Met. Joseph Lays Out His General Vision at Enthronement

Met. Joseph

Met. Joseph

In his speech given at his recent enthronement, Met. Joseph outlines what he sees as his primary responsibilities as the new Chief Hierarch of the Antiochian Orthodox Church of N. America.

Particularly encouraging were some direct references (although no details) on the inner life of the Church as well as the place in the broader culture. It’s a fairly long speech so we’ve only highlighted some portions below.

The entire speech can be read on the Antiochian Archdiocese website.

Source: Antiochian Archdiocese website.

I shall use this staff entrusted today to me to promote the life of the Gospel in this American land…The staff of the episcopate does not represent an authority disconnected from God’s mercy and love. I shall lean on this staff in order to listen to everyone and to lead us to work together in unity. I am not disconnected from you, my brother bishops—your wisdom and experience support me, as I support you! I am not disconnected from you, my beloved presbyters and deacons: St Ignatius of Antioch said that the Church functions “in oneness of mind with the Bishop along with the presbyters and deacons in council, serving and guiding the people of God.”


I shall use this staff to proclaim the Gospel and to defend the sacred Canons of the Church, in concert with the Holy Synod of the holy and great Church of Antioch. I shall use this staff to raise up God-loving clergymen to exercise the pastorate in every city, town, and countryside throughout this land.


I shall use this staff to work with the trustees of this Archdiocese with full transparency and administrative integrity in all spiritual, financial and business matters. We must in every detail be worthy of the full “trust” of our faithful in everything we do.

[. . .]

I shall use this staff to guide our Archdiocesan organizations into a fuller achievement of our goals in Christ’s service for raising up of the human person-in-community in every way.

[. . .]

I shall use this staff to continue their legacy and to widen the scope of our mission to yet other sheep which are not yet of this fold.

[. . .]

I shall use this staff to proclaim the Gospel to every listening ear of the leaders of our country. With my fellow Antiochian brother bishops sharing this pastoral staff with me, we together shall not rest until our apostolic work is done—and the Lord Himself alone knows when that will be!

I shall use this staff to “quell the schisms” which afflict the church and to rid the church of any factionalism. In the holy and great Church of Antioch, we know of no preferred ethnos or language, no preferred human state. We have learned from the Apostles themselves the uniqueness of every human and cultural achievement.

[. . .]

Lastly, I shall use this staff to bring the spiritual, ethical, and moral authority of the Church of Ss. Peter & Paul, “the first to be called Christians,” to restore American society and culture as a whole. We of the holy Church of Antioch hold a special understanding of the diversity of North America. Antioch’s diversity is even more diverse than America’s! In our ancient great city, we lived for centuries with a great multi-cultural life. Roman, Greek, Arab, Aramaic/Syriac, and Islamic cultures lived side by side informing and supporting each other.


  1. I sure hope you are right but one speech does not make for change. So far the facts don’t really spell out the items mentioned in the speech. For instance, where is that outside audit that was requested several years ago? Nothing has happened. By the way, the word on the street is that Metropolitan Philip left the archdiocese a substantial amount of money. No offense, but in the interest of full disclosure and transparency, how about an accounting of this? And not to sound mean spirited but have you googled the current comptroller of the archdiocese? Please do. And yes, it is the same guy. Enough said until you check this out.

    Metropolitan Joseph is a nice man, but he unfortunately is still a foreigner to America. I suspect that he will continue to operate in an old world manner. God help him in his ministry.

    • Give the man time, for Pete’s sake.

      Metropolitan Joseph is a nice man, but he unfortunately is still a foreigner to America. I suspect that he will continue to operate in an old world manner. God help him in his ministry.

      He has been here for years, but anyway, who cares if he is a foreigner? Foreigners are what built this country. Foreigners are what built this church. Please listen to Met. Joseph’s interview on Ancient Faith Radio, wherein he states clearly that he rejects the convert-cradle paradigm, and that every one of us must convert to Christ every day.

      Met. Joseph is already pushing for an improvement of the liturgical life of the Archdiocese, as he did as Archbishop of Los Angeles. Give him time. Some things can be corrected right away, other things will be more gradual. But I have every confidence in what he aims to do.

      • Met. Joseph is already pushing for an improvement of the liturgical life of the Archdiocese, as he did as Archbishop of Los Angeles. Examples? I am curious. Keep in mind that I know little about Antiochian liturgical practices other than that +Basil has a reputation for being one of the good guys.

        • He has revived several minor practices and brought our services more into line with the Antiochian typicon, and especially in expanding the service of Matins on Sundays with the reading of the Synaxarion (lives of the saints) and adding other elements that went by the wayside when liturgical texts were translated into English.

          The most major recent thing, though, is that he published a memo that directed parishes to celebrate all of the services (Royal Hours, Vesperal Liturgy, Matins, Liturgy) for Christmas and Theophany. My parish did so; I know several parishes in my area that did not, and it was because of some confusion stemming from decades of an abbreviated liturgical life. Met. Joseph is also asking parishes to do the water blessing twice, like they are supposed to.

          Such an abbreviated liturgical life perhaps made sense at the time, but now Met. Joseph is pushing to get in line with the proper way of doing things. And it is causing confusion because change is hard, even if it’s correct change. But I fully believe he will be a force that gently but firmly pushes the Archdiocese in the right direction.

          • Ages, thanks for the short but very informative update on +Joseph and liturgics. That all sounds very encouraging. All of those changes (and really they aren’t changes so much as they are corrections of what actually were changes made in the past) sound very healthy. I’m not sure what the “confusion” would be about, but then, I was trained to understand that all of us come short of following the fullness of the Typikon, and that there are always improvements to be made in liturgical life, growing closer to the ideals set forth in the liturgical texts that are our precious heritage.

            Building a parish liturgical life is not easy. It takes a core of 3 people for it even to be possible: a knowledgeable and liturgically astute bishop who sets guidelines and enforces them, a priest who is obedient when it comes to following those guidelines and doesn’t cop an attitude about being given direction, and at least one chanter/choir director who knows the way around service books. For such a liturgical life to grow and flourish, all of these individuals (and preferably many more who are involved in serving — altar-boys, deacons, singers — whatever the parish has) should deeply love and care about the services of the church.

            Abbreviated liturgical life does make sense in some situations, but only when there is an acknowledgement that it is a temporary state that exists because of necessity — when a parish doesn’t yet have the experience, the personnel, or the liturgical books needed to serve more fully. When the temporary is thought of as being permanent and normal, that is where the problems come from. God willing, Metr. Joseph will lovingly but firmly hold the line. Everyone’s spiritual state benefits in the long run. These things have spiritual consequences.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Met. Joseph was enthroned THIS MONTH. Do you honestly think anyone could turn around something that evolved over 4 decades in a few weeks?

      And how would anyone “on the street” know how much money Met. Philip left the Archdiocese?! That was the whole problem, right? We didn’t know and we don’t know. Now, it doesn’t matter. It is what it is.

      This is a new chapter, Nick. While you’re looking backwards, Met. Joesph is looking forward. Get on board.

      • Merwyn Bogue says

        RE how would anyone “on the street” know how much money Met. Philip left the Archdiocese?!

        In a 2010 interview on AFR Met. Philip said, “… So, I told them, you can audit everything except this: the money which I am supervising and which I will leave to the archdiocese, and the archdiocese will be in good shape. I don’t have hundreds of millions of dollars. I have a few million dollars, OK? I am going to leave it to the archdiocese.”

        Metropolitan Philip, On The Record

    • SteveKnowlton says

      Doesn’t all of this hope and change constitute an admission that the last 20 years or so of emperor worship was a little broken?

      His first step might be to grant that poor woman that was publicly shamed by Met Phillip at the convention and give her a thank you note, an honorary membership in the Order of St. Ignatius. Like Obama, I think he could do this right away, stroke of the pen.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Doesn’t all of this hope and change constitute an admission that the last 20 years or so of emperor worship was a little broken?


    • Met Joseph needs to prepare his sermons. He is typically unprepared, going from one topic to the next without making any points. He has the ability to speak for an hour and say nothing. Humility and love comes through in thoughtful preparation. Empty blather is arrogant and condescending.

  2. Gail Sheppard says

    I remember seeing pictures of Met. Joseph visiting St. Paisius Monastery almost a decade ago. I had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with the Abbess, Mother Michaila, around the same time. This woman radiated warmth and light. Safford, Az. is about as inhospitable as you can get, but she turned that dismal desert into a cactus flower! – I believe that Met. Joseph will turn the inner life of the Church into a cactus flower, too. You wait and see.

  3. Michael Bauman says

    One thing that is concrete: he wants to build monasteries.

  4. Fr. Evangelos Pepps says

    Magnificent message.
    How we need “lead by example,” prayer and mercy before easy ..”authority.”

    May our Lord empower His Eminence with courage to no matter the challenge and cost, keep Christ and the golden rule before political support of some well-meaning Church leaders not so committed to his transparency and accountability.

    There is nothing that motivates clergy and the faithful than having a real bishop of integrity. Thank God for the many such…They need our prayers as no one is more a target of the evil one than these men who are the most important for the Church to go in the way of salvation rather than of (financial) control and politics.

    unworthy presbyter Evangelos
    (fr.) Evangelos Pepps

  5. I know! Me too! Incredibly direct yet warm, inspiring but forceful. Leadership!

  6. Michael Kinsey 1380805 says

    Greeting and Season Felicitations. I escaped Toledo and the convicts and crackheads they sent me to live with. I took Amtrak to Portland , Ore. I attended services at the Annunciation Church in Milwalkie, Ore. I was believed by people I have know for 25 years, that I was properly Chris-mated in Platina . I did confession and Communion for the first time at least a decade. They also intend to help me get settled> Fr Tate did not know of the nature of Met Pangratious,, and was deceived as I was. He has not responsibility or blame. It lies higher up the food chain. I will seek tonsure from Manton, which is free of the plague of the great whore,(homosexuality), with the departure of Webber. The Popes, worship of Luicifer might be the revealing of the anti-christ. Use your own discernment on this,This leave only the mark and the abomination of desolation standing in the Holy Place to be fulfilled. Peace be on to you. Trust is God.I am no longer excommunicated de facto.Sometime our blessings come in the fiercest guises. I am still sorrowful as the Christ said we would be, but it means we still have spiritual life if we suffer, we can still feel.

  7. Steve Knowlton says

    “I shall use this staff to “quell the schisms” which afflict the church and to rid the church of any factionalism. ”

    Hear hear, we wouldn’t want any *factionalism*, would we? For starters, we probably should not allow any one jurisdiction to claim itself to be the “first to be Christian.” or “THE church of Ss. Peter and Paul,” and so on.

    • These are facts. Check the New Testament. How are historical facts “factionalist”? How do these facts detract from the Sees of St. Andrew, St. Mark, or St. James. Or Ss. Cyril and Methodios and others as well? These Churches all have produced saints, and they all have proven their mettle.

      The point is that, unlike the First Rome, Antioch does not use its apostolic status to bully the other sister Churches.

      • SteveKnowlton says

        O, well, if you want facts, then the actual church of Antioch disappeared hundreds of years ago. What we today call the Antiochians are nothing less than Arabized Greek orthodoxy. Of course they don’t even call them “Antiochians” in places like Beirut and Damascus. The historical sounding name is just for marketing purposes here.

        • “Antiochians” (انطاكيين) is used pretty frequently in church discourse and official statements from the Patriarchate of Antioch to refer to members of the Church in the Middle East. As for history, well, you should probably read more. The term “Greek Orthodox” (ελληνική ορθόδοξη) is itself of very recent provenance and would’ve sounded bizarre or contradictory only a couple centuries ago.

        • Only because you say so.

          Pro tip: All of the local native rites disappeared long, long ago. The push for standardization was well underway in the 4th century. You don’t have to pretend like this is something new.

          • SteveKnowlton says

            I’m not the one pretending! Not just the native rites: the native people, the native scholarship, the native places, the native episcopate. Should I go on?

        • Francis Frost says

          Steve Knowlton wrote:

          O, well, if you want facts, then the actual church of Antioch disappeared hundreds of years ago. What we today call the Antiochians are nothing less than Arabized Greek orthodoxy. Of course they don’t even call them “Antiochians” in places like Beirut and Damascus. The historical sounding name is just for marketing purposes here.

          Dear Mr Knowlton, the see of Antakya still exists and thrives within the patriarchate of Antioch. Saidna Basil visited there several years ago and found a successful church within southern Turkey. Surprisingly, the diocese of Antakya has some 20,000 – 30,000 communicants,. The church within Turkey serves the Divine Services, teaches and preaches in the Turkish language. Because they have embraced Turkish citizenship and civility, they face far fewer impediments than does the EC.

          • SteveKnowlton says

            If I purchased all the modern best-selling books in multiple languages and housed them in an attractive building in Cairo, could I call it the “Library of Alexandria?”

          • The CITY of Antioch has been destroyed, not the See of Antioch!! My oh my, what an interesting take on history you have!!!

            • Even More Annoyed says

              Actually, no, today there are 5 different churches whose heads claim to be the Patriarchs of Antioch, our claim is historically weak. It’s you that needs to brush up on your history.

              Of course, if you’re the kind of person that believes St. Andrew founded the monastery of Valaam, then you should ignore the fine points of history and stick with your coloring books.

            • Are you kidding? What is the distinction? Did you learn that idea from some Orthodox source??? The only people who might understand this are the archbishops of Carthage and Hippo.

          • Michael Bauman says

            The faithful within the Patriarch of Antioch in Syria and elsewhere did not loose their Orthodox faith just because of some changes at the top. There has been a continuity of Orthodox faith there since the time of the early Apostles. That Apostolic continuity is now threatened by the resurgence of the Islamic jihad which is more brutal in many ways than any of its predecessors.

            Do not forget that we have Antiochian Orthodox Churches on this continent primarily due to the immigrants fleeing the Islamic persecutions of the late 19th and early 20th century.

            We are such privileged and arrogant people in the US.

  8. “Antioch’s diversity is even more diverse than America’s! In our ancient great city, we lived for centuries with a great multi-cultural life. Roman, Greek, Arab, Aramaic/Syriac, and Islamic cultures lived side by side informing and supporting each other. From the beginning our Church has consisted of people from diverse cultures. Over the centuries, we have lived together in relative harmony with a few noteworthy exceptions.”

    I suppose one should mention the obvious – – dhimmitude has netted the Church nothing. It’s fine to respect them as people. Do not respect their faith. It is Anti-Christ. Convert them if possible. Do not “co-exist”. They live in darkness.

  9. Ashley Nevins says

    Maybe the Church of Antioch in America will become the flagship role model of Orthodox relevancy and growth in America that overcomes the damage done to the church by the GOA and OCA. He has a nice staff, but that and words alone is not what will paradigm shift the church to greater effective cutting edge ministry development and outreach inclusiveness here. It is going to take a particular skill set and spiritual gifts to do that in a church structure and system that is not centralized authoritarian and an exclusive closed, isolated and subjective system. The structure and system and its rulers must be able to be held transparent and accountable by a moral and ethical church with the authority to hold it rulers transparent and accountable. What he says here to the Orthodox Mind is very relevant to that mind, but is his staff relevant to our western, rational and modernity society? The Orthodox have heard promises before by new hierarch’s to only be disappointed.

    At least he did not say, I have the most profound respect for the bishops on stage with me, like Jonah did at his enthronement and they were corrupt. The circumstances around his enthronement are different than they were with Jonah, but it is same basic structure and system of rule and that has been a problem in sustaining and growing the church here by other means than immigration, marriage and birth. A lot will be determined by the closed and isolated exclusive system becoming transparent and accountable. The more exclusive and authoritarian the structure and system of rule the less the transparency and accountability and the greater potential for moral and ethical issues to undermine the church and any dream it has of being relevant to America.

    The time for sober objectivity that is not subjective idealism is now. Realism over idealism or you lose objectivity and what loses objectivity is not good at holding senior church leaders transparent and accountable.

    Either he is a senior leader who is a humble servant of Christ that comes under the church and raises it up or he is authoritarian that comes over the church and pushes it down. If he sees himself as an exclusive Gods only true ruler in Gods only true church that will prove to be a serious undermining problem of prideful, arrogant and self righteous authoritarianism.

    Orthodox, when he says, By this staff, that is not relevancy to American’s. He is not a king and kings are not really relevant to us here. Perception is important in developing church relevancy and growth in open system freedom of religion competition that compares spiritual options. If that is the perception all of you want to have then be prepared to experience the ramifications of that thinking in the real world that is not a world of Orthodox subjective, closed and isolated idealism under foreign rule.

    Objectively, by the real world undeniable outcomes of the two largest jurisdictions it does not matter is the jurisdiction is under foreign rule or not and that points directly to the structure and system of rule and the thinking, attitude and behavior found in it that is causing the problem. You take symptoms back to cause or you treat the symptoms like they are the cause and the church remains in an irrelevant, failed and dying state here by a failure to recognize and deal with what undermines church relevancy and growth development.

    The Orthodox system of rule is the most closed, isolated and subjective in Christianity. That is the practical real world reality of it and it is a serious undermining problem that subjective idealism that has an exclusive viewpoint of itself cannot solve. If the problem is the solution that is a serious problem that will not bring solution, but it will take you into never ending laps around Mt. Sinai until you exhaust yourselves and disappear from the Christian landscape here. Proclaiming by a staff your greatness is relevancy to all of you, but what is relevancy to others is more important. The message sent is not to be Orthodox! Orthodox! Orthodox!. It is to be Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! If your religion, its structure and system of rule and its rulers is over Jesus that will directly impact your ability to be relevant. If your message is the Orthodox religion first and not Jesus first that will become apparent by your real world outcome here. In the real world practical outcomes point directly to their cause. If you are in a state of unseen exclusive idealistic thinking that is subjective, isolated and closed by an exclusive viewpoint of yourselves you will either not see or you will deny the reality of the real world and the cause of outcomes.

    All church relevancy and growth development strategy starts with Jesus in the Gospels as the role model or the church goes into a dying state of failure and where the failure symptoms point direct back to the cause of the failure. Christ is to be the standard of comparison and not an exclusive claim of being Gods only true church or objectivity is lost and subjective failure results. You are who you really are in the real world by outcome and not who you exclusively claim to be in subjective idealism of yourselves and your church. If your church is God the objective standard of measure then you will not really compare your church to Christ and subjective failure will result. Those Jesus confronted in John 8:31-59 had an exclusive, closed, isolated and subjective viewpoint of themselves and they refused to allow Jesus to be their objective comparison for their self idolatry in exclusive viewpoint of themselves. Jesus did not carry a staff among them, but their rulers did. Jesus dressed the street of His day and that was relevancy to those He took His message too and they compared Him to those in religious rule over them.

    They talked their dead orthodox religion in their traditions as their salvation and He talked Jesus in living relationship as their salvation. They, in affect, told Christ He was heresy teaching apostasy and by their exclusiveness refused to see how they were the ones who were heresy practicing apostasy. They saw themselves as Gods objective standard of comparison by their exclusive viewpoint they had of themselves and that caused them to lose all objectivity about themselves.

    Freedom in Christ speaks Jesus as God and salvation relevancy and bondage by religion speaks religion as God and salvation relevancy. That is one of the comparisons Christ is making in John 8:31-59. In other words, it as easy to see the real world outcome of a church as it is to see the real world outcome of those Christ confronted if Christ is your standard of comparison and not a religion. Christ is still making that same comparison today if He is the comparison and not a religion. Christ today still paradigm shifts past and leaves behind what will not paradigm to relevancy with Him. Religion molds you into what it is and Christ transforms into who He is and it is easy to tell the difference in the two kinds of churches in their real world outcomes.

    Transformation is paradigm shift that religion really cannot paradigm shift with. Freedom in Christ can paradigm shift with Jesus and bondage by religion can’t. That is what Jesus is telling them in John 8:31-59 and where you see Him comparing freedom in Christ relevancy to their dead religion irrelevancy. They did not like the comparison and went into exclusive closed system dead religion denial. What a church uses as its God of objective comparison determines its real world outcome and their reaction if they are using an idol god as their viewpoint of themselves. Christ told them that their idolatry of their religion was not salvation and they immediately went into idolatry self protection apologetic mode. What did they use primarily as their apologetic? They used tradition in their religion that was dead. The comparison was to what dies and what lives and why and once you understand why you understand how it kills a church dead and as the how points directly back to the why. Symptoms point to cause. That is rational Christianity and Jesus was rational in the Gospels. He pointed out the symptoms of their problem and then took them directly to the cause and the cause was a failed church worst nightmare come true, John 8:42-44. It was a comparison between rational and irrational, objective and subjective, bondage and freedom, dead religion and living Jesus, the authority of Christ’s grace and the authority of a authority problem of legalism and Satan and Jesus. There is more in the comparison than this but this will suffice to see the point being made, you think?

    Christ is the model of relevancy paradigm shift or if something else is it will fail to paradigm shift with the relevancy of Jesus in the society and generation it is found in. The living Jesus told them either they relevancy paradigm shift with Him or they are left behind in their religion of traditions that will not paradigm shift. He told them they were dying and not living and they rejected that objectivity He brought to them by their exclusive subjective religion viewpoint they had of themselves that was superior and right over what Jesus was telling them.

    The comparison either is Christ or religion and one leads to relevancy paradigm shift and the other one leads to church death by being left behind by tradition and issues of corruption. Your church dies by the degree it cannot by religion paradigm shift with Jesus and it lives by the degree it can paradigm shift with Jesus. The perception those outside of you will have will really either be your focus on your religion or your focus on Jesus and that will directly impact your relevancy and growth here. Is the new metropolitan really saying, by this staff I will enforce our religion or is he saying by this staff I will share the love of Jesus to a lost, wounded, traumatized and broken world that does not personally know Jesus? Is that staff the molding push down of authoritarian religion or is it the grace of humble Jesus that comes under people and leads them raises them up into transformation by Jesus? Your rulers can only lead you into the degree of transformation that they themselves have by their having been transformed by Jesus. If they are molded rule and not transformed rule that will become glaringly obvious by the real world outcome they lead the church into.

    To me, by this staff, means molding by religion and not transformation by Jesus. It sounds like push down and raise up to me. Within 3 years you will all be able to see which one he really is and it will be undeniable either way. I do not pray for the success of your church. I pray that it lives for Jesus first and that any obstacle to that is exposed and dealt with in transparency and accountability that has the authority to hold transparent and accountable. I pray Gods will for your church life and not the will of religion for its church death here. I pray your rulers are like Jesus and not like the rulers He confronted in the Gospels and who ruled with swagger sticks of authoritarian power and control based in frozen legalistic religion tradition that could not paradigm shift with Jesus. Either this new metropolitan is like the Jesus of Philippians 2 in his coming to you and leading you or he is a symptom pointing to a church failure cause.

    The questions in church failure are: How many symptoms pointing directly to the cause do you need before you see and admit the cause? How corrupt, failed, irrelevant, abusive and dying does it all have to become before you recognize the cause?

    This is what I know for a fact by Jesus the only comparison in Gospels. Legalism in religion tradition cannot paradigm shift with the grace of freedom in Christ. The lie cannot paradigm shift with the truth that sets you free of that lie and so you can paradigm shift with Jesus. If the truth of freedom in Christ cannot set your church free it will not paradigm shift to Christ relevancy. You see this problem in the first 3 chapters of Galatians and it is something that the Greek Orthodox in particular would want to pay attention too the most. More reasons why a Jesus relevancy paradigm shift will be undermined by religion tradition are found there. Paul would have divided with Peter over it had Peter not repented and just like Jesus did divide from those He confronted and who would not repent of what was stopping them from paradigm shifting with Jesus.

    If you do not divide from corporate systemic sin or from what will turn you into corporate systemic sin your church will be turned into systemic corruption and it will fail by the unity with corruption as its unity. No matter what your tradition and exclusive claim is it will not hold you together if corruption is your unity. If will fracture you as it internally divides you. Your church will disintegrate over time if corruption and legalism in tradition is your unity. You will divide yourselves from Jesus and leave yourselves behind. Divide from Jesus is dividing from the power of the Holy Spirit and you will be left powerless behind unable to paradigm shift with Jesus by the power of Jesus. The idol god steals your power to prop himself up with and that leaves you powerless to paradigm shift with the power of Christ. The church in its own power is powerless to paradigm shift by the power of Jesus.

    All church relevancy and development and what can kill it dead starts with Jesus in the Gospels as the comparison. If it starts with the exclusive claim as the comparison that is the set up for failure over time. Subjectivity cannot objectively compare and the church that cannot objectively be compared to Jesus is the set up for that church failure. Your church will fail by the degree it is the God of comparison over Jesus being your God of comparison. If your church is over Jesus and therefore stopping Jesus from coming under it to raise it up it will go down. It will push itself down to church death. Your rulers will beat it down with their staffs of authoritarian power and control that has nothing to do with the humble servant Jesus grace authority of Philippians chapter two.

    Spoken like a heretic to Orthodoxy that practices apostasy or is this spoken with Christ first in mind and as the priority of Him being the only comparison? Is this a suspect lie of salvation speaking to you or is it the salvation of Jesus speaking to you? Am I deceived and speaking deception or am I am speaking the truth of Jesus to you? Well, which is it? By your exclusive claim of being Gods only true Christians you should be able to tell me either way. After all, your church is the exclusive truth of God that discerns lie from truth like no one else in Christianity can as the standard of what a Gods only true church is and therefore has no comparison to it. If I am not of your exclusive claim that rationally means I am either deceived and can’t see the deception or I am lying to you and believe I am telling you the truth in my deception. Either I am a deceived liar who has been deceived by a lie believing it is the truth of Jesus or I am telling you the truth of Jesus.

    • Unfortunately, a rather lengthy post that most will not read, that contains many insightful statements that most Orthodox don’t wish to hear. Self reflection and critique are not part of the modern Orthodox paradigm. Do things the way they have always been done and everything will be fine.

      • Michael Bauman says

        And virtually identical to the other massive tomes he has posted here in the past.

    • Fr. Peter M. Dubinin says

      Ashley: I commend you on your consistent effort to express yourself. I think more would give heed to consider what you write if you back off from what presents as underlying anger and maybe even hatred to the Orthodox Church and Christians. This most recent entry is an example; you make many observations worthy of consideration. Though I too would disagree with many of your observations and the choice of words, phrases you employ (reminds me of a good friend and one time roommate I had at Moody Bible Institute; we called him rocket man because in his zeal for Christ he would often allow his emotion to get the best of him, rendering his admonition, exhortation, instruction difficult to understand). What keeps me in the Orthodox Church my friend is precisely a living, vibrant and real relationship with the resurrected Christ (i.e., the Christ, Son of the Living God) I encounter in the Holy Eucharist. My evangelical experience could not ultimately provide that; we talked a great deal about “accepting,” “receiving” Jesus but that was all it amounted to – words.

      I like what you stated above – “They talked their dead orthodox religion in their traditions as their salvation and He talked Jesus in living relationship as their salvation. They, in affect, told Christ He was heresy teaching apostasy and by their exclusiveness refused to see how they were the ones who were heresy practicing apostasy. They saw themselves as Gods objective standard of comparison by their exclusive viewpoint they had of themselves and that caused them to lose all objectivity about themselves.”

      Yes indeed, to whom much is given, much is required. I will have much for which to answer on the day of judgment because I may have given people someone or something other than Jesus to embrace and follow to the Kingdom of God. Peace.

    • “It is going to take a particular skill set and spiritual gifts to do that in a church structure and system that is not centralized authoritarian and an exclusive closed, isolated and subjective system.”

      I disagree. The decentralized nature of the OCA and GOA have proven disastrous.

      And please, for the love of all things sacred, do not approach talk of “relevance.” Orthodoxy is relevant in all cultures because it is truth. But if being true to a culture is what you seek, we may as well pack it in. The Protestants and Catholics have already demonstrated that is a losing battle.

  10. the antiochians had a window of opportunity, elect an american born, widowed priest as their leader – the time for foreign born immigrant celibate monks who are related to old country prelates is over and is a prescription for disaster- if you want to grow organically and not by immigration the paradigm needs to change and change by actions not words- – i fear that the antiochians will continue to be an immigrant church and not the cosmopolitan american church of metropolitan antony – i fear for the antiochain western rite, i fear for the none arab antiochains – monsateries are not needed – an antiochain wing to st judes is, stop the bleeding of money back to the old country and build institutions here that have meaning – monasteries are stranded investments – it is evident that the only group with a committment to the usa is the beleagured oca, they are beginning to get it that growth needs to come from with in, and unfortunately, their hey day was when widowed metropolitans ruled – platon, theophiolus, leonty, ireney ruled – when the celibates took over it was down hill all the way – the questions to ask are what do the people want, what do the people need, what will strengthen and build the church so a legacy remains 100 years from now – why is it that protestant groups smaller than the christian eastern orthodox entotal here in the usa have hospitals, universities, elderly housing and what do we have? a few seminaries of minor significance – look at their size and enrollment – the critical mass for stability barely exists – i fear that with joseph it will be business as usual – more arabic in the liturgy, more nasal byzantine chant which is not welcoming to the american, the enhancement of matins served to an empty church – we need to maximize our resources, maximize the effectiveness of their use, stop hiding behind liturgics and become one with the laity, remember the laity do not bite – however this gemeration thst we now live in requires respect and honor to be earned and not just bestowed, the days of divine right are over, also work as chrisitan communities and not tribes, fringe groups, or throwbacks to a bygone age, and i fear that foreign and foreign born rule will just engender all that is failing now. our focus needs to be on the here and now in the usa otherwise we will continue to loose our young people to the american chruches as has and continues to happen — in my view the antiochians had a golden opportunity and they dropped the ball – just a very sad perspective from the outside looking in by someone who has and continues to study the history of the eastern christiaqn churches in the usa and knows what they were, and what they could have been, and how they are in decline – may God bless us all and help us to see reality

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      I, too, have often wondered where the Orthodox hospitals, schools, and colleges in this country are…..

      • Michael Bauman says

        There are quite a few Orthodox parochial schools around the country and others forming. When my parish began our school a couple of years ago, we hired a full-time headmaster from another Orthodox school. Of course the tuition for elementary school is above $3000 a year. As yet, not many scholarships are available.

        There is an Orthodox centered college in southern California. There have been several attempts in the past but all have failed thus far for lack of interest and money. It is a liberal arts college.

        Forming real Orthodox schools and hospitals in this environment is counter-cultural. It goes against the prevailing culture in which we live and the false culture that has been fostered in the Orthodox Church for generations–that the Orthodox Church is an immigrant Church and we have to be invisible.

        The question is whether or not we have the strength to fight both cultures at the same time plus our own apathy.

        Personally, I think small is better. Local schools, local health care — free clinics and the like not dependent on insurance. Assistance for seniors in their homes. That sort of thing.

        The problem is that we moderns tend to look at the Church as something that is part of our life added on rather than the center of a community founded on Christ and living for Him, caring for each other in all ways — including others as we can.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Here is one reason, perhaps, that establishing schools and hospitals in our time will be unlikely to happen:

        Patrick Reilly of the Cardinal Newman Society discusses in the Wall Street Journal this week only the latest in our recent series of government intrusions upon religion, in the Washington DC City Council’s decision to amend the city’s “Human Rights Act” to require religious K-12 schools and universities to fund and encourage on-campus gay advocacy groups. It is considering another “reproductive health” amendment that could prevent religious schools from enforcing contracts in which teachers pledge to be moral examples to students and to abide by religious teachings—including teachings against abortion, sterilization or contraception.

        Proponents and opponents believe this amendment also could be used to force the district’s employers—including religious nonprofits—to cover abortion in employee health plans. That would go a step further than ObamaCare’s mandatory coverage of sterilization and contraception, which has been challenged by 55 lawsuits from religious colleges, charities and other nonprofits

        You can read the entire article here:

        • Tim R. Mo reartiss says

          All the more reason for the formation of such schools, now and in the years to come. The Supreme Court has already clearly upheld the power of religious schools to impose religious rules upon employees.

          Five blocks from our house is St. Patrick’s School, the local Catholic elementary school. It is in the building once occupied by Aquinas Academy, the Catholic girls’ high school which my (to-be) wife was attending when I met her in 1964, at age 16. The girls’ high schools later merged with the boys’ high school to form a single Catholic high school in Tacoma.

          Anyhow, St. Patrick’s is prospering. Etched in the glass over every entrance (I count five) is the following:

          “Let it be known to all that enter here, that Christ is the reason for this school, the unseen but ever present teacher in its classes, the model of its faculty and the inspiration of its students.”

          It is very good to see this; I feel a little hope every time I walk by. We all need to make similar declarations whenever we can.

    • Widowed priests being made bishops is hardly an answer — there have been some really bad ones (one of our big topics of discussion right now — +Nikon — is a widower).

      How many of the “celibates,” as you call them, (hopefully all bishops are celibate, regardless of whether they have ever been married in the past) ever actually lived as monastics for a protracted period of time, going through the crucible of obedience and self-denial that real monastic life produces? From what I have seen in the OCA and the Antiochian Archdiocese, the answer in the past has been, “very few.”

      The problem with “monastic” bishops today would actually seem to be that, contrary to Orthodox historical standards, few of these bishops were actually monastics prior to becoming bishops. They were never married, true, but their monasticism has all too often been either non-existent in practice, or at least short in duration and lacking in rigor. There is more to being a monastic than not having ever been married.

      This is not necessarily their fault — we have a shortage of monastic institutions in the U.S. that hold up very well when compared to Orthodox historic standards. And we must never forget that healthy monasteries are only possible when their are healthy monks to fill them — and healthy monks come from healthy Orthodox families and healthy local parishes. It starts to become a vicious cycle when bishops, who are responsible for overseeing monasteries and seeing to their spiritual health, don’t themselves know what it is like to live in a healthy monastery… Maybe we just need more time to pass.

      This was one of the reasons why I was initially optimistic about +Jonah, since he actually had some experience in monastic life — although even there, how long had he lived in a situation of monastic obedience and being taught by experienced monks in an established monastery before he was made an abbot? I know he had a Valaam connection of some sort, but his inability to serve in Slavonic speaks volumes regarding how limited that experience was.

      Again — not his fault. Where does one go in America to find healthy monasticism in a community of any size? Holy Trinity perhaps, perhaps Platina, and I’ve heard good things about Holy Cross in West Virginia. All are of at least a minimal size. St. Tikhon’s legacy has not proven to produce bishops of particular strength and stature, but is perhaps seeing better days. Both Holy Trinity and St. Tikhon’s could perhaps be somewhat hampered by their dual mission as seminaries, which I would think couldn’t help but be distracting and have the danger of making the monastic life of the institutions seem like side-notes.

      But give up on the idea of the monastic bishop? I think that would be a mistake. Better to concentrate our efforts on having a spiritually healthy parish life that produces healthy monastics — and to demand strictness, traditional approaches (i.e. New Skete needs transformation), and judicious cross-pollination from healthy old-country monasteries. Only the highest standards can be accepted in our monasteries — moral, liturgical, ascetic, theological. And yes, what goes on in monasteries is absolutely the business of us laymen — monasteries are where our future bishops come from. And we should absolutely use the brains and spiritual discernment that God gave us in ascertaining which monastic institutions are healthy and which one’s aren’t

      A good start would be to put a stop to the practice of “monks” who live by themselves and call it monasticism, having them rather move to communal life in real monasteries. Orthodox tradition is clear that solitary life is a perilous state that only the most advanced monks were permitted to pursue, and only after having been tested by many years of communal life and obedience as monastics. Same for “monasteries” with two or three monks living together. How is one to learn the lessons of communal coenobitic life that way?

      Again, I think the problem is not too much monasticism in men who are chosen to be bishops in some jurisdictions, but rather, too little.

      • SteveKnowlton says

        The last time bishops were consistently drawn from monasteries was a LONG time ago, in any church. You can hardly blame the OCA for departing from this alleged “standard.” Think of the “Antiochian” Bishop Raphael, trained in… a Russian seminary. (Kazan, I believe). Or rather, for Samn!’s benefit: (“Казан”).

        • A “very LONG time ago?” How long exactly is that? I would like to see evidence that Greek, Serbian, Russian, etc. bishops circa 1900 (for instance) were routinely chosen from those who had never lived as monastics in actual monasteries. I would like to see something in writing that demonstrates when this supposed change happened, and when bishops were more likely never to have lived in a monastery than to have lived in one.

          There have doubtless been times when political considerations have made it hard to follow this standard (such as the virtual elimination of monasteries under Communist rule in Russia, or the difficulties caused by Muslim rule in Greece, the Balkans, or the Middle East — or some Byzantine emperors appointing family members to certain prominent sees). But I have encountered no evidence that the Church ever decided that this ideal was no longer relevant — but perhaps I am wrong.

          • SteveKnowlton says

            I can only speak to the Russian situation. Circa 1900, ALL Russian bishops were drawn from the elite academies. See Gregory Freeze’s amazingly researched books on the topic of the Russian clergy. This was basically the case going back to Peter the Great, late 1600s.

            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              Hear! Hear! I want to fully support Steve Knowlton’s endorsement Professor Freeze’s work, especially, but not only, on the Russian clergy/ Start with “Russian Levites” and go on from there. You’ll be glad you did.

        • He was trained at Chalki. He was a professor at Kazan.

      • r j klancko says

        I must take exception to some of what you say, the majority of monastics and plethora of bishops who I have met and are celibate strick me as people on the run from something – they all seem to have certain personality and perceptual flaws that indicate they cannot function in the real world let alone understand its complexities – they believe everyone needs to be a monastic and seem to fail to understand how organic family life happens. they make themselves self made martyrs in their own little world and as such have little if any empathy for the laity and their challenges, infact i have found a good portion of them to be just downright arrogant and self serving.

        great in theory but not a clue as to application

        our problem is not a lack of monastics, but our problem is that we refuse to come out of our comfort zone, become part of the fabric of this country, build institutions for our youth and elderly – if you ask me we have enough monasteries in the usa and enough people in hiding unable to cope with the world around them

        again just one perspective on the sinking ship trying to find a way of plugging the fracture

        • I do not disagree that there is a lot of pathology amongst celibate clergy and monastics — there is a lot of pathology around, period, and we all do our best to remain as free from it ourselves as we can and to raise our kids to be as free from pathology as is needed.

          You will notice that I emphasized healthy monasticism — specifically cenobitic monasticism where there are all of the frictions of quotidian life and where there is accountability and supervision. This is the ideal source of bishops — which means psychologically healthy monks coming from healthy monasteries. And that starts with them being psychologically healthy human beings who come from psychologically healthy and loving families, aided by healthy parish life.

          I quite agree that we have enough monasteries in the US. I would suggest that we have too many — specifically too many small monasteries and sketes that don’t have enough members for them to be the types of monastic crucibles that produced elders and great bishops in the past.

          I have known monastics who understand family life and the struggles we all face in the world very well. Are they perhaps the exception? Perhaps so, but it from their ranks that bishops should be chosen.

        • Salemlemko says

          Well said!

        • “they believe everyone needs to be a monastic and seem to fail to understand how organic family life happens. they make themselves self made martyrs in their own little world and as such have little if any empathy for the laity and their challenges, in fact i have found a good portion of them to be just downright arrogant and self serving.”

          I believe that a proper, sufficiently long, monastic life would largely help to heal such impediments to spiritual leadership.

          • “largely help to heal” Groan..some ugly syntax there.

            Maybe, “provide essential healing of such impediments to spiritual leadership.”

  11. Greetings,
    I find your comments very interesting but very critical of Orthodoxy, true or not.
    But my question is not about content as much as it is as to why you have a particular interest in commenting to Orthodox, in particular?
    Thank you

  12. r j klancko says

    you really have missed the point michael – such paranoia – perhaps you need to realize that this is how we are perceived by our fellow christians – i am a cradle orthodox, a subdeacon, and eastern church archivist and historian – well schooled in eastern church theology and history and i am conerned that we continue to fail to see reality, live in the past, get orgasms about being ethno-centrics, and whether we are part of the correct jurisdiction which was created on the correct day by the correct people, with the correct intent, and we love to create and perpeturate divisions – ( e.g. 4 russian, at least 6 greek, 2 albanian, 2 romanian, 2 bulgarian, etc.) our progress here in the usa is dismal at best, yet we seem go about in the ether while God is crteating opportunities, but because these are not garbed in the manner we expect, we shun them – just look at our history in the usa, not the censored, glorified, simplified ones but the real truth — the consistancy is inconsistancy — bottomline, for example – all I need to ask is how can one man, who espoused christianity, of middle eastern extraction, found a charitible hospital of world wide reputation where as, a whole archdiocese has not ( i allude to amos jacobs – better known as danny thomas) – even created a wing there – in defference to many protestant demonations who have created hospitals, universities, and great seminaries — our committment to ethno centric values and not to the country that has embraced us will be our undoing, for we are not part of the fabric but hang on solely on the fringe, as select ghettos/tribes — and this is my saddness and there is no legacy for my grandchildren nor a firm future — if you truly had christian love and understanding you would not have had the audacity of questioning the why of my interest, such slepticism is a negative eastern orthodox trait, but would have been thankful for my concern – we seem to great joy in segmenting thru skepticism– open your eyes to reality — we are solely dying – our present half life appears to be 20 years – the hard numbers of alexi kindratch back this up — all i hope is the following – may God give us the ability create positive change and a future for our youth. otherwise there will be an abundance potential museums to our past abounding thruough out our beloved country. amen

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      r j klancko said, “…our committment to ethno centric values and not to the country that has embraced us will be our undoing, for we are not part of the fabric but hang on solely on the fringe, as select ghettos/tribes….”

      And we have a surprising number who post here who regularly deprecate the “country that has embraced us”.

      A very thoughtful post, I think.

      • Perhaps you advocate giving up one “false idol” for another. We can abandon Russian, Greek or Arab ethnocentrism in favor of Americanism. Yet America was once much more conservative than it is today and firmly committed to the patriarchy and “traditional” religion. Which America do you advocate embracing?

        Besides, we should be embracing “traditional” Orthodoxy, not a country. A country is a piece of land with a population that have a culture of their own. America’s culture is certainly not Orthodox. Salemlemko is right in his post below. Neo-Orthodoxy is part of the problem that created the present situation.

        • Ashley Nevins says

          Misha, you are missing the point and the point is the relevancy of Jesus and not the exclusive Orthodox religion. Place anything over Jesus and it is an idol and the idol is not relevant Jesus.

          This is what I see the Orthodox placing over Jesus that results in irrelevancy:

          1. Orthodox religion idolatry

          2. Ethnicity

          3. Authoritarian structure of rule

          4. A closed and isolated system

          5. Exclusiveness in we alone are right thinking

          I see your church placing these things over Jesus as your Jesus. Idolatry over Jesus is not relevancy.

          The fact is that the Orthodox are in western rational modernity America and they are anti western, rational and modernity. So from the gate to think there can be one replacing with another is just not true. You are anti what America is. The rejection is traditional Orthodoxy. That is just one cause of the Orthodox irrelevancy failure in America.

          What you place over Jesus as an idol will in time render your church irrelevant and the idol will make itself only relevant to all of you. Its really simple, exclusiveness leads to idolatry and self righteousness and that is not the relevancy of Jesus, but it is relevant to the Pharisee like in their religion as their God.

          There is a lot of Orthodox religion talk here and little Jesus relationship talk. Most of you sound like you have a relationship with a religion over a relationship with Jesus. You have to be able to objectively stand outside of your authoritarian closed isolation with its exclusive mindset to hear how you really sound.

          If you place dead religion over the living Jesus your church will die. Idolatry has an exclusive mindset. It believes it is God. Idolatry does not get it about this. Do you get that it doesn’t get it about this?

          Yes, Orthodox become more like your religion in your Orthodox Minds as the solution and don’t become more like Jesus as your solution. Relationship with religion over relationship with Jesus will be your end in America. Relationship with idolatry as your God over relationship with Jesus alone as God is your end in America.

          Idolatry leads to denial of Jesus and it will deny that it is idolatry that leads to denial of Jesus. The deception of this idolatry is that it tells you it is Jesus and you believe the idol. The idol has a veneer image of Jesus that deceives. The truth behind the facade of the false idol god image of Jesus that is not Jesus is exposed by the corrupt, failed, incompetent, cultic, abusive and dying state of Orthodoxy in America. That is the character of the idol and it is not the character of Jesus. This is what happens when idolatry is placed over Jesus and where the idols deception is believed to be Jesus.

          This is what Jesus was addressing in John 8:31-59 and where you see Him telling them that they had placed their tradition over God as their God and salvation. He confronted the exclusive mindset of their orthodox minds that closes and isolates. Idolatry closes and isolates to control. Exclusiveness is a closed system of isolation and that is simply not Jesus in the Gospels. Closed isolation based in authoritarianism is the mind control of idolatry that by its indoctrination molds you into what it is. That is not the transformation of Jesus. Religion in this context does not transform it molds.

          The mind of Jesus is not your minds and the mind of idolatry of your religion is your Orthodox Minds and it shows. The talk I hear from the majority of you is religion and tradition talk and not Jesus. What Jesus heard from them in John 8:31-59 was religion tradition talk as their idol god. They could not hear themselves in that and because the idol not only blinds you to Jesus he makes you deaf to hear to Jesus.

          If you do not learn that your religion is not the relevancy of Jesus then your church will die in America. It is Jesus over you and not your religion over you or you are not the relevancy of Jesus in America. You will only really be relevant to yourselves.

          Idolatry of your religion is not the relevancy of Jesus no matter how relevant your religion is to you. Religion is this context is dead compared to living relationship with the living Jesus. Is your church living or dying in America? Well, which one is it? It is important to be honest here and go directly to the real cause to bring the Jesus only solution to it and because if you bring religion as the solution your church will continue to fail here.

          The Mind of Jesus speaks Jesus and the mind of religion speaks its religion. I hear what the majority of you speak and you cannot hear yourselves speaking it and you will deny it when pointed out to you. I hear you speaking idolatry over speaking Jesus and that will be your end in America.

          Orthodoxy over Jesus is not the relevancy of Jesus and that is your failure and if you fail to see that your church will continue to fail. It is about the relevancy of Jesus over the irrelevancy of dead religion as Jesus or your church dies in America.

          Yes, I know, in your Orthodox Religion Minds you don’t believe me, but the objective real world outcome of your church of your exclusive religion in America is the glaring proof. Now like good exclusive thinking tradition based religionist’s deny the proof. Place your idol god over Jesus and deny that the idol god is the cause. If you don’t believe a religion can be made an idol god over Jesus that shows your deceived state by the idol. It shows, Orthodox, it shows. The failure is pointing directly to the cause and like those Jesus confronted in the Gospels over their dead religion as the cause the Orthodox by their religion over Jesus deny the cause.

          The common denominators and parallels between the failure of those Jesus confronted and your failure in America are astounding to behold. They are everything modern church growth and relevancy development strategy says will lead to failure. You are the text book role model case of everything church growth and relevancy development says will cause failure. Now dead religion deny this and don’t believe me and continue to fail with your religion on your lips over Jesus on your lips. Continue to believe that relationship with a corrupt religion is personal relationship with Holy Jesus and watch your church continue to fail.

          Yes, in your Orthodox Minds believe if you become more like your religion that is becoming more like Jesus and watch your church die in America and then stand around and debate why it did completely missing why it did by religion denial, by a religion mind over the mind of Jesus. Don’t believe me when I tell you that John 8:31-59 tells you what your failure is. Don’t believe me that all church relevancy development and what can kill it dead are found there. Fail to compare to Jesus and your church will fail. Idolatry compares itself to itself as God and that is failure. Exclusiveness compares itself to itself and that is failure. Self righteousness compares itself to itself and that is failure.

          How much you all of you truly are in living relationship with the living Jesus over a relationship with dead an idol god religion as your Jesus will determine your outcome in America more than anything else will. The dead idol god of religion as your God will lead you to church death. That is what Jesus told them in John 8:42-44. When that idol god ruler takes power and control he leads the church into its death. Death is his character and it is the opposite to the character of the living Jesus who brings life over death and so if death is put over life your church will surely die in America.

          Your religion is your strategy and not the living Jesus and that is why more than anything else your church is imploding. All reasons for church life or death are found by comparison to Jesus in the Gospels. Yes, I compare your real world outcome to Jesus to take why it is failed back to its cause in comparison to Jesus who is not church failure. Satan is church failure that leads to church death. His scheme for church death is found in the Gospels by comparison to Jesus. Oh, and let’s not forget how the NT itself outlines for us all of the reasons for church death or life. The more you see your religion as Jesus the less you will compare it to Jesus and Gods Word and the more you will fail as a consequence.

          Irrelevancy that leads to church death is not the relevancy of the living Jesus that leads to church life.

          Misha, idolatry is irrelevancy and Jesus is relevancy. Your church failure problem is clearly seen by comparison to Jesus in the Gospels above all other discussions here that are not comparing the church to Jesus in the Gospels, but instead talk about the symptoms of the problem as if they are the cause of the problem. That will only lead to further church failure in America and because religion will deny it being the cause and in that denial it will refuse Jesus as its only solution and because the religion is put over Jesus as the solution. The problem is not the solution unless you want further church failure as your goal.

          Only the resurrection of Jesus can raise the dead. The living Jesus is the only solution and not what is a dead idol god of religion. That is the big picture of what God is trying to tell all of you in your church failure that is leading to its death. God tells you that by comparing your church to Jesus. When a church stops doing that comparison it is when you see it start to die. It dies by the degree it stops comparing itself to Jesus as its solution. What is authoritarian, closed and isolated with an exclusive viewpoint of itself that is idolatry is its own self sufficient solution without need of Jesus as its solution for it believing it is the God of its own solution.

          The last thing the evil wants is for all of you to compare your church to Jesus and from what I can see he has pretty much succeeded. You do not hear yourselves talking your religion over Jesus as its solution. The evil one does and he loves it. He knows that will lead you into powerless circles in your own power without solution as you circle spiral down to church death. The power of Jesus is solution and the powerless power of the evil one is church death by powerlessness to stop it. The idol only has the power you give it to then use against you to destroy you. In that way he deceives you into destroying yourselves. It is how he can hide behind the scenes pulling the puppet strings of your destruction. You cannot see the idol by how its deception blinds you to him and he will convince you that he is the solution over Jesus in that deception and your church will continue to die as a result. Orthodox, you loosing to the biggest loser in all of eternity and because you are following him over Jesus who is the resurrection of church life over Satan’s church death scheme. That is the harsh spiritual real world reality of it. What is really harsh? It is watching a church treat Jesus harshly. I will speak into that by spiritual gift when it shows itself to me and I promise you it will not be easy to hear. You might see it as being harsh.

          A survival existence state of church in a death spiral is not Jesus alive in the Gospels. It is not Jesus leading you. It is something else leading you and unless you can define what that something else is by comparison to Jesus your church will die in America. Get who and what it is wrong and your church will die here.

          Yes, I know, it bothers some of you when you hear a evangelical Christian say Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. You see it as a spiritually shallow ignorant bumpkin because it is not of your spirituality that is proved failed. Bottom line, your church couldn’t evangelize itself out of an open wet paper bag with Biblical instructions that have your Hellenic interpretation of the Bible. Jesus is not your first priority but your dying religion is. What’s next, what shows who you are is not what shows who you really are here? In your Orthodox Minds you believe you are something other than you show yourselves to be? Who you believe you are is who you really are and that is your failure in America and no I did not just contradict myself.

          Jesus alone is the way, the truth and the life or your church by Satan who is the way of the lie to church death dies. Did you notice how I just compared the state of your church to the state of Jesus in the Gospels? It is not a comparison of one Christian faith system to another one as the comparison to who is right or wrong. In your wrong state of church the only comparison can be Jesus whose state is right God. Your church priority is how the Christianity outside of you is wrong in comparison to you and in that you fail to compare your church to Jesus for believing you are Gods standard of what a right church before God is. When church failure is the comparison you are lost and most likely will not be found by Jesus with that mentality that will refuse Jesus alone as its failure solution

          This is a harsh reality all of you must face and it is difficult to hear how harsh of a reality it really is. You think I am harsh? No, I just reflect to you the harshness of the reality you face. In reality I am milk toast compared to the harsh reality your church faces. Words cannot express how horrific your church future really is, but I do my harsh reality best to tell you. Yes, I know, I am difficult to hear and I keep stating the same basic things over and over again which is like broken record irritating to some of you. No, there is really nothing else to say to you than this and because it is what is destroying your church right before you denying eyes of what is destroying it. Your church real world outcome proves how harsh it is treating Jesus. Oh, yes, it does too, Orthodox.

          All I have told you in the past has come true. All I tell you about your future will come true. There is another side of me that none of you has ever seen. Many of you see me as a negative critical spirit of judgement. You can see an important part of the of me here,

          This is a church that wants to become more like JESUS and so it can paradigm shift with the relevancy of JESUS in the country, society and generation it is found in. No EP of Astoria NY fame is foreign ruling over this church by his sexual corruption. It is not the OCA failure leading it. If this is heresy practicing apostasies in comparison to your church then I wish you the best church future in America with your superiority that is right before God in your exclusive Orthodox Minds inside of your exclusive church that has no comparison for it believing it is Gods only correct standard of church and Christianity. Yes, let that closed and locked box be your relevancy of Jesus who does not exist in anyone’s closed box of dead religion that is systemically corrupt and unrepentant in its corruption bondage lock up. He came to us out of that box to show us how not to be that box and how to stay out of that box.

          If you try to put Jesus in a box your church outcome will look like the box it tried to put Jesus in and it will not look good like the good Jesus. Satan wants to control Jesus by putting Him into closed box and you are providing him with the closed box. He wants to close, isolate and seclude Jesus to stop Jesus. He wants to turn Jesus into the closed box to render Him powerless. Get it? No you don’t get it. You believe Jesus is your closed box church and so you experience a closed box system outcome of church. The most effective way for the evil one to destroy you is to close and isolate you as a system that he then corrupts. He wants you to be that closed system and because it closes out the open system Jesus solution. Now do you get it? If you do not understand the strategy of the evil one it will become your strategy of church embraced that destroys your church. I do not have that wrong.

          Top down centralized structure of authoritarian power and control religion that is a exclusive, closed and isolated system is a closed box. It is the Orthodox Mind. You cannot escape how your structure and system of rule is the structure and system of your Orthodox Mind in its exclusive theological and spiritual viewpoint of itself. The mind of Jesus is not this in the Gospels, but it was the mind of those He confronted. You no more know why you are being confronted than those Jesus confronted did, John 8:31-59. Jesus wants to set you free of this but you refuse to be set free by this for your believing this is Jesus.

          If you believe a jurisdiction is the solution like lets say the Antiochians then you are completely missing what the only solution really is. When they don’t work as the solution, what’s the next solution? ROCOR? You are missing why the same basic rule structures and systems are the failure and how those structures and systems lead to failure. You are missing what systemically connects all of you and that causes the SAME failure from the SAME source CAUSE. If your design in model of church is Gods only true design in model of church then it work effectively and successfully and not see the same failure across all jurisdictions for the same reason, you think?

          When Jesus returns He is going to find you in this corrupt and failed state? You are being warned before He returns. It is severe grace and mercy come to warn you of the severe dying state of your church and why and how it is in that state. In the warning God tells you the solution by mercy and grace. Reject it and your church will surely face God as the state before God that it is really in. Who you exclusively claim to be will not matter then. You will then be compared to Jesus the hard way and when He brought you the easier way back to Him by comparison to Him before you face Him face to face. Jesus will tell you, I tried to come to you with the solution and you rejected me and now here is my judgement of you and it is not the beautiful beyond comparison Orthodoxy that you think you are. You were not the truth of Jesus that sets free. You are the lie that puts into bondage. I tried to tell you that in all of the ways that I could and you refused to hear Me.

          He will then tell you every way He tried to reach you with freedom in Christ and every way you refused Him and you will not be able to DENY IT then like you do now. That is a harsh reality if you do not repent and I see no sign of the depth of humility in repentance that it is going to take to stop that harsh future facing God reality from taking place. No matter how harsh you see this you are all being fairly warned and you are without excuse. You will not be able to say on that day, God you did not warn us, you did not try to reach us.

          Will Misha and the rest of you face this? Yes, you will if you do not corporately repent by Jesus and through Jesus. Will that judgement be harsh? Will it be more harsh than you see me? I’m easy compared to that and if you don’t make the comparison of your church to Jesus and then correct it by Jesus you future will continue to be harsh on Jesus and you can get an idea ahead of time what you face when you personally meet Jesus who you treated harsly. The real world outcome of your church is how it treats Jesus. It treats Jesus like this because it does not compare itself to Jesus. Jesus does not treat us like this and your outcome proves all of you are treating Jesus nothing at all like He treats you.

          You think this is not easy to hear? It is less easy to tell you this. I take no comfort in it. I know what your future is if you do not repent. It is harsh. How do I know that outside of the obvious? God told me in personal living relationship with Him and you can believe that or not, its your church future. Everything He has told me about all of you has come true and will continue to show itself as Him telling me true. The first thing He told me about you years ago was that your church is corrupt. Yes, I can hear God. If you are a Christian who has ever heard God speak to you and then seen it proved true you know exactly what I am talking about. He didn’t have to prove it to me when He told me. I took it at face value and it proved itself true. It broke my heart. It really did. Gods heart is broken too. He showed me and you can believe that or not. He grieves over the state of your church. It would break your heart too if you are a real Christian and if it was shown to you like it was to me. I didn’t wait to see it proved true. I immediately started to take action. I knew the voice I heard was the Holy Spirit. Yes, your church is corrupt and then God showed me all of the ways that it is. So, I stick that same theme, get it?

          If your heart is not grieved over the state of your church and if that does not motivate you to take action, why not? Yes, a forum can be part of that, but in reality it is going to take far, far, far more than that. It is going to take paying the price, taking the risk and making the sacrifice that Jesus did at the street level of your church. I have yet to see any Orthodox forum motivate the Orthodox to take the necessary action that is competent to bring about the Jesus correction, but I have heard a lot of religion talk as the solution and have seen a lot of going in circles with yourselves with your failed solutions. Right back to square one after Jonah, right? It will be the same when the save the GOA strategy fails within the next 5 years. Yes, another prediction that will come true like my Jonah prediction came true two years later as I predicted. It was not just a good guess or lucky guess. I see right through you into you and can tell you what will go wrong and no matter how many times it proved you still will not believe what you are told. That goes with the territory of this spiritual gift and I hope you get my drift in that.

          You all have been fairly warned.

        • r j klancko says

          If you are truly a new testament church, and espuse the teaching of our Savior, is it not our responsibility to do the st paul bit and be missionaries? if so, we need to be like st innocent of alaska and bring Christ back to america and as has been done by those who take this ministry seriously, we find a happy medium between the word of God – the kernel for which there is no compromise -and the needs of the culture to understand and embrace the word. remember in mary poppins – a spoonfully of sugar helps the medicine go down.

          It has been so long that we have been a missionary church, that we seem to have forgotten how to do it and we retreat into the comfort of an imperfect past. remember God looks at the heart, we are so tied up with our man created externalities – beautiful robes, miters, million dollar churches ( all stranded investments), chotki, pony tails, black cassocks – that we forget the internalities. faith is the internality – the pearl of great price – to be effective missionaries and follow Christ we must forget the externalities and extoll the internalities — if i am incorrect then why do we have, and why do we practice ‘economia’.

          remember , clothes do not make the man, the man makes the clothes

          I have yet to see one bishop say, i am a priest, and i will serve as a priest – sell my miter and vestments and use the money to feed the poor – that is the essence of what the new testament teaches us – remember we lead by example.

          who is up to the challenge?????????????

    • The root causes of some of what you write about can be found in the journals of some of the, lol, founding fathers of the metropolia which i acquired recently.
      The really sad part of this is that the oca which was supposed to be solution, is in fact, the problem.

      • r j klancko says

        just a quick inquiry – are you a lemko from salem? just asking because i am onthe board of the lemko assn of the usa – which is now headquartered in higganum ct – we are lemkos not lemkivs – the oca is not alone in this – perhaps the most ethnocentric have been the greeks and according to kindratch is is now the romanians

  13. Francis Frost says

    “Ladder of Divine Ascent” writes:

    Obama probably needs to provoke Russia into World War III first. There’s already currency war, trade war, proxy wars (in Ukraine and Syria) and Obama continues to “double down on stupid.”

    “Ladder may be correct. The Kremlin’s histrionic propaganda war is increasingly menacing and dangerous to world peace, the rule of law and the future of Orthodoxy in America.

    Father Alexander Schmemman wrote of an America church that was “fully Orthodox and fully American”. Metropolitan Phillip spoke of “bringing Orthodoxy to America and America to Orthodoxy”.

    The increasingly vicious and hysterical propaganda coming out of the Kremlin and the Donskoi make that process ever more problematic if not impossible. See excerpts from the Window on Eurasia blog site below.

    If “Ladder” thinks that America will be converted to the Orthodox faith by nuclear threats, lying accusations and military intimidation, well then, he is as delusional as his compadres in the Kremlin.

    First, Chaplin forgets that the USSR survived WW II only because the US and Britain opened a second western front. Secondly, to equate modernity, the modern banking system and liberal democracy with Hitlerism is both shrill and absurd.

    It is in fact, the Putin regime that has repeatedly defied international law, its own treaty obligations and simple human decency in order to revive the moribund and atheist Soviet Empire. While decrying ‘usury’ Chaplin ignores the fact that Vladimir Putin, with a stated salary of about $56,000 per year( less now with the 40% drop in the ruble) owns four separate estates, each valued a several billions of dollars. Patriarch Kirill, a tonsured monk owns two such estates worth over a billion dollars each. We need not mention the Breguet watch, the civil lawsuits and the “distant cousin Kirill co-habits with.

    The Moscow Patriarchate likewise stands self condemned by its repeated violation of the Sacred Canons with its incursions into territories that it acknowledges to be constituent dioceses of the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate. The MP continues to concelebrate with defrocked schismatics like Vissarion Apliaa. The MP stands condemned before God and man for its infernal “blessing” of the tanks, weapons and missile used to murder innocent Orthodox Christian; weapons used to defile and destroy the very House of God in Nikazi. They continue to conspire in the illegal detention of Metropolitan Esaia of Nikazi Gori and Tskhinvali within the occupied territories.

    Window on Eurasia: ‘We Stopped Hitler and We Can Stop the Americans,’ Aide to Patriarch Kirill Says

    Paul Gobble

    Staunton, December 26 – Vsevolod Chaplin, a close aide to Moscow Patriarch Kirill, says that Russians “stopped Hitler’s project [and] we will stop the American one” now, an equation that speaks volumes about the ways in which the Russian Orthodox Church is whipping up the kind of xenophobia that will require a great deal of time to overcome.

    In a 5,000-word interview with a Tatarstan business paper, Chaplin, who oversees the patriarchate’s policies on the church’s relations with society, said that Russia has often had to fight civilizational models which threaten its own, including not only Napoleon’s but Hitler’s (

    Today, the patriarchate official continued, “we will stop the American project as well! This is a civilization of usury, a cult of the principle of ‘money makes money,’ and the triumph of egoism as the supposedly optimal model of human existence.” For Russians, convictions and faith must be “more important than profit.”

    “Christian civilization and the civilization of usury are mutually exclusive things: either one or the other,” Chaplin argued. When usury was “relegitimized, Christian civilization began step by step to yield the historic scene. And on the contrary, when Christian civilization developed independently, freely and integrally, usury disappeared.”

    That means that Russia and Russians must stand up to “present-day Western civilization, which is not the real West which also created Christianity.” Rather it is “the civilization of a narrow elite” which is tyring to take control of its own populations and then of everyone else’s. This must not happen.

    Russians and others must recognize that this is what is at stake, that they face an alternative and unacceptable form of civilization, one just as alien as they faced in 1941. And just as they stopped the Nazi tank columns then, they must stop the “ideological ‘tank columns’” now on the attack.

    Three things need to be kept in mind about Chaplin’s remarks. First, he is a popularizer or even vulgarizer of the ideas of others, notorious for saying things in the most simplistic way in order to attract the largest amount of attention and support. What he is saying undoubtedly reflects thinking in the Patriarchate and the Kremlin, but such thinking is likely more sophisticated than he is presenting it here

    But however that may be, Chaplin and his colleagues in the Orthodox Church are playing with fire by talking in this way. Indeed, it is entirely possible that their words will ignite a conflagration where they do not expect it. At the very least, they will make it more difficult for Russia to modernize and to cooperate with the rest of the world.
    Posted by paul goble at 3:11 AM

    Read the entire article here:

    • Usually I just ignore Francis’ drivel, but this line is simply false:

      “First, Chaplin forgets that the USSR survived WW II only because the US and Britain opened a second western front.”

      By January of 1944, the Soviets had crossed the pre-war boundaries and were gaining net ground against the Germans. this was over 5 months before D-Day. The Soviets did almost all of the heavy lifting in WWII. They did though have considerable material aid from Western powers.

      As for the rest of it, it meanders from “bad old rich Putin” to blessing of arms (which is a longstanding Orthodox tradition in Eastern Europe), to . . . well, basically just Captain Ahab with a different whale.

    • Today, the patriarchate official continued, “we will stop the American project as well! This is a civilization of usury, a cult of the principle of ‘money makes money,’ and the triumph of egoism as the supposedly optimal model of human existence.” For Russians, convictions and faith must be “more important than profit.”

      “Christian civilization and the civilization of usury are mutually exclusive things: either one or the other,” Chaplin argued.

      Got that, Orthodox Christians? No BANKING for you! Better not have any bonds in you portfolio.

    • For Russians, convictions and faith must be “more important than profit.”

      Except, of course, when the church profits.


    • Russians and others must recognize that this is what is at stake, that they face an alternative and unacceptable form of civilization, one just as alien as they faced in 1941. And just as they stopped the Nazi tank columns then, they must stop the “ideological ‘tank columns’” now on the attack.

      Merry Christmas! Let’s not forget the slaughter of the innocents.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      Chaplin does have a bit of a point though, doesn’t he, Mr. Frost?

    • Today, the patriarchate official continued, “we will stop the American project as well! This is a civilization of usury, a cult of the principle of ‘money makes money,’ and the triumph of egoism as the supposedly optimal model of human existence.” For Russians, convictions and faith must be “more important than profit.”

      And if any Orthodox Christians stand in Russia’s way, KILL THEM ALL.

  14. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    Dec 9, 2014

    NEW YORK – His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America welcomed today, Dec. 9, 2014, His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch at the headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

    Upon his arrival Patriarch John presided at a service of Doxology at the Archdiocesan Chapel of Saint Paul. Archbishop Demetrios in his welcoming remarks on behalf of the Greek Orthodox Church in America spoke about “the long and close relationship throughout the centuries between the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Patriarchate of Antioch,” and how it extends to the “close relationship between the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the Antiochian Archdiocese in America,” which he said “has been fruitful and helped in the promotion of the spirit of collaboration, love and unity among all the Orthodox in America.”

    “We are very certain that your presence here shall increase more the bond of love between all the Orthodox in America so that the message of Orthodoxy, which we offer, will be heard in a strong and beautiful way in the Western hemisphere,” said the Archbishop.

    Patriarch John X of Antioch in his response spoke about the Orthodox Church as the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ and said that the Patriarchate of Antioch will always have an active role in the Orthodox Church and will stand by the Ecumenical Patriarch in all pan-orthodox and inter-orthodox issues. He further said that coming from the Middle East and from a country tormented by war he is mindful of and grateful for the prayers of the orthodox faithful in America and the expressions of love and support of the Ecumenical Patriarch through his letters and phone calls. Patriarch John expressed to the Archbishop his gratitude for the warm welcome and asked for the continuation of prayers and support for the people of the Church of Antioch emphasizing that we are one Church and one family.

    Patriarch John X of Antioch was accompanied by the newly enthroned Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochian Christian Archdiocese of North America and a delegation of clergy and laity from the Antiochian Archdiocese. Following the service of doxology Archbishop Demetrios hosted a luncheon in honor of the visiting Patriarch, his delegation and Hierarchs and clergy of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese.

    • All window dressing. If there is that much good will there would full unity among the Orthodox in this country. We speak of sacramental unity, but sharing an occasional meal together, or a doxology, is not the unity referenced in the NT. Humility is the only virtue that could lead to true unity. “How sweet it is when brothers dwell in unity” writes the psalmist.

  15. Sue Simpson says

    The fact remains, since the 1950’s with Met. Antony Bashir, he insisted on well-educated clerics for the priesthood. Many Antiochian Arab/American men studied at St. Vladimir’s Seminary and some of these men became the current bishops of the Antiochian Archdiocese. With both Met. Bashir & Met. Philip, this was the future for growing the Antiochian Archdiocese in North America. So, with Met. Philip’s death, everyone knew that Bishop Basil Essey was the popular candidate and would be fulfilling Met. Bashir’s vision. So instead of showing that the Antiochian Archdiocese in North America was “TRULY” a “SELF-RULED” entity, an Arab bishop from the old country is pushed in as the new leader. What happened to self-rule? What happened to respecting the WELL-EDUCATED Arab-American bishops? What has happened with Bishop Joseph being made Metropolitan is relegating ALL American clerics to 2nd class status. All converts are now 3rd class. Arab-Americans are somehow not important. It is a farce at best proving to all Orthodox that what the Antiochian Archdiocese professed since the 1950’s was just another lie.Back to 1940 everyone.

    • Salemlemko says

      Well well well, Boston comes out of the closet on other issues. The OCA made all this possible, if your unhappy Sue, thank your priest the Dreaded Arida and your OCA biships. The Patriarch’s see the filth and mess, and say NOT IN MY JURISDICTION you don’t! Here is where the argument that the Church in the US lacks maturity comes from. The OCA and flaming viloators of moral norns like Arida, Seraphim of Canada…. The list boggles the mind.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Sue, happy new year. I invite you to come visit my home parish which happens to be His Grace Bp Basil’s (Essey) Cathedral. All of us here were quite releaved and joyful for the election of Met Joseph.

      Besides some time off the east coast spent in the real world would do you good.

    • I am a huge fan of Bp. Basil. He has touched our family’s lives a couple of times over the years, and I am convinced that he is the real deal. I never got the feeling, however, that Bp. Basil was viewed by Metropolitan Philip as his heir-apparent — in fact, I think that Bp. Basil had a rather different vision and temperament from Metr. Philip. I never heard that there was any antagonism between them, but neither did I get the feeling that they were soul-mates.

      There was a real movement, at the time when Metr. Herman was elected, to try to nominate him for Metropolitan of the OCA — and what a good thing that would have been for the OCA. I think he was the third leading vote-getter on the first ballot.

      But that doesn’t at all mean that he was the best choice for Metropolitan for the Antiochians at this time. Maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t. You assume prejudice against converts and Arab-Americans — what I am hearing from you is that an Arab-American or convert has built-in superiority at this time, which is just prejudice in the other direction.

      Maybe Metr. Joseph was the best candidate, perhaps for reasons you don’t even know? It is legitimate to inveigh against a choice once that choice has proven to be weak or ill-suited to the job or immoral. It is illegitimate, in my opinion, to take that attitude before the man has taken a step.

    • everyone knew that Bishop Basil Essey was the popular candidate

      And Bishop Basil was one of those whose names were submitted to the Holy Synod. Bishop Basil is making his own contributions, arguably in more important ways than as Metropolitan, by starting an Antiochian monastery. Met. Joseph supports Bp. Basil’s vision for Antiochian monasticism, and he has consistently called for monasticism in the Archdiocese since he was elected.

      What happened to self-rule?

      It’s my assessment that the title of “self-ruled” was a distinction-without-a-difference that Met. Philip was obsessed with. Many have fallen into the idea that “self-ruled” means “autonomous” (a la Japan), which is manifestly untrue. I suppose it grants the Metropolitan a certain amount of extra autonomy, but in large part it means nothing.

      What happened to respecting the WELL-EDUCATED Arab-American bishops?

      They continue to lead their dioceses.

      What has happened with Bishop Joseph being made Metropolitan is relegating ALL American clerics to 2nd class status. All converts are now 3rd class.

      But that never happened.

      • Michael Bauman says

        The monastery is part of building a complete Orthodox community. It was time for the monastic part to begin. More to come.

    • Sue,

      Thanks for telling it as it is. Bishop Basil was the only logical choice for the Antiochian Archdiocese if the church wanted progress. As a member of the Antiochian Archdiocese it saddens me that our church did not do more to impress upon the hierarchy that Bishop Basil was clearly the better candidate. Despite the liturgical corrections that others have posted about, what exactly do they think Metropolitan Joseph is going to do? I suspect that he will run through the archdiocese’s money fairly quickly because he has nowhere near the charm and charisma that Metropolitan Philip had. And when that happens the archdiocese will split up. There is already an enormous tension between the ethnic Arabs and the converts. Metropolitan Philip was able to keep it in check but it is splintering. Check out a liturgy at Metropolitan Joseph’s cathedral in LA if you don’t believe me. The attendance is half of what it used to be a few years ago. The missing half are all the non-ethnics or third and fourth generation Arabs who have high-tailed it to other Orthodox churches. And look at the 50 or so parishes on the west coast very carefully. Most of them are convert parishes that are not growing.

      The smoke and mirrors are nice, but behind the curtain are a lot of problems.

      • Michael Bauman says

        We are doomed, we are all doomed!!!!!!!”!”!!!!!!

        The logical choice for bishop when Bp Basil was elected was Archdeacon Hans. No one expected a relatively young parish priest serving a parish in Wichita, Ks would be elected.

        Let us remember that the Church is not just the bishops. Sacramentally they can’t do anything without us and we can’t do anything without them.

        Right now an American Church would be an unmitigated failure and Church without Americans would suffer greatly–even more than She already is.

        Drop the xenophobic narrcicism.

        I fully believe that had Bp Basil been elected the long knives would have soon been out for him as well as soon as he did something the critics did not like.

        We live by God’s mercy not by our own will. His purposes are not our purposes. Bp Basil understands that.

        BTW, the belief that he would ever switch to the OCA was a fantasy rapped I’m s pipe dream covered in smoke. He is Antiochian. He is of Wichita. You want his direct leadership, you will have to become Antiochian and take up residence in his diocese in the heart of America or if you prefer: flyover country.

      • There is already an enormous tension between the ethnic Arabs and the converts.

        Not in my parish or any of the others I have ever attended.

        And look at the 50 or so parishes on the west coast very carefully. Most of them are convert parishes that are not growing.

        No doubt that we could be doing missions better; I would go so far as to say the Antiochian missions department is broken in a lot of ways and there is very little help and support available to missions. But this was true under Met. Philip as well.

        • Sean Richardson says

          Ages, I appreciate your comments very much, but I have to say that in every Antiochian parish that I have been a member of, three of them, there has been a very clear divide between converts and those from the Old Country. There is always a tension between how much English/Arabic language, music and traditions should be used. It has always existed.

          I do agree with you, however, in suggesting that the churches on the West Coast seem to have stagnated (ironically, under then Bishop Joseph) and show very little growth, and even a reluctance to accept opportunities to grow.

          Yes Ages, something needs to change.

    • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

      “he insisted on well-educated clerics for the priesthood. Many Antiochian Arab/American men studied at St. Vladimir’s Seminary…”

      Well educated in what?

      So instead of showing that the Antiochian Archdiocese in North America was “TRULY” a “SELF-RULED” entity, an Arab bishop from the old country is pushed in as the new leader. What happened to self-rule? What happened to respecting the WELL-EDUCATED Arab-American bishops? What has happened with Bishop Joseph being made Metropolitan is relegating ALL American clerics to 2nd class status. All converts are now 3rd class. Arab-Americans are somehow not important. It is a farce at best proving to all Orthodox that what the Antiochian Archdiocese professed since the 1950’s was just another lie.Back to 1940 everyone.

      Movements arose in every ethnic group to divide it into ecclesiastical factions. Deprived of its beloved founder and bishop, the small Syro-Arabian Mission fell victim to this divisiveness, and it would take sixty years from the death of Bishop Raphael—in June of 1975 — for total jurisdictional and administrative unity to be restored to the children of Antioch in North America. Some communities desired to remain under the jurisdiction of the Russian Church, while others opted to be received into the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Antioch.”

      Que Sera Sera:

    • James the Other says

      Amazing how Nick Kobbs aka Sue Simpson can only bash another Orthodox jurisdiction in North America because his own jurisdiction, the OCA is in such shambles. Envy is a terrible sin. If Nick knew what he was talking about he would know that Bishop Basil wanted NO PART of being Metropolitan and made that known. Trying to sow seeds of discontent where they do not exist in the Antiochian Archdiocese is pathetic.

      The truth is the Metropolitan Joseph is of the highest moral and spiritual calibre and is exactly the right person to carry on the work of the Archdiocese.

      So, Sue, having been shown to be a troll for Fr Arida and getting your cyber brains beat you now turn to Metropolitan Joseph? You lost the Arida battle and you will lose this one too.

      • Nick Kobbs says

        Sorry James, although I peruse this very poor site from time to time, I am not Sue Simpson. I do not have the time to spend on such foolishness.

    • Fr. George Washburn says

      Hi friends:

      Sue Simpson’s post above referencing “WELL EDUCATED Arab American bishops” was poorly expressed, poorly reasoned, or both, I’m afraid., at least if, or to the extent, it was making a comparison and/or taking a poke at Met. JOSEPH’s educational credentials for office. Since when is an earned Masters in Theology from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki inferior to the degrees earned by other bishops?

      And perhaps we could also ask a) how being Homer’s sister, niece or mother, or b) “Sue’s” own educational attainments, qualify “Sue” to make pseudonymous comparisons, let alone sneer or judge?

      Oh well!

      Fr. George

      • Sean Richardson says

        Fr. George; I have come to respect almost everything you say on this blog, but I think this time you missed the point. While Sue’s comments may have been poorly stated, what she was attempting to express was a level of frustration at the failure of the various jurisdictions to recognize the growth of Orthodoxy, Orthodox education and practice, and Orthodox experience among converts and among 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation Russians, Arabs, Greeks, etc. wherein they constantly reset their “Orthodoxy” button back to the Old Country every time they are given a choice. I have met Met. Joseph on several occasions and have nothing negative to say about him, other than he is Old Country and his vision of Orthodoxy is Old Country. I’m afraid he doesn’t understand America any more than I understand Lebanon, Syria or Jordan. He is a wonderful man, but he is still not fully engrained in the culture of America. What his words stated was a wonderful vision of what might be and what could be, but actions always speak louder than words. Let’s wait to see what his action say, then we can be more clear.

        • Fr. George Washburn says

          I think we are in very substantial agreement, Sean, and thanks for the kind word.

          I did not get Sue’s point – or at least any point worth getting. It was a post by “Sue” so poorly reasoned or expressed that we were left groping for what it actually meant … and in my case moping at what it might have meant!

          Was I really off base to conclude “Sue” was sneeringly comparing various people’s educations? Doubt it.

  16. Ashley Nevins says

    The pathology comes from a top down authoritarian rule structure that is a closed and isolated system with an exclusive viewpoint of itself that has no comparison to it. It is an organizational pathology, a systemic pathology, and it has a cause. Symptoms point to cause and symptoms are not the cause.

    Orthodox, what is the cause? What are the symptoms that tell you what the cause is?

    Exclusive thinking will not recognize the cause and because exclusive thinking is part of the cause. The exclusive just can’t be a wrong as they really are by that viewpoint of themselves. The exclusiveness cannot be one of the central causes.

    Does the pathology of the structure and system of rule attract its like kind in pathology?

    Does a healthy pathology of church develop healthy leaders?

    Does the viewpoint of themselves that the leaders have come from the pathology of the church?

    What is the pathology of the church? Is it authoritarian shame based? What is the cause of the authoritarianism and the shame base?

    What kind of a pathology of church does a top down authoritarian closed system with an exclusive viewpoint of itself create? Is it a functional safe and healthy church culture it creates? If not, then why not?

    The real world outcome of your jurisdiction points directly to the cause of its real world outcome. If that outcome is a failed and dying state what church pathology created that state of church? What is the source that caused this outcome?

    You could say it is the clergy leaders causing the problems, but does it go deeper than that? It couldn’t be an authoritarian structure and system of rule with an exclusive viewpoint of itself that has no comparison to it, right? It couldn’t be a dysfunctional closing and freezing tradition basis combined with an authoritarian controlling basis that pushes down, an exclusive thinking basis that is self righteousness and a shame basis that spiritually abuses the church, could it?

    Symptoms point to basis. Get it? If you cannot specifically state what the cause basis is you will never find solution. The basis creates the pathology of the church and its leaders. It is what church and leaders are based upon that determines thinking, attitude and behavior that determines real world church outcome. If you recognize the outcome that is a symptom but do not recognize the basis causes of the symptom you will never find solution to the pathology that holds your church in bondage.

    What a church is based upon determines its real world outcome more than anything else over time and that outcome points to what CAUSES the outcome.

    If the pathology of your church is such that it cannot find the depth of humility to admit the basis causes of its failure and dying state it will remain in this state no matter how much all you go in circles with yourselves talking about it.

    You can by exclusiveness disagree, but the truth of the matter is that the basis I tell you here that are the causes are the same like basis that those Jesus confronted had. Every reason for church failure or success is found with Jesus in the Gospels. I keep hearing you people primarily comparing your yourselves to yourselves and not to Jesus. That is religion compared to religion and not religion compared to Jesus and that is the set up for a complete structure and system failure. Have any of you noticed the implosion and the causes driving it?

    Yes, we have a problem and we know what it is and that is why we have been able to solve it. That is a church that understands the cause of the problem. By this point in time of your not solving the corrupt and dying state church problem it makes it obvious that you really do not know what the basis of the problem is. I am telling you that the basis problems driving the symptoms of the problem are the worst kind of basis problems a church can have. It is the worst case scenario pathology a church can have from the causes of its pathology.

    Those Jesus was in contention with denied the basis of their problem, John 8:31-59. They denied their sick religion pathology by their exclusive viewpoint of themselves that could not be wrong and would not compare itself to Jesus standing right in front of them, but He compared them to Him. Jesus is comparing the state of your church to Him by its outcome TODAY. Jesus was a comparison of their basis to His basis. Every defense in a church corruption failure is found there and so is the reason for its denial. The degree you are off the basis of Jesus is the degree of corruption and failure your church experiences. It will be the degree of its denial of what the cause of the corruption and failure is.

    The basis of the corruption and failure is the thinking that causes the failure. How a church thinks determines its real world outcome. You think from your basis that indoctrinate defines your thinking and that thinking results in an outcome of church.

    Oh, but, Ashley the basis of our Orthodox Mind that is our thinking is not causing this corrupt church failure. Our basis is the mind of Jesus Christ and no other church has our Christ’s only true basis of church thinking.

    Yes, Orthodox, I understand why you think the way you think and that is the problem. If your thinking was 2 Corinthians 10:5 then Christ would be your thinking and your church real world outcome would be much different. The church that wants to be of Jesus takes its thinking captive to Jesus. That is telling us Christ alone is the comparison to our thinking. When a church for any reason stops comparing its thinking to Christ it first goes corrupt and then it fails and then it dies. That corruption, failure and dying can manifest itself in different ways for different reasons but the outcome is the same. The degree that a church is Christ’s mind in thinking is the degree that it will reveal what is its thinking is by its outcome in the real world.

    It has been my observation, research and practical experience that a church that by the degree it stops thinking Jesus it starts thinking like those Jesus confronted in the Gospels. The EO do not reject Jesus like those Jesus confronted did, but by the degree they don’t embrace the mind of Christ is the degree they embrace what Jesus confronted, the more they become the thinking that Jesus confronted. Those Christ confronted denied the cause of their corruption and failure thinking that was not the mind of Christ in its thinking. They denied the basis of their thinking by their exclusive we alone are God right thinking. If you can’t see Christ confronting that exclusive thinking and what He is telling us about it then you are of that same exclusive thinking. Jesus showed us what this exclusive thinking leads too in His confrontation of it.

    All reasons for a corruption failure and their solution are found with Jesus in the Gospels. They are found in the mind of Christ comparison to the mind of corruption that leads to failure. Jesus continually compared His thinking to the thinking of those who wanted Him dead. Their thinking was death and His thinking is life. The thinking of a church can kill Christ in its midst or it can raise Christ up in its midst. Its thinking determines its life or death.

    What is the thinking of the Orthodox compared to the thinking of Christ? I just showed you the way to determine that by knowing the basis and then comparing that basis to Jesus. Orthodox, you have just been compared to Jesus and your corrupt failure and the corrupt failure basis is the comparison to Jesus. What, Orthodox, a corruption failure has no comparison to Jesus to discover the basis for that corruption failure? Orthodox, the greatest failure I see is your failure to compare your church to Jesus. What it does instead is compare itself to itself and to others of its like kind and that simply is not comparison to Jesus. If it compares outside of that then what it compares to it is always found wrong in comparison to your exclusiveness. In other words, you can’t be as wrong about yourselves as you really are and what your real world outcome speaks to who you really are.

    Matthew 20:25-26 is comparison of the leadership of Jesus to the rule of corruption and when you match it with Philippians 2:1-11 you can see the basis reason for the failure of your senior church leadership. They are authoritarian rulers and not humble servants of Jesus. It is that the same kind of ruler mentality that is not the mind of humble servant Jesus that Christ confronted in the Gospels? The mind of the authoritarian ruler is not the mind of the humble servant Jesus. Orthodox, is the mind of authoritarian ruler man or the mind of humble servant Jesus God leading your church? Humble servant Christ like leadership would lead your church into this corrupt and failed state of church or would authoritarian rulers?

    The answers to the questions is the comparison to Jesus that leads to one of the causes of your church corruption failure. I can compare any failure your church has to Jesus and tell you the cause source of that failure. All church growth and relevancy development strategy starts with Jesus and what can kill it is seen in those who wanted Jesus dead. Like you have never been told before is that. Your senior church RULERS don’t tell you this and I know why.

    Yes, Orthodox, believe I don’t know why and then explain the cause of the corrupt church failure from the exclusive viewpoint of your Orthodox Mind and don’ see how that will expose one of the causes of the church corruption failure. Speak your Orthodox Mind about this issue and you will unknown to you speak what the problem is by speaking about it being something other than it is and that is symptom pointing to another cause of your corruption failure. Being objective will be very difficult for you in this and because of the indoctrination of exclusive, closed and isolated system thinking and that is also an authoritarian structure of thinking and in that state of thinking cannot be anything but subjective in its thinking.

    Jesus is objective thinking and since you are subjective in thinking the objective thinking of Jesus is lost to you and you go subjectively corrupt and failed as a church in your church exclusive thinking. Is the spiritual conceptual picture of this too complex to understand? Yes it is if you don’t take your subjective thinking to Christ in submission to His objective thinking that is the comparison to Jesus. It is difficult to understand because you think your subjective thinking is the objective thinking of Jesus and frankly you got your thinking wrong about that and that is why you are experiencing a wrong outcome of church in America. I don’t believe most of you no more believe me about this than those subjective’s Christ’s objectivity confronted in the Gospels.

    Orthodox you are experiencing a subjective failure of church that you will subjectively deny the subjective causes of it and because by that subjectivity you will not compare that subjectivity to objective Jesus. Subjectivity that exclusively believes it is the objectivity of Jesus will fail. It was a subjective failure based in exclusiveness that caused the failure of those who Jesus confronted. Their subjectivity could not see the objective Jesus as their solution. They believed all that made them who they believed they were could not be wrong and by their subjectivity based in exclusiveness they told Jesus He was wrong in comparison to them. I’ve heard this before, do you know who I heard it from? Take a guess.

  17. The concept of “Enthronement” is not Christian or biblical. Servants of the humble Christ should never sit on thrones. Thrones belong to the royal worldly authority, not to Christianity. In Christianity, Christ alone sits on a throne.

  18. Remnant of Byzantine imperial court.

  19. I agree. Thrones and crowns for bishops are remnants of the Byzantine imperial court. Chrysostom would not have even considered wearing a crown. He eschewed embellishments in churches and felt the money should be given to the poor. It is funny how we dress hierarches from the past like contemporary bishops.