No Shortage Of Government Shills

Yeah, I know.  There are some of you “hold outs” who just can’t get your brain around the fact that our very own State Department is directly involved in Church affairs and hence, helping to engineer a schism. But now there’s proof of what our dear contributor, Gus Langis, dropped on us a couple of days ago:  The people at Orthodox Times are shills for our government.  And yes, this proves that the See of Constantinople (or some of its minions) is just as much a puppet of our government as many of you Russophobes claim the Patriarchate of Moscow is to Putin.

Sorry, not buying your Russophobic rants anymore. The Russian Church isn’t perfect but it’s shown considerably more independence from governmental influence than Bartholomew ever has. The Patriarch of Moscow and all-Russia has condemned aspects of Putin’s foreign policy, like the annexation of the Crimea from Ukraine and South Ossetia and Abkhazia from Georgia. Patriarch Bartholomew, on the other hand, actually blessed Turkish tanks as they actually invaded Syria. (Last I checked, Turkey wasn’t a Christian country but, hey, if I’m wrong on that score, please let me know.) 

In Russia, it is Putin who uses his power to promote the Church.  In the case of Constantinople, it is Bartholomew who uses the American government to undermine the Church.  He’s been running to the CIA about Russia so often they’ve installed a revolving door just for him.   

The Orthodox Times, the English language arm of Romfea is being funded by our State Department which so far has spent 100,000 of your tax dollars to put out globalist propaganda. They’re doing this to shape the anti-Russian narrative that they want you to believe and this is 100%, unadulterated bull-shit.  Sorry, but desperate times call for words you can’t say in polite company. What’s the narrative?  Constantinople good, Russia bad.  I guess that’s good enough for government work.  So much for the separation of Church and State.

So much for the separation of Church and State.


P.S. Keep the name Geoffrey Pyatt in your crosshairs. You’ll be hearing a lot more about him in the coming days when more information leaks out about his links to the Hard Rock casino in Greece.

In closing, we at Monomakhos will not be posting anything with a link to Orthodox Times.  Instead, you will see the following emblem in place of the link.     


The Orthodox Times outlet began as the English edition of the widely-read Greek Orthodox outlet Romfea in late December last year, with its official launch in January of this year, with the backing of the U.S. government.

In February, the outlet reported that U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt met with its editorial team, after which the Ambassador tweeted: “Enjoyed meeting the @RomfeaNews team. We are excited @StateDept provided support for the launch of this meaningful effort to strengthen the free press, fight disinformation, & highlight the values we share with Orthodoxy and the Ecumenical Patriarch.”

According to the official U.S. government website, this support came in the form of a $100,000 grant.


Orthodox Time was initially known as Romfea News, as reflected in Ambassador Pyatt’s tweet.

The funds were granted by the Department of State to the World Media Orthodox Network Private Company. According to Orthodox Time’s “About Us” page, “The Portal is owned by World Media Orthodox Network.”

The administrative agency for the grant is the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs of the State Department, and falls under the category “19.878: EUR-OTHER,” whose “primary goal is to promote democratic and free market transitions in the former communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia, enabling them to overcome their past and become reliable, productive members of the Euro-Atlantic community of Western democracies.”

The U.S. State Department has also been open about its support for Patriarch Bartholomew’s creation of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” and “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko personally thanked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for the U.S.’s support in the creation of the OCU.

Although the period of the grant ended on October 31, 2019, World Media Orthodox Network Private Company also has an entry on the government “System for Award Management” website showing that the company is registered from 6/14/2019 to 6/12/2020, with its purpose of registration listed as “Federal Assistance Awards Only.”

As OrthoChristian was recently informed by the Orthodox Times editor, the site no longer has a connection to Romfea.


Ambassador Pyatt is a well-known anti-Russian agitator. Having previously served as Ambassador to Ukraine, he was instrumental in organizing 2014’s Maidan revolution. As Ambassador to Greece, he has continued such activities, meeting with prominent figures in the Greek Orthodox world, including Patriarch Bartholomew several times, Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos), Abbot Ephraim of Vatopaidi Monastery on Mt. Athos, and Archbishop Ieronymos.

He has been described as a “Russian hate figure,” and has openly accused the Russian Church of attempting to undermine the role of the Patriarch of Constantinople.


  1. Bravo! (Sometimes you just need one word to say what you’ve got to say.)

    • Here in Greece where we are at present in Thessaloniki,  the hard rock cafe stuff is big news as funeral of elder Ephraim. Trouble is much of this goes over the heads of ordinary Greeks who are tired after a decade of economic and national hardship and just want to go to church to worship and not face more of the same.
      They are spiritually and physically tired. They have no time for it.  

      • I am in Greece and can tell you they have little idea and care less. And residual ANTI SLAV / BULGARIAN, feeling from history,does the rest.  

  2. This looks increasingly like a war on Orthodox civilisation – as defined in Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Indeed it does.

    • Manny Saperas says

      Huntington’s Clash (FP 72#3 p30) put Orthodox in the Islamosoviet belt.
      They consider Orthodox and muslims one and the same.
      After all, we both don’t believe in Original Sin.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Interesting that you should say that. Fr A James Bernstein has some very interesting things to say about Original Sin in his magnificent book Surprised by Christ (pp 221-226).

        If Muslims have the same view of original sin as we Orthodox do (as do observant Jews), then this would explain Yankee/Puritan antipathy towards Orthodoxy.

        • Ken Fezapos says

          On some other thread there was confusion over the Greek terminology distinguishing between original sin (west) and ancestral sin (east).  Basically original sin allows the mistaken views like papal infallibility and immaculate conception to propagate. If Jesus told us to be like the children (Matt 18:3) how could he believe them to have Original Sin? Mary CHOSE, by Free Will, to be sinless and surrendered herself to the service of God, as God long awaited (Luke 1:30). Herein lies the West’s preference of reason (passion of Mel Gibson, Just War) over mystical dialectic. Meekness is the suppression and absence of passion. Fr Hopko once said if you understand perfectly, it is the work of the devil, if everything seems to contradict, it is incomprehensible divine truth.

      • Monk James Silver says

        Although some people here are writing things to the contrary, Orthodox Christianity does indeed teach that there was an ‘original’ sin.  The details of this event are a bit fuzzy, but the account of it provided in Genesis describes our father Adam and our mother Eve as disobeying the direct command of God not to eat the fruit growing on the Tree of Knowledge.  That account will be enough for at least Christians and Jews, since that’s all we have to go on.
        What Orthodox Christianity does NOT teach, however, is that everyone has inherited the GUILT of Adam’s sin —  merely its effects. Still, those effects have caused considerable difficulty for our humanity as we strive to brow closer to God, with Whom only the love of our Lord Jesus Christ was sufficient to reconcile us.
        RC teaching holds that we also inherited the guilt of Adam’s sin, and that we must be cleansed of that guilt by baptism at the same time as we continue to suffer the effects of that first, ‘original’ sin.  This position is incoherent, since no one relieved of guilt is still subject to punishment.

        • Pomazansky’s Orthodox Dogmatic Theology says the Orthodox do not believe in Original Sin

          • George Michalopulos says

            Gil, for a succinct explanation of what we believe, I cannot recommend highly enough Fr Bernstein’s “Surprised by Christ”. He not only explains the Orthodox view but goes through the various Western views as well.

            • George,
              Indeed, Fr. Bernstein is a very honest man, no fanatic, no ethnophyletist.
              In one of his YouTube speeches/sermons he said something to the effect:
              “Yes we Jews have had Einstein but also Frankenstein”.
              The honest Greeks would say something similar.

          • The Orthodox do not accept the Doctrine of Original Sin. That does not mean we deny that there was an original (first) sin, from the effects of which (though not the guilt) we suffer.

    • Precisely. It’s very disconcerting for those of us who consider ourselves both fully Orthodox Christian and fully American.  
      Many of us who read these pages probably are in this boat. 

  3. So, is the State Dept, which I understand is critically understaffed by policy of the trump ‘administration’, still an instrument of the Executive branch of the US Govt., under the Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, appointed by the current President to serve ‘at his pleasure’ and subject to firing for any reason or none at all?
    And may we infer by dint of Mr. Pompeo’s continued service unmolested by twitter storm of ‘presidential’ ire, that he enjoys the favor of the White House’ Executive? 
    So then, please help me reach some clear understanding of the purposes of ‘our’ State Dept in these Orthodox affairs as it does not readily reduce to anything remotely transparent. The Ukrainian locus of the controversy does bear striking correspondence to the trump-Giuliani-Manafort criminal conspiracy for which the sitting president is being impeached today, but since laymen like myself are not privy to anything beyond what is public knowledge, such as trump’s overt corrupting influence, I’m really confused by State Dept action as regards what we have in common, concern for the Churches.  
    I know this is embarrassing, since it does point to something beyond mere incompetence and subversion of the apparatus of the State to the personal needs of its chief executive. But whatever the State Dept does must be approved by the president, correct?

    • George Michalopulos says

      In the ordinary course of events, I would say yes, it should be approved by the President.

      That being said, I am not naïve enough to believe that the gargantuan apparatus that is the Federal government is under the control of any particular chief executive (though it should be). As we can clearly see by the current impeachment imbroglio, there is a real Deep State.

      I could point out that when Jimmy Carter was President, he wanted to see documents related to Project Blue Book, the Air Force’s research on the UFO phenomenon. He was told by the former CIA Director George H W Bush that he wasn’t entitled to see it.

      Let that sink in for awhile.

      • Menas Zarifas says

        The OSS was deeply Catholic because their knowledge of Latin allowed them to communicate behind enemy lines. Venona was kept secret from FDR & HST because they were believed to be sympathetic to communism. Eisenhower called HST a socialist. Lincoln’s wife was believed to be a Confederate spy as Lincoln was from Kentucky and his vice president from Tennessee.

      • So it’s the deep state even when the actors are trump’s hand-picked men. Bravo, George, you are loyal to the end. 

        • George Michalopulos says

          You’re totally not getting it. It’s not a matter of loyalty “to the end” but being realistic. I agree with 92.56777% of Trump’s agenda. Not 100%. I am completely opposed to our sending materiel to Ukraine (among other things). I am even opposed to the continuance of NATO, lock, stock and barrel. And Trump is very NATO-skeptical for what it’s worth. In fact, I believe I see him opening up fissures in NATO.

          Besides, what would you have us American Orthodox do? (Or normal Americans for that matter?) Jump up and down with joy should Madame Mao be President? Are you insane? Can you imagine how horrible things would have been under her? God’s blood man! we lost an entire generation under the neoliberal regimes of 41-Clinton-W-Obama. We got a surveillance state under the latter two that would put anything the USSR/Third Reich did to absolute shame.

          And that’s the negative stuff. Look at the economy: It’s on fire! Even during Clinton’s tenure in office, we’ve never seen numbers anywhere near what we are experiencing right now. Even on the cultural side things are trending positive. Over 130 abortion clinics have been closed over the past 5 years with more on the horizon. Except for the bump-stock ban, there are no new gun laws on the horizon. Trump has appointed more judges (150+) in two years than any other POTUS has done in eight. And these are solid originalists.

          Why shouldn’t I be happy?

          Downside? The debt. But even here Obama doubled the national debt, adding more than the previous 43 presidents did over a 200 year period. We’ll never get out of that. And what did we get out of that? Cash for Clunkers? Wall Street bailouts?

          No thanks, I don’t like the fact that Trump can’t (or won’t) stand up to the MIC vis-à-vis Ukraine/NATO/EU/etc. but you got to look at the broader picture. And all things being equal, I’m ecstatic. And loyal.

        • Berry Feplin says

          Claes, check out Wildavsky on Core Beliefs.  Those who view the world in egalitarian terms think anyone who disagrees with them is  criminal, mafia, bigot. Those who view it in individualist terms think anyone against them is from the deep state, illuminati, masons. Those who view it in hierarchical terms view all their opponents as demoniac, jewish, reptiles. Those who view the world in fatalistic terms think the world (eg pagan gods) are against them.  Facts never mattered in politics. Politics is all about peer pressure and follows the physics of diffusion.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Mr. Feplin, does Wildavsky address community terms? The polity of the Orthodox Church is a confederation of hierarchical communities with the emphasis on confederation (it can easily become tribal when the ethnic factor is added). At least that is its pure form. It is personal not individualist, hierarchical but it is a hierarchy nested in a worshiping community of distinct persons.

            Western folk are conditioned to think in the papal dynamic and therefore miss the actuality entirely.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Back to tribalism.

          • If you had written: “Some of those who view the world in…terms think… Facts seldom matter in politics. Politics is mostly about peer pressure and follows the physics of diffusion” I would have agreed with you.
            As it is, however, your claims are too strong.

          • Panos Pantofles says

            Then we should segment the church into four different brands, according to each core belief and promote the part of our message most relevant to them. THis in a way was how Athenagoras treated the American church in times of great division. Mind you, while I like what Athenagoras did in the USA, I do not like what he did as patriarch.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Actually, it is not uncommon for the actions of the State Dept. to be at odds with the President. However, in this instance, I think not. There is a clear anti-Russia stance that is more or less bi-partisan. A left over of the Evil Empire days of the Soviet Union.

      Russia Bad, Russian Orthodox Church not diverse enough therefore medieval and bad, even worse as a tool of the Russian government. Attack the Church, you are attacking Russia and the evil man Communist KGB Putin. “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the communist party?”

      Russia is, according to the prevailing opinion, an aggressor state and must be countered. It is war don’t you know.

      Everything is seen through the lens of the US vs the Soviet Union even now. The Russians have no right to a cultural faith or independent policies that counter the perceived US hegemony.

      Thus all is fair including the corruption of religious leaders. They went for Bartholomew because he is vulnerable and they have absolutely no clue that he is not the pope of the east.

      As Judge Welch remarked in the Army-McCarthy hearings: ” Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

      The answer then as now is clearly NO. The State Department has never had a sense of decency under any administration with the possible exception of Thomas Jefferson under President Washington. Certainly none in the 20th-21st century.

      That is the sort of attitude that led us into Vietnam lest we forget.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Yeah, the Calvininst/Yankee/Brahman spirit of New England will always hate Orthodoxy & Russia.

        • Linda Psoras says

          You’re saying that as a suthrun surrounded by Arabs. The Puritans became the Unitarians of Harvard. It was the Scotts Germans of the Appalachians who were Calvinists and Hegelians. The Scotts were from Ulster and hated Irish. You can’t make much use of slaves in the mountains. Central European Hegelians were forced a to come to America by the Russian reaction to the 1848 revolutions, whereby they were abolitionists who tipped the balance against slavery and in favor of industry and labor unions. Places like the Dakotas have electeds with totally German names. South Dakota is full of Germans from Russia.  The slave owners were largely Anglican and -yes- Catholic. Kentucky, Alabama, Louisiana all started Catholic. see D H Fischer, Albion Seed.

    • Antiochene Son says

      The Federal Civil Service was a disastrous mistake. No person who is not an elected official, or someone appointed by an elected official, should have a position of trust under the United States.

      And guess what, when Trump tried to fix the Civil Service by executive order (which is his right to do as the executive), it was thrown out by a judge.

      Nothing will change in the country while we continue to operate as a kritarchy.

      • I am a devout convert to Eastern Orthodoxy and a civil servant.  I and all my colleagues are simply hard-working Americans, trying to make ends meet, and many of us make less than we could in the private sector — but we choose to stay, because the work we do is vital for the American people.
        I am also married to a veteran, and the one thing that has happened to us under Trump is that we got a huge tax bill this year.  Normally, we get a bit back — this time, with no changes but Trump’s,  we ended up draining our meager savings to pay several thousand in taxes.  The same thing happened to other veteran colleagues of mine.  So as Trump’s rich buddies get wealthier, the money to fix the roads, etc, has to come from somewhere — and as we saw, part of it is coming from veterans’ small pensions.   Somehow this is not what I thought about when I heard the MAGA platitude.  Not impressed.

        • George Michalopulos says

          MrsDK, I understand your frustration. I myself had to pay Fed income taxes for the first time last year. In this fallen world, one can never get 100% of what one desires from the political players. Overall though, the economic picture is one that is robust.

          PS, it is most interesting that with this latest omnibus spending bill (85% of which I don’t approve), Trump (the supposedly insanely evil Orange Hitler), got his wall funded. I for one, was surprised.

        • Antiochene Son says

          I appreciate your service but that doesn’t change my view that federal civil service should not exist. In the same way, I appreciate the service of soldiers, but I also believe the military has not been in a justifiable foreign conflict since the War of 1812, except for maybe the Mexican-American War.

          I maintain that only persons elected for a fixed term of office, or persons appointed by elected persons, should have positions of trust under the United States. I am not saying you are not a trustworthy person, I am saying that entrenchment of a class of federal employees was the first step in the entrenchment of the federal government as a whole and the development of a Deep State.

          • George Michalopulos says

            AS, I agree with you on this issue. The 1888 Pendleton Act was a horrendous act which created a permanent (“Deep State”) bureaucracy. I for one would like to see us go back to the Spoils System where any new President can replace all of his predecessor’s civil servants with an entirely new batch, lock, stock & barrel.

        • Michael Bauman says

          My wife and I will on the other hand saw our federal tax liability reduced but the insane Kansas laws bit us yet again.  We got a small refund from the Feds but still owed the state about $1000.

  4. Peter A. Papoutsis says

    Sad but definitely true. I hope there are enough Greek Orthodox to oppose this. However i am afraid there are not. Many in the GOAA are just drinking the State Department and EP kool-aid. Very sad.

    • I’m sure there are many Greeks who, once they become aware of what is going on, will not swim the Tiber with Bartholomew. At the moment, though, most don’t know what is happening as the Greek press and television/radio are silent on the matter.

      • You are absolutely right Brendan, most of the Greeks have no idea what is happening.

        • I am in Greece and can tell you they have little idea and care less. And residual ANTI SLAV / BULGARIAN, feeling from history,does the rest.  

  5. ChristineFevronia says

    Thank you, George, for taking time to write this piece!

  6. Looks like the pan-Orthodox council will (hopefully) he held in Jordan in February:

    I have no reason to believe that Constantinople will show up. Hopefully the Churches who do show up can find a solution, and I REALLY hope that Russia holds off on its session to be held at the end of December until after the meeting in February 

  7. Menas: “I REALLY hope that Russia holds off on its session to be held at the end of December until after the meeting in February ”
    Why? They should meet. Greek bishops met and have spoken, why the bishops of the largest church should stay quiet, or be reduced to the role of barely tolerated guests at the Greek organized gathering?

    • George Michalopulos says

      Agreed. The ROC should keep to their schedule.

      • Apologies George & Martin, I don’t necessarily mean they should not have the meeting, I just wish they would wait and proclaim the Churches of Greece and Alexandria schismatic until after the meeting in February so that tempers are not flaired before that meeting. But I understand that it’s tricky since them recognizing and concelebrating with schismatics does in turn make them schismatic. Rather I would hope they make a decision in their December session what to do with those hierarchs in the CoG and CoA who choose to remain faithful to Orthodoxy.
        George, did you see my email regarding Jamaica? I wanted to highlight that to show how far this issue has spread and that it is not only an issue of the mother Churches

        • Menas, I saw the article about the Jamaican mission on Orthochristian ( I found the comment by the priest so galling that I had to comment myself. Even some presbytera came in with her two cents. That priest should reel her in.
          The comments show a number of people ‘in the now’ countering the priest’s statement and showing him up. In local parlance, he got BTFO’d.
          I wish the Jamaicans all the best and am sure that ROCOR will do well working with them.

          • I worked as a short term missionary with the Jamaican mission, everything they said about the priest is true and presvytera Christine is ill-informed. The priest coupled with the actions of the EP are why they chose to leave. 
            This group has a real zeal for Orthodoxy and mission work and they felt they were hampered by those two things 

            • That’s great to hear, Menas, thank you.
              Will you be going back there to help?

              • I hope to go back to Jamaica eventually but before then I will be going elsewhere for mission work. I think they have some stuff to sort out before a full-time missionary can be assigned there