Blessed Nativity: 2019

nativity-200“For the solidarity of mankind is such that, by virtue of the Word’s indwelling in a single human body, the corruption which goes with death has lost its power over all. You know how it is when some great king enters a large city and dwells in one of its houses; because of his dwelling in that single house, the whole city is honored, and enemies and robbers cease to molest it. Even so it is with the King of all; He has come into our country and dwelt in one body amidst the many, and in consequence the designs of the enemy against mankind have been foiled, and the corruption of death, which formerly held them in its power, has simply ceased to be.”

–St Athanasius the Great


  1. Sean Richardson says

    Christ is born … glorify Him …

    It’s such a simple phrase, yet one encompassing so much of our life in Christ and our Faith. Let us all take it to heart in this season …

    Christ is born … glorify Him

  2. The Christmas Kalends are usually sung by children going door to door but the Kalendari, Koledari are usually adults.
    Koledari from unknown city in Thrace-
    Macedonian children –
    Banat –
    Modern Romania –
    Russian one on the St Herman Seminary website –
    1837 collection –
    Zagred Stipe Ensemble –
    Macedonian, sung by nuns –
    Same, with English subtitles, sung in Romanian by Diaconeshti nuns –
    More sisters singing, from Camarzani Monastery –
    Czech –
    Yambol, Bulgaria –
    Serbian –
    Serb chant from the Christmas canon
    Thrace –
    Pontiak Greek (Black Sea)
    Crete –
    Macedonian Bulgarian –
    Mixed nations –

  3. Christ is Born! Joy of the Feast to all!

  4. Glory to Jesus Christ!!

    Friends, I am not as festive this season. I struggle, almost converting to Orthodoxy but stopped short after the mess with Jonah. Please pray for me…

    • If I may offer any words of encouragement…don’t stop short. The faith is the faith, and is either true or not. If true, then follow it, if not follow what is true. Gold is still gold whether it’s kept in a polished steel vault or a chipped badly washed chamber pot.

      The truth, like gold may be kept in altogether too earthen of vessels at times, but even if the vessel is unworthy, and like gold it is still valuable.

      Don’t forget the Church has dealt with bad bishops before …many of them over the centuries. Consider the St. John Chrysostom said that the road to hell was paved by the skulls of priests and lighted by the skulls of bishops. These sorts of troubles while no less irritating and disheartening at times are still just a cloud passing before the sun. The Church has endured this sort of thing and worse and survived intact.

      Enter the Church when the Lord opens the door, but don’t let the OCA’s present troubles discourage you…it’s hardly the whole Church…and those who are its bishops today (both good and bad) will soon enough be replaced by others when their time is done on the earth.

    • Michael Bauman says

      The Church is the Church and people are sinners. The Church exists to bring sinners to God. It is not surprising that we, therefore, have all kinds of sinful people and deal with all kinds of sin. That’s what the Church is about. It is about the struggle and engaging the stuggle both within and without.

      Look at the icon of the Nativity. All the joy and glad tidings going on but Joseph is sitting in the foreground having to deal with the tempter and all of the forces that want to destroy the child Jesus.

      Not only that, the Christ Child Himself is wrapped exactly as He will be wrapped when He is carried to his tomb.

      Rejoice in all things, but realize that much blood, sweat and tears are also to be joyfully given to God.

      If you want Jesus Christ, He is in the Church (the OCA included) in a way He simply is not anywhere else. If you something else, anything else, there are plenty of other places to accomondate you.

      What is important is whether or not you are following Him, not what the rest of we yahoos do or say.

    • Fr. George Washburn says

      Dear Cranmer:

      One supposes this isn’t your real name and is instead an allusion to the historical figure. Please correct me if I am wrong. If my guess is correct, however, I am wondering why it is necessary or desirable for someone who is not an Orthodox Christian to post here under an assumed name? When I am impolite enough to ask those purporting to be Orthodox Christians why they hide their identities they reply “lest we or our relatives should suffer retaliation for the views we express.” But surely that doesn’t apply to you ….


      Fr. George

      • Fr. George Watchbum says

        Pay no attention to me; I’ve nothing more pressing to do as an Orthodox priest than to fixate upon the names (or lack thereof) that people use on internet blogs. Truly, the harvest is minuscule and the laborers abundant.


        Fr. George

      • Who Cares If I'm Anonymous says


      • Patrick Henry Reardon says

        Father George asks, “I am wondering why it is necessary or desirable for someone who is not an Orthodox Christian to post here under an assumed name”

        Let me instruct you, Father:

        The name “Cranmer” suggests that this is an Anglican Christian, perhaps an Episcopalian.

        If this is the case, our writer may have every reason to fear retaliation.

        I mention this as a former priest in the Episcopal Church.

        I am not so sympathetic with the Orthodox Christians who write anonymously on this blog site. In the majority of cases their anonymity serves chiefly the disguise a lack of respect and responsibility.

        I may have mentioned this before.

        • Fr. George Washburn says

          Well said, Fr. Patrick, and had the writer given us a little more in the way of his bona fides I probably wouldn’t have said anything. My comments certainly weren’t a personal putdown to someone about whom none of us really know anything.

          In my view this place has become a hall of mirrors in which people clearly and constantly use male and female pseudonyms, not to mention multiple monikers, to manipulate, confuse and create impressions that suit their agendas. I have a strong, basic skepticism about all who post anonymously, and only slowly, reluctantly and cautiously accept those who with time seem to prove genuine.

          As to Cranmer, he seems to appear out of nowhere, says “Glory to Jesus Christ” ( a greeting I associate, rightly or wrongly, with zealous young Orthodox) with double exclamation points, tells us that his Christmas has been spoiled a bit by not converting, and then attributes his stopping short to the “mess with Jonah” (not even Met. Jonah as one might expect from a pious prospective convert priest) ….as if other well-known messes, both in and outside of the OCA, were unknown or of no effect.

          Which tends to convey a sympathy-inducing message that reinforces in a new way the drumbeat laid down by the seeming majority of the anonymous here. Maybe it is just my 3 decades or so of cross examining people for a living, and finding a lot of witnesses who were being “creative” with the truth, combined with experiences with the anonymous here and on other internet sites, but Cranmer left me with doubts which weren’t assuaged by the brief, subsequent post in which he says he is “Fr. Tim.”

          To the extent that my skepticism is not warranted in this instance, and he is exactly who he says he is, all best wishes and prayers indeed to Fr. Tim as he sorts out a very unpleasant dilemma. And I welcome any confidential contact Fr. Tim cares to make … with a guarantee of confidentiality.


          Fr. George

          • Fr. George Washburn says

            Hello friends:

            I am pleased to say that the person behind the Cranmer pseudonym took me up on that offer to get in touch. I am not quite as pleased to say that this is a real person bearing no resemblance to my suspicions, but say it I must. While I am not going to confirm any speculation as to his recent or present affiliation, it is clear to me that what he shared with us about the verge of conversion and his own discouragement due to Met. Jonah’s resignation is absolutely true, and worth our prayers.


            Fr. George

            • SOOOoooo… glad you shared that with us, Fr. George. While Fr. Tim was offering up his background for your scrutiny, did you also do the same – especially in terms of your part in the massacre at Ben Lomond? Somehow, I doubt it.

              A word to the wise Fr. Tim – google ‘Ben Lomond’ + ‘Antiochian’ and take it from there – if you do so, you’ll at least have some idea of whom you are dealing with.

              Que Fr. George’s worn ballad regarding anonymous posting and the use of pseudonyms, etc.

              • Fr. George Washburn says

                I took Nektarios’ advice and googled it myself. Came out disappointed at how many obvious inaccuracies are still sitting out there uncorrected. Let them sit.

                But yes, I was in the very middle of it, and once forced to do so, chose Orthodoxy and the rule of distant bishops over close friends …. who weren’t bishops. May you all never be put to such a test.

                love, and Happy Civil New Year to all

                Fr. George

        • Commenting anonymously has its risks (easier to be sharp and uncharitable), but so does commenting under your real name, depending on what circles you move in or what job you have. The “nom de plume” is a respected part of literary tradition, after all. On this blog it seems to me everyone comments with integrity regardless of what name they use, and I appreciate that. Nor do I expect everyone to use their real name, it might not be practical or safe.

    • Monk James Silver says

      Cranmer (December 25, 2012 at 12:41 pm) says:

      Glory to Jesus Christ!!
      Friends, I am not as festive this season. I struggle, almost converting to Orthodoxy but stopped short after the mess with Jonah. Please pray for me…

      St Paul reminds us that Gd loved us so much that He sent His only Son to become one of us and to die for us out of that same love even while we were sinners.  The Lord didn’t wait until we had become so sinless that we could share in the resurrection of Christ without first going through a great deal of suffering, just as our Lord Jesus Christ Himself did.
      Part of this suffering involves the bitter disappointments we experience in the behavior of people from whom we thought we had every right to expect better .  Imagine how the first Christians, even the apostles themselves, felt after Judas betrayed their Master, and  Jesus was led away to His death.  Yet they stayed together, frightened and miserable, until the resurrection of Christ helped them make sense of it all.
      Following their blessed example, then, I urge you not to lose faith but to rely on Christ;s promises in faith until you can see Him risen.  You have my poor prayers, asking that the Lord show you His resurrection and keep your hope alive.

    • Cranmer,

      “Friends, I am not as festive this season. I struggle, almost converting to Orthodoxy but stopped short after the mess with Jonah. Please pray for me…”

      Crammer, a humble solution, proven in practice:
      The bible says,
      “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17).
      Ask the Lord fervently, while walking down the street, while driving the car, etc, etc.

      The Lord will show you what to do.

  5. Patrick Henry Reardon says

    A blessed Christmas to all of you.

    I plead for the forgiveness of any of you whom I may have offended.

  6. email update says

    Victor Potapov

    Dear Brothers & Sisters,

    Here is a more complete collection of Metropolitan Jonah’s Friday evening talks:

    In XC,

    Fr. Victor

  7. Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

    May the Joy of the Feast of our Lord’s Incarnation bring peace and reconciliation to all.

    Sadly, Archbishop Benjamin of the OCA Diocese of the West apparently does not believe in the spirit of the Feast.

    His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah has been invited to lead an OCF in California in January. Also, His Beatitude has been invited to marry a young woman who he brought into the Orthodox Faith. Archbishop Benjamin can’t do a thing about +Jonah leading the OCF retreat, however he has exacted his petty, jealous, envious revenge by barring +Jonah from marrying the young woman and her fiancé. The great Benjamin has pronounced that +Jonah may attend the wedding, but is prohibited from serving.

    What utter madness. What a complete breakdown of good Church order, let alone brotherly love….”Peace on earth, good will among men” not quite when it comes to +Benjamin and the OCA synod relating to their brother, +Jonah.

    As of December 31, 2012, +Jonah will be cut off and on his own, his brother bishop’s, like Pontius Pilate, washing their hands of him, telling +Jonah to “see to it yourself.”

    At +Jonah’s former Cathedral in DC, their 2013 Pledge Drive is almost over with 31 December the deadline date for pledge cards. And what a success it is. All of 30 pledge cards have been returned, and two of those from former tithing members, who are now paying the minimum amount to the Cathedral, Diocese and OCA.

    But of course, all is well in the OCA. Things are just fine at St. Nicholas in DC. No need to worry about the bishops and Syosset staffers. Bishop Mark Maymon is now living on the dole of the diocese of eastern pennsylvania as their administration. This man is sure making the OCA rounds, and yet no one wants him. Will the EPA be his last stop?

    +Benjamin continues his vicious treatment of +Jonah, yet this is the same man who defecated in the backseat of a Las Vegas Police squad car, drunk as a belligerent skunk. He, however, treats +Jonah as if he was a reprobate. +Benjamin who is a drunk, had to have his stomach stapled because of his passion to food, yet he has projected his demons onto +Jonah.

    All of this and more has made the OCA the laughing stock of world Orthodoxy. Let’s see how many Churches show up in January for +Tikhon’s installation, oops sorry, Enthronement. Yeah, right.

    Thanks to all of you in Constantinople, Moscow and ROCOR who read this website and are grateful for the real news taking place with +Jonah.

    Syosset, if you want the OCA to be an Orthodox sect here in the USA, just tell us so we can make our choice. If you don’t care what other Orthodox Churches think of your actions, that you can just do whatever you want, please just tell us. Did people join the OCA to be part of a sect?

    • Father TIkhon Shevkunov and Metropolitan Jonah

      • In my innocense I assumed the OCA was doing ok.  How sad to know that even this bit of the Orthodox is as….  Up as the rest. I am so saddened. What can we expect from these reprobates? 

    • Nikos, what bit you? From whence did this old trash blow in? This isn’t helpful, or recent or relevant. Please don’t re-edit such negative and uncorroborated rumor. And why, Mr. Moderator, do you publish this while squelching cogent rebuttal of your extreme partisan politics?

  8. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    I and many other Christians just received a very good Christmas gift:

    Don’t you just love politics? Notice the Government is NOT taking an appeal to the US Supreme Court, but stating, in open Court, that they will NOT enforce the mandate as written and will re-write the HHS mandate and present the new rule to the DC Federal District Court in 60 days – March 31, 2013.

    Here comes the opt-out provision we originally had. Mark my words. Just love the pandering to the Atheists and Anti-Religious. They just got played. Well, there is only one thing to say to them and all:


    Peter A. Papoutsis

    PS. I said this was going to happen because this is how ALL politicians pander in an election year.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Peter, you are incredibly optimistic. Just because the HHS says things will change doesn’t mean they will. There is nothing in the Obama admistration to say that they will abide by any court ruling they don’t like. “We don’t need no stinkin’ Supreme Court, WE know better. Executive orders work just fine” Who is going to stop them? Even if by some miracle impeachment proceedings were taken to the Senate, do you think they’d convict? Even if they had a secure, well docmented video of Obama killing someone, they wouldn’t convict (that wouldn’t rise to the level of impeachment I’m sure), let alone anything as ridiculous as ignoring the U.S. Constituion and their oath to uphold it. It, after all, says whatever we want it to say.


      Seen any give on the Hobby Lobby case? Think the HHS won’t fine them out of business no matter what the regulations are and what any court says unless they give their pinch of incense to Caesar?

      Corella D’Ville aka Kathleen Sebalius loves abortion. She’ll always love abortion. She jsut likes killing children rather than dogs.

      That’s why I’m glad and say with gusto: “Christ is Born!” ’cause anything in this world is just more insanity, lust of power, greed and death.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        By the way that’s not optimism that’s just knowing court procedure not just in what the Obama Administration does but in what it does NOT do and what it explicitly stated in an official court record that they will not enforce the HHS mandate as written and will rewite it and send it to the Court for review in 60 days.


      • Menas Portigas says

        . . . See


         Basil the Great (330-379) imposed the same ten-year exclusion on any woman who purposely destroyed her unborn child, even if unformed.  Abortion was sometimes regarded as worse than murder, but Basil thus imposed for it a lesser penance than the twenty-year exclusion that he imposed for intentional homicide, apparently because abortion was likely to be due to fear and shame rather than malice.  . . Several historians have written that prior to the 19th century most Catholic authors did not regard termination of pregnancy before “quickening” or “ensoulment” as an abortion.  . .   John Chrysostom believed that late-stage abortion was not as bad as deliberately killing an already-born person, whereas contraception was definitely worse than murder, according to him. 

    • Carl Kraeff says

      I loved this from your cited article: “There is no ‘Trust us changes are coming’ clause in the Constitution,” wrote judge Brian Cogan.”

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        That’s why the court is giving them 60 days to re-write the rule and come back on March 31, 2013. Also, if this were not the case the Obama Administration would have already taken the appeal to the Supreme Court and not even bothered with a rewrite. So let’s wait and see, but so far its moving in the right direction.

        Let’s just wait and see.


        • Michael Bauman says

          They continue enforcement against Hobby Lobby. I don’t have any faith the Obama will give in in any appreciable way. Delay and then just do what he wants to do. Who will hold him accountable?

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            The U.S. Supreme Court if the Obama Administration does not do what it says it will do. We will know in 60 days.

            • Michael Bauman says

              How can the Supreme Court hold Obama accountable? How long before Hobby Lobby is out of business? 1.3 million a DAY. Now that’s accommodation of Christian belief for you.

              My prediction: Obama will do nothing, the courts will do nothing and Hobby Lobby will either go bankrupt or its owners imprisoned for contempt. Obama continues to ignore the rule of law and the Constitution with impunity.

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                The Court will do so as it has since the very beginnings of our Republic and the case of Marbury v. Madison making the U.S. Supreme Court the final Arbitrator in regards to the U.S. Constitution.


                • Michael Bauman says

                  Peter, I know all that. That’s not my question. What actual means is there to hold a sitting President accountable if he chooses to ignore a Supreme Court ruling other than impeachment?

                  IMAO, absent a culture that values the rule of law rather than the rule of ideology there is simply no way to hold a sitting President or any politician functionally accountable. We are no longer a nation that values the rule of law as a fundamental idea. That didn’t just change with the last election, the errosion has been going on my entire life. What the last election did was cement that the idea of ideological rule.

                  There is no longer any moral standard which is widely agreed upon to support the rule of law. Every person is a law unto themselves.

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    Michael I will agree with your last point and will agree with your first point only so far as if it gets that far then yes. However, I do not believe in the slightest that we are there with the Obama Administration.


              • To quote District Court Judge Carol Jackson:

                “However, the challenged regulations do not demand that plaintiffs alter their behavior in a manner that will directly and inevitably prevent plaintiffs from acting in accordance with their religious beliefs. Frank O’Brien is not prevented from keeping the Sabbath [Sherbert v. Verner], from providing a religious upbringing for his children [Yoder v. Wisconsin], or from participating in a religious ritual such as communion [Gonzales v. O Centro]. Instead, plaintiffs remain free to exercise their religion, by not using contraceptives and by discouraging employees from using contraceptives. The burden of which plaintiffs complain is that funds, which plaintiffs will contribute to a group health plan, might, after a series of independent decisions by health care providers and patients covered by OIH’s plan, subsidize someone else’s participation in an activity that is condemned by plaintiffs’ religion. This Court rejects the proposition that requiring indirect financial support of a practice, from which plaintiff himself abstains according to his religious principles, constitutes a substantial burden on plaintiff’s religious exercise.

                [The Religious Freedom Restoration Act] is a shield, not a sword. It protects individuals from substantial burdens on religious exercise that occur when the government coerces action one’s religion forbids, or forbids action one’s religion requires; it is not a means to force one’s religious practices upon others. RFRA does not protect against the slight burden on religious exercise that arises when one’s money circuitously flows to support the conduct of other free-exercise-wielding individuals who hold religious beliefs that differ
                from one’s own.”

                If Hobby Lobby is going to flout the law, they deserve to pay the consequences. But don’t worry, if they go bankrupt, the free market will create a new enterprise to take delivery of the countless cargo containers from Chinese manufacturers that make up Hobby Lobby’s inventory of mediocre craft supplies.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Mr Trost, that you don’t care about religious freedom has ceased being a surprise to me. The one constant I have found about the Left is their totalitarian impulse. Still, I would imagine that as an Obamalatrist, you would have have a care about further increases in the the ranks of the unemployed should Hobby Lobby go out of business. Guess not. That’s what food stamps are for, right?

                  • No, we merely disagree on where the lines between religious freedom and religious oppression intersect. And by oppression I mean both religion being oppressed and religion doing the oppressing. I’m presuming you at least think there should be a line somewhere.

                    It’s rather bemusing that you presume I am of “The Left”, much less an “Obamalatrist”, whatever that may be. I’ve never voted for the man. Mr. Michalopulos, perhaps you should consider the possibility that I post critical comments not because I am of “The Left” or an Obama booster, but because I find your essays and comments filled with inaccuracies, fallacies, false facts, faulty reasoning, and unwarranted presumptions (see: Obamalatrist).

                    At any rate, it’s always a mistake to read too many tea leaves into the whims of the Supreme Court, but even if HHS didn’t revise requirements, I wouldn’t be too eager to bet on the court overturning contraception coverage requirements on religious freedom grounds. I suspect even if the supposedly unacceptable requirements went away, we’ll still see a whole new wave of previously undefined “religious objections” to Obamacare litigated in the courts.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      No, we don’t disagree on where the lines between religious freedom and religious oppression interact. You don’t believe that the HHS mandates are a form of religious oppression. If you can’t see that then meaningful dialogue is impossible. BTW, no religion is “doing the oppressing,” that’s not even a issue. (Unless of course you’re confusing Iran with the United States.)

                      If you are not an Obamaphile, please forgive me. Regardless, you certainly do a great impersonation of one.

                      Please list the fallacies.

                      I presumed you were of the Left (I still do so btw). You presume that if the “supposedly unacceptable requirements went away, [we’d] see a whole new wave of previously undefined ‘religious objections’ to Obamacare.” No we wouldn’t because the HHS mandates are the only ones in Obamacare that impact religious freedom. As is well-known, the Catholic Church went along with Obamacare but only took umbrage with the HHS mandates. We would see “a whole new wave” of Constitutional, procedural, administrative, practical, theoretical, economic, and who-knows-what objections to the monstrosity that is Obamacare but that is whole other issue. I at least can see the difference between the religious infringements of the HHS mandates and the rest of Obamacare. Therefore I don’t want to hurt my credibility by confusing mandatory taxes (which is a fiscal issue and one that is clearly unconstitutional) with forcing churches to subsidize abortions, which is a form of religious persecution (think forcing Jews and Muslims to cease performing circumcisions).

                      Clearly you don’t grasp the difference between religious oppression and non-workable legal policies. Because of your inability to distinguish between these, I am left to conclude that between us, you are the one who is engaging in “fallacies [and] faulty reasoning.”

                    • Nate Trost says

                      Your statement makes no sense. You are saying we “don’t disagree on the where the lines” followed by saying I don’t believe the HHS mandates constitute religious oppression. You are correct in the latter which means we disagree on the former. You saying that if I can’t see that then meaningful dialogue is impossible doesn’t negate the fundamental fact that we are in disagreement. I’d argue that you are painting yourself into a corner as an extremist because my challenge to you was that presumably you thought there should be a line somewhere. From your response, apparently not.

                      As far as listing your fallacies, I’ve already responded to a number of particularly bothersome things in several threads. I by no means mean to tackle the enormity that is your complete “body of work”, life is short.

                      I think you are not nearly cynical enough as to how far litigious social conservatives are willing to be agitating after Obamacare, no matter how increasingly preposterous the grounds. I would like to be wrong, but recent history doesn’t have me betting against myself yet.

                      And we’re going to throw circumcision into this mess now? So, what, your position is the current laws in the US Federal Code on female circumcision are religious oppression and should be repealed as unconstitutional?

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      I’ll answer you about female circumcision when you answer me about male circumcision. And yes, I truly believe you don’t understand the simple meaning of religious persecution. It doesn’t get any simpler than this: forcing a Christian hospital to perform an abortion is a form of religious persecution.

                    • Nate Trost says

                      Except, of course, we weren’t talking about hospitals and abortion. This whole tangent started due to Hobby Lobby. We are talking about government requirements for health insurance policies to include coverage of providing contraceptives. You’re the one pulling abortion, circumcision and whatever else is in arms reach into the conversation. Quit moving the goalposts.

                      Again, you are ultimately presenting yourself as either an extremist, for which anything is justified under the banner of “religious freedom”, or you come across as just trying to duck having to admit that what constitutes religious persecution to you is pretty much limited to any potential infringement against your own personal beliefs, and beyond that it’s pretty much arbitrary depending on your own personal whims about the beliefs of other people.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      That’s an interesting point, Nate –illegitimate but interesting nonetheless. Would you feel the same if the HHS mandates forced Jewish and Muslim institutions to perform and/or provide for abortion coverage for their employees? If not, why not?

                    • Nate Trost says

                      In other words, you have no real response.

                      As to your other question, it’s amusing you ask me questions with needless details that are irrelevant since I believe: 1) Laws should be applied equally. How do I feel about X/Y/Z religion? I feel they should be treated the same under the law. 2) I believe in the rule of law, if you exhaust your legal options for challenging something and the options are give up, comply, or flout, if you choose the latter you have to be willing to pay the price for it.

                      Even when abortion isn’t actually the issue, you drag it into the discussion because it’s easy to paint in big black and white dramatics, rather than being willing to face the difficult stuff. Extremely lazy.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Abortion is the issue Nate. Abortion now, euthanasia later.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  By that reasoning, the government could force us to subsidize child sacrifice if they so deemed. Oh, that, exactly what they are doing. Such a little thing after all. Just a pinch of incense.

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                  The problem is there was a specific opt out provision that was offered that the Obama Administration later withdrew, and is currently re-writing and not enforcing as written. The HHS Mandate does violate the First Amendment and the DC Court saw this and the Obama Administration admitted as much in its argument before the DC District Court. Hence the 60 day deadline for the re-write of the HHS Mandate.


                • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                  It looks like other judges think the imposition of the HHS mandates on private business need a closer look.

                  Federal Judge Grants Tom Monaghan Emergency Request; Halts Government Enforcement of HHS Mandate

                  Thomas Moore Law Center

                  ANN ARBOR, MI – The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, announced that yesterday (12/30/12) Federal District Court Judge Lawrence P. Zatkoff of the Eastern District of Michigan, granted its Emergency Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order of the HHS Mandate. The motion was filed on behalf of Tom Monaghan.

                  Judge Zatkoff’s ruling effectively halts enforcement of the HHS mandate against Monaghan and his property management company, Domino’s Farms Corporation of which he is the owner and sole shareholder. Domino’s Farms Corporation manages an Office Complex owned by Monaghan and is not to be confused with Domino’s Pizza. Monaghan sold the Pizza company in 1998 and has no active affiliation with it at this time.

                  The HHS mandate refers to regulations adopted by the Department of Health and Human Services that forces employers, regardless of their religious convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception under threat of heavy penalties.

                  Click here to read Judge Zatkoff’s entire opinion.

                  Erin Mersino, TMLC’s lead counsel on the case filed the original complaint for Declaratory Judgment and Injunctive relief on December 14, 2012. On December 21, 2012, Mersino filed the Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order.

                  Judge Zatkoff issued his ruling amid a flurry of briefs and supplemental pleadings over the Christmas Holiday between Erin Mersino and the Government’s attorney. The need for quick resolution was clear—on January 1, 2013, Tom Monaghan would be forced to choose between violating his religious beliefs and violating federal law.

                  For purposes of the emergency Motion, Judge Zatkoff focused only on the claim brought under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. He held he did not need to engage in a separate discussion of Plaintiffs’ Constitutional right to the Free Exercise of Religion since both theories seek to protect the same liberty interest—the free practice of one’s religion.

                  The Government is expected to appeal Judge Zatkoff’s ruling.

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    When you have such unanimity in the Federal District Courts the U.S. Supreme Court may either NOT take it, allowing the lower court ruilings to control or to take the case and basically adopting the lower court’s rulings, but maybe changing the legal basis slightly. President Obama knew this was going to happen and is letting it happen. Hence my “Red Meat” theory still holds.


    • After Royal Hours yesterday, I had a brief conversation about politics with a visiting Greek gentleman. He told me that the word politics is a Greek word with poly meaning many and thus leaving tics. Thus he explained, politics means many blood suckers. 
      I had to agree with him in my estimation of politics be it church or cultural. 

      • Monk James Silver says

        This is folk etymology at its worst.
        Our word ‘politics’ is based on the Greek word polis, meaning ‘city’, which also yields politeia (‘community, society’).
        Greek /poly/ ‘many’ is not involved in the etymology of ‘politics’ at all.

      • Jacksson, Great story! This is folk etymology at its finest.  It makes a very valid – I would say indisputable – point in a humorous way.  No doubt the Greek gentleman had a smile or grin on his face when he told you that. 
        By the way, speaking of “folk etymology,” did you hear the one about the Phoenician, the Philistine, and the Palestinian who walk into a bar?

        • blimbax,
          yes it reminds of the “folk etymology” of the Japanese word kimono supposedly originating from the Greek word khimona (χειμῶνα) i.e. winter.
          Source: “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”

          • What about those pesky straights in Malaysia? And Potomac being Potami depsite the fact that Hugh Pope Sons of Conquerors clearly shows American Indians are Turks and speak a Turkic Magog language. How the leftist Greeks squandered a golden opportunity to tell Americans their Turk oppressors where the same people who slew General Custer and bombed Pearl harbor!

  9. Fr Washburn, my name is Fr Tim.

    • Fr. Tim,
      Prayers for sure. My husband, too, was an Episcopal priest and we understand the issues, both persecution from “others” and horror at what is happening in the OCA.
      I am in tears at your answer. It is not easy, but God is still in charge. We trust that God has something in mind for Metropolitan Jonah that will give us all pause.
      Blessed are you when men….for great is your reward in Heaven.
      love from KS.

    • Fr. Tim, I hope you’ll prayerfully consider the Orthodox Western Rite. It would most likely be a much better fit and we are much to busy struggling to survive and grow as we proclaim the Gospel than to play the byzantine games of the OCA, GOA, etc. Please, at the very least, speak with Bp. Jerome (Shaw) of the ROCOR about the possibility of the Western Rite becoming your new home.

    • God be with you, Fr. Tim.

      • I am Orthodox but not in the OCA or even in the USA but this comment struck me in my web reading today:

        Well, God’s will has been fulfilled. But you notice when you look at the photographs of the Church services taken during the trip is that there is a marked difference between the ROCOR parishes

        The St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington, D.C., ROCOR. Photo: Mikhail Rodionov/

        and those of the OCA (Orthodox Church in America). In the former you see life bubbling over, but in the latter, a kind of frozenness.

        The St. Nicholas Cathedral, Washington D.C., Orthodox Church in America. Photo: Mikhail Rodionov/

        —The Orthodox Church in America right now is not experiencing its best times, and we pray for our brothers with our whole hearts and hope that they can quickly get through this crisis. The word “crisis” here is no exaggeration. That is how they themselves recognize their current situation.

        It’s well worth looking up the article to see the photos, which reveal exactly what Archimandrite Tikhon is describing.

        • Was at both events says


          A picture hardly tells a story, does it? The first group of photos, at St. John the Baptist, show more people present including yours truly and spouse. The St. John’s Russian festival was also going on outside and an icon was visiting. There were food concessions and suchlike, and, in one corner, but I personally could not get to him, Archimandrite Tikhon Shevkunov signing his book Some of the people in the OCA cathedral pictures are the same people! And vice versa. There are more photos of the Sretensky weekend by Mr. Rodionov, by the way. A local clergyman sent me the linik last night to those, so let’s see if I can find them in the email. Thus, at St. John’s, there was accessibility ot the choir and entertainment and food and gift concessions. There was also the presence of Metropolitan Jonah, advertized in advance. There were even people you never see at the services, or rarely, at St. John’s, the ROCOR cathedral..

          On the OCA visit,the choir members sat by themselves and after the service they put Father Tikhon up on a dias in the corner with Father Victor Potopov of the ROCOR in the other corner and Bishop Mechisidek and Father Kishkovski in the middle.

          The picture you will see of Metropolitan Jonah and Father Tikhon is outside the cathedral for a reason. Even though the Metropolitan lives in the house next door on Edmunds St. to the cathedral, he is not welcome in the cathedral itself. So, although Metropolitan Jonah was at the ROCOR services, to which he was invited, he was not at the OCA cathedral, inside which he was reportedly expressly told not to serve. OK, here we are. The article is titled

          Two Orthodox Services in Washington, DC.

          I think not too much can be made of the solemnity in the faces at St. Nicholas because the Gospel was being read. And, as I said, people at St. Nicholas were also at St. John’s. Since the rapprochement with Moscow of the ROCOR, we have all felt ourselves to be one Church in Washington. The only thing that is damaging that feeling right now is the way Metropolitan Jonah is being treated which began a couple years ago. And many of us who abhor politics of any kind do not even understand how that began or what happened, only that someone great was hobbled and then taken from us and still is being treated poorly. So what has happened is that we all in the OCA feel perfectly welcome to attend the ROCOR and to start getting involved over there, but some of us are not even welcome in the OCA any more. or have our participation hobbled in some way. Some individuals have chosen to lessen their participation, resigning from this or that committee or function.

          Some sections of the photo article you cited at are striking:

          Even in Russia I have noticed that clergy and laity of ROCOR readily come to us like coming home, as if they were priests or pilgrims from Omsk or Tula. And when we were in America, it was hard to remember that there had been many long years when we did not receive Communion from the same chalice. Everything has come into place—at times quite unexpectedly. This was eloquently expressed by, for example, the portraits of A. I. Denikin, Metropolitan Anastasia (Gribanovsky), and Patriarch Kirill, all placed right next to each other on the walls of parish halls.

          But in the following, I think this is an unfair comparison because some of the folks at the OCA service that I saw there in the photos even are ROCOR, Serbian Orthodox, Bulgarian Orthodox, Romanian Archdiocese and Ukrainian Orthodox parish members. But it was not a festival weekend and even seemed kind of poorly planned in terms of Archmandrite Tikhon’s book. There were none available for sale and people were told to go to St. John’s, the ROCOR church, to get one.

          The St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington, D.C., ROCOR. Photo: Mikhail Rodionov/
          —Well, God’s will has been fulfilled. But you notice when you look at the photographs of the Church services taken during the trip is that there is a marked difference between the ROCOR parishes and those of the OCA (Orthodox Church in America). In the former you see life bubbling over, but in the latter, a kind of frozenness.

          It was so nice to read this in the article you cited in Archmandrite Tikhon’s words concerning the translator of his book:

          —His name is Julian Lowenfeld. Many consider his translations of Pushkin, Tiuchev, and Lermontov, to be the best there is today. For me it was very important that such a translator decided to be the one to introduce the English speaking public to Everyday Saints.

          Julian was raised in a Catholic family but considered himself an agnostic. It took him about a half a year to translate the book, and when the final editing work was being done in Moscow, he came here to our monastery and unexpectedly announced his firm decision to become Orthodox. Julian wanted to be baptized precisely here, in Moscow. He was told, “You can come and be baptized any time.” Then, without knowing about the ancient Christian tradition of baptizing catechumens on Great Saturday, he arrived in Moscow no earlier or later than Great Friday, and with no other intention than to receive holy Baptism. So, on Great Saturday, we performed the Baptism according to all the rules and canons of the Church. His Godmother was Nun Cornelia, also an American, and one of the editors of the English translation. Of course, I cannot but be overjoyed that the book he translated at least in part influenced him to make that decision.

          Awaiting the Nativity with sweet anticipation and hope you are having blessed times. Thank you for the article.

  10. Michael Bauman says

    Nate: there is no reason for any insurance policy to cover any type of contraceptive as they are not medically necessary treatment for some disease. Neither is what contraceptives supposedly protect against unforseen and fortuitous. All three conditions must be met for such coverage to be insurance related.

    The Constitution (for you an outdated and ‘living document’ I’m sure) says that the Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion or the free exercise thereof. the 14th Amendment extended those provisions to the states.

    As with free speech there have been certain restrictions placed upon free exercise due to direct harm they do to others such as ritual sacrifice, honor killings, and female circumcision (which has nothing to do with Islam really, it is a left over tribal custom and is prohibited many authoritative imams and scholars in Islam).

    Otherwise folks have been pretty much left alone to practice as they see fit, until recently. Radical interpretations of the establishment clause have increasingly made in-roads to actual practice of the faith by Christians and Christians alone.

    The protection racket inforcer has become “Americans United for Separation of Church and State” who goes around the country suing or threatening any civic body that has any Christian symbol displayed on public land or logos or supposedly subsidizes any expression of Christian faith. They pick on small cities mostly who they feel will not have the money to defend themselves.

    It is clear cut persecution. Hobby Lobby is under the gun because their owner had the termerity to say that he supported the Bibical view of marriage between a man and a woman (shocking I know, such utter hate speech). Therefore he must be punished and put out of business. If that is not persecution, don’t k now what is.

    • M. Stankovich says

      I have posted this same link twice on Fr. Ioannes’ site: in 2000, the EEOC ruled that an employer, apparently a Roman Catholic sponsored hospital, was obligated to provide an employee, a registered nurse, with prescription contraceptives:

      In order to avoid violating Title VII in the future:

      Respondents must cover the expenses of prescription contraceptives to the same extent, and on the same terms, that they cover the expenses of the types of drugs, devices, and preventive care identified above. Respondents must also offer the same coverage for contraception-related outpatient services as are offered for other outpatient services. Where a woman visits her doctor to obtain a prescription for contraceptives, she must be afforded the same coverage that would apply if she, or any other employee, had consulted a doctor for other preventive or health maintenance services. Where, on the other hand, Respondents limit coverage of comparable drugs or services (e.g., by imposing maximum payable benefits), those limits may be applied to contraception as well.

      Respondents’ coverage must extend to the full range of prescription contraceptive choices. Because the health needs of women may change — and because different women may need different prescription contraceptives at different times in their lives — Respondents must cover each of the available options for prescription contraception. Moreover, Respondents must include such coverage in each of the health plan choices that it offers to its employees. See 29 C.F.R. part 1604, App. Q&A 24; Arizona Governing Committee v. Norris, 463 U.S. 1073, 1081-82 n.10 (1983).

      If the intention here is to make a case that the current administration is responsible for initiating landmark violations of constitutional rights and the separation of church & state, you would be approximately 13-years late to the party.

    • Nate Trost says

      1) Oral contraceptives aren’t used to treat medical conditions, except of course in the cases where they are.
      2) “Medical necessity” is a rather subjective statement. Taken to its logical extreme, this view means anything that merely improves or stabilizes of quality of life shouldn’t be covered by insurance, just things that keep you from dropping dead in the hospital.
      3) Pregnancy is a very serious medical condition with risks of dangerous and expensive complications up to and including death.

      We are in disagreement whether requirements for insurance policies to include contraceptive coverage violate the free exercise clause of the Constitution. I already posted the salient bits from a relevant legal opinion to this matter. That I agree with it and you do not is really irrelevant: it is the interpretation of the law. You don’t get to define “rule of law” as “how I think the Constitution should be interpreted”. When it comes the the Constitution, you sound like an Independent Baptist with a copy of the Bible telling us what’s what.

      Hobby Lobby is under the gun because their owner had the termerity to say that he supported the Bibical view of marriage between a man and a woman (shocking I know, such utter hate speech).

      So, in your mind, that Hobby Lobby explicitly said they weren’t going to follow the law is irrelevant? If you drive up to a speed trap, roll down the window, smile and wave at the officer while taking a swig of Jack Daniels right out of the bottle and drive away and he subsequently pulls you over, are you being persecuted because you believe marriage is defined as between a man and a woman? I guess so! Poor persecuted you!

      • George Michalopulos says

        There are only two medical conditions which OC’s can be used: certain types of acne and endometriosis. Waivers can be gotten for them just like waivers can be gotten for brand-name Percocet. That’s specious.

        “Medically necessity” are part of real life. They’re also part of Obamacare. Get over it.

        Pregnancy is a serious medical condition. It’s not a disease however. Life is a dangerous medical condition as well.

        • Archpriest John Morris says

          There are other conditions which a woman needs to take birth control pills. My unmarried daughter has to take birth control pills because she had ovarian cysts and had to have an operation. To prevent further ovarian cysts,she still has to take birth control pills.
          There are Orthodox specialists in ethics who see nothing wrong with non abortive methods of birth control. The statement on medical ethics approved a few years ago by the Moscow Patriarchate states that the Church does not consider it a sin to use non-abortive methods of birth control when used properly.

          • George Michalopulos says

            I failed to mention ovarian cysts, as well as dysmenorrhea.

            • Archpriest John Morris says

              Thank you.
              However, I do not believe that the government has a right to violate the religious freedom of a church or any other religious group by forcing it to pay for medical procedures that are against its beliefs. It is a very important matter of religious freedom. It is also a matter of stopping the growth of excessive power by the federal government under Obama. The whole issue of the so called war on women was a cheap campaign trick by Obama and his people to frighten women into voting for him.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Nate you are showing your ignorance of insurance and the extensive case law surrounding health insurance contracts. “Medically necessary” is clearly defined in every health insurance contract and any ambiguity is always interpreted in favor of the insured.

        Your objection just shows the extent to which the supporters of Obamacare ignore reason, law, and facts replacing them with emotionally driven hysteria simply to promote a utopian ideology that ends up killing people..

        • Nate Trost says

          In other words, “medically necessary” means whatever the contracts say it means, which is driven in large part by…government regulations. I certainly agree that government regulations can explicitly spell out covering contraceptives as medically necessary in health insurance contracts. You were the one implicitly linking medical necessity to disease. If there’s one thing I don’t believe in, it’s utopia…

          • George Michalopulos says

            Lot’s of things are “medically necessary” but don’t get covered. OC’s which are almost never medically necessary get covered for one reason only: to ram them down the Catholic Church’s throat. Next comes abortion.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Many government regulations, as with the contraceptive mandate, go beyond what is medically necessary and impose coverage while often refusing to allow insurance companies to adequately price for that coverage. To cover the added cost, companies had to restrict underwriting. Almost every government regulation I have seen in my 30 years in the insurance business had the intial effect of driving companies from the market and often resulted in fewer people having coverage.

            The cost will be paid by someone in some way. With Obamacare the cost will be through massive tax increases and rationing of care at least according to the insurance commisserner of the State of Kansas (a supporter of the plan, in general). That simply means that we will pay more (a lot more) for less.

            The first folks to feel the brunt of rationing are those on Medicare (all ready going on begun under Bush). The taxes will begin to hit in earnest this year and grow over time.

            The whole thing is a massive pile of government garbage that we are not only forced to eat but to pay premium prices for.

            I’m the first one to say, BTW, that if the private health insurers had been doing a proper job of designing and selling inventive polices and state insurance commissoners having the guts to approve those innovations rather that merely looking at profit each quarter, we would be far less likely to have the mess we do.

            “All are punished.”

            • Michael James Kinsey says

              The method to Obamacare madness is quite apparent. In a ruthless drive to cut down expenses, those health care providers will extend preferential treatment to those who have a chip ( mark of the beat already manditory for some) as the it is more cost effective. Those who have no chip will be faced with possible life threatening delays, while the beaster’s are put at the top of the list Economic triage in health care as the bottom line looms ever all important. They have their ways. If I sholud call you ever again to visit your church as I did when you were in Forestville, perhaps you will extend an invitation rather than a firm unwelcome.You write as a reasonable man, and I am also quite reasonable.

              • Archpriest John Morris says

                Obama care is a very poorly designed system that will not work. I have a suspicion that was done on purpose to pave the way for one payer completely socialized medicine like they have in England.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  Fr. John, on the contrary, Obamacare was expertly designed to beggar the American people, give an excuse to raise taxes and furtther control the lives and the pocketbooks of the citizens. There was never any intent, IMO, to actually improve either health or care. As it fails, the hew and cry from the governing elite (no matter which party) will be “More of the same, we must have more of the same”.

                  Ultimately we are all more poor, less free and the health of the nation in all ways will get worse.

                • What is wrong with the NHS that they have in Uk!?  I worked in it for 30 yrs in mostly mental health on the coal face and last year, visiting I had a cardiac Emergency and was admitted to the hospital (intensive cardiac unit) that  I  had til recently worked in. I was there  for two weeks having all the tests and treatment and including  MRI scan and cardiac stress tests.  I had superb medical and nursing care and healthy choice of food, and did not pay a penny piece. 
                  No British citizen, I am duel  Greek and British national, at the moment of medical crisis and after, need ever worry about money, in work or out of work,  to get best care . If I had been in USA God knows what would have happened and I have had patients who had that experience in USA with bills for ten of thousands of dollars.
                  Now no invented   system, especially one covering 65 million  people, is going to be problem free. That  is life and there are different ways of paying for it. In tax as in Uk or madatory insurance as in France and Germany. 
                  I do not understand totally yr USA obscessive fear of what u call ‘ socialist medicine’.   Yr system is top heavy,  the most expensive and USA has falling,  failing health statistics including life expectancy and new born survival rates,  that should put u guys to shame. All this is fact.  
                  Now you have every right to organise yr health systems as you, the american people see fit, but currently as it stood, a total Republicans government majority and president, were not able because the great genius in white house could somehow not bring his lazar sharp
                  Vision to focus!! ? You can   tell me to keep my big nose out of it. And I mostly do and just enjoy the comedy show.
                  But when you mention the NHS like it’s some evil demon from hell,  then I have every right to call u out and I will EVERY TIME. 

                  • michsel. Ouzo with b/b goat.  When i was a meat EATER was heaven!!!  ? 
                    Perhaps too much goat as well?. 

          • Michael Bauman says

            Nate, contracts are a good thing. They are one of them most thourghly tested ways to have both sides to an agreement adequately protected in the transaction. All insurance is contractual, something that often gets lost in the hyper-hysteria that the demogouges on all sides like to whip up.

            Every insurance contract has to be approved by state insurance departments before those contracts can be offered in specific states. Because the insured rarely has much input into the formation of the contract, they are legally interpreted on behalf of the insured as much as possible. However, if a policy exclusion says that TMJ will not be covered (and the policy language is that clear). Their is no legal or moral standing for any insured to demand that coverage.

            People don’t read the contracts. They simply assume that what they want covered will be covered. When I sell a healh policy I go over the exclusions before I do anything else. Occasionally, the person even listens, although I’ve seen much more of the eyes rolling back into their heads and an impatient request for the cost. “Benefits and exclusions? I don’t need no stinkin’ knowledge about benefits and exclusions”

            Had one today like that, in fact. Fortunately, he did not even make an appointment. When I wouldn’t give him a price over the phone, he got upset and we both went about our ways. There is one health insurer I represent (rarely) that has over 20,000 different plan and benefit options which they offer on the internet extensively. People buy on price alone and are then in for a big shock when they get hosptialized and have to pay a large amount out of pocket.

            If you want to know your rights, read the contract. If all you want to do is raise hell, any pretext will do.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Unjust and un-Constitutional laws should be disobeyed. And they are taking their case to court. If the other cases are not prosecuted it is possible that what we see is selective prosecution. The federal government is becoming increasingly lawless.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Amen. Otherwise, let’s just tear up the Constitution and tell Queen Elizabeth to let us back in.

          • Archpriest John Morris says

            Why would we want to do that. We do not need Elizabeth II, we already have Obama who is tearing up our Constitution and making himself king?

  11. Gail Sheppard says

    It’s kind of fun to see all the comments through the years.

    Merry Christmas, everyone! Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

  12. To George et al,
    Real Name vs virtual Anonymity?
    There are two extreme cases.

    Extreme case 1: Signing a contract.
    The official full names and surnames are required.Indeed, they must be duly proven by passports, identity cards etc.

    Extreme case 2: Asking for information.
    You are in a strange town and you ask somebody:
    “Excuse me, where is the Post Office?”
    Can you imagine the other person asking you in turn,
    “Who are you?”

    Now imagine you are on a Cruise on a ship for 1-2 weeks,
    with another 1000 passengers.Every day you sit at any 10-seat round table for breakfast, lunch, dinner.You meet many strangers at the table, (let alone the rest of the day on board).
    You go: “Hi! I am Jim”,
    (you do not explain whether you are Anglo James, or Spanish Jaime, or even Greek Dimitri)
    The stranger replies,
    “Hi, I am Theo”.
    (Is that Theophilus, Theodore, Theofan, Theoklitos, or what?)
    You see Theo a few more times on board, you talk about the weather, the food service even the financial and political situation.
    Can you imagine Theo saying to you:
    “Look here, oh yes …Jim, I don’t want to discuss anything with you, because I don’t know who you really are…”!

    You meet many more people there. But you become very good friends with “Theo” whose real name is Theodore Jones, you exchange addresses with real names.
    Your son of 25 called Robin (real name William!) is also on the Cruise. He meets a girl “Joyce” (passport name unknown).They fall in love with each other. At some stage they exchange their real, official names too. “Joyce” is really called Eftychia in Greek but she likes to use an English name.They get married a year later.

    Can we look at the forum here like a kinda intellectual or spiritual “Cruise”?
    Why not?
    There are many similarities between the two!George provides the space and serves the food and overall order and safety. There are pools of discussions, like round tables of many seats.We give our name (real or not) but we do not show our passport.At any moment we have the freedom to go away. The majority of blogs allow pseudonyms.

    But, Anonymity “allows” you to be rude to the others.
    Oops, Enter George the moderator who takes measures!Even with so many virtually anonymous people here, there is generally a good and polite level of discussion.

    But, your real name proves you know what you are talking about.
    So if somebody signs as the full title of EP you are sure he is right? Forget it.
    St.J.Chrysostom said that it is not important WHO says something, but rather WHAT he says.

    How can Anonymity guarantee true information?
    At the end of the day there is no absolute guarantee, if no documentation is shown.Both the Real Name, and the Anonymous may (un)consciously provide wrong information.With a real name one will avoid writing lies, but he will not disclose sensitive information because he may get problems.On the other hand the Anonymous will feel freer to disclose a kind of “secret” information.

    Internet Security and development?
    Our friend Martin here wrote:
    “Removal of anonymity is a key condition to silence Internet”.

    A real test question for the fore-runners opponents of Anonymity:
    Suppose there is somebody who is working for the EP and he sees something utterly wrong in the EP.
    What do you prefer:
    (1) that he sends this information to us here under a pseudonym?
    (2) that he sends this information to us here with his full name and title and that he is “properly” punished by EP?
    (3) that he does nothing of the sort.

    So, what do we do?
    I would like to ask our brethren and sistren here to forget the matter of anonymity, and not waste time unusually criticizing pseudonyms  and get on with the real truthful work,Love of Christ and that His Will be done.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Good point, Ioannis. (George is all that and then some, BTW.) After people post for a while, they become more real than anything you could see on a passport. We get to know them through their writing. The only time I think a real name is important is if what you’re saying is made more powerful through your personal credibility. If people know you as being straightforward and honest then what you have to say has more weight.

    • “With a real name one will avoid writing lies”.
      This never seemed to bother Dr Goebbels.

      Apart from that, well said.

      • Thanks Brendan!
        I agree, Dr Goebbels won’t be bothered in any case, with his real name or a pseudo-name.  He will always do his job…properly.

  13. Ronda Wintheiser says

    I don’t understand why so many of these posts through the years are from way back in 2012…   Whatsupwiththat?
    Regardless, one comment stood out to me; from Archpriest John Morris.  He wrote:  “There are other conditions which a woman needs to take birth control pills. My unmarried daughter has to take birth control pills because she had ovarian cysts and had to have an operation. To prevent further ovarian cysts,she still has to take birth control pills…”
    It is so frustrating to me that people seem so unaware of the fact that there are natural remedies for conditions like this that do not require such a harsh “intrusion” on a woman’s delicate reproductive and endocrine system. 
    Using the Pill for conditions like that is akin to using a hammer to kill a fly on someone’s forehead.

  14. Michael Bauman says

    One thing that the posts from 7 years ago, a mere .3 of 1% of the current history of the Church shows to me, is how inconsequential all the doom and dismay really is.

    1. We don’t know nothin’
    Frankly, it is doubtful if we really know our own real names.
    2. Our hearts are cold.
    3. God loves us with Providential mercy regardless

    Two certain predictions seen here in the last seven years:
    1. The OCA is doomed to disappear
    2. The Antiochian Archdiocese is doomed to disappear

    I begin to wonder about the most recent: The GOA is doomed to disappear.

    While such is likely true in the fullness of time–see #1 above & #2 above.

    Hold fast to #3 above and especially to the Holy One of God who allows it for us through His Birth, Death and Resurrection.

    All of the rest is vanity and will fade away into the shadows as inconsequential as the smallest mote of dust: Especially our politics and ideological certainties in which judgement of others is paramount if not the sole substance. We cry for Justice based on what? The nothingness of the love of the world.

    We each thirst for our pound of flesh in the process. But as with Shylock we forget that with our pound of flesh we can take no blood for that is already subsumed into the saving blood of our Lord Jesus Christ who does not allow it to be taken–only given freely as a gift to those who seek Him in repentance.

    “I beg you Jew, have mercy…for in the course of justice none of us should see salvation.”

    Are we not all Jews? I know I am. So, I beg for mercy often belatedly and “that prayer of mercy dost teach us to render the deeds of mercy” if we allow it to.

  15. Michael u have it right. What is of God will survive. What is of man,will not.
    In the 1920s they said the Church of Russia would NOT survive. Well!!! ?

  16. I have Romanian friends in Southampton who are devout Orthodox. They attend the Romanian church weekly as a family.  
    The wife is a senior nurse in adolescent oncology ward working long day and night shifts. Husband works in learning disability, days and nights.  The son is 17 and coming up to his final exams for university placement.  The wife’s parents in Romania are elderly and ill. Need I go on?
    . All they need is for me to lecrure them on Ukraine and Phanar etc etc.  THEY DO NOT WANT TO  KNOW. They have no emotional space left to know.
    They moved to new country,  lucky enough now to have a Romanian  church thriving on their doorstep with a working full time engineer, very good man and priest.  If Romania goes with Phanar, what do i burden them with??  This situation is typical.  I guess it is what bartholomaios babks on. 

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I think of how many things I wasn’t privy to because I was similarly occupied with working hard just to get by. But God, in His mercy, put other good people in my stead to stand between the Church those who threatened it so it would be there for me. Not everyone is called to every battle. These people don’t need to know anything other than to keep going to Church. Their bishop is accountable to God on their behalf. If he misleads them it’s completely on him. They’re fine. Or so it would seem to me.

      • Thanks Gail. Yes u so true. They very good Christian people and have given much proof of that. I thought of it all again attending liturgy here in Bulgaria today  and the people  with a struggle just to get through the week.
        The well healed bishops do not have that need or problem. How FAR FROM CHRIST HAVE WE COME!??. Sometimes I think protestants are correct, but then they have their self same stuff, all be it minus the lace and ruffles.  

      • George Michalopulos says

        Very well said, Gail.

    • NIKOS: “I have Romanian friends in Southampton who are devout Orthodox.”
      If they are devout, and things around them start to drift away from Orthodoxy, very likely they will notice. And if they have knowledgeable friend to show what it is about, they will manage.
      The schism is a slow, organic process, might take some time and perhaps can be reversed. The Latin Church did not separate on one formal day and the pockets of true faith lingered for generations in the West.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Niko, I like what you said about “very little emotional space”.  Love will cover a multitude of sins.