Jonah the Prophet: Muzzling Military Chaplains

chaplainLast July, when I got wind that His Beatitude was going to be uncanonically removed from the Primacy, my gut told me that he had made one too many enemies.

I had long sensed that he had rubbed a few raw nerves, probably from his enthronement in 2008. Certainly there were different cultures at odds with each other: for want of better terms, Jonah representing the monastic/patriarchal administrative model while Syosset adheres to the secular-accommodationist/pseudo-conciliarist model.

These two different type of administrative cultures were also reflective of the clash of cultures that has beset the West these last forty or so years. Ever since his election, it was clear which side of the cultural divide His Beatitude represented and true to form, he bestrode the national stage boldly upholding the timeless truths of the Christian Church. In other words, upholding the prophetic tradition, as opposed to much of mainline Christianity, which accommodates the prevailing culture.

Prophecy of course is not fortune-telling. It is instead the ability to see clearly what the Lord desires for His people. In ancient Israel there was no formal office of prophet, men just appeared as if out of nowhere to preach repentance, firmly guided by the Holy Spirit. Often, they existed outside of the framework of the Temple cult.

Since the time of the Church however, the prophetic ministry has resided within the bosom of the Ekklesia in its entirety. Not just credentialed ministers but laymen, monks, and nuns as well. A well-functioning monasticism is part of this and Jonah was himself a well-formed monastic.

Thus, in this instance at least, it didn’t take long for His Beatitude to see where the homosexualization of the United States Armed Forces would lead. For this he was called a reactionary. The Stokovites probably rolled their eyes in disgust — “there he goes again.”

Kishkovsky had to work overtime to placate his NCC overlords that Jonah was a loose cannon and did not represent what The Best and The Brightest thought about these matters. Perhaps some in Syosset started muttering darkly about Jonah’s “stability.” After all, it was simply preposterous that chaplains in the Armed Forces would be forced against their will to perform hieratic rituals that sanctified sodomy. It’s absurd.

Well, these people need to call their office. They obviously didn’t get the memo from the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As for the rest of you, please read the following report. For once, the word “chilling” is appropriate.

Source: American Spectator George Neymayr

Muzzling Military Chaplains

One of the items on Obama’s second term agenda is to root out traditionally Christian chaplains from the military. He sees them as bigots unworthy of conscience protections. Like Chick-fil-A, they don’t uphold Obama’s “values.”

Obama’s mouthpieces in the military have already blurted this out. In 2010, Admiral Michael Mullen told a Christian chaplain who opposed the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that “If you cannot get in line, resign your commission.” That same year Lieutenant General Thomas P. Bostick, the Army’s deputy chief of staff in charge of personnel, said military members who dissent from Obama’s gay rights agenda should “get out.”

“Unfortunately, we have a minority of service members who are still racists and bigoted and you will never be able to get rid of all of them,” he said, as reported by the Washington Times. “But these people opposing this new policy will need to get with the program, and if they can’t, they need to get out.”

Pentagon officials go through the motions of saying that military chaplains still enjoy religious freedom. But this claim grows ever more lawyerly and narrow. When Defense Department Counsel Jeh C. Johnson testified before Congress about the implications of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy’s collapse for religious freedom, he said that it would not affect what a chaplain said in “the religious context.” In other words, chaplains would be punished for objecting to Obama’s gay rights agenda anywhere outside of a pulpit.

But even that feeble promise isn’t worth taking seriously, since Obama’s military officials have already regulated sermons from the pulpit. Last year they forbade Catholics chaplains from orally criticizing the HHS mandate, permitting only a printed objection to it. How long before the Army’s Office of the Chief of Chaplains requires vetting of all sermons on homosexuality?

At Maoist-style reeducation sessions, soldiers and chaplains have already been told that “You remain obligated to follow orders that involve interaction with others who are homosexual even if an unwillingness to do so is based on strong, sincerely held moral or religious beliefs.”

Also, it is not even clear if military chaplains control who speaks from their pulpits. It is likely that they will have to turn them over to other ministers preaching at gay nuptials whenever the Pentagon so decrees . A September 2011 memo from DOD general counsel Johnson indicates that any chapel space on a military base can be appropriated for gay weddings, which is a blatant violation of the Defense of Marriage Act. “Determinations” of chapel space, he wrote, “should be made on a sexual-orientation neutral basis.” By 2011, in open defiance of DOMA, the military authorized ministerial training for gay marriage ceremonies on military bases.

Considering himself very generous and tolerant, Obama has said that he would never force a priest or minister to preside at a gay wedding. This is an absurdly low guarantee of religious freedom. But there is no reason to suppose that he will even honor that low standard, given that he sees such a stance as discriminatory. In time, pressure, both direct and indirect, will be brought to bear on non-participating ministers. Even their silence will be seen as a hate crime. Careers will rise or fall depending upon the level of one’s participation in the promotion of gay rights.

The “LGBT” community will no doubt frame the issue as one of “access”: How can a gay soldier have a right to marry on a military base if military chaplains are free to refuse to marry them? At last year’s first gay wedding at West Point, the lesbian couple complained to the press that none of the ministers on campus agreed to marry them, so they had to fly a chaplain in from elsewhere.

Using the “access” argument, Obama scotched Bush-era conscience protections for pro-life Christian doctors working at federal hospitals. They are required to distribute abortifacients whether they like it or not. When the time is right, Obama will use the same “access” argument to require ministerial participation in gay weddings.

Keeping this option open, Obama last week announced that he will disobey a provision protecting chaplains which Republicans included in the national defense authorization bill he signed. The provision states that the religious views of a soldier cannot be “the basis of any adverse personnel action, discrimination or denial of promotion, schooling, training or assignment,” and that chaplains cannot be forced “to perform any rite, ritual or ceremony that is contrary to the conscience, moral principles or religious beliefs of the chaplain.”

Just as Obama refuses to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, so he promises to ignore this provision, as he said in his signing statement, calling it “unnecessary and ill-advised.” He added that he will not let it slow down his gay-rights agenda: “My Administration remains fully committed to continuing the successful implementation of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and to protecting the rights of gay and lesbian service members; Section 533 will not alter that.”

Obama won’t promise to protect these military chaplains for the simple reason that he views them as the moral equivalent of segregationists. Chai Feldblum, one of Obama’s commissioners on the EEOC, has written that the state, acting in the name of nondiscrimination, enjoys an absolute right to violate the religious freedom of Christians: “Just as we do not tolerate private racial beliefs that adversely affect African-Americans in the commercial arena, even if such beliefs are based on religious views, we should similarly not tolerate private beliefs about sexual orientation and gender identity that adversely affect LGBT people.”

That’s the essential view animating all of Obama’s policies related to Christianity. Under this secularist dogmatism, Christianity has no public rights. Freedom, as Feldblum puts it, is a “zero sum game” in which the religious deserve to lose.

What is my take on the above? Only this: that true to form, Progressives always promise safeguards and never cease to assure the hoi polloi that their fears are overstated. Yet they know full well what they mean and where they want to take the culture, and then once they arrive, it’s too late to turn back.


  1. The key document. The key quote.

    The Associated Press also took the key info nationwide.

    Then the dominoes started falling.

    Monday, October 25th, 2010

    Don’t ask, don’t tell the chaplains

    The setting: The office of a priest who serves as a military chaplain.

    The time: This hypothetical encounter occurs soon after the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that forbids gays, lesbians and bisexuals to openly serve in America’s armed forces.

    The scene: An officer requests counseling about tensions with her same-sex partner as they prepare for marriage. The priest says this would be inappropriate, since his church teaches that sex outside of marriage is sin and that the sacrament of marriage is reserved for unions of a man and a woman.

    The priest offers to refer her to a chaplain at another base who represents a church that performs same-sex rites. The officer accepts, but is less than pleased at the inconvenience.

    What happens next? That question is driving the tense church-state debates that continue behind the scenes of the political drama that surrounds “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

    “If the government normalizes homosexual behavior in the armed forces, many (if not most) chaplains will confront a profoundly difficult moral choice: whether they are to obey God or to obey men,” stated a September letter from 60-plus retired chaplains to President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

    The repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” they argued, will cripple the ability of many chaplains to provide counseling. “Service members seeking guidance regarding homosexual relationships will place chaplains in an untenable position. If chaplains answer such questions according to the tenets of their faith, stating that homosexual relationships are sinful and harmful, then they run the risk of career-ending accusations of insubordination and discrimination. And if chaplains simply decline to provide counseling at all on that issue, they may still face discipline for discrimination.”

    These complaints are “somewhat disingenuous,” according to the Rev. John F. Gundlach, a retired Navy chaplain from the United Church of Christ, the progressive Protestant denomination into which Obama was baptized.

    “These chaplains … will continue to have the same rights they’ve always had to preach, teach, counsel, marry and conduct religious matters according to the tenets of their faith. They will also continue to have the responsibility to refer servicemembers to other chaplains when their own theology or conscience will not allow them to perform the services to which a servicemember is entitled,” stressed Gundlach, writing in Stars and Stripes. “Any chaplain who can’t fulfill this expectation should find somewhere else to do ministry.”

    The urgency of these debates will only increase after this week’s Pentagon statement instructing its recruiters to accept openly gay applicants, a shift driven by a federal court decision barring the military from expelling openly gay soldiers.

    Military chaplains are already being asked to serve as doctrinal Swiss Army knifes, performing rites and prayers for personnel from a variety of flocks when the need arises. This kind of pluralism is easy for chaplains from some traditions, but not others.

    Meanwhile, it’s hard for chaplains to refer troubled soldiers to clergy in foxholes 30 miles away. It’s impossible to have a variety of chaplains — Southern Baptists and Wiccans, Catholic priests and rabbis — serving on every base, let alone in submarines.

    There is no easy way out of this church-state maze.

    If “don’t ask, don’t tell” is repealed, “no restrictions or limitations on the teaching of Catholic morality can be accepted,” noted Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for Military Services. While Catholic chaplains must always show compassion, they “can never condone — even silently — homosexual behavior.”

    A letter from Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America to the chaplains board was even more blunt: “If our chaplains were in any way … prohibited from denouncing such behavior as sinful and self-destructive, it would create an impediment to their service in the military. If such an attitude were regarded as ‘prejudice’ or the denunciation of homosexuality as ‘hate language,’ or the like, we would be forced to pull out our chaplains from military service.”

    So be it, said Gundlach. While these chaplains “worry about being discriminated against, they openly discriminate against some of the very people they are pledged to serve and serve with. If the hate speech currently uttered by some conservative chaplains and their denominations is any indication of how they will respond in the future, we can expect this discrimination to continue.”

    These chaplains need to resign, he said. The armed services “will be the better for it.”

  2. Gregg Gerasimon says

    Religious liberty and the redefinition of marriage cannot coexist in the same society. Only one can take precedence over the other, and clearly religious liberty is losing.

    Sooner or later, won’t the government sue one of our Orthodox parishes for refusing to marry a homosexual couple? Of course that could happen. Already our Orthodox military chaplains are at risk, as outlined in George’s piece here.

    Again, religious liberty and the redefinition of marriage cannot coexist in the same society. We’re fooling ourselves if we think otherwise.

    • Indeed. The first step to “solve this crisis with fairness” will be to strip Churches who will not sanction LGBT marriages etc of their tax exempt status with the “you have the freedom to be bigots if you want, but the nation doesn’t have to pay for it” line. Choking off the funds will be the prelude to further persecution.

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      Gregg says, “Religious liberty and the redefinition of marriage cannot coexist in the same society.”

      Thank you, Gregg, for this exact and welcome exercise in logic and clarity.

      Your point was precisely the thesis of the Manhattan Declaration.

    • Nate Trost says

      When I see doomsday prophecies like this:

      Sooner or later, won’t the government sue one of our Orthodox parishes for refusing to marry a homosexual couple? Of course that could happen.

      It’s hard not to harken back to the time when women were given the right to vote and equal legal rights as men. Which wasn’t that long ago. Have religious institutions that believe in a solely male clergy been sued into subservience, forced to ordain women? No, no they have not.

      What happened the last time a case might have tangentially touched on this subject? It was Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC last year. Hint: the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 unanimously in favor of the religious institution upholding their First Amendment rights. Including the justices appointed by Obama, the so called destroyer of America and Religion and Puppies and All Good Things.

      • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

        Nate, a refusal to perform a homosexual marriage won’t be adjudicated under the First Amendment. Hossanna-Tabor does not apply.

        You frame homosexual marriage as a competing rights claim. But the right to vote like the Civil Rights Movement is a different thing. (One obvious diffence: neither required the normalization of sexual relations across the sex divide.)

        In fact, taking your example to the logical end, why not legalize bestiality? Don’t bestial people (whatever they call themselves) have rights to non-coercive and diverse sexual expressions? What’s wrong with crossing the species divide? Answer these questions if you will. See if you can answer them without recourse to the moral tradition.

        Here’s an essay that explains the difference between homosexual activism and the Civil Rights Movement.

        Gay Marriage Far Removed From Civil Rights Movement

        The one above was written by a white man. Here’s one written by a black man.

        Same-Sex Marriage is Not a Civil Right

        • Nate Trost says

          When you say:

          a refusal to perform a homosexual marriage won’t be adjudicated under the First Amendment. Hossanna-Tabor does not apply.

          It would help if you actually gave some legal basis for making this argument. Unsurprisingly, I disagree with this assessment, but in my case, I’ll point to say, Lawrence Tribe’s journal article as a legal evaluation that serves as input to my opinion. Page 15, footnote 54 being of specific interest.

          You’re going to have to work a lot harder, given the very broad precedents, to convince me that the government is going to coerce you into being a glorified variant of a notary public against your will.

          When you write sentences like this following:

          The arrogation of authority by the State to define what kind of relationship is morally licit, as well as the employment of the machinery of the State to enforce it allows for an encroachment of the State into personal life that will lead to tyranny if not reversed

          it is a bit amusing because of course, people following pretty much that exact reasoning applauded Lawrence v. Texas as Constitutional victory over tyranny.

          • George Michalopulos says

            And yet, Nate, this is exactly what will happen. And when it does, can Fr Hans (or any Christian pastor) refuse by saying “But Nate Trost said that this was never going to happen!)

            Your naivete brings to mind the stories of old Bolsheviks who were being shipped off to the Gulag. They always protested to their tormentors: “This is all a great mistake! Wait until Comrade Lenin finds out!”

          • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

            Nate, you are avoiding my question. Why are we limiting the redefinition (jettisoning actually) of traditional marriage to homosexuals alone? What about polygamists? What about bestialists? What about incest(ists). Don’t they have a right to alternative, diverse and non-coercive sexual expressions? Don’t they have rights?

            Why are you limiting it only to homosexuals?

            • Your question was frankly an irrelevant aside to the specific matter being addressed. But since you think I am avoiding it: I am embarrassed for you that you stoop to pulling out the bestiality trope.

              Unless you are going to argue that homosexuals are no better than animals and not in fact sentient human persons. Or that you think animals have a similar level of consciousness as human beings. I would be extremely surprised if you hold either of those two positions. The matter at hand is legal equivalence in treatment of adult human beings having the ability to enter into formalized legally defined relationships conferring specific rights. Asking about basis for limitations to monogamous relationships or genetic diversity requirements is perfectly reasonable. Bringing animals into it is just dumb.

              As far as legal normalization of polygamist relationships, if we are talking about a society where the only polygamist relationships are those freely entered into by the relevant adult parties, I personally can’t find much reason to get worked up over them. Of course, if those relationships are formed due to the genders of some the parties reducing them to the effective status of property, then that’s a quite different story. Not that that dilemma has been limited to polygamist relationships. I’m sorry you no longer have the traditional rights to marry off your daughters prior to puberty with them having absolutely no say in it whatsoever. Curse Obama for taking that from you!

              Your attempt to derail the topic with bestiality does not mean I have failed to note your lack of a legal argument to justify your paranoia of being forced to sign a marriage license for a same-sex couple.

              • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                Nate, the question certainly is relevant.

                You are correct: “The matter at hand is legal equivalence in treatment of adult human beings having the ability to enter into formalized legally defined relationships conferring specific rights.”

                Further, you indicate that traditional marriage will indeed be jettisoned when you write, “I’m sorry you no longer have the traditional rights to marry off your daughters prior to puberty with them having absolutely no say in it whatsoever. Curse Obama for taking that from you!”

                Thus, there is no reason why bestiality should be restricted. If homosexual marriage is solely a human rights issue as you claim, no real legal ground exists not to tolerate bestiality as a diverse sexual expression either. You could argue from natural or moral law against this perversion. However, since you reject both nature and the moral tradition all you have left is faux outrage. What reason can you offer to oppose it? You have none.

                Once we jettison traditional marriage and cede to the State the authority to define relationships not found in nature, traditional marriage is dissolved of any binding precedent or cultural force. That affects the homosexual marriage as well. Restricting homosexual marriage to a same-sex pair is a nod to natural and moral law although there is no intrinsic reason to restrict the relationship only to two partners.

                There must be some homosexuals who grasp this. I think the sharper ones would realize that the destruction of heterosexual monogamous marriage threatens their liberty as well.


                It looks like there is criticism in the homosexual ranks towards gay marriage. From Salon:

                Will marriage change gay love? Many have embraced the romantic values of the mainstream — and dropped ideas about alternative lifestyles.

                Links to other articles there as well.

                • Nate Trost says

                  This is a rather extraordinary statement:

                  Further, you indicate that traditional marriage will indeed be jettisoned when you write, “I’m sorry you no longer have the traditional rights to marry off your daughters prior to puberty with them having absolutely no say in it whatsoever. Curse Obama for taking that from you!”

                  Because that seems to imply that you already feel we have jettisoned much of “traditional” marriage. And that you would like it back. Specifically the part about coercive binding of minors into legal relationships in which they have no effective rights. My sarcastic aside was a comment on the difficulty of defining an unchanging tradition, not an attempt to expose how “traditional” you perhaps think things should be.

                  Thus, there is no reason why bestiality should be restricted. If homosexual marriage is solely a human rights issue as you claim, no real legal ground exists not to tolerate bestiality as a diverse sexual expression either.

                  Except, of course, I haven’t been talking about sex. You have dragged sex into it due to your attempt to fallback to some kind of “natural law” defense, because you can’t just nakedly say “Well, the state should enforce what my religious faith dictates. Because God said so.”

                  Needless to say, we are going to disagree about the validity of your “natural law” basis. Such is life, you think it is a strong argument, I think it is about as relevant as a bear on a unicycle playing the ukulele. Given the detail that your definition according to natural law just so happens to narrowly fit a bi-gendered monogamous pair-bond relationship explicitly endorsed by your religious beliefs we do have a twist: now it seems it isn’t an actual bear, it is you in a bear consume. Although that is one impressive rendition of “All Along the Watchtower”, kudos.

                  There is a certain amusement seeing an appeal to natural law when, if I am not mistaken, your religious faith recognizes as sacramentally valid a marriage in which there is not only a lack of procreation, but a lack of sexual consummation. Talk about a perversion of natural law! But, of course, it’s all very pious and spiritual when you grab natural law, bend her over the bed and….chastely live with her as brother and sister.

                  What reason can you offer to oppose it? You have none.

                  The sheep can’t hire a lawyer of its own volition.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Nate, now you’re being trite. This whole issue is not because two men or two women want to live together as companions in an asexual fashion. Although this does happen (I and countless others have lived with persons of the same sex in an asexual fashion while at university) the whole movement behind “marriage equality” is to give state –and ultimately hieratic–sanction to homogenital relationships.

                  • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                    The sheep can’t hire a lawyer of its own volition.

                    How about establishing a Department of Defenders of the Sheep? We will call it Farmland Security. Would that cover it?

                    Your reasoning dead ends with the question perplexing the Danes. . .

                    The acts provoke moral disgust. The question is whether immorality should be made illegal. The FSA group discussing the new animal protection act has been in disagreement about this . . .*

                    . . . and your only possible answer is to lessen the disgust.

                    Look on the bright side. Maybe you can land a consulting job with Farmland Security!

                    *Source: Animal brothels legal in Denmark

              • Geo Michalopulos says

                Nate, creating straw men does not enhance your argument. Indeed, it shows how much more intrinscly strong the traditional argument is (as explicated by Fr Hans).

                The “marrying off of pre-pubescent daughters”is a case in point. Nowhere is this presently evident in the Western cultural tradition. It is found in the Old Testament to be sure but so is polygamy. In some modern Islamic societies, not only are these two phenomena in existence but so are male “brides” (typically lower-caste teenagers who become the catamites of older men) and even bestiality.

                This last statement may strike some as fabulous bigotry on my part but in reality, Muslim imams (such as the late Ayatollah Khomeini) have ruled that while bestiality is morally wrong, as long as the animal is killed that sin is amesced. As for flesh of that animal, it can be sold in another town but not in the village in which the act took place.

                • Nate Trost says

                  When you state “Nowhere is this presently evident in the Western cultural tradition.” (emphasis mine) you are correct, but note your use of the word “presently”. This precision tends to imply you think changes in tradition in the past are irrelevant, that you don’t wish to acknowledge them because they are inconvenient, or you are unaware of them.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    well, since polygamy and bestiality were NEVER present in the Western cultural tradition (not that they didn’t happen, they just never had any sanction), my point still stands. Nor do I feel that homosexuality will ultimately be given the sanction you desire. If it were, then what happened to Greece and Rome will undoubtedly happen to us as well, in which case the Western tradition will begin anew.

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      George M. wrote:

                      “well, since polygamy..[was] NEVER present in the Western cultural tradition (not that they didn’t happen, they just never had any sanction), ”

                      Until Romney?

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Romney is not a polygamist. The history of the polygamy within the early Mormon Church proves my point. The Federal government moved heaven and earth to persecute the Mormons and then when they established in Utah, all three branches of the government forced them to give up polygamy in return for granting them Territorial status.

                    • Jerry Wilson says

                      Mormon are still polygamists. They only accomodate monogamy in this life, but they can still be sealed in their temples for eternity to more than one partner.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      That may be. Regardless, polygamy was never part of the patrimony of the West. Even in pagan lands like Greece and Rome and of course the Teutons, Celts, Goths and other northern European peoples. That’s why it stood out like a sore thumb in the United States.

                    • Jane Rachel says

                      You’re right, George, of course, and your point is well taken. I did not mean Romney was a polygamist, but that Romney is a Mormon and therefore, perhaps, also not of the “Western Cultural Tradition.” (Speaking of the early Mormons, my Great-Great-Great Grandpa, Nathaniel Riggs, was one of the original 200 men of Zion’s Camp. Cool, huh?)

                    • George Michalopulos says


              • Just thought you all may find this interesting . . .

                Animal brothels legal in Denmark

                Laws in both Denmark and Norway are fairly open when it comes to a person’s legal right to engage in sexual activity with an animal. The law states that doing so is perfectly legal, so long as the animal involved does not suffer.


                Since Danish laws are so similar to Norwegian laws, the animal bordello phenomenon has led many to question if such a practice could be legal in Norway as well.


                “The acts provoke moral disgust. The question is whether immorality should be made illegal. The FSA group discussing the new animal protection act has been in disagreement about this,” Knaevelsrud said.

                Read the entire article here.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        RE: “You frame homosexual marriage as a competing rights claim. But the right to vote like the Civil Rights Movement is a different thing.”

        Not to everyone, it isn’t.

        “The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association of the United Methodist Church is a ministry organization that owns a facility known as the Boardwalk Pavilion in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. . . in 2007, the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights threatened to prosecute the Camp Meeting Association for adhering to its deeply held religious beliefs. State officials began an investigation because the Christian organization had refused to allow a same-sex civil union ceremony at the pavilion.

        A similar situation arose in Hawaii in 2010 when an individual demanded to be able to hold a same-sex “marriage” ceremony in a Catholic chapel, a consecrated religious sanctuary on the grounds of a diocesan retreat center. . .”

        • Gregg Gerasimon says

          And then there’s the case of the Catholic couple in Vermont who are innkeepers and were sued by a lesbian couple who wanted to have their wedding reception at the inn. Apparently the Catholic owners said that they would host the reception but informed the lesbian couple of their beliefs against same-sex marriage as Catholics.

          The ACLU helped sue, along with the Vermont Human Rights commission, and the innkeeper owners were fined $30,000.

          One of the party who brought the lawsuit said that “We did not bring this lawsuit in order to punish the Wildflower Inn or to collect money.” Really? Then why bring the lawsuit? To teach the innkeepers a lesson, apparently, and to punish them for their beliefs. And to reinforce the power of the government and the homosexualist machine?

          The innkeepers commented that “Our beliefs haven’t changed, but we do have lives to live, a family to love, a business to grow, and a community to serve. Small businesses like ours cannot match the limitless resources of the government and the ACLU.”

          Yep, religious liberty and the redefinition of marriage *cannot* coexist in the same society. And which is coming out ahead?

        • Nate Trost says

          I always find it interesting when alert pamplets like that leave out pertinent details. Like citations to the actual legal cases.

          In the case of the New Jersey property, there is ongoing litigation over it. Of course, there are details.

          I have not been able to find the Hawaii civil case. This is America, frivolous lawsuits are a national pastime. If the organization that put out this RELIGIOUS LIBERTY ALERT! bulletin is neglecting to mention that it may be using an example of something that was promptly tossed out of court, well, the ends justify the means, right?

        • Michael Bauman says

          Gail, therein lies the problem. Whenever our brokenness is cast solely in moral terms of right and wrong someone (usually those with the least power) are condemned.

          The Church, however, must receive all who wish to repent and be healed. That allows for neither condemnation or acquiescence. To be that way requires us to develop a heart of mercythat weeps for our brokenness but more for the brokenness of others.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            I hear you, Michael, I do, but there is a fine line between accepting brokenness and legitimizing brokenness to the point where it redefines the Church.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Gail, I understand your dilema but it is a false one I think. Brokenness is never acceptable neither is the pain and suffering that comes with it. Repentance ad submitting to Christ’s love is the only path of real healing.

              Repentance requires that I recognize that I am broken and far short of the glory of God to which I am called.

              Neither is it about the homosexuals only. It is much more comprehensive. The call the repentance must include a call to all of us to understand that our sexual desires and many of the actions that stem from those desires are not ‘normal’ either.

              The call is for a return to chastity, humility, fidelity and modesty for all men and women inside and outside the Church for we have all gone astray.

              That does not mean some faux-Amish or Russian peasant dress-up or any of that morality/fake peity either.

              At the same time, the Church needs to make it clear that we will not celebrate or excuse or wink at anyone’s brokenness. Fornication, adultery, easy divorce and remarriage, sexual harrassment, wild and immodest behavior, spousal abuse and sexual abberation and excess within marriage is all mete for repentence. Again not from some legalistic/moralistic ideology of what is right and wrong.

              Homosexuality has only become an issue because of our earlier capitulation to the standards of the world on these matters.

              I don’t see this as a fine line at all, but it will require a much more complete and difficult response on our part than merely parroting Romans chapter 1 and other such passages.

              We too will have to stop worshiping the created thing more than our creator and not just in matters of sexuality either.

              • “Homosexuality has only become an issue because of our earlier capitulation to the standards of the world on these matters.”

                I think that’s it in a nutshell. Had said sin not been emboldened in several parishes in this country the discussion on this topic would have been much different. . . .

              • Gail Sheppard says

                Thank for taking the time to respond, Michael. I agree with the lion’ share of what you said but I DO think brokeness is “acceptable.” It is acceptble, because it is inevitable. We all fall short of the Glory of God. My problem is not with brokeness, but using brokeness as the benchmark.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                Michael, thank you for taking the time to respond. You always give me much to think about.

                I agree with the lion’s share of what you said, but I’m not sure, “whenever our brokenness is cast solely in moral terms of right and wrong someone (usually those with the least power) are condemned.” We are not “condemned,” because we have been redeemed; even the “least of us.” – Brokenness is “acceptable” in the sense that it is inevitable. We all fall short of the Glory of God. My problem isn’t so much with the brokenness, but with using brokenness as the benchmark.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Yes, Gail, brokeness is inevitable but as I have experienced life in the Church that brokenness is never meant to be our final state or our identity. We are always called to a greater and deeper repentance.

                  We accept those into the Church who are broken simply because that is our mission and if we did not, there would be no Church.

                  However, none of us, in the Church, is allowed to define ourselves as our sins. We are not made in a broken image distorted by sin and surrounded by death. Neither should we condemn any man for his sins. Condemnation does not heal, it merely locks the condemned one into the prison of his sins, and we join him.

                  Part of the humility necessary to enter into the life of Christ is to recognize just how broken we are and how far we are from how we are meant to be. That is not simply a moral reality.

                  I have learned much from Fr Stephan Freeman, reading his blog. He says frequently that Christ did not come to make bad men good, but to make dead men live.

                  Certainly there are behavioral standards that need to be met and can be discussed in terms of the moral tradition of the Church. However, for any of us to be healed it is necessary to go far beyond that and allow the Holy Spirit to take us deeply into the mystery of our own being and our interrelationship with Jesus Christ and how we are meant to bear one another’s burdens.

                  Those who are too proud or too afraid to repent will never know the mercy, the peace and the unbounded glory that is what God wants for us.

                  Secular morality is founded on the heretical notion of egalitarianism. That is when brokenness is used as a benchmark and certain types of brokenness become favored. The force of the state will be and is already being brought to bear into order to quash those who acknowledge a higher being and our calling to become as He is through His grace.

                  History has shown that the secular vision of humanity is deadly and destructive. The natural hierarchy of creation and God’s call to transcendence cannot be ignored. Rather that attempting to lift people higher, egalitarianism requires the constant and violent supression of all and is inherently anti-God. Sin and brokenness is celebrated.

                  To think any other way is ‘immoral’, bigoted, racist, discriminatory. The Christian life is nothing if not about discering and discriminating between thoughts and actions that lead to life vs those that lead to death.

                  Malcolm Muggeridge once pointed out that sex was the secular sacrament. The secular glorification of sex and the ‘right’ to experience it in any and all ways possible is an extention of that central notion.

                  Brokenness is not acceptable in the same way that a person’s injuries in an ER are not acceptable. Healing and medicine and treatment are needed.

                  Would we not think it strange if a person who is slowly bleeding to death worked to get laws passed that not only proclaimed that bleeding to death was ‘normal’ but it was hateful if someone, out of concern, told the person that he was bleeding to death. In such a world the person offering healing would be called a bleederphobic I suppose.

                  Our cultural obssession with sex and sexual ‘freedom’ is much the same. Most suffer from it to one degree or another. We are inundated with it.

                  That is why it is incumbant on the Church and her people to preach, teach and live a chaste, faithful, modest, merciful and humble life–not just sexually but in all ways. That is asceticism in my mind.

                  At the same time we must emphasize the path of repentance, not as a right or wrong laundry list but as the path to union with Christ.

                  Outside the Church and often inside the Church, people have no clue what that even means. Outside the Church neither the language nor the context is there to supply the meaning. We have to teach it and offer the context. Inside the Church our minds are so dulled by the secular brainwashing that it becomes a struggle just to break free to begin.

                  Two things have been particularly harmful in my life: rememberance of wrongs and the desire to be ‘right’. That comes, I think, from succumbing to the legalistic/morality way of thinking.

            • Patrick Henry Reardon says

              Gail believes “there is a fine line between accepting brokenness and legitimizing brokenness to the point where it redefines the Church.”

              Respectfully, Gail, this line does not seem fine to me. It is gargantuan.

              I do, however, appreciate your calling attention to the line, however.

              It is unfortunate that the comments on this string had been obliged to deal with the unreasonable optimism championed by Nate Trost.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                You are completely right, Father: It is a “gargantuan” line.

              • M. Stankovich says

                And I am left to wonder what, exactly, we mean when we sing this verse in the Pasha Canon:

                Now all things are filled with light: heaven and earth, and the regions under the earth. So let all creation celebrate the Resurrection of Christ, in which we are established!

                When is this now? Is this a figurative statement? Something directed at the “the age to come,” or are the continuous references to “today,” “light” and “joy” literal? Apparently literal enough that our Father Seraphim of Sarov is said to have had the Canon on lips every day.

                Somehow this speaks to the Eucharist itself as well: the “Banquet of Immortality” is never celebrated in a place of “brokenness” or darkness, but at the Master’s Table, in the Upper Chamber, by virtue of the Master’s Hospitality. It seems to me that the Patristic Fathers are quite clear that this not metaphor or hyperbole or unreasonable by any means, but indicative of the new “boldness” by which we approach, unworthy and sinful though we be. As I have noted here on several occasions, who is not encouraged by the words of St. Chrysostom, “The Jews wandered aimlessly in the desert, but fear not! For no longer are you lead by Moses, but by Jesus Christ.”

                • Michael Bauman says

                  MS syas:

                  Somehow this speaks to the Eucharist itself as well: the “Banquet of Immortality” is never celebrated in a place of “brokenness” or darkness, but at the Master’s Table, in the Upper Chamber, by virtue of the Master’s Hospitality.

                  That is precisely why we must repent and constantly seek to allow Christ to heal our brokenness and sin, not accept it as normal in anyway. We are called to the feast as the mame, the halt and the lame, but we do not stay that way. We have to put on the wedding garment. Otherwise we are not allowed to partake.

                  Love does not see the false self we create in our brokenness and sin. Love sees the real self that God is calling us to.

      • Ivan Vasiliev says

        Puppies!? Oh, my! Things have gotten even worse than I thought! We’ve made the leap from revolution to cultural revolution so quickly my head is spinning. (Both the Soviets and the Chinese communists waged war against pets as bourgeois during their great assaults against traditional beliefs/behaviors). Thank you, Comrade Nate, for pointing this out. I was one of those fools who thought our sovereign was only out to overthrow the primitive remnants of the world views held by us poor unfortunates still clinging to our guns and our religion. To think he wants to destroy our puppies, as well!

  3. Do these Chaplains have the same reponsiblitly to uphold the Constituion as a soldier? Yes, they are Officers, but what sets them apart from Officers who have a Commision in a combat situation?

    Do these Chaplains have to uphold and defend the Constitution or are ther set apart to “perform” moral and spiritual guidance, plus other type of “counseling”. Yes, Chaplians are Military personnel but have different responsibilities than a combat soldier or Officers.

    Did they give up their rights of Fredom of Religion when they became Military Personnel? The answer is NO. However, just like any soldier they have rights, but serve their office in a different manner.

    It is a fine line they walk serving God or trying to give counsel to others when needed.

    Again, this Administration and those who force good men out of the service because of their Religious beliefs also discriminates and violates the Constitution for Freedom of Religion and posible Separation of Church and State.

    Obama and the Generals who support this type of behavior need our prayers so that they can retreat from anal orientation i.e., they must pull their heads out of their a$$3$.

    • Orthodox Chaplains are not required to do anything that is contrary to their belief. Therefore, Orthodox Chaplains will not be conducting services for or blessing any homosexual unions.

      • George Michalopulos says

        File that under “Famous Last Words.”

        • Jim of Olym says

          Orthodox military chaplains will not marry people who are not Orthodox, just like any Orthodox clergy. So what is the problem here?

          • George Michalopulos says

            How about this: forcing an Orthodox (or Catholic, etc.) chaplain to turn over his chapel to an ECUSA (or Wiccan, or Satanist) chaplain who will perform the same-sex union?

            • Nate Trost says

              Lesson #1: It isn’t “his” chapel. We’re talking about the military here.

              Relevant subsection of Army regulations (other branches are similar):

              h. Use of chapel facilities. Religious facilities on military installations are classified as dedicated facilities. Appropriate activities, which do not detract from its primary purpose, may be scheduled on a temporary basis. Such facilities are used for religious services for military personnel, their Family members, DOD civilians, and retirees (AR 600–20, para5–10). Provisions will be made in the construction of the facility to accommodate the requirements of distinctive faith groups, such as: the Blessed Sacrament (Roman Catholic), segregated kosher kitchen/storage (Jewish), and ritual
              washing (Islamic). The SrCH or designee will manage the scheduling and use of all religious facilities for the installation senior commander.
              (1) Distinctive faith groups represented in the command may use religious facilities on a space available basis under the supervision of a Chaplain.
              (2) Other appropriate command activities may be conducted in the facility, when the facility is not being used for religious purposes. Appropriate activities are those which do not detract from the perception of sacred space dedicated to the well being and spiritual health of individuals. Chapel sanctuaries are not generic lecture halls or morale, welfare, and recreation sites.
              (3) Chapels must be available for meditation and prayer when formal religious services are not scheduled.
              (4) Consideration for scheduling use of facilities will be based upon—
              (a) Availability when the use of the chapel facility does not conflict with recurring scheduled services of worship or
              other recurring religious program activities.
              (b) Distinctive faith group requirements, traditions, and practices.
              (c) Priorities established by local standing operating procedures (SOPs) or supplemental regulations.
              (d) Government entitlement to use the facility.

              • Geo Michalopulos says

                Nate, you’re extremely naive. Laws this verbose are the signs of a pharasaical, Godless society. They are literally begging to be broken.

                You clearly did not read the essay reprinted in my post. Chaplains were clearly told to “get with the program or resign their commissions.”

                Let’s put our cards on the table: the Constitution is essentially a dead letter. I could go through every Article, Section, and clause and show how the words are no longer being adhered to.

                May I give you an example? Where in the First Amendment do we find justification for campus speech codes? Where “scholars” are not allowed to speak, lecture, and/or investigate certain subjects because they are taboo?

                • Nate Trost says

                  You call me naive, while not understanding how the military works. Bravo.

                  Laws this verbose are the signs of a pharasaical, Godless society.

                  Lesson #2: The military has regs for everything. I don’t think anyone from say, the Catholic or Eastern Orthodox faith is in any particular position to cast stones regarding mind boggling numbers of proscriptions and regulations accumulated over an extended period of time, some at times seemingly contradictory of each other.

                  You clearly did not read the essay reprinted in my post. Chaplains were clearly told to “get with the program or resign their commissions.”

                  Lesson #3: Of course they were told this. What did you expect? That is how the military functions.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    So Nate, you admit (in point #3) that there is no room for religious freedom in the military? Wasn’t this the point of my re-posting this essay (“Muzzling Military Chaplains”).

                    • Nate Trost says

                      An individual in the military is entitled to freedom of their religious beliefs in individual practice. An individual in the military serving in an official capacity as a chaplain is inherently voluntarily accepting a role. A role which they do not get to define solely according to their personal religious beliefs.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      So you agree that Orthodox chaplains can be forced into doing that which is against Orthodox tradition?

                    • Nate Trost says

                      Forced? No. Being potentially put in a position due to the nature, role, responsibilities and requirements of the job resulting in not to be able to serve without violating their moral conscience? Perhaps, although not a given. For that matter, forced into doing and forced to resign because you can’t do the job are two different things.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      At the end of the day, those are distinctions without differences. There will be gay marriages and Orthodox chaplains will be forced to perform them. We live in an Aristotelian universe, not a Platonic one.

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  “Chaplains were clearly told to get with the program.” “the program” is accepting homosexuals in the armed forces unless otherwise disqualified: the repeal of DADT.
                  “The program” does not include performing marriages not approved by a chaplain’s accrediting authority.
                  Nothing in the program requires Orthodox chaplains to perform heterodox weddings. No military authority can prevent an Orthodox Chaplain from refusing the sacraments (Mysteries) to an Orthodox practicing homosexual, or to an Orthodox aborting her child or to all non-Orthodox servicemen and women. Period.
                  Those who have never served and have no real experience of our military chaplaincy are the only ones “valiantly” assaulting what is, in fact, a total chimera.
                  Sufficient onto the day is the evil thereof.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    I’m sorry Your Grace, but that’s an incredibly rosy scenario. We shouldn’t forget that there’s another side to this coin (the coercive power of the State) and that is that too many Orthodox clergymen over the years have made way too many accommodations to the zeitgeist. And I don’t mean just the GOA but priests (and bishops) from every jurisdiction. It would take me an entire day to catalog them.

                    And lest anyone thing I’m being especially hard on our clergy, we must remember that they have been importuned by the laity to bend the rules almost to the breaking point. Think of how many priests we know who worry that their livelihood and the well-being of their family is on the line. If they’ve made accommodations over the decades because of antagonists on the Parish Councils what makes us think that a GOA chaplain who’s a major in the Air Force or an OCA chaplain who is a Lt Commander in the Navy is going to refuse the direct order from a flag officer?

                    • Nate Trost says

                      For reference, the respective Chiefs of Chaplains are all two-stars.

                    • George Michalopulos says


                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      George . I painted no rosy pictures of the future. In fact, I confined myself to the present policies and regulations and culture of the United States armed forces. You, however, wrote this rather fanciful (I’m trying to be charitable) scenario:
                      “what makes us think that a GOA chaplain who’s a major in the Air Force or an OCA chaplain who is a Lt Commander in the Navy is going to refuse the direct order from a flag officer?”
                      George, flag officers and general officers almost never issue “direct orders.” Ensigns, Second lieutenants, new corporals sometimes do. In the very, very rare instances when a general or flag officer would issue a “direct order’, it would have to be authorized by an official regulation of the particular service. Further, before any soldier, sailor or marine could make an appeal that would reach a general or flag officer, there would have to be a regulation authorizing such an appeal.
                      Frankly,I’m a little insulted on behalf of our men and women in uniform when you compare the influence a parish council or board of trustees has over parish priest with the influence of commanding officers over ANYONE. Parish Councils and Boards of Trustees are notoriously ARBITRARY entities, subject only to (and weakly) to the power of hierarchs. Everything in the services, George, is done according to regulations and “S.O.P.” (Standard Operating Procedures”), which are also printed.
                      You, like Metropolitan Jonah, do not realize how jealously our Armed Forces Chaplains guard their rights guaranteed by regulation. Neither of you has read any of the regulations governing the institution and operation of the Armed Forces chaplaincies. An attempt by a general or flag officer to order a chaplain to violate the moral guidelines or commandments of his accrediting authority would be met by opposition from event those chaplains who have different moral standards, guidelines or canons. I believe that, in order to preserve the autonomy of the chaplaincy, even a PECUSA female chaplain married to another female officer would, on learning that a general or flag officer had commanded an Orthodox Chaplain to marry a same-sex couple would join forces (as would the Baptists, Jews, etc) with the Orthodox Chaplain as would the Chief of Chaplains. We’re talking about the real armed forces here, not “Hogan’s Heroes”

                  • Master Bless !
                    Thank you for clarifying the issue. Have Orthodox Chaplains been forced to give the Holy Communion to non-Orthodox? No they have not..and they will not be forced to go against Orthodox teaching and marry same-sex couples..

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Again, an extremely optimistic, dare I say Pollyannish?–position of what awaits Orthodox chaplains in the future. (Unless of course there are no Orthodox chaplains…)

                    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                      Your Grace, do you really believe that if homosexual marriage becomes the law of the land that the military is going to provide exemptions for conscience? Homosexual marriage is being pushed as a civil rights issue. There is no conscience clause for the violation of a person’s civil rights.

                      Do you believe homosexual marriage is a civil rights issue?

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    My son, frequently reminds me that things have changed. The virulence that he experiences in his life bears no comparison to what those of my generation and older have experienced. The atomization and secularization have progressed to such an extent that the largely unspoken moral consensus that existed in your days in the military, your Grace, is not longer in effect.

                    There is less and less respect for anything even remotely approaching a Christian moral understanding and a greater and greater threat to those who hold it or attempt to articulate it.

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    You are absolutely right, Your Grace, as always. I would include just one caveat . . . *yet.*

                    • Fr. George Washburn says

                      Hi Gail and Vladyka:

                      I have to agree with his Grace’s comments at the top of this subthread, and with what I think was his conclusion that some Chicken Little “the sky is falling” talk here needed correcting.

                      But “as always?” I don’t think so.

                      Most recently I was troubled by his post last week comparing the current OCA synod to the clergy who passed by on the other side of the road in the Good Samaritan parable. I am wondering if there is a hint …or more than a hint … of sour grapes in some of it.

                      One piece of “evidence” that he adduced and developed at some length was the alleged refusal of permission to Bishop Nikolai to serve in the Las Vegas parish he was so instrumental in raising up. (I found Vladyka’s use of the word “created” a bit much too) I say alleged not because i doubt the correctness of Bishop Tikhon’s statement that this prohibition is so but rather because an authoritative confirmation has not been cited.

                      I think a more charitable interpretation would be that since (by internet hearsay, I must acknowledge in all fairness to said bishop) Bp. Nikolai is nothing if not a despota when in the presence of those he outranks, it would have a tendency to create a whole lot of confusion in the minds of the Bishop himself, the current parish priest and the parishioners for him to return there to serve, whether regularly or piecemeal. The “chemistry” of a parish and the performance of its services is not automatic, and I could see it being disturbed by a strong-minded bishop who used to be the boss there but does not have authority there now …. at any level. Vladyka is very kindly disposed to Bishop Nikolai, but the current bishop is probably thinking more of the needs of the parish and its priest for clear and stable lines of authority.

                      Just a guess, but strong enough in my mind that the Good Samaritan, ‘pass by on the other side’ argument is not at all buttressed by Valdyka’s citation of Las Vegas.


                      Fr. George

      • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

        Nick, that’s wishful thinking. You don’t understand what you are up against.

      • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, PhD says

        Nick, I ask this question only to determine whether you have personal experience or are merely echoing claims that you may have heard from others: have you served as an Orthodox chaplain in any of the U.S. armed forces?

        • George Michalopulos says

          The question is not whether the Church should sanction homosexual coupling or crusade against it while abortion and adultery, etc. are more widespread. The question ultimately is why is the State going to force the Church to not preach the Gospel in its fullness?

        • Michael Bauman says

          The Father’s reply completely missing the point. Homosexual “rights” is being used as a bludgeon to force the Church to the states will. It has nothing to do with individuals, everything to do with community and culture.

          We are called to form God centered communities as places of salvation in which all who seek repentance may be healed.

          Those who wish to neither repent nor to even hear the call to repentance, as the homosexual activists, want to shut us up.

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          First, this modernist priest is just that modernist and not Orthodox, especially if he’s from the GOA IMHO. Second, yes, we can ask that this happens in a pluralistic society because we did it with Rome, and even if we did not morality is not pluralistic nor relative, but absolute and eternal. It’s because of priest like this that I have seen grow in number since I was a kid that are destroying the Church, and that the Ephraimite Monasteries are here to combat. I thank God for these monasteries in the GOA no matter what their faults because without them the GOA would be going down the same drain as the OCA.


      • Gregg Gerasimon says


        I think that your statement is disingenuous, hopefully unintentionally. I’ve been in the active Army now going on 14 years — from the time when I started with the military in college but wasn’t on active duty, it’s over 20 years at this point.

        I love the military and know and believe that our soldiers/sailors/airmen/marines are among the most unsung patriots that our country has. (These days, if you don’t live near a military base, many Americans have absolutely zero experience with the military — including most of the civilian leadership in DC — and sadly, many like it that way.) However, our military is led by civilians — originally designed as such to help prevent military dictatorships or military rule in America. But because of the non-military leadership, our military can be the petri dish for social experimentation, the place where progressive social ideals find their way into practice.

        Take the recent edict allowing women into combat on the “front lines.” Yes, I admit, there may be the occasional Xena Warrior Princess who might keep up with the boys fine, carrying a 30-lb weapon and a 40-lb rucksack for miles in the Afghani mountainside. But most American girls and women aren’t Lucy Lawless in her Hollywood embodiment, and though I haven’t taken a poll, I don’t think that most American girls/women even want to be on the front lines in combat. Yet women’s groups (and some of my progressive women friends on Facebook) are applauding the recent ukase from the SecDef as a “huge win for women’s rights,” etc. Needless to say, these women have no intention at all of joining the military, let alone of camping outside when there’s a W Hotel nearby. Yet we haven’t as a society discussed the implications of this change in policy: will our 18-year-old girls now be required to register for the Selective Service if there’s another national catastrophe and the draft comes back? Do we as a society want that? Do we even care, or are we using our young women to advance bizarre social theories?

        Getting back to the chaplain issue, all you need for Orthodox Chaplains in the military to be put in a difficult/untenable position with respect to our Orthodox beliefs is to have

        (1) a servicemember who is willing to fight because of an alleged injustice as they see it, more of than not supported by a left-wing “civil rights” group who is using the servicemember to advance their agenda, and
        (2) a civilian leadership who doesn’t understand a chaplain’s objection/conflict, and who really doesn’t care.

        If two gay servicemembers at Fort/Naval Station/Air Base Wherever want to get married and the local chaplain is the Orthodox Chaplain who says that he can’t do it, well, yes, the two could go elsewhere, but what if they want to make a statement? What if the ACLU gets involved and encourages them to “fight their case?” This is hardly inconceivable these days.

        Our civilian leadership won’t care about the 7 Ecumenical Councils or about our Orthodox faith and tradition. Most civilians in government (and in the media for that matter) view Christians much like you view a strange animal at the zoo, and for many (if not most), faith plays little role in their lives. As one of my favorite priests used to say, they have “forgotten about God.” Christians who are not in favor of the redefinition of marriage or sex without consequences or whatever are viewed as backward bigots, morally equivalent to those who used to discriminate against African Americans. The government won’t stand for it and, for reasons that Fr Hans Jacobse explains much more eloquently than I do, can easily persecute those who don’t honor these new precepts.

        Interestingly, Muslim chaplains would also not perform a homosexual union, but it seems that few would go after them these days — Christianity is a much better target, as it’s socially acceptable to be prejudiced against Christianity but not Islam.

        And lest we forget, kudos again to Metropolitan Jonah for trying to take a stand against these progressive social policies. Yet our church decided that he was Not The Right Man For The Job and tried to tarnish his image, yet this backfired and continues to backfire. Shame on us. I may have to go to DC for work in a few weekends, and while I normally love to visit St Nicholas on Mass Ave., this time I think I will go to St John the Baptist on 17th Street.

  4. Nick Katich says

    “Jonah representing the monastic/patriarchal administrative model while Syosset adheres to the secular-accommodationist/pseudo-conciliarist model. ” In all his writings before the Jonah affair, George clung dearly to the so-called “conciliarist model”. George was adamantly opposed to the “patriarchal administrative model” which George thought was not canonical, ever citing the so-called “Apostolic Canon” 34. Will the real George reveal himself? Probably not.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Yes I will. You set up a strong man, Nick. I fervently believe in the equality of bishops and a true conciliarity (sobornost). What I don’t believe in is the Syosset-lackey view of the Primacy which was dusted off only for Jonah (but will be kept firmly in place for Tikhon).

      In other words, I really, truly, very much, with all my heart, believe in Canon 34. The one in which the Primate is the president of the episcopate and he does nothing of importance without their knowledge and they (at the very least) don’t secretly gather without his presence and conspire against him.

      Is that clear enough?

      • Carl Kraeff says

        Clear as mud.

        • Nick Katich says

          Mud is clearer.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Well, now we’ve gone into topsy-turvy world. Tell me Nick, did you ever read the letter put out by the Synod (but curiously never signed by one of the bishops) which made the accusations against His Beatitude?

            Would you mind telling us how exactly those accusations made any sense or had any bearing on reality?

      • Nick Katich says

        “Strong man”, George, is not a misspelling. It might be a “Freudian slip”. It is definitely a subconscious admission of the truth of the strength of my accusation. Thank you for the compliment.

        • George Michalopulos says

          You’re welcome. I’m not sure how “strong” your argument was however. Would you please restate it again?

        • Ilya Zhitomirskiy says

          Excuse me, George Michalopulous meant “straw man”, a weaker and tangential version of the original argument that an author refutes instead of refuting his opponents’ real argument.

  5. Fr John W Fenton says

    To believe that Obama or other like-minded secularists will uphold the promise that “would never force a priest or minister to preside at a gay wedding” is to disbelieve the prescient Law of the late Fr Richard John Neuhaus; to wit, “where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed.”

  6. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    Straw man; not strong man.

  7. Fr. Hans Jacobse says

    To define homosexual coupling as marriage violates natural law. It takes one male and one female to create a child and constitute a family. A male-to-male or female-to-female coupling is naturally sterile; biologically closed to the creation of new life (which is not the same thing as saying that either partner is infertile). A homosexual “family” then, is necessarily an artificial creation.

    Heterosexual marriage is not a creation of the State nor is the State the final judge or arbiter of the moral legitimacy of heterosexual marriage since it exists in nature and predates the rise of the State. The State merely affirms what already exists in nature when it codifies heterosexual marriage into law. However, when the State decrees homosexual couplings as a morally licit marriage, it violates natural law. It arrogates unto itself an authority to define human relationships that do not exist in nature.

    Moral relativism is being crafted into law but this creates a new conflict. A society cannot live with the tension between nature and the State and thus is left with two available choices: 1) return to the norm of heterosexual marriage found within natural law, or 2) destroy the definition of morally licit marriage altogether. The first is the choice of the Christian and anyone else who believes the moral tradition references an authority higher than the State. The second is favored by those who believe that the State is both the source and judge of rights.

    President Obama has declared that “gay rights” is a centerpiece of his second term agenda. This is a dangerous development. The arrogation of authority by the State to define what kind of relationship is morally licit, as well as the employment of the machinery of the State to enforce it allows for an encroachment of the State into personal life that will lead to tyranny if not reversed (see my essay: The Artist as Vandal: Culture and the Desecration of Religious Symbols).

    The ground is being tilled for the persecution of Christianity because Christians, by the mere fact that they are believers in God, testify allegiance to a higher law that even the State must be subject to. The State, in elevating relationships not in accord with natural law, will necessarily refuse that reasoning because it strikes at the heart of its arrogation of moral authority and what will eventually become the rationale for its legitimacy to rule.

    If homosexual marriage becomes the law of the land, exemptions for believers concerning homosexual marriage will be abandoned in short order. The moral relativism codified into law stands against the assertion of a higher law and the tension this creates — particularly the assertion that the State is acting in morally illegitimate ways — will be resolved by prosecuting those who disobey the State.

    In the long run, Christians won’t be prosecuted for objecting to homosexual marriage as such. They will be prosecuted for denying that the State has the power to define what is morally licit. That is why we are on a path to tyranny. The drafters of the Manhattan Declaration understand this.

    This is understood (albeit intuitively sometimes) by leaders within Christian communions (including the Orthodox). That is why homosexuality has become such a hot button issue and why divisions are occurring around it. That is also why those who say that much of the anger directed at Met. Jonah was because of his unequivocal defense of the moral tradition concerning human sexuality are probably correct.

    We are one step closer to the catacombs. Bishops and priests need to take special note because they will become the first targets of the coming hostility in order to demoralize the faithful. Clergy who today still hope for compromise with the homosexual cultural agenda must recommit to the moral tradition and bear the scorn that comes with defending it. If they don’t, they will fall from the faith and lead others with them. Clergy who are practicing homosexuals need to be removed from office because their internal confusion fosters greater moral confusion in the Church at a time when it needs more clarity.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      Fr. Hans I agree with you. In the end this moral holocaust that we are going through will destroy this present order, burning itself out like a fast killing virus, and we Christians, as always will have to pick up the pieces when all is said and done. Until then we have some hard times ahead. As Chicago’s Cardinal George has previously said:

      I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”

      Peter A. Papoutsis

      • Michael Bauman says

        Peter’s warning which we all should heed is simple: “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”

        Comfortable quietism is not an option. Whom will you serve?

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        What can tell you. You should get out more.


    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      The rest of Cardinal George’s column is well worth reading. The end of the article is very ineresting as to what Catholics have decicded to do. What have the Orthodox Decided to do? Will we engage in a New Evangalization of this world as well?

      Analogies can easily be multiplied, if one wants to push a thesis; but the point is that the greatest threat to world peace and international justice is the nation state gone bad, claiming an absolute power, deciding questions and making “laws” beyond its competence. Few there are, however, who would venture to ask if there might be a better way for humanity to organize itself for the sake of the common good. Few, that is, beyond a prophetic voice like that of Dorothy Day, speaking acerbically about “Holy Mother the State,” or the ecclesiastical voice that calls the world, from generation to generation, to live at peace in the kingdom of God.

      God sustains the world, in good times and in bad. Catholics, along with many others, believe that only one person has overcome and rescued history: Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of the Virgin Mary, savior of the world and head of his body, the church. Those who gather at his cross and by his empty tomb, no matter their nationality, are on the right side of history. Those who lie about him and persecute or harass his followers in any age might imagine they are bringing something new to history, but they inevitably end up ringing the changes on the old human story of sin and oppression. There is nothing “progressive” about sin, even when it is promoted as “enlightened.”

      The world divorced from the God who created and redeemed it inevitably comes to a bad end. It’s on the wrong side of the only history that finally matters. The Synod on the New Evangelization is taking place in Rome this month because entire societies, especially in the West, have placed themselves on the wrong side of history. (May, 2010).

      At what point do we Orthodox Christians get embarrassed enough, fed up enough to say we as Orthodox also need a Synod on the New Evangelization so we can spread the Gospel anew in this Country and world at large. We could learn from the Roman Catholics on this one. If we do not learn and humble ourselves then the world will slide deeper and deeper into sin and abomination, worshipping demons and objects and hating God and themselves even more so. It is way overdue for the Orthodox to take a stand in our churches, our communities and our world. Because those who have a form of religion but deny the powe thereof are militant outside and inside the church:

      Its time guys. Not for votes and politics, but for Orthodox Christians to be Orthodox Christians and draw a line in the sand and just say no. Otherwise, just hunker down and get ready for the tornado that’s coming. Its not going to be pretty.


      • Michael Bauman says

        Peter as much as you don’t want to hear it Obamacare is a part of the onslaught.

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          The same was said about social security, medicare, medicaid, and now the affordable care act. By the same logic we should not have a Police force, Fire Fighters or Hospitals. Also those evil Byzantine Orthodox Christians and their pioneering of Hospitals, some times supported by the State, was just evil.

          Governmental services and safety nets that are for the proper welfare and protection of the people have not led and do not lead to the moral breakdown that we are seeing. That is good old fashion fallen Human Nature. The only exception to this that I have agreed with you on is the HHS mandate. The HHS mandate did cross the line and it should be fought against as it currently is and will be overturned IMHO.


          • Michael Bauman says

            But Peter you still have not answered my question: what happens if the admin refuses to abide by a court ruling as the NLRB is doing?

            The tax and control bill has nothing to do with health or care and it will be extravagantly unaffordable. Neither does it have anything in common with true safety nets or Byzantine hospitals. Of course when it all starts to fall apart the solution will be more of the same. :

      • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

        “What have the Orthodox Decided to do? Will we engage in a New Evangalization of this world as well?”

        The secularists/pagans will commit (really already have committed) demographic/cultural suicide just like the Western Roman empire, and it is the Latings and other Heterodox who we will be Evangelizing, if nothing else simply by existing next to them and absorbing all the best who truely seek Christ. What should we do collectively to help this? Withdraw from all false ecumenical groups and meetings, tell them they are outside the Church and they as individuals must seek to fix that by converting. That is the loving thing to do, rather than wasting time and money and souls by pretending that reunion is possible, especially under terms were other groups have been valid “branches” of the Church existing outside of communion with us.

      • Catholic Observer says

        “we as Orthodox also need a Synod on the New Evangelization so we can spread the Gospel anew in this Country and world at large. We could learn from the Roman Catholics on this one.”

        The reason there is a New Evangelization in the Roman Catholic Church is because in the last 50 years, the Church of Rome has done everything that the modernists in the Orthodox Church would like her to do as well: dumbed-down and truncated liturgies, toned-down language (compare the language of the Popes since Paul VI with the language of previous popes and you will see what I mean), soft-pedaling conversion in favor of “dialogue”, vague language in place of its once sharply-defined doctrines, etc.

        The result? Without any persecution, without any real challange from the culture (at least initially) the secularization of deeply Catholic cultures accelerated, and today Rome is contemplating in Western and Central Europe and North America — and increasingly in Central and South America — a vast wasteland where a vibrant Catholic culture used to exist. Many thousands of churches have been closed, and many thousands more will be in the coming decade. John Paul II, for all of the giant crowds he attracted and the numerous youth events he inaugurated, did not manage to reverse this decline, as does the current Pontiff. There is a vibrant counter-cultural movement in Catholicism emphasizing liturgical reverence and doctrinal orthodoxy, but only time will if it will last long after Benedict XVI. The Catholic Church has a strong pro-life movement, but it is one of the strangest realities in Catholicism that orthodoxy in matters relating to human life and sexuality often goes hand in hand with heterodoxy and innovation in liturgy and doctrine. (It seems to me that in American Orthodoxy the opposite is the case.)

        It seems to me that the Orthodox oscillate between two attitudes towards Catholicism: a hateful triumphalism and scorn, and an awed desire to imitate everything in it. I think both attitudes are wrong. I am of the opinion that Orthodoxy should, in this time of cultural upheaval, hold on to its traditions of liturgy, spirituality and asceticism. Even Rome has been telling its Greek Catholics to look to the Orthodox East for guidance on liturgy and monasticism.

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          I agree with you CO. I do not hate nor secretly want to be her. What do admire is that she has decided to take action to evangelize and re-evangelize this world where we Orthodox are still sitting on the sidelines arguing amongst ourselves about everything but spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That was the point I was attempting to make.


    • Carl Kraeff says

      Thank you Father Hanse. I truly appreciate your clear-headed approach to this. Regarding your last sentence, I would have phrased it perhaps a little less categorically, as a recommendation to the Holy Synod to consider doing this. As you know, I have opposed using this issue at this time because it is important not to conflate our +Jonah problem with any other. As I wrote elsewhere, this issue was brought in as a red herring, to deflect truly valid criticism and actions against our former Metropolitan and also to wage an unrelenting scorched earth policy against real and perceived enemies. You take +Jonah out of the equation and you will find more folks in agreement with you.

      • Fr. Hans Jacobse says


        Regarding Met. Jonah: I’ve said what I’ve had to say about the Met. Jonah imbroglio back in August (Removing Metropolitan Jonah Hurt the American Orthodox Church). Rereading it today I would probably make it stronger. I found the rape charge very offensive and said so at the time. I still do.

        Regarding my last sentence: You don’t ask that Bishops deal with homosexually active clergy; you expect that they will. Fortunately I have a bishop (Antoun) and a Metropolitan (Philip) who would have no problem with the statement. The term “clergy” can include both priests and bishops.

    • Fr. Hans writes:

      “Heterosexual marriage is not a creation of the State nor is the State the final judge or arbiter of the moral legitimacy of heterosexual marriage since it exists in nature and predates the rise of the State. The State merely affirms what already exists in nature when it codifies heterosexual marriage into law.”

      This, along with the rest, is largely true.

      However, what always gets overlooked when discussing civil laws surrounding marriage is their purpose. Most discussions have all but completely forgotten that marriage implies the likelihood (or at least the possibility) of procreation and that civil marriage laws were enacted largely to recognize this reality – protecting husband, wife, and children.

      It used to be that a woman who engaged in intercourse without the protection of (civilly legal) marriage had no claim to child support because her child was illegitimate under the law. Nor did a ‘man’ (and I use the word loosely) have any rights over a child that was not legally his. Nor could a child of an illegal union claim rights as an heir of anyone but his/her mother. Legally married husbands, legally married wives, and legally conceived children all had rights under the law in cases of divorce, desertion, etc. Illegal unions and their illegitimate fruits had no such rights. Today, however, we have ‘palimony’ and allow legal claims of both paternal and maternal child support regardless of the marital status of those involved, completely ignoring the purpose of civil marriage laws and thus rendering them illogical and even irrelevant from a legal standpoint. (This, of course, is not even to mention homosexuality and the fact that homosexual unions are incapable by definition of procreation, yet how often we hear preposterous discussions about the rights of homosexual couples “and their children.”)

      I’m afraid that we are very late to the battle and therefore, perhaps, fighting primarily symptoms instead of disease. The moment we accepted the absurd notion that marriage could be separated from procreation we lost the battle for marriage as a matter of law.

      Someone once loosely described the difference between sin and iniquity by defining sin as what man does against his own nature, while defining iniquity as the confusion and mess created as a result of sin. By these definitions we are well beyond sin and thoroughly immersed in iniquity.

      Help us, save us, have mercy upon us, and keep us O God by Thy grace!

      • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

        Brian, very good point. I chose not to address it because the main purpose of the essay was to show Christians how to argue for heterosexual marriage. An appeal to tradition alone is not sufficient anymore because such appeals are perceived as just another rights claim.

        This is true in Orthodox circles as well where new essayists* are emerging that separate the natural from the sacramental to essentially argue that the Church has no interest in culture, as well as Orthodox libertarians who cede the battle in the same way. Neither realize that their capitulation to moral relativism will lead to their persecution.

        *See: Civil Unions by Another Name: An Eastern Orthodox Defense of Gay Marriage by David Dunn. Dunn appeared on Ancient Faith Live! where Fr. John Whiteford provided an able defense of the moral tradition.

        Listen to the program here:

        • I notice in that linked article that its author, David Drum, refers to/categorizes the Holy Spirit as “She”/”she.” I believe that to be a gross and greatly misleading error (as is the title of his article).

  8. who pays the salary? If individuals in good conscience can not do the job they are being paid to do, they should resign their job.

    • Exactly, but when Jonah gave the US military the heads up that the OCA chaplains would have to resign if Do tell and Do do gets followed through to its logical extreme, what was the response to his heads up?

      Exactly. Now you see why we say gay activists are dishonest, unreasonable, and destructive to our culture.

    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

      Exactly greggo. When the State arrogates the authority to determine what social arrangements are morally licit, “good conscience” becomes whatever the State deems it to be. It will be enforced through coercion. That’s why Met. Jonah said military chaplains who uphold the moral tradition will be forced out of their jobs.

      Um is correct. The homosexual cultural agenda accepts nothing less than complete moral parity for homosexual behavior — the homosexualization of culture to put it bluntly. It leads to a corruption of culture that occurs through the corruption of institutions.

      Churches are not immune from institutional collapse including the Orthodox Church. The Episcopalians taught us that. The first defense against moral devolution and collapse are resolute bishops and priests who will not compromise the moral tradition.

  9. Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, PhD says

    For the record, I would direct our attention to two guest editorials on the threat, which has now come to pass, that I published in Stars and Stripes, the privately-owned newspaper available at every U.S. military base throughout the world, including most combat posts in southwest Asia:

    I do have, however, one caveat and one caution. First, as it happens, I underestimated the speed of the homosexualist juggernaut in the U.S. armed forces. Second, some of the mostly uninformed, virulently anti-religious, or ideologically driven comments posted to the online versions of my two op-eds will offend those who take umbrage, in particular, at Orthodox priests such as myself having to endure knee-jerk insults about their personal lives.

  10. cynthia curran says

    Well, gays can live like everyone else these days they are not casterated like in the Byzantine empire or jail like they were back in the 1960’s. Some states even let them be foster parents or adopt and a few allow them to marry. Obama is making the mistake that Bush made on the right but making gay rights a federal thing like Bush on the right wanted the federal government to abolish gay marriage. The states should handle it if California wants it and Texas doesn’t want gay marriage then its up to them. Personality, until the late 20th century no country wanted it. Orthodox from both views of the early church fathers and early law codes in Byzantium and Russia should not support it since it violates Orthodoxy or Orthodox culture.

  11. Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster, PhD says

    Ms. Curran, the problem with a live-and-let-live states’ rights “solution” is the “full faith and credit” clause in the U.S. Constitution (Article IV). The trend in jurisprudence in recent years leads inexorably, it seems, to federal recognition of radical social innovations in particular states. The only thing preventing full federal recognition of “marriage” between homosexuals in any of the states that have mandated that moral and biological absurdity is the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) enacted by the U.S. Congress and signed by none other than President William Jefferson Clinton in 1996. Even so, DOMA is only one U.S. Supreme Court decision away from elimination, perhaps as soon as this year. Your deference to the limited sovereignty of the states, though with some historical precedence, will be flattened, like anything or anyone who gets in the way, by the homosexualist juggernaut in the United States.

    We Orthodox and others who wish to uphold this key component of more than 5,000 years of Western Civilization–namely, natural marriage between men and women alone–must take a prophetic stance in the public square, proclaiming our unwavering support for the natural marriage of one man and one woman without exception. Whatever happens to us as a consequence is in God’s hands.

  12. Michael James Kinsey says

    The pattern of persecution bring inacted against Faithful Christianity today is our Cross. The Christ was lied about, criminally presecuted for the lies, and punished with death. Authentic Chrisitianity is being criminalized, dispised and rejected with an increasing intense vindictive vigor.God’s Providence has allowed gay marriage, abortion, mass murder wars of aggression done, by people who destroy wonderfully and prosper. I always compare myself to the unborn children and it humbles me that I have lived so long, A sinner,while innocents are not even allowed thier first breath. I do not reproach God as Job did not reproach God.We may well be in the last evil generation, the evilist pople who have ever lived.Remember and focus on the good things, God is Good, and the elation of rejoicing in His Trustworthyness in the face of all evil that confronts makes life enjoyable in the spiritual, in the heart, which still loves and does not grow cold. I Love that I can heartfully trust God with rejoicing.That can’t destroy God’s faithfulness and this joy cannot be taken from us.Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let it be afraid, we are not left comfortless.

  13. Michael Bauman says

    Reading the comments concerning the homosexual agenda and the “tumbs” votes it is clear to me that many are not apprehending the difference between compassion and tolerance, mercy and acquiesence.

    Mercy and compassion require a deep sense of one’s own brokenness and failure to live up to God’s standard’s. That is the only way that we can effectively call anyone to repentance, i.e., we are in the process of repentance ourselves. We know without a shadow of doubt that there is healing and that we are all called to something better. At the same time, we realize the darkness, pain and anguish that is the result of remaining in our sins and refusing to recognize how broken we are.

    That is one of the messages of Christ on the Cross, broken, scorned and dying realizing the the existential darkness in which we humans live. At the same time He cries out for His (our) Father to forgive us. Couple with His descent into Hades, Resurrection and Ascension it is the re-opening of the gates of the Kingdom that we, too, might enter and live in the victory He has won.

    There is no common morality here at all, only the call to repent and be healed. Where is the judgement in that.

    The fact is that all of our desires, particularly our sexual ones are disordered and broken, homosexual or not. All must face the same task of repenting and submitting to Christ’s love in the Church to participate in the victory.

    That is the Good News, is it not?

    To experience the mercy we must be steadfast on what the standards are, who God created us to be. Then, as we fail, each time we fail to embody those standards, we can, as St. Paul commands: “Go boldly before the throne of grace…”

    • Michael James Kinsey says

      Who is to say who this mercy and grace is dispenced to? The throat grabber for the pittance, had recieves great grace and forgiveness from the Lord for grevious sins. The bishop apparently, because they certainly are not dispencing it to Met Jonah for unknown sins and crimes. They did dispense this great grace to Fr. Tate, who had grevious sins, no seminary education, and taught heresys. and now pays his morgage with funds he controls in his new position.$ 20,000.00 is the figure I saw. I have had hands at my throat for 30 years, but Fr. tate get all the second and 3oth chances. The throat grabbing they did to Met Jonah for a pittance and the great graces extended to Fr. Tate are a perfect example of swallowing a camel and straining out a gnat.These bishops judge and divide the grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ in according with thier own self seeking. Watch the March for Life videos , if you want to see some real Christians piping, and pro-aborts not dancing, children morning and pro-aborts not weeping. Talk about beautiful children!

  14. Russian TASS on the enthronement of Metropolitan Tikhon says

    New Orthodox Church in America primate enthroned
    Tags: US, Society, Russia, News, World, Orthodox Church

    Jan 28, 2013 02:38 Moscow Time

    Print Email Add to blog
    спасо-преображенский собор лос-анджелес православие США

    © Photo:
    The enthronement of the new primate of the Orthodox Church in America, Metropolitan Tikhon, has taken place at the St. Nicholas Cathedral in Washington.

    The ceremony was attended by Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, Archbishop of Naro-Fominsk Justinian. He conveyed to the Metropolitan greetings and congratulations from the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill, and reminded that the Russian Church is the American’s “mater.”

    At the same time, it recognizes the full independence of the OCA, said the archbishop.

    He presented the American Metropolitan with an icon of Tikhon of Zadonsk, with a portion of his relics.

    In his response, Tikhon expressed his profound appreciation to Patriarch Kirill and the entire Russian Church “for the love and support.”

    Voice of Russia, TASS

    • Defend the Faith says

      How interesting that Ab. Justinian conveyed the message that the Russian Church is the Mother Church of the OCA and that “At this time” they recognize its independence!!!!!! Conditional?

      • Interested Bystander says

        Even more interesting that Ab. Justinian ducked out on Saturday right after the Liturgy, (skipping the luncheon) and paid a visit to Metropolitan Jonah next door instead!

        • I was told 3 of the Bishops ducked out of the luncheon and went over to +Jonah’s- ArchBishop Justinian, Bishop George (ROCOR), and Bishop Nicholas (the Georgian) .

      • Carl Kraeff says

        The article cited above says “At the same time…” It does not say “At this time…” Perhaps the original in Russian says that? If so, it would have been of exceedingly por taste, don’t you think? One usually does not go to another’s celebration, bearing gifts no less, to lay that kind of a turd in the middle of the floor.

    • Gregg Gerasimon says

      This may be pedantic, but why is it called an “enthronement”? This word sounds a bit much. Is “enthronement” generally the term that is used when the first hierarch of an autocephalous church is formally installed as such? It gives connotations of a king being crowned.

      • Monk James says

        Gregg Gerasimon says:

        January 27, 2013 at 6:12 pm

        This may be pedantic, but why is it called an “enthronement”? This word sounds a bit much. Is “enthronement” generally the term that is used when the first hierarch of an autocephalous church is formally installed as such? It gives connotations of a king being crowned.



        View all comments

        Gregg Gerasimon says (January 27, 2013 at 6:12 pm):

        This may be pedantic, but why is it called an “enthronement”? This word sounds a bit much. Is “enthronement” generally the term that is used when the first hierarch of an autocephalous church is formally installed as such? It gives connotations of a king being crowned.

        The connotations of ‘enthronement’ are VERY alien to Americans, at least.

        Altogether, it would be better to call this event an ‘installation’.

        Not to mention that — in the event — Met. Tikhon wasn’t made to sit upon a throne.

        Vote Saved. New Rating: 1

      • Fr. George Washburn says

        Dear Gregg:

        When these customs were decided upon Orthodoxy was a state Church with very close ties to monarchs who were ordinarily enthroned. One of the more difficult, and to my limited observation largely unspoken, issues for us American converts and prospective converts is how we deal with the monarchial aspect of episcopacy. I see some of the bishop bashing that goes on here as an attempt to work that out, but not real productively.


        Fr. George

        • Michael Bauman says

          Fr George, the monarchical aspect of the episcopacy is difficult for usuns. However I’mnot really sure how or where it comes into play in all the stuff. To me, the OCA has distrust of episcopal authority built in with the MC.

          It certainly helps when one’s bishop teaches authoritatively, disciplines with love and has a pastoral heart.

          Nevertheless something we need to contemplate.

      • ProPravoslavie says

        “It gives connotations of a king being crowned.”

        That would be “coronation”. Enthronement — the taking possession of a throne, or the installation of someone on a throne — does not necessarily entail “coronation”.

        But then, I guess that because this is America, we can’t have any of that medieval, Byzantine, traditional terminology in the Orthodox churches around here. Perhaps it is also time to call our priests “presiders” and the Holy Synod “top management” and have them celebrate the liturgy — oops, “self-affirmation” service — in suit and tie. That would be much more American!

        • George Michalopulos says

          I much would prefer “installation.” And their mitres need to be less regal.

        • That’s funny, ProPravoslavie ! Good description.

          I LIKE enthronement.

          Remember that in Old Russia, for example at Uspensky Sobor,
          there was the Patriarch’s Mesto and the Tsar’s Mesto –
          it give impression of a regal sense about a real Patriarch.

          A Metropolitan is not so grand, but probably deserves better than to
          be “installed” – like a defective car part being replaced at a local garage.

          Catholics use the term Installation for Archbishops. It grates on my ear.
          Enthronement would be far more suitable.

          Elegant, tasteful vestments and miter are a MUST for ANY Orthodox hierarch.
          No clashing colors..

          No need to skimp or feel ashamed that one isn’t ‘democratic’ enough !

          P.S. There is a matushka in the Antiochian church in – Portland ? – somewhere in Oregon
          who makes supposedly beautiful vestments and mitres. Why not help a home-family business
          rather than ordering from Sofrino ?!
          Has anyone ordered from this Priest’s wife ?

          • Jonathan Johnston says

            The “Bishop’s Throne” (chair) is in the church where that particular bishop presides. “Enthronement” is the recognition that this particular bishop sits in this particular chair and has the authority of this particular bishopric. His authority does not go beyond the territory that his bishopric has been given.

            • Carl Kraeff says

              Great point Jonathan.We are indeed a hierarchical church and the symbolism of the Bishop’s seat (or chair or throne) is compelling, especially the way that you described it. That said, I really like our practice in the OCA that mirrors ROCOR and ROC, where our hierarchs stand amidst us.

          • Catherine says:
            January 27, 2013 at 9:54 pm

            P.S. There is a matushka in the Antiochian church in – Portland ? – somewhere in Oregon who makes supposedly beautiful vestments and mitres. Why not help a home-family business rather than ordering from Sofrino ?! Has anyone ordered from this Priest’s wife ?

            Her knowledge and craftsmanship are the best that can be found!

            • Oh, thank you, PdnNJ, that’s the one ! I knew about her because I read her story in a book
              of women’s conversions to Orthodoxy, then looked up on the internet to see what happened
              to the vestment sewing business she was starting at the time the book was published a decade earlier.

              I thought her work looked highly impressive. She has videos aplenty to introduce her
              approach and show samples of vestments in Russian, Greek, or any style.

              Amazingly, it seems she can specially create vestments modeled after those from any period of Orthodox history. She does a lot of research apparently to come up with beautiful motifs to use in the vestments.
              Quite unique approach.
              An inspiration for other sewing-oriented women, hopefully.

              I am so glad to hear that you think she’s the best in the field.

              I hope all the clergy would consider ordering from her.

      • Russian TASS on the enthronement of Metropolitan Tikhon says

        The installation of a bishop, archbishop or metropolitan is named an enthronement for the usual piece of church furniture, the thronos, upon which the bishop sits, and for his spiritual authority. If you look on the right wall in the photograph below, you will see the thronos in the ROCOR cathedral in NY, You will also see a lot of bishops sitting.

        It is normal for all cathedrals to have them, but some, I have noticed, do not. For example, neither the ROCOR nor the OCA cathedrals in Washington, D.C. have them, but the Greek and Antiochian churches of sufficient size do have them. There is a rather pretty one at the Hagia Sophia in D.C. As for the thronos in Istanbul at the Patriarchate, it is here:

        Many even small churches will even incorporate one in the nave for when the bishop chooses to visit.

        I find it absurd that some churches will even have a thronos when they lack enough seats for their psaltiki
        I think I scandalized one church when I felt weak during chanting, there was nowhere to sit down even a moment,l so I sat at the base of a thronos. Of course I would not have dared to occupy the seat!

  15. Michael James Kinsey says

    Fr. Tate is also divorced and remarried.

    • Evening the Score says

      Where on EARTH did you get this slander? Theresa Tate is his one and only wife. Do you understand the consequences of slandering a priest? For now, I expect an immediate retraction!!!

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        EtS, thanks for pointing this out. I don’t know anything about Fr Tate and I was remiss in allowing this accusation to be published. Monomakhos regrets the error.

      • Evening the Score,

        You might want to check your facts before you react so vehemently, thereby calling even more attention to an unpleasant reality.


        Fr. Matthew has either been married twice or he hasn’t. The answer to that question isn’t slander.

        • George Michalopulos says

          You’re right.

        • Michael Bauman says

          If Theresa is his wife, Fr. Matthew has only been married once. I was at his wedding to Theresa in 1979. If he was married prior to marrying Theresa there was never any indication of it.

          Again, for those who tend to agree with Mr. Kinsey I ask the question, as yet unaddressed: “When is the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ sufficient for you?”

          In any case the difficulties should be taken up with Fr. Matthew personally and directly. I’m sure he is not that hard to get in touch with.

  16. Michael James Kinsey says

    Kids I knew in Fr Tate;s church are being sent into the military, 2 I know of for sure, one a deacons son and the other a priest step son. They were good kids both of them.

    • I think he is a snake or a weasel, but his bishop doesn’t know it, being rather naive.

    • Araminta Andrews says

      Something doesn’t seem to be right in what you say.
      Only adults are allowed in the military, not kids. They must sign up of their own free will. Other adults can not put them there. So what is all this about? Fr. Tates past with that seriously flawed person, is many years behind him. I do not know him well but I would not like to be judged for something I chose 20 years ago in ignorance. Are you the same person you were 20 years later? Who is?
      I repeat, what is this really about?

    • Michael Bauman says

      There is nothing wrong with honorable service in the military. It is possible to be a faithful and merciful Christian and serve in the military.

      So Mr. Kinsey, what’s your point and why should be care?

  17. cynthia curran says

    Laws in both Denmark and Norway are fairly open when it comes to a person’s legal right to engage in sexual activity with an animal. The law states that doing so is perfectly legal, so long as the animal involved does not suffer.

    […] This is disgusting animals have no choice in the matter. I know humans have done this for centuries even the old testment has laws against it.

    Since Danish laws are so similar to Norwegian laws, the animal bordello phenomenon has led many to question if such a practice could be legal in Norway as well.


    “The acts provoke moral disgust. The question is whether immorality should be made illegal. The FSA group discussing the new animal protection act has been in disagreement about this,” Knaevelsrud said

  18. Metropolitan Lecture Posted says

    This one was held on the day of the Sanctity of Life March in the evening at St. John’s Cathedral in the nave. A lot of interesting commentary on fasting from both Metropolitan Jonah and a DC nun.

  19. I was curious if you ever thought of changing the page layout of your website? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?