Helm’s Deep

In a saner world, the Neocons, Neoliberals, Wilsonians and other assorted Trotskyites would be brought up on charges of treason. At the very least, they would be forced to answer before the Congress whence their utopian fantasies of a new millennium came from. (Short answer: from Hell.)

In the meantime, the collateral damage continues unabated. At this point, one can reasonably ask whether it was by design or by accident. Speaking for myself, I never ascribe to evil that which can be explained by stupidity.

I guess it’s all academic now. The indigenous Christian communities of the Levant continue to take it on the chin. We need to pray for them.

Source: Daily Telegraph

Iraq’s beleaguered Christians make final stand on the Mosul frontline

By Richard Spencer, Bartella

Some Christian families from Mosul have sought refuge in St Matthew’s Monastery, writes Richard Spencer. Others vow to take a stand against the Islamists – whatever the cost.

 Iraqi families have sought refuge inside St Matthew's Monastery  Photo: Angus McDowall Iraqi families have sought refuge inside St Matthew's Monastery  Photo: Angus McDowall

Captain Firaz Jacob knows he may well be mounting a last stand at the frontiers of the Christian settlement of Bartella on the outskirts of Mosul.

Less than a mile down the road are the jihadists of Isis, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, and the portly, middle-aged Mr Jacob is aware that his home-grown militia are outnumbered.

“I stand here waiting for my destiny,” he said, as he stood this week by the last check-point on the road to Mosul and the black flags waiting in the desert.

Speaking of why he and his men were refusing to give up and go, Capt Jacob said was determined to resist the jihadists and their allies, who last week over-ran most of the rest of northern Iraq.

“We will stay here despite everything,” he announced. “All these armed groups we have seen, but nevertheless we will remain. We love our Christian way of life, we love our churches and we love our community.”

Read the complete article on the Daily Telegraph website.


  1. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    But, George! You write this:
    ” The indigenous Christian communities of the Levant continue to take it on the chin.”

    Guess what, Iraq is not part of the Levant. Most of the Levant is Lebanon, and “Levant” and “Lebanon” are synonymous. If you think of Lebanon as being actually Syria and NOT a separate country, Lebanon, then your statement about the Christian communities of the Levant would make a kind of sense.

    I think the main Christian communities of the Levant who took it on the chin were those who suffered during the Israeli invasion of that country, from which Hezbollah delivered them.
    Of course, the (non-Levantine) Iraqi Christian communities have been on the Cross since the very day that Bush invaded the country. Saddam Hussein, after all, used to take annual retreats at a Syriac Orthodox monastery, now ruined. Bush opened up the whole region to terrorists by attacking NON-TERRORIST Iraq, because he wanted to be seen as doing SOMETHING rather than continuing to gaze into space in kindergarten!

    • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

      Guess what, Iraq is not part of the Levant.

      ISIS (the Obama backed “Syrian freedom fighter” Al Qaeda group) would disagree. To them, the “al-sham” in their name, translated usually (Syria or Levant), includes all of northern Iraq (if not all Iraq).

      I think the main Christian communities of the Levant who took it on the chin were those who suffered during the Israeli invasion of that country, from which Hezbollah delivered them.
      Of course, the (non-Levantine) Iraqi Christian communities have been on the Cross since the very day that Bush invaded the country.

      Islam is a boot smashing on a Christian face, again and again, forever, until the Second Coming. The churches aren’t usually built like hidden fortesses for nothing. Chrisitans have been assigned the cross since the Muslim invaded, and whenever bishops start doing apologetics for Islam, confusing Allah with the Christian God, then the salt has lost its saltiness and always gets trodden down in another wave of persecution. The actual actors don’t much matter, if not them, it would have been somebody else. All that matters is the “Arabic” Christians get reminded that they aren’t real Arabs, that they’re the indigenous population that used to speak Aramaic/Greek/Coptic, the Muslims are the foreign oppressors, and especially, that Islam does not worship the same God.

      Bush opened up the whole region to terrorists by attacking NON-TERRORIST Iraq, because he wanted to be seen as doing SOMETHING rather than continuing to gaze into space in kindergarten!

      I think it had more to do with propping up the petrodollar, realpolitik, and the control of oil resources in anticipation of Peak Oil (which occurred in 2006).


      But, yeah, I could be naïve, and Bush could have been just “doing SOMETHING” to be seen “doing something.”
      What seems like Democratic prejudice could be completely true. Bush was just a moron, who happened to choose the exact right country to conquer, if one were pursuing maximum geopolitical advantage.

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        Ladder of Divine Ascent you should read over your stuff before clicking on “post comment.”
        You seem to be in almost superstitious fear, awe and trembling when confronted with the idea of Islam.
        Look at this horrible mish-mash of a sentence you crafted:

        “Islam is a boot smashing on a Christian face, again and again, forever, until the Second Coming. The churches aren’t usually built like hidden fortesses for nothing. Chrisitans have been assigned the cross since the Muslim invaded, and whenever bishops start doing apologetics for Islam, confusing Allah with the Christian God, then the salt has lost its saltiness and always gets trodden down in another wave of persecution. ”
        I am an Orthodox Christian, o “Ladder!” I tend to consult Orthodox teachings in most religious questions, and I consider St. John of Damascus (Mansour) to be the closest thing to a “last word’ we have in dogmatic theology. Did you know that he served as the Vizier to the Umayyad Caliph of Damascus, as did his Christian father before him? Do you know that he went on to compose most of his theological and liturgical writings under Islamic protection in the monastery of St. Sabbas near Jerusalem? Do you know that he considered Islam to be a heresy, a heresy relative to the nature of God (whom he addressed as “Allah”)? Are you going to accuse HIM of starting “doing apologetics for Islam and being confused about God? Most Christian churches in the geographical areas where Islam is the majority religion are NOT at all built like “hidden fortresses.” Have you ever seen just the hundreds of Armenian Churches which have been standing in Iran from the days of the Sassanid Emperors until now, in the Islamic Republic of Iran? Have you ever seen the beautiful Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Tehran, set in its Persian gardens? Admittedly, SOME Churches and monasteries were built like fortresses to defend from other Christians, such as Crusaders, Venetians, Catalans, etc. Ask the Church of Sinai who has protected the monastery of St. Catherine for centuries upon centuries. That monastery contains the only surviving icons made by the original wax caustic method: in the Eastern Christian world, those were crushed under the boots of ‘Christians’. You are certainly NOT an expert on what the members of ISIS think when they speak of al sham, which YOU translate as including Iraq. Our English word, Father Divine, “Levant” pertains to those lands that border on the Eastern Mediterranean, such as Lebanon (Greater Syria). Iraq is usually distinguished NOT by reference to the Mediterranean but rather by its rivers-Mesopotamia or Non-Levant.
        Your understanding ofand ignorant pronouncements relative to Islam are not deserving of ANY thumbs.
        Read St. John of Damascus and, thus, improve your appalling ignorance of the theological implications of Islam.

        • Jim of Olym says

          Not disagreeing with you at all, Vladyka, but who in ‘Christendom’ is a visier for the current nascent ‘Calififate’? I can’t see anyone in either the near or far horizon. After all, they are trying to kill all Muslims who disagree with tnem over bitty points of ‘theology’… St. John of Damascus was a hero then and now, but he is probably praying for all and can’t do much else at this point. Unless there are miracles.

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            I don’t know what is intended by putting Christendom in quotation marks. Since there is not the slightest resemblance between the “caliphate” of ISIS and any real Muslim caliphate that ever existed, why would you ask who the vizier is? I didn’t know there were two horizons: one near and one far. The ‘points of theology to which you refer…what makes them “bitty?”
            I’m not sure in what sense you label St. John of Damascus a hero. He and his family found refuge from savage, marauding Christian iconoclasts in the headquarters of a vast Islamic Caliphate-Empire.

            I guess you should be thanked for letting me and others know that St. John of Damascus is ‘probably” praying for us. Who would have thought it.

            Right now, the “Christian’ media are shocked, shocked to see that the grave of the Prophet Jonah (of which until now they knew nothing and cared less) which had been cared for for centuries not by Jews or Christians but by Muslims has been desecrated by Muslim Iconoclasts. Will the head of St. John the Baptist, likewise maintained and venerated for centuries in the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus also be attacked? Will we call THAT an anti-Christian atrocity too? Why are so many Americans in complete denial that traditional Muslims venerate St. John the Prophet and Baptist, the Virgin Mary, the Messiah, and look to see Jesus returning on the clouds at the last day accompanied by an Imam? Sorry, they want to think Islam’s heretics are standard Islam in action.
            Meanwhile the Christians of the Russian lands are furiously accusing each of other of monstrous crimes and evil. Uniate demons from L’vov are at the door and the only thing preventing them from destroying Christian Russia is V. Putin, the paragon of Orthodoxy, freshly divorced from the spouse (who used to pray with him for the movies), and living in holy asceticism while letting honest Russians hold their heads high…after all, on his private plane, he has gold fixtures not only on the toilet, but also on the bidet next to it. The West, meanwhile, wallows in perversion and loose borders.

    • Arimathean says

      Levant is a French word meaning East. As in “Antioch and All the East”. The East means the Diocese of the Orient, one of the 15 (or so) geographic divisions of the Roman Empire. In the Theodosian Era, it included what are now the countries of Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, and Cyprus, plus parts of Turkey (Cilicia), Egypt (Sinai), and Iraq (varying as the border between the Roman and Persian Empires changed).

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        Levant is an English word, and you may find it defined as such in the Merriam Webster” Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary: “Levant: The countries bordering on the Eastern Mediterranean.”

        There’s also ‘levant” meaning welsh (on a debt)…also a mostly British term probably coming from Spanish.

        Iraq, or Mesopotamia, never bordered on the Mediterranean. These new terrorists titled themselves as being of the Levant AND Iraq. Who cares how a patriotic Antiochene wants to slant this, ‘Arimathean!”

        • According to the OED the English borrowed it from the French.

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            No doubt about it’s origins, but it’s an English word, like restaurant, or army or artillery
            “Borrowed”….just sounds so temporary.
            By the way, Basil, i think that you and “Arimathean’ may not know that when the French speak of the Levant, they, too, are speaking of those countries bordering on the Eastern Mediterranean, especially Lebanon .

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            Basil, please check your O.E.D. again. It NOWHERE states that the word ‘Levant” was ‘BORROWED” from anyone or anywhere. One may conclude that from its entries, but it nowhere states that.

            Think of the word “Hamburger.” It’s an English word, copied from the German word which is spelled the same way. But just as ‘Levant” does not mean “the East” in English, neither does ‘Hamburger” mean a native of the Low German city, Hamburg, but, rather, a patty made of minced meat and cooked.

        • Arimathean says

          If you were to look up “Levant” on Wikipedia (the English-language version, I mean), you would find it defined to encompass precisely the same territory as the ancient Diocese of the East.

          Just admit your initial post equating “Levant” with “Lebanon” was wrong. Your attempt to save face has failed.

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            No, Arimathean. not encompassing ANYTHING precisely. I don’t believe I “defined” Levant as the Lebanon, but I have stated that many use the two words synonymously. Moat geographers, including political geographers, define “Levant” as applying to those states/areas that border on the Eastern Mediterranean. Iraq would be excluded from the Levant. Even the Muslim heretics with their deviant ‘caliphate’ refer to “Iraq AND the Levant.” I hardly think the usage of the third Patriarchate of Antioch relative to its see title (after all, it’s not even located in Antioch) has anything to do with standard English usage. To learn what “Levant” means, I’d check neither Wikipedia nor Englewood nor Antakya.a

            And why in the world would I (or anyone) want to save face here among the faceless and anonymous?
            Whatever “face” I might lay claim to could hardly be affected by anything posted here.
            What an idea!!!

  2. Why are there moments when it appears that I have just read the sort of historical sketch one might have found being advocated by such scholars as say… Mr. Peabody & Sherman?

    • Pere LaChaise says

      Are you saying Bp. Tikhon is talking nonsense? Your snark is set to broad spectrum so it’s hard to tell who you are attacking.
      If the divine justice that we as Orthodox hope for is a coming reality, the Bush crime family and associated junta will indeed pay the price. But in the meantime, world culture, and specifically our own Orthodox middle eastern, is degraded, and innocents suffer and die because of their greedy adventurism, and the complicity of the American nation. It’s probable that the Christians community is the single biggest loser in XXI middle east conflict.
      Thanks, Dubya. And thans Elias, for your support in making our co-religionists “#1”

  3. Kind of late in the game to be crying over the milk you spilled, isn’t it? Of course, all these events were unknowable back when it was Bush &Co. beating the war drums. I mean, who could have known, right?

    • George Michalopulos says

      Yes, rather. I should have listened to Pat Buchanan and the Paleo-conservatives back in the 90s, when those wascally wepublicans in the Clinton Administration started beating the war-drums against Iraq. You know, when they passed resolutions recognizing the Iraqi National Congress and put those embargoes on Iraqi oil. Maybe I could have started by burning Francis Fukuyama’s book proclaiming The End of History which proclaimed that the last step in human evolution was democratic liberalism.

      But then if we’d done that and had taken a principled conservative stand, the US would have to admit that its Wilsonian fantasies about the sameness of all people was a horrible delusion.

      • “The sameness of all people” is not an accurate description of Wilsonian fantasy – Wilson believed in the right of all peoples to self-determination. That implies a collective right – already problematic – which in turn implies the existence of a collective “people” or “nation” or whatever one wants to call it. But nations as we (and Wilson) understood them did not exist in the Middle East 100 years ago, except perhaps in Egypt, making a collective right of self-determination problematic at best.

        • George Michalopulos says

          I’ll grant you that Wilson did not believe in the “sameness of all people.” After all, he was advised by –and sympathetic too–the KKK. His administration reversed years of negro assimliation into the white mainstream.

          Having said that, his anti-Constitutional animus and his progressive fantasies midwifed the most violent century in history. It was because of the active involvement of his agents that America brought down the old imperial/monarchical system of the Old World. Which led to the rise of the Godless totalitarians.

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            George wrote: “In a saner world, the Neocons, Neoliberals, Wilsonians and other assorted Trotskyites would be brought up on charges of treason. ”
            Why George, weren’t the Trotskyites already branded as traitors and rounded up and shot, etc., by Russian Communists? Surely you don’t mean to intimate, like Putin, that the USSR was “a saner world?”

            • George Michalopulos says

              No Your Grace, some of them came over here and took over the GOP.

              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                No, George, you said that in a saner world Trotzkyites would be brought up on charges of treason, DID YOU NOT? I merely pointed out that this happened to them in Soviet Russia. I did NOT (and your should not pretend I did, thereby constructing a straw man to demolish) say that none of them escaped (that saner world?) or came to the Western Hemisphere, did I.
                According to the standard YOU set for a saner world, the USSR would be that saner world to which you aspire.
                Why not: (number one) name a Trotzkyite in the GOP;(number two) tell us when he or they took over the GOP. Was it Eisenhower? Nixon? Ford? Either Bush? Rick Perry? Sen McCain? M. Romney? And when did any of those “come over here,” exactly?

              • DC Indexman says

                Well, Mr. Michalopulas, for today, July 4th, can we all just agree to celebrate who we are all together, and be happy we are and have what we have?

                I am reminded of an old, fashion dinner that use to be, years ago on upper Connecticut Avenue in the District of Columbia. They had a sign out front that began: “Why not try our Hamburgers?” in those days the hamburgers were the old soggy bun style. The sign went on to say: “Ours may not be the best, but they are better than all the rest.” That may be what us in the U.S.A. We may not be the best – but….. we are better than…..

                Have a happy 4th of July.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Indeed! May God show His favor upon our country and forgive us our sins.

          • It was because of the active involvement of his agents that America brought down the old imperial/monarchical system of the Old World.

            Well, the monarchs had enough of their own secret agents running around Europe to foment their own war without American help, George. Even blood ties couldn’t prevent them from conspiring against each other’s empires and the old order was already mouldering beneath the uninspired leadership of Wilhelm, Nicholas and Franz Joseph.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Basil, this is true, but had the US not entered battle, the Great War would have ended in a stalemate much sooner than it did. Wilson’s great crime was in demanding that the Axis monarchies be disbanded before any negotiations could take place. And it was both the Kaiser and our State Department which inserted the Bolsheviks into Russia. For too long the Kaiser took the brunt of the blame. Trotsky, Sverdlov, and literally dozens of others were living in New York City at the time when we rounded them up and gave them passports and money to foment revolution.

              • OK – I thought you were referring to the beginning of the war.
                Even so, Nicholas II had already abdicated at least a month before Trotsky arrived back in Russia and GD Michael wisely would not accept the throne without a plebiscite of the populace on the question of the continuation of the monarchy. Wilhelm abdicated when the German Revolution made his continued reign untenable. The Hapsburgs had been contending against restive national populations already for decades before Charles I effectively abdicated. I can understand the ideological commitments which would lead the US to view these developments favourably but how much did they invest in fomenting them and were they as effective as they perhaps thought? There were powerful historical forces in play, including communism and liberalism, and even members of the elites had been predicting their fall for decades; indeed, that is the reason why King George V declined to receive his cousin Nicholas II as an exile – fear his presence in Britain would provoke an uprising against the monarchy.

    • Dan Fall says

      Are you being sarcastic? Even I, in my wide reaching foreign policy wisdom would, no, did, predict theocracy or attempted theocracies in Iraq to replace a barbaric atheist. The Kurds should control Iraq.

      Democracy is a fallacy in these places. It is a glittery utopia usually reserved for liberals, but this time embraced by W for political gain. Iraq, today, is the legacy of three men; Obama’s name only comes up from the wells of shallow Fox influenced minds. The trouble for Bremer, Bush, n Cheney is it happened so soon. Bremer isn’t one of the three-saddam is the third, Bremer and Rumsfield are in the top ten.

      A trillion dollar religious war.

      • The Kurds should control Iraq.
        I think they’re doing a fine job in Iraqi Kurdistan – soon to be an independent nation I expect – but I can’t see Arabs tolerating Kurdish rule over them; it would only exacerbate the problems in Iraq. Assuming Kurdish independence, the most probable development is a further break up into two autonomous regions, one Sunni, one Shia. Assuming ISIS/ISIL will be not just defeated but annihilated, that is.

        • Dan Fall says

          Ultimately, Iraq will be a mess for a long time. It seems the Muslims only respond to totalitarian rule well.

      • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

        True. Dan.

  4. Speaking of Levantine Christians: http://antiochian.org/archbishop-joseph-elected-metropolitan-all-north-america

    “His Eminence Archbishop Joseph has been elected Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America by the Holy Synod of Antioch, meeting in Balamand, Lebanon on Thursday, July 3, 2014. Much more additional information is forthcoming. Axios!”

    • The *self ruled* archdiocese is served up a big ole plateful of the same thing they’ve been fed for decades. What they’d look like if they were controlled from Syria I have no idea.

      • Archpriest John W. Morris says

        Your complaint is without foundation. Metropolitan Joseph was not forced on us by the Patriarch or Holy Synod of Antioch. We chose him ourselves. The clergy and representatives of the parishes nominated Archbishop Joseph in a fair and secret ballot as one of three candidates for Metropolitan at the special Convention of the Antiochian Archdiocese held June 5, in Chicago. In every way but one the Patriarch and Holy Synod of Antioch honored the terms of our Archdiocesan Constitution. Our Archdiocesan Constitution adopted by special convention of the Antiochian Archdiocese called after we achieved self-rule status requires the candidate for Metropolitan to “have a working knowledge of Arabic.” The Holy Synod waved that requirement.

    • Pere LaChaise says

      If Metr. Joseph gets an “Axios”, then I’d give a Metr. Basil all three that he deserves.
      Don’t expect much dynamism from Joseph.

  5. This is really the endgame of the old world of heterogeneous, cosmopolitan empires like the Ottoman, Russian, Hapsburg, and so on. In each of these one or another religious-ethnic group (though the latter term is anachronistic) ruled over a diverse agglomeration of others, usually with some sort of quite flexible hierarchical order. When these empires fell their peoples were sorted into nation-states that demanded uniformity of religion, ethnicity, language, and so on – all was subordinated to the modern God of the Nation. Usually this process was accompanied by ethnic cleansing of some sort (Turkey/Greece, Germany/Poland) but after it happened there was peace for a long time. Yugoslavia and the USSR were Europe’s exceptions, and after the Cold War we saw how that played out.

    This sorting/cleansing process was never completed in the Middle East; instead fairly ramshackle post-colonial states tried to promote new nationalisms to legitimize themselves, justify crushing and/or expelling some minorities (ie Kurds and Palestinians). We’re now witnessing those states’ virtual collapse but there’s no replacement yet. I don’t think ISIS will last – too extreme to sustain popular support.

    Ironically, King Faisal’s post-WWI Hashemite Arab nationalism and Nasser’s pan-Arabism were the real great hope of Christians in the Middle East, as it acknowledged that Copts, Melkites, etc. had a place in Arab society. Faisal was expelled from Damascus by the French who wanted it for themselves, and then placed on the throne of the new state of Iraq. Pan-Arabism was unwisely rejected by the Maronites, who consistently overplayed their hand in Lebanon. In any case the West opposed pan-Arabism and after 1967 it lost political credibility, to be replaced by the new Islamism.

  6. Sam Haddad says

    *Truly unfortunate. Another “Old Country” do nothing. FOOLS!*

    Archbishop Joseph Elected Metropolitan of All North America

    His Eminence Archbishop Joseph has been elected Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America by the Holy Synod of Antioch, meeting in Balamand, Lebanon on Thursday, July 3, 2014. Much more additional information is forthcoming. Axios!

    His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph was consecrated to the Holy Episcopacy on June 30, 1991 at the St. Mary Cathedral in Damascus, after many years of serving as a deacon and a priest. His Eminence was born in Damascus, Syria, in 1950. His Eminence was consecrated with the title, Bishop of Katana in Syria, and served as Patriarchal Assistant and Secretary of the Holy Synod of Antioch. In 1995, he was sent by Patriarch Ignatius to America. Here, in our Archdiocese, Bishop Joseph was assigned to the West Coast Chancery by Metropolitan Philip. After self-rule status was awarded to our Archdiocese, Bishop Joseph was enthroned at St. Nicholas Cathedral by Metropolitan Philip as the first Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West on September 12, 2004. On December 11, 2011, at the Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos in the Patriarchal Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand in Lebanon, Patriarch Ignatius elevated Bishop Joseph to the rank of Archbishop, in honor of his many years of service as a bishop both in our Archdiocese and in the Patriarchate of Antioch.

  7. God help us. We had 2 significantly better candidates and the least capable was chosen. Connections, even in the church, make a difference.I have heard BJ speak on several occasion and the man was not prepared, rambled, prated and in the end had nothing to say.

    • Michael Bauman says

      johnkal, and isn’t it a blessing the our new Metropolitan will have the support and advice of two more worthy instead of one of them being advised by an incompetent?

      In fact, no one could or will live up to the miasmic conglomeration of unrealistic expectations, vile feelings and un-forgiveness that seems to drive the nay-sayers. Fact is, its none of your business.

      Maybe, just maybe you don’t think that God had a hand in this or is that too much for you to understand.

      God save us from self-important meddlers.

      If you hate Antioch so much, there are other places but it would be better to just get over it.

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      It’s all in the handshake, no?

    • Sam Haddad says

      Everyone knows that the ONLY real salvation for the Antiochian Archdiocese would have been Bishop Basil Essey. All the talk of educating Antiochian clergy in this country since the 1950’s and they were; then to choose an “Old Country” bumpkin over the “BEST” Orthodox Bishop in North America, BAR NONE, is just stupid. There is no “SELF-RULED ANTIOCHIAN ARCHDIOCESE;” this is a joke. Again, the only way to solve this skata is to have a true American Church not subject to foreign bishops. We have one; it’s called the OCA!

      • Sam,

        Contrary to your point of view, which I respect but can’t agree with, I will take a so-called “Old World” bishop over …what is the OCA. Their leadership is a scandalous embarrassment and besides Golitzin, woefully under-educated. Since 1970, I don’t see how the OCA has proven that being “self-ruled” is better than having the spiritual resources that can come from a wider exposure to the best educated and tested leaders a Church can offer. Lest one forget, the OCA has gone beyond its borders to find bishops and besides Bishop Rozianko, a great man but a flop as an administrator, but still a holy man, too holy for the OCA, the OCA has brought in the rejects from other Churches. Metropolitan Joseph is no reject.

        I agree that Bishop Essey may have been a “better” choice for those who think that the “new world” is superior to the “old world,” but he is ready to retire, start a monastic community and live out the rest of his days as a monk and not as Metropolitan. Personally, for his sake, I am glad he was not elected.

        The grass is not greener in the OCA. In fact, the grass is drying up for lack of spiritual water from her leaders.

        • Dan Fall says

          What a load of suggestive, factless dung. For all the exposed failures of the OCA; you know there are as many lurking beneath the foreign led split offs. When an AOC audit was requested in a kind manner; the priest had to move the parish to avoid punishment to guess where? What you see as failure and scandal is actually closer to honesty and strength than the others, and while certainly still imperfect as the Jonah fans here will attest; the OCA at least has open books.

          Start naming the bishops you deem trash and the institutions you deem unfit. Educating American bishops overseas is not without its own set of problems. I was never going to comment on Haddad’s remarks because they are rather knee jerk…yours are all jerk and totally unneeded. Go beat your chest in Damascus.

      • Michael Bauman says

        The only salvation is Jesus Christ and last I checked Bp Basil wasn’t Him.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Then take your hatred there.

      • Archpriest John W. Morris says

        I resent that remark. Metropolitan Joseph is hardly a country bumpkin. I serve as a consultant to the Pastoral Practices Committee of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the U.S. and have been very impressed by his organization and the way that he conducted the meeting. We Antiochians have a right to nominate our own candidates for Metropolitan. Given the recent history of the conflicts over Primates of the OCA, I would think that no one in the OCA is in a position to give us advice on the election of our Primate. We chose him as one of our three candidates for Metropolitan in a fair vote of a special convention of our Archdiocese. He was not forced on us by any outside authority.

    • It remains to be seen what disaster will take his place on the west coast. Only one shoe has dropped. What will arrive from Isis-land to take over?

    • Pere LaChaise says

      The main thing with Joseph is that his priests work hard to make him ‘look good’ at all times. He bitterly resented that he had no administrative power under Philip and took it out by verbally abusing his priests at every turn. He made service under his omophore into a kind of babysitting.

  8. Michael Bauman says

    Well, it is good to see that some things are constant in the universe especially the deep cynicism of many towards the Archdiocese of Antioch in North America. No one that was elected would have met with your approval unless it was you. God bless you friends. May God heal your hearts. Oh, it might be a good idea to be more fervent in your prayers for AB Joseph, just in case you believe in God.

    • Sam Haddad says

      EVERYONE knows that Bishop Basil Essey “IS” the best choice to rule the Antiochian Archdiocese in N. Am. He is by far heads and shoulders above + Joseph. + Joseph is nothing more than an “Old Country” boot licker. He certainly pleases the “Old Country” contingent, but ANY Arab Christian born in this country knows he’s not the right guy. To thumb their nose at + Basil is a complete travesty. Idiots & fools!

      • Michael Bauman says

        Mr. Hadad. I don’t know that so whomever EVERYONE is, he is wrong. Bp Basil has a mission that is unique to Orthodoxy in this country. To pull him from that at this moment would do violence to that. He would have done well but he was not the best choice and it is not as if he will not be active on the local synod. And frankly, I don’t care what Arabs think. I care for the truth of the Church. So the Greeks, Russians, Arabs and all the rest can learn with we ‘mericans how to be Orthodox in this land and time together.

        And BTW does not the Holy Scripture caution against calling any man fool?

      • Archpriest John W. Morris says

        Metropolitan Joseph is the duly and canonically elected Metropolitan of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. You should treat him with the respect due a Bishop of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Obviously the clergy and representatives of the Antiochian parishes do not agree with you or they would not have nominated him to become our Metropolitan.

      • Bishop John may have been the best option other than having committed the sin of matrimony.

        • Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says

          I trust you are speaking of the”sin of matrimony” with tongue-in-cheek. I have comitted many sins in my life, but marrying my late wife was one of the few smart decisions I ever made.

          • M. Stankovich says

            Fr. Andrei,

            I always include you in my prayers, for your strength and perseverance, in your divine calling!

    • M. Stankovich says

      Truer words you have not spoken, Michael Bauman! As if in these essential moments in the life of the Church, our God would abandon us, would withhold the Wise Comforter, and would forsake His own words, “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” (Jn.15:16)

      I had the good fortune of making his acquaintance when I was a member of the mission parish in San Diego, when I was very physically ill, and he was always a kind, approachable, and comforting pastor to me. Whenever he visited, which was frequently, he always made it a point to personally greet as many individual parishioners as possible – and when the “ethnic factions” from the older parish in town would show up, attempting to engage him over their never-ending “issues,” he dismissed them. He would visit the church school, he loves children, and he loves families. He serves the services impeccably, without rushing, and without “editing”; we printed and distributed the Ochtoechos & Menaion verses for Great Vespers & Matins, and they were always in a folder so that he could sing with us. He has a beautiful liturgical voice. Abp. Joseph is a dynamic preacher who liberally and directly quotes from the Holy Scriptures as well as from the Patristic and Desert Fathers. When he speaks regarding the moral requirements of the Christian life, he is direct, definitive, and unequivocal. He is truly a monastic and he is truly a pastor.

      As to your comment regarding the “constants” in the universe, you are, again, wiser than you imagined. Our Father St. Chrysostom, reflecting on why he ran from the priesthood notes:

      Why should any one describe the silly chatter of our own people? Some out of an idle curiosity are rashly bent upon busying themselves about matters which are neither possible for them to know, nor of any advantage to them if they could know them. While others [would] demand from God [Himself] an account of His judgments…
      On the Priesthood, IV, 5

      Many Years to Archbishop Joseph! Axios!

      • Sam Haddad says


        You’re full of it! + Joseph is no doubt a good local bishop, but not of the caliber to head the Antiochian Archdiocese in N. Am. He should refuse the nomination and stay in Calif.

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          To Sam Haddad:

          Metropolitan Joseph was nominated by a convention representing every Pastor and the faithful of every parish and mission of our Archdiocese in fair vote. Everything from the beginning to the decision of our Holy Synod was done in conformity with our Archdiocesan Constitution, except for two things. The Holy Synod removed the requirement that all candidates have a “working knowledge of Arabic.” The Holy Synod also raised the maximum age for a candidate to allow the inclusion of Bishop Basil on the list. According to the rules of the Patriarchate a candidate for Bishop or Metropolitan must be under 65. Bishop Basil is 65 and will soon be 66. Therefore, you have no grounds for complaint. Have faith that the Holy Spirit led the Holy Synod to make the right choice.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Fr. John, don’t confuse folks with the facts because “Everybody knows that the fix was in and that all of the delegates were just mindless trolls in thrall to Damascus” The top three made perfect sense. The selection of Met. Joseph also made perfect sense. Just because the critics don’t like him, it was a conspiracy from the beginning.

            As an historian I am sure you are well aware that conspiracy theories often arise as a simple explanation to complex situations whose outcome some folks don’t like. Or as a history teacher of mine said frequently in addressing the problem: “Conspiracies are easy to propose and almost impossible to prove or disprove so they resist all efforts to quash them.”

            Bottom line is that Mr. Haddad and the others would not have liked even his Grace Bishop Basil for long if he did not immediately declare independence from King George, er the Antiochian Patriarch and launch into a complete witch hunt against all things Met Philip and “old country”. Which, of course, Bishop Basil would not do. In short order, he would deemed to have succumbed to the oppressive Patriarch and written off their list.

            A more iconoclastic, nihilist approach I cannot even imagine.

            I wonder if Haddad in Arabic is analogous to Adams in English as Mr. Haddad sounds rather more like Samuel Adams than any Orthodox ought:

            The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on Earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but only to have the law of nature for his rule

            • “I wonder if Haddad in Arabic is analogous to Adams in English”

              Haddad = Smith, more specifically a blacksmith.

    • Let's Say Axios and Pray says

      Let us all say Axios! and pray that the elected of Antioch is a blessing to his flock, that he incorporates the advice of the other candidates and his clergy and laity, and that God wills he be the serving adornment of his Holy Wisdom. As much as some of us love Bishop Basil Essey and others, let us love and support Archbishop Joseph in his mission.

      • Jim of Olym says

        Bishop Basil is probably mopping his brow and thanking God for not having been ‘elected’! And i don’t even know him!

  9. StephenD says

    The first thing he needs to do is have a complete and transparent audit of all of the books.