Is Syosset Feeling the Heat?

Well, let’s be honest.  It is the Canons that indict them.

 Canon XLV of the Holy Apostles

“Let any Bishop, or Presbyter, or deacon that merely joins in prayer with heretics be suspended, but if he had permitted them to perform any service as Clergymen, let him be deposed.”

Canon XXXIII of Laodicia

“One must not join in prayer with heretics or schismatics.”

The Extraordinary Joint Conference of the Sacred Community on Mount Athos

April 9/22, 1980 | Full Text

Theological dialogue must not in any way be linked with prayer in common, or by joint participation in any liturgical or worship services whatsoever; or in other activities which might create the impression that our Orthodox Church accepts, on the one hand, Roman Catholics as part of the fulness of the Church, or, on the other hand, the Pope as the canonical bishop of Rome. Activities such as these mislead both the fulness of the Orthodox people and the Roman Catholics themselves, fostering among them a mistaken notion as to what Orthodoxy thinks of their teaching.

Canon VII of the Third Ecumenical Synod

“Let no one be permitted to bring forward, or write or compose a different faith besides that defined by the holy Fathers who assembled with the Holy Spirit in the city of Nicaea. And whoever dares to compose a different faith, or present, or offer [one] to those wishing to turn to the knowledge of the truth…let such, if they be bishops or belong to the clergy, be alien-bishops from the episcopate, and clerics from the clergy—and if they be laymen, let them be given over to anathema.”

Canon I of the Fourth Ecumenical Synod

“We have acknowledged it as just to keep the canons of the holy Fathers set forth at each synod till now.”

Excerpt from Divine Prayers and Services of the Catholic Orthodox Church of Christ, compiled and arranged by the Late Reverend Seraphim Nassar (Englewood, NJ: Antiochian Archdiocese of N. America, 1979), p. 1031.

Now since the Church is one, and that oneness consists primarily and universally of perfect agreement in Orthodox doctrines, it necessarily follows that all those who do not conform to those Orthodox doctrines, whether by addition or omission, or by any innovation of their own, thus changing the truth, are outside this one Holy Church, as one may also ascertain from a review of the sixth and seventh canons of the Second Ecumenical Council, and the first canon of St. Basil the Great.

Eighth Proceeding of the Seventh Ecumenical Synod

Mansi, Sacrorum Conciliorum Nova et Amplissima Collectio [1960], vol. 3, p. 416). Quoted by Dr. Constantine Cavarnos in Orthodox Tradition and Modernism, p. 37.

If anyone breaks any ecclesiastical tradition, written or unwritten, let him be anathema”

* * *

OK, so what’s this about?  

I’ll tell you:  a few days ago, several GOA bishops celebrated the Divine Liturgy for the patronal feast of St Bartholomew the Apostle at an Episcopalian church of the same name.

As can be gleaned from the canons above, that should have been a non-starter.  But the GOA being the GOA, with Phanariote globalism being all the rage, what’s a little economia among –you know–other globalists?

Unfortunately, a bishop from the OCA was there.  And from the looks of this email that was sent to a concerned OCA layman, I’d have to say that Syosset felt some heat.  By the looks of it, I’d say that His Beatitude hopes that this puts the matter to rest.  (To protect the person’s identity, I will only quote from part of His Beatitude’s response, which he indicated he could share):

“Let me be clear and state unambiguously the following:  the fidelity of the Orthodox Church in America to the faith and moral teaching of the Church is unchanged.  The concelebration of His Eminence Archbishop Michael with His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros and other bishops of the Greek Orthodox Church was exactly that, a concelebration of Orthodox hierarchs and clergy.  No texts, statements, or gestures were undertaken, made, or even proposed with respect to any moral issues.  In no way should this event be taken by anyone as a modification in any way of the Church’s moral teaching, or as laying the groundwork to modify it in way.”

Now, to be fair, His Beatitude did address one of the elephants in the room, which is the whole LGBTQ+EIEIO thing.  St Bart’s is ground zero for this nonsense in Gotham.  The other elephant, which is the concelebration with soon-to-be-schismatic clergy was not addressed.  (We’ll get to that soon enough.)

That being said, in the eyes of the GOA, the St Bart’s thing was a big nothing burger.  Canonically and theologically speaking, it fits right in with their whole Phanariote supremacist mythology.  You know the drill:  HAH is the fount of Orthodoxy, St Andrew founded the Church in  C’pole, and the GOA archbishop is the Exarch of the Atlantic and the Pacific, yadda, yadda, yadda.  

It’s also a great opportunity to play Byzantine dress-up in order to wow all the WASP swells.  These games are par for the course anymore, for a dying patriarchate that is doing all it can to hold on to whatever shred of relevancy it can get its hands on.

But as far as the OCA is concerned, participating in such illusions is a non-starter.  Or should be.  Certainly Metropolitan Tikhon seems to think so given the tenor of his letter.  On the other hand, when it comes to the byzantinolatrists at Syosset, there should have been no problem.  They’ve been pining for Bartholomew’s imprimatur for decades now.  And their Russophobia is also well-known.  So for the Syosset apparat, sending a bishop to concelebrate with the GOA at a hyper-homo Episcopalian church is a no-brainer.   Truth be told, if Syosset had had their way, they’d have ordered every bishop in our church to join their Greek colleagues at St Bart’s altar and sing Kum-ba-ya.   

But for the majority of the laity in the OCA, the people who pay the bills, especially those who don’t march in gay pride parades or buy into globalism –not so much.

And thus, Archbishop Michael’s participation as St Bart’s was a huge surprise and a black eye.  Not only for the man himself (who by all accounts is a stalwart when it comes to Tradition) but for the OCA hierarchy as a whole.  It telegraphed for the whole world to see that the OCA is on board with the entire Phanariote nonsense.  (As for the GOA, it telegraphed that it is completely on board with the globo-homo program of the Episcopalian church.) 

To be honest with you, I’m not sure how Syosset is going to be able to walk this back.  Despite this unambiguous letter by Metropolitan Tikhon, once the bell is rung, it can’t be un-rung.  Archbishop Michael’s participation was not quite a crossing-the-Rubicon kind of thing but it does send a sad message that nobody at HQ quite knows what they’re doing.  It also shows that they don’t have their hand on the pulse of the laity.

Still, given the chaotic mess that we find ourselves in, the letter from Metropolitan Tikhon may be a wake-up call, especially to the Syosset apparat.  At the end of the day, the higher-ups better get their act together.  If they want to join up with Bartholomew they should just go ahead and say so and let the chips fall where they may.  (A case could be made that they already have.  This concelebration thing with the GOA is an indicator of that.)

If, on the other hand, they are still faithful to the vision of the OCA (and this would include its fidelity to Tradition), then they should take this rebuke from its laity and cool their jets when it comes to concelebrating with the GOA for whatever reason they have in mind.  

Because here’s the thing.  As far as our autocephaly is concerned:  we either are or we’re not.  There’s no such thing as being a little bit pregnant.  And there’s no such thing as being a little bit autocephalous.  We can see how good that thing is working out in Ukraine.   Clue:  It’s not.

About GShep


  1. Anonymous II says

    Does the priest assigned to Archbishop Michael’s cathedral in New York still post globalist, anti-Russian, homosexual, pro-abortion rhetoric on Facebook? Just wondering.

  2. I hear ya. Though I would question how loyal any of these bishops have been to Tradition. I’ve tried to make the case before that it’s more than checking canonical boxes. Those who were true links with the Russian Orthodox Tradition, like St. John, Bishop Nektary, Archbishop Averky, Archbishop Andrew, and on to Fr. Seraphim..I still hold that they would not have capitulated to the government or the CDC and required masks or encouraged zoom liturgies or discouraged veneration of icons, etc.

    I believe the compromises you’re discussing, George, are just the next in a long line that started long ago. I probably can’t pinpoint it, but I do believe one big turning point was the calendar change. “Oh it’s just 13 days. What’s the big deal?” But I believe those who resisted it have had their concerns proven valid. It’s a slippery slope.

    One part compromise plus one part losing Orthodoxy of the heart. A recipe for disaster, aka what we’re seeing now.

    I understand the bishops are a reflection of the sad state of us laymen. But then bad bishops make for even worse laymen and so the cycle continues. Where does it end?

  3. Isn’t it about time that the patriarchal exarchate, rocor, and the oca join together? Their similarities out weigh their differences,,,,and back in the day they were united, albeit tentatively

    • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

      RE: “Isn’t it about time that the patriarchal exarchate, rocor, and the oca join together?”

      Yes, but only if the OCA, MP parishes, and ROCOR were consolidated under the patriarchal omophor of the Russian Orthodox Church whose see is in Moscow.

      The great American “autocephalous” experiment has failed. We Orthodox in the United States are obviously neither ready nor inclined to form one, undisputed Orthodox Church OF America.

      Moreover, the Russian Orthodox Church is, together with its allied autocephalous Orthodox Churches, the only significant obstacle to a wholesale hijacking and takeover of global Orthodoxy (with Rome as the ultimate destination) by the currently errant and imminently heretical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

      • This!!!!!

      • Father, it really doesn’t sound like Patriarch Kirill considers the OCA to be a failed experiment though. After all, he was personally present when the Tomos of Autocephaly was granted to the OCA in 1970, and as the protege of Metropolitan Nikodim no less. You probably remember when he later visited the OCA as the Metropolitan of External Church Relations in 1991.

        Now as the Russian Patriarch, he has been extremely supportive of the OCA, and certainly in his recent relations with Metropolitan Tikhon. If anything, I get the sense that Patriarch Kirill wants the OCA to succeed in its (albeit limited) autocephaly, that is as long as the OCA doesn’t demand territorial exclusivity. Metropolitan Tikhon certainly hasn’t made any such demands.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          I have no idea what I’m talking about so please take that into consideration when you read this question: Is the OCA able to break with the MP to forge an agreement with Bartholomew?

          • Gail, I can’t see why the OCA would even try to break with the MP.

            Patriarch Kirill is the OCA’s biggest supporter. Time and time again, he has shown himself to be fully committed to supporting the OCA’s autocephaly. What purpose would it serve the OCA to sever ties with it’s biggest supporter?

            Patriarch Bartholomew, on the other hand, has shown zero interest in the OCA’s autocephaly. His current interest in the OCA is only in maintaining visible communion with the “Russian Church” (this is how he views the OCA). I don’t even think Patriarch Bartholomew would try to jeopardize this visible communion he still has with the “Russian Church”. The OCA’s value to him right now is precisely because the OCA is in full communion with the Russian Church. What purpose would it serve Patriarch Bartholomew to destroy that relationship? Any such action of destroying the OCA’s relationship with the Russian Church would only serve to further diminish whatever role he has left as Ecumenical Patriarch.

            Even if there was “hot war” between Russia and the U.S., I don’t see any reason why the OCA would need to break with the MP. On the other hand, such a “hot war” scenario conceivably could cause ROCOR to once again sever it’s ties with the MP. I hope that doesn’t happen.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              I see your point, Rufus, but Batholomew has shown an interest in Metropolitan Tikhon and Metropolitan Tikon has shown an interest in the GOA. If you look at his schedule, around or just before the announcement of the new charter, you see Metropolitan Tikhon was actively involved in meetings with Elpi to discuss it.

              I also learned the whole affair came up for discussion in a Synod meeting. Archbishop David (may his memory be eternal) was particularly angry with one of our pieces regarding potential unity with the GOA. He said it could not be true. His words were something to the effect “we had a meeting and we voted on it . . .” In other words, they had discussed it and the Synod voted it down.

              Interestingly, he didn’t seem all that angry with us (this is my take on it). He was more upset that what we were suggesting could be true, i.e. that after they voted on it, Metropolitan Tikhon went a different direction.

              As for the initial story (almost two years ago), George had heard from two highly placed sources that the OCA had entered into an agreement with the GOA. The whole idea was immediately shot down when the piece was published and some suggested, after the fact, that the mere mention of it, could have nixed it.

          • Why should they? I see no advantage

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Because they badly want to be (should be) recognized across the board. They really felt the sting when they were only added to the Assembly of Canonical Bishops at the urging of his Emminence Archbishop Demetrios, and only as an afterthought. According to one observer, they had to sit “at the back of the bus”.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Sometimes I wonder if the reason we are neither “ready or inclined” is because of foreign involvement.

      • politics are showing,,,,the oca is not a failure,,,the tragedy is that the other jurisdictions have not embraced the oca initiative and are working tirelessly to undermine the oca,,,,,time to change the paradigm isn’t it

      • Yes, Fr Alexander, exactly!!

        OCA “autocephaly” saw its heyday under the charismatic personalities of Frs Alexander Schmemann, John Meyendorff, and others. Note that all those who “formed” the OCA grew up in solid Russian Orthodox tradition. Unlike today, where many OCA leaders are secular Americans without solid Orthodox foundations. Fr Alexander Schmemann would despise modern American culture.

        Unique for the OCA, though, they were mostly anti-monarchists. The core of what became the OCA in the 20th century were former Uniates from Galicia/the Carpathian mountains. Compare with ROCOR, who were tinier but always pro-Russian monarchy.

        Now more than ever, Orthodox Americans living in the hostile lands of the secular West need the love and foundations of Russian Orthodox tradition to be our guide. Russian Orthodoxy is incredibly multinational. Millions of Russian Orthodox Christians are not Russian at all. Orthodox Americans in the Russian church are not expected to become “Russian” – that’s not possible, anyway.

        The biggest hurdle to execute this is the paranoia that so many in the West have with respect to anything “Russian.” That’s a big Cross to bear for many cultural Westerners. Many just can’t do it. (I think that many anti-Russian (or “Russophobic”) Orthodox Americans gravitate to the Antiochian jurisdiction.)

        But yes, it’s completely nonsensical to have an “autocephalous” church that comprises 0.024% of a country’s population (about 80,000 OCA members (and that’s a very generous number) in a country of 330 million).

        Historically, autocephaly doesn’t happen until the Orthodox comprise a sizable percentage of the population in a given country.

        Plus, if the Russian Church really honored OCA autocephaly, it wouldn’t be cool with the autonomous ROCOR having essentially parallel structures in America right alongside of the OCA. Rather, it’d tell ROCOR to merge with the OCA. But that ain’t happening. ROCOR is growing by leaps and bounds in the English speaking and Latin American worlds.

        Yes, the OCA, the MP parishes, and ROCOR should merge into an autonomous body (no autocephaly, which is crazy for the tiny number of Orthodox in America) under our mother church in Russia. That’s essentially what ROCOR is today.

        • Austin Martin says

          Meyendorf was pretty secular. He wrote that Teilhard de Chardin was basically Orthodox.

        • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

          Well said, FTS!

        • Austin Martin says

          ROCOR grows by “leaps and bounds in Latin America” because they plant churches for ethnic communities. There is not long term plan of sustainability. It’s just an ethnic cult. Almost all Orthodox Christians in Mexico are in the OCA, but the EP, ROCOR and Antioch have token presences there.

          What mission work is ROCOR doing in Latin America? Or is just an ethnic community center?

          • George Michalopulos says

            Austin, you’re overstating your criticism. From what I know about ROCOR in Latin America is different from the bleak picture you paint.

            • Austin Martin says

              Maybe you’re right about the countries south of Mexico. As for Mexico itself, the OCA has baptized thousands upon thousands. I would call that a success, not a failed experiment.

              This is not to say that the OCA hasn’t failed in some ways. I resent chauvinism in support of any one specific jurisdiction.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Austin, I wasn’t trying to imply that the OCA’s mission in Mexico has been a failure. Far from it. At the risk of sounding like a broken record regarding the Venerable Dmitri of thrice-blessed memory, he was a big part of it’s success (on both sides of the border).

                What I was trying to say is that ROCOR has a Hispanic mission as well, esp in the American Southwest. As I understand it, Jordanville is now encouraging Spanish-language instruction (if anybody can provide more information I’d appreciate it). From my own contacts within ROCOR, the only sticking point regarding more conversions of Mexican-Americans (and Mexicans), is the calendar issue. Christmas, I’ve been told is HUGE in the Mexican culture and it’s a big part of family get-togethers. Kinda like what Thanksgiving in for Americans. To go to the Old Calendar, that would deprive Hispanic families that are divided by calendar a large chunk of their culture.

                • Austin Martin says

                  I get that every parish is different. I used to attend a very ethnic ROCOR parish. I wasn’t there very long, as I soon moved away. This happened right around Christmas, and the priest — who was very ortho-Orthodox — told me to not worry about the fast when doing Christmas with my family. This is just anecdotal.

                  • I’m not sure if you’re recounting this anecdote as a criticism or not, given your other posts. It’s actually a fairly common – and very pastoral – piece of advice found quite often in parishes where the old calendar is used.

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    At the end of the day, we all have preferences. Interestingly, more people care what someone likes than doesn’t like.

                    There is no way we can verify antidotal stories and your tastes, my tastes, etc. probably don’t matter to a lot of other people so I think we can move on.

                • As an Anglo American convert (secular Christmas celebrations are a large part of our culture, too), I prefer being on the Old Calendar. I can spend December 25th with my non-Orthodox family, and devote January 7th entirely to church. If I was on the New Calendar, I would have to either choose or split the day between them.

          • ROCOR is continually opening (non-Russian) missions in the Caribbean, an almost completely untouched mission territory. I just read on another forum that they have a mission in Cuba now, just recently started, along with all the other missions they are working on.

            • Can confirm this. I have done work with the Orthodox mission in Jamaica. They left the Greek Metropolis of Mexico to join ROCOR

          • ROCOR is in Costa Rica Panama and Colombia besides the Caribbean. They are not, starting ethnic Churches in Latin Ameica where perhaps .0001% of the population is Russian.

        • The exodus to the antiochian stopped many years ago, as phillip and now joseph have embraced more arabic, more byzantine chant,,, they have gone back to being an ethnic ghetto and not an american church. As an anglican catholic bishop told me,,,he was unable to join either the antiochian or the rocor western rite, because one was focused on arabicizing his people and the other rocor, russifying . Both were unacceptable,,,,or the time bishop Antoun banged his staff at me behind the altar at st nicholas church in bridgeport demanding that the anglican catholic parish in shelton ct that I was working with be converted to a byzantine rite parish,,,, this did not happen and as phillip began to demand more they disbanded and went under the anglican catholic bishop in a near by town.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            I think Metropolitan Joseph’s motives were different from Metropolitan Philip’s. When Joseph took the helm, there were widely different practices throughout the jurisdiction. None of them were “bad” (that I could tell) but he wanted to normalize everything which, frankly, I grew to appreciate later going to various OCA parishes and finding I couldn’t sing or follow along because things were done so differently at each.

            A huge part of Church for me is participating.

            The Antioch Churches with the former EOC were an absolute blessing in this country. I had an amazing priest at St. Barnabus in Costa Mesa, CA (and later in Tucson) and the parishioners were wonderful.

            The Arab parishes didn’t bother me because Arabs are very welcoming people. They always made me feel at home.

            That wasn’t the case with the Greek parishes. I didn’t fit in because so many of the activities were, well, Greek! Their culture and the use of Greek in the services is a huge obstacle for many coverts. They were fun people at these parishes but being Greek was almost essential.

            I like the Russian Churches, too. I think after a few months, I would be able to pick it up. Not to speak it (Russian) but to follow it.

            I’m sort of a panOrthodox girl. I was made a catechumen at a Greek monastery, attended an Antiochian Parish, and was baptized in the OCA.

            I also spend a lot of time in monasteries. Maybe I’ve just been really lucky, but St. Anthonys (Greek – AZ), St. Michael of the Archangel (Greek – TX) St. Paisius (Serbian – AZ), St. Barbara (OCA – CA), Holy Convent of the Theotokos (Greek – CA), Sacred Monastery of Saint Nina (Georgian – MD), and, of course, my beloved Monastery of St. James-New Studion (Georgian – OK) have been a wonderful way for me to see how to absorb the Faith. I love each and every one of them.

            • rj klancko says

              I stay away from monasteries because the monks I have met never made me feel comfortable,,,,it seemed as though they had personality quirks, had severe coping problems, or were escaping from something.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                Maybe if you didn’t stay away from monasteries you’d feel differently. I have never met even one as you describe.

              • George Michalopulos says

                RJ, the quirks may exist in the monasteries but they’re not unknown in the parishes.

            • Mike Myers says

              Odd that you would claim to have learned from the monasteries to see how to “absorb the faith,” given how much you spread lies and mischief about so many things on this hell mouth of a site. Frauds with not real ethical core, for whom “religion” is all about surfaces, appearances, rituals, and hollow cant.

              To give you the benefit of the doubt and some left-handed credit, you may see how to absorb your superficial, hollow faith there, but you clearly don’t allow it to get much further than a shallow “seeing.” You have eyes, but you seem to see not. Ears, but you, and many here, seem not to hear.

              Anyway, largely because people like you, Brendan, George, and others lack any humility whatsoever and appear to be little more than arrogant, falsehood-devouring charlatans, Oklahoma is about to become the No. 1 petri dish in the U.S. for the new COVID variant, Delta Plus. OK is already 1st in the nation for new cases, passing even MO in this dubious honor, with growth in spread on the verge of going exponential. By the end of the summer, backwaters filled with invert-minded rubes such as MO, MI, LA, AR and especially OK will likely turn out to be the breeding grounds for a terrible new fall surge of this far more contagious and more severe illness-producing pathogen. One that will run rampant in rural populations who are too stupid and irresponsible to have been vaccinated. Possibly creating the human substrate for an even more terrible mutant to appear that will evade endogenous and pharmacologically induced humoral immunity altogether.

              I’m watching every word here closely and will be preparing a report for your bishops if epidemiologists’ fears are realized. Count on it.

          • Antiochene Son says

            This is a fair criticism, but to look at it from another angle – due to US mis-adventures in the Middle East there is more Arab immigration than ever before, and I am sure Met. Joseph is looking to ministering to them.

            But what Gail wrote about normalizing practices in the Archdiocese is also true, as well as bringing things into line with the Patriarchate’s practices, which is in order.

          • I second Gail regarding the Antiochians.

            That’s who I joined the Church through, at a parish that was half ethnically Arab. The liturgy was all English minus one small part at communion. They also did Byzantine chant all in English.

            I was welcomed with open arms by the Arab and convert people and was always felt loved and welcomed.

            From my understand Met. JOSEPH has been an improvement over Met. PHILLIP (May his memory be eternal). One thing I have heard mentioned a number of times is the emphasis that Met. JOSEPH is placing on monasticism within the Antiochian Archdiocese.

      • Austin Martin says

        Better autocephaly than to remain a schismatic sect like ROCOR did. What was the metropolia supposed to do?

        • AM,

          Reunite under ROCOR (as they were from 1921-1926 and 1934-1946) and await the downfall of the Soviet Union and the enslaved MP. Then they could have reunified with the MP as ROCOR did, as two parts of the same Russian Orthodox Church.

          As it stands, they received their autocephaly from the KGB in trade for the Church of Japan which ended up being quite divisive in and of itself. Why is the new pseudo church in Ukraine called the Orthodox Church of Ukraine? It parallels the naming of the OCA – it is Bartholomew’s revenge for what he considers poaching on his North American territory.

          Fine and dandy. We leave them all to their own devices. the UOC can defend itself with the help of Mother Russia. The OCU only acts as a magnet for those following the Phanar into Uniatism, not having any noticeable demographic effect on the real Ukrainian Orthodox Church. “Patriarch” Philaret has pulled his organization out. Bartholomew is becoming a pariah. And the OCA is a house divided.

          Fight it out amongst yourselves and wake us when it’s over.

          • What gives the phanar the divine right to the USA,,,,,they choose not to be american but a byzantine chant hellenistic ghetto,,,,,they are not part of the fabric of this great country,,,,,from the time of st tikhon the Russian metropoli was connecting with america,,,,,I do not see why we hold them to task

            • rj,

              The significance of the Phanar is widely overblown. It’s a couple thousand Greeks in what is not even the capital of Turkey anymore. It is seen as significant for two reasons. First, due to its former status as the seat of the Eastern Roman Empire (long, long defunct) it tops the diptychs. Were this honor re-evaluated today on the same basis it was originally allocated, they would be far down the list.

              Second, GOARCH, their cash cow. This was the unappreciated genius of what the Soviet Church did in granting “autocephaly” to the Metropolia/OCA. This was during the Cold War. ROCOR was resolutely anti-communist, the Metropolia not really. They had at first agreed with ROCOR that the MP was incompetent to exercise the supreme administrative authority in the ROC due to Sergianism. They betrayed that (correct) conviction in 1946 when they left ROCOR and applied to the MP for autonomy (which was rejected).

              When the Metropolia returned in the late 1960’s looking for autocephaly, the Soviet government saw a golden opportunity. Not only could they get a foothold in Japan, which they’d always wanted, through jurisdiction over the Japanese Orthodox Church, but they could throw a wrench in the claimed American territory of the Phanar. Everyone knew at the time, as is known now, that the Phanar is simply an extension of the US State Department and intelligence services. It is their lap dog, obeying its master’s will. Thus Phanar = US government.

              It is only in this light that the cunning of the Soviet government in granting its limited “autocephaly” to the OCA stands out. It was a direct attack on the Greek Archdiocese of America, the cash cow of the Phanar. Claiming autocephaly was the assertion that an American Orthodox Church was being born, at the expense of GOARCH, the Phanar and the United States government. The MP lost nothing because prior to granting the “autocephaly”, the Metropolia was not under its jurisdiction any way. The Carpatho-Russian leadership of the Metropolia could not get along with anyone, proving this repeatedly by their alienation from both the MP and ROCOR.

              If you see a mad dog, do not shoot it. Catch it and release it in your enemy’s yard.

              Constantinople understood immediately the implications and rejected the claim of autocephaly as soon as it was made, reiterating their assertions regarding Canon 28 of the IV Council. As a practical matter, Greeks tended to stay with the Greek church, Slavs with the Slavic churches. However, the OCA did much missionary work in America based on its assertion of its independence from “foreign” patriarchates. Had GOARCH the will, these converts might have fattened the coffers of the Phanar.

              My guess is that the Soviets did not understand how deeply ethnocentric the Greeks would remain and thought that the existence of an “autocephalous” American Orthodox Church would cut much more deeply into the Phanar’s feeding trough. Nonetheless, I know of a number of pious Greeks, beyond our gracious host here, who have moved from GOARCH to the OCA. Were it still the Metropolia, I do not know if this would have been the case.

              ROCOR has, of course, stood clear of the whole fiasco. We were not going to touch the Soviet church with a ten foot pole until the collapse of communism. Nor were we going to embrace a sort of xenophobic Anglo-phyletism as a selling point for Orthodoxy. Unlike the Greek churches in America, the Russian churches have always welcomed all Orthodox and all newcomers as can be gleaned from stories written about our parishes dating back into the 19th century.

              You may find a list of parishes by country on the ROCOR website which has quite a few parishes for any number of Central and South American countries: Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, etc.

              While it is noteworthy that the OCA also has many parishes in Central and South America, it should be noted that the ROCOR is not confined simply to the Americas. It was the Free Russian Church during the communist period and thus has parishes throughout the Russian diaspora wherever that may be as well as an increasingly conscious missionary emphasis. Many new ROCOR parishes in the US are all English usage, for example.

              I love the Greeks. My godfather is Greek and I spent over eight years in the Greek church here. That said, the main weakness in the Greek church is not ethnocentrism but cosmopolitanism. Greeks are quite proud of their heritage and language, as they should be. But they are also too proud to be modernists and “with it”. Any missionary success is going to be based on selling traditional Christianity. Not Orthodoxy lite Byzantine Protestantism or Greek Catholicism. Paradoxically however, this emphasis on modernism serves to insure that the Greek church will remain Greek. And that may be the unspoken point.

            • To play advocate, (most) Greek parishes in the South & West coast are more convert friendly or are at least half convert. They usually use byzantine chant in English.

              I think most people’s perceptions of the negatives of GOARCH are from the ethnic ghettos of the Northeast. This is always true, but, from my experience in the above mentioned geographic regions the GOA parishes/priests I have been to and met have been top notch.

              • rjklancko says

                Why use byzantine chant,,,,why not western music

                • Antiochene Son says

                  Because Byzantine chant is conceptually and theologically tied to its text, and is part of the patrimony.

                  Christians both East (Byzantine, Znamenny) and West (Gregorian) are rediscovering their ancient monophonic chant traditions and that is a good thing. And it is leading to growth. A Catholic parish near me switched to all Gregorian and that parish is exploding with growth. These are good things.

        • ROCOR was also *never* considered schismatic by the Moscow Patriarchate during the entire communist period.

          Its important to be clear and to set the record straight. Yes, the communists couldn’t stand ROCOR because it was relentless in its anti-communist stance. But the MP never considered it schismatic and always knew it was fully Orthodox. In the “free” parts of the world, ROCOR bishops concelebrated all the time with other brother Orthodox hierarchs as the bishops of the free Russian Orthodox Church.

          It wasn’t until Greek sectarians took over part of ROCOR between the late 1960s-1980s that these “myths” of ROCOR schismatic-ness began to surface.

          Austin, it’s important to separate the facts from your personal dislike of ROCOR. I’m sorry if your ROCOR experiences thus far haven’t been good. Yes that can happen, unfortunately. But the facts are facts.

          The ROCOR/Metropolia split had more to do with the Russian vs Carpatho-Russian and monarchist vs non-Monarchist divide than anything. In 1946 the Metropolia left ROCOR bc they thought they’d be able to reconcile with the MP. Then the MP turned around and required Soviet loyalty oaths of the Metropolia in order to reconcile. The Metropolia said no, but they’d already burned too many bridges with ROCOR to go back. So then they were alone & isolated.

          Then a few years later Frs Alexander Schmemann and John Meyendorff arrived from Paris in the early 1950s to lead the self-isolated Metropolia group. They weren’t bishops but they did a decent job. It was probably the first instance of an Orthodox Church being led by seminary professors and not bishops. Met. Leonty was wonderful but the Metropolia bishops really did let the SVS crowd run mostly everything.

          • FTS,

            What you stated is correct but to elaborate slightly it may clarify from whence some of the confusion stems:

            Two points are worth noting. Up until around 1962, the ROCOR was considered by most of the rest of the Orthodox world as the free Russian Church, excepting of course the MP due to the ROCOR’s condemnation and the MP’s embrace of atheistic communism.

            During the period 1968-1975, Met. Philaret of the ROCOR issued three “Sorrowful Epistles”, as well as other correspondence, bemoaning the ecumenism in the modernist local churches.


            This alienated some in the New Calendar churches who began to somewhat marginalize the ROCOR.

            Secondly, ROCOR received some Greek Athonite monks from the Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Brookline in 1965 who took it upon themselves to become informal spokesmen in the English speaking world for the ROCOR. These monks had left GOA over ecumenism and eventually left ROCOR for ostensibly the same reason (!), finally settling in HOCNA. However, their attitude toward modernist Orthodox was much more severe than that of the ROCOR synod and so this ended up misrepresenting the true sentiments of the Church Abroad (which never officially denied the grace of the mysteries of the New Calendarists, or of the MP for that matter).

            During all of this convolution, both Serbia and Jerusalem remained largely in unbroken communion with the ROCOR and, moreover, intercommunion with the modernist local churches was intermittent but never officially severed. There developed the practice of “walling” in ROCOR which was aimed at keeping modernist practices out. Also, one needed to confess the week before communion in a ROCOR parish which was often not necessary in modernist parishes. Furthermore, there was an unwritten tendency of some ROCOR parishes to dissuade communion of modernist visitors due to the discrepancy in calendars (I personally experienced this). But this was far from uniform and not an official rule. Met. Kallistos (Ware), for example, has fond memories of concelebration with ROCOR hierarchs during this period.

            Of course, the murky waters cleared on May 17, 2007, when the newly freed MP and the ROCOR formally reunited.

            In retrospect, Met. Philaret’s Epistles were prophetic, as were some of the writings of St. John of Shanghai, regarding the CP and the progression of modernism. They saw with almost clairvoyant acumen the Trouble which has engulfed the Church. It is, perhaps, for that reason that the Church Abroad (and the Serbs, and Jerusalem) stand most aloof from all the foolishness, having been long prepared by the witness of holy men and saints.

          • “Austin, it’s important to separate the facts from your personal dislike of ROCOR”

            Austin should try convincing his own OCA not to venerate “arch-schismatics,” like St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco, before he shares anymore personal evaluations of ROCOR’s canonical status during the time period.


      • A thousand times, THANK YOU Father!

      • Mariam Visagio says

        Great from the EP to the Sergianists!

      • Is Met Kirill still a Billionaire in Alcohol and Tobacco…just wondering. And who do Billionaires hang out with?

  4. Austin Martin says

    Now, to be fair, His Beatitude did address one of the elephants in the room, which is the whole LGBTQ+EIEIO thing. St Bart’s is ground zero for this nonsense in Gotham.

    This line was legitimately funny.

  5. CS Louis says

    What is the standing of the OCA with the Moscow Patriarchate currently? I am having trouble keeping track of which/who is in or out of communion with the other.

  6. Fr. Basil Papanikolaou says

    This brief note pertains to the so called Church Canons in general and Apostolic Canons in particular. As a student of Theology of the University of Athens, I had the opportunity to have a number of distinguished professors, among them Hamilcar Alivizatos, teaching Canon Law. He had written extensively on the subject and one of his frequent oral aphorisms was that “THE ROOT PF MOST OF OUR CHURCH PROBLEMS ARE THE CANONS, NOT ONLY BECAUSE THEY ARE ANACHRONSTIC BUT BECAUSE MOST OF THEM ARE NOT GEBUINE, THEY ARE FAKE.”
    As an example, he used to emphasize the fact that the so called Apostolic Canons had nothing to do with the Holy Apostles, but were written much later, perhaps during the 4th or 5th centuries and were attributed to the Apostles for prestige, to support the writers views, sometimes utterly unrealistic and often heretical.
    Today, anyone can, thanks to Google, find ample support to the late professors ideas and assertions.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Was it his contention that they were all fake? If not, what do you think he would say about the ones we’ve posted here that are causing all the problems?

    • Wow, he sounds like a real modernist. The Church – in its wisdom, I may add – accepted these canons at the Ecumenical Councils and continues to use and apply them to this day, with that application obviously being weighed up against the contemporary context AND the Tradition of the Church.

      If we had no canons, then literally anything would be acceptable and no one would have any recourse to a higher authority in cases of egregious abuses of power or violations of ecclesiastical disciple. In fact, there would be no such thing as ecclesiastical discipline.

      It almost sounds like the theological equivalent of the ‘defund the police’ movement, and would only benefit those who are already lawless, like the Phanar.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Apropos of the whole insanely demonic defund the police movement: even the criminals are having second thoughts.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Fr, would that included Canon 28 of Chalcedon?

    • Jonathan says

      Father, this is simply more proof of the utter uselessness and extreme arrogance of the vast majority of modern academics. The canons in question were given the seal of approval by numerous saints, and indeed in many cases, by the whole Church in council. Whether the Apostolic Canons were written directly by the Holy Apostles is immaterial. They are called “Apostolic” because they express the Apostolic tradition, as do all the canons.

      Who gave this professor (a title which loses more credibility every year) the right to judge Saints and Councils?

    • Antiochene Son says

      One can find Orthodox professors who even think books of scripture were not written by their traditional authors. Even if true (it’s not) does it matter?

    • Fr. Basil,

      I have held off on reacting to your comment because you appear to be a priest and others seem to have taken you to some task. However, that is perhaps the most heterodox comment I have ever seen on Monomakhos, and that’s saying something.

      The reasoning is reminiscent of liberal Protestant higher criticism. We have never concerned ourselves as to whether the body of the Apostolic Canons came directly from the hands of the apostles. That is a bit of a strawman. Canon law derives its authority from the steadfastness to Tradition of the synod which introduced the respective canon.

      It is either ignorant or dishonest to claim that most of the canons are “fake”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Some canons are more solid than others, of course, depending on by whom and how they were adopted. But canon law is the reasoning of the Apostles and their successors on practical matters which guides our “housekeeping”, so to speak.

      Now, I understand perfectly why a papist would want to be free of canon law. He would see it as a straightjacket and impediment to willful despotism. This is partially because the canons were designed as an impediment to willful despotism. What they loose is loosed; what they bind is bound. They are meant to be administered by bishops and synods with appropriate amounts of strictness and mercy, as the Spirit moves the Church.

      But make no mistake, they prevent us from chaos and tyranny. Also, they make things much more pleasantly predictable than they otherwise would be. Anyone can obtain a copy of The Rudder and follow the reasoning of any assertion to see if it reflects the mind of the Church in its economia. And if there is a good faith dispute, it provides the basis for arguing one side or the other before the proper judge and a solid basis upon which the judge may make his decision and to which he may refer as authority.

    • This is a very sad post. The Councils and Saints accepted these teachings. Recent historical speculations, with a prejudiced way of reading data now a thousand or more years more decayed than it was in the time of our God-inspired Fathers, should not be accepted in the Church.

  7. Jane Tzilvelis says

    Thank you for posting this Canon. It’s pretty clear that the OCA is getting tighter with the GOA. Ahh… for the love of government mammon hypocrites will do anything.

    • I think we should organize some sort of action, or petition, to stop this from happening. How can we get started? The powers have to know this will not be acceptable.

      • Jane Tzilvelis says

        The faithful must stand up in church and talk to their brothers and sisters and pastor! Remind them that their “non profit status” has taken away their Constitutional rights because the backscratcher and appeaser bishops bow to government bureaucrats for the perks they receive. They bow to mammon before God. Tell the pastor to tell the bishops that their donation baskets will no longer be filled by the faithful until….

      • Agreed!

    • If coming up to the goa is a reality, then metropolitans platon, theophilus, and lenoty’s work is all for naught

  8. The only thing that’s straining the relationship between the Russian Church and the OCA, in my opinion, is the political sanctions that the U.S. has placed against Russia. Patriarch Kirill had plans before Covid to visit the U.S., but those plans were cancelled because of U.S. sanctions.

    Despite these sanctions, the Russian Church continues to express warm relations with the OCA and apparently without reprimand. For example, the Russian Church’s website discusses Patriarch Kirill’s telephone call to Metropolitan Tikhon last December.

    In regards to Ukraine, Patriarch Kirill personally thanked Metropolitan Tikhon for the OCA Holy Synod’s position on Ukraine. That position, of course, is that the OCA does not recognize Ukrainian autocephaly. Metropolitan Tikhon has noted before that not one of the autocephalous churches has even asked him to recognize it anyways. Though even if he was asked to, Metropolitan Tikhon wouldn’t concelebrate with the schismatics, because that would be the end of his warm relations with Patriarch Kirill.

    It is interesting to note that there is no reprimand of the OCA for concelebrating with the Greek Archdiocese, not for concelebrating even with Patriarch Bartholomew. It would undoubtedly be a completely different matter, though, if Metropolitan Tikhon actually did concelebrate with schismatics.

    • Ummm, the schismatic Ukrainian group is obviously in communion with the EP, having been created by it. Archbishop Michael, a member of Metropolitan Tikhon’s synod, concelebrated with Archbishop Elpidophoros, a member of EP Bartholomew’s synod. Therefore, Metropolitan Tikhon concelebrated, even if not present physically, with Archbishop Elpidophoros and, by extension, with EP Bartholomew and, by extension with the schismatic Ukrainian group. These connections cannot be ignored because the situation speaks directly to Orthodox ecclesiology. One wonders what will happen in the fall when EP Bartholomew comes to New York for the door opening service at St. Nicholas.

      • This is a really good point.

      • See, this is where I get confused. To commune with a schismatic is to become a schismatic, right? Isn’t that Orthodox Ecclesiology 101? The fake church in Ukraine are schismatics. Constantinople officially recognized them and entered into communion with them, so now from the perspective of Moscow, Constantinople is now in schism and Moscow broke communion with them. Yet Moscow remains in communion with the other canonical jurisdictions who also remain in communion with Constantinople. So if bishop A from the OCA communes with bishop b from Constantinople is bishop A now a schismatic and then if he communes with bishop C from Antioch, is bishop C now a schismatic, and so on? Moscow has broken communion with individual bishops like the primates of Greece, Cyprus, and Alexandria, but remains in communion with bishops under them who reject the Ukrainian schismatics yet continue to commune with said primates. It’s very confusing…

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Perhaps Moscow has to anathematize him (formal ex-communication). Maybe the breaking of communion is done first to allow for repentance.

        • At this level, they don’t take it to the third party. So, for example, if Constantinople communes with schismatics in Ukraine, they are taboo. If other Greek led local churches commune with the OCU, they too are taboo. But not everyone who communes with Constantinople or the other errant Greek churches are therefore taboo. Only the direct offenders.

          Were Constantinople to be anathematized for heresy (or schism) or commune with Rome (heretics), that would change.

          To be simply excommunicated cuts one off from the mysteries of the Church if one is an individual and, if one is a local church, severs communion with the rest of the Church. However, in both cases, the errant individuals are still considered part of the Church, but under its discipline as members.

          Anathema severs all connection with the Church. Any purported mysteries served by the anathematized are graceless. It is not simply that they are no longer canonical, they are no longer the Church in any sense.

          “In the acts of the Councils and the further course of the New Testament Church of Christ, the word “anathema” came to mean complete separation from the Church. ‘The Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes’, ‘let him be anathema’, ‘let it be anathema’, means a complete tearing away from the church. While in cases of ‘separation from the communion of the Church’ and other epitimia or penances laid on a person, the person remained a member of the Church, even though his participation in her grace filled life was limited, those given over to anathema were thus completely torn away from her until their repentance. Realizing that she is unable to do anything for their salvation, in view of their stubbornness and hardness of heart, the earthly church lifts them up to the judgement of God.” –

          • Misha,

            But C’ple made “Patriarch” Filaret Denisenko – who had been *anathematized* by the Church years before – the head of its fake “church creation” in Ukraine !

            So C’ple clearly concelebrated not just with schismatics, but with someone who’d been anathematized!!

            How does that affect the dynamic, in your opinion?

            • FTS,

              It doesn’t, really.

              Everyone knows Constantinople is heretical already, Philaret or no Philaret. Sine paribus is heresy. Nonetheless, Orthodoxy is like an aircraft carrier. It turns gradually if at all. To anathematize Constantinople would draw a line to other local churches that intercommunion with the Phanar means automatic excommunication by the MP. Moscow is not ready to do that. If the Phanar came into communion with Rome, then they would have to go there.

              • I have struggled with this, but, as a lay person the unanimous advice that I have received from the clergy is to wait until Constantinople is officially anathematized and to not “do it” ourselves as it is up to the bishops, the same clergy who gave me this advice also said that it will more than likely come to that

      • One wonders what will happen in the fall when EP Bartholomew comes to New York for the door opening service at St. Nicholas.

        Though I wish it were not so, short of a massive hurricane I suspect most hierarchs will smile for the cameras, pay their “respects,” and pretend all is rosy, preferring the idol of false unity to unity in truth. Schism is a horrible thing that everyone seems to fear being blamed for while forgetting that those who have departed from unity in truth are creating schism, not those who stand firmly within it.

        How they can speak to us of holding to firmly to the faith of the Fathers with straight faces eludes me.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          They’re going to find a crowbar to let him in. There is NO WAY St. Nicholas is going to be ready.

          • My understanding is that the door opening can/will be held even though the church will not be ready for formal occupation, services, etc. The church will not be completed until some time in 2022. They are doing the door opening to coincide with the 20th anniversary of 9/11. The EP will also be presenting the Patriarch Athenagoras Human Rights Award to the three men who head up the companies that developed Covid vaccines.

          • Oh, Gail…how I concur with your statement. I have a friend that lives not far away from the St. Nicholas Church/Shrine. He says that they never seem to be making any progress. This, despite the supposed influx of new $$$ to finish this boondoggle! (If this had been a military contract, then congressional investigations would have been well underway by now!)

          • And thank God if it is not. It will be a mockery

          • rjklancko says

            Why not use the millions for a more christian project than a brick and mortar museum?????? Think of the good all that money could have done at st jude’s or the shriners hospitals,,,,,st nicholas is an embarrassment for us all,,,,,

            • Antiochene Son says

              Truth. How many Orthodox mission parishes could have been planted with the $80+ million that has been wasted on this glorified tombstone? At least a couple hundred.

      • Wouldn’t it have been better if the millions wasted on st nicholas were used to create an eastern orthodox sponsored wing at st jude’s hospital? That would have been a true symbol of hope and outreach to america

        • Building our own hospital maybe. We shouldn’t embark on major projects in collaboration with heretics.

          That said, flushing it down the toilet would have been a better use of this money than spending it on the filthy ecumenical modernist horrorshow they are building in New York. The people who flew the planes into the WTC did less damage to the world. At least if they are still planning on including the interfaith prayer room.

      • Antiochene Son says

        No, the “communion line” idea cannot be used to anathematize bishops by association. See this brief presentation on the subject:

  9. Gail, I sent you an email related to this post ??

  10. As a student of history it seems to me that metropolitans platon, theophil, and leonty would have drawn a distinct line in the sand and not entertained the goas shennagins,. It should be evident that the goa is not following the principles of orthodox christianity,,,,,hellenistic sectarianism seems to be their main focus,,,if so this is tragic

    • Add to that list Metropolitan Philaret of New York and Archbishop John of San Francisco. Archbishop Iakovos went to the ROCOR cathedral for Metropolitan Anasstasy’s wake. When asked why he went, Archbishop Iakovos said because the metropolitan was a true Orthodox bishop.

    • the Ossetian says

      You are exactly right and the fact is you have some in the East 2nd street (OCA cathedral NYC) celebrating what happened at St Bart’s and celebrating pride month/year..sigh.

  11. The Divine Liturgy does not have to be celebrated in a consecrated church, and may be celebrated anywhere (in good or bad taste) with an antimension and be perfectly valid. Don’t let your hatred of the GoA get in the way of a validly celebrated Divine Liturgy.

    • It is not true the Divine Liturgy can be celebrated anywhere with an antimension. The liturgy celebrated in St. Batholomew’s church was not just in bad taste. The liturgy was celebrated on a consecrated Episcopal altar. This has nothing to do with hatred of the GOA. It has everything to do with love of Orthodoxy.

      • Antiochene Son says

        Devil’s advocate: The Episcopalians have no grace and no sacraments, so their altar is not consecrated and it’s an ordinary table.

        The Divine Liturgy can be celebrated anywhere; it is customary to bless the place with holy water first if it is not a church.

        That does not mean it SHOULD be celebrated just anywhere without good reason. (For what it’s worth, I am uncomfortable with Orthodox parishes having liturgies outdoors in parks for the sake of a summer picnic as well.) But nothing canonically unlawful took place at St. Bartholomew’s. The problem is with the propriety, optics, and implications. And this squishy attitude can lead to unlawful acts, but it did not here.

        I for one think it’s wise to stay well away from the cliff, and not play on the edge just because it’s technically safe.

        • AS,

          Canon law prohibits prayer with schismatics and heretics. Now, if Episcopalians visit an Orthodox church and pray our prayers with us, so long as they do not serve at the altar or receive communion, there is no issue. We are validating nothing about their beliefs.

          However, going into a heretical church and serving liturgy, notwithstanding the fact that no heretics were communed, still violates the canons against common prayer. This is so because you are acknowledging the legitimacy of their confession by serving in their “church”. It is the equivalent of attending one of their prayer services without taking communion. Still prohibited.

          • Antiochene Son says

            To be clear, I agree that the event was wrong. I am just trying to see where the lines are drawn.

            If an Orthodox mission does not have its own building and uses a RC chapel, would that be permissible? Is the issue with Elpy’s little adventure that there are dozens of Orthodox churches in the vicinity that could have been used?

            • AS,

              I do not see how you can avoid the appearance of recognizing them as part of the Church if you use their altar. Would you return the favor and let them use our altars?

              In answer to the second question, no, while that adds insult to injury, celebrating a guest liturgy at a heretical church is simply a no-no regardless of what else is available. Find a park. At least in a park, there is no apparent endorsement of the host as a legitimate part of the Body of Christ.

              There is too much of the “we are all one big happy, disfunctional family” attitude of ecumenism at large in the Church today. Read about how the Church Fathers actually viewed and treated schismatics and heretics. You do not get the impression that the American custom of denominational tolerance and agnosticism as to the ultimate truth was their attitude, nor should it be ours. It may seem impolite, and we should be as polite and loving as possible about our difference as possible. But this does not include treating heretics as just another branch up the street. We need not use the terms “heretic” or even “heterodox”. But we must maintain our boundaries and avoid confusion as to what is and what is not the Church.

              • The altar over the relics of St. Nicholas in Bari, Italy is used every morning for Roman Catholic Mass. After their Mass is finished, on Thursdays, a Russian Orthodox priest then sets up for Divine Liturgy and celebrates it over the very same altar. The Russian Orthodox Church apparently has some type of agreement from the Roman Catholics to do this, and it is a weekly occurance. I’ve witnessed it myself.

                • Yes, but the relics are of St. Nicholas of Myra. Under the circumstances, there is little danger of the appearance of endorsement of Roman Catholicism.

              • Antiochene Son says

                Would you return the favor and let them use our altars?

                No, there is no need to return any favor. I am not in favor of politeness when it comes to this.

                But ngl, I do like the image of conquest when we use their altars but don’t let them commune from the gifts offered thereon. I’m actually surprised we aren’t hearing offended screeches from the Episcopalians over this.

                • “I’m actually surprised we aren’t hearing offended
                  screeches from the Episcopalians over this.”

                  Ethnic exotica is sanctified by Diversity…

            • AS,

              I, for one, am unconcerned with lines. Lines are always nothing more than legal matters for which there are always loopholes that can be created, whether real or contrived. Whether “legally” or not, the spirit of the canons that are intended to protect the faithful was violated and thoroughly trashed.

              1.) This was not a question of necessity (as in the case of a mission parish borrowing space, for example). There was no need whatsoever to celebrate this feast day where they did – none.

              2.) Do not be deceived. Nothing of this nature is ever done (particularly in the GOA) without a highly purposeful intent to send a message. And in the case of those who know they must achieve their goals incrementally, the more vague and subject to interpretation the message the better.

              Lots of “legal” boxes were carefully checked, both liturgically and in the carefully crafted wording of the archbishop’s homily. And yet, there they were celebrating the feast and thanking their heretical and openly apostate hosts. They are without excuse.

              • Antiochene Son says

                I don’t disagree that the optics were terrible and misled the faithful. I suppose I am of two minds on this, but if people are offended or are made to stumble, it was wrong.

                See my post below. It’s a meat offered to idols situation.

        • Again, the Divine Liturgy cannot be celebrated just anywhere. That the Episcopalians have no grace and no mysteries is irrelevant. The problem lies with the hierarch who celebrated a liturgy on an Episcopalian altar. The symbolism is important. And the fact the Episcopalians consider their altar table consecrated with the presence of grace, etc., is important. They didn’t invite the GOA to celebrate liturgy in the church’s back yard. They allowed the GOA to celebrate a liturgy in what they consider the holiest place in their cathedral. And this was certainly taken note of by other mainline Protestant groups.

          • rjklancko says

            It is the subtle signal signal,,,or even the not so subtle signal that is sent,,,,,,we lose and the episcopalians win,,,,,btw how much money did the goa get from the episcopalians to get this fiasco done? The st nicks shortfall?

          • Antiochene Son says

            I guess to me it’s a meat offered to idols situation – idols are nothing so to eat meat offered to them is nothing, as St. Paul said, but if this offends a brother it should not be done.

            To not muddy the waters I agree this liturgy shouldn’t have been done. Or if such a thing is done, it should have an air of conquest. The homily should have been used to condemn the heresies of the Episcopalians and call them to be Orthodox, not celebrate ecumenism. That is the whole failure of ecumenism: there is no call to become Orthodox.

        • Johannes says

          IIRC you’re not supposed to celebrate the Liturgy outdoors.

  12. This beast has only two desires: $$ and the creation of the new World Religion. Why would Syosset walk anything back? Why would they have any concern about their whining parishioners? The OCA/GOA parishioners have proven over and over again that they will continue pumping hard-earned money into the Globalist/Freemasons that run today’s “official orthodox churches” no matter what. Here is a direct quote from the mind of the outraged OCA/GOA parishioner: “I’m warning you! If you keep doing this stuff you leave me no choice but to keep warning you!” Parishioners are the final check on clerical abuses. At this point, the blame is solidly on the parishioners because they willfully remain in communion with increasingly anti-Orthodox behaviors that are entirely consistent with the Agenda.

    • Why is there always a stab at the freemasons,,,,what is the basis of this dig,,,,,as a student of history I have seen that some of the best leaders were bishops, clergy, and laity who were masons ,,,,, the leadership skills taught by this organization are what we lack today,,,,of course because of this skill development many are scared because these people tried where the faint of heart fear to go. Ergo these people are lost sheep needing proper leadership. Time to face the reality of life,,,,,

      • Because the Church has condemned Freemasonry as a foreign religion antithetical to Orthodoxy. Membership in Freemasonry is, therefore, tantamount to apostasy.

        As a student of Orthodoxy, I have seen that the greatest damage done to the Church was done by bishops, clergy, and laity who were masons. The syncretistic religion taught by this organization is what has caused us so many problems today.

        . . . statements in favor of an ‘American Orthodoxy’ show exactly why such a thing has not been possible and, in fact, would be detrimental to the faith as a whole. Your ‘American Orthodoxy’ is just Episcopalianism for hunkies, sorry.

        • rjklancko says

          I take exception,,,the damage that you see is in my interpretation, outside of melitios,, was competent and visionary leadership,,,,they were so good that the goa modeled ahepha after them. We are great at throwing stones and condemning yet do not realize that as you point a finger,,,,three are pointing back at the pointer

          • “We are great at throwing stones and condemning yet do not realize that as you point a finger,,,,three are pointing back at the pointer”

            Speaking of three pointing back at the pointer, the Russian (1932), the Church of Greece (1933), and OCA (Metropolia, in 1960) have all formally condemned Freemasonry. Here’s the OCA/Metropolia’s letter, itself referencing back to the 1933 condemation by the Church of Greece:


            “…the Great Council of Bishops strongly recommends that all Reverend Rectors admonish their parishioners who are members of the Masonic Lodges, and use their pastoral influence, especially during Penance, that they repent and leave the masonic organizations. The parishioners who refuse to do so are to be deprived, as unrepentant sinners, of Holy Communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, to whom is glory and honor forever. Amen.

            “The names of those deprived of Communion must be kept in the parish records as evidence for their exclusion from membership in Parish and Diocesan councils and as delegates to the All-American Sobor. SIGNED by Member of the Metropolitan Council Protopresbyter Feofan Buketoff and Secretary of the Metropolitan Council Right Reverend Joseph Pishtey.”

            By two or three witnesses all things are established.

          • The Freemasons were from their inception a revolutionary organisation committed to the destruction of the Old Order: the Crown and the Church. If people “dig” at them, it’s because they’ve declared themselves the enemies of the Apostolic Church, and they attempt to inject post-Reformation, post-“Enlightenment” ideas into everything they touch.

            Vatican II, the destruction of the Catholic Church, was orchestrated by the Freemasons and their allies, and we need to protect Orthodoxy from a similar fate. Our faith, liturgy, music, canons, every ritual and idea we will ever need already existed in pre-medieval times, and we need to hold onto that against the tide of modernism if we want to have any hope of saving our faith. That makes us fundamentally incompatible with everything Freemasonry stands for.

      • Antiochene Son says

        The Church doesn’t need more accomplished businessmen. Heaven knows the Archons, Order of St. Ignatius, and whatever other “Orthodox Alternatives to Freemasonry” that exist are chock full of them. (I’m not knocking their good work, but people from non-Orthodox backgrounds find these orgs kind of odd.)

        We need leaders who truly know God and who can pray. The Holy Spirit will help them lead if they are worthy of it. The Holy Spirit made the despondent fishermen into Apostles.

        • rjklancko says

          The archons and st ignatius are there to shiphon money off shore and to fund, right or wrong, the pet projects of the bishop,,, not,,doing in many cases what should be done to further domestic christianity

      • LonelyDn says

        You have got to be kidding me.

      • Because they swear allegiance to “The Great Architect in the Sky”. What do you think AHEPA is based on?

        • Yes all this wannabe-Masonic B.S. is based on a less-than attitude that some American Orthodox just can’t quit. It’s so ridiculous. All these inane organizations “Archons,” “Order of St Ignatius,” AHEPA, “Daughters of Penelope.”


          The older I get the more I realize how bad Protestantism is for humanity and the world, including America. It’s greedy, egocentric, and divides people. Always has. The rare exceptions like Dietrich Bonhoeffer are not representative of the protestant groups they come from.

          Let’s act as we should – as an Orthodox church eager to welcome our formerly protestant brethren home as they find Christ in His Holy Church. Protestantism is collapsing and is now merely an LGBTQwerty joke. Let it go.

          This is yet another reason why I love the Russian Church and ROCOR – with few exceptions, it really never has suffered from this “less-than” complex where it feels it must emulate ridiculous American protestant style. It’s also historically been the most economically poor but also most spiritually gifted of all the American jurisdictions. None of these are merely coincidences, in my opinion.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Yeah, the whole DannyThomas/Fatherknowsbest/MayfieldAmerica of the 1950s is dead and buried. Mind you, I’m not happy about it, the 1950s were the Golden Age of the pax Americana, when normalcy reigned and Bishop Fulton Sheen was unapologetically on TV.

            Those were the days, my friend. We never thought they’d end. But they did and now we are asked to bend the knee to one of the ugliest idols ever (George Floyd) while taking down the statues of real American heroes. We are in that moral abyss which the Prophet Isaiah wrote about “woe to those who all evil good and good, evil”.

            Not that Danny Thomas wasn’t a good man. He was. If he were known only for St Jude, he would be considered a giant among men. (As it was, he was a great entertainer, back when that meant something.)

          • Antiochene Son says

            Is Freemasonry a Protestant thing? I am genuinely wondering, because the Protestant confession I was raised in vehemently opposed “The Lodge” as it was called. I always just assumed Freemasons (and all similar fraternal organizations) were anti-Christian.

            If you wanted to “fit in” with other Christians, being a Freemason would be the exact wrong way to do it in my circle!

      • Johannes says

        Masonry is a Satanic enemy of the Church. It is forbidden for Orthodox to have anything to do with it.

  13. Antiochene Son says

    Kudos to all the Orthodox hierarchs who declined to attend. Because I’m sure Elpi invited representatives from other jurisdictions; and having seen the obvious minefield, they said “no way.”

    (Unless they invited only the OCA as a way to thumb their noses at Moscow. Which I suppose is possible, but I think probably not.)

    This was an incredibly stupid thing for Arb. Michael to attend, and it’s worrisome that even our supposedly stalwart hierarchs are so clueless about optics.

    It’s also a great opportunity to play Byzantine dress-up in order to wow all the WASP swells.

    Yep. I am sure this was a major factor in the whole thing. IMO this is the point at which the “smells and bells” approaches idolatry.

  14. Sam Young says

    Ahh, the days when men were men & so were women.

  15. I was watching a video last night of an interview with Fr. Peter Heers that I thought was interesting, and that I thought would actually be a really good post for the blog.

    He briefly spoke about covid and the Church’s response to it. He talked about how there are big parallels between what is currently happening in the Church and the previous heresies of Iconoclasm and Sergianism. The Church survived those and it will survive this. But, I thought a write-up about how our current situation compares to those similar heresies would help people understand what the Church has previously been through and that all is not lost

    • There are strong similarities with both those heresies, as well as the response of the Church during the Decian persecutions, when many bishops abandoned their posts and large numbers of the faithful ‘offering the pinch of incense.’

      There’s also strong similarities from the other side, what I have called ‘COVID Donatism’ already on this site. The Donatist mindset also exists in the former Soviet Union, where ‘Catacomb’ and ‘True Orthodox’ groups – all of extremely suspect lineage and orthodoxy – abound as a resistance to the perceived continuation of Sergianism.

      In the end, the moderate and wise Orthodox Christians who adhere to the Royal Path will continue the work of the Church, while the right and left self-destruct.

      • Jonathan says

        Being moderate does not necessarily equate to being wise.

        Regarding “Covid Donatism,” as has been mentioned by other commenters on this site, the difference is that the apostates whom the Donatists opposed were repentant, had repented publicly, and often had carried out lengthy penances. If they had refused to acknowledge their wrongdoing, the Church would deny them reconciliation.

        Nowhere in the tradition of the Church will you find a “forgive and forget” attitude regarding serious sins, and many sins require a clergyman to be deposed, even if he is repentant (for example, murder or adultery). For apostasy, canonically, a person is actually supposed to be chrismated again, such is the depth of his separation from the Church.

        Furthermore the Donatists taught that the mysteries of clergy who had formerly compromised with the pagan state were graceless. No one is claiming this with regard to Covid, as far as I can see. People are simply saying that the clergy who failed us in the past year can no longer be trusted or respected as they had been before.

      • The only problem is that in the current situation our bishops don’t seem remorseful at all, at least not publicly. During Iconoclasm/Sergianism, etc., I’m not sure if the public repentance was automatic (as we may think), or, if it happened over time after councils & synods were held and deemed the behavior during these periods (Decian persecution included) as being erroneous. Our bishops don’t seem to think they have done anything wrong, which itself is scary.
        At some point hopefully a council/synod will be called to address these issues.

        Unlike the Arian Crisis where almost every (every?) hierarch was in heresy, we have had many bishops/priests/monastics speaking out about the covid measures. We are also very fortunate to have Monomakhos, Orthodox Reflections, Orthodoxy First, and many other Orthodox blogs and resources speaking out as laypeople.

    • According to Orthodox England, Sergianism isn’t a heresy:

      • Fr Andrew does not condemn Sergianism as heresy, true.
        But he does reject it as Erastianism – of subjecting Church to State.
        He also offers a serious historical criticism of why he thinks this is so.

  16. The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia has a presence in 43 countries around the globe, in every habitable continent on earth, except for Antarctica. It manages to do this all while being based in the United States, in New York City. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that ROCOR truly understands the Great Commission, perhaps better than any other Church.

    The OCA, on the other hand, has a presence in only three countries: Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. It only exists on one continent: North America. It doesn’t have any presence in South America at all.

    Thus, the OCA has a lot of catching up to do to even compete with the immense global reach of ROCOR. Personally, I think the OCA suffers from an inferiority complex and tries to make up for it by making friends with the Greek Archdiocese in America.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Rufus, in fairness, the OCA was set up to be the autocephalous church of North America. It’s mission field was that continent. I for one would rather they not go into other continents.

      As for ROCOR, God bless ’em. I hope they set up more parishes/missions in the other continents. Even in Asia Minor.

      • ROCOR already has a parish in Turkey. They have St. Andrew’s Orthodox Church in Instanbul, in the Karakoy district. Perhaps they will open up many more such parishes. There are many Russians who live there and/or visit Turkey.

        It would be amazing if Patriarch Kirill could use his political leverage to allow ROCOR to serve the Divine Liturgy in Hagia Sophia someday. He has already expressed his great dismay that it is not being used for Divine Liturgy, although it is being used as a mosque. Perhaps the Turkish government could even hand the Phanar over to ROCOR as well.

  17. Mark E. Fisus says

    Borrowing the premises of other churches is done all the time, famously by mission parishes. That’s not the same as “concelebrating.” Was a vested lesbian Episcopalian priest also in the altar taking communion during the Orthodox liturgy? Unless you have evidence of something like that, this is a nothing burger.