Has the EP Lost the Argument?

It certainly looks that way. Whenever an authoritarian figure starts activating Frank Luntz-style fora you can be pretty sure that he is desperately looking for buy-in.

If so, we can rest assured that the neo-papalist powers of the Ecumenical Patriarchate which were invoked to create this new “autocephalous” Church in Ukraine aren’t as great as we had feared. Ecclesiastically of course, they were a nullity from the start. That was obvious to most of us when the Phanar engaged in Orwellian logic to nullify the original tomos of transfer of the Kiev metropolis to Moscow some three centuries ago. At least in this instance, they were trying to observe canonical appearances, but even hear they failed miserably.

Clearly on all fronts, the Ukrainian debacle isn’t going as planned. All you have to do is look at this photograph. Poroshenko is smiling like the Cheshire cat. The EP is –not.

Originally, Patriarch Bartholomew thought that the fine print of Crete gave him unilateral powers over the Church when it came to granting autocephaly. Then that was modified to C’pole being a “moderator” or “facilitator” in that he would “consult” with every other primate before taking any action. When that didn’t work, that is to say, when every primate told him NOT DO IT, he did it anyway. Believing in his own propaganda (as well as the sweet nothings being whispered in his ear by the State Department) Patriarch Bartholomew thought that in the end, it’d be a wash. After all the huffing and puffing, caterwauling and assorted hissy-fits, the other Orthodox Churches would fall into line.

Well, that didn’t happen. So far, only Albania has offered a tepid support for Ukrainian autocephaly. Every other Church has either expressly condemned it or has decided to kick the can down the road, fully expecting that the new schismatic “patriarchate” will drown in the lagoon of its own contradictions.

And anyway, what do they have to lose? After all, the EP has not only acted in stunning bad faith as regards to the canonical Ukrainian Church, he has explicitly stated that there are two kinds of autocephalous Churches: those that are “ancient” and those that are “modern”. And as Ecumenical Patriarch, he can rescind the autocephaly of any “modern” Orthodox Church –Russia included.

Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that this is a red flag waving furiously in the faces of Bulgaria, Georgia, Serbia, et al. Then of course there’s the fact that he waltzed into the Ukraine uninvited, which of course raised the hackles of every diocesan bishop in the world. All of this screams bad faith. That’s why everybody who’s anybody in the Orthodox world is running screaming from this debacle.

It gets curiouser and curiouser at this point. Let’s consider the fact that he’s openly allied himself to political actors. A “unification council” called by a secular potentate who isn’t even Orthodox. Remind me again as to why President Putin of Russia –a duly-elected leader (as opposed to Poroshenko who was put in place via a coup)–can’t call another council, one which would be presided over by the Patriarch of Alexandria? You can’t.

So now, comes Plan B. The Ecumenical Patriarchate has activated the Archons of Hyppolitus (or whatever they’re called) to coordinate a “Town Hall” to “discuss” this matter on January 26th, 2019. https://www.archons.org/townhall

Now, I have nothing against lay participation and town halls are an intrinsic good on the local level. Think of your school’s PTA, or the New England town hall in which bond issues are decided or your parish’s annual meeting to discuss the upcoming budget. That’s real democracy and a good and efficacious one, in that’s the type of democracy as originally conceived in Ancient Greece.

But to have a national town hall to hash out any secular or religious concern is flat-out silly. And unworkable. That’s why we have Parliaments, Congresses and Holy Synods. That’s what they’re paid for. And anyway, it’s impossible to imagine that Mrs Trumko in Boise, Idaho and Mr Papadopoulos in Detroit are going to come to an agreement on why the EP was right to make a hash out of things in Ukraine.

Then again there’s the fact that this particular town hall is a stacked deck led by toadies and flunkies of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Some of whom are completely on board with the current cultural Zeitgeist. (I’ll let you read between the lines on that one.)

In other words, this is nothing but a naked, partisan stunt. It will fail on those merits alone. It will also fail because it’s so un-Orthodox that it’s silly. We might as well put rock bands on the soleas of our churches and rename our liturgies as “praise and worship” services. What’s next, snake handling?

So why is the Phanar looking to do this? For two reasons: to hope that they can stack the deck in America and mitigate the self-inflicted wounds it perpetrated in Ukraine and then to use this vehicle for a future date, when it tries to to pull this same stunt here in America when it unilaterally tries to rescind the autocephaly of the OCA and the canonicity of the various ethnic jurisdictions.

And of course to leave to his successor, Metropolitan Elpidophorous Lambrianides, the keys to a papal throne.

My gut on the other hand tells me that all of this is coming to
a screeching halt. And on a parenthetic note that we here in the States are the beneficiaries of his horrible mishandling of Ukraine. We will see.

In the meantime, we should all pray for a real Council to be convened, one which will formally strip these self-aggrandizing powers from the See of Constantinople. So that no one man will ever take us down this dangerous path again.


  1. Austin Martin says

    I find snake handling fascinating and want to try it (I live pretty close to Sand Mountain). The accounts I’ve read of it sound somewhat similar to an acid trip. Like a vision quest where Indians get high on peyote and wander naked in the woods for a week.

  2. It is very strange watching the Orthodox wheels turn. Bartholomew has certainly done a bold (and foolish and uncanonical) thing in Ukraine. It is as if no one else wants to be precipitous in the least and is doing as little as humanly possible to contain the situation, trusting in God that He will eventually make it go away.

    Perhaps this is wise, I don’t know. But perhaps the only peace to be had is on the other side of war. Who can say?

    We tend to equate the magnitude of what the Phanar does with what the MP does inasmuch as in the US, the Phanar has the most churches and is most closely connected to the American government. From Russia, and from some other countries, the situation appears far different. Despite its standing as an “ancient patriarchate”, as a practical matter in most of these churches, Russia especially, Constantinople is a small,, relatively minor player. Even if the Phanar excommunicated Moscow, would Moscow even care or notice? It has, for its part, already excommunicated C’ople.

    Moscow certainly is not concerned. It continues to be patiently diplomatic with C’ople when its only real concern is for the parishes and holy sites in the Ukraine – i.e., the MP is really focused on Kiev, not the Phanar. Kiev has the power, not Bartholomew. Bartholomew was only a “useful idiot”. This is not about the Church at all, but rather about the internal East-West politics of the Ukraine. That is why most other local churches commenting on the situation mentioned politics as a motive for the Phanar’s unprecedented papalist moves.

    The calculation in the MP and Kremlin seems to be that these antics of Bartholomew’s will not serve as a precedent for anything in Orthodoxy but simply take their place among the many anomalous acts by renegade patriarchs over the centuries. Condemnation by almost all other local churches would seem to support this thesis. While it is true that sine paribus is indeed heresy, it has barely been introduced as anything more than Phanariot arrogance and seems to be treated that way, rather than as a departure from the faith (which it is).

    What if someone holds a war and nobody else notices? I’m reminded of these videos of a large dog being harassed by a feisty little kitten who just keeps on going until the dog finally gets tired of playing and chases it off.

  3. They keep digging their own hole deeper says

    Oh Lord, save us.

    From the website advertising this ridiculous event:

    “The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople has taken the pastoral initiative to heal these divisions and grant independence to the Church in Ukraine. The situation is complex and, for English-speakers, made even more so by an onslaught of misinformation circulated through social media. Please join us for an in-depth discussion with experts who can explain the most important issue confronting the Orthodox Church today.”

    Um, no. The Patr of C’ple has NOT taken the pastoral initiative to heal the divisions in Ukraine. If it really wanted to heal divisions, it would have allowed full and free discussion of this Ukraine issue at Crete in 2016. It would have involved Metropolitan Onuphry and the rest of the canonical Orthodox Churches in its talks and negotiations from the beginning. But since Met. Onuphry and the canonical Orthodox Churches countered the desired narrative coming out of Porshenko’s government, the US State Dept, and the Phanar, the legitimate/canonical churches have not been invited or involved in C’ple’s boondoggle. They’ve just been watching this slow-motion train wreck from afar.

    Any bets on whether this Archon “in-depth discussion with experts” will include “experts” who are not in line with the Phanar’s preferred narrative? And this situation is a mess for non-English speakers as well. There is plenty out there in Greek, Ukrainian, and Russian that outlines how non-Orthodox Christian the Patr of C’ples actions have been.

    This Phanar-drama is in reality the US State Dept (our tax dollars) funneling the Phanar millions to try to make him more influential than the far more numerous Russian Orthodox Church, because, come on now, Americans Always Hate Everything Russian.

    But as we are witnessing, church legitimacy and bypassing the repentance of schismatics and deposed hierarchs/clergy are some of the things that money just can’t buy. You have to be Orthodox to be able to discern the truth and to care about this stuff, however. To the average western secularist who doesn’t even believe in the Church, I get it how in their eyes all the players would basically appear the same.

    Did anyone catch this telling interview with Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco (GOA) that was posted recently on an online Greek-American newspaper? I believe Greatly Saddened linked to it previously.

    Some gems from this article:

    About Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology: ‘Speaking about the Theological School he said “at this moment they are suffocating up there (at the School) financially, let us set aside the other issues at this time. I receive every day e-mails saying for God’s sake S.O.S. – we are drowning”.’

    Well, this is what happens when you trade the true faith for modernism. Eventually people stop caring about it and would rather spend their Sunday mornings playing golf than worshipping God. HC did this to itself. Hard to have compassion for them at this point. Why should we send money to support modernism?

    On the Patr of C’ple: ‘When asked if he believes that the Ecumenical Patriarchate is going to miss the train of history for Greek Orthodoxy in America, Gerasimos replied, “I think the Patriarchate and His All Holiness knows history very well and he has full knowledge of the things that are happening around him. At this moment the Patriarchate is being attacked on many fronts and it needs help. The mother Church was, is, and will be the main point of reference for every Greek Orthodox Christian and more than that.”’

    So further evidence that the Patr of C’ple knows full well of what he is doing in Ukraine and doesn’t care. And Metropolitan Gerasimos is trying to get people to have compassion for the Phanar as being “attacked on many fronts and needing help?” Metropolitan Gerasimos makes it clear that he is as much of a Greek papist as Patr Bartholomew.

    Met. Gerasimos is engaging in classic emotional manipulation, something that perhaps, as a former psychologist, he is well aware of. Emotionally manipulating Greek Americans to think that they should support the Phanar, when in reality they most certainly should not.

    One of the comments on this article summed up very well many of the faithful’s sentiments, and further evidence that the GOA was created to be C’ple’s cash cow from the beginning:
    “…. The GOA was a political concoction between Greek prime minister Venizelos and his cousin, the EP Metaxatakis, to ‘stash’ the Greeks in America under the EP and have the Greek government pull the strings. Now, a 100 years later, Greece, the EU, the EP have all turned to crap and the dysfunction has rippled into the GOA and seems to be terminal…. Meanwhile [Met. Gerasimos of San Francisco] clings to the old order because that’s all he knows. He hasn’t a clue about America or leadership (spiritual or corporate). Plus, rumors about him persist for decades.”

    Just look at the juxtaposition when one compares the current GOA bishop of San Francisco with some former bishops of San Francisco, such as Saint John Maximovitch, Bishop Basil (Rodzianko), or Bishop John (Shahovskoy)? If I lived in California, who would I rather have as my bishop? Tragically, to some ethnically-centered folks in the GOA, non-Greek bishops may very well be nonexistent.

    How I pray that Greek-Americans don’t fall for the Archons’ ridiculous “town hall” pity party.

  4. Wow! The mighty Archons are here to educate us as to why the EP’s actions in Ukraine were justified and canonical. The moderator is the famous George D. from Fordham University, that bastion of Orthodox Traditionalism and protector of the Orthodox faith. And we have a hierarch on the panel! The brilliant theologian Emmanuel of France is going to explain why the Russians are evil and the UOC is now schismatic. Thank you Archons!

    (sarcasm now turned off)

    • Matthew Panchisin says

      There are two Priests (they are brothers who love one another dearly) one is in the Russian Orthodox Church and the other is under the Ecumenical Patriarch. Because of the E.P.’s actions these days they can’t serve the Divine Liturgy and Lord God together. It is because of situations like that (and much worse) the E.P. has lost more than a mere argument, he is not Orthodox, he is now a terrible schismatic. Surely what he is doing is not pleasing to the Lord God Almighty, town hall meetings aside. There is nothing that the Archons can say to justify the divisions that the E.P. has effectuated.

  5. John Sakelaris says

    Bear with me George, I am not well-versed in a lot of these details. Specifically, what evidence do you have that the US State Dept has been in contact with the Ecumenical Patriarch? Just what were the “sweet nothings”?

    And what is your source that the next Ecumenical Patriarch is to be expected to be Metropolitan Lambrianides? And please tell us more about Metropolitan Lambrianides.

  6. Joseph Lipper says

    The 1993 drafted document intended for Crete on “Autocephaly & the Way in Which It Is to Be Proclaimed” was dropped from the Crete Council in deference to Moscow. Moscow specifically requested this document not be included.

    Ironically, had that document been included and ratified at Crete, then Patriarch Bartholomew wouldn’t have been able to do what he did. He says as much, admitting that his own unilateral actions repudicated the document on autocephaly, but since it was dropped from the council, he was not bound to any conciliar agreement about it.

    Here’s a summary of the autocephaly procedure from the 1993 document that Constantinople wanted to approve at the Crete Council, but that Russia rejected, requesting that the topic of autocephaly not be brought up at Crete:

    1. The region in question submits a request for autocephaly to its Mother Church.

    2. If the Mother Church approves, it submits a proposal to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

    3. The Ecumenical Patriarchate sends a patriarchal letter to the world’s autocephalous Churches to seek pan-Orthodox consensus.

    4. The Holy Synods of these Churches each vote on the matter. If 100% of the Churches vote in favor of granting autocephaly, the process continues. Otherwise, it ends here.

    5. If pan-Orthodox unanimity exists, then the Ecumenical Patriarchate proclaims the new autocephaly by issuing a Tomos, which is signed by the Ecumenical Patriarch and the primate of the Mother Church, and as many of the other primates as possible.


    • George Michalopulos says

      Joseph, all this is true as far as ot goes. Unfortunately you and I and others on this blog argue from the standpoint of good faith. Ever since Ligonier, the present EP has given us very little reason to expect similar behavior.

      I contrast his governing style with that of his two predecessors both of whom never abrogated to themselves such Latin prerogatives or high handedness.

      It pains me to write these words. Believe me, it does.

  7. Antiochene Son says

    LOL, the EP has gone full Hillary circa 2016. Russian bots are controlling everyone!

  8. Gregg Gerasimon says

    Came across this quote from Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), which is one of the best to-the-point summaries of the competing ecclesiologies at play in this Ukraine mess. As always, very well put, Metropolitan Hilarion:

    “For 10 centuries, we have not been in communion with the Church of Rome. From the point of view of the Church of Rome, that is not normal. They recognize us as the Church; they recognize our sacraments. But they believe that the fullness of ecclesiology starts when the local church is in communion with Rome. This is what the Patriarch of Constantinople teaches as well. They say that the fullness of Church life is when you are in communion with Constantinople.

    “Orthodox ecclesiology actually teaches that one local Church is the church of God if it teaches the Orthodox faith and if (canonically) it is not in schism. To be canonically in schism is to teach heresy, to practice sacrilege (liturgical abuse), or to be in communion with schismatics or heretics. Period. Orthodoxy does not give divine attributes to the Bishop of Rome, to the Bishop of Constantinople/Istanbul, or to any other bishop.”

    • lexcaritas says

      My brother Greg, I love Met. Hilarion, but I have Catholic friends who will say this definition is inadequate and as shaky as the Protestants’ sola Scriptura.

      One in particular will ask if not Rome (or Constantinople) who is to say, at any given point in time, what it is to teach the Orthodox faith? who defines it? what is it to teach heresy? to practice sacrilege? who identifies schismatics? Where does the authority lie where Rome is the mess it is and there has been no ekumene for the Ecumenical Patriarch to be patriarch of for over 650 years and no real council to rule on these matters for nigh on 750 years.


      • lexcaritas “who is to say, at any given point in time, what it is to teach the Orthodox faith? who defines it? what is it to teach heresy? to practice sacrilege? who identifies schismatics? ”

        No legalistic and power hungry acrobatics will “solve this is issue”. The true sheep will recognize God’s voice and the faithful rest will not bend their knees before Baal.

      • Michael Bauman says

        lexicaritas, that sort or question only arises when the common understanding of the community, its chrism, has been reduced to such a degree that law is required.

        In a reversal of the reality of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the law replaces both the personal encounter with Jesus Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Even asking the question displays a brokenness that is deeply sad and deeply problematic and practically precludes a truthful answer because the law does not give life–it is a means of control and artificial order because of our sin.

        I guess it just comes down to what the meaning of the word “is” is.

        It is why Blessed Seraphim Rose told us that Christianity is about loving a person, The Person our Incarnate Lord, rather than believing an idea or set of ideas.

        • Joseph Lipper says

          Well said.

        • Matthew Panchisin says

          Dear Michael Bauman,

          It seems to me that you have hit the nail on the head. What you have articulated very well is precisely the problem we are seeing with the E.P’s actions in Ukraine. Church canons are being falsely applied as ideas to be used and in ways that deny their intended purpose which is most certainly not to sow schisms and instigate movements for the seizure of canonical Churches, the harassment Orthodox bishops priests and faithful etc., in short lawlessness.

          Strikingly, we know it is actually an anti-liturgical endeavor, opposing peace that comes from heaven above etc. With that sort of an ethos “Let us lift up our hearts unto the Lord God” presents many problems which at some point in time is exceedingly problematic for the clergy under the E.P. and others relative to the movements of the heart with more than mere limitations in experiencing the authentic unity of faith. If ones heart desires the things that schismatics in Ukraine do and is joined to them via the E.P.’s what are they really doing? Obviously the E.P is not a peacemaker. It’s not supposed to be a disgraceful shame for people from the minds of Bartholomew and Mikhail Antonovich Denisenko with other politicians who present and implement such ideas. It has been noticed that many are ignoring the ramifications, I think it is because people don’t like their lives being disrupted or rearranged even though that is what is happening whether they notice it or not, yet. There is a very sound reason the Church Fathers speak so very harshly regarding those that create schisms or follow the apostates that do such things, it is relevant to doxology and opposing to God’s will in far too many ways.

          Having said that the the schismatic E. P. and his schismatics subjects can repent and embrace the true faith so that they can worship the Lord God in spirit and truth change their dispositions by God’s grace in His Church.

      • People tend to seek out an ‘authority.’ It may be a Pope or the Scriptures, a Patriarch, an Elder, a council, canon, creed… almost anything.

        “Tell me what to believe, and I will believe it – or at least profess to believe it. Tell me what to do, and I will do it. But for Heaven’s sake, don’t force me to struggle with actual faith in Christ because that requires responsibility and an accountability I cannot bear, a struggle to know Him as He is – and thus to know myself as I really am.”

        There are, of course, lawful authorities in Christ; but they cannot be allowed to serve as replacements for Christ. Loyalty to Christ ought never be confused with loyalty to His ministers who may – or may not – be faithful to their Lord at any given moment.

        But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
        – Epistle of Saint Paul to the Church at Galatia

        I have very little doubt that discerning where His Church is (or is not) and who His faithful minsters are is, and will ever-increasingly become, a monumental struggle for all who have faith in Christ. As the various ‘authorities’ in which many put their faith slide into apostasy and confusion, no disciple of Christ will be able to avoid this struggle. Those who bypass the struggle, preferring matters of ‘faith’ to be of the neat and tidy variety that ‘authorities’ readily provide, will be those who choose to be deceived by intentionally ignoring the innumerable warnings of our Lord and His apostles.

        I don’t pretend that this provides ready answers to the very real and difficult questions posed by Lexcartis. But I do think we often ask the wrong questions. It is not who has the right argument, the ‘correct’ canonical pedigree, the ‘historical claim’… It is who has the Spirit of Christ – the same dynamic yet immutable Holy Spirit Who dwelt in the Church from the beginning (and to which all lawful authorities testify) in contrast to the ever-changing, evolving, ‘progressive’ lawless spirits of this age.

        But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth… Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life. These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, abide in Him.
        -Epistle of Saint John the Evangelist and Theologian

        Nevertheless, the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”

        -Epistle of Saint Paul to Timothy.

    • Joe Kerdly says

      We all know Alfaiev is behind this web site.

    • Gregg and lxc,

      Rome has never solved the doctrinal problem either. It simply lives with historical contradictions and recasts the Church as an earthly power with the pope as its emperor.

      The remarkable thing is that with a weakened CP and no council since the Middle Ages, Orthodoxy has retained its faith coherently into the 20th century, when Western and Catholic influence again became more pronounced. Consider how Rome has expanded the power of the Pope and invented doctrine over this same period. We certainly don’t need or want that.

      For once, I agree with Met. Hilarion. That is a concise and accurate definition of the difference and the problem:

      “Orthodoxy does not give divine attributes to the Bishop of Rome, to the Bishop of Constantinople/Istanbul, or to any other bishop.”

      The heresy of the Romans is papal supremacy. The heresy of the CP is sine paribus (first “without equals”). Sine paribus is simply a subspecies of the Roman heresy that the primate has a distinct divine charism to rule. It has been imported by a Roman educated patriarch of Constantinople in order to beat down the other local churches and get them in line for a planned move toward unia. That is the great context of the current dispute.

      It is a war of light and darkness.

  9. Zelon COntomitas says

    QUite the contray, Bart has regained the initiative. With Georgia, Ukraine and Turkey inside the EU he alone can lead all the churches inside the EU. The highest official in the church is the bishop. Archbishops and patriarchs are merely political intermediaries. WIth Georgia, Ukraine and Turkey inside the EU, Greece will have rebuilt the Byzantine empire by stealth, just as it did the first time. The EU bureaucracy is totally at the mercy of Greek technocrats.

    • If your prognosis proves to be true. There will be a large group of schismatics being led by Bartholomew of Istanbul.

      True Orthodoxy will be smaller…..but it will be the Church of Jesus Christ, handed to the Apostles, who passed it on to the holy God-bearing Fathers.

      • Constantinos says

        Are you sure about that Mikail? All the Apostles were mighty evangelists ,Does the Orthodox Church do any evangelism at all. It seems to me the only thing the Orthodox are good at is smells and bells along with internecine warfare.

        • Why do you insult the holy Orthodox Church, Conatantinos? If you have grown weary, go on your way in peace. Don’t continue to spout your “smells and bells” sermon.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Nothing wrong with small. We might be better off going back into the catacombs.

        • Hieromonk Seraphim Rose

          We ourselves have a feeling—based on nothing very definite as yet—that the best hope for preserving true Orthodoxy in the years ahead will lie in such small gatherings of believers, as much as possible ‘one in mind and soul.’ The history of the twentieth century has already shown us that we cannot expect too much from the ‘Church organization’; there, even apart from heresies, the spirit of the world has become very strong. Archbishop Averky, and our own Bishop Nektary also, have warned us to prepare for catacomb times ahead, when the grace of God may even be taken away from the ‘Church organization’ and only isolated groups of believers will remain. Soviet Russia already gives us an example of what we may expect—only worse, for the times do not get better. (Hope – Fr. Seraphim Rose, His Life and Works)

          • Michael Bauman says

            The danger is to think because one us small, one is right and holy.

            • Matthew Panchisin says

              ROCOR heard that for many years, long ago there was even a Roman Catholic Cardinal that asked a ROCOR bishop, “I did some research and you’re not in communion with anyone, isn’t anybody good enough for you people?

              • Michael Bauman says

                Matthew, I was merely saying that being small is not sufficient. Being small can lead to greater focus but it can also lead to a lot of dysfunction. I like being in a large parish (sometimes) because it keeps my ego in check. Everyone there is clearly better than I am. Not so easy in a small parish.

                • MatthewPanchisin says

                  Dear in Christ Michael,

                  Thanks be to God Orthodox prayers are the same in a small Church or a large Church, the unity of faith remains within the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

        • Antiochene Son says

          All it takes is 12.

    • Will Harrington says

      If the EP is looking to lead the Churches in the EU, then I submit that the initiative lies with the yellow vest movement and its supporters.

  10. Alitheia1875 says

    Inquiring minds want to know, actually need to know, did the new Metropolitan of the unified Ukrainian national church stay in Constantinople on January 6 after getting the tomos of autocephaly, Theophany in the new calendar, or did he manage to get back to Ukraine in time to celebrate Nativity with the rest of the Orthodox Christians there?