Is Syosset Selling the OCA Down the (Bosporus) River?

Fr John Jillions, Chancellor of the OCA, for some reason wrote an essay on the nature of our Church’s autocephaly. It’s published on

It’s a fascinating read in and of itself with lots of historical insights. It’s well-written and takes an expansive look at the history of the OCA within the context of American and international Orthodoxy.

Reading between the lines however, it’s clear that the powers-that-be in Syosset are preparing the ground for the rescinding of our autocephaly, ceding it to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. That’s probably the reason that the trip of Metropolitan Tikhon to the Phanar wasn’t announced until his plane landed in Istanbul.

Some of course could interject that something more positive is on the horizon, specifically that the upcoming council in Heraklion, Crete is getting ready to normalize the American situation. That is to say that a distinct, territorial (and most importantly) autocephalous American Orthodox Church is going to be created.

Unfortunately, that’s wishful thinking. It’s obvious from the photographs of the “concelebration,” that His Beatitude was treated as anything but a co-equal to His Holiness, seated as he was in a decidedly inferior position. By being treated basically as a diocesan bishop, rather than as the primate of a sister Church, it’s clear that the Ecumenical Patriarchate doesn’t look upon him as a peer. This doesn’t bode well for the future of the OCA.

Now don’t get me wrong: I’d love to see the Old World patriarchates act in a Christ-like manner and do the right thing by America. It’s overdue. As a member of the OCA, I’d love to see the OCA assist in this mission, to be “the servant of autocephaly, not its master” (in the memorable words of the Venerable Dmitri Royster of thrice-blessed memory). How wonderful would it be for the OCA to act in a kenotic manner, to empty itself so that something better could arise? It would be wonderful indeed.

But I seriously doubt that that is what is going to happen. The game plan is to make the OCA be just another eparchy of the Ecumenical Throne in America, much like the Ukrainians, ACROD and the Palestinians. This of course would strengthen the Phanar’s very weak hand vis-a-vis Moscow. There would be no way to dislodge the Istanbul’s weak and ahistorical claims to North America. Essentially, Syosset would be making the Phanar’s hegemony a fait accompli.

In the meantime, all those who castigated Metropolitan Jonah for envisioning the OCA returning to Moscow, or for acting “unilaterally,” or whatever, need to pull up a chair, grab your knife and fork, and start eating your crow.

All others can call up Syosset and ask what the heck is going on.


  1. Tommy Katsarellis says

    First off, you continue to bring up + Jonah and think he was given a raw deal. He wasn’t and no one will be eating crow. The OCA will not be going under the Phanar nor Moscow. The OCA will remain the ONLY autocephalous Orthodox Church in North America. Again, according to Orthodox Canon Law, foreign bishops have no authority outside their own territory. Neither Moscow nor Istanbul has authority in North America. What Fr. Jillions is stating is that the term “autocephaly” is misunderstood by Istanbul. The OCA’s visit to the Phanar was to make this issue clear. Yet, SCOBA in 1961, agreed to work toward an autocephalous Orthodox Church in America that ALL bishops would join (SCOBA minutes). When Fr. Alexander Schmemann made this a reality in 1970, the Greeks & Antiochians reneged. The Romanians joined the OCA; the Bulgarians joined; the Albanians joined, but + Iakavos was threatened by Istanbul. Met. Philip played the Byzantine card and gave much lip service to unity and joining the OCA, but still reneged. The OCA would like the Phanar to stop being an obstacle to Orthodox Unity in America. Everyone is not going to go under Istanbul, after all, this is contrary to Orthodox Canon Law. Nor under Moscow.

    • Michael Warren says

      Uncanonically removing +Metropolitan Jonah is very much an authoritarian power grab of Syosset-Crestwood which we today are seeing the consequences of. And it is awful.

      I agree that the OCA should be the nucleus of the North American local church. Syosset-Crestwood itself with this statement has given up on this idea. And the lack of oversight of the Mother Church is precisely what has gotten us into this predicament. We need oversight, guidance and aid from the Mother Church now more than ever to survive as the autocephalous Orthodox Church of North America. 45+years of Syosset-Crestwood Renovationism and corruption underscore a grave mistake.

      • Jon Duttweiler says

        The OCA is a small, parochial, organization with a self-serving central hierarchy. It will never be the focal point for a truly American Orthodox Church.

  2. Did you find anything specific about the “slant” of Jillions’ essay that suggests the subtext you mention? I’m curious because the last paragraph seems to wholeheartedly affirm the “positive signs on the horizon” which you call “wishful thinking.”

    Like you, I would love to see those positive signs become a reality, and I think +Bartholomew is a worthy ally of the Americans in that cause.

  3. anonymus per Scorilo says

    This is just hot air, unless you have an answer to the question: What would the OCA gain by this ? What can the Phanar offer the OCA to accept to go under it which they could not offer for the past 40 years ?

    P.S. And baloney about ecumenism / modernism / anti-Putinism / globalization / crypto-uniatism etc. does not count. And I do not think it is $$$ either.

  4. Peter A. Papoutsis says


    The OCA was never autocephalus. If it was Moscow would have pushed for it from 1970 till today. It was a chess move from 1970 till today, just like Canon 28 has been. The OCA was a pawn and treated like a pawn between the EP and MP.

    The REAL question has always been under who was the OCA going to go: Moscow or Constantinople? Moscow is far to Russian oriented where the EP, via the GOAA, is sufficiently Americanized and a very high degree of freedom would be give to the OCA, like it has been given to the GOAA and ACROD, and naturally the OCA would want to go under the EP and not the MP. Especially with all the bad blood between ROCOR and the OCA. It makes sense.

    You don’t have to like it, but it makes sense. For me as a GOAA faithful I hope you are right and that the OCA comes in under the EP as the OCA would be the right amount of sock the GOAA needs to get out of its modernism and get back to authentic Orthodox, but in an American millue.

    Now that Rome has fallen to complete and utter heresy, like it wasn’t before, the EP has no choice but to unite with the OCA and get to the work on a United American Orthodox Church. In time, we American Orthodox will get our independence, but the way things have been going inside and outside the Church I view this as a positive step not negative as the GOAA is gaining the OCA’s discipline and the OCA is increasing its credibility. Its a win-win in my book.


    • George Michalopulos says

      Peter, I continue to remain hopeful but I think there is too much ill-will and bad faith on all sides. Judgment must come in the form of persecution before we are given the grace to see each other as brothers on this continent.

    • Michael Warren says

      Not being one to endorse ROCOR talking points, I am encouraged by the below essay and endorse its vision. It is post ROCOR. Unless the EP can reform itself and live in fidelity to Orthodoxy as it did prior to the reign of thrice-deposed renegade Metaxakis, no faithful Orthodox in good conscience can endorse it as any type of Orthodox canonical administration. Loyalty to Istanbul is endorsement of Unia and Eastern Rite Protestant Renovationism. Accepting the omophorion of the EP is rejection of Orthodoxy.

      This is a preferable vision to that of Syosset-Crestwood’s OCA self-dissolution. Although I disagree with some of its political analysis and overt Russophile exclusivism, it is a preferable model than the one Syosset-Crestwood is putting forward, one which needs more local church, local culture emphasis. One which needs more advocacy for the creation of autocephalous local churches in the West:

      The Future of Russian Orthodox Outside the Canonical Territory of the Russian Orthodox Church

      Introduction: A Definition of Terms

      At the present time there are three groups of Russian Orthodox which have permanently settled outside the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church, but which are for the moment administratively separated. This canonical territory means China and Japan, where there are already Autonomous Churches, and above all the countries formed from the ex-Soviet Union, notably the Russian Federation, the Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania – with the exception of the canonical territory of the ancient Georgian Orthodox Church.

      We naturally exclude from these three groups ex-Russian Orthodox: the Ukrainian nationalist group whose ancestors once mainly lived in Polish Galicia and most of whose descendants are in Canada; the small group whose ancestors once belonged to the Russian Church in Finland; very small communities sometimes of Russian descent in a few parts of Western Europe under the Paris Jurisdiction; even smaller sects which broke away from the Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) between 2000 and 2007. These four groups have for purely political reasons consciously chosen to live outside the canonical unity of the Russian Church, the first three under the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

      One Faith but Three Administrations

      These three groups of Russian Orthodox are:

      1. Those who have a disputed autocephalous status in North America. They include above all, but not only, those of ‘Ruthenian’ origin whose ancestors emigrated from the former Austro-Hungarian Empire and those who were converted in Alaska when it was still a Russian possession. With their presence dating back well over a century, that is, before the 1917 Revolution, they are grouped in what is called the OCA (Orthodox Church in America).

      2. Those in the self-governing Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), whose ancestors either emigrated after the 1917 Revolution, or after 1945, or who have joined the Church since. This group is centred in the USA, but has many members in parts of Western Europe (principally in western Germany and Switzerland), Australasia and also some members in Latin America and the Holy Land.

      3. Those who depend directly on Moscow, but live above all in dioceses in Western and Central Europe, but also in much smaller numbers in countries as diverse as the USA, Canada, Thailand, the Philippines, Iran and elsewhere. These are mainly those who have emigrated to these countries in the last twenty-five years since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

      These three groups represent different periods and different generations of emigration. The first group dates back five generations and more, the second often dates back three or four generations, whereas the third often dates back only one generation. Is there a possibility that these three groups may one day join together? Surely, that would be a logical, canonical and indeed welcome outcome? And if not, what could prevent them from doing so? Let us look in detail at each of the three groups.

      Is an Administrative Merger even Possible?

      The first group, in its present form a product of the Cold War politics of nearly two generations ago, appears to be split into two factions. Some more traditional would like to have closer relations with those who in North America are happy to call themselves Russian Orthodox (those belonging to groups 2 and 3), but others for political reasons object to the term ‘Russian Orthodox’. They confuse this term with some narrow, ethnic identity instead of the multi-ethnic reality. These, sometimes quite Russophobic American nationalists, often not of Slav but of Protestant background, are generally very modernistic and have little understanding of the Tradition.

      Therefore, they may wish to quit the OCA background which is in the disciplines of the Russian Church and Tradition. Like other political dissidents elsewhere, these latter may wish to join the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Their mentality is after all very similar to those ex-Russian Orthodox already in the Patriarchate of Constantinople, in the Paris Jurisdiction (including ex-Sourozh) and in Finland, whose mindset in the eyes of Russian Orthodox is more or less schismatic and even semi-treasonous. Under Constantinople, these dissidents would, like the others who have left the Russian Church, be allowed to operate outside the canonical and liturgical disciplines common to the Church.

      The second group, ROCOR, should by its name unite all Orthodox outside Russia (Russia meaning the Russian Lands, that is, the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church, as defined at the beginning of this article). However, it does not do so at present, though it is now showing great openness at least in North America to groups 1 and 3, even receiving the former OCA leader. One of the problems for some in ROCOR is that as long as the Soviet Union existed, it had a very clear, even exaggerated identity, but that was a whole generation ago. As a result, some individuals prefer to pretend that the Soviet Union still exists, under the imaginary term of ‘Putinization’, but this fantasy is mere New Cold War propaganda of the basest kind and self-justification for the disobedience of schism and conforms at best to fantasy, at worst to paranoia. We must not live trapped in the past, for salvation can only come if we live in the present.

      Today, ROCOR seems to be confining itself to North America and Australasia, with South America and Western Europe increasingly small and detached. Is it to confine itself in the future only to the English-speaking world? The direction of the ROCOR leadership seems to some unclear and ROCOR identity has perhaps been blurred by Western rite experiment. On the other hand, the membership of ROCOR has increased rapidly through recent emigration. All is still possible and ROCOR could still become a federation of regional Metropolias around the world, as Patriarch Kyrill would like. This process of Metropolitanization is precisely what has been carried out on Russian Orthodox canonical territory. However, time is passing and several years have gone by since such strategic decisions could have been taken.

      The third group, directly under Moscow, is expanding rapidly by emigration, especially in Western Europe, where most countries are effectively now directly under Moscow and ROCOR is clearly an outnumbered minority, mainly by its own choices. It must be said that this situation looks like being replicated elsewhere too. The situation has indeed been transformed in the last 25 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Whereas once this group was tiny, today it is the biggest. We can remember the situation only thirty years ago of the dioceses in Brussels, Paris and London, where, all told, the flock numbered three bishops, a dozen or so priests and a few hundred faithful! In other words, three ‘dioceses’ totalled no more than a parish.

      Today, with large new churches built or being built in Rome, Madrid, Paris, Strasbourg and in several cities in Germany, large dioceses in Italy and Scandinavia, several parishes in Portugal, Spain, Ireland and even Iceland, with well over a million faithful, the momentum is clearly here. However, there are difficulties. Some of its older and senior clergy seem to have problems adapting to life outside Russia and can have ‘Soviet’ reflexes. Not only do they not understand local cultures, mentalities and family life, but some do not understand the local language and so cannot even communicate with and confess the children of their flocks. This is a very, very serious pastoral problem. Little wonder that some recent and better integrated emigrants sometimes prefer to attend ROCOR churches or, in North America, traditional OCA churches.

      Conclusion: Three in One in the Future?

      One thing is clear – no solution to three separate administrations will ever be imposed from above. No-one in the Centre in Moscow wishes to be accused of imposing some Soviet-style structure or reorganization, as was disastrously tried in the 1920s. In the internet age top-down ‘Soviet Tank’ style is dead, belonging firmly in the past. Unity today can only come organically, from the grassroots. True, the Centre in Moscow strongly, but also understandably, dislikes the extremist fringes with their disloyalty and Russophobia, either of the left-wing Paris/Sourozh type, or of the right-wing sectarian type that once posed a problem in ROCOR. Perhaps the dream that the spiritually healthy parts of the OCA may one day merge with those directly under Moscow and with ROCOR in North America could come true. Thus, a newly formed group called something like The Russian Orthodox Metropolia in North America – ROMNA, could emerge from the past.

      As for ROCOR in Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia, it could become part of some large Metropolia in Australasia, including parishes in Thailand, South-East Asia and the Philippines, called something like The Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Australasia – ROMA. Surviving ROCOR parishes in Western Europe could become part of a Metropolia, centred at the new Cathedral and seminary in Paris, perhaps called the Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Europe – ROME. As for Latin America surviving ROCOR parishes there could simply merge with local parishes under Moscow in one single Metropolia, The Russian Orthodox Metropolia in Latin America, perhaps called ROMLA. This would together make four Metropolias, together forming a renewed and expanded Russian Orthodox Church Outside the Russian Lands of over 1,000 parishes. Dreams? For the moment, yes, but at least food for thought for the long term.

    • Michael Warren says

      Russian Orthodoxy, since its very foundation, is multi-ethnic. Moreover, it is faithful to the Church. Moscow’s “brand” of piety represents 90%+ of the Orthodox world with various local interpretations. The GOA/Istanbul’s Renovationism less than 1%. Istanbul/GOA is fidelity challenged (Uniate) and hellenist oriented. So GOA/Istanbul being more capable of accomodating a local American church? What denomination of Protestantism would it have to be, and would these Americans necessarily be faithful to Orthodoxy?

      Moscow is the de facto primatial see of the Orthodox world. Istanbul is prepared to declare unia as soon as its pope calls the Phanar. Yet somehow that is a better choice for the ORTHODOX North American local church?

      For 45+ years the OCA has been independent, autocephalous, and look what it has done with its freedom. Today we are talking about rescinding it and flirting with apostasy by petitioning the Phanar to mercifully take it under its omophorion. Somehow Moscow, the authoritarian badguy here according to some, is not standing in its way. Yet “there was never an autocephaly”? Astonishing.

      Yes, in the past, there has been banter about “it being unrealistic to expect the Greeks (and others) to unite under the OCA omophorion,” that “Ligonier hinted at a new autocephalous reality” and the like. I personally see Ligonier’s reality as less likely today: simply because Istanbul/GOA receives no value added by flirting with it. Demographics since then have attenuated in the GOA’s favor. Nor do I necessarily see the need for taking the Episcopal Assembly and turning it into an EP-run North American governing synod. Demographics overstate the influence of many of its members. Nor do I necessarily relate to the notion “that we have to do it with the Greeks to make it happen,” because of the facts of a). Hellenism AND b). GOA infidelity AND c). GOA ecumenism in the place of Orthodox witness AND d). GOA Eastern Rite Protestant Renovationism. To unite “with the Greeks” and endorse such a vision is to betray the Orthodox mission in North America.

      Demographics. Everyone’s numbers are a trend in decline. The GOA couples that with imminent Unia. The OCA should go its own way, invite the Mother Church to aid it unite other ethnic jurisdictions in America to develop an aggressive missionary witness whose goal is demographic parity with the GOA in 15 years and demographic parity with the Roman Catholic church in the USA by the end of the century. If by that time, there is still a GOA loyal to Orthodoxy functioning in America, demographically we will be capable of either absorbing it or canonically acting against its schismatic presence on the territory of our local church.

      I welcome the Mother Church’s aid in North America while refusing to even continance Istanbul’s claims. I think it is even ridiculous for Istanbul/GOA to assert it is more prepared to administer the American church especially when one considers that for 50 years the principle GOA witness to North America has been Greek festivals where visitors to Greek churches even today are routinely asked, “Are you Greek?” to ascertain why prospective Orthodox converts are visiting their churches. The OCA does not need that: we have a different path, and our Russo-Ruthenian heritage has left us with a different Orthodox sensibility and orientation. No, thank you.

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        It is true that I have myself been asked a few times by GOA members if I am Greek. This is more true of members of GOA parishes other than mine, because I had a long association with my parish church before I joined, so people knew me.

        But I have been asked many times by non-Orthodox if I am Greek, which does itself speak volumes.

        On the other hand, our priest is Indian, born into a Hindu family….

  5. George,

    You are absolutely correct, this is a must read article because there are very clear cracks in the ideology of the OCA leaders. As a former member of the OCA, I have visited many parishes, heard many sermons and read many articles from OCA hierarchs. This is the first and only article that has ever implied that OCA’s autocephaly was some kind of precursor. I have even heard from a number of the hierarchs themselves that the only way to bring about unity in America was for all of the other jurisdictions in America to go under the OCA. That by virtue of the autocephaly, the one and only canonically-correct Orthodox jurisdiction in the America is the OCA. This article is the first I have ever read which seems to imply that maybe this isn’t correct. There are going to have to be many rewritten articles then.

    Not to pour salt on the wound but I honestly never understood why it was so imperative to move forward with autocephaly in the first place when there was absolutely no buy-in from almost any other jurisdiction in America at the time. I have heard all of the arguments like the Ecumenical Patriarch told the OCA to go to the Russians, and that no other jurisdiction wanted to get on board. It’s all fine and dandy but the autocephaly just wasn’t thought through. It’s like building a house on poor foundation, eventually it’s going to topple over. There are many nice people in the OCA. They are good, hard-working, God-fearing Orthdox Christians, who have been sold a bill of goods that is fundamentally flawed. One has to wonder what is the long-term strategy for the OCA? While there are some pockets of growth, particularly in the South, the honest truth is that the OCA is dying a slow death. The number of parishioners is dropping every year in almost all parts of the U.S. and there is nothing on the horizon to suggest that the trend is going to stop.

    As bizarre as it sounds, perhaps the OCA would, indeed, be better off being an eparchy of the Ecumenical Patriarch. Go figure.

    • Texan Orthodox says

      I have no idea if all this would/will happen, but if the OCA goes under the jurisdictional umbrella of the EP, then I would hope that the EP would consolidate its jurisdictions in America. There would be absolutely no reason to have overlapping jurisdictions of the OCA, the GOA, the ACROD, the Ukrainians, the Albanian Diocese, and a parish or two of the Palestinians/Jerusalem — all under the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Many of these jurisdictions (especially the OCA, ACROD, and the Ukrainians (including the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada (UOCC)) come from such similar heritage that it makes no sense at all (even from an “ethnic” standpoint) to maintain them as jurisdictionally distinct. Back when the Ukrainian jurisdictions were established in North America, there was an intense Ukrainian dislike of all things Russian (and rightfully so, thanks to Stalin’s Ukrainian famines), but hopefully those hard feelings have somewhat dissipated by now.

      I agree, it seems that Moscow does not take the OCA’s autocephaly too seriously. Otherwise why would it be ok with ROCOR to continue create missions and parishes in America following the 2007 MP/ROCOR reunion? And why do there continue to be 25-30 “Moscow Patriarchate” parishes in America? If the MP seriously respected the OCA’s autocephaly, then it would be more firm about its own MP parishes in America coming under the OCA and about ROCOR moving toward union with the OCA. These days, to an outside observer, it seems that ROCOR has a much more cozy relationship with the MP than does the OCA.

      • Michael Warren says

        Ukrainianism was schismatic nonsense propelled by a quack ethnic identity which never existed. The Ukrainian movement was an arm of the Revolution and a political program of divide et impera designed to separate Ruthenians (What some call “Ukrainians”) from Great Russians. Its origin is phyletism and its goal is Renovationism and Unia. In 1918, a Sobor occured in the Ukraine where the topic of autocephaly was brought up: 70% of the participants voted it down. Then a handful of renegades, having affiliations to Living Churchmen in Russia and Bolsheviks like Lenin and Stalin, married or widowed white clergy, laid hands on one another, declared themselves “bishops” and declared Ukrainian autocephaly. Lenin and Stalin supported this “Ukrainian Orthodox church,” the parent of Istanbul’s Ukrainian jurisdictions until 1936, an organism which denounced canonical Orthodox clergy, leading to their martyrdoms, an organism which stole churches from the canonical Orthodox Church, an organism whose followers martyred Holy New Martyr Vladimir of Kiev. While Stalin’s golodomors were occuring and collectivization and dekulakization was ordered, the Ukrainian Orthodox Autocephalous church was singing the praises of the Soviet state and denouncing counter-revolutionaries.”Ukrainians” like Bohdan Bociurkiw (Bogdan Bociurkov) chronicle this. Let’s not dignify banderofascist propaganda and Ukrainian quackery.

        Moscow doesn’t take the OCA seriously because statements like this state that Syosset-Crestwood doesn’t take the OCA seriously and is ready to rescind the Tomos to be able to steal more money under Istanbul. (But in actuality Moscow has taken the OCA more seriously than Syosset-Crestwood has.) Why shouldn’t the Mother Church maintain its own parishes and broaden its administration when Syosset-Crestwood emphatically states it rejects a model of jurisdictional exclusivity and subordination of other jurisdictions to its authority?

        No, regularizing ROCOR is not an insult to the OCA, but a helping hand. It wasn’t the Mother Church which pilfered millions of dollars, consecrated unfaithful and corrupt Bishops, and chased 92%+ of our parishoners away: that was Syosset-Crestwood.

      • Gregory Manning says

        Moscow is a hen and very protective of her brood and the brood very much like her protection.

    • Philippa says

      Very interesting comment made by someone on the blog ^^ that the “new” Bishop of Dallas and South is on quite friendly terms with the Ecumenical Patriarch. And so it goes….

  6. Tommy Katsarellis says

    Antony: SCOBA was the driving force for autocephaly. Go back above and read. All the hierarchs in SCOBA wanted to move toward an autocephalous, independent, Orthodox Church. Again, the canons of the Orthodox Church state that a “local” independent church is to be established in a territory ruled by its own bishops. Having churches under foreign bishops is non-canonical; especially when those bishops have a very limited understanding of life in America. The OCA is not going under either Istanbul or Moscow. The people of the OCA would completely revolt and throw out the hierarchs. What should happen is the Episcopal Assembly should become an autocephalous synod of a new autocephalous church in America. They in turn would chose their own head (Patriarch). The Diptychs are not a canonical form of church organization; this is an aberration.

  7. This article of Fr. Jillions’ essentially admits what I have always asserted: That the status that the MP granted the OCA is not exclusive jurisdiction in any sense. One can see that easily by the Tomos. This can be seen in the recognized right of the other jurisdictions to continue their presences on the territory in question indefinitely or at least until such time as they agreed to merge with the OCA.

    Nonetheless, I don’t want to say more lest I stir up any more rancor.

    • Michael Warren says

      Unfortunately, he does admit your ROCOR take on OCA autocephaly, readying the faithful for its rescinding, which you advocate, to crash the OCA into the EP to steal what is left of the believers’ money.

      All I can say is that a Syosset-Crestwood which betrays the Tomos doesn’t deserve it. I support the formation of a sole, autocephalous North American church. I reject a model of a political autocephaly contrived to escape oversight of the Mother Church and engage in Renovationist gimmicks and embezzle funds.

      This redaction of the Tomos is illegitimate and has no canonical basis. In its place, I would welcome the return of the Russian Orthodox American mission with broadened autonomies, known as the Orthodox Church in North America. We don’t need the Istanbul drifting revisionism of a Uniate disgrace in Syosset to essentially trash our autocephaly as an “artifice to rebel against the Russian Mother Church” to then rescind itself and “join a more legitimate organism.” This reprobate, Istanbul propaganda is an insult to the faithful of the OCA. Uniate Jillions’ take on things is unacceptable .

      • M. Stankovich says

        The truth is exactly as Misha observes, that the Tomos was not written in terms of “exclusive jurisdiction” because it was issued more than 50-years after the Russian revolution, 45-years after the death of St. Tikhon, Metropolitan of Moscow, and the most prolific and memorable hierarch in the Orthodox formation in America, and the ROC was plainly in no position to support an American church or enforce an exclusive jurisdiction. The ROC was viewed as compromised and collaborating with the Soviets, and obviously later this was confirmed.

        In practice and effect, with the revolution, the ROC left everyone in America to their own devices, to figure out “diaspora” on their own. In the case of the Russians in America, they endured the near tragedy of the “Living Church,” and the shocking betrayal of “Patriarch” Sergius’ demand that they cast their lot, literally, with the besieged Russians. In all of their “apologies” issued in past several decades, I have heard no one in the ROC apologize to Orthodox Americans – of all jurisdictions – for the shame and harm their collusion cost. For all the condemnations of the predominant jurisdictions such as the Greeks & the Antiochians, there should be some respect & admiration for the manner by which they suddenly were forced to minister to ethnic bodies scattered across this entire country, without a source of direction or funding. To imagine they would logically submit to an otherwise absent “mother,” possessing a handful of ROC parishes and 3-handful of OCA parishes, is fantasy. This simply is never going to happen. Our time would be better spent identifying, enlisting, and supporting hierarchs that return the voice of moral authority we so desperately need. SS Verhovskoy called for the return of “Ezekials,” and Fr. Alexander Webster called for “men of muscle.” Fantasies can wait for another day. As Vladyka Tikhon noted, the time is short.

        • Michael Warren says

          As a member of the OCA, I distinctly recall the rhetoric of “sister church” and “local American church to unite jurisdictions” being used. So this new redaction of what the autocephaly means is an uncanonical contrivance and a betrayal of the OCA. It is an artifice designed to murder our OCA and betray the Orthodox mission to North America.

          I think the notion that the Church in Russia has to apologize to various factions in North America who created the mess we find ourselves in today to be a preposterous idea. Even craven and irresponsible. The Russian church is a martyred church, whose faithfulness and steadfastness in Orthodoxy under theomachist assault is a moral example to us all. Its podvig in the face of persecution with its victory over, conversion of, the persecutors establishes its moral authority without peer to guide not only our North American church, but all of Orthodoxy.

          The various political intrigues of living churchmen vs. The Metropolia vs. ROCOR vs. whomever were a product of the political climate of the time and not the sin of the Mother Church.

          +Patriarch Sergius in this narrative, oft maligned and the goat, set the table for a reinvigorated symphonia restating en forte the moral authority of the Mother Church. A Mother Church, which after being bayoneted in the belly by the theomachists, could arise from the persecution and horror of godless modernity to love and guide her children irregardless of their political orientations. We need such a victory over godlessness today in the West at a dire time such as this.

          +Patriarch Sergius’ podvig is a type of living metaphor of Dostoevsky’s Elder Zosima. Elder Zosima, perceived as holy in his life, upon his death evidences corruption and begins to rot, the stench of the decomposition being extraordinarily foul. This circumstance was used by his detractors to assert he was a fraud and his teaching a product of spiritual deception. But in actuality, it was a statement affirming his holiness, for he took upon himself the sins of the people, all people, loved them and taught them to love one another, despite personal differences, deficiencies and orientations, affirming to all that despite their sin, CHRIST’s Love could lead them to holiness. That Orthodoxy was not an out of reach priveledge of lofty ascetics, learned churchmen and a clerical/monastic caste. He died as one of us, and his corruption was pronounced as more foul than all of ours, for what he embodied was not a spiritual ideal on a pedestal, but a Christian holiness accessible to even the greatest of sinners, who could be reclaimed in CHRIST’s Love. We all being sufferers and the victims of sin loved by one who suffered and was victimized with us. We all could follow Elder Zosima and embrace CHRIST and be loved, where Elder Zosima ceded his place in line so we could go before him out of his love for and comiseration with us. In CHRIST. I view +Patriarch Sergius through this filter.

          Again, the invaluable aid of the Mother Church is what can reinvigorate our autocephaly. Nothing else can. Going elsewhere to continue, even redouble the folly of the last 45+ years will murder our North American mission. The Mother Church’s moral authority and steadfast fidelity to Orthodoxy is the only factor which can restore credibility to our OCA which for 45+ years has embezzled the future, chased away our parishoners and flirted with Eastern Rite Protestantism and unfaithfulness to Orthodoxy.

          The Mother Church got out of the way to precisely allow the prodigal son to have his share of the inheritance and make it on his own. Our mistake as the prodigal son was squandering our inheritance on the riotous living of the administration and orientation we chose to state our “exceptional worthiness” to be on our own. Pride cometh before a fall. We have fallen. Selling ourselves to other swineherds in the hope of stealing pigfeed while in our Mother’s House a rich banquet awaits and we can be welcomed in loving forgiveness, where a feast will be celebrated “though we were dead, we live again.” Repentance is the surest path to reclamation of our OCA, not blaming our Mother for our sins to then go on to drink ourselves to death in riotous living, momentarily getting a line of credit from an unfaithful usurer. A man of ill intent, who intends to murder us and thereby defame our Mother, rationalizing the sin of Cain, unrepetent, as a rejection of CHRIST crucified for us. CHRIST, WHO has purchased our redemption by HIS Blood mocked by the one to whom we would shed our blood and sacrifice for suicidal fixes to affirm our pride.

          Humility or hubris. I choose CHRIST and reject pride.

          • M. Stankovich says

            Well, apparently you are employing a lunatic filter – Elder Zomisa? – quite in opposition to that of the Holy New Martyrs of Russia, beneficiaries of Sergius’ “podvig”:

            Bishop Dimitry (Gdov) called the Sergians as “those who had departed the faith of Christ.”

            From a letter of Fr. Vsevolod: “They (the Josephites) declare Metropolitan Sergei to be without grace and a heretic; and all who are associated with him without grace; and demand immediate breaking of prayerful communion with him.”

            Bishop Alexei (Buy): “With his acts, Metropolitan Sergei ejected himself from unity with the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and has lost his right to be the First Hierarch of the Russian Church. ”

            Bishop Barlaam (of Maikop) wrote a letter about Metropolitan Sergius’ declaration, which was found in the central archive of the KGB by a parliamentary commission: “Having received from the Bolsheviks a peaceful and quiet life, and having strengthened himself through their forces, Metropolitan Sergius and his Synod have concluded with the atheists a union of mutual solidarity, but not according to the spirit of the Orthodox Church, obliging themselves to make no speeches against the authorities (and even to punish such speeches in others), and to be silent even in view of the most obvious persecution against the Holy Church on the part of their God-fighting allies… So ‘a peaceful and quiet…’ means sitting quietly and keeping silent, not only not reproaching the Bolsheviks for their restrictions on the Church and annihilation of the whole work of Christ on the earth, but approving of and rejoicing in their successes in this their destructive attack on Christ, and approving of and rejoicing in, and even ‘praying for’, them in their churches during the offering of the Bloodless Sacrifice at the Holy Liturgy.

            Bishop Victor (Votkinsky) and Archbishop Andrei (Ufimsky) called the Sergians in their epistles as those who had departed from God.

            Bishop Maxim (Sepukhov): “Soviet and catacomb churches are incompatible.” “The mystical desert-like catacomb Church has anathematized the Sergians and all that are with them.”

            From a sermon by Igumen Dorothei, before the Sergianist split: “Go, while it is still not too late, go to church while there are still churches in our midst that are Orthodox, because, later, the churches shall be such that there should be no reason to go there anymore.”

            In an edict of Metropolitan Sergei, concerning Bishops Dimitry (Gdov) and Sergei (Korporsky), it is written that Bp. Dimitry had called “those churches which commemorated Metropolitan Sergei as ‘innovative”‘ and those Orthodox priests as without grace; and moreover, that one of such churches, he publicly called “a temple of satan.”

            Priest Dimitry Ivanov – “As regards the priest, Father Dimitry Ivanov, the latter had declared our Moscow Patriarchate church to be without grace, its mysteries invalid. And it was even forbidden to pray while passing by our churches. This strong view held by him was apparently based on the opinions on this very question by the Optina Elder, Father Nektary, who is now departed.”

            Metropolitan Joseph of Petrograd wrote: “Those who defend Sergei say that the canons allow separation from a bishop only for heresy judged by a Sobor; it can be replied that the actions of metropolitan Sergei have led to just that state if one has in view such clear destruction of the freedom and dignity of the one Holy, Concilliar, and Apostolic Church… but beyond this thhere is much thhat the canons cannot foresee, and can one dispute the fact that it iis worse and more dangerous than any heresy when a knife is plunged into the very hheart of the Church— her freedom and dignity? Which is worse—- heresy or murder?”

            Still before the appearance of the declaration of Metropolitan Sergei that very summer of 1927, Elder Nektary of Optina, in a conversation with visiting Professors Kamarovich and Anichkov, called Metropolitan Sergei an innovator. And when it was objected that the latter had repented, the elder answered, “Yes, he repented, but the poison is still imbedded inside him.” To his spiritual children, the Elder Nektary used to say, “To the Red Church, do not go.”

            From a letter by Protopresbyter Valentin Sventsitsky: “Both the ‘Living Church, ‘ which has seized the power of the Patriarch and Gregorianism which has seized the power of the locum tenens, and you who are abusing his faith in you, -you’re all doing the one and the same anti-church thing; besides, you have become the founders of its most dangerous form, since, while you are rejecting freedom for the Church, you are at the same time preserving the fiction of its canonicity and of its Orthodoxy. This is greater than the violation of individual canons.

            From a missive from Archbishop Seraphim of Uglich: “They often ask me,” -these are the beginning words. Archbishop Seraphim accuses Metropolitan Sergei of the heavy sin of dragging our small spirited and our weaker brethren into “innovation.”

            From a Resolution of Metropolitan Sergei in one letter, we discover that Metropolitan Sergei was accused of treason to the Church, and of being unfaithful to Orthodoxy, and of secret infusion of innovations.

            Archbishop Andrei (Ufimsky): “All followers of the lying Metropolitan Sergei, are themselves filled with lies and evil, and have fallen away from the truth of Christ they have fallen away from Christ’s Church. The Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church-is somewhere, in some other place, but not with Metropolitan Sergei, not with ‘his synod.’ …The holy Church will remember with horror the sins of Sergei and his fellow activists, having placed his name next to the names of ecumenical pseudo-Patriarchs Nestorius, Dioscorus, and other terrible traitors to Orthodoxy.

            From a missive of Bishop Paul (Kratirov): “Concerning the modernized church or concerning Sergian ‘Orthodoxy,’ I, a sinner, believe that, as regards such church activists, we must call them not only heretics and schismatics, but as those who have departed from God. Metropolitan Sergei brings into the Church service, a heresy unheard of in the history of the Church, the heresy of modernized departure from God, -of which the natural consequence became confusion and division in the Church. Can one, after this, affirm that the declaration and the activity of Metropolitan Sergei concerns only the external life of the Church, and do not touch in any way the essence of the Church’s Orthodoxy? In no way can this be said. Metropolitan Sergei, by his self-wise and evil-worshipping declaration and the anti-Church work which followed it, has created a new modernized schism or Sergian modernism, which while preserving for the ‘little ones’ a fiction of Orthodoxy and canonicity is even more criminal than the first two modernizations of 1922 and 1925. And so Metropolitan Sergei has put under his feet not only the external, but also the very inner essence of the Orthodoxy of the Church. Since his ‘hosanna’ to Christ and Antichrist, which is now being performed in Christian churches, touches the very essence of Christian Faith and presents by itself clear apostasy, the falling away from the Faith, and the departure from God.”

            From a missive of the Most Holy Patriarch Tikhon regarding “the Living Church”: “With all this’, they, the modernists, had separated themselves from the unity of the body of the Ecumenical Church, and they have deprived themselves of the grace of God which abides only in the Church of Christ…. And all functions and mysteries, which are performed by those bishops and priests who have fallen away from the Church, are without grace; and the faithful who participate with them in prayer and in mysteries, not only do not receive any sanctification, but subject themselves to condemnation for participating in their sin.”

            Bishop Hilarion, formerly of Smolensk, was a most irreconcilable enemy of the declaration of Metropolitan Sergei of 1927; he denied the sacraments when performed by Sergites, and for a second time baptized infants and married those already married in a “Soviet Church.”

            Archbishop Theodore (Posdeev) would not recognize in the Moscow Patriarchate validity of mysteries that were performed in its churches and until his very death (in 1950?) to his spiritual children, he would send the Holy Gifts.

            As to your point of blaming the Russians for the “mess we find ourselves in now,” is to miss the point entirely. In an 1991, Patriarch Alexy II gave an interview to Izvestia in which he stated, “Before those people, however, to whom the compromises, silence, forced passivity or expressions of loyalty permitted by the leaders of the church in those [Soviet] years caused pain, before these people, and not only before God, I ask forgiveness, understanding and prayers.” That sounds to me like an “apology,” and the pain extended far beyond Russia.

            • Michael Warren says

              I would have never known that Syosset-Crestwood championed the ROCOR/Katakombnik position. Those same people condemned your amalgam of positions as heretical and schismatic and warned the people to precisely avoid those of your orientation in their uncompromising denunciation of Renovationism. Thank you mentioning for them.

              +Patriarch Sergius condemned Renovationism as well, save his administration offered Renovationists a means of repentance and modes of reconciling with the Church. That is why Syosset-Crestwood still has a chance to repent today.

              Yes, I am on the side of +Patriarch Sergius and accept the label of “sergianist,” inasmuch as it calls for a Church to represent ALL believers, regardless of politics, in a Soviet or post-Soviet state. So from the standpoint of the grabbe-ites, I am unapologetically guilty as charged.

              Yet here we are today and +Patriarch Sergius’ legacy has restored symphonia to Russia and converted the persecutors while glorifying the New Martys, who have won the argument… Because of +Patriarch Sergius.

              I promised the owner of the blog civility, so I won’t take the bait on the personal insults. They are there along with more redaction of writings you may have encountered for the first time.

              At his worst, +Patriarch Sergius and his legacy was more faithful to Orthodoxy than thrice-deposed Metaxakis and Istanbul since him.

              +Patriarch Sergius, far from sinless, suffered for the Faith, was faithful to it, and left a Church which accomodates ALL political orientations. His work was for all to save some, to open the Church and the Kingdom of Heaven to the Soviet and Post-Soviet reality of Russia. A Patriarch for every believer versus Dostoevsky’s Elder for every sinner: the comparison is apt, despite the lack of incorruption in both instances.

              No amount of HOCNA-speak undoes the reality of today.

              • M. Stankovich says

                This is a truly shameful comment. The “Church and the Kingdom of Heaven [in] the Soviet and Post-Soviet reality of Russia” was purchased by the blood of the Holy New Martyrs alone. They exposed the reality of Sergius for the betrayer of the Church that he was, and having placed them in a position of sacrifice, they chose to defend the Truth with their own lives. Shame on you, Mr. Warren for championing the enemy of the Church and dishonoring the victory of the New Martyrs.

                In all your posturing of “Crestwood-Syosset,” you seem to ignore the fact that “Fr. Alexander” (Schmemann) and “Bishop Basil” (Rodzianko) were inspiration, light, and joy for Christians in Eastern Europe over the Voice of America (A. Solzhenitsyn told the NY Times that the first person he wanted to meet in the West was “Fr. Alexander,” whom he had listened to for years). Likewise, ROCOR & SVS Press were English sources for samizdat and catacomb literature, as well accounts of the New Martyrs for Orthodox, and for that matter, all Christians in the West.

                You would suggest this “amalgam of positions as heretical and schismatic,” and indebtedness to trust and maintain the faith and perseverance of the Holy New Martyrs, and “[warn] the people to precisely avoid those of your orientation in their uncompromising denunciation of Renovationism?” Shame on you, Mr. Warren. And all of your commentary does not change this reality.

                • Michael Warren says

                  Both Fr. Alexander and A. Solzhenitsyn discounted the Katakombniki and maintained the legitimacy of the Mother Church of +Patriarch Sergius. So what are you talking about?! More feigned Syosset-Crestwood nonsense?

                  When do you plan on joining HOCNA now since you have become fond of their propaganda? And just who will be rebaptized in Boston Harbor first amongst you? Fr. Kishkovsky or you? Will Uniate Jillions now disavow praying to papist saints? Who is readying SVS Theological Quarterly to prepare defense of the Nameworshipping heresy?

                  The legacy of +Patriarch Sergius speaks for itself. The Moscow Patriarchate converted the theomachists and defeated atheism. It glorified the Holy New Martyrs. This victory is a consequence of the work of +Patriarch Sergius.

                  But the people you quoted did indeed anathemize your band of Syosset-Crestwood Renovationists as Neo-Iconoclasts. So do tell us when you all will be leaving “Stalin’s autocephaly” for HOCNA or the RTOC or whomever. Please make that decision soon so that we can put our OCA back in order and resume the North American Orthodox mission. You can even take Crestwood with you. Wonder how soon the continuing ROCOR crowd clamps down on the meta-erudition and meta-patristic haze. What a prospect!

                  Sadly, the ridiculous cynicism has no substance and is nothing but a mockery of the Holy New Martyrs, the Mother Church and Orthodoxy. We all are quite aware of where the apostate loyalties of Syosset-Crestwood lie. 45+ years of fraud, embezzlement, corruption and Renovationist gimmicks made that clear.

                  But Father Panteleimon would definitely fit in with so many of the in crowd at Syosset-Crestwood. Seems in desparation you all could don foil hats and channel transmissions from the Grabbe galaxy. Thing is, even ROCOR admits your tired propaganda is schismatic, and they authored it… Why not? You and Syosset-Crestwood can all band together and march on St. Nicholas Cathedral in Manhattan and inform +Bishop John that he is the “spawn of Satan in Stalin’s false church of antichrist” and that you with newfound friends in HOCNA have arrived to save Russian Orthodoxy if 100 million+ Russian Orthodox simply repent to you and HOCNA and submit to your Catacomb Unification Synod of Syosset-Crestwood-HOCNA where Fr. Panteleimon or +Nikon will serve as Patriarch.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Michael, while God has spared me from the punishments visited upon the Slavic peoples by the Bolshevists, and thus, am very chary to criticize, I cannot take such a rosy view of Sergianism and the accommodations made by the ROC during the Theomachy. I instead to prefer to believe that the Holy Spirit in His great mercy overlooked the ROC’s collaboration, in that at least they never apostatized and/or rejected theism, and saw fit to deliver it when the time was right.

                    Let all Christians, of whatever stripe, understand that what is at stake and realize that we won’t always be so lucky. There may have to be a time when we must turn our backs on the world and head to the catacombs. The Bolshevist tyranny was just a prelude. The Enemy won’t make the same mistake twice. Our churches will give up far more than the Eastern Europeans ones ever did.

                    • Michael Warren says


                      I totally agree that the HOLY SPIRIT preserved the Church and succored her to emerge triumphant and overcome theomachist persecution.

                      Let me also say that +Patriarch Sergius’ intent “to save the Church” has to be appreciated within its context. Men don’t save the Church, but, rather the Church saves humanity and blesses creation to present it to the MASTER in faithful stewardship. The point of +Patriarch Sergius’ statement was to assert that a brick and mortar institution was being preserved to witness CHRIST under the assault of militant godlessness, providing a structure which politically accomodates a new Soviet reality in Russia, thereby laying the foundation for a concordat and ultimately a paradigm of symphonia.

                      It is the contention of many Christian groups that the Church’s cooperation with the Roman Empire after the Edict of Milan, while insulating it from persecution and broadening its mission with state sponsorship, collaboration with the secular state made the Church worldly and prone to corruption and debasement of the Apostolic Tradition, compromising the message of the Gospel. Indeed, state intrusion and coercion often played a role in the theological and ecclesiological orientation of the Church. Yet the Church with each successive period of secular interference rose to the challenge, reaffirmed the Truth of Orthodoxy and tended to ultimately convert the state, creating a symbiotic relationship, by the power of the HOLY SPIRIT.

                      Comparing apples to apples the Soviet era, when viewed as a whole, was a continuation on the Synodal system of Peter the Great, with one important exception: there was no oberprocurator to rule the Church for the state, and the Patriarch and Holy Synod were free to maintain and teach the purity of Orthodox doctrine.

                      This should be appreciated precisely with apples to apples comparisons of places where ecclesiastical administration was obliterated as a brick and mortar institution: a). North Africa once had a thriving and zealous faithful local church, but today when one visits Tunisia, one is taxed to find even the ruins of North African Christianity, due to obliteration by Moslem persecution of the brick and mortar ecclesiastical institution. b). Likewise, Turkey today, despite the existence of crypto-Christian communities, is a Moslem landscape which has obliterated the local church architecture of the EP, the Armenian and Kurdish churches, and the Patriarchate of Antioch: only meager tokens of Christian presence remain with certain persecution and repression preventing a reemergence of Christian fidelity. Because Moslem persecution has destroyed the brick and mortar administrations throughout the countryside, ethnically cleansing Christians and forcing remnants into Catacombs. c). Communist persecution in Albania destroyed the local church administration and thoroughly purged the local witness of Orthodoxy where today Albanian Orthodoxy relies on foreign missions to reestablish itself.

                      This fate awaited the Russian church and was prevented from occuring in Russia precisely because of the concordat reached between +Patriarch Sergius and the Soviet state, a concordat which evolved into a model of symphonia which even today is emerging and influencing Russian society. By the HOLY SPIRIT, of course. But +Patriarch Sergius’ sacrifice led to the glorification of the witness of the New Martyrs and a symphonic symbiosis emerging as a new take on the imperial paradigm of Church and state affirming the secular and spiritual lives of Orthodox Christians. Without +Patriarch Sergius, this would not have happened and persecution may well have produced a North African or Turkish or Albanian scenario.

                      I will added a final addendum that in North America, we precisely lack a church in concordat with the godless state and that an Albanian scenario is indeed the trajectory of the American “new world order.”

              • Michael,

                You are on the right side of so much and yet on the wrong side of this little matter regarding Sergius and ROCOR. Though ROCOR never officially stated that grace had left the MP, nonetheless, the accomodation and complicity of Sergius and Sergianists served to do nothing except to legitimize one anti-Christ of a regime for decades. As Reagan stated, the Soviet Union during its existence was the focus of evil in the modern world. That is no longer true of Russia because of the demise of the Soviet Union, a militant atheist hell hole. The most recent statement of the Synod of ROCOR regarding the preparatory documents for the Grand Shindig should tell you something. You seem to have cornered yourself off from much of Orthodoxy within a sort of remnant of OCA, since you believe that Syosset has been compromised. Look also to ROCOR, Athos, Serbia, any number of the Greek Old Calendarists in resistance, and other traditionally minded Orthodox. We are all on the same side. And if God is with us, nothing can stand against us.

                • Michael Warren says

                  I have no intention of joining an “authentic Orthodox crusade” against the Russian church or the OCA “to separate in resistance.” For me the only possible renewal comes from within the Church.

                  Yes, I believe I have continually affirmed the primacy of the Church of Russia and implicitly endorsed 90%+ of world Orthodoxy. I have stated here my admiration for Mt. Athos, the State Church of Greece, the Serbian church, even +Metropolitan Joseph of the AOCA. I even endorsed Fr. Andrew Phillip’s Post ROCOR template. So isolationism? Or even better, Resistance ecclesiology? I don’t believe that at all represents my point of view.

                  I am a “sergianist,” guilty as charged. The Mother Church is a “sergianist” body which defeated the theomachists and glorified the Holy New Martyrs while converting the former oppressors and persecutors. Neither ROCOR nor Katakombniki achieved the victory over theomachy. The legacy of +Patriarch Sergius did.

                  Reagan’s evil empire is today his USA.

                  The chief reason why I was heartened by the ROCOR statement on the Cretan Robber Synod was because it relied heavily on the reservations of sober churchmen in the State Church of Greece, showing that ROCOR could play well with others and unite for the greater good. This is a refreshing change from the old mythologies of ROCOR “being the last Orthodox Church on earth.”

            • I recall vaguely hearing about something Stragorodsky wrote that has been sung in church services, “hosanna” to Christ and Anti-Christ (??) .. pretty frightening. MP to this date consider him as their “founding father” so Alexeii ll on the one hand “asking some kind of forgiveness” on the other hand they make monuments to him, go figure. Some also want to “canonize” him, together with Stalin, they would both need to be done together. Then drink your cyanide. Anyway some good historical citations there.


                This was written during Aleskei’s term as patriarch. Since then, MP has been gradually growing closer in its understanding to that of traditional Orthodoxy.

                • Sure, with “Met.” Hillarion running around with his little water bottle and laptop at every ecumenical gathering there is and kissing the hands of any and all cardinals receiving “blessings” and perhaps more “hotel lobby” meetings with the pontiff in communist countries “very traditional” Misha …. and now there is going to be this ECUFEST in Crete …. Hillarion will become known as the “Metropolitan” of a “thousand hugs and kisses” all this “brotherly love” going down, quite “traditional” for our times perhaps.

        • Agreed.

          Autocephaly is not going to fix things like Orthodox Christians getting divorces, or not going to confession, or not going to church at all. In my heart, I think God is withholding some of these gifts until we collectively deserve it.

          Our spiritual ancestors, like St Raphael of Brooklyn, did much with one talent. God has given us a bit more in return. But we’re not going to receive the ten until we are faithful with what we have.

          Or as someone once said, we get the church we deserve.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Well, my friend, Ages, if we got the Church we “deserved,” we would have no Church. Our hope is in Christ.

            • Christ decided all humans deserve the opportunity to be saved, thus we have the Church. But we in America don’t necessarily deserve to run it locally.

          • Michael Warren says

            I think that a lack of faithfulness being interpreted as “Americanization” morphed into corruption, Protestant Reformation and ecclesiological syncretism. Here we are a band of ragtag jurisdictions ruled by unfaithful dilletantes hoping to unite and… create a unified, liberal, fundamentalist, Eastern Rite Protestant denomination under Istanbul with hacks like Demacopoulos appointed high chancellor, grand inquisitor, and grand wizard.

        • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

          M. Stankovich is right, One of the first things that was agreed to in the pre-Tomos negotiations was that the Metropolia was no more interested in receiving most parishes from the MP Exarchate than the MP was in releasing them!

          • Michael Warren says

            Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann

            Report on the preliminary negotiations concerning the establishment in America of the Autocephalous Church

            …On January 21, 1969 the members of our Department led by Bishop Kiprian met at the Hotel New Yorker with Metropolitan Nikodim to prepare the agenda of conversations. It was decided to meet on February 3, 1969 at the Metropolitan’s Residence in Syosset, Long Island.

            The meeting at Syosset must be considered as the first major “break through”. Our delegation consisted of Bishop Kiprian, Fr. Joseph Pishtey, Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Fr. John Skvir and Fr. John Meyendorff. Metropolitan Nikodim was assisted by the Exarch Archbishop Jonathan and his secretary, Fr. Matthew Stadniuk. For the first time the agreement took form of a written document signed by Metropolitan Nikodim and Bishop Kiprian. It included the following points:

            1). the termination by the Patriarchate of its jurisdiction in America.

            2). the granting by the Patriarchate of the autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of America.

            3). the transfer to the Autocephalous Church of all property and rights hitherto belonging to the Patriarchate, with the exception of St. Nicholas Cathedral in New York City which is to remain property of the Patriarchate with the status of “podvorie”, i.e. with no jurisdictional rights attached.

            4). the securing by the Moscow Patriarchate of the recognition by all Orthodox Churches of the new autocephaly.

            All this, of course, represented infinitely more than what we asked for in Cleveland in 1946. It outlined a clear, canonical and permanent solution of a crisis which lasted for half a century. At the end, of the meeting it was decided that upon acceptance and approval of this agreement by the Patriarchal Synod and our Sobor of Bishops, the official meeting of representatives of both Churches will take place in Geneva, Switzerland in the summer of the same year. …

            …4). Geneva — August 1969

            Both approvals having been secured (our Sobor of Bishops met in March) the two delegations met in Geneva on August 24 and 25, 1969. Our delegation consisted of persons enumerated above. The Patriarchal delegation included, besides Metropolitan Nikodim, Archpriest Vitaly Borovoy, representative of the Patriarchate at the W.C.C., Archpriest Livery Voronoff, Professor at the Theological Academy of Leningrad, and Hieromonk Kirill, of the same Academy. In his opening remarks Metropolitan Nikodim stressed the historical character of the meeting which, in the unanimous opinion of our delegation, was marked from beginning to end by an obvious desire on both sides to reach a realistic agreement and to achieve the goal set at Syosset.

            Both delegations unanimously approved a set of canonical presuppositions drafted by Fr. Schmemann. These include:

            1). the canonical principle of territorial unity of the church.

            2). the canonical principle of the jurisdictional unity of the church.

            3). the recognition that prior to 1922 both the territorial and the jurisdictional unity of the Orthodox Church in America belonged to the Church of Russia which de jure if not de facto has never waived her canonical rights in America.

            4). the recognition that the jurisdictional pluralism in America, if it could be explained by external factors and in terms of “economy”, is obviously contradicting the canonical norms and cannot be the basis of the permanent organization of the Church in America.

            5). the recognition that it belongs to the Mother Church, and to her alone, to proclaim autocephaly on a territory hitherto under her jurisidiction.

            6). the recognition that the growth of the Church in America into a native Church warrants its proclamation as an Autocephalous Church.

            7). the recognition that the Metropolia because of her historical continuity with the Russian roots of Orthodoxy in America and in spite of her de facto separation from the Mother Church, is the self-evident focus of the American Autocephalous Church.

            The delegations also agreed on the modality of the proclamation of Autocephaly. …


  8. A theological question: At this point, is the basic northeast Syosset point of view — especially on issues of moral theology — closer to that of the Phanar or Moscow?

    Is the point of view of most in the DOS closer to that of the Phanar or Moscow?

    Just asking.

    • tmatt,

      It’s not that simple but make no mistake, if Syosset sells out to the Phanar there will be a split of epic proportions. Don’t believe the purported ROCOR vs OCA animosity nonesense. While still in the minds of some holdouts it has largly dissapeared over the past 15 years. ROCOR, and the other patriarchal churches would all gain under such a scenario. This would not be a “fait accompli” for the Phanar but a massive re-entrenchment of the status quo but without the OCA as a moderating influence.

      Never the less I am hopeful George is playing chicken little.

      • Michael Warren says

        Although not too keen on ROCOR, my choice us the Mother Church, not Istanbul, if the autocephaly is rescinded or “redefined” “to accomplish a model for North American Orthodox local administration within a unified and realized, governing episcopal assembly under the omophorion of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.”

    • Gregory Manning says

      A very good question, tmatt. Very good indeed. To that list might be added the topic of ecumenism.

    • Monk James says

      tmatt says:

      April 8, 2016 at 4:05 pm

      A theological question: At this point, is the basic northeast Syosset point of view — especially on issues of moral theology — closer to that of the Phanar or Moscow?

      Is the point of view of most in the DOS closer to that of the Phanar or Moscow?

      Just asking.
      This is not a theological question — it’s an ecclesial fishing trip.

      • OK, a question about the contents of moral theology along these fault lines.

        • Monk James says

          Instead of phrasing the question in vague political terms, it might be better to ask about a specific point of morality: Is X a sin or not according to the authentically orthodox catholic christian Tradition?

          With the answer to that question firmly in hand, we then might want to know: Does ‘the basic northeast Syosset point of view’ agree with the Tradition of The Church, or not? Does the Phanar or Moscow agree with Syosset, or not?

          • Michael Warren says

            I think making Syosset-Crestwood the arbiter of Tradition to be an exercise in rejecting the very concept. 45+ years hints I might be right.

    • M. Stankovich says


      Either I am misinterpreting your question, or “point of view” regarding the moral theology of the church is a suggestion that there is an acceptable division in the Church, demarcated by Moscow, by the “Phanar,” or by the “northeast Syosset.” Before going further, let me make a point from the essay, The Church is One, an Essay on the Unity of the Church, by AS Khomiakov

      The Church is one. Her unity follows of necessity from the unity of God; for the Church is not a multitude of persons in their separate individuality, but a unity of the grace of God, living in a multitude of rational creatures, submitting themselves willingly to grace. Grace, indeed, is also given to those who resist it, and to those who do not make use of it (who hide their talent in the earth), but these are not in the Church. In fact, the unity of the Church is not imaginary or allegorical, but a true and substantial unity, such as is the unity of many members in a living body.

      State the obvious, right? The Fathers make a point in noting Jn. 19:23, “Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout” when speaking of heresy and its perpetrators as “those who would tear the seamless robe of the Lord.” Obviously, there are those who casually, almost delightfully, throw this vulgarity around – that occurs only once in the Scripture [αἱρετικὸν, Titus 3:10] – which the Fathers reserve for the most divisive and unrepentant, yet St. John Climacus instructs we “not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we do not grow weary (Gal. 6:9).” And we should “use the situations to test our own steadfastness.” I suspect this was not your intention, otherwise, I believe it is a very dangerous path for you to pursue.

      • Gail Sheppard says


        Your post was cogent and well written, but we are about as far from “unity,” as Pluto is from the sun. My grandmother used to say, “Out of chaos, comes growth.” Let’s hope this is true.

        • M. Stankovich says


          Khomiakov wrote this essay in the mid-19th century, which was a very dark, very cynical period in Russian history and philosophy. The seminaries were full of the sons of “lesser officials” who could not afford university, and whose only recourse for education was a “free” theological education; the Metropolitan who was the Rector of the renowned Moscow academy, when asked if his school would benefit from closing to re-open in several years with new faculty and students, indicated that the cynicism of these individuals – many who were not even believers – had “embedded into the walls,” and it probably would be best to “level the seminary to the ground.” Khomiakov was so discouraged with the “Nihilism” movement in Russian literature & philosophy that he left for Paris, and from there he wrote The Church is One (which sadly was not published in Russia until after his death).

          The essay was intended to be a “credal” statement of dogmatic unity, and if you read it in its entirety (a link I should have provided above, and I apologize), his outline is the Nicene Creed. But, most importantly, he addresses a core issue that plagued the church in his day, and continues to plague the church in our own: to be Russian [or ethnicity of your choice] is to be Orthodox, and to be Orthodox is to be Russian. This is the common practice of devaluing the Orthodox Faith – The Pearl – into an “aspect” of one’s ethnicity or patriotism. In Russia, if you were Christian, you were Orthodox; baptized as a nation by the sword, and persecuted for deviation thereafter (and today it is by less than subtle legislation). In America, Fr. Alexander Schmemann aptly described it as the Spiritual Problem. Khomiakov’s theology & role is also well described in an essay by Archimandrite Luke (Murianka) But in any case, it more than adequately explains Dr. Zoe Knox’ finding that the rate of baptism – even among Soviet party members! – did not fall during the communist oppression, and how a majority of Russians identify themselves as “Orthodox,” yet do not participate in the liturgical life of the church – exactly as Fr. Schmemann described the situation in America: an overwhelmingly secularized society, where “religion” is but an “aspect.”

          What everyone agrees upon, however, is that Khomiakov’s essay sparked a re-examination of both philosophy and the direction of Russian theologians, serving as an inspiration and a light out of a very dark period, not unlike the times we find ourselves. There were absolutely no mistakes in the observations of Fr. Alexander Schmemann, and the only “failure” is that his “solution” calls for sacrifices that the Ecumenical Patriarch, among many, is unwilling to take for the sake of church unity.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Thank you for providing the context for Khomiakov. I now see why the Bolshevik Terror was unleashed upon Holy Russia. (I tremble at what awaits our own Shining City upon the Hill.)

            • I am pretty sure that the statistic offered about the non-reduction in the number of baptisms during the Soviet period is far from true. There were almost 60,000 functioning churches in the Russian Empire at the time of the Revolution, 7,000 just before the fall of the Soviet government. People, if they wanted to have their kids baptized often had to do it in secret. This is sometimes referred to as the preservation of the faith by the babushkas, gradmothers.

              You see, the Russian Empire was Holy Russia seen in a certain light. There were even little shrines strewn about, almost like the pay phone booths used to be here. The Tsars sometimes bent over backwards to accomodate those who wanted reform. Tsar Alexander II had a constitution in his pocket when he was assassinated. But gradual change is just not enough for some radicals. Alexander III was so shocked by the murder of Alexander the II that he backed away from the move to a constitutional monarchy. Later, it was tried again in a concession from Nicholas II after the unrest in 1905. Yet nothing would satisfy the Left other than abdication. The Dumas the were convened were plagued by the fact that they often scared the crown in some of their proposals, thus the crown tried to stack them in various ways. This just further infuriated the Left, considerable elements of which were not operating under the assumption that a constitutional monarchy was acceptable under any circumstances. Totally insatiable. Thus, this conflict actually was a conflict about whether Russia was going to remain Christian or not. The godless heathen prevailed and that was a very, very bad thing.

              This has nothing to do with ethnocentrism or that Russians are somehow intrinsically better people than anyone else. That is false and needs to be dispelled.

              Patriarch Kirill hits this from a different angle in the link below. It is something that I am very pleased to hear from him.


              I don’t think that stuff like this gets a lot of play in the West. I just stumbled on to the following one too:


              • Michael Warren says

                The Soviet era was not limited to the 1930s and early 1960s. Baptisms were common during the Soviet period, where even the children of high ranking party members were baptized.

              • M. Stankovich says

                Khomiakov wrote:

                From this it follows that when any society is called the Church of Christ, with the addition of a local name, such as the Greek, Russian, or Syrian Church, this appellation signifies nothing more than the congregation of members of the Church living in that particular locality, that is, Greece, Russia, or Syria; and does not involve any such idea as that any single community of Christians is able to formulate the doctrine of the Church, or to give a dogmatic interpretation to the teaching of the Church without the concurrence therewith of the other communities; still less is it implied that any one particular community, or the pastor thereof, can prescribe its own interpretation to the others. The grace of faith is not to be separated from holiness of life, nor can any single community or any single pastor be acknowledged to be the custodian of the whole faith of the Church, any more than any single community or any single pastor can be looked upon as the representative of the whole of her sanctity. Nevertheless, every Christian community, without assuming to itself the right of dogmatic explanation or teaching, has a full right to change its forms and ceremonies, and to introduce new ones, so long as it does not cause offense to the other communities. Rather than do this, it ought to abandon its own opinion, and submit to that of the others, lest that which to one might seem harmless or even praiseworthy should seem blameworthy to another; or that brother should lead brother into the sin of doubt and discord. Every Christian ought to set a high value upon unity in the rites of the Church: for thereby is manifested, even for the unenlightened, unity of spirit and doctrine, while for the enlightened man it becomes a source of lively Christian joy. Love is the crown and glory of the Church.

                As Khomiakov explains elsewhere, and as does Schmemann & Archimandrite Luke, that ethnocentrism was rampant (and interestingly detailed in the Russian “liturgical reforms” that began as Khomiakov’s writing began to appear in Russia – cf. Some differences between Greek and Russian divine services and their significance by Archbishop Basil (Krivoshein). Quite obviously, the baptisms occurring during the soviet period were done in secret, as public knowledge could jeopardize party membership, occupation, and housing. That is no surprise. Neither is the fact that some officials were “outed” in the somizdat literature leaked to the West in order to humiliate. As I recall, Dr. Knox and her research team were given access to church records of baptisms and government & KGB accounts of baptisms & church activities during the period.

                • Michael Warren says

                  1). The Khomiakov redacted quote states Orthodoxy is expressed by fidelity in a catholic reality transcending ethnicities.
                  2). Khomiakov emphasizes that point in The Church is One to answer critics of Russian Orthodoxy as Caesaropapism.
                  3). The Russian church from its beginning throughout its existence and up until today has been a multiethnic church comprised of Finns, Slavs, Balts, Scandinavians, Turko-Tartars, Caucasian and other peoples. What expresses Russian Orthodoxy is a multi-ethnic model of Orthodox acculturation and ontology shared by a family of peoples. There is no rabid ethnocentrism in Russian Orthodoxy. There is orthocentrism, unwavering martyria, an emphasis on podvig, obriadnost, a spirituality of beauty and co-suffering self-sacrifice. In multiple languages comprising an Orthodox family of peoples.
                  4).To ridiculously maintain that Russian Orthodoxy is equivalent to Renovationist Istanbul Hellenist Uniatism and that somehow Russian Orthodox faithfulness is the same as AHEPA betrayal of Orthodoxy is simply to insist on argumentative nonsense without the slightest understanding of what Russian Orthodoxy is while lacking any competent appreciation of how Istanbul/GOA Renovationist Uniatism wars against fidelity.
                  5).Then to branch off with a willfully deceptive redaction in the hopes of finding a foothold for a totally erroneous agendized talking point is simply an exercise in mendacity. But this is parr for the course with Syosset-Crestwood: redact something to employ as an ideological talking point in the hopes people won’t call the bluff of the dishonesty to then state the world is really a flat piece of petrified gouda cheese. Nonsense. Then the clincher here of course leads to traditions versus Tradition, “gleaning wheat from cultural chaff” to establish “the essential” (Nominalized, secularized and redacted artificial religion without a living transmission. Sterile, artificial, utterly incomplete so as not to conflict with Protestant America.). From there a secular, liberal Eastern Rite Protestant fundamentalist denomination arises which never has had a successful Orthodox witness or fidelity, but that is precisely Syosset-Crestwood’s point.
                  6). Indeed, there was a Byzantine Orthodoxy which had a different flavor from North African or Roman or Gallican or Alexandrian Orthodoxy? Yes!!! Local Orthodox observance. But local Orthodox observance need not be ethnically exclusive and can tend to be ethnically inclusive. All of these models were multi-ethnic. The Russian Orthodox model emerged in living transmission of theandric Life as a post-Byzantine corollary and successor which is multi-ethnic. A cultural Orthodoxy which over centuries in dialogue and fidelity with its Byzantine parent and Byzantium’s other local traditions confirmed its fidelity and spiritual life and witness with the Church in a catholic reality, neither nationalistic and definitely not phyletistic.
                  7).This Orthodoxy established the Orthodox witness on this continent and in overcoming militant atheism has established primacy and a universal sovereignty for its Orthodox model in the world at a time such as this.

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    Please, Mr. Warren, allow me to help you here as you quite obviously do not understand the meaning of the verb redact:

                    From the Oford English Dictionary

                    redact, v.


                    Also pa. tense 5 redact.

                    [f. L. redact-, ppl. stem of redigĕre to bring back, collect, reduce, etc., f. re(d)- re- + agĕre to drive, etc.: see act v. The form redact for the pa. tense (cf. prec.) is frequent in the later version of Higden. In its mod. use, the verb has been reintroduced in the 19th c. (after redaction); Ash (1775) and Todd (1818) mark it as ‘not used’.]

                    †1. trans. To bring (matter of reasoning or discourse) into or to a certain form; to put together in writing. Obs.

                       1432–50 tr. Higden (Rolls) III. 251 Aristotille redacte hit [logic] in an arte.    Ibid. 253 The Romanes didde redresse and redacte these lawes of Salon [sic] in to x. tables.    c 1550 Lloyd Treas. Health Y vj b, The aphorismes of Hippocrates redacted vnto a certayne order.    1597 A. M. tr. Guillemeau’s Fr. Chirurg. *iiij b, They have redacted them together, because they might the easyer be vnderstoode.    1639 Drummond Conv. w. B. Jonson Wks. (1711) 225 Ben Johnson‥cursed Petrarch for redacting verses into sonnets.

                    †b. To bring or insert (a thing) into a scheme or body. Obs. rare.

                       1570 Foxe A. & M. (ed. 2) 451/1 Although this law is not redacted into ye body of the law, yet‥it is not abrogated.

                    †c. To reduce (a subject) to a person’s understanding. Obs. rare.

                       1657 Tomlinson Renou’s Disp. To Rdr. 1 b, Here the whole Pharmaceutical Art is denuded, and redacted to the clear intelligence of the meanest capacity.

                    †2. To bring together into one body. Obs.

                       1432–50 tr. Higden (Rolls) I. 209 After that Romulus redacte alle the cites in to oon.    Ibid. II. 273 Augustus‥redacte in to oon monarchy the realmes of alle the worlde.    1550 Veron Godly Sayings (1846) 50 Those things whiche can be redacted into some one thynge of manye.

                    3. In modern use: a. To draw up, frame (a statement, decree, etc.).

                       1837 Carlyle Fr. Rev. I. v. ii, The oath is redacted; pronounced aloud by President Bailly.    1845 ― Cromwell (1871) I. 101 The House of Commons‥was busy redacting a ‘Protestation’.    1860 W. G. Clark in Vac. Tour. 46 A council of ministers was held in the palace‥: they were engaged in redacting the two proclamations.

                    b. To put (matter) into proper literary form; to work up, arrange, or edit.

                       1851 Carlyle Sterling iii. v, Sterling‥redacts it in a Times leader.    1884 Times 1 Nov. 9 Their observations are recorded, tabulated, digested, and redacted in every possible way.

                    You use the word as to suggest it means “nefariously editing” a document in order to have it imply something for which it was not intended. Obvious, you are improperly employing the word. Secondly, I would suggest that anyone who provides a full citation to the document cited would seem to preclude “nefariously editing,” if only because the reader may see for themselves. You are the only unable to provide direct citations for your comments and who makes himself suspect. I suggest you make both corrections.

                    • Jeff Cahill says

                      The Tragic Paradox of Christian Jerks

                      by Eugene Cho – The Huffington Post


                      In a pluralistic world of a plethora of thoughts, ideas, philosophies, and worldviews, it makes total sense to me that Christians need to be equipped and engaged in “contending” for the Gospel.

                      I get it. I really do.

                      It’s a larger marketplace of ideas and as such, Christians ought to engage this marketplace. We’re no longer entitled to the majority of market share — if we’ve even ever held that distinction.

                      But here’s one thing I’d like to convey: In the pursuit of contending for the gospel:

                      Please, don’t be a jerk.

                      Because honestly, “Christian jerks” are a tragic paradox — especially when they think they are doing the Kingdom a great favor.

                      Let’s contend for the Gospel but let’s not be jerks in the process. Nowhere do I read in the Scriptures, “Contend for the gospel as a jerk.”

                      What I’m suggesting isn’t all that radical:

                      James 1:19-20

                      “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”

                      Ephesians 4:26-27; 31-32

                      “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

                      This call is apropos to everyone, in my opinion, because if we’re all honest with ourselves, there’s a little bit jerk within all of us, right?

                      And in my case, a bit more than a little bit.

                      We don’t have to be mean spirited. We don’t need to pummel someone down into submission …

                      Or in other words, while I do indeed appreciate the value and importance of theology and doctrine, I would suggest that what will fascinate people to consider the gospel of Christ will ultimately be …

                      “how we live our lives.”

                      The Holy Spirit will convict and change. May our lives simply testify and point to the truth and gospel of Christ.

                    • Jeff Cahill says

                      Mr. Stankovich,

                      The OCA is in crisis because of what it has done. Any church which chases people out by forcing radical reforms on its parishoners is out of touch, power mad. Any person in such a church administration is someone directly responsible for the failure. The past administration of the OCA blundered and wrecked things.

                      Mr. Warren’s prescription for making things better is a radical approach hoping to achieve a “two steps forward, one step backward” outcome. He advocates gambling with the future of the OCA to make it whole. I suspect his approach could moderately restore the OCA at a great cost. Rather than fixing the OCA, which I believe the people you support broke, Mr. Warren turns it into a Russian embassy and chases Americans who don’t espouse his russophile views of the world away. That isn’t an acceptable solution.

                      Mr. Stankovich, your vitriole and anger are over the top. They distract from everything you can say. Your long redacted quotes obscure your message, and they often don’t support your conclusions. You stifle dialogue here. I have come to resent that because I believe you do it intentionality with no moral boundaries. When you resorted to outright deception and slander, I couldn’t stay silent any longer.

                      Mr. Warren, you are too Russian for your own good. People in ROCOR whose ideas you share like the priest responsible for Orthodox England insist that the OCA is not Russian. They even maintain it never was. Honestly, most of us left in the OCA don’t care. We don’t care that the EP may or may not have a legitimate case for primacy. We don’t care that Putin and Patriarch Kyrill will assume leadership of world Orthodoxy. We have our own parishes, our priests, our families. They are American. We are losing our OCA because of an out of touch and corrupt church administration. Please understand that our immediate problems are our mortgages, our utility bills, paying our priest’s salaries, growing our parishes, making sure our kids will stay faithful to Orthodoxy. Russia is not going to help us make that happen. The current administration isn’t either.

                      The historical path the OCA administration has followed for decades is rightly described as a disaster, perhaps the result of incompetence, but in the Diocese of the South we made the most of it. We need to be able as American Orthodox to get Russia, Constantinople and Fr. Alexander Schmemann out of the way to just live Orthodoxy as we have been. Trust us to be able to do it for ourselves. I hope you respect that American Orthodoxy can make it on its own, especially in the South. I respect the Russian past of the Metropolia, that we have that legacy, and some are still proud to be Russian Orthodox in the OCA. People like Stankovich are totally out of line for trying to stifle your heritage and control your parishes. You should be able to hear Slavonic if that is what your parish needs. You should be able to celebrate feasts on the calendar your community prefers. You should not be ruled by a clerical elite of know-it-alls. If you are preserving Orthodoxy and growing as parish communities, you are not contributing to secularization. We both agree that the people stifling your particular worldview have failed and miserably run people out of our parishes. But, Mr. Warren, your russophile solution is just as out of line for wanting to impose Russia on us who have American parishes and an American worldview. Please don’t repeat a bad example.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Jeff Cahill,

                      Here are my refreshingly “unredacted,” clear-as-a-bell recommendations for you: Ondansetron ODT, 4mg (Dissolve under the tongue q8 hrs for nausea & vomiting); limit your verbose commentary, unlearned opinion, and unqualified instruction to those who are interested; and for heaven’s sake, never, ever be dishonest. Any chance you’ve found me making statements supporting the “fluid phronema,” “vivisection of human fetesus,” “homosexual iconography,” “plastic anthropology,” or “the LGBT agenda?” Keep looking… “Please don’t repeat a bad example.” My sides.

                    • Michael Warren says

                      Mr. Cahill, I just want to make it clear that I do not call for the russification of the OCA, nor for it becoming a mouthpiece of the Russian Orthodox church in North America. I am presenting a model for Russian and Ruthenian heritage parishes in the OCA to unite and organize and have non territorial administrations. I also suggest the creation and/or reinvigoration of such dioceses of Romanian, Bulgarian, Serbian, even Greek character. I call for the Mother Church to insert itself into the affairs of the OCA to help renew its vision, not to run it nor control it, but to help it establish itself as the North American local church.

                      It is my hope that better relations with the Mother Church would provide for its assistance in uniting ethnic dioceses with the OCA, leaving Istanbul led Episcopal assemblies as parachurch, inconsequential PR organs where the OCA will eclipse the episcopal assemblies as the sole relevant, native, governing synod. I see this as possible because the model I propose allows financial support to continue flowing to mother churches, with their ethnic dioceses in the OCA being enabled to commemorate their primates. The role the Mother Church plays in this is persuading local, Orthodox churches to ask their diasporan organs to participate in the OCA while helping to straighten out the corruption and nonsense going on in Syosset-Crestwood.

                      What the OCA gives the Mother Church in return is loyal gratitude in disputes which involve the EP. That’s it. English stays the lingua franca. English services are the norm. English, Latino, and French missions are the primary emphasis of the non ethnic OCA, where the ethnic dioceses of the OCA are gradually integrated into a native, North American whole. I am just putting an emphasis on respect of heritage and the role of the Mother Church in providing oversight and assistance to an OCA which has clearly lost its way in its path to full blown, local church autocephaly. This accomodation of the ethnic churches is a last step before full, native, North American Orthodoxy. It is not my intent to turn the OCA into a Russo-Ruthenian autonomous diocese of the Moscow Patriarchate. I endorse a native, North American, local church.

                      I absolutely agree that our local and generational concerns must come first. I wholeheartedly understand that local parishes need to be helped to accomplish their visions and not that of outside interests. I absolutely agree we have to help ourselves because no one else will.

                      ROCOR has for decades maintained it was the only Russian Orthodox church and the sole arbiter of who is or isn’t Russian or Orthodox. They will even tell you in closed company that the Russians who live in Russia aren’t really Russians but “Soviets.” They, of course, are the “authorities” on Russian ethnicity. While some of those they have influenced you can even comically read here telling you who is Russian and who isn’t (even when they clearly aren’t). I agree ROCOR’s bigotry doesn’t have significance for the Church in North America. You are certainly right that I shouldn’t put any stock in ROCOR models of unity for the simple fact that they are unreliable, haughty, if not hostile, in their proposals to those who are unwilling to endorse their Grabbe galaxy view of the world. I would almost say that I regret endorsing something I read on that ROCOR blog. I do regret sharing it. I didn’t fully appreciate the lack of Orthodox amity sabotaging the ideas of that blog’s owner: nothing could ever be accomplished with people like that. We agree ROCOR’s exclusive model of conjectured Imperial russocentrism is irrelevant to North America (even to Russia) and probably something which will chase converts away.

                  • Michael Warren says

                    I think that comments like this say everything about a Syosset-Crestwood writing them that serious people want to know: fake it until you make it turns into banal personal attacks when its message falls flat. Disinformation and insults. I will take that as a concession.

                    Deceitful redaction is deceitful redaction is deceit and lies. Last I checked, the documented proof I provided was ignored or filibustered leaving the rest of this yelping of sour grapes naught but a tenth grade exercise in CYA without tact.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      I have been writing a paper regarding the impact of terrorism on the French economy, and in researching data – not making it up – I turned to the economic data provided for Russia between the years 2011-2015. You have suggested that the Russia is a model and “world leader,” and that the Russian Orthodox Church – a “super-power” among the Orthodox, and influencing “90% of world Orthodoxy” – has attached itself to the Russian “success,” apparently for its [the church’s] longitudinal success. If I read what you have written above correctly, by inserting themselves into the “American situation,” this will, again, help restore the lost “vision” of the OCA, or at least that “Russian/Ruthenian” aspect of the OCA. In other places you have suggested that because the ROC influences “90% of world Orthodoxy,” it holds “primacy” in spite of our Tradition, and that the Ecumenical Patriarchate is “on the way out.” On the other hand, you claim that the OCA has “lost 92%+ of our membership,” alternately blaming this on the failed vision of a “madman,” Alexander Schmemann, corruption, or an all-encompassing dark cloud you refer to as “Crestwood-Syosset.” Finally, you have concluded that the ROC can rightfully claim “primacy” because “Moscow has nuclear weapons.” I say let’s ride with this for a moment in a typical 10th-grade CYA fashion.

                      After examining a summary of economic factors as provided by FocusEconomics Consensus, a group of scholars who provide data to Fortune 100 companies (and by summary, I mean their free report), Russia’s per capita income decreased 38% during this time period, while the population varied by only 1%; consumer consumption (obviously correlated to per capita income) decreased by 249%, which in turn reduced industrial production by 167%, retail sales by 241%, and over-all economic growth by 186%; the trade balance decreased by 26% and exports by 40%; the predicted rate of inflation of 4%-6.1% proved to be 12.9% in March, 2016, and increase of 111% since 2011; the exchange rate of the Russian Ruble hit an all-time low in February, 2016, and finally, the Russian external debt had increased over the period to 52% of the gross national product. It would appear, Mr. Warren, that you were a jolie petite menteuse, or you got your impression from a Pasternak novel.

                      Now, we may add the indisputable carnage of the official – but strongly suspected as under-reported – number of legal abortions, on record by the government & the Patriarch of Moscow as >900,000 (>30,000 in the Moscow District alone), and the highest in Eastern Europe for decades; and at least in regard to the ROC, there has been a single noteworthy public address. Further, before there was the publicity of Planned Parenthood and fetal cells & body parts, there was the “Moscow Fetal Transplant Scandal” in the mid-1990’s, and a report by P. Tishchenko & B. Yudin, Moral Status of Fetuses in Russia, as well as the Data from Ethical Physicians I’ve already posted. You say, “In the last 45+ years the Russian church has increased its numbers, doubled to tripled them, both in absolute terms and in consideration of active versus nominal faithful…” The scholarship and integrity of Dr. Zoe Knox and the Routledge Group, “the world’s leading academic publisher in the Humanities and Social Sciences,” in this case its extended series on religion in post-communist Russia, speaks for itself: perhaps they are more “faithful,” and “loyal to Orthodoxy,” but the fact remains that two-thirds of Russians do not participate in the liturgical life of the church, in parallel to the similar circumstance of the US.

                      As for the “92%+ loss of our membership,” it is much easier to make a legitimate case for a gross loss of membership directly attributable to the loss of nearly two generations of baptized Orthodox Christians – second & third generation Americans of Russian (more likely the Carpatho-Russians that dominated the OCA) – who lapsed because of the language/calendar and the secularization of the clergy and their parents. The despicable treatment of the clergy was every bit a result of the Sergianst “Living Church” attempts to assume church property in US courts than anything else. The revelation of corruption and missing funds is a very recent revelation, and is hardly to blame for an historical trend.

                      To imagine that the Russian Orthodox Church, whose house is in disorder, and who has not sufficiently learned the lesson of history by aligning itself with an immoral, failing government will “re-align” an American “vision” which they abandoned and for which they have no insight is foolish. Why is it you are pretentious to suggest, “I would support…” Michael Warren? Are you receiving consultation calls from bishops asking your opinion? This is the internet, pal! It’s a sandbox. Who cares what you would support or what you think. You say, “I neither asked for your character reference, nor am I the least bit surprised it found itself here once there was no more to write.” Ha! I can’t imagine what you thought you read, but my reference comes only for a fee! This is the internet! My sides. This is a place for discussion, not for simpletons to call bishops “heretics” and become answerable to God. You accuse a bishop face-to-face, man-to-man. Unless you are a wet chicken. Aye. Google that in the writings of the Fathers about confronting your accuser and see what you come up with…

                    • Michael Warren says

                      I will shortly be responding to this Syosset-Crestwood piece of Russophobic trype. When I am done, I will illustrate to the readers just what type of dissemblers this desperate group of Renovationists is. I will ask the readers at that time to be aware and to become responsible and act to consciously reject the worldview and methodology of these people.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      Was it something I said? I am legion.

                    • Michael Warren says

                      Fraud, lies, slander, desparation are the hallmark of Syosset-Crestwood’s presence here. They haven’t shrunken from total fabrication of the Russian Federation’s economic numbers for the last twenty years. Is it simple Russophobia? A deep seated hatred of all things Russian which clearly are superior to the failures they put forward as their incompetent records. I refer the readers to following anotated facts regarding the Russian economy, facts which not only contradict the lies written by Syosset-Crestwood here, they indict the author as a fraud and incompetent who has resort to fabrications to assert his agenda. What he advocates has failed, is incompetent, and cannot be honestly substantiated. He is forced to lie because he has no success and no truth to offer. From henceforth, totally discount everything he writes as deceitful and unworthy of consideration. I convict Stankovich as a lying fraud.

                      From 2000 to 2009, the Russian economy grew 7% a year, salaries doubled, disposable incomes increased, the standard of living approached a European standard. The economic crisis of 2009 saw a contraction in the Russian economy of over 10%. From 2010-2014, the Russian economy grew slightly under 4% a year. Russian consumer sentiment increased. In 2014, the USA led the EU in imposing sanctions upon Russia to punish it for opposing American/EU colonial expansion in the Ukraine. In the the second half of 2015, the Russian economy rebounded and growth is expected to be ~ 2% for 2016. The unemployment rate in Russia is 5.8%. 2/3 of the Russian people have a college education. Most Russians own their own homes. Car ownership in Russia is high. Use of cell phones and the internet is affordable, widespread. Smart phones are cheaper in Russia than in the West. Russian consumption has increased since 2015. Russian production goods and the lower cost of living are primary factors why. Russian domestic production has stepped in to account for economic losses from sanctions. Russia has run a trade surplus for most of Putin’s era. Putin’s approval amongst the Russian people is above 80%. Future prospects of Russian super power are assured. Military modernization has made the Russian military one of the strongest in the world. BRICS as an economic alliance with China, India, Brazil and South Africa provides an economic block of 50% of the world’s population economically employing the resources of 1/4 of the world’s surface where the economic might of China, coupled with the energy production of Russia and India’s tech center will create a super economy, an economy which will remonetize and shed foreign debt plunging the euro and the dollar into freefall and hyperinflation. Then there is the Eurasian Union which by itself produces a ~$3T GDP yearly with Russian and Kazakh economic growth coming to dominate global energy and manufacturing sectors. The Eurasian Union will come to include all former republics of the Soviet Union and other developing nations rejecting Western colonialism and American hegemony. The Third Rome is emerging and Russian economic power is the engine behind it. I refer the readers to the following, sourced data:

                      The “Golden Decade and the Putin Presidency”

                      … the economy grew at an annual average of 7.1 percent from 2000 to 2008. …

                      … Putin’s ascent to the presidency in 2000 marked the beginning of a “golden decade,” Alexei Kudrin, who was finance minister during the entire period, said at a conference in Moscow last week. Spending surged fourfold on rising energy prices, leading to a 68-percent, 10-year rise in the economy…

                      … Real wage growth … an average 15 percent a year during his [first two terms] presidency …


                      Despite a dip of over 10% due to the global economic crisis caused by the burst of Bush’s housing bubble in 2009, the Russian economy grew nearly 4% a year until the Obama administration coordinated economic sanctions against the Russian economy to expand their colonial influence and military presence in the Ukraine, Syria, Central Asia and the Baltics.


                      2000 – 2009

                      …Russia has gone through three major developments in the last eight years. First, Russia’s GDP has grown by 27 percent a year measured in current US dollars. …

                      … Many draw parallels between Russia and China, but even today (2009), after 30 years of high economic growth, China’s GDP per capita at current exchange rates is merely one quarter of Russia’s. Unlike Russia, China is still a developing country. It is more authoritarian than Russia…

                      …At present, Russia’s GDP per capita measured in purchasing power parties, that is, standard of living, is a respectable one-third of that of the European Union. Only eight countries in the world are richer than Russia and still “not democratic,” namely Singapore and seven small oil states (World Bank 2007; Freedom House 2007). …

                      …Russia has long distanced itself from the upper middle- income countries, Argentina and Mexico, with which Shleifer and Treisman (2004) associated it. Russia has grown faster…

                      …It would only be fair to let President Putin himself make an assessment of Russia’s current state of affairs. …achievement—an economic growth of 7 percent a year…

                      …According to UNESCO’s comparative statistics, two-thirds of Russian youth attend higher education, more than in Europe…

                      …Russia’s growth in the last nine years has been substantial and beneficial…



                      1. A rapid economic growth. The progress made by the Russian economy in the past eight years is truly impressive. GDP has gone up about 70%, industrial growth has been 75% and investments have increased by 125%, regaining Russia its place among the world’s top 10 economies. Russia’s GDP in 2007 reached the 1990 level, which means that the country has overcome the consequences of the economic crisis that devastated it in the 1990s. Now it is facing a more challenging task of making a transition to an innovation-driven economy.

                      2. Russia has become an energy superpower thanks to a policy under which the government controls a substantial part of the oil and gas sector and its revenues. The same is going on in the bulk of raw materials producing countries.

                      State control of the sector in Russia has made the fuel and energy companies completely open and transparent to investors.

                      After the government has taken over a controlling stake in Gazprom, the energy giant became a truly public company, and liberalized its share market.

                      Rosneft, the largest state-controlled oil company in Russia, went public in 2006, attracting thousands of Russian and foreign investors, including many individuals.

                      The ultra-liberal reform of electricity monopoly RAO UES is to result in its liquidation this summer. The government will hold only the grid and distribution services, while all energy sales and generating companies will belong to private investors.

                      3. An efficient management of oil revenues. It has become clear by the end of Vladimir Putin’s second term that the state has adopted a wise policy of managing oil export revenues, considering that oil prices have been growing for the past eight years.

                      The Stabilization Fund was established in 2004 to accumulate oil revenues for a rainy day. A year later it exceeded 500 billion rubles ($18 billion) and within two years it accumulated enough revenues to repay all of the Soviet Union’s debts. Deductions to the fund helped reduce the inflation pressure on the economy.

                      In 2007, the fund accumulated enough for investment; some of it was channeled into Russian development institutions. In late January 2008, it was split into the Reserve Fund (designed to protect Russia from possible global financial shocks) and the National Welfare Fund, whose revenues will be used for the pension reform.

                      4. A growth of industrial production. The 1998 financial crisis in Russia boosted industrial development. According to the Federal State Statistics Service, industrial growth made 11.9% in 2000 but slowed down to 3.7% in the next two years as the effects of the crisis wore off. A new rise began in 2003 and industrial growth reached 6.3% in 2007. The situation in manufacturing was especially good, its growth exceeded that of GDP. Last year, production in manufacturing grew by 9.3%, while growth in mining was only 1.9% and electricity production dropped by 0.2%.

                      5. A growth of incomes. In the last eight years, real incomes in Russia more than doubled while poverty halved. The proportion of population living below the poverty line decreased from 30% in 2000 to 14% now. The average wage increased from 2,200 rubles ($90) to 12,500 rubles ($500) over the past eight years, and the average pension, from 823 rubles ($33) to 3,500 rubles ($140). Most importantly, wages and benefits have been growing faster than inflation (by 20%-25% in 2007). …


                      2015 – 2016

                      … Russians are experiencing the first sustained decline in living standards in the 15 years since President Vladimir Putin came to power. …


                      …15 years later we can say: we have again become a superpower with a developed economy, industry, a powerful army and navy. …

                      …Under Vladimir Putin, Russia has managed to significantly reduce the arrears to international financial institutions. …


                      Boris Shmelev, Professor, head of the Center of Russian Foreign Policy Institute of Economy, RAN:

                      The creation of these financial institutions was largely initiated by Vladimir Putin himself. Huge amounts of money was directed there – about two trillion dollars that the country made from the sale of oil and gas in favorable market conditions. And this money allows us now in the situation of economic crisis to mitigate its effects. In many respects the Stabilization Fund will be focused on supplementing government’s social obligations. …


                      …At home, despite economic decline Putin enjoys perhaps the highest popularity rating of any Kremlin leader – an approval rating that topped 86% in February. (2015)…

                      …When Putin arrived in office, Russia was just emerging from the disastrous market reforms of the 1990s and the 1998 financial crisis. The new president had no grand economic vision: while he slashed taxes to benefit business, he also renationalised key sectors, starting with the breakup of political foe Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s Yukos oil company in 2003. Nonetheless, unused manufacturing capacity and rising prices for oil, Russia’s main export, helped usher in an era of unprecedented prosperity that Putin is still remembered for, with real disposable income doubling between 1999 and 2006. …

                      …Under Yeltsin, Russian pursued a policy of grudging cooperation with Nato. All that changed under Putin. Since his first interview with the BBC, Putin has insisted that Nato’s eastward expansion represents a threat to his country. Now Moscow finally has the military muscle to push back. …Putin’s position has huge backing in Russia – and plenty of support from those in the west who believe that Nato only exists to deal with the insecurities that its existence creates. …

                      …When Putin arrived in office, Russia was just emerging from the disastrous market reforms of the 1990s and the 1998 financial crisis. The new president had no grand economic vision: while he slashed taxes to benefit business, he also renationalised key sectors, starting with the breakup of political foe Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s Yukos oil company in 2003. Nonetheless, unused manufacturing capacity and rising prices for oil, Russia’s main export, helped usher in an era of unprecedented prosperity that Putin is still remembered for, with real disposable income doubling between 1999 and 2006. …

                      …Putin took over a country whose population was falling at an alarming rate. Russia – a population of about 150 million people at time of the fall of the Soviet Union – was losing people at a rate of almost a million a year, a combination of a reluctance to procreate and a proclivity, from men at least, to die young.

                      … in 2010 the population started growing again. The secret to this reversal was largely economic: as their financial situation improved during Putin’s reign, Russians began having more children. According to the state statistics service, the country now has more than 146 million people, up from 142 million in 2008. Even if you don’t count the 2.2 million people it gained by annexing Crimea, it’s still a positive trend. …

                      …Always a vocal proponent of a multipolar world, Putin has shifted in recent years toward greater economic and military cooperation with Asian countries, whose growing economies are hungry for Russia’s energy… Last year, he brokered two huge deals to supply China with gas, one worth $400bn. (First he has to build a pipeline through 2,500 miles of mountains, swamps and seismic hotspots.) Later this month, the two countries will hold joint naval exercises in the Mediterranean Sea. He’s also exporting Russian railroad technology to North Korea, which in the meantime has been opening…logging and farming camps in Russia’s far east.

                      Worsening relations with the European Union, which in December forced Russia to cancel a pipeline to Bulgariathat was already being built, has only sped up its pivot to Asia. …

                      …Putin’s third term has seen a wave of legislation inspired by his vision of Russia as a bastion of traditional morals. The most egregious example was the 2013 ban on gay propaganda…

                      …Putin’s foreign policy is that he stands up to western hegemony and, with China, acts as a balance to the overweening military and political power of the US. If Yeltsin was consistently in America’s pocket, then Putin has been on its back. …

                      …set out to reform the outdated conscript-based army, a process that only quickened after its unconvincing victory in the Georgian war. Russia now spends a higher percentage of its GDP on defence than the United States, and has allocated a record $81bn in 2015. …



                      …BRICS’s 46% of world population & 26% of world landmass share, the one thing they miss is that the potential & importance of the strategic seashore they control, with great naval strength, I might add. Apart from North Atlantic Ocean, dividing & uniting North America & Europe, there isn’t a major sea route(or ocean) not virtually ruled by the BRICS Nations. One can’t help but notice that three of the five BRICS nations are nuclear powers and two are Permanent United Nations Security council’s members (other three are intensely pursuing the same status). Four of the members boast of their space agency’s technology having sent first native Russian, Hindi, Chinese & Portuguese speakers into space. With Himalayas, Urals etc. adorning their laps, in addition to the unfathomable biodiversity, only adds to the envy of the rest of the trading world. Therefore a meager 20% global GDP held by BRICS nations shows the underutilized potential due to the incoherent efforts of these 5 nations in the past. The future, well, is a different matter entirely.

                      The New Development Bank with a subscribed capital of US$ 50 & the US$ 100 billion Contingent Reserves Arrangement are the two concrete steps taken by the BRICS for, (a) financing infrastructure and sustainable development projects in the BRICS and other developing countries & (b) for BRICS nations to use to forestall short-term liquidity pressures and to contribute to international financial stability, by providing an additional line of defense to the BRICS (beyond IMF), respectively. …

                      …With the recent annexation of Cremia, Russia has shown that it is possibly the only country unafraid of western sanctions and has braved it singlehandedly even in today’s interdependent world. It has time and again absorbed the shocks to its economy rashly while taking bold political decisions. But it is also true that Russia is no more immune from the external trade policies/ sanctions and its economy has taken way more hits than it can handle. BRICS seems to be Russia’s best chance at redemption. …with BRICS, Russia has a chance to work with politically non- aversive nations. Indo- Russia relations serve as a guiding example. If Russia explores the trade with other four members properly, it may have to worry quite less about western powers while making its political choices. …

                      …a common BRICS currency may go a long way in ultimate demise of Dollar & in establishing BRICS as the Trading & financial superpower. …


                      Eurasian Union

                      …Eurasian Economic Union: Population and GDP

                      Russia – Population: 142.4 million. GDP:$2.55tn.

                      Belarus – Population: 9.6 million. GDP:$150bn.

                      Kazakhstan – Population: 17.9 million.GDP: $243.6bn.

                      Armenia – Population: 3 million. GDP:$20.6bn.

                      Source: CIA World Factbook…

                      …Putin’s plan is for the ECU to grow into a “powerful, supra-national union” of sovereign states like the European Union, uniting economies, legal systems, customs services and military capabilities to form a bridge betweenEurope and Asia and rival the EU, the US and China by 2015.

                      While he has described the end of the Soviet Union as “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century”, Putin denies he is seeking to resurrect it. The west is not so sure…

                      …Whatever Putin’s ultimate aspirations, a Eurasian trade bloc would wield considerable clout. The existing three-country ECU represents a market of some 165 million people, and a combined GDP of around $2.3tn. …


                      Sanctions Being Overcome

                      …The price of oil, and the main driver of Russia’s economy, has declined significantly over the past 18 months. At the same time, the United States imposed sanctions on Russia in the wake of its annexation of Crimea in Ukraine. In response, Russia’s ruble decreased in value, and capital began to leave the country as citizens placed their money abroad. It seemed as if the country’s economy was spiraling downward.

                      However, against expectations, Russia’s economy is starting to recover. With an increase in the performance of domestic companies, rising prices for imports and a devaluation of the ruble, Russia’s economy has kickstarted itself.

                      Performance of Domestic Companies

                      The Russian stock market is one of the best-performing markets this year. According to reports, roughly 78% of Russian companies on the MICEX index have shown more revenue growth in the most recent quarter than their global peers. Russian companies are also now more profitable overall than the companies on the MSCI Emerging Markets index.

                      For example, Russian steelmaker Severstal recorded its highest profit margins in six years on high output. In April 2015, the company signed a contract to supply steel to the Renault-Nissan auto plant, which is expected to increase exports from Russia to the former Soviet republics, Africa and the Middle East.

                      Economists have been forecasting that every $10 decline in the price of crude oil reduced Russia’s gross domestic product (GDP) by roughly 2%. However, Russia’s GDP, after declining for close to 18 months, is expected to grow at roughly 3.5% per year, even without increases in oil prices.

                      Devaluation of the Ruble Aids Performance

                      The historic decrease in GDP over the past 18 months has caused Russia’s currency to lose nearly half its value against the U.S. dollar. Further declines in oil prices, which may be imminent due to Saudi Arabia’s decision to pump record amounts of crude oil, will stop the ruble from recovering in the short-term.

                      For companies such as Severstal, which exports roughly 30% of its steel, the devaluation is beneficial. All of the costs that go into producing Russian steel are priced in rubles. Russian company costs relative to their international competitors’ costs have decreased significantly. On the other side, any steel that Russian companies export abroad is priced in U.S. dollars or euros, both of which have strengthened in value against the ruble. When the company earns its revenue in foreign currency, it can effectively buy more rubles through the favorable exchange rates.

                      This benefit also applies to the country’s energy sector. Russia exports huge amounts of oil and gas to nations that use the dollar or the euro. That’s partially why Rosneft, a multinational oil producer in Russia, reported a revenue increase of 18% last year, compared to an increase of less than 1% for its international competitors.

                      This performance is a big reason why Russia’s tax revenue has not declined, mitigating more pain for the country’s economy. Russia’s oil output is still near record highs, however, which has caused oil prices to remain weak.

                      Rising Prices for Imports

                      In addition to the ruble helping company performance, it also increases the price of imports for Russia. This provides economic benefits in the form of domestic import substitutions that consumers purchase in lieu of the higher-priced important goods options. This allows Russians to save more, and it helps the economy increase its GDP.

                      A similar recovery happened in 1998, when the Asian financial crisis spread to Russia; the country defaulted on its international debt and subsequently devalued the ruble. There was an immediate negative economic response, followed by an import substitution recovery that was more successful than most economists believed. …


                      …Russia Consumer Spending

                      Consumer Spending in Russia increased to 8041 RUB Billion in the fourth quarter of 2015 from 5725.50 RUB Billion in the third quarter of 2015. Consumer Spending in Russia averaged 4758.07 RUB Billion from 2003 until 2015, reaching an all time high of 8041 RUB Billion in the fourth quarter of 2015 and a record low of 2546.70 RUB Billion in the first quarter of 2003. Consumer Spending in Russia is reported by the Federal State Statistics Service. …

                      …Russia Inflation Rate at Near 2-Year Low

                      Russia Unemployment Rate Steady at 5.8%

                      Russia Trade Surplus Narrows 21% in December


                      …On automobile ownership (has approximately doubled in past decade, and is now at 317/1,000; still lags the First World, but is well ahead of the Second i.e. Latin America/Middle East. And Russian public transport is good).

                      Internet penetration (soared from around 20% in 2005 to two thirds of the populationtoday; that’s basically equivalent to countries like Greece or Italy). …

                      …I wasn’t surprised to see Ukrainian refugees in a big city like Voronezh, but it was surprising to see so many in remote farming villages. And each refugee family had a horror story to tell. It’s one thing to hear these stories from professional journalists; it’s another to hear them from ordinary people who aren’t being paid to say what they say. This is an underappreciated factor in the growing anger among Russians against the Ukrainian government.

                      After all that’s happened, I don’t see how eastern Ukraine will ever accept being ruled by Kiev. It’s like a marriage that has crossed the line between verbal abuse and physical violence.

                      There’s currently something like a million recent Ukrainian refugees in Russia. …

                      …essentials of life are much cheaper, though.

                      (1) According to the Big Mac Index, standard fast food is quite a lot cheaper in Russia than Canada. Most food of the sort you buy in supermarkets – and especially in open door farmers’ markets, which is where many Russians still do their groceries – are also a lot cheaper. Example: I’m somewhat of a pickled cucumber addict (specifically made in brine, not vinegar). In Russia they are produced by rural babushkas and cost pennies. In the US, they are produced by hippies with liberal arts degrees from UC Berkeley, and are sold for $7 a bottle at Whole Foods.

                      (2) Most Russians – something like 90%, thanks to the post-Soviet privatization of homes – own their own properties, so few have to spend money on rent. Additionally, there is no public shame with living in with your parents for a long time, as you have in the Anglo-Saxon world. Utilities are also really cheap in global terms (even if they are constantly rising). So there are typically very big savings on accomodation costs relative to what you see in the far more mobile West.

                      The gray economy (additional wages in envelopes) is still pretty prevalent if less so than 10 years ago.

                      Sure, imported goods like electronics are either as expensive or even more so, but in conjunction with the above factors, most Russians can now afford things like cell phones, computers, and cheaper cars. …

                      ….They do indeed look pretty crap from the outside, but I found that this is in many cases a mistaken impression… The room interiors themselves are usually a very different story with good wooden furnity, a Persian carpet on the wall, chandeliers, etc. Moreover, and somewhat surprisingly, the blocky Soviet era constructions – despite being aesthetically challenged – are usually structurally better than the artsier but much flimsier newer constructions. …


                    • Michael Warren says

                      Concerning the question of abortion in Russia. Abortion has decreased in Russia, owing primarily to the emphasis on traditional values and traditional families by the Putin government along with the growing influence of +Patriarch Kirill and the role of the Russian Orthodox church in Russian society. A new symphonia is emerging where Church and state are cooperating in matters of legislation on matters regarding morality and sexuality, where the Church’s influence is increasing, acting to combat abortion with the virtual goal of banning it. The Third Rome is morally rearming in Russia due to the influence of the Russian Orthodox church.

                      Syosset-Crestwood’s witness here has been another russophobic, disinformation campaign, openly lying about the role of +Patriarch Kirill and his successes in combatting abortion in Russia. Here is yet more evidence that Syosset-Crestwood has been engaging in russophobic disinformation. I ask the readers to consider these sourced facts in evaluating the lies of Syosset-Crestwood’s chief, unhinged Russophobe and fraud here. Should such a liar and fraud be taken seriously any longer? What about the Renovationist Syosset-Crestwood he represents? Isn’t it time, readers, to reject the lies, fraud and slander this corrupt group of sectarian incompetents traffics in.

                      Here is the truth regarding the Russian Orthodox church’s role in combatting abortion in Russia:


                      …Russia has been battling a declining population since the collapse of the Soviet Union and over the past decade has introduced a number of financial and child support incentives to encourage people to have more kids. These, along with an improved economy, have to some extent worked and population growth is no longer negative. But the argument for improving demographics has provided fertile ground for pro-life supporters. Enter the “Warriors for Life” group and the Russian Orthodox Church. For the past few years they’ve been lobbying hard for changes to Russia’s liberal abortion laws.

                      And now a new bill is sitting before the state parliament, or Duma, that calls for state funding for abortions to be axed. This is the first step, according to Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, toward a total ban. Pro-life websites quote church officials saying they’d like to see abortions completely outlawed within the next two years while Warriors for Life want it banned now.

                      The church is putting its stamp on the issue of abortion

                      At the moment abortions are free and available up to 12 weeks of pregnancy but require a ‘social’ or medical reason for terminations from 13 to 22 weeks. If the bill is passed, women will have to pay for the procedure which will only be available in state-run clinics. Private clinics will be banned from performing them and will face hefty fines ranging from 500,000-2.5 million rubles (8,130-40,670 euros) if caught.

                      The bill also aims to stop the sale of over-the-counter emergency contraception. Instead women wanting the ‘morning after pill’ will have to see a doctor and get a prescription. In addition it calls for compulsory ultrasounds for women considering an abortion because, according to one of the bill’s drafters Yelina Mizulina from the center-left Fair Russia party, statistics show that “up to 80 percent of them refuse to have the abortion when they see their child on the screen.” Media organisations are already banned from advertising abortion services.

                      State and Church align

                      As a sign of the growing closeness of the state and church, the Patriarch gave the first speech ever by a member of a religious order to the Duma in January this year. He said abortion was “evil” and “infanticide.” In a bid to make the prospect more appealing to the nationalistic members he played a demographics-cum-national security card to support his argument. “If we manage to cut the number of abortions by 50 percent we would have stable and powerful population growth,” he told the MPs…


                      …In reality, the incidence of abortion in Russia has declined precipitously over the past twenty years…


                      …Russia: Church and State Sign Agreement to Prevent Abortion

                      Editor’s note. This analysis comes from the Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues (PNCI).

                      Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church

                      The Ministry of Health in Russia has signed an agreement with the Russian Orthodox Church that includes prevention of abortion and provision of palliative care . The agreement signed by Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova and Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Churchwas published on the website of the Synodal Department for ROC [Russian Orthodox Church] Church Charity and Social Service.

                      Article 9 of the 21 article agreement establishes cooperation “on the protection of maternal and child health, including reproductive health, promotion of family values and prevention of abortion.”

                      The agreement includes joint actions with medical institutions for the

                      “creation of crisis pregnancy centers at hospitals with the participation of psychologists and participation of representatives of religious organizations of the Russian Orthodox Church in advising women who are planning to terminate the pregnancy, in medical institutions”

                      and for the provision of space for

                      “posting information of religious organizations of the Russian Orthodox Church on the stands in medical institutions.”

                      Additionally, the two parties will also undertake

                      “joint efforts to provide assistance and support to pregnant women whose prenatal diagnosis indicate to the malformation of the fetus, as well as mothers who give birth to a child with developmental disabilities.”

                      Under Article 5, the Orthodox Church will cooperate with the Health Ministry in the preparation of health professionals by providing formative instruction on the spiritual foundations of medical activities and by facilitating the interaction of medical organizations with organizations of the Russian Orthodox Church.

                      Legislation Proposed to Restrict Access to Abortion

                      The Russian State Duma is considering legislation on abortion that includes limiting funding for abortion to only those that are considered medically necessary. The bill is designed to help reduce the number of Russian children destroyed through the violence of abortion.

                      According to the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs, for every 1,000 births, there are 34 abortions in Russia where the fertility rate is below replacement at 1.53.

                      The legislation would ban private abortion clinics and over-the-counter sale of abortion inducing medication would only be available through a doctor’s prescription. Women considering abortion would be given ultrasounds. One of the sponsors of the legislation, Yelina Mizulina, states that “up to 80 percent of them [abortion minded women] refuse to have the abortion when they see their child on the screen.”

                      Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, is seeking a total ban on abortion. In a speech to the Duma earlier this year, the first ever by a religious leader, he referred to abortion as “evil” and “infanticide.” In regards to the present bill, he believes that “taxpayers must not pay for this.”

                      In response to the proposed legislation, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe tabled [introduced] Written Declaration 594 entitled “Women’s right to access appropriate reproductive health services in the Russian Federation” which states:

                      We the undersigned members of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly are strongly concerned about the three draft laws submitted to the State Duma of the Russian Federation aiming to severely restrict access of women to abortion. They aim:

                      to require women to visualise and listen to the heartbeats of the foetus before being given permission to access a legal abortion;

                      exclude coverage of abortion from the Obligatory Medical Insurance;

                      to prohibit the sale of safe medication that terminate pregnancies.

                      The World Health Organization (WHO) has clearly stated that “ultrasound scanning is not routinely required for abortion”. It only serves to emotionally manipulate women. Excluding insurance coverage for a service that only women need is discriminatory and will affect poor, rural women and women in vulnerable situations. The State medical system must additionally ensure the availability of various methods of abortion suitable at different stages of pregnancy. These proposed measures will lead to backstreet abortions and increase maternal mortality and morbidity rates and are an affront to women’s rights.

                      All individuals are entitled to the highest attainable standard of health, which the State must ensure. We call on parliamentarians in Russia to turn down the above draft laws.

                      PNCI notes that the Members of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly in their rush to object to the pro-life provisions with worn-out pro-abortion arguments are forgetting that the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action states in section 8.2 “Any measures or changes related to abortion within the health system can only be determined at the national or local level according to the national legislative process.”

                      The Russian State Duma is acting in its sovereign capacity to save the lives of Russian children and offer their mothers real help and support. Such action ought to be applauded, and if not, it should not be opposed as the action is fully compliant with international standards. …


                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      Cyber-stinking Alert! from Mr Warren! Get ready!

                    • Jeff Cahill says

                      Bishop Tikhon,

                      Are you publicly announcing that you are stalking Mr. Warren and harassing him? Is this what you have made of your episcopal office? You are totally out of control and the OCA needs to do something about your unbalanced and unethical behavior.

                    • M. Stankovich says

                      I convict Stankovich as a lying fraud.

                      You are so silly. I told you exactly where I got the data – FocusEconomics, which, in fact, is where I always go for basic, reliable economic date and forecasts. They provide data & forecasts to Forbes 100 corporations and major corporations around the world. You have done an excellent job in providing a history of Mr. Putin’s near “golden decade” that ended 7-years ago. Admirable, but totally irrelevant. You are welcome to review the data for the period 2011-2015, calculate the change in percentages between 2011 & 2015, and you will find it to be as accurate and exactly as I described it.

                      Secondly, I have pointed out ongoing epidemiological groups that gather abortion data as frequently as quarterly by country and individual regions of a given country (in the US, by state & individual county), which is why I know the number of legal abortions specifically in the Moscow District. Yours is a shallow, Google-frenzied impression that is as myopic as it is outdated. The data I presented – that Russia condoned more legal abortions than the US or any European country in 2015 – is an indisputable fact. How can I say that? Because the Russian government itself published the data and it was mentioned specifically by Patriarch Kyriil.

                      As near as I can tell, you have “convicted” me based on a false premise

                      I refer the readers to following anotated [sic] (Did you mean redacted?) facts regarding the Russian economy, facts which not only contradict the lies written by Syosset-Crestwood here, they indict the author as a fraud and incompetent who has resort to fabrications to assert his agenda. What he advocates has failed, is incompetent, and cannot be honestly substantiated.

                      I believe that facts demonstrate not only my competence, but my reliability in providing timely and accurate information.

                      As I have said a number of times, I have no “agenda” to assert, but I have “issues” I choose to address, and one is the fundamental lack of moral authority in American Orthodoxy. There is no one who would be invited to speak before the US congress because we are perceived as an insignificant minority “denomination.” Our views on morality, ethics, and bioethics are increasingly seen as “radical” and fanatic. On the other hand, the Patriarch of Moscow, who has aligned himself with the secular government – a government that funds and directs one of the largest abortion systems in the world – says nothing. He literally has the ear of the president – or could it be the other way around? – and still, nothing; legislation intended to begin to limit abortion is languishing for more than a year. I find this to be a deplorable situation. Yet I read your excoriation of Bishop Alexander, whom you cannot demonstrate has done anything but sit on a consultation committee exploring reunification with the church of Rome for 20-years. For this he is “unfit” to be a bishop and should be “deposed.” But a Patriarch who condones 30,000 legal abortions in his backyard in 2015 by silence, and gives a talk about how he defends the truth, while sappy, melodramatic “semi-liturgical humming” plays behind him, is likened to St. Mark Evgenikos, Pillar of Orthodoxy & Defender of the Faith. And you, Mr. Warren believe the OCA should return to the “mother church” to realign its vision?

                      My final word, Mr. Warren: I knew you stole the name of that whack circuit court judge in Oakland County. And it was he that graduated from U of M.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      No, Mr Cahill.

                    • Jeff Cahill says

                      Mr. Stankovich,

                      He proved you fabricated figures and lied about the Russian economy and slandered the Patriarch of Moscow and established you as a fraud. The fact that you continue your lies is simply pathetic. Mr
                      Warren documented economic data from 2000 – 2016 and it illustrates that the figures you quoted were fabrications, the rest of what you write turns out to be ridiculous lies. You shamelessly traffic in disinformation. The fact that you bring other people into this to try to further slander Mr. Warren is pathetic. You really are an obsessed and unstable individual. I suggest you seek provisional help. Right now all you are doing is discrediting the people you ally yourself with.

                      Mr. Warren’s russophile worldview has actually been helped by your amateurish contriving of economic data. Although I thoroughly disagree with his viewpoint, you are a pathetic clown at this point. You do realize you publicly have shown that you lie, fabricate and slander as your participation on this forum?

                    • Jeff Cahill says

                      Bishop Tikhon,

                      Don’t you think it would be more appropriate not to look like an internet stalker who is unhinged and has nothing to offer but ridiculous personal attacks? I don’t understand how an Orthodox Bishop, retired or not, can wilfully bring such shame on his episcopal office. You are embarassing the OCA, and I am offended you are still allowed to pass yourself off as an Orthodox bishop. Does Syosset know you personally attack and stalk Orthodox Christians like some sort of obsessed lunatic? Please excuse my language, but you are an embarrasent.

                    • Michael Warren says

                      At this point, Syosset-Crestwood would be best served by calling in the cleaners. Rank russophobia based on lies and slander continued after thoroughly discredited has become worse than Dan Rather’s 1972 ANG memos originating on 1998 Word for Windows software written in a font that didn’t exist until 1978 which he still insists were authentic. Bagdad Bob is laughing at the rank banality of your spokespeople, Syosset-Crestwood. Lie, insult, slander, hate, russophobia: discredited. Syosset-Crestwood discredited. 45+ years of Renovationist corruption and failure, and you send in compulsive liars to do your PR. Your semiliterate products of St. Vlads are making you look even worse.

                      But the adults are back: your gig will be up, Syosset-Crestwood.

                    • Sergei Dmitrievsky says

                      Michael Stankovich,

                      You are a disgrace. Take your lying and Russophobia elsewhere. Michael Warren has exposed you.

                      loss of reputation or respect, especially as the result of a dishonorable action.
                      “he left the army in disgrace”

                    • Sergei Dmitrievsky says

                      Bishop Tikhon of the OCA,

                      You are a stalker. You offend people with your behavior and disgrace your office. You are an abusive eyesore. No one wants to witness your personal break down anymore.

                      a person who stealthily hunts or pursues an animal or another person.
                      a person who harasses or persecutes someone with unwanted and obsessive attention.

            • Michael Warren says


              The reason for persecution in Russia and the apostate theomachy was probably moreso a growing pain, a second appearance if you will, of a Julian the Apostate to try the Church Militant in Russia and forge it for a more difficult future. It paved the way for Russian primacy. The Bolshevik era was probably a gift of chastisement from GOD. Trials and sufferings purify us, assuring us of GOD’s Love: this is why the Holy Fathers counsel us to be thankful for them.

              Fr. Schmemann’s take of Fr. Florovsky’s appreciation of A. Khomiakov, although interesting in its denunciation of nominalism, has nothing whatsoever to do with the reality of the course Fr. Schmemann’s orientation took with the OCA in North America (whose lack of results, crisis of nominalization and secularist upheaval coupled with corruption underscore utter failures we now suffer). Most necessarily, in its lack of appreciation of the majority of Russian Orthodox Christians, does it not address their Orthodox lives and their Russian piety: then and now. Russian Orthodoxy is neither a phyletistic nor ethnic organism, and it never has been. It from the outset adopted a Byzantine multi-ethnic model in a community of nations/ethnicities affirming a local form of observance and piety and administration. That observance and piety was ingrained amongst Russian and Soviet peoples to the point of it eventually overcoming theomachy. Thus, the redacted suppositions and conclusions are a self-fulfilled prophesy of an unreality.

              Russian Orthodox nominalism existed and exists. In Imperial, Soviet and Post Soviet times. That nominalism however seeded and seeds all three eras with Orthodox observance and piety leading to not only Orthodox acculturation but a predominance which can act to transform the era actively. And it is acting today. Suffering, observance, fidelity, guilt, love, self sacrifice, though nominally defined, when lived affirm a Christianized Russian Orthodox reality.

              America was a Calvinist experiment. Even the not so muted themes of election in “shining city on a hill rhetoric” hint at that. Unfortunately Calvinism breeds nominalism by double predestination. Rasa damnata has no reason for active faith, because whatever it does, it is predestined to damnation. While the elect are “once saved, always saved.” Thus the elect, no matter how sinful, are forgiven, justified and not held to account “for HE has paid the price on the Cross.”

              What is in store for America religiously is either a spiritual corrective or self-dissolution due to a systematically, irresponsible “election.” They bear no accountability for their sins because CHRIST is made to bear them, and in bearing them supposedly justifies their works because they claim to have faith. Understand this considering the first step in a twelve step program where the first step is admitting your wrong, resolving to live with it and make it right, work it out. America refuses to see the wrong, still in the denial of election. Denies its works because they are justified by its faith. Until a free and honest dialogue can occur with Orthodoxy, where the evil that we do is condemned and rejected by CHRIST, and the understanding of the “once saved” eternal get out of jail free card be abandoned, American culture and the nation will remain on a collision course with a sanctimonious nominalism of exceptionalism leading further down a spiral of moral dereliction. It will end up dissolving into debauchery and infamy as did ancient Greece. American exceptionalism is the Calvinistic hubris leading the nation to national suicide.

              • M. Stankovich says


                If you are able to comprehend the above reply – in fact, comprehend what it contributes to what I had already written regarding Khomiakov – I am amazed.

                Fr. Schmemann’s take of Fr. Florovsky’s appreciation of A. Khomiakov, although interesting in its denunciation of nominalism, has nothing whatsoever to do with the reality of the course Fr. Schmemann’s orientation took with the OCA in North America

                Schmemann neither mentions, nor alludes to Florovsky, in The Spirtual Problem, and the fundamental issue is not “nominalism,” but “secularization.” His observation is as accurate today as when he wrote the essay in 1965.

                Russian Orthodoxy is neither a phyletistic nor ethnic organism, and it never has been.

                WAT! “Exclusivity” is precisely the point Khomiakov, addressed (as well as Schmemann in his course, “The Church in Russian Literature,” and in the essay by Archimandrite Luke): Orthodoxy was a “light to the word,” not a Russian “tradition.”

                Fr. Schmemann’s orientation took with the OCA in North America (whose lack of results, crisis of nominalization and secularist upheaval coupled with corruption underscore utter failures we now suffer). Most necessarily, in its lack of appreciation of the majority of Russian Orthodox Christians, does it not address their Orthodox lives and their Russian piety

                If Mr. Warren had read Fr. Schmemann generally, or, for example, had even pursued his diaries, he would know that Schmemann, like Khomiakov, most certainly appreciated “Russian piety,” but railed against piety turned “tokenism”; and mourned a lost American Orthodox generation, that threatens to extend to two, and parallels the 70% of Russians who are “Orthodox” by name only, and church-goers “on the holidays.” Schmemann was a priest and theologian, not Metropolitan of the OCA, and anyone who knew him heard his disappointment at changes that would never come. I stand by my original commentary of the context of The Chuch is One.

                • Michael Warren says

                  Fr. Alexander himself, at times grudgingly, admitted his admiration of Fr. FLOROVSKY. Fr. FLOROVSKY’s Ways of Russian Theology was the filter by which Khomiakov st al. were presented at Crestwood while Fr. Alexander was dean. So I find my reply to be sufficiently accurate.

                  Well, it would seem I paid enough attention to Fr. Alexander to be able to appreciate that he mainly attributed secularization to nominalism. But discussing this here would be pointless. The Syosset-Crestwood crowd demand a monopoly upon speech while the continual abrasive and insincere ad hominem argumentative responses of its partisans shouts that they neither have anything substantive to add to such dialogues nor is that their intent. They need message discipline to maintain the sham of their 45+ year failed agenda.

                  Acculturation even in a secularized, Russian Orthodox milieu leaves a Russian Orthodox socialization. Yes, Russian Orthodoxy was exclusively Orthodox, but never phyletistic, nationalistic, or ethnically exclusive. But that has been gone over here.

                  The fact that Fr. Alexander’s insistence on “gleaning wheat from chaff” and “combatting obscurantism” of “wizened Jordanville archimandrites” to “liberate the church in America from ritual reenactments, patristic archaeology, and Russian nostalgia” fueled the fires of the Renovationist gimmickry and liturgical revisionism and experimentation coupled with self-loathing of heritage. No single figure had more influence on the OCA than Fr. Alexander Schmemann in the last 45+ years. Admittedly, he was and is used to justify the agenda of many who exploit his work to rationalize their Renovationist Reformation, but he most certainly is responsible for the inspiration. While the results of what occured lie flatly at his doorstep and besmirch his legacy. He was wrong on very many things. His vision is a failure. While his administrative influence left naught but ruin and rubble.

                  Ultimately, however, his Eucharistic theology and ecclesiology are the wheat we are left as seed for future renewal.

                  I actually sympathize with Fr. Alexander where in his journals he writes (paraphrase mine) that he “must act to keep the radicals at bay to preserve the Tradition of the Church the conservatives have buried.”

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    The sound you hear is yawning, Mr. Warren. You forgot the customary buzzwords of General Confession & “Parisian Orthodoxy” as icing. Alexander Schmemann was not an easy man to like personally; he could be aggressive, irritable, depressed, discouraged, frustrated, and easily provoked. Nevertheless, in the nearly 15-years I knew him, when he was my instructor, my confessor, I heard him preach, and in speaking with him privately, he was nothing of the trite caricature you make of him. For as objectionable and difficult a man he could be personally, he was a brilliant, passionate theologian and scholar. And he did not need to filter Khomiakov through anyone, Florovsky notwithstanding.

                    Alexander Schmemann did not “loath” his heritage, but rather loathed those Tartuffe’s who valued their heritage over their Faith, and who saw no distinction between faith & “nationality.” Further, he railed against the “traditionalist” Pharisees who insisted on archaic liturgical languages that no one understands; driving out the Scripture from the liturgical structure (e.g. three and four canons in the Matins commemorating saints in what were intended to be “local” feasts, thereby obscuring the ancient Biblical Canons, all to be replicated in recent innovations such as “Verses on the Beatitudes,” as if the simple words of the Lord needed to be obscured); “sanctifying” rituals and customs simply because they are “done in Russia or on Mt Athos” (e.g. set the lamps “spinning” or “swaying” during the Polyeleyos), which if omitted cause great scandal; and always confusing the minutiae for that which, in fact saves. And I have repeated myself so many times as to this point, it is ridiculous: anyone who was in the chapel with Alexander Schmemann as long as I was knows he did not not “experiment” or “innovate” with the liturgical services. Period. You can quote books, texts and speeches, whatever you wish, but it never happened.

                    I repeat myself, and will continue to repeat myself until you demonstrate that Alexander Schemmann was incorrect and his agenda was a “failure” by error, and not some vague, overblown “Crestwood-Syosset” silliness you can no more define as the word “redacted.” His “agenda” was, first and foremost, to confront the clergy for their lack of leadership and moral authority, their own lack of initiative, and their own secularism. For this he was undermined and despised. And this is even in consideration of the absolutely despicable manner by which the “faithful Russians,” true to their heritage, treated the OCA clergy as “employees,” insisting on the “Old Calendar” for no other reason than the ability to celebrate “Russian Christmas”; Church Slavonic, which they – and worse, their children – did not comprehend, all the while referring to is as “Russian”; and a parish council system that lived to terrorize the priests and their families. And where is that generation of children now? Gone. Lost to secularism and the “simpler” faiths of their spouses in the secular world. And those “Russian” OCA parishes you keep referring to, Mr. Warren? Dead or dying. They should be closed, but “Syosset” will not close them.

                    You need to change your silly narrative. “Primacy” of Russians in the US belongs to ROCOR. They have full parishes and working monasteries. Your “mother church” has, again, aligned itself with a corrupt, economically and morally failing government, and this is reflected in the fact that two thirds of its members are Orthodox in name only. They can’t help themselves, let alone the OCA. All of which cannot be attributed to Alexander Schmemann, Creswood, or Syosset.

                  • Michael Warren says

                    I neither asked for your character reference, nor am I the least bit surprised it found itself here once there was no more to write. Thus elegies and the stench of rotten flowers.

                    Personally, I appreciate Fr. Alexander as a conflicted individual who never seemed comfortable in his own skin, a man who stood in others shadows, either those of the Synod of his youth, or of men like Archimandrite Kiprian (Kern) in Paris, and especially in the shadow of Fr. Georges Florovsky. His reconciliation with the Church and with these shadows always seems to come on his own terms, in worlds he could dictate the terms to, where he was comfortable. His principle flaw was he resented having to be obedient to the Church or to any authority.

                    What he produced as a pedagogue is a Diary of a Madman tribute to his unfortunate unresolved reconciliation. In truth, most of the haughtiness and disagreeable lack of tact, hubris, of his pupils and of Syosset-Crestwood for the last 45+ years is the fruit of his labor. A theologian who could go to the margins critically produced faux elitist cadres who were both prone to corruption and thin skinned, who not only could not abide Fr. Schmemann’s method turned on them, but who are absolutely obscurantist in the face of the slightest criticism, positive or negative.

                    As I have written above I am in sympathy with the notion of holding the radicals at bay to preserve the Tradition the conservatives have buried, but neither selling ones soul nor casuistry nor dogmatic liberalism is the way to achieve it. Letting liberalism define the boundaries of the center always puts it in a sewer removed from the propriety of reason, where neither responsible Right nor effective Left reside. Only degeneracy and moral relativism tend to venture into the wasteland of liberalism. And its lumpen cadres always seem to remind us of that fact.

                    The Russian church transforming Soviet persecution into symphonia is itself a miracle. “Two thirds, ” and decreasing in nominalism, nominal and loyal to Orthodoxy (which after the math is done across the boards in Orthodox local churches of active versus nominal believers only increases the Russian church’s numerical advantage) in an Orthodox state as a model always adds up to more than 92%+ of faithful Orthodox believers lost to the OCA as a result of Fr. Alexander’s failed vision. Failure which arose from a Syosset corrupt, unfaithful, experimenting with self-loathing Renovationist gimmickry. The difference here is that of success versus failure, the success of the Russian church versus the rank, amateur failure and corruption of Fr. Schmemann’s Syosset-Crestwood model. In the last 45+ years the Russian church has increased its numbers, doubled to tripled them, both in absolute terms and in consideration of active versus nominal faithful… And the Russian church’s trend, both in overall growth and active faith is positive. Fr. Schmemann’s Syosset-Crestwood model has lost 92%+ of the OCA’s faithful while only breeding nominalism, secularization, corruption, relativism. While Istanbul’s redoubled emphasis on Renovationist infidelity, papal aligned Uniatism and freemasonic hellenism has both reduced the absolute numbers of its faithful as well as of the proportion of its active versus nominal members by one-third to one-half with a declining trend. It is understood that denial is the reaction of those whose counterfeit has been indicted and then tried. And we all know that these counterfeiters die muttering, “The horror, the horror.”

                    Thankfully, reality is home to more sovereign and plain truthes. Orthodox Russia is risen and will assume primacy of the Orthodox world. Only reliance on the Mother Church and active respect of her kind consideration can save our OCA and finally begin to fulfill our Tomos of autocephaly.

  9. Paul Smith says

    I wonder sometimes how all this really plays out. I’m neither part of the OCA nor part of the GOAA. I have friends in both groups. I do wonder about the reports of financial mismanagement and lawsuits that the OCA lost causing the OCA to spend money for settlements that would be needed for Church work.
    I cannot see why there is so much disunity within the USA except that the people in the USA are less likely to accept such things that follow the monarchal lifestyle. Keep in mind, this country was formed as an anti-monarchy so the Orthodox Church fights an uphill battle in that always.
    If someday the Church unified and declared an American Church and tried to combine all of these ethnic groups, I wonder how it will work out. The biggest thing will be that none of the mother churches will like losing the money they get from the USA. I think it will boil down to money in the end. Icons, vestments, buildings and trimmings all cost money and I wonder if any of the Metropolitans will sit back and watch their cash cow being absorbed into a group that they don’t control.

    • Very true. Although one can’t really blame them; look at the state of things in Istanbul, Damascus, etc today.

      Met. Joseph has framed it in a very understandable way: the mother churches have done much for us here in the West. There would be no Orthodox Church here if they did not invest so much in building it up. Now they are in need, and we owe it to them.

      When the canons about the finer points of ecclesiology were written, the great patriarchates were not facing extinction. If your cow falls into a well on the Sabbath, you break the Sabbath. If your mother church is in dire straits, perhaps it is better to table the ecclesiology debate for another time.

      I’m not so naive as to think its all on the up-and-up, but in the circumstances I think we have to give the benefit of the doubt.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Ages, we may owe it to them, theologically, but not financially. The (cash) cow has not fallen into a well. If that were true, we would be the ones in jeopardy.

        Immigrants brought the Church to America in a haphazard way. If the mother Churches had been interested in “building up” the Church, they would have organized the Orthodox on a canonical basis. They didn’t.

        • Michael Warren says

          They did. All Orthodox in this country were being organized in a united Church under the Russian American mission. Then the Russian Revolution happened: phyletism intruded, and the “fun” started.

        • I disagree. After studying the history and all its confused accidents, I don’t think they could have done a better job than they did, realistically. It was the Wild West and bishops did what they could to handle the problems they saw.

  10. M. Stankovich says

    It was noted today on another forum that Fr. Chancellor Jillions wrote this particular essay thirty-six years ago, and that, “To think that it contains some hidden meaning today reveals either a serious health issue or a devotion to seeing everything in terms of a Byzantine intrigue.” Who knew?

    • Dates Of Posts Matter says

      So then the question is, Why post it NOW? He went through the trouble of digging it up to post it right now for a reason. He might have written it in the past, but he posted it online on the official website of the church right now for a particular reason. He does not randomly repost his past written musings.

    • Who to blame says

      Not quite correct. The article clearly says “The history recounted below is a completely revised, updated and abbreviated version of an article I wrote for the Tenth anniversary of autocephaly in 1980.” So while it contains some old material, it is “revised and updated.” But for what reason is this being done now? A slow news day??

    • Michael Warren says

      The OCA never conceded the authority of defining what the autocephaly means to a crypto-Uniate like Jillions. Thirty-six years ago, and I seem to remember this, Syosset was insisting, publicly, to the Phanar that it was “its sister church,” and we were most definitely talking about at that time how we might unite ethnic jurisdictions to our local church and what that might look like. At that time SCOBA was seen as a para-Synod to sift wheat from chaff to allow us to determine who would be most immediate in our pressing need for dialogue, dialogue for unity within our local church, under our omophorion.

      Admittedly, the autocephaly is a work in progress, but rescinding it to later hop on to another ecclesiastical organism the powers that be in Syosset-Crestwood approve of… No. Actually, No!!! Crypto-papist Jillions does not speak for the OCA. An Istanbul drift is not the purpose of the Tomos: it never was. We did not receive the Tomos to avoid scrutiny, to embezzle funds and betray Orthodoxy. To later rescind it when a larger organism appeared so that renegade administration could be continued – No. The purpose of the Tomos is to create a local church uniting all Orthodox under our omophorion. If Syosset-Crestwood says it refuses to honor that lofty outcome, then the only way for us to respect our heritage and the ideal of the Tomos is to reopen discussion of it with the Mother Church, not some Turkish Hierarch on the Vatican Payroll. Accepting the Tomos to later rescind it when corruption was called into question and theological fashions expiring called for a redefinition in the administration and emphasis, such an act would be an act of rebellion, constituting an unlawful assembly, schism. It validates both the Mother Church’s and ROCOR’s arguments against the Metropolia/OCA.

      No. Unionist Jillions does not adequately express the idea of OCA autocephaly, not 36 years ago and not today. If Syosset-Crestwood insists that his view is theirs, then we the faithful, who are not ashamed of our heritage, have the obligation to invite the Mother Church back to North America to redefine what autonomy and autocephaly can eventually mean in North America: we won’t be advocating abdication of our local jurisdiction in favor of Turkish Uniate-Renovationist satrapy.

      Let’s allow the parishes to decide who wants autonomy under +Demetrios as an Istanbul Uniate parish and who wants to persist in autonomy leading to autocephaly under someone like +Metropolitan Jonah commemorating the Patriarch of Moscow. I endorse +Metropolitan Jonah and not Pope Francis. I suspect a majority of OCA parishes would agree with me. Let’s let them decide whether Uniate Jillions’ take on autocephaly-Unia with Rome (Let’s be clear that’s where Istanbul-GOA is headed, and sober, honest people amongst them will admit this)-is what they want.

  11. Gail Sheppard says

    George, are we sure the Antiochian Archdiocese is not also sympathetic to the Ecumenical Patriarch? The attached suggests otherwise. Under “self-rule,” we may be up for grabs.

    To me, it looks like the EP is shuffling the deck to claim all of North America. . . and is succeeding.

    • Pat Reardon says

      George, are we sure the Antiochian Archdiocese is not also sympathetic to the Ecumenical Patriarch? The attached suggests otherwise.

      A book advertisement? That’s the evidence?

      • George Michalopulos says

        Far be it from me to disagree with a woman’s intuition (inside joke) but I’m with you on this one. Damascus never struck me as subservient to Istanbul. Given Erdogan’s hostility to Assad –and the very real bloodshed unleashed by NATO against Syria’s Christians–I very much doubt that they’d start now.

        • Gail Sheppard says


          1) Didn’t 14 Autocephalous Patriarchs, including Antioch, set up an Assembly in 2008 that stated that the Orthodox Church structures outside of the boundaries of the Roman Empire were uncanonical.

          2) Isn’t this up-coming Pan-Orthodox Council going to talk about the Orthodox diaspora & autonomy and its manner of proclamation?

          3) Doesn’t Section 4 under Article II of the Antiochian Constitution say the Constitution is vulnerable to “amendments, alterations or changes that would be necessary to implement Orthodox unity in North America?” (See Below)

          4) Couldn’t the voting structure of the upcoming Pan-Orthodox Council, which includes only a fixed number of representative bishops, skew the outcome and be detrimental to an autocephalous or autonomous Church?

          5) Is it really so crazy to think the EP could take over an autonomous (self-ruled) church in the interest of “unity” if the Council votes to do so?

          as amended by the
          Convened in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
          July 16 – 18, 2004
          Article II

          Section 2.
          This Archdiocese shall remain one, indivisible Archdiocese and may not be divided into separate Archdioceses by vote, action, decree, mandate, or in any other way by any person, body, organization, church, or otherwise.

          Section 3.
          Upon the dissolution or separation from the Archdiocese of any unit, the assets and property shall revert to the Archdiocese. No real property of any unit may be sold or mortgaged without the express written approval of the Metropolitan Archbishop and no assets in excess of $100,000 (one hundred thousand dollars) of any unit may be sold or mortgaged without the express written approval of the Metropolitan Archbishop.

          Section 4.
          Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, Sections 2 and 3 of this Article cannot be amended, altered, or changed. The sole exception to this section would be such amendments, alterations or changes that would be necessary to implement Orthodox unity in North America.

          The book on the Archdiocese’s website is just a way of getting us used to the idea.

    • “Self-rule” was an oddity dreamed up by Met. Philip. Met. Joseph has regularized the AOCANA’s view of itself, as a metropolis of the Antiochian Patriarchate. The Holy Synod probably won’t turn over a metropolis to an EP that is so ineffective that it refuses to even act as a court of last resort. (Thinking of the recent issues between Antioch and Jerusalem that the EP did little to help with.)

  12. Primuspilus says

    Not to sound mean-spirited, but if the OCA became THE Orthodox Church in the US (which it wont) I fear for it. The OCA has proven it can’t handle its own affairs, let alone add more upon it.

    • Timothy Karbellous says

      Prim: You fail to understand. If all the Orthodox bishops in America joined in an autocephalous synod, then they would set the agenda & operations for an American church. They would choose their own leader have to “handle their own affairs.” Just because you don’t hear about all the problems and issues in the GOA, Antiochians, ROCOR, etc. doesn’t mean they have no issues. There are far more serious issues within these churches than the OCA.

    • Michael Warren says

      Not, the OCA, but, rather, Syosset-Crestwood has proven that. That’s an important distinction to make. +Metropolitan Leonty’s model of segmented witness and unity, uniting like minded Orthodox reconciling with mixed marriage realities and generational losses, while witnessing to new immigrants with the social gospel and accomodating converts, keeping Istanbul/GOA at arms length proved to be quite successful. We are left with the daunting prospect of resurrecting that model, tweaking it for today, but capable of accomplishing it with the aid of the Mother Church.

  13. Timothy Karbellous says

    None of you here get it. The OCA is not going under anyone. Fr. Jillions essay was only stating that the Phanar misunderstood what Moscow was doing and what the OCA’s autocephaly meant. The Phanar felt terribly threatened in 1970 and overreacted. All the more reason foreign bishops should not be telling the people in America how to run their churches.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Mr Karbellous, you are correct broadly speaking. The question is why was this essay dusted off after 36 years and after Met Tikhon’s (somewhat humiliating) trip to the Phanar?

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        Is this the official position of the OCA:

        It is important to remember that autocephaly was not granted simply for the purpose of forming another permanent jurisdiction. The OCA claims, therefore, that while it does not encroach upon the rights of other jurisdictions, its autocephaly was granted as a basis for unity pending agreement between all Orthodox Churches in America—and possibly, a final approval of a future ecumenical council. The Church must be unified but also, as Metropolitan Ireney wrote in 1966, it must be “a local, permanent American Church, bound for all time with this land and with this people.”

        If this is the official position of the OCA then many OCA people don’t believe this and have not stated this on this blog or in the many writing from OCA people that I read growing up. This is not even the position of Mr. Karbellous. The “Basis for Unity” is much different then saying that ONLY the OCA is the legitimate Orthodox Church here in America and all others must fold into it.

        To say that I am confused is an understatement.


      • Timothy Karbellous says

        If you note, the anniversary of the OCA’s autocephaly was on April 10th. He re-posted this for the anniversary and when at the Phanar, explained again why Moscow granted autocephaly. The OCA is not under Moscow and will not be seated that way at + Bart’s Big Party on Pentecost.

    • Michael Warren says

      For 45+ years foreign bishops did not tell the OCA what to do. We lost 92%+ of our membership, were besieged with hack social engineering to get us to hate our heritage, while the administration embezzled tens of millions of dollars and spent it on such things as cocaine, male hustlers, Italian sportscars and all manner of excess, bankrupting the OCA. Then there was Renovationist gimmickry.

      The foreign born Bishops we had built our church to 1 million+, erected over 75%+ of the churches we have today, left the tens of millions of dollars (which were embezzled by native “American” Bishops) as seed money, and were faithful to Orthodoxy.

      Today, the only orientation that can save the OCA is a closer relationship to the adults in our Mother Church so that we can 1). Stop the bleeding and implement a social gospel to: a). Attract the Russian speaking Immigration. b). Attract the Latino immigration. c). Attract the Romanian immigration. d). Witness to North America with a social Gospel to gain converts and reverts, attracting economic migrants and the generationally less fortunate TO: 2). Have the Mother Church’s endorsement and kind concern reassure other jurisdictions of both the viability and preferability of joining the OCA.

      The Uniate Jillions’ essay contends the Metropolia accepted autocephaly to go rogue unimpeded to then either work it out with Istanbul or some nebulous organism more legit. All to escape oversight. That is an admission of wrongdoing and an unashamed explanation of the incompetent administration of the last 45+ years. It is a statement of rebellion and schism, stating from the outset the OCA was an unlawful assembly, especially when one considers papist Jillions’ novel contention that it never was the purpose of the OCA to act as the North American local church.

      If that is the case, then reconciling our bonafides with the Mother Church firstly is what is in order if Syosset-Crestwood intends to pursue luminous haze elsewhere. Because we remain a rebellious and prodigal child of the Mother Church if one accepts Uniate Jillions’ take. In the process of restructuring our legitimacy, the outcome must accomodate those of us who have a different understanding of the OCA to work out our autonomy with the Mother Church, with as much of the OCA’s architecture which wants to follow us. We don’t want Istanbul or its Episcopal Assembly to rule our North American church. We want our North American local church.

      We have a mutually exclusive and unreconcilable difference in vision for North America than either Istanbul/GOA or its Episcopal Assembly. From the outset we decided to convert Uniates and not become them. From the outset we determined we were to be the Church in North America and not a liberal Eastern Rite Protestant fundamentalist denomination.

  14. When “Pat” Kirill Gundyaev met with “Pope” Francis at the Cuban Airport Hotel, that most “orthodox” of all places, and with guys like Castro “presiding” for their meeting, in Russia there were commentators looking at this like this is all the “anti-christ” stuff of Revelation that is taking place. In discussing the up coming “pan-orthodox” whatever you want to call it meeting, “council” or whatever it is in Crete one lady was saying that what they are really aiming to achieve is to “corral” all the Orthodox into one big happy Orthodox “papacy” under one “Orthodox Pope” and so all the sovereignty of the Autocephalous Churches gets taken away and this one “centralized” authority of Orthodoxy takes over for all matters of Church and Faith. Then once they achieve that, then the “Orthodox Pope” kisses the pinky of the Roman Pontiff. So from the looks of it I think this article sees some of that writing on the wall and this Jillions guy looks to be working to get the OCA into this “hierarchy” of things.

    • I don’t think Patriarch Kyrill would have preached at length on the Sunday of Orthodoxy about St Mark of Ephesus and the Robber Council of Florence if he intended to sneak us into Latin subjugation.

      Besides, we Orthodox should be praying that Rome repents of her heresy and comes back into the Church. Francis cares so little about Latin doctrine that he might just pull it off!

      • Come on Ages, not too lengthy was Pat Kirill’s “Mark of Ephusus” sermon with the choral hymn in the background bass and baritone humming. MP knows who their audience is and MP knows how well the “Cuban Airport Hotel Lobby” meeting with pope went over in Russia, not. The Sermon gave all the standard points one might expect on a Sunday of Orthodoxy. The MO of the Soviets has always been “propaganda,” to say one thing with “lips,” then do something different and opposite with “hands.”

    • Gregory Manning says

      Golly, Cy.
      I think you may be onto something here. See if you can find out that lady’s name. I suspect she knows more than she’s letting on. And watch out for that “Jillions guy”.
      And me wasting my time thinking Creflo Dollar* was behind it all just because he’s been trying to raise millions of dollars for his new corporate jet. Or is it JILLIONS of dollars? THAT’S IT! Creflo Dollar IS that “Jillions guy”!!!! So that’s where all of the OCA’s vast wealth has been going! This is going to blow Syosset wide open!
      Or is it “CY”osset???? The plot thickens.


      • Well you have to get to Crete somehow is there going to be a ferry from Istanbul? Corporate jet though sounds like the “earthly angelic” way to go.

  15. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

    The Bosphoros is a RIVER?

  16. Michael Woerl says

    Patriarch Bartholomew is possibly a “worthy ally” of Pope Francis, but not of any Orthodox Church.
    The OCA will never be “the Autocephalous Church of America.”
    And, let’s not get too snide about “territory.” It has alresdy been decided by the pre-conciliar commission that the Diaspora stays as it is … if the Phanar wants to add the OCA to its other tiny ethnic dioceses in N. America: go for it! That will leave Romanians, Russians, and Serbs happily able to continue as they are. In fact, might be a good thing if it signalled the abandonment of the Assembly of Bishops.” The Phanar would gain “hegemony” with another small ethnjc diocese? Hardly. Is Jillions “historical look” at the OCA simply a rerun of the ridiculous historical fabrications of Schmemman & Meyendorff?

    • Tony Kartopolous says

      Michael Woerl: 1st, what are “the ridiculous historical fabrications of Schmemann & Meyendorff” you mention? I certainly know of none. 2nd, There is NO DIASPORA. This is a lie. A diaspora signifies that anyone of an ethnic background living around the world, belongs to their ancestral country – this is a lie. 2nd, 3rd, 4th generation Orthodox in America DO NOT belong anywhere, but America. Both Met. Philip of the Antiochians and Archp Iakavos agreed with this. THERE IS NO DIASPORA. The Orthodox of America belong to America; not Greece, not Russia, not Syria, etc. Ask yourself, why are foreign bishops still trying so hard to keep the Orthodox in America fractured? Afraid of losing their “cash cows?”

      • Prospective Nomad says

        The proposition that there is no Diaspora is precisely wrong. Every Orthodox Christian who is not in Heaven is in Diaspora. “Here we have no continuing city.” “We are pilgrims and sojourners on the earth, awaiting the city whose builder and maker is God.” The Orthodox of America do not belong to America or to any other “prince or son of man” or to any other “kingdom of this world.” The Orthodox of America and of every other ethnos belong to Christ. He, not the United States, “made and fashioned us.” He, not the United States, “emptied Himself, taking on the form of a servant, becoming conformed to the fashion of our lowliness that He might make us conformable to the Image of His Glory.” He, not the United States, “redeemed us from the curse of the law by His Precious Blood.” He, not the United States, “gave Himself up as a ransom to death, whereby we were held, sold into bondage under sin.” He, not the United States, “won us unto Himself as His own people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.”

        Of course, none of this speaks directly to the particulars of ecclesiastical organization. But changes to that organization ought not to be wrought by people who idolatrously believe that we “belong to” Egypt, Babylon, America, or any other “kingdom of this world.”

        • Carl Kraeff says

          I nominate this post as The Best Non-Sequitur on this blog…ever.

          • ChristineFevronia says

            I miss the “like” and “dislike” votes. I’d give Carl as many “like” votes as possible for his analysis.

  17. Joseph Lipper says

    When America becomes poor and worthless, when America is ruled by a military dictatorship and her Christians are persecuted, and when the other Patriarchates want nothing to do with America, then possibly God might grant us the gift and grace of Orthodox ecclesiastical unity in America…but without a doubt, it will come at a steep price. We won’t have our cake and eat it too.

  18. Michael Kinsey says

    AIIB or is it G, will be playing major role is the finances of any and all these seperate Church groups. This will get all their attention very soon. It is a major new player with real clout. Western banking scam will be ending soon. Hell to pay.