Neimoller’s Musings

Yesiree, Bob!  Patriarch Bartholomew has added a new dimension to the metaphor of “mother.”  He has included the image of  “daughter.”   Just like with his “Sunflower” musings, when the CP waxes poetic, it’s always a sign of something to come.  This Turkey momma is signaling her intent to gather her chicks under her wings in the diaspora.  We’re not talking about the GOA folks.  We’re talking the whole shebang.  It’s no mystery why he high-jacked Metropolitan Tikhon during his travels.  

We should have stopped him in 2009 on the occasion of the 4th Pre-Conciliar Panorthodox Conference in Chambesy when they started talking about the canonical organization of the Orthodox Diaspora.  But we did nothing.

We should have stopped him in 2014 when Archbishop Elpidophoros published a paper on primacy.  But we did nothing.

We should have stopped him in 2016 when he convened the “Holy and Great Council” without two-thirds of the Chruch.  But we did nothing.

We should have stopped him later that year (2016) when the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue came out with the Chieti document.  But we did nothing.

We should have stopped him in 2018 when he said he would grant autocephaly to a group of schismatics in Ukraine. But we did nothing.

“First they came …”


Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Response to False, Unsubstantiated, and Slanderous Charges Regarding Ukraine Autocephaly

July 15, 2019

NEW YORK – The following statement was issued by the Press and Communication Office of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which we relay to the faithful in America.


Following questions by the Press regarding offensive statements against the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which were allegedly made recently by a member of the autonomous presence of the Patriarchate of Moscow in Ukraine, the Director of the Press and Communication Office of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Nikos Papachristou, said:

Allegations or information from anyone claiming that the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in order to grant the Tomos of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, allegedly sought and received, or requested, any form of compensation, financial or other, whether from political or ecclesiastical persons, is absolutely false, unsubstantiated and slanderous. At the same time, such allegations are also highly offensive to the Mother Church of Constantinople, from which nine other local Churches, including Moscow, received their Autocephaly, through analogous and similar processes.

It is characteristic that the Ecumenical Patriarch, in a recent speech referring to the granting of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, pointed out that “the proper ecclesiological response given by the Ecumenical Patriarchate was and is always based on the eternal tradition of the Church, inspired by the Gospel, with respect to the sacred canons and free from any political and diplomatic pressure. Indeed, this must be made clear in the light of the accusations and misinformation circulating on the Internet, the well-known fake news, which is used against the canonical rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.”

It should also be recalled that on January 6, 2019, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew handed the Tomos of Autocephaly to the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, His Beatitude Epiphanios, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine, which was formed by the Unification Synod of December 15, 2018. From that day on, the new Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine is completely self-sufficient and has the absolute freedom to manage its internal affairs through the judgment and decisions of its Holy Synod. Her relationship with the First-throned Church of Constantinople is a relationship of a Mother to her Daughter, a strong spiritual bond that has been preserved for centuries, from the time of St. Vladimir’s baptism to this day. A relationship that endures no matter how many people, obviously for their own purposes, have tried and continue trying to disrupt it, for the Mother Church of Constantinople always cares, with a sacrificial spirit and self-denial, for all her spiritual children.

[Editor’s Note: Two things strike me about this obviously desperate screed: first, the Orthodox world is not falling for the Phanar’s propaganda and second, that the Ukrainian gambit is failing in spectacular fashion.]


  1. What happened when the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue came out with the Chieti document? I’ve read it, but was still Catholic then, so unaware of the Orthodox side. Thanks.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Russia left and I don’t think they were able to get the traction to move forward.

      • I did a search, and found Russia withdrew from the commission in late 2018 due to the Ukrainian situation, as they won’t participate in anything the Greek Pat is part of. But George’s comment was “We should have stopped him later that year (2016) when the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue came out with the Chieti document.” I’m wondering why, what the issue was with the document. I thought it was a step forward in relations, all the news outlets I saw East and West reported it that way, so I was surprised by the remark, would like to know what George meant, being new to Orthodoxy.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Theo, when I said Russia left, I meant they withdrew from the primacy discussion. There was an internal power struggle going on. Not everyone was enthusiastic about ecumenical dialogue and there were two understandings of primacy and conciliarity. In 2013, the Holy Synod of the Church of Russia issued a document on “Primacy in the Universal Church” which was followed by Archbishop Elpidophoros’ paper called “First Without Equal,” which George mentioned. They just couldn’t get the traction they needed to move forward because there was no common ground. At least that’s the way I see it.

  2. Good men are taking note, and taking action:

    • Gail Sheppard says

      This is very encouraging!

      • George Michalopulos says


        • John Sakelaris says

          That above-referenced link entitled “Three Greek priests leave Constantinople for ROCOR”  did not say anything about whether the decisions of these three priests has actually caused any Greek Orthodox Archdiocese parish in the United States to close down,  switch its affiliation to ROCOR, or lose any significant number of active parishioners to ROCOR. 
          I am good with the idea of staying in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese parishes.

          • anonymous says

            John Sakelaris

            “I am good with the idea of staying in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese parishes.”

            That was probably true before you even read the article.


            No one is stopping you

            It’s a free country

            Especially if you don’t question it

          • John you apparently believe that holiness and just decision making are determined by where the crowd goes. Do not forget that the crowd once cried, “crucify him, crucify him.”
            As the Ukrainians are learning, heresy begets heresy and schism begets schism. And those hierarchs who betray their brother the saintly Metropolitan Onuphry will pay a heavy price at the final judgement.
            Sad to say (because I am 100% Greek), our Greeks in America are largely uneducated about these things and do not care to be educated. Just keep making the yaprakia and loukoumades for the Greek festival.
            Make no mistake my friend, many of us have recently left the GOA because of this and many more are on the way out the door. The sickening display around the new Metropolitan’s enthronement has only hastened the hemorrhaging.
            The GOA seems more corrupt and less holy every day.

            • John Sakelaris says

              I will prefer to work for change within the existing Greek Orthodox Archdiocese rather than encourage hundreds of thousands of people to make parish switches that could get very messy and bitter.

              Anyway, for those of you wanting to see the end of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in the US, that story about the three priests is not a significant blow to that institution.   I am sure you all will keep trying though. 

              • George Michalopulos says

                John, may your journey be blessed! All of us want the GOA to be reform itself. What we worry is that the GOA will take the rest of us down.

                Regarding the jaundiced view that you discern among many of us on this blog, you should remember that 25 years ago, every bishop, jurisdiction and a great amount of the laity were excited about what happened at Ligonier. And how every primate was ready, willing, enthusiastic and able to put the white klobuk on Arb Iakovos’ head. Many were also excited about his replacement, Arb Spyridon, not once –but twice–said that he did not want to preside over any more ethnic ghettos. The response he received from the GOA laity was rapturous.

              • Michael Bauman says

                John, your loyalty is commendable but just be aware that once an organization reaches the tipping point it is easy to “go down with the ship” . Christ is merciful to all in all situations, but remember that many in the Episcopal Church felt the same way. It did not make a difference.

                What are you loyal to? What are you defending? Is it a hill you want to die on?

                But you should probably not listen to me. I cannot imagine doing what you are doing for any organization. It is quite difficult to discern God’s will in such things as our on attachments and bias are usually quite loud.

                Continue to fast and pray seeking the mercy of our Lord in all things.

              • John you are on a fool’s errand.  Exactly what are you doing to bring change and reform to the GOA?  It is a dictatorship led by a tin pot dictator whose are full of bribes.  Not one of his henchmen in the synod or any other bishops are willing to speak truth to power.  There is no movement for change or reform because the new Eastern Pope keeps a firm grip on everything.  If you want to stay just be honest and say so.  But don’t insult our intelligence and tell us you are changing the GOA from within.  It will not happen, now or anytime while Bart is breathing.

          • George Michalopulos says

            The point all of us are missing is that ROCOR is taking in priests from cpole without a release.

            • Michael Bauman says

              George, really?  Wow.  Another indication that they no longer consider Constantinople canonical.  

              • George Michalopulos says


                • Constantinople is totally heretical now with papal ecclesiology. If you stay with that YOU ARE NO LONGER ORTHODOX , FULL STOP.
                  What ever Moscow is, IT IS FULLY ORTHODOX, WITNESSED TO BY CLOUD OF MARTYRS.

            • These are serious clergy of substance, too, many of whom have done a lot. On the OrthodoxWitness website that he started, it states that Fr Emmanuel Hatzidakis had become Roman Catholic in his youth, only to return to the Orthodox faith later.  He is likely quite attuned to the faith differences between our faith and the RCC.
              Fr Spyridon Bailey is an English Orthodox priest who posts popular YouTube videos on Orthodox spirituality (they’re fantastic). 
              If these venerable priests did not think a canonical release from the EP was necessary to have these days, then that says a lot about what they believe the current status of the Patriarchate of Cple to be. 

            • Monk James Silver says

              No one has mentioned that priests who leave the GOA — for whatever reason — are giving up some serious financial security. If their moving out of the GOA is for reasons of conscience, then their sacrifice is all the more noble.

              • George Michalopulos says


                Although I must say that the “financial security” which the GOA provides is rather ephemeral as can be seen by the bankruptcy of the clergy pension fund. Leaving financial considerations aside however, when one looks at men with integrity, one knows that he cannot keep on engaging in double-think, propaganda and obsequious brown-nosing. Eventually one just throws his hands up and says “Enough!”

                One then finds that a tremendous burden has been lifted off of one’s shoulders and then learns that God does indeed provide.

  3. Father Spyridon Bailey is a hugely influential figure on YouTube, and irl in the Orthodox diaspora. This is great news that he chose the path of spiritual courage. He makes amazing homilies and YouTube videos that I would definitely recommend everyone watching. Truly a spiritual powerhouse that I look up to greatly, and who’s homilies directly influenced and helped me on my journey to Orthodoxy. This only confirms my stance on Ukraine and the like. Christ loves courageous men filled with the love of God like father Spyridon and His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and all Ukraine!

  4. I really have discarded anything from Constantinople. Bartholomew is in schism and created it on his own, no one put words in his mouth. At least one, perhaps both of the bishops he sent to Ukraine are homosexuals. He does not have authority to declare autocephaly and it is clear that Russia, Antioch, and many others stand against him.
    I pity my Greek friends in the GOA but have seen many converts that were in the GOA just leave the jurisdiction to preserve their own faith.

  5. Rhonda Dodson says

    Like Theo, I would like to know the problem with Chieti 2016 ref the CP?
    AFAIK there is no problem with Chieti & it greatly undermines the claims of historicity of papal supremacy from the RCC.
    The same also works to undermine the neo-papism claims of the CP.Other than not understanding the mention of Chieti, I whole-heartedly love this article. Good job, George.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Thank you, Rhonda. Much appreciated! (Kudos such as yours are called “psychic income”.)

      Truth be told, I had not heard of “Chieti” until La Sheppard brought it to our attention awhile back. And you’re right as to the parameters that you describe. But let us put our cards on the table: despite all talk to the contrary, Rome will never cede its Apostolic primacy, even to Jerusalem (which by rights possesses it in full). Primacy/supremacy is simply too ingrained in their DNA.

      Look at it this way: Vatican II lasted from 1962-1965 –three years. The Novus Ordo Mass was not unleashed until April of 1969 (I believe) and then made obligatory in 1970. Common belief is that the new mass was instituted right after Vatican II. In reality nothing of the sort happened. As for the “guitar masses”, “clown masses”, “Eucharistic ministers” and other novelties (such as Altar Girls), these were not mandated nor foreseen nor planned nor even envisioned by the clergy and bishops of Vatican II. At least they are not reduced to writing in any of the documents that I know of. But they happened regardless.

      My point? Two actually:

      1. Don’t believe what you read in the papers when it comes to the RCC (especially its supremacist claims), and

      2. Once things start to happen, it’s hard to stop the ball from rolling in directions you never anticipated. Nobody in Rome anticipated the idiocies and liturgical atrocities that have been unleashed by the Novus Ordo Mass.

      • Michael Bauman says

        George, you are right with regard to the RCC not giving up their supremacy claims. Let us not forget that as recently as Pope Benedict, the RCC reaffirmed its position that we Orthodox are schismatics bound for hell unless we repent and recognize the supremacy of the RC Pope.

      • Thanks, George. I was Catholic for a long time, when I became Orthodox it was out of love for Orthodoxy, the beautiful liturgy, spirituality and community, really broken in the Catholic world, though not so much rejection of everything Catholic. And I was pro-unity, really hate the divisions in the Christian world.

        But since then so much more about Catholic sex scandals and coverups has come out, including, though not widely reported, the direct role of Popes in coverups. And I no longer support unity, not until everything has been exposed and expunged. Which I seriously doubt will happen.

        But lets say the Greek Pat unites with the Romans. In my opinion they will only drag each other down in their slide into secularism and moral laxity. I’d rather be in a smaller Orthodox communion that holds to its traditions, than sacrifice truth in the name of some empty “unity.” I’m Antiochian, btw, there’s a wonderful parish right near where I live, and I feel fortunate.

        • Theo, sex scandals exist within Orthodoxy. Don’t be duped into believing they don’t exist. There is wide spread homosexuality among unmarried priests within Orthodoxy and child sexual abuse as well.

          • Estonian Slovak says

            Yes, but usually the bishops don’t recycle the guilty clerics once they are exposed. ROCOR got wise to Pantaleimon(Mitropoulos) of Boston, back in the 80′ s. Pantaleimon took his group into schism, later before his death, he admitted he was guilty. By then, most of those who followed him into the HOCNA cult wised up, and bailed out.
                 The bishops also investigated Herman(Podmoshensky), who has been mentioned in connection with Fr. Seraphim Rose. After the latter died, Podmoshensky did go off the deep end and was defrocked. He found refuge with an uncanonical Greek bishop. Before his death, he was reconciled to the church, but as a simple monk.

            • ES, please don’t be so naive. There are plenty of other situations and you don’t even mention the obvious ones. Futhermore, a group of friends visited Athos and several were receipients of sexual advancements from the monks. What has happened in the Catholic is horrific but we need to be aware of our own sins.

          • George Michalopulos says

            JK, while you are undoubtedly right about the fact that there is a homosexual sub-culture within certain jurisdictions, I must believe that because of the majority of our clergy (at least) being married that this particular paraphilia is not as widespread as it is in the American Catholic Church. 

            According to Goodbye, Good Men, the homosexualization of the RCC clergy started taking off in the 70s in certain seminaries then it really solidified in the 80s pretty much everywhere else.  The estimate is that the homosexual contingent in the RCC is 50% with at least 25% being actively homosexual.

            Again, marriage is not a guarantor of monogamy in the clergy but it is a pretty strong impediment all things being equal.

            • George re homosexual abuse and celibacy.  As u say a married clergy keeps  a healthy culture on track. And stops a institutionalised gayness. 
              But again the ramshackle Phanar with it’s pretend monks and limited superstition has meant in my experience a homosexual culture forming, as around the late Athenagoeas Kokkinakis .  1963-1979, of Uk ( formerly of San Francisco and Canada)  I know from my God parent’s son who is a priest how it was. 

              • George Michalopulos says

                It’s not that black-and-white, Nikos.  I should have said that “as a rule, the Orthodox Churches, with their married clergy…”

                We forget that there is no one Orthodox Church but Churches and some have a greater preponderance of married clergy as opposed to celibates.  And we should not forget that in many traditional cultures with large families, the clergy was an outlet for effeminate young men who had no intention of ever marrying.   

                There are other sociological reasons as well.  Consider for example the “mama’s boy” phenomenon that spiked in the Greek-American community because of the absent father who worked overtime in order to support his family.  This is also replicated in the African-American community where the incidence of homosexuality is twice that of white males, again because of the higher preponderance of absent fathers (mainly do to the engineered destruction of the black family).

                This was particularly true among the many different immigrant Catholic groups that migrated to America.  The priesthood was a desirable outlet for homosexually-inclined men.  When you couple that with the fact that American seminaries were not state-supported, then standards were lowered in order to keep tuition rolling in, as opposed to European countries where the RCC is state-supported.  There, they can keep standards higher because they are not in need of the revenue as much.

                Lots to chew on here.  Forgive me for the ramble.  

                • George as always, no ramble, but some important facts. And yes an absent or emotionally distant father key to male gayness.
                  I have, as you, come across effeminate clergy, not many but enough. I guess if a celibate gay keeps his vows he is as good as a celibate heterosexual, but if both intend not to, then that is evil and sinful.
                  One would hope that today there is less need for gay men to hide in the priesthood than in previous generations. I always am never happy about celibate Parish clergy. They should be married. Also celibate clergy should live in monastery and lead monastic life. Real monasteries, not potemkin village ones

                  • Part of the richness of our Parish life here is fr david with his pretty wife and 3 yr old princess daughter!!  
                    And fr Dobromir, now in Uk, with his teenage son and daughter and strong wife. 
                    I contrast  with the Catholic priest I know of in Southampton,  now about to retire,  good man and dedicated it seems, but so devoid of anything human, as if afraid to make contact with a human being.  What role model is this,  a robot one could prime for preaching and Mass.  
                    Very sad.  Look at Elpidiophoros,  he has NEVER really dealt with people as his congregation or done Parish work. All he knows if to speak new age ecumenical language and lecture people and peddle delusion about a Greek America that died circa 1980s 

          • Antiochene Son says

            “There is wide spread homosexuality among unmarried priests within Orthodoxy and child sexual abuse as well.”

            Widespread? Citation definitely needed.

      • Rhonda Dodson says

        Thanks for your comments. I very much agree with your points in both #1 & 2 above. 

  6. This rhetorical riposte claiming innocence of any emoluments to grease the tracks of the slow-moving train wreck of Ukrainian ‘autocephaly’ coming from the PR office of the Fener is particularly galling in light of the slander promulgated exactly from that office alleging the very thing in the granting of the Tomos to the OCA from Moscow in 1970.  
    The scurrilous libel common among all GOARCH clergy and phanariots has it that in order to receive its autocephaly, the nascent OCA (formerly the ‘Metropolia’) had to present a large cash gift to the Moscow Patriarchate. I’ve personally heard this slander even from latecomer clergy who joined GOARCH in the 2000s from outfits like the CSB (via the North American Bulgarian Eparchy) – whom one would think would have no dog in this polemical fight. That the OCA-MP emoluments slander is popular even with such marginal GOARCH clergy proves that the lie functions as part of the rhetoric of disparagement utilized among their ranks to deligitimize Moscow’s free and unconstrained grant of the 1970 Tomos and the OCA’s actual unfettered autocephaly derived therefrom. 
    The character of the autocephaly granted to the OCA describes no further Mother-daughter relationship between the two Local Churches. Signally, the 1970 Tomos explicitly states a relationship of SISTER CHURCHES going forward. This status, of equality and conciliatory more than anything else, is what Fener trolls object to in the 1970 Tomos. Indeed, as Metr. Onuphry has stated recently, the 2019 Tomos composed in the Fener with its heavy underlining of Mother-daughter relationship between the Fener and ‘OCU’ hammers home the point that no Local Church that did not already exist before the Ecumenical Patriarchate was created has any parity with it and all their autocephalies are moot and conditional, upon ratification at some future 8th Ecumenical Council. In the meantime autocephaly granted by the Fener, even as far back as Moscow’s, are subject to conditions and may if need arises, be rescinded.
    This notion of recension of autocephaly being promulgated in the propaganda of the Fener is already widespread among their clergy and other phanariots – it is widely held that the Moscow Patriarchate is in the process of ‘reabsorbing’ the OCA. The ‘proof’ of this fictitious assertion is that Putin’s Russia is geopolitically acrivist; the phanariot mind sees the Russian Orthodox Church as a branch of the military. What does that make the Greek Orthodox Church? Asset of whose arsenal?

    • Well stated friend. I was just in a discussion with a particularly vitriolic and hateful supporter of the EP’s schismatic structure in Ukraine. Truly disheartening. Every time I tried to be accommodating towards him and speak about the crisis in Ukraine from the perspective of someone supportive of the canonical UOC he shot back with 9 paragraph long diatribes on why Metropolitan Onufry and the canonical Ukranian church is nothing but an evil extension of the Russian military, and needs to be squashed like a bug. (Taking many liberties there with my description but you get the idea). He also said that is nothing but a “sinister Moscow puppet” which was particularly disheartening for me considering the great reputation that organization has, and the great peace its articles have given me in the past. Truly unfortunate stuff.

    • Gosh, this reminds me of the awkward scene around 33(?) years ago at the Phanar.  The bishops of the EOC had been brought in to meet Demetrios.  They came earnestly to find out about becoming Orthodox (later a book title).  When his handlers discovered these men had come to ask about becoming members of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, it was like they saw an assasin.  The old guy was RUN out of the room, hustled out in a crowd of fleeing black yardage.  The Greek cleric who brought the EOC men to the head office was most embarrassed.  The EOC guys had brought a few gifts to the meeting, I know one brought a book of Mt St Helens pictures from his native Washington.  They were later quietly told the gift they *forgot* was a suitcase full of cash.  And this organization accuses the OCA!  Rich!  

      • “bob”: First of all, they were not bishops. Second, do you have evidence to back up your claim that “They were later quietly told the gift they *forgot* was a suitcase full of cash”?

        Here is a recounting of what happened, according to Daniel Clendenin in “Eastern Orthodox Theology.”

        “By 1985 the EOC decided to seek formal entry into Orthodox church; but they quickly discovered that the leaders of the Greek and Russian jurisdictions were reluctant to receive them. Discouraged by the poor reception in America, the EOC decided to seek the approval of the ecumenical patriarch and his advice about the best way to enter the church. After considerable planning, in June 1985 a contingent of EOC bishops traveled to Constantinople (Istanbul): but before they arrived a number of Greek Orthodox clergy had persuaded the patriarch not to meet with the EOC group because they feared that evangelicals would subvert the Hellenic culture of Parishes in America. Disillusioned and angry, the EOC bishops returned home empty-handed.”


        • George Michalopulos says

          Beryl, I’m going with Bob on this one.  I actually met one of the EOC eminences who went to the Phanar.  

          I will state that Pat Demetrios didn’t really know what was going on as he spoke no English.  His handler (whom I will not name) was the one who shushed out the EOC clergy out the door.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            As I understand it, Bartholomew was Demetrios’ handler.

          • It’s the implication of bribery without any evidence that I’m protesting. People around here jump at the chance to vilify. It was most likely expected that visitors, especially Americans, would bring cash as a donation to the EP. I doubt they would have been granted an audience in any case. 

          • My source for the comment about a bribe being expected is one of the men present. He was then a bishop in the EOC, which of course was not an Orthodox church, but a protestant group moving toward becoming Orthodox. And a fair number of them had more dots on their dice than any 20 of the real ones. Recall, the primary reason our bishops are picked is that for whatever good or bad reason they are single. Anyway, the patriarch fled the scene, hustled out by his handlers. Utterly pathetic. Someone told the bishops they brought the wrong “gift” when they got home and were talking to some GOA clergy. Unnamed, I never suspected I’d be told who.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Fr. Peter Gillquest, Fr. Jon Braun, Fr. Jack Sparks, et al. were all bishops in the EOC; however, because they were married all 19 of them agreed to come into the Church as priests.

          • Okay. They called themselves bishops. I knew most of them.

          • I should correct that to say I knew the main guys long before they formed the EOC. I say that because my point was about whether they were told they should have brought a suitcase full of money. I have always thought it was a bit over the top for them to call themselves bishops, and if I remember right, they claimed apostolic succession.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              I believe they wanted apostolic succession and that’s why they wanted to come into the Church.

              • I believe they claimed apostolic succession, and I have a direct memory of hearing it. 

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  Was this at the same time you heard they were not bishops? You’re mistaken . . ., again. Only this time you’re saying something irresponsible.

                  “The belief of needing apostolic succession led most members of the EOC to join the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America in 1987 after first shopping the Episcopal Church, Roman Catholic Church, Greek Archdiocese, OCA, and the Melkite Archdiocese. . .”

                • …I know a greek lady married into those  circles. Bartholomaios was school friend of her husband, who was  so disgusted at what he saw, that  he left the Church. YES IT WAS MONEY.  I have no doubt about that. 
                  I have experienced the venality of these crooks close up in abusing my donation to local church in Uk and in my own mother’s burial.  I would not go near them with a barge pole that was electrified. My own God father’s son  , priest, has told me enough. 

              • Michael Bauman says

                As I recall they originally wanted to have a community that reflected what the Bible described, but they did not see it anywhere at first.   Icons were a bit of a problem to begin with.  
                Bishops were clearly in the Scriptural descriptions.  They were trying to be faithful to the Bible.  They stopped trying to be Bishops when they met real ones. 
                I am sure their was ego involved but to call them  presumptuous is a bit much I think.

                But, Beryl was there and would know best.

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  A lot of people were there and some of them even became Orthodox! I believe Beryl says she knew these people before they formed the EOC, right Beryl? You also said something about working on the Orthodox Study Bible so you would be on the page that acknowledges the people who worked on it, right?

                  • Yes, I am on that page that acknowledges those who worked on the Orthodox Study Bible, Gail.

                • I’m not sure I understand your tone, Michael. I didn’t say they were “presumptuous.” I said I thought it was a bit over the top, and it was.

              • You are both correct.  For a time, they claimed Apostolic Succession, understood as a succession of faith, but they later began to doubt themselves about this understanding.

            • Listen, Gail, I was in the room with them when they talked about the early church and how there were bishops back then. I remember Jack Sparks leaning forward and telling us, “They had bishops back then!” I was there in 1974. Here is a bit of history you don’t know, apparently. “In a November 1975 meeting near Corpus Christi, Texas, seven men—Dick Ballew, Ken Berven, Jon Braun, Peter Gillquist, Ray Nethery, Jack Sparks, and Gordon Walker—adopted the name New Covenant Apostolic Order (NCAO). This formalized their self-ordination and assertion of their apostolic authority. They then tried to bring the groups of believers with whom they had been associated in recent years into a confederation of congregations under the order’s governance. ” My good friend David Fetcho, one of the original founders of Spiritual Counterfeits Project, told me after I left that there had been a split and he and others wanted no contact with Jack Sparks or the other leaders. Spiritual Counterfeits Project broke away from NCAO/EOC.
              “In one paragraph, the NCAO leaders explicitly claimed apostolic authority for themselves:

              We are APOSTOLIC because the exercise of God’s authority through apostleship is necessary today to lead the church to live under Christ’s reign. Apostleship is a gift to the church required throughout its history. God has called us to this ministry.1

              The NCAO leaders also claimed apostolic succession. In a February 1979 Elders’ Conference of the Evangelical Orthodox Church, the denomination founded by the NCAO leaders, Jack Sparks, an NCAO General Apostolic Council member and Dean of its Academy of Orthodoxy Theology, gave an address titled “The Apostolic College.” In it Sparks said:

              What we intend to show in this session is, first of all, that this body [the Apostolic College] has always existed, with succession; and secondly, that some who claim succession do not have succession; that some who do not claim it may well have it though their ministry in it is hampered by the fact that they do not acknowledge it; and that we certainly do have it.2

              Note: The NCAO leaders had to eventually relinquish this claim when they entered the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America.”

              • Gail Sheppard says

                So it wasn’t the EOC. It was NCAO. That’s quite different.

                • Gail,
                  Lest there be any confusion, the NCAO (“New Covenant Apostolic Order”) is the same group, with the same leaders and people, that changed their name to the EOC (“Evangelical Orthodox Church”).

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    Thank you, Brian, but Beryl said she heard the EOC claim apostolic succession. My point was that the reason they came into the Church was to get it, knowing they didn’t have it! That the leaders believed they had it prior to coming into the Church is not in question because they called themselves “bishops” and brought people in under them. However, at some point in their evolution, well past 1974, into the mid-80s, they had an epiphany. They realized they didn’t have apostolic succession and they wanted it. That’s why they came into the Church. That’s it. That was my point. We now find that Beryl was not talking about something she heard from the EOC. She was talking about the NCAO, which was a decade earlier. That they claimed apostolic succession back then is not, never was, in dispute.

                    • In 1979, Jack Sparks said this:
                      “In a February 1979 Elders’ Conference of the Evangelical Orthodox Church, the denomination founded by the NCAO leaders, Jack Sparks, an NCAO General Apostolic Council member and Dean of its Academy of Orthodoxy Theology, gave an address titled “The Apostolic College.” In it Sparks said:

                      What we intend to show in this session is, first of all, that this body [the Apostolic College] has always existed, with succession; and secondly, that some who claim succession do not have succession; that some who do not claim it may well have it though their ministry in it is hampered by the fact that they do not acknowledge it; and that we certainly do have it.2

                      I said I was there in 1974 and mentioned I was in the room with them because I knew the men, and I especially knew Father Jack, and love him to this day. What I am not saying is what I feel would be inappropriate. It’s my personal experiences. I was careful to mention what Brian has also said, and I stand by my statement that they were a bit over the top, and that at least in 1979 this was still going on. What we had when they entered the Antiochian Archdiocese was a strong leader in Metropolitan Philip Saliba.

                    • Who laid hands on them to make them bishops with Apostolic Succession and why would someone insist, “Of COURSE they believed they had it!” if it can only be given to them through the laying on of hands?

                    • Once again, this information is accurate.  The claim of Apostolic succession continued well into the time they were know as the EOC – even after they went to Constantinople.  It is also true, however, that toward the end, they increasingly doubted their previous understanding and realized they were still outside the Church.
                      But to answer your question, Beryl, it must be said (and this is just a brief summary) that they understood their  succession essentially as a succession of faith – that is to say, the believed that they held the same faith as the apostles and their successor bishops and that they received this faith from the Church (in that they learned it from the Scriptures of the Apostles and the writings of the bishops of the Church).  They essentially believed that just as it is possible to have received the laying on of hands and not hold to the faith of the apostles (which is true, BTW), so it was possible to have succession without the laying on of hands by holding to the same faith.
                      I may not be saying this precisely the way they would have at that time, but it is very close.
                      Allow me also to second Michael Bauman’s post about the importance of adhering to the truth.  We have no need either to speculate or ‘reasonably speculate.’  The manifest actions of the CP are quite enough in themselves (regardless of the possibility of money changing hands) to determine that he has departed from apostolic faith and practice.   Any other possible motives are irrelevant to the verifiable facts and only serve to distract from them.  Moreover, as the Apostle commands Timothy, “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.”
                      If there are witnesses or sound evidence, it may be brought forward.  Until and unless this happens, we are playing into the hands of the enemy by speculating, however ‘reasonable’ (“just connect the dots”) the speculation might seem.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                Do you see why people take exception to the blanket statements you make? You weren’t talking about the EOC that began in 1979. You were talking about the NCAO in 1974.

                OF COURSE, they believed they had apostolic succession! They had bishops and brought people in under them! That doesn’t mean they, the EOC, didn’t later come into the Church knowing they didn’t have true apostolic succession, wanted it, and came into the Church to get it!

                What in the world is the significance of you saying you were in the room with them when Jack Sparks said there were bishops in the early church?! OF COURSE, there were bishops in the early church; they called them elders and it’s in Scripture. Some of the things you say come from out of left field.

                I’m done trying to keep you honest. It’s too exhausting.

              • M. Stankovich says

                Personally, I believe that whatever “clarifications” seem necessary, can be found in two wonderful books by Fr. Peter Gillquist, of blessed memory: Becoming Orthodox: A Journey to the Ancient Christian Faith and Coming Home: Why Protestant Clergy are Becoming Orthodox
                Fr. Jon Braun was the founding pastor of St. Anthony Orthodox Church (Antiochian) in La Jolla (San Diego) CA. They were renting the parish hall of an Anglican church for services on the weekends and major Feasts, and renting a large upstairs classroom from an evangelical school adjacent to the Anglican church (affectionately referred to as the “Upper Room.” There was a small iconostasis and altar In that classroom
                so that weekday services, etc. could be served, and there was a area at one end that served as Fr. Jon’s office. There I spent many, many hours drinking coffee and talking with Fr. Jon; creating little “service books” for the Feasts; preparing hand-outs with the moveable parts of Great Vespers & Matins; and preparing service books for the clergy. Mainly, we talked.
                It is unfortunate that the impression given in this discussion suggests a sort of “chaos,” when the truth is that their journey to Orthodoxy had rhyme & reason, founded in taking the next logical step. I cannot emphasize enough that these men were true scholars, comfortable with both Hebrew and Greek, knowledgeable of the classic documents of the early church and the early writings of the Fathers, on a dedicated mission to find the faith of the Apostles; and to this end, they dedicated themselves entirely. And it is important to remember that these were not emissaries of Prince Vladimir at Hagia Sophia, moved by the grandeur of what they witnessed, but “pilgrims” who diligently examined every aspect of their present experience, before moving to the next step. And imagine a journey of decades, moving across the divide from Campus Crusade for Christ to Orthodoxy.
                The question of what they actually knew, understood, and practiced in coming to the Orthodox Church is a legitimate one. My distinct impression is that, at different points in their journey, they believed they had reached the “fullness” of the Church. And Beryl is correct that at different points in their journey, conceptually, they did believe they were bishops in their understanding. I personally have read communications in which they identified as “bishops” – ἐπισκοπῆς – in its very ancient sense  Regardless, the problem with their conclusion(s) is that “fullness,” in the Orthodox sense, will not be found by simple study. A similar reasoning asks why we need seminaries if you can study on your own? The short answer is that there is a significant danger that conclusions may be reached that are identical to the very ancient story of the 12 blind men who attempt to discern the idea of an elephant by touch. They would later come to realize that you arrived at the fullness of the Church when you followed the instruction of the Psalmist: γεύσασθε καὶ ἴδετε ὅτι χρηστὸς ὁ Κύριος – “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Ps. 33:9 LXX)
                It should come as no surprise that they sought assistance and guidance the closer “home” became. I rarely have heard it mentioned, by Fr. Jon said the single most influential person for them at that time was Fr. Alexander Schmemann, who unhesitatingly provided them with his time and counsel. They came to him, he went to them. It is my distinct impression as well that in the person of Fr. Alexander, they began to realize what they were not, and that is they were not in the Church. At the same time, I would emphasize that they were never prideful or arrogant as to their knowledge or years of experience in the vineyard of the Lord – literally, there were occasions when thousands came to listen to them preach and teach. In context, however, it was curious to me that Fr. Jon said he regretted that all those whom they had reached had, in hindsight, had received an “incomplete” good news of the salvation of our God. 
                I will conclude by noting two things. While I saw Fr. Jon Braun weekly (or more) for several years, I only had the opportunity to meet Frs. Peter Gillquist, Jack Sparks, and Gordon Walker once as a group, when they came to San Diego top meet about the Orthodox Study Bible. To this day, I am so moved at the recollection of that encounter, and not by anything even vaguely related to me. What I witnessed in these Orthodox priests were men whose love of the Lord and His Church brought them across time and distance, but they were willing and enthusiastic participants. And I must say honestly that I have never been with a group of men with such genuine affection and respect for one another, and whose joy was palpable. Lastly, there is a French expression, noblesse oblige, which means that the more one has, the more one is obligated to share with others, and this they opitimized.

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  At the end of the day, they brought a lot of people into the Church. I was one of them. If it hadn’t been for them, I don’t think I would have been able to make the transition. – When I think of going all the way back to the 70s, and think about who I was and what I believed, I shutter.

                  • Fr. John Chagnon says

                    People coming into Orthodoxy from without often come in “stages” and based on the knowledge they possess at the time. As I moved from my Baptist life to a greater appreciation of sacrament. liturgy, and the ancient Faith a step on that journey was service in the Charismatic Episcopal Church, a group of evangelicals and charismatics who were really and sincerely trying to seek out and be part of the historic church. As various persons in this group explored, they learned, and grew,  and some saw the fullness of the faith in the RC Church and others, myself included, saw it in Orthodoxy.  We moved on but it was, may I suggest,  necessary for us to be in a “Proto-Orthodox” place for a while so we could learn and grow and take steps in the right direction. There were precious few people in Orthodoxy reaching out to other Christians, let alone the unchurched, at that time and so our communities, like the CEC and the EOC were actually places where we, in effect, evangelized ourselves and prepared the way for our Orthodox future.  I cherish the places I’ve been along my journey because each was, in its own way, a sign post on the road home and in the specific case of the EOC I should think the fruits of that time and place should be ample witness to the good, if still unformed, seed that was being planted.  

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Father John, thank you for your observation.  Jesus led me where I could be led and, probably, where I needed to be led. Gradually and with great patience.  A big part of my journey involved heretical doctrine, although I did not know it at the time.  
                      I saw how such doctrine is not just another opinion but deeply dangerous.  It took me 14 years after being received into the Church before I began to feel free of all of the baggage (the same length and of time I was involved in the other).  
                      All of the experience God has used for my benefit.  
                      It seems to be the same for most.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Well said, Father.

                    • This is certainly true in my case, Fr. John.

                      One hears stories of folks who wandered into an Orthodox Church and were immediately awestruck and converted. God bless them, but I am not among them.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      Well said, indeed, Fr. John.

                      I like the way you touched upon ‘converts’ evangelizing themselves, rather than being brought into the Church by its own (near nonexistent) missionary efforts. So many of us have a similar experience. Obviously, the Holy Spirit is at work, but more help from the Church would have been good along the way.
                      I’ve stated my own story before: decades of ‘fellow traveling’ with the Orthodox, until one day at Lenten vespers my youngest son, who’d seen all that as he was being raised, said– don’t you think it’s time to finally join? So we did together. So I was brought into the Church by my son, who was raised a Presbyterian by a father who had Pascha dinners for 35 years, observed Orthodox Lent for decades, etc. etc., but never took the step.
                      A roundabout way of evangelization! But all the time, the Lord was at work.
                      This is also why I simply cannot get exercised by criticism of Protestantism. Many of us were brought to the Church by….Protestantism. We were evangelized by our own Christian background to ‘come home’. It led us to Orthodoxy, which wasn’t trying too hard to find us.

        • Beryl,
          This is one time that I will agree with you.  Whether the “handler” expected cash or not I cannot say.  What I can say is that the story Daniel Clendenin relates is accurate.
          I was present at a sort of ‘debriefing’ by one of local ‘diocesan bishops’ after they returned to the U.S., and I continue to be good friends with another ‘bishop’ who was also there.  Neither was shy about his feelings at that time (or since) nor reticent to criticize what happened to them.  One is now an Antiochian priest.  The other never converted (and thus has no interest in concealing the facts for the sake of not besmirching Orthodoxy). 
          Neither ever mentioned money as a factor in what occurred.  If money was a factor, they were most certainly never made aware of it – which wouldn’t make any sense at all.
          I will say that I believe what happened, for whatever reason it happened, was providential.  I won’t share other aspects of the debriefing at this one location (I cannot speak to what was said at the others).  Suffice it to say that they thought they knew more about Orthodoxy at that time than they really did.  Even I, who still had much to grasp in terms of immersion into the ethos of the Faith, was embarrassed by the hubris displayed upon their return.  I am quite sure that they also now feel they are better off for having been made to wait – for many reasons.

          • Thanks so much, Brian.

          • The discussion leading to this concerned a certain “Bob” making a claim that they were supposed to bring money, implying bribery. I’m not all for the EP, I’m not a big fan, one way or the other, of Patriarch Bartholomew. But I don’t like it when people say things that aren’t true, and when they criticize people for no real reason. You know what I expect from this post? More criticism of me. Oh well. I appreciate your accounting of the truth, Brian. Thanks again.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Beryl, no criticism of you in this case, you are quite right. Making accusations against anyone that are not true is bearing false witness. Kinda a bad thing given both the 8th Commandment and our Lords adjuration to love our neighbors as ourselves.

              It is equally unfortunate, indeed outrageous, that anyone should give such accusations credence. Bishops are supposed to be above reproach in all things. And yet, given both the history of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in general and the current holder of that throne, the accusations are not automatically dismissed as outrageous.

              The Patriarchate has been subject to the Turkish Yoke for about 560 years. The Turkish policy for all of those years was to marginalize and corrupt it and make it a puppet of the regime that was in power. Simony in particular was a big part of the Turkish arsenal for which there is ample historic evidence. Now, as far as I know, all that is required is that the Patriarch be a Turkish citizen. Back in the old days each Patriarch was required to pay the Turkish leader lots of money in order to hold the office. Indeed the middle eastern practice of backshish has deep roots as well. Evildoers who pander in false witness grow like mold in the dark in equivocal environments .

              If such a transaction was not expected in the reception of the NCOA leaders that is a good thing. Whether it was expected or not, I am certain the NCOA members would not have paid and, in all likelihood turned from the Orthodox Church entirely had it been.

              To me that is the best evidence that it was not.

            • Beryl, no criticism of you.  I recounted what was told to me, that’s all.  The history of the EOC fellows having once thought they “had” succession they did not shouldn’t horrify anyone.  Episcopalians think they have some sort of legitimacy they obviously lack, but isn’t remarkable.  The EOC guys made a very fast realization they didn’t and set out to find the real thing.  About 30 years from Campus Crusade to Orthodoxy?  Anglicans, 500 years and counting, and still decaying.  The contrast is remarkable.  The study Bible project very admirable, good for you being part of it.  I recall one editorial decision that had to be made.  Since Joe Allen became a sticking point, no clergy in the list of contributors had a title.  Just named.  That doesn’t detract from a great accomplishment.

              • Bob, thanks for the comment. I may be many things, but I am not dishonest. If it weren’t for Father Jack, I would not have found Orthodoxy. Thanks also for the comment about the OSB. Father Peter Gillquist once told me that he heard we workers were “chained to the desk. ” We were all volunteer, or some of us were, for sure.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Claes, this “Mother-Daughter” thing is really just too much.  It smacks of so much special pleading and dysfunction that it doesn’t cover the Church in glory.

  7. Well hopefully something is actually done this time, unlike 2014-2018. And these dates don’t even include other things that Patriarch Bartholomew could have been accused of that could be pointed out. 
    The problem is WILL the other patriarchs actually do something? I sincerely hope that the Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem alliance brings something good forth 
    IF all in the US were to come under rule of Constantinople (good luck with that), it would be just one big GOA with laxity and modernism 

    • The phanariots, if they gained control over them, would run the totality of the American churches exactly as they are being run now – with no coordination or common cause (other than the Communion in Christ which the Fener so badly abuses). I doubt they would even change the eparchial ‘synodic’ structure and each parish would commemorate only its own ‘metropolitan’ (bishop) and not the ‘gerond’ lest something akin to Ligonier ‘94 occur and a Local Church self-consciousness arise to challenge the ‘Mother Church’. 
      We should not overlook how assiduously GOARCH quashes any language about Local Church and has rendered Autocephaly a dead letter through dilution of the concept. Phanariots are as clever as your much-loved Republican Party ideologues and demagogues in twisting language to nefarious ends.  

      • Michael Bauman says

        Claes, GOA control over the Orthodox in the western hemisphere will not happen. They may try, but there is too much against them. Though I do not know them all, I cannot think of one Antiochian bishop, most of whom were born in the United States, who would go along. If Gail’s report on what Met. Tikhon is correct, then it is doubtful the OCA would go along. The Slavic jurisdictions are extremely unlikely to accept such a move. It is simply delusions of grandeur.

        Also Claes, most of the people from CSB who were received into the canonical Orthodox Church were received by the OCA and they all maintained a brotherly communication with each other afterward. If one who was received by the Patriarchal Bulgarians under Met. Joseph said such a thing as you report, it is strange indeed.

        • George Michalopulos says

          My own instinct is that Hope-bearer may try to serve as a stalking horse for Phanariote supremacy here in the US but how?  Granted that most jurisdictions aren’t rolling in money –so what?  It’s become glaringly obvious to the non-GOA churches that despite the best efforts of Arb Demetrios, the Phanar and the Archons (and I dare say a significant percentage of the laity), aren’t the least bit interested in any type of unity.  Even (I dare say) unity with the GOA on top.  

          I realize that what I said is startling but let me flesh it out.  Even if true, territorial and autonomous unity were possible and the rules spelled out in detail that only Greek-American bishops would rule and that only the wealthy would be heard, they would still be on the hoof for the whole shebang.  And they don’t want to take the chance that some middling, struggling, non-GOA parish in some marginal area will come to them for a stipend.  As far as stipends for a mission, forget it.

          And anyway, the days of American Orthodoxy competing with the mega-churches is long gone.  Indeed, to the extent that Christianity in general is going to exist in America for the near future it will be in survival mode.  (And I’m not ruling out outright persecution.)  Survive –not thrive–will be the order of the day. 

          Under those circumstances, what will the CP/GOA have to offer the other jurisdictions to be folded into a completely united GOA-dominated American Orthodox Church?  Money?  The Archons/L100 aren’t going to give a dime to the “poor Slavs” or the Amerikanoi who convert.

          At one time, perhaps 20 years ago, they could have dangled the carrot of belonging to the Archon/L100 country club for a select few non-Greek bigwigs but now that Toto has pulled back the green curtain and we see that the GOA can’t even finish a destroyed church without going into tens of millions of dollars of debt, it’s clear the illusion is destroyed.

          Short of that, Cpole could have held out the carrot of “normalizing” the various jurisdictions in a “canonical” manner but it made a strategic mistake when it created the Episcopal Assemblies in that it recognized the existing jurisdictions as already canonical.  Even the OCA. 

          So what do the other patriarchal jurisdictions need the CP for?  Is he going to give them money?  No, he’s got none.  Will he direct the GOA oligarchs to do so?  Even if he did (which he wouldn’t), they’d tell him “no dice”.

          The future for Orthodoxy in America is to find the nearest canonical church, try to live a spiritual life as much as possible, go to a monastery every now and then, hope you’re not a major embarrassment to your kids and they stay in the church, etc.  We’ve got to give up on the idea of massive parochial schools, nice gyms for the kiddies, nice summer camps that all children can go to (and not just overseas meet-market that only the wealthy can go to).  

          • George I salted yr clear start truth and same goes world wide, uk etc I would say.  
            We are in survival mode and the sooner we realise that the zeitgeist is no longer even apathetic but MILITANTLY ANTI-CHRISTIAN AND will worsen , the qucker we can get down to business.  
            The Church of Russia by 1922 had no illusions about the future under communism, so they went in to survival mode.  The darkness was long,70 yrs. We do not know for us, but it will become much darker still. Those who are living at the level of greekfest and country club had better wise up.

    • anonymous says


      “IF all in the US were to come under rule of Constantinople (good luck with that), it would be just one big GOA with laxity and modernism”

      Hard to disagree with that statement 

      “(good luck with that)”

      However, I don’t share the implied optimism that such attempts by the Phanar would simply be moot

      On the local level, from what I’ve seen, the OCA has been the closest working along with the GOA (which seems ironic to me)

      Meaning, I’ve seen a lot of clergy interaction between the two groups

      There’s quite an established relationship locally that I think many overlook so I think they have something there to try

      One not shared so much with Antioch and definitely not ROCOR 

      The Phanar is not looking for any type of consensus among the bishops of the various jurisdictions (of course) and they will act unilaterally – just like the Ukraine

      Which bishops and how many decide to go over may come as a surprise 

      Even if there is little

      The Church of Constantinople 
      Various other minor ethnic eparchs
      Along with whoever they can grab
      While having a wealthy Greek lobby (including the Archons/Leadership 100, AHEPA, strong political ties and clout)
      Mixed with (whether agreed with or not) a very strong propaganda machine
      With the full blessing and backing of a very motivated State Department of the most powerful nation in the history of the world

      Is nothing to underestimate 

      Personally, I think we really don’t know which bishops of what jurisdictions may cross over

      My only real guess is 0 from ROCOR. Don’t have any assured idea for the rest

      Even if there is little interest in the bishops of other jurisdictions 

      The ongoing suppression of the Orthodox in America will only continue and worsen

      But take heart

      “The Phanar loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.”

  8. “Greek Orthodox church must adapt to grow”

    “I have never once heard any priest declare that only people baptised into that particular branch of Christianity were allowed to partake in holy communion.”

    “It is about a refusal to acknowledge the pluralistic nature of the society we live in, it’s about a lack of respect for others and deepens the disconnection that many people of second generation Greek background feel about the church.”

    “There were people there that day who were not Orthodox. Two of my aunt’s sons married women of Italian background. One of them was my aunt’s main carer during her illness, ferrying her to medical appointments, undertaking to disperse of her possessions according to her wishes, even organising her funeral. She was quietly appalled.”

    Hmm …

    • Martin yes tirades against other religious are negative and not helpful as the stupidity of regarding menstration as dirty. How ignorant.
      One can state one’s views quietly with respect in regard to those outside the Church..
      However the attitude to.Communion is a classic of this society and its ignorance and arrogance. I want, I want,like a baby. The Church on my Terms.

      • Solitary Priest says

        Well, you see,here is a church under the EP , which is actually standing up for the faith, and a lady doesn’t like it. See what we priests go through every day. One side says you’re a fanatic for defending the church. Some other folks think you’re an Ecumenist if you trim your beard. Open communion has never been part of the church. I cannot help it if the opposition from the “left” can’t handle it. One priest’s defense of the church is another person’s hate speech .

      • Michael Bauman says

        Nikos, the prohibition against menstruating women is not because they are dirty, although it is often phrased that way unfortunately. It has to do with blood and has its roots in the way in which blood was treated under Jewish law, the difference between that and the pagan understanding of blood and the bloodless Eucharistic sacrifice of our Lord in which we participate. It is quite complicated actually and has nothing to do with a dislike of women. Being ritually unclean is not the same thing as being “dirty”.

        There is an excellent treatise on the web site Just Genesis. That site is written by an Orthodox cultural anthropologist who is a convert to the Orthodox Church from being an Episcopal priestess, Alice C. Linsley for other cultural anthropologists so it can get difficult to follow for a non-anthropologist but there are some fascinating insights there nonetheless.

        I am in no way capable of deciding whether or not such things are really important or just culturally important, but I am inclined not to disturb a Tradition of the Church when the foundation for that Tradition is not trivial as this is not. Especially when the pressure to disturb the tradition or override it comes, for the most part, from the modern understanding which is always sooooooooooooooo much more enlightened. Once that card is played, all thought tends to stop.

  9. Antiochene Son says

    Where does the EP get off continuing to call Constantinople “the Mother Church”? Jerusalem alone has that distinction.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      It’s a form of grooming. He wants us to get used to the idea that he is the head of the Orthodox Church. He did the same thing with the general public when all statements coming from him or about him included the phrase “first among equals.” We know what that means but the rest of the world doesn’t. It suggests he is our pope, which is why the State Department pays attention to him. They think he is a position to dictate to the Church and through him, they can leverage the Church in countries like Ukraine where nationalism is closely linked with religious identity. It’s also why his biography is peppered with messages about his efforts toward reconciliation with the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, and other confessions (indeed, this is why he wanted to redefine “church” to include any group that identifies as Christian). Reconciliation is a powerful word. It suggests that unity is possible.

      The CP wants people to believe he occupies a central, LEADING role, recognized by the Chruch. Look at the language he uses on his website to describe his role:

      “. . . the ecclesiastical centre of the Orthodox Church throughout the world”
      “. . . the First Throne of the worldwide Orthodox Christian Church”
      “. . . ‘first among equals’ of all Orthodox Primates”
      “. . . focal point and primary spokesman for Orthodox Church unity”
      “. . . spiritual leader to 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide”
      “. . . primary spiritual leader of the Orthodox Christian world”
      “. . . transnational figure of global significance”
      “. . . at the forefront of global visionaries”
      “. . . one of the world’s most influential people”

      The Church should have challenged him decades ago about these misleading messages. Language is powerful.

  10. I have a few questions. What would have happened if the EP had not granted autocephaly to Ukraine? Did the United States, Israel, Turkey and other strong factions want autocephaly for Ukraine? If so, how would these countries have gone about making sure it happened? Rather than being bribed, was the EP possibly pressured or threatened to grant autocephaly, or else?

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Yes, it is believed that he was pressured and primarily by the State Department. The US and NATO allies wanted autocephaly so they could rally nationalists around the church and then leverage it against Russia. The end game was to get NATO into Ukraine.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Now that Turkey is all but leaving NATO and thumbing its nose at Trump, it’s all rather ironic now isn’t it?  
        I’m speaking about the Russian sale of S-400 anti-aircraft systems to Turkey which the Pentagon tried to stop.  (Now we’re not going to sell the Turks 100 of the F-35s.)  Long story short:  Turkey is gliding slowly but surely into Russia’s orbit.  
        Thought experiment:  wouldn’t it be rich if the next CP is a Russian bishop?  And thanks to the heavy ideological lifting that LP did for the new Ortho-papalism, then what would the Phanar do?

    • IF Patriarch Bartholomew was threatened, and unable to speak publicly about it, and fearing for the lives of people, why is he being judged so harshly, without the recognition that he could have been and probably was pressured and even threatened? Why post that he accepted bribes when he has stated he did not? Why joke about him at his expense? Why vilify him? If he was unable for these reasons to communicate the reasoning for his actions to his brother bishops, who are we to rail against him?

      • Gail Sheppard says

        One has to consider what the treats might have been. I don’t think he feared for the lives of anyone but he probably did fear for his reputation. You see, there was massive hacking going on before he granted autocephaly and it was discovered that all sorts of things were going on at the Phanar, which is purportedly why Metropolitan Emmanuel, once considered the front runner to replace Archbishop Demetrios, dropped out.

        They don’t call it a bribe. They call it a “donation.” It is a wide-scale practice and it’s nothing new but the EOC may not have known that when they visited him.

        • Dino Tsortanidis says


          There is corruption, bribery, extortion, blackmail,  and homosexuals within The Greek Orthodox Church, it’s clergy, and leadership! Our Blog sources also state they are working with the CIA, and  Islamic Turkey.  Some bishops double agents, spies, and traitors of our beloved U S of A.

          Thankfully we can report The Russian Orthodox Church, in and outside of Russia is not corrupt, nor  guilty of the crimes and sinful behavior that the Greek Orthodox Church is guilty of. Rest assure that Putin and his government have neither ill will, nor spies working within the Russian Orthodox Church, abroad, or America.
          FYI! We have pictures of EP having tea with the Pope, and leaving the meeting with large bags, some believe inside Ukrainian candy.
          It is time to abandon ship, jump in the life boats, and sail to mother Russian, and true third Rome.

          Disclaimer:  Greek Orthodox Monasteries are exempt from the corrupt GOA, thus are safe to attend. Blog experts predict they will soon fall in line, and go under mother Russia.
          SNARK  OFF

          Gail maybe it’s Greek DNA , maybe decades under corrupt Islamic control over our Church in Greece, and Turkey. Greeks don’t expect
          utopia neither from the humanity within Governments, nor Churches, we have seen the worst of humanity, and to a large part expect corruption. Americans just dont get it yet.

          PS-The devil spent a lot of time in the Soviet Union, I would imagine Russians might have the same feelings as us Greeks.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Hey, Dino, I like Greek DNA! And I’m not an advocate of the Soviet Union. I support the canonical Church, hands down, wherever she is and in Istanbul, she is not. Not now. If Bartholomew repents, I will be his biggest fan. Nothing cannot be forgiven.

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              Where do the Anglo-Caledonians fit?
              What I want to see and hear is a non-Greek, of purest non-Hellenic heritage for generations, of fine non-Greek, but Orthodox, credentials, describe how Greece is the fount of all civilization, all Christianity, all literature, all that is good and true. Then I will believe it! 😉
              But those who say so are always Greek– why is that? Reading the recent post about the initiation rites of AHEPA was fascinating. Even without seeing it, though, I’ve always declined invitations to AHEPA…
              But, as Dino suggests, we Yanks don’t get it. Everything is corrupt, everything is a conspiracy, and it’s past time we just get with it….

              • Dino Tsortanidis says


                I love it, you crack me up! “PUREST non-Hellenic heritage”! Well at least we both respect our Jewish brothers and sisters.

                As I imagine you know, the greatest nation ever in history, is the United States. This great nation might also be the most corrupt nation ever in history, considering how far and wide our corruption’s reach is on this planet.  Still we love it here, and “just get with it….” Why? Because the good out weighs the bad. Our country may swing slightly to the left and to the right, but the true players never change. The corruption is permanent, and tolerable for most, unless we are pushed too far, or thin.
                I know we both believe our religion, our True Church, is the one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. The greatest gift God could ever give us on earth. The Church is perfect, humans, not so much. It could be the smallest of vanities,  power, money beyond our imagination, a loaf of bread, a promotion, love, or the barrel of a gun pointed at our Greek and Russian clergy’s heads, in the past, maybe even the present.  One fine line, one decision away, every day, testing our faith, and salvation. I am thankful I will never be in our clergy’s, and leaders shoes. Yesterday and today are no different, our sinful nature will never change.

            • Dino Tsortanidis says

              Correction centuries for Greeks not decades. Decades for Russia.

              Gail, yes, of course you are not a advocate for the Soviet Union. My point is that Orthodox leaders in current Russia, are not that much different than Greek Orthodox leaders, in regards to bribes(donations), corruption, and sex scandals. Russian just hides it much better, because, well, Putin.  There seems to be pinched noses for our Archons, and L100 members, but not a care where the money comes from to build thousands of Churches in Russia, nor how the money is given out. Backdoor government deals made for  huge corporations, lobbied by Putin, and operated by the Russian Orthodox  Church. Business as usual Gail, business as usual since the time of Saint Constantine.
     fact Russian Orthodox leaders have the largest Archon/L100  type support the world has ever seen. Mr. Putin. His mountain of cash, off the Russian peoples backs is not given away to MP and his Church for free, but Russians, like Greeks expect corruption, and brides, they look the other way and keep quiet. 

              So far everything is going great for the Russian Orthodox Church, but some day Russia might get a Prime Minister that does not see eye to eye with MP. Maybe not even Orthodox.  Will the laity alone be able to support the tens of  thousands of Churches built under Putin’s and MP’s collaboration. That will be the test for laity in Russia.
              Like you, I pray all Orthodox Churches thrive, and are canonical. My father was born in Russia/Soviet Union spoke Russia, and had many Russian friends in San Francisco. I have nothing but love for my Russian brothers, and sisters in Christ, but let’s realize, and pray that Greek Orthodoxy is one EP away from correcting course, and Russian Orthodoxy, God forbid, one Prime Minister away from losing the golden goose. 

              • Dino,
                I’m sorry,
                but Bartholomew could not agree more with your post!

                • Dino Tsortanidis says

                  That’s fine. Please read my  link. If you have a problem with the EP, you must also have a problem with MP, and how the Russian Orthodox Church is financed, and supported by the second most powerful  military on this planet. I understand that is difficult on this blog, but fair is fair. Yeah, I know, rich Greek American businessmen, Greek  festivals, GOA parties, GOYA basketball teams/gyms, and Greek  folk dancing children is horrid way to support the GOA, and it’s parishes, but man it sure would be great if we had government supported business monopolies and the complete financial support of a quasi dictator, not to mention their military backing, like the Russians do. 

                  • M. Stankovich says

                    And then, of course, there is the small matter of 1,000,000+ legal medical abortions per year. Mr. Putin – up until December, 2018 thought to a be proponent of pro-life – announced at a press conference for the international media that 1) in the modern world a woman must have the right to manage her own health, and if need be, choose medical abortion, and 2) not having this critical choice could prompt an epidemic of health and reproductive consequences relative to illegal, “backroom” abortions. As you might imagine, Russian secular advocates for pro-life in Russia were shocked (and notably Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his wife Svetlana, who have been activists against abortion in Russia for many years), though I have not read nor heard a single reaction by anyone representing the Russian Orthodox Church. The Patriarch has spoken out publicly about abortion exactly once since his enthronement in 2009. Somehow, it doesn’t seem surprising to discover that the Moscow District (i.e. the Moscow metropolitan area), which is the backyard of the Patriarchate, has more abortions, by far, than any other district in Russia. 

                    Likewise, consider that Russia does not produce nor make available enough birth control – be it oral medications, implanted time-released medications, or IUDs – to provide contraception for even 40% of adolescents & women of childbearing age (the condoms manufactured in Russia are notorious for poor quality control, are universally “uncomfortable,” and too expensive). The predictable result (think cold night, too much vodka…) is that medical abortion is the primary form of “family planning.” The law provides any adolescent or adult woman a medical abortion that is covered by health insurance through the 12th week of gestation, and up to 22 weeks with application for an “exception.” I spoke with Russian epidemiologists at a conference last year and they told me that the grant of “exceptions” must include a justification, the most common being insufficient income to support another child. They said that exception applications are rarely, if ever, denied. Likewise, there are no “lifetime limitations” on the number of abortions may have, and that frequently, younger and younger woman are experiencing health problems, including fertility when they actually wish to have children. I would note that last summer, a group of large medical centers in a number of provinces in Russia announced a moratorium on abortion for one month – which included medical clearance for procedures conducted elsewhere. As expected, it produced a “panic” among those seeking a legal medical abortion, with a genuine concern for the possible portend of this action. As it turns out, it basically had no impact on the abortion “system.”

                    Finally, Russians have historically depended upon the Russian Orthodox Church to bear some of the burden of family poverty, as well as providing orphanages and schools. Apparently, a considerable amount of funding for these social services was diverted to the building of new churches. How do we know this? In an interview this past March, Met. Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR) admitted the church “probably” made the wrong decision. He admitted this while discussing the fact that even he struggled financially, despite his position of chairman of the DECR and positions as instructor in several seminaries.

                    It seems to me that, while the Ecumenical Patriarch may well “gloat” at the current situation in Russia, the Russians have a considerable amount to answer for.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      The differences however are profound. First, there actually are laws which proscribe abortion in Russia. We have none in the US. Indeed, we can now kill babies after they depart the womb.

                      Also, in Russia, both Church and State are working overtime to provide alternatives to abortion. We can barely defund Planned Parenthood.

                    • M. Stankovich: “Mr. Putin – up until December, 2018 thought to a be proponent of pro-life – announced at a press conference for the international media that 1) in the modern world a woman must have the right to manage her own health, and if need be, choose medical abortion”

                      One should be careful with simplistic pro-life agenda.

                      It looks good on campaign trail, especially in the regions where there is a large number of Evangelical Christian voters or old style Catholics. (Not that after the election politicians keep their promises)

                      Yet there are two problems. First, in Russia regular churchgoers make about 10% and there are many atheists or people of other religions. It is easy to create a backlash. It is imprudent to expect from the less committed or even unfriendly, to be saints, as this may breed hatred and revenge.

                      Second, perhaps even more important issue is whether “woman must have the right to” make decisions? What is the alternative? That the government officials will make decisions for her. For example if a child is conceived by the rape or is very sick in the womb, the non-believing or not heroic women will be forced by the government to carry unwanted child for months under threat of criminal prosecution.

                      Remember what happened in the very Catholic Ireland after a Hindu woman was forced to carry a dying child in her womb what killed her in horrible way. The economy and compassion gave way to self-righteous cruelty. So there was a popular outrage against RC church and radical reversal of laws.

                      Yes, there are bad, sinful or evil acts, that people ought restrain from doing BY THEMSELVES, without being forced or intimidated by the government taken over by religious zealots or hypocrites.

                      Not always taking high moral ground is prudent, no matter how pleasurable.

                    • M. Stankovich: Finally, Russians have historically depended upon the Russian Orthodox Church to bear some of the burden of family poverty, as well as providing orphanages and schools.”
                      Yes, and no. The RO Church consists of the believers, not of a ultra-rich corporation with celibate caste in charge. So it means that better off Orthodox people should help other Orthodox and non-Orthodox. What they often do, without bragging about or even do in secret.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      BTW, I completely agree with this. It was the height of stupidity and sloth that the Christian Church (in all its varieties) gave up to the State the obligation of charity. In a better world, all alms, charity, philanthropy, medical care, hospitality and education would be the sole prerogative of the Church.

                    • George Michalopulos: “all alms, charity, philanthropy, medical care, hospitality and education would be the sole prerogative of the Church.”

                      What if the Church makes 10% of the population and most of her members are poor? Will they be able to provide care to the remaining 90%? Should the rich be free from the obligations to the general public?
                      In Christian Rome (Byzantium) , government was transferring tax money to the Church to manage it.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Yes. If we were really 10% of the population and did 80% of the charitable work, within a generation the Christian share would rise astronomically.

                      I’m serious. In any event, let us say that there are other religious groups (i.e. Jews, Moslems, Buddhists), they could take care of the indigent within their own communities. And let us say that the non-religious/secular could also come together to set up fraternities and charities. Like the Shriners with their wonderful hospitals.

                    • George Michalopulos: “Yes. If we were really 10% of the population and did 80% of the charitable work, within a generation the Christian share would rise astronomically.”

                      So the government could focus its budget on military and police to protect the wealth of 1%? 😉
                      “In libertarian [classic liberal] political philosophy, a night-watchman state is a model of a state whose only functions are to provide its citizens with the military, the police, and courts, thus protecting them from aggression, theft, breach of contract, fraud, and enforcing property laws.”

                      Seriously, large part of this 10% are poor or weak, or just struggling with their own sins. Certainly they cannot replace the modern government in providing pensions, health care, education, roads and more. Perhaps in the old agrarian societies it was more possible. The more likely result that the lame and repenting sinner faced with such huge responsibility would flee and churches would get empty.

                      But hey, one can try and give example 🙂

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Martin, you make several ahistorical assumptions. First, the idea that without the strong arm of government, there can be no oligarchy (0.1%) is erroneous on its face. There was a German sociologist (whose name escapes me) who came up with the “iron law of oligarchy”. All societies have an oligarchy. Some are hereditary and patent (i.e. the British aristocracy), others are less transparent (i.e. ours). The British, hereditary model does not allow for flexibility (other than marrying in to it or a new nobleman being granted a “letter patent” from the monarch. In republican societies, there is more flexibility but they have ways of making sure that the game continues to be rigged in their favor. Every now and then a Teddy Roosevelt comes along who shakes up the system and breaks up the trusts but they have a way of reformulating themselves after a few generations.

                      Fact: when Teddy did his work, 1% of the American population owned 42% of the wealth. Now, 1% owns 40%. Almost the exact same. There is some difference in the demographics involved but not much. The names Astor, Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, DuPont, Cabot and Lodge, etc. are still prominent in the upper reaches of the American aristocracy. Arrivistes like the Kennedys and the Bushes did manage to crash the party but the constancy is remarkable.

                      The second mistake is that you overlook liberty. Thanks to the behemoth govt which does almost everything that the Church should be doing, the loss of liberty has been gargantuan. And not just in the philosophical sense, i.e. a college cannot hire a professor who believes “x” when the reigning orthodoxy says “y”. I’m talking in the brass-tacks sense: the income tax takes an ever bigger bite out of personal income and the loss of disposable income is proportional to the loss of actual, physical liberty. And I won’t even get into the attendant pathologies that govt welfare engenders. Think of David Koresh with his harem, the unemployable Moslem immigrants who are able to afford three wives because the govt pays for the “single mothers” and their children, the dissolution of the black family, which is now ravaging the poor whites, who are turning to opioids, etc.

                      Admittedly, the Church –in the broad sense–barely exists today. We’re all just hanging on by the skin of our teeth. But in previous times, when almost everybody belonged to a church poverty was not nearly as grinding among those who belonged to churches.

                      Another fact: in the late 19th/early 20th centuries, the various fraternities –i.e. Masons, Eagles, Rotary, Oddfellows, etc.–all had medical cooperatives (co-ops). For a set, yearly fee, they would contract with a newly-graduated medical doctor (and in some cases dentists) and they would provide basic medical care to their members.

                      More later.

                    • Basil, this is probably the part you are mainly interested in, as a slightly corrected automatic translation:

                      In 1988, during a tour in Australia, he railed against the Ecumenist Archbishop of Australia Stylianos. According to Nikolaos Sotiropoulos, at Christmas of the same year, Stylianos declared that Jesus was imperfect and a sinner, with a circular published in the journal of the Archdiocese and was read by the priests in the temples. At the same time, always alleged, in a radio broadcast, Stylianos argued that Jesus is as presented by Nikos Kazantzakis in his book “The last temptation”.



                    • Ioannis, thank you very much for these resources. A real confessor for the Orthodox faith. Interesting that he preached against the heretical teaching that Christ had a fallen and sinful nature, something that Fr Emmanuel Hatzidakis also wrote against in his wonderful book, Jesus Fallen?
                      Fr. Emmanuel also found himself indefinitely suspended by GOARCH before his recent reception into ROCOR.

                    • George Michalopulos: ” There was a German sociologist (whose name escapes me) who came up with the “iron law of oligarchy”.
                      It was Robert Michels who was close to another prominent political thinker Georges Sorel. (I like Pareto too.)
                      I do not agree with their views, although they developed some astute and wise insights,  I take them with a grain of salt 🙂
                      Either way, I refrain from debating it here, because I see it as out of scope of the blog and the serious responses would require too much work. So …

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Robert Michels! That’s him. Thank you, Martin!

                    • George, as I said “I refrain from debating it here” but I wish to state one thing.
                      I am convinced that in the Church people of ALL political views are welcome (I mean “people”, not necessarily their views). The Church should not be used to support left wing or right wing agenda or third way agenda. The politics as well as weapons should be left at the door.
                      Kingdom of God is not of this world, so it transcends political divisions.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Martin, I am very solicitous to all people and almost all political views. In my humble opinion, no person can be a member of the Church if he has earlier belonged to a political party which mandates atheism. This would include the Communist Party. That would seem to be consistent with what Christ Himself taught.

                      Having said that, please note that I didn’t say they couldn’t ever join the Christian Church. After all, we’re in the repentance business.

                    • “In my humble opinion, no person can be a member of the Church if he has earlier belonged to a political party which mandates atheism.”
                      Hmm, I could say that “no person can be a member of the Church” that belonged to a party that supported attack on Serbia, Libya and Iraq on made up charges. Just kidding.
                      On the other side, I will bring an amusing example. I watched an interview with Zyuganov – Communist Party leader in Russia. He said with pride, that his party removed atheism from its program, and that now they can boast more church going members (going not just believing, mind you)  than the ruling Putin’s party – United Russia.
                      BTW, what is the present CP program? Re-nationalization of major enterprises and criminal prosecution of the so called oligarchs that had stolen them. So …

                      “Having said that, please note that I didn’t say they couldn’t ever join the Christian Church. After all, we’re in the repentance business.”

                      I am not sure if in each case such people have something to repent. Why? Consider a person who grew up in a non religious family and was an atheist. Then after studying the history and philosophy came to a conclusion that atheism is a mistaken belief and becomes an Orthodox Christian. Where is the sin to repent for?

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Geroge’s statement is like saying no person can be a member of the Church if he belongs to a political party that supports abortion up to the end of gestation. Wish that was true. But sadly, all sorts of people in the Church belong to all sorts of organizations that are antithetical to the teachings of the Faith.

                    • “George’s statement is like saying no person can be a member of the Church if he belongs to a political party that supports abortion up to the end of gestation. ”
                      Gail, it applies only to the parties that require from its members declaration of adherence to such positions. Most  parties tend to have inner factions that may disagree, even if the just position is shared by a minority.
                      I had Orthodox friends who were active in a Democratic Party in a liberal state that were pro-life and very conservative on moral issues, because they were left leaning on issues of social justice.
                      Politics is a complex game.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Indeed, if I may answer: any political party is OK for a Christian to join if said Christian feels that they can effect change from within. There are still pro-life Democrats out there for example.

                      Any party that mandates atheism as a condition for enrollment and I suppose genocide and/or willful mayhem I would imagine should be off-limits to an Christian.

                  • Ok Dino,
                    Fair is fair. I totally agree. Fantastic, let’s talk in fairness then:
                    I’ll tell you just two examples of SERIOUS problems, which I have with B. and NOT with K.:

                    1) B. gifted “the Holy Quran” in Texas, although he knows that the Quran rejects the Holy Trinity, the Crucifiction and the Resurrection of Christ, i.e. the very foundations of our Faith.

                    2) The well known Theologian N.Sotiropoulos spoke against some heretical comments of a Bishop in Australia. B. excommunicated Sotiropoulos without giving him the chance to defend himself, whilst he (B.) let the Bishop alone to carry on with his fallacies.
                    An atheist/secular court would not such a thing.

                    You do not like the fact that the President of Russia helps the Church.
                    The Emperor, Saint Constantine the Great, after he became a Christian, he helped the Church, and you agree with that. What is different in the case of Putin? He has no right to be an Orthodox Christian? He has no right to help the Church?

                    Even as an atheist politician, if one has real brains, he understands that Christians are good for their Country, BECAUSE they must be honest and they must work for their meal. This is the deep foundation of the ideal Economy. Because NO econ. system works if people are dishonest.

                    So what situation would YOU like to see in Russia to be satisfied?
                    Let me think of some examples:
                    -Go back to the previous, communist/atheist governments and throw the Christians into jail. Nice for B. to be the free boss.
                    -Make the Russians bankrupt and take them to Cpole to kneel before B. (or Trump) and beg for some help.
                    -Do as the westerners do, ie do not give any financial support to the Church, but give the money to modern clever groups which promise to improve the mankind and the planet to a better state than the Creator (read mother nature) created.
                    -other (fill in)

                    By the way, Dino, solve me a puzzle please,
                    If Putin is evil and not an Orthodox Christian, why does he help the Church there?
                    Why have they built a huge church in the Launch area
                    Why do they sprinkle the launching with holy water,
                    Why do they have (as a standard outfit) in the space-ship a mini Iconostas e.g. with the icons of Christ and St.Nicholas?

                    So, at the end of the day the State there gives so much money for all that Orthodox stuff?
                    Is it a business investment, and in what way?
                    I trust you have a very clever secular explanation for all that,
                    because after all the golden is:
                    “Economics is not Ethics” .
                    And some people say, “There is only money, nothing else”.

                    BUT, we agreed to be totally fair!
                    Where does God fit in this matter?
                    E.g. does He agree with Putin helping the Church?

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Ionnis, a rather succinct distillation of why Putin (and Russia) are on the right track if you ask me. I don’t know what’s in Putin’s heart, but I’m pretty darn sure what’s in the hearts of people like the people that run the $PLC, Planned Parenthood, Antifa and so on.

                      The proof is in the pudding. Or as Jesus said “By their fruits ye shall know them”.

                    • Ioannis, please expand, if possible, on point 2. I’ve heard a little about this but can’t find any information regarding what was said by the bishop, theologian, or the synod of the EP.
                      I’m very interested in finding out what heresy was being preached in Australia.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      I for one never believed in the moral equivalence between the USA and the USSR. However the theomachistic virus that made Soviet rule possible is still alive and well (albeit in attenuated form) —here in the West!

                      See here for the proof of the damage done to us:

                      Moral of the story: let us tend to our own knitting. I get it: Putin was a KGB officer. And Bush 41 ran the CIA. Both men by their lights were patriots. If Putin isn’t a devout Christian leader, he’s doing an awfully good impersonation of one. Would that we had such leaders in the West. Of course, the problem is not the leaders so much as it is the people. Gone are the days in which Churchill and FDR could get on an American warship and sing “Onward Christian Soldiers”.

                    • Basil:

                      “Ioannis, please expand, if possible, on point 2.”
                      Can you understand spoken or written Greek?

                    • Dino Tsortanidis says

                      Brother Ioannis,
                      I imagine we are both on the same team, in that we want what is best for our Church. First, I never said in my post that Mr. Putin is evil, nor condemn MP, nor defend EP. Please do not hint, or put words in my mouth. I just don’t believe it fair to judge one corrupt, and not the other.
                      I believe in separation of church and state. You bring up  details about this leader doing this or that, whether clergy or politician, I am not speaking in retail terms, but in wholesale terms. I don’t care to go in circles about who’s sins are more evil, or corrupt, or which country is more Christian minded than the other.
                      Whether dictator or  quasi-dictator, even if he shares my religion, I would NOT want to live under one man rule. Why?  I do not want, nor most citizens want to live under a dictator, nor do I want a state sponsored religion forced upon me, nor my fellow citizens who may not share my religion, or no religion at all. You may, and that is your right, but what if living in current Russia, and you were  Jewish, or Morman, Islamic, Jehovah Witness, agnostic, or atheist? I am sure  then you would not. 
                      Fair is allowing your fellow citizens to worship or not, however they please, and what is not fair is to take money from your fellow citizens, and build  churches, and pay clergy with it, especially with such high poverty levels. If Putin wants to give half of his personal billions to the church, then great. If Orthodox Russian people, rich, and poor want churches built, let them build them, with their own personal money. That would impress and show me True “Fruits”, instead of government built Churches, and yes that includes Greece.
                      This entire thread began because I brought up the topic that when government and religion collide, whether in favor of the the religion, or to persecute it, corruption follows. So long as our Church leaders are in bed with politicians, and corrupt governments(generally are not all corrupt?), then yes I expect my Church leaders to be guilty of some form, and levels of corruption. Whether Greek, or Russian.

                    • George Michalopulos: ” I don’t know what’s in Putin’s heart”
                      Well, what options does he have? Does not believe in Marxism anymore, stopped to believe in free market liberal democracy Yeltsin style, then what is left, Confucianism ? 😉

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      “Free market liberal democracy” is quickly becoming an oxymoron. Just as liberal democracy is here in America, where we have witnessed the attempted abrogation of the transfer of power by electoral means by a secret police force. Let us be humble and admit that we are rapidly losing our own autonomy.

                      Whatever works for Russia is good enough by me –for Russia. As for America, we better get back to Constitutionalism.

                    • Ioannis: “after all the golden is: Economics is not Ethics”
                      Actually Economics is a branch of Ethics. Why? Because it is about material goods and values. Take people away and chemistry is still valid, but economics vanishes.

                    • Martin:
                      “Actually Economics is a branch of Ethics.”
                      Nope Martin!
                      I actually literally quoted from my American thick Economics text book which I studied ages ago, and I still remembered this because I found it so extraordinary.

                      I was reading about thinks like “Opportunity Price”, “Maximization of Profit” with lots of diagrams, curves and equations, and the Professor made it absolutely clear:
                      “Economics is not Ethics”.

                    • Unfortunately, my Greek is beyond terrible. Despite my family being Greek, they never passed on the language to my parents.

                    • Dino Tsortanidis saysJuly 20, 2019 at 12:29 pmBrother Ioannis,I imagine we are both on the same team…———————————————————–
                      Dino, brother in Christ,yes, we are in the same team who want to do what Christ wants, you know, “Thy will be done (not mine)”. In fact that is our main purpose in this life, to prepare ourselves for Eternity with Christ. We shall leave this life, nationalities, passports, politics, dollars, diseases, human sciences and go far beyond that. There it is, the biggest Wholesale term for you!
                      Having said that, we still need some retail examples. Our Lord Jesus Christ also used wholesale terms but also detailed retail terms too. They make the Wholesale terms much easier to understand and apply.
                      The case of the Saint and Emperor Constantine the Great is very useful to bear in mind when one is worrying about the relationship between the State and the Church. If we are REAL Christians, then we should consider all the things you mention in the context of Christ MAINLY. Otherwise we pretend we are Christians but we are not, and might as well do what we feel like and finish up as the other pagans, so what?
                      As an example of Church vs State, think of the “raison d’ etre” of your favorite EP: Canon 28 mentions that the Ecumenical Patriarch was there to assist remote Bishops when they came to meet the Emperor and ask assistance for their local problems. There you have it: The Church does need some kind of assistance from the State. And then one criticises Putin for doing just that!And the whole existence is of the EP is based on the assistence from the State, and you are a fan of EP and you do not want appropriate assistance from the State, c’mon Dino!
                      BTW, I am still waiting for your formula: What should Putin do regarding the Church, help (how?) or no help?I know you do not like details, but “the whole is the sum of details” and we deal with them as the need arises.

                    • Ioannis: “Nope Martin!I actually literally quoted from my American thick Economics text book which I studied ages ago”
                      Well, your textbook is mistaken. I base my claim on philosophical understanding.  You do have human oriented utilitarian and tradeable values in Economics, so it can placed as a branch of Ethics, Ethics in turn together with Aesthetics are branches of Axiology (general theory of values).
                      I like this division of knowledge (rough sketch):
                      Synthetic a priori sciences like mathematics and logic (along Kantian definitions)
                      Axiology (theory of value)
                      Natural philosophy (natural sciences)
                      You see, the only place I see for Economcs is in Axiology/Ethics, because without values/goods for the people it does not make sense.
                      I just looked up if someone wrote lately on this issue and I found :
                      “for a long time economics was a branch of ethics
                      Amartya Sen – On Ethics and Economics
                      Why is Ethics Not Part of Modern Economics and Finance? A Historical Perspective

                    • Dino Tsortanidis: ” If Putin wants to give half of his personal billions …”
                      Where Putin keeps his personal bilions, in Swiss banks, or perhaps he owns a large corporation like Poroshenko ? And how is he spending those billions, maybe when he goes for fishing in Siberia? Details please.

                    • Dino Tsortanidis says

                      So if it is hundreds of millions, or hundreds of billions, what’s the difference? Is there a point here? If he gave a fifth of his wealth to the Church, would he miss it? If I really knew I probably would not be talking to you. You can Google your question I suppose.
                      My hunch would be gold and diamonds, especially diamonds. Did you know one could easily hold one billion dollars  worth of diamonds in both front pockets? The diamonds would not even weigh down your pants.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Dino, even if true, so what if the giver gives because of base reasons. Have any of us thought about the Good Samaritan? In the eyes of the Jews, the Samaritans were unspeakably evil people of whom nothing good come out of. Should the bystanders have execrated him as he dispensed charity to the wounded man?

                      My default position as I enter my seventh decade is this: I don’t want to ever be accused of heaping obloquy on any man or woman who is doing good by whatever lights they possess. Nor judge their heart. If a man is doing good because he wants his name on a building, well Jesus said that “he has reward”. If Putin is a crass opportunist, well then he’ll half to answer to God on Judgment Day. Until then, I’m only going to judge myself.

                    • Dino Tsortanidis says

                      George you correct, I have no right to tell any person what he or she should give back to God. 

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      It’s all good, Dino.

                    • Dino Tsortanidis: “if it is hundreds of millions, or hundreds of billions, what’s the difference? Is there a point here?”

                      Is there a point whether you stole millions or billions?  Well, hundreds of billions can ruin you country, few millions will not make a dent. But since you made an allegation, could you back it up, at least a little?

                      Dino Tsortanidis: “My hunch would be gold and diamonds, especially diamonds.”

                      Buried in dacha garden? What is wrong with Swiss bank?

                    • Some responses to some statements made by Dino Tsortanidis:

                      “Whether dictator or quasi-dictator, even if he shares my religion, I would NOT want to live under one man rule. Why? I do not want, nor most citizens want to live under a dictator”

                      Putin was elected, and Russia has a parliament.[1] [2] In recent elections the United Russia Party, with which Putin is associated, actually lost seats in parliament. [3]

                      “nor do I want a state sponsored religion forced upon me, nor my fellow citizens who may not share my religion, or no religion at all. You may, and that is your right, but what if living in current Russia, and you were Jewish, or Morman, Islamic, Jehovah Witness, agnostic, or atheist? I am sure then you would not.”

                      The law in Russia recognizes not only the Orthodox Church but also Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism. [4]. I do not know about the Mormons, except that in some instances their “missionaries” engage in a degree of subterfuge and deceit in their activities in Russia. It does appear that the Jehovah’s Witnesses face obstacles.

                      “Fair is allowing your fellow citizens to worship or not, however they please” [See above comment and note 4.]

                      “and what is not fair is to take money from your fellow citizens, and build churches, and pay clergy with it, especially with such high poverty levels.”

                      Do you have any proof that public funds are used to support the Orthodox Church to the exclusion of other faiths?

                      “If Putin wants to give half of his personal billions to the church, then great.”

                      What proof do you have of Putin’s alleged wealth? Could you please cite some authoritative evidence?





                      at p. 47.

                    • Dino Tsortanidis says

                      Ioannis & Blimbax,
                      After George reminded me that one should not judge a person’s heart, nor judge how much one should  give back to God. I allowed myself to be lured into chasing rabbit holes and jumping into hoops that have nothing to do with my original post.
                      Again my point is whenever the church and state team up, it is a recipe for corruption on the higher levels of the religion’s leadership. Thus, we should not be surprised that corruption exist, in fact, really, we should expect it. I suppose in theory we should not accept it, but short of leaving our Church, what choice do we have? Hence, I suggested we keep close tabs and involvement in our local church, where we have some control.

                      My sub point was a personal peeve that I have with this blog, which is the amount of criticism we witness towards our EP, justifiably at times(our EP,except for those who no longer consider EP theirs), yet  give MP a pass.

                      Honestly, I have been reading this blog for about five years, and I can’t remember the last time George, or a guest essayist  criticized the MP. Same can be said about Mr. Putin, hardly any critics, but boy do the Russian apologia come hard and fast, when they are criticized.  

                      I didn’t want this to turn into a dirt digging competition, MP versus EP, or Putin versus USA, but that is what I created, and I still stand for separation of church and state, in any nation, not just mine. If I caused any offense to anyone, I ask your forgiveness.

                      Aside from the Ukraine issue that the EP began, followed by the schism, in reaction by the MP. The wholesale corruption in our Orthodox Hierarchy is wide spread, and I believe equal, because of the Church and state alliances. Casting shade on one, yet a apologist for the other, simply because of jurisdiction association is hypocritical in my opinion.

                    • To Dino Tsortanidis,

                      Since you address your recent reply to me and to Ioannis, I will respond but only on my own behalf.  Your main point, if I read your reply correctly, is that a union of state and church can create a basis for corruption.  It was not my purpose to dispute that point.

                      Your “sub point,” as you put it, was, in your words, “a personal peeve that I have with this blog, which is the amount of criticism we witness towards our EP, justifiably at times(our EP,except for those who no longer consider EP theirs), yet  give MP a pass. [Par.]  Honestly, I have been reading this blog for about five years, and I can’t remember the last time George, or a guest essayist criticized the MP. Same can be said about Mr. Putin, hardly any critics, but boy do the Russian apologia come hard and fast, when they are criticized.

                      Are you suggesting that what I wrote was a “Russian apologia”?  In fact, all I did was two things: I pointed out, with references to various documents, that certain assertions you had made did not appear to be well-founded, and also asked you to provide some evidence for a couple of other assertions.
                      Instead of providing some sort of factual basis for any of your statements, you reply by implying that I am an apologist for the MP or for Putin.  At least that seems to be a fair reading of your reply.

                      It is interesting to see that your previous comment, to which I had responded, made statements that assumed that certain facts were true.  For instance, by saying, in that earlier posting, that “If Putin wants to give half of his personal billions to the church, then great,” you were implying that Putin did, in fact, possess a large fortune.

                      In a similar vein, your reply to my comment implies that I am an apologist for the MP or for Putin.  If that is what you are implying, then permit me to say that it is a false implication and devoid of any basis in fact.  If it is not what you are implying, then I would like to know what you were implying, since you did address your reply to me.

                      Beyond that, I will make a general statement.  In the United States, at least, there seems to be an antipathy to Putin that has been generated by the media, certain political figures, and the foreign policy elite that bears little resemblance to any known facts.  One element in the Kool Aid people have been drinking is that Putin has a large personal fortune, in the billions (dollars, euros, rubles, who knows?).
                      No one, however, has really offered any proof of that.  And even if it were true, I doubt that Mr. Putin, who knows something about keeping secrets, would act so ineptly as to leave evidence of the fact where it could be found.  No evidence has been produced, which means it either does not exist or it is beyond reach.  So when we hear of Mr. Putin’s billions, all we are hearing is speculation driven by people who wish to undermine him and Russia by any means possible.

                      I tried to be meticulous in my previous comment.  I cited articles to back up what I wrote.  And I asked you to provide some evidence for your assertions.  You have failed to do so, which means it is reasonable to conclude that you have no such evidence.

                      Evidence is something other than innuendo and implications based on innuendo, gossip, or speculation.  We would all do well to understand that difference and to keep it in mind.

                    • Dino Tsortanidis says


                      If you say you are not an apologist for Mr. Putin, then I believe, you believe, you are not.

                      If I may, some feed back on your comments:

                      “…Mr. Putin, who knows something about keeping secrets, would act so ineptly as to leave evidence of the fact it could be found.”

                      I agree with this statement 100%, but it seems you lean in the direction that he has not hidden money, or silent secret partnerships with business monopolies, and of course no one can produce evidence, because of Putin’s tight grip, and control of Russia. Not to mention the fear factor he posses towards anyone who would expose, or cross him.

                      “One element in the Kool Aid people have been drinking is that Putin has a large personal fortune, in the billions(dollars, euros, rubles, who knows).”

                      So, in your “Kool Aid” statement, it seems you believe Putin has not acquired billions.

                      “So when we hear of Mr. Putin’s billions, all we are hearing is speculation driven by people who wish to undermine him and Russia by any means possible.”

                      Again you speculate Putin does not have billions. Also, if anyone speculates that Putin, a former KBG agent, and good at keeping secrets as you say, and if you don’t mind I add, experience in influencing people to see things his way, might have billions, after 20 odd years in power of Russia a stretch, and “gossip” and “We would all do well to understand that difference…” So whom am I to speculate, on a blog that speculates everyday, on all matters, especially what the EP’s motivations are. Yes I agree, “we would do well to understand that difference and keep it in mind.”

                      Imagine in a country like ours, with all our “checks and balances”, our politicians spend multi millions of dollars of their own and/or contributors money, for a job that only pays a couple hundred thousand(Putins aprox. salary too). Yet, we all speculate that our United State Presidents and Senators, lie, cheat, and steal for personal profit, above national interests. Amazing that we have never seen ONE jailed for there crimes against the American people. Because reasons, and lack of “evidence”

                      I am sorry for whatever reason I motivated you to defend Mr. Putin, and NO I have no evidence against Mr. Putin. You win.

              • Dino. What is so shocking about the article?.  The Church is using business ro.raise money. The reality of Russia.  It’s not leaving half built churches but building them.  You also must look at context.  In 1988 the millenium yr there were 6_7 000churches open in USSR with say 3-4000 of these in Ukraine due to wwii circumstances.  
                That means 28 K churches have been restored or built.   40,000 plus churches and over 1000 monasteries were destroyed by communists from 1918-1943.  Let alone the clergy obliterated almost. I have attended liturgy in Church in Moscow that was a factory and is now a flourishing Parish. U cannot describe the feeling. 

            • Gail Sheppard: ” If Bartholomew repents, I will be his biggest fan. Nothing cannot be forgiven.”
              With one exception – of conscious and willful rejection of Truth.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                Yes. Exactly.

              • Repent from what? I do believe Bart, as each of us, needs repenence but what sin do you assign to him. He obviously interprets cannon law differently from those on this blog. I assume you want him to embrace your interpretation of cannon law and until he does so you believe he is a heretic.

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  Repent from what JK? At the behest of a political body, granting autocephaly to a group of schematics in another bishop’s territory, without the support of the ruling bishop or the Local Churches.

                  We’re not talking about repentance for his personal sins. We’re talking about repentance for his actions in Ukraine.

                  If he is the ONLY bishop who interprets the canons in a way that justifies his actions in Ukraine, he needs to repent for causing a schism within the Church.

                • JK: “what sin do you assign to him. He obviously interprets cannon law differently from those on this blog. I assume you want him to embrace your interpretation of cannon law”
                  Try this defense in the court of law, ha ha. The guy is guilty, face the music.

                • jk.  He openly espouses papal type claims..I read greek and english and out of their MOUTHS. Yes the Pope sees things differently too. What point are u making exactly? 

          • Anyone who doesn’t expect corruption hasn’t looked deeply enough into his own heart.  We fall.  But we must get up.  It cannot become a way of life.
            I am obviously very concerned about corruption in the CP and, to a lesser extent the GOA.  But does anyone remember the manifest corruption in the OCA… or the AAONA not all that long ago?  God has way of cleaning His house.  The Church is known locally, and unless evil heirarchs are able to corrupt one’s local parish, I don’t blame anyone with a clear godly conscience for staying put for the time being and waiting on Him.

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              I recall my 66 years of wide-eyed wandering amongst the American Presbyterians; son, grandson, father, grandfather, deacon, elder… and so on.
              I can say this: bags of cash were not in it, much less mountains of cash.
              No, we didn’t expect corruption. No, indeed. We poor naïve ones. I guess we didn’t ‘look deeply enough into our own hearts’. But, wait! Maybe that was the secret.
              No. I will tell you this: I do not expect corruption in the Church. It may be there. But I do not expect it.

              • Dino Tsortanidis says

                Since Saint Constantine, Orthodoxy has been partnered with governments, persecuted by their governments(communism), and controlled by foreign Governments(Ottoman). So long as this condition continues, not to expect corruption is simply, wishful thinking. Thankfully for the most part ,most corruption is only on top international levels, and not local.

                Brian’s point is obvious, and true, we  all fall, and fail, hopefully get back up and repent. It’s a given to fail, the next step not so much. As Brian and George have stated, keep it LOCAL, and if I may, begin with ourselves. Pray for trickle up effect.

                If Greek Orthodox Bishop(s) in America were to  revolt against the EP, or  our Archbishop it will cause yet another schism, our Churches will splinter thin, and Orthodoxy, in the long run, will not be much different than the thousands of protestant churches we witness today, and debate will become which of the splintered are true Orthodoxy. In fact we are already slowly heading that way. Maybe that’s what some of the self-righteous, and/0r  corrupt want, so that they will have zero pushback.

                Our power and spirit must first  be involvement  within our Church/Parish/Diocese that it may not fall into corruption, or missing the mark, which is a tall order in itself. I believe, in time the Church will evolve in a naturally  to  Godly order, in God’s time, and will. Our Orthodox History will  not change over night, maybe not even decades, but is the way it is. 
                This is my humble, even if not the “purest of non-Hellenic” opinions.?

                • “…and controlled by foreign Governments(Ottoman)”
                  Other than nostalgia and pipe dreams of one day retaking the city, what possible good end is served by the CP remaining in Istanbul?  It’s an honest question.

                  • Dino Tsortanidis says

                    I don’t know, nor know if our lives, or our Church  would  be greatly affected, whether he stays or leaves. Maybe we should ponder why Christians still live in other Muslim countries such as Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Syria, Africa etc where they are under  real and constant threats of persecution, prejudice, murder, and genocide. I imagine it is because it is where their home is and their ancestral country, no matter if the name has changed in the past 2000 odd years.

                    • I understand that part, Dino.  I really do.  What I do not understand is willing subjection of the office to a hostile government that decides who can hold the office and, at least to some extent, what he can and cannot do.  He could be free of all that, yet he chooses not to be.  And it isn’t as though he’s there to defend his people.  Yes, there are a few, but the overwhelming majority don’t even live there.

              • Amen, Brian and Tim:

                I too was Presbyterian growing up.  I too was shocked by and did not expect corruption in the Church or clergy, etc. I idealized others and expected perfection in myself, which seems quite linked to our American and Protestant culture.  

                Being psychoanalyzed and becoming Roman Catholic helped me see the corruption/sinfulness within me and others as a daily reality and change my understanding of human nature, though the amoral nature of analysis and the legalistic interpretation of RC was clearly not the full view from God.

                Becoming Orthodox showed me the way to accept that truth without despair but with a real sense of pity and sorrow whenever someone falls including me and to direct my anger toward the evil one rather than the sinner, although I often forget that and act/think otherwise, God forgive me. Confession always long for me.  

                We Orthodox alone are so blessed to have the full answers/understanding of our fallen nature and the beautiful spiritual medicine and redemption moment to moment in and through Christ when we turn to Him, repent and ask forgiveness.  

                I really identify with those praying heartily for the health and salvation of Patriarch Bartholomew in his delusion as well as for the health of the Orthodox Church.  May he awaken by the prayers of the Saints and the faithful.  May all those deluded by the evil one into coveting power and money be awakened as well. May we all continue to pray for, correct them as individuals respectfully, and not revile them though we may revile their actions and delusion.

                I apologize for the way I drop in to Monomakhos, am moved by something I read, comment, and then don’t follow up if someone replies. I am working to cut down on screen time drastically and on my small screen cannot easily find earlier conversations. But please know that I am moved by what you have written. Thank you.

              • James Keys says

                Well said Mr. Mortiss, one former Presbyterian to another.

              • Tim,
                Just to be clear, I expect corruption.  I do not accept corruption.
                “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.  Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.”
                When, however, corruption becomes a way of ‘life’ (an oxymoronic choice of a word, but I think you will understand), it would seem to me that something other than the corruption and temptation common to all men is at work.
                “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins [continues in sin] has neither seen Him nor known Him.  Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot [continue in] sin, because he has been born of God.”
                If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?  But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.”
                I write this not for the purpose of what some might perceive as “judgment.”  It would seem to me that anyone to whom these words apply has already been judged, though the opportunity to repent remains.  It is more of a warning: “…let no one deceive you.” 
                The same could be said, by the way, of all the so-called “Orthodox” who flaunt their lawlessness with seeming impunity.

        • Monk James Silver says

          In 1922, Metropolitan Benjamin Kazanskiy of Petrograd (later called Leningrad) was arrested and tried on various trumped-up charges which mostly amounted to his not being co-operative with and inconvenient to the revolutionary government in Russia. Of course, the communist show trial found him guilty and executed him along with many of his priests and faithful laity.

          But a little before then, when it was clear that he would be arrested and that the process would eventuate in his death, Met. Benjamin instructed the clergy of the Petrograd eparchy that they were under no obligation to stand with him as he continued to speak and write against the revolution. They were free to leave the city if they wished, and even go abroad if they could. Many of them chose to stay with their godly shepherd, and they died with him. Now, we remember these people as St Benjamin of Petrograd and his companions, martyrs.

          His story can be read here:

          I mention this because if Pat. Bartholomew was under any sort of pressure to take the canonically unlawful steps which he has over the years, and to defy ecclesial order and cause schism among the churches, he should have stood up to the people exerting such pressure. Following the holy example of saints such as Benjamin of Petrograd, he should have directed people who might suffer for his resistance to take shelter elsewhere and be safe. But that doesn’t seem to be what happened, and continues to happen.

          Even Constantinople has a history of sainted archbishops and patriarchs who defied governments, and so were killed for their faithfulness to Christ, but are now venerated as holy martyrs. So Pat B wouldn’t have to go all the way to Russia for inspiration.

          Was/is PatB being pressured in such ways? I don’t know. But it’s clear that something — something not of God — is motivating his ecclesial misbehavior.

          May the Lord give him strength to do the right thing even now, and may He grant all of us the grace to lay down our lives for Christ if we come to such a test.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Yes, he should have done exactly that. To repeat your words, Father James: “If Pat. Bartholomew was under any sort of pressure to take the canonically unlawful steps which he has over the years, and to defy ecclesial order and cause schism among the churches, he should have stood up to the people exerting such pressure.”

          • Well said, Monk James.  Moreover, even succumbing to pressure (We are all weak – are we not?) doesn’t begin to account for the claims of authority and ‘motherly selflessness’ by him and his sycophants. 
            Regardless, his end approaches, as it does for us all.  There is still time.  “Today is the day of salvation.”

            • Brian: “Moreover, even succumbing to pressure (We are all weak – are we not?) doesn’t begin to account for the claims of authority and ‘motherly selflessness’ by him and his sycophants.”
              This and more. Thank you, I did not notice this angle before.

              • I love when the Holy Fathers say to pray for our brothers/fathers in Christ who have been/are being deluded by the evil one.  Nails it.  

      • The threats might have been, “If you don’t do this we will take you down, we will terrorize you and your people, we will persecute Orthodox Christians, we will do anything we have to do. Ukrainians will suffer far worse if you don’t grant autocephaly.” The first link proves absolutely nothing; the second link says email accounts were hacked, but provides no evidence whatsoever.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          The US usually offers incentives as opposed to terrorizing.

        • Beryl, it is even simpler than that:
          St. John Chrysostom says that a Bishop who loves his throne, will succumb to pressures threatening his throne. 

      • Again, concerning allegations that the EP accepted bribes or any form of compensation: “Allegations or information from anyone claiming that the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in order to grant the Tomos of Autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, allegedly sought and received, or requested, any form of compensation, financial or other, whether from political or ecclesiastical persons, is absolutely false, unsubstantiated and slanderous. “

    • Beryl: “What would have happened if the EP had not granted autocephaly to Ukraine? ”

  11. Basil
    “Fr. Emmanuel also found himself indefinitely suspended by GOARCH before his recent reception into ROCOR.”

    But his son has denied this news. Who is right?

    • His son denied that he had been assigned to a parish in Texas. The rest of the report was correct, however.
      The misunderstanding may have arisen from the fact that ROCOR has established two Greek-use/Greek-language parishes in Texas in the past couple months.

  12. Dino, dear brother in Christ, you wrote:

    “I still stand for separation of church and state, in any nation, not just mine. If I caused any offense to anyone, I ask your forgiveness.
    Aside from the Ukraine issue that the EP began, followed by the schism, in reaction by the MP. The wholesale corruption in our Orthodox Hierarchy is wide spread, and I believe equal, because of the Church and state alliances. Casting shade on one, yet a apologist for the other, simply because of jurisdiction association is hypocritical in my opinion.” 

    Firstly, who am I, a sinner, to forgive you. forgive me for any harsh words I have sure used.

    Secondly, I utterly agree with you about the separation of Church and State, because it is like God’s vs the Caesar’s as Christ said.

    Having said that, the bitter truth is that these two are constantly entangled together. This is because the members of the Church are AT THE SAME TIME citizens of the State! Even Christ did not avoid talking to Pilate, the Roman Authority.
    Even the famous Canon 28 itself has as a main purpose to facilitate the visit of remote Bishops  to the Head of State so as to get some (practical) assistance from the State!
    An important facet of the EP problem is that this important function of Canon 28 is ignored. I am not a Russian, but I must admit that it is the modern Cpole Bishop who lacks this functioning of Canon 28, and not the Bishop of M.  
    I believe the words of the Bible, that before Christ, Jews, Greeks, Russians, Red Indians, what have you, are all equal. However specific Bishops may at times not be equally correct in their actions. THAT’S ALL.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Ionnis & Dino:
      The separation of church and state sounds good as long as you do not have an incarnate Lord.  Once that reality is even posited, such separation becomes impossible. It is a recipe for secularism in which God is reduced to a figment.  The Church will always be subservient. It also assumes am egalitarian view point on the nature of the Church.  There is no spiritual or religious hierarchy.
      The fact is that without the Church the state will always overstep.  The real question is will the bishops of the Church succumb to the temptations of power over serving their real King and Lord. Separation actually makes such collapse more likely, IMO.
      If they do not succumb them ultimately the state will martyr those faithful no matter how much they act as if we are irrelevant. The lust for power that is in the heart of all political leaders brooks no competition. 
      However an outright theocracy is not good either.  
      The Church should be who she is.  The Bride of the crucified Christ. Neither demanding nor seeking privilege but not refusing it either should it be offered

      • George Michalopulos says

        You know, Michael, words like yours have the sting of truth. Think how much more powerful or at least consequential the Church would have been in the West today had She stuck to her primary mission of caring for the lost sheep. It was not for nothing that kings and emperors in the Middle Ages trembled at the threat of excommunication.

        • Michael Bauman says

          George, the Church should not seek power at all and resist being “consequential”.  That she still retains her proper vesture represented by the Icon of Supreme Humility is why, I think, Costa and others have difficulty with the Orthodox Church.  Somehow we always look like fools when we try to project worldly power.  Groups like the Masons and until lately the RCC , Evangelical groups of various kinds seem right at home with it.
          To me, that is a good thing.  It is a proof that the Orthodox Church is the true Church.  

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        As to ‘impossible’, I often wonder what the pre-325 Church was like, say, for example, in the mid-3rd Century, when it was widespread, but still under persecution. Perhaps at an interval of little persecution, with those of the past in recent memories, and the last of the great ones yet to come.
        It was not a state church. There was no ‘symphonia’. It was a church of bishops, priests, liturgy; the true church, but without Imperial patronage. I doubt that the vestments were of an Imperial type!
        That’s where I’d like my Religio-Science Fiction time machine to take me– for a look around!
        I find it very difficult to believe that a Church-State congruence, at whatever arms-length, is either possible– or desirable.

        • George Michalopulos says

          TimR, if I might add, St Pachomius the Great (292-348) first came into contact with Christianity and more importantly Christian philanthropy while the Church was still underground. Towit, he was press-ganged into joining the Roman Army and while on his way (essentially as a slave) to boot camp, he and his other inductees were given food and water by the local Christians at Thebes. He didn’t know who these people were but was told that they were “Christians and this is what they do, feed the poor, etc.”

          My point is that the Church is called to do charity, even when it is underground. How much more so if it is above-ground?

        • Michael Bauman says

          Tim, “symphonia” was, is and always will be a bad idea. It has done great damage to the structure and mission of the Church. It should be abandoned in any and every form.

          That being said, the binary opposite of “separation of church and state” is equally as bad. Separation is also impossible from any real perspective. Even when Christians are being persecuted as a enemy of the state, we are not separate. Both as citizens and as a community the Church is an integral part of the state, no matter the form of government that the state has.

          As we see almost daily the pernicious idea of “separation of church and state” is used as a tool of persecution to twist the clear meaning of the free exercise clause of the First Amendment into a ersatz “freedom of worship” since “everybody knows” that the only exercise of religion that is important is getting together on Sunday with each other. Anything else is “forcing your ideas down my throat”.

          That leaves the Church with our responsibility to preach and spread the Gospel, tend to our fellow human beings as directed in Matthew and be prepared at all times to suffer the wrath of the state when (as states always will) turn against us. Such activities will always rile up those opposed to them or those with hardened hearts. Jesus told us it would. To paraphrase: they hate me, they will hate you. We should not expect anything else. If we seem to get it for awhile, never assume it will continue. Even St. John Chrysostom illustrates how tenuous any state approval is especially if we are doing our job.

          As Jesus is fully human and fully divine so is the Church which means there is no separation from anything humans do including, in the Church’s case, sin.

          Right now it seems as if our sins are overriding the mercy and healing of Jesus Christ. That is an illusion but a powerful one. Unfortunately, my sins alone can drive people away from the fount of salvation. That is why repentance/forgiveness is always paramount.

          Lord have mercy on me a sinner.

      • Dino Tsortanidis says

        Michael Bauman and Ioannis,
        Thank you for bringing this topic back on course. Your opinion is very important to me, as are all contributors in that I may  form a better opinion on the matter. This is an important topic and my opinions, are also questions, begging for  answers  in what we can do to improve our Church  in light of and regardless of the corruption that Church and state alliances produce amongst our leaders. Not that  I am better or worse that our leaders, but because of the appearance this bad light, we will  repel and  not attract more to our True Church. Sorry to all for also allowing my personal gripes, get us off course. 

  13. George C Michalopulos says

    Martin, if I may continue on my previous answer to you. 
    The third assumption is that if we had a proper Church/State separation of duties, then the behemoth that is the national debt would not have grown to the size where it infringes on our liberties.  Think of it:  the State would do:

     common defense
    research & development
    the coining & minting of money

    It does all this and infinitely more.  And the “more” that it does is horrible.  That’s because in C S Lewis’ memorable words, the State sees men as “apes with trousers”, not as immortal beings made in the image of God.
    But I digress.
    We are fooling ourselves if we think the behemoth govt is doing things efficiently and providentially.  It is not.  Even under the GOP, our national debt has ballooned to $22 trillion.  The last time our National Debt was at zero was when Old Hickory paid it off and closed the Second National Bank of the United States.  Up until the Great Depression, it was a piddling sum, only spiking during the War Between the States and the Great War.
    Now, let’s get to brass tacks.  How would ordinary Christians support the Welfare State?  By tithing.  Real tithing.  And don’t say it’s impossible.  You and I would be tickled pink if all we paid to Uncle Sam was 10%.  Instead, between the Federal, state and local govts we pay a minimum of 40% (and that doesn’t include sales taxes, property taxes, ad valorem taxes, etc.  
    Anyway, how much more civilized would our society be if every tax-payer paid 10% to his Church and 10% to the govt?

    • George, I like your 10% idea. I posit that if the lions share of our taxes went to the state instead of the fed, the funds would be better managed. 50 local governments that control the size and purse of the fed.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Absolutely! Think of how much of our national debt is spent on nonsense. Across the board.

        If every taxpayer had to actually write a monthly check for income taxes our liberties would be more because the nonsense would be less.

    • Deep Steak says

      lol at the claim of a 40% tax burden sans property taxes and sales taxes
      i will call the bluster, add up your federal and state income tax bill for 2018 and add the social security and medicare withholding and divide by gross household income and what is the percentage?

      • George Michalopulos says

        Are you kidding? What planet are you living on? You need to put on some green eye-shades and you would be shocked. I forgot to mention taxes, licensing fees, etc.

        • Deep Steak says

          i live on a planet where your combined federal and state income tax/ss/medicare effective rate is nowhere near 40 percent
          shame on you for trying to furiously pile on things you specifically excluded from your original claim cuz you got busted but even padding will not get you to 40
          that you sputter instead of spending the 30 seconds to do the math is telling

          • George Michalopulos says

            Well, I’ll just have to dust off my 2018 W2. Are you willing to show yours?

            • Deep Steak says

              no need to share actual $ values just tax percentage and you should be basing off your 1040 for actual income tax due not your w2 withholding for obvious reasons
              i know i am the steely eyed missile man to your long haired hippie but i find it amazing you do not know off the top of your head what your gross household income was for 2018 or how much you paid in federal and state taxes but whatever
              for me taking gross (not adjusted gross) income for 2018 i end up with federal (income/SS/medicare) being 17% adding in state (income) increases to 20% adding in property taxes increases to 23%
              tl;dr you claim that my tax rate for a set of taxes is a minimum of 40% when it is actually 20%

  14. George Michalopulos says

    Dino, Blimbax, et al:  forgive me for opening up a new post to respond to my non-criticism of Pat Kirill, Putin and Russia in general.

    As far as His Holiness is concerned, I have yet to run across anything that he did or said that was risible.  I’ll agree that the Rolex watch was not good optics but if that’s the worst that can be said, well, he’s pretty much in the clear.

    As far as Putin is concerned, I have no illusions about him.  I will say this though:  he is not the war-monger that the evil, Trotskyite neocon establishment says that he is.  I’ve shown graphs in the past and by all economic measures, Russia is immensely more prosperous today than it was when the Harvard Boys were raping that land back in the 90s.  Hence his tremendous popularity.

    A further word:  I was in Russia in July of 2016 and the sanctions were hurting.  The ruble had lost half its value.  I saw beggars of both sexes standing outside of every major church.  I saw a lot of construction in Moscow but also a lot of idleness.

    Fast forward to July of 2016.  The economy was humming along nicely.  As for beggars I saw mostly old ladies and a few crippled war veterans.   The construction was the same but there was a hive of activity everywhere.  People were going about to their places of work and all the new technowizardry that we have here in America was there.   Things like Uber/Lyft, scooters everywhere, people using their cell phones to purchase things, etc. 

    Russia was a different land to my eyes than what obtained two years earlier.  Ironically, that was because of the sanctions.  Basically the people just pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and made their own way.   In retrospect, sanctions cannot work on a vast country like Russia with a highly-educated populace and its own manufacturing base.  It’s different with smaller countries like Iran and Venezuela (and Israel is terrified of the BDS movement) but Russia was able to climb out of it and become more self-sufficient.

    As for Putin himself, he is the only bulwark that stands against the feminazi/sodomite agenda and that is why all other traditionalist nations look to him to be a leader (despite his own personal moral failings).  In the words of Abraham Lincoln, when confronted by generals who told him about Ulysses S Grant’s drinking, “I can’t spare this man, he fights!”. 

    So what would it take for me to criticize Putin, Kirill or the ROC?

    Well, if Putin started gobbling up land outside of his borders; if Kirill started making grandiose, papalistic claims about his office, if the ROC stopped establishing orphanages, pregnant women’s shelters, and hospitals.  As long as they do those things, it’s all good. 

    • For the record, It was a gold Breguet watch estimated to be worth more than $30,000.

      • Dino Tsortanidis says

        $30,000 for a watch is chump change, for some, the famous MP pic probably got photo-shopped in shame that MP was wearing such a cheap watch, considering his status!
        Putin’s unofficial spokesperson, the MP, was furious with Putin, when he heard Putin’s official spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, has a HALF MILLION dollar watch, that rivals Putin’s half  a million dollar watch in a collection of many! SNARK OFF, but half true!

        • “Dmitry Peskov, has a HALF MILLION dollar watch, that rivals Putin’s half a million dollar watch in a collection of many!”
          Dino, where can I find the info on these watches. Could you give me the list? Are there some smartwatches?

          • Dino Tsortanidis says

            Russia also is one of the earth’s largest producers of diamonds, and been stock piling diamonds for decades. I was not joking when I stated that one could easily stuff ones front pockets with one billion dollars worth of diamonds, and it would not even slightly weigh down ones pants. Now imagine how much one could put in a large personal box. Of course I have no proof what and who posses whatever. O.J Simpson murder  trial is one example, that proving something, and knowing something, well you know the story.
            Reports also state that one of Putin’s watches was auctioned for slightly over one million.
            I don’t know what is in Putin’s heart, nor judge him, but I know many in the Russia Orthodox Church believe Putin to be a miracle of God, and believe he will broker a deal to save our Church. How much more can one government be more in bed with Orthodoxy than this.

            Imagine, some believe Putin has the power to save our Church.

            Now if Putin is MP’s , and Russian Orthodoxy’s greatest source of money and Her power broker, who is really in charge of the largest Orthodox Church(Russia), MP, or Putin? Again this alliance worries me, as any church and state alliance would.

            Then of course we have our impoverished EP that has all here and abroad on the blogoshere worried in regards to international Orthodox politics, and in some regards we should. EP, a man who can only cling claim to a run down neighborhood in Istanbul, Archons, and the floundering GOA. A man that many here and abroad in Russia would like to remove himself from Turkey, and join ranks with his fellow bishops in Greece or New York, thus in the long run run will lose that last thread of authority, and the Russian Orthodox can step in his place with a state, throne, and empire in Russia. Again my question who would be our real EP at that point Kiril, or Putin?

            Some real Game of Thrones is happening here, and some fantasia, but it’s got us all worked up. We want to solve all the world’s problems, meanwhile we can’t even clean our room. As Jordan Peterson writes in his book. Keep it local broskies, this international stuff is for the most part out of our control, and a prime tool of the evil one to distract us from dealing with our own salvation. A tall order to ask indeed. I am reminded of my blog brother, M. Stankovich, who once signed off on his post reply to me, with song and lyrics, a great song by Kansas, Carry on my wayward son…

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Re: “Keep it local broskies, this international stuff is for the most part out of our control, and a prime tool of the evil one to distract us from dealing with our own salvation.”

              The CP did not want to keep it “local.” He chose to intervene in Ukraine at the behest of Poroshenko, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and a group of schematics that hadn’t been in the canonical Church for decades. No one in the canonical Church asked him to grant autocephaly. As a matter of fact, they specifically asked him not to.

              I think it’s a mistake to only talk about “Rusia, Rusia, Russia” and by extension, “Putin, Putin, Putin.” What’s getting lost here is the canonical Church. In THIS case, the canonical Church is the MP and in THIS case, she is in Russia, and in THIS case, the CP violated her boundaries and he did so without the support of the Local Churches. That’s not international stuff. That’s Church stuff.

              • Dino Tsortanidis says

                I don’t really disagree that what the EP did was wrong, but as they say devil’s in the details. Now if the EP makes a grave mistake, does that NOT make him EP any longer, and the Greek Orthodox Church not canonical? When did all bishops of  all Orthodoxy get together and call for his removal? Who are you  to say which Church is canonical and which is not? Is my three year old daughter’s baptism not valid, in your eyes Gail? How about my son’s marriage some day. Are my sins no longer forgiven after confession, or the Body and Blood of Christ, now just bread, and wine, in my Church?
                The MP’s  reaction to EP’s action in Ukraine, called for a schism, was this right thing to do? Might he have been influenced more by God or country? Might MP have thought of Putin’s opinion in the entire matter, and how much weight Putin’s opinion carries? Sorry Gail this IS very international, and reeks of politics, and begs for bloodshed, regardless who started it, and again and  again why I HATE church and state alliances.
                I don’t know what if any “mistakes” or evil deeds MP has done now or in his Soviet past, but if he did, and repented, is he not forgiven, and in God’s eyes still a rightful bishop? But you will not afford the same possibility to EP?  Will the Russian Orthodox Church always remain canonical, and Holy, under Putin’s leadership, I hope so, and what will the future hold when Putin is gone, and maybe an actor/comic is made Prime Minister of Russia, like Ukraine now has?
                Why do we forget what the Communist did to the Russian Orthodox Church? If the  post Soviet Church was not so intertwined to the Imperial Government, and did not threaten the Communist in possible future revolt, would so many have been killed, and so many Churches burnt down? And don’t say it only because Communism is an atheist Gov. because we all know Stalin brought it back during WW2, because he believe it would benefit the Soviet Union’s war effort. Why must we flirt with repeating history? Why? Money, politics, and power. Not Church stuff. Church stuff is left to us in our local Churches, and local Bishops, so long as one Patriarch or another Patriarch not split us, or our government does not destroy or kill us.

                That’s all! I’m done with this subject.

                God Bless Gail, and always in my prayers sincerely.

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  Thank you, Dino. I know you mean that.

                  We can’t say Batholomew made a “mistake,” because he has not acknowledged what he did was a mistake, nor has he shown any inclination that he believes this to be the case. Quite the contrary.

                  How can I refer to someone as “ecumenical” when the result of all his actions is disunity?

                  The canonical Church is the Church that lives within its boundaries and respects the rights of other canonical bishops.

                  It was Bartholomew who severed ties with the MP when he interfered in their territory. Not the other way around. The MP’s response was a given. What other response could they possibly have had?

                  I cannot address questions about evil. It is not my purview. It is within my purview, however, to address sin in the Church.

                  With respect to: “Is my three year old daughter’s baptism not valid, in your eyes Gail? How about my son’s marriage some day. Are my sins no longer forgiven after confession, or the Body and Blood of Christ, now just bread, and wine, in my Church?” How can I answer these questions? God knows. I wrestle with these things, too. My daughter was dedicated” (not baptized) in some Evangelical Church and my son was never Orthodox and now he’s gone. – However, we know the sabbath (religious observance) was made for man, not man for the sabbath. God loves us and He is merciful.

                  I don’t think anyone needs to forget anything. As a matter of fact, I think it’s critical we don’t forget anything so we don’t repeat the same mistakes. It’s like a little kid saying to his teacher, “Yes, I hit Tommy but he hit me first.” Did he learn nothing when Tommy hit him?!

                  God bless, my friend.

                • Dino: “Why do we forget what the Communist did to the Russian Orthodox Church?”
                  Your EP helped Bolsheviks to establish another earlier new “church” in Russia and Ukraine, facilitating persecutions. Should we forget?

                  • Dino Tsortanidis says


                    No, we should learn from our errors, but this tic for tac deal is the reason I in past have refrained from the Ukraine deal, and as I told Gail am done with the topic for good. MY EP against YOUR MP silliness!? Really Martin? We here on this blog can NOT change the Ukraine situation, but what we are doing, if I allow myself to react in manner you do, is pitting Orthodox Christians against each other, and for what? SO you can say you are right, and I am wrong? We good, you bad? Let me save us some time, You win! We bad!

                    Help me with my salvation, share stories like Ioannis just did, with the twins, or what I may learn from the Gospels, psalms, monks, Elders or Holy Father’s writings , saint’s examples. These spiritual heroes and leaders will help our salvation, not whether my EP is a bigger jerk than your MP.

                    I don’t even mind being told I am a fool or ignorant if it applies to improving myself spiritually, or our salvation. Even some here that I may disagree with like M. Stankovich or Misha, may be rude, crude or complete opposites spiritually or politically, they had a point, and gave something that helps in their view, our salvation. Agree or not, there is always something to take away from it. We are all sinners, and need all help we can get. Please don’t troll me with posts, like your last one. It is of no value to either one of us, nor others reading our posts if I engaged you more.
                    God Bless

                • Gail, Dino asked you so many important questions, and each one of them deserves many pages of an answer. Can’t be done here and now.
                  A monk told the relative story of a family:
                  Father, Mother, and the very young twin daughters were crossing the forrest. The bandits killed the man, raped and killed the woman and took one of the twin girls with them.
                  A few hours later a nun passed by and took the other twin girl. That little girl also became a nun, a holy woman and when she died went to paradise.
                  The girl taken by the bandits became a whore. When she died she came in front of The Judge.” 

                  The Monk pauses for a while and asks:

                  “Well, brethren what do you think God will do with this woman. If he says to her
                  ‘go to hell’,  she will ask, 
                  ‘Lord, have mercy on me, I was unlucky and was taken by the bandits. My sister was lucky and was taken by the nun…’
                  So, brethren, what do you think God will do to this woman? Are you sure you know?”

                  Gail, Dino,
                  I think that at the end of the day, we must do the best we can at any given moment with the things we know/have at that moment. And our conscience tells us what is best.

                  • Estonian Slovak says

                    If I may point out to Dino, I was one of those along with Gail, who took Putin to task for not kissing bishop’s hands. I’m not neccesarily in love with the Patriarch, either.
                        Furthermore, I fought with one fanatical MP supporter here on this forum, one Michael Warren, some three or four years ago. 
                       Unlike the chap who called for wife-beating, I never said the Holy Spirit has left the building, vis-a-vis the EP. I will say the EP is in error, whether Grace is present or not, I cannot say.
                        Incidently, the Greek Old Calendar churches broke communion with ROCOR in the 70′ s precisely because ROCOR would not join them in declaring the New Calendar churches to be without Grace. We never said that about the MP, either. We recognised the fact that Patriarch Sergius was an unfortunate old man, trying to make the best out of a bad situation. His declaration of 1927 was condemned, not the man himself. He has gone to answer before God.
                       It may be that Bartholomew is also in such a predicament. We may sympathise with his plight, but we cannot overlook his interference in the Ukrainian church.
                        I do not know whether Putin is sincere. I do know that, unlike Stalin or Brezhnev, the man is still alive. Even if we accept that he and Kiril are corrupt, we cannot overlook the fact that tens of thousands of churches in Russia have opened in the past 30 years. Millions of people have an access to the Holy Mysteries, which was not the case in the Soviet times.
                        Be thankful that your young daughter is baptised. That is something my son denied my grandchildren. I fear that they will be brainwashed by the gay-lib stuff in the public schools. I fear that my son will be ok with that.
                        I don’t know that I like Putin like I said, but enough American Christian people admire him for standing up to the militant gays. He says, “Don’t teach that to the kids in school.” Shouldn’t we all be saying that? A child under 18 may not vote, nor serve in the military, nor drink alcohol. Why on earth should they be encouraged to participate in any sexual activity, gay OR otherwise? Forgive the rant.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      ES, that pretty much sums up what a lot of traditionalist people (of all faith traditions) see in Putin. A bulwark against the homosexual juggernaut that is destroying many of our freedoms.

                      It may not be fair but it is the perception.

                      Besides, who are modern liberals (I’m not saying your or Dino are liberals btw) to complain about Putin’s supposed evil? These same people in the West gladly licked Stalin’s boots before, during and after the war.

                    • Estonian Slovak says

                      You are certainly right about Western liberals and Stalin. Notice how nobody was willing to try to stop Stalin from grabbing Eastern Europe? Nobody was willing to take on Kruschev over the 1956 invasion of Hungary nor Brezhnev over the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia. Yet, all of a sudden, we have to protect Ukraine from Putin.
                      What bothers me the most about modern Russia is the nostalgia for Stalin. I don’t share that at all. I have to say I’ll take Putin over Stalin any day. Still, I’m an unreconstructed Monarchist. I care not what Dino, Nikos, or anyone else may say on the subject. We Slavs got the idea of symphonia of church and state from Byzantium. Why is it suddenly wrong, then?

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      ES, the only sliver of rationality that can cause me to make sense of the Russian people’s nostalgia for Stalin is demographic and military. In the military sphere he defeated the Wehrmacht, the greatest fighting force in history. Demographically, because he ethnically cleansed the Crimean Tatars and Russified the higher reaches of the Communist Party. (Previous to him, the Bolshevik Party was majority Jewish.)

                    • Dino Tsortanidis says


                      I am thankful my little girl was baptized and has the Holy Spirit in her. I understand your sorrow and worry for your son, and grandchildren, but as Gail said, God is merciful. Pray brother.

                      I am refraining from discussing the EP’s Ukrainian decision, and the MP’s reaction to this un-holy  disaster. I don’t want to  be part of or witness Orthodox Christian brothers and sisters fighting over something out of our control. All thru Orthodox history their has been mistakes, sins, and heresies by our top Orthodox leaders. Allowing their errors, and lack of humble spirit affect how we treat one another and cause schism between us is magnifying their sins, and poor choices.
                      God Bless

                • Dino. The communists would have attacked and tried to destroy the Church, what ever it did as  this was a  main plank totally ,NOT AN EXTRA,  to their rule.  

                  Stalin relieved pressure on the Church a little in 1943 because the germans were permitting a restoration of church life in their occupied areas.( read up about the 1941-44 Pskov mission.)  Good Russian film with english subtitles called Pop,. поп., (priest) The key was the fact the people still believed.  
                  I personally do not like Kyril but that irrelevant.  Nor all the actions of MP, but again irrelevant BECAUSE IT IS ONLY BARTHOLOMAIOS WHO IS GOING AGAINST CHURCH TEACHING AND FAITH IN PUSHING PAPAL POWERS. 

            • Dino, I suspect that the real reason is the anger of secularists who cannot accept the possibility that a real Christian might be the leader of a major country. It creates a “bad” precedent.
              My gut feeling is that if Putin was an atheist, unfriendly to the Church, nobody would smear him or searched for the diamonds in his pockets.

              • Dino Tsortanidis says

                You asked for info, and I provided the links, as you asked. How you perceive it is up to you. If you are cool with Putin that is up to you.
                BTW I understand that some secularist don’t like “real” Christians to be leaders of a major country. I really do, because I don’t like ANY government leader, to  be the proxy, quasi leader of my  Church.
                God Bless bro

                • Dino: ” I don’t like ANY government leader, to be the proxy, quasi leader of my Church.”
                  And the best method to prevent such danger is to have a guy like Brezhnev as a leader?

                  • Dino Tsortanidis says

                    Um, no Martin, but Brezhnev was also in control of whatever was left of the Soviet Russian Orthodox Church, even the current MP was part of that church. The Soviets just used the Church in different ways, than Putin does.

                    • Look the communists persecuted the Church, killing people and destroying churches as here in Bulgaria.

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    Martin, the best method to prevent any secular leader from having quasi or real control of the Church is to kill the horrible idea of “symphonia” and pray for Christ through the Holy Spirit to raise up Christian leaders within the Church.

                    All states rule by force, coercion and ultimately by threat/actuality of death as in the Crucifixion itself. There is no compulsion in Jesus Christ, how are the state and the Church compatible much less intertwined?

                    The reason, IMO, is two fold: human beings do not like the responsibility that comes with genuine freedom and we tend not to trust God to provide for us.

                    • Michael Bauman:
                      I would say, it is not our business, whether Putin (or Trump for that matter)  is a believer or atheist. He is not a bishop or a priest, but he is a president of a country with Christians, Buddhists, atheists and others living together. If he wants to go to the church or just show up in the church, nobody should complain about, or investigating his personal motives. It would be a little unseemly.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Dino, I’m going with Martin on this one.  What you say is accurate however when it comes to the mega-narrative, I’m looking for intent on behalf of the players.  Kinda like what happened with Brett Kavanaugh:  as long as he was some two-bit federal judge he was a non-threat; the second Trump nominated him to SCOTUS, he was the font of all evil and he led a gang-rape ring back in the early 80s.

                  Ditto with Putin:  if he was plugged into the globalist/secularist system of leaders –like, take your pick:  Macron, Merkel, Tsipras, whoever–then they can be as weird and crazy as you want.  Putin however really pisses these people off.  It’s almost as if he was part of them but once he became president of the RF and realized how badly the Globalists wanted to dismember Russia then he may have undergone a religious transformation.  In other words, a betrayal.

                  Seriously, nothing else can explain it.  Russia is no threat to the West, it’s population and GDP mitigate against foreign conquest.  Look how far we are outstretched in our military budget because we have 80 military and naval bases in Germany alone.  Trump and the Congress just approved a blasphemous budget deal that will not reverse our ever-growing national debt.  It’s easier for us to engage in foreign adventurism but Russia doesn’t have the wherewithal that we do. 

                  Even Israel’s 18 year long misadventure in Lebanon strained it to the point of near-economic collapse.

                  Sorry for the ramble but outside of Russia’s nukes, I just can’t see any nascent imperialism on the horizon.  

                  • Dino Tsortanidis says

                    Ok George,
                    I understand the bias most of the west has for Putin and the targeted goal  to attain Russia’s natural wealth. It seems for that last 150 years the other most powerful nations during this period have always been targeting the riches and largest land mass in Europe that lead all the way into Asia, Russia. No argument. 

                    You have said you have no illusions about Putin, but basically since he is good for the Church in Russia, in  the terms he  is allowing the Church to be it’s official religion, and of giving away Russia’s wealth to the Church, well then as it’s the old cliche; The ends justify the means. 

                    Now if I may play devil’s advocate, and  in regards to your support of Putin, give you a reversed hypothetical , using a nation that is also Orthodox, and the official religion, Greece.

                    Let’s imagine that Tsipras, whom we are not fans of, was still Prime Minister. Let’s say all his policies were passed, and he had no opposition. Let’s also imagine Greece becomes nearly debt free, and back to normalcy, and it’s citizens are living well. But, because of his policies, the Greek Orthodox Church in Greece is completely cut off by the  government,  and ruined, at least financially. Would that be cool with you?

                    Now let’s pretend that Putin is the tyrant, and evil, as western powers would have us believe, even half as evil, but in all regards  a closeted dictator, and he crushes all opposition by any means necessary. He isolates himself from the world to retain his power. He uses the nation’s wealth, to get the backing of the  Orthodox Church, which all but solidifies his power, and the appearance that God is on his side to his citizens. Meanwhile, many murdered, extorted, jailed, falsely accused, and other religions, and their members marginalized. Business ruined financially , or no hope of materializing  by his monopolies, and the corruption  he creates thru his oligarchy, and the Russian people living in poverty, or just getting by.

                    Aside from the facade that Russia looks beautiful outside it grandiose buildings, and Churches, her economy is in never ending recession, with no light at the end of the tunnel.
                    All that, but on the bright side, the Russian Orthodox Church is allowed to be the official religion, all clergy paid by the Russian Federation, with great pensions, the Church richer  than it has ever been, and beautiful Churches dot the landscape from west to east. 

                    Does the end justify the means?

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Dino, good ends don’t justify evil means. That’s not what I’m talking about (at least I hope not). Having said that, the civil/political culture operates by a different set of rules. A few years ago, I read Fawn Brodie’s biography of Joseph Smith No Man Knows My History. Good book by the way. Anyway, there were several US Army/Mormon skirmishes (often called the Three Mormon Wars) in the 1830s. The governor of Missouri even ordered an Order of Extermination against the entire religion. If memory serves, the Mormon Prophet went to Washington, DC and complained directly to the President (I believe it was Martin Van Buren). The President told him: “Your cause is just, I can do nothing for you”.

                      The point is that secular politics cannot operate under the same rubrics as Church fellowship. Sometimes, good people are thrown under the bus. As James Monroe said to those Americans who wanted the US to aid the Greeks in their rebellion against the Turks: “The US is the well-wisher of liberty everywhere but we are not in the business of looking for dragons to slay” (paraphrase).

                      Now going back to Tsipras, let’s be completely honest. Besides being an incompetent fool who doesn’t believe in God but does believe in Marx, there was no way in hell that he could turn Greece around from being the basket case that it was when he took office. He certainly made it worse during his time at the helm. So your point is moot.

                      However, let’s play the hypothetical game. The Church is the people; the people are the Church. If the Greek nation was able to resurrect itself economically, then the people, out of gratitude to God would come to the aid of His Church. Or at least I would hope so.

                      At this stage in my life, I wish the state would tend to its own knitting, and the Church as well.

                    • Dino Tsortanidis says

                      Agreed about Tsipras, but I hope you understand my point has nothing to do with Tsipras or his failed form of government.

                      In the two extreme hypotheses the outcome is not good, but as you improved upon my point, in  the long run, separation of Church and state, is the better option. As you confirm, a healthy economy, and government will produce a better  work force and a better work force, is a better steward that can , and will support the Church. Support done properly without corrupt government interference, and influence. The Church then will not be used as another money laundering  tool, and biased  advocate for the state leader, good or bad. 

                       Shocker! “At this stage in my life, I wish the state would tend to its own knitting, and the Church as well.”

                      Does this statement above of yours mean your are beginning to see things my way slightly, and leaving  your pro Autocracy and Monarchy past leanings?

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      I would definitely go/see things your way Bro’ unfortunately, events in America post-2016 have bitch-slapped the “Civics 101” naivety out of me. The powers-that-be have still not come to grips with the reality of the Trump presidency and they’ve done everything short of assassination to “make things right”. I’m afraid that Putin is right, that liberalism is essentially over.

                      Dino, I mean this, if the Left doesn’t win the next election, there will be absolute hell to pay. Should they win, then they will come after every Tom, Dick or Harry who even thought about voting for Trump and making his life miserable. The silver lining to all this is that the mask has been stripped from the face of the Democrat Party and we can see their full Alinskyite positions. I mean what each of the twenty candidates running for that Party’s nomination believe is beyond insane. They really need a Bill Clinton right now but he’s in his dotage.

                      What I’m trying to say is that I see one future for America at present (if Trump doesn’t win): a one-party Alinskyite state a la California where typhus and the Black Death are returning. Make no mistake, the hard left will do everything in their power to destroy the constitutional bulwarks (such as the Electoral College, the Senate, sovereign borders) in order to make sure we become an eternal, dystopian hellhole.

                      So yeah, I don’t want an autocracy/monarchy but it’s like what they say about halitosis: “It’s better than no breath at all.”

                    • Dino Tsortanidis says


                      Call me crazy. but I believe there will be a tsunami right wing movement coming soon. Not far right, as we have seen with the likes of Tea Party of the past, but your average mostly unseen or heard, hard working Americans who have kept their noses to the grindstone, struggling to not just get by, but provide a better education, job, and quality of life for their children.

                      It will be even larger than what we saw during the Reagan years. The hate we witness for Trump is not much different than the hate we remember against Reagan. The new conservative wave will be larger now because the public is not stuck with 3 or 4 news channels to choice from, and maybe CNN. No, now we have many voices and opinions available to re-enforce or change our views with more clarity than ever before. Couple that with a strong workforce and we might even witness a right switch in Congress as well.

                      While winding down, the “baby boomers” are still a force to pay attention to. They still hold the money purse, now in retirement or nearing retirement, and have more time to pay attention to politics. Their vote, maybe for the first time in a while or ever, will surprise us all. They are the closeted Trump voters.

                      Generations like mine, and before mine, don’t rate politics as high as they care how well they are living. If all these generations believe Democrats care more for illegal aliens, open borders, no respect for laws, higher taxes, pushing socialism, fake racism(instead of real racism), brainwashing our children, spitting upon our Founding Fathers, and silly talk that the world will self destruct in 15 years, unless we allow the Greenies to save us.(more taxes & restrictions) then the Democrats will lose their votes.

                      The sprinkling of nuts , Ocasio plus three, and the Cherry on top, reparations for slavery 150 years ago, all but seals the deal for failure in the Democratic Party. Falsely accusing those of us of racism and accountable for sins 150 years ago, against those of us who are not of color, really resent being called racists, for no damn good reason, and see thru their charade.

                      Change is coming, heck, you even convinced me that tearing down Confederate statues was wrong, and boy did the looney left even cement that for me now that they want even our Founding Fathers removed from history. Our current flag is next.

                      Remember George, the elite and globalist don’t really care for our nation, they have seasonal homes, all over in international locations, but for those who are a couple paychecks in risk of losing their homes, they love this nation, and will fight to preserve her, because it is all they have.

                      God bless Bro

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      From your lips to God’s ear!

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Thank you Dino. I pray you are correct.

                      For what it’s worth, I was hugely and pleasantly surprised by the recent Greek elections. Elated really. I had thought that Greece had passed the point of no return. Last year, Tsipras wanted to grant citizenship to 700,000 Syrian and other Third-world migrants which would have flooded the voting rolls. I must assume that he failed in this regard because had every one of these foreigners had been allowed to vote, Greece would turn into California forever –a one-part, forever socialist state.

                      God was gracious to the Greek people.

  15. George,
    I think your first reference to July of 2016 may be in error, since in the next paragraph you “fast forward to July of 2016.” 

    • George Michalopulos says

      Indeed, sorry.

      • Anybody  of greek blood coming in with me for reparations for 450 yrs of Turkish rule in Patras?  and what about on my dad’s  dad’s side ( wales) and 1000 yrs of Anglo saxon genocide.   And I’m not country the venetian period!!!! ? 

  16. Michael Bauman says

    Estonian Slovak, RE your monarchism. I understand both the idea and the attraction of monarchy in general and a Christian Monarch in particular. I once held to that belief myself. I am certainly no democrat still. Hierarchy is absolutely essential for maintaining a proper order in organizations, in culture and in the very creation of which we are a part. Hierarchy is inescapable and deeply natural. It is in the very nature of who we are as human beings and how we are supposed to relate to one another.

    But “Symphonia” lacks real hierarchy. Its fatal flaw lies in the establishment of two supposedly complimentary but parallel hierarchies. For a Christian monarchy to actually work, the monarch and the monarchy have to be organically and sacramentally tied to the Church exclusively. The ties cannot be legalistic or formal.

    The practice of Symphonia, or the attempts to practice it, have led to one or the other of the parallel hierarchies coming to dominate the other. Usually the dominant one is the state because, guess what, the use of power is much more natural to statecraft than to the Church. By and large, political people are better at using power than are true Church people. However, both parties quickly loose sight of who the real King is, Jesus Christ. Sinfully and arrogantly the tendency is to assume that as Monarch or Bishop, I am the king.

    Also, Symphonia tends to distort the natural confederation of the Church and, in effect, promotes the status of one bishop over another in a manner that is wrong and destructive. IMO the ideas of Symphonia distorted even more through the Turkish Yoke and the Communist oppression have a lot to do with the ecclesiological irregularities which we suffer from today. The whole “autocephaly” debate is astoundingly foolish and has no real place in the Church, let alone the politics of “who decides autocephaly”. In a properly ordered Church, it would never be a question in the distorted order of the Church created in large part by the distorted notion of Symphonia, it becomes a crucial issue. What should be an organic development within the Church has become a legalistic stumbling block saturated with the anti-Christian desires of wanting to rule.

    As an existential fact of history, neither monarchy nor its bastard cousin, Symphonia, works.

    • “As an existential fact of history, neither monarchy nor its bastard cousin, Symphonia, works.”
      So you want to trash eleven centuries of the Christian Rome and several centuries of European monarchies in the name of XX century secularism?

    • “Symphonia tends to distort the natural confederation of the Church and, in effect, promotes the status of one bishop over another in a manner that is wrong and destructive. ”
      Micheal, there is a very fundamental question. How the Christians should relate to the worldly authorities. Basic approach is the one presented in the Gospels and epistles of St Paul. Give to the Caesar what is his, and to God what belongs to Him.
      When the authorities were pagan, the issue was clear. They have their blueprint of the state based on syncretic pagan cult, and Christians have to be meek and patient, at times tolerated, at times tested with their eyes directed to Heaven.
      But what to do when the authorities knock at the Church door and want to embrace the Church teachings as a new blueprint for their state? Well, our ancestors in Faith decided that the rulers should not be rejected or denied and Era of Constantine began – of Christian monarchies and Christian civilization. For good and for bad, it was the time of Symphonia.
      Now we live in the times of secularism, when the new blueprint for organizing  society is a doctrine of liberal democracy, quickly evolving into unknown direction. So far, it is not worse than times before Constantine.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Martin, Michael, et al, while I do agree that official toleration of the Church or its outright elevation to the cult of the state can be (and often is) distorting to the Church, what other option is there?

        Presently, there are only two options: 1) the complete divorce of church and state, i.e. a near-impossibility, or 2) a state-sponsored or state-encourage religiosity (preferable Christianity). It’s that stark and binary.

        There was at one time a third option: sensibility. In that both church and state were cognizant of each other’s respective ministries and behaved accordingly. This however is only possible if the state and its actors (i.e. magistrates, legislators, etc) were themselves followers of the church.

        Think of it, we now live in a post-Christian society in which Christians (but curiously not Moslems or Jews) are forced to bake cakes for sodomic “nuptials”. Or the Boy Scouts were forced to allow homosexual scoutmasters into their dens. Or bastardy is encouraged (and subsidized) as well as “you go grrrl” feminism. And so on.

        The last time that Option #3 (a church-state separation) that made any sense was during the Eisenhower 50s. From 1789 to 1942 the various state respected and encouraged the boundaries of the church. In 1942, Justice Hugo Black (a former Klansman) ruled in favor of the Jehovah’s Witnesses (a made-up religion) that there was a “wall of separation” (which incidentally is nowhere found in the Constitution) and little Johnny JW didn’t have to say the Pledge of Allegiance (oversimplification but you get the drift). Anyway, the 1950s was the last gasp of church-state normalcy. Both state and church understood their proper province.

        If I could turn the clock back, I would go back to that time, but that ain’t happening.

        Because of this stark, binary choice, the church is caught on the horns of a dilemma:

        1) accept true persecution, which includes everything from mild (losing its 501(c)3 status to actually going to prison (or worse), or

        2) allow itself to be co-opted by the state and muddle along. That means when Robert and Bruce show up for a marriage you better damn well marry them.

        None of this would have happened in a church-state symphonia. They could try but in an Orthodox land, it would fail. Case in point: The Syriza govt of Tsipras was recently booted out of office. He tried to disestablish the Greek Orthodox Church and did what he could to legalize gay “marriage”. His antipathy to the church was rabid and absolute. Now, I’m not going to pull the wool over anybody’s eyes and tell you that the Greek Church was made up of nothing but saints and every priest levitated during the Epiklesis; there was a lot of corruption. (One 92 year old bishop was caught with a 19 year old girl!) Regardless, the Church is better than its members and when Tsipras was thrown out of office, the Church snapped back as a rubber band that was near the breaking point.

        Anyway, where was I going with this? Here: the days of normalcy are over because the people themselves are incapable of being devout (myself included). Too much feminism, lax morality, sloth, tolerance, etc. So Option #3 is an impossibility for the foreseeable future. Option #1, an impossible and deceptive church-state separation that in reality will be malevolent and ultimately unleash on the Church a (probably necessary) persecution. So that leaves me with Option #2: an idealized symphonia between church and state in which we have to avert our eyes from some ecclesiastical corruption and hope that the good (orphanages, hospitals, soup-kitchens) outweighs the bad (corrupt bishops, embezzlement, simony).*

        I know -ain’tt gonna happen. I just wanted to lay out the three possibilities, and explain what animates my thinking, that’s all.

        *Let’s not forget, that’s what we have now, e.g. St Nicholas Shrine, depleted pension fund, etc. And that’s just in the GOA.

        • Estonian Slovak says

          Folks who want a church without any politics have two choices as far as I see it. 1.) The Greek Old Calendar church(I’m not talking about the extremists or cults like HOCNA), or 2.) The OCA, which has no political connections because we live in a secular state. I’ve already expressed my preferences more than once; I see no reason to keep repeating myself. I go with what George wrote above. I’ll give one example of a non-Christian king who was benevolent to the church; King Zog of Albania. He was a Moslem, but felt that as long as one was a good Albanian, religion didn’t matter. I guess nationalism like that works, if it’s in our favor. Sadly, in Ukraine, that’s not the case. In the eyes of the extremists, one cannot be a Ukrainian patriot and belong to the Canonical church. That’s where nationalism gets sticky.

        • ” the days of normalcy are over because the people themselves are incapable of being devout (myself included). ”
          One holy man in the past predicted this situation, yet he said that those who despite their weakness, will persist in such destitute time will be greater than many more devout in the old times. So cheer up George 🙂
          Now returning to the issue of Symphonia.
          I see the situation as a process continuing from the beginning that went through five stages.

          1. The initial pagan stage. The society was a unity of religion and “secular”. First in the primitive tribes, where chief and shaman were together, then in the evolved large societies like Egyptian or Aztec.

           2. Then God separated one tribe from the others, and tutored them over the centuries through the Law and prophets, in isolation from the others.
          3. When time was ripe the higher and universal message was revealed through the Church of Christ. This caused a spiritual war, the Christian message eroded and transformed religious foundation of the pagan cywilization.
          4. In the end pagan religion lost and the rulers adopted Christianity as the new superior blueprint. This was the Era of Constantine, or Millennium, when Christ ruled the earth through His saints.
          5. The dark godless forces hid until the managed to loosen the chains, and by mimicking the Christian virtues and creating a sad mockery of the original – a secular society supposedly based on justice, freedom and truth. The true Faith is marginalized again, and the ultimate forgery is being prepared – the false Christ.

  17. Dino Tsortanidis says

    Michael Bauman,

    Beautifully, and well written! In fact perfect. You have not only wrapped up so much better, than I, why church and state are a bad partnership, but also acknowledge, it, the reason we experience and suffer from it’s bad fruits today. I wish I  could write as eloquently as you, and had your knowledge, brought forth in such a humble, and Christ like manner.
    God Bless

  18. Michael Bauman says

    Martin says
    July 26, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    Michael Bauman:
    I would say, it is not our business, whether Putin (or Trump for that matter) is a believer or atheist. He is not a bishop or a priest, but he is a president of a country with Christians, Buddhists, atheists and others living together. If he wants to go to the church or just show up in the church, nobody should complain about, or investigating his personal motives. It would be a little unseemly.

    Martin, I never said or implied that it is our business. I have no idea where you got that from my comment. Symphonia, however requires an Orthodox Christian leader. Since I do not support Symphonia in any way shape or form, it follows that I am not concerned with whether the leader of the state is Christian or not. I am only concerned with the effects of policy that leader supports or does not support and how they impact me, my family and the Church. It does matter in that sense. Any other conclusion comes uncomfortably close to egalitarianism IMO.

    The Church and her people can and have functioned and maintained our unique Christian ethos under all manners of government. Arguably, the governments that are participatory in nature, or seem to be (US, Canada, other western nations) actually make it more difficult to maintain an Orthodox Christian life in many ways. Certainly as we become more “secular progressive” we are faced with many challenges to faith we have never had to face before.

    As long as I have at least the appearance of a voice in who rules, I will never give ascent to any person or party who has clear anti-Christian policies. Right now in the United States, that is clearly the case with the Democrats, the Libertarian Party, the Green Party and the Socialist/Communist parties.

    The Republicans in general are not far from being excluded by me for other reasons.

    I will continue to pray for our leaders no matter the party or the level of corruption they exhibit.

    • “Symphonia, however requires an Orthodox Christian leader. ”
      Michael, Russia differently from Greece does not have an established Church. The four religions that have official endorsement there, are Orthodoxy, Islam, Buddhism and Judaism (others have rights too).
      So whether their president goes to the Buddhist shrine or a synagogue or to the meeting of atheists, is nobody’s business. If he prefers to participate in the Orthodox church services, the Orthodox Christians should be glad (same way if the French president did so) and not criticize him or speculate how many diamonds he hides in his pockets or how strong is his faith.
      If some day by Divine Providence an Orthodox Christian monarchy rise again, then it will be proper time to ruminate on the issues of Symphonia.

      • Dino Tsortanidis says

        Martin says,
        “If some day Divine Providence an Orthodox Christian monarchy rise again, then it will be proper time to ruminate on the issues of Symphonia.”
        Ironically, I imagine the EP agrees with your statement 100%. Perhaps that’s why he does not want to leave Istanbul.

  19. Michael Bauman says

    Martin, you make a good point. When Constantine first stopped the persecution and then made the Church the state Church, the emotional reaction to that in the time must have been overwhelming.

    Given that monarchy was the dominant political-economy at the time, some sort of accommodation to that was inevitable. No doubt Constatine was sincere. But it is a big leap to go from there to Symphonia. Even by the time of Chrysostom it should have been clear the dangers involved but perhaps not.

    Russia is not a western liberal democracy but neither is it a monarchy. I can certainly see a case for close cooperation but without unnecessary entangling. It is a tough balance to maintain. However, the Church should approach the state as a lion tamer approaches the lions when he goes into the cage with them. Always aware that the state can, at any time, turn and attack no matter how docile it may seem. We must always keep our balance and perspective as the conscience of the state. That requires a certain amount of distance to be effective.

    Symphonia has always been a romantic ideal but with the passing of monarchy and the gradual re-paganization of society it became crippling and lost all semblance of reality. Now, for the Greeks, it seems to have become a full blown psyschotic delusion.

    Persecution is to be expected and it is likely to return. Now with the soft persecution of seduction being used rather than outright murder. “Oh, you won’t loose your salvation if you allow all sorts of perversion and immorality, in fact you need to endorse it to be a real Christian”.

    I think that the seductive approach is worse actually.

  20. Gail Sheppard says

    The moment the CP chose to stop acting in concert with his brother bishops, he ceased being Orthodox. He wants his own Church where he is able to operate independently. He feels entitled to take that which does not belong to him. How else can you explain what he did in Ukraine where he took the title of an existing metropolitan and “regifted” it to a monk outside the Church who was ordained by a schematic.

    This situation, as others have observed, is not unlike what many of us faced as Anglicans. When they brought in female priests, I had to decide if I was going to continue to call myself an Episcopalian. I stopped going to church for a while. Not recommending this route for anyone else, but I simply couldn’t take the Eucharist from a woman. Before that point, there were signs that things were going south but the threshold for me was female priests.

    Everyone is going to have to decide for themselves whether or not they want to continue to follow Bartholomew to parts unknown. The Local Churches, except for Greece (the jury’s still out), have decided they are not going to acknowledge his actions.

    Let me ask you this: If Bartholomew’s actions are not acknowledged by the greater part of the Church, is he still a bishop?

    • Gail Sheppard: “The moment the CP chose to stop acting in concert with his brother bishops, he ceased being Orthodox.”

      This is a very salient point.

    • God bless you, dear sister Gail!

  21. Michael Bauman says

    According to an article on Fox News website, archeologists in Israel have begun excavating the site of a New Testament era Christian Church believed to have been built over the house of Philip and Andrew in Bethsaida. Of note to me was the following excerpt:

    The professor added that the church’s discovery is significant for at least two reasons. “First, until its recent discovery, many scholars questioned its existence. Although it is mentioned in Byzantine pilgrimage itineraries, many thought these reports mistaken,” he explained. “Of equal importance, the church indicates that there existed a living memory in the Christian community about the location of Bethsaida, home of Peter, Andrew and Philip (John 1:44).”

    So called scholars doubted its existence despite the fact that it appeared in several Byzantine era pilgrimage itineraries and was in the living memory of the local Christian community. Way to go “scholars” . Clearly you know better than actual evidence because you are modern and a scholar.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      Sure, but on the other hand, some scholars may find the faith. Modern discoveries corroborating the tradition and Gospel accounts have value.
      We sometimes carry too many chips on our shoulders. All testimony is useful. I’m glad to hear of this account.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Tim, Real scholars do, like Jaroslav Pelikin and Anthony Gythytheil, Anthony Esolen, and others.   

        However, the ones who simply interpret the past from their own beliefs and passions who have no respect for the people and cultures they purport to study, rejecting the actual evidence because it does not fit their bias: they are the ones I hold in contempt.

        Real scholars search for the truth and are fearless in rejecting their own preconceived notions when those notions are false.

        It is the real scholars who persevered in the face of professional doubters to uncover the reality. They have my deepest respect.

    • Modern biblical research is confirming much in Gospels but the new atheists and worse, the ‘ new’ liberal christians, do not want facts to get in way of good story.
      Or the yearly Easter finding of Christ’s Tomb and body etc. Or the newly found Gospels written in 4th century, that suddenly are ‘Gospel’.