Like a Bad Penny. . .

Alexander Belya is in the news again. 

Americans United for Separation of Church and State President and CEO Rachel Laser issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court declining to review Faith Bible Chapel International v. Tucker and Synod of Bishops v. Belya:

“Religious freedom is not a license to harm others or prevent people from seeking justice in courts of law. These cases are far from over, but Gregg Tucker and Father Alexander Belya now have a chance to vindicate their rights.

“We are facing an aggressive movement working to recast religious freedom into a weapon that would allow religious institutions to discriminate without limit or consequence. AU believes religious freedom should be a shield, not a sword. Today, the Court let that principle stand.” 

Lohier [a former appointee of Obama], was joined by fellow Obama appointee Circuit Judge Denny Chin and four appointees of President Joe Biden.

The case is Belya v. Kapral, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 21-1498.

Although ROCOR defrocked Belya, blocking his transfer to Constantinople, Bartholomew took him anyway without an official release.  

He took him, elevated him, and placed him where he wasn’t wanted.  This is very strange situation no matter how you look at it. 

According to what we know, Belya’s case hinged on a scrap of paper.  Formal releases/transfers are always required in the Church and ROCOR had decided not to grant Belya a formal release following the MP decision to proceed with the deposition.  Because the EP didn’t recognize the schism between he and Moscow, normal protocols were still in force.

There is nothing defamatory about any of this.  The is the practice of the Church and practice trump words, even if the words are (seemingly) coming from one our most respected hierarchs at the end stages of his life. 

There is a reason I make this qualification which you’ll see below. 

However, as unlikely as it seems at this juncture, perhaps a future court (after the courts are cleansed) will find Belya’s problems were not the result of anything anybody said, but the result of the unwillingness on the part of our North American bishops (outside the GOA) to have anything to do with him because of what he did (i.e. taking an Orthodox jurisdiction to secular court). 

To be frank, his reputation preceded him, which one might be able to discern seeing the countenance of Elder Ephraim in a picture he took with the Belyas.  My first impression of this picture, which frankly startled me, was that Elder Ephraim was fervently praying for us, for what reason is anybody’s guess.  Elder Ephraim’s demeaner is in sharp is in contrast to Belyas’, who obviously wanted the picture for his scrapbook.

By way of history, Belya’s actions were chronicled in the press way before many of us understood Bartholomew’s intentions to make him Bishop of Nicopolis (yet another place that doesn’t exist any more; at least not above ground on terraferma), heading Constantinople’s Slavic Vicariate in America.

This story has been positively bizarre.  Here, and there, and no doubt elsewhere, to be sure.

Even if ROCOR had passed him off as a “stellar cleric,” his actions would have been exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to mitigate. One would think nothing short of divine intervention (which it decidedly, was NOT), could have turn the tables in Belya’s favor. 

And yet here we are.

It is NOT defamation for the Church to maintain jurisdiction over an individual in cases where the individual is, or is going to be, deposed.  If this weren’t the case, we’d end up in situations where seriously unsuitable people, like pedophiles for example, are passed from place to place, which no doubt this woke judge might prefer, as it happens in other churches. 

Switching gears a bit, many have wondered if Metropolitan Joseph’s unexpected retirement was the result of a courageous letter he wrote to Elpi rejecting Belya on behalf of the Assembly of Canonical Bishops.  The fact that this letter (and the one that followed) was penned on the Assembly’s letterhead seemed to unnerve Elpi, leaving him bit shaken, if his response is any indication.

But it’s what happened later that threw George and I for a loop.  All of a sudden we were getting calls from very credible, long-time Antiochians about a large influx of money passing through the hands of some, to buy off others, to frame Metropolitan Joseph.   

We have not written about any of this but this doesn’t mean we won’t.

We are still smarting over the loss of His Eminence, and do not believe for a second that accusations dating back to well over a decade weren’t resurrected over this Belya matter.  Until they get rid of a few of the board members, strategically placed by Metropolitan Joseph’s predecessor, we have no confidence that Metropolitan Joseph wasn’t railroaded for threatening the authority of Bartholomew’s “Sunflower.”

“Sunflower” is the caretaker of Bartholomew’s diaspora, “don’t cha know.”   

And now Antioch seems almost spooked by the whole thing, hence their efforts to reorient their Archdiocese away from Bartholomew, toward their own “Mother Church,” an action which we applaud.  But we sincerely hope Metropolitan Joseph taking the fall wasn’t part of the plan.  Only Elpi and Bartholomew could have been happy over how things turned out, which begs the question:  Could they pull something like this off, assuming they wanted to?

So how difficult could it be to acquire (and/or manufacture) damning information on any of our bishops (or patriarchs, for that matter) for those who can draw an audience with the State Department in Bartholomew’s case and 18 intelligence agencies in the case of Elpi?

It’s not the craziest idea I’ve ever had.   Frankly, I wish it were.  Here and

And now we hear from one of our readers that a respected priest is writing about “the dark period of the late Metropolitan Hilarion’s illness, when all kinds of strange documents were signed with his electronic signature.”  I am aware of a couple of the documents he is talking about, but I had no idea they were electronically signed.  How is it possible for someone to write a note but not be able to sign it?  There is something very “off” about all this.

There were other bizarre goings-on at the time.  Things someone might have wanted us to print, based on the amount of information thrown our way, that we didn’t post, because it was just too weird and entirely unsolicited on our part.  More than one of our sources said the individual who approached us was a CIA asset.

So how long must we be subjected to this kind of Byzantine intrigue, walking around with albatrosses around our necks that go by the names of Bartholomew and Sunflower? 

What in the world have they gotten us into and with whom?

You GOA archons probably know better than we the trouble we’re in.  If it’s any consolation, the whole Church would be behind you if you found a way to resolved the situation.  If you don’t, the schism between Russia and Constantinople will divide us here in America, as it’s truly that intolerable.

First the State Department and now the intelligence agencies . . . all of them apparently.  –  Unbelievable.       

Now that Belya’s front page news again, I can just hear people saying, “Gee, why would I want to join <em>that</em> (woke) Church?”



  1. Here’s more info about the history of Belya’s aborted elevation to the episcopacy:

    • I gather Elpi not only failed to do what the Assembly respectfully requested, he was a behind the scenes party to the Supreme Court case that seemingly came out of nowhere.

      Since Elpi IS NOT THE POPE (laughing out loud, as I write this), why does he think it’s OK to ram Belya down anyone’s throat here in America? And why is he so enamored with Beyla? He has taken far more than an idle interest in him. And what is it that Belya is doing for the Phanar, given there isn’t much to recommend him?

      (Hey, Deep State, get a clue! Bartholomew was just talking when he said he speaks for all the Orthodox! He and Elpi do NOT run the Church. You can leverage them all you want but they are impotent in this situation. After Ukraine, not only do they NOT speak for the Church, the Church is barely speaking to them! Let them off the hook if this is about what you think they can deliver.)

      And what’s Belya’s problem? Not everyone’s acceptance is immediately forthcoming or guaranteed. I remember instances in another jurisdiction where two undeniably good men were sidelined by some perhaps well-meaning vigilantes who knew neither of them but saw boogeymen behind every corner. These men didn’t press forward, undeterred. Their response was to let it be and let God work it out in His own good time, which He did many years later much to the benefit of the Church.

      This is the way things are supposed to work in the Church. Not through brute force or surprise attacks like this Supreme Court case.

      • There’s no way that this is moving forward without Elpi’s knowledge or seal of approval.

        Knowing him he’s probably capitalizing on the current anti-Russian sentiment that’s prevailing throughout the West. Remember Bart told the GOA to spy on ROCOR (and other jurisdictions).

        Elpi seems to be overly spiteful if he is crossed, just look what happened to Met. Methodios and especially Metropolitan Joseph. I’d be willing to bet that since he was called out and rebuked by the other bishops on the AoB he gave his blessing for this retribution.

        I’m going to assume this will go over like a ton of bricks with the other bishops who have already voiced their concern AND been threatened with a lawsuit themselves from Belya.

        • Belya does like to sue and Elpi has demonstrated through Met. Joseph’s sudden retirement, that he will “go there” to squash any attempt to call him to order. He sent a powerful message: “Don’t even think about getting in my way. I’ll go back to the time you took $10 out of your mother’s purse without asking if I have to and I have the means (money) to to do it.”

          On the plus side, however, we’re talking about “American bishops” (AoCB) who are scrappy and not ones to bend to despots. They do get along in terms of coming together, making decisions and moving forward. Not always making the right call, I’ll grant you. But that’s OK in the larger scheme of things. In any case, it’s unavoidable. We all make mistakes.

          George has not always been a fan of the AoCB, but what he calls my “feminine intuition” (it’s not just that; it’s a little bigger than that) is something he doesn’t like to mess with. I remain hopeful. The fact that they can work together is huge. They have done an enormous amount of work. I think Elpi thinks when he leaves the room, they’re playing with crayons or something. I’m willing to bet he hasn’t even looked at some of the stuff they’ve done. And now he can’t muster the support for a long overdue charter entirely within his providence. (Or Bartholomew’s. Let’s be real. He should just bite the bullet and let everyone know Bartholomew is in charge of the charter.)

          In any case, whatever disagreements the AoCB have, they don’t discuss them in front of the children (for which I am grateful). They are the “adults in the room.”

          And they’re probably reorganizing as we speak. (Or at least talking about it.) They don’t NEED Elpi as an excuse to come together as bishops, now do they? They can easily regroup under the OCA, as an example, the true autocephalous Church in this country. (Haha, the Greeks can’t take that away from them!) – The OCA is not the “be all, end all,” I realize that. But with one exception (which is probably medical), they are not overbearing or menacing either. The ones that I know, I really like, even the ones who say they don’t read the blog, which of course they do, wink, wink.

          If the bishops would gather under the OCA, they would become what they are-not-yet, i.e. “mature.” Sometimes it is the situation that makes you “mature.” Getting married. Having a family. Getting a job. Aging parents who are “too pooped to pop,” as my grandmother used to say. We then find ourselves in unchartered territory where we have to grow up!

          God tends to arrange the timing of these events to help us in that department. – We often have to be pushed into it, though.

          Maybe it’s time for the OCA to regroup and take over the unique (for them) responsibility of gathering us together and rescuing us from the Greeks who, for whatever reason, have been unwilling or unable to clean house.

          They seem to like their tidy, little dysfunctional home the way it is. But we’re not “the help” in some Greek household. We don’t have to be anyone’s diaspora. We can be the Orthodox Church of America, instead.

          Yes, we have bishops who need to straighten themselves out and see that it’s not all about them and their little fiefdoms. That’s true of any group. But there are natural born leaders within the AoCB who, with God’s help and our prayers, could pull this little “band of brothers” together and make a bona fide CHURCH out of them. – I believe that.

          • Mark E. Fisus says

            Elpi has demonstrated through Met. Joseph’s sudden retirement, that he will “go there”

            Source? All public indications are that Metropolitan Joseph retired for the simple fact that the ongoing controversy about his adultery had become an albatross for the Antiochian Patriarchate. We should just be glad he was permitted to retire rather than be ignominiously kicked out. The rainbow renovationists are gunning for the Church and the true teaching can ill-afford to have flawed messengers.

            • Do you have another explanation? I’d be happy to consider your source.

              • Mark E. Fisus says

                From Metropolitan Joseph himself, as posted on the Antiochian Archdiocese website:

                It is my hope that my decision to remove myself will spare the Archdiocese and its faithful from any further unnecessary burdens, attacks from evil doers and potential financial damage.


                Seems pretty straightforward to me. However, if you have evidence that LP Dope-oros orchestrated his removal, please share.

                • That he retired is clear. That he did it to spare the Archdiocese is clear. – He also said the charges were untrue.

                  Not even sure what “evidence” one could have. Every single thing I said was true. You can believe me or not. Your choice.

      • Dcn John says

        I’ve read all the petitions in the Supreme Court Case and it was about petitioning the SCOTUS to review a lower courts decision. I hope and pray for my Hierarch and for ROCOR everyday. With that being said…. I would not be surprised if Belya is in the Ukraine right now getting elevated to bishop in the OCU under Epiphany. From what I understand, he is from the western part of Ukraine.

        • Man I wish he would, if he was ordained by the OCU and came back to the U.S as a bishop under the “Slavic vicariate” then the AOB would disband quickly

  2. And yet, for all of us faithful, there will always be The Church. Ultimately, nothing else matters.

  3. Good point, Yannaro.

    In the meantime, more insight from the European Times:

    “In their letters, the Orthodox American bishops from the non-Greek jurisdictions point to the fact of the overthrow of Archim. Alexander from the synod of the RPZC, which took place on February 18, 2020, as well as a number of canonical and moral violations.”

  4. Reading the article, I wondered what his connection would be to the new church in Ukraine. Would there finally be a properly consecrated Ukrainian bishop?

    • What I was trying to say, is that Beyla is Ukrainian. Consecrating him and perhaps sending him back to Ukraine to Bart’s church would be a coup.

  5. All people ever wanted was to go to church and pray. Instead, God’s faithful are being persecuted by their own church hierarchs. I don’t know what to say. I am reading the Book of Job very slowly nowadays. Job lost everything but he never wavered in his love for God. So be it.

    • Illumined says

      What you say has always been the case, if you’re truly living by the Gospel you will be persecuted. Israel in the Old Testament killed it’s prophets, and you can see this in the Israel of the New Testament too, people like Saint Nektarios. But is leaving Israel as a whole an option? No, there is only one church and there is no salvation outside of it. Sometimes it’s salvific for us to be under a bad hierarchy, if not for any other reason than for us to be true confessors.

      • God is our source fir everything we need. Power reveals people as they really are.

        • Illumined says

          There is no Christianity without the church, the Bible makes it quite clear Jesus Christ and the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church are as one. To lose faith in the Church as a whole is to lose faith in Him. There is no DIY salvation and no sacraments without the Church.

          • So what do you call people who have lived outside the now called Orthodox Church who have lived and died believing that Jesus is their Savior? Many of them are martyrs for their fath and obedience to Him.

            • Antiochene Son says

              We cannot know for certain, but we can trust in his justice and hope in his mercy.

            • Illumined says

              So what do you call people who have lived outside the now called Orthodox Church who have lived and died believing that Jesus is their Savior? Many of them are martyrs for their fath and obedience to Him.

              Those that church doesn’t baptize on Earth but are deemed worthy by God to enter into heaven to be with Him are baptized into the church in heaven. This was the thief on the cross. It’s a mistake to think that the Orthodox Church is only on Earth, it’s in heaven as well hence there is no salvation outside of it. The Divine Liturgy is heaven on Earth.

              • You didn’t answer my question. What are people called who sincerely follow Jesus who are outside of the Orthodox Church? There are people in African nations, China, North Korea, Pakistan, India, and in Muslim countries and other countries who are far more fervent believers than any of us in the USA, who are living and dying for Jesus this very day.

                What do you call these people?

                • Johann Sebastian says

                  If they follow Christ sincerely, Lina, then they are Christians, and we needn’t worry about what we should call them–this is for the Lord to decide in His mercy and by His grace.

                  If they are outside of the Church, there are two possibilities: 1.) ignorance because they either do not know or do not understand correctly or 2.) they’re not really following Christ sincerely.

                  On the other hand, those who know the true Faith yet preach a different Gospel to lead sincere Christians who are within the Church outside of it, well, they are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

                  Perhaps we should worry about what to call baptized and churched “Orthodox Christians” who lead people away from the Church or otherwise do not follow Christ sincerely themselves.

                • Perhaps there are Communing Christians
                  and there are Non-Communing Christians…?

                  The former would be in the Orthodox Church
                  and the latter would not.
                  This is just a suggestion for consideration.

                • Blessed Fr Seraphim Rose calls them “subjective Christians”.


                  • He also says, “If God wishes to grant salvation to some who are Christians in the best way they know, but without ever knowing the Orthodox Church—that is up to Him, not us.”

                    • Yes! I quite like Fr Seraphim Roses’s approach. So much of the issue is what one means by “saved”. Can one become deified outside the Church, the true end of salvation? No. Can one experience Christ outside the Church? Yes! Can the Lord choose to receive the unintentionally nonOrthodox into His Church at His Second Coming based on how they lived according to the knowledge they received? I believe the patristic answer is yes.

                      St Diadochos expertly articulates the difference of our ability to receive God’s grace before and after baptism!


                      I love the two examples Fr Seraphim gave at the end of the orthodoxinfo article for how we ought to love and help “bloom” our nonOrthodox friends

                    • Thank you for your comment. Most of us are big fans of St. Seraphim Rose.

                      Although not formally canonized, he is celebrated by many as a saint in iconography, liturgy, and prayer. He was canonized in Georgia (the country, of course).

                      People tend to choose saints. Institutions are slow to follow, sometimes reluctantly dragging their feet until they have no choice but to make it so. – There have been miracles, though.

                      I have often wondered if the making of a saint is twofold: God’s willingness to make it so, but also our willingness to make it so by believing and operating on those beliefs with faith. Faith generates prayers and prayers generate miracles of which there have been many attributed to St. Seraphim. Maybe one of the miracles generated through our faith makes a man into a saint.

                    • I love that the Georgian’s are taking the lead on his formal veneration! There is that one Georgian bishop (can’t remember his name) who absolutely loves him and came to America to push for his canonization relatively recently.. it makes my heart glad!

                      My family asks for his intercessions. His words are a salve to the dangers from both the left and the right. Taking into account his spiritual insight, holy life, and miracles.. he seems to me to be well worthy of formal Sainthood.

                    • I’d love to know the name if you have it.

                    • His Eminence Nikoloz of Akhalkalaki and Kumurdo and Kari!


                    • There he is!

                    • Jeff Moss says

                      This page includes video of Met. Nikoloz speaking last fall at the ROCOR Cathedral of St. John the Forerunner (Washington, DC) about the need to canonize Fr. Seraphim Rose and also Br. José Muñoz Cortés. His Eminence speaks in Russian, with an interpreter providing live translation into English.

                    • Thanks, Jeff. I certainly hope it comes in my lifetime.

                    • Jeff Moss says

                      I’ve heard a number of people speculate that the hesitation to formally canonize Fr. Seraphim is related to his practice of homosexuality before his conversion to Christ. But if anything, I see that as making Fr. Seraphim all the more needed as an intercessor and guide in our present confused times…and also his past in Buddhism, and in dead-end academic intellectualism, and, and… But Christ so gloriously redeemed and transfigured him, through and beyond all of those things.

                    • Which is the stupidest reason in the world! I agree with you completely. – Should we have held SAINT MARY of EGYPT to the same scrutiny?!

                    • Jeff Moss says

                      Let’s not forget that St. Mary of Egypt was only widely recognized as a Saint when Patriarch Sophronios of Jerusalem wrote her Life…more than a century after St. Mary died.

                      When I was a missionary to Russia with an Evangelical Protestant organization, one of the mission leaders gave all of us newbies a talk to explain the Orthodox Church (!!!). One of the things that Bill said in that talk was:

                      “In the Orthodox Church there’s slow change, fast change, and very fast change.

                      “The very fast change takes about 300 years.”

                      And I wouldn’t say he was too far wrong…

                    • Everything is speeding up. We may not have that long!!!

                  • Jeff Moss says

                    The Georgian bishop who has already overseen the local glorification of Fr. Seraphim Rose in his diocese, is Metropolitan Nikoloz (Pachuashvili) of Akhalkalaki, Kumurdo, and Kari.

                    From OrthoChristian: Fr. Seraphim (Rose) locally canonized in one Georgian diocese

                    Met. Nikoloz attended the celebration in Platina for the 40th anniversary of Fr. Seraphim’s repose last year and met with the local Serbian bishop to outline his plan for Fr. Seraphim’s canonization throughout the Orthodox Church.

                    • Jeff Moss says

                      By the way, this same Met. Nikoloz was interviewed early in the current Russo-Ukrainian war—in 2015!—and had some wonderful words of wisdom about it which still apply today.

                    • This was very interesting.

                      I liked where he said: “We would do well to continually remember that how our enemy is not a man and not a politician. There is one common enemy, who will always want only evil for people, and this enemy will manifest himself in various ways, including wars. But the Lord guards and protects us. And if a person can guard himself from evil people, he can be protected from an evil spirit only with God’s help. Therefore we hope in the Lord and pray. And the solution for all of us lies in praying together.”

                    • I highly doubt Fr. Seraphim Rose glorification is hindered due to his pre-christian sexual sins. Orthodox bishops are more terrified over his espousal of the Royal Path. Any world Orthodox bishop that reads it would cringe and Greeks probably would consider it heretical and fratricidal. I’d be shocked if the Greeks would accept him into their calender.

                    • Jeff Moss says

                      Speaking of Georgia…

                      It’s interesting to me that the Patriarchate of Constantinople just sent a delegation to Georgia, led by Metropolitan Joachim of Bursa (who succeeded Elpidophoros in that role) and the dean of the Georgian parish in Istanbul.

                      The occasion? A formal presentation of the new Georgian translation of Fr. John Chryssavgis’s biography of Patriarch Bartholomew.

                    • I’m sure that it’s going to fly off the shelves at the local Barnes & Noble in Tbilisi.

                • What do you call these people?

                  God gave us a visible Church to live within, does this mean that only people within that Church will be saved? NO

                  Does it mean that everyone outside the Church will be damned? NO

                  God can save whomever He wants. We are not God so we do not decide who is saved and who is damned.

                  What we do have is the Church and this side of heaven its our job to make sure we evangelize and bring people to the Church.

                • ROCOR Layman says

                  Lina, you seem to be very determined on insisting that the Orthodox Church (“now called” as you write) is not the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, appearing instead to hold to the “branch theory” of ecclesiology, which is heretical.

                  As for your question, there are two approaches – one lenient, one strict. The lenient one would call them “heterodox Christians,” people who believe in Christ but do not know the fullness of the truth.

                  The strict one would simply call them heretics and not even give them the name “Christian,” as Christ is only to be found in the Orthodox Church and any group or sect that does not teach Jesus Christ as revealed through the Scriptures and proclaimed in the teachings of the Orthodox Church (as defined in the Ecumenical Councils and writings of the Holy Fathers) cannot in any way be defined as Christian.

                  What about those non-Orthodox who are “martyred,” then? Here is a selection of quotes from the Holy Fathers compiled by a monastery here in the States that clearly demonstrate that they should be no means be considered saints or martyrs. There is no salvation outside of the Church, of course, but the Lord Himself will deal with these people in His wisdom.

                  Of course, I am sure that for you this will be a hard saying, but will you hear it? For those of us who know that the Orthodox Church alone faithfully teaches the words of eternal life, we will hear it and obey, but those who desire to kick against the pricks and insist on their own interpretation of ecclesiology or continually push back against the Church’s teachings and traditions – as you often do – will have to make the decision to actually be Orthodox and follow Christ in His Church, or get spat out like lukewarm water on the last day.

                  • In fairness to Lina, she is not insisting anything. Nor is she holding to any theory. Nor has she said anything about the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, one way or another.

                    She is asking a question.

                    There is nothing to support the contention that the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church [Orthodox] takes a “lenient or strict” approach to “Christians.” You can’t be a “little bit” Christian, any more than you can be a “little bit pregnant.” It’s a positive threshold. You either accept that Jesus was the Son of God, or you don’t.

                    Being Orthodox is also a positive threshold. Even as an infant, let’s say, or most coverts, you’re 100% Orthodox Christian following baptism/chrismation, regardless of what you know or don’t know.

                    “Heterodox Christians,” are non-Orthodox (outside the Church BUT CHRISTIAN) so, no, they do not have the fullness of the Faith. But as you have pointed out, Christians do accept Jesus as the Son of God, which is the core doctrine of the Church.

                    The Ecumenical Councils did not just concern themselves with doctrine. Some pertained to practical matters. An example might be penances. The penances of yesteryear were very, very long by today’s standards.

                    And the canons that came from the Ecumenical Councils are not meant to be absolutes: They’re “guidelines.”

                    Interestingly, only an Orthodox bishop can be taken to spiritual court for heresy. Why? I imagine it’s because it is assumed a bishop knows the doctrine of the Church and has chosen to reject it. It’s a rebellion. A satanist would be a proponent of heresy. Jews and Muslims and even some Protestants and the Catholic Church, could be considered proponents of heresies.

                    Getting back to Lina’s question(s); she’s talking about Christians (who accept Jesus as the Son of God) but are not (hopefully, just not yet) Orthodox. Or maybe people who know nothing about Scripture. They may not have even been exposed to the Church or any church. They might be from the Amazon or some remote island somewhere. They may be newborn infants. They may be growing up in an un-Christian family. T

                    What does God do with them? Will they be granted salvation?

                    The first thing one must remember is salvation is a gift. It doesn’t come from being a member of any institution. We cannot earn it. The Church teaches that it is possible to receive salvation within the Church. But it does not teach that it is guaranteed you receive salvation in the Church.

                    One’s affiliations with and to others does not seem to be a determining factor in salvation. If it were, Scripture would not talk about a thief who woke up in the morning on his way to hell had his eternal destiny changed with a simple plea to the Savior, “Remember me in thy kingdom.” To which Jesus replied, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43). – In contrast, there was Judas who was a disciple in the “Church.” He did not receive salvation.

                    Scripture also says: Those who come around even at the 11th hour (a FUTURE point in time which is nearly too late) can receive salvation. We don’t know when that will be. We don’t know who that will be.

                    So there is no support within the Teachings or Traditions of the Church that says one cannot receive salvation unless they are members of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. The “Church” is not an institution with doorknobs. It is spiritual.

                    And, yes, “the Lord Himself will deal with these people [outside the Orthodox Church] in His wisdom.


                    So, Lina, I will tell you the answer to your question: We don’t know. We don’t know whom God has or will save or not save. It’s entirely up to Him.

                • Illumined says

                  I would call them Christians. A great many people who sincerely believed in Jesus weren’t Orthodox because they didn’t have the chance to be. They aren’t damned, I explained what happens to those who are blessed enough to go to heaven. Doesn’t change anything I said.

                • Perhaps a quote from St Ignatius Brianchaninov can help:

                  “You say, ‘Heretics are also Christians.ʼ Where did you get this? The Orthodox Church has always considered heresy a mortal sin, always realized that a man infected with the terrible disease of heresy is dead in his soul, separated from grace and salvation, and that he is in communion with the devil and his destruction. Heresy is a sin of the mind. Heresy is a sin more diabolical than human; it is the daughter of the devil, his invention, opprobrium close to idolatry. Fathers usually called idolatry unbelief, and heresy—evil-belief!” – St Ignatius Brianchaninov.

                  Also, St John Chrysostom teaches that schism is one of the greatest sins, which even martyrdom cannot wipe out.

                  • Lina is getting this from her knowledge base in the Church.

                    Julia, heresy is wrong teaching about something. It could be about anything. Heresy does not have to be “premeditated.” It can be big or small. You can teach the wrong thing in ignorance which is why they talk about Christians outside the Church not having the “fullness of the faith.” For example, some Christian churches teach a child needs to be of age before he can be baptized. Wrong teaching, yes. “More diabolical than human; the daughter of the devil, his invention, opprobrium close to idolatry?!” NO!

                    We don’t have “mortal” sins in the Church, Julia. This term comes from pre-Vatican II Catholic catechism where sins were categorized as “mortal” and “venial. We don’t teach this. Catholics do. The ONLY unforgivable sin in the Church is the sin against the Holy Spirit, i.e. the sin of rejecting Christ as a blaspheming deceiver.

                    Heresy is a sin of the mind [which is not the soul, BTW] so it’s a good thing salvation is not based on the mind. It’s based on the heart. The Church does NOT teach “heresy is a sin more diabolical than human; the daughter of the devil, his invention, opprobrium close to idolatry” either.

                    Heresy is not idolatry. Idolatry is the worship of a cult image or “idol” as though it were God. Again, heresy is wrong teaching. It could be about anything.

                    Schism usually refers to divisions within the Church. They’re more a result of ego and politics, than heresy. Heresies can come later as a result of a schism, though.

                    No one without a basic understanding in Orthodox doctrine should be reading the Holy Fathers. The Holy Fathers are not the Orthodox Church. (I don’t care what you’re being told.) They are a part of it. They don’t even all agree. Did you know that? They’re wonderful if you understand what they’re talking about! (Are you reading this Fr. Peter?)

                    In any case, it is never appropriate to come on this blog and judge another person’s soul and find it to be “in communion with the and his destruction!” The only reason I’m posting your comment is for YOUR benefit. You need to seriously educate yourself within the Church, which means being formally catechize and being received within the Church by a priest if you are not.

                    Then read the Holy Fathers.

                    • ROCOR Layman says

                      This is just laughable. Gail Sheppard knows better than Saint Ignatius Brianchaninov and all the Holy Fathers whom he follows. We come to the Church to be taught, not to teach, and the Holy Fathers are our teachers.

                      Julia wasn’t judging anyone’s soul, just posting a relevant and correct teaching of one of the great saints of the Church. Actual Orthodoxy makes people here in America uncomfortable, which is why they lash out, accuse people of judging, and reject the wisdom of the Fathers.

                    • I don’t think I said anything about Saint Ignatius Brianchaninov.

                      I use my own name so I would be pretty stupid to tell you something that wasn’t true. Plus, this blog has been around a long time and this discussion has surfaced a number of times. (The names change, but the teaching never does.)

                      George and I speak to priests almost on a daily basis. If we faulter on anything, they let us know. Finally, I have been Orthodox a long, long time. I am not wrong in what I said.

                      Reading the Holy Fathers does not replace being in the Church and I worry that you think it does. I worry that you’re listening to someone who is telling you the Holy Fathers are the Church, and that’s not true.

                      There is no substitute for joining the Church. It forms the basis of your understanding and provides context so you can appreciate the nuances of the Holy Fathers. It can take years. If you’re content with learning from a website, your interest will probably wane at some point. If you become part of a Church community, that’s less likely to happen.

                      Many Americans make the transition into the Church. And you’re right. It is “uncomfortable” at first. Very uncomfortable. It takes going again and again. Rest assured, the Holy Fathers made a similarly arduous journey.

                      I was teaching you about the Church, my friend. You just didn’t know it. If you need help with your journey, contact me. I will find you a good priest.

                      P.S. Ironically, about salvation St. Ignatius said this, “Let us cease to lead a way of life according to the guidance of our fallen reason and the inclination of our fallen heart! Let us begin to lead a way of life according to the guidance of the Gospel commandments and the requirements of God’s will. By living in this way, we will be saved.”

                      Trying to learn the Church through a classroom or a book without joining the Church is using reason. Those who “lead a way of life according to the guidance of the Gospel commandments and the requirements of God’s will” sound like the people Lina described, right? And according to his words (not mine), “by living in this way, we will be saved.”

                      I want that for you.

                    • I’m not aware of any exclusive Orthodox definition of the word “Christian”, the saint’s statement notwithstanding. Sometimes saints speak in an exaggerated or hyperbolic fashion and, unless they reflect the consensus of the Fathers, these opinions are not necessarily doctrinally imperative, though they usually have a point of some sort, however inexact.

                      This is why I’ve never had a problem referring to Mormons as “Christian”. The only real line of demarcation is Church vs non-Church. “Christianity” is often in the eye of the beholder.

                      Of course, if one wishes to make the term synonymous with Orthodox Christian, then that is another matter. What is not in doubt is that the Fathers had a much more critical view of the heterodox than most Orthodox do today.

                      As to “salvation”, as often as not it is synonymous with theosis, the Kingdom of Heaven, the Pearl of Great Price. Other times, it can mean being spared from hellfire.

                      However, Christ Himself established the criterion for avoiding hell in His parable of the Last Judgement. There He said, “As you have done to the least of these, so have you done to Me.”

                    • I think Christ, Himself, acknowledged the definition in Matthew 16:13-17 when Peter confessed Jesus as the Christ, which Christ acknowledge was true, making the followers of Christ, “Christians.”

                      Every other criteria (man interpreted) is irrelevant. I, too, believe Mormons are Christian. They believe in Christ. I have known many in my lifetime and without exception you would know they believe in Christ through their actions and what they profess. That some may not think so is irrelevant. It’s what they profess. That they have layered on a dimension I cannot relate to, is also true. I don’t particularly get the Book of Mormon.

                      Matthew 16:13-17

                      13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”

                      14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

                      15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

                      16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

                      17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not [a]prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth [b]will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

                      20 Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.

                    • Katherine says

                      Saint Ignatius is correct, and his words to live as the Gospels command are directed at members of the Orthodox Church not the people Lina asked about.The Fathers of The Church are not just men.
                      Their words are Spirit inspired and we venerate them because of this.
                      The Truth has been revealed to them as it was revealed to Saint Peter.
                      Now I read that Mormons are Christians because they say they are? No, Gail, they are not.Their beliefs (that you don’t get?) are heretical and their condition is the same one that St Ignatius describes for all heretics. I cannot believe that your Bishop would approve of any of what you have written in this thread. If he does, then that’s a big problem.
                      I am put in mind of the fable of the Fisherman and his wife. ‘Nuf said.
                      If you post this, please bear in mind that I pray that God will give you the humility to reconsider your words. If this is the direction of the blog, then there is no reason for me to involve myself further. Please forgive me, a miserable sinner.

                    • I’d like to remind you, as well as all of you, you can state you opinions about anything. Absolutely anything. But no one is permitted to go after a specific person(s). This includes us, your hosts. We don’t appreciate being put on the spot, either. We are entitled to our opinions, too.

                      So I’m going to end this discussion. No more talk about Mormons. . . from anybody.

                    • Katherine says

                      Thank you for that. If it’s not improper may I ask who your Bishop is?

                    • I’m kind of chuckling right now because ALL the bishops read this blog! Katherine, it’s been swell. Wishing you well.

                    • Antiochene Son says

                      No more comments about Mormons, so this won’t get posted, but to get it off my chest – Whether they worship Jesus is irrelevant; in my opinion one must confess the Trinity and the Nicene Creed to be considered a Christian of any kind.

                    • If I don’t cringe when I see a post, it’s fine! It’s fine because you’re not attacking anybody.

                      So, “what is a Christian?”

                      What is a Catholic? Someone who calls themself a Catholic and practices Catholicism, imperfectly.

                      What is a Buddhist? Someone who call themself a Buddhist and lives Buddhism, imperfectly.

                      What is a Mormon? Someone who believes Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Creator of the World, imperfectly. They believe Jesus was the Son of God but do not accept the doctrine of the Trinity as codified in the Nicene Creed of 325 and the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed of 381! They consider the Protestant Bible to be holy scripture. Live “Christian” lives.

                      Belief in the Nicaean Creed, is a legitimate answer, BTW. For us Orthodox to be sure.


                      This was purely an esoteric, intellectual discussion.

                • Lina,
                  These people are basically catechumens. Christians who have not formally been initiated into the Church. These kind of Catechumens exist in the Orthodox Church as well, being forbidden to be baptized until their deathbed due to a variety of unusual and extraordinary circumstances. God can save whomever He wants but We must follow the parameters set before us and the tradition handed down to us without exceptions and disregard for what has been bequeathed to us . Canon 7 of Constantinople tells us the gnostics are received as heathens and must be made Christians on the first day before any baptism, that is be made catechumens. The other groups such as quartodecimans or Novations are already considered Christians in some capacity, by the canon, requiring the seal of the Holy Spirit after a renunciation of errors and an Orthodox confession of faith. Those dying as catechumens we leave up to the mercy of God.

      • Well said.

  6. Lina, you can’t consecrate a properly deposed clergyman!

    • Some people seem to do anything they darn well please to do and at least in the short run, get away with it. Including me.

      • Veras Coltroupis says

        Look at Augustine of Hippo. He is venerated, but we believe his teachings like Original Sin are mistaken. Further, there is the distinction between heretics, like Mormons, Yehovatas, Miaphysites, versus Trinitarian heterodox (most of our western brethren). And yes, the Holy Fathers disagree, even the canons disagree. We once complained to our bishop about egoistes tearing the church apart, and he said “Peter and Paul disgareed.” If anything, the miracle of Constantine was that he got everyone to agree to disagree. The early church was already divided on leavening, celibacy, and so on. It was only the egoiste Charlemagne who broke the compact by trying to force the Filioque and his pope made him emperor because Irene Fourtipace was a woman, hence the throne was vacant.

  7. Mark E. Fisus says

    The defamation in question is that ROCOR and associated individuals publicly asserted that Mr. Belya forged a document. Whether or not Mr. Belya fabricated a document is justiciable on neutral civil grounds. Mr. Belya is not challenging ROCOR’s defrocking of him or the denial of the episcopacy to him.

    The Supreme Court refused to hear ROCOR’s appeal, and there was no dissension from this refusal, not even from Justices Thomas or Alito.

    To be clear, Mr. Belya is indeed Mr. Belya, but religious institutions are not generally immune from lawsuits just because they are religious. (If that were the case, everyone would be a religion unto themselves.)

    I will say this though. Though Mr. Belya is entitled to seek civil redress, it would appear that by doing so, he has given up on being a bishop even under the EP, because the canons constrain any and all disputes to be “handled inside the family” and not taken to secular rulers.

    • Canons Mark? If only.

      Belya’s lawsuit was filed in August of 2020. GOARCH announced his election to the episcopate in July of 2022. They knew full well what they were doing and didn’t care.

    • Jeff Moss says

      Isn’t it the case that the Supreme Court does not hear this kind of appeal unless four Justices agree to take it on? If I’m understanding correctly, up to three Justices may have wished to take up this case, but the requisite four didn’t agree.

      • Mark E. Fisus says

        Quite right, I should have said that Justices Thomas or Alito did not issue a written dissent from denial of certioari, as they sometimes have.

  8. Joseph Lipper says

    Archbishop Elpidophoros says he has a valid release letter from ROCOR’s Metropolitan Hilarion allowing Fr. Alexander Belya to be received into the Greek Archdiocese:

    “Having received all the necessary documentation, including a valid release letter from the late Metropolitan Hilarion, and in absence of tangible proof of misconduct, based on our very thorough diligence process—and not on rumors—his canonical incardination was processed.”

    It is sounding very similar to what happened to Fr. Peter Heers. Signed documents were sent and received, and then ROCOR later denies them. A pattern is emerging.

  9. Joseph Lipper says

    Gail, it says here that Archbishop Elpidophoros introduced them to each other at the Phanar on September 1st, 2020:

    • Thanks, Joseph. So it speaks as if the Slavic Orthodox Vicariate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese was already in place. Where did *it* come from?

      • Joseph Lipper says

        The Slavic Vicariate was created on March 9, 2020, “following approval of the Mother Church of Constantinople last November [2019] after the request of the Holy Eparchial Synod [of the Greek Archdiocese in America]”

        Fr. Alexander Belya first commemorated Archbishop Elpidophoros at a Divine Liturgy on October 13, 2019. His transfer to the Greek Archdiocese thus approved:

        A month prior to this transfer, he was suspended by ROCOR on September 14, 2019. This makes the transfer in October questionable. However, just two weeks prior to that, he had been approved by Patriarch Kirill to be a bishop of ROCOR on August 30, 2019. Fr. Alexander Belya’s approval is clearly seen here:

        ROCOR now denies ever sending Fr. Alexander Belya’s name to Moscow for approval as bishop. However, there is a document, dated January 11, 2019, sent from Metropolitan Hilarion to Patriarch Kirill that specifically does just that. Translated into English, it reads as follows:

        Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York
        First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
        75 E. 93rd Street, New York, NY 10128 USA Tel.: (917) 848-9706, (917) 543-5199,
        Fax: (212) 534-1798

        January 11, 2019

        # 1-14 / 19

        To His Holiness,
        Most Holy KIRILL,
        Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia

        Your Holiness!

        I hereby respectfully inform Your Holiness that at the latest expanded meeting of the Archbishop Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (December 6-10, 2018) Archimandrite Alexander (Belya) – hegumen of Stavropegic Monastery of St. Nicholas in Fort Myers, the Archpriest of the Cathedral of St. Matrona of Moscow in Miami, the head of Diocese of Florida district – was elected as the Bishop of Miami, the Vicar of the Eastern American Diocese.

        At the same meeting, the member of the Synod recommended Archimandrite Alexander correct several comments. Since Father Alexander has corrected everything within the shortest time possible, I hereby ask Your Holiness to approve this candidacy at the next meeting of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church.

        With love of God,

        (round stamp)


        Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York,

        First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia”

        The original document here:

        The translation into English here:

        • Why did the EP want Belya? In other words, what did he hope to gain by taking in Belya? Did he know him from earlier?

          He was he was a priest who ran afoul of ROCOR that resulted in his deposition. So what was it about Belya that made the EP think to himself, “I’m going to make this priest a bishop and install him in the US.”

          • Joseph Lipper says

            Gail, there was a two week window between when Fr. Alexander Belya was approved as bishop-elect by Patriarch Kirill on August 30 and when Fr. Alexander was suspended by ROCOR on September 14, 2019. It’s not clear to me what transpired between those dates, but that’s quite a roller-coaster ride.

            The provided explanation for Fr. Alexander’s suspension is that ROCOR accuses him of forging his own episcopal election. So there must have been quite an uproar within the space of those two weeks before his suspension. It’s certainly conceivable then that Fr. Alexander sought to be transferred to GOARCH before he was actually suspended by ROCOR.

            Gail, I don’t get the impression that Archbishop Elpidophoros sought out Fr. Alexander Belya. No, it looks like the other way around. Fr. Alexander was obviously seeking refuge from ROCOR somewhere. He was received into GOARCH in October of 2019. GOARCH’s Synod then requested the EP to create a Slavic Vicariate in November of 2019. It was formally established in March 2020. The fact that ROCOR was no longer allowed by Moscow to participate in the Assembly of Bishops was probably the reason why the EP chose to create a Slavic Vicariate. It was precipitated by Fr. Alexander’s need for refuge.

            • I don’t think the EP sought out Belya, either, and you’re right, “it was quite a roller coaster ride.” It’s also unusual that a priest who transfers under a new patriarchate is made a bishop of what appears to be a brand new vicarate within a matter of months.

              • EcuManiacal Patriarch says

                Not sure if anyone picked up on this but from the link that lays out the time line of official letters and events from the pro-Belya website, you see that the alleged letter from Met. Hilarion giving Alexander a general release is dated 2017. Think on that. All of this came to a head when Belya purchased the monastery in Ft. Myers, FL and put it under his own corporation. He already had St. Matrona’s independently. Herein lies the root problem, which was to be solved if, as the Synod demanded for his approval for the episcopacy, Belya had complied with the stipulation that the properties be updated to reflect the ROCOR statutes. That would have placed all their properties under full ROCOR control. Never happened. The Belya family, through their own 501(c)(3), not connected to the authority of ROCOR, has a large portfolio of real estate in NY and FL that was out of reach from the Synod, INC. No way was Alexander getting a seat at the table with that much independent leverage and property under his direct control. The Belyas are not sons of ROCOR, nor did they act or do business for the brand like real blood members of ROCOR. Never. As they say, “do the math”. Elpi took them right in, property intact, his own Vicarate and, inspired perhaps, with “other considerations”.

                • I think it was 2018.

                  • EcuManiacal Patriarch says

                    Respectfully, no, it’s 2017. This fact should not be overlooked in context to this whole mess. Belya got a preemptive release well before jumping ship to EP. The release even has a ten year shelf life. Check it out! The general release happened before all the controversy. It’s even notarized:



                    By determination, our clerics of the following churches of the Eastern American Diocese; the Church of Saint John the Baptist in Brooklyn (New York City), the Cathedral of St. Matrona of Moscow in Dania Beach (the State of Florida) and the Monastery of St. Nicholas in Fort Myers (the State of Florida), by their consent, in case of necessity, have the right of unrestricted transfer from the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia to any canonical jurisdiction of the Universal Orthodox Church.

                    This right is not subject to any change, addition or cancellation, is given for the period of 10 years, and is legally entered at the time of signing.


                    Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York,

                    First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

                    Sworn to before me

                    This 30th day of October, 2017

                    stamp: Arthur Arcadian

                    Notary Public, State of New York

                    No. 02AR6188567

                    Qualified in Kings County

                    Commission Expires 06/09/2020


                    Pro-Belya link for their version of timeline:


                • Joseph Lipper says

                  The transfer order from Metropolitan Hilarion was legally binding for ten years after signing. It was a notarized document from 2017 that gave Fr. Alexander Belya and the clerics with him “the right of unrestricted transfer from the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia to any canonical jurisdiction of the Universal Orthodox Church.”

                  It also states that “this right is not subject to any change, addition or cancellation, is given for the period of 10 years, and is legally entered at the time of signing.”

                  The original document here:

                  The English translation may be found here:

                  • Have you ever heard of an “unrestricted transfer” before? For ten years???? And this sounds like lawyer speak, as opposed to an ill metropolitan, nearing the end of his life. Why do you think metropolitan Hilarion would want to do this for Belya?

                    ‘Curiouser and curiouser!” Cried Alice

                    So, to put it in a nutshell, Met. Hilarion was pivotal to enabling Belya to leave ROCOR and Elpi and Bartholomew took him in with seemingly no apparent reservations. Elpi sets up a vicarate. Several other unreleased clergy from ROCOR come into the GOA to populate it. In the meantime, Elpi introduces Belya to the EP who tries (hard) to make him a bishop all within the span of a couple of years? Do I have this right? And Belya retains ownership of the monastery and other properties he operates as a 501(c)3.

                    • Antiochene Son says

                      Yes, that’s bizarre. Canonical releases are always granted from one particular bishop to another particular bishop.

                    • Don’t they have to be formally accepted by a letter?

                    • EcuManiacal Patriarch says

                      GShep said: Have you ever heard of an “unrestricted transfer” before? For ten years???? And this sounds like lawyer speak, as opposed to an ill metropolitan, nearing the end of his life. Why do you think metropolitan Hilarion would want to do this for Belya?

                      EcM: There have been open ended releases with no destination on the other end when the circumstances call for it.

                      It is common knowledge the Belyas were never welcomed by certain key “legacy families” in ROCOR when they burst onto the scene. There were constant squabbles and the Belyas acquiring properties with no connection to ROCOR didn’t help. Met. Hilarion, I suppose, (at least on the surface) understood that there would be no peace for the Belyas from this group. However, the proposition that Alexander, Jr. be nominated for the episcopacy might have been initially an idea on how to get those properties under ROCOR control. It was clearly a stipulation that the properties conform to ROCOR statutes. The obvious speculation would be the Belyas refused to put their properties under ROCOR control thinking they would be quickly taken. This was a requirement before Alexander could be made bishop. Given the hostile climate for the Belyas in ROCOR they could have sensed this was a trap. What they did have, if the forgery claims are not credible, is the nomination of Alexander to the episcopacy. This endorsement itself was quite valuable, regardless of the stipulations required. I can imagine all along the process with all the official letters going back and forth the Belyas SAID they would comply. It appears once it was obvious no properties would be conforming to ROCOR statutes the real mess began. The Belyas – with releases already in hand – obviously shopped that deal to the EP., taking advantage of the MP/EP OCU debacle. The Russian Church had just broken communion with the EP and ROCOR had even begun taking EP priests without the requirement of a canonical release. Perfect climate to jump ship, canonical releases already in place, properties intact and a counter offer from EP to make Alexander a bishop and an exarchate to receive defecting ROCOR parishes to come under the EP.

                      Add this into the equation from 2020:

                      Notice this interview with a defector also mentions property was demanded to be signed over to ROCOR. It also reveals that Archimandrite Alexander’s father Archpriest Alexander was granted a release in 2016. The Synod decreed in 2020 that the releases for both Belyas were revoked:

                      “The Decree dated July 24, 2020, No. 32/7 of the Synod of Bishops of ROCOR states, “2) To announce the Decrees No. 9-10 / 16 of September 5, 2016 and No. 10-39 / 17 of October 30, 2017, void of the power of canonical release certificates”.


      • Joey Termins says
        • I really appreciate you posting this, thank you. I know what a vicarate is. I was wondering is when the EP began his relationship with Belya and when the Slav Vicarate began.


    Pretty long article that will have to be run through Google Translate (unless you speak Greek).

    Looks like Elpi has stepped in it again for the billionth time, he seems to have again irked the other Metropolitans at their meeting a few days ago, so much so that Bart has requested an imprint meeting of the Synod tomorrow.

    I never thought I’d say this but Elpi’s goose might finally be cooked. Not because of his many doctrinal infractions, but because he’s clearly trying to usurp Bart.


    Looks like the Church of Serbia has suspended its membership in the European Council of Church since they have admitted the OCU in.

    God Willing other Orthodox Churches will pull out of this and the WCC.

    • Freddie Depotas says

      Be ye certain they didn’t leave pre-emptively in order not to be suspended?

  12. Bill Smith says

    ROCOR’s lawyer’s attempt to get the case thrown out.

    • Thank you for this! Very enlightening.

    • It sounds to me like Belya has a reasonably good case in terms of defamation, specifically on the accusation that he forged the letter/signature.

      “He” is the key word here. The fact that the letter may have been forged doesn’t necessarily mean it was forged by Belya. My understanding (please correct me if I’m wrong on this point) is that the guy who had access to the Metropolitan’s electronic signature also defected to the GOA and may well be the source of the forgery.

      This doesn’t at all ‘vindicate’ Belya, as he should never resorted to the secular courts. But it does mean that in those courts he may have a legally valid case. If, that is, he himself was accused of forgery by ROCOR and it is not simply a case of ROCOR saying that someone forged the letter.

  13. The Times: Army could get shot of ‘male’ ranks

    Lieutenant General Patrick Sanders is planning to
    ditch ranks in some of the army’s oldest regiments

    ‘ The army is considering replacing centuries-old ranks such as rifleman and guardsman with gender-neutral terms because they are too masculine.
    General Sir Patrick Sanders, chief of the general staff, could break hundreds of years of battlefield tradition to make regiments more inclusive. Sanders, also colonel commandant of the Rifles and the Honourable Artillery Company, is poised to ditch the ranks in his own regiment as well as the Guards.
    The changes are understood to be part of a periodic review of “terms and terminology” completed by each service in the armed forces. It was reported that the move was prompted by servicewomen who told Sanders that masculine titles made them feel excluded.
    Other female personnel in male-only regiments have opposed the plan. At a gathering of women soldiers, the Daily Mail reported, a corporal in the Rifles told Sanders: “Don’t you dare take my rank of rifleman, I’m proud of it.”
    One London-based soldier who asked to remain anonymous told The Times he had no strong opinion about the step and described the issue as “culture-war nonsense”.
    A final decision is expected from Sanders soon. The Royal Air Force scrapped the last of its gender-specific ranks last year, with aircraftsman being replaced by air specialist.
    An army spokesman said: “The army is proud of its heritage and traditions, which have contributed to making it an effective fighting force over its long history. Our people give the British Army a unique edge and we value every soldier equally.” ‘

    If you value every piece equally,
    you will lose at chess…

  14. Dr Mercola: Unconscionable Attack Ends in Global Vindication

    Story at-a-glance

    Dr. Paul Marik, a critical care doctor formerly with Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in East Virginia, developed the “HAT” protocol (hydrocortisone, ascorbic acid, thiamine) for sepsis and published a peer-reviewed study about it in 2017
    In March 2022, Marik found himself the victim of unsubstantiated fraud allegations put forth by Dr. Kyle Sheldrick, an Australian physician, costing him his reputation and casting doubt on the effective HAT protocol
    In June 2023, Marik was cleared of the allegations and his study found to be sound — hopefully restoring faith in the treatment among the medical community and granting Marik long-deserved vindication
    Marik and the FLCCC filed a defamation suit against Sheldrick, resulting in a requirement that he publicly apologize
    Marik is now working on researching and developing further health protocols using lifestyle modification, diet and repurposed drugs

    ‘ Sepsis, a life-threatening condition triggered by a systemic infection, causes 1 in 5 deaths globally. An estimated 11 million people, including children, die from sepsis every year.1 Fortunately, a protocol of intravenous (IV) vitamin C with hydrocortisone and thiamine (vitamin B1) has been shown to dramatically improve chances of survival.2

    Dr. Paul Marik, a critical care doctor formerly with Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in East Virginia, developed the treatment — known as the “HAT” protocol (hydrocortisone, ascorbic acid, thiamine)3 — and published a peer-reviewed study about it in 2017, in the journal Chest.4

    In March 2022, Marik found himself the victim of unsubstantiated fraud allegations put forth by Dr. Kyle Sheldrick, an Australian physician, costing him his reputation and casting doubt on the effective HAT protocol for sepsis — costing an unknown number of people their lives.

    In June 2023, however, Marik was cleared of the allegations and his study found to be sound — hopefully restoring faith in the treatment among the medical community and granting Marik long-deserved vindication.

    Marik’s Sepsis Protocol Saves Lives

    Marik’s retrospective before-after clinical study showed that giving septic patients 200 milligrams (mg) of thiamine every 12 hours, 1,500 mg of ascorbic acid every six hours and 50 mg of hydrocortisone every six hours for two days reduced mortality from 40.4% to 8.5%.5

    “Our results suggest that the early use of intravenous vitamin C, together with corticosteroids and thiamine, are effective in preventing progressive organ dysfunction, including acute kidney injury, and in reducing the mortality of patients with severe sepsis and septic shock,” Marik and colleagues wrote in Chest.6

    Research published in 2020 found Marik’s sepsis vitamin C protocol lowered mortality in pediatric patients as well.7 As noted by the authors, “Our results suggest that HAT therapy, when administered early in the clinical course, reduces mortality in children with septic shock.”

    Writing in the journal Nutrients, Marik, who is also chief scientific officer and founding member of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC), explained that more than 100 pharmacological agents targeting specific molecules or pathways have failed to improve sepsis outcomes. His protocol may work better due to its ability to target multiple pathways:8

    “HAT therapy is based on the concept that a combination of readily available, safe and cheap agents, which target multiple components of the host’s response to an infectious agent, will synergistically restore the dysregulated immune response and thereby prevent organ failure and death.”

    Baseless Complaint Prompts Year-Long Investigation

    In March 2022, Sheldrick sent out a tweet regarding Marik’s study:9

    “This study by a “Paul E Marik” and others claiming a reduction in Sepsis mortality with Vitamin C at “Sentara Norfolk General Hospital” contains obviously fabricated data. I will write to the Author, Hospital and Journal tomorrow requesting retraction.”

    He then posted a copy of a complaint he filed with Chest, claiming that aspects of Marik’s study were fraudulent.10 The complaint prompted an investigation by the journal, but in the meantime, Sheldrick set out on a media blitz. According to The FLCCC Alliance Community:11

    “Tragically, Sheldrick’s fraudulent and demonstrably baseless complaint against Dr. Marik — America’s most highly published critical care physician — made news. A lot of news.

    While the CHEST Journal investigated Sheldrick’s bogus complaint for months, the erstwhile complainant went media hopping … appearing on numerous news programs, granting interviews to print journalists, and posting on social media with a confident cockiness that his complaint letter to Chest would do its job: That is, to publicly and thoroughly disgrace Dr. Marik’s work.”

    In April 2023, Chest revealed the results of its year-long review of Marik’s study,12 finding no methodological errors as Sheldrick alleged.13 The journal only cited two minor revisions that have nothing to do with the outcome of the study — and amounted to the addition of two words, “nonconsecutive” and “target.”

    The first is to clarify that patients in the control group were “nonconsecutive” while the other stated that the 1.5 grams of vitamin C given every six hours for four days was a “target” dose, which might not have been reached in all patients due to varying clinical factors.14 In a statement, Marik said:15

    “I welcome the two words changed by the journal as they make the description of our methodology clearer and have no impact on the research results. However, this whole process was unnecessary as it raised unneeded concern about a life-saving treatment that we know is effective and used worldwide. I hope patients were not deprived of this vital treatment because of these false allegations.”

    Defamation Suit Forces Sheldrick to Publicly Apologize

    Marik and the FLCCC filed a defamation suit against Sheldrick, resulting in a requirement that he publicly apologize. In an updated statement published May 27, 2023, Sheldrick wrote:16

    “On 22 March 2022, I posted a blog post called ‘This scattrd corn.’ This post was a copy of a complaint I filed with the journal CHEST identifying features of a study led by Paul Marik titled ‘Hydrocortisone, Vitamin C, and Thiamine for the Treatment of Severe Sepsis and Septic Shock’ published on 3 February 2017 in CHEST, identifying that I believed them to be signs of fraud, and linked to this on twitter.

    Those complaints have since been formally rejected by the Journal CHEST, which I consider to be the definitive conclusion to the matter. I realize that this letter was used to imply that Dr. Marik personally acted deceptively, and falsely reported study data, which was not my intention, and this caused him significant hurt and distress.

    I regret this hurt to Dr. Marik. I will inform those who have reported on this complaint that it has been rejected by the journal. Dr. Marik has also indicated to me that some subsequent controlled studies have found some positive outcomes for vitamin C in Sepsis, and I accept this. This statement is not an endorsement of the use of Vitamin C in sepsis.”

    As for Marik’s response to being exonerated, he explained:17

    “It was highly unprofessional that Kyle went to such lengths to accuse my colleagues and me publicly of academic fraud. I hope that as he gains more experience as a researcher, he will understand that there are protocols in place for questioning the results of research that prevent harming reputations by making baseless accusations in public.”

    How Many Lost Their Lives Due to the Unfounded Allegations?

    While Marik was ultimately vindicated, much damage has already been done, including to an unknown number of people whose lives were lost because they didn’t receive the HAT protocol for sepsis.

    As FLCCC noted, one of the outcomes of Sheldrick’s outspoken allegations on social media was that “medical providers treating patients with severe sepsis became reluctant to use the effective “HAT” Protocol (Hydrocortisone, Ascorbic Acid, Thiamine) as outlined in the study.”18

    FLCCC published one excerpt from a voicemail it received that they say is “emblematic of the cataclysmic human toll an unconscionable action like Sheldrick’s can take”:19

    “In 2022 … in September … when my mother sat in a very reputable hospital, I was laughed at by every single one of her doctors and I mean literally laughed at when I proposed the fact of using the HAT protocol for my mother to stop her sepsis. I can say they basically disparaged Dr. Marik and on top of that, they did not give her the protocol — whereupon days later she died of sepsis.

    That’s a lot of damage done since 2017. I feel absolutely incredibly confident about the fact that had the protocol just been given to my mother, so many things would have fallen into place … Do doctors know the difference now?”

    Marik Attacked Over Effective Math+ Treatment for COVID-19

    The Chest study saga is only the latest affront to Marik’s professional career and reputation. In 2020, Marik developed the MATH+ protocol, which grew out of his HAT protocol for sepsis. The initial MATH+ protocol the FLCCC developed in early 2020 got its name from:

    Intravenous Methylprednisolone
    Intravenous Ascorbic acid
    Thiamine (B1)
    Full dose low molecular weight Heparin
    Plus optional treatments zinc, vitamin D and melatonin

    The protocol has since been revised several times as more data became available, including the addition of near-infrared sauna therapy. Additional protocols have also been developed, including one for long COVID and COVID jab injuries. You can find them all on the FLCCC’s website.

    In our 2023 interview, Marik explained that when he introduced MATH+ at his hospital’s ICU, COVID mortality was half that of his peers. But the hospital banned the protocol from being used. “The first week I went to work after this ban, I had seven patients with COVID and all seven died because I was basically put in a position that I wasn’t able to treat my patients,” he said.

    Marik sued to get MATH+ reinstated, at which point he was put through a sham peer review. The hospital levied fabricated charges against him and his hospital privileges were immediately suspended. He explained:

    “What hospitals do to get rid of doctors who are inconvenient to them, or who want to tell the truth, is they basically falsify a number of accusations.

    They accused me of seven most outrageous things, including that I was forcing nurses to give patients medications to which they were allergic. Can you imagine something as outrageous as that? I think you would have to be completely moronic to actually think that a doctor could ever do such a thing.

    They claimed I was forcing nurses to put the medications down the NG [nasogastric] tube. These were outrageous accusations and there was no documentation. There were no names or patient records or anything to support these claims, and based on these outrageous claims, they suspended my hospital privileges immediately.

    I was found guilty. There was no due process. I wasn’t allowed legal representation. They basically stopped me practicing medicine based on these false accusations.

    At that time, I didn’t know what was going on but I recognized subsequently, it’s a process called ‘sham peer review,’ where hospitals invent accusations against doctors, and the system is such that because you don’t have due process, you’re assumed to be guilty.”

    Clinical Career Cut Short, Contributions to Health Continue

    After Marik’s long tenure, the hospital reported him to the National Practitioner Data Bank, which makes it near-impossible to get a medical license again in any state. This effectively ended his clinical career.

    “And here I had data to prove that in my ICU, under my care, the mortality was at least half that of my colleagues,” Marik said in our interview. “That was irrelevant. They had to get rid of me because I was challenging the system. Essentially, I was forced to resign because they have enormous power and influence … That essentially ended my career.”

    Now, however, Marik is busy researching and developing health protocols using lifestyle modification, diet and repurposed drugs. The vindication his HAT protocol for sepsis received should also help restore this life-saving treatment in the eyes of medical practitioners so it can continue to save lives. As FLCCC put it:20

    “The welfare of all humanity is the reason why the FLCCC’s legal effort to bring Sheldrick to account for his conscienceless attack on Paul’s medical integrity — still sterling and unblemished — was essential. It is scurrilous attacks like his that led to yet another patient being tied to the tracks … unable to get out of the way of a speeding bullet train.

    Dr. Marik you are one of the world’s most honored, brilliant, and compassionate heroes. This vindication will now rescue hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of people today, well into the future and far, far beyond.” ‘

    Sources and References

    1 World Health Organization September 8, 2020
    2, 4, 5, 6 Chest June 2017; 151(6): 1229-1238
    3, 9, 11, 13, 18, 19, 20 Substack, The FLCCC Alliance Community June 4, 2023
    7 American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care MedicineJanuary 9, 2020 [Epub ahead of print]
    8 Nutrients, 2018;10(11):1762, Abstract
    10, 16 This Scattrd Corn May 27, 2023
    12 Chest April 3, 2023 Letter to Dr. Marik
    14, 15, 17 FLCCC Alliance May 29, 2023

    Sometimes the good guy wins…

  15. Good to see the Church of Greece is moving in the right direction:

    Now all they need to do is stop recognizing the OCU & cut ties with Bart.

  16. Katherine says

    I don’t call them anything. The Fathers of the 7 Ecumenical Counsels call them heretics. The people you describe hold beliefs that were condemned.

    As an example, all Roman Catholics hold the belief that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son. At the Council of Florence, St. Mark refused to accept this even though it would have united Rome and Constantinople.
    He knew that holding correct revealed Truth was necessary.

    Lina, didn’t you convert to Orthodoxy? If fervent belief in Jesus is all that is necessary, and this is what you’re implying, then why convert? Didn’t you have to specifically renounce the Filioque heresy?

    • She may be cradle Orthodox, Katherine, and who are we to call out anyone here?

      She never made any assertions here, she asked a question. A question whose answer many, many of you are tripping over.

      This has nothing to do with the Filioque. The Filioque is about the Holy Spirit.

      • Katherine says

        If I offended you, Gail or Lina, I ask you to forgive me.
        Lina’s question is: What do you call those who are not in The Orthodox Church but confess that The Lord Jesus Christ is The Son Of God? I guess the polite thing to do is to ask them what they want to be called. If they say “I’m Catholic” then we are obliged to tell them that some of their beliefs(like The Filioque) are heretical and the truth lies in The Orthodox Church.

      • Johann Sebastian says

        Sometimes questions are framed in such a way that the burden of assertion ends up resting on the responder, although the person asking the question in the first place did so knowing that the response would be of a particular nature.

        Lawyers are particularly good at posing such questions.

  17. Katherine says

    Lina, if I may, I think I understand the reason for your question. Like me, many Orthodox people are surrounded by family, friends and neighbors who are good people and are pious and faithful in other Christian Denominations. We read the Fathers, ancient and modern, who seem to condemn them for their beliefs. The Fathers were Bishops trying to protect their timorous flocks from apostasy, so their words were harsh.
    I seem to remember St. Ignatius having a problem with Uniates, who tried to lure people from Orthodoxy.
    Theophan the Recluse said that all people have a Savior who loves and cares for them. We should not burden ourselves with their fate, but tend to our own souls.

  18. Respected official ends career with the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency in order to share with the public classified information about ‘alien’ technology hidden by US and other governments:

    “He said he reported to Congress on the existence of a decades-long ‘publicly unknown Cold War for recovered and exploited physical material – a competition with near-peer adversaries over the years to identify UAP crashes/landings and retrieve the material for exploitation/reverse engineering to garner asymmetric national defense advantages.'”

    We already know that demons (‘non-human intelligent beings’) cause these wars. Robert F Kennedy Jr eloquently describes how the commanders of the arms race hijacked the US government, killed his uncle, and what their work has accomplished in my lifetime, from Iraq through Ukraine:

    May God help us understand that as much as these evils come ‘from without,’ so help for the solution must come ‘from above.’ Lord have mercy!

  19. Any idea who is in line to replace retiring Archbishop Benjamin? He announced at the recent OCA DOW council that he is having significant problems with speaking, walking, etc., due to progressing Parkinson’s Disease. A Transition Committee has been formed to help the DOW plan his retirement and what comes after. I think the question of WHO comes after will be huge for the OCA.