Is the EP Courting Schism by Signaling Autocephaly for the Ukraine?

The Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate met last week at the Patriarchal residence in Istanbul. The indications are that they were considering granting a tomos of autocephaly to the Ukraine. (See below.)

This would cause tremendous ripples in Orthodoxy. Indeed, we are talking about global –possibly military–ramifications.

For one thing, Russia –the largest Orthodox church–would not be pleased. Mainly because most Orthodox Christians in that country are loyal to the Moscow patriarchate. We are talking about nothing less than another needless provocation –poking the Russian bear–so to speak, by the West.

Second, the situation in the Ukraine is quite chaotic. By most standards, the Ukraine has the most corrupt political system in Europe, approaching levels of incompetence that rival Africa’s. The government itself is illegitimate (being put in place by an American sponsored coup d’etat). Because of this, Poroshenko (the current president) is leveraging the legitimacy of the Orthodox Church for his own cynical political ends.

Regardless, things seem to be heating up. Why now? I for one, believe that the globalists are on the ropes. The Brexit, Trump’s victory and the rise of nationalist parties in Europe were not on the agenda. Then there is the fact of Russia’s resurgence under Vladimir Putin. For the neoconservative/neoliberal Establishment, this is a bridge too far. After all, Russia is a nuclear superpower and as such is a counterweight to the nihilistic program of the West.

Hillary Clinton was supposed to cement the statist policies of Obama. All of this came to naught with the Brexit and Trump’s election. Therefore it is my opinion that the globalists (and their religious agents-in-place) had to strike now.

Regardless, the situation is extremely unsettled. A grant of autocephaly at this point could resound through the halls of European capitals like the gunshot that felled Archduke Ferdinand.

More to follow.

Source: Ukrinform

A meeting of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate took place at the residence of the Ecumenical Patriarch in the Phanar district in Istanbul on April 19-20, the press center of the Kyiv Patriarchate has reported on its Facebook page.
A communique by the Holy and Sacred Synod, following its work, notes that the Ecumenical Patriarchate considered issues related to the church situation in Ukraine and received from the church and civil authorities an appeal that requires the granting of autocephaly and decided to consider this issue by coordinating actions with its sister Orthodox Churches.

“In accordance with the Divine and Sacred Canons, as well as century-old ecclesiastical order and Holy Tradition, the Ecumenical Patriarchate concerns itself with the preservation of Pan-Orthodox unity and the care for the Orthodox Churches throughout the world – especially of the Ukrainian Orthodox Nation that has received the salvific Christian faith and holy baptism from Constantinople. Thus, as its true Mother Church, it examined matters pertaining to the ecclesiastical situation in Ukraine, as done in previous synodal sessions, and having received from ecclesiastical and civil authorities – representing millions of Ukrainian Orthodox Christians – a petition that requests the bestowal of autocephaly, decided to closely communicate and coordinate with its sister Orthodox Churches concerning this matter,” reads the communique published on the website of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on April 22.

The press center of the Kyiv Patriarchate reported: “Given that the Constantinople Synod is generally limited to informing about its meetings without specifying the details, the above communique, by the very fact of its publication, is a significant positive signal of significant changes and the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s readiness to bring the case to its logical positive conclusion.”


  1. Joseph Lipper says

    What on earth would Patriarch Bartholomew stand to gain by granting autocephaly to the Ukraine?

    What would be the motive?

  2. Tim R. Mortiss says

    So now the Ecumenical Patriarch represents “the West”?

    Should the EP be watching his doorknobs?

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Well, Tim, if globalism is the victory of Western ideals, then yes, the EP is the poster child for the West.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Sad, isn’t it?

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        And if the “enemy” is the West, then every enemy can be defined as the West, in one way or another….so, if it’s bad, East becomes West.

        • Michael Bauman says

          The enemy is the nihilism of modernity; the false eschatology of the myth of progress; my own sinfulness.

          Indeed, the evil one is liturgically from the West. This our holy temples face East.

  3. Billy Jack Sunday says


    Won’t acknowledged the OCA’s autocephaly

    Moving to “grant” autocephaly in a Slavic land

    Very interesting

    On a side note, all Bishop’s crowns within the Ecumenical Patriachate will all soon be replaced with “Scumbag Steve” hats

    • George Michalopulos says

      Billy Jack, I’m glad I withheld certain comments on the EP’s possible decision. And that you picked it up. I see that great minds think alike.

      Isn’t the irony delicious? Here in America we have a nation that is crying out for a united, autocephalous Church, one that is recognized by the Phanar, where we could actually do some good. Instead we have in the Ukraine a bloodlands which was devastated by the Unia and which has set Slav against Slav with not one, but three, Orthodox sects and two Catholic sects.

      How pray tell will Poroshenko receive the gift of autocephaly when the majority of the Orthodox (and none of the Catholics) living in the Ukraine will recognize this gift? Under such a scenario, the newly-minted “Patriarchate of Kiev” would then simply be Ukrainian OCA. And that would be the best-case scenario. The OCA’s autocephaly however has not led to internecine warfare in America. One can’t honestly say that that won’t be the case in the Ukraine, can they?

      Or, is it possible, that the autocephaly will be nothing more than a bridge to unite the Uniates under the new patriarchal regime in Kiev? After all, when one looks at the broad scope of Bartholomew’s archpastorate, one sees not merely a litany of questionable actions, but the very real (and stated) desire to effect a Unia between Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

      Don’t ask me how but I believe that the EP will use the Ukrainian autocephaly as the means to that end.

      If so, Lord have mercy.

      • Billy Jack Sunday says



        To stamp out the spark of Ligonier and light the powder keg of Kiev

        They must have included an “Opposite Day” somewhere in the Revised Julian Calendar

        Like you said, The Ukraine has three Orthodox sects, two Catholic and a huge unia problem

        Don’t forget the mass influx converts to Pentecostal and Baptist churches there.

        Protestant missionaries from America rushed to the Ukraine years ago. It is apparent that they were fairly successful in gaining converts. So much so that some of the Ukrainian converts to Protestantism are beginning to evangelize over here

        I dont believe I’ve ever met a Ukrainian who was Orthodox. They have either been Protestant or secular – and I’ve met quite a few here and there over the years

        For the most part, they seem to stick pretty tight within their culture here in America

        However, I’ve seen some of their evangelical groups begin to evangelize here as well

        In fact, a Ukranian Protestant Pastor came to our door to drop off an Amazon package. While there, he plugged his church.

        This was on Pascha – I kid you not

        • George Michalopulos says

          It’s funny what you describe (and all too true). The Mormons have even built a temple in Kiev if memory serves. My feeling is that if there is to be a recognition of autocephaly, it will die aborning or become a joke in no time flat.

          The Phanar has a “reverse Midas touch” in that everything that the Phanar has touched since 1994 has turned to dross.

          • Billy Jack Sunday says

            I must preface the below comments as being by best understanding – I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject – I’m no canon lawyer

            There is something to be said that the church must be local

            If a local church essentially becomes permanently adjacent because of historic reasons, it is up to the adjacent church and remaining and/or reconstructed local reality to work things out – not some type of long distance pope wannabe like entity

            This way, locality is still preserved within a certain parameter – even if both parties feel a divide

            [Unfortunately, I do believe various temporal empires can seriously interfere in a negative way if merely looking out for number one]

            In other words, it’s an issue for Kiev and Moscow I would think – no matter how unsatisfied Kiev may or may not be at the moment

            Constantinople is not the mother church of whatever is going on in Kiev now. If Moscow were to no longer be the local church there, it would become the mother church of the reconstituted reality there, not Constantinople. That’s my understanding, anyway

            The EP is far removed from this reality at this point and is definitely not adjacent but long distance

            EP is being extremely hypocritical here and has no true claim to interfere

            Funny thing is

            If the EP is not the one to go to to figure out things in Kiev, why would the EP be the one to go to to figure things out for America?

            Is Constantinople’s claim over America any more valid?

            What city is closer to Constantinople? Kiev or Los Angeles?

            IMO – Constantinople’s claim in the new world is bogus even if they claim a certain mission in North America by a certain date (giving them a pass for it)

            Constantinople has never been adjacent to us.

            Bust out Google Earth

            There is a lot less water between Russian lands and North America than there is between Turkey and New York

            Sarah Palin (spoof) said she could see Russia from her house – not Turkey

            If anything, to me it seems that the local vs adjacent reality helps validate the legitimate claim and reality of the OCA

            Neither Constantinople or Russia is over us now – IMO

            What we have is the OCA (local) and the other juristictions in America (which are local, adjacent and distant all at once)

            Regardless, all Bishop’s in America are local (regardless of juristiction) as long as they live here (It is hard to express what I mean here)

            In my opinion, it is not for Russia, the EP, or any other foreign throne to figure us out

            We (OCA along with GOA, AOA, ROCOR, etc) here in America must figure it out cooperatively ourselves. We are both the local and adjacent and distant church – a historic paradox

            This is where Ligonair was right on

            • I think Ukrainian situation can be compared to Greece. Why does church of Greece not have a Patrarch as other main Orthodox churches.? Is it not venerable in it’s history??
              Reason is because of an unspoken agreement with CONSTANTINOPLE because if this happened what would CONSTANTINOPLE be? Same for Moscow. Although numbers changing as more churches built, but from communist times the BASE in Terms of churches and believers for Moscow was in Ukraine.
              Perhaps as Church of Russia with growing churches in Siberia etc becomes more the BASE, it will be able to let go of Ukrainian church and for there to be a Ukrainian Orthodox patrarchate. This would give people a focus. Is what happened in BALKANS. And would pull rug from under feet of Philaret and rest.
              As for UNIA, if we have UNIA with agreement on Orthodox faith why not? If not, NO. Simple

              • Estonian Slovak says

                I personally feel that Moscow could have diffused the situation in Ukraine by granting autocephaly to its autonomous church there. If they could grant it to the OCA in 1970 for a country which has maybe 1% Orthodox population, if that, why not for Ukraine? The great majority of Ukrainian people are Orthodox. The reason you still have the Unia in Western Ukraine is because when Poland was partitioned between Russia, Austria, and Prussia at the end of the 18th century, Austria provided fertile ground for survival of the Unia in that part of Western Ukraine which it acquired.

                • I disagree. There is little that Moscow, or anyone, can do to calm or “diffuse” a situation in which a person feels they are “wronged” and are owed something. “Patriarch” Filaret excommunicated himself by his actions, and the Russian Church formalized his own self-excommunication.

                  “Patriarch” Filaret has had an axe to grind since he was passed over for Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch following the death of Patriarch Pimen in 1990. Patriarch Alexei II became Patriarch, even though Filaret had been Patriarchal locum tenens immediately following Patriarch Pimen’s death.

                  Other than making Filaret patriarch of the Russian Church, little could have been done to appease him. Hence, this “Kyivan Patriarchate” schism that we have now, which Patriarch Bartholomew is trying to capitalize on politically in order to maintain his self-perceived relevancy to world Orthodoxy. Good times.

                  • Estonian Slovak says

                    Not disagreeing about Filaret. I think I wrote about him before. Yes. suddenly he jumped on the Ukrainian bandwagon, even though, according to a priest I know who was there, he never ever used a word of Ukrainian in church.
                    But according to the same priest, by rights Filaret should have been made Patriarch of Moscow. I imagine if that had happened, he’d be a flag waving Russian nationalist, blasting Ukraine. That’s what happens when you have a Soviet upbringing, you learn to shift with the power. And if the Communists came back into power, Filaret would be with them,too.
                    No, Moscow could say, screw Filaret and screw Poroshenko too. They could proclaim autocephaly for Ukraine with Metropolitan Onufry as first hierarch, since he already heads the canonical church. It would not please everyone, but we aren’t going to get perfection in this world.

                • Agree. All at fault as pilot first and Christ no where uniates are increasingly worshipping in de -latinised way which can only bring good results.

            • Billy Jack Sunday says


              If the MP acknowledged autocephaly for the Ukraine, that would be like a church plant

              The EP “granting” autocephaly to the Ukraine would be to split a church, not plant

              Big difference between a church plant and a church split

              Again, IMO, if all the American bishops including the OCA bishops got together for Ligoniar Part II and were successful this time, I do not believe this would be schism with the rest of the Orthodox world – to separate from foreign patriarchs – because OCA is already autocephalous. This makes the problem our right to resolve ourselves

              I really think the Russian church did us a solid by granting the OCA autocephaly. They just can’t do everything for us.

              We got to be willing to do the rest

              It’s up to us to approach our bishops about this and support them in such efforts. With the pressure they get, they probably just can’t do it on their own without us if they wanted to

              The OCA and the other juristictions would combine and become

              The Orthodox Church in the United States

              Is anyone else seeing this?

              George – get your cross ready

              • Joseph Lipper says

                Billy Jack Sunday,

                One thing that definitely needs to be gone with is this OCA title for their primate as “Metropolitan of All America and Canada”. That’s one of the most embarrassing and insulting things I’ve ever heard in the Church. As if Canada is not really part of the American continent.

                Why not say “Metropolitan of All America and Oklahoma”? I believe anyone in the OCA from Oklahoma would rightfully consider that to be insulting, just as Canadians do by the present title.

                • Billy Jack Sunday says


                  I agree

                  That’s super silly and awkward

                  Plus, IMO – Canada and the US should have a healthy distinct territorial boundary

                  That’s plenty of land mass to distinguish, let alone the differences

                  Yeah, try saying in Hawaii that you are going to fly back to the United States

                  That’s not correct and such statements are resented

                  Gotta say you are flying back to “the mainland.”

                  It’s right to do so – as that is accurate

                  • I have no dog in the fight, but I, too, cringe when I hear it. He is either His Holiness, Patriarch of America (which, of course, he is not, though as an autocephalous Church he should be) or he is Metropolitan of the OCA. Even the title Metropolitan is silly in terms of its original meaning, though we have come to accept it. “All America and Canada” would be quite a city (metropolis) indeed – perhaps the only metropolis in history that consists of well over over 2 billion acres of farmland.

                    • Joseph Lipper says

                      I’m always hoping that one day it will be changed. In my opinion, it would make much more sense if it was changed to:

                      “Metropolitan of Washington, Archbishop of North America”.

                      His diocese is the greater Washington D.C. area, and as primate he represents the dioceses of North America. There’s no need to use the term Patriarch. That would just sound silly and overly pretentious given the current state of American Orthodoxy.

                      Is anyone going to the “All American Council” this summer listening?

              • Exactly. Without this we fade to quaint irrelevant greek organ playing, greekfest farce. And i am greek national and proud of my inheritence and history, including food!! But do not want it reduced to this.
                Try worshipping in english in Athens??! Here in Bulgaria where I live, we worship in bulgarian.
                America,Ukraine,need each a autocephalous church worshipping in it’s native tongue. CONSTANTINOPLE csn use Turkish, it’s days are numbered
                In 1922 it recognised the so called living church and asked Tikhon to step down. Well they look like uniates who not shaved for a day, so why not play the part?

        • So sad. THE SAD fact is the greek Catholics probably less like to concert to protestantism than us Orthodox because they have a church dedicated, AND I AM NOT DEFENDING OR SUPPORTING THE PAST NOR UNIA , but they have a church that actively educates and supports it’s faithful.
          I have through friends attended the Ukrainian church in London, Uk for funeral of friend’s mother and memorials and yes obvious Catholic SUBTLE influence but also wonderful congregational sung services and powerful piety, beard clergy ( prostrations etc) that i contrast to organ playing pewed passive greek american churches. LEX ORANDI LEX CREDENDI, as we say.

  4. What ever the rights and wrong of matter, it is obvious that any one.sided move will be very negative to say least. And to whom is he going possibly to granted it to?
    I live in Bulgaria and the Bulgarians who only wanted to worship in their language etc and not greek, do not recall such generosity of spirit until grudgingly 70 years later after being a accused of RACISM. But such double standards for CONSTANTINOPLE nothing new.

  5. Bishop Anaxios says

    If the Ecumenical Patriachate goes forward with “granting” autocephaly to this Kiev church, my brother titular bishops and I will respond by establishing:

    The Patriarchate of Istanbul

    POI, if you will

    Hagia Sofia will be reenvisioned (thought experiment) as an enormous grass hut church and all services (imagined) will be in Pidgin English

    There will be an annual luau in order to raise funds.

    [It is a good thing that things titular do not require money, as we have heard that the surrounding community there is not particularly fond of pork]

    This patriarchate – with all its trappings – will be culturally foreign, confusing and irrelevant for just about everyone. Perfect! [Note: possible exceptions – Elvis fans and Japanese tourists]

    Therefore, we are preemptively seeking out someone to elect as Titular Patriarch.

    We hope to find someone who sounds slightly more reasonable and possibly a bit more qualified to speak on behalf of the Orthodox world

    Perhaps Kirk Cameron

    • I live in Bulgaria, greek citizen. Have a read of how bulgarian Church came into being !!!!
      CONSTANTINOPLE hold back greek american church plus taking it’s money but unable to insist on liturgical Orthodoxy or practice, and same elsewhere. If we gonna have a papacy, let us have the real one in Rome.

    • Bishop Anaxios says

      Regarding the soon to be Patriarchate of Istanbul

      Vestments will be in tropical floral print

      Like a Hawaiian shirt, they will be colorful (including corresponding to liturgical calendar), while being exceptionally comfortable (especially for overweight clergymen)

      We anticipate the possible mass infusion of evangelicals, as Rick Warren is now seriously considering converting

      Maybe some YWAM’ers too

  6. Let em do it.

    The Russian state was founded at Kiev. It moved northeast to better preserve itself against invaders.

    According to the Patriarchal and Synodical Act of this Endemousa Synod: “the throne of the most venerable and Orthodox city of Moscow is and shall be called Patriarchate’ … and all Russia and the Far-Northern Territories shall be subject to the Patriarchal Throne of Moscow and all Russia… It has its place after His Beatitude of Jerusalem in the sacred diptychs and in ecclesiastical gatherings, and so we have firmly retained the canons previously formulated by the holy Fathers.. .it is the head of this region of Moscow and all Russia and the Far-Northern territories and shall be recognized as such in accordance with canon 34 of the holy and all-praised Apostles…”. –

    At the time that Russia gained its de facto autocephaly, most of what is now today the Ukraine was part of the Crimean Khanate. Subsequently, in the middle of the 16th century, most of that territory passed to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth except for the most eastern part of what is now the Ukraine.

    So the question is, “What constitutes the ‘Northern Lands’ referenced by the tomos of autocephaly to Moscow?”

    It seems reasonable to me to infer that all of the Orthodox Eastern Slavs would be included in that definition since those were the kinsman of those in the Russian Empire inhabiting the “Northern Lands”. There is little other basis upon which to define ‘Northern Lands’. It would not be limited to the Russian Empire at that time since that term could have been used as the limiting criteria. Yet a broader term was used for some reason and it is safe to assume that this is it.

    In any case, Moscow has behaved as if the Ukraine is under its omophor inasmuch as the only other players in the field were Latins or Muslims. It is only recently that this has been called into question.

    Whatever the merits of the case, if Constantinople wants to hand Moscow a casus belli, this would likely do it. But they should recall the old Sicilian proverb, “Don’t ask for what you can’t take.”

    • George Michalopulos says

      Misha, thank you for this fascinating history lesson. Francis, this should answer your questions.

  7. Francis Frost says

    George :

    Christ Is Risen!

    You all seem to believe that every ecclesiastical action is strictly governed by the Sacred Canons and that there is a uniform process of creating and maintaining autocephalous communities. Our history, however, is much more complicated than that. All too often, the church’s proclamation of the Gospel of peace has been undermined by hypocritical subservience to power politics

    The Moscow Patriarchate, for example, unilaterally proclaimed its autocephaly in 1448. That autocephaly was only recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1589. At that time, the Moscow Patriarchate did not include the Orthodox churches in what is now Ukraine. Those churches were either under the control of the Roman Pope via the Unia; or were under the omophorion of the Ecumenical Patriarchate via the Rum Millet. It is only after the conquest of Ukraine in the time of Catherine the Great, that the Ukrainian dioceses were incorporated into the Russian church in 1686. That incorporation was never endorsed nor ratified by the Ecumenical Patriarch or any church council. This fact was noted when the Ecumenical Patriarchate granted autocephaly to the church of Poland and the church in Czechoslovakia.

    The Moscow Patriarchate would like to invoke the Sacred Canons to protect its interests in Ukraine. Unfortunately, the Moscow Patriarchate has, itself, been in constant and flagrant violation of those same Canons for the past 25 years. The Moscow Patriarchate has uncanonically invaded and occupied 2 entire dioceses of the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate. Muscovite clergy literally participated in the invasions of Georgian territory and publicly “blessed” the violence against civilian populations. The Moscow Patriarchate created, funded and provided clergy for the schismatic parches created on the ruins of the legitimate Orthodox churches.

    In South Ossetia, nearly 100,000 ethnic Georgians were expelled from their homes in 1991, while Russian “peacekeepers” armed and protected the Ossetian militias during the fighting.  In Abkhazia the Apsua (Abkhazian people) with the help of the Russian army and their allies in the “Union of the Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus”, a Muslim confederacy, the Apsua all but exterminated the Georgian community in Abkhazia. Nearly 47,000 Georgian Orthodox Christians were killed, and nearly 250,000 were driven into exile.

    After the 1992-93 invasion of Abkhazia, the Russian Orthodox Church created a schismatic “Abkhaz Orthodox Eparchy” on the ruins of the legitimate Orthodox Diocese of Tskhumi and all Abkhazia. The “leader” of this schismatic church is the de-frocked Archimandrite Vissarion Apliaa. Despite the obvious schismatic, un-canonical nature of this so-called “Eparchy”; the Moscow Patriarchate has ordained and assigned clergy to this diocese, and has funded its work.

    This Abkhaz Eparchy has since divided into two camps, one still loyal to Moscow, the other has declared itself an “Autonomous Abkhaz Metropolia” with a self ordained bishop, Archmandrite Dorofei Dbar. The 2008 documentary “Orthodox Occupation” describes the participation of the Moscow Patriarchate and its clergy in the history of the aggression against the Georgian nation and the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate. 

     In the “Orthodox Occupation” television documentary, the Russian Bishop Panteleimon of Karabadino-Adyghe is shown con-celebrating with the schismatic Vissarion Apliaa, and officially awarding him the Order of St Seraphim of Sarov on behalf of the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate. This demonstrates the direct involvement of the Moscow Patriarchate in the creation of the schismatic “Eparchy”. By its own published documents; the Moscow Patriarchate stands self-condemned of both schism and heresy.  
    Following the 2008 invasion of Georgia, this same Vissarion Apliaa led the forces that expelled the last legitimate Orthodox clergy from the newly occupied Gali and Kodori districts in eastern Abkhazia in April 2009.  Vissarion Apliaa was received into the ranks of the clergy by the Moscow Patriarchate without a canonical release; and Patriarch Kirill personally con-celebrated with this renegade monk in violation of the Sacred Canons of the Orthodox Church.

    During the genocidal campaign of 1992, Hieromonk Andrea Kurashvili and the Subdeacon Giorgi Adua ,who were restorers and guardians of the Shrine of the Repose of St John Chrysostom, were brutally tortured and martyred. You may read the their Life and Martyrdom on the Mystagogy web-site.

    In August 2008, the Russian bishops, Panteleimon of Kabardino-Adyghe and Feofan of Saratov accompanied the invasion forces and publicly “blessed” the weapons used to attack civilian populations. These “blessings” were televised first in Russia and then in Georgia. You may watch the video with your own eyes as it is included in the “Orthodox Occupation” video on You Tube. These infernal “blessings” are also included in Andrei Nekrasov’s documentary “Uroki Russkogo” (Russian Lessons), which debunks the Russian government’s propaganda campaign of justification for its invasion of Georgia. Mr. Nekrasov’s documentary is also available on You Tube in 12 segments, some with English sub-titles for those who do not understand the Russian language.

    On August 8, 2008, the missiles “blessed” by Bishop Feofan were used attack the ancient Ghvrtaeba Cathedral and the Shrine of the Protomartyr Razhden in Nikozi. On August 9th, the Russian military and their Ossetian allies looted, desecrated and burned this ancient House of God. These weapons were used in bombing raids and missile attacks on civilian populations throughout Georgia, including areas well outside the so-called “zone of conflict”.

    The 2008 documentary “Orthodox Occupation” has been re-released and posted on You Tube at the following url:

    Portions of this documentary plus additional footage are now available with English voice over, titled “Orthodox Occupancy Part 1 and Part 2” at the following urls:

    A television documentary on the destruction of Ghvertaeba and the work of reconstruction carried out by Metropolitan Isaiah may be viewed at:

     By their own actions, the bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate have violated the most ancient Apostolic Canons, and they have spurned the Lord’s commandment to “Love your neighbor as yourself”. They have specifically violated the Apostolic Canons 11-16, and 30 -35.  The prescribed penalty for any one of these crimes against the church is deposition and or excommunication, both for the offender and any who continue to commune with him!
    Through their infernal “blessing” of military weapons of mass destruction, the Russian bishops have blasphemed against the Holy Spirit, since through their actions they have invoked the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life in the cause of murder, mayhem and destruction. Without profound repentance, this sin will not be forgiven; not in this world nor in the next. 
    Despite the enormity of these crimes, His Holiness, Patriarch Ilya II and the Holy Synod of the Georgian Patriarchate have followed the apostolic example of long-suffering and conciliation. “When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we try to conciliate.”  I Corinthians 4:9.  The Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate twice sent a delegation headed by Metropolitan Gerasime of Zugdidi to Moscow to conciliate. The Georgian Patriarchate offered to grant the status of a metochion to the Russian clergy operating in the occupied territories. The Russians refused that offer and demanded the right of conquest. The Russians upbraided the Georgians for “ingratitude” for “all we have done for you”. Relating this story, our friend Meupe (Vladyka) Antony told us; “They have stolen a quarter of my country, killed thousands of my countrymen and have driven hundreds of thousands into exile, and they expect me to be grateful?”

    The leaders of the Moscow Patriarchate believe that they may violate the Sacred Canons and the Savior’s commandments with impunity., and now they want to invoke those very same Canons to protect their own interests in Ukraine. One has to admire their chutzpah, if not their bold faced hypocrisy! The tragedy of the Russian Church is that its leaders have chosen to serve a master who is not Christ.

    These past twenty years of persecution have caused enormous suffering for the Georgian Orthodox faithful. Nearly 50,000 innocent civilians have lost their lives. Almost 300,000 have lost their homes and livelihoods. Two entire dioceses have been laid waste. Heretics are promoted and the legitimate churches destroyed.
    Examples of the suffering of innocents can be read at:

    Related photo album is at:

    Of course the Muscovites, now want to invoke the Sacred Canons, those same Canons that they wantonly violated with impunity. Of course, they cannot do so without being exposed as complete hypocrites. So last October, the MP dispatched the hapless Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev to meet His All-Holiness, Patrriarch Ilya II with two requests.

    First, Patriarch Ilya was invited to the gala celebration of the centennial anniversary of the enthronement of St. Tikhon as Patriarch of Moscow. Secondly, the Russians asked the Holy Synod of the Georgian Patriarchate to renew its offer of the fig-leaf metochion status to its occupation of the Georgian dioceses. His All-Holiness initially agreed to attend the anniversary; but then changed his mind, citing his own frail health. The second request was never considered at all. The Muscovites are still self condemned by the very Canons they want to cite.

    This cannot end well; but NOT for the reasons you all think; rather just the opposite.

    “For this people’s heart has grown callous; their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn back–and I would heal them.” Matthew 12:15
    Francis Frost

    • Estonian Slovak says

      One point, Mr. Frost. Constantinople never granted autocephaly to the Czechoslovak church. It was a missionary territory of the Serbian Orthodox church. Constantinople did interfere, setting up its own eparchy. After WWII, Moscow granted autocephaly to the church of Czechoslovakia. I imagine the Serbs under the thumb of Tito were not in a position to do anything about it.

    • Francis,

      Yes, we are at war. I make no apologies on behalf of Moscow. They know how to make an omelet None of the other local churches are entertaining petitions regarding heresy against the Moscow Patriarch as the Synod of Greece is doing vis a vis Patriarch Bartholomew.

      You can find a largely fictionalized account of the war here:

      For a more realistic assessment, look here:

      This was on top of what happened in Kosovo: the NATO aided establishment of a terrorist KLA led Muslim state in the heart of Europe at the expense of Serbia and others in the region:

      Kosovo had declared its independence in February, 2008, six months before the Russo-Georgian War broke out. Russia looked at the disregard for international law and the redrawing of borders with respect to that conflict as a carte blanche to reorganize things in its part of the world. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

      Senator John McCain, soon to pass from this world, encouraged Mikheil Saakashvili’s fool’s errand in 2008 whereby Georgia “reclaimed” two autonomous provinces created only at the dissolution of the Soviet Union against the will of the residents there South Ossetia and Abkhazia. There was conflict immediately after the establishment of these provinces under Georgian rule and they almost immediately became de facto autonomous

      “Wet start” McCain encouraged Saakashvili to bomb civilian neighborhoods and kill 15 Russian peacekeepers who were in South Ossetia at the time of the attack. I was in the office early that morning, the day the war began, and watched it unfold with interest. At first the stories clearly reported Georgian aggression against the provinces. Ossetians were fleeing toward Russian troops for safety. As the day progressed, the story in the MSM was sanitized to characterize the the whole thing as Russian aggression. It was truly Orwellian to behold.

      So, Francis, we are apparently on opposite sides of this war. You choose to fight with the feminist secular humanists against the Church. As Tom Cruise’s character said to his former commander upon meeting him on the other side of the conflict in The Last Samurai, “I shall look for you on the field.”

    • Assuming that everything you say is true, and it probably is, I’m 100% unsurprised. The Russian Church has always been the stooge of the Russian state, Tsarist or otherwise.

      • Johannes Ypsilantis says

        Even if it is true, Francis’ argument doesn’t make sense. The violation of the Canons by the Russian church does not give any ground for Russian Orthodox parishes in the Ukraine to violate them in turn. The church is always full of sin; we may protest, always open to correction because we are full of sin too, but if the Church punishes us or excommunicates us we do not leave, but humbly go back again and again to beg forgiveness and pray that the Lord opens all of our eyes to the truth. People who excuse their own sins by way of the sins of others, or who leave the Church – even when they are in the right over a cause the Church is violating – are no servants of Christ. Participating in schism is a sin far worse than murder. “But do we then participate in evil?” No, but we go back again and again, patiently explaining what we believe and listening sincerely to the explanations of others, in an attitude of total submission to Christ and His Church.

  8. Could our EP be taking direction from the US..”The Company”? Wouldn’t be the first time.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Probably. The Military Industrial Complex and the Trotskyite Neocons have an irrevocable death-wish when it comes to Russia.

  9. Here comes a big wave:

    The Phanar is moving forward on Ukrainian autocephaly.

    • George Michalopulos says

      In reading this link Misha, I’m coming to the conclusion that there may very well be “less here than meets the eye”.

      Consider, the EP is using this as a stratagem to “coordinate inter-Orthodox dialogue” re the granting of autocephaly. In other words, he has tacitly accepted the tactic that he himself –alone that is–can grant autocephaly. Only that he would “coordinate” discussion among the other primates. That is, if I’m reading this right. If so, that’s a huge concession.

      Well, we can be sure that the overwhelming majority of the primates will not accede to Ukrainian autocephaly.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        The words, “decided to closely communicate and coordinate with its sister Orthodox Churches concerning this matter,” is a clear attempt to obfuscate. Is he going to seek the input and approval from his brother bishops or is he going to inform them after the fact? In both cases, he would be “communicating & coordinating,” wouldn’t he?

        It’s flat-out weird that a governing body can tell the EP he has to grant autocephaly because the majority of the parliament voted for it. What about #3 of Article 35?

        Constitution of Ukraine, Article 35: Freedom of Religion

        (1) Everyone has right to freedom of beliefs and religion. This right includes the freedom to profess any religion or profess no religion, to freely practice religious rites and ceremonial rituals, alone or collectively, and to pursue religious activities.

        (2) The exercise of this right may be restricted by law only in the interests of protection of the public order, health and morality of the population, or protection of the rights and freedoms of other persons.

        (3) The Church and religious organizations in Ukraine are separated from the State, and school is separated from the Church. No religion is recognized by the State as mandatory.

        (4) No one is exempt from his duties to the State or refuse to abide by laws on religious grounds. If the performance of military duty contradicts the religious beliefs of a citizen, the performance of this duty is replaced by alternative (non-military) service.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Folks, I think I dropped the ball on this one. Upon re-reading it yet a third time, it appears that the EP thinks he can unilaterally declare autocephaly for a daughter church and all he has to do is “communicate and coordinate” said declaration with the sister churches.

        Or am I wrong?

        • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

          George, what seems most ominous to me is this portion of the communique promulgated on the EP’s website:

          “. . . the Ukrainian Orthodox Nation that has received the salvific Christian faith and holy baptism from Constantinople. Thus, as its true Mother Church, it examined matters pertaining to the ecclesiastical situation in Ukraine, as done in previous synodal sessions, and having received from ecclesiastical and civil authorities – representing millions of Ukrainian Orthodox Christians – a petition that requests the bestowal of autocephaly, decided to closely communicate and coordinate with its sister Orthodox Churches concerning this matter . . .”

          The EP was the “birth mother,” as it were, of the Orthodox Church in Kievan Rus’ but, due to the Ottoman Turkish conquest of Constantinople in AD 1453, was in no position to continuing nurturing the Orthodox in what is now Ukraine. The latter soon became a target of opportunity for the expanding Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and its covetous Roman Catholic establishment. Providentially, the rise of Muscovy provided a check on the aggressive Poles and a new Orthodox center of gravity in Eastern Europe. One might say that the emergent Russian Orthodox Church became the “adoptive mother” of the Orthodox orphans in what is now Ukraine.

          The EP’s pretentious, hubristic claim that it is the “true Mother Church” of Ukraine in the 21st century signals an unwanted, egregious, uncanonical, divisive meddling into the internal affairs of another autocephalous Church. We are, alas, on the verge of a global Orthodox schism at a time when Orthodox unity is more critical than any time, perhaps, since the early Church under the pagan Caesars.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Wise words Fr. What worries me is the geopolitical situation. Why now? Why has the EP decided to consider a grant of autocephaly to a “daughter church” which was pastored all these centuries by Russia? Why won’t he consider a petition for autocephaly for a real daughter church in North America (i.e. the GOA)? Is it because there is already an “autocephalous” church in North America (i.e. the OCA)?

            One begins to see the special pleading and overall MickeyMouseness of the entire situation. Consider: he’s now going to grant autocephaly to one schismatic Orthodox sect which is to merge into his Ukrainian eparchy while ignoring the elephant in the room, the long-accepted Metropolitan of Kiev Onuphrius (who is archpastor of the largest share of the Orthodox in Ukraine).

            If he can do that, then why won’t he do the same for the GOA?

            • So say the EP “grants autocephaly” to “Patriarch Filaret’s” schismatic church. Then the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate break communion with each other.

              So then I guess the GOA and MP/ROCOR would no longer be in communion? What about the Antiochians? What would the OCA do — sort of “still be in communion with everybody”?

              Well, “Patriarch” Filaret’s schismatic church already has a “representation” church here in America, since St Nicholas Church in Philadelphia left the OCA last year and is now under “Patriarch” Filaret’s omophor.

              All because the EP is trying to capitalize politically in internal Russian Orthodox Church affairs, in order to maintain his self-perceived relevancy.

              • Realistically, I think the Antiochians (and most other churches) would maintain communion with both, even as Antioch and Jerusalem are in mutual schism while both maintain communion with all the other churches.

                If they had to choose one or the other, there are some considerations:

                1. The EP failed to fulfill his anointed role as “first among equals” in the breakdown between Antioch and Jerusalem. Antioch wanted to negotiate but the EP refused to get involved in any meaningful way.

                2. Russia is in the process of trying to save Syria, while the US continues to destabilize Syria (at best) or actively arm the rebels and terrorists (at worst).

                3. These days, the EP is aligned with the US/Nato in general, and deep-state elements of the CIA in particular.

                4. Antioch called the EP’s bluff at the Great and Most Holy and Excellent and Praiseworthy Council by not attending and not falling into line. What purpose does the EP serve?

                Why the EP thinks it is good for the Church for him to be up to his neck in the very worst elements of world politics, I have no idea. Unless he is being threatened by the CIA, I don’t understand it.

          • Christopher says

            Father Alexander,

            As a convert who happens to be in a UOC parish (it is my local church – been in GOA, Antiochian, OCA in the past), and in a deacons formation program that included a class with excruciating detail of church/state history of the Ukraine, your middle paragraph (starting with “The EP was…”) is a very cogent summation of the historical forces at work. Ukraine has been a continuous battleground between East and West for a very long time, and today the western Ukrainians are trying to forge in the midst of all their divisions (Orthodox, Uniate, etc.) a nation. Same old story, different century.

            In the midst of all this, this Imperial Church of the East is trudging on as it ever has. Sure, the Empire fell in 1453 but the Church is structured (canonical and dispositionally) as if the Empire still exists. Since then, the modern nation state has arisen, nationalistic/ethnic desires are now channeled through secular paradigmatic control, North and South America were discovered and colonized, etc. etc.

            Rome and her protestant subsidiaries have had their own various maladjustment(s) to the fall of the Empire, none of which is any more or less convincing than the Church of the East’s pretending it never happened. So all this is the context of the EP vs Moscow, diaspora disunity, and old greek lady vs. convert. Much lamenting is done over it, but its relevance to the salvation of individual Orthodox Christians seems rather dubious – I have never met anyone whose personal spiritual condition was significantly affected by it, except perhaps as yet-another-worldly distraction from the things of Christ and His Kingdom.

            I wonder if you would indulge me and expand on why you think “Orthodox unity is more critical than any time, perhaps, since the early Church under the pagan Caesars.” I ask because the current situation of disunity is very old (see above). Why is it “critical” now? Do you consider Secularism a new kind of existential threat to Orthodoxy as a whole? Do you consider the modern world somehow different from the century before this one (or the one before that), or the fact that the world has “shrunk” through technological progress means that the Church has to have a unity it has not had in over 500 years (if it ever had)?

            Christopher Encapera

          • The Kievan Rus’ received Christianity from Constantinople. No one disputes that. Prince Vladimir’s emissaries saw the worship in Agia Sophia and were so moved that they did not know whether they had died and gone to heaven:

            “And we went into the Greek lands, and we were led into a place where they serve their God, and we did not know where we were, on heaven or on earth; and do not know how to tell about this. All we know is that God lives there with people and their service is better than in any other country. We cannot forget that beauty since each person, if he eats something sweet, will not take something bitter afterwards; so we cannot remain any more in paganism.”

            However, Constantinople degenerated into Uniatism during the period of the Council of Florence and the Rus’, by that time having moved their center from Kiev to Vladimir and then to Moscow, had to elect their own Metropolitan to the See of Moscow since its “Mother Church” was lost to heresy.

            Since then, Russia has been effectively autocephalous and this autocephaly was recognized in 1589 by Constantinople to constitute a patriarchal omophorion over the “Northern Lands”.

            You see, right after Constantinople granted this omophorion to the Patriarchate of Moscow, the Union of Brest was concluded between those heretics that did not wish to be part of the Church of Russia and Rome:

            “In 1588-1589 Patriarch of Constantinople Jeremias II traveled across the Eastern Europe, particularly the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Grand Duchy of Moscow, where he finally since 1458 acknowledged the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow and consecrated Patriarch Job of Moscow (previously held by Isidore of Kiev). Patriarch Jeremias II deposed the Metropolitan of Kiev Onesiphorus Divochka and on approval of the King of Poland Sigismund III consecrated Michael Rohoza as the new Metropolitan of Kiev, Halych, and all Rus’.[1]

            After leaving of Jeremias II,[1] in 1590 four out of nine bishops of the Ruthenian Orthodox Church (Vilnius) gathered in synod in the city of Brest and signed a declaration of their readiness to sign the union with Rome[1] composed 33 articles of Union, which were accepted by the Pope of Rome. At first widely successful, within several decades it had lost much of its initial support,[2] mainly due to its enforcement on the Orthodox parishes, which stirred several massive uprisings.” –

            More on Patriarch Jeremias II:


            “(viii) In January 1589, while on a journey to Russia, Jeremias established the Moscow Patriarchate, raising the Metropolitan to Patriarchal rank. This historical decision was sanctioned on 12 February 1593 by a Synod convened in the church of the Theotokos Paramythia. The Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia was thereby added, after the Patriarch of Jerusalem, in the order of Orthodox Patriarchs.
            (ix) Jeremias condemned the Gregorian Calendar established by Pope Gregory XIII.” –

        • Bishop Anaxios says


          Are you wrong?

          What do you think about chant being accompanied by ukulele?

          Would that be wrong?

  10. Sadly we live in real world which as it is, but where is Christ in all of this.Religious Politics best promotion of secular indifference going.
    In a world where Bishops acted “In Christ” and not as secular CEO, they would co-operate for the best ordered outcome within Orthodox tradition for Ukrainian people. As for greek Catholics, after many centuries they have their own identity which outwardly seems to be moving to more ‘orthodox ‘ style. Most ordinary people living their faith.

    Georgia, the reality again is war brings killing and suffering but even EU report says where blame (with Georgia GOV) is pointing. However Moscow’s banning of Georgian language during Tsarist times a disgrace and Stalin experience as seminary student most revealing.
    For me the sad thing is the euumenical patrarchate is a hollowed out characature seeking greater power to survive while current Moscow church leadership seems to have FORGOTTEN the lessons of 1917 and the trans- volga elders non pocessor tradition.
    BOTH. MOSCOW AND CONSTANTINOPLE actions and how they behave are a betrayal of CHRIST. Where is Christ in all this? and how can people look at these power brokers as relevant to their spiritual and life concerns?. You want a reason why people walk away to protestantism or indifference? Look no further.

    • Estonian Slovak says

      These are signs of the times, my Bulgarian friend. After the first world war, an Orthodox mission was established in the new state of Czechoslovakia. A former Czech Catholic priest, Fr. Gorazd, was consecrated bishop by the Serbian Orthodox church. My understanding is that this was based on an old law of the Hungarian empire, that all Orthodox there were subject to Serbia. At least, that is the explanation that I read somewhere. In any case, Constantinople interfered in the affairs of the Serbian church by consecrating a rival Czech bishop, Savatty.
      Then after the second world war, Moscow interfered by granting autocephaly to the Czechoslovak church. I mean, unlike Finland, Poland, or the Baltic states, neither the Czech lands nor Slovakia had ever belonged to Russia. I don’t suppose the Serbs were in any position to do anything about it at the time. Bishop Gorazd was martyred by the Nazis in 1942. He was declared a Saint by the Serbian Orthodox church.

      • Yes this sad story encapsulates why Orthodoxy is stuck in a pretend world. Read the diary of late Fr Alexander SCHMEMANN V,He saw this clearly.
        Moscow and CONSTANTINOPLE in power play. Fact is though that only one of them is a Church, the other a shell.

  11. Johann Sebastian says

    It is my understanding that the Metropolia of Kiev was relocated to Moscow during the 13th Century and was not reconstituted until after Moscow was elevated to a Patriarchate in the 15th Century.

    It is also my understanding that prior to the 18th Century, the Patriarch of Moscow was styled as “Patriarch of Kiev, Moscow, and all Rus'”

    How difficult would it be for the Patriarch of Moscow to resume that former title? How about to re-relocate to Kiev?

  12. Joseph Lipper says

    Was it not hubristic, pretentious, and just plain inconsiderate for the Moscow Patriarchate to grant autocephaly in 1970 to the North American Metropolia?

    Didn’t it occur to the Moscow Patriarchate at the time that there were other Orthodox Christian archdiocese functioning in America in 1970? Didn’t it occur to the Moscow Patriarchate that granting autocephaly to the Metropolia would be an inconsiderate slap in the face to the other Orthodox Christian archdiocese that were already present in America?

    The Metropolia was considered, not only by Moscow, but also by most other Orthodox churches, to be a schismatic and non-canonical group from 1924 up to 1970.

    Why didn’t the Metropolia reach out to the Ecumenical Patriarchate after the 1924 break from Russia? That’s what the second wave of Carpatho-Russian converts from the Unia did, and they formed the Carpatho-Russian Diocese in 1938 under the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

    • “Why didn’t the Metropolia reach out to the Ecumenical Patriarchate after the 1924 break from Russia?”

      The American Metropolia did go to the EP first. It is well documented. The Metropolia were then told by the EP to go to their “Mother Church” (i.e., the Church of Russia) to correct their irregular status.

      Well, (like it or not) the Church of Russia did just that and the EP doesn’t recognize it. The word is that the EP thought that pigs would fly before the Church of Russia would grant the American Metropolia autocephaly during the height of the Cold War.

      • Estonian Slovak says

        Mr. Lipper: Both you and AGS are off a bit. The Russian church has rights to the New World because she was here first. That is one thing all three Russian jurisdictions, the MP, ROCOR, and Metroplia/OCA always agreed on. The fact is the Metropolia split from ROCOR in the 20’s. They were temporarily reunited in 1935 when the Patriarch of Serbia was able to be the peacemaker. It lasted until the Cleveland council of 1946. The other break away group from ROCOR was the Western European Paris-based Russian jurisdiction which placed itself the EP.
        Also, let us bear in mind that almost all the various ethnic Orthodox in North America were part of the Russian mission prior to the Russian Revolution. There were separate administrations for the Syrians, the Serbs, and the Albanians. In fact, the first liturgy ever in Albanian was served by the future Metropolitan Fan Noli, who had been ordained by the Russian church. Only after the sad events in Russia after 1979 caused all the splits and multiple jurisdictions here.
        The Carpatho-Russian diocese was formed by ex-Uniates who resisted the decree from Rome that all priests here must be celibate. They went to the EP because they wanted to preserve their unique traditions. Their slogan was,” Ani ne do Rims, ani ne do Moskvi.” (neither to Rome, nor to Moscow).
        Finally, it was in the 60′ s that the Metropolia appealed to the EP. They were indeed told to normalize relations with the Mother church. I heard this directly from Archbishop Kiprian who was one of the main negotiators with Moscow for the autocephaly. There is a slightly comic aspect to the autocephaly. The sixty or so MP parishes here at the time felt that they, as the loyalists, should be the ones given autocephaly, not the rebellious OCA. That didn’t occur, but they were allowed to continue belonging to the MP with the option to vote to join the OCA, if they wanted.

        • Estonian Slovak says

          Error: sad events of 1917. Also, ani be do Rima

        • George Michalopulos says

          True. Even the EP at the time recognized Russia’s claim to North America. Timothy Ware in his book The Orthodox Church does so as well.

        • Billy Jack Sunday says


          I agree – hands down Russia

          However, I would say Russia had (not has) the juristictional rights to the new world – past tense

          I don’t believe any foreign church has any juristiction (and no longer Russia) here in America

          I believe their is only an American Church severly impeded by various forces and in disarray

          This Church includes the OCA, but is not exclusive the OCA

        • Joseph Lipper says

          Estonian Slovak,

          It’s a bit of a spurious claim that the Russian church has rights to the New World because she was here first. Although this would be true for the territories of the former Russian colony in America, as for the rest of the Americas, it is a much more murky and contentious matter.

          The first Greek Orthodox colonists arrived in St. Augustine, Florida in 1768. The first Greek church was later established in New Orleans in 1866. Later there were Greek Orthodox parishes formed in New York City and Chicago in 1892. All of these were organized without influence from the Russian bishop.

          From their beginnings, these parishes had priests who came from Greece, and they did not consider themselves under the authority of the Russian bishop. There is no evidence that the Ecumenical Patriarch saw it otherwise.

          Furthermore, these Greek parishes were not founded within Russian territories. In 1899, the Russian bishop in America still held the title of “Bishop of the Aleutians and Alaska”. His official title held no claim for anything beyond the “Aleutians and Alaska”.

          • George Michalopulos says

            “Murky” is right. However not in the sense that the GOA propagandists would have us believe. The EP at the time recognized and thanked the Russian hierarchy for their pastoral care of the Greek immigrants. One of the principle Greek priests at that time operated fully under the omoroph of the Russian bishops. As for the Greek parish in New Orleans, it was pan-Orthodox.

            More on this to follow.

          • Billy Jack Sunday says

            I still say Russia

            They had the sustainable mission had it not been for the revolution

            Plus, they only had to cross the Bering Strait to get to the North American continent. They are the adjacent Orthodox land. Therefore, I believe that it was not really their “right” but their responsibility to evangelize here

            The Greek/Byzantine Church had to cross over lands lost to heterodox and the entire Atlantic to get here

            I do think it is important to know the history. We try our best to reason from it with all these fuzzy and debateable points – and the matter has been proven arguable, but I also think that it is overall moot at this point.

            I no longer believe in any effective modern foreign juristictional claim here

            I believe in an [unrealized] Orthodox Church in the United States

            • George Michalopulos says

              As do I. In fact, I’ll go further: I believe we’ll be judged because we –all of us–didn’t take the bull by the horns along time ago and already crafted an united autocephalous American Church when we had the chance at Ligonier. We (esp the GOA bishops) should have just told the foreign interventionists “sorry, but no, we’re not rescinding our signatures from the Ligonier statements.”

              It would have been messy I grant you and perhaps long and involved but in retrospect what have we gained by acceding to Istanbul (and Antioch to a degree)? Nothing. Instead we have lost an entire generation in terms of years and people. Orthodoxy in America is just a shell of what it was just 30 years ago. And that wasn’t anything earth-shattering.

              • Billy Jack Sunday says

                Autocephaly has to be realized within said group before it can be declared and then finalized/affirmed

                I hope that our fellow Orthodox here in America can begin to see and realize as well

                Not that it is some type of goofy conjuring up visualization practice.

                It’s simply a matter of recognizing and being willing to acknowledge that which is already there

              • Joseph Lipper says

                George, I believe that when the United States collapses and there is nothing left that the foreign Patriarchs want from us, then there will be Orthodox unity in America. There’s always a price to pay.

            • Antiochene Son says

              The Russians also we’re the ones undertaking massive missionary activities, even after the Revolution. They came with that zeal and maintained it.

              Were the Greeks in St Augustine doing anything besides looking after their own? Did they convert the Seminoles to Orthodoxy?

            • Antiochene Son says

              The Russians also were the ones undertaking massive missionary activities, even after the Revolution. They came with that zeal and maintained it.

              Were the Greeks in St Augustine doing anything besides looking after their own? Did they convert the Seminoles to Orthodoxy?

              • George Michalopulos says

                A lot of these Greeks were uniates it appears

                • Estonian Slovak says

                  Or did they covert to Catholicism by default? Like the Greeks of Southern Italy or Sicily?

            • Joseph Lipper says

              Billy Jack Sunday,

              Yes, if we want to discuss the “[unrealized] Orthodox Church in the United States”, then we will find that it is predominately Greek. If there is to be administrative Orthodox unity in the U.S., it will be predominately Greek. Even with all the criticisms about GOA not being a missionary-minded Archdiocese, it’s something of a mute point, because their numbers far exceed anyone else right now. Orthodoxy in America is predominately Greek.

              So, all the talk about the Russian church having the “rights to the New World” can easily become an obstacle to promoting Orthodox unity in America, especially since the majority of Orthodox in America are now Greek.

              After the Russian bishop, St. Tikhon [Bellavin], changed his title in 1900 to “Bishop of the Aleutians and North America” believing that all the Orthodox Christians in America should be under the authority of the Russian bishop, he entered a Greek parish in New York City, and the Greek parishioners there … threw him out!

              He probably wasn’t expecting that.

              • Billy Jack Sunday says


                The last stats I saw published by the GOA somewhere within the last 8 years or so – put the Greeks at about 50% – all other juristictions combined equalling about the same

                With all these stats it needs to be based on actual attendance for all juristictions

                Not sure if some are counting baptism certificates too much

                Anyway, I’ve seen this a couple different places I think so I believe 50% is reasonable

                If the EP forces either some type of unia and/or schism with the Kiev thing, the support may become less

                1994 we had an Archbishop on board with a unified Church. I think we could have that again

                Bottom line – this is not an impossible situation at all

      • Joseph Lipper says

        AGS, thank you for the correction. Do you know what year the Metropolia went to the EP?

        I’ve also heard that the Metropolia went to Moscow initially only seeking autonomy, but they were offered autocephaly instead. Being that the Cold War was in progress, the Metropolia’s preference for autocephaly would make sense.

  13. Gail Sheppard says

    The article below appeared in the Ukrainian Weekly. Predictably, everyone has an opinion and is getting into the mix.

    * * *
    “Ukraine Gets ‘Positive’ Sign for Autocephaly From Ecumenical Patriarchate”

    KYIV – Ukraine’s historical Orthodox mother church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, has started deliberation on whether to grant Ukraine its own self-governing church known as autocephaly.

    In a communiqué e-mailed to The Ukrainian Weekly on April 22, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople said “as its [Ukraine’s] true Mother Church,” that it has “decided to closely communicate and coordinate with its sister Orthodox Churches concerning this matter.”

    A synod gathering of 12 Metropolitans is scheduled in late May and will consider church self-governance for Ukraine.

    The note followed endorsements for church self-governance that the Turkish-based patriarchate received from two of the three Orthodox churches in Ukraine and the Verkhovna Rada earlier this month.

    The Ukrainian branch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) didn’t support the initiative that President Petro Poroshenko pushed through after an all-day meeting with Patriarch Bartholomew during a visit to Turkey on April 9.

    Mr. Poroshenko described autocephaly as righting the past and the country’s “spiritual” independence from Moscow during an April 24 television appearance on ICTV channel, referring to when Moscow annexed Kyiv’s Metropolia in 1686.

    “We are simply returning to historical justice,” he said, stating that Ukraine this year will celebrate 1030 years since the Kyivan-Rus feudal state adopted Christianity. “I would like to emphasize that there was no Russian Orthodox Church back then. If the Constantinople church is the mother church of Ukraine, then the Ukrainian church is the mother church of Russia. And the mother cannot ask for independence from her daughter.”

    Mr. Poroshenko added that the UOC-MP should also be included with the creation of a unified Orthodox church in Ukraine.

    “This is the only way to rid itself at least of some of the anger and sins committed by the Russian military, Russian propagandists, and sometimes, unfortunately, Russian priests on the territory of Ukraine,” he said.

    In turn, spokespersons for the UOC-MP have dismissed Mr. Poroshenko’s efforts as shortsighted fancies, as a political stunt ahead of next year’s parliamentary and presidential elections and as a ploy to distract the public from more pressing problems facing the nation.

    UOC-MP spokesperson Archbishop Klyment (Oleh Vecherya) said the push for autocephaly “like all previous attempts are either attention distractors of urgent problems that the Verkhovna Rada couldn’t resolve to this day or part of a pre-election campaign stunt.”

    He predicted Kyiv’s attempt at church self-governance will fail. “At present, to expect that [Patriarch] Bartholomew of Constantinople will change the position he has held over the last 25 years [of Ukraine’s independence] is naïve at the very least,” the archbishop said.

    Another UOC-MP spokesperson, Archpriest Mykola Danylevych, said that talks to unite Ukraine’s Orthodox Churches should start with the Moscow Patriarchate and not with its “separatist parts,” referring to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP), which is not canonically recognized.

    Excluding Moscow, Kyiv has the backing of the American branch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

    The Permanent Conference of Ukrainian Orthodox Bishops Beyond the Borders of Ukraine, which includes the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A. and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada, “has written a strong letter of support for the actions being taken by His All-Holiness and the Holy Synod of Constantinople regarding the possible granting of a Tomos of Autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church,” it said in a statement published on its website.

    Ukraine has the support of the majority of Holy Synod members, religious scholar Oleksandr Sagan said.

    He noted that even those who are against autocephaly must sign Synod decisions and that they are irreversible. Thus, Ukraine would need seven positive votes among the 12 clergymen who make up the Synod, according to the religious scholar, adding that the next meeting should take place by May 31.

    The publication of the Ecumenical Patriarchate statement already is a “significant positive signal of substantial changes and readiness of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to bring the matter to a logical, positive conclusion,” said religious expert Illya Bey.

    Ukraine’s most recent effort to gain autocephaly means that it is in a “final state of self-identification” as a nation, said Lyudmyla Fylypovych, a religious scholar at the National Academy of Sciences’ Hryhorii Skovoroda Institute of Philosophy. “We are not appealing for the first time to Bartholomew with a request for autocephaly – he looked at us, and realized that perhaps 10 years ago we were not ready, now we are absolutely ready.”

    Two nationwide surveys on religion conducted in 2017 and this year by the Kyiv-based Razumkov Center policy center show that there are twice as many people who identify with the Kyiv Patriarchate than with UOC-MP.

    The most recent survey carried out in March and released on April 26 showed that 27 percent of respondents identify with the UOC-KP whereas 13 percent with the Moscow Patriarchate.

    An additional 9 percent identify with the Greek-Catholic Church, which observes eastern rite traditions and follows the Gregorian Calendar for Easter and Christmas holidays.

    Former president Viktor Yushchenko and Leonid Kuchma had also put forth initiatives for church self-governance, but failed.

    However, this time a number of factors, both internal and external are in Kyiv’s favor, according to religious scholar Ms. Fylypovych.

    In-country, the UOC-MP’s “gravitas has dwindled,” she said, adding that should autocephaly be granted, “up to 3,000-4,000 Moscow Patriarchate communities may join the new unified Orthodox church.”

    Russia’s actions since the Euro-Maidan Revolution and the subsequent war instigated by Moscow have acted as a “catalyst for changes in the actual status of this church.”

    Internationally, Ms. Fylypovych said, “Putin’s aggression has led to Russia being increasingly isolated,” and Patriarch Bartholomew sees this.

    • Johann Sebastian says

      Poroshenko says “we are simply returning to historical justice.”

      Dissolution of the Unia back in the 1940s was also a return to historical justice. Never mind the means or circumstances; it was a return to historical justice.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        “Historical” and “do-over” seem to be oxymorons to me.

        • Johann Sebastian says

          Sergianism is just the 20th Century equivalent of Uniatism.

          Two wrongs don’t make a right, but the sympathy the UGCC garners is disgustingly nauseating.

  14. William Tighe says

    AGS said:

    “So say the EP “grants autocephaly” to “Patriarch Filaret’s” schismatic church. Then the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate break communion with each other.”

    Well, Vladimir Solovyev foresaw this in 1895:

    “It is obvious that there are questions on which the Russian Church could and ought to negotiate with the Mother See, and if these questions are carefully avoided it is because it is a foregone conclusion that a clear formulation of them would only end in a formal schism. The jealous hatred of the Greeks for the Russians, to which the latter reply with a hostility mingled with contempt — that is the fact which governs the real relations of these two national Churches, in spite of their being officially in communion with one another. But even this official unity hangs upon a single hair, and all the diplomacy of the clergy of St. Petersburg and Constantinople is needed to prevent the snapping of this slender thread. The will to maintain this counterfeit unity is decidedly not inspired by Christian charity, but by the dread of a fatal disclosure; for on the day on which the Russian and Greek Churches formally break with one another the whole world will see that the Ecumenical Eastern Church is a mere fiction and that there exists in the East nothing but isolated national Churches. That is the real motive which impels our hierarchy to adopt an attitude of caution and moderation towards the Greeks, in other words, to avoid any kind of dealings with them. As for the Church of Constantinople, which in its arrogant provincialism assumes the title of “the Great Church” and ‘the Œcumenical Church,’ it would probably be glad to be rid of these Northern barbarians who are only a hindrance to its Pan-Hellenic aims. In recent times, the patriarchate of Constantinople has been twice on the point of anathematizing the Russian Church; only purely material considerations have prevented a split.”

    Vladimir Solovyev, *Russia and the Universal Church,* trans. Herbert Rees (London, 1948: Geoffrey Bles), pp. 67-68.

    • George Michalopulos says

      One thing Moscow could do is recognize the Archbishop of Athens as “Patriarch of All-Greece”. That would mean that “the New Territories” and the Dodecanese would revert to Athens.

      Since, you know, we’re talking about territorial sovereignty and all. Sauce. Goose. Gander. You know the drill.

      • Bishop Anaxios says

        If the EP issues a tomos acknowledging autocephaly on behalf of Kiev

        The DOA and OCD have agreed to collectively establish POI – the Patriarchate of Istanbul

        POI will subsequently acnowlege the MP over Constantinople, Antioch over Jerusalem, Jerusalem over Russia, and the EP over Antarctica

        All territorial juristictions with acknowledged various hierarchs will be subject to regular random reassignments going forward after that

      • Church political games interest me little but good question why Greece does not have Patrarch. This would add gravitas as well as being Orthodox tradition and one can say the Church of Greece founded by St Paul, one of earliest.
        If the arguement for autocephalous status was the impossibility to be under CONSTANTINOPLE, then the logical confession is to have patrarchate status.
        One of the major problems holding back Orthodox world is the pretend delusional nature of our church structures not looking at the reality of middle East, worsening by day. CONSTANTINOPLE effectively is a parasite living of the modern Orthodox world and whose bishops espousing a 19c western appearance and attitude, headed by a mild university professor, needs calling time on.

    • “The will to maintain this counterfeit unity is decidedly not inspired by Christian charity, but by the dread of a fatal disclosure; for on the day on which the Russian and Greek Churches formally break with one another the whole world will see that the Ecumenical Eastern Church is a mere fiction and that there exists in the East nothing but isolated national Churches.

      That is not accurate either. There is sound unity in the East between those who actually hold the Orthodox faith as opposed to Uniatism. We saw this on display in Moscow recently where the “Ecumenical Patriarchate” was the odd man out. Among the Old Calendar Orthodox, there are really very few, if any, differences. Among a slightly larger circle of churhes, including the New Calendarists, but excluding the proponents of the Cretan Council, there is a fairly sound doctrinal consensus and unanimity regarding ecclesiology, again as evidenced by the recent gathering in Moscow.

      The Eastern Church, recently gathered in Moscow, then one can say, is united in terms of theology, ecclesiology and morality. The Phanar and the proponents of Crete are only united with Rome on these matters.

      It is time for a redefinition. I submit to you that the die has already been cast:

      The Patriarch of Alexandria, next in line in the diptychs after Constantinople, presided at the recent centennial of the enthronement of St. Tikhon:

      “Pat. Theodoros was concelebrated by the primates and delegations of many other Local Orthodox Churches, including His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel of Romania, His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus, His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana, His Beatitude Metropolitan Savva of Warsaw, His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of All America and Canada, Metropolitan Theodore of Akhaltsikhe and Tao-Klarjeti of the Georgian Orthodox Church, and Metropolitan Gabriel of Lovech of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. ” –

      Patriarch Bartholomew seems to have ignored the memo.

      Sometimes you miss these things because there is no loud, earth shattering “kaboom”.

      Methinks it’s a done deal. If Patriarch Bartholomew does not change his tune, look for some future gathering to reform the diptychs in line with the present reality, that Pat. Theodoros is first among equals.


  15. Here’s a bit of theory for you. The GOA is essentially bankrupt. Yes? No grand largesse to the EP in the foreseeable future and maybe the current flow in some doubt, at least at past levels. What financial support would Ukraine fork over in eternal gratitude to its “Mother Church” for autocephaly? Better a state-sponsored stipend than one from a bunch of fickle laymen in the U.S. Look, the EP has nothing to lose and much to gain by playing church-maker. So what if Moscow breaks communion? No great love lost there anyway. Who didn’t show up for the centenary of the reestablishment of the Moscow Patriarchy? The EP knows no one in world Orthodoxy stays mad forever.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Very good analysis there Mr Osborne. The problem however is that the recognition of Ukrainian autocephaly has three immediate and unfortunate consequences:

      1. A military response by Russia in the eastern reaches of the Ukraine, due to an EU-inspired military provocation.

      2. An exacerbation of the simmering rebellion by the more conservative elements of Athos (i.e. a split within the Patriarchate of Constantinople).

      3. An enervation of Greek nationalist sensibilities; i.e. “if Ukraine, then why not us?” type of thing.

      And all this within an ever-growing sense of ill-will within worldwide Orthodoxy. Let us remember, Bartholomew has hitched his wagon to the falling star of globalism. Trump, whatever his personal faults represents a fundamental paradigm shift away from EU-style of trans-nationalism. Whereas today he has been hornswoggled by the Deep State into being a Russian antagonist, it’s clear that he’s not. Reports are that he is livid at his advisors who engineered the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats. He had been told by them that the UK and France were going to expel that many so he fell for it. Instead, the UK and France only expelled four diplomats and so Trump looked like a chump.

      Bottom line: he knows that he was played by the Russophobic Deep State. Once he comes out on the other end of this anti-Russian/nationalist crusade I imagine he’ll be an even more fervent ally of Putin than he is presently (albeit secretly).

  16. Billy Jack Sunday says

    This comment accidently posted here

    Intended for Breaking News: Demetrios to take the fall

    A scapegoat is necessary, I would think

    This is because, my guess is, all of these financial issues are linked together in a way

    The shrine is not the whole iceberg. It fact, I don’t think iceberg is the best analogy

    It’s like gopher holes

    You got the gopher hole of Dokos scandal in Chicago, then the gopher hole at the NY shine

    Many more holes to be discovered is the real fear, it seems

    But it’s all the same gopher

    The gophers name is MO

    No one wants the true MO to be discovered. It might truly get people to wake up and realize that maybe they have been purchasing their religion from their leaders unknowingly for quite a while now

    If I’m wrong, I would be happy to be, so forgive me if I am

    However, this looks like spin and misdirection because I believe the reality is that this is all by design.

    Am I to believe that the cash flow doesnt make it all the way to the top and by such means?

  17. George Osborne says

    George….no Mr. Osborne, please, just George….not a bad name, eh? I don’t disagree with you in any particular; however, I think you tend towards political cause and effect in these scenarios because you are most comfortable with that philosophy. Me? I’m a little old-fashioned in my views. I see two simple issues: money and territorial imperatives. Here’s what I mean. The Patriarchies who lack a legitimate territorial context capable of sustaining financial viability (Antioch and Constantinople) are absolutely dependent on the largesse of Orthodox America. Call them Archons or Order of St. Ignatius or what have you, the bottom line is the same. Cut off the American flow of money and that’s it but for the grace of God. The state Churches have enough financial support either from the state itself or from the faithful within their boundaries, support from the U.S. is not critical. The EP has bearly a satisfactory situation now as it is. Imagine if there were no funds available to buy gold cufflinks anymore!? Now, territorily, history tells us plainly that from the time of Peter I, after he became enamored by English and Dutch naval power during his European state vist, one of Russia’s territorial expansionist policies has been the acquisition of a stable warm-water port for its navy. Think the acquisition of the Crimea was happenstance? Oh, no! Russia has been fighting for that acreage for nearly 500 years. Why? Because it gives access to the ice-free Black Sea. So how do you get ships through to the Mediterranean? Through the straits in Istanbul. Ports for a Russian fleet? In Syria. So, no surprise to me that Putin annexed Crimea and that Turkey and Syria are on the new Russian buddy list. The situation might get wrapped-up in the gaudy paper of religious issues, but the unfortunate history of Orthodoxy is that we do have this persistent Church and Empire thingy going on that has been a very convenient pretext to have the Church do the States bidding when convenient. Now, do crasser political objectives and operatives take advantage of these issues and work them to their own particular ends? Sure. But after the fluff, IMVHO, it always comes back to basics

    • George Michalopulos says

      It’s “George” from now on! A fine name indeed!

    • Joseph Lipper says

      George Osborne,

      Excellent point about the Patriarchs in Istanbul and Damascus being financially dependent on their diocese in the United States. These are persecuted churches at home. It would financially kill them to acknowledge American autocephaly.

      I am grateful that my country and my fellow Orthodox Christians are able to directly support these persecuted churches, financially and with prayer.

      Who wants a world where the only Orthodox Patriarch left is in Moscow?

      • George Michalopulos says

        I wouldn’t mind actually. Seriously though, your question is moot. There are viable and functioning (and real patriarchates) in Bulgaria, Serbia, Alexandria, Bucharest, Georgia, etc. No need to sell ourselves short.

        • Wrong! The autocephaly of Moscow, Greece and so on are the result of Peter the Great emulating the Lutheran/Anglican model of state religion. Prior to that, there was a Pentarchy of one Patriarch per continent.

          • Nonsense says

            Do some more reading. The Patriarchate of Moscow existed for a century before the reign of Peter I.

          • Bishop Tikhon says

            Lakis! The Russian Church was recognized by a Tomos of the Ecumenical Patriarch as autocephalous long before Peter the Great was even born. But you fit right in with all the other ecclesiastical experts here on Monomakhos!

  18. “’We have a right to our own Christianity, unlike any Orthodoxy,’ Andrei Advienko declared to thunderous applause during a press conference on Monday at the Ukrinform agency in Kiev.

    The organizers of the event presented an initiative to ban the activity of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Ukraine, reports the site of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.” –

  19. Never ending depressing news, many of us here, feeling down in the dumps. Spiritual leaders disappoint, and not live up to our expectations. Our faith in the establishment is shaken.

    Millions of dollars missing in GOA. The shrine sits unfinished and idle. Calls for the Archbishop of America to resign. Patriarch Bartholomew is currently hospitalized.

    Hmmmm, where is Friedo? Most importantly, where is Gail, to explain where the rats in kitchen are.

    Or maybe we need Trump to drain the GOA’s swamp? And quick! Before The Greeks lose face! We are American too after all.

    Speaking of draining the swamp! Great news to report!

    Starbucks has now officially become America’s toilet, free of charge. Starbucks chairman, Howard Schultz announced an open bathroom policy, no purchase required at all Starbucks yesterday.

    Truly, true relief has finally come to America! Americans can finally relax in Anytown, USA, especially America’s aging and daily Lasix users, whew!

    The Trump effect?