He disarmed all Christians.”
            We are called to martyrdom, not killing or violence. We must follow the example of the first Christian martyr St. Stephen.
            I know the erudite, Orthodox Christian scholar Father Webster will strongly disagree with me, but I must remind you, Father Webster, there are other erudite Christian scholars who vehemently disagree with you. No disrespect whatsoever intended to you, Father Webster, because I have great respect and admiration for you as a brilliant theologian and true man of God.

            • M. Stankovich says

              You couldn’t be speaking of Archpriest Alexander Webster, Dean of Holy Trinity Seminary, ROCOR, could you, Constaninos? Archpriest Alexander, the author of The Pacifist Option: The Moral Argument Against War in Eastern Orthodox Theology could you? I suspect you have someone else in mind…

              • Constaninos says

                Mr. Stankovich,
                I was thinking of his book The Virtue of War: Reclaiming The Classic Traditions East and West It seems to me that Father Webster’s thinking has evolved over time, but I’m certainly not going to speak for him. You certainly raise an interesting point by referring to his previous book.

                For the record, I am a pacifist. I believe that war is wrong in every instance, yes, including World War 2. I would like to see the abolition of all guns, including the use of guns by the police, not in some distant future, but right now. I don’t believe in self defense, but in nonviolent resistance.

                • Billy Jack Sunday says

                  I’m a pacifist, too

                  I will ‘pass-a-fist’ across someone’s face

                  • Constaninos says

                    Billy Jack Sunday,
                    It’s good to see you took my advice and are stepping up your game. You see, I got a good laugh. Remember, people are counting on you to remain funny.
                    Those looking for funny, read your posts; those looking for intelligence, read mine.(only kidding about my posts being intelligent)

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Constaninos, Non-violent resistance is still fighting. Despite the “non-violent” nomenclature it is still part of a fight. One thing from Father Webster’s book that has always struck me is his zero-sum dilemma.

                  The inaction of a pacifist, especially for one’s own moral peace, allows others to come to harm or possible harm. There is no moral purity in this world. All of our acts are tainted by sin, even the most righteous.

                  While I agree with you that there is no such thing as a “just war” still less “holy war”, Jesus did call for two swords. He did not demand of the centurion that he give up his vocation, only that he not abuse his power. The vocation of bearing arms in defense of others is a righteous vocation, difficult to be sure but not to be condemned.

                  Self-defense need not be deadly. Sometimes merely racking a shot gun is sufficient. The sound alone puts fear into many hearts and stops aggression.

                  If you want another take on the manner please read this. A small essay written by my son when he was 18 after several years of research, prayer and contemplation. While lacking the scholarship or writing skill of Fr. Webster and incomplete in its treatment, it is still worth considering as a personal testimony of truth of the Church on this matter. But my son is simply unable and unwilling to stand by and allow someone else to come to harm even if it would cost him his life to defend them–deadly force if necessary. Even if his sacrifice would be to no avail. That part of his character has always scared me to death as his father but I have to respect it. It is a God given trait

                  Ponder well the icon of St. Demetrios. The saint is spearing a Persian soldier. It is a big stretch to put this purely in the realm of spiritual warfare.

                  …and George, even angels carry swords.

                  • Constaninos says

                    Mr. Bauman,
                    You must be extremely proud of your son, and rightly so. Such knowledge and wisdom from someone so young! He knows a lot more than I do about many things, and I’m an old man.

                    • Constaninos says

                      Mr. Bauman,
                      You must be extremely proud of your son, and rightly so. Such knowledge and wisdom from someone so young! He knows a lot more than I do about many things.

                    • Constaninos says

                      Mr. Bauman,
                      Whew! I’m not looking for sympathy or anything. I feel like I’ve had my clock cleaned today.
                      In any event, at least spring training has begun.

                  • Billy Jack Sunday says


                    They carry lightsabers

                    We’ve been over this

              • Constaninos says

                Mr. Stankovich,
                After reading some of Father Webster’s articles, I have to walk back my statement that his thinking may have evolved over time. I just don’t know. The only thing I can say for certain is that his ethics and integrity are unassailable.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Costa, I don’t disagree with you at all. But what you are describing is the angelic life. That’s not given to us this side of the Fall. I’m afraid that any attempt to imitate Paradise will result in hell.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Maybe both. Pacificism is not required.

          • My thoughts, after covering this issue for more than a decade.

            Maybe both.

            But no laity with guns. Hire retired security people (church members if possible) for the open front doors and outside, watching approaches into parking lots.

    • I know I would prefer it.

      On the one hand, it is a heartbreaking evil – as is the deplorable ignorance of the Western reports that it happened during a “festival.” On the other hand, it is as though God allowed this evil for their good, dying as they did as one of His own at the precise moment in which they were full of His grace having forgiven all and having been reconciled to all.

      That we may complete the remaining time of our life in peace and repentance, let us pray to the Lord.

      In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die: and their departure is taken for misery, And their going from us to be utter destruction: but they are in peace. For though they be punished in the sight of men, yet is their hope full of immortality. And having been a little chastised, they shall be greatly rewarded: for God proved them, and found them worthy for Himself. As gold in the furnace hath He tried them, and received them as a burnt offering. And in the time of their visitation they shall shine, and run to and fro like sparks among the stubble. They shall judge the nations, and have dominion over the people, and their Lord shall reign for ever. They that put their trust in Him shall understand the truth: and such as be faithful in love shall abide with Him: for grace and mercy is to His saints, and He hath care for his elect.

      Memory eternal

  6. Michael Bauman says

    Constaninos, yes spring training has begun and the Moose is back with the Royal at least until the trade deadline. The Royals may actually be competitive until then. At that point they will trade Moose, Duda and Jay to folks who need a piece for the playoff run for some prospects.