On Social Justice: The “Basil Option”

A review of Popular Patristics Series: On Social Justice (St Basil the Great; SVS Press, Crestwood, NY, 2009; translated by C Paul Schroeder.)

Several years ago, Rod Dreher, a popular columnist, came up with an idea which he later expanded into a book called the Benedict Option (AKA Benop, for short).

Coming as it did, years after the forced ouster of Pope Benedict XVI (possibly the West’s last, best hope for revival), it struck a nerve among many Christians, Orthodox included (Dreher is an Orthodox writer).

For Dreher, and many others, survival, not revival, is now the only hope.  To be a pious, law-abiding person under our present circumstances is an invitation to victim-hood. In many ways, both big and small, the cards are stacked against all law abiding American citizens who just want to “have a nice day”.  The game is rigged.  I don’t see that changing any time soon.  Indeed, I see it getting worse.

Frankly, that’s one of the reasons Dreher struck a nerve.  No one likes being stuck in a loop where their present circumstances are no longer working for them, but against them.  Although today’s challenges are not the same challenges faced in St Basil’s day, the old adage the more things change, the more they stay the same, remains frighteningly true.  

Where there are challenges, however, there are also solutions that promise to lift us out of the quicksand.  Segregation, the Benop, is one such path; however, it isn’t the only path.  Reciprocity, the “Basil Option”, is another path. And it has much to recommend it, as well.  

On Social Justice is a compilation of four homilies given by St Basil the Great, the Bishop of Caesarea. They constitute a worldview that arose because of a series of natural catastrophes which were set off by a massive earthquake in 369. As bad as the earthquake was, it was followed by a series of natural calamities, which included droughts where entire rivers dried up, resulting in massive famines. These catastrophes tested the faith of the people of Cappadocia and (dare I say?) Basil, himself.  So much so, that he became a stalwart shepherd, rolling up his sleeves, removing the rubble of their former lives.  

This book is a fascinating, well-researched read.  The “Introduction” (also by the translator) is an enjoyable history lesson and I highly recommend that one reads it before delving into the four homilies. That being said, the homilies in question serve as practical guides for addressing unpleasant realities that are seemingly beyond one’s control.  Together, they form a backdrop to Basil’s life and legacy, as outlined below.        

Basil, a “rich, young man” in his own right, received the finest education in Athens that money could buy. Upon graduation he traveled extensively, and while in Palestine, became familiar with the cenobitic (i.e. communal) life of the monks there. Upon his return to Cappadocia (specifically the city of Caesarea) in 356, he occupied a chair in rhetoric. The remembrances of monastic life caused stirrings within him, which the academic life was unable to assuage, and so, in 358, he returned to his family’s estate in the town of Anissa to set up a monastic community.

The community was funded by the sale of his share of his father’s estate. His mother and sister (the latter being the future St Macrina) had already established a woman’s community on the estate so he was venturing into sympathetic territory. The inspiration for both Basil and Macrina was the communitarian principle started by the Apostles as recorded in the Book of Acts. Basil decided to establish a community for men on the other side of the River Iris, which bordered his former estate.

Within fairly short order, the Annisa community grew. Because of its isolation, it became something of an idyll for both Basil and his comrades. Outside the community, economic and societal pressures were convulsing the Christian world, becoming harder and harder to ignore.  In time, these events conspired to prick the conscience of Basil,  prompting him to leave Annisa and return to Caesarea, where he was ordained to the priesthood in 365.

His seven-year monastic sojourn was, in many ways, a preparation for his subsequent ministry. If anything, it helped to shape his own world view and gave him the intellectual ammunition necessary to bring about social change. Basil was no dreamy-eyed mystic, however.  He saw the world clearly and was by no means a utopian. His homilies, “To the Rich”, “In Times of Famine and Drought”, “I Will Tear Down My Barns” and “Against Those Who Lend at Interest”, are just as timely today as they were seventeen hundred years ago. Surprisingly so. 

Basil castigates the rich, not because they were rich, but because of their greed. A vice which (in his mind) was based on exceeding that which was necessary for a comfortable life. “Why do need two ten suits when two will do?” would be a succinct way of putting it. “Holy Simplicity” would be another. It was not the material good that was wrong; it was its excess, a habit which violates the concept of the common good.

For Basil, the world was created to provide all that was necessary for every station in life. God’s creation was plentiful and thus any attempt to hoard wealth –or seek more than was necessary (if poor)–upset this balance. Simply put, the rich were to give their surpluses to the poor.  As Basil exhorted in, “I Will Tear Down My Barns”, anything else would be unsustainable: 

“If we all took only what was necessary to satisfy our own needs, giving the rest to those who lack, no one would be rich, no one would be poor, and no one would be in need.”

However, Basil knew that it took two to tango (so to speak) and, thus, he did not spare the poor in his sermons. His keen mind could see many of the poor were often in dire straits because of their own grasping nature, which made them easy marks for predatory lenders. He therefore exhorted the poor, as well to be content with their lot in life. To our modern sensibilities this may sound harsh, but he knew that if the poor were permitted to wallow in their despair, they would become even more vulnerable to that which kept them in an endless cycle of poverty:

“Now you are poor, but free. By borrowing, however, you will not become rich, and you will surrender your freedom. The borrower is a slave to the lender…Dogs become tame when you feed them, but when the creditor receives back what was borrowed, he becomes even more enraged. He does not stop his howling but on the contrary, demands even more. Although you swear you will pay, he does not believe you. He pries into your private affairs and inquires about your transactions. If you emerge from your house he seizes you and drags you away; if you hide yourself within, he stands outside and pounds at the door. He shames you before your spouse, treats you disgracefully in front of friends, seizes you by the throat in public places. Even a chance meeting at a festival is a disaster; he makes life unbearable.”

In Basil’s eyes, the narcissistic rich and the grasping poor are caught in an endless cycle of mutual loathing. And though the picture is bleak, it is not without hope.  If both lived a Christ-like existence, they could break free from this uncomfortable dance.  Hence, the exhortation for all to remain sober minded and focused on that which is truly needful.

These, of course, are blunt words. They are true as far as they go. However, the question remains: how does one put them into action?

First of all, as mentioned, it must be said that Basil had no problem with wealth per se. In the Gospel of Luke, two such episodes come to mind: the “rich young ruler” and Zacchaeus. It was the latter however who wanted to make restitution for his ill-gotten gains. The former young man, who (we must assume) was wealthy not through nefarious means, was “troubled” when Jesus told him to give up his wealth.

Realistically, in Basil’s eyes, free will, coupled with God’s order to dominate the earth through proper stewardship, made an unequal distribution of wealth inevitable. Even the poorest of the poor, possesses some wealth; it’s just that some have more than others. Therefore, Basil would never countenance any forced redistributive scheme akin to socialism (or worse, communism), as any violent measures taken to alleviate the suffering of the poor would only violate the law of love.

How then, to take advantage of this inevitable inequity and find a way to equalize outcomes, i.e. to “redistribute wealth” so that there is no excess on the one hand and need on the other? What is (if you will forgive me) the Basil Option?

Simply this: just as Basil had set up a monastic community near his former estate, he believed that other such communities should be established close to the towns and cities. These monasteries were to be a synthesis between traditional parochial life and strict monasticism. He mandated that monastics should do what they could to alleviate the lot of the poor in practical ways, like taking up trades and setting up xenodochia (hospices).

As for the “start-up capital” required to establish these monasteries, Basil expected the rich to give their fair share. They could do this by donating land or materiel, as well as monetary resources. And as per his sermonizing, they were to do so frequently. It behooved their souls to act in such Godlike fashion. On a practical level, it kept them safe from the criminality that would arise from those who were desperately poor. It not only upheld the law of love, but ensured the sustainability of the community.

The poor would benefit, as well.  They would learn gratitude as both rich and poor were to be in close proximity to each other. They would see their benefactors and pray for them. In time, the working poor could expect some relief from abject poverty, having the opportunity to achieve some success on their own.  They, too, would be in a position to give back to the community. The monastery, thus, became the engine of the local economy, allowing a redistribution and reallocation of resources that was rational and sufficient for the immediate locality.

Understandably, no economic system is perfect. Even the communitarian one established by the Apostles in Jerusalem was a miserable failure. The Basil Option, likewise, would suffer from the same deficiencies found in all voluntary endeavors.  It would be hard to see how it could work in an urban setting, where real estate values prohibit the acquisition of the land necessary for a modest monastery. However, for those who wished to retreat into an suburban/exurban commune where life centers around a life of prayer and sustainable agriculture, a monastic center could become an attractive solution to the status quo, where things are presently spinning out of control.

In any event, I highly recommend On Social Justice for your own edification. Each sermon stands on its own and if nothing else, you will possess four of the greatest homilies known to Christendom. And perhaps, goaded by his wise words, the consciences of Christians today can be pricked to explore new ways to live in a community.



  1. I struggle between the “Benedict Option” of Dreher and the stay and fight mentality. It is becoming more and more difficult to imagine fighting this uphill battle (that can be won, let’s not forget the post Soviet resurrection of the Russian Church), but it will be a long battle. Our struggle now is two-pronged because, depending on your jurisdiction, along with fighting the secular powers, we are now having to fight the ecclesiastical authorities! The very ones who should be protecting us from the secular world. 
    If Biden and Harris win (and lets be honest its going to be Michelle Obama or someone else instead of Biden), then running fore the hills and isolating may legitimately need to happen, or, we may be lucky and the U.S will be Balkanized based on ideology, which I think is the better/more likely option 

    • If the Lord gives us that much time, I expect that it will be our grandchildren who emerge victorious from this death struggle. All we can do is simply prepare for the worst.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      RE: “. . . along with fighting the secular powers, we are now having to fight the ecclesiastical authorities.”

      With Dreher, it is presumed there is a demarcation between us and them. In our present reality, that demarcation no longer exists, if it ever did. Un-Godly people are spewing from the bowels of the earth, forming a dark, oily, pool, threatening everything in its path.

      As you have rightly observed, even “clay feet” have become saturated with this black, ugly mess. It’s a wonder they can stand at all. The way they scattered to their lairs in the wake of COVID made me realize how much more they feared a virus than trusted God. That they continue to hide under their bed covers reveals more about them than I ever wanted to know.

      This is not something we can maneuver around or run from. Only God can fix this. Until He works this out, we cannot know if it will new beginning or the end; we only know it cannot continue.

      We are out of “options,” my friends. We’re going to have to wait and see what God will do.

  2. Hi George — The Nikodemos Orthodox Publication Society published a little book some ten or fifteen years ago titled, “Reflections of a Humble Heart.”  It is a 15th century manuscript of a Byzantine monk that was stored in the Vatican archives.  In any case, the first section of the book recounts a visit with the elder in question who discusses the rise of the anti-Christ and what will happen in the Endtimes.  At the bottom of page 12, when describing what the faithful can expect, the elder says, “Each person will be registered; not only every facet of his affairs and his life, but his every word, every movement of his mental faculties will be under constant surveillance so that he will lose the habit of thinking for himself out of fear that the expression on his face might involuntarily reflect something incompatible with the authority of the world ruler, i.e., the Anti-Christ.  Everyone will wear “stone masks.””  He then goes on to describe the extent to which the anti-Christ will have control of the production of everything.  He also says the weather will become erratic and more severe. 

    While various Orthodox saints and elders have offered visions of what to expect during the Last Days, it’s hard not to think that details like “surveillance,” “registration,” and “movement of mental faculties” points to a reality that has manifested in greater form and substance in our times.  While no one knows the hour and date of the end, it seems like the forces behind the attempted global reset are vigorously trying to birth something.  If that is the case, it may be less a matter of “stay and fight” than of “head to the caves and mountain tops.”   

  3. Four homilies grouped together and given the revionist Communist spin label “On Social Justice.”  Could have been titled “On Charity to the Poor,” but no, SVS/OCA wanted some virtue signaling points with the Leftists by allowing this to be published as is.

    • George Michalopulos says

      I must disagree Myst.  I see where you’re coming from but there is no problem with the words “social” and “justice”.  If anything, we should hijack them back from the Left.

      I therefore applaud SVS press.

    • I initially thought the same thing as you, Myst, but I have to agree with George on this. Fr. Charles Coughlin’s movement was called the National Union for Social Justice and he was no pinko.

      • “I initially thought the same thing as you, Myst, but I have to agree with George on this.  Fr. Charles Coughlin’s movement was called the National Union for Social Justice and he was no pinko.”

        This was published in November 2009, well into rise of the modern “social justice warrior.” Coughlin was 1930’s and I’m afraid referencing Coughlin just proves how tainted the words “social justice” were even then, and had been, since at least the Revolutions of 1848 across Europe.  FDR socialism, Fascism, and Communism are all forms of Left wing socialism, and to be somewhere between FDR and Fascism can be termed “pinko” territory.


        [His] broadcasts have been described as “a variation of the Fascist agenda applied to American culture”. His chief topics were political and economic rather than religious, using the slogan “Social Justice.” After the outbreak of World War II in Europe in 1939, the Roosevelt administration finally forced the cancellation of his radio program and forbade distribution by mail of his newspaper, Social Justice.

        Another phrase he became known for was ‘The New Deal is Christ’s Deal.’ […] He also said to the Congressional hearing, “God is directing President Roosevelt.”

    • About the translator C. Paul Schroeder (from amazon.com)
      C. Paul Schroeder (M.Div.) is a social entrepreneur, author, and spiritual teacher who has spent over 20 years working at the intersection of spirituality and social change. He served for more than a decade as a Greek Orthodox priest. After a divorce and a period of personal and spiritual crisis, he left the priesthood and founded New City Initiative, a nonprofit organization in Portland, Oregon, dedicated to helping people who experience poverty and homelessness achieve their full human potential. During the seven years he directed New City, he and his coworkers trained individuals, nonprofits, and businesses to use the Six Spiritual Practices. He is the author of Practice Makes PURPOSE: Six Spiritual Practices That Will Change Your Life and Transform Your Community, and the translator of St. Basil the Great: On Social Justice. He currently lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Find him online at http://www.sixpractices.com

  4. Still cannot get over AB marching in Marxist walk….Pray he does not veer to steer flock so far-left-there’ll be no flock left…..

  5. Ugh – Joe Biden sleazy communist & political whore Kamala Harris = two serpents ? out to decimate USA. 

    How LAME: Kamala standing at podium in African symbol scarf — while black lady behind, also in “Africa” scarf — but this is America – who needs African symbols?

    Could it be Kamala being half East Indian doesn’t look “Black enough” so they throw in black bells & whistles?  What a Dummycrat! 


    TRUMP 2020!!!??

  6. Antiochene Son says

    Thanks for the book review George. I have seen the book around, but the politically loaded title “On Social Justice” put me off from reading it. I will check it out because this sounds like the kind of society we need to foster.
    It is unfortunate—and I myself am working to unlearn this impulse—that the right-wing/conservative worldview has adopted a laissez-faire/libertarian social outlook where it comes to money. Not saying that state communism is the answer—enforcement of that rigid false dichotomy is what keeps us from true progress—but a world where Jeff Bezos can make billions in a single day is not right.
    Meanwhile you have people like Bill Gates, who has many evil plans, but his philanthropic spirit at least is admirable. Yet we should look to him as an example—he is using his wealth to create the kind of world he believes in. Imagine if Christians got together and did that. The Bill Gateses of the world aren’t sitting around letting things happen; they are making things happen.

  7. Ronda Wintheiser says

    Regardless of which option you may or may not choose, there’s this.  Is it, or is it not, a proper Orthodox ethos?

    • Michael Bauman says

      Ronda, thank you. An incredible testimony. I will have to read it in bits as it is deeply moving. A balm to my soul as well

    • Ronda, I read that earlier this week. Outstanding post from this truly great woman!!

  8. Joseph Gilman says

    May I call you George? I am a Roman Catholic who stumbled upon your site thanks to a friend of mine.
    I love it! Your take on events and the very intelligent discourse that follows in the comments is food for the soul!
    Thank you.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Of course you can call me George!  May I call you Joseph?

      BTW, we are all pleased to make your acquaintance!  I hope this blog will keep you interested.

  9. Antiochene Son says

    Speaking of justice, a womyn judge in Texas is trying to make an Orthodox boy into a girl against his father’s wishes. I know this has been followed a lot but apparently the case has suffered setbacks.
    I know how a righteous society would deal with people who corrupt children this way, but we sadly don’t live in a righteous society.

  10. Update on the story about the Texas boy whose Greek Orthodox mom is trying to “transition” him into becoming a girl: https://www.revolver.news/2020/08/james-georgulas-transition-new-ruling/
    Lord, have mercy.

    • WR, I want to weep.  The boy is far too young even for most liberal psychologists to be advising this for him.  How far we stray and how many we hurt (with a smile on our faces even worse) when we neglect the Royal Path of God’s love and become deluded as this mum has.  I am praying for that family.  Just to remember what is true, I real Fr Lynch on Inkless Pen and God willing will pray for this family tomorrow in Divine Liturgy in the Temple as he describes it here:

      • This is state-imposed child abuse. 
        Where are the people – church and lay leaders – calling in out in public what it is?
        Where are the church and lay leaders who are publicly calling this woman and “mother”  evil and wicked, which is what she is, even if she doesn’t realize it?
        Is the poor little boy to be offered as a sacrifice to modern post-Protestant Gnosticism, which is what this delusional transgender craze really is?
        Are we all just going to sit back and say “I pray for them” but otherwise I won’t try to save this little boy?
        May Christ have mercy on us for standing by and letting this happen. How impotent and pathetic we are. 

        • Michael Bauman says

          FTS, long ago realized that no amount of speaking will do any good and because it does no good, it is no use.

        • Michael Bauman says

          To clarify, since speaking the truth does not change things and make things better, stay silent. The ultimate surrender to the progressive myth of progress.  Just as we have been toldy by some here that “marriage is no more”; we have nothing significant to offer.  
          As Father Alexander alludes to we have submerged our natural prophetic voice. The voice of one crying in the wilderness.  deathtotheworld.com

          • Hieromonk Philip (Vreeland) says

            “I have often regretted having spoken; I have never regretted having kept silent.”
            Saint Arsenius the Great, 4th Century

            • Hieromonk Philip,
              I appreciate your (somewhat platitudinous and out of context here, in my opinion) quote and I respect your position as a hieromonk, but I’m finding it tough to understand how it’s more virtuous to sit back in silence and watch this innocent, defenseless little boy be abused by his mother and the state – irreversibly abused and chemically altered, mind you – as opposed to vocally standing up in the little boy’s defense.
              It’s tantamount to saying that if we’re witnessing a crime or abuse, it’s more virtuous to sit back and do nothing. Really?  Come on. I don’t think so.  

              I don’t think one approach is more virtuous than the other. We may try to tell ourselves that it’s senseless to try to do anything, but I view that as a cowardly cop-out. 

              Similar to in a war, it’s not necessarily more virtuous to sit it out as a pacifist vs fighting for an honorable cause.  Both options are virtuous from an Orthodox theological perspective.
              If I’m missing something, please help identify what piece(s) I’m missing. 

            • Thank you Father Philip,

            • Hieromonk Philip (Vreeland):
              “I have often regretted having spoken; I have never regretted having kept silent.”
              Saint Arsenius the Great, 4th Century

              Correct me if I am wrong, there is no “St. Arsenius the Great”. If you mean the one born in Rome in 354, he is called not Great but ΟΣΙΟΣ (Hosios, Saint, Holy, Sanctified).

              Please provide a link to his quoted words

              St.Paul tells us (not to remain silent but):
              Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. (2 Tim. 4,2)

              St.J.Chrysostom does not advise us to be silent but:
              “What then!” say you: “if one commit fornication, may I not say that fornication is a bad thing, nor at all correct him that is playing the wanton?” Nay, correct him, but not as a foe, nor as an adversary exacting a penalty, but as a physician providing medicines. For neither did Christ say, “stay not him that is sinning,” but “judge not;” that is, be not bitter in pronouncing sentence. (Homily XXIII to Matthew)

              • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arsenius_the_Great
                Interestingly, there is no Greek Wikipedia article on this wonderful saint.

                • Basil et Hieromonk Philip:
                  Yes, there is a Greek Wik. article:
                  and he is not called Great (Μέγας). 
                  The English Wikipedia states:
                  “His contemporaries so admired him as to surname him “the Great”. “
                  The generally accepted traditional Greek ΗΘΙΚΗ ΕΓΚΥΚΛΟΠΑΙΔΕΙΑ (Ethical Encyclopaedia), 1962, under the supervision of the Archbishop of Athens,  says that he is ΟΣΙΟΣ but does not say  MEGAS (Great).  The article was written by Styl. Papadopoulos, a University professor of Theology, and ecclesiastical author (1933–2012).  Mind you I do not insist in this, I am just saying what I have read.
                  More important is to locate his words quoted hereabove, and hopefully this information will be given here.

            • Hieromonk Philip (Vreeland)

              “I have often regretted having spoken; I have never regretted having kept silent.”Saint Arsenius the Great, 4th Century

              But consider St.Chrysostom’s words as well: Silence may be a bad idea sometimes:

              CHRYSOSTOM: a lose tongue is the cause of countless evils… Just as there is no benefit in house, city walls, doors, gates unless guards are placed, who also know when to open and when to close, so too, neither tongue nor mouth is of any avail unless reason is entrusted with the task of closing and opening with precision and understanding, in the knowledge of what must be put out and what kept in… Let us guard our mouth constantly, set reason on it to close it, not for it to be constantly closed but for it to open appropriately in season: there are times when silence is of more value than speech, as likewise speech more than silence… Paul also said, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so as to know how to answer each and every one. (Col 4:6). … Consider that this is the manner by which we converse with Good, by which we offer praise… This is the reason Christ said, “Every idle word that people speak they will give an account of” (Mt 12:36); and Paul, “Let no foul speech issue from your mouth.” (Eph 4:29)There are many ways to destruction through the mouth, such as when someone is obscene, ribald, vainglorious, boastful, like the pharisee, who because he had no door on his mouth, gave vent to everything inside the course of few words…If on the other hand you want to hear of some people perishing through inappropriate silence, I shall show you. “If you have not warned the people,”  Scripture says, remember, “while they will die in their sin, their blood I shall require at your hand.” (Cf Ez 3:20) Another, because no distinction was made, and what was entrusted to him was prostituted: “Do not give what is holy to dogs, no cast your pearls before swine.” (Mt 7.6)… Paul said, Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep (Rom 12.15): if you are capable of nothing else, he says, make this slight contribution to the grief-stricken, grieve with them…. Blessed are those who mourn, because they will be consoled.” Hence the psalmist says, “Set a guard on my mouth, Lord, and a door—saying not simply a door, but adding, ”for encircling” so as to encircle and secure everything.
              Source: http://orthodoxwayoflife.blogspot.com/2019/10/psalm-140-141-with-commentaries.html
              More in PG 55, 432-433

  11. MomofToddler says

    I could be wrong, but I thought I heard that it was originally called “On Social Justice”?

    • Gail Sheppard says

      The name of George’s piece is not the name of the book. The book is called “On Social Justice: St. Basil the Great.” We added a link below.

  12. Dear WR:  Here is the Link to Fr Lynch to heal from the horror afflicting that Greek Orthodox father, child, and the Metropolitan and parish priest who valiantly tried to enlighten the spiritually ill mother and comfort the father…Lord have mercy for sure.  May the mother be enlightened and healed and the child saved!

  13. cynthia curran says

    Well, about 4 years ago, leftist were concern about whites declining life expectancy explaining why poorer whites voted for Trump even Robert Reich believe this. With COVID now blacks are victims again. The left statess blacks die of Covid as a percentage of their population higher than whites because of racism. In four years, the left has ignored the problems of lower income whites and gone back to its the minorities not whites suffering.

  14. Since the outcome of this election for president will be evil whoever wins, the only choice is to not vote. Would you vote for Nero or Diocletian in an imagined election? Which? there is no difference here except evil A or evil B. I’m out.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      RE: “Would you vote for Nero or Diocletian in an imagined election?”

      No, but I would vote from Trump in a real one.

    • “Would you vote for Nero or Diocletian in an imagined election? Which? there is no difference here except evil A or evil B. I’m out.”

      In this scenario, you’d be voting for one of them, thinking yourself making a choice between good and better, if you didn’t have the advantage of hindsight. 

      Whereas, I’d classify Trump vs. Biden as immoral sexual past vs. Disney cartoon villain, who loves evil for the sake of evil, and who thus wants to make sure nobody, not even the nuns of the Little Sisters of the Poor, can escape indirect blood guilt of baby murder when buying state mandated health insurance.


    • Dear Bob,
      If we are voting based on what an office holder does Officially  (rather than judging his heart or his personal behavior), then the clear evil would reside with the pro-abortion up to birth, euthanasia-promoting, anti-religious freedom, anti-Christian, pro-nihilism, anti-free speech Biden/Harris team.

      Trump has protected life from conception to natural death, and  freedom of all religions and protection of the only persecuted religion in this country lately Christianity, freedom of speech by his appointments and decisions.

      This election is a no-brainer for any Christian who cares about the Commandments.

      Do I like the way the teen-male way Trump speaks or acts at times?  No.  He gets his feelings hurt easiiy and pops off immaturely at times. But intentional, unapologetic, rejoiced over evil resides with only the Biden-Harris agenda this election and it clearly is at home there.  Please wake up and vote against evil and for the protection of all persons.

  15. Michael Bauman says

    Re: The silence of the Church on our “right” to worship being violated:
    1. There is no such thing.  The very act of enumerating a “right” means that the state decides. It actually inverts the natural order.
    2. Notice the very root of Protestantism is to protest.  They are going to be better at it. 
    3. The Orthodox Church has always been a a “state” church.  The power behind the throne.  We are bound to be more outwardly amenable to what the state says.
    4. It makes no difference, our worship is ongoing.  Join in. 
    Even Davy Crockett” recognized that when he said, ” Be sure you are right and go ahead”.  Just be prepared to accept the consequences.  “Fool for Christ” anyone? 

  16. ‘The Orthodox Church has always been a a “state” church.’
    Not before Theodosios, it wasn’t.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Brendan, thank you for your correction.  To be more correct, the Orthodox Church has long functioned as a “state” Church interestingly enough even under Stalin.  Certainly in a much greater and more consistent way than the Protestant denominations despite their early “convert the ruler, convert his people” approach in Germany.  
      The main point is that the “protest”.  That is in the spiritual DNA of Protestantism.  It is not in our DNA at all.  The Church tends to take a much more laid back view of the state and, I believe, tends to recognize more fully the ephemeral nature of the state.   
      If the Orthodox planting in this country had been a conscious decision to evangelize rather than a immigration approach forced on the Church, it might be different.  However with that history, we tend not to rock the boat.   Besides, “rights” is a Protestant, Deist thing anyway.   
      I was hit by this yesterday during the ordination of the deacon at St. George: The absolute authority of my bishop, not in general, but in my life was very evident.  Symbolized in the ordination by the “forced” prostration with the hand on the back of the neck of the man being ordained.   We are only free when we bear the yoke of Christ.   That includes persecutions, plagues, etc. 
      For the life of me, I have a really tough time reconciling that with “rights” especially given what I know of the intellectual history of political “rights” which grew out of an conscious attempt to replace the ordering authority of the Christian Church.    

      • “…“rights” is a Protestant, Deist thing”.

        Many atheists like to witter on about “human rights”. Decades ago, in a Moral Philosophy class at Glasgow University, I argued that the notion that there exist natural human rights which inalienably belong to all people by virtue of their humanity is palpable nonsense. With the possible exception of the right to die (the assurance of which cannot be taken from us), all such “rights” are nothing more than legal fictions or customary privileges granted to members and associates of particular societies by those societies; and that such privileges (once granted) may be amended, extended, restricted or revoked as said societies see fit.

        As irrefutable evidence of the revocability of the so-called “right to life” by a society, what better example could then be given than the UK Abortion Act of 1967? Nowadays the Reproductive Health Act of Governor Cuomo’s New York would offer even more gruesome support to my argument. However I was (as I recall) in a minority of one on this matter.

        Funnily enough, I was myself an atheist at the time; but (having already seen a perfect male aborted foetus (NO! CHILD!) pickled in a jar in a Police Museum, I was already on the way to realising the utter bankruptcy of atheism and to my eventual baptism in the Orthodox Church.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          For me is was the room in a county hospital where I was installing terminals all those years ago and I said, “What about this room? Do you need a terminal here?” It was a small little room, barely bigger than a supply room with the drapes pulled and a single rocking chair.

          “Oh, no, we don’t need a terminal here. This is where the babies die.”

          “What??? What do you mean this is where the babies die?”

          “This is where we take the aborted babies who are alive. One of the nurses will rock them until they die.”

        • Saint Paisuis the New said that we don’t have rights, only responsibilities. I agree with him.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Brenden, a great example of my point.  

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

         “Besides, “rights” is a Protestant, Deist thing anyway.”
        And a lawyer thing. That’s how I made my living! 

        • Michael Bauman says

          Tim, and I am sure you did it honorably and in a rights based society it is necessary and proper.   Even so for the Church to be reduced to simply a legal entity with all the control being given to the state is not seemly.
          Historically the alternative is a monarchy with a, at least, a favored Church or a tyranny of some sort is the alternative. 
          The Church herself is monarchical. 

  17. Basil et Hieromonk Philip:
    Yes, there is a Greek Wik. article:
    and he is not called Great (Μέγας). 
    The English Wikipedia states:
    “His contemporaries so admired him as to surname him “the Great”. “
    The generally accepted traditional Greek ΗΘΙΚΗ ΕΓΚΥΚΛΟΠΑΙΔΕΙΑ (Ethical Encyclopaedia), 1962, under the supervision of the Archbishop of Athens,  says that he is ΟΣΙΟΣ but does not say  MEGAS (Great).  The article was written by Styl. Papadopoulos, a University professor of Theology, and ecclesiastical author (1933–2012).  Mind you I do not insist in this, I am just saying what I have read.
    More important is to locate his words quoted hereabove, and hopefully this information will be given here.

    • Hieromonk Philip (Vreeland) says

      Available through a Google or Chrome search under Saint Arsenius the Great:
       https:/www.oca.org/saints/lives/2019/05/08/101328-venerable arsenius-the great
      Within that article can be found the quotation in question translated thusly:
      ”I have often regretted the words I have spoken, but I have never regretted my silence.”

  18. Hieromonk Philip (Vreeland) says

    Available through a Google or Chrome search under Saint Arsenius the Great:
     https:/www.oca.org/saints/Lives/2019/05/08/101328-venerable arsenius-the great
    Within that article can be found the quotation in question translated thusly:
    ”I have often regretted the words I have spoken, but I have never regretted my silence.”

  19. Michael Bauman says

    For some reason the speak or stay silent question reminds me of Man for All Seasons and Sir Thomas More (St. Thomas to the Catholics) martyred by Henry VIII. 
    When the king demanded support for himself as head of the Church of England, Thomas More remained silent rely on the principle of English law that “silence means consent”.   When that does not work Paul Scofield, as Thomas More, gives one of the most glorious speaches in his defense ever put on film.
    So, what are we to do?  All too often silence  is taken as consent.  Speaking from a place of Truth is always better.  Speaking fivolously strictly from one’s own opinion only adds to confusion.  Speaking the truth from the well of Holy Tradition manifests freedom. The trick is to know the difference.

    • Very wisely said Michael, bravo!

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      More’s record is mixed; his agents hunted down Tyndale (though Tydale was killed after More was), and wikipedia notes this:
      “After Richard Bayfield was also executed for distributing Tyndale’s Bibles, More commented that he was “well and worthely burned”.
      Of course, Tyndale’s translation of the Bible is the main underlayment of the Authorized Version, whose progeny are widely used by Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox.
      One of the things I always liked about the Orthodox is that they did little burning.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Timor, the only lesson I draw from Thomas More is simply on the efficacy of staying silent vs speaking out. His record there is decidedly mixed as well. The English have a decidedly cruel history in  dealing with “heretics” wheather they be Protestant or Catholic.  On the whole I have tended to come down on the side of speaking out  and be prepared to accept the consequences because being silent did nothing positive.
        In the end I rather think Thomas More was an English politician and bureaucrat who got on the wrong side of his earthly King and lost.  At least he showed some manly courage.  Even if his argument in support of the Pope was just as theologically wrong as Henry’s in opposition.  It still makes great theater.  Scofield’s performance was a master work of nuance, power and pathos. 
        More is not a saint IMO.  He fell into the trap that T. S. Eliot had Becket face in Murder in the Cathedral: to do the right deed for the wrong reason.  More came out on the wrong end of that temptation.  More did not really serve God and glorify Him. More served the Pope and glorified himself.  Not an adequate substitute any more than any Orthodox putting Patriarch or Bishop above God and the Church.
        It is a powerful and nuanced temptation.  This kind comes out only by prayer and fasting.

      • anonimus per Scorilo says

        “One of the things I always liked about the Orthodox is that they did little burning.”

        The Old Believers would beg to differ

        • Michael Bauman says

          The treatment of the Old Believers is reprehensible but recognise Timor said “little burning”.  Compared to RC and Protestant rulers all over Europe and even in the various colonies, it is “little”.  
          All of which helped pave the way for the “humanism” that is devouring us today.  

        • A little is not a lot. In any case, as far as I am aware,
          there was no Orthodox Torquemada; or Matthew Hopkins either.

          • Michael Bauman says

            But Kamala Harris is likely to become the US Torquemada if she and Joe are elected. 

        • George Michalopulos says

          ApS, you’re Russophobia clouds your history.  Yes, there were burnings of some of the Old Believers, particularly their leaders.  One of whom, St Avvakum, told Tsar Theodore that he “saw a vision of his father [the late Tsar Alexis] burning in hell”.  
          Them’s fighting words in the Middle Ages and would get you a one-way ticket to the chopping block.  
          Violence broke out, just as it did in the Reformation in Central/Western Europe.  Even Martin Luther was forced to admit that things had gotten so out of hand that he told the German Junkers that nothing was off-limits as to what it would take to put down the various revolts.
          I wonder what we are going to say in a hundred years time when the Feds finally do what is necessary to prevent further mayhem?  Right now, I’d dare say that a growing majority of normies are more than willing to shoot first, ask questions later if that what it takes to restore order to Portland (or now, Kenosha). 

          • anonimus per Scorilo says

            My wife has some old-believer ancestors, so Avvakum’s example was the first that came to mind. The Byzantines did also their fair share of burning at stake
            and one can argue that the impaling done by some monastery-building Romanians princes is much more gruesome. The key mistake people who point the finger at the barbarian practices of the people who lived in the middle ages is to judge them by today’s standards. Same mistake as those who take down statues of slave-owners.
            And by the way, I do not think your “Russophobia” label is precise. Rather, much like Captain America :-), I hate bullies. And this includes bully empires and entities who step on smaller peoples like on ants, but whenever somebody does a tiny injustice to them scream to high heaven and play Mother Theresa. There are many historical instances when this applies to the Byzantines/EP and the Austro-Hungarians as well.

            • “The Byzantines did also their fair share of burning at stake”
              If “fair share” means your one example.
              “In 1118 the emperor Alexius had Basil burned at the stake, the only example of this in Byzantine history.”
                There’s also another two in all of Russian history.  There’s so few, because they weren’t really about burning heretics for being heretics, but the removal of political threats, who happened to be heretics, with heresies that supported their resistance to the state. 

              • anonimus per Scorilo says

                It is hard to believe this was the only byzantine burning.
                The byzantine legal system was a continuation of roman law, and usually there was a codex that governed this kind of executions, especially when it concerned roman (byzantine) citizens. I do not think for example crucifixions and impalements of roman citizens was allowed. (this is why St. Paul was beheaded, and not crucified like St. Peter or St. Andrew)
                The codex is probably lost, but since it existed and allowed at least one execution, it is rather unlikely that it was used only once.