Love It or List It

Several years ago, I made the observation that the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) couldn’t go on operating forever, as if apostasy had no consequences.

The decline in membership from this venerable American denomination (both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were vestrymen at one time) would prove to be inexorable.

Still, they were able to coast for awhile based on their endowments. I thought they had another ten years or so before the funds dried up and desperation really started setting in.

Looks like I was wrong.

Episcopalians vote to sell NYC HQ while denominational lesbian leader mocks former ally

Source: Stand Firm Among the Ruins | Timothy Fountain

The House of Deputies, the Episcopal Church legislative chamber made up of priests, deacons and lay people, voted today to sell the denomination’s New York City headquarters. The issue must pass through the House of Bishops as well.

Arguments in favor of selling clustered around the expense and toney location of the building, which is at 815 Second Avenue in Manhattan.  Episcopalians use “815” as a colloquialism for national church leadership, in particular the Presiding Bishop of the denomination.  Deputies argued that more church money should go to mission instead of property, and some suggested that placing denominational leadership outside of the coastal megalopolis could help shake the church’s out of touch, elitist branding.

Although not couched in these terms during the Convention debate, the idea also responds to the denomination’s aging, declining membership, inability to attract new members and souring budget projections.

The original motion called for a sale within three years, but debate ensued about the wisdom of selling in a less than favorable market.  The final resolution had no time frame or details other than the mind of the House to sell the facility.

The Rev. Susan Russell, who for years relied on 815 allies to alternate between manipulative and autocratic tactics to enhance LGBT&c control of the denomination, tweeted campy comments mocking the now irrelevant center.

She suggested selling it as unwanted property on a cable TV show: Wondering about an amendment to pitch 815 to HGTV show “Love It or List It”

She also denigrated it as a sign of an oppressive Christian presence stemming from the Roman Empire: “Leave the empire to other would-be imperialists. Constantine has left the building. So should we.”

Oddly, Russell had tweeted the day before, arguing that sarcasm was not appropriate to the Convention discussions or tweets: Just checked “fruits of the Spirit” and snark isn’t on the list


  1. ForcedAnon says

    notice any similarities with the Syosset property?

    • Lil Ole Housewife says

      I put the approximate value of the small estate on Long Island in a previous posting last month. The Episcopal Church center in New York at 815 Second Avenue, New York, NY, 10017 at the corner of 2d Avenue and East 43d Streets, is prime real estate walkable to both the United Nations and Grand Central Station. There is an astronomical difference in value. At least one large office, the one that oversees chaplains, hospitals and prisons ministries, has already located to Washington, D.C. adjacent to the elementary school on one side of the National Cathedral grounds, i.e. a few blocks from the primatial cathedral of the OCA and the Hagia Sofia of the GOARCH in D.C.. Evidently, they like it there and think it is the best place to conduct national business.

      Some offices of the Episcopalians are getting consolidated. For example, one office moved from lease space to owned space.

      Clicking the link in the article above by George led me to an active Clairol commercial, so beware.

      Does anyone, perhaps a former Episcopalian, know how the National Cathedral got to be only Episcopal? It is not like Orthodox have not had services there in the past, in some of the lower chapels, or a big hyped event like the visit there of Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Spiridon, but even for the last mentioned service, there were talks by Muslim, Christ, male and female clergy alike and it was treated more as a diplomatic than a religious event even though a lot of us Orthodox were there. Since our tax dollara go to partially support the Cathedral, how does it work that there is only one religion there?

      • Patrick Henry Reardon says

        Since our tax dollara go to partially support the Cathedral, how does it work that there is only one religion there?

        I cannot imagine this is the case.

        “National Cathedral” is not the real name of the church, and it has nothing to do with the American government.

      • I believe that the Cathedral project was actually initiated by an Episcopal group sometime in the late 19th Century. I believe that the Cathedral is in fact not supported by tax dollars, but by private contributions to the Cathedral, although I do think it gets some money from the federal government under some kind of fund for important buildings type of thing. It’s become the kind of “official” unofficial Cathedral for things like state funerals and so on because it’s by far the largest religious building in DC.

      • The real name is The Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul and it is the seat of both the presiding bishop and the diocesan bishop, of the Episcopal Church. The following is a brief history from Wikipedia.

        The Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation, under the first seven Bishops of Washington, erected the cathedral under a charter passed by the United States Congress on January 6, 1893. Construction began on September 29, 1907, when the foundation stone was laid in the presence of President Theodore Roosevelt and a crowd of more than 20,000, and ended 83 years later when the last finial was placed in the presence of President George H. W. Bush in 1990. Decorative work, such as carvings and statuary, is ongoing as of 2011. The foundation operates and funds the cathedral. In 2011, the cathedral was the recipient of $700,000 in federal funds as part of the Save America’s Treasures program. [3]

        The cathedral stands at Massachusetts and Wisconsin avenues in the northwest quadrant of Washington. It is an associate member of the Washington Theological Consortium.[4] It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2007, it was ranked third on the List of America’s Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects.[5]

        • George Michalopulos says

          Can you imagine what would have happened had Jerry Falwell asked for $70,000 from the Feds to help build the main church on his campus? The Libs would still be screaming about it today.

          • I sure would…

            • Archpriest John W. Morris says

              Several years ago we had our Antiochian Archdiocesan Convention in Arlington. The week before the convention, my family went to Washington. We went to the so called National Cathedral and left very disappointed. It was big beautiful building, but absolutely no feeling of spirituality or God’s presence. It was just a big cold stone building more a museum of neo-Gothic architecture than a building for the worship of God.

              Fr. John W. Morris

              • What is an arch priest? I’m curious. Janet

                • “Archpriest” is an honorary title given to a senior priest. It is not a higher office, but notes seniority, maturity, and also that this priest is an example and mentor for other younger priests. There is no ordination service. Rather, the Bishop makes the award, and it is often accompanied by the right to wear a gold cross, whereas until that point the priest would wear a cross made of lesser materials (brass, silver, wood.) Different jurisdictions handle this recognition differently. It is often done after 10 years of service, or after the age of 40 or 50, if the priest was ordained as a young man. “Archdeacon” and “Archbishop” are also similar honorary titles given for many years of faithful service as a deacon or bishop.

                  • Monk James says

                    Cal Oren’s (Hi, Cal!) explanation of the meaning of the office/status of ‘archpriest’ is basically correct, but we’re left without the meaning of the title.

                    The problem with the title ‘archpriest’ is that it’s a misappropriated (in byzantine orthodox usage) term which doesn’t exist except among some English-speaking orthodox christian ‘jurisdictions’. It can’t be translated into Greek as arkhiereus or Church Slavonic arkhierey without meaning ‘bishop’.

                    In Greek, we have protoiereus and protopresbyteros as titles for senior priests. These are replicated exactly in Church Slavonic as protoierey and protopresviter” with no attempt to translate the terms. In English translation, they would be accurately rendered as ‘first priest’ and ‘first elder’, but these forms are virtually unknown. Instead, English-speaking churches tend to use ‘protopriest’ and ‘protopresbyter’.

                    It’s my own preference that ‘archpriest’ be filed along with ‘chasuble’ and ‘biretta’ and ‘chalice’ and ‘tabernacle’ and all sorts of other words which have no byzantine pedigree. Our liturgical system is generally byzantine informed by the greek language. Although there are certainly a few ‘western rite’ expressions of orthodoxy, they have their own ecclesiastical vocabulary which only occasionally is the same as that of the majority.

                    Especially as we attempt to express ourselves in English, the two traditions need to keep their own integrity of practice at the same time as they share unity of faith.

                    Formerly, there were roman catholic archpriests with some limited authority;. Now they are merely liturgical supernumeraries in the most solemn form of their ‘tridentine’ Mass.

        • Lil Ole Housewife says

          Jeff says:
          August 25, 2012 at 8:41 am

          The real name is The Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul and it is the seat of both the presiding bishop and the diocesan bishop, of the Episcopal Church. The following is a brief history from Wikipedia.

          Here is its website:

  2. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    They stopped being Christians a long time ago, as well as relevant. They wanted to support sin instead of the Gospel. Is this even a surprise?


    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      Peter Papoutsis says of the Episcopalians, “They stopped being Christians a long time ago, as well as relevant.”

      This is certainly true of them as a corporate entity.

      Individual members, however, and even some congregations, still hang on, hoping for deliverance as they cling to what is left of the faith they inherited.

      This latter group includes some of my friends, who were disappointed when I left the Episcopal Church 24 years ago.

      From time to time I get back to Wisconsin to visit Nashotah House, the Episcopal seminary where I served on the faculty in the mid-70s.

      While there, I drop by the cemetery to pay respect to some departed friends and the seminary’s founders. Jackson Kemper, the illustrious missionary bishop of the 19th century, is among them. Standing beside his grave, I share with Kemper—who is certainly in heaven with the spirits of just men made perfect—my grief at what has befallen the church we both, in earlier times, had much reason to love.

  3. Readers of Monomakhos should not be smug about this decline, but take it as a wake-up call. I entered the Orthodox Church in 1999 from the Episcopalian Church, where I saw from within just how rapidly things can go south, once the commitment to a modernist path is embraced.

    The General Convention sanctioned the ordination of women in 1976, and issued a new Book of Common Prayer (incorporating much Vatican II theology) in 1979, the same year it committed itself to a number of worldly political crusades. Within twenty years this once-great communion went from being a place where tradition was respected and maintained to becoming a madhouse of bizarre innovation and weirdness of every kind. The collapse was quite amazing. No one could have imagined in 1980 just how fast the rot would spread. Do not believe that it can’t happen to the OCA!

    I firmly believe that the OCA is very near that tipping-point at which the ECUSA began its precipitous decline. In my view, modernism (which I define as placing the desire to be up-to-date over the desire to preserve holy tradition) is threatening American Orthodoxy in general, but especially the OCA. Ecumenism is a modernist heresy, born of the liberal (in the classical sense) belief that tolerance has a higher value than truth. Modernism entails the belief that evangelism, of the sort that +Jonah embodied, is gauche and tasteless and rather insensitive in a multi-cultural world. It entails the belief that the results of modern psychology and medical science always trump the wisdom of the Fathers, despite the fact that like both are rife with philosophical and theological presuppositions, and like all modern science, both embrace a methodological atheism (i.e. a method that sifts out beforehand grace and revelation as irrelevant to science). Modernism requires that the “best practices” of modern business management prevail over traditional ways of doing things. It mandates that seminaries teach scripture according to the latest results of modern research, and not the wisdom of the Church Fathers. It requires us to assume that monasteries are cults, unless they prove otherwise by embracing a modernist mindset—and we have been seeing recently where that one leads. It would be easy to go on.

    The main division within the American Church, and especially the OCA, and to some extent the participants on this blog, is between those who start from a secular, modern mindset, and judge the thought and practices of the Church accordingly, and those who have (usually through sad experience) seen through the limits and downright corruption of modernity and are therefore wary of change and innovation. I know it would be perceived as sensible to say that both sides possess half the truth, but in fact I don’t believe this. Modern insights should be seriously considered ONLY if they are entirely consistent with the wisdom of the Fathers, who sadly are invoked only rarely in discussions here, and the ancient traditions of the Church. Without these critical standards of truth, the way of the ECUSA lies waiting for us.

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      Thank you, Seraphim, for this timely word of caution.

    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

      “Ecumenism is a modernist heresy, born of the liberal (in the classical sense) belief that tolerance has a higher value than truth.”

      This is so true. People pride themselves in their tolerance, thinking they are loving others when they are really loving themselves by avoiding truths that might cause them trouble.

      • Archpriest John W. Morris says

        Ecumenism as defined by Protestants is indeed a heresy. Having represented the Orthodox Church at several ecumenical meetings including the North American Orthodox Lutheran Ecumenical Dialogue, I know what our leaders mean when they speak of ecumenism. We do not agree with the Protestant definition of ecumenism, As defined by Orthodox ecumenism is neither a betrayal of Orthodoxy nor is it a heresy. As defined by Orthodox authorities ecumenism merely means any contacts with non-Orthodox and nothing more. Built within the Orthodox definition of ecumenism are several very important principles.
        1.The Orthodox Church is the living realization of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
        2. The Orthodox Church will not unite with any other Christian group unless that group accepts without reservation the complete Faith of the Fathers and Ecumenical Councils which has been kept without change and corruption by the Orthodox Church.
        3. The Orthodox Church will not compromise the doctrine of the Orthodox Church under any circumstances.
        5. Orthodox reject the Protestant practice of intercommunion which is the sharing of communion by two or more Christian groups before they reach complete agreement on doctrine.
        6. Instead, Orthodox do not consider sharing communion a way to achieve Christian union, but the manifestation that a real and complete union has been reached. Therefore the Orthodox Church will only share communion with another group only after that group has shown that they accept the entire Orthodox Faith without reservation.
        5. The Toronto Principle which the Orthodox first articulated during a meeting of the World Council of Churches in Toronto in 1950: Orthodox participation in relations with other Christians or membership in a council of churches in no way compromises the Orthodox doctrine concerning the Church and should not be misinterpreted to mean that the Orthodox Church recognizes the other member groups as being fully Church.

        Thus one must be very careful when discussing ecumenism that one distinguishes between the Protestant definition of ecumenism and the Orthodox definition of ecumenism.

        Archpriest John W. Morris

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          Hello Father Morris:

          I hope you are enjoying your weekend and spending some quality time with family and friends. Without getting too much into this all I can say is that you are correct in everything you say, except with one important point. The witness of the Gospel by the Orthodox participation in the Ecumenical movement has been greatly diluted IMHO. When people see us joining with the ecumenists in joint rituals and “Symbolic” Holy Communion taking, which just recently occured here in Chicago (I can send you the article if you like), what perception does that give to people? Why is Orthodoxy any different that the Churches in the NCCC and the WCC? The perceived answer is none.

          So while you are 100% correct and accurate in everything you have said about Orthodox participation Orthodoxy’s witness of the Gospel and that its fullness and truth is found only in Orthodoxy has been greatly damaged, and again IMHO rendered meaningless to now several generations of the people that have no religion or left their religious traditions. The stagaring rise in Atheism in this country and abroad is truely lamentable.

          Further, we also forget the corrupting influence that ecumenism has had and continues to have on many in the Orthodox Church. Modernism has not entered the Church all on its own. It was brought into Orthodoxy by ecumenism. Now was it solely ecumenism that brought in modernism? No, but it was a big avenue for its entrance in Orthodoxy.

          So again, while I agree with your response, I disagree with Orthodoxy continued involvement because of the damage caused to our witness, the corrupting effect it has had on Orthodoxy, and whole host of other issues (Calendar, Orthopraxy, etc). These are just my obervations and thoughts, and as always I can be wrong.


          • Archpriest John W. Morris says

            I seconded the motion that the Committee on Interfaith Affairs submitted to the General Assembly calling for the Anotiochian Archdiocese to withdraw from the National Council of Churches. As you know the motion passed by acclamation. Unfortunately the Greeks and OCA lost no time disassociating themselves from our decision and pledging their loyalty to the NCC. As I am sure you know the Orthodox have demanded changes in the World Council of Churches to prevent being dominated by the Protestant majority.
            The canons clearly forbid prayer with heretics. A Pan-Orthodox meeting called by the Ecumenical Patriarch in 1991 that agreed that in the future Orthodox would not participate in so called ecumenical worship during meetings of the WCC. That is a good standard that should be followed on the local level. Many Orthodox Bishops in this country including Metropolitan Philip and our Antiochian Bishops do not allow their clergy to participate in so called ecumenical worship.
            However, the principle of economy allows a bishop to depart from normal canonical procedures. For that reason, some Orthodox Bishops, chiefly in the Greek Archdiocese, allow their clergy to participate in ecumenical worship. I do not agree because I believe that it sends the wrong message and creates a false image that a unity exists that does not exist. But, the principle of economy does allow them to do it.

            Archpriest John W. Morris

            • George Michalopulos says

              Fr John, that was a dark day indeed when the GOA and the OCA distanced themselves from Antioch. Axios! to Met Philip and anaxios! to those who criticized him.

            • Harry Coin says

              Was there a money component in the decision to stay or go, back in the day? It was a while ago, I don’t remember.

              • Fr, Hans Jacobse says

                Harry, no. The Orthodox never gave any money to the NCC. The NCC tolerated that because we gave them a patina of moral and theological legitimacy in the larger religious world. It deflected the charge that they spoke only for the liberal Protestant mainstream.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Fr Hans, I think the OCA gives $1,000/yr for “dues.” They now want more because the Rockefellers are getting stingy with their money I guess and one grand is nothing but a fig leaf but they’ll take it because we give them the fig leaf of “traditionalism.”

                • Harry Coin says

                  Fr. Hans, thanks. My vague memory had money flowing the other way, to some churchmen or parts of the church. Maybe it was getting grants that were somehow tied to participation, might have been WCC, but I do remember a cash component heading to the church whether here or abroad or both I don’t remember.

          • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

            RE: “When people see us joining with the ecumenists in joint rituals and “Symbolic” Holy Communion taking, which just recently occured here in Chicago (I can send you the article if you like), what perception does that give to people?”

            Please provide a weblink to the article. Thanks.

            • Archpriest John W. Morris says

              I would not put a lot of faith in anything reported in the popular press about religious matters. Reporters assigned to do religious stories are very rarely that well informed about religious matters. I remember that when I was in seminary the Pope visited the Ecumenical Patriarch and was given a piece of antidorion. The press reported that he took Communion, which, of course, he did not. In 1971, SCOBA established a very strict set of guidelines concerning prayer with non-Orthodox. These forbid any form of communion, symbolic or otherwise. They also require that the service be clearly identified as ecnical and not as the prayer of the Church. I am sure that His Grace is fully informed of these rules and followed them.
              The principle of economy gives a Bishop a great deal of latitude in applying the canons.

              Fr. John W. Morris

              • Thank you for the clarification Father! I would be very disturbed if any Orthodox bishops were permitting or encouraging their priests or laity to commune with non-Orthodox who are not fully united to us in faith.

            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              Hello Father:

              The artcle I make mention of is actually listed on the website of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago. Although, I agree with Father Morris there was no violation of our Orthodox faith from a canonical point of view, and that we Orthodox understand such matters as not being a technical or even spiritual violation. It is however, a problem in regards to the Church’s witness of the Gosepl of Jesus Christ that suffers.

              I do so wished and still wish the GOA and the OCA get out of the NCCC and The WCC. No Great majority of Orthodox support our continued participation, it has created more problems than it has solved and the so-called Protestants are NOT even Christian but a wholly different religion altogether. The Antiochians were right to leave and I wished the rest of us joined them.


          • Priest Justin Frederick says

            I agree, Mr. Papoutsis. We had a resolution calling on our OCA bishops to leave the NCC and the WCC at the last All-American Council of the OCA (Seattle, 2011). It was submitted early in the week, but it was never allowed to come to the floor for discussion or a vote. Conciliarity in action! Two dioceses passed similar resolutions (South, West), so there is considerable support for such a move, which desperately needs to be taken for the reasons you give, among others. But no, we’d rather keep gadding about with the declining but ‘respectable’ mainliners while ignoring the growing evangelical and charismatic movements. Metropolitan Jonah was comfortable reaching out to them, but we have too many people in whom contact with such groups evokes a deep visceral knee-jerk reaction of horror and disgust. God forbid we should ever be seen talking with a ‘fundamentalist’ or conservative evangelical!

    • Reader John says

      The Orthodox faith is not called “The Ancient Path” without reason. Our faith is based on the traditions revealed to the fathers of our faith and have not been superceded by modern philosophy as far as I can see. Any deviation from that path is simply heresy; that is how Islam started.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      I apoligize if I can off smug, as that was not my intention. I was simply stating a fact. I use the ECUSA and Ecumenism as constant warnings of what NOT to do in Orthodoxy from a Modernists point of view. I apoligize for the lack of sensitivity.


      • Patrick Henry Reardon says

        Oh, Peter, I don’t think an apology is called for. I believe we all understand and agree with you.

    • M. Stankovich says


      I have always thought there is nothing like stringing together the grossest of generalizations regarding a church founded in the bleakest of heresy (does the name Thomas More ring a bell?) and “metal fatigue,” and top off this melting sundae with an appeal to the red-faced former Metropolitan and the Church Fathers to rouse the snoring faithful. Bravo! Best I’ve read in a month.

      I am exhausted with this preposterous notion that those of you who converted from the Anglican church witnessed the “fulness of faith” ripped from your very hands by the feminists and homosexuals. You were founded, fashioned, and formed in heresy:

      And the Bishop asks, “Have you renounced all ancient and modern heresies and false doctrines which are contrary to the teachings of the Holy Orthodox Catholic Eastern Church ?”

      Service for the Reception of Converts

      You attempt to establish such a ridiculous premise that the Orthodox Church, protected by the might of the Precious Cross, continually watched over by the Theotokos, founded on the rock of the Holy Martyrs, on the pillars of the Holy Fathers and the Defenders of the Faith, and guided by the Spirit, “Fire from Fire,” is at a “tipping-point” comperable, and by any stretch of the imagination possible in the mystery of the union which is Christ and His Church? Even if you are huffing & puffing and making some rhetorical show, shame on you. Shame on you for casting a shadow over what you obviously do not grasp.

      If the only “difference” between your “former delusion” and the Orthodox Church is modernism, am I to believe you would not be here? Did you have as much “fullness” as you needed until 1980? Please, you did not travel from “glory to glory,” but from “darkness to light,” and, “you will see greater things than this.” (Jn. 1:50)

      • Patrick Henry Reardon says

        M. Stankovich announces, “I am exhausted . . .”


      • An attitude I find most difficult in the Orthodox Church, of which I am now a member, is the holier than thou attitude towards other groups of Christians. Please remember that for centuries there was no Orthodox Church in the West. The West has done its best with what they had.

        I understand that today out in California there is a celebration marking 200 years of Russian Orthodoxy in America. Considering how little the Orthodox Church has marked the American landscape, culture, and
        mores little has been accomplished when you consider that there are at least 200 Protestant/Roman churches to one Orthodox Church in any given area. I could ask why?

        While the Church that Jesus founded will always be, I am old enough to have seen congregations wax and wane, I have read enough to realize that Christendom has waxed and waned and fought and grown fat and lazy and almost died and then has been revitalized. There are stories of ‘black sheep’ in every outfit.

        Matthew 25:21 contains the famous passage; Because you were faithful in a few things, I will make you ruler over many things., It seems to me that Jesus judges us by what we do with what we have not with what we don’t have.

        God is working his purpose out where ever He finds believers. It is not for us to throw stones at each other as we trod our individual paths led by Him.

        • George Michalopulos says

          words of wisdom indeed, Jeff. One reason that Orthodoxy has had a minimal presence is because of our self-inflicted abuses; we like to devour our own. We are seeing this at present with the treatment meted out to His Beatitude.

          • Exactly right, George.

            One reason that Orthodoxy has had a minimal presence is because of our self-inflicted abuses; we like to devour our own.

            “We” means “us,” it does not mean “them,” no matter who “they” are.

        • I understand that today out in California there is a celebration marking 200 years of Russian Orthodoxy in America….I could ask why?

          Here’s why:

          The State of California operates a State Historic Park at the site of the Russian Settlement of Fort Ross. The State Park is hosting an entire weekend of celebrations and recreations to mark the 200th anniversary of the establishment of that settlement.

          As part of those celebrations the State thought a Russian Liturgy would be a good thing, and invited the ROC, the ROCOR and the OCA to attend.

          That’s why Divine Liturgy is being celebrated at Fort Ross at this very moment.

          But you intended a larger question, which was about how little Orthodoxy has effected modern life. Here in America the explanation is Ethnocentricsm.

          Today’s concelebration is not of all the Orthodox in America celebrating the arrival of Orthodoxy to these shores, but of Russian Orthodox hierarchs marking the Russian presence on these shores.

          • George Michalopulos says

            But that in itself is significant. Ft Ross has meaning for the Russians at least. The fact remains that it is only the Russians who are now (and have been in the past) evangelizing. Believe me, I’m Greek, I don’t like to say this, but the other churches (Serbs, Bulgars, Greeks) are very phyletistic. That’s OK if your the church of a nation-state but the qualities that ensure ethnic (i.e. national) survival within discernable borders have proven to be inauspicious beyond those borders.

            Basically, the ethnic jurisdictions have collapsed the ekklesia into a synagogue. Worship of God has been transferred to the worship of the culture. It’s worked for the Jews but their understanding of God is tribal for all practical purposes, at least since the fall of the Second Temple.

            • Your post utterly ignores the work of the Antiochian Church in America, George.

              The book “Becoming Orthodox” is not the story of Russians welcoming Americans, and even within the OCA there are those who loudly declare that we must pray in Slavonic or Russian because we are a RUSSIAN Church! (emphasis theirs)

              A story of Orthodoxy in America that ignores the Antiochians is incomplete to say the least.

          • This is especially important since there is evidence of continuing attempts of the EP to revise history and make forrays into autochephalous churches where it has no right to be sticking it’s Byzantine nose.

        • It’s a totally unfair comparison, Jeff. The only part of the United States of America that was colonized by Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church AT ALL, was Alaska. The ratio of Russian Orthodox Churches to Protestant/Roman churches is in favor of the Orthodox. YOU write “in any given area.'” I “give” you Alaska.
          Russians came to California two hundred years ago as neither colonists nor missionaries, but as hunters and traders.They came a territory already colonized by “Latinos,” part of Mexican America.
          Elsewhere. The original 13 states were colonies of England, while additional states were either colonies of France or Spain, and all the additional states were settled by just about anybody but Eastern Europeans or Middle East people. When the Russian Church began to send clergy to the U.S.A., it was solely to care for the (often temporary in intention) Russians sojourning here. They were sent to a land with ENORMOUS existing Protestant and Roman Catholic Churches, which had grown from immigration which had been ENORMOUS from the start.
          Jeff, you wrote as if everyone started from a level playing field and the Orthodox dramatically lost every game. Nothing of the sort!
          I’d say, rather, that the growth of Orthodoxy in the U.S. despite EVERYTHING being against it has been dramatic and astounding. It sure would be easy to sit back and say, “Well, the reason we haven’t “caught up” is that we’re too backward, especially in our salesmanship (missionary skills) and Evangelistic Outreach. To me, frankly, and I’ll express myself in American, it’s a bunch of crap.
          The Orthodox Church has been on a WINNING path until the past half-century, when it lost its way and decided it needed to change and become “less ethnic.” As if any human being could become less ethnic. The Church won’t “catch up” by discarding the ethnicism that was part of its growth and inserting an “American” ethnicism which is mostly English, whether Anglican, non-Conformist or Anglo-Lutheran.

          But Jeff. Don’t pay any attention to me. The popular wisdom agrees with you and with what you wrote and on the assumptions embedded in that. Enter the new world of surveys, techniques, mechanisms, statistical analyses—everything that made the “main-stream” American churches what they are today, and share their fate.

          • Bishop Tikon,
            Thank you for the brief history of the Russian Church in the USA.
            However I remain baffled by the comments concerning an ethnic church. I suppose an ethnic church works well if it stays within the bounds of its ethnicity.

            But when a body of ethnics moves into a different cultural area how are you supposing that it survive? If it maintains its ethnicity it will die in 2 or 3 generations, largely because the newer generations will begin to speak the language of their adopted home land and not learn the old. Then the traditions of the old country will slowly begin to fade away. I can see this just within my own family. Things that I grew up thinking were important are no longer important to my children and we haven’t moved across a continent nor an ocean.

            If our practice of Christianity is bounded by our ethnicity, where does Jesus fit in? Are we worshiping our ethnic traditions or Jesus? Why can’t Americans evolve their own ethnic traditions of Christianity? If there can be a Greek Church, a Russian, a Serbian a Romanian, and etc. Why can’t there be an American Church?
            You wrote: The Orthodox Church has been on a WINNING path until the past half-century, when it lost its way and decided it needed to change and become “less ethnic.” As if any human being could become less ethnic. The Church won’t “catch up” by discarding the ethnicism that was part of its growth and inserting an “American” ethnicism which is mostly English, whether Anglican, non-Conformist or Anglo-Lutheran.

            What I gather from this statement is that ethnicity trumps Christianity/dogma/theology. No wonder the Church lost its way.

        • M. Stankovich says


          I mean no disrespect by saying you are naive in your comments. You have been called from darkness to light, and are not a “member,” but a warrior and a new Ezekiel. You mistake acknowledging receipt of the call to the only path leading to the Father (cf. Jn 14:6) as a “holier than thou” arrogance. To proclaim aloud on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, “This is the Faith of the Fathers! This is the Orthodox Faith!” is hardly bravado or taunt, but a genuine boast afforded by the Truth of which we are servants, a tradition re-enacted every year since the 8th century. We sing during the Matins of Holy Friday an admonishment of the Lord, “My chosen ones, all I have done is love you, and in return you have betrayed me, you have unjustly judged me, and you give me over to be crucified. I can stand no more! I will make the Gentiles mine.” And so he has, a royal priesthood and a holy nation (1 Pet 2:9). We know where the Truth is, and why invest energy to speculate where it is not?

          I will never forget when a delegation of “Papal Legates” came a calling to SVS, and I was in charge of serving “special meals” and picked a crew to help me. The “Legates” attended Daily Vespers in full regalia and proceeded to the Music Room and front porch for drinks & dinner; me and my dawgs in black pants & white shirts, the future Protodeacon Wheeler heavy-handed on the Smirnoff Silver. The über-Legate was heavy-handed on the post-dinner speech, enumerating the Vatican’s need for SVS in the “coming reunification” of the churches. Fr. Schmemann seemed to be unusually drawn to the Armenia cognac, while Fr. Meyendorff, with a totally blank expression, rolled his eyes at me. And then, like thunder, the customary and unmistakeable clearing of the throat of my beloved Prof. SS Verhovskoy, to whit: “And so, my dears, such notions are, indeed, wonderful, Pope is wonderful man, God is our Father and the Holy Spirit goes where He wishes, it will never happen. Ever.” There was a gasp or two. A shout of (real?) astonishment, “Professor!” As I recall, Prof. never even opened his eyes. Some people can close a “Legate’s” mouth with a sentence. Call it a night, boys, and let’s wash them dishes.

          The point, friend, is that “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” (Jn 10:4), and after you had received, you would have no reason to question the gift, nor Him who gave it. The Lord has promised it will “become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life,” (4:13) and no ecumenism, modernism, or heresy – as if this is all something new – will overcome this gift. There are so few things to trust in this life. This is one of them.

          • I wish there was a hi-five button.

            I know you don’t care Dr. Stankovich, but definitely a thumbs up. 🙂

      • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

        Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

        Dear M. Stankovich,

        Thomas More again! Maybe his Orthodox-style icon is going up now at New Skete too? 🙂

        But, seriously, I think you underestimate the wisdom of Seraphim’s words. They strike me as a timely caution to avoid triumphalism among those in the OCA happy about changing leadership, and a call for continued watchfulness for those who are not, and really for both humility and watchfulness on the part of us all. Our own bishops have worthily, I believe, called for a penitential focus for the upcoming All American Council.

        Many church organizations assumed that they were safeguarded by the protections you cite, but ended up deceived, falling out of communion with the Orthodox Church (as for example Coptic and Oriental, Armenian, Roman Catholic, and Uniate groups).

        Even your beloved Thomas More was not necessarily on the “right side” from the standpoint of the Orthodox Church, any more than sincere founders of the Anglican Church, many of whom were scholars of Greek patristics and attempted to reconnect with the early church apart from Scholasticism. (You may well know a lot more than I know about this, because I don’t know very much, never having been Episcopalian etc., but an American Orthodox scholar Harold Weatherby wrote an interesting book–Mirrors of Celestial Grace: Patristic Theology in Spenser’s Allegory–on a side aspect of this, namely the likely influence of Greek patristic study at Cambridge in the Elizabethan period on Spenser and themes in his Faerie Queene).

        And the OCA does have issues that it needs to remain humble and watchful about, which reinforce the wisdom of Seraphim’s words. While, thank God, there was no Henry VIII involved in its founding, of course, and it is of course Orthodox, its autocephaly still is not recognized fully by a lot of local Orthodox churches around the world, nor by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, I believe. And the autocephaly agreement was negotiated with a local church whose hierarchs at the time seem to have been complicit to some extent with a regime that probably was the most oppressive of the Orthodox Church in history at least statistically.

        And forty years or so later, we’re in a situation of declining demographics, probably a lower relative profile in the country and among jurisdictions than when we started, with a governance structure whose quirkiness doesn’t seem to have parallels elsewhere among local Orthodox churches of the world, and which seems to have been running through Metropolitans like water through a sieve in the past decade.

        However, on my part as an OCA member, I think it’s great that you’re so optimistic and positive about her. Given that you seem to share concerns about modernity in the Church, too, come join the OCA! 🙂

        Yours unworthily in Christ,

        Alf Kentigern Siewers

        • M. Stankovich says

          Prof. Siewers,

          Good to see you back. Happy to do my part in encouragement.

          I was not speaking about the OCA per se, but hey, why not? I do not believe I was being “triumphal” in the least in my comment, nor do I “revel” in a change in leadership; in fact, I find it all disappointing, embarrassing, and sadly preventable. Nevertheless, compare this, for example, with the Iconoclastic Controversy of the 8th Century, where the Fathers themselves reported that the Church was, literally, on the brink of being overrun by the heretics. One could not pass through any district of Constantinople without hearing theological debate, face-to-face, loud and aggressive. And by the wisdom of men and the Grace of the Holy Spirit, the Truth prevailed. So how is it “wise” that we, the Bride of the Bridegroom, should be comparing ourselves with the inevitable implosion of the Anglican Church, founded and formed in heresy? This, in my estimation, is an “internet-fueled” ripple of considerably less significance than the renovationist Living Church of the 1920-30’s who actually commandeered parishes through the US courts. I would suggest that the remaining “attitude,” formed in reaction, affects the “declining demographics” more than anything you have suggested.

          While I bear a distinct fondness for Thomas More as a saintly man – and he was canonized by the RCC – I mentioned him simply because he accused the Church of England of heresy long before 1980, and refused to collude – “truth being like water through your fingers” – even unto martyrdom. I make no judgement as to the sincerity of the founders of the Anglican Church, as you say, gifted scholars & theologians, but the same could said of Arius & Nestorius. And I certainly sincerely meant what I said in that, fundamentally, we know where the Truth is; why burden ourselves with “discerning” where it is not?

          I believe there is a fundamental difference between exercising diligence, due caution, and the wisdom of prediction, on the one hand, and lowering the threshold with nonchalance in service of misguided rhetoric on the other. We trust the Lord that He built the Church upon rock (Matt. 16:18) or we do not.

          • Alfred Kentigern Siewers says

            Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

            Dear M. Stankovich,

            The puzzle here is that if we can assume we are on automatic pilot to success in the OCA, given all that we do indeed enjoy as gifts and legacies and beliefs, then why our ongoing demographic decline and obvious lack of success in leading the way toward a united and thriving Orthodox Church in America, as we continue to live for generations in overlapping Synods in the U.S.?

            I would suggest that the inspiration and guidance of our bishops (and clergy) comes from a combination of the guidance of the Holy Spirit and their ascetic effort, infused by grace, on our behalf, a synergy. And likewise a similar process with regard to the laity (and monastics) in their traditional role of protecting the faith as an order of the Church.

            But as American Orthodox, not just OCA members, we all need to take care and remember that we live our lives in the Church but in a situation with overlapping Synods running counter to the traditions of the Church, and btw overall with a weaker monastic element than historically Orthodox lands.

            On the rest, I see that Seraphim and I had overlapped in responses, and I’d refer everyone to his words, more substantive than mine, below (Seraphim says: August 26, 2012 at 12:35 am, on this thread). His comment about the danger of objectifying our complacency as “the Church” in tandem with modernism offers, I think, further wisdom on the need for humility and watchfulness among those of us in the OCA especially.

            Again, though, since you are so supportive of us in the OCA, and insightful about the dangers of modernism, such as in your good example of the Living Church, please leave the sidelines and become a member to help us! 🙂

            Yours unworthily in Christ,

            Alf Kentigern Siewers

      • Archpriest John W. Morris says

        I cannot so easily dismiss my days as an Episcopalian. The problem with Anglicanism is that there is not one Anglicanism, but Anglicanisms. There was the High Church Anglicanism and Anglo-Catholicism. Much of what I was taught when I was an Episcopalian was very close to Orthodoxy. Unfortunately, however, those Episcopalians who were almost Orthodox were a minority that were easily overwhelmed by the radicals who took over the Episcopal Church after the ordination of women. Thus I can say the Episcopal Church left me, I did not leave the Episcopal Church but grew into the fullness of the truth taught by Orthodoxy because the doctrine I was taught in the High Church laid the foundation for my conversion to Orthodoxy. Within the American Episcopal Church, the High Church or Anglo-Catholicism has morphed into ritualism. That is traditional vestments, chanting and incense, but very little theological content, just smells and bells for the sake of impressive ceremony. As long as the bishop wears a mitre and uses incense, they do not care if he is openly gay or is a woman. Some Anglo-Catholics who actually believed in doctrine tended towards Rome and are joining the Roman Catholic Church but retaining many of their Anglican customs. Others tended towards Orthodoxy and have become Orthodox. Some became Byzantine Rite Orthodox as I did, others became Western Rite Orthodox under the Antiochian Archdiocese or ROCOR. A smaller group of Anglo-Catholics has left the Episcopal Church but has split into several different independent groups. Some were very Protestant or Low Church. These Evangelical Anglicans could live with women’s ordination, but drew the line with openly gay bishops and blessing same sex marriage. As a result they left the Episcopal Church and have become the dominate element within continuing Anglicanism. Some of them are now embracing the neo-Calvinism, which is tragically sweeping through American Evangelicalism. Finally, the Broad Church which emphasized inclusiveness and avoided strict doctrine to accommodate as many people as possible became the dominate group within the Episcopal Church. That made them easy prey for the radicals who now control the Episcopal Church. Thus the Broad Church movement embraced radical feminism with women’s ordination opening the door for the related gay rights movement.

        Fr. John W. Morris

    • Seraphim,

      I wonder if we haven’t (as a church) already fallen into heresy for some time. I believe that this is the point that George M. and others have been trying to warn us about. We aren’t “going” there, we ARE there. That is why the OCA is in the situation that it is in right now. That is why so many things are not right, starting with the treatment of it’s hierarchs, the most recent example of which is Metropolitan Jonah.

      The Synod and MP have not followed the canons of the church and the laws of the land in which they reside. Until they do, and until we demand they do, we are in heresy. To imagine otherwise is delusion. To insist on the delusion…well, I think everybody get’s the idea.

      I recall seeing an oil portrait of a laughing Patriarch Athenagoras I and Pope Paul VI in a Greek Orthodox Church in Manhattan which always struck me as sinister. It just seemed somehow “wrong,” that it didn’t belong in a church. I never understood why it was there and what it was representing, until recently.

      Under the heading “Ecumenical Relations”

      His meeting with Pope Paul VI in 1964 in Jerusalem led to rescinding the excommunications of 1054 which historically mark the Great Schism, the schism between the churches of the East and West. This was a significant step towards restoring communion between Rome and Constantinople and the other patriarchates of Orthodoxy. It produced the Catholic–Orthodox Joint Declaration of 1965, which was read out on December 7, 1965, simultaneously at a public meeting of the Second Vatican Council in Rome and at a special ceremony in Constantinople.

      The controversial declaration did not end the 1054 schism, but rather showed a desire for greater reconciliation between the two churches, as represented by Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I. Not all Orthodox leaders, however, received the declaration with joy. Metropolitan Philaret’s of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad 1965 epistle to the Patriarch openly challenged his efforts at repproachmant with the Roman Catholic Church fearing it would lead to heresy.

      One result of this historic meeting was that certain individuals could be received into the Orthodox Church by Chrismation instead of Baptism by full immersion. Essentially the Orthodox Church is recognizing the validity of the sacraments of other faiths. A compromise so as not to “hurt anybody’s feelings.”

      • George Michalopulos says

        George P, I remember seeing a photo of Athenagoras and Paul IV shaking hands. It was from a sede vacantist website so you got to take it for what it’s worth. The accusation was that both men were using the secret Masonic handshake. Although there’s been no proof that Paul was a Mason, there is widespread evidence that the EPs since the time of Meletius IV have all been Masons.

        • Geo Michalopulos

          I am sure we are thinking of the same image, but it could not possibly be of Paul IV. Paul IV died 1559.

          Your point concerning the sede vacantist website is well taken.

          It would appear that I do not communicate my concerns effectively. What is obvious to me is not obvious to others. Truthfully, that is my fault. To my great embarrassment I lack the knowledge and language to express the issues as well as I would desire. I will leave the great theological debates to those who are authorized to make them.

          My concern is this: By accepting those who wish to enter into the Orthodox Church using only the sacrament of Chrismation, what do we say as a Church concerning ourselves? What does our Hierarchy say concerning the validity of the other church from where these converts are coming? Why even bother converting? Why do we validate their sacraments? To say that their church, their hierarchy is valid? Not to “hurt their feelings” I am not going to write pages and pages concerning this. There are scholars who have and can do this much better than I can, and certainly with much more tact and sensitivity.

          I apologize if I offended anyone, that was not my intent. I know my communication style lacks eloquence and tact.

          • John Christopher says

            Very good questions, George P. The currently popular explanations (valorization, oikonomia) are insufficient, as Fr Georges Florovsky so cogently argued in his article on the Limits of the Church. The short answer is tradition: This is how most Orthodox synods have applied the canons throughout history, centuries before ecumenism or a meeting with the Pope. The longer answer requires more work, but it has to do with the baptism of heretics being of the Church even when not within Her canonical boundaries, to borrow from Florovsky and many other Russian theologians, including today’s most eminent canonist in the Moscow Patriarchate, Protopriest Vladislav Tsypin.

      • Reception into the Church by Chrismation has been practiced since the time of the ecumenical Councils
        and is NOT a result of that meeting. That does not mean the Church recognizes the validity of heretical sacraments. The grace of Chrismation fulfills that which is lacking in heretical baptism. The practice
        was not consistent over the centuries. Some times, catholics and some protestants were baptized ,other times, they were chrismated. As I recall, there are some earlier postings on this blog by an Archpriest John Morris about the reception of converts and baptism. Check it out. However, I agreed with Mitropolit Filaret’s
        encyclical “skorbnoye poslanye”, sorrowful epistle, in which he warns against this type of ecumenism. Patriarch Athenagoras should have never met with the Pope in this way, as if he was representing the whole
        Orthodox Church. Not too long ago, after the brake up of Yougoslavia, Catholic Croatians again brutally destroyed many Serbian Orthodox Churches, especially in the Diocese of Slavonia. The Papists have hurt us Orthodox so much over the centuries and recently (Talerhof in Austria WW1, and Jasenovac in Croatia WW2 ) how could we ever trust them. They want us to recognize Roman Primacy and infallibility. That will
        NEVER EVER happen, GIAMMAI, JAMAIS, NUNCA, NICIODATA,NIKADA,NIKOGDA,POTE, and, too make sure,that Pabst Benedikt from Bavaria also understands, NIEMALS. ( Although, I am pretty sure that Pope Benedict probably knows most of these other languages too. Benedict, in fact is a brilliant scholar, they
        don’t elect idiots to the episcopacy and papacy.) I would ask only one thing of the Romans, namely, to let us be. However, I am not against getting together and talk over a nice dinner and some drinks with ANYBODY.

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          The usually accepted view is that the reception of a convert through Chrismation is an exercise of economy. It is not a recognition of non-Orthodox Baptism. The Sacrament of Chrismation provides what was lacking in the non-Orthodox Baptism. Based on Canon 95 of the Council in Trullo, converts from heretical groups that baptize with water “in the Name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” can be received by Chrismation. In 1484 the Pan Orthodox Council that renounced the ill conceived Union of Florence, declared that Roman Catholics should be received by Chrismation. In 1672, a Pan Orthodox Council that condemned Protestantism declared that they should be received by Chrismation. Thus the reception of converts through Chrismation is a long established Orthodox practice. The canonical tradition also allows a bishop to require that all converts enter the Church through Baptism. However, it is theologically unsound for someone who believes that all converts must be baptized to refuse to recognize the Orthodoxy of someone received by Chrismation. The practice of “conditional Baptism” is completely uncanonical and heretical because it is a failure to recognize the grace received through Chrismation.

          Fr. John W. Morris

          • Archpriest John W. Morris says

            It is interesting to note that the prayer mandated in 1484 for the Chrismation of Roman Catholics was not the prayer used when Chrismation follows Baptism, but was based on the prayer used when someone who had left the Orthodox Church returned back to the Church.

            Fr. John W. Morris

    • Setting the Record Straight says

      “incorporating much Vatican II theology”

      Seraphim, with all respect (seriously!): Have you ever actually read the documents of Vatican II? It seems to me you are confusing Vatican II with the notorious “spirit of Vatican II” so often invoked by dissidents as their pretext for deconstruction.

      I strongly advise you to read the documents of Vatican II before you assume that modern Episcopalianism reflects the Council’s “theology.” NOTHING could be farther from the truth.

      We Catholics are emerging from 40 years of turmoil arguably stronger, more vibrant, with record numbers of converts here in America and swelling numbers worldwide. Obviously the fate of Episcopalianism has not befallen us. This may have something to do with the fact that our Magisterium has NOT compromised with the dissidents and our doctrines (both pre-VCII and post-VCII) reflect what the current pope calls “the hermeneutic of continuity.” We did not inspire the leftward drift of the Piskies, believe me. If anything, the Piskies influenced *us.* But thankfully that influence is waning. The Gates of Hell have not prevailed, although they’ve given it the old college try. Nor will they.

      Again, I suggest that you read the actual documents of VCII, which are widely available online. They are eye-openers.

      And please do not fall for cartoonish caricatures of our Church promulgated by people who have no clue what Catholics really believe or what Catholicism is all about. Thank you!

      • George Michalopulos says

        STRS, thank you for this insight. The cartoonish view of VCII was cemented because even though it was quite orthodox, the Alynskyites took ahold of the narrative. The guitar masses and dancing nuns didn’t help things either. And of course the homosexualization of many American seminaries after VCII almost brought the ROC to its knees. (Forgive the pun.) Anyway, VCII was surprisingly orthodox and Orthodox. Where the ROC went wrong is that instead of translating the Tridentine Mass into the vernacular, they instituted the Novus Ordo Mass in 1969. From my perspective, that was a tremendous mistake. Plus, Nostra Aetate took things too far. Though it correctly absolved the Jews of deicide, it mistakenly came to the conclusion that they did not need to become Christians or anybody else for that matter.

        • SettingTheRecordStraight says

          Thank you for your irenic response, George. I must respectfully disagree with your assessment of Nostra Aetate, however. Can you show me where it says that neither Jews nor anyone else should become Christians? This would be in direct contradiction to Lumen Gentium, perhaps the most important document produced by the Council.

          I personally know of Jewish converts to Catholicism who would never have converted had it not been for Nostra Aetate.

          Re the Novus Ordo: Well, the old banal ICEL translation certainly justifies your conclusion, IMHO. But the new translation (much more faithful to the Latin) is quite beautiful and reverent. I agree that it might have been better to simply translate the Tridentine liturgy into the vernacular. But I am happy with what we have now, which has wide appeal among the Catholics I know. Critics say the N.O. is not an organic development…that it has been cobbled together. But is this not just as true of the Western Rite liturgies that cobble together Tridentine and Anglican sources? In any event, I always find that Liturgy Wars are futile and pointless, so I will drop the matter here!

          Re the “homosexualization” of seminaries: This did not affect all seminaries, by a long shot, and it is being addressed now by the Vatican and the bishops. Today’s vetting process for seminary candidates is extremely stringent. And rock-solid seminaries are out there, attracting a new crop of orthodox Catholic candidates.

          Every ecumenical council is followed by a period of turmoil. I Nicaea is a prime case in point: It did not immediately stop the spread of Arianism, which continued to roil the Church for some time afterward. Post VC II, we have had 40 years of turmoil, but all signs indicate that we are emerging from this period of turbulence. The graying dissenters are retiring and dying off. The trend line is upward, as we say in the marketing biz. 🙂

          • George Michalopulos says

            STRS, your response to mine deserves a consideration which I am not able to provide at present, but intend to do so at a later time. I will say this briefly about Nostra Aetate, although it was right to absolve the Jews from the crime of deicide, like so much other good things that were part of the spirit of VCII, the orthodox teachings and liturgical reforms were twisted to the breaking point by the liberals. As I read NA, it is understood that Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, etc., do not have to enter the Church in order to be saved. As for the Jews themselves, they have been granted a dispensation (wrongly?) that their revelation is still valid and hasn’t been absorbed into the Church.

            If I am wrong, please correct me.

            As for the gay seminaries that took hold post VCII, I never said that it was all of them, but it was enough of them in the US to make a difference and homosexualize the RCC at least during the 70-80s. As I’ve pointed out, the vast majority of molestation cases are at least 20 years old. Yes, the RCC in America cleaned up its act beginning in the 90s and continues to do so at present. God bless them for it.

          • Re the “homosexualization” of seminaries: This did not affect all seminaries, by a long shot, and it is being addressed now by the Vatican and the bishops. Today’s vetting process for seminary candidates is extremely stringent. And rock-solid seminaries are out there, attracting a new crop of orthodox Catholic candidates.

            I am so hopeful to hear this. But there is still a lot of work to do it seems with Bishops. I am thinking of the visiting priest in MD which made the papers recently. He was not supported by his Bishops when, after being confronted by “one coupled in a homosexual relationship” turned her away from communing. A question would arise whether one should do this at a funeral, but in this case it seemed instigated . . . .

            • Archpriest John W. Morris says

              Not only was the woman who caused such a fuss a lesbian, she was a self-professed Buddhist. That whole thing was a set up to create an incident to be used to further the gay rights movement. Unfortunately, the secular press made an issue out of it and the Roman Catholic Bishop lacked the courage to support the priest who acted correctly.

              Fr. John W. Morris

            • Setting the Record Straight says

              Colette, you touch indirectly on something that struck me when I recently visited New England (where I’m from). ISTM Catholic renewal is more evident in some (geographic) areas than in others. In northern New England, it seems, declining parishes are being closed and consolidated, with sometimes rather anomalous results (e.g., the consolidated / amalgamated Parish Church of Saint Francis de Sales and Our Lady of the Rosary — making this one up, but that’s the idea). Here in the Bible Belt, OTOH, we cannot build new parish churches fast enough. I may have a particularly rosy view of contemporary American Catholicism because I live in an area where Catholicism is booming. Obviously, as you say, much work remains to be done, especially in other areas (again, speaking geographically). However, the signs of renewal are very encouraging.

              Recently I was re-reading Ungodly Rage, Donna Steichen’s chilling account of the destructive craziness of feminist nuns. Written in 1990, it is now very dated; although many of those nuns are still around, they are quite literally dying off, while new religiously orthodox orders are flourishing. So, as I said, the trend line is positive — even though many vestiges of the craziness remain. Rome wasn’t rebuilt in a day. 🙂

              • SRS,

                I’m sure geographies play a part. I happen to live in a VERY political area. The decline may not be as much as New England but we are not bursting in growth either. People are ready to call names and end your livelihood if you dare speak against someones “rights”. That poor visiting priest I mentioned didn’t know what hit him. On another note this is what +Jonah was up against constantly here and why people hated him even in his own church.
                Anyway, I’ve heard from friends who are Catholic that a new trend is setting in and I hope things will turn around for the next generation as I do – on a much smaller scale- for us OCA-ers.

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          I just read Nostra Aetate and although not directly advocating Syncretism it definitely has that air about it. Did not get a good feeling reading it. Just me.


    • Thank you, Seraphim. I share your sentiments, and as someone raised in the Roman Catholic Church prior to my conversion to Orthodoxy, I would observe that American Catholicism is heading, albeit more slowly and variously on local levels, in the same direction as TEC.

  4. Lola J. Lee Beno says

    I’ve read that they spent $18 million dollars, yes, you read that correctly, suing parishes leaving ECUSA for more conservative Eipiscopal jurisdictions and are now stuck with near-empty buildings that cost a good penny to maintain.

    Here’s the article:

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      Hi Lola

      I just read the article you posted a link to. My god I never knew it was that bad in the ECUSA. I mean I knew it was bad, but did not know the extent of it. Dear God. My heart goes out to the precious few that had to put up with all this heresy. I believed it before and I most assuredly believe it now that the Holy Orthodox Church needs to let our Episcopal and Anglican friends know that the True Church of Jesus Christ is waiting for them and that they need to quickly leave their mad house and come home to us.


  5. Just Guessing says

    Change “ECUSA” to “OCA,” “House of Deputies” to “Metropolitan Council,” and “815” to “Syosset.” Incredible. And scary.

    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

      In the Orthodox Church no one can change the doctrine of the Church, not even the Holy Synod of an autocephalous Church. Even the Ecumenical Councils did not adopt new doctrine. They defended what the Church has believed since its founding by Christ and His Apostles against a new heresy that challenged what the Church has always believed.
      That is not true in the Episcopal Church whoever can shout the loudest and organize the best political style campaign can intimidate the General Convention of the Episcopal Church to change its doctrine. The delegates to the convention may be very good at running a business or whatever they do for a living, but they are not trained in theology. In the Anglican Communion each local church can determine its own doctrine and the other churches of the Communion do not do anything about it. That would not happen in the Orthodox Church. If an one local Orthodox Church strays from the path of doctrinal purity the rest of the Church will act to persuade them to return to sound Orthodox doctrine, or they will break communion with them, thereby casting them out of the Orthodox Church.
      Remember we were founded by Christ and His Apostles. Anglicanism was founded by an adulterous king so he could marry his pregnant mistress.
      Finally as the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, we are led Bishops who are led by the Holy Spirit “to rightly divide the word of the truth.”

      Archpriest John W. Morris

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        Remember we were founded by Christ and His Apostles. Anglicanism was founded by an adulterous king so he could marry his pregnant mistress.

        I think, although I am not sure, this is why Methodists arose in England along with many other Protestant Churches. However, I will leave this to better Church Historians than myself to correct me as I could very well be wrong on this point. You may know more about this Father Morris.

        However, even though I agree again with your assessment our former Anglican converts went through a tough time in Anglicanism to get to the One True Church and I for one want to continue to make them feel at home.


        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          I do not understand your point. I am also a former Anglican and want to make them welcome in the Orthodox Church. The Episcopal Church has been taken over by a bunch of pro-gay radical feminists and men too wimpy to stand up to them. Continuing Anglicanism has broken up into many competing groups. Even the newly organized North American Anglican Church cannot agree on doctrine. Now there seems to be a strong movement towards neo-Calvinism in the continuing Anglican movement.

          Fr. John W. Morris

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            My point was that even the English Christians of the time recognized what you were saying and rebelled against the Church of England. That’s all. Sorry for the confusion.


            • Archpriest John W. Morris says

              You have a very valid point. Wesley was heavily influenced by the Eastern Fathers. In fact, he was the probably most Orthodox of all the Protestant leaders. Unfortunately, the American Methodists did not follow all of his teachings and dropped his sacramental and liturgical orientation through the influence of the American frontier. Wesley apparently had several very friendly conversations with an Orthodox Bishop visiting England from Crete, Erasmus of Arcadia. There is even a legend among Methodists that Bishop Erasmus consecrated Wesley an Orthodox Bishop in 1763 and ordained several Priests for the early Methodist Movement. It that story it true, it would not mean that Methodists have Apostolic Succession, since Bishop Erasmus had no authority to consecrate Wesley or anyone else to the episcopate.

              Fr. John W. Morris

        • Lola J. Lee Beno says

          The other Proteatant groups in England wanted to make the Church even less liturgical, since they perceived what was left in Anglicanism as being still too Catholic.

      • When did usury become Orthodox?

        • Michael Bauman says

          A very profitable discussion can be had from your question, your Grace. But so that I can understand better what you are getting at define usury? Is it the charging of any interest, or can some interest be charged as long as it dosen’t go too high?

          Is the economic reality of our lives such that some usury is acceptable or not? There is no question that consumer debt is a form of slavery and much of our economy is predicated on it. That does not mean that one should move to the opposite extreme and give excessive power to the state in economic matters. They have the power to regulate interest rates now, they largely do not do it no matter which party is in power.

          Ultimately, there is not much in our economic life that fits the biblical model but that is true for a socialistic modal as well which, among other things, denies the basic Biblical truth that a workman is worthy of his hire.

          I’ll say what I’ve always said: In general, capitalism tends to allow more freedom and a greater ability to be charitable than other economic systems. What is practiced today is not really captialism but more akin to fascism which most call crony-captialism. Its bad, and the state should take an active role in protecting its citizens from the abusive activities. That is what the state is for.

          We also have the repsonsiblity to exert self-discipline and not to buy stuff that is beyond our means to buy. We do not have to enter into the slavery. We need to train our children in this as well.

          There is a greater question: the role of the Church in teaching real vocation and spiritual formation for all (not just monastics and clergy). Part of that would really be a greater understanding of both asceticism and charity.

    • Seems an oversimplification, doesn’t it?

      The Episcopal Church has always “agreed to disagree” on matters of doctrine as basic as whether Jesus was divine or not. Such a “diversity of opinion” does not exist in any Orthodox jurisdiction.

      It is wise to be vigilant, of course, but declaring that the OCA is like the ECUSA is to proclaim an Anglican’s understanding of the importance of doctrine to the wellbeing of the Church.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Good point CQ. Although I can’t believe that the Orthodox Church could ever become that “tolerant” on theological matters, it could easily become that “tolerant” on social mores. That was always my point.

        Mark Stokoe himself said that he wasn’t “stupid enough” to get the OCA to change its fundamental theology regarding abortion and gay marriage. To which I responded, no, that would be suicidal. The best possible recourse for those who are in the “tolerance” camp is to plod along and make sure that the OCA doesn’t engage the culture. Then sodomy and abortion would be allowed but not dogmatized.

        • In other words, not pro-Soviet, so to speak, but anti-anti-Soviet.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Exactly. That was the position of the liberal wing of the Democrats back in the 70s-80s. Rather than be stalwart against Communism (like Humphrey, Scoop Jackson, and George Meaney –Democrats all), they never openly said they were for the Soviets but only “anti” the anti-Communists whom they quickly labeled “McCarthyites.” That way they could show their moral hygiene without having to take a stand on Soviet expansionism.

            • It was Jimmy Carter who defined the US opposition to Soviet expansion in Afghanistan in the 1970s, and Ronald Reagan who morphed that into sending arms to the Mujahideen in the 1980s.

              • George Michalopulos says

                By then it was too late. two years earlier he was willing to give away the store.

        • The Orthodox Church is the home of the Divine Physician. It is not the home of the divine politician. There is a world of difference between having the salvation of all as one’s goal and having victory over all as one’s goal. The goal of politics is victory over opponents; it was a politician who coined the term “culture war.”

          Because it works for the Divine Physician the Orthodox Church anathematizes those who proclaim false doctrine. Heretics, on the other hand, will ally with those of false doctrine to bolster their political strength but practice the shunning of those who suffer moral failings in order to claim the high moral ground in culture wars.

          Physicians are extremely clear about what is good and what is bad for our health. They are clear that smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, obesity and a host of other behaviors to be really bad for us. They are equally clear that a balanced diet, exercise, use of sunscreen and a host of other behaviors are really good for us. They “engage the culture” with their message in clear and unambiguous ways.

          And yet we never hear of a doctor who refuses to treat the obese for their obesity-related problems, or the addict for problems related to their addiction, not even when that patient denies their behavioral choice led to their illness or when the patient declares that they cannot stop the behavior that led to their illness. While such a situation may limit the options available to the physician, the physician does not turn the patient away.

          We work for the Divine Physician. We should adopt a medical model to engage the culture, not a political one.

      • Not entirely true CQ, there are clear official teachings in the Episcopal Church, like the Nicene and Apostles creeds that have never changed. At least one of these is recited by all at every daily office and Eucharistic. Even the traditional definition of marriage and the rationale for it continues to be enshrined in the constitution and canons of TEC as well as its official Book of Common Prayer. The recent General Convention when voting on same-sex blessings could not muster the votes to change the canons, nor could it change the Book of Common Prayer (it could have attempted to do this via the vote of two successive conventions but did not even attempt to). Ironically it could not even get the prayers approved as official prayers for trial or occasional use within the church (a constitutional option outside the Book of Common Prayer requiring less time and consensus). Instead they had to go outside what was permitted by the canons of TEC and create a new category of prayer (really in violation of the church constitution if one bothers to care about such things) so that they could muster the votes for approval. Officially those prayers have no constitutional standing in TEC and church teaching about marriage has never been changed. In other words, it is the same kind of hypocrisy you live with in the OCA.

        I’m not saying the official teachings of TEC won’t eventually change or even that Orthodoxy won’t somehow prevail. I just think you don’t understand how things have progressed in TEC if you see a fundamental difference in the way change is happening in the two institutions. In TEC it started with sexually compromised bishops (married bisexual bishops pushing the gay and lesbian agenda behind the scenes) and most of the change has come through manipulation and deceit outside the bounds of the agreed mechanisms for discernment and shared governance. The major differences seem to be that the bishops in the OCA are not married (at least not the active ones, I’ve read that one retired bishop married a priest that he lives with in Florida) and that the OCA might be as much as 30 years behind TEC in its developmental curve (although it is also reasonable to expect that external cultural pressures could make the “learning curve” less steep for the OCA).

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          One thing that has always made it difficult for Orthodox to understand Anglicanism is that unlike Orthodox they can say something like the Nicene Creed during their worship, but not really believe what they say. I have no doubt that “Bishop” John Spong says the Creed faithfully during almost every service, but he does not believe a word of it. Anglicans will use words like “Metaphore” to describe the Creed or an affirmation of what the Church once believed, but is mature enough now to have grown beyond Creeds. Some Anglicans can put on a magnificent display of medieval liturgics, but not believe in a personal God. Orthodox cannot do that. We really believe what we say or we would not say it.

          Fr. John W. Morris

          • I experienced this throughout my 35 years as an Episcopalian (Anglo-Catholic) adult. I couldn’t stand the hypocrisy any longer, and in 1988 left for good, for the Orthodox church!

        • Brian McDonald says

          UM says, “The recent General Convention when voting on same-sex blessings could not muster the votes to change the canons, nor could it change the Book of Common Prayer (it could have attempted to do this via the vote of two successive conventions but did not even attempt to)”

          Could there be any better way for the Episcopalian radicals to exhibit–to the contempt of all– the powerlessness of the traditionalists, and their own firm and despotic control over that tragic Christian body than to leave the canons and Book of Order fully in tact while promulgating policies in direct contradiction of them? I’m not surprised there wouldn’t be much of an attempt to alter them. Why bother? Much better to leave them standing as a monument to the radicals’ power and for the humiliation of any remaining Christian believers–sort of the way Roman emperors would parade their captives before the populace.

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          In do not think that the OCA is on the same path as the Episcopal Church because the rest of Orthodoxy will not let that happen. Unlike Anglicanism, we have a common Faith that is shared by all Orthodox. We also have an enforcement mechanism for if one Orthodox Church departs from sound Orthodox theology, the rest of the Orthodox Church will step in to demand that they renounce any un-Orthodox teachings or practices, or break communion with them, thereby casting them out of the Orthodox Church.
          Anglicanism has never had a common Faith shared among all Anglicans. From the beginning it was designed as a religious compromise with vague doctrinal statements to please as many people as possible. It held together until the radicals took over the Episcopal Church and used their power to do something that has never been done before in Anglicanism, impose a standard of belief and practice. First they voted to ordain women, but allowed those who objected to stay and did not force any bishop who objected to women’s ordination to ordain women. That lasted for a time, but by 2,000 the conscience clause was removed and a committee was set up to pressure all bishops ordered to ordain women. The opening to women’s ordination led to feminist theology which inevitably leads to support for the gay rights movement. In 2003 the Episcopalians elected Gene Robinson a man who left his wife and children to live in an openly gay relationship with another man, Bishop of New Hampshire. 2006 the Episcopal Church elected Katharine Jefferts Schori their Presiding Bishop. She is determined to drive all who do not agree with her radical pro-feminist, pro-gay agenda out of the Episcopal Church as long as they do not try to take the property with them. She has spent millions on lawyers to keep what are now empty buildings because the people have left them because they do not agree with her efforts to force her un-orthodox beliefs on the entire Episcopal Church. Last month the Episcopal Church went even further and voted to allow the blessing of so called same sex marriage. These things will never happen in the OCA or any other Orthodox Church.

          Fr. John W. Morris

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            Agree 100 percent. No matter what craziness any Orthodox Church goes through if they go off the reservation then THEY are on their own if they wish to continue on their way.

            Also, the passion and comitment of the average OCA parishioner is so solidly Orthodox I do not see the faith and doctrine of the Church affected. However, it’s structure, standing and internal discipline is a completely other matter.


  6. One time on OCANews I commented that Mark had earned my trust without question. I was deceived and want to repent of it.

    For some reason reading this article finally brought me to this conclusion.

    • Heracleides says

      Not too worry James. Stokoe took many of us in – myself included. Glad to see you’ve realized the Kool-Aid he peddled for what is was.

      • But at the time Stokoe brought to light malfeasence. The problem was he took it further, eventually infusing it with his personal agenda. I applaud Stokoe for blowing the ld off of Syosset. On the other hand I never liked his crusade for accountability.

        At one point the author of this blog made a comment about how he liked distinctions, even if the “minutia” showed them to be false. That’s called willful ignorance. Life is not that simple. Can anyone raise their hands and honestly say they want Met. Herman back?

    • George Michalopulos says

      As did I James. His logo was cool, it had an official air about it. Plus he sat on the MW Diocesan Council and the Metropolitan Council. And a lot of what he said was factual, up to a point. I think Stephen Colbert came up with the right word, “truthiness.”

  7. Brian McDonald says

    Perhaps a better title for this might have been “Is This Our Future”?

  8. Love those vestments.

    It’s always the hats that draw people in. They have that pious look one wants in a religion. I often see similar hats while driving through the south side side of Chicago, an indication that Episcopalianism must be rapidly growing there.

  9. Can the Anglicans and the OCA last for quite a long time, at least as an administrative entity? I think so, if this example is relevant: The Netherlands dominated global commerce during the second half of the 17th century. What about today? Well, no, those days are long gone; but they are still a country.

    Just a thought.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Good point, Greg. The differences between a nation and a nebulous institution are vast. Edmund Burke said “there’s a lot of ruin in a nation.” In other words, it can go on longer than most people think. After all, there usually are blood ties that bind a nation together.

  10. Mike Myers says

    That Episcopalian crozier is interesting. Note the complete void in place of the crucified body of Christ. Where did you get this?

  11. To Fr. John Morris,

    Father, you maintain that there are two ecumenisms: a Protestant, heretical ecumenism, and a faithful, Orthodox ecumenism. I agree with you on the first, but I have serious reservations on the second, which I would characterize instead as a faithful, Orthodox ecumenism that is fraught with dangers and pitfalls. It seems to me that there is an inherent contradiction in entering into a “dialogue” with someone when you know beforehand that you know the Truth, and the true Church that He commissioned, and that they don’t, or at least that they do only partially. How do you enter into real dialogue with people who hold heretical or wrongheaded views without compromising your own? Does conversation really count as dialogue unless you open yourself up to the possibility that the other person’s views may contain elements of truth that yours do not? Can I truly enter into dialogue with someone who insists that 2 + 2 = 7? Must I not rather instruct him? But that is not the premise under which “ecumenical dialogue” occurs, i.e. that one side is being instructed by the other.

    The only faithful option, it seems to me, is the one hit upon by Socrates, who through the posing of questions, and through the occasional use of gentle irony, gradually led his interlocutors to the truth, making instruction appear to be discussion. So I suppose if one enters into what is supposed to be a “dialogue” with the covert aim of Socratic instruction, then this is consistent. But it would need to be done very skillfully, lest one be percieved as patronizing. Moreover, if in the attempt to persuade, I translate Orthodox truth into heterodox terms, is there not a great danger in distorting the faith and confusing myself as well. If I call the holy mysteries “sacraments,” for example, in order to continue the dialogue without seeming contentious, don’t I tacitly concede a most important point in the process. And I note, as well, that two of our greatest Orthodox theologians, Fr. George Florovsky and Fr. John Romanides, who were both heavily involved with ecumenism, both became disillusioned with the whole idea. Nevertheless, I appreciate your insistence on a list of principles that must be observed if Orthodox “ecumenism” is to proceed.

    To M. Stankovich,

    I will try to overlook your offensive personal accusations and your condescending tone—neither of which I would expect from someone who tirelessly assumes the mantle of clinical professionalism—and stick instead to what I see as the weaknesses of your arguments.

    First, you create a “straw man” and then proceed to assail it passionately, without once looking back. I merely wrote that the Anglican communion of a few decades back was “a place where tradition was respected and maintained.” Not too controversial, I should think. Yet solely on this basis, you assign to me an imaginary belief that the Anglicans possessed “the fullness of faith.” I neither said nor suggested any such thing, and it is not honest to claim that I did. It was perfectly clear to every other reader that my comparison was purely institutional and sociological. I could just as well have used the example of nineteenth century Judaism under the “reform” movement, which undertook to modernize Judaism and bring it in line with a contemporary, scientific world-view, probably an even more instructive example for us Orthodox Christians, as we compare the radical decline of Reform Judaism to the vigor and vitality of Orthodox Judaism. Or does this suggest that I believe Judaism, too, possesses “the fullness of faith”? It is disheartening to have to point out such an elementary error in reasoning.

    Second, you maintain that it is not “possible” (your italics) for “the Orthodox Church, protected by the might of the Precious Cross, continually watched over by the Theotokos, founded on the rock of the Holy Martyrs, on the pillars of the Holy Fathers and the Defenders of the Faith, and guided by the Spirit” to reach such a “tipping point.” This glibly triumphalist claim is both counter-factual and dangerous. Don’t you think that Orthodox Christians in Egypt, or Syria, or Persia, or indeed Western Europe (all homes of great and holy saints) and all the other Orthodox lands overtaken by heresy in the ancient world believed the very same thing about themselves? And yet they all succumbed to heresy and decline, not uncommonly perpetrated by their own bishops. (Yes, I know the name Thomas More. Do you know the name Nestorios?) This seems to me something like the Protestant notion of “election” applied to the Church itself—once it’s the Church, it’s always the Church, no matter what. And I think it poses the same dangers as the former.

    Third, this kind of “objective” understanding of the Church is exactly what allowed the Latin communion to fall in more recent times. (My apologies here to the well-intentioned “Setting the Record Straight”) If one is convinced that the Church against which “the gates of hell shall not prevail” is “us, here, right now,” this actual empirical group of people just as we are, rather than the Mystical Body of Christ, toward which we must always strive, in order to actually possess that to which our baptism makes us heirs—strive to make the earthly communion in front of the altar coincide with the heavenly “mystical supper” that is often iconically depicted in the apse behind the altar—then of course we need not worry about novelty and innovation. Innovations from having the priest turn his back on God during the Eucharist, to giving up the fasts, to using vulgar show tunes in liturgies that would be laughed off from Broadway (not to mention fooling around with the altar boys) are not such a big deal if one knows beforehand, with certainly, that one has the church “franchise” from God, and can never lose it, no matter what. Let me be clear: the Orthodox Church, and the Orthodox Church alone, IS the Mystical Body of Christ. But for me, or anyone else, to assume (without prayer, obedience, and indeed, the self-accusation that the ascetic fathers commend) to assume that we ARE the Orthodox Church, is perilous.

    And here you have helped me resolve a longstanding perplexity. How can a certain triumphalism and a certain objectivist, legalistic view of the Church be combined with a modernist imperative, which you have represented energetically, and often acerbically, in your insistence on the superiority of the latest clinical research over traditional wisdom? The answer now seems clear: if one is convinced that the Church (as this empirical group of people) will retain its identity no matter what—just like a name brand retains its claims and (at least temporarily) its cachet, even while what it has to offer changes character dramatically—then the doors stand wide open to modernist adaptations of every kind. To me, the interconnection between this pair of seemingly contradictory mindsets—a triumphalist ecclesiology combined with a modernist agenda—explains much of what is going on in the OCA, and American Orthodoxy as a whole, today.

    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

      As someone who has represented the Orthodox Church in dialogue with non Orthodox (the Lutherans), I can assure you that these dialogues are simply discussions. The Orthodox do not compromise one aspect of the teachings of the Orthodox Church. In fact, the Lutherans finally suspended the dialogue because they realized that we were unwilling to compromise the Orthodox Faith to reach agreement with them.
      I agree that often, these dialogues are a waste of time, money and effort. However, if some group wants to talk with us, do we not have a responsibility to share the truth of Orthodoxy with them? If a non-Orthodox group is willing to listen to Orthodox explain their Faith, I believe that we have an obligation to meet with them. It is frustrating and difficult, but if they are willing to listen, we need to talk with them. Besides, the only dialogue existing in North America is with the Roman Catholics. All other dialogues ended long ago. We broke off dialogue with the Episcopalians after they voted to ordain women back in 1976.

      Fr. John W. Morris

      • I’d like to support Archpriest John W. Morris on this one. I was formerly a Lutheran, a devout Lutheran. Church every Sunday, catechism on Saturday mornings for two years before examination and Confirmation and I sang in the choir when my voice changed. I also studied two years at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota. That was in the early 1950s. I became Orthodox in 1960. I’ve always had a jaundiced view of ecumenism. However, when my mother died in 1992, I was rather pleasantly surprised, in the midst of the very large family (my mother had four brothers and sisters, all of whom had families of at least two of their own, and some of those had chldren) presence at the funeral in the Lutheran parish I grew up in, to hear actual prayers for the departed!!!! Prayers for the departed were once absolutely NOT done by “loyal Lutherans” previously. it seems obvious that the various Lutheran synods, whatevers, had altered their conviction on the topic and that this MUST have been a fruit of ecumenical encounters. We sometimes tend to be paranoid in our discussions of ecumenism, as if the Orthodox Faith were so fragile that it was threatened with annihilation through ecumenical encounter. We completely overlook the possible benefits to human beings differing from us in doctrine. in other words, we overlook the missionary and evangelical aspect of Orthodox ecumenism!

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          Your Grace;

          Thanks for your support. I know of two men who became Orthodox priests after they read my name in a report on the Orthodox Lutheran dialogue and began contact with me. I first met another one of our current priests while I was in the dialogue and he was at a Lutheran seminary.

          Fr. John W. Morris

        • Bishop Tikhon,

          Master Bless.

          Thank you for sharing that very personal encounter concerning Your mother. How very heart-warming and encouraging. I am certain You see the difference between the type of witness which led to that type of sacramental reform (is that the proper term?) which led these individuals closer to bearing more accurate witness to the Truth through their community worship and the type of activity which causes us as Orthodox Christians to compromise our theological integrity.

      • Archpriest John W. Morris says

        Let me amend my statement. Sometimes we can send the wrong message by agreeing to dialogue with a group. I believe that the Orthodox Church should make a statement by refusing to enter into dialogue with any “church” that ordains openly practicing gays and lesbians, or allows its clergy to bless same-sex unions. That means that I am against further dialogue with the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church USA and especially the United Church of Christ. We should not give these apostate groups the recognition that an official dialogue with Orthodox would give them.
        On the other hand we should seek a common witness with all Christ Christian churches that still uphold Biblical standards of morality even if it is clear that we will not reach agreement with them on other matters.

        Fr. John W. Morris

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      I appreciate Seraphim’s response to M. Stankovich, who has developed a sustained habit of speaking from ignorance.

      Specifically, Mr Stankovich doesn’t have the slightest idea of what transpired in the souls those several thousand of us who have moved from Anglicanism to the Orthodox Church over the past 50 years. He wrote that recent piece from a total ignorance of his subject.

      Among the obstacles faced by those who have made the aforesaid journey was the arrogant sort of ignorance represented by M. Stankovich.

      • Patrick Henry Reardon says:
        August 27, 2012 at 2:38 pm

        Among the obstacles faced by those who have made the aforesaid journey was the arrogant sort of ignorance represented by M. Stankovich.

        Fr. Pat, many, many of us “cradle” Orthodox apologize to all our “convert” brethren for that kind of ignorance and insult.

      • Archpriest John W. Morris says

        There was a time when one could be an Episcopalian and be very cl ose to Orthodox. I have always felt that I did not leave the Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Church left me and is not anything like it was back in 1964 when I became an Episcopalian. At that time, I was taught doctrine that is very close to Orthodox by a good priest who would be shocked and saddened to see what has happened to the Church he worked so hard to serve. It is tragic to see a Church that had the potential to become Orthodox be taken over by the radical feminists and pro-gay faction that now leads the Episcopal Church.

        Fr. John W. Morris

    • M. Stankovich says


      Obviously I stand at the periphery of nuance and apologetics, and quite obviously, you are hardly the first to bring stark attention to my longstanding elementary errors in reasoning. C’est la vie, mon chere. Not everyone is gifted by God with the ability for original thought, polemic, drama, foresight & prediction, putting men in their place, and managing to please PdnNJ, Fr. Patrick, and Prof. Siewers. Sage, say I, and in abundance. Pat yourself on the back at rebutting my “ignorance and insult.” Flourishes and “thumbs-up!”

      I will withdraw my comments when you explain how it was that Fr. Vitaly Borovoy, Dean of the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow was “spirited away” by Protodeacon Eric Wheeler very early on a cold, rainy Saturday morning during Great Lent to Serve the Liturgy for the Departed at SVS. And at the prayer which concludes the Litany for the Departed, purely from memory, Fr. Vitaly called the names, beginning with the Royal Family and St. Tikhon the Patriarch, and a list of the New Martyrs that seemed to never end. Tears streamed down his face, and so too everyone in the altar; Fr. Nicholas Ozolin was moved to his knees. Looking out the Royal Doors, anyone I could see in the darkened chapel wept as well. This moment begged the question, “Where is your God, and where is your Church in such oppression?”

      Or how was it that Vladyka Basil Radzianko found himself in a prison camp on the Eve of Epiphany, at the center of a huge group of people, gathered around him as they walked in a circle as he sang the vigil. He told me a quarter were not even believers, but were moved to join and keep the guards away. And after the Gospel reading, it began to snow, and by the point of the Great Blessing of Water, the snow was so intense that he sanctified it as the “Blessing of Jordan.” But this moment – with a priest who literally had his cassock torn from his body and his beard forcibly cut from his face, and a congregation circling in a yard of mud – begged the question, “Where is your God, and where is your Church in such oppression?”

      Or how was it that my own father told me the story of how in Dachau, someone always managed to “secret” away a little wine and dry bread (which he said was made in a combination of flour and sand), hide Vladyka Nicholai Veliomirovich in a horse barn to serve the liturgy alone, while he and other captured Serbian officers protected the door. When Vladyka later emerged, they escorted him to to commune as many as possible, knowing the consequence of being caught. Which, obviously, begged the question, “Where is your God, and where is your Church in such oppression?”

      Obviously, I could go on, but frankly, you have no appreciation for history; you have gone “righteous,” polemical, you have a “following”; and I’m bored. Good lord, man, Prof. Siewers quotes you far and wide – when he mentions me far and wide it is to scorn! C’est la vie, mon chere. “They that trust the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isa 40:31)

      • Except that what you describe here in your response, MS, is what happens when Orthodox Christians and Priests of saintly stature remain faithful under the most adverse conditions. On the other hand, the concern being expressed regarding the present m.o. of those in positions of influence and leadership within the OCA at this site is entirely the *opposite* situation, where leaders of certain institutions of the Church, despite a comfortable place in society (one might almost suspect because of an inordinate attachment to this) appear to be significantly spiritually and morally compromised by some combination of lies and worldly concerns or standards! I think it has been clarified elsewhere on more than one occasion that we are not concerned that the Church in her transcendence will fail. That cannot happen, for the Church is Christ’s mystical Body. On the other hand, particular institutions of the Church, such as the OCA, and hierarchs and Synods can and do certainly fail from time to time with painful consequences. It seems to me you are 180 degrees turned around from the real concerns of this conversation.

    • Setting the Record Straight says

      Dear Seraphim: If we Catholics have “fallen” (whatever that means), we are obviously in the process of picking ourselves back up again by the power of the Holy Spirit. I would respectfully suggest that a growing church of 1.3 billion is in no immediate danger of going the way of the Episcopalians. 😉

  12. phil r. upp says

    As commented on from another site, the hurricane headed toward Tampa is God’s way of warning the GOP not to nominate an heretical, so-called Christian. The Mormons are not traditional Christians. They believe that Jesus Christ is a “creature” and not both God & Man, the second person of the Holy Trinity who created the entire Universe.

    • George Michalopulos says

      A political convention doesn’t pack the spiritual punch of a monastery. Just sayin’.

    • It’s not that they are heretical–they are not even Christian. They are as Christian as Islam.

      • Lola J. Lee Beno says

        And rather, some people think that Islam is really a Christian heresy. Some scholars have come to this conclusion with evidence that seems plausible.

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          St. John of Damascus considered Islam a Christian heresy. It is evident that Muhammad was influenced by Christianity, probably a heretical form, however. I do not have a copy of St. John’s writings here at home, but he mentions the name of a heretical monk who influenced Muhammad.

          Fr. John W. Morris

          • Fr Hans Jacobse says

            That’s always been a very interesting thesis Fr. John, especially given the Islam prospered in the lands that never returned to Orthodoxy and remained Arian.

        • Lola, I believe St. John of Damascus was one of the first people to make this observation that you mention. I am looking for the reference. If and when I find it I will post a link or an excerpt of the text.

          • Lola J. Lee Beno says

            Yep. I’ve heard of this observation. I can’t help with the reference, sorry; I never bookmarked it.

            What I’m talking about is now – secularists aren’t going to turn to St. John of Damascus as a source.

            • LOL…A point well taken Lola. Ok…I think I may know of some scholars who have written similar articles without actually citing St. John of D (btw, it ticked me off that they didn’t give him his due) …I’ll see if I can dig them up.

          • Archpriest John Morris says

            The reference is in St. John of Damascus’ essay on heresies section 101 of his writings on the Ismaelites. St.John wrote of Mohammed, “This man after having chanced upon the Old and New Testaments, and likewise, it seems, having conversed with an Arian monk, devised his own heresy.” A foot note states “This may be the Nestorian monk Bahir (George of Sergus) who met the boy Mohammed at Bostra in Syria and claimed to recognize in him the sign of a prophet.” in Frederich H. Chase,Jr, trans. St John of Damascus Writings,” vol. 37 of The Fathers of the Church a New Translation, Washington, D.C.; The Catholic University of America Press, 11958, p. 153

            St. John also calls Islam the Ishmaelites and considers them “a forerunner of the Antichrist.”

            Fr. John W. Morris

        • Tell them (Muslims) that . . . .Anyway at the time of St. John it had not developed into a religion yet.

          • Other scholars propose that Mohammad was not religious at all, but a unifier of Arabs. They propose the religious aspects were built up by his followers, such as the ones St. John spoke with . . . .

          • what?! Colette wrote: “.Anyway at the time of St. John it had not developed into a religion yet.”
            Colette! The subject is our Father among the Saints John of Damascus. St. John was the Vizier of the Umayyad Muslim Caliph of Damascus. His father before him was also a Vizier to the same Caliph.
            A Caliph, Colette,is the head of those professing the Muslim religion throughout the world. OF COURSE Islam was a fully-developed and potent religion at the time St. John wrote his wonderful summary of ALL Orthodox doctrines.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Your Grace, according to Robert Spencer’s new book, Islam developed very slowly over time. It’s a startling thesis but an Islamic coin was found which showed Mohammed on one side (or was it Moses?) and a cross on the other. Strange.

              • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                I found this book at the library and checked it out; reading it now.

              • True. Some people claim that the Crosses atop some Russian Churches which have a crescent moon at the base represent the victory of the Cross over Islam. They forget that at the time of Russia’s conversion, the crescent moon was a Byzantine symbol, appearing on flags and icons and with the Holy Cross. Mehmet, the conqueror of Constntinople liked it, as he liked the style of so many Christian temples and ti eventually, as history developed became associated by some Christians almost exclusively with Islam
                At the time of Saint John of Damascus, charging or collecting interest would get you excommunicated: “usury” meant charging interest for the use of money, a terrible crime. This is how the Jews got into the banking business. Followers of Jesus Christ taught that interest collecting was a sin and their councils made canons against it. So, rich, greedy Christians licensed Jews to commit usury (charge interest) and share the profits with the Christians with pure hands. Eventually, though, casuistry (known mostly through the Jesuit version) reared its profitable head we are—-our religion has “developed!”

            • A lot of revisionist scholarship on Islam would put it coalescing into its seeing itself as an independent religion (as opposed to an apocalyptic Judeo-Christian reform movement) right around St John of Damascus’ lifetime, during the reign of the caliph Abd al-Malik, who introduced ‘islamic’ coinage and changed the language of administration over to Arabic, which probably precipitated St John’s leaving to become a monk. Abd al-Malik also built the Dome of the Rock, which is decorated with a strange mix of quranic and quasi-quranic verses, quite strong evidence that the Quran did not yet exist in exactly the form we have today– most revisionist scholarship would date the final collecting and editing (though usually not the composition) of the quran to a time shortly after the Abbasid Revolution of 750.

            • Your Grace,
              Can you expound on the greek word you are referring to for “religion” that St. John or any church father at this time is using?

              • Please make your request more specific, colette. Our word “religion” is Latin. I did not use Greek when i said our religion has developed and changed, relative to the virtue or sinfulness of usury. I think one Greek word for religion. as in ‘the religion of the Jews” in the N.T. is something like threskeia.

                I mean, we’re talking about MONEY here!
                MONEY to us Orthodox Christians is more sacred than even the World Trade Center, whose sanctity is based on its being the symbol of profitable private capitalism.

        • Well, either Christian or Jewish. He most likely was around heretical Christians where he lived and some propose that the prayer the Muslims have today was (5 times a day) borrowed from these Christians. He probably heard scripture in these same churches, but he was interested in the One True God and sought out the Jews. They rejected him. . . and later he killed them. . ..

          Anyway, I make the comparison between the Mormons and Muslims because
          1 they were both started by a single figure
          2 they both have their own book
          3 both had a revelation
          4 both were trying to be of the One true God faiths
          5 both didn’t know scripture well-at all
          6 both speak of Jesus-and Islam speaks of Jesus, Mary and the Virgin birth

          However both are not Christian. They are of another worldview altogether and reject the One True Church. St. John would not have called either one a “religion”. This is modern speak. Anything outside the church was labeled heresy (then).

          • colette. “Religion” is not modern speak. Religion was already an old word and concept in the time of St. John of Damascus. St. John knew of other religions. We ALL believe that heresy puts one outside the Church, as did St. John. Nevertheless, neither St. John nor we would call the Roman Catholic Church, with all its heresies, a different religion. The Roman Caesars considered Christianity to be the enemy of True Religion! Get it? St. John wrote of other religions and he wrote of heresies amongst believers.
            He certainly knew of the religion of the Zoroastrian Persian empire, and of the religion of Ancient Egypt and referred to those as religions. It’s NOT modern-speak! Why don’t you double check some of your stuff before you toss it out for us raw?

      • colette. The Mormon teachings differ more from Jewish and Christian teaching much more than Islamic teachings do. Muslims are more disgusted by the practice of baptizing those who have fallen asleep than we are. Muslims don’t require their members to wear special longjohns with arcane symbols on them. Of course, Muslim toleration of polygamy is as old as Israel’s, so they have that in common with the Mormon cult and with ancient Israel.
        Does anyone know when Jews stopped practicing polygamy?

        • George Michalopulos says

          Re: polygamy, I believe about 1,000 years ago (although I hear it’s picking up steam among the settlers on the West Bank). Mormonism is –let’s be honest–quite strange. However I don’t think that the majority of squishy Protestants have any room to denigrate it anymore. Consider ECUSA. Look at Jeremiah Wright’s racist theology. And what of Fr Pfleger, a Catholic priest, who pals around with Wright and Farrakhan?

          • Lola J. Lee Beno says

            Are you saying that polygamy is starting to be practiced by some Jewish settlers? Where did you hear that?

            • George will speak for himself, but I believe it would be accurate to say that the ancient Jewish practice of polygamy is being REVIVED on the West Bank.

              • Monk James says

                Strictly speaking, we’re thinking about POLYGYNY here, the practice of a man’s having more than one wife at a time. It’s counterpart is POLYANDRY, where one woman has several husbands at a time, but that’s much more rare. Not unheard of, but definitely rare. OTOH, polygamy means just ‘many marriages’ with no indication of the relationships between the sexes.

                The Mormons had a convenient ‘divine revelation’ in the late 19th century which canceled Brigham Young’s ‘divine revelation’ nearly fifty years earlier, urging the LDS to practice polygyny, and so they did for all the years in between. The second revelation seems to have arrived in the form of a US federal demand that Utah territory outlaw polygamy in all forms as a condition for admission to the Union as a state.

                Not that all the LDS gave up practicing polygyny; they just kept quiet about it. In recent years, several mormon splinter groups have resumed their original practice of ‘plural marriage’, at least for the men. There have been TV shows about these sects, and a few of them have fallen afoul of the law in other matters. For some reason, the ‘four corners’ area of the american southwest has a larger polygynous population than Utah itself.

                One of the main problems with polygyny, even as practiced by Mormon sects in the US, is that many young men, even boys, are considered superfluous, and so are forced out of their communities/families. This great dislocation has consistently resulted in many social problems such as the ‘street kid’ problem in Las Vegas and other cities. As can be imagined, all these boys and young men are in serious jeopardy of falling into criminal activity just to stay alive.

                This sort of wife-heavy society resulting from polygyny has been found to be inherently impractical because no such culture has ever solved the problem of surplus males without doing great harm to themselves and to the young men they exile. The liabilities far outnumber the benefits.

                If a man with several wives immigrates to the US, no jurisdiction will force him to abandon all but one — but no jurisdiction will allow him to marry yet another wife while he still has at least one left. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen under the radar and off the books — it does. But that’s not the only dangerous custom introduced to America by people who still believe in polygyny. It’s also those same people’s primitively patriarchal practices (‘honor killings’, ‘holy war’, etc.) which european and american cultures find repugnant.

                So I hope the Jews don’t go back to it, even though there’s no explicit biblical ban on polygamy of any kind. I suspect that the custom died out simply becuse of its ‘unintended results’. That hasn’t prevented rabbinic thought from musing on possible reasons for jewish polygyny’s demise more than twenty centuries ago.

                • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                  There’s really only one place where polyandry is practiced, and it has to do with keeping land in the family. Found mostly in Tibet.

                  And you’re right, there’s no explicit ban. But the rabbis during the 14th-15th century made it more difficult to practice, at least in Europe. They basically decreed that a man who wanted to have more than one wife had to get permission from 99 rabbis. Good luck with that . . .

                  The Sephardi Jews, in the Middle East before most emigrated to Israel, were able to practice polygamy more openly.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    That’s what I’m hearing Lola. As a rule, polygyny is easier to practice in tropical climes. Eurasia it’s practically impossible for one man to support more than one woman.

                • Strictly speaking, there is no crime of polygyny and no crime of polyandry. The crime, Monk James, is called “Bigamy.” Right? Right. B-I-G-A-M-Y. Polygamy is aggravated BIGAMY. If a woman is married to two men at the same time, she is guilty of bigamy. if a man marries two women he is guilty of bigamy. The woman is NOT guilty of the non-existing crime of polyandry, and the man is not guilty of the non-existing crime of polygyny. A man may regularly visit at local house of prostitution and couple regularly with some of its denizens, the same ones that is not a crime, but it is polygynous.
                  Jacob got married twice: he was a bigamist/polygamist. Marrying more than one woman is called Polygamy. As theologians were once mocked for asking how many angels can dance on the point of a needle or pin (the answer: as many as want to), some students of linguistic science tend to look for items concerning their specialty in all human intercourse.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Lola, I’ve picked it up from secularist Jewish websites (such as that are very anti-Settler. I’ve also heard it said from people that have been to Israel.

        • Your Grace,
          I forgot about polygamy . . . add that one to the list. I’m not saying they are the same, just equally not Christian, although in certain ways I have more respect towards Islam. I was raised in a highly Mormon area and my husband was raised in Utah, so know about those underware and that they used to not accept black people into the fold .. .

      • Patrick Henry Reardon says

        Colette says of the current Episcopal Church, “It’s not that they are heretical–they are not even Christian. They are as Christian as Islam.”

        Respectfully, as an institution, the Episcopal Church is a good deal less Christian than Islam.

        Look at the texts of some of their “experimental liturgies.” The theology does not rise above animism.

        If a level of reverence toward Mary of Nazareth may serve as a measuring rod, Islam is considerably more Christian than a number of Protestant bodies I could mention.

    • The storm is currently headed toward New Orleans. Does this now mean that we should stop eating gumbo?

    • Phil urr upp! You are already phull of it up over your ears!

      • George Michalopulos: Is that permissible?
        (Please, no special privileges for the higher clergy.)

        • Patrick Henry Reardon says

          I would not worry about it, Father Deacon.

          Bishops who use these and similar expressions invite their own special sort of opprobrium. The bishop in question seems not to respect himself very much.

    • Phil,
      Is your comment intended to be ironic?
      If not, even I, a non-American, know that the Constitution of the US forbids a religious test to be applied to any public office, including the presidency. This allows for a Mormon, a Quaker, a Muslim, even an atheist to become president. Romney’s Mormonism is, constitutionally, irrelevant to his fitness for public office. Personally, if I were American, I’d be more concerned about his war mongering and his payment of taxes than his Mormonism.

  13. cynthia curran says

    Well, to me it doesn’t matter if he Romney is Christian or not. People should vote on the issues not theologically,

    • George Michalopulos says

      Wise words, Cynthia. Martin Luther said that “it is better to be ruled by a wise Turk than a foolish Christian.”

      • And Romney is neither one, unless you do not consider Mormonism to be an anti-Christian cult, as I do.

        • Archpriest John W. Morris says

          Mormonism was founded by a well known con man who charged people to look for buried Spanish treasure in upstate New York with what he called a magic peep stone. He claimed to translate the Book of Mormon from plates of gold that have disappeared and no one else ever saw. Like so many other people, he used religion as a source of power and wealth. In that sense, I am not so sure that he was unlike Muhammad, who was a bandit who led his followers to raid caravans and steal their goods in the name of their god. He once lusted after his nephew’s wife, and conveniently received a revelation from his god that told him that it was the will of god that he be given the woman. There is a whole section in the Koran about how to divide the spoils of a raid on a caravan of non-believers.

          Fr. John W. Morris

  14. cynthia curran says

    I disagree with you on the hurricane, God doesn’t always opposed non believers read about Cyprus in the Old Testament and for the three hundred years prior to Constantine the christian obey the rules of the Roman Empire. If Obama was Jim Wallis who is a left wing Evangelical I still would not vote for him. Obama theology I’m not certain about either.

  15. Does Archbishop Seraphim (Storheim) still exist?
    He is not listed nor shown on the OCA web site. I have not heard of his death, deposition, conviction, apostasy, resignation nor retirement.
    Is this some kind of quasi-Orwellian, quasi-Kafkan, quasit-Pinchet involuntary disappearance?

    It seems to me that the OCA treats so many people, including hierarchs, as dogs, that the Novel Skete with its dog breeding and handling, should play a larger part in the Chancery of the OCA. I mean, if you’re going to keep treating people like dogs, you should get professional help, and the Novel Skete has that!

    • Your Grace,
      Archbishop Seraphim has been “suspended”:
      Whether that is canonical or not I will leave for others to determine; however, it would appear to be in accordance with OCA “procedures”, fwiw. Personally, I can understand the difficulties this matter might cause the OCA, and suspension is probably appropriate but I find the Archbishop’s “disappearance” from the OCA websute difficult to reconcile with the legal principle that an accused person is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Does not Christian charity require as much as well, not to mention canon law?

    • Michael Bauman says

      Your Grace, you may have a point, The Skete treats its dogs far better than the OCA seems to treat her people.
      They respect their dogs as creatures of God and apply clear standards of behavior, lovingly but strictly enforced with the expectation of obedience. Not a bad formula IMO.

  16. Thanks, BAsil. Melanie also reminded me. My brain just resists the whole idea of anyone being suspended without ANY canonical basis for such.

  17. cynthia curran says

    Well, I not familiar with polygamy on the west bank. In Jesus’s day most polygamy was in the house of Herod the Great that have a few wives and he put to his favorite wife mariamne. Most Jews through out history had only one wife since they usually couldn’t afford a second wife.

  18. cynthia curran says

    Herod was not fully Jewish, some Edomite blood. The Jews forced Herod ancestors to become Jewish. As the emperor Augustus . I believe George is correct, the last wealthy Jews that had multiple wives were in the middle ages.

  19. cynthia curran says

    I was going to say the Emperor Augustus stated its better to be a pig than one of Herod’s sons.

  20. cynthia curran says

    Herod put his favorite wife mariamne to death.

  21. cynthia curran says

    Well, Obama ex-pastor did too much of Rome and the USA which there is some comparisons but a lot of difference. To rev Wright religion is all politics. Wright was trying to have Jews as blacks since they once were in Egypt- Jews are Semitic and even in the old testament account they rarely intermarriage other gorps. Egypt was interesting the people could be Semitic, Berbers, Blacks or later on European-Greeks or Romans. His view of history Wright is too simple; therefore his theology that history based with modern comparisons is faulty. In fact a lot of Northern Africa compared to Central or Southern Africa is Semitic-Arab conquest or Berber groups.

  22. cynthia curran says

    To no ones surprise, rather than becoming libertarian, immigrants loyally support the Social Democratic welfare state, as their economic self interests and the political culture of their societies would predicts. In the latest Swedish election, only 43% of Swedes but 77% of non-western immigrants voted for the left (this was an unusually bad year for the left, who got 92% of the immigrant vote in 2002!). In the United States, where while only 35% of non-Hispanic whites prefer higher taxes in return for more government services, the figure is 65% for first generation Hispanic immigrants, and 66% for second generation Hispanics. This was from Sweden and as George stated before, immigrants usually don’t agree with him on politics and the results from a different country are similar to what George says.