This Just In: Moscow Creates an African Exarchate

Well, what did the Phanar expect? 

That Moscow would just stare in wonderment at the obvious cultural superiority of their Hellenic superiors?

I guess so.

Well, if this is what they thought, they got another thing coming.

The ecclesiological angle is obvious.  This has been in the works for awhile.  What intrigues me is the geopolitical angle.  Specifically, now that Putin has gone head-to-head with Biden, giving him a list of non-negotiable demands regarding the Ukraine, I’d have to say that Russia has a winning hand.   Otherwise, I can’t see them doing something so audacious, especially given the fact that Istanbul is the proxy church of the New World Order.

Stay tuned.


  1. I personally think that this was a bad move. I can see Moscow’s desire to provide pastoral support for the dissident African clergy, but to create a completely parallel structure on top of an existing ancient patriarchate (albeit for better reasons than the Phanar’s dealings in Ukraine or FYROM) just looks pretty hypocritical. If anything, this will definitely worsen the schism.

    I expect the Phanar to act in FYROM soon.

    I do support, however, an MP Archdiocese of Turkey, as there’s probably more Russians in Turkey than Greeks. I look forward to its establishment.

    • Church Militant says

      I agree, this looks quite hypocritical! While I don’t agree with the EP and actions they have taken, what makes MP think that they can do the same? How about the MP’s violations of the 2007 agreement with ROCOR? The MP agreed that they would not start any new churches or monasteries here in the USA, as this is ROCOR’s canonical territory. Yet, the MP has created both monasteries and churches here since 2007. Seems like they only have issues with people invading their canonical territory but make justifications when they do the same!

      What also bothers me is that the EP brought schismatic Orthodox clergy under their fold, key word being Orthodox. How can the MP justify bringing Catholic priests into Orthodoxy with nothing more than vesting and concelebration? I know the excuse is that Sts. Tikhon and Alexis allowed this and because they are Saints then this practice is correct. However, even saints make mistakes as nobody born on earth is without sin with the exception of our Lord.

      I pray that the faithful pray about this and that God grants everyone proper discernment by the grace of the Holy Spirit!

      • Gail Sheppard says

        When the EP invaded Ukraine, against the advice of practically every Local Church, he excommunicated himself from the conciliar spirit of the Orthodox Church. Walking away from your brother bishops is, in essence, walking away from the Church. He’s been given many years to repent and, so far, has refused.

        Why should we expect the MP to make allowances for Bartholomew now? If someone breaches your home, rapes your wife, and fills his pockets with your belongings do you invite him for dinner?

        In addition, Bartholomew is teaching heresy both in what he says and in what he does. He is making things up in his head. He is not “first without equal,” as he is hinting. He does not have special “powers.” He does not get to redraw the lines that determine the boundaries of the Local Churches without the universal support of the other bishops which he does not have.

        – If the Local Churches wrote to Kirill advising him against setting up parishes, I didn’t see them.

        Why should any consideration be given to someone like Bartholomew who went into another bishop’s territory and claimed it for himself? He not only went into Ukraine uninvited, he gave Onofrey’s title, “Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine,” to Epiphany!

        Bartholomew did something similar to Antioch. When she and Jerusalem had a dispute over Qatar, Bartholomew, as a mediator, awarded all the property in question to himself! His sense of entitlement is extraordinary.

        What makes Ukraine particularly problematic is the OCU’s bishops are not ordained and, therefore, neither are the priests who are under them. They don’t want to be ordained.

        In addition, they are positively hostile to the canonical Church.

        There is no way to fix this for the Church. We just have to salvage what we can and leave the rest behind. The door is always open but it’s incumbent on the one who left to return.

        – As far as I know, the Catholic priests who have been brought into the Orthodox Church don’t have these liabilities.

        Vesting and concelebration are not unusual practices in the Church.

        * * * *

        Great to see you on the blog. We’re big fans!

        • Do the Qatari EOs consider themselves under the CP now?

          • Gail Sheppard says

            I could be wrong but I don’t think so.

            • What is that proclamation that declares quatar under Constantinople that you are talking about? Can you provide a link please? I have never heard of that.

              Also, is the reasoning that the GOAOA is under the EP is that everything outside of canonical boundaries is under Constantinople? Do you know what year the the GOAOA officially went under them?

              • Gail Sheppard says

                I never said Qatar was under Constantinople. It falls within the boundaries of Antioch and Jerusalem took it for various and sundry reasons. Antioch objected. The EP was to arbitrate a resolution.

                On May 16, 2016, just days before Crete, he came back with his answer. He proposed setting up a committee of representatives from both churches after the Great and Holy Council, which the Ecumenical Patriarchate would coordinate.

                In other words, he had no resolution.

                Antioch refused to attend Crete over the issue.

                If you want to learn more about the situation, there is a lot out there on Google.

                Bartholomew’s understanding is that everything outside the canonically defined territories is in the diaspora and falls under him. He also believes he speaks for all the Orthodox, which he doesn’t, and a few other ridiculous things but the Church chose to ignore him rather than challenge him. I think that was a mistake.

                • This is what you said that made me think that Bartholomew declared that Qatar belongs to himself, per his claim on all “barbarian lands”.

                  “Bartholomew did something similar to Antioch. When she and Jerusalem had a dispute over Qatar, Bartholomew, as a mediator, awarded all the property in question to himself! “

              • The GOA was organized in 1922-23. Prior to that bishops of different churches visited the Greek parishes, but especially from Greece. This all changed when the arch secularist Eleftherios Venizelos became prime minister of Greece, and his cousin, the arch mason and arch heretic Meletios Metaxakis, became patriarch of Constantinople. Metaxakis was the prime mover to change the calendar because he wanted to see union between Constantinople and the west. So the GOA was formed, after an intense internal struggle among two factions, with all of the Greek parishes being taken over by the new archdiocese with Alexander as its first archbishop. It is interesting to note the GOA was initially called the GOA of North and South America but Canada, Central America and South America were cut away when Bartholomew decided he needed more control and to prevent someone like Iakovos becoming archbishop over all that territory. In effect, Venizelos orchestrated the removal of any presence of Greek bishops from the US and ceded that responsibility to Metaxakis.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Very well said, my Dear.

          I would add this: as far as Bart’s uncanonical invasion of the Ukraine, I believe even the Pope advised him against that. I could be wrong about that.

          In any event, Gail and I fans of Church Militant (and other Tradcats like Brian Holdsworth and Dr Taylor Marshall). We’d love to talk with y’all if you have a mind.

          It’s the Ecumenism of the Trenches that we ascribe to and you do good work.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            The Pope came down firmly on the side of Kirill being the “only patriarch” in the region.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            You forgot Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, George, and the priest from Brooklyn.

            Interestingly, we’ve seen a lot of like-minded people coming together. Just a few weeks ago, we had a function that brought together the Georgian Church with priests and followers from other jurisdictions. Unity at a grass-root level. Maybe that’s the only way it can happen.

            • “Unity at a grass-root level.
              Maybe that’s the only way it can happen.”

              That’s a very interesting comment, Gail.
              Nearly two decades ago, while an undergraduate, I was asked by my Professor to give a paper at a Church History conference. It was a great honour, so of course I went.

              While I was there I met a Coptic priest who stated that the Copts and the Eastern Orthodox should be one Church and that the bishops should sort it out. He also said that the bishops will never sort it out because there are too many bishops with too many cathedrals and too much to lose.

              He then said that the only way it will ever happen is if the faithful ignore the bishops and the priests and just make it happen themselves.

              • Brendan,
                I would be interested to read your thoughts on OO/ER. I’ve mostly talked to EO people about it. Is it possible? Should it happen apart from a complete repudiation of their errors on the part of the OO?

                • Seraphim,
                  I have only ever spoken to the one Coptic priest, no OO bishops and no OO theologians. However I have spoken to many Tigrayan refugees from the wars.
                  These are simple honest people who do not do sophisticated theology.
                  They worship the Lord, reverence his Mother and the Saints.
                  Their Christianity is expressed by the Nicene Creed.
                  They are Orthodox. Beyond that, I cannot say.

                  • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

                    Brendan, the real obstacle for the Non-Chalcedonians / “Oriental Orthodox” is not the 4th Ecumenical Council at Chalcedon in AD 452. The key phrase of the Christological doctrine of that Council the NC / OO affirmed though the Second Agreed Statement of the Joint Commission of the Theological Dialogue Between The Orthodox Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches [sic] at Chambesy in Geneva, Switzerland, September 23-28, 1990:

                    “4. Both families agree that the natures with their proper energies and wills are united hypostatically and naturally without confusion, without change, without division and without separation, and that they are distinguished in thought alone (th qewria monh).”

                    The primary obstacle, as I understand the situation, besides the thorny question of lifting the mutual anathemas, is the NC / “OO” refusal to acknowledge the doctrinal statement of the 6th Ecumenical Council (Constantinople AD 681) that explicitly rejected monotheletism and anathematized NC / “OO” leaders who taught it. Even the late, very ecumenical Pope and Patriarch Shenouda of the Coptic Orthodox communion refused to accept the Orthodox doctrine that the Incarnate Son of God possessed two distinct wills and “energies” (ενέργειαι in Greek) as functions of His divine and human natures.

                    Therefore, the main Christological stumbling block seems to be not monophysitism but rather the NC / “OO” affirmation of monoenergism.

                  • Utrecht Frederick says

                    You mean how they deny Theosis? Their piety puts Orthodox to shame, but we do not place ourselves above God, who guided the Ecumenical Councils – otherwise why do you care about ecumenism? Or union with Rome? Or any heresy at all? Why did any Orthodox martyr every hold fast to the faith?

                    See their most beloved recent pope, who immediately denies the Creed.

                    Pope Shenouda “The term ‘Monophysites’ used for the believers in the One Nature has been intentionally or unintentionally misinterpreted throughout certain periods of history.” In the same book, Shenouda says: “The Virgin did not give birth to a man and God.” Patriarch Shenouda III, The Nature of Christ, 1st edition Ottawa 1985

                    Copts, Syriacs, Jacobite, Armenian – who all fall in and out of communion with one another, do not have Saints, and do not have the Grace in their Mysteries – Christ, the Body of Christ the Church, is not and can never be divided. Their is one faith, one truth, one baptism, we will be condemned for giving them the satanic peace that they are in the saving boat of the Church of Christ – the Orthodox Church.

                    You will find no Saints saying what you are saying.

                • I’ll stick my nose in here. Definitely not. They have raged and calumniated against our faith and our fathers for over a millennium and are absolutely entrenched in their heresy, despite what some of their spokesmen might say.

                  If they want union, they need to denounce Dioscorus, Severus, etc., and accept all the councils from Chalcedon onward.

              • It feels like the CP’s disaster makes it harder in practice to perform outreach to OOs. It hurts inter-church relations in general. Over a decade ago at an EO OCF conference I asked a Coptic girl attending if she thought we could realistically reunite with OOs and EOs together, and she said that first we EOs should get our Church in order. She wasn’t saying that dismissively or with a negative attitude.

                The simple, correct answer is that we don’t need to wait for the CP to correct itself for us “orthodox” EOs (to use a pun) to have outreach to OOs.

                Nonetheless, the current situation with the CP makes such reconciliation harder, in part because the CP is such an important part of the EO world. How can it reliably present Orthodox positions when it is now so unreliable? One of the relevant issues after all would be ecclesiology, unity between the Copts and Alexandrian EO Church, etc. Would the Russian Church advocate for the Copts to join with Alexandria or with the Russian parishes now in Africa? As you can see, this CP mess creates further messes.

                And it’s not just EO-OO relations. How can we as a united Church present our ecclesiology consistently and as The Orthodox Teaching in discussions with Protestants and RCs while the CP is currently teaching First Without Equals doctrine? Again, the simple answer is to teach Orthodoxy as we know it, but certainly in practice the CP’s new moves make things harder.

                To get more specific about the EO-OO schism apart from my points above, there is a certain difficulty involved theologically and ecclesiologically with resolving this split.
                This issue has to do with how Orthodoxy operates. EOs and OOs agree that when doctrinal issues come up, they are resolved by ecumenical councils. Substantively, EOs and OOs agree that Christ is both fully God and fully man, fully divine, and fully human. However, the debate arose over whether it is correct to say that Christ has two natures. Several factions arose. The faction of Dioscorus was the most extreme on the OO side and declared this a blasphemy. Dioscorus’ faction called a supposed “ecumenical” council, Ephesus II, which deposed Patriarch Flavian for this teaching, which Ephesus II rejected as heresy. The EO side in response called an Ecumenical Council to deal with this issue, Chalcedon, and it decided that the teaching that “Christ is in two natures” is orthodox. The EOs also rejected Ephesus II.

                Due to the Conciliar and Traditional nature of the Orthodox Church (whether we are talking about EOs or OOs), it becomes hard for either EOs or OOs to reconcile. EOs would not want to unite under a banner that does not consider Chalcedon “Ecumenical” due to our dedication to our Ecumenical Councils. Thus, the EOs would want the OOs to affirm Chalcedon as Ecumenical. Likewise, while OOs seem divided on whether the OO “Ephesus II” is “ecumenical” for them, they as a Church organization would find it hard to affirm Chalcedon as an authoritative ecumenical council like they consider the first three Ecumenical Councils to be, due to their Tradition’s rejection of these Councils.

                There have been impressive official OO reconciliation declarations about how the Chalcedonian language (ie. in two natures) is acceptable or basically orthodox, like one by the major Coptic archbishop Bishoy, but the declarations don’t go the whole way of accepting Chalcedon as affirmative and authoritative for OOs.

                On the other hand, there was a medieval attempt at just putting aside the differences and declaring Chalcedon non-binding, but this resolution in turn created major practical problems. This attempt was called “The Acacian Schism.” The first problem arose when some EOs continued to declare Chalcedon’s theology of “in two natures” orthodox and correct. In response, the major OO leader Severus of Antioch declared this EO declaration a heresy. I don’t remember whether he also declared the EOs’ announcement to be violation of the newly-affirmed EO-OO agreement. Then, Severus began persecuting the EOs. OOs today still consider Severus a foundational OO figure.

                Thus, the practical problem with declaring Chalcedon non-binding is that it puts us back at the period before the Chalcedonian Council when EOs and OOs were fighting, sometimes viciously, over this issue and we did not have an authoritative Council (Chalcedon) declaring “in two natures” to be correct. So EOs typically advocate for the theological issue about this term to be resolved instead of just trying to put the issue aside.

                • Yes, similar to how the Romans, and Orthodox can never ‘unite’ – one church destroys the the other. One is wrong, one is right.

                  Just like the coptics, they completely deny theosis:

                  Quoting: Pope Shenouda “The term ‘Monophysites’ used for the believers in the One Nature has been intentionally or unintentionally misinterpreted throughout certain periods of history.” In the same book, Shenouda says: “The Virgin did not give birth to a man and God.” Patriarch Shenouda III, The Nature of Christ, 1st edition Ottawa 1985

                  They deny the creed, and they do not accept the Holy Spirit of God, who guided the Councils, gave many many miracles as to the correct faith.

                  Their is absolutely zero Saints who say there is ‘reconciliation’ with heretical positions except for the heretics denouncing their heresy.

                  St Hilarion Troitsky, details this painstakingly.

      • I don’t believe the MP/ROCOR agreement said anything about what the MP would do with their own communities in the US or anywhere else.

    • Basil “If anything, this will definitely worsen the schism.”

      I see it differently. It is a step in healing of the Arkhondonis schism.

      • George Michalopulos says

        I agree with you Martin.

      • I certainly hope that you’re right.

        • Basil.
          There are moments, when one needs to be firm and make a clear stand, When hesitation and ambiguity bring more harm than good. Accepting these African priests sends a good signal to the confused and scandalized faithful.
          Clears the air, so to say. Now the ball is on the Phanar side, let them worry and reflect.

    • Philologus quidam says

      The main point is that, if Pat. Theodoros accepted to concelebrate with Epiphany and so he fell in schism together with Bartholomew, he is no more the canonical bishop of Alexandria. I think that in the Council of the Russian Bishops that will be held in Moscow on next May the MP will definetely excommunicate Barth., Theod. and other philo-EP primates, basis on the heresy of “Constantinople papacy”. I expect that, on that day, Metropolitan Leonid of Klin, actual Patr. Exarch for Africa, will take the title of Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Boy, if that’s the case, then the battle will be taken right to the heart of Africa! I could easily see many more African priests (and also some African bishops) jumping ship.

        Tactically, it would be easier in such a scenario.

  2. Bout time!

  3. It will be very interesting to see the reaction of Alexandria because, obviously, Theodoros does not consider Epiphany a schismatic so he can, or will, take the position that Moscow cannot accept the clergy unless/until Theodoros releases them. Then Theodoros suspends the priests,,,,,etc, etc, etc.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Trouble is Theodore has an even weaker hand than the EP


        That’s what their response seems to imply.

        But, I foresee many more African clerics switching to the Russian Church given how community networks operate in Africa and how seriously they tend to take Orthodoxy, and Christianity in general.
        Alexandria’s losing hand is that the majority of their priests and laity are Black Africans and care nothing about the Greek “ethos” that props up the OCU by the other Hellenic Churches.

        I read somewhere that the Alexandrian Patriarchate has about 500 priests, already 102 have left, it’s not hard to imagine 40-50% leaving

    • George Michalopulos says

      Joseph, interesting points you bring up here. I do disagree with your last two paragraphs however. “Rome” is a spiritual concept as well as a political one and whichever church preaches the Gospel (that is until the Lord returns) is “Rome”.

      It’s not nonsense. I believe in the reality of the Third Rome because I believe in the reality of the First –and the Second. Salvation history is played out on this planet in space and time.

      • Joseph Lipper says


        As both a spiritual and political concept, the Church headed by the Patriarch of Constantinople is often referred to as “New Rome”, but this does not mean that it refers to a second Roman Empire.

        That “honor”, if you will, of a second Roman Empire belongs to the “Holy Roman Empire” that was created by Charlemagne. That was a false Roman empire. Perhaps another false (third) Roman empire is being created?

        Yes, the New Rome of Constantinople is in a very weakened state, but let’s not print eulogies prematurely. If indeed it was dead, then nobody would be complaining so much about it.

    • . . . “It’s pure “Moscow as Third Rome” nonsense. So it can’t be taken that seriously, but hey, perhaps we can still enjoy it while it lasts.”

      Why? “So know, pious king, that all the Christian kingdoms came to an end and came together in a single kingdom of yours, two Romes have fallen, the third stands, and there will be no fourth. No one shall replace your Christian Tsardom” (The EP submitted to the Roman Pope in that time, and Constantinople was taken by the sultan))

  4. The Russian hierarchs are so stupid sometimes…

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I think the Russians are pushing to get the problem in Ukraine resolved. The Local Churches cannot continue to drag their feet. It’s been like 5 years now. From Russia’s POV, they’ve got a schismatic church that hates them in their buffer zone which can be leveraged by NATO and the U.S. against them.

      • The Church SHOULD have gotten together as a whole and formally denounced/excommunicated/deposed Bartholomew, Theodoros, etc, but they did not, and this is just a natural outpouring of the hierarchs playing nice and not do their job. It’s very unfortunate and could have potentially been avoided, but now the horse is off to the races.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Jesse, please explain.

      • The problem is that this arguably makes it almost impossible for this crisis to be resolved by the current generation of bishops, and we may not see the resolution to this until we are all in wheelchairs or the grave, barring an act of God. This plays into every worst propaganda stereotype that EP/US Greek language media has been painting for Greek audiences for years as the Russians being ambitious power-mad revolutionaries, makes the MP seem hypocritical on the question of jurisdictional invasion to Greeks, and makes it all but impossible for current Alexandrian or Sub-Saharan African clergy to trust each other if a New Deal for Orthodoxy were proposed by an ecumenical council tomorrow. People today are used to seeing a compressed view of Church history in the rearview mirror, but even huge events like the Non-Chalcedonian schism took two centuries to unfold – even as late as St. John the Faster’s time, nearly 150 years after Chalcedon, he wrote that he believed most of the NCs were Orthodox, just prone to extreme/schismatic behavior. And after him, St. John the Merciful, patriarch of Alexandria, was still seen as so unquestionably holy and gentle that even his Non-Chalcedonian neighbors canonized him despite his Orthodoxy and their own hardening schism. That kind of patience and forbearance is in short supply right now.

        • George Michalopulos says

          John D, what you’re saying is not without merit. However I wouldn’t put too much stock in what the EP/Greek-language sources say. The Greek people have long discounted what the official church sources say about anything.

          As far as laymen are concerned, I have yet to find any sincere, intelligent, and pious Greek Orthodox Christians who buy the EP’s propaganda lock, stock, and barrel.

          With the Archons and those of their mentality, they know that they’re just mouthing phanariote talking points. They hope no one questions them so that’s why they never engage in honest debate. As for the secularist, they’re openly contemptuous of the official church (whether Church of Greece or Constantinople).

          I’m not engaging in wishful thinking here. Just look at the Athonite phenomenon here in the States: the vast majority of their pilgrims are Greek laymen and neither they, nor the monastics are partisans of the current EP. Far from it. As far as they’re concerned, he’s skating on thin ice. As for the secular (i.e. non-monastic) clergy and laity here in America, the loyalty to the EP scattershot. Parish priests aren’t going to be honest because they’re all married and have families and are absolutely terrified that they’ll be transferred to God-knows-where. It’s very dysfunctional.

        • John,
          I don’t have much opinion on the Russian decision in Africa.
          It sounds like you are trying to make a practical argument that the Russian decision in Africa makes resolution harder.

          However, the basic issue is the CP’s Church-dividing decision in Ukraine based on the CP’s claim to supremacy. The Alexandrian Patriarch Theodore went along with the CP’s decision based apparently on pressure on the Alexandrian Patriarch. This is apparent because previously P. Theodore was very outspoken in support of the UOC-MP in relation to the OCU. Consequently, the new MP decision in Africa could impose practical counter-pressure on Alexandria to resolve the problem.

          Besides the practical issue of resolution, the MP has another concern. The MP has been spending a long time and much effort in spreading Orthodoxy to Africa. But now the CP and Alexandria went off the rails on Ukraine and the MP suspended communion with Alexandria too. This situation really puts the CP in a bind with regard to its ongoing connections in Africa. Namely: Is the MP supposed to (A) continue to or (B) stop sending support to African parishes that would be forced to become schismatic under Alexandria? Or should it (C) allow African churches to come under its jurisdiction?

      • George,
        The main criticism that I heard from EOs regarding the Russian decisionmaking regarding the CP and the CP’s followers like Alexandria is that the MP is supposedly hurting Orthodox unity. So per this criticism, the MP would be infringing on Alexandria’s territory.

        I am in the OCA, so I don’t have much opinion on whether the MP’s decisionmaking has been right or wrong, but I’m sympathetic. They do have a right to make this line of decisions because they are the aggrieved party, as the CP has been declaring itself as practically ecclesiologically “supreme” over all Christians and then declaring the OCU as the only legitimate Church for Ukraine’s territory. And the MP is stuck either with not doing anything or else taking measures to try to remedy the situation, like suspending communion, allowing churches in Africa to go under the MP instead of staying under the offending Alexandrian Patriarchate, etc.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          George is well aware of the criticisms!

          The thing is, how does it help the Church if the EP can’t fill his own meager vacancies with priests. He has a lot of metropolitans, residing over places that essentially don’t exist anymore, or have only a handful of Orthodox Christians.

          Elpi used to be over one called Bursa. There were 3 Orthodox Christians under him at the time!

          Contrast that with the MP who builds 3 parishes a week. They have lit a fire under the Orthodox people in their country. When I visited Russia, I was astounded. I remember telling George, “Now I know where the Church is, and if there is but one, it is here in Russia.”

          Russia had beaten down neighborhoods, where people built their own cathedrals with no expense spared. And I’m talking about building them with their own hands. They would recruit people off the streets to complete these incredible mosaics. When Syria was in trouble, it was Russia who went in there out of concern for the Christians to rebuild their churches. – When Turkey reconverted St. Sophia into a mosque, it was Kirill who objected in person. I think Bartholomew said something after the fact.

          What has the EP done for the Church? Bartholomew wheels and deals with the U.S. government (Google Wikileaks: Ecumenical Patriarch, Russia) to get Halki reopened (Turkey closed it in 1971) but he believes it can once again become the main training facility for Constantinople’s Patriarchate. What patriarchate? Aside from their long list of metropolitans, there are no places to assign priests and no people to put under them.

          There are tourists. If anyone is going to build parishes, it might as well be Russia. They know how to multiply their talents whereas Bartholomew can barely hold onto what he was given 30 years ago. What’s changed in all that time?

          Do you know that the OCA had to sit at the back of the bus when they formed the Assembly of Canonical Bishops? If it weren’t for Demetrios they wouldn’t even have been let in. Frankly, if we’re talking about canonical boundaries, it is the OCA that has jurisdiction in America.

          Speaking of not letting anybody in, Bartholomew literally hid from the EOC (Evangelic Orthodox Church) when they came knocking. They have brought thousands and thousands of converts into the Church which wouldn’t have happened if Bartholomew had his way.

          What has Bartholomew done in the name of unity? He cares only about unifying with Rome and building relationships outside the Church. When was the last time he said something nice about the Church?

          OK, I’m not being fair. He cares about plants.

          Even as someone “without an opinion either way,” you can clearly see the forest from the trees. George and I think Kirill is trying to force a meeting with the bishops. What else is is the MP supposed to do? The Church can’t just wait around.

          The thing you don’t hear much when this subject comes up is the fact that as long as we have an Ecumenical Patriarchate with grand delusions about their purpose in the modern world, the rest of the Church can be held hostage by one “Bartholomew” after another. A council needs to be called (this is the one thing Bartholomew can do but won’t) so the EP can be set straight about their role.

          The Ecumenical Patriarch does not have “special powers.” He is not “first without equal.” He cannot intervene in a dispute unless he is invited by both parties. He also cannot interfere in territories belonging to other bishops.

          He can call meetings. The one thing Bartholomew can do and he won’t! All the Local Churches begged him to call a Council before he went into Ukraine and he ignored them.

          And now he’s saying he doesn’t give a sh%^&. Lovely! Just lovely.

          We no longer need an Ecumenical Patriarchate who operates as the center of Orthodoxy. If they don’t want to play nice with their brother bishops this can be easily remedied by removing them from Turkey. If the patriarchate is moved, they lose their ecumenical status.

      • I should amend my statement a bit, because I really wonder how much this was Russian bishopS, and how much this is Patriarch Kirill getting what he wants.

        But anyways, probably others here have said much of what I think, but I just don’t see how this was a good move at all. First, just strategically – the Russian Church basically had the support of most of the Orthodox world before, except a few Greek hierarchs who are just Constantinople robots. But who is going to support them in this? It’s hard to imagine a single Local Church taking their side on this matter, and in fact, it could push away some who were allies.

        This seems more like just tit-for-tat revenge than a real effort to heal anything.

        Certainly I sympathize with any priests in Africa who are genuinely worried about being in Communion with the schismatics, but the thing is, if Moscow were being consistent, it wouldn’t consider that these priests are in Communion with the schismatics.

        I’ll explain: The problem is that the Russian Church isn’t being consistent. Moscow broke Communion with the entire Constantinople Patriarchate because they acted by Synodal decision, but in Alexandria, Greece, and Cyprus, there was no Synodal decision, so the Russian Church has taken the stance that they will only break off from those who actively support the schismatics. But here, in Africa, Moscow is blatantly contradicting this stance by creating an Exarchate that covers the entirey of Africa.

        In an interview published just on December 21 (, Legoida explicitly said:

        “We do not have Eucharistic communion with Constantinople, regarding the other three Churches, the status is as follows. We do not have Eucharistic communion with their primates, as well as those from their episcopate who have recognized the schismatics. At the same time, we proceed from the fact that the recognition of the schismatics by the completeness of these three Churches did not take place, since no decision was made at the level of the ecclesiastical authorities of these churches authorized to make such a decision — the Synod or the Council. That is why Eucharistic communion has been preserved with some bishops and clerics of these Churches.”

        And then after the Russian Synodal decision was announced, Abp. Leonid explained that they waited 2 yrs for the Alexandrian Synod to deal with the issue of recognition of the OCU, to give bishops the chance to protest, but this never happened, and two years was enough ( So, in the case of Africa, they’re basically saying a lack of public protest from the bishops is enough to consider that they all support the recognition of the OCU, thus they’re schismatics, thus we can take their priests without canonical release, and create new dioceses on their territory.

        I say “public” protest because I’ve heard multiple times that at least some bishops personally, quietly reject the recognition of the OCU, but it’s hard to imagine they’ll stand by Moscow now.

        Of course, I could be wrong about all this, but it all seems terribly short-sighted to me.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          And yet, who objected to the MP going into Turkey or Asia? No one.

          How can we expect the EP to respect the boundaries of a patriarchate he doesn’t recognize? How can the rest of us object to what the MP does as long as this schismatic situation with Ukraine is hanging over our heads? Had Bartholomew repented, it would be an entirely different story.

          • I expect Russia setting up an Archdiocese in Turkey would be the next step. There are around ~100K Russians who live in Turkey, plus all of the millions that vacation there. Russians outnumber the EP flock, what, 10:1?

            An overlooked aspect is the Church of Russias ability to evangelize non-Christians (look at their work among Hindus and Muslims), this is something that the EP can’t even do in its own country.

    • Interesting comment from an editor of

      At least we know it’s definitely not a biased source!

      • George Michalopulos says

        Gail and I treasure because it’s a great source for many reasons.

        • Exactly. Far better than the state department-funded “Orthodox Times,” which is pure propaganda.

  5. I pray that this is a temporary situation until the issues with Patriarch Theodoros can be resolved. I.e if he is deposed and replaced then the priests can be transferred back to Alexandria. But, as it stands I fully expect that number of priests to pretty steadily rise.

    I do fully agree with Basil, they should set up and

    Archdiocese of Turkey as there are vastly more Russians there than Greeks.

    I am surprised though, I thought the Russians would have waited till May. I guess this means they have formally decided to anathematize Patrorch Bartholomew and possibly Theodoros.

  6. What goes around, comes around,
    an’ bites yer bum [butt in US English]

  7. “…102 clerics of the Patriarchate of Alexandria from eight African countries into the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church, according to the petitions submitted.”

    I wonder if the countries involved (e.g., Kenya, Uganda) are “all or none”? In other words – if Uganda and Kenya are listed as part of the South African Diocese, I wonder if the bishops in Kenya and Uganda (for example) stayed united on this, or are the parishes splitting within the country?

    I ask because I am aware of an American parish that takes great pride (I use that term intentionally) in their sponsorship of a small African parish and the American priest has ranted against the Russian church in the past and accused them of phyletism for taking in one small group of worshippers (on a remote island) who wished to remain on the old calendar. This will make his head explode.

    • Phyletism? What? I assume he meant Holy Annunciation Church in Uganda, which is under ROCOR, and completely African, with an African priest. Phyletism?

      • Yessir – I just listened to the homily again (as painful as it was). The exact quote:

        “…There is a jurisdiction that continues to practice phyletism in Africa. They have a parish in Uganda that is NOT under the Patriarch of Alexandria. I couldn’t believe it, I had to look it up! This is improper! ….”

  8. “…102 clerics of the Patriarchate of Alexandria from eight African countries into the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church, according to the petitions submitted.”

    I wonder if the countries involved (e.g., Kenya, Uganda) are “all or none”? In other words – if Uganda and Kenya are listed as part of the South African Diocese, did the bishops in Kenya and Uganda (for example) stayed united on this, or are the parishes splitting within the country?

    I ask because I am aware of an American parish that takes great pride (I use that term intentionally) in their sponsorship of a small African parish and the American priest has ranted against the Russian church in the past and accused them of phyletism for taking in one small group of worshippers (on a remote island) who wished to remain on the old calendar. This will make his head explode.

  9. It’s just the beginning. Constantinople and some of the other Greek led churches have become schismatic. The MP has already excommunicated anyone who recognizes Epiphanios and the OCU. Thus, Alexandria falls under that excommunication.

    This isn’t a temporary thing like Antioch and Jerusalem over Qatar. The Phanar is preparing a Unia and this is a step in the execution of that plan. Thus you will see the two entities, one surrounding the MP and the other surrounding the Phanar, continue to split and behave as though the other entity were fundamentally illegitimate. You may see some provision for other churches of Greek tradition under the MP in areas where the local Greek church has chosen to side with the schismatics.

    It’s unavoidable. The Phanariotes have decided their course. The die is cast. It just has to play out so that you have two discrete, mutually exclusive entities – a continuing Orthodox Church and a new Uniate monstrosity.

    • We can’t confuse the clergy with the Church. The laity are also part of the church. Just because Bartholomew or Theodoros does something heretical doesn’t mean the whole of the churches of Constantinople and Alexandria is heretical. The Church can endure heretical bishops without being defiled and preserving the mysteries. Until a panorthodox synod excommunicates these churches how can we say they no longer are an Orthodox Church? We have to be careful not to adopt the ecclesiology of the Old Calendarists.

      • Please elaborate on what you mean by the ecclesiology of the Old Calendarists.

        • He probably means the ones who say things like ‘world Orthodoxy’ and ‘mainline Orthodox’ as if the Church is divided and separate, and then say things like ‘we don’t know if they have grace’ or, ‘St Paisios, Porphyrios, Ilakavos, St Joseph the Hesychast, St Philotheos Zervakos are deceived and antiChrists’.

          When you deny the grace of the canonical Church, the Saints have spoken you put your soul in a terrifying position.

          Even the ‘moderate’ GOC-K will try to make people (depending on their parish location) deny the ‘new calendar church’ which is blaspheme of the Holy Spirit.

      • Having spent 7-8 years in a GOA parish, I can say that there is very little connection with these types of issues. It’s largely cafeteria catholic/Hellenic. Perhaps there is some resonance with a few Greeks and other nationalities in these parishes. I know of one Greek family that defected from my former parish to an OCA parish for spiritual reasons.

        The gauntlet will be thrown when the Phanar finally unites or concelebrates with Rome. Then GOA will have to break with the Phanar or these parishes will have to break with GOA or there will be a bit of an exodus. How big? My guess is that most of the Greeks will remain and become Uniates. That may be true of some number of Arab Orthodox in GOA parishes as well. Probably many of the other Arabs, Romanians and Slavs will defect to other jurisdictions at that point, to the extent they haven’t already.

        The Phanar is committed to its trajectory. There’s no turning back from the Ukraine debacle – violence and stolen churches. The schism is done. It just has to settle in and formalize. But make no mistake, the Phanar, et al., are schisming from the Church.

  10. George Michalopulos says

    Here’s Helleniscope’s take on this, filed under “Revenge Is a Dish Best Served Cold”:

    • ” Ooops… Error 404
      Sorry, but the page you are looking for doesn’t exist.”

      Try: Patriarch Kyrill Of Moscow:
      “I Don’t Give A S..t / Skasila Mou” – and I Will Expand in Africa!

      ‘ EDITOR’S NOTE (Nick Stamatakis): Well, well, well… The time of reckoning for Pat. Bartholomew has arrived!… In the Phanar they can throw all kinds of fits at the news that the Moscow Patriarchate has adopted 102 priests and has created two African dioceses but the harsh reality is that if you sow winds you will produce storms… Especially if you are a supremely arrogant person like Bartholomew, whose response “Skasila mou / I don’t give a sh..t”, two months ago during his visit to the US regarding the Moscow Patriarchate has certainly found the proper answer…

      The full answer will come soon as the Ukrainian issue will be discussed in high-level talks in Europe from January 10-13. No matter what the exact outcome of these talks, Bartholomew can be sure that his “Cacocephaly” of Ukraine will be cut down to size… ‘

  11. Russia Is the Last Remaining Christian Country
    By Paul Craig Roberts

    ‘ At his year-end press conference, Russian President Putin said that “a woman is a woman and a man is a man,” and he expressed his confidence that the religious denominations of the Russian Federation would have the moral fiber to resist the intrusion of the corrupted and degenerate values of the Western world.

    Alas, the Western World has no such moral fiber. The West has cut itself off from its past and is tottering on the premise that it can survive by acculturating its youth to disbelieve in the West. The purpose of Western education is the deracination of Western youth and their alienation from Western culture. …

    George Santayana said that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” It did not occur to him that soon there would be people, indeed entire countries, without a past. …

    All of the Western nations no longer exist. Nations are reduced to countries without borders as there is scant limit to influx by peoples of alien languages, cultures, and behaviors. All Western nations are Towers of Babel. In Europe religious life is found only among Islamist immigrant-invaders. They are building mosques (churches) everywhere. As I often ask, how long has it been since a Christian church was built in Europe or the UK. …

    So what is the West when the West is without nations, without Christianity, and without a past?

    It is a nothing. And this is what the Russians and Chinese are beginning to see.

    Every great family and every great civilization has some roots in sin and crimes. What the Western world has forgotten is that they also have roots in accomplishments, moral, artistic, cultural, economic, political. We should not forget that man is fallen. There are good and evil that contend for his soul. It was Christianity that gave the powerless a voice capable of challenging the voice of raw power. It was this voice, together with material interests, that produced accountable government, itself subject to a rule of law.

    Today the rule of law is disappearing. … ‘

    I would add Serbia to the list of Christian countries.
    Other than that, it’s hard to disagree with Mr Roberts…

  12. Antiochene Son says

    I don’t think this was a good move. I understand it, but this will entrench the schism perhaps beyond the possibility of repair.

  13. Welp. Perhaps the EP is now forced to reconsider calling for an Ecumenical Synod after all…

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Which he refuses to do because he know what the resolution would be. He feels the matter could have been addressed in Crete and the reason it wasn’t is that Russia refused to attend. (It was never on the agenda and as we all know, the agenda turned out to be the minutes.)

      • The worst thing that Bartholomew could have done from an authoritative aspect was to go into Ukraine. By drawing so much attention to himself he forced the entire Church see him for what he really is and draw even more attention to his already almost extinct patriarchate.

        I do however, hope that this action by Russia forces a Church-wide council

      • B. Jackson says

        Happy New Year! I would appreciate a little more explanation about the minutes. Or is there an article you can point me to?

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Shortly before the Great and Holy Council of Crete in June 2016, an agenda was posted. The agenda was based, in part, on multiple discussions the Local Curches had in Chambusy to iron out key questions on the Church. At the end of these sessions, not all were in agreement.

          The agenda included decisions that had not been made, where additional discussion was needed.

          There were to be no changes to the agenda or the outcome.

          Bulgaria was the first to pull out; then the Serbians and Georgia. Antioch pulled out because there was no resolution on Qatar and Russia pulled out because there weren’t enough Churches represented at the Council to continue.

          The Russians were also concerned that Ukraine was not on the agenda. The EP going into Ukraine without a Council was a real possibility at this point and eventually happened in Jan. 2018.

          The EP announced that it made no difference if only a quarter of the Church was represented; he planned to move forward with the agenda as is.

          There was little to no consensus at that point.

          One of the stickiest issues was the redefinition of the meaning of “Church” which the EP announced would include all Christian religions, most importantly the Catholic Church. (In 2014 he and the Pope decided we would unite in 2025, come “hell or high water”.) It was rumored the Pope was waiting in the wings to be welcomed into the Orthodox Church by the bishops of the Local Churches. That’s not what happened.

          • One of the stickiest issues was the redefinition of the meaning of “Church” which the EP announced would include all Christian religions, most importantly the Catholic Church. (In 2014 he and the Pope decided we would unite in 2025, come “hell or high water”.) It was rumored the Pope was waiting in the wings to be welcomed into the Orthodox Church by the bishops of the Local Churches. That’s not what happened.

            I firmly believe that Crete was suppose to be an Orthodox version of Vatican 2, unofficially “officially” changing the Churches teachings through subversion. Thanks be to God and the intervention of the Holy Spirit, Crete was a major flop and no one outside the EP really cares about it. It was clearly un-Orthodox in its layout, which is why it hasn’t been received by the rest of the Church.

  14. Divide and conquer. It is obvious that hierarchy of the Orthodox are guided more by ego and pride rather than the Holy Spirit. The globalists and the old bastard laugh.
    Then again, these follies are distinguishing those who understand what Orthodoxy is and those who have lost their way.

    • Molon Labe. “It is obvious that hierarchy of the Orthodox are guided more by ego and pride rather than the Holy Spirit.”
      I disagree. They took the right stand, I would do the same in their place. Would you imply that I am guided by ego and pride?

  15. I understand the African priests wanting to join a Church structure/hierarchy that they believe has retained Orthodox truth, however criticisms of EP Bartholomew trying to act like a pope ring hollow if the Moscow Patriarchate is duplicating the same error in expanding it’s governance over more of the world.

  16. Señor Perez says

    This is completely stupid. If Constantinople and Alexandria “fell into heresy,” then the logical and canonical thinking would point to Antioch getting in control of their territories — NOT Moscow!

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Other than you, has anyone else complained about Moscow’s actions? A Local Church perhaps? The Patriarchate of Alexandria did, of course, but when they communed with a schismatic church, they walked away from the Orthodox Church. The Orthodox do not commune with unordained, schematics.

      The diptychs do not dictate rights to territories other than their own.

    • ¡No Señor!
      Read Canon 28 (4th Ecum.Synod) veryyyyy carefullyyyyyyyyyy!

  17. I’ve tried to stay informed about the OCMC organization in St Augustine, Florida since about 2000. I’ve been made aware that the focus of their activities have shifted over the last few years to the “unreached peoples” of sub-Saharan Africa and Indonesia. I’ve also seen a planning map to that effect.

    It seems to be a given that the EP relies heavily on financial and moral support from the North American churches. I question whether or not, unbeknownst to the general Orthodox American community of all jurisdictions here, the EP has been using the OCMC as a quick ‘plant the flag’ operation in southern Africa/Indonesia in some kind of ‘race’ against the Russians.

    If true, it would provide another part of this story. I now question my support for the activities of the OCMC if it is being used in this manner. I do not support the recent positions and behaviors of the EP, and consider it a betrayal of trust on the part of OCMC if they are not working in the world on behalf of the entire Orthodox Church, but for the EP exclusively and in secret.

    • Balkan Dan says

      Yes it is, Hal.

      For instance, all of the current missionaries serving from North America are working under the EP, with the exception of Franz in Romania (who has been there over twenty years) and those for the Albanian Church (granted autocephaly by the EP and also a more or less ‘legacy mission’ from before the split).

      But the heart of the question can’t be answered directly. I’m given to understand about a third of the donations to the OCMC are specified for what is called the SAMP program (Support A Mission Priest). These priests are not specified anywhere I can see on the OCMC website, but I understand their numbers are around 200 and largely in Africa. The pictures on their “mission priests” page appear to be in Africa and probably Central America/and or Oceania and the West Indies, all EP/PA.

      Notice the “short-term missions teams” are exclusively to EP/PA parishes when outside the US (again with the exception of Albania): Colombia, Ghana, Indonesia, Guatemala, and Kenya. Their three US outreach efforts are to OCA parishes in Alaska, one sponsored by a GOA parish.

      It isn’t much of a stretch to see who the OCMC serves and who it doesn’t. Are most Orthodox in North America aware of this?

      And we have the pilot “Orthodox Volunteer Project” starting up in Pittsburgh this autumn. Which Orthodox parishes and jurisdictions is this being targeted to serve?

      I hesitate to even look at the IOCC now.

      • When I was a college student about 15 years ago, I recall an organization like IOCC or OCMC offering a volunteer program for young people to repair or clean historical churches in Istanbul and maybe Greece for a week to a month during Summer Break. I seriously considered it because going to Istanbul on an Orthodox volunteer program sounded exciting. One disincentive was that the program enrollment cost more than 1000$. It could have been around $2,000 for a 2 week stay – I simply don’t remember, except that it felt expensive. Money was worth more in those days. I’m inclined to think that it didn’t include Airfare. This raised some practical problems:
        – I was a college kid, so not wealthy. The expectation seemed to be that I could try to fundraise my way from fellow parishioners.
        – A normal way to make this work would be if I was going to a wealthy GOARCH parish and they would be sponsoring me to do repair work in their originating land (Greece/Istanbul). But I was not in that kind of situation.
        – Normally, paying that kind of money, I could get a nice spiritual pilgrimage trip or tourist trip to Istanbul and other places.
        – I would be in effect paying a lot of money to do volunteer labor instead of doing the fun tourist/spiritual trips. It’s not like I would be getting college credit.
        – The work would be architectural restoration, not human needs things like feeding poor kids.

        I had mixed feelings, because I understand that programs have costs (housing). Maybe they have some constraints that I’m not aware of, like Turkey might restrict tourism for spiritual Christian purposes. However, I doubt this would be the case, because Turkey seems at least secular enough in that regard. Doing volunteer work on church buildings is admirable, and I could still get things out of the trip spiritually. I’m sure that there are far worse (I say that humorously) things that young people do with their Summer Breaks. Plus, visiting Istanbul would be fascinating- I’ve never been there. If they added onto it that they would spend a week visiting sites in Turkey like the 7 Churches of Asia, etc., it would have been at least more appealing.

        The trip offer didn’t annoy me, and I don’t want to complain. It sounded nice, but I had mixed feelings, that’s all. If I had already done the “spiritual tourism” trips to Turkey and Greece one summer, maybe it would have been a good option. Also, if I spoke Greek, it would have been a Plus. I would get more out of it knowing the language. It’s nice that they are at least offering the opportunities to go on the trips.

      • Balkan Dan,

        The CP and Alexandria’s divisiveness creates a quandary because IOCC and OCMC, do very important work, like in Palestine, even if the CP and Alexandria are in the wrong.

        The best option, it seems, is if you earmark your donations for specific causes in your checks or specify that you don’t want it to go to certain things.

      • I went on a mission trip to a parish in the South Pacific under the omophorion of an EP Bishop. Most of the liturgy was done in Greek, not the native language of the people and not even the 2nd language, English…but Greek. If this is the evangelism tactic used in Africa then I could see why the Africans want to join Russia.

        • Absolutely no self-awareness…

          It’s not just Greeks that are guilty of this kind of thing, though, but I do believe that all of the MP’s missions in Asia and elsewhere are vernacular.

  18. Perhaps the Patriarch Theodore will join the new African Exarchate as a humble bishop. There could be a unity council that combines the remaining old-world Patriarchate with the new and exciting African Exarchate. Perhaps one day, the Russian Church will even grant this African Exarchate its own tomos of autocephaly.

  19. Very wel said Brendan !!!!

  20. It is only a historical accident that a very ambitious and narcissistic Freemason by the monastic name of Meletios Metataxis, who happened to be “elected” Patriarch of Constantinople but was deposed, was later able to work his way into being Patriarch of Alexandria. At this point, he declared that Alexandria was now the center of world Orthodoxy, and it was only in 1927 that he unilaterally added “all of Africa” to that Patriarchate (without the approval of anyone else). This was while also declaring that the Orthodox Church and the Anglican Church would be merging soon. In fact, when native African groups were abandoning the (forced and colonial) Anglican Church and humbly seeking pure Christianity starting in 1921, they approached meletios with a request to be accepted into the canonical Orthodox Church, they were turned down, since he said just to return to Anglicanism since the churches were merging soon anyway! This guy was the absolutely worst thing that could have happened to Orthodoxy.

    References: : “Challenges facing the Orthodox Church in East Africa”, Elekiah (Archimandrite Athanasios) Andago Kihali

  21. I’m no Slavophile, but what Moscow did is not at all what Bartholomew did.

    Bartholomew accepted defrocked clergy, some without apostolic succession, and created a parallel Church. Then he delegitimized the existing Church and effectively excommunicated them.

    By entering into communion with the Ukrainian sect, Alexandria effectively excommunicated themselves from Moscow. The patriarch has even said things about how Islam is basically the same as Christianity.

    Moscow accepted clergy who did not want to be in communion with heretics and schismatics. This was a move towards Orthodoxy, whereas what Bartholomew did was a move towards heterodoxy. Moscow accepted clergy who had been (more or less) excommunicated from it and under apostate bishops through no action of their own. Constantinople took schismatic and canonically deposed clergy and created something new entirely. Moscow has not declared the Alexandrian Church illegitimate, whereas Constantinople did that very thing to the Ukrainian Church. There is no violent seizure of churches, no false autocephaly, no ecclesiastical bullying across the globe. It’s simply that some clergy did not want to play the Greeks’ games. I don’t blame them.

    I don’t know if it was the right thing for Moscow to do, but it was not the equivalent of what Constantinople did, nor was it hypocritical.

    • Truth well told.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Very well said, Austin.

      Apples and oranges.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Very well said, Austin.

        Apples and oranges.

        Of course, the intent behind what Bartholomew did is important as well. Epiphony is on board with the globohomo agenda. That’s #1. Number 2 is to create divisions within Ukraine in order to ultimately destabilize Russia.

  22. Sarah Karcher says

    This is an oath that apparently priests have been asked to sign to be received by the MP. I am very disturbed by the language here. If you had clergy do that here in the U.S. regarding changing jurisdictions it would be horrifying. It reads like the person is apostasizing if they go to another jurisdiction. We are all Orthodox. What is the MP doing??? I am equally confused by a lot of the recent actions and statements made by the EP but…This seems pretty weird though, to say the least.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      RE: ” I am very disturbed by the language here. If you had clergy do that here in the U.S. regarding changing jurisdictions it would be horrifying.”

      In the OCA, they don’t just require just an “oath” if you’re changing jurisdictions, they require:

      1. A Personality Inventory which can include 16 Personality Factor (PF), 16 Personality Test, Personal Data Inventory, MMPI‐2, and MCMI‐III

      2. Leadership Style which can include FIRO‐B and MBT1

      3. Vocational Interest Scale which can include R‐COPE (Religious Coping Index)

      4. Personal Interview with (sic) will include an in‐depth clinical interview combined with other tests.

      5. The tests results will include a comprehensive written report which will include raw data and interpretive comments.

      6. Background Checks (Criminal History, employment, driver’s license, SSN, I‐9, Sexual Offender Registry, consumer Credit History verification.)

      There’s more. This is just a part of it.

      • Sarah Karcher says

        I read through that pdf and it does seem like a lot, but nothing there seems crazy to me considering the types of issues that can come up with requests for jurisdictional transfers. Taking personality or psychological inventories and doing a criminal background check could help screen for clergy potentially wanting to change jurisdictions to escape potential criminal accusations or to enable continuing psychological dysfunctions in a new parish.

        What I take issue with is the oath published by Mystagogy that has a priest ask God to punish him if he should leave the Moscow Patriarchate. Can you imagine if priests had to swear such an oath to the GOA or ROCOR? It would be scandalous.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Sarah K, these are a different people in a very precarious situation. They are caught in the middle. This is the kind of fallout that you see when one hierarch decides to help himself to part of another hierarch’s territory; something Bartholomew repeatedly says he can do because of his “special powers.”

          His actions in Ukraine have caused a unique problem for all of us in the Church as well. Schisms always do. We’ve been at a standstill since 2018.

          It is not easy to be synodal or conciliar. It takes tremendous love for the common good. Bartholomew put himself above his brother bishops by going against the consensus of the Church to not enter Ukraine without a council.

          Bartholomew has no love for the role God gave him as the first among equals so he abandoned the role. It’s time for the canonical Church to move on.

          (I know “schism” kind of sticks in the throat, but God knows what’s happened even if no one is willing to say it out loud.)

          Of all the Local Churches, the MP has the drive, the resources, and the governmental support to do what must be done for Africa and beyond.

          These people are requesting to go under the MP. The “oath” merely puts their intentions in words.

      • You hit that one out of the park, Gail.

        Table 2. The Brief RCOPE: Positive and Negative Coping Subscale Items.
        Positive Religious Coping Subscale Items
        1. Looked for a stronger connection with God.
        2. Sought God’s love and care.
        3. Sought help from God in letting go of my anger.
        4. Tried to put my plans into action together with God.
        5. Tried to see how God might be trying to strengthen me in this situation.
        6. Asked forgiveness for my sins.
        7. Focused on religion to stop worrying about my problems.

        Negative Religious Coping Subscale Items
        8. Wondered whether God had abandoned me.
        9. Felt punished by God for my lack of devotion.
        10. Wondered what I did for God to punish me.
        11. Questioned God’s love for me.
        12. Wondered whether my church had abandoned me.
        13. Decided the devil made this happen.
        14. Questioned the power of God.

        SOURCE: The Brief RCOPE: Current Psychometric Status of a Short
        Measure of Religious Coping
        Kenneth Pargament, Margaret Feuille and Donna Burdzy

    • I’m not a fan of Sanidopoulos at all. He’s pure cafeteria catholic/cosmopolitan “orthodox”. The Phanar and the other local churches who recognize the OCU have stepped into the shoes of schismatics and thus are schismatics themselves. That is why Russia excommunicated them. African clergy understand cosmopolitan pseudo-Christianity when they see it. They have the Anglican experience, after all.

      Sanidopoulos is lying when he claims that the ROC is stating that it is the only legitimate church. What they are saying is that the Greek churches led by the Phanar are emphatically NOT legitimate churches and are in danger of losing their souls and of the Lord’s wrath. That is just common sense given the developments at hand. I have no idea if this oath is actually in use since I would not trust anything from the site. But it may very well be and there is nothing in it the least objectionable for an Orthodox Christian.

      • Sanidopoulos shares a lot of very helpful stuff, but, yes, you’re right that he’s a bit cosmopolitan in his taste, as well as being a serious EP shill. His love for halloween, horror movies, etc., is a little telling.

      • I also don’t know if it’s actually in use or not, that is a good point.

      • Right. If you read the text and compare it to Sanidopolous’ explanation, what you get is this:
        The declaration declares loyalty to the “Orthodox Church” and rejection of Schism. It doesn’t say that the Russian Church is “The Orthodox Church”, nor does the MP teach that the MP is the whole of the EO Church. But that is how Sanidopolous is taking the declaration.

  23. This just in:
    “Meeting of Leaders and Dismissals for Russian Invasion”

    From the article:

    Σύμφωνα με αποκλειστικές πληροφορίες του άμεσα θα αποσταλεί αντιπροσωπεία στον Οικουμενικό Πατριάρχη στον οποίο θα επιδοθεί πατριαρχική και συνοδική επιστολή από την Αλεξανδρινή Εκκλησία η οποία θα του ζητά να συγκαλέσει Σύναξη προκαθημένων με μόνο θέμα την ρωσική εισπήδηση στην Αφρική.

    Σε αυτήν την Σύνοδο θα κληθούν να συμμετάσχουν μόνο οι Προκαθήμενοι των Πρεσβυγενών Πατριαρχείων (Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, Αλεξάνδρειας, Αντιόχειας, Ιεροσολύμων) καθώς και ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Κύπρου ο Προκαθήμενος, δηλαδή, της μόνης εκτός των Πρεσβυγενών Εκκλησιών, που έχει ιδρυθεί από Οικουμενική Σύνοδο.

    According to exclusive information of, a delegation will be immediately sent to the Ecumenical Patriarch, who will receive a patriarchal and synodal letter from the Church of Alexandria asking him to convene a meeting of leaders on the subject of the Russian invasion of Africa.

    Only the Primates of the Presbyterian Patriarchates (Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem) as well as the Archbishop of Cyprus, the Primate, that is, the only one outside the Presbyterian Church, which has been established, will be invited to participate in this Synod.

    On the face of it, it does not make sense ecclesiologically to call a synod of “elder churches + Cyprus” as if it has a special high status to judge a controversy between Africa and Moscow, particularly when Moscow as one of the parties is not invited to appear in the synodal hearing.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Very interesting. I can’t see Antioch participating in something like this but then I couldn’t see Alexandria siding with the EP either.

      When, exactly, do you call a schism? Maybe when they have a council without you to talk about you?

      • Gail,
        As far as I know, the MP only suspended communion, but did not formally break it or anathematize CP Bartholomew. At that point, or especially if the CP reciprocated afterwards, then “Schism” between the CP and MP would be clear.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Yes, I know, but it’s ludicrous to maintain we have “unity” when we’re having councils where only some of the Churches are being invited. If they keep this up it will be hard to justify we’re Orthodox. If I were Antioch, Jerusalem, and Cypress, I would refuse to go unless all the Local Churches are invited.

          • George Michalopulos says

            My guess is that Antioch will not attend, neither will Jerusalem given Moscow’s recent charm offensive. If they do choose to attend, I don’t expect Bart to hold the council at all. I’d say that they’re “no” votes. As for Cyprus, it’s 50/50 given the massive Russian presence on that island.

            Then there’s the fact that this council could turn out to be another nothingburger like Crete.

            What’s that old Sicilian saying? “Don’t threaten that which can’t already take.”

            • Mostly agree with you George, but I do think Cyprus will go should the meeting actually happen. The new Archbishop of Cyprus is pro-OCU

              What’s that old Sicilian saying? “Don’t threaten that which can’t already take.”

              As someone who is half Sicilian I’m liking the nod to the Island

              • George Michalopulos says

                I realize that the new primate of Cyprus is an EP toady. The problem is that he’s incensed half of his synod with his embrace of Epiphony. If I had to make a bet I’d say that if he goes, he’ll probably vote in favor of Alexandria. But that’s a big “if.” What I can’t predict is what happens to him between now and whenever they meet. I can assume that Russians might have a conversation with him behind the scenes. Hence, my ambivalence about his participation.

                For that matter, I still think that there’s a better than even chance that this meeting will not take place.

            • Apologies, George. I misread the Greek on the Helleniscope article, it is the new Archbishop of Crete

          • Agreed.

            I really,really have a hard time believing that Antioch or Jerusalem will attend, not only bc they are more aligned with Russia, also Jerusalem refused to allow clerics of the OCU in any of the churches in their territory.
            But, more so because when both Antioch and Jerusalem had their territorial dispute in Qatar and asked Constantinople to help them, Bartholomew refused, that’s part of why they didn’t attend Crete. Further, when the council in Amman was held to try and help heal the currency MP-EP schism both the EP and Alexandria refused to attend.

            Why would Antioch or Jerusalem even bother. They should snub them and send a letter to all other local Churches as to why they won’t attend.

            Cyprus I believe will attend, the new Metropolitan of Cyprus was confirmed by Constantinople (I believe) and there is no way they would approve him unless he were on board with their agenda.

            What’s also interesting is that Archbishop Anastasios of Albania was not invited, even though he is an ethnic Greek he has been very outspoken against Constantinople and has been calling for a conciliar solution.

            • George Michalopulos says

              There are two reasons that Anastasios of Albania wasn’t invited: Albania is not an “ancient patriarchate.” The second reason –and this is key–is because he’s an authentic Christian evangelist. He has already warned Bartholomew of his many antics.

              • True enough, George. I really do hope that Abp. Anastasios stays strong against this and doesn’t cave. I am planning on going on a mission trip at the end of this year to Albania and if they decide to recognize the OCU I have serious doubts about going.

        • Hal,

          “Severed” is accurate. But the excommunication does not extend to third parties, though if others acknowledge the OCU, they too are excommunicated. It does not purportedly deprive the CP of grace. And, yes, it could be lifted relatively easily. But the only way that that is going to happen is if the CP repents and withdraws from the Ukraine. That would be a complete humiliation and capitulation to Moscow for which neither Bartholomew nor any of his hierarchs have any stomach.

          Watch how Antioch and Jerusalem react. Constantinople and Alexandria have already been excommunicated by Russia. It may be a play to see if they can keep Antioch and Jerusalem in the Phanar fold. Jerusalem, probably not. Antioch, who knows? If Jerusalem says it will not attend and, thereafter, Antioch says it will, then that might be the line of the split. Or if both refuse, then nothing changes.

          • Antioch says it will, then that might be the line of the split. Or if both refuse, then nothing changes.

            In a purely political sense Antioch has absolutely zero to gain from siding with the EP. Russia is majorly supported by the Syrian people and the Syrian government for their help in ousting ISIS and Russia has provided a lot of assistance in the ecclesiastical realm in helping to rebuild churches that were destroyed, as well as their partially funding the building of a replica of the Hagia Sophia in Syria.

            What can the EP provide? Nothing. They have no political power outside of the U.S State Department (not popular in Syria).

            I doubt Antioch goes, but, if they do attend then I don’t see them agreeing with the EP/Alexandria because that would mean, I would assume, Russia would pull its support.

            Antioch has nothing to gain.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Unless the council retires the EP.

              • God Willing, Gail! My worry is that even if Antioch & Jerusalem do show up and are against Bartholomew they will still be outnumbered by Cyprus, Alexandria & Constantinople.

                Get all the Churches together, then we’re really cooking. Even if Constantinople & Russia plead their cases as should happen, then sit silent, the majority of the Orthodox world does not favor the OCU or Bartholomew’s new found papism.

                I would hope that all of the other Churches realize that it is a farce to invite only Greek primates (minus Patriarch John) to a council, with the offending party (Constantinople) and not the other party (Russia). Many hierarchs have been calling for a pan-Orthodox council of primates since this started.

    • That’s the definition of Mickey mouse.

      • A few years ago, describing the Alexandrian Patriarch’s decision on Ukraine, OrthoChristian reported:

        And while Pat. Theodoros earlier encouraged the faithful of the canonical Church to stand firm in their faith and position, he is now confident that “a Church that wants autocephaly should receive it, and everyone else will see that it is no different from them.”

        Source: “Patriarch of Alexandria: Decision to commemorate OCU will lead to solution, not a schism”,, Nov. 2019.

        If the Subsaharan Africans formed their own Church, would he want them to have autocephaly? It sounds like not.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          . . . to the peril of the teachings of the Orthodox Church. You can’t grant autocephaly to “anyone who wants it”, especially an outfit like the OCU.

          The OCU is located in a territory belonging to the MP.

          It’s a schismatic church with priests, bishops, and a metropolitan who refuse to be ordained. (The unordained metropolitan was given the same title as an existing canonical metropolitan.) They even cheated the previous fake-primate (Fileret) out of the promised title of Patriarch of Ukraine. I guess he is now the “Hero of Ukraine.”

          All this at the behest of a corrupt politician who has now been charged with high treason.

          However, their biggest problem is that they have failed to be embraced by the Local Churches outside the EP’s influence. That’s not Orthodoxy. It’s heresy.

          The OCU is not an “autocephalous” Church. It’s more like a McDonald’s franchise.

    • Joseph Lipper says

      Judging by the signed oaths the 102 African priests have made to the Russian Church, they are certainly not joining for any monetary reasons. I am willing to believe that too.

      However, this same article from alleges that the new African Exarchate “offers priests almost four times the salary they receive today, as well as bonuses.” Not so bad.

    • Soooo…kangaroo court

  24. I just had a thought: it hardly matters in reality who shows up besides Constantinople and Alexandria. All they have to is operate with whoever of the 5 shows up and be able to claim in the worldwide press aided by American-type deceptive PR: “A council consisting of the Ancient Patriarchates of the Orthodox Church has unanimously condemned the Patriarch of Moscow” (even if only 2 or 3 show up), the trick being to confuse the world at large, who might think that the Ancient Patriarchates ™ are all the ones who really matter anyway..

  25. I think personally (not that my opinion matters), the MP has acted in that way in Africa simply to push for a council, it’s a gamble. If a council goes ahead the topics will have to be around Ukraine and Africa (as a consequence of what happened in Ukraine). They know that the majority of worldwide churches will support the MP with what happened in Ukraine. In other words, the outcome would be; the CP (and their minions) is to drop the fake Ukrainian church and the MP drops Africa. However P.B. and the CP are not stupid and clearly know this will happen and therefore will block any sort of council from ever happening (until maybe the day comes when they will have a majority of support for Ukraine – hopefully never!). It’s a risky gamble by the MP (but maybe worth taking), I’m sure they could do good work in Africa but they must somehow realize that IF the day ever comes for Ukraine to be normalized again they will have to forget about Africa and this is where it could hurt them. This is of course unless the MP has given up all hope that the CP and the others that recognized the shameless Schismatics to ever do the correct thing. In which case, they may eventually one day to do same thing in Cyprus, Greece and Turkey, why not!
    I saw somewhere that the MP is paying 4 times more than the Alexandrian P. if this is true (highly unlikely, fake news!) are we saying they will get $40 rather than $10 a year!

  26. Pat. Bartholomew: “Skasila Mou” about Russia
    Oct 30, 2021

    Ecumenical Patriarch: Saying “I do what I like” is a sign of spiritual decline (Speech made on January 30, 2022.)