Elpidophoros Doubles Down

According to Orthodox Times, the Orthodox Church of Albania is none too happy with the ordination yesterday of Fr Theophan Koja that took place yesterday at the Phanar.  https://orthodoxtimes.com/new-reaction-from-albania-for-bishop-of-philomelion-unprecedented-reward-to-someone-who-underms-unity/

For those who may not know, Koja was consecrated as Bishop of Philomelion, an ethnic Albanian eparchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.   It has two parishes.  (The OCA’s exarchate on the other hand, has eleven parishes.)

Here is the Holy Synod’s terse statement with this recent  consecration:

Unprecedented reward for someone who undermines the unity of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania.

Unprecedented confirmation of his unsuitability to shepherd an Orthodox flock.

Theofan Koja, at the critical moment of his ordination as Bishop, presided over by Archbishop Elpidophoros of America in Phanar on July 25, 2023, recited the Credo by adding the ‘filioque’.

In Orthodox diplospeak, that’s three strikes.  

One doesn’t have to be a diplomat to suppose that these concerns were expressed to the Ecumenical Patriarchate ahead of time.  Of course they were.  Questions which –given the high-handedness that we have come to expect from the Church of Constantinople–unfortunately were ignored by Patriarch Bartholomew and his exarch in America, Elpidophoros. 

There is, however, another more critical issue regarding the new bishop.  As you can see from the statement above, Koja recited the Creed with the infamous Filioque clause.  Needless to say, that’s a non-starter as far as Orthodoxy is concerned.  (Even many Uniate eparchies of Rome have excised that clause.)  I dare say that the proper protocol at that point would have been to immediately stop the consecration from proceeding. 

Regardless, the consecration proceeded. 

This of course leads to a pertinent question:  does the Phanar view such doctrines as theological niceties?  What other observation is one to take from the apparent unconcern that was in evidence at Koja’s consecration?

The Albanians are not taking this lying down.  As you can see from the following statement, they intend to bring this up to a pan-Orthodox council:  https://orthodoxtimes.com/church-of-albania-will-not-announce-her-opinion-online-wants-to-submit-it-to-the-pan-orthodox-council/

Here is what they say specifically:

The responsible opinion of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania is expressed in the official ecclesiastical correspondence, in the announcements of the Chief Secretariat and will be directly submitted to the competent body, the Pan-Orthodox Council or Synaxis, which, according to the principle of synodality, is the only one able to solve basic problems and ensure the unity and peace of the Orthodox Church around the world.

As to how this will all end is difficult to say.  However, it is clear that neither Russia nor the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church are the only Churches which have significant concerns with the way that the Ecumenical Patriarch has been behaving on the world stage. 

No doubt, there are others.  

That being said, since Patriarch Bartholomew views his office as being the only one which can call a pan-Orthodox council, he obviously feels he is under no pressure to do so.

All things being equal, he may be right.  That is, however, if all things are equal.  Personally, I am under the impression that historical events will prove otherwise.  



  1. Again and again, we need a council to depose these wolves. Concelebrating with them no longer risks infecting and compromising us, it actually infects and compromises. This really is outrageous, come on – they crossed the rubicon long ago. Pretending otherwise is no better – perhaps worse – than someone remaining in an abusive relationship where innocent children suffer and are scandalized too.

    Remember, they count on us doing nothing, using false ‘obedience’ and ‘humility’ to defile and pillage. From what authority do they now speak and act? Rhetorical question.

  2. Austin Martin says

    I used to know Fr Theophan very well and greatly admired him. He did a lot to help me come out of a dark period. But he also greatly betrayed our parish and especially me personally, and there is still a lot of hurt in this community over his actions.

    This new development is very sad, and I feel like I’m reading about a different person entirely. The story about his troublemaking in Albania is not at all what he told me. He was also, as I understand it, very anti-ecumenical and very opposed to anything COVID, although perhaps less so than I had thought. He claimed to be a rigorist about the canons, for what that’s worth. I still find it hard to believe that he recited the filioque, and the article doesn’t give enough citation. He should have stayed in St Louis with the people who loved him instead of running of to better his career and financial situation.

  3. Just a dad says

    Sorry for being ignorant and under-educated on such matters, but what does Archbishop Elpidophoros of America have to do with Albania? Why would he be involved in the ordination?

  4. Nick Shahood says

    This gives more gravity and strength to the statement from The Bishops Conference of The Russian Orthodox Church https://www.monomakhos.com/41764-2/. Who has/will the EP and the GOA not/will not threaten. Aren’t we, the Orthodox divided enough? Do we need these HERETICAL actions by the EP to further divide us?

    • This action is hurtful on so many levels. Ultimately, what I am picking up, is that the Ecumenical Patriarchate feels bullet-proof. Perhaps this is what Elpidophoros picked up from his commencement speech to all the Intel people he addressed earlier this year? That the Deep State has his back?

      If so, Henry Kissinger has some cautionary words: “To be the United States’ enemy is dangerous, to be its friend is fatal”.

      • Patriarch John of Antioch is currently in America, I hope in some way, shape or form he is being told by the collective clergy/laity that something needs to be done about the EP/Elpi.

  5. Yeah, the idea (at this point) that anyone really thinks Patr B and Abp E have any desire to maintain fidelity to the Orthodox Christian faith or to Christ and His Church… well, that idea is completely laughable.

    They’re totally compromised. Their goal is pure political power, as they perceive it. Little do they know how stupid, immature, and completely ridiculous they appear to Orthodox Christians who take our faith seriously.

    May God help those Orthodox Christians who suffer under the disastrous ecclesiastical leadership of these two.

    A bishop for two whole parishes? Come on. What nonsense.

    • A bishop for two whole parishes? Come on. What nonsense.

      Exactly. But, knowing them they will probably entice Albanian parishes under the OCA to join them.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Well, sometimes people get the bishop they deserve.

        Those two parishes probably demanded that they get this guy. He is Albanian, whereas Nikodim is not. That’s probably what this is about.

        • While the reason for the establishment of an ethnic eparchy within the Greek Archdiocese containing two parishes and a bookstore/language school is obvious, i.e., to stack the Assembly of Bishops in America with one more loyal Phanariot who will by virtue of the Greek omophor rank higher than the Metropolitan of All America and Canada, His Beatitude Tykhon (correct me if I’m wrong about that), the reasons for the membership of those two parishes, a nursery school and a football club in such an eparchy and not in the long-established Albanian Archdiocese of the OCA is obscure and probably related to personal intrigue by leaders in those parishes.
          Archim. Nikodhim (notice the Albanian spelling) Preston has served an Albanian parish in Queens for over a decade and is right now in Albania cramming for his upcoming role as bishop. There is nothing controversial about Preston but there is more than plenty about Koja, whom Abp. Anastasios of Tirana has made clear.

          The fact that Abp. Nathaniel Pop welcomed Koja to serve in the ROEA confirms my suspicions that the head of the Romanian Episcopate likes clergy with baggage that exposes them to manipulation. The wide autonomy Nathaniel enjoys as Senior hierarch on the OCA’s Synod imperils that body’s integrity. I blame Pop as much as Bartholomew and Elpidophoros for this scandal. No one forced him to incardinate this manifestly unqualified person as a priest of the OCA.

          Now it remains to be seen whether the Assembly of Bishops, now that it lacks Metr. Joseph as a confident and secure VP will be as able to withstand Elpidophoros on the seating of Koja as it did his attempt with Belya. I fear they won’t.

          • Joseph Lipper says

            There’s the story about the diocese who complained about their bishop. The diocesan clergy went to the Holy Elder who lived in their diocese, and sought his advice. They said to him, our bishop is old and mentally incompetent, he can’t do his job, and he is bringing our diocese to verge of bankruptcy. We need to get rid of him. What should we do? The Holy Elder prayed to God, and then he told them, go ask the Patriarch, and he will find a replacement.

            So the diocesan clergy went to the Patriarch, and they voiced their complaint. Then the Patriarch agreed to find a replacement. A candidate for bishop was chosen, and the diocese praised God and was overjoyed. However, it was not long after their new bishop was installed that they found him to be a liar, a thief, and an oppressive dictator that wanted to change everything in the diocese. The clergy were downtrodden. So they went back to the Holy Elder and said to him, this new bishop is worse than the last. We need to get rid of him. What should we do?

            The Holy Elder prayed to God, and said to the clergy, yes, you do not deserve this bishop, but God is not able to find a bishop for you who is worse.

            • Well, speaking as a Greek-American who was formerly in the GOA, this story gives me hope that the Ecumenical Patriarchate has nowhere to go but “up”.

            • Aww, c’mon Joe, you really think those Albanians in those two parishes & football club are that bad?
              On second thought, the fact that they agreed to be part of the GOA’s efforts to split the tiny US Albanian Orthodox polity does not say good things about them.

              But I’m worried that since Metr. Joseph is no longer the 2nd bishop in the Assembly, and he led the refusal to seat Belya foisted by Elpidophoros, Koja, already enjoying the patronage of Pop all these years will be a shoo-in.

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Lance, I really don’t know anything about those two parishes and their football club, except they now have a new bishop.

                The other bishops of the AoB may not like him, but it’s not comparable to Belya. There’s no lawsuit, and this new bishop was not deposed by the OCA either. So I don’t think it really creates a problem for the AoB.

              • Jeff Moss says

                GOA’s efforts to split the tiny US Albanian Orthodox polity…

                I’m relying on OrthodoxWiki here, but you can at least say in Constantinople’s defense that this is not a new situation. Apparently this Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America (the one under Constantinople) goes back to 1950 when there was no canonical bishop for the Albanian faithful in America and, due to Communist suppression of the Church in Albania, no immediate prospects of getting one. Constantinople’s first bishop for their diocese was an ethnic Albanian, Mark (Lipa), who had been born in Istanbul.

            • Joseph,
              I must admit I now understand your long support for Bartholomew
              and why God chose him for us.
              Lord have mercy on us!

  6. Ed Hatterly says

    I wish you would address the bombing of the Odessa cathedral by Putin, and the silence of Patriarch Kyril in the aftermath of the bombing. This is critically important and worthy of your perspective.

    • Mr Hatterly, thank you for bringing this up. I for one believed that there were only two possibilities (both accidental):

      1. That the Russians bombed it by accident, or

      2. That anti-aircraft fire by the Ukrainians did the damage.

      Since the Ukrainians regrettably place their AA batteries close to churches, neighborhood, etc, either is possible.

      However, I was listening to Larry Johnson and he dropped this huge truth-bomb: 30 minutes before the cathedral was destroyed, the Wikipedia page on that structure was changed with words to this effect: that it was already destroyed by a Russian missile attack. This would be option #3.

      Because the Amazing Kreskin doesn’t work for the Ukrainian armed forces, I am force to go with option #3. Aren’t you just a little bit curious as to why the destruction of that church has dropped off the radar?

      I am.

      • I knew Metropolitan Ilia very well. “Bishop” Theophan is no Metropolitan Ilia !!

        • John G Karas says

          Metropolitan Ilia was the former Priest at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Las Vegas. After the death of his beloved Presvytera and due to the great need in Albania, after the fall of Hoxha. He was like family to all of us here in Las Vegas and is greatly missed. May his prayers before our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ help right the listing ship of state of the Patriarchate in Constantinople and the Archdiocese here in America. I know that in the end, through the Holy Spirit, the Church will self correct.

      • Nate Trost says

        Number 1, cause being strike from Russian missile (intentional or accidental) is almost certainly the answer. The level and type of damage correlates with expectations for the systems used in the attack (there were multiple missiles that hit the city).

        Number 2, cause being impact from Ukrainian air defense is a poor fit for the level and type of destruction when considering the systems in use.

        Number 3, cause being ‘Larry Johnson’s hinky business’, appears to not actually line up when investigating it for myself. Looking at the relevant Wikipedia history page, the first edit mentioning the attack seems to be at 2:22 AM local time. If I review Twitter/Telegram on the night in question, I’m seeing damage footage appear as early as 1:48 AM local time. So the Wikipedia edit appears to be at least half an hour *after* the attack, not prior.

        Why might Larry Johnson have apparently been incorrect? I can think of three main possibilities:

        1. He used Eastern European Time instead of Eastern European Summer Time when converting the Wikipedia timestamp from UTC and was thus off by an hour

        2. He made an error in basic arithmetic and doesn’t have anybody double check his work

        3. He knew the timelines didn’t actually work, but his audience would love it and none of them are going to double check him, or believe anybody who points out his errors

        • “Almost certainly” are weasel words. As for #2, there have been several misfires from Ukrainian anti-aircraft batteries. This would not have been the first.

          Larry is a former CIA analyst. He still has contacts within the CIA. And he has enough integrity to admit if he made a mistake (or gave out misinformation). So far, he hasn’t revised his assertion (I will of course inform everybody when and if he does so).

          Given the time that has elapsed since this unfortunate incident, and the fact that it became a non-event within several hours, I lean very much to option #3. Let’s be honest: we’d have had wall-to-wall screaming if it could have been reliably proven that this was Russia’s fault. The silence has been deafening. (Nor should we forget that Zelensky and his handlers are not Christians so it’s no skin off their asses if a Christian church is destroyed.)

          All that being said, accidents happen. In war, they are called collateral damage. To actually believe that the Russians would intentionally destroy this cathedral is too stupid for words.

          If I may go further, we do know however that Kiev actually and with intent, fired missiles into Poland last summer, hoping to draw NATO into the conflict killing two innocent civilians. So while we can’t prove that this was intentional, we do know that Kiev is not above such terrorist activities. In addition to the Polish strike, they twice tried to destroy the Kerch bridge and then the recent dam explosion. As for the Nordstream 2 pipeline, I don’t believe they had the wherewithal to accomplish such a massive task. (Although the US govt is blaming them for it.)

          • It was the Ukrainians. They’ve done this type of thing before while attempting to blame Russia. Russia is more accurate than this and had no reason to target the church, even if Ukrainian soldiers were in or around it.

            They tried to get NATO in by blaming the Russians for their own missiles which strayed into Poland. They massacred civilian collaborators in Bucha and tried to blame it on retreating Russian forces. It’s endless. Right out of the US/ISIS playbook. No moral bottom.

            Even if we hadn’t seen it all before, the most likely explanation would be stray Ukainian fire.

            • rdrjames says

              I’m on your side, Misha. Russians don’t have a history of destroying Ukranian churches, from what I have seen. I think this has the earmarks of an action from the other side. God help the people of this cathecral!

              • This was a UOC (canonical) Church. Could be a situation like in Poland when a “Russian” missile landed there. It took a few days to find out it wasn’t launched by the Russians.

            • Misha, I forgot about Bucha. War crimes tribunals are called for.

          • Nate Trost says

            The strikes on Odesa are still in the news in the context of what actually matters, real or perceived impact to Ukrainian agricultural exports. Russia was (rightly) blamed for hitting the church, but lets be real, of course it wasn’t a long-term story because for 99.9% of the world it’s not a building of meaningful significance, other than yet another example of Russian brutality. It’s not the Eiffel Tower, how many Americans have even heard of it before, 1 in a 1000? For that matter, I think you’d be shocked how little coverage it would get if Ukraine managed to blow up St Basil’s. Other than unconvincingly blaming Ukraine for it, Russia has zero interest in doing anything but trying to pretend it never happened, because at least for a Russian domestic audience, it’s a little embarrassing.

            You can believe it was most likely from Ukrainian GBAD or you can demonstrate a knowledge of the characteristics of these systems and what kind of explosive package they carry. They are mutually exclusive! Put another way, be careful you don’t find yourself insisting that the results of a tank driving into a building was actually caused by a Geo Metro.

            For what it’s worth, unlike the Mariupol theatre strike, I don’t think it was intentional, although it can’t be ruled out entirely. Contrary to what Misha thinks, some of the systems used in the July 22/23 strike definitely have limited precision. The Kh-22 especially, it was never meant for that role, but with limited inventory needs must (and the only thing Ukraine has which can engage it is Patriot or SAMP/T, which aren’t in Odesa).

            As an aside, at least one wayward Russian Kh-55 has ended up in Poland, but since it didn’t kill anyone or cause meaningful property damage, it was kept rather quiet.

            • Nate, again you presume that “it was the Russians”, without presenting any evidence and studiously avoiding the fact that the Kievan regime has done this type of sabotage in the recent past. (And good old Uncle Sam was more than willing to blame them for NS2. Wow, with friends like that…)

              Let’s be honest, nobody in the West gives a rat’s ass about the bombing of that cathedral, we’re way past caring about Christian architecture at this point. The only concern they have about Odessa being choked off is that this is hurting the Ukraine right in the wallet. It’s also hurting their access to weaponry –both receiving and selling.

              It’s kind of delicious in a strategic sort of way in that the Kievan regime planted sea mines all along that coast (to prevent a Russian amphibious attack). But they kept a lone corridor open so the “wheat could be exported to Africa”. That’s a whole other story: Spain got most of that wheat, the Africans were left holding their begging bowls.

              Anyway, now the Russian navy knows which lane to traverse if they are going to attack Odessa.

              • Nate Trost says

                Are you disputing the fact that Russian missiles hit Odesa in the night in question? The evidence is the degree and type of damage shown is consistent with what you would see if the building was struck by one of said missiles, which have sizable warheads. All missiles are not the same, and I don’t think you appreciate the differences.

                I’d add you are intermixing things which the Ukrainians absolutely did do (Kerch Bridge) with things there is no actual evidence of (firing missiles into Poland *intentionally*, which makes zero sense as a gambit when using systems that were specific to Ukraine and wouldn’t be able to hit a ground target on purpose), with things where the evidence overwhelmingly suggests Russia did it, not Ukraine (Nova Kakhovka dam).

                I’m not studiously avoiding Russian lies, I simply don’t believe them. And Russia’s Black Sea fleet has learned to stick close to port.

                • Nate, no one is disputing that Russia rained missiles down on Kiev that night in question. Of course they did.

                  What many of us are disputing is that the destruction of the church was (a) because of a Russian missile, and (b) that it as intentional.

                  Point A may be correct: i.e. it may have been a Russian missile.

                  Point B however is patently absurd: that the Russians did it on purpose.

                  • The purpose of the false claim that the Russians intentionally bombed the Church is to show that the Russians are heartless Orcs. But the evidence shows that that distinction belongs to Kiev itself. Now, it is possible that a Russian missile accidently hit the church, but I doubt it. It sounds much more like the Ukrainians, either accidentally or intentionally, did it and then turned around and, true to character, blamed Russia. The pattern is well established. They have shelled civilians in Donbas for a decade now. They hate Russians, end of story.

                    Given that they are on the verge of losing the big game, they can be expected to lash out in acts of desperation and false flags before the bitter end.

                    • Bingo! Also, why would the Russians intentionally bomb a parish that belonged to the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church? Doesn’t make sense.

                    • The Russians are saying that they don’t target such structures and that all of their shots are accounted for by damaged military infrastructure. They maintain that, as has happened often in the past, it is Ukrainian defensive weapons fired incompetently which came down and did the damage. Ukrainians put these defensive posts around civilian infrastructures and then have the gall to accuse others when the shots fall awry.

                      Russians have no reason to target a church of any confession given the optics, especially not one of the UOC. If there are investigations, it will show that it was a Ukrainian defensive missile, just like happened in Poland which they tried to turn into a false flag and Article 5 alarm.



                    • Misha: “If there are investigations, it will show…”

                      As the Spartan Ephors said to Philip: “If.”

                    • Well, yes of course, Brendan, there will be no investigations “if” the Ukrainians can help it. They prefer the res ipsa loquitur (sed quid in infernos dicet?).

                      What it all will mean in the long run is that the Ukrainians, and as many Poles and Romanians as end up getting dragged into this meat grinder, will turn on the West as wicked, soulless exploiters of Eastern people. It’s the sheer magnitude of the carnage which will awaken them.

            • David Markovich says

              Please spell Odessa correctly, there is a double S between the E and A. If Mark Twain and the Bee Gees can do it, then I think you’re also capable of using the proper spelling.

              • Russians tend to use the double s, Ukies prefer the single s. But it is not a matter of correctness in the West.

      • Ed Hatterly says

        It looks like the Archbishop of the Cathedral strongly believes it was a Russian missile. He is putting a lot of blame on Patriarch Kyrill. Don’t they belong to the same Church? I thought the Ukrainians were a branch of the Moscow Patriarchate? Or is this Cathedral part of the break-away church? Why would Putin bomb a church in communion with Moscow? Thank you.

        • Well, that’s his opinion. Did he see the missile hit the altar? No, he went to church that day and saw the devastation. Again, this is regrettable, no doubt about it. That however is not proof.

  7. Patriarch Bart and Archbishop Elpi have been lining up their “yes men” like little black robbed ducks for when they start implementing the “21st Century New World Order Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and Archdiocese”.
    Get ready for mass exodus.

  8. No reaction in the comments section to Koja reciting the filioque during his consecration?

  9. LonelyDn says

    Yes, perhaps the Archbishop and EP ought to be defrocked and excommunicated then sent into exile. To Rome.

  10. Of course they went ahead with the ordination and disregarded the word of the Church of Albania, why would they not. Knowing that the EP and his sycophants act like teenage girls with beards, this was their chance to stick it to Albania for not defending them in Ukraine.

    Theofan Koja, at the critical moment of his ordination as Bishop, presided over by Archbishop Elpidophoros of America in Phanar on July 25, 2023, recited the Credo by adding the ‘filioque’.

    I would say this was a much bigger problem than the ordination itself, why would they insert the filioque, unless the Church of Albania is mistaken (I haven’t seen this elsewhere), though I have to say it would not be a surprise.

    If I’m not mistaken, he will now sit on the Assembly of Bishops, given that the rest of the bishops on the AOB struck down Elpi in regards to Belya, it will be interesting to see how they will react with this. Not only was there a major protest against his ordination by an entire autocephalous Church, but, if the filioque was indeed inserted that is an obvious intentional theological issue, you don’t just do that on accident in an Orthodox Liturgy.

    At what point are the other bishops on the AOB going to FINALLY wise up and either disband the AOB, or, start their own without the Greeks. Until they do that they will continually be putting out Elpi fires until the next thing you know the whole forest is on fire.

    • Nick Shahood says

      I am not sure why any of the bishops, who have a smattering of integrity, cintinue to support this farce called the AOB. It appears to me an organ to promote the EP/GOA/US State Department’s agenda and not what it is supposed to be.

      The Fourth Ecumenical Council emphasized that all bishops are equal. Forget about how traditionally, we have given certain nationalities (Patriarchates) more than their due. For the AOB elect the most competent and BEST bishops to lead.

  11. A technicality says

    Ordination of a bishop occurs before the Gospel reading. By the time you get to the Creed, the ordinand has already become a bishop. Even if you halt the Divine Liturgy at this point, that wouldn’t un-bishopify the new bishop.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Thanks for the clarification. I would say that had the ordaining bishops stopped the Liturgy right then and there, it would have created a justifiable spectacle. At the very least one of them could have asked him “what did you say?”

      Or, “explain yourself”.

      Either way, the word would have gotten out and the new bishop would be under a permanent cloud.

    • un-bishopify?

      Drop the ify bit and you will have perfect English
      of which Tolkien himself would have been proud.

    • Antiochene Son says

      I’ve never seen the consecration of a bishop, does the newly-consecrated recite the Creed by himself? Normally it is recited by the people while the aer is waved, so I’m not sure how anyone would hear what the bishop says either way.

      • Solidarity Priest says

        The Creed is recited by the bishop elect BEFORE the liturgy as part of his confession of faith.

    • No, but they could all have immediately turned their backs upon him and excommunicated him for pronouncing heresy.

  12. He’s been Orthodox all his life but due to emotion the Filioque slipped out?

    Update – Explanatory declaration by Bishop of Philomelion on having recited Symbol of Faith with “filioque”:


    • Johann Sebastian says

      Seems like an excessively ornate and defensive response. Surely a simple apology confessing an error—made for reasons of inattention or anxiety or even a lack of facility with the language—would have been received more favorably and also demonstrated the humility befitting someone of this rank.

      People make mistakes. Papists think they are above doing so.

    • Antiochene Son says

      Words mean things, as most historical schisms attest. It is a very strange slip to make.

    • The question is not whether he does believe in the Creed without the filioque. So does Rome. In fact, it is inscribed without the filioque in Rome itself. The question is whether he rejects the addition of the filioque as heresy, which apparently he does not since he spoke it during his consecration.

      What he should offer is a sworn statement that he does not believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son in eternity.

    • Up next, for the new bishop of 2 parishes:

      (1) Attempted gaslighting damage control conference by Joe Biden’ press secretary – they’ll loan her free for this event, she’s done it a million times before.

      (2) Marginalizing all who are up in arms about this new bishop of 2 parishes as “haters” and as “working against the overall good of Catholic and Orthodox unity.”

      (3) When all else fails, more and more gaslighting. Convince the faithful to not trust themselves, to not trust what they see and hear and read – then you’ve got ‘em!

      Same old playbook.

    • Fr Nicholas Young says

      What Koja provides as an explanation for his actions/words is outrageous. How can a man who has been reciting the Orthodox Nicene Creed his whole life add in the filioque “by accident”? Forgive me, but as my English granny might have said: “What a load of rubbish”! Praise God that He Himself is the head of His Church! “Put not your trust in princes or sons of men in whom there is no salvtion”.

      • Yeah, this “filioque” incident certainly was no accident.

        Seems to me that this “and from the Son” event was a trial balloon — testing the waters to see what happens. Everyone who’s paying attention knows that the leadership of C’ple/GOA want to unify with Rome in 2025, two short years away.

        What better trial balloon to assess the C’ple/GOA laity’s response than inserting the “and from the Son” into the Nicene Creed?!?

        My hunch is that they don’t care about the non-C’ple Orthodox jurisdictions’ responses — they know that virtually all serious Orthodox Christians, particularly the Church of Russia, would find this “and from the Son” event to be insulting to our faith, to our Church, and to our shared history.

        My bet is that the intent of this “and from the Son” trial balloon is to assess the C’ple/GOA laity’s response — if there’s crickets from them, if they see that no one really cares (or everyone is too scared to speak up about it)…. well, then, makes C’ples planned upcoming union with Rome much more straightforward, doesn’t it?

        But this was just a “mistake out of excitement”? My a$$.

        • FTS, I agree 100% with you.

          I do however, have an insight and it is this: In 1 Peter 4:17, the Apostle informs us that “judgment begins in the house of the Lord”. One of the ways such judgment can manifest itself is by exposing certain men as the charlatans they are. By going haywire in their speech or actions, they make a spectacle of themselves.

          I believe things like this happen unwittingly, not unlike what we read in Romans 1, when we are told that certain people who worship nature are “given over” to their lusts.

          If nothing else, these are defense mechanisms which alert the greater body to a looming threat.

  13. Why would His Eminence do this? It is difficult to come up with a charitable explanation for it. One thing that is clear, is that there is an increasingly indifference and coldness among our bishops. How else can one explain acts of disregard and disrespect? Both the EP and MP have taken in clergy under sanction in dubious ways. It started off small (the defrocked priest here and there in the Mission lands), and escalated all the way to the Ukraine debacle, with the OCU on one side and the African Exarchate on the other. A catastrophic failure to love, with canonical arguments used to justify and/or sooth guilty consciences. Very little do do with Christ.

    Metropolitan Onuphry has been grossly disrespected by both sides. Neither side seems to understand Ukrainian feelings at all. The EP thought they could force a solution by fiat, all the while cementing the EP’s canonical place through establishing a “precedent” (the wording of the Tomos is a laundry list of the EP’s claims of authority—they threw it all in there—it also guarantees that it will never be accepted, as the other Churches will not accept the document, even if they were inclined to give the OCU some kind of recognition). The MP thought they could keep the autocephalists in limbo without consequence. The “Ukraine isn’t a real country” sentiment is strong in the Russian Orthodox world, and any separation of Kiev/Kyiv from Mother Russia will be rejected, even if pastorally it is the right thing to do.

    Even now, the MP is one breath away from formally declaring the UOC schismatic and continues to devour the UOC’s canonical territory. They certainly did quite the dance on the schismatic acts line in their statement. There is no going back to the way things were, and so the UOC will cease to exist. If the OCU and Zelensky doesn’t liquidate it, it is clear the MP will (through absorption, with HE Onuphry “retired”). Ukrainian autocephaly is a plank of “Banderism” and must be destroyed in their eyes.

    There are reports that the EP is sending a high level delegation to Ukraine (Metropolitan Emmanuel AND Metropolitan Job among others). The UOJ speculates that it is to take control of the Lavra. While that may be a topic of conversation, I think it might be the EP wanting to talk with the OCU AND UOC. The MP’s mealy-mouthed condemnation of the UOC (they can’t outright declare them schismatic, as the other Churches would quickly align against Moscow) through actions and words is changing the calculus on the ground. While I deplore the EP’s silence on the Lavra situation, the MP’s continued tone-deafness and their treatment of the UOC in this latest council is equally deplorable in my eyes.

    As I said. A catastrophic failure to love.

    • With all due respect, David, I didn’t see or infer any reference to the OCU as schismatic. There are such references to the OCO-KP. Would you like to be more specific in the veiled references you have in mind?


  14. https://orthochristian.com/155124.html

    I also often recite the filioque when I’m nervous 😂😂


    My guess, litmus test to see how the Orthodox world would respond.

  15. https://www.romfea.gr/epikairotita-xronika/58054-voudapestis-ilarion-oi-aksioseis-tou-oikoumenikoy-patriarxeiou-afksanontai

    Based off of this interview with Metropolitan Hilarion (Budapest), it looks like the Church of Russia plans on translating their recent document against Constantinople into several languages and also plans to disseminate it out to all of the other Local Churches. It will be very interesting to see what the other Churches have to say.

    Will the document become widely known abroad, e.g. will they be able to be informed about it in the Church of Constantinople or in other local Orthodox Churches of the world?

    It will be translated into several languages. And as far as I know there is a plan to officially send it to local Orthodox Churches worldwide.

    The document states that we recognize the importance of making our position known to the local Orthodox Churches.

    Because not everyone knows, not always, why we do not agree with Constantinople on the first or second issue.

    Do you believe that the arguments presented in the text will prompt the Patriarchate of Constantinople to change its doctrine and actions?

    I personally do not believe so, but at least, these arguments will prove convincing to many, who see these unjust actions and our reaction.

  16. Was just reading up on Russian-Turkish relations and came upon something that myself and others have touched on before in regards to Russians living in/visiting Turkey:

    The number of Russians living in Turkey: 250,000-300,000

    The number of Russians who are expected to visit/vacation in Turkey this year: 7 million

    Just thought it was an interesting statistic considering the recent document regarding the EP the Church of Russia put out.

    They have the numbers to wholly supplant the EP and not even blink an eye. One has to wonder if this document and its subsequent dissemination to the other Churches is the foundation for the MP to justify an Exarchate in Turkey?

    I’m inclined to believe they will not do this without talking to Antioch first considering Antioch itself has more Orthodox in Turkey than the EP.

    • RE: ” One has to wonder if this document and its subsequent dissemination to the other Churches is the foundation for the MP to justify an Exarchate in Turkey?”

      Absolutely it is. A few years ago, even before Ukraine, they approached Turkey about it.

  17. I don’t know if this is the best place to post the following but here it is. Rod Dreher in a recent posting on his substack quotes extensively from an interview of the Catholic scholar John Rist. Here is a portion from what Dreher quotes. Whether any of it has pertinence to some of the personalities in the Orthosphere I leave to others to determine:

    “[T]here’s a problem about the role of popes in the Church now, which didn’t exist in the middle-ages, for example. Even in the great rows that took place in the 13th and 14th centuries, generally speaking these things were dealt with at a local level. But now we’ve got a centralized Church, and it’s too centralized. A “good pope” can suppress undesirable things in terms of its tradition, but a bad pope can do what he likes and suppress the good things, because the Church has become “The Pope,” which is a thoroughly undesirable situation. It has no relationship to what the papacy was, even in the post-Reformation period. This is a modern 200-year phenomenon. And it’s a disastrous mix. It encourages servility among the bishops particularly. And of course, if you become servile and you lose your integrity in that sort of way, it’s going to affect not only what you do in the Church, it’s going to affect your relationship with the secular powers as well. I mean, when you think about the relationship with, for example, the Communist Party of China, you really wonder what on earth is going on.

    “And you can see the disintegration, the disintegration was there before the present papacy, but it is being encouraged now. It’s been encouraged and developed. In this situation, always, the most extreme positions tend to predominate and win out. It’s the revolutionary dynamic that we’re basically talking about. And it’s particularly attractive because if you go down that sort of road, in the end, what you’re doing, you are making yourself “safer.” You are being the opposite of a sign of contradiction with regards to the secular universe. You are just part of the secular universe. And so, at best, the Pope becomes spokesman of the spiritual aspects (if there are any) of the United Nations or something like that.”