No Irish Need Apply?

ep-greek-flagByzantium was known for its duplicity (among other things). Most historians can forgive it for its subtrefuges because it was a state, in fact the longest-lived one in history. At the crossroads of civilizations, the Eastern Roman emperors did what they had to do. Diplomacy, espionage, assassination and even ethnic cleansing. I realize this sounds regrettable by our own elevated standards (Wounded Knee, the Trail of Tears, Sherman’s March to the Sea, etc. notwithstanding) but hey, what are you going to do?

Unfortunately, the Church of the Byzantines took on some of these duplicitous characteristics early on, I’d say sometime around the tenth century. (It’s been years since I’ve read Norwich and Runciman so please forgive me if I’m off by a century or two.) Regardless, that wasn’t a good thing. At the very least it’s an abrogation of faith in the Gospel.

Along with their endless subtrefuges, the remnants of the Church of Byzantium has subsisted for the last half-millennium on nostalgia, ethnicity, and the preservation of arcana. We’re talking essentially about obscurantism here. The accusations of ghettoization are not invalid. What we’re describing here is a type of cognitive dissonance. Examples would include the incessant harping on Constantinople being “anti-phylatelic” and insisting that Hellenism is some type of universalist, non-ethnic ideology open to all races and ethnicities when the facts on the ground invariably reveal just the opposite. This double-think is spearheaded by Elpidophorus Lambrianides, the Metropolitan of Bursa (wherever Bursa is).

This is all patently ridiculous. The incessant marginalization of non-Greeks is the main reason the Episcopal Assembly is essentially dead in the water. This type of thinking is either brain dead or its delusional.

The Phanar still doesn’t get it. It is throwing its sharp elbows this way and that —thigs like not recognizing the Church of the Czech and Slovak lands, warning the national churches to “stay within their boundaries,” and so on. All this stage managed under the direction of some curious ecclesial phenomenon known as the “ancient patriarchates and Cyprus.” This latest creature was trotted out when the Slavic and non-Greek churches took umbrage at the Phanar’s neo-papalism.

Such behavior has real and negative consequences —no matter how clumsy its execution. Please read about the latest attempt to make sure Mt Athos remains a Greek ghetto. (Courtesy of Byzantine, Tx.)

byzantine-tx-thumbSource: Byzantine, TX

( – The Greek portal, referring to its own reliable sources, writes that the Holy Kinot of Holy Mount Athos has received an extensive message from His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople recently, reports

This document expresses his concern in connection with the attempts to over-build Mt. Athos and “change its look” through the uncontrolled and free influx of monks of non-Greek origin.

The Patriarchate of Constantinople informs that it will no longer grant permission to “non-Greek speaking monks” to reside in Greek-speaking monasteries.

The letter also contains a recommendation, according to which the total number of foreign monks must not exceed 10% of the total number of the brethren on Holy Mount Athos.

In fact, this decision means a ban on foreigners coming to live on Athos, as the number of monks of non-Greek origin at the moment exceeds 10% of the total number of monks.

Athonite monks stress that this message is raising many questions, particularly in a period “when the Phanar has announcing a struggle against philetism in the Church”.

“This statement (if the information regarding the message of the Patriarchate of Constantinople is confirmed) casts doubt on the universal nature of Holy Mount Athos, where for over 1000 years, Greeks, Serbs, Russians, Romanians, Bulgarians, and monks from all over the world have coexisted together harmoniously. The Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, during his recent visit, was astonished when he saw a Chinese monk in one of the Athonite monasteries.”

Sources of inform that the Holy Kinot of Holy Mount Athos intends to consider the Patriarch’s message after the first week of the Lenten fast.


  1. Slight correction. “Byzantium” as it is referred to in modern circles or “The Byzantine Empire”. Never existed. It was still the Roman Empire.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      Well, everybody realizes that “the Byzantine Empire” is latter-day historians’ nomenclature, first used in the 17th century or thereabouts.

      But the term persists because it remains very useful and reasonably descriptive.

      • The operative word being “remains.”

      • Isa Almisry says

        “But the term persists because it remains very useful and reasonably descriptive.”
        Useful for what and descriptive of what?
        Nothing truthful. That’s for sure.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          All right, it has persisted because it is not useful and not descriptive.

    • Protopappas says

      Dan, you are correct of course. It is a tough call. Most in the English speaking world understand “Roman Empire” to be that thing that persecuted Christians. However, most (wrongly) understand “Byzantine Empire” to be that thing that doesn’t include western Christians. We need to re-educate, but it does take time. I prefer “Christian Roman Empire” instead of “Byzantium.” We must admit, however, that in order for the average reader to understand, we must put (Byzantine Empire) after “Christian Roman Empire,” since otherwise they might think we are referring to the Franks and Charleminor’s (Charlemagne’s) creation.

      • Debunking the term “Byzantine” is an important part of conversing with westerners who have the misconception that the Roman Empire fell in the 5th century. It completely recrames Western history and better explains how the West ended up where it is today. To deny otherwise or to shrug it off is relativistic approch more appropriate for secular humanists.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          Call me provincial, but most of my conversations of any kind are with westerners, mostly because I am an American and live in the US. I have had conversations with Chinese in China, and Russians is Russia, but well over 99% of all my conversations would have been with westerners, including folks in western Europe.

          Come to think of it, I’m a “westerner” as well!

          And I’d say it’s quite a jump to suggest that if one uses the term “Byzantine” one is therefore a secular humanist! Let’s not take our axe-grinding too far…..

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        I don’t think of the Roman Empire as “that thing that persecuted Christians”! I think of it as that “thing” that united the Mediterranean world, and far north in Europe, creating the sorts of conditions that made it possible for Constantine to be in York when he got the word of the death of an emperor, and to begin the arduous process that ended with the founding of Constantinople. That created the conditions that made it possible for St. Paul and the other apostles to travel and evangelize throughout the Mediterranean world…..and countless things besides.

        I don’t doubt that God knew his time when the Lord was brought forth in the reign of Caesar Augustus!

        It is that “thing” that Christians converted, and why they called themselves Romans for a thousand years after they were mostly Greeks.

        After the Western Empire fell, there was no more going from York to pretty much anywhere for a long, long time…..

        • Isa Almisry says

          “there was no more going from York to pretty much anywhere for a long, long time”
          And yet plenty did-the court at New Rome recruited Anglo-Saxons for the Varengian Guard, and St. Theodore made it from Tarsus to London to take over as Archbishop of Canterbury.

          “It is that “thing” that Christians converted, and why they called themselves Romans for a thousand years after they were mostly Greeks.”
          It is doubtful if Greeks ever made up the majority of Christians.

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            Isa writes, amazingly, “the court at New Rome recruited Anglo Saxons for the Varengian (sic) Guard.
            “ANGLO-SAXONS?” Were there either Angles or Saxons AT ALL in England at the time of Theodore of Tarsus?
            GEORGE, thanks a lot for this article. It appears to be more “right on” than many other recent leading articles here! I would like to point out, though, that “Wounded Knee, the Trail of Tears, Sherman’s March to the Sea, etc.” did not approach the savagery, brutality and inhumanity of the Byzantines. Isa likes to speak of ‘New Roman”, a term used by ecclesiastical officials sometimes, but NOT EVER by any respectable historians. Most of the latter are quite content with ‘Byzantine” to describe a state which tolerated impalement of its enemies on the battlefield, blinding of family members by the IMMORAL imperial families, and so on and engaged in financial shenanigans which put to shame the most conniving of stereotypical Jews Chinese, and Armenians. What the Phanar TODAY is trying to restore or re-create has nothing to do with the nominally Christian government in Constantinople before the Turkish conquest, and everything to do with the privileges and powers given by THE OTTOMAN TURKS to the Patriarchate in the Phanar. Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem were like FLUNKIES in the court of the Constantinopolitan Patriarchate. And today’s Patriarchate still acts as if the power of the Sultan were still blessing it!
            Isa, copying Muslim usage, still likes to refer to the Byzantine Empire and former lands as Rome, or, rather, Rum. I would recommend Isa get a copy of Ostrogorsky’s magnificent “History of the Byzantine State” or A.A. Vasiliev’s “History of the Byzantine Empire’ in two volumes. thus, one would hope, broadening his scholarly horizons.
            Thanks again, George. Do you think it’s true that it was St.Helena who had St. Constantine’s first wife, Fausta, strangled in the steam baths, and that St. Constantine had his son Crispus murdered as well? Lovers of ancient iconography, too, will be glad that Islamic power appeared on the scene in time to protect not only St. John of Damascus’ family icons, but also the beautiful wax encaustic Icons of St. Catherine’s Monastery, from the barbarism of the Constantinopolitan empire and Church!

            • R. Howell says

              Bishop Tikhon inquires, “ANGLO-SAXONS?” Were there either Angles or Saxons AT ALL in England at the time of Theodore of Tarsus?”

              Yes, I believe so. Theodore of Tarsus live in the 7th century. The Anglo-Saxons (or Angles and Saxons; terminology varies) arrived in Britain in the 5th century, and still had a distinct cultural identity in the 7th (and for quite a long time after).

              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                Thanks for answering my genuine question, of which some disapproved for God knows what reason. I had thought that any substantial settlements of the two German tribes in Britain happened after the time of Theodore of Tarsus

                • Matthew says

                  I think it’s a general statement of feeling about you personally as opposed to your question. You’ve earned it I might add.

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            No doubt the story cannot be told in a paragraph. Nonetheless, it has a remarkable impact (it did on me at least) to see the statue of Constantine near York Minster, and to consider that he was there at the time word came from Rome.

            Then, one also considers the request of Roman Britons for a few troops in the late 5th century, and the reply from Honorius (I think it was, without looking it up), telling them that they were on their own. As they indeed were, for a long time to come.

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            Isa, thank you for introducing me to Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury!

            A most interesting man and story, indeed, of which I had before now known nothing.

            And in fact he did go from Tarsus to England….though it did take a few decades!

            Thanks again. I intend to read more of this saint and archbishop.

  2. Christopher William McAvoy says

    What a sad story this is. What a foolish thing to do.

    This view that people intentionally reject local languages , and intentionally refuse to learn to speak the language of where they immigrate to has never proved true in my experience. Does anyone intentionally reject a local language??? I’ve never encountered it, maybe a few elderly people have profound challenges, but younger people nearly always learn whatever language where they live.

    My experience is that the majority of people who live anywhere long enough learn enough of the language to survive. To say that they do anything otherwise is a lie that nationalists use to excuse their bigotry…

    Nationalists come in many forms, hellenic, anglo, spanish, mayan, irish, ukrainian, russian, berber. Yet when they start saying you refuse to speak the kanguage, you know that it’s gone into bigotry territory, no matter what form of nationalism you’re encountering.

    I don’t reject nationalism, I like nationalism, but the nationalism I like is friendly and loving, not exclusivistic and arrogant. It follows Christ, not the world. Him Who is, as He has taught us, The way and the truth and the light (Jn. xiv. 6) – The Way of holy living; the Truth of divine teaching: and the Life of happiness through the ages of ages. (the words of St Leo the Great, 5th c. Pope of Rome).

    • Christopher William McAvoy says

      I don’t care if irish try to marry irish, or greeks try to marry greeks, or maybe an irishman marries a ghanian or malaysian, culturally people are free to do what they want and what they will. That’s fine, i respect it, and I respect the opposite too. To some extent cultures survive by marrying those who seem the most immediately similar, but simultaneously they are always merging with elements of nearby peoples. Nothing is stagnant. Culture evolves, as it evolves, some respect must be maintained.especially What matters most is agreement and acceptance of christian morality, thats the only thing worth arguing about, not what language you speak.

      • Tim R. Mortiss says

        I believe that Americans should marry Americans, by and large. So I, a child of immigrants from British Columbia, married a woman whose grandparents were born on Dalmatian islands. But we were both Americans, and so continuance of our culture was assured.

        On the other hand, if my paternal grandmother had followed this procedure, she (who was born in Kentucky), would never have married my Canadian grandfather, after the First World War. She was taken by his having been a Royal Air Force pilot in the Great War.

        There is another interesting point. My wife is (nominally) Catholic. Her people were of Irish, German, and Croatian descent. Her church was full of such, as well as folks of Polish background, and lots of Italians. And yet it was then, and had been for a long time, one church, not Italian, Irish, Polish, or Croatian. But the immigrations had been recent! And they all had pretty strong “cultural” feelings. But they had one church.

        The Orthodox here could have done well to have taken a leaf from that immigrant book of experience.

    • Isa Almisry says

      “This view that people intentionally reject local languages , and intentionally refuse to learn to speak the language of where they immigrate to has never proved true in my experience. Does anyone intentionally reject a local language??? I’ve never encountered it, maybe a few elderly people have profound challenges, but younger people nearly always learn whatever language where they live.”
      The Patriarch’s school in Jerusalem taught in Greek (there are NO local Greeks), but that was easy as the students were recruited from Greece (particularly Crete it seems). When Greeks stopped sending their sons when the Intifadah heated up, they took in the local Orthodox-after they learned modern Greek.

    • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

      This view that people intentionally reject local languages , and intentionally refuse to learn to speak the language of where they immigrate to has never proved true in my experience. Does anyone intentionally reject a local language??? I’ve never encountered it, maybe a few elderly people have profound challenges, but younger people nearly always learn whatever language where they live.

      My experience is that the majority of people who live anywhere long enough learn enough of the language to survive. To say that they do anything otherwise is a lie that nationalists use to excuse their bigotry…

      Yet here you are writing in English (a variant of barbarian Germanic), not Latin.

      • Christopher William McAvoy says

        Yes, precisely, Ladder of Divine Ascent. One must remember english has far more latin root words from french than does german however! My mother speaks spanish a vulgar latin tongue.

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          Christopher, don’t you mean “far more latin root words from french” than any OTHER German language has?
          English belongs to the class of Low German (like Dutch). French hasn’t been Frankish German for ages unto ages. English has more Norse “root words” than French, too. That doesn’t make English any less (low) German, though. Our most common Norse borrowing is “are,” as in “they are.”
          As for local languages…I remember when New Ulm, Minnesota, was mainly a Teutophone town and one was as apt to hear German on the streets as English. There are, though, more Latin words in German than many realize; “Kaiser” springs immediately to mind. And one must not ignore the many French worda that Napoleon’s people left behind in Germany…Schandarm, Polizei, plus a multitude of military terms which the Germans, like almost the whole world learned from the warlike and military-obsessed French! Artilllery, Army, Sergeant, Bombard, Munition, , General, Kapitan, Company, Battalion, Division, Carbine, MARCH, Squadron, etc , There are very few German military words.

          • Christopher William McAvoy says

            English has many more Latin words of latin origin in it than German has in it. The Normans, former vikings who adopted french, conquered england, not germany, and spread latin loan words into english through old french influencing english. That is all I ment.

          • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

            Our most common Norse borrowing is “are,” as in “they are.”

            Really? “They,” “them,” and “their” are Norse, but my etymologies don’t make any connection to Norse for “are.”

            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              Since he identified them only as “my etymologies”, I am completely in the dark as to what Deacon Brian’s references might be! In modern Norwegian, the verb “to be” is regular! In the present tense (all three persons) it is “er”, pronounced “air.” We did keep our (Low) German “is,” though.
              Oh, and the “by” in such English towns like Whitby and Overby and so on are also Norse leftovers.

              • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                Your Grace, I have checked half a dozen etymological authorities, on line and on the shelf, and not one identifies the English are as a derivative of the Norse er. Most say the two are cognates, meaning (as you know) they derive from the same Germanic root, without one coming from the other.

                It is of course possible, and perhaps even likely, that the Viking use of er contributed to the survival of are in English, but to say that are derives from er is to claim a fact not in evidence. There appears to have been no time in which the language we call English, in its various dialects, did not make use of a form of the word are—no time at which the English switched from is to are. The earliest English texts we have are Northumbrian, and are is already there as aron.

                (Not a big issue, but what a relief to have a purely intellectual argument now and then!)

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Thank you Deacon (and Your Grace). I for one have never understood how “is” conjugates into “are.” In most other Indo-European languages that I know of the singular and plural forms are very much alike.

                  • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                    People have assumed for centuries that English arrived in Britain as the Low German of the Angles and Saxons, which makes it seem that anything Norse-like in English was added later by the Vikings.

                    But the new thinking is that English arrived centuries earlier, before the Romans, as a West Germanic language and that the Angles, Saxons, Norwegians, and Danes all later added features without one dialect winning out. This accounts for English’s greater diversity of forms of the verb “to be” (with is, are, was, and be all descending from different roots) and for the considerable distance between English and other West Germanic languages like Low German, Dutch, Flemish, and Frisian.

                    His Grace could still be right about are, but my money is on the new thinking.

                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      The new thinking I mentioned is summarized here by geneticist Stephen Oppenheimer. His comments on the English language are just before and after the subhead “Who was here when the Romans came?” The main points:

                      (1) Most Britons are descended from Neolithic peoples in Britain over 7,000 years ago.
                      (2) The original (post Ice Age) settlers of Britain were Basques from Iberia, who came up the coast as the ice receded.
                      (3) Celtic influence in England was slight (nearly no Celtic inscriptions and very few Celtic placenames in England, more early Indo-European placenames).
                      (4) Britons were speaking a Germanic language similar to that of the Belgae when the Romans arrived.
                      (5) Scandinavian presence in Britain also pre-dates the Roman arrival.
                      (6) Celts, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Vikings, and Normans didn’t added much to the English gene pool.
                      (7) Some researchers suggest English might represent a fourth branch of Germanic language evolving simultaneously with West Germanic and North Germanic.

                      So his Grace could still be right. There’s just no way of knowing for sure.

                    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                      Deacon Patrick wrote this:
                      “But the new thinking is that English arrived centuries earlier, before the Romans, as a West Germanic language and that the Angles, Saxons, Norwegians, and Danes all later added features without one dialect winning out.”

                      I doubt that very most definitely. snd, unless he is able to name a scholar who teaches that, I doubt it and think it’s the Deacon made it up. Aengelisch and Saechsisch are the native languages of, respectively, the Aengels and Saxons.

                      “New thinking” indeed! “New thinking is,” means “”Here’s something I just thought up.”

                  • Monk James says

                    George Michalopulos (May 7, 2014 at 10:29 pm) says:

                    Thank you Deacon (and Your Grace). I for one have never understood how “is” conjugates into “are.” In most other Indo-European languages that I know of the singular and plural forms are very much alike.


                    Not in my experience.

                    Forms of ‘be’ in English (be, am, are, is, was, were, being, been) are amply reflected in the irregular verbs of many other indo-european languages.

                    Consider latin ‘esse, sum, eres, est, fui, futurus’ and go on from there.

                    I’m reminded of the transcript of the martyrdom of the holy bishop Frumentius (I think), who was asked by a roman tribune: ‘Christianus esne tu?’

                    The saint replied ‘Sum.’

                    The tribune said ‘Fuisti.’

                • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

                  I would just like to know the names of SOME the “ETYMOLOGICAL AUTHORITIES that Deacon Patrick consulted.
                  would also appreciate a hint as to what in the world an “English:” language would be that did not originate as the language of the Angles.
                  Where I went to school, English is a Germanic language of the “low” (that means pertaining to the low countries or the plains) Greman family, along with Netherlandish (Dutch), and the other low lying (“platt”, or flat) lands of northern Germany such as Lower Saxony, Silesia, and so on. I’m astonished if any linguistic scientists would put Breton or any of its relatives in the Germanic family! I’d like to state categorically that there is no English language which is not one of the many varieties of German, to wit, Low(land) German. I’d like to directed to any claim by any linguistic scientist that the peoples of Britain spoke English before the arrival of the Anglessf, rather than a local Celtic Britonish language like Cornish or Welsh.

                  • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                    Your Grace, read the article at the link I provided above. You’ll see I didn’t make anything up.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      Deacon Brian, I read most of the link, and it is mainly hypothesis. Here is a typical example of the man’s hedging:
                      “Tacitus reported that between Britain and Gaul “the language differs but little.”
                      The common language referred to by Tacitus was probably not Celtic, but was similar to that spoken by the Belgae, who may have been a Germanic people, as implied by Caesar. In other words, a Germanic-type language could already have been indigenous to England at the time of the Roman invasion.”

                      See that? “Probably”, ‘May have been,” “implied”, “could already have been.” Rationalisation, anyone?

                      Some are so anxious or eager to be pathfinders in the area of genetic revelation that they become almost reckless. “Apostles of the Genome.’

                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      The old thinking (that English arrived as Low German with the Angles and Saxons) is also a hypothesis. It just doesn’t fit the new facts established by genetic research as well as the new hypothesis. Oppenheimer writes (emphasis added):

                      When I looked at exact gene type matches between the British Isles and the continent, there were indeed specific matches between the continental Anglo-Saxon homelands and England, but these amounted to only 5 per cent of modern English male lines, rising to 15 per cent in parts of Norfolk where the Angles first settled. There were no such matches with Frisia, which tends to confirm a specific Anglo-Saxon event since Frisia is closer to England, so would be expected to have more matches.

                      When I examined dates of intrusive male gene lines to look for those coming in from northwest Europe during the past 3,000 years, there was a similarly low rate of immigration, by far the majority arriving in the Neolithic period. The English maternal genetic record (mtDNA) is consistent with this and contradicts the Anglo-Saxon wipeout story. English females almost completely lack the characteristic Saxon mtDNA marker type still found in the homeland of the Angles and Saxons. The conclusion is that there was an Anglo-Saxon invasion, but of a minority elite type, with no evidence of subsequent “sexual apartheid.”

                      The orthodox view is that the entire population of the British Isles, including England, was Celtic-speaking when Caesar invaded. But if that were the case, a modest Anglo-Saxon invasion is unlikely to have swept away all traces of Celtic language from the pre-existing population of England. Yet there are only half a dozen Celtic words in English, the rest being mainly Germanic, Norman or medieval Latin. One explanation is that England was not mainly Celtic-speaking before the Anglo-Saxons. Consider, for example, the near-total absence of Celtic inscriptions in England (outside Cornwall), although they are abundant in Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Brittany.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      I don’t recommend that anyone with a brain consult a geneticist about linguistic matters.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      The “old thinking”, Deacon, is that “Aengelish” or “English” is the language of the Germanic Aengel tribe. What is the “new thinking??” Is it something like “The Celts are not what some people think they are?” Let the dons scratch each others’ eyes out over that one.

                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      It is possible for conquering “elites” to teach their tongue to conquered locals, but it is virtually impossible for elites to stop the locals from speaking their own tongue. Why? Because language is learned in the home, in the most intimate of settings, out of the reach of the powers that be.

                      History is replete with examples proving this point. The Welsh, Scots, and Irish all learned English in time, yet their own languages still survive — 900 years later — while the conquering Normans were obliged to learn French in Normandy, English in England, and Sicilian in Sicily.

                      So what explains the sudden disappearance of Celtic Brythonic in England? Only a thorough ethnic cleansing can, but the genetic evidence proves that England was not ethnically cleansed of Britons, for the English today are mostly descended from them.

                      The stronger hypothesis is that the process of teaching the Britons the Germanic language that became English began much, much earlier, well before the arrival of the Angles and Saxons in the fourth and fifth centuries, and even well before the arrival of the Romans in the first.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      While the swift “francification” of the Northmen in Normandy has often been remarked, the Normans were never obliged to learn English. By the time “they” did, they had long since ceased to be Normans…..

                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      While the swift “francification” of the Northmen in Normandy has often been remarked, the Normans were never obliged to learn English. By the time “they” did, they had long since ceased to be Normans…..

                      If you want to put it that way. The point is that English survived and Norman French didn’t.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      Deacon Brian should refrain from any further uninformed and dogmatic pronouncements in the area of linguistics. The latest example of his nowlers:

                      “It is possible for conquering “elites” to teach their tongue to conquered locals, but it is virtually impossible for elites to stop the locals from speaking their own tongue. Why? Because language is learned in the home, in the most intimate of settings, out of the reach of the powers that be.”
                      What happened to Coptic? Who SPEAKS Coptic? No one. Etruscan? Carthaginian? Libyan?
                      Contrary to Deacon Brian’s imagined scenario. Coptic survived only publicly, in the Liturgy, but NOT in “the most intimate of settings, out of reach….”

                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      Your Grace, Coptic survived as a spoken language until at least the 17th century, which makes it just another example of a popular language that conquerors could not quickly suppress.


                      You apparently believe the Anglo-Saxons drove out all the Britons in the fifth century, but the genetic evidence proves that the English of today are mostly descended from ancient Britons, with very little ancestry among the Anglo-Saxons.

                      The obviously more reasonable explanation is that Germanic began replacing Brythonic much, much earlier. That’s what recent research shows and what more and more scholars believe.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      Oh, Deacon Brian, so now it’s “QUICKLY” suppress? I missed that qualification of your original shaky hypothesis about the impossibility of suppressing local languages by the language of invading “elites.”
                      You may certainly be correct in your claim that there was still at least one speaker of Coptic living into the 17th century, but was not he perhaps some kind of maverick enthusiast? I, too, would like to know how the complete disappearance of “Brythonic” in England can be explained, even in the light of your theory of its virtual impossibility!

                  • Your Grace, English is not a variant of Low German. English is a West Germanic language (not the same thing as german) and although Old English and Old Saxon are considered to be of the North Sea variant of West Germanic, OE is still not a branch of Low German.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      Francis, linguistic scientists, and before them, philologists, classify modern English as being an Indo European language Further, it is a Germanic language. Now German languages and dialects, Francis, whether western eastern, northern, or southern are classified variously as Low German (for example, English and Dutch and Saxon and the low-lying regions of today’s Germany) if they are spoken in the lowlands, mostly northern; High German (Bavarian, Austrian, Swiss) if they are spoken in the high lands, mostly southern. Further, they may be classified as Old or Middle (i.e., of the Middle Ages) Yiddish (Jewish pronunciation of the Middle High German word for Jewish) is basically Middle High German from the time when the ghettos’ gates closed in the Jews for centuries, preserving medieval colloquial German). Most Germans in modern Germany are bilingual, in that they speak their regional dialect at home, but “standard’ German in public. There used to be only two classes in German society that spoke regional dialect only and never standard: local royalty/nobility, and taxi drivers.
                      Most foreigners refer to the standard dialect taught in the schools as ‘High German” and attribute social value to it thereby. It’s not really High German. It’s just an interlingua, and the only people that speak it exclusively and do not have a local dialect are ‘Volksdeutsch”, i.e., Germans settled abroad in isolated community, such as ‘Volga Germans.”
                      There is absolutely no such category as “North Sea variant of West Germanic.’ You must have made that one up.
                      I think Francis can’t bear the idea of English being “low’ ANYTHING, but if he would consider that “low’ refers to topography, he might be mollified.

                    • But, Francis, Low German is also a West Germanic language and certainly has some historic relation with English. This is why, for example, an English speaker can sometimes make out what Mennonites are talking about.

                  • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                    Actually the closest language to English is Fresian spoken in the norhtern part of the Netherlands and adjacent ares of Germany. English is classified by linguistics as part of the Anglo-Frisian family of languages. Naturally, there has been a heavy French and Latin influence on the development of modern English.

                    • Basil I hope I didn’t give off the impression that I don’t consider Low German to be a West Germanic language. I know it is and wasn’t disputing that.

                      Your Grace, would it help if I called it Ingvaeonic? North Sea German or Ingvaeonic isn’t an official branch of West Germanic but a possible grouping based on region or area as opposed to being a singular language. Also, I’m guessing from your definition of Low German that you mean it as a regional term to describe any WG language that comes from the northern coastline of the western half of Jutland all the way to the Netherlands and Belgium as opposed to the language that eventually developed from Old Saxon or Old Low German. In case you still think I’m making up the whole North Sea classification look up Friedrich Maurer.

                    • Archpriest John W. Morris says

                      When I was a student in Frankfurt, I had no trouble understanding the professors, but sometimes could not understand the hessian dialect spoken by most of the students. What we call High German, is actually the language of the old Saxon court, which became standard after Luther used it for his translation of the Bible.

            • Lola J. Lee Beno says

              A bit of a fun diversion, I came across a website where there is speculation on what English would have been like if there hadn’t been an heavy influence of Latin and French.


              This one has interesting list of “restored” English words. You’ll have to put up with annoying popup windows with this site.


              Here’s an example for “to be saved”:

              Present Past
              nease “to be saved” nase neasen

    • Gail Sheppard says

      RE: “This view that people intentionally reject local languages , and intentionally refuse to learn to speak the language of where they immigrate to has never proved true in my experience.”

      It certainly has in mine, but I live in CA.

      I traveled a lot when my children were small and though my husband and I would stagger our trips so he could be at home, I still had to have someone there to take care of my family. Christina came from Mexico City and lived in my home for 15 years. I helped bring her two children over here and they acclimated very quickly, but Christina refused to learn English. As a result, my kids picked up what my mother referred to as “kitchen Spanish.” I’ll never forget the day we took my sweet, little, one-year-old daughter to the store. She looked so cute in her frilly pink dress. To my horror she yelled out her very first word that I would never have been able to predict. Mama? No. Dada? No. Her first word was “caca!” The entire store thought it was hilarious. Christina thought it was hilarious, too. I, on the other hand, was not so amused.

      Yesterday some of my friends and I escaped work to get some lunch. We are a very diverse group of women; one of us is Indian, one is black, one is Chinese and I’m white; all ages. We were walking down Ocean Blvd. in Long Beach when this older, nicely dressed Korean woman grabbed one of our arms and kept repeating something we couldn’t quite understand. We finally figured out what she was saying. She wanted to go see the Queen Mary, which was several blocks away and too difficult to explain since she spoke no English. We walked her over to the bus stop, hoping we could figure something out. There was another attractive, nicely dressed woman with a sort of a “Carole Lombard” look sitting on the bench waiting for the bus. The little Korean woman immediately descended upon her and kept repeating over and over, “Queen Mary, Queen Mary . . .” The woman looked startled and said quickly, “But I’m not the Queen Mary!” I thought we would all die we were laughing so hard! After we explained the situation, the woman at the bus stop offered to help the little Korean woman get her to her destination.

      Yes, there are many people in CA who don’t speak English and some of them have been here a very long time. Why would they learn English when we accommodate every single language in our schools, post offices, clinics, hospitals, etc.? There is no incentive.

  3. Protopappas says

    The picture with the Greek flag is not exactly representative of what the Patriarch does. He sets out various flags at the Phanar outer court. For example, he set out the Ukrainian flag for Ukrainian independence day. However, if this is true about Athos, it is a great scandal to Orthodoxy.
    Speaking from the heart, I wish that John Pappas had not stated what he did. However, the reason that I wish that is not because I think that what he said was false, but rather at its possible veracity. To make it worse, I think that his statement is not limited to GOA bishops, but to other jurisdictions in America as well. Both racism/ethnocentrism and sodomism are albatrosses about us.
    Then again a people gets the leadership it deserves. We are become a depraved people and must repent. We must pray for our Bishops that stand aright, and we must pray that our Bishops who are bowed down in sin might stand aright again. But we ourselves must repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.

  4. Big Jim Crosby says

    Protopappas, you are right about these sins extending into the the other jurisdictions.

  5. Isa Almisry says

    “his double-think is spearheaded by Elpidophorus Lambrianides, the Metropolitan of Bursa (wherever Bursa is).”
    That’s not a question: I’ve been to Bursa, visiting the tombs of the Ottoman dynasty founders there.

    The question is, where is Prousa and its Churches?

  6. Isa Almisry says

    “All this stage managed under the direction of some curious ecclesial phenomenon known as the “ancient patriarchates and Cyprus.” This latest creature was trotted out when the Slavic and non-Greek churches took umbrage at the Phanar’s neo-papalism.”
    The Phanariot grab in Qatar, and now the consequent break in communion between Antioch and Jerusalem has lanced this boil.

  7. Michael Bauman says

    If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

  8. Would someone please post the entire original letter and/or translation by Patriarch Bartholomew on ethnicity on Athos?

  9. I’m not particularly concerned about Athos. Anyway, the Greeks are entitled to their Athos just as the Russians are entitled to Valaam.

    I’ve always believed that the Greeks, in general, thought of the Greek Orthodox Church as a sort of family (or omogenia) business. On the ground, at many parishes, this is not the case here in America. I’ve met very welcoming Greek priests and parishioners. I’ve also heard others I trust recount stories of answering “no” to the question “Are you Greek?” and then no one will talk to them. It takes all kinds.

    Personally, none of it bothers me. For most Russians, the Greek Church leadership is, at most, on the distant periphery. It’s not love or hate or pity or frustration, mostly just a matter of ignoring what is irrelevant to our lives. Russians know Greeks are Orthodox, as are Serbs, Romanians, Bulgarians, etc. I think we take more notice of our fellow Slavs than anyone else. Occasionally there is the embarassing headline about Pat. Bartholomew meeting the Pope, or about the strange, continuing saga of the soon-to-be-but-never-arriving “Ecumenical Council”. That’s about it. Even if the Greek Church leadership were not so ethnocentric, it wouldn’t really change anything. There are more Romanian Orthodox than there are Greeks of all varieties on earth. I love Greek festivals, the music, Athos, the Old Calendarists, etc. But Pat. Bartholomew and Met. Elpidophoros aren’t even an annoyance. They have their own little pond and their own little show and we’ll stay in communion as long as possible but really, what does it matter? If they are ignored, it’s better for everyone. They can live in their world and we in ours.

  10. gee, do they reject contributions of U.S. dollars?

  11. George, is it time to address the elephant in the room? With uprisings in Ukraine what is happening with ROC, ROCOR, governmental agencies and other Orthodox bodies?

  12. greggo,

    This appears to be the latest word from Patriach Kirill:

    Met. Hillarion of ROCOR is Ukrainian and he heard his parents speak Ukrainian at home when he was a boy:

    Also from ROCOR site, dated 2/5/14:
    In light of the violence and civil unrest in Kiev and throughout Ukraine, the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, issued the following call for peace and calm:

    “As faithful children of the Russian Orthodox Church, we cannot remain indifferent to the troubles plaguing Her cradle – the Mother of Russian Cities, Kiev. We call on all of the faithful of the Russian Church Abroad around the world to pray for the cessation of all violence, that God might prevent all bloodshed and speedily restore brotherly love and understanding.”

    His Eminence further decreed that all parishes and monasteries of the Eastern American Diocese add the following petition to all augmented litanies at Vespers, Matins, and the Divine Liturgy:

    “Again we pray Thee, O Almighty Lord, that Thou mightest grant peace to Kiev, the Mother of Russian cities which is shaken by civil strife, and the entire country of Kievan Rus’, and by the power of the grace of Thy Holy Spirit extinguish all enmity and violence therein; O Source of goodness and Abyss of love for mankind, quickly hearken and have mercy.”

    However, all of that being said, I have not spoken to a natiive born Russian yet who opposes what the RF is doing. A national poll has Putin’s popularity in the low to mid 70’s recently.. This was confirmed by another Pew poll. Moreover, among just ethnic Russians in Russia, it’s probably higher than that.

    The Church, however, seems to be attempting to stay neutral. This does not appear to be the case with the “Kiev Patriarchate” though.

    • From a ROCOR parish list a day ago says

      Patriarch Kirill:

      Blood is again shed in Ukraine. The clashes in the Donetsk Region and tragic events in Odessa have led to the death of tens of people and further destabilization of the situation in the country. Many are in despair and fear for their lives and the lives of their loved ones.

      In this hardest of times, my heart is with Ukraine, with each of her sons and daughters who are in pain, grief, anger and despair. I am praying that all the victims of the bloodshed may rest in peace, that the lives of the casualties may be saved and that the injured may recover as soon as possible. My ardent prayer is for the healing of the country and pacification of the enmity, so that blood may not be spilt again and violence may be stopped forever.

      Responsibility for what is going on lies first of all with those who resort to violence instead of dialogue. Special concern is raised by the use of military hardware in a civic confrontation. The use of force is often provoked by commitment to political radicalism and denial of citizens’ rights to express their convictions.

      In the situation of today’s Ukraine, only one political position cannot be declared the only possible and obligatory for all. It is pernicious to the country. It is my conviction that attempts to assert one’s own point of view by force should be abandoned once and for all. I appeal to all the parties to restrain themselves from the use of arms and to settle all problems through negotiations. In a short-term perspective, Ukraine needs at least reconciliation, in a long-term – a lasting and inalienable peace.

      Ukraine can be healed and can take the path of building a dignified life for her citizens only if it becomes a common home for people of various political beliefs who differ from one another in many things. There is no alternative to dialogue. It is necessary, while there is still a possibility for it, to hear one another and try not only to resolve today’s contradictions but also to renew the commitment to Christian spiritual and moral values, which have formed the Ukrainian people and enriched them with wisdom and love of truth. I trust: precisely these values will help them today to find a way to peace and justice without which a dignified future of the country is unthinkable.

      O God, one and great, preserve Rus’- Ukraine!

  13. M. Stankovich says

    I didn’t have access to my car, so I walked to attend the services of Holy Week at the Greek Orthodox parish in my neighborhood. The priest is American-born, of Greek heritage, I would guess in his mid-to-late-40’s, very enthusiastic, an excellent preacher, and seemed to have an excellent rapport with his parishioners. For the Unction Service, The Matins of Holy Friday (with the 12 Gospels), and the remaining services, he was joined by the retired priest. When he served alone, the services were 98% in English, and when the retired priest served, the services were 95% in English. The services over-all were well attended – I counted nearly 75 people at the Liturgy of Holy Thursday, which I have never seen in another church in this city – and a true mixture of elderly, middle aged, young families, young couples, young people, and children. I was always greeted, though I chose to stand I was always offered a spot to sit, several times I was offered a service book. There are regularly scheduled education classes, downloadable podcasts, an excellent website, and daily office hours to meet with the priest. And the parish sits directly in the heart of the LGBT community of San Diego.

    It is often the case on this site that “macro” conclusions, such as proposed by John Papas – “new crew of bishops are marginal leaders and homosexual for the most part. Creative priests are bailing or getting pushed out” – are so casually and effortlessly accepted as the “truth” without question or challenge, that the “micro” conclusions – the reality – are missed. Quite obviously, it takes a bit more effort to get off your cynical ass and look for the light than to sulk in the darkness.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      What is the significance of its location as you describe it?

      • M. Stankovich says

        Mr. Mortiss,

        Sorry for the delayed response, There appears no quick way way to return to older threads, but my reference was to the events that occurred in the Castro District of San Francisco – the self-termed “gayest community in the country” – when the parishioners & clergy of St. Nicholas Cathedral ROC “fled” to the ROCOR cathedral rather than speak to a rag-tag group of gay protesters (approx 13) who, for a month, attempting to ask what the apparent connection was between Putin & the Church might be by phone, letter, and email, announced they were showing up after liturgy. It never would have happened in San Diego. Perhaps it is the consistently warmer climate? Or perhaps the lack of the characteristic xenophobia and racial hatred? Hard to tell. Easier on the soul, regardless.

  14. colette says
  15. From a ROCOR parish list a day ago. pt 2 says

    Please excuse horrible translation

    Metropolitan Onuphry of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church:

    For several months, Ukraine has been experiencing a challenging test. An extremely troubling situation remains in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. Terrible events occurred on May 2 in Odessa, where as a result of bloody clashes and a fire in the House of Trade Unions, dozens of people were killed and hundreds more injured.

    The Ukrainian Orthodox Church expresses its condolences to the families of all the victims. We offer prayers for the repose of the souls of those who left us, and prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured . God’s love embraces all of us. In the ocean of Divine Mercy all our earthly desires and confrontations disappear . Therefore, the Church of Christ does not divide its flock into nationalities or political preferences. We pray for all, despite which side of the barricades they were factually on.

    During all the months of the socio-political crisis in Ukraine, our Church has consistently called for reconciliation and sought ways to avoid bloodshed. We have appealed to the state and government and the opposition to cease hostility and sit down at the negotiating table.

    The political situation in the country has changed, but the position of the Church remains unchanged. We once again urge both new powers, and new oppositions to make every effort to stop bloodshed. We once again appeal to you, our native countrymen: Stop! Stop aggression, do not use arms against your brethren and fellow believers!

    We must realize that no political idea is worth bloodshed. You cannot build a just society upon violence, aggression and confrontation. Indeed, between individual citizens of the Ukraine there are significant differences. We should not turn a blind eye.

    However, we must seek common ground and compromise, should not take up arms, and at the negotiating table. Any violence always breeds only more violence. And every murder entails new victims. We must break this infernal circle and not give the devil to turn our country in the fratricidal war.

    In this difficult time, we clerics urge the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to a balanced and responsible pastoral position. We must remember that the mission of the Church is the Gospel of reconciliation of man with God and man and man. The clergy must make an effort to stop the escalation of conflict.

    Source: # ixzz30u1uithV