Metropolitan Joseph Urges Orthodox to March for Marriage

met-joseph This just in: please take the time to read this thoughtful encyclical by His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochian Archiocese.

This is important. It’s very thoughtful and it’s clear to me that His Eminence is laying down an important marker in the present struggle against The New Anthropology. The question is, will the other Orthodox jurisdictions step up to the plate?

The letter below was received from Met. Joseph urging Orthodox Christians to join the March for Marriage in Washington DC on April 25, 2015.

From the letter:

We are clearly on the cusp of a historic Supreme Court decision that could mark a powerful affirmation of marriage between one man and one woman, upon which all major civilizations have flourished – or, it can initiate a direction which the Holy Orthodox Church can never embrace.

Throughout the history of our faith our Holy Fathers have led the Orthodox laity to gather in unison to preserve the faith against heresy from within, and against major threats upon societies from without. We are in a unique position as Orthodox Christians in a nation governed as a democratic republic. We still benefit from religious freedoms that would allow us to voice with clarity the gospel message of Christ’s love, and the path to salvation.

A growing group of Orthodox clergy and laity have begun to prepare for this event and to assemble resources, and they have established the website . We encourage you to visit this website for additional information.

The letter follows:

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  1. Eis polla eti Despota!

    Aside from the important battle for marriage and the family, he is also throwing a light on all the Orthodox hierarchs in this country. Who will give their silent assent to the moral and cultural rot, and who will at least pay lip service to the Gospel?

    The Church of Antioch is a small part of a tiny minority in this country, but that does not mean we should silence ourselves. Let the rocks cry out if we will not stand as witnesses for truth.

    If the queer wing of the Church continues to play its game of footsie with the ruling culture, that will spell doom for the Episcopal Assembly, as Antioch will have no part of it. Those Greek hierarchs who would rule everyone, and those OCA hierarchs who would have unity under their omophorion better take heed that they’ll find themselves in an anti-church right quick if they don’t get it together.

  2. Daniel E Fall says

    I commented earlier, but not sure if I hit submit. It was late and I was tired.

    These marches are self righteousness in color. They do nothing to promote motherhood, but rather serve or appear to condemn gays and women seeking abortion. While the hierarch’s intent may be lofty and to reduce the sinfulness of man, I’m not sure that was ever his charge.

    The SCOTUS will have little to say on the matter because they won’t condemn two adults consenting to live together which is all the march will look like.

    The better thing to do would be to donate your travel funds to the wichita tree house at 151 N. Volutsia. Wichita, Kansas 67214, or any other charity that promotes motherhood.

    No disrespect is intended to the hierarch, I just don’t see the effort as fruitful as helping others. In fact, I doubt Christ himself would want the grand gesture.

    If the hierarchs had written a letter asking help to promote motherhood on Dormition; that would be cool.

    If all the money for the march were spent on one single highway sign promoting motherhood, not condemning abortion; it would teach little children to want to be parents. The church needs to take lessons from McDonalds and get the children onboard, rather than appeasing itself.

    • The Church condemns no one by speaking the truth; neither does cancer awareness kill people. People only condemn themselves by their own actions. The Church is speaking against the tide that there is another way.

      We must do more than walk in marches, yes, but in a democracy we must let our voices be heard too. Christians fleeing the public square has never done any good and has often done great harm.

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      I doubt Christ himself would want the grand gesture.

      Mark 11.1-10

      • Daniel E Fall says

        The citation is not referring to political marches, unless I’m mistaken.

      • PHR:

        I doubt Christ himself would want the grand gesture.
        Mark 11.1-10

        Good analogy, Patrick.

        Mark 11.1-10 = triumphal entry into Jerusalem

        Phony “March for Marriage” = triumph of fear-based fundamentalism

        • Wait. So Met JOSEPH is now a fundamentalist?

          When did that memo come out and from whom?

  3. Are Orthodox Christian no-fault divorcees invited to this shindig?

    • George Michalopulos says

      I imagine all sinners are invited to this “shindig.”

      • Gail Sheppard says

        George is right.

        Romans 8:28: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to {His} purpose”

        Honestly, we fail more than we succeed, but God is SO GREAT that He takes “all things,” not just some things, . . . to “work for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to {His} purpose.”

        This “shindig” is for ALL who love God. Metropolitan Joseph has been called according to His purpose.

        You all know me. I am not easily appeased. I know this man. He was my bishop. He is persnickety, but he absolutely, unequivocally LOVES God. God will bless his efforts.

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          Were the Antiochians present at, or were they exhorted by hierarchical Epistle to be at the annual March for Life? Was ever-memorable Metropolitan Philip ever present?

          Does this mean that abortion is not as big a problem amongst Antiochenes as gay marriages? Who knew?

          • George Michalopulos says

            Your Grace, you’re flogging a dead horse. Neither the Greeks nor the Antiochians were at the annual Marches for Life. But they’re stepping up to the plate here. Better late than never.

            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              Nothing in your encomium, George, indicated that the Antiochians were “finally stepping up to the plate!” On the contrary, the hyperbole surrounding their finally stepping up to the plate made it look like Metropolitan Joseph and his archdiocese had invented white bread!

              Still waiting for a clear denunciation of abortion from Antioch or Constantinople, and glowing affirmations of life and creation do NOT measure up. We’ll see who joins the OCA on the next March for Life, won’t we. Oh, I apologize for even mentioning that “dead horse!”

              • Nicholas Chiazza says

                Vladyka, I’m still waiting for the Antiochians to march against free-masonry.

                Let’s see how many “dislikes” I get with that.

            • Patrick Henry Reardon says

              George says, “Neither the Greeks nor the Antiochians were at the annual Marches for Life.”

              Not true, George. For instance, Bishop John represented the Antiochian Archdiocese at the most recent such event.

              • jerome wilson says

                As was Metropolitan Maximos of the (then) Diocese of Pittsbutg (GOA) many times, with the late Metropolitan Nicholas of the Carpatho-Russian Diocese (EP).

    • Michael Bauman says

      OOM, yes by all means let us shoot down the good in the quest of the perfect. Been my experience that people who do that care for neither the good and avoid the perfect at all costs.

      However, the real point is that we Orthodox need to do more in both the support of and insistence upon the teachings of the Church (without falling into hypocritical judgment). The March is not enough. That is correct.

      My experience in my time in the Church here in Wichita is that marriage is taken quite seriously. My first lesson in that was when the female choir director at my first parish divorced because her husband was emotionally abusive and a philander. He left the Church, she stayed, but for a year after her divorce she did not take communion and worked with our priest in repentance during that time. That was when Met. Philip and Bp Antoun were the only bishops. There have been several divorces over the years and in the majority of cases they have been handled in a befitting manor. It is a time of sorrow and healing.

      My own personal case, my wife died. I was not doing well alone and I found a woman to be my wife. Trouble was, she had been married three times before. We could not marry in the Church, when we got married any way, I was put under a penance of time away from the cup. My wife and I became catechumens. When she was Chrismated, I was also allowed to return to the Chalice and we received Communion at the same Holy Saturday Liturgy.

      Irregular, unusual but a great blessing to both my wife and me. Not something I would ever recommend to any one else. Real economia in action. Our marriage is fruitful by God’s grace.

      The priest now in my first parish here in Wichita and his Khouria run what I have been told is a very successful marriage program.

      My examples are intended to point out that while I agree we need to do more, all is not darkness and accommodation.

      Christ is Risen!

      • I am reminded of the classic Billy Graham line. When confronted, early in his career, by an Anglican who said something like, Young man, I do not like the kind of evangelism that you are doing, Graham replied, Well, I like the kind of evangelism I am doing better than the kind of evangelism you are not doing. Or words to that effect.

      • Christopher says

        My experience in my time in the Church here in Wichita is that marriage is taken quite seriously.

        That has been my experience also (about 20 years Orthodox, 8 or so parishes in that time). Makes me wonder if posters such as OOM and the like are or were ever Traditional Christians (let alone Orthodox), as their criticisms have the feel of those on the outside who read a statistic or two…

  4. It is inspiring to see Metropolitan Joseph step into the breach and take a leadership role in defense of Marriage. How quickly he is becoming the voice of Orthodoxy in America. Many Years, Metropolitan Joseph.

    • Wow!! If Met Joseph is the voice of Orthodoxy in this country we are in big trouble.

  5. Tim R. Mortiss says

    Here seems as good a place as any to put it: Cardinal Francis George has died. I am sure many readers here will remember his quote from a fairly short while back:
    “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.”
    The NYTimes obituary has a valuable link to an article by Cdnl. George about the “exhaustion” of liberal Catholicism.

  6. Tim R. Mortiss says
  7. Michael James Kinsey says

    Homosexuality is a plague of the great whore. It is a punishment sent or allowed by God to people who ignore the 2 Great Commandments. They do not serve God, and they live for bread alone. St John Chrysostom wrote, they are worse than murders, and their punishment is, that they like homosexuality. Any natural man or woman considers the idea repulsive.,let alone the act itself.Those who serve themselves enter into the great whore and those who lie for bread alone build the beast.
    This is a time to offer authentic prophetic witness against the glorification of abomination, which same sex marriage. It eliminate child bearing from the definition of marriage always has been, between a man and a woman, which then obeys the command to go forth and multiply. Th

    • MJK:

      Homosexuality is a plague of the great whore. It is a punishment sent or allowed by God to people who ignore the 2 Great Commandments.

      Interesting observation, Michael. Since it is God’s will to punish people in this way, surely homosexuals should be pitied, no? And who are we to judge what God ordains? Also, there’s that bit in Romans 1 about why God punishes people like this. The plain meaning of the text is that God sends this punishment on people who venerate icons… Don’t you, as an Orthodox Christian, find that ironic, Michael?

      • So now St. Paul is a heretic? You’re insane.

      • Michael James Kinsey says

        Perhaps, they are used as an example for us to dread. Certainly, it shows great harm caused by ordained gay priests, tonsured, unrepentant monks. This observation clearly points to evil trees, who cannot bear good fruit. This implies .that gay priests cannot function, where the Holy things are concerned. Holy thing are for the Holy. No Communion or confession, or marriage has any spiritual value if performed by a gay, professing unrepentant priest. God created them male and female, the Word of God which they obviously ignore, claiming to be gay, instead of male.Claiming to be a male, seeking to repent of the perversion, has to be the only acceptable claim professed by a gay monk. It is obvious, there are professing gays in the clerical ranks of most, if not all Orthodox denominations. This has to be addressed. They deprive the communicant of the Holy Sacrament., performing an empty ritual. The has to stop. I would hate to be the cleric who stands before the Christ on Judgement Day having to say ” I did nothing to help people who were being cheated out of the Holy Sacraments. The Lord Jesus Christ will not be playing social games on Judgement Day.Homosexuality is abomination. Forbid it in your churches, unless genuinely attempting to repent of it’s, which is possible is truthfully being attempted.Serve God alone. Do not fear them.

        • While I would agree that practicing homosexual clergy stoke the fire for themselves with every sacrament they perform, it is going too far to say their sacraments are not real. The councils dealt with this.

        • Monk James says

          Christ is risen, truly risen!

          It appears that Michael James Kinsey is drifting into donatism here, a theological error which asserts that sinful clergy are disabled from administering the christian Mysteries, that their ministry is mere play-acting and ineffective.

          Donatism grew out of frustration among the faithful when some clergymen who had buckled under roman persecution in North Africa were reinstated after long repentance. This indulgence left those who had resisted those temptations even to the point of imprisonment, torture and death wondering what their sacrifice was worth. They were corrected and consoled by good bishops in several synods.

          Now, if Mr Kinsey doesn’t mean to say that this is the case with our actively homosexual clergy, it would be good if he would clarify his position for us.

          I agree that unrepentant homosexuals, adulterers, murderers, Masons and other idolaters ought not serve in the clergy at any level, but — as irritating and distasteful as it inevitably must be — these evildoers do not lose the grace of the priesthood unless and until their bishops depose them.

          Let’s pray for our bishops, that they are receptive to the Lord’s teachings and not those of our sadly deficient contemporary culture’s false moralities.

    • MJK:

      It eliminate child bearing from the definition of marriage always has been, between a man and a woman, which then obeys the command to go forth and multiply.

      Let’s have a March Against Contraception, too!

      • Christopher says

        Let’s have a March Against Contraception, too!

        The fact that you find that statement ironic reveals that you are not a Classical Christian – you are modernist through and through. The March for Marriage is a march for Man (over and against the New Anthropology) so it contains within it a “march against contraception”, a “march against the holocaust of the unborn”, etc. This is plain to Christians, it is an astonishing and perplexing notion to folks such as yourself…

        • Mike Myers says

          You speak with such Authority, Christopher!

          Illuminate us benighted “modernists” wrt “the” Orthodox Church’s teaching on non-abortifacient contraception, please. Then explain to us how the March for Marriage “contains within it a ‘march against contraception’.” Since this is so plain to Classical Christians, if not so much to the GOAA, AOCANA and OCA, who aren’t in your club.

    • cynthia curran says

      Any sexual sin is bad. Regular adultery is just as bad. In fact the red states in the south have high out of wedlock births among teenagers. This is sexual sin as well. In fact you could bake a cake and sell it to an adulterer. Why is it that homosexuals only 3 percent of the population are targeted by Mike Pence’s religious freedom while regular adulterers are not. In fact people on the right are not kind to poor people. I have seen several times where Republicans opposed section 8 housing or just building apartments in their city since they don’t like the traffic that is also a sin to be hard on poor people.

    • Nicholas Chiazza says

      Yes, I have read that, and it only goes to show you why the Orthodox Church doesn’t believe in the doctrine of infallability–no bishop is incapable of error. St. John Chrysostom was an admirer of St. Paul and wrote many things about him. However, the language he uses makes the reader conclude that he didn’t know any gay people or was showing his ignorance by referring to gay love as a “passion.” I think he didn’t realize that gay people are capable of loving each other in a monogamous relationship before he took up his pen. There are gay Orthodox Christians who feel the good saint got a raw deal by being exiled by empress Eudoxia. And I’m sure they hope they will not get a raw deal from the clergy–by being exiled from the Holy Church.

  8. Father Mark Hodges says

    ( – A national leader in the Orthodox Christian Church has encouraged all Orthodox Christians in the United States to attend the March for Marriage on April 25 in Washington, D.C.

    Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese has issued an encyclical to approximately 268 churches in North America, asking all the faithful to join the demonstration in the nation’s capital supporting traditional marriage.

    Metropolitan Joseph says that Orthodox participation in the march is needed “in order to dispel confusion which has been stirred up by our secular culture.” The Orthodox Church has always defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman and said that homosexual activity is a grave sin.

    Starting at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the March for Marriage is expected to gather tens of thousands of participants. The demonstration is timed to coincide with the U.S. Supreme Court hearing four new cases on same-sex “marriage.”

    The Metropolitan’s encyclical conveyed a strong sense of urgency. “We are clearly on the cusp of a historic Supreme Court decision that could mark a powerful affirmation of marriage between one man and one woman – upon which all major civilizations have flourished – or, it can initiate a direction which the holy Orthodox Church can never embrace.”

    The bishop made a direct connection between participating in this year’s March for Marriage and times in history when Christians have corrected society or changed culture for the better. “Throughout the history of our faith, our holy Fathers have led the Orthodox laity to gather in unison to preserve the faith against heresy from within, and against major threats upon societies from without.”

    American Christians, he said, “are in a unique position” of living “in a nation governed as a democratic republic. We still benefit from religious freedoms that would allow us to voice with clarity the Gospel message of Christ’s love and the path to salvation.”

    Legal observers agree that a ruling to redefine marriage would seriously impact religious freedom in the United States.

    Metropolitan Joseph hoped that American Christians will make a strong showing at the annual event. “If we have several thousand attendees from the ranks of clergy, monastics, and laity at this peaceful rally, it would immediately be clear that the Orthodox Church is a leading voice for marriage in this nation,” the bishop wrote.

    “We ask that you would make every effort to attend the rally, and encourage others to do likewise,” Metropolitan Joseph wrote in a special hierarchical letter addressed to Orthodox Christian faithful throughout the country. “A strong, vibrant, and clear message is needed from our Church…[for] the strengthening of family life. This is what our nation’s people need to see.”

    Reaction to the Metropolitan’s strong stance has been positive. “Metropolitan Joseph is clearly emerging as the moral leader of Orthodox Christianity in America,” Fr. Johannes Jacobse, a priest in the Antiochian Orthodox Church and founder of the American Orthodoxy Institute, told LifeSiteNews. “This call to participate in the March for Marriage affirms that the Orthodox have a place in the public square.”

    Fr Jacobse went on to explain the importance of defending marriage in our society. “The affirmation of traditional marriage is also the affirmation of the foundational building block of Western civilization,” he said. “If the family dies, Western culture dies.”

    Metropolitan Joseph also praised the work of a group of priests and laity spearheading the Orthodox Christian role in the effort. The group, known as Crown Them With Glory, takes its name from a phrase in the Orthodox Church wedding ceremony.

    It has set up a website with details on the march and explanatory articles on marriage and homosexuality. The group is also sponsoring a gathering at the end of the march, where hundreds of Orthodox Christians are expected to pray for the nation to reject gay “marriage.”

    The March for Marriage is organized by the National Organization for Marriage, which seeks to communicate the necessity of defending marriage as an exclusive union between one man and one woman. April 25 will be the third annual March for Marriage in Washington, D.C., and is set to take place within days of when the Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments to decide the national legal status of homosexual “marriages.”

    Fr. John Whiteford, a Russian Orthodox priest and member of the group Crown Them With Glory, urged, “Come out in support of marriage between one man and one woman, modeled from our Lord’s love for His Bride: the Church… Many priests believe it is time we had a national pan-Orthodox Christian movement… The Orthodox Church has preserved its timeless teachings on the sacrament of marriage, and, as a place of refuge, the Church offers healing through Christ for us all, boldly proclaiming a blessed path toward salvation.”

    Fr. Stephen Freeman, a priest in the Orthodox Church in America, added, “This is the time for us to rise to the occasion. Amid such confusion over love, sexuality, gender roles, family life, we must make a reply for the sake of our children and our neighbor.”

    “This is an emergency: a crisis,” he continued. “A response on our part is necessary and would be historic.”

    He called a strong Orthodox Christian presence at the March “an opportunity to stand together in unity of voice as the Church: that is the stuff we were made for.”


    the article may be found at: iage-encourages-all

  9. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    I think he means well.

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      I think he means well.

      The sentence’s first verb is the one in doubt.

      • Nicholas Chiazza says

        You know Fr Patrick, there are some bishops I disagree with on some points, but I believe in keeping courtesy with those who govern (or who have governed) Christ’s Holy Church.

        I hope you take the hint.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Yes, Your Grace, I believe he does mean well.

      How much (little) does it take for God to do something magnificent with that? A mustard seed, maybe?

  10. Impressive. It won’t change anything in civil society, barring a miracle. The real benefit (other than obediently bearing witness to the truth — to a society that largely doesn’t want to hear it) of something like this is to reaffirm normative behavior internally in the Orthodox Church. If bishops of other jurisdictions do not join in supporting him in some way, it will either be because they fail to see this all important benefit — or because they are unwilling to uphold Christian morality in the face of the current opinion of the crowd.

    • The most important thing he has done is (a) call this to the attention of his clergy and (b) identified this issue as sacramental in nature and, thus, something on which Orthodoxy cannot compromise its doctrine.

      What does that say to the state? In a way, who cares. Met JOSEPH was speaking to Orthodoxy.

      • NYC OCA Alum says

        Bingo. And this is why it is so very heartening. Such a contrast to the what we’ve been use to from our hierarchs ranging from the furtive to the mealy-mouthed.

      • tmatt, I hope you understood what I wrote as being completely in agreement with you. You are absolutely right that the real audience for this kind of call is Orthodox clergy and faithful. The message to the state is incidental. I applaud the intent of his public stance. I am deeply disappointed that no other jurisdictions have expressed support of any kind for him.

        Even if one is averse to political involvement by clergy (a valid stance, and one I somewhat lean toward), there is no reason why other hierarchs cannot say something like “we will not be participating in this march because we don’t do political things, but we wish to express our full and unreserved support to Metr. Joseph regarding what the Orthodox Church teaches: Christian marriage can only be between a man and a woman, and we believe that it is beneficial to follow what the Church teaches, regardless of whether one is a Christian or not, because the Church’s teaching is correct, healthy, and lifegiving.” In fact, in today’s moral climate, to do anything else is to be derelict in one’s duties as a bishop.

        • Metropolitan Tikhon of OCA gave a blessing for the parishioners of his cathedral (St. Nicholas in DC) to participate in the march.

      • Except the letter and speakign out is in the context of protesting at the Supreme Court against secular laws that have no direct effect on Orthodox sacramental theology and practice. If HE was only speaking to Orthodoxy, he would only to speak to Orthodoxy. Unless I am missing your point.

        • Truth applies to everyone, Orthodox or not.

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          It applies more than you know. Contraception, Abortion, no-fault divorce, etc., all started out being accepted in secular society and then came into the Church. That’s why it applies.


  11. Salemlemko says

    Many blessed figgin years! Finally a bishop with balls! Philip of blessed memory must be jumping for joy in his box! Hey, Arida, how bout them apples huh?

  12. M. Stankovich says

    Let’s be honest. Some are born “broken” and unenlightened. They are victims and know nothing of the mercy of a loving God and the sacrifice of His Son for the destruction we have made of this world. They neither see it, nor feel it, nor experience it because we comfortably shelter ourselves away from their existence, quoting Scripture & philosophers, inventing new language and phraseology – “homsexualists” and “the new anthropology” – while those the Lord declares constitute the Kingdom are hanging from our necks like stones. Gladly we will march in support of Christian Marriage, wearing hokey t-shirts, because it will only dirty the soles of our shoes. And 12-hours later return to our secularist indifference, a bit out of breath, to a sumptuous dinner to argue the villainy of those “renovationist Orthodox” for pointing out there is fundamentally something wrong here.

    I emphatically state that I will not be with you. I will be customarily delivering collected soda cans, recyclables, warm blankets, taking blood pressure, washing wounds, suturing wounds, applying bandages, calling ambulances when appropriate, and simply being human with the loathsome of the earth – and under my breath uttering the Pascha greeting. Young, old, male, female, LGBTQ, drunk, high, sick, well, criminal, believers, and non-believers, I won’t ask & my friends & I don’t care. Where was the Lord found? Among the most despicable, loathsome, and rejected. “Today salvation has come to this house.” And then the doctor can become the agent of heavenly healing; then the extraordinary can & will begin. Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death. Fear not entering into the darkness.

    • Daniel E Fall says

      That would be harder to do than march with your pals from the club.

    • So your point is that defense of the church’s moral teachings essentially contradicts ministry to the poor and broken?

      • Fr. George Washburn says

        Not his point at all. His point is that talk is cheaper, far cheaper, than action, and that the O.C. In the U.S. n talkative A. would be a far better witness to its alleged authenticity as the True Faith if it actually lived Matt. 25.

        • Christopher says

          Fr George,

          I have to admit, I don’t get your witness. On the one hand “of course”, and yet, as a priest, you know full well (or should) that this side of the Eschaton things are messy. If we actually, fully, lived the faith, that would be something would it not? Yet, you do realize we are alive in this fallen world, don’t you??

          On the other hand, what’s the point of setting up false dichotomies, Matt 25 vs. Matt 10 for example? It’s what one expects of those outside the Church who are constantly pointing out our sins and saying “you see, even YOU don’t follow Jesus”. Well, duh! That’s the thing about sin, is it not?

          Honestly, you appear to be confused about our basic existential condition…

          • Fr. George Washburn says

            Christopher correctly states that he does not get what I wrote. If he reads it over a couple of times more in context, I think he will.

            The discussion originated in the editorial about Sayidna Joseph’s position on the march.

            Mr. Stankovich replied he would not attend as he would be busy taking care of certain needy people.

            Tmatt then completely misstated the Stankovich position in my opinion. I replied with a brief statement of what I thought Mr. S had actually said.

            Which Christopher has now misinterpreted as me setting up false dichotomies from scripture and misunderstanding the existential condition. Dude, c’mon!

            And so we all waste more time on the refutation of such obviouse misconstructions. It is not an either or, tmatt or Chrstopher, and I certainly don’t and didn’t think or say so.

            It would be worthwhile if an intelligent person with a real name should express and justify a position, one way or the other, on whether or not the Orthodox Church of today on this continent is better at one or the other of the !!! two essentials!!! – affirming what is true or living what is true by serving the needy. But
            then the misconstruers would take over…….No wonder so little good gets done and this is so vastly more of an echo chamber than a serious forum for dialogue

            Fr. G

            • Christopher says

              Well, no, Tmatt did not misstate Mr. Stankovich position at all – Mr. Stankovich clearly did set up an opposition, and used it as a place to jump off into his preferred agenda. Thus, when you defended said agenda you in fact supported said false dichotomies – or at least did not make the necessary distinctions yourself.

              However, I take you at your word that you did not intend to do this, “Father Dude”… 😉

              As far as your question as to whether the OC of NA is “better” at what you rightly point out as “two essentials”, If I had to choose (I think we are a best a “C-” at both) I would say we probably do a tad better at practical service, and a tad worse at speaking the Truth to Power…

        • Talk is cheap, but in our vapid culture, talk often counts for more than action.

          And yet most of our hierarchs and many of our priests are unwilling to even address the issue with cheap talk.

    • Mike Myers says

      Glasses raised, please: I propose a toast, to that tough, brave and über-charitable servant of the Living God, Michael Stankovich. An inspiration and source of joy to this sinner but saint-wannabe.

      Please pray for me, doc.

    • Monk James says

      Christ is risen, truly risen!

      Perhaps this isn’t a Martha/Mary apposition of activities, both of them good. Maybe this isn’t even an either/or distinction; EITHER participate in a public demonstration for right living and christian values OR serve Christ in the person of those who need our more direct help.

      Rather, couldn’t it be said that we should both talk the talk and walk the walk, and then also do the work as the Lord gives us strength?

      There are always several levels of involvement in actuating the Gospel. Every one of us is called to be involved, but I doubt that more than a few of us can be active in every aspect of evangelical life, at least not in all aspects at the same time. So let’s support and encourage each other in what we CAN do when we can do it.

      ‘Enlighten our hearts, O Master Who loves Mankind, with the incorrupt light of Your divine knowledge, and open the eyes of our minds to understand the teachings of Your Gospel. Instill in us an awe of Your blessed commandments, so that we may trample down every desire of the flesh and enter into a spiritual way of life, pleasing You in all our thoughts and actions. For You are Enlightenment of our souls and bodies, O Christ our God, and we send up glory to You and also to Your eternal Father and to Your most holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.’

      — Divine Liturgy: Prayer Before Reading the Gospel

      • Christopher says

        Rather, couldn’t it be said that we should both talk the talk and walk the walk, and then also do the work as the Lord gives us strength?

        Well said. These false oppositions are a mark of immaturity in the Faith, or simply a rhetorical ploy from those outside it. We in the Faith know full well that witness is multifaceted, and that each element is not opposed or in contradiction of the others…

        • Daniel E Fall says

          Actually, accepting each and every pearl of wisdom cast by the church is immature. Unless you appreciate some is dung; you are sadly mistaken. That is hard to hear, but imfallibility has never been a strong suit of the church.

          And it isn’t just yea or nay all the time. Some of the time; things are far grayer.

          Other times, the church says nothing. There are laws we follow everyday unrelated to the church.

          I find the subject to be why bother? If there was a march against exploitation of women in pornography; it would mean much more.

          While you would like to check off any disagreement as absence of faith; full agreement defines a cult.

          • “Some of the Church’s pearls of wisdom are dung.”

            (There are Orthodox [sic] people who actually believe this.)

    • Heracleides says

      M. Stankovich declares: “I emphatically state that I will not be with you…”

      Small wonder, given that:

      “A fish that is alive swims against the current; one that is dead floats with it.

      A true Christian goes against the current of a sinful age; a false one is swept away by its swiftness.”

      ~St. Philaret

      Mind the bloat Herr Stankovich.

      • Daniel E Fall says

        You know hairy cletus, you would do better without the offensive bit at the end [sic].

        And, to be honest, the analogy is invalid because Stankovich has never advocated for homosexual marriage. Furthermore , swimming against the current he does. Further still , directing the current is not what the quote suggests. If you consider the quote sans confirmation bias , it means the individual swim against the current. Or more specifically, you don’t personally advocate homosexual marriage. Just in the same way you don’t advocate violence. The analogy is a miss.

        And I’m not an advocate of gay marriage either. I just don’t give a darn about gays swimming against the current.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Daniel, you are correct: Dr Stankovich has never advocated for gay “marriage.” That’s not the issue. We must remember that the Gaystapo never advocated for gay “marriage” in the first place. Beginning in the 70s it was just for “acceptance” and then “normality.” By the 90s it was for “civil unions” –never for marriage. That’s why the GOP Congress and the Democratic president (Clinton) signed the DOMA.

          By 2014, the homosexual juggernaut had become so powerful that it was overturned. That’s where we’re at now.

          • Daniel E Fall says

            Bill Clinton is a populist as is Hillary. His reasons are not related to right or wrong-just what was popular at the time. For that, my dad’d sister calls him slick willy.

            All that aside, I don’t find the march important. I don’t think the march will change a thing and it serves to isolate the church~good or bad.

            • Since when do we use the culture as a measuring stick? We should only measure ourselves up against the saints. Frankly, who gives a damn what darkness thinks about light?

              Was it also “unimportant” and useless for Abp. Iakovos to march with Dr. King? Or are you engaging in special pleading?

              • Marching with Dr. King for progressive change will never be even closely comparable to marching to retain the status quo.

                The logic is fully the opposite.

                Not sure what my attitude may have been…wasn’t there.

                I wish you hadn’t used the rhetorical because I just don’t get your first point. I think the march is/was a measuring stick.

          • Nicholas Chiazza says

            George, first of all, let me say it gave me great satisfaction to “dislike” your posting.

            Now, if you’ll bear with me, I will tell you why. Referring to the gay community as the “Gaystapo” or “Gay Juggernaut” is not only inaccurate, but in very poor taste. Inaccurate because they are not goosestepping on your marriage rights any more than them having a cook-out is infringing on your rights to barbeque.

            Poor taste because in Nazi Germany over 250,000 gay men were murdered–many in some of the most inhumane ways possible. I call putting a bucket over the head of a gay man and then having him torn apart by guard dogs inhumane, though you might disagree with me. And what was the reason for these crimes? That gays were immoral, that they didn’t produce children, that they didn’t fit into society. But they did serve a wonderful purpose: you could blame the ills of society on them, for indeed it is a very popular issue to condemn.

            As far as Metropolitan Joseph and Fr. Hans Jacobse are concerned, I hope God grants them many years–because it will take a long time for them to realize the words of our Founder:

            “As long as you have done it to these, the least of My brethren, you have done it to me.”

            Nothing can wash away those words.

            The gay community doesn’t want to force the Church to sanction gay marriage–if that is what the Church believes, they will respect it. But whooping up a holy war against them just because of some obscure references in Scripture will do the Church no good, nor strengthen the marriage between a man and a woman. It is the duty of a man and a woman to strengthen their marriage. So may God bless it.

            It is true that the gay movement started out very bohemian, without any thought as to marriage. But times change–not everyone can live in Bohemia. It seems to me that they are seeking an alternative to a promiscuous way of life which can viewed as a positive thing. Only time will tell whether same sex marriage will provide this.

            • Estonian Slovak says

              You might not agree with George’s language, but I doubt very much that he would wish to inflict such horrific treatment on gays that the Nazis did.
              I’m sorry to disagree with you, but the gay activists have pretty much silenced anyone who doesn’t share their viewpoint; something both the Nazis and Soviets did also. I have had gay activists at my job try to convince African-American co-workers that since I’m against same-sex marriage, I must be a racist also.
              Back in the 60’s when I was a teen, I became a leftist for two reasons. One was because I was appalled by the way black people were being treated in this country at the time, especially in the South. Reason number two was that I read about Hitler and the Nazis and reasoned that if they were the bad guys, then anyone who opposed them, including Stalin and the Communists, had to be the good guys.
              Quoting Scripture doesn’t automatically make you right. White Supremecists ,Marxists, and perhaps even Nazis have done the same.

  13. While I have my own opinions about these kinds of marches, its about time our hierarchs at the least show publicly that the Church’s teaching is that marriage is only for one man and one woman, if not for the sake of society on a whole, at least for the sake of the faithful within the Church, many who are confused about this issue, and many I dare say who do think that it’s perfectly fine for two men or two women to marry.

    At Daniel, you mentioning sending money to a charity is quite frankly a red herring. There are many Orthodox faithful who do support women in need, as well as showing kindness and mercy and love to everyone around them.

    Your mentioning of that is really unneccessary and quite frankly insulting to those of us who do show love and charity to everyone, including those seeking abortion and those struggling with same sex attraction.

    So you may avail yourself of the need you think you have to point out how we ought to be charitable.

    • Daniel E Fall says

      Where then oh wise one was the march for marriage in the 90’s when divorce rates hit 50%?

      Clubhouse mindset.

      • Late.

      • The divorce rate is not, and never was, 50%. It’s a myth. Thank God.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        Actually that is fair criticism that Daniel raises and I can answer it. Nowhere! Why? because of what I and many others in the Church were arguing at that time. We had no Moral Voice! As Orthodox Christians we were divided between jurisdictions and only cared about our own ethnic issues.

        In our own communities we did not divorce, at least not at the rate of the average American, and so OUR world was just fine. That was our fault and our mistake. Unlike the RCC that has never waivered on this issue and many others, the Orthodox were asleep at the cultural wheel because we cared more about Greece, Russia, Albania, Serbia, etc., and care nothing about just people in general, especially here in America.

        So yes Daniel you are absolutely right, and that is a great sin we need to repent from, but its still better late than never, and it still does not do away with the Church’s Moral and Prophetic voice that in these times it so desperately needs to find.


    • Daniel E Fall says

      How is it misleading or a “red herring” for me to suggest spending to go on a march is a bad economic choice? It is bad. Why?

      1. It serves to condemn a group of people.
      2. It does nothing to promote motherhood.
      3. The outcome of SCOTUS is not likely to change.

      If anything is a red herring, it is the march itself.

      It isn’t like the march in Selma.

      It is self serving, clubhouse stuff.

      It points out no great social wrongs. What that maybe a half of a percent of society engages in something you don’t approve that affects us little?

      Red herring? How about a march against drug use? A wiser use of resources it would be and yes, a red herring.

      Stankovich told you in far politer [sic] fashion.

      It is not a red herring to look at something among rational choices.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        Daniel does the Gospel condemn people or sin? The Gospel promotes not only motherhood but the whole Human Race and raises us to fully realize that we are made in the image and likeness of God. The Supreme Court may not change now, but did the Civil Right Marches eventually change the Country and the Supreme Court? Answer yes.

        Why were the demonstrations against Racial Hatred good, but demonstrations for Standing up for the Gospel bad or unworthy of our time? Again, the Gospel saves and we are given a clear command to preach it to the whole world.

        Should the Church shut her mouth and silence her prophetic voice.

        I am sorry Daniel on this you and others are wrong. Further, the GOAA just released a statement against SSM, which for the GOAA is Huge! Also, Metropolitan Tikhon of the OCA added his name to this statement. That statement and the March for Marriage is the Church’s prophetic voice in action.

        If you think things like these don’t matter and are a waste of time, then I would like to introduce you to Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel (your name’s sake), Ezekiel, Amos, and all the other OT prophets that stood up for God against a corrupt Nation of Israel.

        They were the ones, by the Grace of God, that gave and preserved the faith that we still have today. So no Daniel nothing is wasted and nothing is meaningless and the Church’s Moral and Prophetic voice must be heard very, very loudly, especially before June when the Supreme Court rules on the SSM issue.

        I also urge you to contact the Supreme Court yourself and make your feelings known to them prior to June. Here is the link: Also, Prayer is also affective, in fact more affective than all. Now will you roll over and just accept it or speak up and out on SSM? What will you do?


        • No way, Daniel was my namesake?

          Dale Carnegie 101. Offensive remarks won’t result in influencing people, gaining their trust, or get them to appreciate your perspectives.

          The issue is a waste of time.

  14. M Stankovich, the same goes to you too.

  15. Different strokes for different folks.

    In one sense I am not sure what a march for marriage will accomplish. However, as the media especially, has decided that almost all Americans are now in favor of same-sex marriage, perhaps this is one small way to say that some people believe that this is detrimental to society and to our country and furthermore is contrary to the way God has asked us to live. I do not know how God will use these efforts. But I do know He wastes nothing. And He honors faithfulness.


    • One is a moral issue, the other is an inherent impossibility.

    • The so called “gays” have and always had the same right to marriage as we all do, i.e., the right to marry a person of opposite sex. A man’s proclivity for sexual perversion(s) is not a legal obstacle preventing him from marrying a woman. The whole “human rights” argument is an obvious fallacy.

    • Daniel E Fall says

      Not a very good response oom. Kind of meaningless..

    • Nicholas Chiazza says

      My dear Oom, that would be funny if it wasn’t true.

  17. Tim R. Mortiss says

    Our Lord’s everlasting injunctions as to how we are to love our neighbor do not preclude the Church from also addressing the issues of faith and morals that arise down the ages.

    Indeed, it has always done so and must do so, precisely so that the central message is never lost. I can imagine Arian bishops or Iconoclast emperors loftily citing Matthew 25 to those who thought various points of “esoteric” theology were important while millions suffered in the slums of the Empire.

    It is also even possible that those who have strong views about moral or theological questions also visit the sick and suffering, clothe the naked, and help the powerless. Perhaps bishops and others have the responsibility to do both.

  18. Thomas Barker says

    “I emphatically state that I will not be with you. I will be customarily delivering collected soda cans, recyclables, warm blankets, taking blood pressure, washing wounds, suturing wounds, applying bandages…”

    This painting technique is called impasto, or ‘laying it on thick.’ It cannot be overemphasized that those in need of sutures and other surgical procedures obtain treatment from a doctor who has completed residency and obtained licensure. Social work cannot be substituted for residency or for ABMS certification in surgery.

    • Heracleides says

      Quackery without a medical license? For shame Mikey.

    • Fr. George Washburn says

      This man’s biter, for the moment, seems worse than his barker. Michael does what he is called and trained to do, and what state law authorizes him to do.

      Snide woofing at him from the sidelines does you no credit and him no detriment. But you may take a bow for helping Michael fulfill scripture: “blessed are you when men shall revile you.”

      • Thomas Barker says

        And you may, in turn, take a bow for your revilement of me.

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          Mr. Barker, Father George did not revile you or characterize you in any way! You accused him falsely, for your OWN sake/ He reviled NO ONE. Your words are an example of blatant false witness against him!

          • Thomas Barker says

            Your Grace,

            Father George ridiculed my surname. Taunting with ‘biter,’ ‘barker’ and ‘woofing’ for one named Barker is not behavior befitting a priest. And “take a bow..” is merely hostile sarcasm on his part. I would say he has unmasked himself.

            • Fr. George Washburn says

              Mr. Barker, let’s discuss this man to man, not through Vladyka or the readership.

              Let me start the discussion by asking what degree of value your initial comments were meant to place on the services of Mr. Stankovich to the wretched, and in what tone? Love? Respect? Kindness?

              To my eyes you had pretty clearly conveyed a sort of niggling disdain for a guy who gives his best day in, day out in Christ’s name, in the trenches under very difficult conditions.

              It looks like my use of barking, biting and woofing made, and perhaps over made, the intended point. I apologize if I miscalculated how best to make it, but at the time it seemed like a decent guess.

              • Christopher says

                Let me start the discussion by asking what degree of value your initial comments were meant to place on the services of Mr. Stankovich to the wretched, and in what tone? Love? Respect? Kindness?

                And what degree of value of Mr. Stankovich’s initial comments were meant to place on the services of all those who march for marriage and who support this witness to our orthodox and non-orthodox neighbor, (supporters such as Met. Joseph – you are an Antiochian priest, no?). Did they have any character of Love, Respect, or Kindness? Nope. He rather (and apparently yourself as well) have a certain “niggling disdain” for such witness. Instead, you would rather hijack a thread like this for your own agenda, and when the majority of us see right through your rather pathetic criticisms, you complain of “echo chambers” and the like.

                You want to speak “man to man”, but first, you have to actually “be a man”. Your failing at this at the moment…

                • Fr. George Washburn says

                  Christopher demonstrates a failure to read, write and think clearly in the presence of a hot button issue ….and people who are prepared to attempt a little more than just salivate each time Pavlov rings the bell.

                  I believe and teach the Church’s traditional position on the underlying issue. I have stated it here before too. He may imagine that my failure to preach to the choir on this site when the issue comes up is a lack of ….whatever. For what it was I have marched repeatedly on the front lines in Santa Cruz and San Francisco, had hostile screamers in my face, things thrown at me and my children. Represented the local pro-life movement for decades in and out of court for free sometimes before disapproving judges. And Christopher in his hubris and complete ignorance publicly dismisses my manhood without stating any reason. Please pardon me for mentioning personal things like this in order to expose the sheer folly of ignorant and anonymous trashing of others from a distance.

                  And that was precisely my point about Mr. Barker’s dismissal of Mr. Stankovich. From afar people here are SO willing to just trash someone who doesn’t seem to conform to the bizarre conventions of this echo chamber of the anonymous …and to suppose they are doing God a service as they do!

                  Christopher supposes that my reticence to beat the drum for Saiyidna Joseph here means I do not support him for being a straightforward leader on the issue. He doesn’t want or need that kind of chime-in support from people on the Internet, and he has told me so in person.

                  The failure to read and think and readiness to judge underlies all of Christopher’s misconstructions. Mr. Stankovich did not condemn or devalue public witness or those who bear it. Read his post again. Think. He simply called attention to the ease with which it is possible to bear momentary public witness ….and go back to our comforts supposing we’ve done our job – while avoiding the hands-on and more difficult public witness of day in,day out foot washing of the unattractive.

                  • Christopher says

                    Fr. George says:

                    …. a little more than just salivate each time Pavlov rings the bell….expose the sheer folly of ignorant and anonymous trashing of others from a distance….This man’s biter, for the moment, seems worse than his barker….

                    And then says:

                    sheer folly of ignorant and anonymous trashing of others from a distance.

                    The sheer hypocrisy is plain to see. Your (albeit consistent) whining about “anonymous” is also wearing thin. If you don’t like the rules of the community you are conversing with, go somewhere else – or create your own blog and enforce your own standards.

                    Let’s tone it down a little. You say:

                    Mr. Stankovich did not condemn or devalue public witness or those who bear it. Read his post again.

                    Oh I have. I have read this post and many posts of Mr. Stankovich for quite a while, and you are simply wrong. Indeed, you said it best: Mr. Stankovich has a “niggling disdain” for those who are (however imperfectly) witnessing the His Truth around marriage and Christian anthropology in general. He sets up false dichotomies, and is arguing for a certain standard of piety and purity that (in his theory) has to exist BEFORE the Church can speak to the culture (or indeed, to it’s own wayward flock). Your support of his false reading of these issues makes it appear that you also adhere to (this frankly Protestant) understanding. It is a mistake on your part.

                    Also, I sincere “thanks” from my heart for your witness and service to the unborn!!

                    • Christopher says

                      Oh, I forgot to address your “preaching to the choir..echo chamber” complaints. This is another aspect where you are in error. First, a certain amount of “speaking to the choir” is always needed, simply to re-enforce what we already know or should know. I suspect you or another priest at your own congregation “preaches to the choir” every Sunday. Second, while many of the regular posters “in opposition” are simply New Anthropologists and thus trolls, you never know who will read a good post (e.g. one of Fr. Han’s) and be moved in their hearts.

                      Which (again) begs the question, why set up false dichotomies which are really a cover for your own preferred agenda(s). If you don’t want to be part of the witness for Christian Marriage, fine – why begrudge those who do?

              • Thomas Barker says

                Father Washburn,

                Last night I was scratching my head, thinking “hmm, a truculent priest who demeans by ridicule and a retired bishop who recites Taylor Swift – then tells me to dip my head in a bucket of ice water. How can this be happening? Into what strange rabbit hole have I fallen?” Then it hit me. Monomakhos is an underground, virtual Bohemian Grove for clerics and fellow travelers to de-stress and let off steam without the behavioral constraints of their mundane lives. You know, sort of like the real Bohemian Grove, where Henry Kissinger can wear a dress while listening to Donald Rumsfeld recite Ginsberg’s Howl. Anyway, I get it. I’m all for it. And I hope that it is cathartic, even emetic, for you.

                Now, your “degree of value” (slow eye roll) question appears to be rhetorical and the answer obvious. Michael Stankovich is off limits for now, as I owe him a response. So what shall we discuss, man to man? I’ll order us a Mai Tai and pull up a chair if you want to share some beat poetry. I’m hip, daddy-o!

                • Tim R. Mortiss says

                  I know that rabbit-hole feeling myself…..

                  As a one-time Bay Area dweller, I like the Bohemian Grove picture! I knew a couple of Grovers; they had a good time…..

                • Christopher says

                  where Henry Kissinger can wear a dress while listening to Donald Rumsfeld recite Ginsberg’s Howl.

                  That is the funniest image I have had in my mind in a while… 🙂

            • Daniel E Fall says

              You know Thomas, you seem like you could take a different tack. First you complain about laying it on thick, then compared bandaids to brain surgery-kinda thick? Fr Washburn seemed a bit out of character to me, so not sure we are seeing the real he.


              • Thomas Barker says

                Mr. Fall,
                I do not recall comparing “bandaids to brain surgery.” Good day to you.

                • Daniel E Fall says

                  Oh, Mr Barker..

                  …for your wisdom, you have missed Washburn’s error badly. The priest can’t stand all the nasty comments from anonymous posters…so his comments were all related to the notion your name was or is an alias and that was why you railed on Stankovich. And he was only trying to reflect that which he dislikes. So, he wasn’t being the typical person we usually see.

                  As for sutures and brain surgery, or bandaids and bananas; everyone knows what was said. And I’m sorry, but I say you missed.

                  • Fr. George Washburn says

                    I agree with Dan that Mr. Barker didn’t get what I try to say, but I actually did assume it was a real name. While most of the thrashers here do seem to be anonymous,

                    Instead I was concerned that we seem to have a climate here that resembles calls to the Rush Limbaugh show more than discussion among members of Christ !!! AND OF ONE ANOTHER!!!

                    • Thomas Barker says

                      Father George,

                      I did get what you said, but I thought the presentation hostile.

      • Monk James says

        Fr. George Washburn says (April 22, 2015 at 9:02 am) :

        ‘… you may take a bow for helping Michael fulfill scripture: “blessed are you when men shall revile you.”‘


        Christ is risen, truly risen!

        Well, here’s another one of those verses mistranslated and misapplied.

        At MT 5:11, the subject of this sentence in Greek is pseudomenoi (‘liars, falsifiers’): ‘Blessed are you when liars insult you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things about you because of Me.’

        So, is Fr GW saying that our interlocutor is a liar, and that the correspondent he’s criticizing is being lied about because of Christ?

        Maybe we should have thought about the ninth beatitude instead: ‘Blessed are those who expect nothing, for they shall never be disappointed.’

        • Misapplied? Absolutely and all the time. People routinely and conveniently forget to include Christ’s qualifications to this Beatitude verse.

          But the good old KJV captures both qualifications perfectly:

          Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

          In fact every translation I have seen includes those qualifications, so there isn’t any problem with translations conveying this particular meaning. I do note, however, that every version I have seen in a cursory online search translates pseudomenoi as an adverb rather than a noun. If it could be translated as a noun, one would think that someone would have done so, if only to satisfy the seeming insatiable urges of some translators to be different for the sake of being different.

        • Fr. George Washburn says

          I invite Monk James to take a broader, more careful look at that Greek term from Matt. 5:11. Liar is the worst and most egregious meaning of that term, and probably the most common, but far from the only meaning.
          It is a broader and more nuanced term than just outright lies, and covers such things as mischaracterizing or unfair and unfavorable portrayals of a person or his ideas. I have no reason to think Mr. Barker a liar.

          How strange it would be if, as Monk James seems to imply, Jesus meant to say his followers would be blessed if people outright lied about them, but not if they were merely devalued or put down unfairly. That prefix pseudo on the compound word is plenty broad enough in my rusty NT Greek opinion to,cover anything inaccurate or unfair. Granting some credit for the “impasto” comment, it still seemed to me that he was casting Mr. S’s gace-filled, Christ-honoring service to the wretched in an unfair and patronizing light .

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            One thing about Monk James…He never refers to any authority in his field except himself: No linguistic scientist/ no philologist and NO CHURCH FATHER. Obviously he deserves much more recognition than he gets, right? But as WHAT?

    • Patrick Henry Reardon says

      I emphatically state that I will not be with you. I will be customarily delivering collected soda cans, recyclables, warm blankets, taking blood pressure, washing wounds, suturing wounds, applying bandages…

      Let me mention, in the midst of the history’s Ninth Plague, it is a comfort to reflect that one of the correspondents on this blog “will be customarily delivering collected soda cans.”

      • M. Stankovich says

        Fr. Patrick,

        It might do your heart well to see the smile of the Black veteran who sits in the CVS parking lot across from Scripps Mercy Hospital in a wheelchair- having lost both legs to diabetes – in the same ratty clothes as I met him a year ago. He won’t accept a dollar from me, but he will accept a large garbage bag of soda cans I diligently crush as small as possible to fit as many as possible. We never exchange a word. He smiles and I move on.

        For a scholar, you lack a significant amount of common sense. And you seem to derive great pleasure mocking me. Both circumstances are senseless to me.

        • M. Stankovich says

          Mr. Michalopulos,

          Your allowing me to be insulted in such a crass manner & not allowing me to respond is equally senseless.

    • Mike Myers says

      An instant classic! Bravo, Barker.

      I get an unholy kick from many of you tempters and temptresses. You have no idea. Screenplays galore just begging to come to the light out of this joint. Transfiguring gnat straining and camel swallowing into high art.

      Tunnel vision, moral cretinism, hypocrisy, and more than a little utter madness. Worst thing is I’d bet some of your priests are proud of y’all. It cannot be overemphasized.

    • Salemlemko says

      Its not about Stanko, its about a brave and honest bishop and the moral teachings of the Church.

  19. “…those in need of sutures and other surgical procedures obtain treatment from a doctor who has completed residency and obtained licensure,,,”

    I agree about the “laying it on thick” part, but you are wrong in implying that Dr. Stankovich must be making those parts up for effect. If Dr. Stankovich is a medical doctor (MD or DO) and has a licence to practice medicine, he can perform any surgical procedure — as long as where he is doing it is a facility that grants him the privileges to do so (i.e. a free health clinic, which his what this sounds like — since most hospitals aren’t in the practice of accepting collected soda cans and recyclables). He of course, as a psychiatrist, would be unlikely to be granted surgical privileges at a regular hospital. And that is only in the US — cross the border into Mexico or go to a third world country on a mission, and you’d be surprised what people are allowed to do…

    Jus’ sayin’

    • Thomas Barker says


      In California, a license to practice as an Associate Clinical Social Worker is not equivalent to a license to practice as a physician, regardless of one’s academic medical knowledge. And said licenses are a matter of public record.

      Jus’ sayin’

      • Sorry, thought he was perhaps an MD psychiatrist. In this case, I have no light to shed on the subject of a clinical social worker sewing up people in the state of CA, and will bow out.

      • M. Stankovich says

        I certainly appreciate your inquiry as to my integrity before arriving at your conclusion, Mr. Barker. Had you merely searched this thread, you would have found my previous response to this matter. I am a fully qualified MD, however I was forced to leave my final year of residency because of a familial former of cancer & a subsequent recurrence. One of the “proofs” to myself of the process of recovery (as well as the relentless boredom) was to force myself off the couch in the final stages of chemotherapy into the classroom and seek the MSW.You quickly learn that you can pretty much vomit anywhere without embarrassment. For the record, I was always complimented in residency for my suturing, as well as placing of in-dwelling catheters, chest tubes, and the like. But you may rest assured that when I write “me and my friends” will be bandaging & suturing, those suturing will be licensed MD’s. I am not, however, above, taking vitals, checking orientation, sensorium, and occasionally the function of cranial nerves.

        Now that we have settled this distraction – forest for the trees – perhaps you might re-read my message below, that was directed to you.

        • Thomas Barker says

          Dr. Stankovich,

          Thank you for the explanation. I offer you my apology that I did not broach the subject of your qualifications and license by contacting you directly. Moreover, I apologize for the hostile, sarcastic and mean-spirited comments that I have directed at you on Monomakhos from time to time. I hope to respond to your other post that begins “My point, Mr Barker…” when I have sufficient time to do so.


          • Fr. George Washburn says

            Strong kudos to Mr. Barker for the message to/about Dr. S.. My April 22 post included the limiting clause “for the moment” because he really did seem to be a good guy who had momentarily forgotten himself, which this medium prompts all of us to do. I meant to get his attention and apologize again if I overdid it.


            Fr. George

  20. M. Stankovich says

    My point, Mr Barker, was this: I do not oppose marches, & I have great respect for Met. Joseph who seems to realize he must begin to lead somewhere. But more often than not, these “events” give the false impression that the church is actively engaged in the great moral issues of our time, when it is not.

    We are but weeks past the extraordinary words of the Lord in the Matins of Holy Fiday, “I can take no more, I will make the Gentiles my people,” and His frank instruction that if they hate us for upholding the Truth with which He has entrusted us, know that they hated Him first. We are called to be Ezekiel’s, to be Nathan’s, to be John the Baptists, but as Edward has noted, we have no moral voice to challenge the “current opinion of the crowd.”

    Personally, I agree with the conclusion of Fr. Florovsky in his essay, In the Valley of the Shadow of Death, which are words found in the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great: first and foremost, that we repent; encourage the fainthearted; unite those separated; lead back those who are in error and join them to the Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church; prevent schisms; and quickly destroy the uprisings of heresies. This will take courage, leadership, a moral voice, prophets, and martyrs, not to deal with the “world, but with the “church.” Only then will we be prepared to address anything outside our house.

    I do what I do because I am able, and because God has given the capability. This is something Fr. Schmemann told me many years ago. “Let your light so shine. Do we agree?” We agree. God will judge how effective my impasto has been, and whether I should have marched instead. Irvin Yalom, MD, Professor Emeritus of Stamford University said, “Your vocation Is to instill hope.” I try.

    • Thomas Barker says

      Dr. Stankovich,

      The “forest for the trees” distraction, as you dismiss it, is important to me. When you appear to exaggerate your vocation and virtuous behavior, I have to be skeptical of your motives. If I don’t believe someone is the real McCoy, I tend to question the credibility of his or her content. For example, I wonder why a contract employee for the prison system conducts urban street rounds of healing and consolation. Perhaps you volunteer with some reputable organization after hours, outside the walls of incarceration. I don’t know. And it’s really none of my business. But for me, the plausibility of your stated activities colors the other content of your posts.

      On the bright side, I often enjoy what you write on Monomakhos. Your content is thought-provoking, interestingly structured and stimulating. When I can find more of this precious commodity called time, I’ll work on your comment “…the false impression that the church is actively engaged in the great moral issues of our time…” That’s quite a statement!

      • M. Stankovich says

        Mr. Barker,

        First, let me say that I have never made a point of credentials here – it was brought to me a Tartuffe on a personal crusade to “expose” me. I believe that the only persons who should be identified by title are the clergy out of respect for their office. I don not wish to referred to as “Dr.” Please.

        Secondly, as you are a relentlessly curious man, Mr. Barker, and to put these issues to rest, I have said on numerous occasions that because of a head trauma, I do not work full time, but part-time in positions I enjoy: prison, research, crisis management, and group therapy for women in divorce. I may do work for a clinic, I may do work for parole. I enjoy walking the streets, unaffiliated, with a friend who is a psychiatrist & a friend who is a nurse, on an evening or on the weekend with donated “essential” medical supplies, blankets, ponchos, clinic referrals, bus tokens, etc. looking in doorways and cardboard boxes. People love to talk, to be heard, sometimes to be walked to the two major trauma centers/ER’s right in the area. No big deal. It’s not Calcutta. It’s a few hours. It’s almost always a pleasure. Almost. I use the examples of my work & experience for one simple reason, Mr. Barker: to remind that there is a forgotten, rejected, often loathsome side of our humanity that, nevertheless, is created in the image and likeness of God. I’m no hero, just a neighbor.

        As Salemlemko said, “It’s not about Stanko.” Let’s move on already.

        • Thomas Barker says

          M. Stankovich,

          Your insulting Molière reference is off the mark. I am a very evil man, but I do not pretend to be anything at all here on Monomakhos. I lay claim neither to virtues nor to good works. But I agree, let us move on.


          • M. Stankovich says

            Mr. Barker,

            Madonna Mia! I was not referring to you with that comment! To this day I have yet to see “Brokeback Mountain” because of you, but doggin’ you I was not. Walk this way…

          • Mike Myers says

            Michael was referring to another poster here, in the past, not to you.

  21. Metropolitan Jonah Sighting says

    Metropolitan Jonah has been urging people to join the march for affirmation of marriage.

    Meanwhile, the sighting of the Metropolitan on Pascha

  22. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    It’s “We’ll show THEM WE are the righteous!” Rachel and Leah! Look out!!! You too, Abraham! Marriage can only be of one man to one woman!!!!!

    Is this like Metropolitan Joseph’s encyclical on the March for LIFE? Oh,,, wait. Of course he, like ever-memorable Metropolitan Philip was always out front with the OCA opposing abortion as murder, right? Of course it must be only in the OCA that abortion might be a temptation to wives! Whereas it’s time to point out that the Antiochenes have a BIG gay marriahe problem, no? And it’s time now, right after PASCHA to remind everyone of all the dangers that were not trampled down and continue to scare us Orthodox!!!!! Christ is risen BUT gay marriage is threatening our holy SOCIETY of Christians!!!!!

    HoweverI’m sure they MEAN well. I note that M. Stankovich has chosen a narrower way, which will result in his vilification, of course!

  23. Michael Bauman says

    Maybe we will have reached a certain critical respect when the ACLU come after us as they are coming after the Catholic Church trying to force a charity arm of the RCC that provides government funded humanitarian services to illegal aliens. The ACLU is demanding that this Catholic organization provide abortion and birth control to said illegals (errr–undocumented residents in need?)

    So if an organization accepts government funds their faith doesn’t matter according to the ACLU.

    A perfect example of government “charity”

  24. My comment is to the naysayers regarding Metropolitan Joseph’s encouragement to attend this rally on marriage. I believe it was M. Stankovich who said that he would not be there. Do all of you who oppose this rally also feel that Archbishop Iakavos shouldn’t have walked with Martin Luther King?

    I get that this will all be over and that many people will forget about the event as soon as it is over, but to me it does take an immense amount of courage to stand up for what you believe in, especially when you decide to put your beliefs out of the stage of public opinion for millions to see. For my perspective, it seems very closed minded to assume that nothing good will come of this. Again, I will return to Archbishop Iakavos. Who would have guessed that someone from Time magazine would have taken a picture of that historic day or that many years later someone would actually make a movie like Selma? Icons are images of theology, living theology. The pictures of Archbishop Iakavos left an indelible mark on the history of the U.S. Let’s not forget that there are no other prominent Orthodox Christians that anyone can remember from that historic day.

    It is important in life to stand up for what you believe. And I’m not in the least suggesting that Metropolitan Joseph or anyone else look on a Marriage rally as just a photo op. The truth of the matter is that it takes courage to stand up for your beliefs, and it is a lot easier to sit back and say and do nothing. Love him or hate, I think the reasonable thing to do is at least acknowledge that Metropolitan Joseph is putting his beliefs into action. Such a rally as this is a tiny step, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.

    And speaking of being truthful, let’s be honest, Orthodox Christianity in America is devoid of almost any true leadership. When people like Rick Warren and Joel Olsteen are the “go to” people when it comes to Christianity in America, we are a non-entity. Yes, joining public debates as Orthodox Christians, goes completely against the grain, but don’t we have some responsibility to say what we believe? Or is it only for those that wish walk into an Orthodox Church that we are to minister to?

    Just some things to think about.

    Christ is Risen!

  25. Michael Woerl says

    Charitable giving of money and time is not what this is all about. The concept of “love” today seems to be that “love” should not only allow, but heartily aporove and praise any and every behavior. I have heard no one calling for discrimination against LGBT persons; I have heard no one calling for allowing that those wearing pro-gay t-shirts to be asked to leave an establishment. Not agreeing with gay marriage is not calling for gays to be sent to Dachau … undoubtedly, most parents love their children, and undoubtedly would not agree with self destructive behavior on the part of their children. The Church sees sex outside of Marriage (one man, one woman marriage) as spiritually self destructive. Thus, does not agree with or approve of gay marriage. Those who desire (or insist) the Church to do so seems the equivalent of telling a parent that his or her “disagreement” with their son or daughter’s heroin addiction is “unloving,” and that they must not only agree with and approve, but also praise that … condition. If someone counters that gay marriage is not physically “harmful” as is heroin addiction, is spiritual death not as important as death of the body? The debate is so overwrought … I have seen the Indiana Law described by an LGBTI (this is how the person described himself) supporter as “just like the beginning of the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany.” Which is extreme exaggeration … Also, interesting to me is that while anyone against gay marriage is denounced as a “hater,” and as we as completely ignorant, “against love,” and all other kinds of “unenlightened” and fascist behaviors, and Russia has been continually condemned as being “mean to gays,” I have yet to see one word of even mild criticism of Saudi Arabia, where gays “caught in the act” are routinely beheaded, nor criticism of ISIS for throwing suspected gays off buildings; if the fall doesn’t kill them, the crowd stones them to death. Seems hypocrisy of the worst sort. “Look out for those haters who won’t bake a cake for a gay marriage!” While I do commend Dr. Stankovich for his charitable endeavors, such have absolutely nothing to do with this “issue.”

  26. Fr John Chagnon says

    Bravo to my Metropolitan for taking the risk and being willing to stand up in public for the good. How refreshing it is to see Bishops who are men of God in the best sense of the word and are willing to subject themselves, if need be, to ridicule and harassment for the sake of Truth. In doing so they become not simply Pastors of their people but Pastors of their nation.

  27. Philippa.alan says

    Has anyone listened to the Ancient Faith presents podcast interview “One on One with Metropolitan Joseph” from March 27th?

    When asked by Mr. Maddex about the changes people are perceiving, ” It seems like our connection to the Mother Church is stronger than it used to be. Is that on purpose?” to which His Eminence answered, “Yes.”

    When asked how His Eminence would describe it, he responded, “I believe that we cannot survive, we don’t have any authenticity, we don’t have any history if we don’t belong to the Mother Church. So that is why, why should we have, we have a healthy Mother Church. The Church of Antioch. The most ancient church that has affected many nations, many civilaztions, many countries, many over the years and centuries. Why should we say good bye to this healthy, loving Mother? I see no reason to do that. The Mother Church respects our privacy our, if we can say um…”

    Mr. Maddex: “Independence?”

    His Eminence responds, “Not independence. That means like something big. The Mother Church respects our personal identity or what we are doing in general; respects our being here in North America. There is no fear. We never had fear, any fear, by Mother Church or threat by Mother Church. So why would we split from the Mother Church? During the time of autonomy & everything. Like many, many, believers, from converts and from cradles, they said to us “After we found a loving Mother, we are now saying goodbye to the Mother?’. It’s nonsense. So therefore I am the son of Antioch. I am the son of this church which raised me from 13 until now. I didn’t come into the church from lack of money. I came from piety. I love the church and I would never betray my church.”

    He goes on to say that the Orthodox Church in America is already unified by the fact that we are Orthodox.

    I find his comments most interesting, especially since he is the First Vice Chairman of the Assembly of Bishop. His comments indicate no wish for North American unity yet he is an officer of the Assembly. Then what is his purpose there and what is his goal?


    • In a sense I think he’s right. Orthodoxy is too immature here to be independent yet.

      An ideal situation would be to be placed on a path to independence while being unified under a single mother church in the interim (as opposed to a dozen different jurisdictions). But it will only lead to fighting as to who that will be.

      There was a time when every Church had its own paschalion. And for a time, we simply lived and let live. It was more important to be in unified communion than to fight over these things. Maybe the interjurisdictional difficulties show that it’s not time yet.

      Even so, Met. Joseph continues to participate in the Assembly and is chairman of a committee whose purpose is to unify practices on various pastoral issues, such as reception of converts and other matters. That is not unimportant. I have no doubt the US will be an independent church at some point (if the world lasts long enough), but maybe this isn’t the time yet.

      He is right that we are unified in our Orthodoxy and that is the most important thing. The rest will follow in time.

    • Fr. Peter Dubinin says

      Almost sounds as if independence is being made to mean isolated from, estranged from, wanting nothing to do with….. If this is the case, then Metropolitan Joseph is being disingenuous. Name for me one autocephalous Church that is independent from the others? About the Orthodox Churches in America being already united because we are all Orthodox….. really? When was it ever right to agree to disagree on those things which Holy Tradition is clear and still call ourselves Orthodox? More double-speak…..

  28. Mike Myers says

    Your dissection and belittling of the comments made by various posters here has shown you to be intelligent, reasonably well educated, and one who does not suffer fools. But other than these, they reveal very little of your own view of the overall subject matter being discussed. You have criticized, but you have not communicated. Could you, perhaps, for a moment lay aside your distaste for some of the arguments made here, as well as the temptation to dissect and criticize the manner in which this question is posed and answer clearly?

    Belittling of hypocrisy, bigotry and grotesque ignorance is a public service when those who post such things claim, implicitly and sometimes explicitly, to speak for God, His Son or His Church — particularly when ordained clergy do this. I’ve been around this joint for going on four years off and on, and during that time I think I’ve made my views perfectly clear on the “overall subject matter being discussed” now, and on many others, too. I’m astonished to learn that anyone could imagine I don’t “communicate.” This fascinates me.

    Do you share the Orthodox Christian understanding that sexual activity of any kind outside the context of marriage between a man and a woman is sinful – that is to say, a missing of the mark, a falling away from being, a behavior that debases one’s humanity and distorts the image of God in a human person?

    I know that corrupt lust (epithymia) and corrupt covetousness (pleonexia) of all kinds do damage to our human nature, which was originally created, and is still being created, in the image and likeness of God, and this corruption also obstructs our renewal in Christ, contrary to God’s will, and leads us away from theosis, that sharing in the Divine Nature to which we are called (2 Peter 1:4) so that in Christ our nature might be transfigured more and more to the point that we become like Him (1John 3:2).

    Among the many other forms that corrupt lust and covetousness take, the misdirection of psychosexual energies certainly can and often do inflict profound damage on the human soul, disfiguring our already fallen human nature. The consensus of the God-bearing Fathers of the Church as I understand it is that the most appropriate object of human erotic energies, among other kinds, is the incarnate Son of God and through Him, our Father. So it’s important for Christ’s elect to be faithful to Him so as to avoid losing their way in particularly subtle and, temporarily potentially overwhelming and distracting modes of the higher, and therefore more perilous, idolatries. That’s all I have to say on this subject in this venue, among this crew.

    I ask out of a sincere desire to know what it is that motivates you to comment as you do. For while thoughtful analysis and genuine criticism is always appreciated, the mere demonstration of superior intellect, however real it may be, doesn’t by itself make for worthy reading.

    I’m sorry to hear that my motivation is evidently so mysterious to you. But if it’s true that you don’t find my posts substantive or worth your time, then I’d gladly invite you to ignore them. They’re probably not meant for you anyway.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Mike, we should all “belittle” hypocrisy and ignorance. That’s not the issue. Simply standing up for traditional Christian norms regarding proper sexuality (one man+one woman united in holy matrimony) is not hypocritical on its own merits. It only becomes so if the advocate is a known adulterer. Otherwise, it stands on its own.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      Mike stated:

      In your poorly informed and quite unfounded opinion. But who are you? Evidently just some anonymous chatterer on a blog, one who repeatedly demonstrates reading comprehension problems . . . in English. I seriously doubt that your exegetical skills in an ancient Near Eastern language are likely to be any better. It seems you subscribe to a post-modern philosophy of translation that, aside from yourself and perhaps Peter Patoutsis, Esq., is unknown to anyone actually competent in the field. The meaning intended by a text’s author(s)/redactors matters to them, if not so much to you. Your assertion is silly.

      The consensus reading among rabbis since the first century has consistently maintained that the Hebrew text in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 prohibits anal intercourse between a man and male. This act is in the category of detestable practices for Israelite men, and those guilty of it are subject to the death penalty. The wording in 18:22 specifically forbids a man to “lie {the} lyings of {a} woman with {a} male (zachar).” (The plural mishkeve, “lyings,” is interesting, incidentally, and has been a catalyst for much debate. It’s used in the context of incest prohibitions in the Hebrew Tanach.) The Hebrew text’s specificity is actually striking: to be anally penetrated by a “male” is toevah.

      On top of the testimony of rabbinic commentary over the ages, to contemporary luminaries of Hebrew scholarship such as David Stewart (Rabbi, Chairman, Religious Studies, CSULB) and Jacob Milgrom (Rabbi, Professor (Emeritus), Chairman, Near Eastern Studies, UC Berkeley) and Richard Elliott Friedman (Rabbi, Ann and Jay Davis Professor of Jewish Studies, Univ. of Georgia) and many others, the meaning here is specific and sharply delineated by the grammar and syntax of the laconic text.

      It refers to a man “lying with” a man. And adds in, for good measure, “as with a woman.” It thus covers the whole spectrum of male-male sexual activity, and calls it an abomination. Not terribly complicated, and the Orthodox Church has never treated it as anything complicated.

      I don’t know what your day job is, but I think you should definitely stick with that, “Edward.”

      First off the Septuagint version of Leviticus 20 must be used to understand St. Paul 1 Corinthians 6:9

      For example: Leviticus 20:13 καὶ ὃς ἂν κοιμηθῇ μετά ἄρσενος κοίτην γυναικός, βδέλυγμα ἐποίησαν ἀμφότεροι· θανάτῳ θανατούσθωσαν, ἔνοχοί εἰσιν.

      St. Paul in 1 Cor. 6:9 9 ἢ οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι ἄδικοι βασιλείαν Θεοῦ οὐ κληρονομήσουσι; μὴ πλανᾶσθε· οὔτε πόρνοι οὔτε εἰδωλολάτραι οὔτε μοιχοὶ οὔτε μαλακοὶ οὔτε ἀρσενοκοῖται

      As you can see in the Greek, because the Septuagint is OUR OFFICIAL OLD TESTAMENT as Edward said, St. Paul was calling Homosexual Acts sins and immoral acts directly going back to Leviticus 20 according to the Septuagint and NOT THE HEBREW when he uses the Greek word ἀρσενοκοῖτα.

      However, even if we use the Hebrew, even in the Hebrew Homosexual acts, of male to male sex of giving and receiving, are still declared abominations (βδέλυγμα).

      If you agree with this then we have no problem. If you disagree with this then I can actually put you in direct email contact with Biblical textual scholars that can correct you in your misunderstanding.


      • Thank you Peter, although I would point out that Mr. Myers has already labeled you as being incompetent in understanding Greek (unlike him, presumably), so your support is not particularly helpful.

        I’m not sure what the whole point to the fixation on male-male a*** intercourse is for Mr. Myers (I am following his lead in selectively using the asterix). He decries those who use the word “sodomy,” and I don’t disagree that it is an inflammatory word — I myself don’t see the point to using it. And yet, he himself seems more fixated on hammering out the clinical details than are any of those here who simply want the Orthodox Church to maintain its teachings — which is that the only sexual relations are to be between a man and a woman who are married to each other. I have yet to touch on anything but generalities in these matters, since it strikes me as unseemly, but Mr. Myers presses the issue insistently.

        Are we supposed to believe that as long as men only have o*** sex with each other, that they would get a thumbs up from either the Prophet Moses or St. Paul? With all due respect to the rabbis, is there anything anywhere in the Christian exegetical or canonical tradition that seems to care exactly what kind of same-sex sexual activities are enagaged in when deciding whether it is sinful or not? The juxtaposition of Romans 1:26 with Romans 1:27 seems to make it pretty clear that the former is probably talking about female-female sex, in a euphemistic way, and they are clearly not capable of having a*** intercourse with each other (unless there is rabbinical commentary regarding sex toys that Mr Myers has studied and that he feels is relevant to a reading of St. Paul). Even if we accept Mr. Myer’s description of what the rabbis supposedly all agree on with regard to the Hebrew meaning of those Leviticus passages, is he implying that the rabbis are saying that other forms of male-male sexual acts are not forbidden, or is he saying that they view them as somewhat lesser sins (which is entirely possible and perhaps even reflected in Christian canons), or exactly what?

        Both OT and NT tends to use euphemisms of various sorts and to various degrees when talking about sexual sins — which is as it should be. To this day, we as Orthodox Christians are taught that we should be very specific in our confessions — except for sexual sins — about which we should speak with contrition and honesty, but quite generally, lest we tempt the person hearing the confession and even tempt ourselves by the clinical and detailed recounting of such a sin.

        Hair-splitting is useful if one wishes to engage in Jesuitical casuistry on the order of Bill Clinton saying that he didn’t “have sex” with “that woman” (And, if I recall, Newt Gingrich engaged in exactly the same self-deception with one of his girlfriends — just to keep things bipartisan.) From what I understand, Clinton was technically perfectly correct from the standpoint of the relevant legal code, but I think that most women walking in on their husbands “not having sex” with another woman in that fashion would fail to see the moral relevance in such a distinction.

        In any event, as Vladyka Tikhon has repeatedly pointed out, the relevant context for us as Orthodox Christians is not to be found in our personal opinions, but rather is to be found in patristic commentaries — and I would assume that he would include the entire Orthodox body of canons to be relevant as well. If there is anything in the Christian exegetical tradition that splits hairs over what ἄρσενος κοίτην means or ἀρσενοκοῖται means (in the Leviticus and 1 Cor verses Peter quotes above, and to which I referred in my post on the other thread — now closed) — I would be most interested in being enlightened.

        • Edward:

          In any event, as Vladyka Tikhon has repeatedly pointed out, the relevant context for us as Orthodox Christians is not to be found in our personal opinions, but rather is to be found in patristic commentaries — and I would assume that he would include the entire Orthodox body of canons to be relevant as well.

          Here’s a little BLAST FROM THE PAST for all the fools prating on about scripture, the Fathers, and the canons. It’s a little gem from Met. Philip of blessed memory, responding to the CONVERT NUT JOBS who criticized his handling of the Fr. Joseph Allen situation.
          Met. Philip:

          “4. It is very easy to hide behind “the canons of the Church.” Our code of canon law has not been revised since 787 A.D., the last Ecumenical Council. Thus, if we apply all the canons of the church indiscriminately and strictly to our conditions today, I assure you that ninety- nine per cent of our patriarchs, bishops, priests and deacons will be deposed and one hundred per cent of the Orthodox laity will be excommunicated.

          “5. I did break the law of the sabbath in order to save a human soul. Some one [sic] else whom we all worship and adore, did break the law “of-the-sabbath” despite the indignation of the scribes and pharisees.

          “6. I am happy to inform you that I have received many letters from distinguished Orthodox theologians congratulating me on the courageous step which I have taken. You must discern between dogma and doctrines and theological opinions (theologomena).

          “7. When I received you, joyfully, into the Orthodox faith, I thought you were going to missionize America. Except for Peter Gillquist, unfortunately, you have not done much. You have become like our traditional Orthodox parishes, comfortable and satisfied within your own parochial boundaries.

          “Finally, when you embraced Orthodoxy in 1987, we shared a dream. Is that dream still alive? I do not know. Only God knows.

          Memory eternal! The DREAM IS DYING!

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            It seems to me that there was a lot more than canonical defiance involved in that clergyman’sactions for which no penances were imposed. HOW PASTORAL, right. As if pastoral always means indulgence and NEVER strictness!

            The couple came to the Priest for marriage counslling, but the Priest ended up wooing and maryying the wife and excommunicating the husband for not giving enough alimony!

            And he SKATED due tp the pastoral wisdom and forbearance of his saintly bishop!
            Why did not Metrpolitan Joseph weave this tale of Orthodox Ethics into his exhortation to march for marriage, I wonder, since it is such an edifying and exemplary example of Defense of Marriage?

            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              Wow! Major re-direct and deflection going on! Thanks for pointing out all of Metropolitan Phillipp’s faults and failings when we were talking about you. I guess that is more Christian than proclaiming the truth to a fallen world. Thanks for the clarification.

              Peter A. Papoutsis

          • So Metropolitan Philip didn’t like having his absolute authority questioned? Really? Who knew? The EO’s were shocked that a man who shattered the canons and tradition to bring them in via mass abuses of mass ordinations before anyone else could nab them and their assets… would make a mockery of the canons to do a favor to one of his pet clergy? Shocked? Seriously? Were they children?

            Metr Philip had many laudatory qualities (and that is deeply sincere, not a platitude), but I recall chatting with a lifelong Antiochian (ethnic and everything) who expressed quiet concern to me about 15 -20 years ago or so that it seemed to her that on most of the issues of the day, their leadership (i.e. +Philip and his inner circle) was at the forefront of the “liberal” leading edge within Amercan Orthodoxy. And at that time it was mostly true.

            All of that is forgotten now in the revisionism surrounding recollection of +Philip’s “abomination” comment vis a vis homosexual conduct. Just as +Jonah’s wishy-washy past as a Thomas Merton-promoting, Metr. Anthony Khrapovitsky-bashing guy who still regurgitates things he learned about the OT at St. Vlads from Fr. Paul Tarazi (!) has all been forgotten as a result of his stumbling accidentally into being a traditionalist due to unintentionally crossing the lavender mafia. I deeply respect the positive things he has been doing as well (again, quite sincere, not platitude). But it does no-one any good either to selectively highlight those things about our hierarchs we agree with, and selectively ignore the things we don’t agree with.

            Which is what you, OOM, are doing by quoting Metr. Philip when it suits you — a man who would slap you upside the head (metaphorically speaking) for your posts mercilessly mocking those simpletons who would defend traditional Christian teaching on marriage. Not to mention what he would say to his actions vis a vis Fr. Allen being quoted in support of breaking or ignoring canons in order to legitimize homosexual actions. Now that would be a dressing down worth hearing. And I suspect that something quite similar to Fr. Jacobse’s focus on what is “natural” would come into play, and rightly so…

            • For what reasons were Met. Philip considered liberal 15-20 years ago? I was not in the church then, so I would like to understand.

              • Water under the bridge. Let’s remember the good things he did and said and look at all the great things happening in the AOC here in America. Just don’t ever get caught up in defending any hierarch unquestioningly. Easy to get burned. What OOM said (along with the accurate color commentary from Vladyka) about +Metr Philip is sadly true. But so are the good things you will hear. As Abp Dimitri of blessed memory once said to me, every bishop is infallible… until he says or does something wrong. Also, many of the controversies of 20 years ago have been eclipsed by much bigger problems.

              • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                Oh I remember from those good old days, how Father Alexander Schmeman was in his SVS office one day and he got an irate call from Metropolitan Philip: “If you bad-mouth me about my giving Communion to the cardinal in Montreal you won’t get another penny from us!” Upon INQUIRY, Father Alexander learned that Metropolitan had generously allowed Cardnal LeFevre (sp?) to partake of Holy Comuunion at an Antiochian Divine Liturgy..
                Was M. Stankovich around in those old days?

                I don’t think that Metropolitan Philip made such a phone call in the Joe Allen days, after Father Aleander had fallen asleep and the little-guy successors were in charge. In spite of all that sort of thing, Ages, Metropolitan Philip was the most charitable GIVER of all the Orthodox hierarchs ini America. That was his bottom line that absolutely outshone everything questionable and/or problematic in his life.

                • M. Stankovich says

                  Vladyka Tikhon’s memory is absolutely correct. As Fr. Schmemann noted in his diaries, if it wasn’t for sex and gossip, seminarians couldn’t figure out what to confess, and over the years, the Antiochians were a rich source – rightly or wrongly – of scandale.

                  Fr. Schmemann wisely never mentioned these matters to students directly, but the “rumor” was that, even though the RC in attendance in Montreal were told that the Eucharist was only for the Orthodox, hundreds of RC joined the communion lines. So as not to cause “embarrassment,” Met. Philip ordered them to be communed. This led to the “theoretical” phone call described by Vladyka Tikhon, which apocryphally always included the withdrawal of “full pay” students and financial assistance. It so happened that Met. Philip was the principal celebrant for Education Day that year (WAT!), and several of us, assigned to assist in moving things from the chapel to the “big top,” were present for Met. Philip’s arrival (are you hearing that soundtrack from Jaws?). Quite benign. Met. Philip emerged from the bridge to the old building in his suit, Fr. Alexander made the requisite metonia, “Your Eminence, welcome!” They kissed 3x and it’s showtime folks. Personally, I enjoyed the story that at his annual end-of-the-semester dinner for his seminarians during the Christmas Fast, he would bless plates of meat saying “fish,” or so I was told.

                  Nevertheless, anyone who questions Met. Philip’s love and respect for Fr. Alexander Schmemann need only read his address at Fr. Alexander’s funeral and his comments in the CBS News tribute to Fr. Alexander. Both are genuine and moving accounts of their friendship and Met. Philip’s gratitude & acknowledgement of the contribution of Fr. Alexander to the mission of Orthodoxy in America.

                  • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                    Thanks fo your admitted rumor, thoough why you chose to put the word in quotes is not at all clear. Quotation marks for emphasis is remarkably for inanition! And Mr Stankovich SURELY knows that both Fr Alexander and Metropolitan Philip were far too smooth to appear anything but smoothly civil in pubic.

              • Ages,

                There is variety of reasons he was considered ‘liberal’ by some. I’m sure I don’t know all of them. Without commenting on the merits, here are a few of which I am aware.

                He was adamantly against appearing ‘weird’ to western religious sensibilities. He himself generally dressed in a western style clergy collar (but only outside of church buildings and liturgical settings) as did most of his clergy. He was not at all fond of long beards, long hair, or other aspects of clergy appearance that are considered by many to be integral to being an Orthodox clergyman. He did not allow his clergy to wear cassocks outside the walls of the church. At least one priest was disciplined and later defrocked for doing so.

                In the name of economy he allowed the remarriage of at least one of his clergy to a divorced woman. This was/is scandalous to many.

                Some are critical of the way in which he received a large group of former evangelicals (known formerly as the Evangelical Orthodox Church) who were seeking entrance into the Orthodox Church. He ordained almost all their clergy to the priesthood or diaconate and chrismated the laity of entire parishes at one time (with, in the eyes of some, little catechesis). Their clergy and parishes remained largely intact as they were prior to being received, and this was thought by some to be unwise. Although fully under the authority of the Metropolitan and considered full members of Archdiocese, they maintained a sort of pseudo-separate identity as a group for a number of years. As a group they were known as the Antiochian Evangelical Orthodox Mission during that period of time. They were also allowed (for a time) to maintain some of their former liturgical practices while they were being trained to follow standard Antiochian liturgical practice.

                Finally, whether accurate or not, he was perceived to be against (or at least to have little interest in) monasticism or the establishment of monasteries in the archdiocese. A corollary to this is that when asked about various aspects of what many consider to be standard Orthodox asceticism he would often reply, “We are not monks.”

                Some loved him for all this, seeing him as flexible and pragmatic, modern (in a good way) but not compromising. Some, even among his own, thought him too modernistic. Others thought of him as self-serving, taking advantage of an easy opportunity to quickly grow the archdiocese, both numerically and financially, while compromising the fullness of the Faith in the process. Others are eternally grateful to him for not being overly rigid toward them as converts, accepting them as they were, and allowing them a relatively smooth transition into Orthodoxy.

                Personally, I understand both the praise and the criticism. It is, as they say, what it is.

              • Michael Bauman says

                He did not dress like a normal Orthodox bishop or have a beard, he smoked cigars, he liked converts, and pews. He was a proponent of English in the Liturgy but also supported ethnic Arabic parishes. He publically spoke out against monasticism and did not seem to be a proponent of traditional Orthodox praxis or Liturgical rigor. He lobbied for a priest friend to get remarried after his wife died and stay in the active priesthood. He seemed to ignore the rules when it suited him.

                The larger issue latter in his life was abuse or and/or capricious use of his authority. No one, however, disputed that he had authority and he certainly was not afraid to use it.

          • My, OOM, but I am every bit the dullard that is supposed… You neatly veered us off onto a discussion of Metr Philip, while ignoring the central question of my post without my noticing. That question being, how would it affect our understanding of Christian sexual morality to establish that those famous Leviticus verses were talking about one form of male-male sex act rather than others? I ask you not as the person who raised the point, but rather as someone who is apparently, based on how you write, a seminary professor, a bishop, or some other highly knowledgeable bloke who could help us out here.

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      Very well put, Mike. I’m not sure why George and others want to keep repeating stock and shallow phrases like “proper sexuality.” It sounds like something that would preoccupy ladies in a Victorian parlor who thought mentioning LEGS, as in legs on a piano, was improper sexuality and the way to make it proper was to say only “limbs.”
      Endless references to what we have received in the book of Genesis also are not helpful. How could ANYONE consider that the reproductive relations of Adam’s sons could ever be called “holy matrimony”, when such relations had to be with their mother or a sister? If Caan had SEVEN WIVES who were they asnd how are to follow that example? One man and one woman even if it’s a mother and son or father and daughter or brother and sister? Why repeat such problematic theses?
      Leslie White’s cultural evolutionary anthropology makes more God-given sense!
      the annoyed dismisal of the problem of easy divorce in the Orthodox Church, truly a moral scandal, is kicked into a closet. But our Lord MOST CLEARLY and UNAMBIGUOUSLY stated “What GOD hath put together, let no man put asunder.” Our Bishops are historically reticent on this one, particularly if the bread and butter providing basileus or tsaer is involved! How many wives did Tsar Ivan Vasilievich have, and how loud did the episcopate protest?
      one man and one woman! Tell it to Saint Constantine! Of course he chose to refuse membership in the Church until, dying, he had an ANTI-NICEN, i.e., Arian, bishop baptize him! Amazing how many strict Greek Old Calendarists accept that HERETIC baptism, no?

      Our Lord did not come marrying and giving in marriage; however, he did forbid divorce, while advising that only those WITHOUT SIN might judge the woman caught WAY OUT of any one-man-one-woman marriage! How do WE follow his example in such cases? Looks to me like this blog is stuffed with those without sin!

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        Endless references to what we have received in the book of Genesis also are not helpful. How could ANYONE consider that the reproductive relations of Adam’s sons could ever be called “holy matrimony”, when such relations had to be with their mother or a sister? If Cain had SEVEN WIVES who were they and how are we to follow that example? One man and one woman even if it’s a mother and son or father and daughter or brother and sister? Why repeat such problematic theses?


        The Mystery of Holy Matrimony

        By Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky

        From his book Orthodox Dogmatic Theology

        The Purpose Of The Christian Family

        The family, as is well known, comprises the fundamental cell of the organism of society, being the nucleus and foundation of society. Thus also in the militant Church of Christ it is a basic unit of the Church body. Therefore the Christian family in itself is called in the writings of the Apostles a “church:” “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus . . . and the church that is in their house” (Rom. 16:3, 5); “Salute Nymphas and the church which is in his house” (Col. 4:15). From this it is understandable what great attention should be given to the family from the point of view of the Church, so that the family might fulfill its purpose of being a small “church.”

        There is yet another way of personal life which is blessed in Christianity: virginity or celibacy. Celibacy for the sake of Christ has created another kind of Christian social unit: monasticism. The Church places it above married life, and in actuality, in the history of the Church it has been a leading, guiding element, a support of the Church, bringing into realization to the greatest degree the moral law of the Gospel, and preserving the dogmas, the Divine services, and other foundations of the Church.

        However, not all can take upon themselves the vow of virginity in the name of Christ and the Church. Therefore, while blessing virginity as a chosen and a perfect form of life, the Church blesses also married life for the sake of those exalted, and at the same time difficult, aims which are placed before the Christian family, and this blessing is acknowledged as a Mystery.

        The Significance Of The Mystery.

        In the Mystery of Marriage the Church invokes the help of God on those being married, that they might understand, fulfill and attain the aims set before them, namely: to be a “house church,” to establish within the family truly Christian relationships, to raise children in faith and life according to the Gospel, to be an example of piety for those around one, to bear with patience and humility the unavoidable sorrows and, often, sufferings which visit family life.

        The Central Moment Of The Mystery.

        The beginning moment in the existence of the Christian family is the sacred action of Marriage. The chief part in the rite of the Mystery of Marriage is the placing of the crowns upon those being married with the words: “The servant of God (name) is married to the handmaid of God (name) in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” and then the common blessing of both with the thrice-repeated short prayer, “O Lord our God, crown them with glory and honor.”

        Marriage As A Divine Institution.

        That marriage has the blessing of God upon it is said many times in the Holy Scripture. Thus, in Genesis 1:27-28 we read: “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth.” Likewise, in Genesis 2:18-24, the writer of Genesis, having spoken of the creation of the woman from the rib of Adam and of how she was led to the man, adds, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife and they shall be one flesh.”

        The Saviour Himself, commanding that faithfulness be preserved in marriage and forbidding divorce, mentions these words of the book of Genesis and instructs: “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:4-6). These words of the Lord clearly testify to the moral dignity of marriage. The Lord Jesus Christ sanctified marriage by His presence at the marriage in Cana of Galilee, and here He performed His first miracle.

        The Apostle Paul compares the mystical character of the Church with marriage in these words: “Husbands, love your wives even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it” and further: “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and the Church” (Eph. 5:25, 31-32). The Apostle Paul speaks more in detail about marriage and virginity in 1 Corinthians, the seventh chapter. Placing virginity above marriage, he does not condemn marriage, commanding that it be preserved and advising that one not be divorced even from an unbeliever, in hope of converting the other one to the faith. Having indicated the highest impulses for remaining in virginity, in conclusion he says the following: “Such” (those who marry) “shall have trouble in the flesh; but I spare you” (1 Cor. 7:28).

        Having in mind the Christian purpose of marriage, the Church forbids entering into marriage with heretics (canons of the Fourth and Sixth Councils), and likewise with those of other religions (See Canon 14 of the Council of Chalcedon, and Canon 72 of Quinisext (Eerdmans Seven Ecumenical Councils, pp. 278-9 and 397). The Orthodox Church in modern times has not been quite so strict. The present rule of the Russian Church Outside of Russia, for example, allows marriage with the non-Orthodox who are closest in faith to Orthodoxy: Roman Catholics, Armenians, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Presbyterians. Other Orthodox Churches today have similar rules. Canon 72 of the Quinisext Council also allows Orthodox converts to remain with their spouses after conversion, for as St. Paul says: “The unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband” (1 Cor. 7:14). In actual practice, “mixed marriages” are not conducive to the formation of a “house church” or to the preservation of fervent Orthodoxy in the children of such unions, and the conversion to Orthodoxy of the non-Orthodox spouse is much to be preferred.).

        The Indissolubility Of Marriage.

        The Church only in exceptional circumstances agrees to the dissolving of a marriage, chiefly when it has been defiled by adultery, or when it has been destroyed by conditions of life (for example, long absence of one spouse, without word). The entrance into a second marriage after the death of a husband or wife, or in general the loss of one spouse by the other, is allowed by the Church, although in the prayers for those being married the second time, forgiveness is asked for the sin of a second marriage. A third marriage is tolerated only as a lesser evil to avoid a greater evil (i.e an immoral life) (as St. Basil the Great explains).
        As we can see from the forgoing the Book of Genesis plays a very important and foundational role in the institution of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.

        Also, the following from Protopresbyter John Meyendorff

        They Became One Flesh

        Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him”… and the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man He made into a woman and brought her to the man… Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh (Genesis 2:18-24).

        In the very beginning of human existence, God established one of the essential laws of human nature: It is not good that the man should be alone. Even modern philosophy – that of Freud, for example – finds in this law an explanation of the most intimate psychological and physiological impulses of man, although philosophical systems in the Freudian tradition usually loose all sense of balance and measure, and cannot be accepted as such. Even so, it is impossible to deny a fundamental truth to God’s words, for a person in isolation often tends to live for himself, developing a spirit of self-sufficiency, while loosing the sense of responsibility for others and his freedom to love, thereby further isolating himself from true human happiness. So quite naturally, a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.

        But it must be remembered that this law of human love has been given to man still in paradise, to a man who lived in conformity with his Creator’s will and in accordance with the purpose for which he was created, to an ideal man. Neither the story of Adam and Eve’s fall, as described in the Book of Genesis immediately after the account of their creation, nor any historical or scientific research, can tell whether such an ideal humanity existed on earth for any substantial length of time. For through man’s unwillingness to obey God and to enjoy the happiness granted to him, evil and death entered into the world and all aspects of human life went astray from their original form and purpose. All natural instincts acquired an ability to be misused: man’s position of dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:28-29) became his instinct of egoistic domination and the natural use of the earth’s fruits became gluttony. Of course, none of these abused instincts can be fully satisfied, as they point to a goal which is beyond human reach: man can still be happy with God, but he cannot be fully happy while lie remains alone.

        According to Christian revelation, the abuse of human instincts were not in the original plan of God; they came with man refusing God’s company and fellowship, wishing to be by himself. And since he had no true life in himself, he became mortal, and thus utterly unsatisfied, and finally, sinful.

        The original affinity of man and woman was also touched by this universal corruption: the instinct of bringing together two human beings acquired an element of self-satisfaction: the “other” ceased to be a friend and became a “thing” determined for a certain usage. All sexual deprivations come from this fundamental transformation of the original meaning of sexual relations. And since, in this dimmed form, the sexual instinct cannot bring full satisfaction, it produces not only suffering, but also instability and constant search for “something better.” The physical strength of the man permitted him to establish regimes of polygamy, and marriage was considered as a temporal contract, which could be dissolved at any time by not only a bilateral, but often also a unilateral, agreement. God’s command of being fruitful, of multiplying and replenishing the earth (Genesis 1:28) while remaining a valid part of marriage, involved not only the physical suffering of the woman, but also material and moral responsibility, and finally the sad realization that children will share in the same mortal and limited life as their parents.

        However, in spite of all this, man continues to follow the laws of his nature, to look for a companion, and to expect fulfillment in marriage of his personal destiny and happiness. And his expectations are often being fulfilled, because the present human condition, in spite of all its corruption, has retained elements of its original purpose. God blesses human happiness and rejoices in it. He also condescends to human weaknesses. In the Old Testament, He even has admitted such institutions as polygamy and divorce because He knew that man was still unable to understand his own original destiny and to live in accordance with it. However, a new and perfect life was revealed by the restoration of human nature in Christ, and the original plan of God was reenacted in an even more perfect way.

        A Great Mystery

        The Apostle Paul, in his Epistle to the Ephesians (5:25-32), in the passage which is read at the ceremony of the marriage crowning, gives the new Christian meaning of the union between man and woman. He refers to the text of Genesis, but adds to its significance an entirely new dimension:

        Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her . . . because we are members of His body . . . This is a great mystery, and I take it to mean Christ and the Church.

        Man was created in order to share in God’s communion, and God, through the coming of Christ, by becoming man Himself, did not only restore what human sin has corrupted, but also gave man the possibility to partake of divine life. When a man is baptized, he accepts into his own flesh the power of Christ’s death and resurrection, and should therefore walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4). When he participates in the communion to the Body and Blood of Christ, he becomes a member of Christ.

        Marriage then ceases to be simply the satisfaction of a natural human instinct, or the fulfillment of man’s search for earthly happiness. It is an event that concerns not only the newly married couple, but also Christ Himself, for two of His members are being joined in one within the whole Church, which is the Body of Christ. The crowns that are placed on the heads of the couple are martyrs’ crowns, as indicated by the hymn “O Holy Martyrs” that is sung during the circular procession around the Table during the Crowning service. “Martyr” means “witness” in Greek. The new husband and the new wife are thus called by the Church to be eternally – the circle is always a symbol of eternity – witnesses of the union of Christ with the Church. Marriage, then, ceases to be a “private affair.” The meaning of Christian life is precisely to go beyond the simple egotistic interests of man. This new dimension is what constitutes the whole difference between a Christian marriage and the one that is concluded outside of the Church.

        In the early days of the Church, marriage was not celebrated, as today, during a special ceremony or rite that one attends by special invitation. It took place, after the bishop had given his permission for the union, at the solemn Sunday Eucharistic Liturgy. The whole community was gathered together as Body of Christ and the couple solemnly took Communion together, with the whole Church witnessing their pledge to be together and their desire to build a new Christian family. In our present rite, several elements recall that early stage of the celebration of marriage: the ceremony of the “Crowning” starts, as does the Liturgy, with the exclamation “Blessed is the Kingdom,” and the rite itself includes such elements as the singing of the “Our Father” followed by the couple’s participation in a common cup of wine. It is not the place here to discuss the reason why this cup ceased to be the Cup of Communion to the Body and Blood of Christ, but it is important to understand that the Holy Orthodox Church has always considered marriage in its relation to our common life in the Body of Christ. When two souls and two bodies are accepting to be united in marriage, it is “a great Mystery” and it concerns “Christ and the Church.”

        Christian marriage is, therefore, not simply the fulfillment of a set of rules that do exist even outside of the Church, such as mutual faithfulness, social honorability and responsible education of children. It is much more than that. It is:

        Mutual faithfulness, not for the sake of human, social, or psychological reasons only, but because Christ abides in both our souls and bodies, and that He is concerned with what we do with them; when St. Paul was confronted with questions of fleshly sin, he wrote: Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; . . . Shall I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? (1 Corinthians 6:19, 15).

        A constant effort to live not for one’s own self, but for the other’s because “Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25); mutual dedication is the main psychological and moral content of marriage, for both the man and the woman. The role of direction and initiative, which belongs to the man, is primarily a function and a responsibility. It does not indicate any moral superiority of the man over the woman.

        Childbirth, which is to be understood in the context of what the Church expects from it: the birth of new members of Christ. The parents, whose union must naturally result in the appearance of new human life, are also responsible for their children’s spiritual birth, their participation in the sacraments, and their religious education; a couple that avoids any of these responsibilities – actual childbirth, followed by spiritual and material care for the children – betrays not only the grace of the Sacrament of Marriage, but their very status as Orthodox Christians, members of the Body of Christ.

        All these elements are, of course, incomprehensible if one does not understand that the Kingdom of God calls for the Transfiguration and renewal of our whole self, body and soul, and that every step of our existence – our birth, our marriage, our death – become really different when they are accomplished in Christ. Why care about the sacraments, if anyhow all this remains the same? This difference has been marked by the Lord Himself, when, after having given His teaching on marriage as an inseparable union of two beings, He was told by His disciples:

        If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry. But He said to them, ‘Not all men can receive this precept, but only those to whom it is given.’ (Matthew 19:10-11).

        We Orthodox Christians have been given everything: the whole Truth, the grace of the Holy Spirit, and the new eternal life. Let us not forget it.


        Wow! Genesis is all over the place in these two Orthodox articles. Further, the “Economia” of divorce and second and third marriages is explained pretty clearly. Bishop Fitzgerald do you care to clarify your your comments?

        Further, you have not answered my previous question: “Are you in support of same-Sex Marriage and Not in Support of the Church’s Prophetic Voice by objecting to the March for Marriage”? Do you care to answer or am I being to pious for you?

        Peter A. Papoutsis

      • You protest too much, methinks.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        Our Lord came to save sinners, granting life to those in the tome, and establish His Kingdom. He forgave the woman caught in Adultery, but never accepted her sin, nor forced society to take adultery off the sin list.

        The natural order is forever established by Almighty God, and returned man to his original state of nature for Marriage being that it was perverted by the traditions of man.

        Question still stands. What to continue to dodge or actually answer as an Orthodox hierarch like Metropolitan Tikhon, Archbishop Demetrios, and Metropolitan Joseph already have? Choice is yours.


        • Daniel E Fall says

          I will answer for him, since he has already. Some of us recognize the church is not the basis for all the laws. If a gay man asks the bishop the churches position; he would answer. The problem is the marches are reactionary. They are a response to the world.

          Usually when Christ was asked a difficult question; he rarely answered as expected. I’m guessing Peter, if you asked Christ himself, you’d be disappointed. Most likely he’d tell you to march for the poor since there were more of them.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            He has not answered. Further, I know Christ’s answer and so would you if you read and understood the prophets, and the New Testament.

            Metropolitan Tikhon, Archbishop Demetrios, and Metropolitan Joseph along with Fr. Hans and Fr. Whiteford have already answered and are proclaiming the Gospel loud and proud to a fallen people. Also, Metropolitan Hilarian of the MP also answered and also is proclaiming the Gospel to a fallen world and urges us the speak up and use the Church’s prophetic voice. Read his article that I and George previously cited.

            However Metropolitan Hilarian is one of those foreign bishop’s that you so dislike so you will probably ignore him and side with a good American bishop like Bishop Tikhon.


      • Nicholas Chiazza says

        You know Vladyka, after reading your posts, the only thing I regret is that you’re not 35 any more.

        The Church is indeed guided by the Holy Spirit. But the constant procession of human fumblings would make a very humorous history book.

      • Vladyka, I know that you believe the story about the woman caught in adultery, as do I. It is part of the received text of the Orthodox Church. But do you not find it at least a little chuckle-worthy that the theological and moral modernists who love to throw that passage at the troglodytes who oppose same sex marriage tend, much more often than not, to adhere to a view of Biblical scholarship that holds that said passage is a spurious and inauthentic later addition to the Gospel, often consigning it to a footnote (as I think I recall is the case with at least some editions of the NRSV)?

  29. Pelagia Hoffman says

    Sex change operations are legal in the Unites States and elsewhere. Consequently, the only way for a priest to know whether or not he is performing a “gay marriage” is to check the genetalia before performing the ceremony. An internal inspection may also be called for, as it is now possible for a “man” to have male genitalia on the outside, but a uterus and fallopian tubes on the inside. (This would be the case if a woman had a sex change operation, but chose to leave her uterus intact.) PRIESTS AND CLERGY, PLEASE CHECK THE GENETALIA BEFORE PERFORMING THE CEREMONY OF MARRIAGE. SOME OF YOU MAY HAVE ALREADY PERFORMED “GAY MARRIAGES” WITHOUT REALIZING IT.

    • Heracleides says

      Really, OOM – is this best you could do?

      • Now, now, Heracleides, just because Pelagia is shouting in this post by using all caps for emphasis doesn’t mean that she is OOM. It just means neither of them has learned online manners yet. (Besides, for all of his/her other transgressions, I think OOM is enough of a seminary professor to know how not to repeatedly misspell “genitalia. “)

  30. Pelagia Hoffman says

    The rate of abortion in Greece is higher than any country in Europe. The rate of abortion in Greece is also higher than the rate of abortion in the United States.

    • Nicholas Chiazza says

      Which is why it’s “Zorba the Greek.” not “Zorba the Russian.”

  31. Pelagia Hoffman says

    Please also beware of hermaphrodites. A hermaphrodite is a human being born with male and female genitalia. Also beware of cross-dressers. A cross-dresser is a man who dresses and behaves like a woman. He may have had breast augmentation surgery. Cross-dressers consume hormone pills, so they become very feminine in their appearance. For example, they stop growing facial hair. Also, their voices become high-pitched as a result of the hormones.

  32. Pelagia Hoffman says

    For all we know, some Orthodox priests may acually be women (or hermaphrodites). BISHOPS, PLEASE CHECK THE GENETALIA!

  33. Pelagia Hoffman says

    Homosexuality should be made illegal in the Unites States. All men should be required to receive daily medical examinations to prove that they have not engaged in homosexual acts. Any man found to be guilty of homosexual acts should be punished.

  34. Pelagia Hoffman says

    I invite Father Patrick Henry Reardon to reply to my comments.

  35. M. Stankovich says

    Not having had the opportunity to actually CHECK THE GENITALIA of Mr/Ms Hoffman for verification, it is unclear whether s/he intended this procedure to be liturgical (giving a whole new meaning to the questioning, “Do you Adam, have a good, free, unconstrained will, and firm intention, and [“The priest then draws the curtain to CHECK THE GENITALIA”]; or pastoral (“Yes, that actually is a Red Dot Award Winning new Toshiba “Vantage ELAN” MRI scanner in my office, and week three of pre-marital counseling is devoted to CHECKING YOUR GENITALIA.”). And I’m going to venture a guess that in case of a “draw,” it will come down to, “Are you going to believe your lying eyes, or Father Patrick Henry Reardon?” In any event, I recommend that Mr. Michalopulos begin a new survey, “I have heard it all. Yes or No.”