Beyond the Pale

Just when you think it can’t any worse in Orthodoxy, it does.  Not content with aiding and abetting the slow-motion martyrdom of  Metropolitan Onuphriy, Patriarch Bartholomew now is making the situation for the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church infinitely worse.

The world is in bad shape right now —really bad shape.  You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out.  What it doesn’t need is for religious leaders to add fuel to the fire.  But that’s exactly what Bartholomew did. 

According to Orthodox Times, Bartholomew stated that he thinks that several Ukrainian bishops should be imprisoned. -patriarch-bartholomew-approves-criminal-cases-against-uoc-hierarchs

Wow.  How’s that for a kick in the head?  With patriarchs like this, who needs Nero?  What’s next?  Herding Ukrainian Christians into prison? 

For years now, I’ve tried to be as charitable as I could to this man.  After all, I’ve been to Istanbul and seen the constraints that he has had to live under.  Truth be told, Christians in Istanbul have been dealt bad hands for well over 500 years and they’ve tried to make the best of it.

With Bartholomew, however, no matter how bad it gets, he manages to make it worse.  Geopolitically, he’s crossed one red line after another. 

But this latest stunt is a bridge too far.

What else is left?  Apostasy?  An open avowal of homosexual marriage, abortion-on-demand, or priestesses?

I am nothing but a layman but I have no hesitation in demanding that our bishops step to the fore and immediately convene a council.  If they don’t, then the fissures that presently exist within Orthodoxy will harden into permanent chasms.  Even worse, schisms will break out within the local Churches, especially the Churches of Greece, Cyprus, and even within Constantinople.  

Gentlemen, the ball  is in your court.  You will have to answer to the verdict of history.  But there’s also a final verdict you’re going to have to answer to.  I’d really be worried about that one.     




  1. Hey George, I sent you and email with (hopefully the right email address) with an Open Letter to the AOB attached. Please feel free to add this in there as well.

    Though this might be more suited for a letter titled An Open Letter to the Patriarchs as my letter deals with more domestic Orthodox issues here in the U.S.

    At the end of the day the Ukrainian war is fading into memory. The aid is drying up, the weapons are drying up, the media is leaving & media coverage is dwindling. They have found their new zeitgeist: Israel & Iran.

    What does this mean for Black Bart? It means that he’s about to get the Zelensky treatment. Remember that iconic picture of Z from the NATO summit standing alone? That’s Bart. But, what does an injured animal do when it’s backed into a corner? It fights like Hell. That’s what we are seeing with Ukraine/Z/Bart. The Ukrainian Rada is voting tomorrow to outright and completely ban the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. I dont want to be a pessimist but I can almost guarantee it will pass.

    What will happen after that?

  2. George, evil-minded men (and women) tend to think, and do evil things! There’s no getting around that. We just need to pray for them, and the world.

  3. When you “lost it”, you lost it, no other explanation needed.When your mind is wacked out thats it, nothing can be done.

  4. Joseph Lipper says

    George, individual persons who have committed crimes of sedition against the state should be tried and prosecuted individually. That’s just in keeping with Ukraine’s laws, whether these are good laws or not.

    The Ukraine’s parliament is trying to pass a law to ban the UOC, which doesn’t make any sense, certainly not from the perspective of religious freedom. So it is much better to prosecute individuals rather than the UOC as an institution. In that way, I believe Patriarch Bartholomew is advocating the protection of both the religious freedom in Ukraine and the UOC.

    • Sedition? Are you serious, Joseph?

    • Fr. Roman Krassovsky says

      Isn’t this the same idea that Caiaphas expressed: “that it was expedient that one man should die for the people”?

      • Joseph seems ever the man to follow a precedent.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        The Gospel says that Caiaphas, as High Priest, was prophesying “not on his own” when he said that.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Joseph, regarding your historical analysis of Basil II and the intraparty rivalries of his times, especially regarding Metropolitan Isidore, you are largely correct. However, throughout history heresy and political infighting often go hand-in-hand. One does not invalidate the other, indeed, it often exacerbates it.

          Basil II had no way of knowing that by arresting Isidore it would cause a rupture as regards to Cpole. Cpole however probably did realize that the union with the West (Ferrara-Florence) would have repercussions with the rest of Orthodoxy.

          Regardless, to suggest that Basil’s actions were illegitimate or less than pure doesn’t hold water as history has confirmed his actions, i.e. declaring autocephaly.

  5. Joseph Lipper says

    George, please correct me if I am wrong, but I believe sedition is exactly what these bishops are being prosecuted over.

    Personally, I don’t have any opinion over whether or not any of these bishops actually did commit sedition against the Ukrainian state. I don’t really know. However, it does make more sense to me to prosecute individual acts of sedition, if it can be proven, rather than to ban the UOC.

    • Maybe you could give us an example of that. As far as I know, they’ve just supported the Church.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        “A Kyiv court ordered a leading priest [Metropolitan Pavel] to be put under house arrest Saturday after Ukraine’s top security agency said he was suspected of justifying Russian aggression, a criminal offense”.

        So the accusation made here against Metropolitan Pavel is sedition.

        • Like I said, “As far as I know, they’ve just supported the Church.”

          • George Michalopulos says

            Joseph, leaving aside the speciousness of the charge against Metropolitan Pavel (by a criminal, fascist regime mind you), I would ask you to contemplate this scenario: the Dept of Justice prosecuting a Muslim imam because his congregation raised money for the Gazans.

            Or a GOA priest preaching about the illegal occupation of the northern third of Cyprus.

            In other words, it ain’t gonna happen.

            What the Ukronazis don’t understand (and frankly will never understand) is that the majority of the Ukrainian Orthodox people are loyal to the autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is headed by Onuphriy, the Metropolitan of Kiev.

            • Joseph Lipper says

              George, I believe sedition laws that curtail freedom of speech are typically enacted during wartime. So, if that Muslim imam in your example was in the state of Israel, yes, he would definitely be arrested. If that GOA priest was in Turkish-occupied Cyprus preaching against the occupation, well he would probably be arrested also.

              In the U.S., our constitution allows for a “constitutional dictatorship” when war is declared. For example, Abraham Lincoln had arrested Confederate sympathizers during the Civil War, and perhaps their only “crime” was being too vocal about their sympathies.

              • Joseph, your quite mistaken (not about Lincoln however). Obama’s pastor (I can’t remember his name) preached from the pulpit: “God DAMN America! It’s in the Bible!” Nobody arrested that odious man, nor should they have.

                In order to justify the Ukrofascist regime, you have to engage in special pleading.

            • Solidarity Priest says

              Oh, they understand, George. That’s why they have to terrorize the Ukrainian Orthodox majority into submission. It’s the same strategy the Croatian fascists used towards the Orthodox Serbs living in their state during WW2. Kill one third, drive one third out, and convert the remaining third. I predict that if Zelensky doesn’t move fast enough for them, that they will kill him and of course make it look like Putin did it.
              I suppose if I didn’t actually speak Russian and Ukrainian, if I hadn’t lived among and ministered to recent arrivals from those lands, that I might believe the spin our media is trying to put on the situation. In my parish, many of the old boomers like myself tended to believe our media. Nobody in their fifties or younger does. And even the old timers condemn the persecution of Metropolitan Onufry and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

          • Are there really people who consider PBS to be a reliable news source?

            • I guess so. I’m not one of them.

            • Joseph Lipper says

              It’s more about how even PBS was reporting on this. You could really pick your source on that particular story, because they pretty much all said the same thing, that he was arrested for suspicion of sedition against the Ukrainian state. The Russian News Agency, TASS, additionally reported that he was “charged with inciting interfaith hatred and justifying Russia’s actions in Ukraine”.

              There’s also the story about Metropolitan Jonathon of Tulchin being sentenced to five years of prison. The charges against him? Again, it’s sedition:

              Met. Jonathan was found guilty of crimes under four articles of the criminal code:

              -justification, recognition as lawful, denial of the armed aggression of the Russian
              Federation against Ukraine, glorification of its participants

              -actions aimed at forcibly changing or overthrowing the constitutional order or seizing
              state power

              -encroachment on the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine, distribution of
              materials calling for changing the borders of the territory and state border of Ukraine

              -violation of equal rights of citizens depending on their race, nationality, regional
              affiliation, religious beliefs, disability, and other grounds

              The source?

              • Nancy in Alberta says

                Reminds me of PM Trudeau and the Freedom Rally, as well as the Jan 6 hoopla at the Capital.

              • m. Cornelia says

                Joseph, nice to see you citing–although I’m amazed at the slippery way you do it, as though the website were posting these accusations as true, and not simply a statement from the Kiev parliament. But I would strongly suggest that you read more about the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia on If you have eyes to see, you will understand how the present Ukrainian regime is simply using templates from the soviet persecutions against the Orthodox Church. For example, here is a citation from an article entitled, “The Trial of Patriarch Tikhon”:
                “Nevertheless, the Soviet regime arrested the Patriarch and organized demonstrations among the benighted masses and riffraff of the populace for the adoption everywhere of resolutions demanding the death sentence for the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church. Knowing the Soviet regime’s methods of “influencing” the populace (even to the point of torturing children before their parents’ very eyes), it is no surprise that such “resolutions” began to appear everywhere, in great numbers.
                “It is sufficient to cite a single example of such a negative and abominable ‘resolution” to understand the full vileness of the agitation provoked by the government against the imprisoned Patriarch. Thus, for example, such a ‘resolution,’ attributed to the peasants of the Zagarskaya Administrative Region (province not indicated), was published in the News of the VTsIK [VTsIK, or Vserossiiskii Tsentral’niy Ispolnitel’niy Komitet, was the All-Russian Central Executive Committee–trans.] (#87 [1824], dated 21 April 1923): ‘We, non-partisan peasants of the Zagarskaya Administrative Region, having learned that Patriarch Tikhon is to be tried in court in the near future, declare that he is a blood-sucker in a riassa, a counter-Revolutionary and a cannibal. We demand of the Central Soviet authorities that they inflict upon the blood-sucker Patriarch Tikhon a stern and pitiless measure of punishment.’

                “After a series of such ‘demands from the populace,’ there appeared in the News of the VTsIK (#90 [1827], dated 25 April 1923) the following remark: ‘Mass resolutions of the clergy denouncing the Patriarch even before trial as both a traitor to the Church and a counter-Revolutionary criminal, serve as the best answer to the White Guard curs.’ The well-known Communist Krylenko, assigned to prosecute the case of Patriarch Tikhon, addressing the representatives of provincial organizations gathered in Moscow to submit the ‘resolutions’ of those organizations demanding that the death sentence be imposed upon the Patriarch, said to those assembled: ‘The fate of citizen Tikhon is in our hands, and you can rest assured that we will not spare this representative of the classes which, over the course of centuries, have oppressed the Russian people, and which to this time have not abandoned their intention to wage war on the sovereign will of the Russian proletariat. The Soviet government has reached the firm decision to respond to these attempts with the most energetic reprisal. It will be pitiless and will show leniency to no one'” (
                In other words, the holy Patriarch Tikhon was accused of sedition. What’s the problem? you say. After all, the soviet government was simply fighting against counter-revolutionaries. They are the enemies, hindering the march of the bright communist future. A legitimate accusation. Which side would you be on if this were happening in our country?

                • m. Cornelia: “If you [Joseph] have eyes to see, you will understand how the present Ukrainian regime is simply using templates from the soviet persecutions against the Orthodox Church.”

                  With respect, Mother, I think the problem here
                  is not so much the eyes with which Joseph has to see
                  but the ideological blinkers with which he constrains them.

                • Joseph Lipper says

                  m. Cornelia,

                  My point is only that Metropolitans Jonathon and Pavel were being charged with sedition, and this was widely reported from many news sources, such as PBS and Orthochristian. As I’ve stated before, I don’t have any opinion on whether or not the charges are valid. I don’t really know.

                  Saint Tikhon, one of my favorite saints, was indeed falsely accused of sedition. He forbade his clergy from blessing and supporting the white armies. He refused to take sides. He took an apolitical stance, and when the Bolsheviks took control of the government, he considered them to be the legitimate authority. He openly declared that he was not the enemy of the Soviets, even though the Soviets declared him as public enemy number one. Clearly, he was not guilty of sedition.

                  I’m a big fan of However, I do note that the owner of that website, Metropolitan Tikhon (Shevkunov), is now supposed to be the ROC bishop of Crimea. His appointment to that see is a slight against Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev, since even after the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, it was supposed to remain the jurisdiction of the UOC under Metropolitan Onuphry.

    • And when it is banned we shall see if your Patriach strenuously objects. Like he objected to the eviction from the Lavra…or not. Ukrainian law and all that.

    • “…sedition is exactly what these bishops are being prosecuted over. ”

      Like the early Christians who would not offer sacrifices to Emperors?

      • Fr. Peter Andronache says

        I love this comment

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Brendan, I am reminded of a story from St. Sophrony of Essex. He said:

        “At the time of the ancient persecutions, a group of Christians were being led to martyrdom. On the way, one of them tore up the Emperor’s decree for their arrest. The Church did not canonise him as a saint, although he was martyred, because his action was political. So our actions must not serve any political purpose. There is no room for politics in the Gospel, as politics seeks authority, whereas the Gospel preaches love, sacrifice, self-emptying and the Cross.”
        (from the 2015 English translation of I Know A Man in Christ, page 295)

        In this story, he points out a distinction between political martyrs for political causes, and martyrs for the sake of the Gospel of Christ. Perhaps sometimes it’s a very fine line. However, typically in the lives of the saints, we can read about how they go through great lengths to explain their voluntary martyrdom as having no political basis. They willingly and joyfully accept the pagan law that puts them to death, but they also make it clear that their voluntary death is for the sake of Christ and not for any seditious political cause.

        The Epistle to Diognetus describes the apolitical nature of the early Christians as such:

        “They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry, as do all [others]; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death, and restored to life. They are poor, yet make many rich; they are in lack of all things, and yet abound in all; they are dishonoured, and yet in their very dishonour are glorified. They are evil spoken of, and yet are justified; they are reviled, and bless; they are insulted, and repay the insult with honour; they do good, yet are punished as evil-doers. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners, and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred.”

  6. I have an Anglo-Catholic (High-Church Anglican) priest and former colleague for whom I have a great deal of familiarity and admiration. This pious priest, who went to the best Episcopal seminary in the U.S., and was further trained and ordained by Michael Ramsay, the 100th Archbishop of Canterbury, was himself bishop material, in my estimation. He fought against the innovations of women priests and gay marriages in the Episcopal Church in California and paid a price for it. When our small continuing Anglican denomination made a bid to join the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter (a personal diocese for former Anglicans established by Pope Benedict XVI) my friend’s parish expelled him and put him through legal purgatory. That was ten years ago, but the battle scars remain on him and his family to this day. He continues to attend church services, but his family has been so wounded that they have distanced themselves from church affiliation altogether.

    Years have passed and the aging priest and family have moved across country. He and they remain in limbo. Since seminary, my friend has held the history and iconography of the Orthodox Church near to his heart. Conversion to Orthodoxy would be a logical choice for him, if not a personal submission to Catholicism, whose traditions (sans pope) have been more his custom throughout his lifetime. What is the sticking point, you ask? I have my own doubts about his personal inability to make the transition. Be that as it may, he says that it is Pope Francis who repels him from the R.C. Church; and he says it is the disunity in the Orthodox prelature that makes him loathe to convert to Orthodoxy.

    This post of George’s today reminded me of my priest friend and makes me wonder how many dear Protestant souls or unchurched seekers eager to swim the Tiber – or preferably the Bosporus – have been put off by the outrageous betrayals perpetrated on Christendom by the likes of Francis and Bartholomew.

    • Frankly, Francis and Bartholomew are burning themselves out. They’re doing it to themselves and God is allowing it. They are showing the world what frauds they are.

      • The implications of Bart being a fraud have no real meaningful impact on Orthodoxy.

        However, Francis being a fraud have catastrophic.

        Why? Because Bart is just a bishop in Istanbul, sure he’s the Ecumenical Patriarch, but, he has no special powers or anything like that. If he does/says something heretical it has no bearing on the Orthodox Faith because he isn’t infallible.

        Francis on the other hand operates in a communion where he, the Bishop of Rome, is infallible so the repercussions of him being a fraud are much more severe as that affects the entire belief system of Roman Catholicism.

        In Orthodoxy we laity can and do fight back…in Roman Catholicism there is no avenue for that to happen and Francis has stacked the deck of cardinals to where it won’t happen on that level either.

        • The bishops need to do something and as soon as Moscow can call another meeting like they did in 2017, they’ll address it.

      • Yep – prayers all around are definitely needed, but you gotta wonder about anyone who still pays attention to these clowns and to their sycophantic supporters.

      • I once asked a local parish priest in my area why members of the Orthodox clergy don’t speak up and defend the Church when there are issues which clearly need to be addressed.

        The response was brief but to the point.

        “Because they have dirt on each other.”

        In situations like this, what can we do?

        • George Michalopulos says

          Sad, but true.

          “The problem is that it’s not possible for bad actors to keep on sweeping their dirt under the rug. Eventually it comes out”. –Monomakhos.

    • Be that as it may, he says that it is Pope Francis who repels him from the R.C. Church; and he says it is the disunity in the Orthodox prelature that makes him loathe to convert to Orthodoxy.

      No offence to your friend but Anglicanism combines the worst of both of those.

      • Petros, why do you consider it needful to state the obvious? My friend is more aware than you of that which you speak. Ergo, his desire to continue his journey from Anglicanism to the Ancient Church.

        • Sorry for the late reply Lawrence (hopefully you see this)

          I don’t mean to be disingenuous to your friend, ironically I am in a very similar situation with a girl I have been talking to who is also Anglo-Catholic.

          I didn’t realize your friend was still seeking Orthodoxy, it seemed as though he had given up all together based off of what you wrote.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Lawrence, that too, is my concern. At least initially.

      Allow me to explain: there is a paradox going on presently throughout the world. Even though Bartholomew and the State Dept are doing their dead-level best to discredit Orthodoxy, what with the war in the Ukraine and the seeming “divisions” between the “nationalist” Orthodox Churches, the fact remains that there is an increased awareness of Orthodoxy qua Orthodoxy.

      Even the so-called divisions based on nationality are not as destructive of conversion as many believe. Or hope to believe. This last sentence is directed to the many traditionalist Catholic apologists out there who are beating this drum: “I’d like to look into Orthodoxy but I can’t because I’m not Bulbanian and the only church nearby is Bulbanian”.

      Surprisingly, that last argument is not having as much purchase as many of us fear (or hope).

      So what’s my answer: the Orthodox Church is and always has been local and not supranational. The reason the nearest church to you is Bulgarian/Serbian/Albanian/etc. is because the land from which those people’s ancestors emigrated from was Orthodox and has been for centuries. Each of those lands had their own patriarchs (popes if you will). And each of those peoples churches are in direct communion with every other local/regional/national Orthodox Church. And that includes their theology, canons and rubrics.

      And all this without a pope. That is an astonishing accomplishment if you ask me.

    • “he says it is the disunity in the Orthodox prelature that makes him loathe to convert to Orthodoxy”

      Problem is, it’s sort of always been this way, and it always will be. Christ did not promise His Church paradise on earth — no, He promised it battles and scars and scrapes, but still, He gave us the ability to be with Him, to see Him, to eat of His Body and Blood, and to have true life in Him…. even in the midst of all the battles and scrapes. Metropolitan Onuphriy in Ukraine is a living image of this reality right now, as are the Orthodox priests and bishops in Palestine (such as Abp Alexios of Tiberias in Gaza — see recent article on him).

      The trap that I see so many potential protestant converts fall into is that they demand a completely unrealistic (and unachievable) level of “prettiness” or “perfection” in the Church before they say that they’d deign to join her. Sorry, but that’s just not reality.

      Life is messy, our loved ones are messy, we ourselves are messy (I am very messy), and sometimes we have to embrace and lean into that messiness rather than demand that they meet a certain level of acceptability in our eyes (for our own comfort), before we’d dare be with them. Our Church is no different.

      We in North America have been praying for Orthodox unity in North America for decades – it has not happened yet, for a myriad of reasons, even though it is God’s will that it happens – but still, life in Christ and in the Church is there for us to touch, feel, and taste. Even without that outward level of “prettiness” or “acceptability.”

      • Yeah, but then there are the rest of us cradle Orthodox and long time converts who just want to preserve the Church as is. If a bishop knows how to play nice with his brother bishops and refrains from trying to hitch us up to schismatics and heretics, that’s all we expect. Over the last 30 years, bishops have come and gone and only ONE is a complete and utter apostate, IMO. If we could reduce that number by the same amount, I would be just fine with our messy Church.

        • Bingo! When all is said and done, it comes down to Bartholomew and his unconscionable betrayal of the Church and the Church’s Faith. The cancer of the Phanar metastasized in him and he has spread it to his lieutenant bishops, especially Elpidophoros. How can one embrace a Church with such charlatans in high places?

          The Ukrainian Rada voted to ban the Ukrainian Orthodox Church today, cutting off the spiritual mother of the nation and kicking to the curb seven out of ten Ukrainian believers. Who’s to blame? Bart and his phony tomos and that phony disciple Epiphony are to blame for this insidious shell game. With Bart’s tacit support, the Rada has now given carte blanche to the persecutors and iconoclasts to pillage and ransack Ukraine’s true Church. Their sufferings have only just begun.

          You can’t expect any American seeker who is aware of what is going on in the mother territory of Orthodoxy to be attracted to a religion that finds itself in the midst of a schism on par with the big one that culminated in the eleventh century. This is especially true in my friend’s case. If he were to tell the whole story of the injustices that he and has family suffered in the church and courts of Los Angeles it would make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

          • Right?!!!

          • George Michalopulos says

            Lawrence, I can’t disagree with you. What Bartholomew has unleashed in the Ukraine is simply unconscionable. The arrest of these seven bishops is merely the latest lash of the whip (with more to come).

            That being said, I do feel that the Holy Spirit is at work, protecting –and augmenting–His Church.

          • You are right And yes, I have told seekers in the past year or two, not to look into Orthodoxy, it be better for them to remain as they are and wait.
            Now I’m a bit perplexed why this priest would have legal troubles after being expelled. Isn’t it equivalent to being fired from a job for not following company policy?
            Anyhow, I’m not a docile peacenik as others here. With Ukraine, I believe the government needs to bend to the will of the Church (only UOC is the church) and not the other way around. I’m disgusted that UOC believers in the military are not abandoning their military posts and not turning their guns on the government. A great number of the populace of Ukraine are ethnic Russians. , I know as a Greek if any Greek government began persecuting Cypriots or Pontic Greeks or Arvanites I would be inciting violence against those oppressors whether in Greece or abroad. I would have no sympathy on any Orthodox serving such a government. Just as I turned on them when they allowed the United Snakes to use airfields to bomb Serbia. I have 2 relatives and 1 acquaintance that works for NATO and they know I will lose no sleep if NATO is defeated and they lose their lives in the process. Two can play that game. And this is also why I curse, mock and ridicule ALL Phanarites bishop, monks and laity, from my parish priest who tows the party line to my ignorant parents who get their “truth” from Greek satellite news.

            • RE: “Anyhow, I’m not a docile peacenik as others here.”

              Looks like you don’t read the blog all that much!

            • LOL, most of us are the polar opposite of a docile peacenik! This blog hosts op-eds, essays, and comments from the sharpest minds in Orthodoxy from around the globe. That’s the least likely phrase anyone would ever use to describe us.

            • Dear Kosta, my Anglican priest (pastor, minister) friend had a good working relationship with his vestry (parish council). They were united in their desire to be joined with the Catholic ordinariate for Anglican parishes on the journey. The diocese decided to remain obscure continuing Anglicans.

              There was a small band of recalcitrants in the parish who were dead set on retaining their historical real estate. These few rascals harassed the priest and took him and the parish council to court. The legal question was, “Who owns and controls the property?” The rector (ruling priest) and the vestry (council) OR the diocese (bishop and standing committee). The obvious answer is the former, but the courts ultimately came down on the side of the latter…after years and years and thousands of dollars spent on lawyers.

              I appreciate your words of caution as to whether my friend should now “sell all”, as it were, and join us Orthodox, as I did. The home team here seems to say that it is a foregone conclusion that he should indeed join up. His salvation may be on the line. All other things being equal, I agree with them. Nevertheless, reason alone is not a sufficient motivator in a situation such as my friend’s, fraught as it is with the trauma that has been his lot for the last ten years and considering the fact that he is now in his late seventies. Wisdom tempered with empathy is the order of the day, as you have implied.

              I’ll not respond to the rest of your comment.

            • You are right And yes, I have told seekers in the past year or two, not to look into Orthodoxy

              Why would you turn people away from Orthodoxy who are seeking the Truth?

              Just because there is scandal in the Church? There always has been and always will be till Christ comes.

              People have a chamce to leave the error that they are currently in to seek out Orthodoxy and you tell them to turn away? That is something you will have to answer to God for.

              it be better for them to remain as they are and wait.

              How is it ever virtuous to remain in error?

              I very much recommend you refrain from telling people to look into Orthodoxy, Kosta

              • That’s the question I have, Kosta. If the Church is the legitimate path toward salvation (and we know it is) why would you steer people the other way toward perdition?

                This is so wrong on so many levels.

                I’d recommend telling people you’re the wrong person to ask. Because you ARE the wrong person to ask.

    • Tell your friend to come on over to ROCOR. 😇

    • Those seekers who desire to be with Christ but are “put-off” by the EP might remember that corruption and heresy have been with us from the beginning. In the days of Saint Gregory most Bishops were corrupt, Arianism flourished, and Christians were forced out of their temples into home chapels. Through the preaching and courage of Saint Gregory heresy was rooted out, the Body was restored in the temples and the love of Truth prevailed.

      Today’s seekers need courage and humility… and so do we. Temptations are growing with confusion and betrayals, perhaps even a false union. Thanks to God we have the Saints to guide us, and, we are likely entering an age where new Confessors of the Church will be revealed. Being a Christian in the day of Saint Gregory and today is about the identity of Christ and enduring everything for Truth. Rejoice and confess the faith, seekers welcome.

      • That’s like saying our house has had termites for the last 30 years and it’s got holes all over the floor boards which my poor children keep falling though, but gee, it was grandma’s house and she made so may great meals here so we’re going to stay.

        Ella, my dear, that’s a ridiculous argument. And for those of us who don’t play “church” on-line, via a charlatan officially condemned by the bishops, it is completely unacceptable.


        See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic (universal) Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid. The Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans

        • My sincere apologies if what I wrote was confusing. For clarity, my point was that through trials confessors are made such as Saint Gregory and those like Met. Onouphry today who is undergoing great struggles for the Church.

  7. Pretty interesting article from Helleniscope:

    Met. Epiphanius of Ukraine Is Isolated By Other Orthodox Leaders

    Bartholomew is very much aware that the rest of the Churches will not be accepting Epiphony or the OCU. Even Archbishop Irenomios of Athens admits that, he stated that he would not be inviting Epiphony to the recent theological meeting in Athens because no other autocephalous Church would have showed up. He also stated that he knew it would cause division within the Church of Greece, many clergy/laity where not, and are still not, happy with the OCU. Remember the shouts of “anaxios” Irenomios received.

    If they are not willing to accept the OCU, why would they even remotely accept union with Rome? They have rejected the OCU & by extension have rejected Bartholomew.

    • Because he doesn’t feel he needs anyone’s permission. Not the bishops and not the Church. He will do this. We are going to have say good-bye to Bartholomew. We have no choice.

      Now if I were a Greek, I would rather take care of this now rather than be thrown out with the bathwater. Because that’s what’s going to happen within 18 months from now if they don’t change course. (Maybe sooner depending upon what Turkey does.) They won’t want to follow him but nether will they be able to remain because the rest of us will already be gone.

      They’re going to have to choose. Better to be the commander of your own ship than go down on a sinking one. They need to find something or someone else to rally around. They should do what I said and capitalize of the “first among equals” thing and rebuild THE Ancient Church in Greece. Make it magnificent like Hagia Sophia only better. Use the Crown Prince of Greece to rally around.

      And STAY IN THE CHURCH with the rest of us. We’re their home.

      When Bartholomew passes, let the whole idea of an ecumenical patriarchate pass with him. It’s long since served it’s purpose. Turn the whole thing into the Halki seminary and allow God to determine what to do with it next. He may just decide to tear it down. When they pullup the carpet in front of the throne they may just see that tile with the Freemason symbol on it that some tour guide caught when they were doing some maintenance. I wouldn’t have believed it, necessarily, until one of our own viewers sent pictures to us, as well. Clearly, different pictures on a different day. Photoshopped??? Who knows.

  8. It looks like the Ukrainian Rada has voted to officially ban the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, by a very large margin. Only 15 voted against it. Lord Have Mercy.

    Can’t wait to see the mental gymnastics that Joseph Lipper has do in order to justify this….

    “By banning the UOC, it’s actually helping them.”
    – Joseph, probably

    More blood, violence and schism that Black Bart now has on his hands.

    • Joseph Lipper says

      Petros, as I have pointed out above, I believe that banning the UOC is a bad idea.

      • And if your Patriarch, the ‘champion of religious freedom,’ remains silent in the face of the outlawing the UOC, as he did in the face of its previous persecution, the seizure of its temples, their eviction from ‘state property,’ the violence against its members…?

        If his historical behavior is any guide, we have every reason to expect a silence for which there can be no excuse.

        • Joseph Lipper says

          The Ukrainian government simply wants a fully independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church. They asked Patriarch Bartholomew to create one with a formal request sent to him in 2016, and he considered that request, eventually granting the requested autocephaly in 2019.

          So what else can he do?

          I believe from his perspective, Ukraine is fully independent now, and it’s just that some people still refuse to recognize this.

          Ending the current persecution of the UOC is simply a matter of recognizing Ukrainian autocephaly. It’s really not that complicated.

          Some will say that Moscow is supposed to be the one granting autocephaly. OK, so why don’t they? Well, it should be obvious by now that Moscow has zero interest in granting autocephaly to Ukraine.

          • Well, of course, the Nazis wanted their own church. They wanted to rob Ukrainian of their legitimate Orthodox Church, throw their priests and bishops into jail and kick them out of the country. Imagine if one of our jurisdictions did that to another jurisdiction here. Just took what was theirs and kicked them out of our country.

            • Solidarity Priest says

              Gail, I can see just such a scenario. Biden will issue, with the help of Congress, an edict. It will say that Americans are free to be Orthodox, BUT they can only belong to a church which is recognized by the EP. As we know, the EP doesn’t recognize the OCA’S autocephalous status. We are just another branch of the Russian. Therefore, unacceptable. I certainly hope the above scenario never comes to pass.

              • If they put anything in his hands, we’re in deep trouble. He’d probably put a hit out on us!

              • I personally don’t think that’s going to happen. At least not this year or 2024.

                Biden has had loss after loss, they’re starting wars all over the world, the economy is in a terrible state.

                The last thing he is going to do is worry about Orthodoxy in America. Because if he effectively tries to ban/consolidate Orthodoxy in America, not only will there be a massive pushback from Orthodox, but, from just about every conservative here in America. That is a massive infringement on religious liberty and I would imagine that would go all the way to the supreme court. Remember the Catholic nuns and the HHS mandate? This would make that look like a tiny firecracker compared to Hiroshima.

                Biden doesn’t even have the ability to do that.

                If Biden does get elected (and I think we all know how that could happen), then maybe he would do it.

                I could be wrong, but, I can almost say there’s no chance of that happening.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Petro, I think you’re right. All things being equal, the DS will want to work with the EP to consolidate all American Orthodox jurisdictions under their agent (LP). While that may still be in the works, things have gotten so screwed up that they may have shelved this plan for the time being.

                  You are right to mention the nuns and all but I think they DS/oligarchy got royally stung with their infiltration of Tridentine Masses. Then there’s the fact that the Russians continue to gain ground in the Ukraine.

                  Then there’s this: the neocons have to think long and hard about what is more important to them: Israel, the Ukraine or Taiwan. That’s a lot on their plate.

                  In other words, the situation is fluid.

                  • To Biden? Ukraine is most important.
                    To Nuland? I would guess Ukraine.
                    To Blinken? Israel?
                    To Bolton? Taiwan?

                    Too many variables…

              • George Michalopulos says

                Here’s how I see it going down, we can call this the Hungarian Solution:

                1. You are free to worship wherever you want.

                2. If Basil and Bill show up wanting to have their civil union blessed and your pastor refuses, your church is accused of a “hate crime”. If so, it will be in danger of losing its tax-exempt status, provided that

                3. The issue is litigated in court. Lot’s a money spent, even if you win. On the other hand,

                4. If you lose, you can still worship at that particular church. However,

                5. Next year, when the tax bill comes due, you got to pay it. If you don’t,

                6. The govt confiscates the property.

                7. Only way out? Pay the tax.

                In the end, there is still “freedom of religion”, you just have to pay your taxes.

          • Joseph, it really doesn’t matter what the Ukraine ‘government’ wants regarding an ‘independent’ Orthodox Church in Ukraine. It MATTERS what the Ukrainian people WANT. And, since well over 70% of them belong to the canonical Church under the venerable Met. Onufriy, then that’s the way it should be!

            And, even if (and when) the Moscow Patriarchate grants the canonical Church autocephaly, where does that leave the circus OCU, which is full of schismatics, deposed clerics, and self-ordained laymen? The answer: Just where they are right now…outside of the Lord’s vineyards! If, and only if they seek true repentance, will they be accepted back in some form. (You just can’t get around that Gordian Knot.)

            • Joseph Lipper says

              Government is actually a prime consideration in regards to ecclesial autocephaly. Historically, it has often been monarchs and heads of state that have requested and/or imposed it, and precisely for the political reason of not wanting their church to be subject to foreign influence. It was Grand Duke Ivan III of Moscow who self-imposed the autocephaly of Moscow in 1448. Later, in 1589, it was Boris Gudanov, through Tsar Feodor, who requested the EP to grant them Patriarchal status, and thereby regularize their autocephaly.

              The history of the autocephaly of Protestantism is much the same. It was King Henry VIII who created the “Church of England” in 1534. In Denmark, it was King Christian III who declared that his kingdom would be Lutheran in 1536, and hence Lutheranism became the “state church” throughout Scandinavia.

              Incidentally, the Russian Tsar Peter the Great, being much impressed by Lutheranism, abolished the office of the Moscow Patriarch in 1721, replacing it with a state-controlled synod modeled after the Swedish Lutherans. It was not until St. Tsar Nicholas II abdicated from the throne in 1917 that the Moscow Patriarchate was restored.

              • Joseph: “It was Grand Duke Ivan III of Moscow who
                self-imposed the autocephaly of Moscow in 1448.”

                Err…not exactly:

                “In 1439, at the Council of Florence, some Orthodox hierarchs from Byzantium as well as Metropolitan Isidore, who represented the Russian Church, signed a union with the Roman Church, whereby the Eastern Church would recognise the primacy of the Pope. However, the Moscow Prince Vasili II rejected the act of the Council of Florence brought to Moscow by Isidore in March 1441. Isidore was in the same year removed from his position as an apostate and expelled from Moscow. The Russian metropolitanate remained effectively vacant for the next few years due largely to the dominance of Uniates in Constantinople then. In December 1448, Jonas, a Russian bishop, was installed by the Council of Russian bishops in Moscow as Metropolitan of Kiev and All Russia. ”

                In other words, an expelled apostate was eventually replaced
                (not by another apostate, but) by an Orthodox Metropolitan.

                • Joseph Lipper says

                  Thank you, I stand corrected. It was Prince Vasily II of Moscow who imposed the autocephaly of Moscow in 1448 by directly ordering that Metropolitan Jonas be ordained the Metropolitan of Kiev and All Russia, and without any communication with Constantinople.

                  However, history shows that this was not directly about the apostasy of the Unia between Constantinople and Rome, but rather the decision merely served the political interests of the Muscovite prince who was consolidating and asserting power. If it was about apostasy, then Moscow would have broken communion with Constantinople, but that was not the case.

                  It would not be until 1467, that Muscovite prince Ivan III would break communion with Constantinople, and that schism also had nothing to do with any apostasy of Constantinople. Rather, Ivan III simply refused to have the “autocephalous” Moscow church submit to an Orthodox Metropolitan in Kiev.


                  • “However, history shows that this was not directly about the apostasy of the Unia between Constantinople and Rome, but rather the decision merely served the political interests of the Muscovite prince who was consolidating and asserting power.”

                    I’m not sure that this is accurate. The Greeks had been in charge of appointing these hierarchs up until they left the Church pursuant to the Council of Florence. Russia was orphaned, so to speak, and was left with no mother church at that point and so began appointing its own hierarchs. George may know the details, but I’m skeptical that this change was done for “Charlemagne” reasons of consolidating power. You would need to have strong contemporary evidence to support the contention that it was done for some reason other than the obvious.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Misha, you’re correct on this. Actually, beginning in the 12th century (roundabouts), the Russian princes and the Constantinopolitan hierarchy traded off appointing the Metropolitans of Kiev, i.e. when the Greek-appointed Metropolitan X died, then the Russians would appoint Metropolitan Y to replace him, then when he died, the Greeks would appoint Metropolitan Z and so on.

                    • What is important to Joseph (it seems to me)
                      is not that the Metropolitan should be Orthodox,
                      but that he should be appointed by Constantinople;
                      regardless of whether or not the Phanar was apostate.

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Misha, the backdrop of the reign of Vasili II was a long and bitter inter-family civil war over control of Moscow that lasted from 1425 until 1453. Prince Vasili II was on the losing end, but was eventually able to triumph over his Uncle, Yuri, and his cousin, Dimitri, for the throne. The order that he made in 1448 that a Muscovite bishop be made “Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus” not only helped him personally to win the civil war by positioning himself as a power broker, but it also went a long way in establishing Moscow’s importance in ecclesial and political affairs.

                      Undoubtedly there was also some frustration with Constantinople factored in, as seven years earlier, Vasili II had the apostate Metropolitan Isidore imprisoned for apostasy. However, the later correspondance from Vasili II to both the Patriarch and Emperor of Constantinople do not give any impression that this imprisonment of Isidore was in any way meant to be considered a break in communion with Constantinople, as would be the necessary case for apostasy. Instead, he sent a documented letter to Constantinople complaining about Isidore’s shortcomings and asking permission to allow him to have a Muscovite bishop be ordained as “Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus” in his place. Well, he never received a reply, so after seven years, he just went ahead with it.

                      The fact is, the foreign and Greek-born Isidore was not popular with Vasili II even before he apostatized. Prince Vasili II had several years earlier sent a Muscovite bishop (St. Jonas) to Constantinople in hopes of having him ordained as the “Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus” in 1435, but Constantinople had already made a decision on someone else. His plans were squashed. When Metropolitan Isidore arrived in Moscow in 1437, Prince Vasili II was by all accounts cordial, but was likely looking for any excuse to get rid of him. Isidore’s apostasy was that excuse.

                      It would later be Vasili II’s son, Ivan III, who would break communion with Constantinople in 1467. However, at that time, Constantinople was no longer under the sway of the Unia, the Patriarch of Constantinople being St. Dionysius I. It was at the request of this Orthodox saint that the Moscow bishop would submit to an Orthodox Metropolitan of Kiev, and unfortunately Ivan III refused this. The resulting schism of Moscow lasted about ninety-three years, until 1560.

                    • Joseph seems to attribute to coincidence what many others like, for example, Daniel Shubin in his History of Russian Christianity, attribute to Vasili II’s explicit desire to appoint a Russian Metropolitan and have the ordination performed by Russian prelates in light of his deposition of Isadore and the Constantinopolitan Unia. His letter to the Pat. of Const. did not request the appointment of another metropolitan but requested permission for him to appoint and have installed a Russian metropolitan. This was forward looking in that he had no intention of permanently severing ties with Constantinople once it came to its senses. But he did not believe that he could accept another appointment from Const. due to its acceptance of the Unia. (Shubin, 129-130)

                      Of course, proving the explicit intention is a very precise thing. However, in light of the Unia, Vasili’s rejection of Isadore, the letter asking permission instead of asking for another appointment, etc. , there is at minimum a strong inference that Vasili was rejecting the legitimacy of the Unia and attempting to follow canonical order at the same time as not overreacting to what seemed at the time to perhaps be just another temporary defection from Orthodoxy.

              • Yes Joseph, but unfortunately the ‘government’ in Ukraine isn’t legitimate. As we all know it was put into place by the American CIA, and it’s European puppets. How does a ‘government’ comprised of Nazis, atheists and Uniates have anything to do with deciding the fate of Orthodoxy in Ukraine? Please tell us that…without running around in your usual circles, dear brother.

                • Joseph Lipper says

                  Zelensky was democratically elected, and he defeated Poroshenko who was also democratically elected before him. Were the elections rigged? I don’t know, but let’s give that the benefit of the doubt. The fact is that the Ukrainians who didn’t split (such as in Donbas) still accepted Poroshenko as their legitimate president, and they accept Zelensky as their legitimate president today, even if they disagree with him.

                  As far as I can tell, Zelensky still remains popular in Ukraine:



                  • Joseph, you can give a better rebuttal/explanation than that. And, exactly how did Poroshenko (or rather his predecessor) come into power in the first place? Think really hard about that one, my friend. Really hard. I’m sure that someone can chime in and remind you/us.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Yes, Zelensky was democratically elected —as the peace candidate!. He got 73% of the vote! For peace! and promising to dialogue with the Russians.

                    Ironic, isn’t it?

                  • Anonymous II says

                    I’ll quote Alex,

                    “Yes Joseph, but unfortunately the ‘government’ in Ukraine isn’t legitimate. As we all know it was put into place by the American CIA, and it’s European puppets. How does a ‘government’ comprised of Nazis, atheists and Uniates have anything to do with deciding the fate of Orthodoxy in Ukraine? Please tell us that…without running around in your usual circles, dear brother.”

              • George Michalopulos says

                But he (Peter I) did not abolish the autocephaly of the ROC. And it was under him (and his half-brother and co-Tsar Ivan V) that the EP at the time transferred the Archdiocese of Kiev to Moscow –drumroll please–in perpetuity.

          • Mr. Lipper: “So what else can he do?”

            A question that begs the reply, “Hopefully nothing. He’s done more than enough damage as it is.”

            • Joseph Lipper says

              So in other words, you’re saying, hopefully he remains silent.

              • Yes. Unless he is willing to speak up for the religious freedom of the UOC. So far crickets.

                I will ask again. What is his excuse for silence in the face of government attacks on religious freedom? Particularly in the case of a country/government where his influence is strong. He’s never been shy about speaking up for others whose religious freedom is being trampled upon, even the non-Orthodox.

                It is increasingly difficult to avoid the conclusion that his high-minded principals are selectively applied and that he is, in fact, reveling in the persecution of all things ‘Russian,’ whether real or imagined.

                • Perhaps he is a Marxist (Groucho not Karl):

                  These are my principles
                  and if you don’t like them
                  I have others…

  9. From Union of Orthodox Journalists, “On October 19, 2023, the Verkhovna Rada adopted in the first reading government bill No. 8371, which provides for the ban on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. MP Artem Dmytruk shared this news with the UOJ.

    267 MPs voted for the corresponding decision, another 15 voted against, 2 MPs abstained.”

  10. That’s 94% in favor of the ban, if my calculation is correct. Persecution of the true Church in Ukraine will now shift into high gear with this government imprimatur. This parliamentary action against the Ukrainian Church reminds me of the opposition that the Christian minority suffered at the hands of the fascist government during wartime Japan. Only, this will be on a far grander scale in an Orthodox nation. Lord, have mercy!

    • Unless, Russia tops it off (which they will) by getting rid of the Nazis. They’ve got about another 5 minutes.

    • It’s probably about twenty per cent in favour of the ban
      and seventy-four unwilling/afraid to speak against it…

  11. Interesting article about how the lack of recognition of the OCU by most Orthodox Churches led to Met. Epiphany not being invited to the recent theological conference in Athens:

    (I was amused by the English text [machine translation?] at one point turning Archbishop Hieronymos of Athens into “Mr. Jerome”….)

  12. I was very moved by the words of Met. Onuphry in response to this. And after years of suffering and violence. What a saintly man, an example for all of us.

    What can be said about it? I’ll say one thing—we don’t take offense at anyone.

    No matter what they do to us, whatever decisions they make, we will still love everyone. We will love God, we will love our land, our people, our authorities, our military. We will love all people and pray for them because our Church is a Church of love. It was founded by God, Who is Love Himself.

    Everyone is looking for the spiritual center where we’re governed from, and it exists, but it’s in Heaven. There is the Founder and Head of our Church—our Lord Jesus Christ.

    God bless him for this reminder! Especially for us here in the US, who have barely suffered at all compared to that part of the world. It’s humbling.

    • Wonderful reminder. Thanks for this!

    • If any ask: “What would a living saint look like?”
      point to Metropolitan Onuphry and say
      “He would look like this man.”

    • The Verkovna Rada has passed its first reading of the bill to ban the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. For all intents and purposes, the UOC is the established Church of Ukraine and it has been that for a thousand years. A resolution by the Rada to ban the Church from Ukraine would be like similar to the Parlamento Italiano banning the Roman Catholic Church! Certainly the pope would take umbrage to that.

      Met. Onuphry’s meek response to such an unthinkable threat gives me pause. His attitude is more than just turning the other cheek; it’s more like kissing one’s torturer on his cheek. I was talking to a priest about this at coffee hour on Sunday. Why isn’t the metropolitan speaking up? Father said it is the monastic way. Whatever happens to us is ordained by God, he said. Glory to Him in all things.

      Met. Onuphry may not be concerned about his own freedom and well-being. He may even be willing to sacrifice his own life in martyrdom. Be that as it may, he is the chief shepherd of his national flock. Doesn’t the safety of his flock matter to him? Doesn’t his reticence before this evil law is enacted simple give tacit encouragement to the fascists who arrest his fellow monastics, take over parish churches, and leave the believers stranded? Certainly an unequivocal condemnation of the bill from the metropolitan would at least rally the people to the resistance and help to stall it in the parliament. I’ll admit that trust in God alone through prayer alone is above my pay grade. I find it hard to love others no matter what evil they do to me and to those whom I love. I wonder if I’ll ever be fully Orthodox, if that is the standard of piety required.

      Then I thought of another possibility. Maybe Met. Onuphry is a cunning man who is using another tactic to outwit the Rada. Cognizant as he must be of the strength of Russian positions along the front lines, maybe he thinks that Vladimir Putin and his government will consider passage of this bill to be sort of a trip wire. The Russians have held off the Ukrainian summer defensive and depleted their military capability. The Ukrainians have taken many times more casualties than the Russians to the point where the forces that are left are surrendering. Even Ukrainian women are being conscripted into a service that should be off limits to them. In a sane world, no woman should ever have to see combat.

      I hope this won’t sound blasphemous to some, but perhaps Met. Onuphry is playing a version of chess. He may be confident that the Russians will move one step closer to advancing on Kiev if Zelensky’s regime passes this law. Therefore, silence at the threat of its passing may indirectly cause immediate damage, but may, in the broader view, expedite an end to the persecutions. As it is, Zelensky’s government may run out of American money to keep them in business, distracted as we are with the recent fighting in Israel and Gaza. On top of that, the House of Representatives may elect a new speaker who is ready to cut off any further financing of the Ukrainian regime. May it be so. Dear God, bring an end to this madness!

      • This is not the first time Rada has tried to do something like this. They tried to pass a law to change the UOC’s name so Russia would have to reregister all their parishes and monasteries under the new name, which, of course, they would deny (not approve).

        Poroshenko teamed up with Bartholomew to bring the schismatics into the Church in an effort to undermine the UOC, as well. Thankfully, there have been some attorneys in Ukraine who have chased off the wolves. I suspect they will do it again. The Church is not without her resources.

        Ukraine is SO CORRUPT, their government has put aside its own laws just to get rid of the Church. They have to. Bartholomew promised a united Ukraine to the Pope and these Rada people are all compromised. They each have their own personal reasons for going along with this, but in the end it won’t matter. This is not going to turn out well for them. They’re just going to make the Russians that much more disgusted with them.

        Met. Onuphry’s response was not meek. Nor is his flock uninformed. Don’t you think Ukraine has put the squeeze on the people who remain in the UOC? Of course, they have. Those who remain are extremely loyal to him. If he weren’t the real deal, why would they follow him? He’s not doing what he’s doing for political reasons. He’s not interested in building a “resistance.” Ukraine is over. A resistance isn’t needed. He’s trying to model how we are supposed to behave under heavy persecution.

        To suggest Met. Onuphry may be a “cunning man playing a version of chess” is astounding to me. I’m not mad or upset because I can see you honestly believe these things are possible. Have you never met a man like Met. Onuphry? These men do exist.

        Met. Onuphry loves God enough to walk down the same path as Christ if that’s God’s will. A man is honorable to the degree he is willing to suffer for his principles. That these evil Rada people hate him with such a vehemence should tell you he’s the real deal. The dark hates the light.

        Why would Russia have to plan a “trip wire” with regard to Ukraine? Ukraine is finished. Their government is finished. That’s the only reason Rada voted the way they did. They know they’re done. This vote was one last “middle finger” to “all things Russian.”

        Zelensky isn’t “running out of money.” He has no money. The entire world has basically cut him off. Biden will keep trying to send him fiat money but more and more of the world is refusing to take it. What can he buy? Nothing that’s going to save him.

        Let’s not doubt one of the few heroes we have in the Church. EVERY BISHOP IN THE CHURCH STOOD UP FOR MET. ONUPHRY. That should count for something. (Minus Bartholomew, et al. but they left the Church so they don’t count.) For you to be right, they would all have to be wrong. Without evidence to support what you’re saying, you’re sullying the name of someone who doesn’t deserve it. There is no evidence to support what you’re saying. Met. Onuphry was a good solid bishop even before this stuff happened.

        Now about you (since you brought it up). Being Orthodox does not mean you have to do anything “enough,” i.e. love enough, do this enough, do that enough. You do the best you can. It means you get up after you fall. Truly. That’s it. You fall. You get back up. The process is made easier to the degree you are able and willing to follow the direction of the Church. But even if its the hardest thing you’ve ever done and you fail miserably, it does not mean you’re not Orthodox! One could argue it makes you more Orthodox because you’re suffering more than others. It’s a very high bar. None of us meets all (or sometimes even most) of the expectations.

        If you don’t give up, you’re in! There is nothing you’ve done (or haven’t done) that can’t be addressed within the context of the Church. That’s what the Church teaches. It helps make it possible for us to have a Christian ending to our lives, painless, blameless, and peaceful; and a good defense before the dreaded judgement seat of Christ (whom I have it on good authority, is incredibly merciful).

      • Trust in God and prayer is not above your pay grade. You are right. Many monks and bishops have made Orthodoxy go extinct because of this naivete. Look at Anatolia renamed Turkey all former christians who converted away to Islam. The Church of Greece is another naive institution, after the population swap, the Muslims of Thrace who remained were a minority. The church of Greece thought they would convert them without the need of evangelization but by intermarriage with Orthodox majority. Today they are 50 percent of the region, will overtake the Greeks (if they have not already) and most view themselves as Turks. Zero have converted.
        I wrote a scathing commentary earlier on Met.Onuphrey speech on remaining loyal to the authorities and to the military.. The moderators must of rejected it as I was in rare form on that comment. Point being is you don’t remain loyal to such regimes nor do you remain loyal to a country that wants to eliminate you. SOME Christians especially Orthodox Christians have a fatal flaw in their logic, thinking that making themselves go extinct is the will of God. So they pray but refuse to take action. Where has this gotten us? Dwindling Orthodox in Palestine and now in Syria, near extinction from Alexandria, extinction from Anatolia, loss of Constantinople, loss of Kosova, and a shrinking demographic all around with nearly 50 percent of Arab Christians having turned to the Melkite Unia. Prayer without bold action doesn’t help .

        • If you could only talk with the Saints. The Saints who were torched, beheaded, stoned. Saint Stephen was so enthralled with what he was seeing in the next life, he barely noticed what was happening to him in this life. I guarantee you none of these people became Saints because they were harboring animosity toward their abusers. Kosta, you’ve got to try to reach the point where only you and God matter. Where you don’t have room to be thinking about what people are doing to you. Consider it badge of honor if you get knocked down and get back up. They’re not your responsibility. God will take care of them, believe me. You want to get to the point where you are the good and faithful servant, not the terminator.

          There are going to be lots of changes in the world. The world can’t continue on like this for all the things you mentioned.

        • Kosta, do you mean the sermon where he spoke about continuing to love? If so, that is different from loyalty. No, you must not be loyal to evil, but resist it, just as the early Christians refused to worship the emperor and preferred martyrdom. But you must still love your enemies and pray for them.

          Evangelization is a different matter and a big subject, and I agree many Orthodox really don’t know how, in part due to living for so long in repressive cultures where open evangelization was not allowed. Something we Westerners have always been much freer to do and experiment with. Maybe more Westerners becoming Orthodox can also help restore a culture of evangelization within Orthodoxy.

      • Lawrence: “His attitude is more than just turning the other cheek;
        it’s more like kissing one’s torturer on his cheek.”

        Ivan Karamazov: ” … Having disburdened his heart, the Inquisitor waits for some time to hear his prisoner speak in His turn. His silence weighs upon him. He has seen that his captive has been attentively listening to him all the time, with His eyes fixed penetratingly and softly on the face of his jailer, and evidently bent upon not replying to him. The old man longs to hear His voice, to hear Him reply; better words of bitterness and scorn than His silence. Suddenly He rises; slowly and silently approaching the Inquisitor, He bends towards him and softly kisses the bloodless, four-score and-ten-year-old lips. That is all the answer. … “

        • Metropolitan Onuphry might be more understandable
          if you watch these two films of The Grand Inquisitor.

          The first, with John Gielgud as the Cardinal
          does not possess any great technical quality
          as it was made for the Open University
          and they had (have) very little money.
          Nevertheless, Gielgud is convincing:

          The second, in 3 parts, has Derek Jacobi as the Inquisitor.
          It is an equally powerful (though cinematic) version.
          Jacobi is compelling:
          Pt 1: [Video – 09:52]
          Pt 2: [Video – 09:57]
          Pt 3: [Video- 10:44]

          The Jacobi version includes an added repentance [?] scene
          which may enhance the film for some but not for others.
          It serves to elucidate the director’s reading of the tale,
          whereas the Gielgud version leaves it open to the viewer.

          Nevertheless, I think both versions have merit.
          Both show some of what Dostoevsky means.

  13. Talk about something being “beyond the Pale”: Tucker Carlson interviews a Jewish lawyer who is defending the Ukrainian Orthodox Church:

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