I Guess this Means Halki is Off the Table

One of the positive things of great crises like the ones we are presently experiencing, is that they tend to clarify things. The choices become starkly binary in such situations. That’s not ideal by any means; after all, life is more complicated in the ordinary run of things. Yet crises don’t allow us this luxury. As Lenin once said: “You may not be interested in the Revolution but the Revolution is interested in you”. This makes picking a side and sticking with it inevitable. And those people and institutions who make their livelihoods dependent upon complexity, appeasement and kicking the can down the road, are the first to feel the scourge of history when reality slaps them across the face.

And so it is with the Phanar, the seat of the much-hyped but equally hallucinatory “New Rome”. For the better part of a century, some of its patriarchs have allowed themselves to be used as pawns in the Great Game and, coming from their perspective, why not? Up until sixty years ago, Constantinople was still a viable, if shrinking archdiocese, with a dwindling population of tens of thousands of Greeks still living there. Since the fateful riots of 1955 however, the writing was on the wall as far as the Constantinopolitan Greeks were concerned. In its place, some of its ideologues tried a different tactic, using delusions of grandeur, hoping that said delusions could buy them some time. Or at least keep the coffers full.

But now, it all comes to an end: according to Breitbart.com, the Turkish High Court has ruled that the 1934 law that made Hagia Sophia a mosque was illegal. This law was originally approved by Mustapha Kemal (Ataturk), the founder of the modern secularist Republic of Turkey. Please read it for yourself here: https://www.breitbart.com/middle-east/2020/07/10/turkish-islamic-conservatives-win-hagia-sophia-cleared-to-become-a-mosque-again/

Now, I’m not going to get into the ins and outs of Ataturk’s career or the intricacies of international law or UNESCO’s wishes in the matter. Those are stories for another day and ones, which frankly, I’m uninterested. What I am interested in is the history of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, its eparchies, and auxiliary institutions. Specifically, the Knights of St Andrew and the episcopal Byzanto-apologists who have tortured the Canons of the Church to support a historical fantasy.

Such fantasies have done much spiritual harm to the Greek Orthodox faithful in North America. (I suspect that the Greek Orthodox residing in Greece and Australia have been on to this game for quite awhile now.) Perhaps my perspective on this matter is skewed by the fact that I’m an American, born on this land, the son and grandson of immigrants. Whatever. The fact remains that for far too long we have been bamboozled by ecclesial academics and their propagandists for decades now. There have been fewer things more painful to me in life than to actually hear a GOA priest preach from the pulpit on the grandiosity of the New Rome, or watch bishops tussle with each other when it comes to seating arrangements at some pan-Orthodox event. It’s always at the expense of the Gospel.

One doesn’t need to look at the numbers of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America to realize that atrophy has been the name of the game since almost its inception. It’s quite possible that that archdiocese is in terminal decline. To be sure, this is probably the case for most of the other jurisdictions as well, all the best efforts of the Assembly of Canonical Bishops to the contrary. Still, it is the GOA which prides itself on being the “jewel in the crown” of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (the so-called Mother Church of Christianity) as well as the largest Orthodox eparchy on this continent.

No matter. The point here is the fact that Turkey is now starting the process of converting Hagia Sophia back into a mosque. And there’s nothing that the Archons, the GOA or the other paper-shufflers masquerading as metropolitans at the Phanar can do to stop it. All the hubris of the Greek-American billionaire class is now laid bare. The annual Leadership 100/Archons meetings at the swanky resorts are merely excuses to show off and hang out with the other swells. In any event, neither the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Archdiocese nor the Archons can step up to the plate to put a stop to this.

What a waste of time have the last thirty or so years have been! Time wasted on trying to reopen a seminary that even in its heyday was never more than second-rate; time wasted on bestowing vain honors from a defunct empire on worldly businessmen; time wasted going to needless international symposia in order to debate antagonists on moribund canons that have no bearing on modern reality and were themselves illegitimate from the start. And yes, time and money wasted on promoting ill-advised pseudoscience at the expense of evangelism. Real money was wasted; worse than that are the monies that will never be realized.

Soon, one will hear the cry of the muezzins from the four minarets. I’d say it’s inevitable.

There is however, one ace up the sleeve that we Orthodox possess –just one. But it will come at a great cost to the arrogance of the Phanariotes and their minions. A cost that is so dear that they might refuse it, even if it means they have to continue to abase themselves and wallow in the mire of their own making rather. One that to their palate would cause crow to taste like filet mignon. Does anybody want to guess what that ace might be?


  1. cynthia curran says

    Well, Hagia Sophia was probably built with cement from the old Roman method which is why its stood time even with Earthquakes.

  2. Simple answer-Repentance.

  3. Philhellene says

    This provides legal precedence for Israel to convert the Dome of the Rock to a Hebrew Temple. Right of Conquest and all…

    • Phil,
      Unlike the Muslim world’s stance on the Mount, the West doesn’t seem to care enough to pressure Turkey to stop the reconversion of Hagia Sophia to a mosque. 

      • George Michalopulos says

        Hal, Philhellene’s point stands though doesn’t it?  I wonder if Arb Elpidophoros is going to get his buddies at BLM to agitate for the the return of Hagia Sophia to the Greek Christians since they were the natives whose land was stolen by the Turks.
        Nah.  I’m not holding my breath on that one.

        • …and give England back to the Welsh [sorry – to the British].

        • George,
          I was responding in practical terms to Philhelene.
          In theological Christian terms, there is no need or special preference for the Temple Mount to be in the hands of the Sanhedrin. One reason is that according to patristics, the early Christians took the view that the desolation of the Mount was the fulfillment of Daniel 9’s prophecy about the events following the cutting off of the Anointed one. Of course theologically we prefer Hagia Sophia to be in Christian use, but since worship is in the heart, and according to John’s Gospel not necessarily in Jerusalem or on the Samarian Mount, or another place, Hagia Sophia is not of maximum importance.
          I agree with your seeing a connection between the Hagia’s status and the EP’s arrogant supremacist new pope-style ecclesiology. Since the MP suspended communion with the EP over the EP’s rejection of the UOC-MP, etc., it’s hard to see the MP or Russia making major sacrifices to get the Hagia back to museum status etc. to help the EP.
          In modern legal terms of course Philhelene’s comment was a polemical red herring. Back in the 15th century you could show up at gatherings of foreign rulers or emissaries and complain that converting Hagia Sophia to a mosque was an infringement on principles of religious liberty, but I don’t know that this is considered a strong enough violation of those principles to demand outside intervention, like a lawsuit in an international court. Anyway, the fact that Turkey violated the principle in the 15th century would hardly mean that the principle of protecting religious sites does not exist. Violating an important principle does not prove that the principle does not exist. 
          You asked about BLM protesting about the Hagia. Although the simple answer is No, because BLM is a domestic organization especially focused on a national human rights issue of stopping police abuse, you are also pointing to one of Pat. Bartholomew’s Aces. BLM at this point has enough reach that it has allies in other, international human rights organizations. And those organizations could put pressure on Erdogan to stop him. The Young Turks themselves who converted Hagia into a museum were to some extent allies of an international movement of modern democracy (which makes the Turkish genocide of Armenians ironic).
          However, this effort would be tough for them. First, you have to recognize that humanitarian activism is actually pretty tough. A good example is that my guess is that BLM won’t succeed anytime soon, unfortunately, in stopping police abuse of blacks. Law enforcement’s killings in America soars far beyond those in other First World nations and seems mid range for a third world nation. (Source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_killings_by_law_enforcement_officers_by_country) So it’s a giant problem. And even if police departments recognize that, it’s still tough because violent crime is a major problem, and law enforcement measures are a reaction to that problem. And in turn, crime is a result of poverty and lack of education. It would take major effort and sacrifices for society to go down the route of stopping poverty, which would include social democratic welfare measures that supposedly BLM promotes. And it’s pretty hard for a capitalism-focused society to achieve all that, especially with the resistance to socialistic welfare measures among a major (maybe most) section of the population.

  4. Philhellene says

    Russian Orthodox Church in partnership with Russian government could purchase title to the property and the land it sits on.  Russian mafia could handle the negotiations, and offer Turkey a deal that cannot be refused. It might be expensive $$$, but they do have the resources for both the carrot and the stick to make it happen …

  5. Antiochene Son says

    This is a tragedy, but the last 1000 years have seen God continue to humble Constantinople. Like Israel of old when they would not repent, God continues to bring the former capital of Christendom to nothing. 
    No one can know the mind of God, but I am hard pressed to see this as anything but a divine rebuke for the EP’s recent misadventures. 

  6. Sage-Girl says

    Could this be the Hand of God – lightning ? striking down on Constantinople? For [among many things] Not defrocking the degenerate [Metropolitan from Western Europe] for his homosexual orgies right inside Phanar? Too bad, no video, that’s only way to legally rid Orthodoxy of wolves in sheep’s clothing? 

  7. Fr Andrew Phillips astutely observes that the Constatinopolitan Greeks have had more than 550 years to begin to spread the Gospel among the Turks. Has it been done?  Have any serious efforts ever been made to spread Christ to the Turks?

    As you write, George, no, instead of spreading the Gospel, the Phanariotes assume titles of an empire that hasn’t existed for centuries, blow platitudes at each other, and claim as “diaspora” lands where other Orthodox missionaries were far before them. They use anti-Russian bias that runs deep in Western culture to ingratiate themselves to Western leaders as the “leaders” of the world’s Orthodox Christians (as if!). 

    Why should God grant the Greeks of C’ple or of America or of anywhere Hagia Sophia back?  What have they done to earn it back?
    To answer your question, my opinion on the “ace” up the sleeve is the Russian Orthodox.  The “Archons” could use Russian influence with Turkey to possibly have the Russians “purchase” Hagia Sophia on their behalf.

    Would the “Archons” humble themselves to the Russian Orthodox to do so is another question entirely.  Abp E would first have to dissolve his “Slavic Orthodox Vicariate” — oh no!

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I keep wondering what Russia might do.

      Except from story on Ortho Christianity 11/25/15:

      Source: GreekReporter.com

      “The ascetic monk Paisios, who became Saint Paisios by the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church in January, was known for his prophecies and predictions. One of them was that Istanbul, once the capital of the Byzantine Empire Constantinople, will become Greek again.

      Specifically, Paisios wrote: “Events will start that will culminate with us taking back Constantinople. Constantinople will be given to us. There will be war between Russia and Turkey. In the beginning the Turks will believe they are winning, but this will lead to their destruction. The Russians, eventually, will win and take over Constantinople. After that it will be ours. They will be forced to give it to us.”

      The text reads further, “(The Turks) will be destroyed. They will be eradicated because they are a nation that was built without God’s blessing. One third of the Turks will go back to where they came from, the depths of Turkey. One third will be saved because they will become Christians, and the other third will be killed in this war.” This is based on the Saint Kosmas prophecy.

      Saint Paisios reposed on July 12, 1994. One of the things he wrote was, “I wanted nothing else but God to keep me alive for a few more years so I could see my country expand. And it will expand…”

      “Turkey will be dissected. This will be to our benefit as a nation. This way our villages will be liberated, our enslaved homelands. Constantinople will be liberated, will become Greek again. Hagia Sophia will open again,” the text reads.

      “Turkey will be dissected in 3 or 4 parts. The countdown has begun. We will take the lands that belong to us, the Armenians will take theirs and the Kurds their own. The Kurdish issue is at the works,” the text continues.”


      • Sage-Girl says

        Thank you Gail — yes the great Elder Paisios predicted Russians would give Constantinople back to the Greeks – Now let us see!
        Don’t forget his ascension was July 12th + his birthday July 25th —
        Help us St. Paisios! ?

        • Johann Sebastian says

          The Russians became Greek when they were baptized. They let it go for awhile but they’re working to repair that lapse.
          The only thing Russia needs to do is take Constantinople. Maybe they’re just waiting for the Greeks to become Orthodox again.

      • AND tomorrow is the day of veneration of St. Paisius!!!

      • anonsayswhat says

        According to one of the more reputable sources that I trust, being Met. Neofytos Morphou, regarding prophecies, being that he had contact as a young man with Saints Paisios, Porphyrios, Iakovos, Etc…
        Going into slight more detail…
        Erdogan will fall from his throne (unknown if by death or just kicked out of office). Iran will be bombed either before or after that time. New irresponsible leadership will take over Turkey, and they will make mistakes to engage militarily against Russia, after they invade some Greek territory. 

    • George Michalopulos says

      FTS, you and Philhellene have identified the answer to my question in the last few sentences.  To be sure, the dissolution of the “Slavic vicariate” would be just a drop in the bucket of what the Phanariotes would have to swallow in order to save St Sophia.  It would in fact be just an appertif.  One of the main courses would be the dissolution of the Ukrainian sect and the defrocking of Dumenko.  Other courses would include the future election of a Russian monk from Mt Athos.  Perhaps the inclusion of the Russian Church to number 3 in the dyptichs, and so on. 
      For dessert, Bartholomew would have to publicly humble himself in front of Putin and Kirill and acknowledge his many sins against the Church.
      Such a meal would be worse than crow.

  8. The answer to George’s question is: Russia.

  9. Maybe it’s just me…but ever since ‘ol Bart granted autocephaly to a group of laymen playing dress-up, the following events have transpired: CV19 and the closing of Churches. Massive riots by anarchists and Marxists. The conversion of Hagia Sophia into  a mosque.
    I think God had enough of the nonsense and sent a very clear message.

    • Austin Martin says

      I don’t think God would punish all of us for the sins of a very few.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        In God’s world it’s not called “punishment”. It’s called “pruning” and He allows it for our edification.

        • Very good that…

        • George Michalopulos says

          Austin, Gail is right in this regard.  As for myself, I would take it one step further:  as Orthodox laymen we share some of the blame for Bart’s actions because we didn’t stand up and say “enough!”

          The Church is like a republic (or more accurately, a commonwealth) in this regard:  in a republic, the people have the right to vote for their magistrates and thus have a say in their governance.  Although there is great responsibility placed upon the magistrates and the people are to obey them, this fact is mitigated in those countries in which the people have more authority (than say for instance, serfs would have in a feudal system).  In a republic therefore, the retribution for the sins of a president therefore can be visited upon the electorate at large.

          So it is in the Orthodox Church.  We, the people of God, are the champions of Orthodoxy.  The magisterium (as it were) resides in the people of God, not in the bishop.
          We’ve been given chance after chance after chance to rise up and say “No!” to the nonsense that’s been peddled as Orthodoxy since God-knows-when.  We’ve been beguiled by “Apostolic Journeys” where our bishops have been feted by the likes of Speaker Pelosi, VP Joe Biden and the NGOs set up by George Sauros himself.  And we Greeks in particular have have used these nonsensical and vain proceedings to lord it over our non-Greek Orthodox brethren at every turn.

          • For Russia to retake Hagia and the City, the NATO problem has to be solved. Turkey is still a NATO member, and the United States is still powerful enough to turn a regional war into a massive nuclear exchange. Which means that the events occurring in our nation today may be God humbling us to remove our military from the game. If this prophecy is to come true, then we cannot be there fulfilling the old role of the British and propping up the Turks in order to contain the Russians. Turkey will have to be on its own. Either it leaves NATO, or we decline to the point that we are unable to assist, or a combination of both must occur. Turkey wishes to revive its influence in the region, which can bring it directly into conflict with Syria, and and thereby bring in Russia. But only if we are out-of-the-way.

            • Joseph Lipper says

              Yes, it means the U.S. will either be unwilling or unable to fulfill it’s NATO obligations.  

              • Gail Sheppard says

                Trump has made it pretty clear that we are unwilling. We are certainly able.

  10. Joseph Lipper says

    We are witnessing events leading up to the destruction of Istanbul and the restoration of Constantinople and Orthodox Christianity. Turkey will be utterly destroyed, because it never had God’s blessing to begin with.  It won’t be much longer now.  Soon the Divine Liturgy will be celebrated once again within the walls of Hagia Sophia. 
    The “ace” here is Russia, but Russia will ultimately lose also, because the Theotokos will not be happy with her. Russia will ultimately be humbled for going against the EP.

    Folks, the restoration of Hagia Sophia as an Orthodox temple will mean the end of ROCOR and the end of Moscow’s dominance within Orthodox Christianity. Hellas will prevail.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      RE: “The Theotokos will not be happy with Russia . . .”

      Well, if we’re talking prophecies, Fatima tells a different story. The Mother of God insisted on the consecration of Russia. God could have allowed Russia to remain buried by her “errors” but instead, they are experiencing an unprecedented rebirth of Christianity.

      The EP has all but been erased by going against his brother bishops over Ukraine. He will never meet with them again because he doesn’t want to hear what they have to say. He stands alone. And now the GOA is crumbling. He has nothing but the walls around him and I guarantee you, if Russia goes into Turkey, the Russian government will not allow those walls to stand. Bartholomew tried to cut them off through Ukraine. They’re not over it, I assure you.

      Bartholomew, and his fiefdom of metropolitans over places that are no more, will be relocated to some monastery somewhere where they will live out their remaining days, swapping stories about what was, but will never be again.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Gail, if Constantinople is reunited with Greece, then this will mean the end of the EP’s current ghettoization at the Phanar and its reliance on North America.  Sure, the Phanar will  likely be destroyed in any war between Turkey and Russia.  Yet the restoration of Constantinople will also mean the restoration of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. 

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Which will never happen, Joseph, because all the bishops fear that Bartholomew (or anyone like him who has this “first without equal” nonsense in his head) could bring the Orthodox Church, as we know it, to ruin. It is only because the bishops are required to make joint decisions that has kept the greed of any single bishop at bay.

          The restoration of the eccumencial patriarchate, without Bartholomew, and with a clear understanding of the boundaries of its role, would be appropriate. So, yeah, it could be restored (eventually) minus the person and the vision of Bartholomew.

          No one wants a pope, Joseph.

          • Joseph Lipper says

            Gail, you can’t seem to get past Patriarch Bartholomew, but everyone knows, including him, that he’s at the end of his life.  Only God knows if he will survive a war between Turkey and Russia, and most likely he won’t. This isn’t about Patriarch Bartholomew, but rather it’s about the restoration of proper church order. 
            The restoration of Constantinople will also mean the end of the Vatican and the end of its papal power.  The “Roman” Pope’s days are coming to an end. A restored Constantinople and the miraculous resurrection of New Rome can only be a gift from God in these last days. Orthodox Christianity will reign again from the throne of Constantinople.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              If Russia goes in, it will very much be about Bartholomew, giving the Church an opportunity to put some boundaries around his thinking that if, left unchecked, will survive him.

              No one wants a pope, Joseph.

              Bartholomew won’t call a Council to address the problems the Church has with his thinking, and Russia removing him from his little eccumenical throne, which he has renamed our MOTHER CHURCH for pete’s sake, may be the only way to re-establish proper boundaries within the Church. He put Russia in an extremely precarious position, geopolitically. Since Ukraine, he has establish himself in other places he doesn’t belong. He has even threatened to eliminate the autocephalous statuses of patriarchates, including Russia. He has also announced his intention of uniting with Rome, demonstrating his commitment by concelebrating with them. His “Sunflower” is floating all kinds of crazy ideas here like communing spouses of Orthodox Christians who have no interest in becoming Orthodox, which would include spouses who are living a gay lifestyle courtesy of marriage.

              He is a menace to the Church. He, and those that could follow in his footsteps after he passes, need their wings clipped. If he is removed from Constantinople, I hope permanently, and is eventually replaced with someone who calls a Council and gets a consensus on what the eccumenical patriarchate can and cannot do in the future, would put our Church back in order. The Greeks could do this if properly incentivised.

              We’re all crying over the potential loss of Hagia Sophia. No one is going to cry over the removal of the Eccumenical Patrairchate if it means we won’t have to live under the tyranny of a bishop or any bishop like him who follows his path. Again, Joseph, no one wants a pope. We didn’t want one in 1054 and we don’t want one now.

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Gail, I have no idea what will happen to the Pope.  However, if Constantinople and the Ecumenical Patriarchate are restored (as in the prophecy you bring up), then I can only imagine that the significance of the Vatican will greatly diminish.  What country wants to be under a pope when it can be autocephalous? 

                Patriarch Bartholomew tried to bring up the topic of autocephaly at Crete, but perhaps now it will be a different Patriarch who will be allowed to address this important issue for the Church. When the EP is finally allowed to fully bring up the topic of autocephaly in an Ecumenical Council, then it’s likely that all papalist pretensions will vanish, both within the Orthodox Church, and without, and especially among the heterodox Christians of Rome.  

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  I am not aware of a prophecy that says the Ecummenical Patriarchate will be restored.

                  If Bartholomew tried to bring up autocephaly, it’s hard to understand why it wouldn’t have happened, as he was in complete control of the “agenda” which later became the “minutes.”

                  ‘Patriarch Kirill also disagrees with the Archbishop’s reference to the absence of the Russian Church from Crete, saying: “The statement of Archbishop Ieronymos does not correspond to the reality that ‘due to the absence of the Patriarchate of Moscow’ from the 2016 Synod in Crete ‘there was not an opportunity to discuss the issue of the Autocephaly’. In fact, the issue of Autocephaly was excluded from the agenda of the Synod much earlier, after the insistence of Patriarch Bartholomew.” For those who are curious, the rest of the article about what happened is here: https://orthodoxtimes.com/russian-church-will-remove-archbishop-ieronymos-from-its-diptych/

                  At any time Bartholomew can call a council “to fully bring up the topic of autocephaly”. So to say “when the EP is finally allowed. . .” is misleading. His brother bishops have begged him to do it. To date, he has refused.

                  His “papalist pretensions” will not disappear as long as he continues to call himself the Mother Church and the myid of other things he does to distinguish himself as the first without equal.

                  • myid = myriad?

                  • Joseph Lipper says


                    A restored Constantinople without the EP?  Would the Church of Greece simply turn Constantinople into some type of cosseted museum piece or amusement park and merrily continue with it’s Archbishopic of Athens and 10th place in the diptychs? 
                    No matter what the Russian Holy Synod now says, they have to admit that the topic of autocephaly was supposed to be addressed at Crete.  It was originally part of the preconciliar documents that Patriarch Bartholomew advocated for.  The main problem that Moscow had with this document was that it took away the ROC’s perceived “right” to unilaterally grant autocephaly, such as it did with Czechoslovakia, Poland, and the OCA.  Yet this same document advocated by Patriarch Bartholomew would have also intentionally prevented the Ecumenical Patriarchate from granting autocephaly in a unilateral fashion as well. 
                    It appears that Moscow wanted to retain the “right” to act unilaterally, and also the “right” to stop anyone else from doing the same. They wanted it both ways.  Well, isn’t that papism?  At least Patriarch Bartholomew was advocating for an EP that wouldn’t grant autocephaly in a unilateral fashion, instead of its default practice of doing so (without an emperor and council) for centuries.
                    If the EP were to call a council now, the only way to get Russia’s approval would be for all the local churches to gather together and enshrine Moscow’s military dominance as the “Protector of Orthodoxy”.  That’s exactly what Putin wants.   Yes, the threat of papism is real, and unfortunately it’s coming from Moscow.  
                    Gail, the only way that a legitimate council on autocephaly can happen at this point is for Russia to be humbled.  St. Paisios’ prophecies say that will happen.  Russia will be humbled, and most likely everyone else will be humbled too, and probably the United States of America especially.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Joseph, you seem to be conflating terms. Constantinople is not Bartholomew. The Ecumenical Patriarchate is not Bartholomew. Were Bartholomew not to reside in Constantinople, he would no longer be afforded all the “rights and responsibilities” he says he enjoys by virtue of living in Constantinople.

                      Why would Bartholomew agree to withdraw something from the agenda for Crete at the behest of a patriarchate that didn’t attend? One of Bartholomew’s metropolitans spread this fiction. Russia has denied it.

                      I don’t know how much more humbled Russia could be. Bartholomew installed another Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine when there was/is an existing Metropolitan Kiev and all Ukraine, Metropolitan Onufriy, under the Russian Patriarchate. It must have been very humbling to Russia to have those whom they defrocked, and their illegitimate offspring (unordained clergy), receive the Tomos from another bishop in their territory.

                      Bartholomew is not going to call a Council. Bartholomew said he is not going to call a Council. We all know why Bartholomew is not going to call a Council.

                      There is only ONE patriarch who calls himself the “Mother Church”, who thinks “first among equals” means “first without equal” and it is not the patriarch of Russia.

                      Did it ever occur to you that some of these prophecies have passed?

                    • Antiochene Son says

                      Russia was prepared to attend Crete until Antioch pulled out on account of Bart’s refusal to do his job as mediator of last resort. 

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Joseph, the plain text/verbiage/oracular statements of the Phanariotes are simply worthless. To believe that Crete would have “resolved” the issue of autocephaly is too rich for words. If anything, the very actions of the EP since Crete has shown us that even the term “autocephaly” is plastic in his mind.

                      That is why I use the neologism “ukrocephaly” to describe what he has wrought in Ukraine. (And I won’t even go on to discuss the travesty of “ordaining” enrobed charlatans as “bishops”.) Hence my own wariness of the OCA accepting “recognition” of its own autocephaly from the EP. It won’t mean a darn thing.

                      I could go on about the bad faith involved here: Bartholomew let the cat out of the bag when he came up with a two-tiered autocephaly, when he flat-out said that all autocephalies granted after a certain date were themselves “contingent” and could be revoked by the EP.

                      And it gets worse: while this would ensure that he could not revoke the autocephaly of an ancient patriarchate (like Antioch), he further let the cat out of the bag when he implied that he could “revisit” the boundaries of that patriarchate.

                      This is hubris x bad faith x charlatanry of a magnificent order. And all based on a faulty reading of a defunct canon (28) which itself was stricken from the acta of the Fourth Ecumenical Council.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Joseph, no one here that I know has any personal animus towards the EP.  Instead, it’s disgust at what he’s done almost since the start of his archpastorate.  
              We should be very chary about these prophecies.  God in His mercy can abrogate them for a time.  He did this with King Josiah of Judah who, because of his personal righteousness, assured him that the destruction of his kingdom would not come during his own lifetime.  
              Unless the Greek people return to God and unless the Phanar repudiate the homosexuals within its ranks, God is not going to shower His grace or mercy upon them.  St Paissios’ prophecies are contingent upon a godly people.  

              • Joseph Lipper says

                George, these prophecies are not exactly about sunshine.  They’re about the coming of World War III.  It’s grim stuff ahead, but God will provide.  I believe the purpose of these prophecies is so that Christians will not despair.  That’s what the article from orthochristian.com that Gail shared seems to say.

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  Not sure it’s talking about WWIII.

                  • Joseph Lipper says

                    St. Paisios was referencing the older prophecies of St. Kosmas of Aetolia, generally understood to be about World War III and with China sending 200 million troops West of the Euphrates.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Where does it say that?

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Gail, the passage you reprinted above from orthochristian.com says “This is based on the Saint Kosmas prophecy.”

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      You’re talking about 4 sentences. I suspect different prophecies overlap and diverge.

                      The text reads further, “(The Turks) will be destroyed. They will be eradicated because they are a nation that was built without God’s blessing. One third of the Turks will go back to where they came from, the depths of Turkey. One third will be saved because they will become Christians, and the other third will be killed in this war.” This is based on the Saint Kosmas prophecy.

              • I wish him a long and healthy retirement… locked away somewhere on Athos to live as a simple monk, obediances and all, with no pride of position.   No more gold cufflinks. 
                Perhaps the pateres at Esphigmenou would make for appropriate guardians.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Joseph, the way of Christ is the way of the Cross. 

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Michael, you are absolutely right.  I believe Patriarch Bartholomew has been following the way of the Cross for many years now.  Perhaps imprisonment and/or martyrdom awaits him.  We will see.

                • Joseph,
                  does Bartholomew’s way of the Cross include this:
                  Bartholomew gifted and named “Holy Quran” in Atlanta.Complete video, quran see from 32:15https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0PSYG30BRY

                  You really mean that?

                  • Joseph Lipper says

                    Ioannis, I can’t say I know the whole story about this.  If you’re really interested, perhaps you could ask Patriarch Bartholomew?

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      And how would one go about that, Joseph?

                    • Joseph,
                      The whole story is contained in the whole film
                      The part of the “Holy Quran” is from om 32:15.
                      What don’t you understand?
                      “Yes yes and no no” says the Lord.
                      What more words/explanations do you or I need from Bartholomew? 

                    • Joseph___”Ioannis, …. perhaps you could ask Patriarch Bartholomew?”

                      Q. What makes you propose this to me?
                      -Is it because you know or are sure that Bartholomew would indeed explain this to me an unimportant person, or 
                      -is this a joke of yours brother Joseph, or
                      -is it another clever manoeuver to deflect this question?

                      Q. You are unique in this blog in that you justify all Bartholomew’s actions, overtures or novel ideas, what have you.
                      Is it not fair to assume that you could/should explain things to us uninformed ones instead of saying “I don’t know” if you feel that Bartholomew is wrong?

                      Q.If you really, really love Bartholomew in Christ, what is better for his soul:
                      -that you justify anything/everything he does/says, or
                      -that you tell him that he is wrong in that particular case?

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      OR. . . maybe Joseph knows we can ask Bartholomew directly. If you can arrange for us to have an audience with him to clear all this up, George and I would greatly appreciate it. If this is not the case, it’s kind of outrageous to suggest it as it further inflames the issues, right Joseph?

                    • Antiochene Son says

                      I have an associate who is traveling to Istanbul in a couple of weeks who would be interested in knowing the answer to this question. Can you tell me how to set up a meeting with Bartholomew? It must be possible for the average Orthodox Christian to do this if you suggest it as a reasonable answer.

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Gail, I personally haven’t met Patriarch Bartholomew, but I know a lot of people who have, and what they tell me is that he’s quite approachable. He’s even known for personally greeting unsuspecting pilgrims at the gate of the Phanar. Perhaps this has since changed, I don’t know.

                    • AS – you need to get some of them gold cufflinks. Then the Phanar will think about it.

                    • Antiochene Son says

                      Basil – maybe that’s why he wouldn’t meet with Patriarch John of Antioch! He must have forgot. 

                    • Joseph,___“It’s not a sign of respect for the “Holy Koran”, but rather it’s respect for this muslim man”.
                      What makes you justify Bartholomew’s gifting of the demonic (as you say) book because it’s respect of a muslim man?

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Ioannis, I’m only speculating.  Like I said before, I don’t know his reasons.  What I do know is that Patriarch Bartholomew has been quoted as saying that he is “saddened and shaken” by President Erdogan’s decision to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque.  The EP is certainly not in favor of this change.

                  • Joseph Lipper says

                    Ioannis, one thing I know is that attending banquets like that can be rather exhausting.  Especially if you have to be there, it can be a form of asceticism.  It is a cross to bear, and I wouldn’t want to be in any bishops shoes.

                    • Joseph,___Bartholomew did not merely attend the banquet but did precise preparations for it: To get an appropriate copy of the Quran and prepare an appropriate little speech calling it “Holy”.
                      Now you are saying,
                      “Especially if you have to be there, it can be a form of asceticism

                      What makes you say “ESPECIALLY if you have to be there”?
                      Why ESPECIALLY & HAVE ?
                      Did his “form of asceticism  include gifting the Quran, calling it “Holy” and bypassing the fact that the Quran literally denies: The Holy Trinity, the Crucifiction and Resurrection of Christ. Since when do you call this ascetism

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Ioannis, it sounds to me that you’re angry and outraged about Patriarch Bartholomew giving a “Holy Koran” to a muslim man.  After all, it’s not a Christian book.  It’s demonic.  Yet as I understand it, the gifted “Holy Koran” was meant only as gesture of personal respect for that man, and not as respect for the teachings of the “Holy Koran” itself.  As St. Paul admonished, “Give everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” 
                      So, Patriarch Bartholomew respected a muslim man by giving him a “Holy Koran”.  Could he have given him something different?  Of course!   Yet why that choice of gift?
                      Perhaps this muslim man actually hated Christianity.  Perhaps this man didn’t even really want to be at the banquet, but he had to be there.  He was suffering.   In that case, the gifted “Holy Koran” would have respected this man’s suffering. 

                      Yet we all know it is the wicked lies of the “Holy Koran” which have caused the innumerable sufferings of many Orthodox Christians. It is a truth that the Patriarch personally endures and is most keenly aware of.  In that case, the gifting of the “Holy Koran” could be seen as a personal gesture of the Patriarch’s own suffering, and not personally returning wrath for wrath, but instead “turning the other cheek” to his own suffering.

                    • Joseph___”Ioannis, it sounds to me that you’re angry and outraged about Patriarch Bartholomew giving a “Holy Koran” to a muslim man”.
                      Joseph, it sounds to me that you’re fascinated about Bartholomew, and really whatever he says or does, you will do the biggest and most dangerous intellectual acrobatics to justify it: You are not interested whether your justifying may actually damage the soul of your hero. Is this really real love in Christ?

                      You say it was “a gesture of personal respect for that man”.
                      Q. Is Bartholomew’s respect for that (muslim) man greater than his respect for CHRIST ? Barth. knew that the man was a devout muslim, hence the choice of the gift. So that learned man knew what the Quran rejected about Christ (e.g. Susa 4: 171,157, Susa 5: 19,75). Bartholomew was born in Turkey, served in the Turkish army as an OFFICER, knows the Turkish language fluently, and as a learned man knows at least the important parts of the Quran. If B. as a Bishop believes he is representing Christ, he cannot give gifts that reject Christ, he could have gifted the icon of Panaghia or St.George, since muslims accept those icons:

                      Imagine you are Trump’s representative and you are visiting a man in another country. That man is a member of an anti-american organization which preach against Trump. Now, Joseph, really (why?) would you visit this man in his reception AND why would you give him a book of his own organization which contains a rejection of Trump, your (assumed) boss?

                      Now, back to our real case Joseph: You say correctly that the book is demonic.
                      You say “St. Paul admonished, “Give everyone what you owe them….”
                      Q. What makes you think that Bartholomew OWES this demonic book to the man? Doesn’t Bartholomew, a bishop, first and foremost owe GLORY TO CHRIST and nothing which diminishes that glory?
                      Q. this question is a kind of repeat from above, which you did not bother to answer.
                      You said before that Bartholomew ESPECIALLY and HAD to go to that reception in the US. Now you said he OWES. What is this?
                      WHAT MAKES YOU SAY THAT JOSEPH?
                      Is the man, a president of a company, B’s boss or something?
                      Just what do you mean anyway?

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Ioannis, it’s the context. Patriarch Bartholomew is obviously suffering because of Islam and the “Holy Koran”. Yet there he is in America (the banquet is in Atlanta, Georgia, right?), where the tables are somewhat turned. The Patriarch is in his element and with his supporters, yet he doesn’t gloat over this fact. He’s in America’s “Bible Belt” where it is Islam that is somewhat persecuted or looked down upon, yet he doesn’t relish in the reversal and comeuppance. Instead, he hands this muslim man a Koran. It’s not a sign of respect for the “Holy Koran”, but rather it’s respect for this muslim man who is somewhat outside of his own element at the banquet. This man is given the very book that causes so much of Patriarch Bartholomew’s own suffering. Thus the irony of this gift, in this context, is that it highlights the problematic nature of the “Holy Koran”.

            • Joseph,___“Gail, you can’t seem to get past Patriarch Bartholomew, but everyone knows, including him, that he’s at the end of his life.”

              Joseph, you can’t seem to get past Patriarch Bartholomew, everyone reading the Canon Law knows, including him, that he’s not functioning as per Canon 28 (4th Ec.Synod).
              They only reason for the bishop of Constantinople to have a coordinating function was then the fact that Constantinople was the Capital of the country, and that the Head of State and the Senate resided there. This is no more the case.

              ” This isn’t about Patriarch Bartholomew, but rather it’s about the restoration of proper church order. “

              Exactly, Joseph. And the restoration of proper church order is to have coordinating Bishops in the Capitals of the various countries.Right?

      • Gail, you write:
        “He will never meet with them again because he doesn’t want to hear what they have to say.”
        This is sad but probably true.
        He might meet with the Patriarchs who supported him, but he would have a hard time meeting with the others because he knows that he is in the wrong and because his position of supremacism requires their consensus for it to stand. He has a hard time asserting that he is the head over and above all Orthodox Churches if they don’t agree with him and reject his authority over them.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          And therein is the problem, Hal. He has no authority if he is not free to do the things that are unique to his status as the Eccumenical Patriarch: He can no long call Councils to help direct the Church or even mediate unless he is asked and no one is going to ask. He has alienated his brother bishops. He has lost all moral authority. He is operating as a lone bishop. In November 2017, all the bishops, including those who were so angry with each other they could barely breathe the same air, met in Russia. All but Bartholomew, that is. Bartholomew was in Jerusalem complaining about Trump making it the capital.

          He is, and has been, marching to his own drummer, not caring that the rest of his brothers have been marching, too, but unlike him, in lock step. He has separated himself from the Church, thinking he is the head of the Church. It is a delusion. There is only ONE head. The head of the Church is Christ.

          • You wrote: “Bartholomew was in Jerusalem complaining about Trump making it the capital.”
            I was not aware of this, but it was a good example of why I liked Pat. Bartholomew, seeing him as a humanitarian, progressive, ecumenical, uniting figure until his decision to act so harshly against the UOC-MP in 2018 on the basis of his insensible supremacy claim. The UN had originally planned for Jerysalem to be an international city, yet both the SOI and Palestinians would have wanted it for their capitol. The Israeli invasions of 1948 and 1967 were followed by the SOI’s forcible annexation or occupation of the city. Moving the US embassy to Jerusalem was a break with the wise longstanding US policy that respected the international consensus on the ownership rights in Jerusalem.
            The EP’s objection to the US embassy move reflected his own longstanding image favoring peace and human rights like those of the Palestinian Christian and Muslim community. This is why the EP’s actions in 2018. were so surprising for me. It started with his derisive off the record demeaning comments to Pat. Kyrill in his last, summer 2018 meeting with the latter, like asking rhetorically how many Russians actually go to church. And then after the EP recognized the OCU, he sent Met. Onufrey a derisive letter saying that he only called Met. Onufrey a metropolitan “by economia”, and implied that he didn’t have a real right to the title anymore. And then in his letters since the new schism, as in his letter to the JP complaining about the JP’s gathering of patriarchs to discuss Ukraine last year, the EP has openly been emphasizing Greek genos (race) and Greek “blood” as reasons why the Orthodox world should accept his decisions. His old image as an international, ecumenical figure for peace and human rights drastically conflicts with his new stance promoting his own EP-supremacy and “genos”. It’s quite startling.
            I appreciate you, George, and the blog being a major source of information on this tragic, incomprehensible new path from the EP that instead of being ecumenical is breaking church unity and instead of being anti racist is explicitly promoting some strange Greek “racism” that is quite foreign and weird for me.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              We appreciate you, too, Hal. Thanks for sticking around. 🙂

            • George Michalopulos says

              Hal, I thank you for your readership and your compliment.

              As for the EP, his “progressive” stances regarding tribal and national conflicts were merely a pose to hide an unfortunate bigotry against Slavic peoples.  (And perhaps other ethnic and racial groups as well.)

              I realize that that is a harsh statement but it is not one I assert glibly or without evidence.  Clearly you have provided some of that evidence in the form of words he has spoken to Kirill directly or to assorted journalists.  In any event, his actions in Ukraine only underscored these unfortunate, bigoted statements.

              Mind you, I don’t blame him:  as a Greek-American, I was raised with the same sentiments against xeni, not to be murderous mind you, but it’s just a thing, as it were.  It’s no different for Jews, Armenians, WASPs and even blacks; the concept of “the other”.  Such a way of looking at life in a multi-cultural society is not evil in and of itself, it’s just a way of navigating through life.  What sociologists call “high trust” mechanisms exist within “in-groups” mainly because you don’t have to explain every little detail of what you’re talking about.  

              Bartholomew’s hypocrisy in this matter is most unfortunate, not merely because he’s a globalist but because he’s a churchman who has pretensions of loving all of the “300 million Orthodox” whom he claims to be “spiritual leader” of.  

              Now mind you, in the ordinary run of things, such soft bigotry probably offends his puppet-masters at Davos, but at the same time, such anti-Slavic xenophobia suits them just fine for the present, because it fits in with their own anti-Russian  Christophobic sentiments.  His usefulness to them will last as long as their plans against Russia remain in place.  Should there be a change, then Cpole’s efficacy will be cast to the side.

              Excuse me for this rambling answer but the coffee just kicked in this morning. At any rate, it’s not any more complicated than that. 

              • I appreciate you talking about the EP’s supremacy and anti-Russia problems, because other than some sites like OrthoChristian and Rocor writers for the most part Orthodox English language sources online avoid writing critically on the issue. In fact, it’s quite an important issue for Orthodoxy because the rejection of Papal Supremacy has been a historical major feature of our Church and because the MP-EP schism is a major new problem for  the Orthodox world.
                The EP’s decisionmaking has led to weird unexpected indirect consequences. The Hagia Sophia issue is an example because Turkey doesn’t have to worry as much about Russia interfering with Hagia Sophia. A good example of this is the problem of the status of ex-canonex-canonical parishes that joined the Kiev Patriarchate. As I understand it, there is a well known parish that left the OCA because it didn’t want to pay dues to the jurisdiction anymore, so it left the OCA and joined the Kiev Patriarchate well before the EP’s 2018 decision. Something similar happened in Australia with a Greek parish that left the Greek canonical church there to join the “KP”. The EP recognized the “Kiev patriarch” Filaret in 2018, which conceivably would make these KP parishes canonical in the eyes of EP churches like ACROD and the UOC-USA. There is the weird issue that the EP later gave a Tomos to the OCU demanding that KP parishes outside Ukraine must join the EP, yet the KP Filaret and those parishes failed to obey the EEP’s demand. Nonetheless, the EP has not excommunicated those KP parishes. So it seems that in the eyes of SCOBA’s clergy and parishes, the KP parishes are in a weird status where the EP clergy would take the view that those KP parishes are canonical but need to join their (EP) jurisdiction.
                I am also pretty happy that you recognize the problem of Greek “racism”. It looks like unfortunately racism is the best term because of his accompanying references to Greek “blood”. He isn’t just talking about the historic relevance of Greek culture. Since he us doing this especially now when he is older, I wonder if it’s partly aan indirect result of getting nastier, more curmudgeony, or more intolerant due to old age. I sense that some people who get quite old get into a nasty intolerant streak. IIn an extreme case, I heard of an old nun in a nursing home who “lost it” and got a habit of streaming nasty expletives constantly.
                In contrast, the Greek community and Greek people seem to be generally ignoring the issue. Problems like EP supremacy or his mistreatment of the MP don’t seem to interest or both them much. That has been my personal experience trying to find their opinions, either those I know or what I see online. Sometimes they avoid the topic deliberately, maybe because they sense that the EP is wrong, while others of them endorse the EP’s claims. The metropolitan of NJ is the strongest example of the latter longstanding Greek Americans that comes to mind because he demanded a strongly worded authoritarian letter be read aloud after liturgy on the topic, condemning the “defiance” of those who disagreed with the EP on Ukraine. And yet apparently the Greek American community is one of the strongest constituencies, if not the strongest, in terms of influencing the EP’s decisionmaking on the topic.

            • After throwing a few balls, this pitch of Hal’s is directly over the plate.

            • “Moving the US embassy to Jerusalem was a break with the wise longstanding US policy that respected the international consensus on the ownership rights in Jerusalem.”

              Moving the embassy to Jerusalem was just long overdue acceptance that Jerusalem is the actual capital of Israel.  It is always wise to base policy on physical realities on the ground, rather than conforming to “international consensus” which is really about appeasing Islamic ambitions.  The same goes for Crimea/Russia, Ukraine is never getting the Crimea back, and the sooner the rest of the world accepts that and moves on the better.

    • LOL. Major cope-post. Thanks for the laughs.

    • Joseph,
      Why did God allow the fall of the city (1453) in the first place?
      All but one of some 30 parishes did not celebrate liturgy because of lack of congregation!
      Many people were “flirting” with papists. Just as B. is now doing.
      Are these things just a coincidence?
      How faithfull is the average Greek person nowadays?
      Why would God give them back the city and Agia Sophia? Example: how many abortions are being done in Greece?
      Is it perhaps because they promised to build a grand shrine of Christ as thanks to the Lord for liberating Greece, the people contributed millions of drachmas for many years, and the money (like in N.York) is gone? Or should they be punished like Ananias and his wife?

      Why did this happened with Bartholomew at the helm?
      Is this still another coincidence?
      Please consider:
      He (B.) gifted and named “Holy Quran” in Atlanta.
      Complete video, quran see from 32:15
      Is Bartholomew now glad that the “Holy Quran” will be read in Agia Sophia?
      Yes or No Joseph, and why?

      He (B.) excommunicated the famous Theologian Nikolaos Sotiropoulos (NK) because NK criticised
      un-christian theories of the previous AB of Australia.

      Is this not a proper “reward” for Bart.’s achievements?

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Ioannis,  I don’t know.  What do you think?

        • Joseph, you know so many things, and you advise us,
          how come you suddenly don’t know any of the above?

          • Joseph Lipper says

            I’m not the sharpest pencil in the drawer.  You know?

            • And yet you are clever enough to avoid answering simple questions.
              Brother, I suddenly remembered a billionaire, who was asked simply,  something to this effect:
              -“What do you think of ….”
              His clever manoeuver was to the effect:
              -“It depends what you mean by think.”
              Call that a good discussion.

    • Johann Sebastian says

      “Hellas will prevail.”
      Does that mean that Bart will start offering pharmakos atop Mt. Olympus?
      Christ lives. Hellas is dead.

  11. Joseph Lipper says

    Personally, I’m paying close attention to next week’s EU meeting in Brussels.  Something’s coming up I think.  A two-tiered Europe?  We’ll see.

  12. Gregory Manning says

    I’m inclined to favor the take offered by the Union of Orthodox Journalists.
    https://spzh.news/en/zashhita-very/72802-neozhidannyje-posledstvija-prevrashhenija-svyatoj-sofii-v-mechety?fbclid=IwAR0adkHUc1CxsT8_8NYKNxFybxszx6pBjnBK4Ey  And yes, the answer, if there is one, is Russia.  Alas, payback for the trouble caused in Ukraine is likely going to hurt. 

  13. You write: “There is however, one ace up the sleeve that we Orthodox possess –just one.”
    There is probably more than one Ace. My guess is that you are going for reconciliation with Russia, because it’s strong internationally especially when it’s in combination with the West, and because it involves giving up the EP arrogance of claimed control over Orthodox churches everywhere. 
    But there are other Aces, like not caring excessively what happens to Hagia Sophia. The Temple Mount is arguably one of the most historic and spiritual places in Christian theology besides the NT sites, yet Christianity has not found it imperative to keep it in the hands of one religious community or out of another’s. The emphasis in John’s Gospel was that worship would be in the heart rather than necessarily in Jerusalem.
    The EP could also chose to do outreach spiritually to the Turks like the schismatic Turkish Orthodox Church has tried to do. Or it could try to use the Armenian Genocide as an important humanitarian issue for Turkey’s minorities, including indirectly for the Greek Turks.
    Or the EP could take the issue up with some international law organizations, but I don’t know how strong a legal case they would have, because the last time Hagia Sophia was Christian run for a long time was over 5 centuries ago. I don’t know if there were Christian intervals like in the 5 years or so after WW1 during the Greek or Western occupations of the city.

  14. Austin Martin says

    The Bible is very clear that you only maintain your special holy city status if you remain a holy people. The Greeks lost Constantinople for the same reason that the Jews lost Jerusalem. If the Greeks deserved Hagia Sophia, God would have let them keep it.
    Really, if you look at Byzantine history, after every time the empire was involved in some kind of political or moral corruption, they lost territory either to heresy or military conquest. Justinian was so close to ending the monophysite schism, but he couldn’t keep his whore wife in check, so it was ruined forever. 

    • “The Bible is very clear that you only maintain your special holy city status if you remain a holy people. The Greeks lost Constantinople for the same reason that the Jews lost Jerusalem. If the Greeks deserved Hagia Sophia, God would have let them keep it.  Really, if you look at Byzantine history, after every time the empire was involved in some kind of political or moral corruption, they lost territory either to heresy or military conquest.”

      Then Byzantine history would’ve been short indeed.  Historically, they sometimes advanced in power and territorial control under immoral and heretical government, and sometimes declined under moral and Orthodox rulers.  The Church isn’t the OT Jews in the Holy Land.  God isn’t going to always dish out wordly success to those who “deserve” it, for one thing because it would be too obvious that there’s a God rewarding and punishing, and life wouldn’t a test of faith and siding with God and Truth for their own sake. 

    • His “whore wife” is a saint of the Church. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

      • cynthia curran says

        Yes, Theodora had her problems and could be nasty and play tricks on people, but she tried to get rid of the trade to sale girls.

        • Austin Martin says

          Saint or not, she was a christological heretic, a feminist and a former prostitute. Even her defenders say “She only pretended to play the other side because it seemed politically advantageous.” In other words, everyone agrees that she was dishonest, manipulative and wrecklessly ambitious. The empire was almost totally destroyed because of her, and if I have my history correct, there was some kind of riot where she just slaughtered thousands of civilians. I think the machinations of her becoming a saint were immediately after her death and by royal fiat from Justinian.
          If being Orthodox means acknowledging her as some kind of Christian role model, then I will revoke my Orthodox membership card.

          • “..if I have my history correct…”.
            You have your history wrong.  Perhaps that is why you denigrate a Saint of the Church. And also perhaps why you claim you will leave the faith if you are wrong about her.

            Any other Saints you care to de-sanctify for us with your knowledge of history?

            • “You have your history wrong.”

              If you would refute him,
              please confound him with the facts.
              Don’t just make an unsupported assertion.

            • Austin Martin says

              No, just her. I’m pretty sure she’s the only saint who actively promoted heresy.

              Tell you guys what. If any of you can explain to me how Theodora was not a christological heretic, I will take back everything I said and repent of slander next time I go to confession.

              However, if St John Damascus is correct, that the Jacobites have “denied the mystery of our common salvation”, then I think we conclude that Empress Theodora denied the mystery of salvation. As to her having saint status, that was the judgment of men. Only God’s judgment counts for eternity.

              • Antiochene Son says

                Glorification is infallible. You had better be careful, sir, for you have crafted quite a measuring stick for yourself.

          • The pride of modern man…

  15. Austin Martin says

    If Halki was opened again, what are the chances it would be a, you know, orthodox Orthodox seminary? Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have both pushed for its reopening.
    Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. (Psalm 127:1 KJV)

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Austin, I don’t think Obama or Hillary really pushed for it’s reopening. It was the carrot they used to get Bartholomew to do the State Department’s bidding in Ukraine.

      Halki’s reopening was only important to Bartholomew. Wikileaks is replete with his constant moaning to every politician who would give him the time of day that he wanted Halki reopened and Russia to be kept as far away from his ecumenical throne as possible, as he was certain they were going to come in and take it. Maybe he wasn’t wrong.

      If the Russians go in there, they’ll rebuild Halki for the Russian Patriarchate and it will be done overnight.

      Bartholomew misplayed every hand he was dealt.

      • rjklancko says

        So will Bart apologize to kyrill and recognize that kyrill sits on the throne of the third rome and Bart will repent his short sighted actions and retire?   Btw how many Moscow parishes are in turkey,?   

        • Gail Sheppard says

          No. But it won’t matter, rjklancko. If Russia goes into Turkey it will be all over for Bartholomew. No apologies will fix what he did to them in Ukraine.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        “If the Russians go in there, they’ll rebuild Halki for the Russian Patriarchate and it will be done overnight.”  
        Perhaps they will, but as you point out with St. Paisios’ prophecy, “They will be forced to give it to [Greece].”

        • Gail Sheppard says

          No one ever prophesied Russia would give anything back to Bartholomew. Only to the Greeks.

          Russia has been asking Erdogan to give them more of a presence in Turkey to support the many Russians who visit there.
          (Why? Well, it’s not to see Bartholomew, I can assure you.) Hagia Sophia is a draw for Christians from all over the world. This is not just an Orthodox thing. If Russia went in there to rescue it, it would put the Russians in the position of being the “good guys” for a change; at least with Christians.

          Russia could give Turkey back to the Greeks and in return the Greeks could open a school for their Russian priests. Halki would fit the bill nicely and would be a fitting gift for Russia. It might also help heal the schism that Bartholomew created by thumbing his nose at Russia over Ukraine. The schematics could then be marginalized by the Greeks as well, as more than a few of them did not support what Bartholomew did. It was only after he did what he did that patriarchates like Alexandria, came to his defense, because of the leverage he had over them. Before Bartholomew meddled with Ukraine, everyone begged him not to.

          Bartholomew could continue to think he is in charge from some monastery on the other side of the planet, but I suspect the “ecummenical” aspect of his patriarchate would necessarily vanish as he would no longer be in Constantinople. That would make a lot of other patriarchs happy, as no one but Bartholomew and his underlings, see a need for it anymore. Especially not as Bartholomew defines it. They could put the matter of “first without equal” to bed, until suitable accommodations could be made for his return. Russia could ask Greece to dilly around for the next few decades if they wanted to. The Greeks are good at that. It could take as long as St. Nicholas! Separating Bartholomew from his ecumenical throne (as he predicted Russia would do, interestingly) is a small price to pay for the Greeks to get Turkey back.

          Frankly, I don’t think a lot of Greeks metropolitans care about Bartholomew holding onto his “ecumenical throne.” If they did, it wouldn’t have taken so long for them to support when he issued the Tomos. They are tired of Bartholomew leaning on them to support his nonsense. They also see his leanings toward Rome. We have more than a few good Greek metropolitans who would be happy to see him sidelined permanently.

          Bartholomew is not long for this world. Elpi is not long for America. Met. Emmanuel will not be coming to America for his own reasons. Karloutsos is going to have to start digging himself out of a hole and everyone else is going to want to continue to distance themselves from all the negativity surrounding St. Nicholas which, as a result of COVID (and a lack of money), will never be built by Sept 11, 2021, if at all.

          Turkey is a problem for everyone and NATO is a relic from the past. Trump has distanced the United States from it and Europe is in no position to go to war with Russia.

          This situation may be God’s way of working out a lot of problems. I realize I’m shooting from the hip, but on occasion, I have been right such things.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Gail, an excellent analysis.  As for NATO/EU, I’m very much under the impression that they won’t come to Bart’s aid and that they won’t open another front by bringing Ukraine into NATO/EU.  The Russians have already told the Germans and the French (the only two continental armies that matter) that any such moves would be a flat-out casus belli from the get-out. 
            Truth be told, outside of Galicia (which is in the far west of Ukraine), I don’t see any appetite for the Ukrainians to continue to be used as cannon-fodder for the West.  

      • Austin Martin says

        I never understood his hatred of Russia.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          He doesn’t hate Russia. He fears Russia. The talk of Russia being the third Rome and the Fatima thing about the consecration of Russia sends shivers up his spine.

          • Austin Martin says

            How is the Fatima prophecy relevant? It seems like generic Catholic nonsense, and the prophecy wasn’t made public until after the deadline had passed.
            I’m not being argumentative. I’m just trying to understand.
            Holy Cross Seminary has written Russia out of the curriculum. That seems like hatred to me. The GOA built a calendar app and kept Slavonic off of it but included Arabic.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              I don’t take anything you say as being argumentative. 🙂

              The Fatima prophecies (there are more than one) are “relevant” when talking about prophecies, which we were talking about in relationship to Russia invading Turkey.

              To the Catholics, Fatima is hugely relevant. Interestingly, the third secret of Fatima has not been publicly released in its entirety or so many believe. The fact that the Vatican would try to hide it is bizarre. Equally bizarre, in 2017 Pope Francis canonized the two Marto children, who were secondary to the visions, as they did not hear everything told to Lucia. They subsequently died and Lucia, to whom everything was revealed, became a Carmelite nun and was sequestered so she wouldn’t divulge the final “secret” for decades. There were even rumors that she was replaced by another person at some point! (If you look at the pictures, you can see why one might think so, as they do not look the same!)

              Unlike the other two children, Sister Lucia, the primary spokesperson and the focus of the prophecies all these years, was NOT canonized, but the two other children were. Very strange.

              I find the Fatima prophecies interesting because they talk about the need to consecrate Russia or her errors will be spread around the world. Consecration means the action of making or declaring something, typically a church, sacred. The errors, of course, are commonly believed to be communism, more specifically Marxism, which, frankly, plague our country through our school system. Much of the unrest we’re seeing today can be traced back to our universities.

              Getting back to the prophecies, the Catholics resisted consecrating Russia (making it scared) by giving it lip service on more than one occasion to get around having to actually do it. They went through these charades, because they were (and are) deathly afraid the prophecies are true: If they don’t consecrate Russia it will mean their demise which seems to be playing out in real time today.

              And then there is the Miracle of the Sun, where an estimated seventy thousand witnesses were reportedly present for the sixth and final apparition, which makes this particular prophesy interesting. In addition, how do you explain how 3 little kids from a small village in Portugal knowing anything about Russia in 1917.

              It’s all just bizarre but very, very interesting with respect to Russia.

      • Gail- Larissa from Jersey here— you are a great mind— one sees presidential’ year politics written all over this; you unpack it beautifully… Gail, could the lefties soroites be behind telling the phanariots , (pun intended “riots”) to break from Russia, Russia, Russia? Seems wherever we turn everything is Russia, Russia, Russia– when we, (the enlightened) know it’s a smoke and mirrors screen to cover up the waste and abuse– and yes, the sins of the left.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Exactly, Larissa. God has given Russia moral authority, because they are the ONLY nation who define themselves as Christian. They are even changing their laws to support the tenets of the Christian faith, which is not easy to do when so many of your people identify as Orthodox, but do not necessarily even go to Church.

          Those who are Orthodox, however, are like pitbulls when it comes to holding onto the Faith. They’ve had it taken from them before and they have no intention of giving it up again. The pruning God allows really DOES enable the vine to come back with a vengeance and that is what we’re seeing in Russia. Any country credited with building 3 churches a day must be pleasing to God and He has shown, throughout Scripture, that He rewards those who, like the flowers in a garden, turn toward the sun.

          It would make sense that everyone who either doesn’t know God or hates God would fear Russia. They should.

  16. Looks like Old Barts Bromance with Pope Frank hasn’t seen him coming to the defense of Orthodoxy.

  17. I doubt very much if Turkey would sell Hagia Sophia to Russia. (Though, it would be nice.) As for predications from certain saints regarding the return of Constantinople to the Greeks—I’m still waiting for the return of the Orthodox monarchies—as also predicated by certain saints. 

    • George Michalopulos says

      Bingo! Can’t have one without the other.

      To all those Greco-triumphalists out their who see these prophecies within an ethno-racialist/secular context: be careful what you wish for. I for one would leap for joy to see the restoration of all Orthodox monarchs to their rightful thrones and the overthrow of the horrible, boot-licking secularists who have turned these countries into circuses of moral depravity.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        That’s exactly what Elder Ephraim spoke about.  The restoration of the Orthodox monarchy in Constantinople:

        • Sage-Girl says

          Joseph slipper:
          wow that’s exciting news from the great Elder Ephraim— thanks for sharing it! ?

      • cynthia curran says

        Let’s say the current Hagia Sophia, there were two before I think, came about because the somewhat nutjob emperor Justinian wanted to surpassed Solomon’s temple, and of course Hagia Sophia 2nd was destroyed by the Nika riots, Granted, Justinian pick geniuses to design and built it,

        • That “somewhat nutjob” is a saint of the Church, Saint Justinian the GREAT, in fact. Check the facts before you spout forth impieties.

          • cynthia curran says

            Procopius is not the only one critical of Justinian at the time. There are other historians in the 6th century critical as well.. He did great things with some great people in law, and architectural , but had a messy life like using street gangs like the blues for gaining political power. Also, generals like Balerius. A person could be a saint with a messy background.

            • Whatever his political deficiencies might be, it is not our place as Orthodox Christians to call saints “nutjobs.”

    • “I’m still waiting for the return of the Orthodox monarchies—as also predicated by certain saints. ”

      The question is does an Orthodox monarchy really need to be de jure, rather just de facto?  We may have it in Putin already and not even know and appreciate it. There have been many monarchs who reigned, but were puppets and never ruled; Putin is certainly ruling, more than many monarchs who were, in theory, absolute autocrats.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Good point, Myst.  My take on Christian monarchy is that it is legitimate because the monarch (whether king, tsar or emperor) is anointed with Holy Chrism, just like the newly-baptised person is.   As such, he receives a grace that no elected president can enjoy.
        Having said that, I have no problem with Putin being president-for-life, especially if he sees himself as another Francisco Franco, who though a dictator, governed until such a time as the nation was stabilized and the monarchy could be restored.  
        We see parallels for this in the LOTR trilogy, in which the Stewards of Gondor rule in the stead of the rightful, kingly descendent of Isildur ascends to the throne.  

    • Sage-Girl says

      Which Saint predicted return of Greek monarchy??⚜️

      • Sage-Girl, I’ve been reading lots and lots of things for many years. Can’t remember them all. Though, I do remember St. Seraphim of Sarov being one of them. You just need to dig around.

  18. American says

    Comments made by GOA priests to me–
    A. If the Greeks had been in charge, the building would have collapsed long ago. 
    B. If we can’t build a 3000 sq ft shrine, why do we want to dictate what happens to this? 
    C. This is God’s Judgment for the Greeks putting a building over God, as per Acts 7 and the martyrdom of Stephen. 
    All valid observations. 

  19. Johann Sebastian says

    Perhaps we should start looking at this another way:
    The Turks have a building.
    We have God.
    If we look at this objectively, Hagia Sophia is like a dilapidated, rusted out Rolls-Royce with a blown motor. It will turn to rubble someday.
    If we ever do get it back, though, it’ll be fun to turn all of Sinan’s copies of it into Orthodox temples. We can use them as practice runs for the restoration.

  20. Russia will never attack Turkey. Turkey is a member of NATO. NATO over the last ten years has moved east in Europe right up to the Russian border. The NATO troops are ready for action. If Russia attacks Turkey that sets Article V of the NATO treaty into action. Article V says that attacking one NATO member is like  attacking  all NATO members.
    I would suggest a diplomatic solution instead. Russia and Turkey enjoy a reasonably good relationship. Maybe if Patriarch Bartholemew could humble himself and ask President Putin to give him some help in resolving the Agia Sophia issue. Who knows? Maybe  the two of them could also resolve the Ukranian Church situation which has disturbed the peace and unity of  the whole Orthodox Church.

    • CS Louis says

      Maybe Russia doesn’t want to intervene.  Payback for what Pat. Bartholomew and the USA engineered in Ukraine?

    • Gail Sheppard says

      And what’s NATO going to do without the support of the United States, which they no longer have, and without the willingness of funding of the other partners who have absolutely no inclination to take on Russia at this point in time?  They are all struggling with the influx of people who migrated en masse into their countries and then the fallout from COVID.  No one has the wherewithal to go to war with a super power like Russia and everyone would fear what the Chinese might do when they smell blood in the water. 

      It is too risky for anyone in NATO to stop Russia from taking Turkey who has, frankly, been a thorn in everyone’s side.  Since the 2016 attempted coup d’état and warming relations between Turkey and Russia, there has been calls for Turkey to leave or be thrown out of NATO.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Withdrawal_from_NATO#:~:text=Withdrawal%20from%20the%20North%20Atlantic,be%20a%20member%20of%20NATO.

      Putin took control of Syria and gave it back to Assad. Let him take control of Turkey and give it back to the Greeks, minus Bartholomew.

    • My opinion is that NATO, like the EU, is a relic living off of its final fumes.

      Americans won’t even rise up to defend our own homeland from the cultural Marxists who are taking it from us under our very eyes. We sit back and let them remove history without a peep from most of our elected leaders.

      What on God’s green earth makes you think that Americans or that the young men and women of NATO would stand up and fight in some foreign country against some other country that they care even less about? The only reason NATO is still standing in name only is that it has not been put to the test in a very long time; the proverbial “sh!t” has not hit NATO’s fan. When it does, NATO will crumble like a house of cards. It’s sort of like the Assembly of Bishops — an association in name only that does absolutely nothing.

      Plus, did you read the latest out of West Point — the “woke” putsch to make sure that our military academy cadets are taught how to eradicate the “many forms of bias and discrimination at West Point, such as sexism, ableism, fatphobia, transphobia, homophobia, xenophobia, and classism…” Seriously, this garbage is beyond insane. It’s really stuff for the Onion, but sadly, it’s not. Read Rod Dreher’s posts about it on his blog — they are so tearfully enlightening.

      Our military’s purpose is to train to defend our country and to fight and win wars. We’ve proven in Afghanistan over the past 19 years that we don’t know how to win a war anymore (we simply change the goalposts to make what constitutes “winning” unachievable). And in Iraq, well, we just left and called it a day.

      But rest assured, our military may not be able to fight and win wars, but by God our soldiers and marines are not transphobic! Thank the Lord. Not being transphobic is really what matters in life.

      If I were in another country’s military academy and read this stuff, I would laugh my butt off. Military academies are *supposed* to be places where “ableism” is valued, developed, and held up as the standard! The “able” soldier-scholar-athlete is valued as the pinnacle of what one is to grow into at a military academy.

      (I feel that it’s appropriate for me to speak on these matters as I am a longtime military veteran. I internally collapse every time I see that our military is far more interested in being “woke” and not “fatphobic” rather than being competent at fighting and winning wars. Maybe all this training that the young soldiers are getting these days against “fatphobia” is the reason that I still easily beat so many of them on the PT test?)

      Being kind and compassionate toward those who struggle with gender identity issues or with obesity or with whatever other passion is what needs to be taught — we all must learn these emotional skills. But simply labeling all who are not skilled at this kindness or compassion as “fatphobic” or “transphobic” or whatever “phobia” and then rallying a war against them is counterproductive and silly.

      • cynthia curran says

        Trans use to be mainly guys wanting to be ladies. Now, in lots of progressive schools and homes, several people and the children which are girls are convinced they are trans because the school says you might be or its ok. These girls are getting their breasts removed at 13 years old. Unlike the byzantines which said being a eunuch was not ok since all the law codes of the byzantines said that castrationing males was wrong, the modern era says its ok to removed sex origins of males and females.

  21. Michael Bauman says

    The EP recognized by Rome as leader of all Orthodox and a Eparchy of the Pope so he could then claim jurisdiction over all Orthodox  and the Church one again. Anyone denying that would be a schismatic and heretic. That would play well with the globalists I think

    • Antiochene Son says

      That’s what I believe the EP’s reunion attempt is going to look like. The Orthodox will not be asked to change anything, and the EP will answer to no one but the pope, who will be as detached from the eastern churches as he is now.
      So in a practical sense absolutely nothing would change internally in the Orthodox Church. They might not even ask the other primates to commemorate the pope, only the EP. It will be sold as an offer too good to refuse and anyone who does, will be called petty and an Occidentophobe.
      The biggest wrench in the works is that Benedict renounced the title “Patriarch of the West,” the one papal title we would actually embrace. Hilarious. 
      Of course, even in such a communion, Rome will continue to have Pachamama and the Filioque, darkness with which we cannot commune. They’ll pretend we’d be insulated from it, and maybe we would for a time, but the EP has enough rot as it is, without communing with Rome.

      The toughest sell might be the Rad Trad Caths who condemn Palamism and non-filioquism, despite it being accepted by Rome for the Uniates.

      Rome is a complete mess and we would do well to stay away.

    • William Tighe says

      This is kinda sorta like the proposed reconciliation between Rome and C’ple in 1024 (yes, 1024, since technically, for reasons now forgotten, and, indeed, forgotten by the 1090s, Rome and C’ple appear to have fallen out of communion with one another in 1009, “The Schism of the Two Sergii,” Sergius IV of Rome, 1009-1012, and Sergius II of C’ple, 1001-1019, as it was remembered a century later; the other four Eastern patriarchs remained in communion with both Rome and C’ple past 1054 – which in the case of Rome and C’ple merely added bitterness and contempt to the already-existing schism – and well into the mid or late 1100s). The proposal was that the Patriarch of Constantinople would be “supreme in his territory” (i.e., the Empire) while Rome would be supreme “everywhere else” (would this include Kievan Rus?). The deal was proposed by C’ple, and Rome was inclined to accept it, but there was a great tide of opposition to it among the monks of the monastic revival that was sweeping through Western Europe at the time (the “Cluniac Reform”) and, as a result of the monks’ opposition – the monks claimed it would compromise the universal authority of the Roman See – Rome refused the deal, and had no real further contact with C’ple until 1053/4.

    • “The EP recognized by Rome as leader of all Orthodox and a Eparchy of the Pope so he could then claim jurisdiction over all Orthodox and the Church one again. Anyone denying that would be a schismatic and heretic.”

      Yes, exactly. This “unity” will be painted as “progress” and “moving forward.” They will try to shame all opposition into silence, as in “why are you such a hater of unity?” Just as the EP has behaved over recent decades — echoing the behavior of the modern secularlist leftists — any efforts among the fellow Orthodox to get the EP to have a thoughtful, challenging discussion about unity with Rome will be shamed into silence as “hatred of the mother throne.” (Vomit.)

      This strategy will play very well with the globalists, the secular Westerners, and the Russia-haters. Pretty much the only Orthodox group that this ploy won’t deceive is the Russian Orthodox Church and all Orthodox who look to her for leadership.

      But then again, isn’t that the point — the goal is not so much Christian unity but rather building up a Western ecclesiastical bulwark against Russianism. It’s not lost in irony that this is happening while the Russian Orthodox Church remains the main preserver of the classical Orthodox Christian faith.

      Do the West, Rome, and Constantinople care if their bulwark against Russianism is built on lies and the spirit of the anti-Christ?

  22. Here are the statistics on the killings by Law Enforcement by country that I mentioned in my last message:

  23. Philhellene says

    Good analysis by The Duran – Dark day for Christianity, dark day for Greeks. Hagia Sophia to become mosque  

  24. the Ossetian says

    maybe this is God’s punishment for the meddling by Patriarch Bartholomew of Istanbul in the Ukraine