Is Bartholomew’s Ukrainian Gambit Failing?

It would seem so if you ask the estimable commentators on The Duran (both of whom are Greek Orthodox).

We have highlighted this podcast before. Although it is partially funded by the Russian government (as the BBC is funded by the British government), Alex Christophorou, Alexander Mercouris and the other regulars who comment on this site are very clear-sighted and most definitely not yes-men,

Anyway, being stationed as they are in the UK (Mercouris) and Greece (Christophorou), they are more closely situated to the uncomfortable reality that Patriarch Bartholomew has unleashed in Ukraine.

It’s worth a watch. As always, please feel free to comment. (PS, I know I said that I wasn’t going to post anything during the first week of Great Lent, but events sometimes spiral out of control and warrant commentary.)



  1. Great video. They should have added that Constantinople has been slowly spiraling into heresy for at least the past 100 years.

    • I was recently referred to a report made by St. John Maximovitch in 1938 on the Decline of the Patriarchate of Constantinople: The last paragraph reads as if it were written today: “In sum, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in theory embracing almost the whole universe and in fact extending its authority only over several dioceses, and in other places having only a higher superficial supervision and receiving certain revenues for this, persecuted by the government at home and not supported by any governmental authority abroad: having lost its significance as a pillar of truth and having itself become a source of division, and at the same time being possessed by an exorbitant love of power—represents a pitiful spectacle which recalls the worst periods in the history of the See of Constantinople.”

  2. Christopher says

    I actually watched the whole thing (something I don’t always do with videos 😉 ).  Meh.  It’s the usual.  MP’s canonical interpretation is simply assumed.  Geopolitical pressures are the reason EP acted, and for the same reasons he has “failed”.  Politics rests on culture, and culture rests on religion.  What would be interesting is a Christian analysis of why the EP acted.

    • Monk James Silver says

      Christopher (March 13, 2019 at 12:48 pm) says:

      ‘MP’s canonical interpretation is simply assumed.’

      that’s because the canonical position of the Moscow Patriarchate is in full accord with authentic Orthodox Christian ecclesiology It’s for this reason that the rest of the autocephalous churches have not supported Pat. Bartholomew’s uncanonical moves in Russia

      That is the result of the ‘Christian analysis’ dutifully performed by the other churches. The Church of Greece is preparing to discuss the matter, and will most likely not support Constantinople.

  3. Christopher says

    “…that’s because the canonical position of the Moscow Patriarchate is in full accord with authentic Orthodox Christian ecclesiology”

    This is your opinion.  [ . . .] I actually agree with you in an important sense, the MP’s stated interpretation is the letter and in part the spirit of the canons, at least in their context.  The problem is the context is broken – the canons assume an Empire with a minimal post-Constatine culture/state “symphonia”, etc.  They are silent (due to ignorance) to exactly what autocephaly is in the context of the world since the fall of the Empire, nation states and de facto ethnic/national churches, etc.  I am an insignificant laymen.  The only opinion that counts is the Church’s, and the expression of that mind is taking place.  Without a council or at least a so called “pan-Orthodox synod” all we have right now is opinion.  Opinions don’t mean much.
    Here is another opinion:  St. Paul, St. Basil, St. Justin Popovich – they were authentic ecclisa were they not?  They expressly (in both word and deed) chucked out the (canonical) law without hesitation to save souls.  The MP has shown a willingness to do exactly nothing when it comes to reconciling the schismatics with her self.  They seem content to sit on the letter of the law.  The EP has actually done something sacrificial.  I don’t normally support the EP in anything – certainly not in his compromising with various secularism’s (such as “ecology” and other modern moral frights), but I recognize it’s Christian act when I see one.  That’s my opinion.

    • George Michalopulos says

      The problem with your analysis Christopher, is that we are not talking about schismatics who wanted to be taken back into the canonical Church of their nation but unrepentant schismatics who are trying to create a new sect which is based on hatred, not nationhood.

      I hardly think that any of the saints which you named would be as enthusiastic about what Pat Bartholomew did in Ukraine. And I seriously doubt they would approve if they knew what secular, anti-Christian forces were behind these machinations.

      Make no mistake: it’s not simply scandalous because no other Orthodox primate is against what Bartholomew has done on an ecclesial basis, it’s because the further this drags along, the more obvious the spiritual dimension behind the scenes is. This came to me yesterday when I read what Arb Anastasios of Albania said about the new schismatic sect: that their rites are “graceless”. Brethren, this is huge. He even goes further when he calls the schismatic “patriarch” (Filaret) “Mr Denisenko.” In other words, his blessings have as much sacramental grace as yours, mine or any other layman’s.

      There’s more to Anastasios’ critique: first, because he’s ethnically Greek (thereby showing that the Hellenosphere is not on board with Bartholomew’s actions); secondly, because his own autocephalous Church was set in motion by Pat Bartholomew; and third, because His Beatitude upped this whole scandal up several notches, to the spiritual dimension. It’s going to be very hard for anybody in his Church to back down from this. I imagine his harsh criticism is going to make it hard for the other Churches to re-think their opposition to Istanbul.

      • Stefan Evgenii says

        I must say a big thank you for the reply you gave George.
        The ugly reality is in this video of the temple desecration and take over by the so-called church Bartholomew created. Where will this recklessness end? I personally don’t see anything good coming from Constantinople’s actions.

        This is in the village of Brestov

        • Monk James Silver says

          In this video, the legitimate priest of the place asks a few questions of the schismatics who have broken into his church. Feigning respect, one of them obsequiously bows to the priest and asks him to open the doors of the altar.

          Instead, the priest — following the example set by some of the bishops — asks the men if they can recite the ten commandments or the Creed, but he’s answered only by grumbling. Finally, he quotes the Divine Liturgy, saying Holy things are for those who are holy’, and the video ends.

      • Anastasios Alvanias says

        In Greek, clergy, even patriarchs, are called “Kyrios”, which is normally translated “Mr”. So I wouldn’t read anything into his use of “Mr Denisenko” either way; it’s just a bad translation.

        • Zel Contry says

          Actually “Kyrios Kyriou”, “Mister of the Lord”. But Mister, master and lodr mean same, m’lord.

        • Monk James Silver says

          There is a difference between the uses of _kyrios_ in ecclesiastical Greek and incolloquial Modern Greek.

          In the latter idiom, it mostly does mean ‘mister’ or ‘sir’, but in church parlance, it always means ‘lord’, either the Lord God (usually capitalized) , or an earthly lord, whether in the church or in civil administration.

          Bishops of any rank, including patriarchs, are often described as _hagiotatos’ (‘most holy’) or _sebasmiotatos_ (‘most reverend’). The designation _panagiotatos_ (‘all most holy’) is reserved to the patriarch of Constantinople.

          Referring to him as _kyrios_ (‘mister’) is either a mistranslation or a calculated insult.

          In British usage (which is probably not what we’re discussing here), there is a journalistic convention which calls a clergyman ‘the Reverend John Doe’ when he is first mentioned in an article. Subsequent references to him are phrased as ‘Mr Doe’, but I don’t think that’s what’s going on here.

        • Ordinary clergy as opposed to bishops etc are not ever called kyrios in Greece or any other Orthodox place . Anglican usuage reflects their protestant ethos. And Kyrios in modern Greek as Gospodin in bulgarian, Russian etc simply means Mr. As,Monsieur in French. He as Me, called Denisenko MR, because he is a cannonically, by Church of Russia,defrocked lay man. for managed reasons.

          • For many good reasons last line should read. Plus Denisenko is A CROOK, POSSIBLY WORSE, A DEFILER OF HIS MONASTIC VOWS, AND OATH BREAKER AND OF USING CIVIL POWER. Want any more? Oh yes, minor point, a maker of schism. That others like him and still wearing robes does not make him ok but us worse.

            • Joseph Lipper says

              The alleged wife of Metropolitan Filaret was Yevgenia Rodionova, who apparently died in 1997. Below is an interview from November 2000:

              “Q: Newspapers in both Kiev and Moscow have published accounts of a long-term romantic relationship between you and the late Yevgenia Rodionova, by whom, they write, you fathered three children, Vera, Andrei and Lyubov. Is this true?

              ” A: None of it is true. First of all, Yevgenia Petrovna died three years ago. Secondly, she is my adopted sister. Those children are her adopted children. She took them from an orphanage and raised them. This was all thought up at the time of the split between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Moscow Patriarchate. Until that time, everyone knew about this but no one said anything. When I was a candidate for patriarch, no one said anything. No one said I was unworthy.”


            • Joseph Lipper says

              Metropolitan Filaret’s alleged natural daughter, Vera Medved, wrote a letter in 1992, when she was 27 years old, claiming his paternity. I believe Metropolitan Filaret was consecrated bishop in 1962. So even if her letter is true, it’s then probable that the Moscow Patriarchate knowingly consecrated a married priest, despite monastic vows. In her letter, she admits that Metropolitan Filaret had disowned them about 12 years prior, “renounced his children, my grandmother, and his grandchildren in order to save his position and spiritual monastic vocation.”


    • Monk James Silver says

      Apparently, ‘Christopher’ is unaware of the Moscow Patriarchate’s efforts over time to reconcile various schismatics and even heretical groups to The Church. Particularly in Russia itself, I would call his attention to the _Yedinoverie_ (‘United Faith’) movement which brought many people who follow the Old Rite back to The Church.

      The saints he adduces, and their blessed work, have less than nothing to do with the present problem.

      Additionally, he seems not to have read the letter (posted here in another thread) of the Church of Albania to Patriarch Bartholomew, noting not only what they consider to be missteps on the part of the Church of Russia, but also roundly rejecting the canonical disorder caused by Constantinople when it interfered in the internal affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate.

      An important aspect of that letter is that the Church of Albania feels very strongly that the current chaos caused by Constantinople cannot be cleared up except by a synod of all the autocephalous churches. It’s almost a given that Pat. Bartholomew ill not accede to this calling of a synod, since he knows that he will be reprimanded by his fellow bishops and probably deposed from office. He’d rather resign before such a synod is convened and save himself the personal embarrassment. History, however, will not be kind to him, no matter what he does now.

      Since none of the other autocephalous churches has spoken in favor of Pat. Bartholomew’s moves in Russia, which have caused problems upon problems for all of us, it should be self-evident that I am not expressing my own opinion here — and neither is Moscow — but rather siding with the authentic canonical tradition of the Orthodox Church.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Monk James,

        It sounds like Romania may very well recognize the OCU. If they do, then it will be interesting to hear the rationale. We’ll see.

        • Joseph Lipper: “It sounds like Romania may very well recognize the OCU. If they do, then it will be interesting to hear the rationale.”

          You seem to relish a perspective of a schism in Orthodoxy. May I ask what is your religious denomination?

          • Joseph Lipper says

            Martin, no I don’t relish a schism in Orthodoxy, and that’s why I am critical of the Moscow Patriarchate’s one-way schism against the Ecumenical Patriarchate. I am not alone with this criticism either. None of the other autocephalous churches have broken communion with the EP. I don’t personally wish to drop a name, but my Bishop is in full communion with both Patriarch Kyrill and Patriarch Bartholomew. That actually should be the norm in Orthodoxy right now. This schism is especially grievous for us here in America, when many of us typically celebrate the Sunday of Orthodoxy with a pan-Orthodox vesper service in our respective locales.

            • Monk James Silver says

              The schism is not between the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Patriarchate of Moscow, it’s between Moscow and its rebellious people in Ukraine.

              Since they do not constitute a legitimate local church is impossible for the autocephalous Orthodox churches to be in communion with the group to whom Patriarch Bartholomew thought he was granting autocephaly.

              At the same time, it is an index of the seriousness of Constantinople’s breach of canonical order that Moscow broke communion with them over Pat. B’s uncanonical interference in the internal affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church.

              Since they are not directly involved in this crisis, it would be premature for the other churches to break communion with Constantinople at the same time as they express their displeasure and disagreement with them.

  4. Virgina Dean says

    Have you noticed that all the Bartholomew critics have some biographical, content, or distribution connection to some Russian state media or government organ? The Bart discrediting efforts are the biggest Russian disinformation campaign since they arranged to slip fake “secret info” to a young, naive, self-promoting George Papadopoulos in order to destroy Trump. The two operations–destroy Trump and destroy Bart–bear many classic counter intelligence similarities used by the Russians.

    • Monk James Silver says

      Patriarch Bartholomew didn’t need any help from the Russians, active here only in far-fetched conspiracy theories, in order to come under well deserved criticism from all the canonical autocephalous Orthodox churches, not one of which has offered support for his defiance of ecclesiological norms in Russia.

      It appears that he made this canonical mess all by himself, with certain inducements and motivations provided by outside interests, but not by anyone connected with the Russian Orthodox Church or with the government of the Russian Federation.

      To suggest that ‘the Bart discrediting efforts are the biggest Russian disinformation campaign’ is patent nonsense. This is a purely ecclesial matter, and has no real bearing, one way or the other, on the political situation in Russia.

      • George Michalopulos says

        I completely agree with you. Bartholomew has single handedly created this unholy mess. Everybody (who wasn’t a yes man or an imposter) begged him to not go down this route.

  5. @Virginia DeanThank you for this Virginia!  If you have time, please expound!   

  6. “Have you noticed that all the Bartholomew critics have some biographical, content, or distribution connection to some Russian state media or government organ?”
    Have you noticed that the Patriarch of Constantinople has invaded the canonical territory of another Autocephalous Church, magically reversed the anathemas and de-frockings of all the schismatics (which he used to recognize for decades), created a fake “church” which is subordinate to himself, and intensified the persecutions against the canonical Church of Ukraine?

  7. Christopher says

    George,I had to reply down here because the html “frame” would not allow text when I tried to reply above. It’s tempting to reply flippantly George, with a “you don’t know what you’re talking about” but I will try 😉 Please forgive the length. I am an Okie from Muskogee, a mix of Irish, Italian, and German extraction. Under the shadow of Oral Roberts U, I graduated from Jenks High in the late 80’s (your town), Okie State U in the early 1990’s. Discovered Orthodoxy in college and converted in a Greek parish in 96. Been part of various jurisdictions, but am now in a Ukrainian of the USA parish simply because it is the only Orthodox parish in my small city where my wife and I have laid down roots, started a business, etc. I don’t have any natural loyalty to the Ukraine any more than I have towards Nigeria. My bishop is one of the two “exarchs” who has been involved officially in the Ukraine in 2018 and unofficially for years before that. Best bishop I have ever had. When he sits down and talks to my two small children, giving them a Word in a way that neither I nor my priest nor anyone else I have known in or out of Orthodoxy…well, I start to question these legalisms – the way most people around here spit out ssssschissmatttiiccc with disgust and borderline hatred. I don’t care who calls such a man “Graceless”, the Archbishop of Albania, the Queen of England, or your 2nd cousin I am going to call them out as the moral idiot they are.
    Then I have been to seminary as well. I have actually read the canons, studied the acknowledged expert commentary and the history and context of their creation, application and interpretation. How should I put this gently yet with the firmness it deserves? You good folks don’t know what you’re talking about. You sound like a high school debate team arguing the finer points of Constitutional law. You don’t even come close to the spirit of the canons, yours is truly amateurish legalistic reduction. You should spend more time with St. Paul, who was the greatest of the Pharisees, the greatest of all the lawyers. You could learn a thing or two.
    Here is a tragedy: BOTH the MP and the EP have lead you folks right into this situation with their Byzantine propaganda and maneuvering. Your being manipulated by the ecclesial equivalent of the tabloid news. Your emotional buttons are being pushed but you think you’re in control. Unfortunately, very few of you have the experience and knowledge to understand this.
    Here is where I agree with you: The EP is mostly wrong on the only canonical basis that matters – the cannons rightly interpreted for the modern world. Not only that, he is going to be outmaneuvered over this whole affair and this is a good thing. The EPatriachate’s whole ethos and spirit of the last 100 years has been a sincere yet failed attempt to do what Orthodoxy has to do in every time, place, and culture – figure out how to be Christian in the circumstances Providence has put it.
    We are about 1000 years past due for a real council, a real discerning of how so called “Metropolitans” and “Patriarchs” and “autocephaly” and all the rest of these canonical structures are going to actually function and help save our souls in the modern world. Up until then, it’s all ad hoc application – making something fit where it really does not belong. Until then, I suggest everyone question their heart a bit and ask why they are so willing to write off millions of so called “Ssccchismatticsss” for whatever the legal, procedural, forensic error you find them guilty of. Why are you all so obviously anxious over the messy, inconsistent, downright ugly canonical order of Orthodoxy since, I don’t know, the fall of Constantinople?

    • Monk James Silver says

      Personally, I appreciate the heartfelt and very personal tone of this response from ‘Christopher’, but the very personal nature of his words goes a long way toward explaining his dissatisfaction with canonical protocols.

      The problem is that this latest canonical controversy isn’t about personal feelings or experiences. It is about the unity of The Church, and if we truly love each other, we will treat each other honestly even when it’s painful. We do other people no favors by encouraging them to continue in their mistakes. This is just as true of patriarchs and of the several churches as it is of individual Christians.

      Even the very first Christians, as we learn from incidents reported in the Acts of the Apostles and the Letters of St Paul, were troubled by people who wouldn’t follow the rules. We’re not always told what the rules were, but St Luke and St Paul both make sure that we know what happens when the rules are broken.

      Rules, or canons, are being broken now by Patriarch Bartholomew’s interference in the internal affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church. That’s just a fact.

      No matter how sad we feel about the fallout from that fact, namely that his missteps have created schisms among the churches, these divisions are real and very painful.

      Some of the Fathers of The Church have observed that schism is worse than heresy. Perhaps this is because they rightly understand that heresies are usually just misinterpretations of doctrine (not to minimize that problem), while schism is a rejection of authority in The Church, and is sometimes much more difficult to correct, human nature being what it is.

      An antinomian attitude toward canonical rules and toward the divisions caused by breaking them, as suggested by ‘Christopher’ here, would not only not help to heal these divisions, it would guarantee our fragmentation in the same manner as Protestants and other sectarians are wont to do.

      That is not the way of The Church. That is the way of sectarianism, and that is why sects are not within The Church.

    • Christopher says

      What happened to the paragraph and other basic formatting of my post? Can anyone read that?

    • GOA Priest says


      “How should I put this gently yet with the firmness it deserves? You good folks don’t know what you’re talking about. You sound like a high school debate team arguing the finer points of Constitutional law. You don’t even come close to the spirit of the canons, yours is truly amateurish legalistic reduction. You should spend more time with St. Paul, who was the greatest of the Pharisees, the greatest of all the lawyers. ”

      Thank you. Your characterization is absolutely correct.

      • Fr u know the last people to be considered are the people of Ukraine. But as an Orthodox I know what Denisenko is, a crook and defrocked lay man for good moral reasons. I know what self consecrated bishops are and I know what feely, touchy nonsense is.
        Yes of course as i stated long ago, ordinary believers will attend their nearest church for many reasons unrelated to the issue as christopher and his Ukrainian church. And yes Ukrainian needs it’s own church but via Orthodox means. It currently has a autonomous church that actually seems to have far more freedom that Constantinople autocephaly.
        There is also the fact that due to historical reasons of German occupation and communist persecution the Ukrainian even now has a third of current Moscow church parishes but these parishes are UKRAINIAN nor Russian and rhe autonomous church is Ukrainian and not Russian

  8. Solitary Priest says

    Christopher, the Archbishop of Albania was not talking about Archbishop Daniel. He was talking about Filaret Denisenko and others who had been deposed by the Canonical church. The Patriarch of Constantinople himself had recognised these depositions up until relatively recently.
         I know and love Archbishop Daniel. I have served with him .I’ve seen him in action. I pray for him daily and remember him in proscomedia. But that doesn’t mean I have to accept everything he does. 
          I also knew and loved the late Archbishop Job of the OCA. Like Archbishop Daniel, he touched many people in a positive way. But he also make mistakes. If he, in fact, was one of those bishops who accepted the defrocked deacon Puhalo into the OCA as a bishop, then I would say, he was wrong in that particular instance. He is no longer with us. I pray for him, too, on a daily basis.
        Forgive me, a sinful and unworthy priest.

    • Christopher says

      Solitary Priest,

      I agree with your point about mistakes. However logic that is explicit among some here, implicit among most everyone else is that the “gracelessness” extends through some vague “canonical” what’s the word, *metaphysic* is probably right, such that the gracelessness of Densisenko extends through all the members of Ukrainian Church up through the EP, and back down again to all EP bishops. This sort of crude legalism and “canonical” reasoning is what I was responding to above…

      • Monk James Silver says

        It seems that ‘Christopher’ hasn’t yet grasped the ecclesiological meaning of the events we’ve been discussing here. Without getting into the details of the specific troubles caused in Russia b Patriarch Bartholomew, I’ll just line out the canonical structure which he has broken and why the group of dissidents to whom he thought he granted autocephalous status are now cut off from The Church.

        Each bishop is the high priest of his people All the priests of his eparchy serve as his representatives in the parishes. The priests have no authority to officiate at the services except as they are blessed by their bishop o do.

        If a priest defies the authority of his bishop or falls into heresy, the bishop will suspend him from all priest responsibilities until he repents and accepts correction. But if a suspended priest dares to pretend to officiate in any of the services or even to give a priestly blessing, he incurs an automatic deposition and is henceforth considered a layman. People who receive what they think is Holy Communion from him are receiving only bread and wine.

        Now, if a bishop defies the authority of his church’s Holy Synod or falls into heresy, he also will be suspended, etc., but this is much more serious. Iif a suspended bishop dares to pretend to ordain a man, not only does that man remain a layman but the rebellious bishop is himself is automatically returned to lay status.

        Since the authority of priests is an extension of the authority of their bishops, if a bishop has no authority then neither do his priests, and the laity are left as a flock without a shepherd both in the parish and in the eparchy.

        This is the situation caused by Pat. Bartholomew in Russia, and the people who support the schismatic group established by him have no clergy at all, no access to the Mysteries of Christ and no recourse except to turn to the canonically legitimate church, the church led by Met. Ohufriy, within and under the authority of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church.

        So, yes, and although he doesn’t want to ‘Christopher’ correctly realizes that expulsion from The Church trickles down to the level of individual priests and lay people.

        It doesn’t have to be this way. May the Lord grant courage to His people to resist false leadership and return to His Bride and Body, The Church.

  9. Christopher says

    George, what’s going with your site?  The “Reply” frame is hit or miss now.  I am going to attempt to reply to Mr. Silver for the 3rd time now in the past couple of days.
    Mr. ‘Silver’, since you are putting our names in quotes (a sign of disrespect on your part), I will refrain from ‘monk’, Mr. ‘Silver’, since your not actually a monk.  Your view of the canons, in both letter and spirit, is essentially forensic, so of course a view that is not is “antinomial” for you.  History and man (and thus the Church and her canons) simply don’t fit into the tidiness of your logic.  The EP himself brings up Bulgaria for example.  No doubt you have a way to sum that equation as well… 😉

    • I live in Bulgaria and am greek. The bulgarian Church was treated badly by the Greeks to go with the Politics But what is interesting is that the very beautiful Russian church of St Nicholas the other end of the Park from Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia, was built in 1914 so that the Russian anbassador could attend church without attending the bulgarian schismatics, even though fellow Slavs. Interesting that by 1914 the bulgarian state was following a pro German course and Imperial Russia looking to Serbia.
      And of course Bulgaria had been a Patrarchate up to 1393 and fall of Veliko Tarnovo where i live actually,to turks. The Phanar had used the opportunity to grab power back

  10. Gail Sheppard says

    I found this interview with the Patriarch of Constantinople revealing. I liked the straightforward way the questions were asked by the interviewer, but was less than happy with the responses.

    Some of the questions are as follows . . .

    Interviewer: I would like to move on to more straightforward questions, hoping that you will not be disturbed by my sincerity and directness. For more than a century, the subject of autocephaly tormented the unity of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Will this organization, which you call a “new structure of the Church” in Ukraine, help to prevent this dispute from widening? To the groups of former schismatics gathered around Filaret Denysenko and Makarios Maletic, you offer not only forgiveness but also a “reward” for their behavior. Have you thought, Your All-Holiness, about how much will the decision to grant autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine will affect the situation (the struggle and the suffering) of the Orthodox in that country, and that Orthodoxy may lose more believers than the Ecumenical Patriarchate predicted?

    Some years ago, in the presence of the heads of all the Orthodox Churches, you promised that you would not interfere with the problems of the Churches in Ukraine because this was an internal issue of the Russian Church. As we have learned from leading theologians of Constantinople, primacy does not presuppose the structure of a pyramid in the Church, but the agreement of one with the many, according to the 34th Canon of the Holy Apostles, which says that the first does nothing without the consent of the many (meaning the synod).

    In the turmoil of Ukraine, there was a question: does the fact that the Moscow Patriarchate was never given a Tomos in relation to Ukraine set aside more than 300 years of patriarchal care of the Patriarchate of Moscow for this country?

    There are some who argue that the Ecumenical Patriarchate entered a foreign ecclesiastical jurisdiction and granted autocephaly. Does the Church of Constantinople have a right or privilege to intervene voluntarily wherever it wants, and above all, in the territories of other Churches? Why, in this case, was autocephaly not granted after consultation with the other Orthodox Churches?

    • Joseph Lipper says

      Gail, thanks for sharing this. This interview with Patriarch Bartholomew is a must read for anyone who is interested in Ukraine and Orthodoxy. His responses are completely pastoral: gentle, loving, beautiful, and genuine.

      What were you unhappy with?

      • Jospeph Lipper: “His responses are completely pastoral: gentle, loving, beautiful, and genuine.”

        I find his answers repulsive and wicked, like this for example:

        ” there were intense and concerted efforts to free the Kievan people, clergy, monks, and the local hierarchy from the ecclesiastical manipulation of the Patriarchate of Moscow. These efforts began as early as 1325, when the seat of the Metropolitan of Kiev was permanently transferred to Moscow … We believe that God does everything according to His own plan. So God’s time came also for Ukraine.”

        • His responses are reminiscent of the Apostolic Epistle of Pope Pius IX in 1848 whose appeal could be construed as equally pastoral, gentle, loving, beautiful, and genuine.

          The Ukraine may be the focus of attention at this moment, but it is a side show when compared with what is at stake for the ecclesiology of the Orthodox Church, and all the other Churches know it.

          • Joseph Lipper says

            Rome does not commemorate Patriarch Bartholomew, and now Moscow has ceased to commemorate Patriarch Bartholomew, so I guess Rome and Moscow now have that in common. Isn’t that special.

            Hopefully one day the Pope of Rome will repent of his false ecclesiology, and hopefully one day Moscow will restore communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

            Until that happens, I don’t believe it’s fair to blame the mess in Ukraine on Patriarch Bartholomew. It’s evident this was a huge mess before he even got involved. The only difference between before and after, is that before his involvement everyone ignored the mess. Now everyone can’t keep their eyes off it.

            • Solitary Priest says

              This is crazy. Who gives a fig whom the heretical Pope commemorates? In fact, the Patriarch receives the Pope at the Phanar? Are you sure he doesnt commemorate the Pope?
              I feel sorry for the Patriarch. I know he’s under pressure from the Turks, from Poroshenko, from our State Department, and from God knows who else. That doesn’t make him right in this caper. I felt sorry for the Patriarchs of Moscow when they were under the Soviet heel. I think Metropolitan Sergius in 1927 was an unfortunate old man, who was trying to make the best of a bad situation. I understand he was in a predicament; but I also understand why the Russian Orthodox Churches abroad did not feel it proper to follow him is his declaration of loyalty to the Soviet state.
              Furthermore, Filaret isn’t making his churches abroad submit to the EP. If the Ukrainian bishops in the diaspora thought that this deal with the EP would stop Filaret, they were sadly mistaken.
              Look, I support the moderate Ukrainian point of view. I’m not in love with Putin or the MP. But I won’t follow the EP blindly, either. If I wanted to be a Uniate, I could join the existing Uniate church. I don’t need to go to Constantinople or Kiev to unite with Rome. I think you picture the Patriarch of Constantinople as being a modern St. Mark of Ephesus. Sadly, I can’t see this, and I don’t see how you can see it, either.

              • Joseph Lipper says

                If the OCU and Constantinople wanted to become Uniate, they could have done it yesterday, last year, ten years ago, whatever. There is no reason they need to wait for the stars in the sky to align. What could they possibly be waiting for?

                Furthermore, the fact that all the other Local Churches are ignoring the autocephaly of the OCU and reprimanding the EP, this clearly demonstrates that even if the OCU/EP did become Uniate, nobody would follow them. The Pope probably wouldn’t even want them anyways. The Ecumenical Patriarchate has placed itself in a voluntary position of great weakness, loss of influence and respect, by granting autocephaly to the OCU. This is what Patriarchate Bartholomew means when he says the Ecumenical throne “decreases and decreases”.

                No, there is no threat of the present Ecumenical Patriarch, nor the current OCU, of becoming Uniate. However, I remain hopeful that all the Ukrainian Greek Catholic’s will eventually come home. Solitary Priest, I hope that one day there won’t be any Uniate parishes for you to join, even if you wanted to.

                • Solitary Priest says

                  If George’s commitment to free speech allows you to indulge your fantasies, that is his business. Please do not make it mine
                  I would not have answered you at all, except for your stupid statement about what Rome and Moscow have in common.
                  I regret that one really can’t have a dialog here. Either one has to be a full blown EP and Ukrainian Autocephaly fanatic like yourself, or one has to swing to the opposite extreme and deny the very existence of Ukraine as a nation.
                  I bid you farewell and sincerely wish you salvation. I would wish you salvation. I honestly wish I could agree with you. It’s a sign of the times how desperate we have become.

                  • Joseph Lipper says

                    Solitary Priest, please forgive me. Though my comments are stupid, please know I greatly appreciate yours.

                    Also, for the record, I don’t recognize the autocephaly of the OCU, mainly because my bishop doesn’t recogize it either, though he does maintain full communion with the EP. I realize you may not be in the same situation, and that the “autocephaly” of the OCU may be a very painful situation for you personally.

                    Despite our disagreements, I feel you have been very kind to me on this blog. Thank you for your comments, your kindness, and especially for your prayers.

                    • Solitary Priest says

                      God forgives and I forgive. Please forgive me. To clarify, it was the comment about Moscow and Rome that I found stupid. There is nothing wrong with wanting unity. It is highly unlikely that you will get Uniates to return to Orthodoxy. That ship has basically sailed. In the old days, people were Uniates because it was imposed on them by force and misrepresentation. Today, virtually every Eastern Catholic knows what the union is all about. In fact, the Eastern Catholic will often take the superior attitude, that they are in fact. “Orthodox in communion with Rome.”
                      It is true that Rome saw the Uniate church as a bridge to bring the Orthodox over. Of course, a bridge goes two ways, but the only Uniates I see joining the new church would be those for whom Ukrainism is more important than faith.
                      Ethnicity is fine,and I’m all about preserving language, traditions,etc; provided they don’t take precedence over the faith. I’ve dialogued with an Estonian Orthodox priest, who sadly belongs to an uncanonical bishop. He says he wants to keep the Estonian experience alive. That is fine, but I consider Orthodoxy more important that ethnicity. May God have mercy on us all!

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Solitary Priest, my stupid comment about Moscow and the Vatican was alluding to the last two meetings between Metropolitan Hilarion Alfayev and Pope Francis. Those meetings took place at the Vatican last October 2018 and June 2018:

                      “the Russian metropolitan came to see the Pope in order to explain the decisions of the Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate … to suspend Eucharistic communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople after the latter re-admitted Ukrainian bishops excommunicated by Moscow (Filaret Denysenko and Makarij Maletič).

                      “The Holy See has repeatedly stated that the question of the creation of a single autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church is an internal Orthodox matter, which the Pope does not wish to assess. In his previous meeting with Hilarion in the Vatican on 2 June, Pope Francis had said that the Catholic Church would recognise only the Moscow Patriarchate in traditional Russian lands.”

                      It sounds to me that an alliance has been formed here, with both recognizing “only the Moscow Patriarchate in traditional Russian lands.” Though this does not appear to be a “uniate” alliance of Moscow subservience to Rome, it does suggest some type of political collaboration in regards to Ukraine. Both meetings were held behind closed doors in private.


          • Brian: “His responses are reminiscent of the Apostolic Epistle of Pope Pius IX in 1848 whose appeal could be construed as equally pastoral, gentle, loving, beautiful, and genuine.”

            No surprise, Vatican is the place where Dimitrios Arhondonis got his ecclesiology degree.

        • Joseph Lipper says

          Martin, okay I’ll bite. So do you find it repulsive that “the seat of the Metropolitan of Kiev was permanently transferred to Moscow”? Perhaps you find something wicked “that God does everything according to His own plan”?

          • Monk James Silver says

            The transfer of civil and ecclesial seats of authority from Kiev to Moscow took place under pressure of the Tatar invasions. It was not a political move, merely a reorganization and concentration of their authority in a city which could be more easily defended.

            Besides, both the Great Prince and the Metropolitan kept the title of Kiev for a very long time, eventually appointing men to take their places in Kiev as subordinates when Moscow became the capital city of an expanded (‘great’) Russia.

            As the saying goes, ‘Kiev is the mother of Russian cities.’

            • Joseph Lipper says

              Monk James,

              The Metropolitan of Kiev transferred to Moscow in 1325 without canonical permission from Constantinople.

              After the devastation of Kiev by Mongol invasion, the Metropolitan of Kiev formally transferred with permission to the city of Vladimir in 1299, as you say to a “city which could be more easily defended.” However, the move to Moscow in 1325 was not done with such permission. Perhaps because of this, Constantinople then divided the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan of Kiev by reinstating the Metropolis of Halych in 1326.

              • Monk James Silver says

                The physical relocations of civil and ecclesial government, necessitated as they were by the Tatar invasions, did not entail a change of title at the time.

                Whatever authoriy Constantinople thinks it has in the matter, the Russian Orthodox Church is autocephalous because it claimed that status for itself after Constantinople fell into heresy and schism at the false synod of Firenze-Ferrara. The proximate occasion for this was the return of Metropolitan Isidore to Kiev, the last Phanariot archbishop of that city, who proclaimed ubity with Rome. The locals promptly threw him in prison and elected their own archbishop in an act of _de fact_ autocephaly. A century or so later, once Constantinople had been fairly well overrun by the Ottoman Turks and returned, shamefacedly, to Orthodoxy, the Phanar recognized the Russian church’s autocephaly )de jure_

                The Russian Orthodox Church — and Russia itself — began in Kievan Rus, not in some fictive country called ‘Ukraine’ by the Poles.

                Since the 14th century, Kievan Rus (‘Little Russia’) has expanded northeastward into what is now called ‘Great Russia’, but it is the same country and nation as ‘Little Russia’. The modern Metropolia of Kiev is a province of the Russian Orthodox Church, and Constantinople has no authority to intervene in the internal affairs of the ROC or of any autocephalous Orthodox Christian church.

                • Monk James Silver: “Since the 14th century, Kievan Rus (‘Little Russia’) has expanded northeastward into what is now called ‘Great Russia’, but it is the same country and nation as ‘Little Russia’.”

                  Even more. The Rus (Russian state) started in the north, near Baltic Sea, and expanded south to the Kiev, it was pagan of course. Couple generations later the senior Russian prince accepted Christianity.

                  Rus consisted of several autonomous principalities, united by a Viking tribe led by a Rurik dynasty.

                  After Mongol conquest and destruction of Kiev, (this area was conquered by later Lithuanians who in the end merged with Poland). The administrative and ecclesiastical centers were evacuated to Vladimir/Suzdal principality (where later Moscow became the leading city).

                  BTW, during the catastrophic event, Constantinople itself was under Latin crusaders occupation.

                • Joseph Lipper says

                  Monk James,

                  Yes, beginning in 1325 the Metropolitan of Kiev uncanonically moved to Moscow and still retained the title of “Metropolitan of Kiev”. However, through most of the 14th century and into the 15th century, the Metropolitan of Kiev didn’t have exclusive jurisdiction over Little Russia. Other Metropolises of Little Russia, during that time period, were formed by Constantinople for the Duchy of Galicia-Volhynia and the also for the Duchy of Lithuania. These Metropolises in Little Russia existed separate from the Metropolitan of Kiev’s jurisidiction.

                  When the Metropolitan of Kiev united with Rome at Florence, Moscow’s prince then sent a formal request in 1441 to the Patriarch of Constantinople asking for Moscow’s autocephaly. No response came. So, in 1448 the Synod of bishops in Moscow proclaimed themselves autocephalous. That self-proclaimed autocephaly wasn’t universally recognized until the Ecumenical Patriarch visited Moscow in 1589, and he himself consecrated Moscow’s first Patriarch. By allowing the Ecumenical Patriarch to consecrate their first Patriarch, Moscow was technically acknowledging that their prior autocephaly was not valid (otherwise they would have done it themselves).

                  That same year of 1589, the Ecumenical Patriarch also consecrated Michael Rohoza as the “Metropolitan of Kiev, Halych, and all Rus”. Unfortunately, this Michael Rohoza later signed the Union of Brest in 1595. Indeed, much of Little Russia had become Uniate, perhaps first through the Union of Krewo in 1385, later through the Union of Florence in 1439, and then the Union of Brest. Nevertheless, the Ecumenical Patriarch came to the rescue in 1620 when he authorized the Patriarch of Jerusalem to travel to Little Russia, on his behalf, and ordain Orthdox bishops and restore the Kievan Metropolis. The reality of a Church jurisdiction in Little Russia, separate from Moscow, thus predates the Unia, and it also follows after.

                  • Monk James Silver says

                    The areas of Galtsia, Volinia, Lvovshchina, and other territories toward the western side of ‘Little Russia’ were ruled (occasionally) by Poland and Lithuania, which together became a ‘Catholic Kingdom’ to distinguish itself from the Orthodox.

                    The Christians of these territories were pawns in political maneuvers between the RC powers of neighboring states and the Orthodox Christian Russians In that part of the world, politics and religion were not easily distinguished from each other then or now.

                    Since it was politically more important for the RC states to keep Russia at bay, and religiously more important for local populations to remain Orthodox, it was expedient and convenient for RC civil authorities to ask Constantinople to arrange church life in their territories rather than allow Russia to move into the vacuum left by the Tatars as they moved on.

                    As it happened, though, this strategy eventuated in a completely unforeseen shift around 1600, when Calitsia, Volinia, Lvovshchina and the formerly Lithuanian-ruled areas largely signed on to the Unia of Brest-Litovsk, once again as an anti-Russian move fueled by the political priorities of neighboring RC states.

                    But this move backfired on the uniats, who, instead of getting equal civil rights with the Poles and seats in the Polish senate like the RC bishops, found themselves — to this day — treated like untouchables and traitors. This became true even in Slovakia after the Unia of Uzhgorod, and remained an operative concept until the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. And it will be centuries before the uniats can live down the shame of collaborating with the Nazis against the Russians and the Poles, thinking that Hitler would give them relief from their misery.

                    But the influence of RC religion and politics continues to inform the attitudes of any people in Ukraine (as the Poles call the place), and enflames them against Russia for reasons which no longer obtain.

                    This must stop, and Constantinople is being most unhelpful in the attempt to cause this hostility to cease.

                    The fact remains that the Russian Orthodox Church is in charge there now, not Constantinople, and the Phanar is playing into the hands of politicians now just as much as ever. No wonder that the adjective ‘byzantine’ is generally considered a pejorative when describing diplomacy or human relations altogether.

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Monk James, yes, Patriarch Bartholomew is definitely not in charge of Ukraine right now. Though he still retains some say in the newly created OCU, what he did is mostly over and done with. From a practical standpoint, it hasn’t really changed much for most Ukrainians either. As before, the country still remains at “civil war” in a territorial battle between “schismatics” and the Russian Orthodox Church.

                      It may be that President Donald Trump has the most say over the future of Ukraine right now. With his recent “tweet” recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, one has to wonder if he might just do the same for Russia and Crimea. In any case, the upcoming Israeli peace plan probably needs Russia to step back it’s military support of Syria and Iran. Whether this is done by keeping Russia distracted and involved in a war in Ukraine, or by somehow making some type of peace agreement with Russia, it remains to be seen.

                      My guess is that once he offers an “olive branch” to Russia by recognizing the annexation of Crimea and dropping U.S. sanctions, the short-changed Ukrainian nationalists will then start a very bloody war against Russia. The primary objective of war with Russia is thus achieved, and the U.S. government washes it’s hands.

                    • Joseph Lipper: ” In any case, the upcoming Israeli peace plan probably needs Russia to step back it’s military support of Syria and Iran.”

                      What Russia would gain by doing that?

                      Joseph Lipper: “My guess is that once he offers an “olive branch” to Russia by recognizing the annexation of Crimea and dropping U.S. sanctions …”

                      It will never happen. Things went too far.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      “Centuries”? I doubt it.

                    • Totally correct

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Martin, we all know that Russia is heavily involved in the Middle East. Russia has military pacts with both Syria and Iran, and both of them are declared enemies of the Israeli state. If the status quo is going to change inside the state of Israel, we can then count on Syria and Iran throwing a fit. The Israelis will want their enemies’ strong Russian buddy somehow tied up or distracted with something else.

                      If and when a new dimension of war does break out between Ukraine and Russia, that’s probably when Donald Trump’s grand Israeli peace plan will be unveiled. Either that or the Israelis will do something else bold like destroying the Dome of the Rock on the the Temple Mount.

                      If Donald Trump short-changes the Ukrainian nationalists by validating Russia’s annexation of Crimea, like he just short-changed Syria by validating the Israeli annexation of Golan Heights, then I imagine this would probably start a new dimension of war between Ukraine and Russia. It would likely infuriate the Ukrainian nationalists to take back the “occupied” areas of Donbass and Crimea.

                    • Joseph Lipper: “or the Israelis will do something else bold like destroying the Dome of the Rock on the the Temple Mount.”

                      I doubt that they even consider such move (with the exception of some fringe groups)

                      Joseph Lipper: “It would likely infuriate the Ukrainian nationalists to take back the “occupied” areas of Donbass and Crimea.”

                      They tried hard and they failed. It ended with Minsk agreements (that are still not implemented fully). Major fighting ended in February 2015. Do you remember?

                • Mel Felupa says

                  Moscow was and still is Tatar Mogoguery

                  • Monk James Silver says

                    Joseph Lipper (March 28, 2019 at 8:39 pm) says

                    Monk James, yes, Patriarch Bartholomew is definitely not in charge of Ukraine right now. Though he still retains some say in the newly created OCU, what he did is mostly over and done with. From a practical standpoint, it hasn’t really changed much for most Ukrainians either. As before, the country still remains at “civil war” in a territorial battle between “schismatics” and the Russian Orthodox Church.SNIP

                    What Pat. Bartholomew has attempted to do is far from ‘over and done with’. The schism which he created has placed many Ukrainians (and their fictive government leaders) outside of The Church, and it may take generations to repair the damage.

                    What universe are you observing, Mr Lipper? Life has indeed changed for those poor people in ways they couldn’t have imagined, misled, deceived, and betrayed by leaders they mistakenly trusted, both civil and ecclesial

                    Finally, there is no ‘civil war’ between the schismatics and the Russian Orthodox Church. There is only the sometimes violent persecution of the Orthodox by the schismatics. The civil war — a political struggle, not a religious one — is being waged against Russia by Ukrainian nationalist separatists. Russian military responses to Ukrainian military initiatives is explainable, if not excusable. In any case, religion is merely a casualty in this war, as is truth, and maybe the lies told by Pat. Bartholomew and President Poroshenko are at the bottom of it all.

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Monk James, it is often the case that wars are fought based on some moral pretense, such as when the U.S. invaded Iraq to ostensibly save the world from Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction. If there is religious pretense, all the better. That seems to be the case now with the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine fighting to preserve “religious freedom” in Donbass. The fact is that Patriarch Bartholomew has advised both the Ukrainian government and the OCU to respect the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine. Since the tomos was issued, laws have since been passed in Ukraine for the protection of the Russian Orthodox Church. There is no reason why the OCU and the ROC can’t both peaceably coexist in Ukraine. In most cases they probably do.

                    • Joseph Lipper: “Since the tomos was issued, laws have since been passed in Ukraine for the protection of the Russian Orthodox Church.”

                      You mean canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church? Either way, it is great news, Joseph! Could you tell something more about this wonderful new laws?

                  • I meant totally correct for Monk James NOT JOSEPH

                    • Monk James Silver says

                      Joseph Lipper (March 29, 2019 at 9:03 pm)says

                      Monk James, it is often the case that wars are fought based on some moral pretense, such as when the U.S. invaded Iraq to ostensibly save the world from Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction. If there is religious pretense, all the better. That seems to be the case now with the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine fighting to preserve “religious freedom” in Donbass. The fact is that Patriarch Bartholomew has advised both the Ukrainian government and the OCU to respect the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine. Since the tomos was issued, laws have since been passed in Ukraine for the protection of the Russian Orthodox Church. There is no reason why the OCU and the ROC can’t both peaceably coexist in Ukraine. In most cases they probably do.
                      Mr Lipper. don’t you read the news? The real news coming from Russia?

                      Don’t you see that nearly everything Pat. Bartholomew has said and done about church life in Ukraine is false and destructive?

                      Don’t you understand that laws passed by an imaginary government in an imaginary country not only have no force in reality, but are actively ignored by the people supposed to be answerable to them?

                      Can’t you appreciate the suffering of the Orthodox Christians in Ukraine who are being violently persecuted by the schismatics loyal to Denisenko, Poroshenko, and Pat Bartholomew?

                      Altogether, you are being very unrealistic, and I’m inclined to suggest that you are lying about the situation in Russia just as much as the fellows named above.

                      Stop it! Repent this evil and make your confession while there is still time.

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      Monk James, the portraying of Ukraine as an “imaginary country” with an “imaginary government” is not helpful. Orthodox Christians living in Ukraine pray for their country (Ukraine), their government (headed by Poroshenko), and for it’s armed forces. As St. Paul exhort us in his Epistle to the Romans:

                      “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.”

                      The reality of our countries and governments is “ordained of God”. Because of this, it is subversive and entirely unchristian for Ukrainians (with exception to those in Crimea) to consider their country as belonging somehow to the Russian Federation. Doing so would be subscribing to a false and dangerous ideology of nostalgic irredentism. It’s not like Ukraine is under Muslim control either. Ukraine is predominately populated by professing Christians who are voting this weekend, and it’s highly doubtful they will suddenly vote to dissolve their country and government.

                    • Joseph Lipper: ” It’s not like Ukraine is under Muslim control either.”

                      Well, they would pray for the government if it were Muslim one too or atheist as it is now. It does not mean that they should accept the religious or political views of the rulers. You see, the proper order is when the government does not try to force the beliefs or religious practice on the Church and the Church does not try to rule the state.

                      Proper distinctions make you happy as Swami Vivekananda taught 🙂

          • Joseph Lipper says: “okay I’ll bite. So do you find it repulsive that “the seat of the Metropolitan of Kiev was permanently transferred to Moscow”?

            You are distorting what I said. I find Dimitrios Arhondonis repulsive. He is not better than Denisenko.

            “Perhaps you find something wicked that God does everything according to His own plan?”

            Arhondonis does not represent God and is lying.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        I was unhappy with the way he justified his decisions in light of the fact that he received no support from his brother bishops. In the Church we say, “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us . . .” Not, “It seemed good to me.”

        • Joseph Lipper says

          “Regarding the granting of autocephaly in consultation with the other Orthodox Churches, this was not done because it is not a tradition in our Church. All Tomes of Autocephaly granted to the newly-created Autocephalous Churches (Russia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Athens, Warsaw, Tirana and Presov) have been granted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, without any consultation or consideration at a pan-Orthodox level. And it really is a surprise that the Churches who received their own Tomos of Autocepaly only with the signature of Constantinople are today questioning how it is possible for the Ecumenical Patriarchate to grant unilaterally a Tomos of Autocephaly to Ukraine. The answer is clear: in the same way and the same process that granted ecclesiastical independence to all the newly-created Churches.”

          Yes, this is why the topic of autocephaly needs to be addressed at an Ecumenical Council. It was supposed to have come at Crete.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Joseph, Constantinople is moving ahead as a party of one. He has effectively separated himself from the rest of the Church by refusing to heed the concerns of his brother bishops. He may suffer from something called illusionary superiority, which is defined as “a condition of cognitive bias wherein a person overestimates their own qualities and abilities, in relation to the same qualities and abilities of other persons.” In spite of direct evidence to the contrary, these people insist they are right. . . about everything. They are genuinely baffled when others don’t see things the same way.

            Remember when your parents took you to the beach and told you to keep your eye on the umbrella? This is because they knew you could be playing in the sand and the tide could move you all the way down the beach without your knowledge where you would be unprotected. This is what has happened to Bartholomew. His actions have moved him well beyond the safety of the umbrella of the Church.

  11. Archpriest Alexander Webster says

    RE: “Remember when your parents took you to the beach and told you to keep your eye on the umbrella?”

    Now that, Gail, is a memorable metaphor!

  12. James Kowalski says

    Poland needs to demand Lvov be returned to it

    • Mr kowalski be mindful of what you wish as Germany may want the return of East Prussia.

      • Solitary Priest says

        Maybe Catholic Western Ukraine SHOULD be returned to Poland. That way those clowns could fight it out with the Poles instead of bothering honest Orthodox Ukrainians.
        Although there is a Ukrainian nation today, such a nation didn’t exist in 1682, when Kiev passed into the jurisdiction of the Russian church. So, if we want to turn the clock back to pre 1682, we could award Ukraine and Belarus to Poland. Many Poles might be on board with this; the Ukrainians and Belarusians not so much.
        Nikos, my friend, I have no wish to offend you, but please brush up on your English. I’d rather be speaking Scottish Gaelic myself, but I can’t, because I never learned. It probably hasn’t been used by my ancestors for over 300 years, since they first arrived in North Carolina. This is also a hint not to use the word “Yank” so much. For some of us with ancestors from south of the Mason-Dixon line, this is not a word heard gladly.

        • Points taken.. From my friendship with greek Catholic Ukrainians I see that their love of Poles must complete closely to that which they have for russians.!!

        • Zeli Pariskenko says

          Totally. I know ethnoreligiously mixed people whose Russian Orthodox and Polish Catholic parents met in nazi camps and they fele the Ukranians betrayed them both. Give Lvov to Poland. They will take CARE of it.

  13. Joseph Lipper says

    “Moscow Snuffs Out Religious Liberty in Eastern Ukraine

    And does so with the cooperation of the Russian Orthodox Church.”

    “in Russian-occupied para-states of eastern Ukraine, religious freedom is at the whim of armed militias not beholden to any legal authority.”

    • Solitary Priest says

      Just because National Review wrote it does not make it the Gospel. It reminds me of how the Serbs were demonized to justify NATO bombing them on Pascha. Fortunately for your argument, nobody in Ukraine is persecuting, assaulting, and perhaps torturing priests and believers who happen to belong to Metropolitan Onufry, right?
      Of course, we know the British, French, and Germans have a much better track record than the Russians in treatment of minorities, right? Just ask the Bretons,the Irish, the Scots, the Welsh, and the Serbs.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Touche, Father! I too, remember the Easter bombing of Serbia because of “muh democracy”. It removed the scales from my eyes.

        As a proud, right-wing Cold Warrior, I am appalled by the neocon/lib Establishment which for whatever reason, has a visceral hatred for Orthodoxy. (Remember Zbiegniew Brzenski?)

        • Solitary Priest says

          Brzezinski, being a Pole, probably had Russophobia and anti-Orthodoxy in his DNA. Brzezinski was also related by marriage to Czech President Eduard Benes. That slimeball actually warned Stalin in the 1930′ s that some of his Soviet officers were plotting against him. As if the already paranoid Stalin needed any further prompting to purge his nation of “enemies”.

          • Willard Oaf Duckling says

            Obama was Brzezinski’s star student at Columbia, because Zbig groomed him. Zbig had one son in each major party. Obama was more Catholic than you think. Besides Rev Wright, Obama followed Rev Pfleger, a Catholic, and his Grandmother raised him Catholic. Helmut Schmitt complained Zbig wasn’t sure if he blamed Germany or Russia for Poland’s ills. Brzezinski groomed not only Carter and Obama but also two popes, Wojtila and Bergoglio. The crusade against Serbia was led by Roy Cohn’s law partner, Tom Boland, out of the same Avelino church that C*** F**t’s house was attached to. Boland paraded McGovernite AIG attorney Davis around to call for bombing Serbia.

            • Ah…yes…Fr. Michael Pfleger…one of many Roman Catholics in Chicago who fell under the spell of the utterly wicked Saul Alinksy and remains so to this day.

        • In some literature I came across recently, in which the neocons were being criticised, it was found that at the time communist Russia was braking up, some of her leaders – Jews all – imigrated to America and ended up, not on the Left, but in influential positions on the Right. How that happened and with who, I can’t remember, but what did stick is what this lot was able to effect in common with the Left or communism: a stubborn infatuation with central banking. This, combined with the ethos of ‘what’s good for Israel is good for America’, provides an unexpected but comfortable marriage between right wing conservatism, left wing communism and Jewish interests. This could well explain the neocons hatred for Orthodoxy

    • George Michalopulos says

      Joseph, I stopped reading The National Cuckservative years ago when it became obvious that they didn’t give a rat’s ass about conserving our culture but were more interested in being invited to all the right parties in Georgetown.

      The downward trend happened twenty years ago when Bill Buckley fired Joe Sobran then when Rich Soy-Boy Lowry took over he fired Ann Coulter then John Derbyshire. Outside of Andy McCarthy and Victor Davis Hanson, NRO is unreadable. Its devotion to American Empire is indistinguishable from every other neoliberal journal out there.

      It’s really sad, but outside of certain paleo-conservative/libertarian journals, I’m at a loss as to whether any leftist organ exists which is anti-militarist.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        I’m not a fan of The National Review either, but the title of the article caught my eye.

  14. Willard Oaf Duckling says

    Remember David Frum’s “Unpatriotic Conservatives”? They are the Obamacons (yes, they call themselves that) who are now also largely Never Trumpers and they reside at Willard Oaf Duckling’s Notional Rebuke. Obamacons: Arne Carlson, Lincoln Chafee, David Durenberger,Robert F. Ellsworth, Charles Mathias, Jr.,William Weld, Julie Nixon Eisenhower, Susan Eisenhower, Susan Ford, C.C. Goldwater, Lilibet Hagel, Douglas Kmiec, Paul O’Neill, Colin Powell, David Ruder, Michael Smerconish, Andrew Bacevich, Christopher Buckley, Francis Fukuyama, Jeffrey Hart, Scott McConnell, Andrew Sullivan.