Is the EP Having Second Thoughts?

It appears to be that way.

According to, the Phanar has decided to postpone the granting of autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (in reality, uniting two of the Orthodox sects which are located in that country).

This of course would only inflame the situation in that poor, benighted country, whose leaders thought that they had it in the bag. Seen by many as a purely political move by the Poroshenko regime, the creation of yet another autocephalous church by the present Ecumenical Patriarch (the other being Estonia) would have inflamed relations with Moscow. Moscow of course views the Ukrainian church as part of its patriarchate and any attempts to cleave it off would inflame an already tense situation.

Clearly, the “coordination” efforts which the Ecumenical Patriarchate arrogates to itself didn’t go all that well. My guess is that the vast majority of the autocephalous churches agreed more or less with Moscow. If so, they see Moscow as their new leader. It’s likely that all of this was discussed last Fall in Moscow when almost three hundred bishops from around the world gathered in Russia to celebrate the centennial of the reestablishment of the Russian patriarchate.

Many thanks to Greatly Saddened, one of our indefatigable correspondents, for providing us this link.


  1. If the EP had been contemplating such a move……it would behoove him to abandon such thoughts. Postponing the “decision” until June will inflame an already contentious scenario. He has already caused much division by attempting to force the robber council onto the Church.

    • I hope so. Truth is even if Constantinople bishops were saints they would be corrupt by effectively being cypher for a dead and almost empty bureaucratic charade. Perhaps one should be kind and see this as work experience for the long empty days of Monday to Saturday with nothing else

      • I am withdraing out of this as feel now is none productive. No the gentleman who blasted me re Ephraim no I am not running away..I state what i stated. In my naivity I saw the monasteries as returning tradition in chanting and liturgical practice and giving greek Americans access to their spiritual tradition. I hope this is so. But I am also aware from history, from Russia and Romania today of Monasticism gone to zenophobic, intolerance and preaching hate.
        I am also aware of traditional greek american church becoming episcopalian in worship and ethos. Indeed USA having am extreme protestant Culture, maybe this as good as it gets! And all the ethical and sexual issues that appeal to sixth century will not solve, or just going with the time and tide either. We need to be in Christ.
        I thank God I am in Bulgaria amd can worship Sunday by Sunday in a living Parish with people whose daily life is not easy. They could teach u guys a lot.AND ME

  2. Gail Sheppard says
  3. Antiochene Son says

    I think Bartholomew has used up his political capital. Perhaps it is time to step down. He is nearly 80, not in good health, and has been in office for nearly 27 years.

    I wonder who Erdogan would choose to replace him?

    • Do not even think about it. Grade one depression!!

    • Alitheia1875 says

      Elpidoforos Lambrianidis is the heir apparent.

      • I have not seen him or know his ‘Fatsa’ but can imagine. A greek lady related to phanar described them to me. It had destroyed her belief in church totally the experience she had.

    • I try on here to bring up issues that do not seem to be, and I beg forgiveness of those who do.
      Re Bartholomaios and his political capital.
      Christ had none and Patrarch martyr Tikhon. Little.
      B. a good man I think and hope, and compared to the Assads and the rest past and present,Thank God for him. BUT An ACADEMIC ACTING AND SPEAKING AS, AND yes The climate is changing and we are destroying the environment and etc, but he speaks and sounds as just another expensive locations liberal -speak conference speaker, waiting between airports. Maybe not all his fault that all he has left.
      But I want to ask a question never mentioned here, Why do u think the persecution of the Church in Soviet union was able to become so all powerful?
      Yes I know, terrorism, brute force and rest and all true.
      However that let’s us believers of the hook. In that amazing and moving book Fr Arseny, and if u do not know do read (two books) as will move u to tears and current shame, Fr Arseny in his Gulag when another believer condem the system and acts of follow inmates as atheist etc. FR Arseny say ‘NO’ WE MADE THESE PEOPLE AND MUST ANSWERFOR IT”!
      Why did Khruschev hate the Church so? From personal experience and why the Communist attack resonated with so many ordinary russians whose experience of pre 1917 Church was less than perfect.
      Another book, without price, is by Sergei Fudel, again many years in camps, who writes of the ‘dark Side of the Church ‘ and of course often strange, that all people see, never the light! Perhaps because they wish to as makes them feel better. AND NO I AM NOT DENYING IT OR THAT WE SHOULD OPPOSE IT.. In CHRIST.
      A well respected Moscow Priest said when Christ Saviour Cathedral rebuilt, ‘LET US HOPE WE DO NOT NEED TO DESTROY AND REBUOLD AGAIN! And I have worshiped there and was moved to tears and the words of the Nunc Dimitis,” Now let thy servant depart in peace, for my eyes have seen thy Glory, “came to my lips. And for those american greek Orthodox totally ignorant of our ORTHODOX AND AESTHETIC WORSHIP, WITH superb acapella choir and congregation. Not Sat in their Theatre going pews

      As I read re GOC od USA, i am stuck by how totally secular and unchallenging to our current pagan and cultural wars Zionist protestant heretical vomit making society, it is.
      All about money money money and religious bureaucratic filth. Yes the Church needs money, of course it does and should by tithing so it knows tp good measure it’s income to plan and clergy, married, need paying amd to level of their congregation, NOT ABOVE OR BELOW, with help in poorer areas BUT BISHOPS ARE MONKS. THEY DO NOT NEED SRCULSR LIFE STYLE, OR TO LIVE IN CAVE BUT ARE MONKS but this is our modern Orthodox reality in West of the beaurocratic pseudo monk.
      U ask why people walking away.

      • Wanted to add, i adk MYSRLF with the sort of church Patrarch Kyrill making. If the words of that Moscow Priest not coming true soon.
        I do not know Kyrill ( i respected Alexei totally. Yes yes I know KGB, u naive people how do u think a bishop in Soviet Russia or here in Bulgaria in such times, managed to keep church open and PROVIDED clergy etc?
        ,but as saying Kyrill intelligent man but life style of bureaucratic monk totally St home in 79 East street!! . I had high hope and I not there although visit and have friends but he speaks with a western protestant mind minus CHRIST.. Not what he says, much of which agree, BUT HOW MINUS LOVE IN CHRIST, HE SAYS IT

      • And I beg forgiveness of any bureaucratic monks who are dedicated and Christ Loving and there are as in any evil. THE GOOD WILL BE SEEN, and I think new Metropolitan of Chicago,Nathaniel, a good man, but in a crowd of bogus doctors, there will be one or two dedicated to healing, but does not male up for unsafe and wrong system

  4. anonymus per Scorilo says

    Is the EP Having Second Thoughts?

    Not according to the latest news:

    the news has been translated into French

    Unfortunately for English one has to rely on google translate:

    According to the delegations of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to Archbishop Ieronymos and members of the Holy Synod, Patriarch Bartholomew is reportedly determined to proceed with the granting of autocephaly to Ukraine.
    Secure information from indicates that the Delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate said at the meeting that in any case it would proceed. Also, the Hierarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate informed the Beatitude that he could now express his opposition or his support, something that was not done by the Archbishop. What was characteristic was the moment when the Archbishop asked the delegation what they wanted from the Church of Greece, then the Patriarchal Hierarchs underlined that they are not asking for anything now but when a new Metropolitan of Kiev is appointed to recognize it and formally exchange the peace letters it is customary.

    • That’s the long and short of it. This will, of course, result in a schism. Personally, I welcome it. Too many under Antioch and the OCA have hedged their bets for far too long. Bartholomew has been a heretic since before he was enthroned. His prior writings are rife with heterodox ideas.

      Glory to Jesus Christ! It is about time His Church purged itself of this cancer.

      • Be careful what you wish for. No good will come of this.

      • Replacing to the gentleman having a go at me re fr Ephraim. I said that many years ago I attended a meeting in London and I personally came away feeling unease. Sorry my right be I psychologist or floor washer, which is probably more useful.
        I further have stated that i know several monasteries well including John BAPTIST Uk and some in Greece and have visited Mount Athos. I personally and I believe it is within church tradition, believe the Parish church should be the spiritual centre of the life of a Orthodox Christian with monastery as support and lay people have a different calling. Thst is has not happened is a judgement on the Church.
        I am very aware of the various scandals sexual and financial that are on going and as in us all, there is the dark Side of the Church. I also call to mind the thoughts of the late Fr Alex Schmeman seeing an extreme attitude arising.
        None can doubt we have in the Orthodox world a developing schism between those who see the world and church in one way, and those who see it in another.
        All of us, me included, and the gentleman, need to grounded in Christ. OTHER WISE WHAT ARE WE ABOUT
        I have not ever alluded to the death of that young man and KNOW nothing. But obviously traditional american protestant parents with dead son are going to be bitter and need our prayers and understanding.

        Yes Monasticism has had a renaissance but let us remember it needs as do we all, eternal vigilence. And with all due respect to the gentleman, i am free, to see and understand what is extreme and rigid on one hand and on other, what is woolly minded liberal secular hot air. Just common sense and living the life of the Church, needed for that.

        • Jane Rachel says

          Nikos, you have my respect and admiration. I appreciate your insights. We all need to be grounded in Christ. Thanks.

      • anonymus per Scorilo says

        Things are not so simple. Looks like at least 10 of the hierarchs of the canonical church will join the endeavor

        The governments of NATO countries are probably also pushing the respective churches in this direction (which may be a possible explanation of why the Bulgarians decided all of a sudden to become so shy about the Macedonian issue)

        • George Michalopulos says

          Whole lotta caveats there. Seriously, I didn’t realiZe that Moscow had 80 bishops there in Ukraine

          • Johann Sebastian says
            • George Michalopulos says

              So I guess I wasn’t too far off the mark in speculating that autocephaly was nothing but a ruse for insinuating the unia? A Trojan horse as it were?

              • Nadia Bazuk says

                The would-be autocephaly will open the way to lots of conflicts among the Orthodox, not only between the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) and state-supported new autocephalous Church made up of the former schismatics, but also among the hierarchs of the latter who will struggle for the Patriarchal throne and eparchies. A lot of schismatic hierarchs will split off and follow the path of the UAOC (renovated) Archbishop Ihor (Isichenko) of Kharkiv and Poltava who was expelled from the UAOC and after a period of isolation seems to have joined the UGCC. Thus, Uniates will increase their numbers.

        • “Looks like at least 10 of the hierarchs of the canonical church will join the endeavor.”

          Up to 10 bishops of the UOC (MP) out of 80 might support the appeal to Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople for the bestowal of autocephaly on the Ukrainian Church. This was stated in an interview with ‘Glavkom’ by Metropolitan Sofroniy (Dmytruk) of Cherkasy and Kaniv UOC (MP).”

          Those are two entirely different things. What is apparent is that one renegade metropolitan who speaks like an nationalist rather than an Orthodox believer perhaps believes (or is lying for effect) that up to 10 may defect to a schismatic, autocephalous monstrosity. –

      • I agree 100%

  5. Estonia is not autocephalous- only autonomous.

  6. Alitheia1875 says

    Elpidoforos Lambrianidis is the heir apparent.

  7. Billy Jack Sunday says

    My guess is that it will move forward – and in the not to distant future

    Casting doubt buys time to take the heat off from any opponents as well as condition people to the idea overall

    It’s just a bit of strategy – IMO

  8. This evil man in the Phanar who will sow more discord. Philaret is totally in wrong AS BROKE UNITY OF CHURCH OVER PERSONAL HUBRIS AT NOT GETTING THE MOSCOW JOB IN 1991
    This will fragment Orthodoxy in Ukrainian.Aid the UNIA and do no good.
    The cancer eating out the heart of the Church is the pseudo ulta- montaine ecclisiology of Phanar. And the living in a delusion of byzantine grandeur.
    When will the bishops take of their emperor robes and Mitres and wear the earlier simple robes? Many of them with their short hair and pretend beards look like Theatre props. Irrelevant play ACTING for a dead world.
    Yes byzantium has a lot to say about today and amazing civilization that is abused by west. BUT the play ACTING of Phanar et al give good cause.

  9. I just checked his’s sad and not their fault that they are bishops and priests of shadows but he is an identicat Barthomew. His arguement re primacy are pseudo papal but even if accepted, they is no dogmatic reason the Chair person of the board could not be Antioch or Alexandria or Serbia what ever. Yes this man will do fine.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Jane, lot to chew on. I’ll address these issues in a formal editorial/apologia when time permits. In the meantime, thank you for your comments.

  10. Billy Jack Sunday says

    Fr. Vadim Pogrebniak (Archpriest and former Chancellor – Diocese of the West – OCA) fell asleep in the Lord, on Wednesday, May 16th

    May his memory be eternal

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      I am saddened to hear this. In the late 1970s through the mid-’80s, Father Vadim would drive down from St. Spiridons in Seattle to tiny Wilkeson, the Cascade foothills home of Holy Trinity Church, to conduct Divine Liturgy, a couple of Saturdays per month.

      I often attended in those days and remember Father Vadim very will. Eventually the church, now Holy Resurrection/Holy Trinity parish, got its own priest, Father John Pierce, who is still serving, for what now must be 30 years.
      May Father Vadim’s memory be eternal, indeed.

    • Vladimiro says

      Are you in the OCA, Billy Jack?

      • Monk James Silver says

        When we ask questions such as ‘are you a monastic?’ or ‘are you in the OCA?’, we come very close to posting an _ad hominem_ remark, no matter what the answer to our question might be.

        This is unhelpful to dialogue, and is beneath the dignity of civilized conversation, not to mention that it is unworthy of Christians.

        • Constantinos says

          Monk James,
          Ridiculous! Are you serious? Asking those questions is close to an ad hominem? … Your entire post is illogical because you don’t think logically. Aren’t we overly sensitive?
          I have often wondered how a monastic has so much access to a computer? Is that not a reasonable question?
          How would you ever be able to suffer martyrdom for Christ if such innocuous questions rattle your cage so much?
          My own personal opinion about you is that you bring very little to the table aside from showing off your knowledge of Greek. Do you want to impress me? Let’s talk science and scientific theory. In your lofty opinion, does the second law of thermodynamics support the theory of evolution or not, and why?

          • Monk James Silver says

            This post is a perfect example of the _ad hominem_ fallacy.

            • Bishop Tikhon says

              Monk James is incorrect when he brands a personal slight as ANY example of the Argumentum ad hominem fallacy! Rather, any negative or positive reference to a person’s character is only a logical fallacy when that characterization used in an attempt to prove or disprove a premise. Debating Monk Silver’s character is not an ad hominem fallacy.
              Rather, his outcry of “ad hominem” indicates logical surrender in this case!

              • Monk James Silver says

                No, Vladyka. You’re mistaken here.

                When an interlocutor adduces personal characteristics of his theoretical opponent as reasons to discredit his ideas rather than engage those ideas directly, he is guilty of the _ad hominem_ logical fallacy.

                And that is what ‘Constantinos’ has done here.

                Please review your courses in philosophy.

                • Constantinos says

                  Monk James,
                  Vladyka is correct. You need to brush up on your thermodynamics because you still haven’t answered my question. I’ll give you a hint: it’s about entropy.

                  • Monk James Silver says

                    ‘Constantinos’, both you and Bp Tikhon are still clinging to misapprehensions of the meaning of the logical fallacy of _ad hominem_.

                    Here’s a definition — not quite what I’d have written, but close enough:

                    Definition of ad hominem
                    1 : appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect ·an ad hominem argument
                    2 : marked by or being an attack on an opponent’s character rather than by an answer to the contentions made ·made an ad hominem personal attack on his rival

                    As to the thickness of my skin and purported oversensitivity, I’d like to remind everyone that neither of the quotations with which I began this thread were directed at me. It was only in the abstract that I wrote that no matter how they were answered, the responses would be likely to lead the authors of those questions very close to making _ad hominem_ errors in logic. That’s all.

                    Generally. I keep to areas of my education and experience when I express an opinion. These include such things as language, history, theology, etc., I was never trained in theoretical physics, so applications/implications of the second law of thermodynamics are beyond my expertise. Besides, your question wasn’t germane to the subject under discussion.

                    Once in a while, though, I come across a bit of leakage, a sort of interdisciplinary overlap, which piques my interest. Such was the case with Jeremy Campbell’s seminal 1982 book ‘Grammatical Man: Information, Entropy, Language and Life’

                    Although I can’t confidently say that Campbell intended to show a divine intention — or at least influence — in all of this, it surely felt to me like he did.

                    • Constantinos says

                      Monk James,
                      I’m cool with you. Most of my post was meant to tease you. I was especially joking about you bringing little to the table. Sorry!

  11. Gail Sheppard says

    Do Faith, Hope and Love ever appear without St. Sophia? If not, what is the EP wearing around his neck as a pectoral cross? I don’t recognize it. (Please don’t tell me it’s Catholic.)

  12. Gail Sheppard says

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen the three daughters of St. Sophia without their mother. So tell me, exactly what is the EP wearing around his neck? It is not the 3 angels of God or one would not be elevated. There appears to be a western cross on the cloak of the child on the left. Could these be the 3 children of Fatima? The EP left for Rome on the 23rd.

  13. Gail Sheppard says
  14. Anyone know if this is true? Did a senior hierarch of the schismatic KP really commune in an OCA parish?

  15. Alitheia1875 says

    Bishops always wear around their necks what is known as a “Panaghia” and that’s what he is wearing. The Panaghia always an image of the Mother of God in some likeness on it, hence its name. In this case she is depicted with two saints. Tshe images are two small to make a definitive identification but the one on the left might be St. Panteleimon.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Thank you for clearing that up.

    • M. Stankovich says

      с праздником! And to prove that the Spirit of Truth does not, in fact, make you stupit, let me say this:

      The basis for what a Bishop wears around his neck is a verse from the Prophet Isaiah: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign [σημεῖον]: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14) [cf. Lk. 21:11 “and fearful sights and great signs σημεῖαshall there be from heaven”). This is also iconographically referred to as the “Theotokos of the Sign,” a depiction of the Mother of God, her arms open to the cosmos, and her is Son depicted in her bosom. This is frequently the icon depicted on the ceiling above the altar in many churches.

      In the early iconography of the Church, our Lord – the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, Co-Eternal with the Father and the Spirit, whose hand we see icongraphically depicted as extending from through the mist as Creator of the heavens and the earth – was always depicted as a child in the arms of His mother. It literally took an Ecumenical Council for us to declare that she is not simply the mother of the “christ incarnate” (Christotokos, or a human manifestation of God), but that she was the Mother of God (the Theotokos, God incarnated as man), and she was Παναγία [Panagia – the feminine form of πανάγιος panagios] All-Holy.

      The logic here? Our God promised us a sign and it is the Tradition of the Church that the Theotokos, the Παναγία and she in whom all creation rejoices, is the Protectress of the Church (and we celebrate her feast as such on October 1) – and ironically enough, given the present atmosphere, she is also Protectress of Άγιον Όρος, Mt. Athos itself. The Bishops, in turn, are the protectors of the faith. The Παναγία is a sign of that responsibility.

      As for the “Panagia” in question, worn by the Ecumenical Patriarch, if you look around he wears it quite frequently. You will also see it enlarged, and the figure on the left is an angel [Byzantine iconographic depiction], and an indiscernible saint [presuming that in the Byzantine tradition they would not put a halo on a Fatima child] is on the left. Perhaps a bit of charity – and a 30-seconds re-think before hitting – and consideration of the ancient Tradition of the Church might have been appropriate.

    • Bishop Tikhon says

      An Orthodox hierarch’s encolpion is called a “Panagia,” NOT because of the icon painted on it, but because in early times, hierarchs wore a such little pectoral box containing the Theotokos particle from a Divine Liturgy in it. Frequently, but NOT always the box was decorated with an icon of the Theotokos, but sometimes of Christ or a Saint. Even after the custom of maintaining a Theotokos particle within it had fallen into disuse, the nomenclature remained the same. The original meaning of the appellation, as we see, has been lost.

  16. M. Stankovich says

    Fascinating, indeed, Vladyka. And an appellation so fascinatingly lost as to have apparently become obscure. I have searched the Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies databases for the history of this engolpion/encolpion containing the “Theotokos particle from a Divine Liturgy,” and ничего. There are numerous references to engolpion/encolpion containing the Eucharist or sacred relics (e.g. bishops traveled and would carry the reserved Eucharist to commune those whom they visited – and this seemed to be confirmed in a Russian “surface analysis” [“Electron microscopy study of an Old Russian (XII century) encolpion cross with black inlay, “Crystallography Reports, 2017, Vol. 62, No. 4, pp. 529–536. Pleiades Publishing, Inc., 2017]); many reports of engolpion/encolpion containing “miniature copies of the Holy Scripture” or individual quotations from the Scripture; St. Gregory The Great is said to have made gifts of small engolpion/encolpion in the form of the Cross with “filings from St. Peter’s chains” and/or the “gridiron of St. Laurence”; seriously, who couldn’t imagine an engolpion/encolpion containing a “fragment of the True Cross” that cumulatively could build the Brooklyn Bridge; and an amusing assessment from a French historian, “Les croix pectorales ne sont pas toujours reliquaires, et les encolpions ne sont pas toujours des croix” [The pectoral crosses are not always reliquaries, and the encolpions are not always crosses.] And there you have it.

    I would note that there is a specific service in the monastic tradition referred to as “Panagia,” or the “Lifting of the Panagia,” described by St. Symeon of Thessalonica (PG 155, 66), that involves the cutting, lifting and offering of the “the Theotokos particle”:

    This bread which is lifted up with the invocation of the All-holy (Panagia) Mother of God is especially appointed to be raised up at the end of the meal of the brethren for their sanctification and to be a seal upon the food which they have eaten; moreover, it was appointed also for the special glory of the Mother of God, who for our sake gave birth to the living Heavenly Bread which ever nourishes our souls. It is also lifted up at other times for our help, whenever the need arises. A triangular portion is cut from bread, to symbolize in every way the Holy Trinity- and His unity; for the corners are three and the sides are three, while the uptight point is one. Therefore, no matter which way this bread is turned, there will he three corners and the center will rise to one point. It is placed in a sacred vessel appointed for this purpose and a candle is lit before it. By apostolic tradition, which from the beginning we have received from the fathers through unwritten tradition, we offer this bread to the Triune God in the name of the Theotokos as a daily custom; for it was through her divine childbirth that we came to knew the Holy Trinity and, because she gave birth in the flesh to One of the Trinity1 she is literally the Mother of God and is truly so praised. The lifting up of the bread shows that it is offered up to God; the words “Great is the Name of the Holy Trinity” proclaim our confession of the Triune God of all, and that, in offering this bread to Him, His Name also is glorified. When the words “All-holy Theotokos, help us” are said, the incarnation of the Word is proclaimed (for this is what the term Theotokos signifies) and she also is invoked; for we believe that she also is present, ready to help. This bread is offered to her as a gift; or, better to say, to her Son through her; for He was incarnate through her and of His own will suffered the Cross for our sake; the which is represented in the cross made by him who lifts up the Panagia.

    I would appreciate a reference to to the original nomenclature, if you would.

    A note to Mr. Michalopulos: as someone who is profoundly dyslexic, the absence of the “editing” feature of your site – even with the ability to write in one editor and copying over to the browser – is making me insane! It is a complex matter of “seeing but not seeing” no matter how many times you look, only to return and find an open that inadvertently renders an entire paragraph in italics!

  17. Monk James Silver says

    Constantinos (May 30, 2018 at 9:26 am) says:

    Monk James,
    I’m cool with you. Most of my post was meant to tease you. I was especially joking about you bringing little to the table. Sorry!
    While your sense of humor completely escapes me, I forgive you and ask for your forgiveness as well.

    Let us all be at peace.