Misha: Why it all Matters

Icon of the Last Judgment

Guest Columnist

By Misha

In the run up to the Great and Holy Synod, many Orthodox and others have been confused as to reason for the disagreements about how best to proceed forward as One Church with one clearly defined faith. I thought I would address this in the spirit of “Why We Fight” from the World War II documentary about the motivations behind allied efforts.

The faith of the Orthodox Church is totally unique in its placement of Holy Tradition, the Life of the Holy Spirit in the Church, at the center of its ecclesiology. We know the Way because it was transmitted to us through Holy Tradition, through the consensus of the Fathers of the Church as expressed in the decision of the Apostolic Council recorded in Acts, in Scripture, in the decisions of Ecumenical Councils, in Orthodox hymnography and iconography, in short, in that which has been believed and taught by the Fathers always, by all and everywhere – the Holy Catholic Faith – The Orthodox Faith.

The Orthodox Church alone has guarded this faith in its preservation of conciliarity, the means by which God chose to reveal His Presence, that of the Holy Spirit, in the Church. The Orthodox Church has also guarded this faith in its preservation of its understanding of the purpose and focus of human life. This is not knowledge for its own sake, or power for its own sake, or wealth for its own sake. The purpose and focus of human life is theosis, the Kingdom of God manifest in each individual soul and in humanity as a whole. The process of theosis in humanity was prepared before the ages and documented in the Old Testament but the Good News of the advent of theosis was announced and initiated in the Incarnation of God the Word, Our Lord, Jesus Christ. He is the deification of humanity.

Now we all know that the Kingdom of Heaven is at once present and in the future, as is theosis. “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” This was Christ’s initial message, the advent of theosis to humanity. Orthodoxy alone has guarded the teaching regarding theosis in its purity from the beginning, from Christ’s mouth, to the present. Roman Catholicism and Protestantism are deviations from the Orthodox faith and, consequently, do not emphasize theosis as the main thing. The main thing is always to keep the main thing the main thing. “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven”.

So what exactly is theosis? Theosis is deification, “becoming god”. We see the outward manifestations of it in the Light of Tabor but we also see it in the glorified spiritual body of the Savior after the Resurrection. This is the type of body that awaits all the faithful after the Second Coming. The dead shall rise and those who live will be changed in the blink of an eye. Our present bodies will be transformed into ones like Christ’s post-Resurrection body whereby we will be able to materialize and dematerialize at will and do other wonders. We will have all the glory of what we were meant to be in our prime, absent the influence upon our appearance of the Fall. We will be what we were meant to become from the beginning. That is our outward theosis.

Yet we also have an inward theosis. This theosis is realizing who we really are, what we really are. We are meant to be thoroughly lived and permeated by God willingly and lovingly. Our bodies are meant to be gloves for the Divine Will, not for Him to violently dominate our will, but so that our will agrees in perfect harmony with the Divine Will as did Christ’s human and divine wills. The process of orienting our understanding and wills to the Holy Spirit is theosis.

All that you are and that you see was created out of nothing by the Holy Spirit interacting with the “Waters” mentioned in Genesis 1. These “Waters” are the Divine Energies:

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light!’ and there was light.” Genesis 1:1-3

You recall Christ’s discussion with Nicodemus? He told him that a man must be born again in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Of what was he speaking? Baptism? Nicodemus was incredulous. He asked if a man could enter his own mother’s womb a second time. Christ chided him that he was an elder of Israel and did not know this.

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?” John 3:3-10

We were all born, at least materially, in the beginning from Water and Spirit. The Divine Energies (Waters) and the Holy Spirit (Spirit) which created everything out of nothing. Man’s body was thus created out of the dust of the Earth, a product of the first Creation. Yet man is also a spirit. And a human spirit is called a “soul”. Our souls were created sometime at or before the moment of conception (we need not delve any further there) and joined with our bodies. Thus a human soul is born. It needs a body in which to incubate. But we are like butterflies. We are meant for much more than material reality. And material reality was our downfall. You know the stories of the Fall.

The First Fall was that of Lucifer from grace. He refused to bow down to Man. He could not conceive that this being could be divine. He rebelled. So do others rebel at the work of the Holy Spirit in the Body of Christ, Tradition, true Sobornost’. Thus this originally, heavenly Light-Bearing Angel became the chief of demons because of his pride. So too Adam fell. Satan appeared to Eve in the Garden. We all know the story.

This all really happened, by the way. It is meant to convey a truth, but the truth that it is meant to convey is the fallibility of our will and angelic will without God. Our origins are very concrete as well as being instructive. Truth operates on many levels.

Now man is meant to be divine. We were created in the image and likeness of God. That was the crux of the debate between Barlaam and St Gregory. Barlaam evidently believed that the human soul had been so darkened that it could not see the divine light in this life. Gregory knew and taught better. Probably Barlaam got this idea from Anselm’s elaboration of Augustine, but I don’t want to digress into that. The point is that Orthodoxy preserves a truth that is at the heart of Christianity and was there at the beginning with Christ. We are called to be partakers in the divine nature. God works in us through His Divine Energies. And He works in us through His Divine Essence as transmitted to us in the Eucharist. We do not understand it. We cannot fathom it or circumscribe or define it in any way. But He comes to us in His Gifts – the Divine Medicine. That is the importance of the Eucharist and the reason it must be guarded. We do not intercommune with those who do not share the same faith. There is only one Faith. No one has the words of Life but Christ.

Man has reached out to God and God has reached out to man many times in our short human history. We see the remnants of this in other religions. Some parts of these religions are totally of human origin. Some reflect man’s appreciation of divine truths but perceived “as if through a glass, darkly” as St. Paul said. Besides Orthodox Christianity, no other attempt at preserving the Truth has been successful. The reason is that God found a way to make us remember, a way to make it stick.

Sometimes, in order to let others know that you empathize with them, that you feel their pain, it is not enough to tell them. You have to show them. God showed us in Jesus Christ. God, the Son, the Word, the Second Person of the Trinity, became enfleshed as an actual human being whom we know as Jeshua bar Maryam, Jeshua the Anointed King, Jesus Christ. He was and is a real human being. But he is much, much more than that. He is the Firstborn from the Dead. “Firstborn” implies that others will also be born from the dead. Tradition tells us that the Theotokos was the second born from the dead.

But in addition to being truly Man, Christ was and is truly God. He is God in His Essence enfleshed. And by living, dying, descending into Hades and Resurrecting into the New Life, He deifies us. And that is theosis, leaven in the dough, Divine Essence in the Divine Energy. We communicate with His Essence through His Energies:

‘The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it grows larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree. The birds of the air can come and make nests in its branches.’” (Matthew 13:31-32).

“Acquire the Spirit of Peace [i.e., attain to theosis] and a thousand souls around you will be saved.” – St. Seraphim of Sarov.

That is why it all matters.

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Matthew 28:19


  1. Sean Richardson says

    I just read a news article stating that there is a good chance Russia will not participate in the Great and Holy Synod. All of this saddens me greatly because since the day I became Orthodox, in fact, before that day, I was continually taught that Orthodoxy is one Church, united in the Faith and in one Tradition, and yet divided administratively into independent regional churches.

    Unfortunately, what I have continually noted, is the inability of the regional churches to agree on just about anything, and the many members of the Faith who glory in this inability, even celebrate each failure.

    I like what Misha has stated in this article, yet I also note that it is disparingly devoid of specifics. Like so often happens with Orthodoxy, we speak of Holy Tradition, we note the one True Faith, we recognize The Way of salvation … and then we refuse to talk with our sisters and brothers who share the same Tradition, Faith and The Way, and we certainly would never worship with them.

    Perhaps I am naive, but in my humble estimation, as a convert, if we share so much, it should not be difficult to sit down in a room together and chat. I recognize that there are many challenges that face Orthodoxy in the modern world, yet we still share one Faith, don’t we? If we share one Faith, one Holy Tradition, and we are joined in our journey on The Way, to the Kingdom, then not only should we, but I think we must be able to sit down at a table together, and share our faith, share The Faith. If we cannot, then there is something seriously wrong with the way we approach our faith.

    • There is no problem at all with sitting down with other Orthodox in a room and discussing matters. The problem is that the council is rigged to automatically produce a heterodox statement at the end unless there is unanimous agreement to change the draft documents. Unfortunately, Constantinople is unwilling to consider amending the documents before the council. They want the draft documents locked in for some reason. What reason might they have? You may want to ask yourself that question.

      If we scrap the draft documents, or agree on a process before a council through which to amend them, then we can sit down safely and talk. What we do not want to happen is for the Phanar to be able to claim that the Holy Spirit has blessed the heterodox draft documents.

      That is non-negotiable.

    • The pre-conciliar process has been happening largely without a hitch for 50+ years.

      Now, when everyone agrees on 95% of matters and there were just a few last details to work out, the Ecumenical Patriarchate decided to go for broke, and break it did.

      I partly blame the disillusionment you feel on a sort of Orthodox propaganda. The Church has always been united but that doesn’t mean it is always in perfect agreement. The Church’s history is sometimes messy, and that does not take away from the truth that she alone possesses.

      Don’t doubt the truth of Orthodoxy just because a couple of bishops can’t get along. They need our prayers.

      • I think our Lord made the truth very clear with regard to all these machinations of the Church Hierarchy, especially when we realize that in Luke 17:1-10 he was directly speaking to the Apostles:

        Luke: 17

        1. Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!

        RP Byzantine Majority Text 2005
        Εἴπεν δὲ πρὸς τοὺς μαθητάς, Ἀνένδεκτόν ἐστιν τοῦ μὴ ἐλθεῖν τὰ σκάνδαλα· οὐαὶ δὲ δι’ οὗ ἔρχεται.

        Greek Orthodox Church 1904
        Ἔλεγε δὲ καὶ πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ· Ἀνένδεκτόν ἐστι τοῦ μὴ ἐλθεῖν τὰ σκάνδαλα· οὐαὶ δὲ δι’ οὗ ἔρχεται.

        2. It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

        RP Byzantine Majority Text 2005
        Λυσιτελεῖ αὐτῷ εἰ μύλος ὀνικὸς περίκειται περὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἔρριπται εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, ἢ ἵνα σκανδαλίσῃ ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων.

        Greek Orthodox Church 1904
        λυσιτελεῖ αὐτῷ εἰ λίθος μυλικὸς περίκειται περὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ καὶ ἔρριπται εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, ἢ ἵνα σκανδαλίσῃ ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων.

        3. Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.

        RP Byzantine Majority Text 2005
        Προσέχετε ἑαυτοῖς. Ἐὰν δὲ ἁμάρτῃ εἰς σὲ ὁ ἀδελφός σου, ἐπιτίμησον αὐτῷ· καὶ ἐὰν μετανοήσῃ, ἄφες αὐτῷ.

        Greek Orthodox Church 1904
        προσέχετε ἑαυτοῖς. ἐὰν ἁμάρτῃ εἰς σὲ ὁ ἀδελφός σου, ἐπιτίμησον αὐτῷ· καὶ ἐὰν μετανοήσῃ, ἄφες αὐτῷ·

        4. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

        RP Byzantine Majority Text 2005
        Καὶ ἐὰν ἑπτάκις τῆς ἡμέρας ἁμάρτῃ εἰς σέ, καὶ ἑπτάκις τῆς ἡμέρας ἐπιστρέψῃ, λέγων, Μετανοῶ, ἀφήσεις αὐτῷ,

        Greek Orthodox Church 1904
        καὶ ἐὰν ἑπτάκις τῆς ἡμέρας ἁμάρτῃ εἰς σὲ καὶ ἑπτάκις τῆς ἡμέρας ἐπιστρέψῃ πρὸς σὲ λέγων, μετανοῶ, ἀφήσεις αὐτῷ.

        It is pretty clear that true Orthodox Christians who listen to Our Lord will always keep dialogue open and forgiveness,Yes, other texts in the Bible make it clear that if someone will not listen then leave them alone in their Heresy, but as long as a person is open to change towards the Lord we need to be open to forgiveness.

        • Frank,

          Neither Rome nor the Phanar has any intention whatsoever of seeking out the Orthodox in repentance. They are busy building their own pseudo-Church.

    • Indeed. I totally agree with you that internal administrative cohesion should be far better. Historically, that’s just the way it always was though. Not one bishop could tell another how to run his territory as long as it was within acceptable parameters. Perhaps a papacy model would provide more cohesion in the way the world is accustomed to nowadays, however it would eventually become as RC is today, which is a monarchy really with the cardinals functioning as nobles. In that scenario we go down the infallibility road and we’ve all seen where that’s lead the modern RC faith. Ideally, the orthodox jurisdictions should be united in the council as much as they are in faith. Which they are. But ultimately we live in a corrupted world and it is plain difficult to do anything right ( not saying the OC is or isn’t; that’s a whole different topic). It certainly does look weak and decentralisation from the outside though it’s not so much. Just curious if you’d like to share what your faith was before conversion? God bless

    • I agree with you. Truly I hope the Moscow Patriarch attend, in my eyes, he is the lynch pin for the future of the Church.

    • Sean,

      Well said! As someone who has grown up in the faith my whole life, I am equally frustrated at the lack of cohesion and the incessant infighting. Sadly, a great deal of the infighting has to do with ethnicity and insecurity. Love or hate this particular forum, the truth of the matter is that there aren’t a whole of forums for Orthodox Christians to express their views openly. And as you have already experienced, there is a great deal of anger and frustration: anger that Orthodox hierarchs continue to give away the farm with a horrific gay agenda, and frustration over the never-ending self-serving ethnic agendas. As Fr. Thomas Hopko used to say, “It’s the right Church run by the wrong people.”

      Take heart though. In my opinion, the derailing of this council is an example of the Holy Spirit actually working in our midst. Just a few weeks ago, most of the Orthodox church was ready to jump on a plane and approve a bunch of heretical documents. By the grace of the All-Holy Spirit, this was stopped and common sense seems to have prevailed (at least for part of the Orthodox world). God-willing, this stopping of the heresy train before it ever left the station will be a wake-up call to the Phanar and others to get their house in order before jumping on a plane, not the other way around.

    • That just about says it all, Sean. Shame on each and every Orthodox Christian (and there have been so many) who has contributed to or rejoiced at the failure of this council. If you are not truly conciliar, you are not truly Orthodox.

      • Strange. Orthodoxy has gotten along quite well for over 6 centuries without a major council and remained conciliar. Now we are told if we are not at this particular council on these particular dates, we are not conciliar and therefore not Orthodox. Yet not all the churches will be there. Moreover, not all the bishops have been called, as would be the case if the council were to have any authority in and of itself.

        So what’s the big deal? If you go forward with a council that does not represent the Church, you are not being any more conciliar than if you stay away from a council that is rigged to produce a heterodox statement.

        Really, do these people think we are stupid? Come on. Game’s over. Let’s everyone just be honest and lay our cards on the table. If one local church thinks it’s time to unite with Rome, that’s fine. No hard feelings. Many of the rest of us have no intention of doing so. Unity cannot possibly be maintained if the objective is to move toward Rome. We do not share the same faith. Most of us have no respect for papal infallibility, the Immaculate Conception, the Filioque, created grace, etc. These are not our teachings. Teachings have consequences in how the Church operates.

        We cannot preserve our most precious teaching on salvation and the meaning of life if we unite with Rome. They do not share this teaching regarding theosis, the purpose of life. They do not share the teaching of divine essence and divine energies. They do not share the Truth. That is the problem.

        There must be a witness to the Truth on Earth. Christ prayed for it and Christ is God. The Father granted this prayer. We are one. One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. The gates of hell shall not prevail against this Church. We have the words of life as delivered to us by our Savior, without blemish, change, addition or corruption. If we fast and pray and practice the Way of theosis, we can become fire. Divine fire.

        So if you have to go your own way because you desire unity with the world, then do so. The only unity we desire is with God.

        Christ overcame the world.

        • And that forest is? Surely it is not beyond someone of your eloquence to elucidate?

        • Frank Mayer says

          I am a convert, who converted over 30 years ago and never looked back. I have first hand knowledge of various Orthodox jurisdictions since you often don’t get to choose unless you want to drive three hours every Sunday. I also have first hand knowledge of the RC and Protestant churches (small “c” as versus big “C”) based on my prior life before being blessed by becoming Orthodox; neither they or any church is perfect nor is the heretical ‘only scripture’ protestant mentality because ONLY Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is perfect and in perfect unity with the Father and Holy Spirit in a perfect and mysterious Trinity. The best part of Orthodoxy is the Mystery. Think about it, if God is not mysterious and beyond human comprehension then He cannot be God. God by definition is Great and Mysterious. That is, God is so great we must acknowledge that we know nothing until He decides to reveal it to us. It is obvious that people know nothing as evidenced by the irrational fear of the Council. I consider it dereliction of duty that the the Beatitudes, Patriarch John of Antioch, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, Patriarch Neophyte of Bulgaria, and Patriarch Ilia of Georgia did not go. If they have disagreements, great, then they should have derailed the entire concept a decade ago or they should have gone and asserted what the Holy Spirit has enlightened them with knowing and made a point of FIXING the problem before we the spiritual children are led down the wrong way. How is it that four Patriarchs could possibly feel that they could not influence the process? The Holy Spirit can overturn any error at any council as has happened countless times in the History of Our Church. The obvious fact is that the other Patriarchs could not release anything if the Patriarchs who had issues with the draft documents were there and stopped it. The fact is that changes were made to the documents at the council to correct some things. The decision not to go means that the plenitude of the Orthodox people are put at risk because of the boycott technique that is political trick of modern politics that is an unfit approach for Our Most Holy Church. During the First Seven Ecumenical Councils, Holy Fathers went who were in disagreement. Saint Nicholas even made the mistake of striking another bishop due to his flagrant heresy and was forgiven and Saint Nicholas was proven right. I just checked the site of the Patriarch John of Antioch and it notes that they will treat the documents coming out of the council as draft. OK, that is fine but it indicates that obviously people do not understand the requirement for the reception of the decisions coming out of the council by the plenitude of the Orthodox Church before true acceptance. The other point I love about Our True Faith is the critical concept of economy that provides the inheritors of the Apostolic Tradition the ability to make pastoral judgments so as to administer the therapy to us the sinners in a way that cures us without destroying the dignity of the person. What I see in much of the discussion on this site and other sites smells like the legalistic poison that has infiltrated and destroyed all the other schismatic groupings. It is obvious to even the most uninformed reader of the Bible that Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ had the most righteous and harshest criticism for the lawyers and Pharisees and this is quite clear in His most Precious Words. Orthodox Christianity is a Divine Mystery, let us embrace the beauty of that. God by definition is and must be a Mystery, any other mindset is a Gnostic Heresy. By the way, the most loving position is that all the other Christians come back to the mystery of the Orthodox Church for unity, not any other way. However, nothing evil comes out of peaceful co-existence and love for all of mankind, to include other faiths and atheists, who are wrong in my opinion but who need to be loved and respected. We can love others, even if they are doing things that are not correct and we can praise them when they are charitable to the poor. Did not Jesus indicate in many of His parables how those that love the poor will be regarded highly by God the Father? Let us please correct ourselves before trying to correct others. That goes for me too. Peaceful dialog among Our Hierarchy is great and the permanent councils that include all the Orthodox Bishops in the areas of the lands outside the traditional Orthodox Lands makes obvious sense so that Orthodox persons can attend the particular local Orthodox Church that meets their need without the heretical and legalistic “thou shall stay in one community no matter what” philosophy that is more about power than true pastoral care. May God Bless everyone.

          • Frank,

            You are under the unfortunate misconception that this was an Ecumenical Council of the Church. It could never have possibly qualified as such since not all bishops of the Church were welcome. It is not even a synaxis of primates.

            What occurred, in reality, is that Patriarch Bartholomew so skewed the process of adopting documents that it was only with Constantinople’s agreement that any changes were even possible in the blatantly heretical drafts that acknowledged other Christian confessions as “Churches”. That was the intent of the Phanar. They are in heresy. They wished, substantially, to move closer to uniting with Rome or to completely do so at the Crete meeting. If the four other local churches had been present, Bartholomew might even have been able to make a claim that his original heretical language recognizing other “Churches” was inspired by the Holy Spirit. It could not possibly have been changed without Bartholomew’s approval. As it was, most of the Church not being represented, he retreated a bit from his evil plot and allowed the word “heterodox” to be placed before “Churches” at the insistence of part of the delegation from the Church of Greece.

            Notwithstanding all of the above, the entire matter was an abject disaster and brings shame on the participants and the Church in general. The only question is what will the Church do about it. So far the main response has been vocal, i.e., to bitch.

            I don’t think that will get the job done though.

      • Jacob-

        I gladly take your “shame.”

      • Mark E. Fisus says

        who has contributed to or rejoiced at the failure of this council.

        That’s unfair hyperbole. Everyone wants the council to be successful in order to demonstrate what true apostolic governance is supposed to look like, thereby implicitly rebuking the papal model of Rome. But we need to do it right, and we need more time to adequately prepare for a proper council. So many objections coming from so many directions. Russia, Georgia, Serbia, Antioch, Bulgaria, Mount Athos — these are not really aligned groups, but what they have in common is being run over roughshod by the Phanar and dissatisfaction with Constantinople’s management of the pre-conciliar process. Patriarch Bartholomew needs to hit the pause button, re-group with all the churches, and work things out. That in itself would also demonstrate true conciliarity facilitated by a humble protos.

        • anonymus per Scorilo says

          Russia, Georgia, Serbia, Antioch, Bulgaria … — these are not really aligned groups

          Suuuuuuure 🙂

          • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

            You are right, “anonymous per Scorilo”! Isn’t it obvious to everyone that all these non-Grecophone groups are out to get the Greeks?

            • Anonymus per Scorilo says

              Actually the Romanians are non-Grecophone, and in the past few years have had some serious disagreements/fights with Constantinople over various churches in Western Europe. However, boycotting the Synod because of such things is not a solution.

              So I think the source of anti-synod alignment is a bit more than Greeks vs non-Greeks.

              • George Michalopulos says

                ApS, I think that’s too simplistic by half. The Church of Greece is more than a little suspicious of the entire Byzantine Nostalgia thing peddled by the Phanar and Athos is –how shall we say it?–rather hostile to the Phanar. And has been for quite some time.

                The key to understanding how deep the intra-Hellenic divide is will be to see how the GOA deals with the fallout. My guess is that despite all the happy talk that comes out of 79th St the reality in the parishes will be decidedly mixed. That is to say 1) completely on board, 2) respectfully hostile, or 3) completely indifferent. As for the Athonite monasteries here, I would not be surprised if they stopped commemorating their local bishops and daring them to do anything about it.

                • The real problem could manifest as early as tomorrow or Saturday. If the Serbs go and find out that the Phanar is married to producing a heterodox statement of the council, they will leave. That will be the canary in the mine. I expect things to get totally out of hand shortly thereafter.

                  The reason is that it will be clear then that the Phanar is not backing down. The MP cannot back down either. They are facing internal schism. Some considerable part of the ROC in Russia would probably break from them if they signed on to the heterodox statements, as probably would ROCOR.

                  I assume that the recent trip of Pat. Kirill and Pres. Putin to Athos was in part focused on contingency plans for what to do in case this all blows up. I think Athos has had enough too. I’m not sure how far the Phanar actually has to go to trigger a break. But that point is imminent. There are many who do not wish to face this obvious fact, but it is real.

                  I suspect that the Phanar will make it easy for everyone given their arrogance. They have made no secret of the fact that they expect and intend to enforce the decision of the council, whatever that may be.

                  If they are bold enough, they will intercommune with the Latin representatives at the council before everyone departs. If that happens, you know it is over. The rest of the Church will excommunicate them.

                  If not, it may drag out a few more months or so. Who can say exactly? The awful thing is the effect on Orthodoxy in America and other places where there are Greek communities. The people will wake up and have to face the immediate decision of whether to be Uniate or Orthodox. This decision will have some practical as well as spiritual consequences.

                  Property will come into play. Everyone will need to examine how property owned by the local Greek Orthodox communities is held. Is it held exclusively by the local community or is it held by the archdiocese? If it is the latter, the property may be in jeopardy if the communities try to remain Orthodox. This fiasco happened in the Episcopal Church and you should not doubt for a second that the Phanar, backed by Rome, would seize as much as they could possibly get their hands on.

                  I still do not believe that the gravity of what is taking place has hit most Orthodox. But it will very shortly.

                  PS: A word to the wise – immediately, or as soon as possible after Serbia leaves the council, I strongly suggest that all Greek Orthodox local leaders under Constantinople find out exactly how their church property is held; ie, if Constantinople or the American archdiocese has a legal interest or ownership of the property. You may need a lawyer to tell you. If it does have such an interest, i.e., if the property is not held exclusively by the local community, you may have a property fight on your hands.

                  Even if the property is held exclusively by the local community, you still may have a fight if the community splits with one part becoming Uniate and staying under Constantinople and the other part seeking refuge with the Church of Greece or some other Orthodox entity.

                  It’s a nasty thing to have to consider, but it is better to sort it out sooner rather than later to avoid even nastier surprises.

                  • Wow! Misha, you must believe Bush organized 9/11 and that aliens frequently visit Earth. There will be no intercommunion–guaranteed. You and your ilk need to realize that your misrepresentations and lies create unwarranted division in the Church.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Saunca, what you just posted was sophistry. It’s the “God-is-all-powerful-therefore-I-don’t-worry-about-Gomorrah” happy talk that theological liberals constantly put out in order to hoodwink he faithful as they’re being prepped for the Gulag.

                    Don’t get me wrong: the present death-cult that is Libertinism will be destroyed in due time whether under the weight of its own internal contradictions or because it’s the ultimate soft target for Islam as our country continues to degenerate into Third World status. It doesn’t matter ultimately; his mindless blather is a nothing but a defense mechanism to help him rationalize the ugly reality. However I think that the bozo who wrote this piece is not going to be so sanguine about things when the collapse finally does happen and his happy-talk won’t feed his daughter becomes the fourth wife of a jihadi living off of welfare and his son decides to marry some man.

                    “Don’t worry, be happy!” I’ll tell him then.

                    Whether this collapse will be financial or due to a retaliatory strike by the Chinese or Russians because of our incessant war-mongering is academic at this point. I suppose a financial collapse will be more tolerable than our major cities lying in ruins and radiation permeating the atmosphere but both scenarios are likely.

                  • Saunca,

                    I’m sure God guides the Church. And none of this upsets me. I simply feel like explaining to the rest of the world what has happened since obviously at least the primates signed on to a heterodox draft document without thinking. Many fathers in Greece, Russia, Georgia and Bulgaria have since pointed that fact out as well. Yet not so many perhaps realized that the Phanar was trying to corral as many Orthodox into this heretical statement by locking it in through procedural intrigue. In that vein, I hope I have been of service as well.

                    But, you are right, God is sovereign and will manage it all . . .

                    it’s just that sometimes He chooses to do it through . . . us.

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    Is it possible, Mr. Michalopulos, that this response comes from the same man upon whom God has so richly blessed as to share with us “what he saw” at the burial of the incorrupt remains of Archbishop Dmitri ?

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  That’s me respectfully hostile with the majority being indifferent.

                  • Let me ask you the following question, in all seriousness, because it seems to me that some of you out there really do not understand what is happening because it seems too extreme to be true:

                    What exactly would the Phanar have to do to become Uniate and not Orthodox?

                    First of all, let us stipulate that Uniates are those who maintain Byzantine rite practices but share the same faith as Rome and thus are in intercommunion. They believe that Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism are simply two ways of explaining the same underlying reality. The same concepts are explained one way in the East, another way in the West. Yet they assert that the faith is the same and thus that intercommunion is possible.

                    Now, anyone familiar with the differences between Orthodoxy and Catholicism should have a hard time with this proposition if they are being honest. It takes a lot of dishonest sophistry and special pleading from historical anomalies to get to the point where you could even take this assertion seriously at all. And, really, it takes a person who has no real respect for the truth, for the concept of objective truth, to embrace this notion.

                    Papal infallibility and Orthodox conciliarity are not expressions of the same faith. They are mutually contradictory and exclusive. In Roman Catholicism, the authority of an ecumenical council is inferior to that of the Papacy when the pope speaks ex cathedra on an issue of faith or morals. In Orthodoxy, there is no particular charism at all associated with being bishop of Rome, much less any guarantee that a pope would necessarily hold the apostolic faith. Just look at the case of Pope Honorius.

                    Yet Uniates believe in this monstrous nonsense. They can stomach the contradiction since it was originally imposed by coercion and their “dhimmitude” to Rome was the price of survival and prosperity. Thus the rationalization is ingrained culturally, like dhimmitude.

                    Yet it’s all a lie. There is no need for the Roman doctrine of the Immaculate Conception unless you also buy into the Roman notion of original sin. Error begat error. Created grace and any number of other differences are the same way. And they stand as stumbling blocks to Christian understanding of the truth and to acquiring the Holy Spirit.

                    So what more does the Phanar need to do to become Uniate and not Orthodox? Uniates affirm ostensibly Orthodox doctrines. They just lie about their compatibility with Roman Catholicism. Is not declaring that Rome is a “Sister Church”, despite a statement in the same document that the Orthodox Church is the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church – is not that contradiction precisely an expression of Uniatism which removes one from the Body of Christ? It is, since what is meant is that the Orthodox Church is merely part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, of which Rome is also a part; i.e., a “Sister Church”. In the draft documents, they have already informally proclaimed a Unia.

                    Beyond proclaiming a Unia, all that is left is to intercommune. There is no real need for any more theological dialogue. The Uniates have paved the way for the new understanding that the Phanar will impose. What’s left to research or discuss? The Phanar has already stated on its website that they no longer consider Rome to be either heretical or schismatic. See the next to last paragraph of the document from their Great and Holy Council website that I posted here elsewhere. If Rome is not heretical, and they are not schismatic, what are they?


                    We Orthodox have always said that we reserve intercommunion until we come to a common understanding of the faith with the other side. Communion is not a method of attaining unity, it is rather the crown of unity already achieved. But in declaring Rome a Sister Church and rejecting any consideration of them as even being schismatic, is not the Phanar proclaiming that unity has already been achieved? Is this not the Unity that they are actually pushing for at this council? That is their deceit. They would have us believe it is inter-Orthodox unity they seek. They, of course, would like to achieve that too. But their primary focus, and the thing that is obviously more important to them, is unity with Rome.

                    And after they officially issue a heretical statement that declares a Unia by declaring Rome a Sister Church, there is absolutely nothing else left for them to do but to stage an event where Latins receive communion from Greeks and Greeks receive communion from Latins.

                    That event may be at hand. The Phanar may intend to proclaim the heretical Unia and intercommune at the same council. Or they may wait. But if they wait, it will not be long. Why else have they brought us to this point besides the burning desire to unite with Rome? There is no other rational answer to that question.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      Wow! You hate the EP so much as stopping your precious Moscow from having the mantle of EP that you are just salivating foe the EP to do anything to make him in your mind a Unia. You are so sad. You need a lot of prayer. You more than the EP are breeding division. Heck the EP have not even declared the heresy of the Unia while you embrace the heresy of Universalism and yet, even after being reproved by fr. John, who continue in your clear heresy and somehow you are super duper Orthodox and the EP is not. Why don’t you deal with that.


                    • If St. Gregory of Nyssa’s “universalism” is heresy, then Met. Kallistos is a heretic and since Constantinople has not broken communion with him, so are you. But that is not the case. You are getting very upset about this. That is understandable. But don’t get upset about me. I’m just the messenger. I’m not making all of this happen.

                      Now, as to real heterodoxy, when the Phanar puts pen to paper and signs an official church document that declares Rome to be a “Sister Church”, they will have lapsed into heresy. Bishops merely recognize heresy. An act of affirmation of belief in a heretical statement is not heresy because Orthodox bishops say it is. It is heresy because it is objectively at odds with the Orthodox faith. The bishops merely do their jobs and recognize it as such.

                      I repeat, the Phanar is poised to fall into heresy.

                      Now, the problem the Church will face is what to do about it. Read the life of St. Athanasios if you want to know how confusing and ugly it can get. It takes courage to condemn heresy. Courage is in short supply these days.

                      The alternative is worse, however. Doing nothing is not an option because anyone who remains in communion with a heretical bishops or synod for any length of time is also heretical since they are affirming that they hold the same faith by continued communion.

                      This is not about who is the “EP”, a pretentious title if ever there was one. It is not even about who is the First Among Equals. It is the self styled “First Without Equals” trying to Romanize his little corner of the Church and drag it and as many as he can away from the Church, like the Pied Piper.

                      Go if you will. Just don’t say that no one alerted you.

                      PS: I do not “hate” the Patriarch of Constantinople. I don’t hate anyone. I have defended him here on this site from those who would go down the road of accusing him of being the AntiChrist. He is merely misguided as are all modernists. But he is very misguided, so much so that he can’t even recognize heterodoxy anymore. May God forgive him for he knows not what he does.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      Who does that Moscow Patriarch think he is, Peter? He seems to think he can disagree with plans ALREADY APPROVED BY THE GREEK FOREIGN OFFICE and the TURKISH SECRETARY OF STATE! and not only that! HE DOESN’T HAVE A LIFE-SIZE GRAVEN IMAGE OF HIMSELF ON HALKI OR EVEN IN MOSCOW! He should wisely follow the example of the Greek Minority Patriarch of Alexandria, who knows on what side HIS bread is buttered as well!

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Well, Misha, they’re praying for us; or for themselves or for “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named” or for something that will never happen because the One True Church will prevail . . .


        • Michael Bauman says

          We have had 55 years.

    • I’m also a convert and I DO rejoice that we did not make the same mistake the roman church made having a council where modernists were trying to obscure the Church’s teaching through intentionally ambiguous language in the documents. Those clamoring for this Council at all costs, even though there is no heresy that is raging that the Church needs to confront, are naive.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Steven, if I may use your perceptive comment as a springboard to help answer a recent objection from a Catholic correspondent (whose name escapes me). The crux of his argument was that Vatican II was not the horrible thing that we make it out to be but a necessary corrective to the Roman church’s accretions over the centuries. A going back to a more patristic dependence.

        I see that. I think the RCC was right to dust off the cobwebs of the centuries of treacle that that church had acquired.

        However, the end-result –at least to our living knowledge–has been nothing less than the eruption of liturgical atrocities, architectural monstrosities and an overall loss of beauty. All this (and more) has caused real spiritual moral decay and untold damage to tens of thousands of families.

        Like some chemotherapy, the cure was worse than the disease. And I think that that is precisely what many Orthodox traddies (such as myself) feared would be the result of Crete. Well-meaning reforms resulting in horrific results.

        • Bashful82 says

          I think Vatican II had good intentions but it’s never been properly implemented as far as I can see – for example, two of the key points arising from the changes to the Mass is that Gregorian chanting and Latin should play a greater role yet their roles seem to have diminished over the decades.

          • Changes in the Roman Catholic Church’s (RCC) Latin Rite started in May 1948 when Pius XII appointed Father Annibale Bugnini. Bugnini remained as the author of the many changes in the RCC until July 1975. The Novus Ordo, Paul VI Liturgy or new mass was implemented in October 1969 (1970 Missal). Keep in mind, Vatican II ended in December 1965. The document, Sacrosanctum Concilium is the document of interest that came out of the Council. My point, changes in the RCC were made before and after Vatican II which greatly altered the church. Sacrosanctum Concilium does not reflect the changes. The Council is blamed, but it was the authority of the pope that made the changes. Obviously, Istanbul wants that same authority to wreckovate the Church.

          • Changes in the Roman Catholic Church’s (RCC) Latin Rite started in May 1948 when Pius XII appointed Father Annibale Bugnini. Bugnini remained as the author of the many changes in the RCC until July 1975. The Novus Ordo, Paul VI Liturgy or new mass was implemented in October 1969 (1970 Missal). Keep in mind, Vatican II ended in December 1965. The document, Sacrosanctum Concilium is the document of interest that came out of the Council. My point, changes in the RCC were made before and after Vatican II which greatly altered the church. Sacrosanctum Concilium does not reflect the changes. The Council is blamed, but it was the authority of the pope that made the changes. Obviously, Istanbul wants that same authority to wreckovate the Church.

        • The RCC certainly threw out the baby with the bathwater. They tossed out their Mass which had been virtually unchanged for 1600 years in favor of the Novus Ordo which was designed in part by Protestant theologians in an effort to attract them.

          That’s what happens when you change who you are to seek approval. Not only do you not get the approval you seek, you also lose what you already have.

          Sadly they didn’t throw out the dogmatic accumulations, opting instead to destroy their liturgy and bring about the largest wave of iconoclasm since the Protestants were razing churches to the ground 500 years ago.

          • Carl Kraeff says

            “That’s what happens when you change who you are to seek approval. Not only do you not get the approval you seek, you also lose what you already have.”

            I agree 100%. The key is of course the motivation for change and not so much the change itself. May I quote you elsewhere?

      • “Those clamoring for this Council at all costs, even though there is no heresy that is raging that the Church needs to confront, are naive.”

        Actually, there is a heresy that is raging in the Church that needs to be confronted. Those clamoring for a Council are trying to impose that heresy.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Sean, the fact is that we have always been contentious with one another even St. Peter and St. Paul.

      Part of the reason is that we actually take matters of faith seriously. Part of the reason is that we tend to take our selves too seriously.

      Just because it has been called “A Great and Holy Council” does not mean it is one, in fact it probably means it isn’t one.

      We, in our modernity, are greatly handicapped on these things. For Pete’s sake it took 55 years to get a starting point. As far as I am concerned it could take another 55 years for it to materialize.

      Ad and old saying goes: bishops die, but babushkas live forever.

      Tend to your faith in your community and you will be one with all Orthodox living, dead and yet to come through out Lord.

      Unity does not mean kumbaya. Unity is always achieved through struggle. It is never been easy.

      If these goings on are distracting to you and the practice of your faith, ignore them.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Sean, please show me evidence where anyone was offered an opportunity to sit down in a room and chat. If that were the case, we wouldn’t have such a crisis on our hands. Sean, those who pulled out WANTED to talk. It is the EP who said, no. It’s his way or the highway.

      Jacob, save your sanctimonious indignation for another venue. You do not know what you are talking about. To suggest that ANY OF US contributed to this mess or are rejoicing shows just how misinformed you are. Good thing you didn’t put your last name on your post, because one day you’ll come back to it and cringe.

  2. Alan Hampton says

    The problem is that these “local” churches really don’t trust the Bishop of Istanbul; nor the Bishop of Moscow. These two, are like eternally fighting Chinese warriors trying to impose their will on all of Orthodoxy. Line up with the Greeks or line up with the Russians – where will you stand? All the more for the wisdom of God to have “local” churches (territorial) running their own show with their own independent bishops. Orthodox Canon Law fully supports this; not foreign bishops imposing themselves on churches outside their territory. The way to have a council where it will work is: 1) a neutral place like Sardinia 2) invite ALL canonical Orthodox Churches to sit; not snubbing some 3) seat Moscow & Istanbul equally 4) no formal agenda, rather a list of topics to be addressed or passed over at the council 5) the council to last (2) weeks; the first week to iron out the topics, the second to make decisions. 6) set a firm date within one year to meet again.

  3. This is going too far. Everyone needs to calm down and wait rather then speculate. Misha: I appreciate what you have written but I think it blows way past the current problems with the council.

    George: this is getting dangerous. Passions are getting stirred up and for no good reason other than our detriment. Please stick to the key points of contention with the council and give our hierarchs time and breathing space to work this out.

    • dan,

      “Misha: I appreciate what you have written but I think it blows way past the current problems with the council.”

      If a critical mass of Orthodox hierarchs showed up in Crete, Patriarch Bartholomew would not allow the draft document on relations with the heterodox to be changed. He would allow vociferous debate for some time. That’s it. He would then exhort everyone to accept the decision of the council and not cry sour grapes, foul, etc.

      There would be no consensus on any alterations, therefore the pre-approved documents would serve as the basis of the council’s statement. They are heterodox and therefore the statement of the council would be heterodox. The document on relations with the heterodox recognizes heterodox groups as “Sister Churches”. Despite the lip service paid to exclusivity in the opening words of this document, the heterodox statements undermine any Orthodoxy which the document contains. Declaring heterodox communions to be “Sister Churches” is an open and flagrant rejection of the line in the Creed which reads: “I believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.” That phrase in the Creed has always been understood to refer to visible, doctrinal unity. Research the question if you doubt that. Even Rome understood it that way until very recently.

      Having seduced or bullied a critical mass into meeting in one place and having dishonorably maneuvered heterodox documents into the statement of the council, Bartholomew would then claim that the Holy Spirit had guided the council, that it was authoritative for the Orthodox and then proceed into a Unia with Rome. Maybe at the end of the council by concelebration with Roman Catholic guests, maybe shortly thereafter.

      The only thing that is preventing that sequence of events from happening is people like me getting the word out about the danger to people like you who are useful idiots unwittingly doing the Phanar’s bidding.

      So, you’re welcome.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        People like you getting the word out? Excuse me but how important do you think you are? I think your ego is showing brother. Let’s calm down please.

        • Peter,

          I’m quite calm. Yesterday I spent the day at the mall with my uncle and only occasionally looked at the news. God is in charge of it all and is handling it beautifully, even if the bishops of the Church have been screwing up royally. As for “people like me”, that is not a statement of ego. There are many people who realize how loathsome the Phanar has become. It was the Serbian synod who first came out publicly with the math that the Phanar had locked in a heterodox statement by its dishonest intrigue. I merely picked up on that fact and have been among those calling attention to the Phanar’s Uniatism and abysmal corruption. Just yesterday, one of their minions put out a false rumor regarding the Phanar having granted a meeting to the MP on the 17th. They have no shame whatsoever and it is not I who have an ego problem but rather “His All Holiness”.

          Deal with it.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            “Deal with it?” Oh boy between you and Michael Warren there is a Uniate under every bush. Let’s just wait and see what happens with the council shall we. Oh by the way the MP was pretty cozy with Pope Francis in Cuba why is he not a Uniate? Some Russians thought so and stopped commemorating him. In fact, the MP enacted some discipline against some of those who did that. I mean that’s…just….Unia! Right?

            Have a nice night, sleep tight and don’t let the Unia bite.


            • Fr. Longin ceased commemorating Pat. Kirill for a very good reason. That reason is the same reason that Moscow is not at the council. In the joint statement with the pope, Pat. Kirill informally pronounced heresy. It was not an official statement of a Local Church, but it was a terrible mistake, as was approval of the draft documents.

              When a Local Church professes heresy in an official church statement, it tempts God to withdraw His Grace.

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                That’s not the standard you apply to the EP. According to YOUR STANDARD The MP signed it, he RATIFIED IT, the ROC Bishops fully understand this and thus stopped commemorating him. Therefore by your own definition he is a Unia. Why are you still in communion with a Unia Patriarch, or does that only apply to the EP?

                Moscow, the bastion of Orthodoxy, the “Third Rome”, suddenly capitulated to the Old Rome, when his Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow embraced the pan-heresy of ecumenism. With a stroke of a pen, he turned his back on one thousand years of Orthodoxy in Russia, following Constantinople (New Rome) down the wide road (Mat 7:13).

                The real import of the historic meeting that took place in Havana, Cuba on Feb. 12, 2016 between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow was missed by the media, which focused mostly on the political, social and moral aspects of the meeting. For us, Orthodox Christians, the Joint Statement

                constitutes a betrayal of the Orthodox Faith.

                Please follow their call to action:

                We exhort all Christians and all believers of God to pray fervently to the providential Creator of the world to protect His creation from destruction and not permit a new world war.

                It is a call to unity to all, Christians and non-Christians, to pray for peace, as if religious differences among them were of no consequence.

                The document repeatedly stresses that we have “inherited” our differences from our ancestors. It sounds apologetic saying, it is not our fault, “we have been divided by wounds caused by old and recent conflicts.” Stating that our differences “in the understanding and expression of our faith in God” are due to “human weakness and of sin” is a blasphemy against the martyrs and confessors of our Faith.
                Our theological differences are not trivialities. Peace seems to be above all—not our faith in the true God. They have both forgotten that the main role of the Church is to spread the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ.

                It assumes that all the “monotheistic” religions believe in the same God. Before a perceived common danger that threatens mankind, the religious leaders of the two largest Christian bodies appeal to us all to set aside our faith in Jesus Christ our true God, who died and rose from the dead and is worshiped with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and in the one and only Church He founded.

                Our theological differences are ignored and are treated as trivialities, as egotistical pretensions before the threat of a world war. Peace seems to be above all—not our faith in the true God. They have both forgotten that the main role of the Church is to spread the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ.

                It seems our religious leaders have come up with a better gospel, that we are “brothers and sisters in Christ,” not in virtue of the one and only true baptism we have received in His holy Church, not on account of our great hope of salvation in Christ our Savior, but on account of our “shared spiritual foundations of human co–existence.”

                Don’t be deceived: according to the Declaration it’s not our common faith that will save us, nor the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but our

                “common values uniting us, based on the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ”

                I hope the Jesuit nuance is clear to everyone. It states that salvation comes not from the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but from the human values that unite us.

                The Declaration calls martyrs those Christians who have died giving witness to the truth of the Gospel, irrespective of their religious affiliation to “various Churches” (as if Christ founded many Churches). We Orthodox Christians venerate our martyrs, pray to them, we treasure their holy relics and build churches in their honor.

                Our Church teaches us to honor only those who have died as martyrs professing the true faith. As for the rest, the Church treats them as pseudomartyrs.
                It is well known that the Church produced untold martyrs during the great persecutions. “Many even of the heretics in the time of persecution and of idolatry showed fortitude even to death, and were called martyrs by those who shared their beliefs.”
                The Church however directs us not to treat them as true martyrs and not to pray to them.

                The ultimate goal of the Joint Statement is the establishment of humanism, placing “fraternal co–existence among the various populations, Churches and religions” as the ultimate goal.

                Are we then against any kind of cooperation with other Christian bodies? Can’t we meet and in common declare that we are against violence and terrorism, and that we are for world peace and religious freedom? Can’t we jointly express a concern about the conditions in the Middle East?

                Yes, of course we can and we should, provided we leave out any dogmatic and ecclesiological statements that insidiously infiltrate the text and dilute and minimize our faith.

                The ultimate goal of the Joint Statement is the establishment of humanism, placing “fraternal co–existence among the various populations, Churches and religions” as the ultimate goal. This sweeping statement alone should be sufficient for us to utterly reject the entire document.

                With deep pain and sadness we admit that the Joint Declaration constitutes one of the most ecumenistic and syncretistic official statements agreed upon by an Orthodox hierarch.

                What do the ROCOR bishops and theologians have to say about this capitulation?

                Fr. Emmanuel Hatzidakis

                PS. Deal with that!

                • Peter,

                  Yes, I wholeheartedly agree with Fr. Longin in his cessation of commemoration of Pat. Kirill after signing his joint statement with the pope. Its language was heterodox, though it could be construed otherwise. But that was an informal document, not a statement of the Russian Orthodox Church or of the Orthodox Church as a whole.

                  Fr. Longin was thus correct to warn Pat. Kirill that he was in endangering his soul by flirting with heresy. The monks of the Holy Mountain did the same with Pat. Bartholomew, and his predecessors, on several occasions.

                  But what is happening in Crete is different. This is going to be portrayed as an official meeting of the Church and an official statement of the Church. That rises to a whole other level, as many in Greece and Russia and other countries who have offered corrections have pointed out. You simply can’t call other Christian confessions “Churches” in such a document without rejecting the line in the Creed stating that there is One Church.

                  That’s what we all have to deal with.

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    The MP signed off on this terminology. Whether the ROC is in Crete or not it has already agreed. That’s why what is happening in Crete already happened. The MP absence means nothing if he already signed off on it.

                    These documents needed objection, constant objection from 2015 till today not a few weeks before the start of the council. In fact, objection could have been had by Moscow back in 2015 by simply withholding it’s signature and refusing g to sign. It did not do that. In fact, none of the great defenders of Orthodoxy did that in 2015. Want to guess why?

                    That’s why this is all Church politics 101 and what you are writing is agenda driven foe a Russian Church that may very likely already be just as compromise as the Phanar, and is just playing it’s typical power games.


                    • I think I know where we are diverging. Kirill’s synod did not approve the Relations document, at least to my knowledge. Nor was it particularly aware of his little expedition with the pope. And they expressed their displeasure about that openly and vocally.

                      Bear in mind two things. First, these were styled as “drafts”. Moscow actually has been trying to get along in the process. On numerous occasions it could have responded with much more direct language. Second, it is my understanding, and probably that of the Russian synod, that they are not a rubber stamp for Kirill. They consult and vote about things that they think matter. That is why he was under the impression that his meeting with the Pope was just a personal excursion. He probably didn’t want to make it an official affair. Russians can be stand offish with the Romans due to the Uniate situation in Ukraine, et al. The MP recently refused him a meeting on Russian soil, if you recall. Recall that they met in an airport or something down there. Appearances and official dignities are important to Russians. I’m certain he thought that it was more like Kirill and Francis getting together for coffee than the Patriarch of Moscow and the Pope of Rome coming together at last to put aside differences. Then all hell broke loose in Russia nonetheless.

                      Think about it.

                      Back when the OCA was bucking for autocephaly, the MP, then under Soviet domination, started communing Catholics at the Russicum in Rome and elsewhere. Someplace in the minutes of the Russian Synod is a resolution allowing this which was later suspended.

                      Of course, ROCOR had nothing to do with that and it just goes to show that the MP, though grace remained, at that point was not competent to do much of anything except take orders.

                      Those days are over.

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    You know what. I’m totally confused why we are even having this council that is breeding discord among the brethren. Did we really need this council? Really what was the need for it.

                    Also, I am done breeding discord among my brothers and sisters in the Church. I’m going to take my own advice and wait and see, and get back into my prayer life.

                    We have three clear victories over the atheist globalists. 1. ) Brexit, 2) Trump, and 3.) The derailment of the council because of the Church of Greece amendment that kibosh-ed Uniat-ism. Let’s rejoice and be glad in this. The rest I will pray about and let God sort out. So far,He is doing a great job. Time to let go and let God.

                    Please forgive me and pray for me a sinner.

                    Peter A. Papoutsis

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      True that!

                      btw, I’m cautiously ecstatic about what the Church of Greece caused to be effected. I’m gonna wait for the ink to dry, look at who signed it, and wait for the official spokesman to quote it verbatim before I pop the champagne. (I’d love to see Chryssavgis –or better yet Bartholomew–proclaim it.)

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      Also I need to make a public correction. Moscow, while not attending the council, worked with and helped the Church of Greece with their Amendment. So Moscow DID fight and DID do their job. So Axios to Moscow.

                      As for the rest, I agree with George let’s wait for the ink to dry to see what happens.

                    • Amen.

                      Well, it is absolutely certain that it was not an Ecumenical Council and only binding, if at all, on those local synods who subsequently ratify it, and not at all on matters of faith. Accepting the council of 1872 as well as the language about the inherent violence of “fundamentalism”, the “ecological crisis” and “social justice” will forever mark it as a vacation/photo-op issuing pablum in reaction to current events in a desperate attempt to be relevant. Glad it’s over and that, apparently, Bartholomew lost his nerve regarding establishing a new Unia, for now. That’s the verdict from where I sit.

                      Very happy that Athens has asserted itself.

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says



                Chambésy, 10-17 October 2015



                *The following English text is a working translation. An official English translation is forthcoming.

                The Orthodox Church, as the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, in her profound ecclesiastical conscience, firmly believes that she maintains a central place in matters pertaining to the promotion of unity among Christians in the contemporary world.
                For the Orthodox Church, Church unity is grounded on the establishment of the Church by the Lord Jesus Christ, and also on communion in the Holy Trinity and sacramental communion. This unity is experienced in the Church to this day and made manifest through apostolic succession and the patristic tradition. It is the mission and duty of the Orthodox Church to transmit and preach the truth in its fullness as present in the Holy Bible and Holy Tradition. This mission is what bestows upon the Church her universal quality.
                The Orthodox Church’s ecumenical mission and her responsibility to preserve unity were articulated by the Ecumenical Councils, which stressed the indissoluble link between true faith and sacramental communion.
                The Orthodox Church, which unceasingly prays “for the union of all,” has always cultivated dialogue with those estranged from her, both far and near. The Church has led the way in recent efforts to restore unity between those who believe in Christ, and she has participated in the Ecumenical Movement since its commencement, contributing to its formation and further development. Thus, the Orthodox Church, because of the ecumenical and philanthropic spirit which distinguishes her, and in accordance with the divine dispensation that all men may be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:4), has always advocated for the restoration of Christian unity. Therefore, Orthodoxy’s participation in the movement to restore unity between Christians does not contradict the nature and history of the Orthodox Church, but rather represents a consistent expression of the apostolic faith and tradition in a new historical context.
                The contemporary bilateral theological dialogues of the Orthodox Church and her participation in the Ecumenical Movement are based on her Orthodox consciousness and the spirit of ecumenicity to reclaim the lost unity of Christians on the basis of the faith and tradition of the ancient Church of the Seven Ecumenical Councils.
                According to the Church’s ontological nature, her unity can never be shattered. The Orthodox Church acknowledges the historical existence of other Christian Churches and Confessions that are not in communion with her and believes that her affiliation with them should be based on a speedy and objective elucidation of all ecclesiological topics, most especially their general teachings on sacraments, grace, priesthood, and apostolic succession. Accordingly, for theological and pastoral reasons, Orthodoxy has viewed dialogue with various Christian Churches and Confessions, as well her participation, in general, in the present-day Ecumenical Movement in a favorable manner. She is hopeful that through dialogue she will bear dynamic witness to the fullness of Christ’s truth and to her spiritual treasures to those who are separated from her. Her objective purpose, therefore, is to tread upon the path that leads to unity.
                In spite of the deep crisis in the Ecumenical Movement, every local Holy Orthodox Church today takes an active part in official theological dialogues; moreover, most of the Churches participate in the work of various national, regional, and international inter-Christian organizations. Such diverse undertakings by the Orthodox Church spring from a sense of responsibility and from a conviction that mutual understanding, cooperation, and common efforts to reconstitute Christian unity are of fundamental importance if we wish never to hinder the gospel of Christ (1 Cor 9:12).
                Certainly, while the Orthodox Church dialogues with other Christians, she does not underestimate challenges present in this endeavor; however, she responds to these challenges on the journey toward a common understanding of the tradition of the ancient Church with hope that the Holy Spirit, Who holds together the whole institution of the Church, (Sticheron at Vespers of Pentecost), will complete that which is lacking (Ordination Prayer). In this regard, the Orthodox Church, in her relations with the rest of the Christian world, relies not only on the human efforts of those involved in dialogue, but especially on the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the grace of God, Who prayed that…all may be one (Jn 17:21).
                Current bilateral theological dialogues, announced by the Pan-Orthodox Conferences, express the unanimous decision of all holy local Orthodox Churches. Therefore, these Churches have an active and consistent duty to promote this work in an effort to avoid diminishing the unanimous witness of Orthodoxy to the glory of the Triune God. In the event that a certain local Church does not wish to assign a representative to a particular dialogue or one of its sessions, the dialogue still continues if this decision is not pan-Orthodox. Prior to the start of a dialogue or each session, the Orthodox Committee of the dialogue ought to discuss the absence of the local Church as an expression of the harmony and unity of the Orthodox Church.
                The problems arising during theological discussions within Joint Theological Commissions are not always sufficient grounds for any local Orthodox Church unilaterally to recall its representatives or definitively withdraw from the dialogue. As a general rule, the withdrawal of a Church from a particular dialogue should be avoided; in those instances when this occurs, inter-Orthodox efforts to reestablish representational fullness in the Orthodox Theological Commission of the dialogue in question should be initiated. Should one or more Orthodox Churches refuse to take part in the sessions of the Joint Theological Commission of a particular dialogue, citing serious ecclesiological, canonical, pastoral, or ethical reasons, this/these Church(es) shall notify the Ecumenical Patriarch and all the Orthodox Churches in writing, in accordance with pan-Orthodox practice. Regarding possible courses of action, during a pan-Orthodox meeting the Ecumenical Patriarch shall seek a consensus among the Orthodox Churches, which may also include— should this be deemed necessary by consensus—a reassessment of the progress of the theological dialogue in question.
                The process of engaging in theological dialogue attempts to overcome traditional theological differences, reveal possible new disagreements, and identify common principles of the Christian faith. This process requires that the entire Church is kept informed of the dialogue’s progress. In the event that it is impossible to overcome a specific theological difference, theological dialogue may continue, recording the identified difference and bringing it to the attention of all the local Orthodox Churches for their consideration.
                It is clear that the complete restoration of unity in true faith and love is the goal of theological dialogue. However, theological and ecclesiological differences reveal a certain hierarchy of the challenges lying in the way of meeting this pan-Orthodox objective. The manifold problems of any bilateral dialogue call for the methodology to be applied in diverse ways, but not for divergence in purpose since all dialogues pursue a common goal.
                To this end, efforts should be made to coordinate the work of the different Inter-Orthodox Theological Committees, bearing in mind that the indissoluble ontological unity of the Orthodox Church must also be revealed and manifested in this area of dialogue.
                The end of an official theological dialogue occurs with the completion of the relevant work of the Joint Theological Commission. This then requires the Chairman of the Inter-Orthodox Commission to submit a report to the Ecumenical Patriarch, who, with the consent of the Primates of the local Orthodox Churches, declares the conclusion of the dialogue. A dialogue is not considered complete before it is proclaimed thus by pan-Orthodox decision.
                Upon the successful conclusion of the work of a theological dialogue, the restoration of ecclesiastical communion may be announced following a unanimous pan-Orthodox decision by all local Orthodox Churches.
                One of the principal bodies in the history of the Ecumenical Movement is the World Council of Churches (WCC). Certain Orthodox Churches were among the Council’s founding members; later, all the local Orthodox Churches became members. The WCC is a structured inter-Christian body, despite the fact that it does not include all Christian Churches and Confessions. At the same time, there are other inter-Christian organizations and regional bodies, such as the Conference of European Churches and the Middle East Council of Churches. These, along with the WCC, fulfill an important mission by promoting the unity of the Christian world. The Orthodox Churches of Georgia and Bulgaria withdrew from the WCC: the former in 1997, and the latter in 1998. They have their own particular opinion on the work of the World Council of Churches and, hence, do not participate in its activities and those of other inter-Christian organizations.
                The local Orthodox Church-members participate fully and equally in the WCC, contributing to the witness of truth and promotion of unity among Christians by all means available. The Orthodox Church readily accepted the WCC’s decision to respond to her request concerning the establishment of the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation in the World Council of Churches, which was mandated by the Inter-Orthodox Conference held in Thessaloniki in 1998. The established criteria of the Special Commission, proposed by the Orthodox and accepted by the WCC, led to the formation of the Permanent Committee on Consensus and Collaboration. The criteria were approved and included in the Constitution and Rules of the World Council of Churches.
                Faithful to her ecclesiology, to the identity of her internal structure, and to the teaching of the ancient Church of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, the Orthodox Church’s participation in the WCC does not signify that she accepts the notion of the “equality of Confessions,” nor that she understands Church unity as an inter-confessional compromise. In this spirit, the unity that is sought within the WCC cannot simply be the product of theological agreement, but must also be founded on the unified faith, which is sacramentally preserved and lived in the Orthodox Church.
                The Orthodox Church-members believe that participation in the WCC must be grounded in the principle article of its Constitution, which affords membership only to those Churches and Confessions that recognize the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Savior—according to the Scriptures—and confess the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—according to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. It is their deep conviction that the ecclesiological presuppositions of the 1950 Toronto Statement, On the Church, the Churches and the World Council of Churches, are of paramount importance for Orthodox participation in the Council. It is therefore clear that the WCC does not by any means constitute a “super-Church.” The purpose of the World Council of Churches is not to negotiate unions between Churches, which can only be done by the Churches themselves acting on their own initiative, but to bring Churches into living contact with each other and to promote the study and discussion of the issues of Church unity (Toronto Statement, § 3.2).
                The prospects for conducting theological dialogues between the Orthodox Church and other Christian Churches and Confessions shall always be derived from the canonical criteria of established Church Tradition (Canon 7 of the Second Ecumenical Council and Canon 95 of the Quinisext Ecumenical Council).
                The Orthodox Church wishes to support the work of the Commission on Faith and Order and follows its theological contribution with particular interest to this day. It views favorably the Commission’s theological documents, which were developed with significant participation of Orthodox theologians­ and represent a praiseworthy step in the Ecumenical Movement for the rapprochement of the Churches. Nonetheless, the Orthodox Church maintains reservations concerning principal issues of faith and order.
                The Orthodox Church considers all efforts to break the unity of the Church, undertaken by individuals or groups under the pretext of maintaining or defending true Orthodoxy, as being worthy of condemnation. As evidenced throughout the life of the Orthodox Church, only conciliarity—always the suitable and final judge in matters of faith in the Church—can preserve the authentic Orthodox faith.
                The Orthodox Church has a common awareness of the necessity for conducting inter-Christian theological dialogue. It therefore believes that dialogue should always be accompanied by witness to the world through acts expressing mutual understanding and love, which convey the ineffable joy of the Gospel (1 Pt 1:8). However, it rejects all forms of proselytism and every offensive act of inter-confessional competition. In this spirit, the Orthodox Church deems it important for all Christians, inspired by common fundamental principles of our faith, to offer a generous and charitable response to the difficult challenges posed today by the world, and to base this response on the ideal of humankind renewed in Christ.
                The Orthodox Church is aware that the movement to restore Christian unity assumes new forms in order to respond to new circumstances and address new challenges of today’s world. The continued witness of the Orthodox Church to the divided Christian world on the basis of the apostolic tradition and faith is imperative.

                We pray that all Christians may work together so that the day may soon come when the Lord will fulfill the hope of the Orthodox Churches for one fold and one shepherd (Jn 10:16).

                Chambésy, October 15, 2015

                † Metropolitan John of Pergamon, Chairman

                † Archbishop Sergios of Good Hope

                † Metropolitan Damaskinos
                (Patriarchate of Antioch)

                † Metropolitan Isychios of Capitolias

                † Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk

                † Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral

                † Honorable Metropolitan Nifon of Targoviste

                † Metropolitan John of Varna and Veliki Preslav

                † Metropolitan Gerasimos of Zoukdidi and Tsaissi

                † Metropolitan George of Paphos

                † Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Peristeri

                † Bishop George of Siemiatycze

                † Metropolitan John of Korçë

                † Archbishop George of Michalovce and Košice

                † Metropolitan Jeremiah of Switzerland,
                Secretary for the Preparation of the Holy and Great Council
                HEY!!! Why are Moscow and Antioch signing such a document? ARE THEY UNIA? ARE THEY HERETICS? What gives? What betrayers of Orthodoxy? Right Misha?

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  Well, Peter, the signature of Metropolitan Damaskinos of Brazil (he’s not the Patriarch) means nothing. If His Beatitude John X signs something like this, however, please let us know. – You won’t, but just saying. . .

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    So authorized representatives from Antioch mean nothing? Ok. So did Patriarch John disavow? Please let us know when he does. – You won’t, but just saying…

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      I wasn’t being clear, Peter. Please forgive me. What I meant was this: how a metropolitan feels about any matter is unimportant with respect to all of Antioch. Every metropolitan is entitled to his own opinions. Metropolitan Damaskinos of Brazil is no exception. He can think whatever he likes; however, he is not the Patriarch. His Beatitude John X is the Patriarch. Only he can speak for Antioch. Do you have any evidence that His Beatitude authorized Metropolitan Damaskinos of Brazil to speak (sign) on his behalf? That doesn’t make sense to me. To me, it looks like someone made a mistake; however, if you find out differently, please let us know, as this would be news worthy.- BTW, when I said, “You won’t . . .” I meant to say, “He won’t,” not “You won’t.” I was tired.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      Gail, wait, WAIT! are you telling me that as a Patriarch I have one of MY Metropolitans go to a high level Church gathering, and sign a document on my behalf, in fact for the entire jurisdiction and I did not authorize it? Or maybe I didn’t know about it? Unless I I am wrong, and maybe I am, but I would as Patriarch immediately call that Metropolitan in, yell at him, and the next day AS PATRIARCH immediately disavow what my representative at the council did.

                      Now if that happened great I stand corrected. If that did Not happen then I think you you need to accept the fact that your Patriarch knew what his representative did and approved. That’s not a mistake, not at that high of a level for such things.

                      However If, and that’s a big IF, the Metropolitan did make a mistake in 2015 by signing this document then Antioch would have disavowed the signature ASAP! If they did that, as they had a whole year to do so, I then stand corrected. If not then it was NOT a mistake and Antioch knew what it’s Metropolitan did and accepted this ecumenist document and we’re fine with it.


                    • I think Peter has the better of this exchange. By the very fact that a Metropolitan is at such a meeting, he is representing and speaking for the Patriarchate of Antioch, unless specifically disavowed, either before or after the fact, as speaking only for himself.

                      One of the problems with this whole process is the inability of the individual Patriarchates to say that their representatives to the pre-conciliar meetings made mistakes in this or that instance, or that they failed to get consultation from competent and representative bishops and theologians back home regarding the substance and implications of the documents, and/or failed to speak up forcefully and cogently at the proper time in the process. In short, they have failed to say forthrightly that yes, their representatives may have approved this or that document or agenda item, but after consultation with their broader ecclesial community back home and further reflection, they have thought better of it and changed their mind.

                      All of the documents were approved by nearly all of the delegations in the preconciliar process (the only exceptions as I recall were Antioch and Georgia on one or two documents.) Think of how many problems could have been prevented, for instance, if the GOC delegation had involved Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos) early in the process. I am no expert, but there are some pretty big problems with some of the documents — how on earth did they make it out of the pre-conciliar process without anyone raising an objection? And I mean an objection on the level of “I feel certain that if this is put forward like this, my national church will either not come to the council at all or if we do come, we will vote against it (and hence vote it down since the rules require unanimity).”

                      I remain disappointed and even a little shocked that the document that Metr. Hierotheos criticized so heavily — and in an almost unanswerable fashion — was approved unanimously on the very first day. I truly do not understand how it could have happened, to be quite honest, that not a single delegation was willing to simply say no… Just like I am disappointed and even a little shocked that not one national church was willing to put the kibosh on these documents in the pre-conciliar process.

                    • It is fair to say that Antioch has a somewhat unique (in the Orthodox world) relationship to Roman Catholics and, for that matter, with Muslims. Unlike Greece, Russia, and the jurisdictions of Eastern Europe, they find their interests aligned in terms of survival as a Christian people, if not doctrine. In their part of the world all that bears the name of Christ is under siege in the severest possible sense, and they have lived in relative peace with Muslims for centuries (with some notable exceptions).

                      This is no excuse for signing off on heresy, but it does explain a hesitation to be as blunt with language as some of their peers.

                      Peter is right, though. No Metropolitan would sign a document of such far-reaching importance in the belief that he was expressing only his own opinion and not that of the patriarchate.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Yes, Peter, Edward and Brian, I am telling you that although a metropolitan signed that document, it meant absolutely nothing. That document was not, is not, recognized by Antioch for a host of reasons, which you can read on the Archdiocese website.

                      The Patriarchate of Antioch speaks when THEY feel it is necessary to speak and, for whatever reason, they didn’t feel the impetus to disavow anything in 2015. Instead, they chose to comment this week. They said: “Whatever was issued in the meeting in Crete, of decisions and other things, is non-binding, by any means, to the Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East. ”

                      They COULD have said: “Whatever was issued in the meeting in Crete of decisions and other things, is non-binding, by any means, to the Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East, EXCEPT FOR THAT DECISION SIGNED BY ONE OF OUR METROPOLITANS THAT WE ARE NOW OBLIGATED TO BECAUSE WE FAILED TO DISAVOW IT AT THE TIME.” But they didn’t.

                      At the end of the day, that metropolitan’s signature on that document meant nothing.

                      The decisions were intended to be drafts that would continue to evolve until all were in agreement. The content wasn’t as concerning as the wording and the wording is always the last thing to be revised.

                      As a project manager, I NEVER finalize an agenda or the minutes until all agree. I circulate them as drafts and invite people to make revisions and send them back to me. I then present the revisions to the group. If we can’t come to an agreement, I table the matter until I can mediate between opposing parties. When agreement is reached, the revised proposal is presented to the group for ratification. Sometimes you have to go through this process, multiple times. 95% of the time, however, you can achieve consensus across the entire group. That’s what should have happened here, but it didn’t. Had they invited a SENIOR PROJECT MANAGER to Crete, they might have averted the drama and come out with something workable. PMs don’t have a vested interest in a particular outcome; our sole focus is getting everyone to agree and we know how to make that happen.

                      Next time they have a clambake, they should invite one of us and see how different the end result can be. (Actually, they should invite ME, because I’m better at this than most!)

                    • Gail, it would be a pretty useless working group if a certain department’s representative remained silent and signed off on each pphase of the early planning, only to reject the final product with a laundry list of objections. Yes, that sort of thing does happen, and yes, it isn’t actually done until the actual boss weighs in — but an end of process surprise from the real boss is not the sign of a healthy organization.

                      The rules of this process made it clear that the time for disagreement and working out bugs was in the preconciliar process. This meant that the delegations should have gotten their national Synods involved early rather than late — with or without the approval of the Phanar.

                    • When I look into my crystal ball, though it is foggy, what I see is that at some point in the near future the Church of Russia will sever communion with Constantinople. I think it has to. After that, people will start to line up.

                      The Phanar is part of the Church of Rome, as far as I’m concerned. Unfortunately, that necessarily applies to the entire synod which includes the metropolitans in America, unless they break communion. I do not see that happening any time soon.

                      The local churches that stayed away will probably form what remains of the Orthodox Church. Serbia and Jerusalem may be added to this group. It is possible that Romania might also remain Orthodox. Hard to say.

                      Antioch is a wild card. I have no idea what they will do. They are talking like they are not accepting this council in the sense that the Phanar would like. Yet in the Middle East, they commune Catholics. Who knows? I can’t say I’m sitting on the edge of my seat awaiting their decision.

                      As for me, New Calendar Orthodoxy shall forever bear the mark of Cain for what this council attempted to do and the way it will likely be used in the future. The safest place for the souls of any Orthodox Christian are far away from any New Calendar ecclesiastical entity.

                      Grace may have already left the Church of Constantinople. I am no expert on when lapse into heresy results in God withdrawing grace from the mysteries of the church in question. I doubt it happens as a result of outside condemnation but rather as the inner working of the heretical phronema being incompatible with the conveyance of mysterial grace.

                      Clock’s ticking.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      Misha says:
                      ” I am no expert on when lapse into heresy results in God withdrawing grace from the mysteries of the church in question.”

                      No kidding…..

    • Gail Sheppard says

      RE: “George: this is getting dangerous. Passions are getting stirred up and for no good reason other than our detriment. Please stick to the key points of contention with the council and give our hierarchs time and breathing space to work this out.”

      What you call “passions,” dan, I call righteousness. Our hierarchs do not want us to be silent on this matter. They expect us to step up for righteousness sake. They recognize our concerns are legitimate. True shepherds listen to the bleating of their lambs and they respond.

      Statement of the Secretariat of the Antiochian Holy Synod
      Balamand, on the 6th of June 2016

      “. . . the Antiochian flock, after knowing the agenda of the Council and its documents, expressed its great deception that the Council does not deal with the challenges facing the believers, especially the challenges of the youth. The flock of believers expressed its worry about this Council drifting away from the original principles which were behind its convention, i.e. facing together the challenges of the Orthodox Church in this time and presenting a common witness in the world of today;”


      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        I call Church politics 101.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        I agree wholeheartedly with Edward in his assessment of the council documents. I will not rehash the various objections, but to not object to the very clear ecumenist language and mindset that would recognize the heterodox as churches is not a matter of being polite, but a matter of being theologically wrong.

        The reason I wanted the council postponed as to fix these documents and bring them into the Orthodox fold. As it standards these documents will be ratified without any opposition.

        You this is why Russian, Antioch and Bulgaria needed to attend and vigorously oppose these documents. They could have made this process a beautiful bloody mess with either a forced change or a clear protest statement on the record at the council.

        That’s why they needed to attend. Now w e will have ratification and the battle moves on to each individual Church’s Holy Synod to accept and approve these documents. That is NOT a fight worth having given the composition of some Holy Synods.

        May God have Mercy on us. The fight will soon come directly to our doorsteps. Get ready!


        • Peter,

          They were right to stay away. I’m convinced more now than ever that it was the Phanar’s intention all along, if it could pull it off, to unite itself and as much of Orthodoxy as it could to Rome. It may still try, though the plan has obviously run into serious complications. It just depends on how bold they are. There is no other explanation for the way they bulldoged the draft language through and then closed ranks behind it before the council. In their minds, they may preserve some deniability by stepping back from the brink and not intercommuning with the Latins. I will be interested to see what text, if any, they agree on as regards Orthodox relations to the heterodox. But they are Uniate in spirit, if not in fact. And it is actually worse than that. They actually want to leave the door open even wider than Rome for theological and moral chaos. That’s saying something. It’s only a matter of time . . .

          I came to Orthodoxy to get away from this kind of thing and here it is on EuroTV, gawdy and progressive as all get out. Byzantine Episcopalianism.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            Yeah, but they didn’t stay away because of the documents. They signed them. They stayed away for other reasons. Church politics.

            It’s meaningless now because they will allow heresy into the church without challenge. I do not disagree about the sickness of Uniate-ism, I’m just telling you it’s more widespread that the Phanar. Moscow is infected as well, and yet ROCOR is saying and doing nothing. I think I am more heartbroken over ROCOR’S inaction that what the EP and the MP are doing.

            For me growing up ROCOR were the grown ups in the room. Where are they now? I hope the bishops of ROCOR do not let us down.


            • If you have not yet been to the website http://www.orthodoxethos.com, I encourage you to do so. There is great material which clarifies and enlightens by people steeped in the long-term knowledge of Orthodoxy. Please give it a serious look. Am ill so apologize if you have already mentioned it, haven’t kept up well.

              • Gregory Manning says

                I agree Nicole. Actually, I’ve joined their FB page as well as Fr. Peter’s. Notifications of updates pop up on my FB page (which I keep open in a tab at the top of my window) lickety split.

            • Peter,

              We are in complete agreement that bright lines need to be drawn here. I think the fathers of Athos, Greece, Valaam, Ukraine and many in Russia are in agreement about that, along with the Serbs, Georgians, etc. The Antiochians made it a point to take exception to the documents in a recent announcement, not just the Qatar thing.

              No doubt everyone was a day late and a dollar short. You will get no argument from me in that score. Now, let’s get down to cases.

              Whose show is this?

              Pat. Bartholomew has organized it and guided the drafting process. No doubt he took advantage of the fact that others were asleep at the wheel. But who is pulling his strings? That’s the million dollar question.

              Many in the Orthosphere and elsewhere have laid the groundwork for characterizing this council as non-binding, which is the reality. Without synodal approval of all this, it is meaningless and there has been no Synod with a capital “S”, though it may be claimed that there was. That has always been the fear. That you call a real “honest to God” Ecumenical Council, get most all, if not everybody, there . . . and then have the whole thing be predetermined and stage managed by people who wish to foist heterodoxy on the Church and, ultimately, to intercommune with Rome.

              Now, obviously, ROCOR has no remote intention of doing this. I don’t think Moscow does either. Pat. Kirill has been busy on Russian television calming his people down because they are VERY up in arms about this. No joke. Cessation of commemorations, schism, I’ve heard ’em talk in Russian. It’s brutal. “Ересь, ересь, ересь, . . .” Hardcore, Rus’, emphatic, negative emanation. Bad.

              So his back is against the wall.

              Yet our fuzzy friends in Crete are being hailed on EuroTV for all to see by a spokeswoman just back from the disco.


              It . . . is . . . time . . . for . . . the . . . Greeks . . . to . . . distinguish . . . between . . . the EP . . . and . . . the Church of Greece. Between the Phanar and Athos, if that is possible.

              If not, who can say?

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            Well Misha both you and I stand corrected. The council this morning just adopted an Amendment to the Orthodox Church’s relationship with other Christians by reinforcing our ecclesiastical theology AND Calling these confessions Heterodox.

            It would seem Uniate-ism is a no go and Moscow’s absence just gave a coup to the EP. Moscow could have done this but didn’t. That’s the disgrace in all this.

            Orthodoxy stayed Orthodox with the EP at the helm and Moscow nowhere to be found. For shame!

            So much for the glorious 3rd Rome. Next time attend the council and fight for the faith like the Church of Greece did and carried the day.

            Here is the thing you want to stop evil.in our country and return it to its constitutional and Republican basis go out and vote! You want the Church to stay Orthodox then tell our leaders to attend AND FIGHT!
            don’t step down, and don’t step aside STEP UP and make a difference. Axios to the Church of Greece. May others learn from their actions.


            • Petya, Petya!,

              Bartholomew intended to form a Unia. If he had forced the approved documents through as he could, he might have done it. But since Moscow and other local churches stayed away, the council was no longer even plausibly ecumenical. He lost heart, gave in to the Church of Greece, and the day was saved by the faithful of all jurisdictions. Glory to the Church of Greece, Glory to the Church of Russia, Glory to the Churches of Bulgaria and Georgia and Antioch!

              Evil has no ontological reality. The Truth does. That is our advantage. They will try again. Keep the faith.

              If you want to know who is in charge now, watch how things develop from now on.

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                True that.


                • Believe me, I have nothing at all against Greeks as Greeks. I have considerable respect for you and tremendous respect for our gracious host here. The Greeks acquitted themselves quite well during this whole thing. It’s just the Phanar that gets “confused” for the most part and has caused mischief. But they always considered themselves Romans in antiquity anyway, no?

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    The Phanar has been “confused” since 1923 when it caused a schism within the Greek Church and the Orthodox Church at last. Make no mistake if the Genuine Greek Orthodox Metropolis of America was canonical I would be going there for Church services.

                    In Clearwater, Florida my family and 200 other families from Addison, IL founded and established:

                    Dormition of the Theotokos
                    1910 Douglas Avenue
                    Clearwater, Florida 33755-1411
                    Phone: 727-443-3999
                    Website: http://www.kimisis.net
                    Clergy: George Liadis, Presbyter
                    Before it’s encyclical against communing those of us in “World” Orthodox we communed there. ALL the Greeks, whether GOAA or GGOC, communed and attended both Greek Orthodox jurisdictional churches. However, the GOAA first discouraged it and then later, I believe in 2002, the GOC barred all “World” Orthodox from communing in their churches.

                    So the Church that my family helped establish down in Florida barred us from communing. The GOAA basically told us that if we continued to commune in the GOC we would be ex-communicated.
                    So my family and I made a choice to stay obedient to our Bishop in Florida and now I have made the decision, as much as I don’t like it, to stay obedient to my Bishop here in Chicago and stay within the GOAA.

                    However make no mistake my faith and heart is in the the Genuine Greek Orthodox Church that still uses the Patristic Calendar and is clearly and strongly against the Pan-Heresy of Ecumenism and religious Synchronization.

                    In fact, the Genuine Orthodox Church has been following and commenting on the semi-heretical activities of the Great Council. Check this out: Genuine Orthodox Church.

                    When the heresy hits, and it will hit all over the so-called World Orthodox Church, the Phanar, Moscow and Antioch will fall. make no mistake about that.

                    I believe ROCOR will stand and will most likely break with Moscow and reunite with the Genuine Orthodox Church. It is only a matter of time. I have lost all faith in the the EP and in the MP and Antioch.

                    With all due respect to Gail, who I think is a lovely and passionate person, Antioch allowed its name on an ecumenism document, along with Moscow, that it should never even REMOTELY have put their names on. It is a wholesale betrayal of the One True Faith.

                    For the time being I am staying obedient, but even obedience has limits and they are stretched thin at the present time. Yet obedient I am unless and and until the time comes to go. That time, I am sad to say, is quickly approaching.

                    PS. Get my number from George and call me when you can. Take care Misha.


                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  Can anyone tell me where this document is wrong?
                  The Confession of Faith of the Genuine Orthodox Christian

                  Part One

                  1. I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth and of all things visible and invisible.

                  And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Only-Begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all Ages. Light of Light, True God of True God, begotten, not made, of one essence with the Father, through Whom all things were made.
                  Who for us men and for our salvation came down from the Heavens and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became Man.
                  And was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, He suffered and was buried.
                  And on the third day He arose, according to the Scriptures.
                  And ascended into the Heavens, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father.
                  And He shall come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead, Whose Kingdom shall have no end.
                  And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father, Who together with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified; Who spake through the Prophets.
                  In One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
                  I confess one Baptism for the remission of sins.
                  I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the age to come.

                  2. In addition to this, I embrace and accept the Holy Seven Œcumenical Synods, convened for the purpose of safeguarding the Orthodox dogmas of the Church, and the local Synods that they endorsed and confirmed.

                  3. I espouse all of the definitions of the right Faith set forth by the Holy Fathers, under the guidance of the illuminating Grace of the All-Holy Spirit, as well as the Sacred Canons, which those blessed men handed down to the Church for the governance of the Holy Church of Christ and the good ordering of morals, composing them in accordance with the Apostolic Traditions and the intent of the Divine teaching of the Gospels.

                  4. All that the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of the Orthodox professes and teaches, this do I, too, profess and believe, adding nothing, subtracting nothing, changing nothing, either of the dogmas or the traditions, but abiding by these and accepting them with fear of God and in good conscience; all that She condemns as heterodox teaching and repudiates, this do I, too, condemn and repudiate forever.

                  5. I offer ready obedience in ecclesiastical matters to the Holy Synod, as the highest authority of the Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece, which constitutes the continuation of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church in Greece, and to the canonical Bishops and Presbyters under Her, and which is in communion of Faith and of the Mysteries with the local Genuine Orthodox Churches everywhere.

                  6. I believe and confess that the Orthodox Faith is not “of men,” but derives from the revelation of Jesus Christ, preached by the Holy Apostles, confirmed by the Holy Œcumenical Synods, handed down by the most wise Œcumenical Teachers, and authenticated by the blood of the Holy Martyrs.

                  7. I accept, along with the decisions of the Holy Seven Œcumenical Synods, those of the First-Second Synod of 861; in addition to these, I unwaveringly espouse the decisions of the Holy Synod convened by St. Photios in Constantinople, in 879-880, as well as the Synodal Tome of the Synod of Blachernae in Constantinople, in 1351, at the time of St. Gregory Palamas and the Holy Patriarch Kallistos I, in the firm belief that these Synods possess Œcumenical and Catholic validity and authority in the Orthodox Church.

                  8. Moreover, I give assent and credence to the decisions of the Holy Pan-Orthodox Synods convened in 1583, 1587, and 1593, which abhorred and condemned the introduction into the Orthodox Church of the so-called Gregorian (New) Calendar promulgated by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582.

                  9. In furtherance thereof, I accept and acknowledge as Œcumenical and Catholic documents of the Orthodox Faith both the Patriarchal Tome of 1756 concerning Baptism of the heterodox and the Synodal Encyclical of 1848 of the Most Holy Patriarchs of the East, as well as the Synodal Decree of 1872, which condemned phyletism, and also the Synodal Encyclical Epistle of 1895, which constitutes the final Genuine Orthodox Ecclesiological Proclamation of the Patriarchate of Constantinople prior to its entrance into Ecumenist Apostasy.

                  Part Two

                  1. I regard ecumenism as a syncretistic pan-heresy, and participation in the so-called ecumenical movement, which was inaugurated at the beginning of the twentieth century, as a denial of the genuine Catholicity and uniqueness of the Orthodox Church, firmly believing that one who agrees with and participates in any heresy whatsoever is lapsed in the Truth of the Faith and the Unity of the Church, and is, as a result, out of communion with Genuine Orthodoxy, since “those who do not belong to the Truth do not belong to the Church of Christ either” (St. Gregory Palamas), as being deprived of Her sanctifying and deifying Grace.

                  2. Likewise, I reject and in no way accept the 1920 Proclamation of the Patriarchate of Constantinople “To the Churches of Christ Everywhere,” on the ground that it contains a complete plan for implementing the heresy of ecumenism in practice and that it anticipates the calendar reform prepared by the so-called Pan-Orthodox Congress of 1923 and put into effect in Greece in 1924, thereby violating the decisions of the three Pan-Orthodox Synods of the sixteenth century.

                  3. In consequence of the foregoing, I also regard those Orthodox who took part in the foundation of the World Council of Churches in 1948 and who since then have been active and functioning members thereof, thus cultivating inter-Christian and interfaith ecumenism, as lapsed in the Faith.

                  4. I reject and in no way endorse the so-called Pan-Orthodox Consultations (1961 to the present), which facilitated the reprehensible, invalid, and meaningless “Lifting of the Anathemas Between the Eastern and the tern Church” in 1965, which, moreover, introduced also the lifting in practice of non-communion in prayer and the mysteries between Ecumenists of many different stripes, and which have since then been paving the way, from an ecumenist perspective, for the convocation of the so-called Great Pan-Orthodox Synod, with a view to the complete acceptance, ratification, and dogmatization of the syncretistic heresy of ecumenism.

                  5. Finally, I accept the Synodal Decisions of the local Genuine Orthodox Churches, which condemned syncretistic ecumenism: that is, those of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (1983), of the [Genuine Orthodox] Church of Greece (1998), and of [the Genuine Orthodox Church of] Romania, at the same time deeming those who have co-signed ecumenist declarations, and also those who in any way commune with them—clergy and laity—or who accept, or tolerate, or are indifferent to, the outlook of their Ecumenist Shepherds, as being fallen, with them, from the Genuine Orthodox Church.

                  (Approved by the Inter-Orthodox Consultation of May 13/26, 2016)


                  Ἱερά Σύνοδος
                  Ἐκκλησιαστικαί Ἐπαρχίαι
                  Συνοδικαί Ἐπιτροπαί
                  Ἐκκλησιαστικά Δικαστήρια
                  Γενικόν Ταμεῖον


                  Ἱερoύ Κλήρου
                  Ἱερῶν Ναῶν & Μονῶν



                  Σύνδεσμος Νέων




                  Χρήσιμες Συνδέσεις

                  Πρόσφατες Ενημερώσεις

                  Πανηγύρεις τῆς Ἁγίας Τριάδος
                  Межправославное Совещание Истинных Православных Церквей перед так называемым Великим Собором Экуменистов
                  Ἑορτὴ Ναοῦ Ἁγίου Ἰωάννου Ρώσσου
                  Întrunirea Inter-Ortodoxă a Adevăratelor Biserici Ortodoxe în vederea așa-numitului Mare Sinod al Ecumeniștilor
                  Ἀνακοίνωσις Ἀποφάσεων Ἱερᾶς Συνόδου 3ης / 16ης Ἰουνίου 2016
                  Conferenza Interortodossa delle Vere Chiese Ortodosse in vista del Grande Concilio degli Ecumenisti
                  Ὀνομαστήρια Ἱεράρχου
                  Συνοδικὴ Ἐκδήλωση γιὰ τὴν Ἅλωση τῆς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως
                  Inter-Orthodox Consultation of the Genuine Orthodox Christians in View of the So-Called Great Synod of the Ecumenists
                  Ἐπιστολὴ στὸν Ὑπουργὸ Παιδείας
                  Θυρανοίξια νέου Καθεδρικοῦ Ναοῦ Λαρίσης
                  Ποιμαντικὴ Ἐπίσκεψις στὴν Οὐγκάντα
                  Περί τινος φερομἐνου ὡς Μητροπολίτου
                  Περὶ τῆς Συνοδικῆς ἐκδηλώσεως μνήμης τῆς Ἁλώσεως τῆς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως
                  Ὁμολογία Πίστεως Γνησίου Ὀρθοδόξου Χριστιανοῦ
                  I find no errors and THIS document should have been coming out of the so-called Great and Holy Council NOT the Ecumenist Crap that we are being fed.


                  • Not touching on the substance of some of the points, but I do wholeheartedly agree that such a level of definitive clarity as is displayed here is needed in any conciliar document which wants to be taken seriously.

                    The council documents are wishy-washy, overly verbose for the low amount of content. It comes across as uncertain, defensive, and ambiguous. There is not much in the way of declaratory statements. Is the church uncertain of herself?

                    Say what you mean and mean what you say.

                  • The only quibble I would have with this is with the Synod of 1872. I do not believe that Phyletism is a heresy. It is a sin, but not a heresy. It is rampant in Orthodoxy today. The OCA is organized in its non-geographic ethnic dioceses along phyletistic lines. It is in communion with all the other Orthodox. Ironically, it is the loudest proponent of the council of 1872 because its leaders have seen it as a start at an American Orthodox Church. But if the council of 1872 was correct, it is in heresy, as are we all for continuing to be in communion with it. And it is not the only offender in this regard. I use it as a crystal clear and undeniable case of open phyletism.

                    1872 was the Greeks beating up on the Bulgarians, the Bulgarians striking back, and the Greeks calling them “heretics”. Just a sandbox tussle. It is brandished by the OCA to say that ethnic dioceses are bad and so ethnic jurisdictions in America should be bad. This, of course, is hypocrisy. It is brandished by the Greeks in order to assert that no one should be resistant to Greek domination of the Church in America or in the diaspora, just as the Bulgarians should have been content to be frozen out of vocations and refused use of Slavonic in services but have Greek imposed on them. 1872 was a pseudo-council/robber council. Ethnocentric or racist discrimination in the demarcation of dioceses is bad, it may very well be a sin, but it does not touch on theological verities of the highest order – creedal level things.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      Although I would disagree in that I agree it is a sin, but sin being sin quickly devolves into heresy. You now know why I don’t like a Greek Gospel or a Russian Gospel, but simply THE Gospel. Very perceptive of you. Good job. Few pick up on this.

              • PS: Do you believe it was a coincidence that Pat. Kirill and Pres. Putin visited Athos and Athens on a mission of pilgrimage and support just before the council? To have been a fly on the wall . . . probably enough said about that.

  4. Matthew Panchisin says

    Dear Misha,

    Do you mind if I share your below comments with some others? To me you have articulated much rather sweetly

    “The faith of the Orthodox Church is totally unique in its placement of Holy Tradition, the Life of the Holy Spirit in the Church, at the center of its ecclesiology. We know the Way because it was transmitted to us through Holy Tradition, through the consensus of the Fathers of the Church as expressed in the decision of the Apostolic Council recorded in Acts, in Scripture, in the decisions of Ecumenical Councils, in Orthodox hymnography and iconography, in short, in that which has been believed and taught by the Fathers always, by all and everywhere – the Holy Catholic Faith – The Orthodox Faith.”

    In Christ,

    Matthew Panchisin

  5. George Osborne says

    Sean…I know and appreciate what you are saying; however, one thing that perhaps Misha and yourself should also take into consideration is the Eschatological implication of this debate. Truly, we as the Living Church have been in “the last days” since the Resurrection. But St. John cryptically warned us in the Apocalypse that while there would be many tribulations, there would a culminating tribulation, the great one. there have been many times in the history of the Church when we have experienced cataclysmic tribulations and whether or not what we are experiencing now is “the great one” or just another bad one, it is certainly clear that the powers of evil are exposing themselves both within and outside the Church. I remember speaking to an old time Orthodox priest many years ago who opined that when Antichrist came, he would probably be a senior Orthodox bishop who was a wolf is sheep’s clothing and would lead the Church into heresy and untruth. He averred this as a private opinion, of course, but it made sense to me then as it does now since the whole context of the Apocalyptic Revelation was addressed to the Church and not to the world as a whole. Wouldn’t it be interesting if we have looked for an outsider to persecute the Church of Christ and then find out in retrospect that he was one of our own?

    • That would make sense. Also sticks with the passage that the antichrist will deceive many, even some of the chosen people of God. Sounds like a spiritual leader, as only he would be able to corrupt people’s faith. What about the 7 hills city; Constantinople is built on 7 hills, as is Rome..

    • Whoa, guys. There are anti-Christs/false-Christs and there is The AntiChrist. Any given pope and any heresiarch would certainly qualify as false Christs. However, I do not believe at this point that any living Orthodox hierarch (even one who may be Uniate at heart) is The AntiChrist or the False Prophet. I have my own personal speculations as to who those characters might be but I refrain from discussing that. They will become apparent clearly on God’s timetable not ours.

      What is certain is that we are living in the End Times. I believe that it is unlikely that we have two decades left before the Parousia. I’m completely serious about that. I’m almost as certain as I am of the fact that I’m sitting here typing this. However, patience is a virtue. Pat. Bartholomew has made his bed, let him sleep in it. Everyone who has read the Working Rules of the council and the draft document on Relations with the Heterodox can see what has happened and why he is doing what he is doing. I mean, it should be utterly obvious if you just do the math.



  6. Alan Hampton says

    Moscow Patriarchate hopes for delay of pan-Orthodox meeting
    Posted: Jun 14, 2016 11:48 AM EDT Updated: Jun 14, 2016 12:28 PM EDT

    Associated Press MOSCOW (AP) – The Russian Orthodox Church is waiting for the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate to respond to its proposal to delay a historic meeting of all the world’s Orthodox churches, its spokesman said Tuesday.
    Moscow Patriarchate’s spokesman Vladimir Legoida said the church’s Holy Synod has asked Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I to postpone the Holy and Great Council in order to settle differences that have prompted four of the world’s 14 independent Orthodox churches to declare their refusal to participate.

    Legoida said the Moscow Patriarchate made it clear it won’t attend the council, which was set to open later this week in Crete, Greece, if it’s not postponed.

    Orthodox church leaders haven’t held such a meeting since the year 787, when the last of the seven councils recognized by both Orthodox and Catholics, was held. The “great schism” then split the Roman Catholics and the Orthodox in 1054 amid disputes over the Vatican’s power.

    The Moscow Patriarchate said it can’t attend the meeting because other Orthodox churches, the Bulgarian church, the Georgian church and the Syria-based Antioch Patriarchate refused to take part and the Serbian Orthodox Church also called for the council to be postponed. The four churches pointed to disagreements over the Council’s agenda and the documents drafted for the meeting.

    Since it has been agreed that all Council decisions should be made by consensus, the Russian church argued that the withdrawal of several churches means there is no reason to hold the council.

    Legoida noted that the Moscow Patriarchate on June 3 proposed convening a meeting of all Orthodox churches to try to sort out the differences before the council begins. “The Constantinople Patriarchate has effectively ignored the proposal,” he said, adding that it’s now necessary to postpone the gathering to settle the problems that have emerged.

    “We don’t see the difficulties that have emerged as insurmountable,” Legoida told the AP. “We aren’t inclined to dramatize it or see it as some sort of catastrophe. But it’s also clear that these aren’t difficulties we can simply turn a blind eye to.”

    Copyright 2016 The Associated Press

  7. http://greatandholycouncil.com/council-blog/constantinople-affords-preconciliar-meeting

    There seems to be a false rumor out there started by one of the Archons, Elias Damianakis, that Pat. Bartholomew has agreed to a pre-conciliar meeting. How low will these people go?:

    Here’s what I posted on Elias’ FB page and his answer. Constantinople has not agreed to a pre-conciliar meeting. Elias apparently simply lied about it, or at least misrepresented it in his headline. How low will these people sink? He can produce nothing else, apparently. I could be wrong. It could all be hush hush. But I don’t think so. He seems to be referring to the meeting originally planned to hammer out a joint statement of the entire council. This was to be negotiated in the last week before the council. I don’t think this is in response to the draft documents:

    * * *

    Scott Michael Pennington
    Scott Michael Pennington Is this actually true? I can find no confirmation of it anywhere on any other site. It looks like a baseless rumor to me.
    Like · Reply · 22 mins
    Hide 14 Replies
    Elias Damianakis
    Elias Damianakis Scott, not saying you seem intimately familiar with baseless rumors, so here’s one of the many references from main organizer of the Council; “The Guardian” – Reverend Alexander Karloutsos, a member of the organizing committee of the Great and Holy Cou…See More
    Like · Reply · 17 mins
    Scott Michael Pennington
    Scott Michael Pennington So there is no pre-conciliar meeting. That’s what I thought. Thanks for confirming. He did not say that they granted the meeting, only that they were expected to be at the council.
    Like · Reply · 14 mins · Edited
    Elias Damianakis
    Elias Damianakis are you in denial? “They asked for a pre-conciliar meeting on the 17th and we expect to them to be here”
    Like · Reply · 10 mins
    Scott Michael Pennington
    Scott Michael Pennington Elias Damianakis He did not say they agreed to meet them on the 17th, Elias. He said they asked for a meeting on that date. He said they expected them to be there. It is ambiguous. Typical double speak. Look for some official announcement. There isn’t any. They’re just trying to cover their butts.
    Like · Reply · 8 mins
    Elias Damianakis
    Elias Damianakis Scott Michael Pennington OMG you are not well… There is a Preconcilar meeting on Friday the 17th of June… be there or be square.
    Like · Reply · 7 mins
    Elias Damianakis
    Elias Damianakis by square I meant self marginalized isolationists
    Like · Reply · 6 mins
    Scott Michael Pennington
    Scott Michael Pennington Fine, show me something other than another little snippet you have produced or stop starting false rumors.
    Like · Reply · 6 mins
    Elias Damianakis
    Elias Damianakis we’ll talk about it Saturday Morning on the 18th so you can deny it happened… LOL. sad
    Like · Reply · 6 mins
    Scott Michael Pennington
    Scott Michael Pennington I’ll believe it when it amounts to something more than an unsubstantiated internet rumor.
    Like · Reply · 5 mins
    Elias Damianakis
    Elias Damianakis OFFICIAL SIte of the Council Schedule…
    Council Schedule – Ecumenical Patriarchate: Holy and Great Council
    Like · Reply · 4 mins
    Elias Damianakis
    Elias Damianakis LOL
    Like · Reply · 4 mins
    Scott Michael Pennington
    Scott Michael Pennington That’s to assemble a joint statement. It was planned in advance. Moscow did not ask for a pre-conciliar meeting on the 17th. They wanted a response by the 10th. That never came. The meeting on the 17th had always been scheduled to get together a final draft of the conciliar statement to be prepared during the last week of the council. LOL. The lies never end, do they, Elias?!
    Like · Reply · 1 min
    Elias Damianakis
    Elias Damianakis Crawl back under the rock you came from
    Like · Reply · Just now
    Scott Michael Pennington
    Scott Michael Pennington Nice talking with you.

    * * *

    He then erased the conversation from his site. The meeting they are referring to has nothing to do with the MP’s request for a pre-conciliar meeting. It is the already scheduled meeting to review the Message of the Council to be prepared in the week prior to the council. This is the meeting Met. Hilarion was going to depart for, but then did not depart for when the synod was deciding what to do in the face of the cancellations:

    Article 8
    The Work of the Council

    The work of the Council shall begin and end with the celebration of the pan-Orthodox Divine Liturgy presided over by the Ecumenical Patriarchate with the participation of all the Primates of autocephalous Orthodox Churches or their representatives in accordance with the diptychs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate;

    1) It shall be carried out in the form of plenary sessions or/and Council’s Commissions in accordance with the elaborated program of studies on the agenda items the texts of which were unanimously approved by the Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conferences and Meetings of the Primates of autocephalous Orthodox Churches;

    2) there can be no introduction of texts or new issues which were not unanimously approved by the Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conferences and Meetings of the Primates, except the Message of the Council. The draft of it will be prepared by a special pan-Orthodox commission a week before the convocation of the Council and will be subject to approval by the Primates of the Orthodox Churches;

    3) with the exception of the opening and closing sessions of the Council, all other sessions shall be closed.


    These guys are totally off the chain.

  8. Alan Hampton says

    ding cleric says Orthodox Church’s ‘Vatican II’ is a go
    June 7, 2016

    Leading cleric says Orthodox Church’s ‘Vatican II’ is a go

    “Unity is an objective, not a given,” says the Rev. John Chryssavgis, an archdeacon and theological adviser to Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. “It may be there spiritually and liturgically and sacramentally, but to make it visible is hard, painful, slow work, and it takes time.

    In a sense, the “Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church”, conceived as a gathering of all the heads of the 14 independent Orthodox churches around the world in Crete June 16-27, has been at least a millennium in the making. More proximately, planning has been underway since 1961, meaning more than a half-century.
    As a result, it’s perhaps no surprise there have been a few hiccups along the way.
    Recently, two of the fourteen Orthodox churches have floated boycotting – the Bulgarians, because they’re upset over some of the documents up for discussion and also the seating arrangements, and the Patriarchate of Antioch, over a jurisdictional dispute involving Qatar.
    On Monday, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, traditionally the “first among equals” in the Orthodox world, issued a call to all Orthodox leaders to show up and to uphold rules for the meeting agreed upon in January 2016.
    According to the Rev. John Chryssavgis, the archdeacon and theological adviser to Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, who will serve on a drafting committee for the council’s final message, the summit is going ahead no matter what.
    “The council is still on,” Chryssavgis told Crux in a June 6 interview, just ahead of his departure for Crete. “If one or more churches don’t attend, all the decisions made will still hold and be binding for all Orthodox churches.”
    While conceding there are probably “more differences than similarities” between the Great Council and the Second Vatican Council, Chryssavgis said he hopes the council in Crete may have an impact on Orthodoxy similar to that of Vatican II on Catholicism – especially, he said, in the press for unity, within Orthodoxy and also with other churches and the wider world.
    “Unity is an objective, not a given. It’s something we aspire to,” Chryssavgis said. “It may be there spiritually and liturgically and sacramentally, but to make it visible is hard, painful, and slow work, all of which takes time.”
    On other fronts, Chryssavgis said:
    Relations with the Catholic Church remain a contentious issue within some Orthodox churches, with some worrying that a leader who meets a pope is “bargaining away or betraying” the faith.
    Orthodox observers have been as struck by the bonhomie among Bartholomew and Francis as Catholics – they too, he said, sometimes joke the two men seem like “BFF’s” – and added he doesn’t believe it’s an accident these two leaders are heading their churches at the same time.
    Echoing Pope Francis when he recently met the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Chryssavgis agreed that when it comes to the pan-Orthodox council, “the meeting is the message.”
    Crux spoke to Chryssavgis, a prolific theologian and essayist born in Australia and now a clergyman of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, by phone on June 6. The following are excerpts from that conversation.
    Crux: Is the council still on?
    Chryssavgis: The council is still on. I don’t know that there was ever a question it wouldn’t be.
    In 1992, the Ecumenical Patriarch established a meeting of all the primates of the 14 Orthodox churches, the latest of which was in January 2016, where the rules and documents for the council were adopted by all. This morning, the Ecumenical Patriarchate met in an extraordinary session of the synod and decided that all the various concerns and complaints, including Bulgaria’s withdrawal, are not based on procedural errors or oversights, and therefore the decisions taken in January 2016 need to be maintained.
    If one or more churches doesn’t participate, does that change the theological or ecclesiological status of the council?
    The simple answer is no … If one or more churches doesn’t attend, or withdraws during the council, or is not present and doesn’t vote, all the decisions made will still hold and be binding for all Orthodox churches. A Great Council is above and beyond any individual church council or synod … and it remains such even without the participation of one or more church.
    Certainly if somebody’s missing, it’s a vacuum we will feel, and we’ll be very, very sorry. I think it will have an impact not just on the council, but also on the church that chooses not to come … If a church chooses to withdraw and not attend, I think it would be a sad reflection of the self-marginalization of that church.
    What do you expect to be the big issues?
    Keep in mind the purpose of a council, its goal, which is unity. Unity is an objective, not a given. It’s something we aspire to. It may be there spiritually and liturgically and sacramentally, but to make it visible is hard, painful and slow work, all of which take time. Unity comes at the end of the council, not before. It is a consequence, not a condition.
    For instance, ecumenical relations with other Christians are taken for granted in the Ecumenical Patriarchate [of Constantinople], but not always in other Orthodox churches. Over the last 50 years we’ve become close with the Catholic Church, and we’ve had tremendous collegial relations with Pope Francis. Those gestures and movements are natural for us, but they’re not necessarily reflective of where the whole Orthodox Church lies.
    This council can be crucial in bringing some sort of a unified response, some guidelines in this response, like the Second Vatican Council did for Catholicism. There are probably more differences than similarities between this council and Vatican II, but it could have something like the same impact.
    Other issues include, what happens when an Orthodox marries a non-Orthodox Christian, such as a Catholic or Protestant partner? What does it mean for Orthodoxy to be in conversation, both culturally and in terms of the faith, with Judaism and Islam?
    Also, what does it mean for the Orthodox Church to function as a united church, as one church, in the diaspora, for instance in the United States, Western Europe, and elsewhere? In the States, we have all 14 autocephalous churches represented . . . and then some. Do we minister just to our own national group, or to the Orthodox faithful altogether?
    Is there a prophetic word we can offer together about our relationship with the rest of the world, including the challenges of the contemporary world, whether these are social, economic, military, or environmental?
    Another question is the autonomy of Orthodox churches, and who recognizes someone’s autonomy? In general, the idea is to move towards a more transparent and less political way of putting issues on the table.
    How do you do that when there are obvious internal tensions?
    Unity doesn’t just mean the Orthodox churches among themselves, but also taking a step towards greater unity even within the individual Orthodox churches.
    There are differences, for instance, within the Church of Greece, where some elements are more and others less ecumenical. In the Church of Russia, Patriarch Kirill and Metropolitan Hilarion are very open to other churches, they’re always at the Vatican or the World Council of Churches, but their own church has conservative voices very critical of Kirill’s meeting with Pope Francis.
    These are issues the council can help smooth out, resolving the fears and suspicions that when the Ecumenical Patriarch, for instance, meets the pope, he’s bargaining away or betraying the Orthodox faith. These issues aren’t just inter-Orthodox, but also intra-Orthodox.
    We’re meeting precisely because we have differences. If there were no differences, what would be the point?
    Where do you think the last-minute jitters come from?
    I think what we’re seeing is the typical response of a family that hasn’t gotten together in a long time. When family members come together after a long period of separation and isolation, people are naturally going to wonder, “What will I say to so-and-so? Where will I be sitting? Do people care about my concerns?” Some are going to be afraid their interests will be overlooked.
    We have differences that have built up over 1200 years. We’ve been through hundreds of years of persecution under the Ottomans, a hundred years of Soviet oppression, we’re still experiencing persecution and oppression today, as well a refugee crisis, in regions where the Orthodox Church is at home and has been for hundreds of years living side by side with our Muslim brothers and sisters.
    All that, and more, creates tensions we have to talk about.
    The Orthodox Church preaches that the council is its gut, its heart, its very identity; conciliarity is in our DNA. But we need to prove it, we need to come together and sit around the same table. I hope this is the beginning of many more councils. In the end, the main achievement will be the meeting itself.
    You agree then with Pope Francis, who recently had a get-together with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and said, “The meeting is the message?”
    I undoubtedly agree with that in this case, and it’s certainly been the conviction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which has worked to realize this dream for 100 years. The idea is to move together in the church. The Greek work for a council is “synodos,” meaning being on the same journey; and the first step to be on the same journey is to take a step together.
    The entire structure of the Orthodox Church is founded on the principle of conciliarity. Without it, something may look like an Orthodox church and may hold to certain Orthodox doctrines and practices, but it’s not Orthodox. It’s only in council that the Orthodox Church is true to its identity, faithful to what it’s supposed to be.
    It’s also important to remember that the time after the council will be just as crucial as the event itself, because it’s the period of reception. No rule or structure in the Orthodox Church comes from the top down. It’s the conscience of the faithful, the Church itself at large, which is the ultimate protector and guarantor of Orthodox truth and doctrine.
    You’re involved in ecumenical dialogue with the Catholic Church. Does Pope Francis bring something special to it?
    I think what Pope Francis brings to the table, which parallels the theological interests of our Patriarch, is a more human face. He understands our two churches can bring much more to the world together in terms of offering hope to the suffering people. By offering a joint voice to a world that’s divided and in pain, we can be much more effective and positive.
    When Francis and Bartholomew recently met on [the Greek island of] Lesbos, it was hugely significant and symbolical. There are so many refugees there who literally risk their lives trying to get to civilization and freedom, and their presence there together threw a huge spotlight on the crisis, offering an ethical reminder of how we should be responding.
    When they placed a wreath together in the sea, it was a very meaningful expression of unity.
    Did you know that in Rome, we jokingly say that Bartholomew is Francis’s “BFF”?
    Yes, that’s made the rounds in Orthodox circles as well!
    Remember that Patriarch Bartholomew was present at the pope’s inaugural Mass, which was the first time that ever happened in history. There have, in fact, been times in the past when a pope was present in Constantinople for the change of a patriarch, but still never attended. When asked why he went, Patriarch Bartholomew said he felt there’s something different about this man, and he had to be there.
    I don’t think it’s by chance that these two people are the leaders of their respective churches at this moment in time. I don’t believe that’s a coincidence.

    • Yikes! Is the Rev. John Chryssavgis an Orthodox Archdeacon and theologian (“theological advisor to Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople”) or a progressive American politician? Who trained this guy in theology and ecclesiology? Small wonder there is so much reticence to attend.

      And one has to wonder…who could go to such a meeting with any expectation of true Orthodox conciliarity? I am as saddened as anyone, but if this interview bears any resemblance to the reality of Constantinople’s mindset , this cannot be said to be the Great Council for which Orthodox Christians have hoped.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Speaking for myself I have not expected anything to come of a gathering so arrogantly and needlessly named. Just the appellation itself indicated to me that no good would come of it especially as it became clear that the issues that needed to be dealt with were being ignored or not dealt with honestly and directly.

        • Michael,

          I dare say that it has been the objective of the Phanar all along to lead the rest of Orthodoxy into the loving arms of Rome as a Unia. I will be shocked if they prove me wrong.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            I didn’t know the rest of Orthodoxy were simple minded lemmings to be led into heresy. Who sure they are not just as compromisedan as the Phanar?

  9. Christopher says

    The next “Great and Holy” council will be recognizable because it will bravely and honestly deal with this EPcate, recognizing it for what the anachronism it is (a tiny local Church with too many titular bishops that still calls itself “ecumenical”) and either dissolving it completely or demoting it to it’s rightful place. In other words, it will deal with REAL issues.

    For such a Council to take place, it will take real leadership and moral authority that everyone will recognize and respect. Such a man might even be the EP himself someday – this current EP is of course not such a man.

    The only thing that sort of surprises me (well, only a little) is the willingness of Bartholomew to go all “damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead” and not postpone the meeting (apparently I gave him too much credit in the political/tactical dept.). Perhaps this meeting will lead to a real schism (between the EP and his ethnic allies, and everyone else) and THAT will lead to a REAL “Holy and Great” Council. Perhaps…

  10. Gail Sheppard says

    We were talking about the ordination of deaconesses the other day (which I do NOT support, BTW) and I found the following to be kind of funny. If the EP forces us to embrace RC practices, we may have to get used to the idea. 😉

    “Pope Francis said Thursday he is willing to create a commission to study whether women can be deacons in the Catholic Church, signaling openness to letting women serve in ordained ministry currently reserved to men.”


    • Gail,

      It is important to realize what Rome has become and why the Phanar wants to lead the rest of the Orthodox into the Roman Catholic Church.

      Rome is slowly ceasing to be a Christian entity. It is following the lead of the liberal protestants into apostasy. Increasingly, like in the Episcopal Church, Roman Christianity is simply a shell of Christian terminology and ritual used to embody Progressive Secular Humanism – a proposed new world religion. That is why we see liberalization on the role of women and the status of homosexuality. They are attempting to replace Christian understanding of these things with Secular Progressive Humanistic understanding of these things. It is a broad coalition including open quasi-athiesic Secular Progressives, Liberal Protestants and now Roman Catholics. Roman Catholicism was the heresy from which Enlightenment Liberalism and all the rest of these heresies sprang. They are all birds of a feather and are increasingly unified.

      Thus this attempt by the Phanar to seduce the Orthodox Church into Uniatism is seen by them as a move toward progress, just like the measures proposed by Pat Meletios IV, to drag the Orthodox out of our backward “isolationism”. They see themselves as progressive saviors preaching a new Gospel of inclusivity.

      But it is a false Gospel. They are wolves in sheeps clothing, one and all. And the time has come for people to choose. The house divided against itself can no longer stand. For much of the 20th century and all of the 21st, there have been two “Orthodoxies” ostensibly within Orthodoxy. One is true Orthodoxy; the other is a lie seeking to undermine it. “There are wolves within and sheep without.”

      God seems to be presently rectifying this situation. All Glory to God!

      • Gail Sheppard says

        As only He can do.

        • Tis true, Gail. I just wanted to make sure everyone was aware of what was going on and the deceit and treachery involved. The die is cast. What will be, will be. If the Phanar signs off on an official statement that denotes the Roman Catholic Church as a “Sister Church”, I will no longer be able to receive communion at a Greek Orthodox parish in good conscience. It is not the sin of the pastor, understand. It is the public proclamation of heresy. That is a danger to souls.

          Thereafter, we shall have to see where the dust settles. Who will and who will not break communion. I feel safe at a ROCOR parish for the time being. I trust that they will do the right thing within a reasonable time. But heresy is something that cannot be tolerated without participating in it. That is its nature.

          The Phanar is not on trial here. The Orthodox Church is on trial. It will be interesting to see who chooses to remain Orthodox. Because they do have to choose. Not choosing is to remain in communion and thus to enter heresy.

          I wish this were not the case. But recall the actions of Fr. Longin in the Ukraine and the monks of Athos. They cease commemoration for a reason. It is to send a message that lapse into heresy is imminent and that the hierarchs in question are warned.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            Tis true, Gail. I just wanted to make sure everyone was aware of what was going on and the deceit and treachery involved.

            RESPONSE: Do you mean on Moscow’s front with it’s propaganda tools like yourself?

            The die is cast. What will be, will be. If the Phanar signs off on an official statement that denotes the Roman Catholic Church as a “Sister Church”, I will no longer be able to receive communion at a Greek Orthodox parish in good conscience. It is not the sin of the pastor, understand. It is the public proclamation of heresy. That is a danger to souls.

            RESPONSE: Where is that on the Agenda? “Unification with Rome? More propaganda and framing the issues from the Russian heretical prospective.

            Thereafter, we shall have to see where the dust settles. Who will and who will not break communion. I feel safe at a ROCOR parish for the time being. I trust that they will do the right thing within a reasonable time. But heresy is something that cannot be tolerated without participating in it. That is its nature.

            RESPONSE: I guess you will be going to the Greek Old Calendarists. Enjoy.

            The Phanar is not on trial here.

            RESPONSE: Riiiiiight!

            The Orthodox Church is on trial. It will be interesting to see who chooses to remain Orthodox. Because they do have to choose. Not choosing is to remain in communion and thus to enter heresy.

            RESPONSE: You mean Orthodox according to your standards? Moscow’s standards of actually doing much of the same thing you accuse the EP of doing or was that a body double of the MP meeting and signing that joint statement with Pope Francis in Havana, Cuba?

            I wish this were not the case. But recall the actions of Fr. Longin in the Ukraine and the monks of Athos. They cease commemoration for a reason. It is to send a message that lapse into heresy is imminent and that the hierarchs in question are warned.

            RESPONSE: Yes, just like some of the Russian Bishops stopped commemorating the MP in Russia for his Unia actions. The MP didn’t like that NO COMMEMORATION BUSINESS to much.

  11. Alan Hampton says

    Lots of truth here Christopher. What Moscow now needs to do is call it’s own council. Below Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow is a huge auditorium to fit ALL Orthodox bishops and others. Then hold the “1st Pan-Orthodox Council of Moscow.” At this council, the idea of the Bishop of Istanbul as “First Among Equals” must be challenged. There is no Byzantine Empire and no Emperor. The rise of the “Third Rome,” Moscow, is clear. Sorry, Greeks, but it really is all-over!

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      Third Rome Moscow is not and never will be as. Sorry Russians, but that will never happen! That Gospel needs to remain Christian and not be transformed into some heretical Russian version.

      • Peter,

        …Now, I agree with you wholeheartedly that the ROC has flirted with heresy during the Bolshevik period and beyond. That is why I have always said that ROCOR was the true voice of the Church of Russia during the communist period. When the MP was communing Catholics and granting the OCA autocephaly, ROCOR took a firm stand that mysteries purportedly served outside the Church convey no grace. The synod of the Church Abroad was emphatic about it.

        Fast forward, Pat. Kirill and Met Hilarion of Volokolamsk have made statements and signed “joint statements” or whatever that are not consonant with the Orthodox faith. The Greeks have generally been better on the Augustine thing than the Russians. This has always annoyed me not only about Carpatho-Slavs but also dyed in the wool Russians – they have a soft spot for Augustine. It is reflected, for example, in Met Hiliarion’s catechism he published online. This is a mistake. Augustine was pious and perhaps deserves the appellation “Saint”, but he was all over the place theologically and he just doesn’t fit into the Orthodox phronema, at least not without a diaper and elbow/shin guards.

        But also, the MP has erred in stating that they recognize Roman sacraments and in that Kirill has used the word “Church” to refer to Rome or confessions outside of Orthodoxy. Let me be emphatic: They are personally guilty of doing this and should repent to their confessors. Mysteries purportedly served outside the Church convey no grace and there is only One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church – and that is the Orthodox Church. And everyone either needs to get that straight or quit calling themselves “Orthodox” because they are misrepresenting their beliefs.

        Peter, quit being jealous of the Russians. There is no need for this. The Greeks in Greece comported themselves well during this whole fiasco. The Holy Mountain did a good job in critiquing the texts, as did a symposium in Greece led by Met Hierotheos of Nafpatkos and attended by Fr. Peter Heers, an American priest serving in Greece with whom I have been in contact during these events. The Phanar does not represent all Greeks and need not. If Bartholomew bolts, the Greek parishes in the USA would be well advised to seek the omophor of Athens.

        Now, as to Patriarch Bartholomew:

        I am not a mind reader. I have merely read the tea leaves and made the logical inferences. He proposed heterodox texts that characterize other confessions (most notably Rome) as “Churches”. These were drafted last October and not made public until January, 2016. When the MP wanted all matters to be decided unanimously in order to avoid a debacle, the EP agreed. But the EP used this to skew the drafting process. He introduced heterodox texts thinking that no one would object since they were merely preliminary drafts. He got near unanimous approval from the primates (Antioch never signed off, I believe). So the rules were also approved to lock in these texts as the basis for the final document. The only way the drafts could be altered would be by unanimous consent.

        The thing about this is, it is not Orthodox procedure but Roman. In the Orthodox Church, bishops are the guardians of doctrine. Synods of bishops, not primates, approve these things. In dismissing the necessary conciliarity, he screwed the pooch royally. But what else could he do? He certainly could not have gotten these texts past the various synods.

        He turned the final unanimous approval which the MP requested into a preliminary (nearly) unanimous adoption of the draft texts which it would take another unanimous vote to amend.

        Now, why is this the case? And why lie about a special meeting with the MP on the 17th?

        You, of course, know that there are Roman legates on site. Chrysavgis is constantly characterizing this thing as binding regardless of who attends, as if the Holy Spirit were warming up.

        Call me fickle, but looking into my little crystal ball, I think there is a plan here. Do I need to do all of the math?

        The only question is, “Does he have the guts to go through with it?”

        Your guess is as good as mine.

        • Fr. Herman Schick says

          Misha: Augustine was pious and PERHAPS deserves the appellation “Saint”…

          How very magnanimous of you!

          • Given his theological wanderings, which he himself collected in his own “Syllabus of Errors”, yes, perhaps it is gracious of me. But, shucks, that’s just the kind of guy I am!

            • Fr. Herman Schick says

              The Orthodox Church, which will be commemorating our Holy Father Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, in her calendar of saints next week, has already decided the matter. Your “perhaps” questioning his sainthood therefore borders on hubris. Maybe you had better get busy with your own “Syllabus of Errors”!

              • Fr. Herman,

                I know of no one who disputes that Augustine during the course of his life taught and believed many errors, heresies in fact. He himself admitted it. So no need to patronize me I have asserted nothing more than what is already in the record about him. He is venerated for his piety. His theological opinions are not in the least a source of Orthodox doctrine, nor should they be.

                • Several dozen references to St. Augustine can be found in The Rudder, so he’s not all bad. St Nicodemus the Hagiorite (author of The Rudder) claims his works were corrupted and misused by heretics after the destruction of Hippo.

                  • I never said he was all bad. But I never rely on him to prove anything. Personally, I think if the argument is not strong enough without Augustine, then if fails, because he really played no part in the development of the Orthodox faith in the East, though he may be remembered in the Rudder. The question is formation and what he himself saw as his shortcomings. I hold no personal animosity towards the holy man. He most certainly was pious and a saint. I would venerate his relics. But I do not look to him for guidance regarding Orthodoxy. Now, if he reinforces Orthodoxy through some of what he wrote – actually an appreciable amount – that’s fine. He’s just in a special category. In Orthodoxy, it is probably accurate only to call him a “Father” as a saint, definitely not an Orthodox Church Father in the sense of divining what is Holy Tradition from what he writes. IMHO

                    • Fr. Herman Schick says

                      Misha: “He [Augustine] most certainly was…a saint”.

                      Glad to see you have dropped that un-Orthodox “perhaps”.

                    • I acknowledge he appears on Greek calendars from a certain date as Blessed Augustine, which is a saint’s appellation. The “perhaps” is in relation to his theology, which brings everything into question. Yet his piety seems established.

                • Fr. Herman Schick says

                  Straw man, Misha. I nowhere questioned the fact that St. Augustine, like many of the Fathers, sometimes made mistakes in his teachings. Prof Verhovsky of blessed memory used to note that the only Father in whom he could not find at least one mistake was St. Gregory the Theologian.

                  What I did call attention to was the divergence of your words “Augustine…perhaps deserves the appellation “Saint”…” from the belief and practice of the Orthodox Church, which in her liturgical commemoration, icons, hymnology, etc., allows no doubt, no “perhaps”, on the question of Augustine’s sainthood.

                  It was not my intent to be patronizing, and am sorry that you considered my quoting of your own words back to you to be such.

            • lexcaritas says

              The Syllabus of Errors was Pius IX, A.D, 1864 not Blessed Augustine of Hippo, + A.D. 430.


              • Augustine compiled his own collection of his own errors with the same or similar title. It was labelled as such in the collection I saw. I don’t know what it was titled in the original language.

              • Fr. Herman Schick says

                Misha no doubt was referring, albeit in a slighting and somewhat condescending way, to St. Augustine’s “Retractationes”.

                • lexcaritas says

                  Exactly, Father Herman, and that fact that Augustine would consider and, in humility, write such a thing “Retractiones,” distinguishes him from a heretic, who is typically characterized by pride and obstinancy. Not so, Augustine, who was able to admit where he had been wrong and who did not intentionally or knowingly lead anyone out of communion with the Church–who, in fact, saw schism as the worst of evils.

                  Christ is in our midst,

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          My disappointment is primarily if not solely with ROCOR. why reunite in 2007 if the MP AND EP have bought into the ecumenist lie? WHY? You can criticize the EP but why not the MP? It’s doing and saying the same thing. So if you are going to pile on pile on both. Don’t lionize the MP and demonize the EP when, like I said before, it take two to tango.

          The reality is the rot of modernism and capitulation to Rome is in the ROC. If I am wrong then I hope and pray to God the Bishops of ROCOR say something. Unfortunately they will not.

          Antioch won’t say anything. All Antioch cares about is its little fefdom (i.e. Qatar ). Didn’t care to protest the documents either, but proudly put it’s name on those ecumenist and flawed documents. Where was Antioch’s refusal to sign, just like it’s refusal to attend te council?

          Again Church politics 101.

          Moscow is better than the EP. Antioch is not apart of the WCC or the NCCC, etc., etc., and yet their signatures are on these documents.

          If you are going to be St. Mark of Ephesus then be St. Mark of Ephesus and don’t sign the documents. However if are going to sign then you have nothing to object to or protest.


          • Estonian Slovak says

            I opposed the 2007 union,Peter. I’m a Rocor man who now spends most of his Sundays in a Ukrainian church which is a dependency of the EP.
            In fact, I’ve tried to get the Estonian parishes here in North America to unite with the EP via the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada.

            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              Yup. You see for me ROCOR was and always will be the standard bearer. They stood against all this ecumenism. They were my hero’s growing up in the GOAA. When they united with Moscow it was like getting kicked in the gut, and the kicking hasn’t stopped.

              However, I still have hope that the bishop’s of ROCOR will do something to stop this ecumenist madness. I’m against the pan heresy of ecumenist because of ROCOR. they always put Orthodoxy first before anything else. Then in 2007 it felt as if they put being Russian before being Orthodox.

              I hope and pray than I am wrong. It is a terrible thing to lose your childhood heroes.


            • To the EP? Out of the frying pan and into the fire.

              • Estonian Slovak says

                Considering that the Estonians currently belong to an uncanonical bishop Aidan, yes even the EP would be a step up.

                • Would it?:

                  One of the EP’s fold has officially, it seems, pronounced heresy:


                  Waiting on the rest of the “Mother Church” to do likewise. This looks like a “trial balloon” to see what kind of rise results. He directly contradicted the Nicene Creed. If he actually said this, he should be called to account or deposed.

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    Obvious Russian propaganda especially what was recently ratified by the council. Wrong!

  12. Alexey Karlgut says

    I thought following might be of interest and substantive.
    In Christ,
    Alexey Karlgut

    Just before the Holy and Great Council
    Metropolitan of Nafpaktos and St Vlassios

    Translated into English, original text (in Greek):

    Λίγο πρὶν τὴν Ἁγία καὶ Μεγάλη Σύνοδο

    We are approaching the time when the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Churches is to be held in Crete to discuss the six texts which have been prepared in Preconciliar conferences, and to give a message of unity among the Orthodox Churches.

    Many texts have been written recently by experts and non-experts, by those who are competent and those who are not, on this great event. Unfortunately, as I have pointed out in another text, in some of them we see that theology is mixed with politics, or rather, various ecclesiastical elements get involved knowingly or unknowingly in the aspirations of politicians, and politicians, too, use various ecclesiastical elements in order to implement their plans through the Church.

    Of course, the Council of 1872 in Constantinople condemned racialism and nationalism as a heresy, but unfortunately racialism and nationalism use the Orthodox Church as a vehicle with varying results.

    At present most of the discussion is about whether all fourteen Orthodox Churches will participate in the Council and what the impact ofthe absence of some Churches will be, and not so much about the content of the texts and the corrections that ought to be made.

    By a decision of the Standing Holy Synod and the Hierarchy the Church of Greece, I will be a member of this Holy and Great Council and I am possessed by a high sense of responsibility to the Orthodox tradition and to history itself. I am seriously concerned about the decisions that this Council will take and first and foremost about what will happen next.

    This is said from the point of view that Councils were eventually approved by the theological consciousness of the Church. Just as the organism of the human body keeps the elements it needs from food and discards unnecessary elements, the same thing happens in the divine and human organism of the Church, since the Church over time confirms the truth of something or rejects it.

    As a member of the Holy and Great Council, I would like to say something before the start of the proceedings. I will not mention here the reasons that led me to accept this proposal by the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece to take part in the Holy and Great Council, which I shall do later, but I will articulate some of my thoughts.

    1. The self-awareness of the Council

    With regret I hear and read some of the views expressed that, namely, the Holy and Great Council is the only Council to take place in the second millennium of Christianity. Others claim that it is the first Great Council since the ‘Schism’ which occurred in 1054, whereas the excommunication of the Church of Old Rome took place in 1009 with the introduction of the filioque. Still others say that the Holy and Great Council will convene after an interval of 1200 or 1300 years, that is to say, after 787, when the Seventh Ecumenical Council convened, and others dare to say, officially too, that it will be the Eighth Ecumenical Council!

    The basis of this mindset is that the Orthodox Church has supposedly remained in a state of spiritual hypnosis, of spiritual dementia, since 787, and that all this time it has been a ‘dead’, ‘sleeping’, ‘museum’ Church.

    Such a conception is not only an insult to the holy Fathers of the Church who appeared and taught during the second millennium, but it also undermines the Orthodox Church itself, which is a continuous Synod and is the true and living body of Christ.

    Ecumenical Councils mainly dealt with dogmatic definitions and administrative and pastoral rules (Canons), as we see from their Proceedings. On the other hand, when reading the texts that are being elaborated for final approval by the Great and Holy Council, we cannot distinguish the dogmatic definitions from the Canons. Assuming the individual paragraphs of the text are considered to be Canons, thorough discussion is required on whether these ‘Canons’ are in agreement with the canonical tradition of the Church or whether they overturn the basis and the heart of Church Canon Law.

    The problem, though, is that if this Holy and Great Council is considered, wrongly in my opinion, to be a continuation of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, then serious violence is being done to Orthodox truth. Because during this time Great and Ecumenical Councils and other glorious Councils of the Patriarchs of the East – that is to say, of the whole Orthodox Church at that time – were held, which discussed serious issues, and addressed important theological and ecclesiastical issues.

    I have read that some people have used the views of the late dogmatic theologian Ioannis Karmiris to support the views which are presented in the texts put forward for final approval by the Primates of the Orthodox Churches. It would be advisable to study the two volumes of the book The Dogmatic and Symbolic Monuments of the Orthodox Catholic Church to see the pulse and vitality of the Orthodox Catholic Church until the nineteenth century. One finds there that until the nineteenth century there is basically one single language in ecclesiastical texts, and that the differentiation began in the early twentieth century.

    I would like to mention some important Councils after the Seventh Ecumenical Council, which are unfortunately ignored.

    The Council of 879-80 under Photios the Great is a great Ecumenical Council, which was convened by the Emperor. The representatives of the then Orthodox Pope were present and everyone accepted its decisions. This Council discussed the two types of ecclesiology, Eastern and Western, and the Eastern ecclesiology prevailed. It also pronounced on the primacy of the Pope and the heresy of the filioque.

    There were Councils between 1341 and 1368, particularly the Council of 1351, which was convened by the Emperor in the presence of St Gregory Palamas and ruled that the energy of God is uncreated and that the Light of Christ which shone on Mount Thabor was uncreated. It condemned the heresy of Barlaam and Akindynos that the uncreated essence is identified with uncreated energy, what is known as the actus purus, and that God supposedly communicates with creation and man through created energies. So in reality the Council of 1351 condemned scholastic theology, which to a large extent is valid to this day in ‘Roman-Catholicism’.

    The Council of 1484, with the participation of Patriarchs Simeon of Constantinople, Gregory of Alexandria, Dorotheos of Antioch and Joachim of Jerusalem called itself Ecumenical. It annulled the unifying Council of Ferrara-Florence and issued a Service, composed by Patriarch Simeon of Constantinople, for those returning to the Orthodox Church from the ‘the Latin heresies’. Although this Synod established thatthe Latins should return to the Orthodox Church by means of a written declaration and Chrismation, because at that time the standard ‘form of Baptism’ still prevailed, the Service composed for the return of Latins to the Orthodox Church clearly refers to the heresy of the Latins, the‘disgraceful and alien doctrines of the Latins’, and states that those returning to the Orthodox Church should “avoid completely the assemblies of the Latins in their churches” (obviously meaning their church buildings) and should anathematise those who dared to add the filioque.

    In this Service there is reference to Latins and to alien dogmas, among which the familiar filioque, i.e. the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son, and the heresy of the actus purus, namely, that uncreated energy is identified with the uncreated essence in God and therefore God communicates with the world through created energies.

    The Council of 1590, which called itself an ‘Ecumenical Council’, and its continuation, the Council of 1593, which was characterised as a ‘Holy and Great Council’ are important. Both are Councils of the Patriarchs of the East, and they decided to assent to the elevation of the Church of Moscow to the honour and dignity of a Patriarchate, which had been previously granted by the Ecumenical Patriarch in 1589 by the relevant Patriarchal Chrysobull or Tome.

    The Conciliar decision in 1756 by the three Patriarchs, namely, Cyril of Constantinople, Matthew of Alexandria and Parthenios of Jerusalem, refers to the rebaptism of Westerners who enter in the Orthodox Church.

    Although this decision did not last for long, because in practice the Church reverted to the decision of the Council of 1484, it has never been repealed by another Conciliar decision.

    It is well-known that the topic of ‘Economy in the Orthodox Church’, referring to the reception of heretics and schismatics, was on the agenda of the Holy and Great Council, as is clear from the Preparatory Committee meeting in 1971 in Geneva. But ultimately it was removed from the agenda of the Council and the Holy and Great Council has not been given the possibility of ruling officially on this issue. So the question is: Why was this issue not included in the agenda of the Holy and Great Council, in order that there might be a discussion with theological arguments on the validity and existence, or the invalidity and non-existence, of the Baptism of heretics, which now emerges to be dealt with in an indirect manner?

    The Conciliar decision of the Patriarchs of the East in 1848, signed by the Patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem with their Synods, calls ‘Papism’ a heresy, compares it with Arianism and counters the basic Latin non-Orthodox teachings, such as the filioque, the primacy and the infallibility of the Pope, as well as other false beliefs related to baptism and the sacraments.

    The Council of 1872 in Constantinoplecondemned racialism and nationalism in ecclesiastical life “that is to say, racial discriminations and nationalistic conflicts, jealousies and dissensions in Christ’s Church. ”Racialism and nationalism are “foreign” to the tradition of the Orthodox Church, a “modernist virus”. It is significant that in the epilogue of the Conciliar declaration there is a prayer to our Lord Jesus Christ to keep the Church “immaculate and untouched by any modernist virus, firmly established on the foundations of the Apostles and Prophets.”

    I have mentioned a few of the ‘Ecumenical’, ‘Holy and Great’ Councils – there are others too –that were convened after the Seventh Ecumenical Council and until the nineteenth century, and have been accepted by the consciousness of the Church. Indeed, the decisions of the Great Council of 1351 in the time of St Gregory Palamas have been included in the ‘Synodikon of Orthodoxy’, which is read on the First Sunday of Lent, and have been introduced into hymns used in worship. This represents the strongest proof that the Council of 1351 has been accepted by the consciousness and judgment of the Church itself as Ecumenical.

    One should also mention here the very important three answers by the Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremiah II (1576, 1578, 1581) to the Lutheran theologians of the University of Tübingen. These are remarkable answers sent by Patriarch Jeremiah in cooperation with Orthodox clergy and laity, among them Damascene the Studite, Metropolitan of Nafpaktos and Arta, who is counted among the saints.

    In these important letters of reply, on the one hand, the Orthodox faith is presented, and,on the other hand, the false beliefs of the Protestants are called into question. In these replies the Orthodox faith is expressed on the basis of the Fathers and teachers of the Church, without resorting to the teaching of scholastic theology. Many issues are dealt with, on which there had been disagreement with the Lutheran theologians, namely, the Holy Tradition, Christology, the filioque, the man’s free will, predestination, justification, the number of sacraments and how they are performed, the infallibility of the Church and the Ecumenical Councils, worship, invocation of the saints, their icons and their relics, fasting, and various ecclesiastical traditions.

    These letters of reply are considered important texts. They are mentioned in the Proceedings of the local Council that took place in 1672 in Jerusalem under Dositheos, and they are ranked among the symbolic books of the Orthodox Catholic Church.

    After all these I wonder how it is possible for all these important Councils to be put aside for the sake of the Holy and Great Council which is to be held in Crete? How can some claim that the upcoming Council is the only Council of the second millennium? How is it possible and permissible to “trample underfoot” the entire Orthodox Ecclesiastical Tradition of 1200 years? Who directed journalists to speak of the Council of the millennium? How do some journalists who are not even particularly involved in Church reporting know this?

    This question is very important. That is why I consider it necessary, at least in the Message that will be decided upon and published by the Holy and Council, that these and other Councils should be mentioned, to show the continuous action of the Holy Spirit in the Church. We cannot play with ecclesiastical and doctrinal issues and the whole ecclesiastical tradition.

    Therefore, to say that the upcoming Holy and Great Council will be a Councilconvening after 1200 years is misleading. In fact it bypasses all these Great Councils, and ultimately ends in a “betrayal” of the Orthodox faith. Perhaps the aim is to create a new ecclesiology.

    If there is no such aim, the Message of the Holy and Great Council ought definitely to contain a reference to all these Holy and Great Councils of the second millennium. Otherwise this suspicion will be confirmed.

    2. Western Christianity

    It is known to those who followChurch matters and read Church history that in 1009 Pope Sergius IV officially used the Creed with the addition that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son (filioque).For that reason Patriarch Sergius II deleted the Pope from the diptychs of the Eastern Orthodox Church, so there has been excommunication since then. Thus a large part of Christianity was cut off from the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

    Then, in the early sixteenth century, from this Western Christianity that was cut off from the Orthodox Church, other Christian groups broke away and cut themselves off. They were termed Reformers or Protestants, and took many other names. Thus, the arbitrary actions of the Pope resulted in the secession of Western Christianity from the Church, but also to a further division among Western Christians themselves.

    What is called Western Christianity is a sick, heretical system, having seceded from the Orthodox tradition of the first millennium. Of course, when we speak of Western Christianity, we do not mean the ordinary Christians who believe in Christ, pray and study the Bible. We mean the doctrinal teaching of Christian communities and Confessions. Similarly, when we speak of the Orthodox Church, we do not mean all Orthodox Christians, who, although baptised, may be atheists or indifferent, but the teaching as recorded in the decisions of Local and Ecumenical Councils.

    Thus the doctrinal and confessional system of Western Christianity is largely sick and has even distorted Western society. The Latins (‘Roman Catholics’) have been changed for the worse by scholasticism, and the Protestants have been changed for the worse by somes cholastic views that they inherited and the puritanism that they introduced, as well as by the study of Holy Scripture without the necessary interpretations of the Fathers, so they fall into various errors.

    Scholasticism, which was developed in the West by the theologians of the Franks, mainly between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries, blended the Christian faith with philosophy – what is known as the analogia entis. Some scholastic theologians used the theories of Plato and the Neoplatonists, others the theories of Aristotle, and others mixed both together. The main point is that they developed the view that scholastic theology is superior to Patristic theology and has surpassed it.

    Protestant puritanism refuted the arbitrary views of scholasticism and reached the other extreme, while retaining some scholastic views, such as absolute predestination, the theory of propitiation of divine justice by the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, and the study of the Bible using the analogia fidei.

    In any case, both these Western traditions were influenced by the feudal system brought by the Franks into Europe. They regarded God as a “feudal lord” who is insulted by man’s sin, so He punishes man, who needs to propitiate God in order to return!

    I do not want to analyse this further, but I would like to highlight the fact that all subsequent ideological currents that developed in the West, such as humanism, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, romanticism, German idealism, existentialism, psychologism, etc. were a reaction for different reasons to Western scholasticism, which was based on the omnipotence of reason and on moralism.

    In Western theology we observe many theological distortions, which are related to the currents mentioned above. Let me recall some of them. God is characterised by selfish eudemonism. He directs the world through created means. He is the cause of death. He is insulted by man’s sin. Sin is considered as a reversal of the order that exists in creation. God predestined who will be saved and who will be condemned. Christ, through the sacrifice on the Cross, satisfied divine justice. The Pope is the representative of God on earth. The Pope has priesthood, which he transmits to the other bishops, and he is infallible. Penitents are required to satisfy God’s justice. The teaching on paradise and hell is materialistic, and so on.

    In theology these views are called distortions and heresies, which, however, have also affected the social sphere. All theological deviations have social consequences as well. This explains the Vatican State, as well as the identification of Christian and secular authority in some Protestants. The regime imposed by Calvin in Geneva is a typical case of this mentality.

    What has been mentioned here is not fundamentalism, conservatism of fanaticism. One should read how sociologists interpret Western man following the influence exerted by scholasticism and puritanism.

    I can recommend the study of the views of the famous sociologist Max Weber as recorded in his book: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. There one will find how Max Weber describes precisely and vividly the anxiety of the Western Christian to learn whether he is predestined by God to be saved. This is the inexorable dilemma of whether someone is “elect or condemned”. For, if he is not predestined,then he does not need to struggle in his life to be a good Christian. And eventually he will learn how Western Christianity developed the spirit of capitalism, with absolute predestination, pious individualism, Protestant asceticism, utilitarianism of professions, and so on.

    Orthodox teaching never succumbed to such distortions. It preserved the teaching of the Prophets, the Apostles and Fathers, not only of the first millennium, but of the second millennium as well, such asSt Simeon the New Theologian, St Gregory Palamas, St Mark of Ephesus and all the philokalic neptic Fathers of the Church. Our more recent saints, like St Paisios Velichkovsky, who brought a renaissance in Romania and Russia, St Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain, St Kosmas Aitolos, St Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia, St Paisios the Athonite and many others matured within this theology.

    Attempting to move the teachings of these Fathers, which are the teachings of the Church, to the margins of Church life, in order to be “confessionally” closer to Western Christianity with its many theological and social difficulties, is a major problem. Disregarding the theology of the Church expressed through these saints, in order to find some points in common with Western Christianity is a betrayal of the faith. I cannot find another milder characterisation.

    Moreover, with this sort of ossified Christianity, cut off from the Holy Fathers of the second millennium, we do not help the Western Christians themselves, who are disappointed with the Western Christian tradition in which they grew up and are looking for the hesychastic tradition. Those Western Christians who become Orthodox are inspired by the Philokalia of the Neptic Fathers, the writings of St Silouan the Athonite and the teaching of the Fathers of Mount Athos. We cannot disappoint them all with insipid, tasteless and anaemic texts.

    3. Church – Orthodoxy – Eucharist

    The Orthodox faith is not abstract and does not remain in the libraries of churches and monasteries. It is the life of the Church, which is experienced in the sacraments, chanted in the holy services, partaken of in the Divine Eucharist, revealed in prayer and the ascetic struggle. This ‘theology of events’ is recorded in the confessional documents and decisions of Local and Ecumenical Councils.

    There is no divergence between the sacraments and confession, prayer and daily life, the Divine Liturgy and Synodical conferences. The lex credendi is very closely linked with thelex orandi. If there is a split between the two, between doctrine and worship, this constitutes a deviation from the truth. This means that every Conciliar decision which contrasts with the theology of the prayers of the Sacraments and of the hymns is an anti-Orthodox decision.

    In an important study entitled Church, Orthodoxy and Eucharist in Saint Irenaeus (see Atanasije Jevtic, Christ the beginning and end, Editions Goulandris-Horn Foundation, Athens 1983, p. 109), the former Bishop of Herzegovina and Zahumlje, Atanasije Jevtic,records the link that exists between the Church, Orthodoxy, and the Eucharist, as analysed by St Irenaeus Bishop of Lyons.

    Let me recall that St Irenaeus is an Apostolic Father who lived in Lyonsduring a critical period (140-202) when the Apostles had gone and the heretic Gnostics had appeared, arguing that they had received an “occult knowledge” and “hidden mysteries”. Thus, St Irenaeus taught the close relationship that exists between Church, Orthodoxy and Divine Eucharist.

    According to St Irenaeus, the Church preserves the faith of the Apostles. “The apostolic traditionis guarded in the Churches by their successors,the presbyters.” St Irenaeus does not use the term “Church” or “Churches” for the Gnostics, only the word “synagogue” and “place of teaching”. He also urges the presbyters to obey the successors of the Apostles, who have “the secure gift of truth” and he characterises those who deviate from them “as heretics and people with corrupt judgment, or as those who rip (the Church) apart and are proud and insolent.”

    Then, the Church is closely associated with Orthodoxy, the true faith. St Irenaeus writes: “The truth preached by the Church” and “the apostolic tradition in the Church and the preaching of the truth.”

    Also, the Church and Orthodoxy are linked to the Divine Eucharist. St Irenaeus writes: “Our opinion agrees with the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn validates our opinion.” The Eucharistic prayers confess the mystery of the divine Economy, that is to say, of the incarnation of the Son and Word of God, and the mystery of the salvation of man.

    Interpreting all these points, Bishop Atanasije Jevtic observes:
    “According to the testimony of Irenaeus, in the awareness of the Church of his time there could not be any separation or independence between the Church, the Eucharist and Orthodoxy, because neither the Church exists without Orthodoxy and the Eucharist, nor Orthodoxy without the Church and the Eucharist, nor again the Eucharist outside the Church and its true faith. As those “outside the truth”, that is to say, outside the true faith, automatically and simultaneously find themselves “outside the Church” so, vice versa, those outside the Church are situated outside Orthodoxy (outside the truth) and outside the true Eucharist pleasing to God (communion in Christ’s body), as long as the faith is the expression of true tradition and life of the Church and of its true eucharistic practice and assembly.”

    This truth has some remarkable consequences. Some of them will be noted here.

    a) “The persistence of the Orthodox Catholic Church in the true faith and true practice and the true assembly of the Apostles and their true disciples, and as a consequence of this, the non-recognition of communion with any other “church” outside the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church is the best proof of the survival until the present of that same awareness of the Church as Irenaeus, and generally the whole ancient church, possessed.”

    b) “All the Ecumenical and local Councils of the Orthodox Catholic Church had this as their ultimate aim: the keeping of the apostolic tradition in the faith, life and worship of the Church, and the exclusion from ecclesiastical communion in the Eucharist of those who distort the redeeming“rule of truth”, which the Church received from the Apostles and their genuine disciples, the Fathers. This way the salvation of God’s creatures, human beings, was safeguarded.

    For this reason,from the first centuries to this day, the Orthodox constantly underline that there is no salvation outside the Church, that is, outside unity with Christ and the communion of people and local Churches in the true and correct faith,in charismatic practice,in the eucharistic assembly and communion, and in the grace of the Spirit and His gifts. Salvation is union and communion with Christ, and this communion is realised only in the body of Christ which is the Church, particularly in the eucharistic communion of those in every local Church who have a right belief in Christ and are sincerely united around the Bishops as bearers of the ‘apostolic successions’ in the Churches.”

    c) This “apostolic succession” of bishops is a succession of this very fullness of ecclesiastical communion of the local Churches in the world with Christ, and between those who share inthe true faith,in the true and saving teaching, and in the grace of God’s Spirit and in the Body and Blood of Christ. The apostolic succession, according to Irenaeus, is not a succession of “ordination”alone, but a succession and continuity of the whole Economy of God formankind, that is to say, of the whole substance and life of the Church, the whole of its fullness and universality.”

    d) “In our ‘ecumenistic’ but not rightly believing era, the theological and ecclesiastical testimony of Hieromartyr Irenaeus, Bishop of the ancient Church –in which the awareness of the indivisible unity of the Apostolic and Catholic and Orthodox and Eucharistic character of God’s Churches dispersed throughout the world prevailed – always means for us Orthodox the living tradition of the mystery of the Church and its unity, from which we may not depart and which we may not change. We Orthodox do not change our traditional consciousness concerning the Church, because this would mean changing the Church, in other words, breaking up the historical universality of the Church of the Godman Christ, and interrupting our unity and communion with the Apostolic and patristic Church of all the ages”.

    Therefore, according to St Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, there is no Church without Orthodoxy and Divine Eucharist; there is no Orthodoxy without the Church and the Eucharist; and there is no Eucharist without the Church and Orthodoxy. This is the tradition that runs through the Church from the time of the Apostles until today in the Church’s consciousness.

    4. The decisions of the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece

    The Church of Greece is one of the fourteen Orthodox Churches. It received its autocephalous status with the Synodical and Patriarchal Tome of 1850, and several provinces were added to itover time, some by assimilation (1866, 1882) and others put under the ‘guardianship’ of Greece (1928).

    As it was my duty, I studied the texts prepared by the delegates of all the Churches and signed by the Primates. While the Permanent Holy Synod and the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece were studying the texts, it was decided to make some changes, namely, corrections and additions with the intention of improving the texts. This was done in a spirit of unity, with unanimity in most cases, and very small minority votesin some cases, and one proposal with an open vote.

    A result was reached that satisfied all the Hierarchs, and also those who learned about the decision. In what follows I will present the main elements of the decision.

    The key point is that while in various sections of the text “Relations of the Orthodox Church with the rest of the Christian world” it was mentioned that the Orthodox Church “recognises the historical existence of other Christian Churches and Confessions”, this was replaced with the phrase: “is aware of the historical existence of other Christian Confessions and Communities”.

    Another important point refersto the unity of the Church. While the text said that the unity of the Church “is unshakable,”subsequent sections mentioned the effort to restore unity among Christians, as if the branch theory applied. Some corrections were made in the text, to the effect that the Orthodox Church believes that “the unity of the Church is unshakable” and participates“ in the movement towards the restoration of unity of the other Christians” or “the lost unity of other Christians”, and that it is working for that day to come when “the Lord will fulfil the hope of the Orthodox Church by gathering into it all those who are scattered, that it maybecome one flock with one shepherd.”

    Another important point is the one referring to the prospect “of theological dialogues of the Orthodox Church with other Christian Confessions and Communities”. These dialogues “are always determined on the basis of the principles of Orthodox ecclesiology and the canonical criteria of the already formed ecclesiastical tradition, according to the sacred Canons of Ecumenical and local Councils recognised by the Ecumenical Councils, as are the Canons 46, 47 and 50 of the Holy Apostles; 8 and 19 of the First Ecumenical Council; 7 of the Second Ecumenical Council; 95 of the Quinisext Council; and 7 and 8 of Laodicea.”

    A necessary clarification was also added: “It is clarified that, whenpractising the reception of non-Orthodox by declaration and holy Chrism by economy, this does not mean that the Orthodox Church recognises the validity of their Baptism and other sacraments.”

    In the paragraph mentioning the condemnation of any disruption of the unity of the Church by individuals or groups, and the maintenance of the genuine Orthodox faith, which is guaranteed by the Conciliar system, the Canon 6 of the Second Ecumenical Council and Canons 14 and 15 of First-Second Ecumenical Council were added.

    In another section mentioning the need for inter-Christian theological dialogue, without provocative acts of confessional competition, the Unia was added in parenthesis, which means that the Orthodox Church does not accept this hypocritical way of uniting the Churches, as the Unia professes in practice.

    A significant correction was made in the section saying that local Orthodox Churches “are called upon to contribute to inter-faith understanding and collaboration” by adding the words “for peaceful coexistence and social coexistence of people, without this implying any religious syncretism”.

    There was a long discussion on the participation of the Orthodox Church in the World Council of Churches (WCC). The proposal of the Standing Holy Synod was to delete the relevant paragraphs referring to this. Following intense debate,the issue was decided by an open ballot (by a show of hands), with thirteen Hierarchs proposing to delete the paragraphs, sixty-two to retain it, and two expressing different views.

    Thus, the majority of the Hierarchs was in favour of retaining these paragraphs in the text, and thatthe Church of Greece should in the work of the WCC in accordance with the necessary pre-conditions. In the debate and vote I argued that we should remain in the WCC as observers, but this was the only proposal.

    Nevertheless, in this text the phrase that the Orthodox Churches in the WCC contribute “by all means at their disposal to the testimony of truth and promotion of the unity of Christians” was corrected by the phrase, contribute “by all means at their disposal for the promotion of peaceful coexistence and cooperation on major socio-political challenges and problems.” This means that the reason for our Church’s participation in the WCC is only for social purposes, and not for the testimony of truth and the promotion of Christian unity.

    In the text entitled “The mission of the Orthodox Church in today’s world” there was reference to the “human person” and the “communion of persons”. At the same time there were repeated references to “man”. So, for theological reasons and to consolidate the text, the phrase “the value of the human person”was replaced with the phrase “the value of man.”

    In the text entitled “Autonomy and the means by which it is proclaimed”, a paragraph was added: “Church Provinces for which a Patriarchal Tome or Acthas been issued cannot ask for autonomy, and their ecclesiastical status remains unshakeable”.

    In another paragraph of the same text, mentioning the granting of autonomy from the Mother Church to a province, the word “unanimously” was added.

    These were the key suggestions by the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece for improving the texts.

    I would like to express two points.

    First, these additions and changes reflect a traditional ecclesiology, within the possibilities that the Hierarchy of our Church had to make such amendments. These decisions were basically unanimous and no one can argue that the “conservative” Hierarchs defeated the “progressive” Hierarchs!!!

    Of course there were also proposals to withdraw completely the text “Relations of the Orthodox Church with the rest of the Christian world” for further elaboration, but they were not accepted by the Hierarchy.

    Secondly, these decisions are binding for our Church, because they were accepted basically unanimously. This means that our delegation tothe Holy and Great Council has to support their inclusion in the text and has no possibility to retract.


    Following the above, I conclude that the Holy and Great Council, with those Churches that will participate, should definitely mention explicitly the Ecumenical and Great Councils in its Message. The unhistorical, non-theological, anti-ecclesiastical “myth” that this Council was convened after 1200 years, or that it is the first Council after the Schism, must stop being spread.

    With much respect, I beg and entreat the Primates of the Orthodox Churches, who will attend eventually, in particular His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who laboured to bring things this far, to mention explicitly that this Council is a continuation of the Councils of Photios the Great, of St Gregory Palamas, of St Mark of Ephesus, of the Great Patriarchs of the East, their predecessors, some of whom were martyred for the glory of God and the Church. Otherwise there will be an additional reason for this Council to be discredited in the eyes of the Church faithful as an anti-Photian, anti-Palamite, anti-Mark (Mark Eugenicus), anti-Philokalic Council!

    I feel that during the sessions of the Holy and Great Council there will be Council members who will be aware of the voice of the Prophets, the Apostles and the Fathers, the blood of the Martyrs of faith, the tears and struggles of the ascetics, the sweat of the missionaries, the prayers of “the poor in Christ”, the expectations of the pious people. Those who are neither aware of this nor understand it will be wretched.

    June 2016

    • Yes, I read this. There will be fireworks. I predict he will leave before the council ends.

  13. M. Stankovich says

    I can’t help but look at “why it all matters” and conclude, “why it matters not all.” Like any major US city, mine has representatives of the major jurisdictions, and I frequently move among them, having acquaintances in many. Does it come as a surprise to anyone that as many times as I’ve ventured into such similar “investigations,” in asking the everyday faithful of their knowledge of the “Council of Crete,” even the ethnics who one would expect to be a bit more sensitive – so few were aware it was silly. But before insisting the foolishness of such an observation – they are “sheep,” not leaders, incapable of adequately defending the Faith, and so on – the “real” issue is the indifference and lack of moral authority of the Hierarchy of the American Church in general. In most cases I would remark, “touché,” were it not for reasons I believe will become self-evident.

    Considerably more important here is that when you sit down among the “everyday faithful” – consistently, regardless of jurisdiction, and allowing for obvious notable exceptions – and inquire of their knowledge of the actual Faith, the actual Orthodox Faith, simply using the criteria of the Nicene Creed… Again, before anyone say this is foolishness, consider first that that the rationale here is that we need fear – in fact, we must fear, we are foolish not to fear, we are “idiots unwittingly doing the Phanar’s bidding” by an unwillingness to fear – the imminence of the Ecumenical Patriarch dragging the entire Orthodox Church into unia with the church of Rome by an imposition of “primacy” among the Orthodox. My anecdotal observation is this: the “everyday faithful” basically describe the dogmatic teachings of the Orthodox Church in western terms and ideas (read that as “Roman Catholic-like”) because it has been pervasive for generations (and anyone of my generation who recalls the church school materials of the time – at least of the Russian Orthodox Church – knows it was a “cross-dressing” muck of western-influence). Our own people, if harshly “quizzed” as to there beliefs of the dogmatic teachings of the Orthodox Faith should be excommunicated en masse. They are already Uniates, or worse. But who should be surprised by this? Has this not always been the case when the Church was translated into the “Empire?”

    For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law to themselves: Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. (Rom. 2:14-15)

    St. Chrysostom, in his Commentary on Romans, rightfully interprets St. Paul to mean that “It is not the hearers of the law that shall be justified, but rather the doers,” and that “[God] created you with a power to discern between good and what was not so,” and that even without knowing God, Paul shows “where he [the Gentile] got that knowledge, namely, from the Creation.” Should we believe that the “everyday faithful,” who, while not capable of “articulating” dogmatic precision, yet have the Faith “written in their hearts,” will simply allow the Church to be given over to destruction? Obviously some hold such a low, cynical opinion of the faithful and their collective ability to discern the Truth from falsehood, to defend the Faith, and to discern real threat from Chicken Little (Greetings to Saunca, and sleep peacefully). Kudos to Peter Papoutsis who senses aspirations and knows how to deal with it.

    I juxtapose this with a communication I have been having with a Deacon of the Church, an elderly man who by rights should have retired himself, but instead is aggressive in the inner-city of one of America’s most distressed cities racially, economically, and politically. He is the only Orthodox representative to community clergy gatherings that are dealing with youth, the elderly, the inner-city poor and marginalized; the only Orthodox representative present during times of rioting, looting, and burning; the only Orthodox representative doing “ride-alongs” with the police, a “chaplaincy” of sorts, comforting victims & their families – not particularly welcomed by the police, but always, always, always an opportunity to distribute his card, and inviting people to his Church. And he writes me to ask advice on dealing with crisis, role, and boundaries. Imagine! I am in awe of this Orthodox “missionary,” who I am convinced is much more successful in presenting the Church in the manifestation of Jesus Christ in this broken world. If I didn’t, I would seat myself beneath the Lion and despair. There is a lesson here. And behold, in the near dawn, the Spirit of Truth!

    • Regrettably, MS, it seems some of the Church will pass with a whimper and not a bang, selling their birthright for a pot of stew, as it were.

      No matter, as you suggest. One must be dispassionate about these things. God warned us that few would persevere. That being said, I have done my job. No illusions need plague the readers of Monomakhos regarding what is going on.

      The Orthodox Church, what is left of it, will remain standing as a witness to the truth, the Pillar and Ground of Truth, in fact. Heterodoxy will take some casualties as it always has. Life goes on. And you make a very good point. Living and working where I do, this certainly resonates for me. It is not a person’s Creed that the Lord will inquire about on the Last Day. Instead, He will ask, “How did you treat the least of these? For as you have done to them, so have you done to Me.”

      All blessings, brother.

      PS: I would add one thing, though. The reason truth and evangelism does matter is twofold, at least. First, one is naturally more merciful if one has acquired the Holy Spirit, tread the road of theosis. This is really only possible in the Church, though there are pale images of it strewn here and there. Mercy alleviates much suffering in this world and creates much joy. Second, in the next world, though I believe that God desires to eventually save all and may do so, notwithstanding that fact, we shall have to pass through a trial of angels and demons and cleansing fire. Our sins and imperfections will all be exposed to the Light and it will be far from comforatable. But these are the shackles we have forged ourselves, as Dickens alluded. Forty days we shall be tormented, at least forty days, with the reality of our amartia. And forty days can seem like an eternity, especially if God wants it to seem so to remind his disobedient progeny that He is not to be trifled with.

      As it says in many Orthodox Jewish shuls behind the ark: “Know before Whom you stand.”

  14. http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/94354.htm

    This is a statement of Met. Hierotheos who is part of the delegation of the Church of Greece to the council. It is very good. There will be fireworks at this council.

  15. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    If St. Gregory of Nyssa’s “universalism” is heresy, then Met. Kallistos is a heretic and since Constantinople has not broken communion with him, so are you. But that is not the case.

    RESPONSE: He does have Heretical views which if you read his essay he ends by not pushing the issue. If he were to push it and insist upon it then its a different story. Just because he is a Bishop we should follow his mistakes. Like The MP’s unia mistakes and you are in communion with him so that must mean…you…are…unia!

    You are getting very upset about this. That is understandable. But don’t get upset about me. I’m just the messenger. I’m not making all of this happen.

    RESPONSE: actually I am not upset necessarily about the Council just exposing partisans with an agenda like you.

    Now, as to real heterodoxy, when the Phanar puts pen to paper and signs an official church document that declares Rome to be a “Sister Church”, they will have lapsed into heresy.

    RESPONSE: Yes, I know you are praying for that as that is the heretical gossip you and the MP are pushing but will never happen. Sorry.

    Bishops merely recognize heresy. An act of affirmation of belief in a heretical statement is not heresy because Orthodox bishops say it is. It is heresy because it is objectively at odds with the Orthodox faith. The bishops merely do their jobs and recognize it as such.

    RESPONSE: Yes, Bishops not you. Just like the ROC Bishop that recognized the Unia actions of the MP and stopped commemorating him. I fully agree with you on that.

    I repeat, the Phanar is poised to fall into heresy.

    RESPONSE: I repeat the ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH is not posed to fall into heresy by maybe the MP with his extensive meeting with the RCC is poised to fall into Uniatism.

    Now, the problem the Church will face is what to do about it. Read the life of St. Athanasios if you want to know how confusing and ugly it can get. It takes courage to condemn heresy. Courage is in short supply these days.

    RESPONSE: No problem so no response. Courage is just fine.

    The alternative is worse, however. Doing nothing is not an option because anyone who remains in communion with a heretical bishops or synod for any length of time is also heretical since they are affirming that they hold the same faith by continued communion.

    RESPONSE: Yes, that is why ROCOR never commemorated the MP in the past or had communion with him because he was heretical. Fr. Andrew WAS very clear about that. NOW the ROC bishops were also very clear about the MP’s unia actions and that is why they stopped commemorating him. So it is the MP who has issues not the Ecumenical Patriarch.

    This is not about who is the “EP”, a pretentious title if ever there was one.
    RESPONSE: Wrong. Title is given to him by the Church and protested by the heretical Catholic west. Once again you are showing your true Unia colors.
    It is not even about who is the First Among Equals. It is the self styled “First Without Equals” trying to Romanize his little corner of the Church and drag it and as many as he can away from the Church, like the Pied Piper.

    RESPONSE: You mean like the Third Rome nonsense and that the Biggest Church members should rule, even though the vast majority don’t know what hey believe? So in the Russian world Bigger means better. Got it.

    Go if you will. Just don’t say that no one alerted you.

    RESPONSE: I’m not going anywhere, as I need to wake you up buddy boy

    PS: I do not “hate” the Patriarch of Constantinople.

    RESPONSE: Could have fool me and everybody else on this site.

    I don’t hate anyone. I have defended him here on this site from those who would go down the road of accusing him of being the AntiChrist.

    RESPONSE: “Cough” really? Just calling attention to your interpretation of his actions as Heretical, but not using the name is very disingenuous. I think you and Fr. Arida have alot in common.

    He is merely misguided as are all modernists. But he is very misguided, so much so that he can’t even recognize heterodoxy anymore. May God forgive him for he knows not what he does.

    RESPONSE: Really? Where? What has the EP said? Nothing!!! You have framed the issues and YOU have framed the discussing and YOU are causing the division. Misha I am sorry to tell you and even the others on this blog YOU are NOT the arbitrator of all this Orthodox just because you are ROCOR.

    You continue to go down this path and I and I along with smack you down at each and every time because you are causing division and breaking the good order of the Church for your Russian agenda. Game on buddy.


  16. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    Who does that Moscow Patriarch think he is, Peter? He seems to think he can disagree with plans ALREADY APPROVED BY THE GREEK FOREIGN OFFICE and the TURKISH SECRETARY OF STATE! and not only that! HE DOESN’T HAVE A LIFE-SIZE GRAVEN IMAGE OF HIMSELF ON HALKI OR EVEN IN MOSCOW! He should wisely follow the example of the Greek Minority Patriarch of Alexandria, who knows on what side HIS bread is buttered as well!

    RESPONSE: The MP is following his orders from the RUSSIAN FEDERATION AND THE FSB. The MP definitely knows what side his bread is buttered as well. How do you think he got his Rolex?


  17. Michael Kinsey says

    I have been researching prophesy online. Biblical, authentic Christian, New Age, Occult and Islamic.
    The need to seperate the garbage from the authentic Truth in Divinely inspired is my fervent goal. Certain predictions of a global collapes and WWIII are predicted by all. It is apparent that most predict the world economic collapse ocurring before WWIII. The most aggregious decietful predictions concern a Russian invasion that arrives in Isreal. Some predict it sets up the Abomination of Desolation in the Holy Place. This is backwards, as the West is the banking funding the armies of ISSl, and is intent on reducing Iran with Isreal involuvement. The Holy Prophet Daniel describes the events before and during Aramaggedon. His writing is pure Holy Truth. The anti -christ will be worried about tidings from the North and the East, (Russia and China).This implices the anti-christ comes from the West, with his mark of the beast. Obama as head of the UN Security Consul comes to mind.A Russian /Turkey war was predicted by half a dozen Greek Elders. which returns Constanople to Orthodox Greece. Potential for this is present in the Turkish blocade of 150,000 Russion troops being sent to Syria.This is an act of war. Putin is not going to back down. the way Handcock didn’t run during Pickett’s charge. What I cannot yet descern is whither the Ram- He goat war, which is geographicly, Iran, Iraq, part of Syria, and Afganighstan: is the war with Iran is included, or part of Arramaggdon There are conflicting predictions of anti-christ coming from the America , Russia, and Europe. Some predict China will take half of Russia aand Japan will take most of China, yea, right! duh. I have feelings of intense intrest in these matter, I am not bored at all. I felt this way when I was seeking what the abomonation of is. No one has yet to match the wisdom in my defintion, with a different defintion, and I wrote it 25 years ago. I challenge again, match me.but not with contemp, I do it with soberity.

  18. US Senator Ben Cardin’s (D, Maryland) Statement on the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Christian Churches.
    Senator Cardin is a staunch supporter of abortion, gay rights, sanctions against Russia, Israel, and US “World Police” activity. His “Statement on the Great and Holy Council” appeared on the section of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s website covering the non-Pan Orthodox merting in Crete.

    21 June 2016

    U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement in advance of the Holy and Great Council to be held in Greece.

    “This weekend, I join Orthodox Christians in recognizing the beginning of the historic Holy and Great Council on the island of Crete, Greece. This marks the first time since the year 787 that the leaders of the Orthodox churches will gather together to discuss fundamental issues related to faith and morality.

    “On the eve of this historic event, I honor the convener of this historic meeting, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. His All-Holiness has received awards from the United Nations, the United States, and other nations for providing moral leadership throughout modern history’s greatest tests. His efforts to convene this Holy and Great Council is a testament to his continued leadership at a time when it is greatly needed.

    “Greece is the appropriate place to convene the Holy and Great Council. Members of the Greek Orthodox Church led the first resistance that was able to defeat a thrust of Axis Forces during World War II, with one in 10 Greek Orthodox Christians in Greece losing their lives in the effort. And, Greek Archbishop Damaskinos was the only national religious leader in a Nazi-occupied country to publically challenge the Holocaust as it was occurring, with his actions saving the lives of thousands of Jews.

    “Our world today is in need of this exceptional moral courage, and I applaud Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for convening this Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Christian Churches in Crete, Greece.”
    from the Senator’s website:
    -Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act
    Tuesday, September 22, 2015
    I rise today in strong opposition to H.R. 36, an unconstitutional attempt to impose a nationwide ban on abortions when the “post-fertilization age” of the fetus is determined to 20 weeks or greater with extremely limited exceptions.

    More than 40 years ago, in its landmark Roe v. Wade decision, the Supreme Court made clear that women in this country have a constitutional right to abortion services and that no legislature may ban abortion prior to viability – which is exactly what H.R. 36 attempts to do. Previous attempts to impose pre-viability bans on abortion have been repeatedly struck down by the courts and, last year, the Supreme Court refused to review a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision permanently blocking Arizona’s 20-week ban. Nevertheless, anti-choice advocates continue their relentless efforts to undermine women’s reproductive rights in any and every way possible. H.R. 36 is simply the latest attempt.

    -Cardin Statement on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month 2015
    Thursday, June 11, 2015
    BALTIMORE – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) issued the following statement recognizing June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month. This Saturday, June 13, marks the 40th Celebration of Pride in the Nation’s Capital. Baltimore Pride celebrates its 40th anniversary later this summer.

    “For more than four decades, June has been a month of great significance for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community across the United States. This June should be just as momentous as we await a decision from the Supreme Court in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges. In 2015, 70 percent of Americans live in a state where loving, same-sex couples can enjoy all the legal protections of marriage. I expect that number to grow quickly, as the Supreme Court recognizes that equality is an inherent American value that should not be denied or taken away from any American person. Love is love.

    -Committee on Foreign Relations
    (Ranking Member)
    Subcommittee on International Development and Foreign Assistance, Economic Affairs, and International Environmental Protection (Ranking Member)
    Subcommittee on Near East and South and Central Asian Affairs
    Subcommittee on European Affairs
    Subcommittee on African Affairs




    • Based on their reactions and participation in this council, we sort of know who the good guys and the bad guys are at this point. They’ve made their positions as clear as they dare. Unfortunately, they have not dared enough to elicit excommunication from traditional hierarchs at this particular moment.

      What seems to be taking shape is a battle of patience and pushing the envelope. It is perilous. Frogs are boiled alive by turning up the heat slowly so they don’t jump out from drastic change in temperature. Traditionalists, foolishly in my opinion, seem resolved to force the Phanar to excommunicate them rather than vice versa. I.e., they would rather not be “the bad guy” and be the ones to accuse the other side of heresy. This is understandable.

      But Christ did not command His followers to behave in this way. He taught that if your brother sins, take two or three and correct him. Do it a few times but if he persists, treat him as a publican and sinner. He did not say, “Wait til he excommunicates you.” There is a reason for this. It is the reason the Apostle John says that those neither hot nor cold will be spit out. The Church is “called out” of something. It should not consent to become that “something” by osmosis.

  19. Gail Sheppard says

    Peter, PETER!!!! Why in the world would the Patriarch of Antioch bother to call a metropolitan on the carpet, especially in public, if what that metropolitan was saying was ridiculous? If it is not ridiculous, but a matter of some importance, why would he have a metropolitan with a pleasant singing voice sign for him?! Again, if you have ANY EVIDENCE that the true Patriarch of Antioch, and not some little metropolitan in South America, feels this way, please show me the evidence. Any evidence! Show me even a snippet of something His Beatitude has uttered in the past that gives credence to the fact that he feels this way. – In the meantime, I’m going to contact the Metropolitan of Brazil and ask him directly what in the world he was thinking. Let’s both report back, because you’re right, if what you’re think is true, it is a very big concern.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      Please by all means call. If you get ahold of someone that will talk to you you will be very surprised at their answer.

      Again if what the Metropolitan did was wrong or a mistake I am confident that Antioch would have disavow or at least issue a clarification. I did not see any in regards to an OFFICIAL DOCUMENT going to the Great and Holy council, and which said document is posted on the council’s website for the WHOLE WORLD to see, especially Antioch’s signature binding it to a major decision of the council. I would think if this was a mistake Antioch would have immediately corrected the situation. However it did not for a whole year and going. What does that tell you Gail?

      Good luck with your phone call.


      • Gail Sheppard says

        RE: “Again if what the Metropolitan did was wrong or a mistake I am confident that Antioch would have disavow or at least issue a clarification.”

        I don’t share your confidence, but then I have seen a metropolitan forge documents, bearing the signature of the Patriarch, crowning himself king of all of North America and they didn’t disavow anything then, either. If you look at their website, they kind of, sort of, suggested it wasn’t true, but that was the extent of it. It still happened.

        When His Beatitude John X signs something, I will pay attention.

        Why would they send an official document disavowing anything to a Counsel they don’t recognize?

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Truthfully, Antioch did disavow it, because they did not sign the texts for the Great and Holy Council.

          “And knowing that the Antiochian Church, although it didn’t sign the decisions of the Synaxis of the Primates of autocephalous Orthodox Churches in Phanar (March 2014), it took part in the preparatory committees of the Great Orthodox Council and in the work of the fifth pre-conciliar conference in Chambésy 2015, and in the Synaxis of the Primates of autocephalous Orthodox Churches in Chambésy 2016. And ALTHOUGH IT DIDN’T SIGN ANY OF THE LATTER SYNAXIS’ DECISION, it participated in the work of the preparatory committees of the Great and Holy Orthodox Council, in order to facilitate the joint Orthodox work and accompany it, as it did over the past decades in the hope to solve all problems before the convening of the Great Council;” (Emphasis mine.)


          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            Ok believe what you want. The signature on the 2015 document is there, and the Patriarch didn’t disavow. I think the records speaks for itself.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Yes, Peter, but history is the record and history speaks for itself.

              Historically, Antioch does not quibble or call people out. What came out of the October 2015 meetings were drafts. These drafts were re-examined and re-crafted in 2016 in preparation for the Great and Holy Counsel. The Patriarch’s signature on THESE documents would have been significant. Where is it? Where is the Brazilian Metropolitan’s signature or anyone else’s signature from Antioch claiming to speak for the Patriarch? Non-existent.

              Instead, we have an official statement from His Beatitude John X stating that Antioch did not, will not, sign the texts for the Great and Holy Counsel or participate. It’s not a question of what I believe. It’s a fact.

              I was just trying to get you to see that Antioch is not particularly demonstrative when it comes to big, dramatic gestures to “set the record straight,” especially when they feel their position clear. In this case, their position IS clear. Antioch has “disavowed” itself from the mission of this (so-called) Great and Holy Counsel, for the reasons stated.

              Given the true life and death scenarios that confront them, daily, calling out a metropolitan is probably not high on their list of priorities. That’s conjecture on my part, but that’s how I see it.

              Please know, Peter, that I respect you and appreciate your perspective even when we disagree. I always have,

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                As I you. Please pray for me a sinner.


                • You’re a good fellow, Peter. We all get carried away sometimes.

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    Btw your report on the Greek Hierarch under the EP that denied that the Orthodox Church is the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and that the RCC is someway connected to our Church was absolutely correct. This was pure heresy. You were correct in your reporting and your assessment that this is Unia. I was wrong and you were right. I have to give this to you.


                    • Hey, Peter, I’ve always respected your opinion even when I didn’t agree with you on this or that. It is still surreal for me to think about the current situation and I’m sure it is for you as well. The lecture from May that I’ve linked to that describes the relationship between Constantinople and Rome as merely akoinonesia is dumbfounding. But really, if one cuts through the politeness of not calling Rome “heretical”, that is what it really boils down to anyway.

                      Heresy would be doctrinal divergence. Mere schism can be for lesser matters. To deny even real schism from the Church but postulate a lesser breakage . . . that assumes that Roman Catholicism is not mutually exclusive with Orthodoxy but merely a different way of expressing the same underlying reality. It is a proclamation that the Church encompasses both. That phronema has a name – it is called Uniatism. It has been around for centuries. That would be the effect of the original language of the Relations document if it were taken literally and not as polite circumlocution. It is not even really a matter of intercommunion. Antioch and Jerusalem share the same faith. Yet they are not in communion. What the Phanar is really saying is that that is the situation between it and Rome. Either Rome is not heretical or the Phanar is. It’s that simple.

                      I am currently not in a position to be able to attend my godparents’ church because I cannot in good conscience call for Bartholomew’s deposition and/or excommunication while being under his omophor. This will not be easy for any of us.

  20. http://www.romanitas.ru/eng/CAN%20HERETICS%20HAVE%20THE%20GRACE%20OF%20SACRAMENTS.htm

    This is an article by Vladimir Moss. He is an Old Calendarist for whom I have deep respect but with whom I have a minor disagreement. He believes that the New Calendar churches and those in communion with them lost grace by adopting the New Calendar and joining the WCC following condemnation of these activities by local synods. I believe that the New Calendar, in and of itself, has never been judged by an Orthodox tribunal competent to do so, albeit the Gregorian calendar, upon which it is partially based, has.

    The long and short of his article is that those who belong to local churches whose leadership is in heresy are in an anomalous situation.

    “Is a conciliar verdict necessary in order to expel a heretic? At first sight it would seem that the answer to this question is: yes. However, there are grounds for thinking that Arius was invisibly expelled from the Church not only before the First Ecumenical Council of 325, but even before the local Councils of 321 and 323. For when the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Hieromartyr Peter, Archbishop of Alexandria, in the form of a twelve year old child in torn clothing, and was asked by St. Peter: ‘O Creator, who has torn Your tunic?’, the Lord replied: ‘The mindless Arius; he has separated from Me people whom I had obtained with My Blood.’ And this took place before St. Peter’s martyrdom, which was in 311.” – http://www.romanitas.ru/eng/CAN%20HERETICS%20HAVE%20THE%20GRACE%20OF%20SACRAMENTS.htm

    That is to say, there is some invisible separation from the Church already, though it is hard to put one’s finger on exactly what it is. I say that because it is also clear that grace remains until a council condemns the heretic. However, if any are aware of the heresy and communicate with the heretics, they do so to their own detriment.

    “Here, and here only, is there some ground for speaking in a very restricted sense about heretics having grace. For between the first appearance of a heresy in modern times and its first condemnation by a local Council, there is a period in which the heretic, although already self-condemned and subject to the condemnation of God if he dies now, has the possibility of repenting and returning to the truth before being subject to the condemnation of the Church. Nestorius, for example, was given a short time to repent by St. Celestine before he was condemned at a local Council in Rome. This is that period of which the Lord says in relation to Jezabel in the Thyateiran Church: ‘I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not’ (Rev. 2.21).”

    “In this period, the heretic, although already deprived of grace in a personal sense (for all sin deprives the sinner of grace), may continue to preserve the priestly grace which the Church gave him at his ordination and which she deprives him of only through another public, conciliar act. In the period before the conciliar deposition of the heretic, not only is he given time to repent, but his flock are enabled to continue receiving the true sacraments – although, as Hieromartyr Cyril of Kazan writes, they will receive them to their condemnation if they are conscious of their hierarch’s heresy. After his conciliar deposition, however, the hierarch is no longer a hierarch, and the flock that remains with him no longer receives true sacraments from him; for ‘if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch’ (Matt. 15.14).”

    So, in summary, Constantinople is in heresy. Pat. Bartholomew himself personally has lost grace in some personal sense. However, the mysteries of the Church of Constantinople are still in effect until it is condemned as heretical. Nonetheless, if one is aware of the heresy, one may be consuming the gifts to ones detriment if one receives from a Church under the Phanar.

    In this, I do not rely on my own lights at all. Moss is very meticulous. I think he is wrong regarding what has transpired in the past, but in light of present circumstances, who can blame him? He is erring on the side of caution, if anything. But, on other matters he has been invaluable to me in translating Athonite works from the Greek. I do not know him personally but admire him and write this as a caveat because I assume he is right about pretty much everything else except that over which we disagree.

    • I’m not so sure about Moss. He is too adamant that the MP has no grace. I can’t believe this. Although often on the money (especially his article about Sergius Nilus) sometimes he reads as if he is trying too hard to push an agenda, as if someone is paying his bills. Extremists use 90% truth to push a 10% falsehood and you have to spot this, in my opinion.
      As laymen we have to wait until such heresies are defined as such in a council that is Universally recognized. Until then I think we are safe as long as we have a strong Bishop and a Priest that is faithful. During communist times, even in Poland in the Catholic Church “those in the know” knew which Priests were really communist agents i.e impostors. There will always be around. But God is Good and He loves us. We will not be abandoned, not at any time until the end.

      • Gene,

        Moss was making his argument with regard to a different situation and the particular point that I quote him on was, if you re-read his article, purely a hypothetical since he had already concluded that a council had passed judgment on the conduct in question. With a meticulous mind like his, given that he had no dog in the outcome of his hypothetical, I dare say that he is correct and there may be a serious danger to those under Constantinople who are aware that they are in heresy yet commune in their churches regardless. That is why I posted Moss’ piece.

        Of course, God may be waiting, as am I, for the rest of Orthodoxy to do something before He inflicts consequences Himself. But I don’t know that for certain. He may simply allow people the effects of their own “medicine”.