Now I See Why They Got Rid of Benedict

This is one of those times in which I don’t known whether to laugh or cry.

I realize that the title for this blog posting is a bit inflammatory but there’s no other explanation I can think of for the hasty resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. And now that we know that it was the product of a secret conspiracy by certain liberal cardinals, it’s all starting to make sense.

Yesterday, Pope Francis made an “impassioned plea”. He said that “Moslem terrorism doesn’t exist” but that the “ecological crisis is real”. You can read it for yourself here:

Rather than impute ill motives to His Holiness, I’d rather suppose that –because he’s a Jesuit–he’s too clever for his own good. You know, looking at something too closely for too long and teasing out the wrong meaning of whatever it is he’s looking at. He doesn’t seem like a bad guy, just confused.

Regardless, it takes a stunning ignorance to make the claim that there is no terrorism in the name of Allah. By going further to state that there is “no Christian terrorism or Jewish terrorism”, is he trying to sugar-coat jihad in the hope of salving the feelings of Moslems who don’t engage in acts of terror?

Or is it possible that in rejecting the idea that terrorism and (true) Islam go hand-in-hand, he’s laying the groundwork for a new Abrahamic faith? An amalgam of the “authentic” monotheistic faiths (which don’t practice terrorism), a syncretistic system that could serve as the religious ideology for a globalist world order?

Perhaps I’m reading too much into it. Perhaps he’s just a confused, albeit well-meaning old man who desires comity and shrinks from confrontation. Regardless, it is an astoundingly shocking thing for him to say.

Lord have mercy.


  1. He is the most ignorant pope in at least the last 300 years. Possibly much further back.

    • According to archives, universally acknowledged, most popes prior to great
      schism were canonized saints stalwarts of the Faith. Post schism inverse ratio.
      Francis is into doing magic tricks with things that are holy. Pulling out tablecloth
      on altar table if it really was altar table, magicians floating candles, sure the Holy Spirit is amused, pope is a comedian, whats next ..

      • Cy,
        Word of of wisdom for the day, stay away from the wild mushrooms.

        • Dino, maybe you should get out a bit more once in a while from “under the keyboard” (?) .. maybe go pick some mushrooms .. (?)

          • No need for mushrooms. Your comments always blow my mind.

            • Or, or, “expand” perhaps ????


              • one time after smoking a drug i slumbered had a hallucinatory vision.
                colorful beads churning probably my brain neurons forming a formation
                of a ship all on a dark background, beads reminding of the old Fun House
                at the San Francisco amusement park, the long slide. Your demons would say “hey, what are you doing here?” .. Go do something bad or get out of here ..
                That drug was Salvia, legal at haight street headshop. It was nice meeting
                my assigned demons, they treated me with no respect, just go back to sinning
                was their attitude, lousy demons, I wanted to talk, they didn’t. Well I am glad I survived all that.

                I tell my agnostic friends that even the lowest level of heaven condo
                will be very high tech, then they listen .. remember Jesus .. and Mary

                • Cy, I hope you realize that Laughin’ Sal, the fat lady was the Devil trying to steal your soul, with her comforting red curls, freckles, jovial smile, giggles and laugh. Playland at the Beach in San Francisco is long gone, but her laugh can still be heard within the crashing waves. Pray on Bro, Pray on. All is good with Christ in Your heart, mind, and soul. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on me a sinner. Keep repeating until all the demons have left.

                  • Entering the Fun House you would initially go through a maze of mirrors and then come to the ticket booth. All the wobbly steps and stairs and you had that field that blew air upwards to do your “Marilyn”

                    There was that large tumbling barrel you walk through fall down you
                    get to know how it”s like being in a washer machine. Long slide varied.
                    Some days it was slow you don’t reach cushion pillow other times everyone was crashing into them, good ole days, oh, and remember the roller coaster ride, Mad Mouse, .. I chickened out as a kid, as an adult
                    I went on it at J’s Amusement Park in Guerneville. Rickety ride but it lived up to its name ‘mad mouse.’

                    Thank you Dino, your reply. I recently found from my storage what I was looking for, St John of Kronstadt pamphlet on prayer. He is the expert no doubt. Well this is amazing what he asserts. When you pray its not only God Himself who listens but also all the Saints and Angels. So. St. John recommends you do not pray like: someone who is just doing their job and not friendly or amicable. When you pray everyone is listening. Be sincere.

                    Now St. Seraphim teaches, you will not love the Lord until you achieve “knowledge” of the Lord or, or, have vision of the Lord, that is how you gain love of the Lord with vision, but knowledge comes before that.

                    God is simple, cry out, I want my cat, though always according to Thy Will, cat came. Now we know all the
                    saints are listening to us, have to just try a little better, in the Gospel
                    of Mark read yesterday:

                    Ok, Jesus came upon a blind guy. Spat, placed the salvo on the blind
                    guy and asked what he saw, something, “trees with arms” then Jesus
                    proceeded and the blind guy saw men with arms. So spiritual understanding comes in stages.

                    Love of the Lord comes from vision of Him. Vision requires knowledge.

                    • I believe one of the most important Gospel teachings
                      St. Seraphim of Sarov teaches is about the ten virgins
                      parable. What makes this all the more interesting is that
                      St. Seraphim does in fact lend legitimacy to the marketplace
                      as a place where you conduct trade. The marketplace St. Seraphim
                      refers to: your life, free life, every prayer that is good and legit, in
                      Christ’s Name, you get reward for, heavenly money, like good lamp oil.
                      Fasting Alms other efforts produce good lamp oil.
                      Good deeds that are just liberal for “civil rights” sake or just for in and
                      of themselves you get no credit for on Judgment Day. As orthodox
                      we want to strive to be like the wise virgins. Do everything good for
                      Christ’s sake.

                    • Cy, Joking, and teasing is just my nature. If I ever offended you please forgive me. This world is full of sorrows. I find a little levity, takes away some of the sting.(And prayer of course) I find joy in giving and receiving smiles, sometimes I cross lines, but never in malice.

                      I’m glad you found your pamphlet. We need all the help we can get. Now my only memory of Playland, was Laughin’ Sal, my father took me when I was six years old, at first she terrified me, but when I looked at my father laughing along with Sal, I began to laugh along as well. It’s a great memory I will always cherish of time well spent, with my father. May his memory be eternal!

                    • Right, laugh’n Sal she had that distinctive microphone sound it got to be old hat. They put in a new attraction for their last few years the
                      Kooky-cube but for us Orthodox the Limbo was even worse than
                      our worse imaginations of hades, haunted house ride, then there
                      was the twister i strangled my mother to go on that ride as a kid
                      in the 60’s then my mom had to stop the ride I was too afraid. and that same carousel is sitting here in Redwood Empire.

              • Wow Cy, perhaps the EP is wiser than we thought all along. Unless the EP can top that one, we now know which church is the true church. Great investigative journalism on your part, no doubt CNN will be calling!

                • Ep is on “bath salts” you know, synthetic drugs, bad trips. Honestly, I know
                  and understand that “drugs” are “sorcery” and an “abomination unto the Lord” but it is not sin against the Holy Spirit directly so you get forgiveness
                  there, …. indeed, The Lord’s Prayer does help drive demons away ….

      • Post schism inverse ratio.

        Except for the post-Vatican II popes, that is. I expect Ratzinger and Bergoglio will be canonized someday too.

  2. Most traditional Catholic blogs and forums are much tougher on Francis than you were here. Honestly I think their assessments of his actions and words are more accurate. I don’t believe Francis is stupid or confused. That only leaves a couple other possibilities….

  3. Perhaps [Pope Francis is] just a confused, albeit well-meaning old man who desires comity and shrinks from confrontation.

    I cannot think of a less probable diagnosis, George. Pope Francis appears to relish confrontation, invariably going out of his way to provoke, insult, and antagonize.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Fr, not being Catholic, I was trying to be charitable. I’m afraid you may be right. Lord have mercy.

  4. the Moslems killed and persecuted his own people, ESoecuakky in Lebanon The Maronites. Croatia and Slovenia which are predominently Catholic, as well as Hungary which is 2/3 Catholic and 1/3 Protestant were all under Turkish rule.

  5. George,

    I’m not sure what to make of him either. I see him as too much of a pansy to be much use in the formulation of a new world religion beyond presiding over the self-destruction of his own “church”. The RCC has been just one bad pope away from complete apostasy like the Episcopal Church since they invented Papal Infallibility. That pope is probably the present one. There was a “saint” Malachi in their confession who “prophesied” that this would be the last pope who would leave Rome walking over the corpses of his priests.

    Moving right along . . .

    There are a lot of more or less good people among the conservative Catholics in this country and abroad and they are increasingly going to be disoriented by the self-destruction of their “church”.

    We might remind them that all is not lost and that there is still a Church that has not been compromised – at least in its traditionalist (Old Calendar) expression.

    Abject denial, amazing. Europe is crumbling.

    • Joseph Lipper says

      Misha, please don’t post links to sensationalist tabloids and especially ones littered with pornographic images. It doesn’t help your argument.

  6. I know Catholics who are praying for the Holy Father to cease in his role, by whatever means God so wills. He really is a disaster and sows discord every time he opens his mouth.

    It’s astounding how the Pope of Rome once defended Europe from the Moslem hordes, and today he denies it even exists.

    Literally this:

  7. I can simplify the matter for you.

    He is a Marxist and an arch heretic.

  8. Joseph Lipper says

    George, the EU has become so essentially athiestic, that any correlation of religion with terrorism is bound to make all religions suspect.

    Who suffers when anti-muslim sentiment runs high? Not just muslims, but also Orthodox clergy. Is it martydom if a radical anti muslim zealot kills an Orthodox priest by mistake?

  9. All of this moves me to thank God that we have no institution of the papacy. A bad patriarch has less impact on the local church, and virtually none on the universal Orthodox Church. The Romans have perfected the art of efficiency, but to what end?

    God has spared us, not in spite of our pettifogging bishops, but indeed, in many cases, by their very pettifoggery. Mysterious ways…

    • Michael Bauman says

      Ages…And yet the cyclical occurrence of the Patriarch of Constantinople trying to become the “Eastern Pope” is once again upon us.

      It is not a temptation from which we are entirely free.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Agreed. For those us (myself included) who have a Shoes of the Fisherman view of the Papacy, it’s critical to remember that the Papacy as a “super-episcopacy” is a dangerous idea.

        We Orthodox should run like the wind from any Patriarch who entertains any such ideas. I wish we’d have a real Council, one which strikes the title “Ecumenical” away from from the Orthodox lexicon. Let no Patriarch be Ecumenical, even Moscow. And let Jerusalem be first among equals.

        • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

          George, here’s an “oldie but goodie” that Crisis Magazine, a conservative Roman Catholic magazine, published in December 1997. I think it’s pertinent to the current discussion.

          Shoes of the Fishermen
          by Rev. Alexander Webster

          The royal welcome that Patriarch Bartholomeos of Constantinople received during his recent visit to the United States was carefully prepared by the savvy publicists of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. However, the effusive praise from many of the political leaders of our society surpassed all expectations.

          Hillary Rodham Clinton called the Ecumenical Patriarch “a great world leader who can inspire every American.” Vice President Gore opined, with his typical self-deprecating humor, “As someone who has been called the ‘ozone-man,’ I’m thrilled to welcome the ‘green’ patriarch.” The U.S. House of Representatives bestowed on Bartholomeos its gold medal, distinguishing him as the first religious figure, and only the fifth person, to receive this honor.

          The major media and the local media in the cities he visited during his month long tour reported on Bartholomeos’ daily activities almost as religiously as they have Pope John Paul II. The comparison between pope and patriarch actually became standard background material in much of this reportage.

          Thus I winced when I read that Voice of America, in a pre-visit short-wave broadcast on September 30, described the Ecumenical Patriarchs as “the Orthodox equivalents of the Catholic Popes.”

          But I must confess my irritation—and extreme disappointment—at hearing several clergy and lay leaders of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America refer to Patriarch Bartholomeos as the “supreme head” or, less gratingly, “the spiritual leader” of the Orthodox Church and its 300 million souls—as if his jurisdiction extends throughout the world!

          In a letter to northern California’s public and private schools late in September, Bishop Anthony of San Francisco even had the temerity to claim that the Ecumenical Patriarch is “held in as high esteem and importance to Orthodox Christians as the Pope of Rome to Roman Catholics.”

          If any of these ecclesial claims were true, then what (apart from the vexing theological issue of the filioque) was the Great Schism of 1054 all about? Why should the world’s Orthodox Christians settle for a pseudopope, when we can still have the real thing in Rome?

          Why persist in a delusion that the decrepit ghetto in Istanbul to which a hostile Turkish government has confined the Ecumenical Patriarchate is the same proud Constantinople that served as capital of the Orthodox Byzantine Empire? Or that the bishop who presides in that ghetto is as temporally powerful and significant as the current bishop who rules the Vatican city-state, a man whose force of personality and spiritual strength enable him to command more divisions than Josef Stalin could have ever imagined?

          We Orthodox cannot go toe to toe with Rome when it comes to the exercise of power and influence in the world, nor should we try. Our ecclesiology and our distinctive mission would eschew such aspirations of centralized authority in favor of a more collegial spiritual leadership.

          The papal ties to St. Peter are well known to every Christian, including Eastern Orthodox and Protestants who reject some of the unique claims that Rome derives from that apostolic connection. There is, however, a psychological affinity between the papacy and the chief spokesman of the Twelve Apostles that cannot be denied. St. Peter’s personality is the most sharply drawn in the New Testament: impetuous, headstrong, super-confident, so sure of his loyalty. He is, it seems, always first: first to proclaim Jesus the Christ, first to refuse to have the Lord wash his feet, first to arrive on shore to greet the risen Lord in Galilee.

          But St. Peter had a younger brother. Although the biblical testimony about St. Andrew is scant, we do know that he was a fisherman like his older brother, a disciple initially of St. John the Baptizer, and curious about the end times (according to Mark 13). If St. Peter was always trying to be the first among the Apostles, St Andrew was the first called by the Lord to become an Apostle. In John 1:41-42, we learn that the younger brother actually led the older to the Lord in the first place.

          For centuries St Andrew has been claimed as heavenly patron of Kyiv and the Ukrainians, of Scotland (oddly enough), and, most important for the life of the whole Church, of ancient Byzantium, later known as Constantinople. It is precisely this association with prominent cities in ancient Christendom that makes the legacy of the two brother fishermen-apostles so important.

          When we, Orthodox and Catholics alike, think of St. Peter, we can’t help but think of Rome (and Antioch, too, where he dwelt for some time). When we think of St. Andrew, we Orthodox in particular can’t help but think of Constantinople. St. Peter, the older brother, symbolizes Old Rome, while St. Andrew, the younger brother, symbolizes New Rome. Together they reflect the unity and diversity within the ancient Roman imperium, and within the undivided Church of the first millennium.

          Like the “two lungs” of the undivided Church—a favorite expression of both Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Bartholomeos—the two brothers breathed in the Holy Spirit and breathed out his inspired teaching, equally, each in his own right and dignity as an Apostle, and collegially, with neither lording it over the other like the Gentiles.

          Some contemporary Orthodox theologians—most notably my own mentor, Bishop Maximos (Aghiourgoussis) of Pittsburgh—are prepared to concede full local autocephaly (“self-governance”) to each patriarchate and national church. Thus the Pope of Rome, as Patriarch of the West, could govern his particular Latin rite church as he saw fit, and as his faithful were willing to allow. If that entailed a universal jurisdiction over all the other Roman bishops and even ex cathedra infallibility on matters of faith and morals within his own patriarchate, then so be it—just as long as the Patriarch of Rome refrained from imposing his monarchy on the four other ancient patriarchates, and the other autocephalous Churches.

          Such a proposal could be the beginning of St. Andrew’s successors leading St. Peter’s successors back to the ancient ways of the apostolic Church. But it would behoove the current occupants of both of these apostolic sees to remember that the “shoes of the fisherman”—to use the felicitous phrase of Morris West’s prescient 1959 novel by the same title—fit more than one pair of apostolic feet.

          • Wow, a pope could lie about his authority, but only within his own jurisdiction?

            Convert Roman Catholics. Don’t “dialogue” with them. Their heretical confession is no part of the Church and they need to repent of their Papism cold turkey.

          • Many thanks to Father Alexander Webster for sharing this piece, which raises many issues important to our understanding of Constantinople’s oddly practical and self-interested (if incorrect) interpretations of Canon 28 of Chalcedon.

            In his final paragraph, though, Fr AW — perhaps just for the sake of rhetoric — trades on the mistaken notion that the patriarch of Constantinople and the pope of Rome are successors of the holy apostles Andrew and Peter, but they are not. Rather, they are the successors of the first bishops of each city.

            None of the twelve apostles was ever the bishop of any city. Their kharisma was to establish churches, appoint bishops for them, and then move on. Had Nero not interrupted his plans, St Paul would have gone on to Spain, while St Peter’s plans were not mentioned in the book of Acts.

            But the fact that Rome was the only one of the ancient churches to have been founded by TWO apostles, and those the principal two, endowed it with a dignity not shared by any of the other local churches. That Rome was also the center and capital city of the Empire did not go unnoticed, either, and it remains the only apostolically established church in western Europe. (As an aside, this is also why the ecumenical synods were held in the Greek-speaking east, amid the other four ancient patriarchates led by their mother, Jerusalem.)

            For various reasons, most of them political, military, and economic — not theological — the church of Rome eventually outgrew the other churches in population and territory, arrogating to itself the same sort of ‘universal jurisdiction’ claimed by Constantinople. Both churches are wrong on this point.

            Perhaps the geographically defined episcopal conferences of canonical orthodox bishops would be a better place to start repairing these misunderstandings rather than any sort of rearrangements in relations between Constantinople and Rome.

          • George Michalopulos says

            BTW, I forgot to thank you for this piece.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        Michael, the “Third Rome” mentality is alive and well in Moscow. What Orthodox bishop has more power right now than Patriarch Kirill?

        • George Michalopulos says

          Joseph, for what it’s worth, I also believe in the Third Rome theory. And that there will “be no fourth”.

        • JL,

          The Church of Russia is certainly in an enviable position at present. And I think that is what all the talk of “Third Rome” among its detractors is about.

        • Peter A. Papoutsis says

          I do not believe in the Third Rome concept, but what really gets me is that we had people on this blog, from ROCOR, that were saying that Moscow was never pushing the Third Rome concept when Moscow clearly was and is. I wonder what they have to say now? Hmmm?


          • Peter,

            It depends on what exactly you mean by “Third Rome”. You know the history of a the term, the two Rome’s, Moscow as the third, there will be no fourth, etc.

            If that is meant to convey the message that the political center of Orthodoxy moved from old Rome to Constantinople and then to Moscow, and from Moscow it shall not depart, then that is simply an accurate, incontrovertible statement of history up to this point and as far as the eye can see. It is true and everyone can see that it is true because it is manifest in material reality.

            But that is a de facto leadership, not a de jure leadership. Constantinople, despite having lapsed into heresy and being completely unfit for the role, is still technically first among equals at this point. Since Alexandria sided with Constantinople at Crete, Alexandria too is unfit to be protos. Thus it falls to Antioch.

            However, the MP is not showing much if any zeal in pursuing this “Third Rome” destiny if that is what it is to be. They simply refused to attend what everyone with sound theological senses could see was to be a robber council. That’s not really stepping up to leadership, that’s just declining to follow a multitude to do evil.

            IMHO, everyone is being extraordinarily patient – patient to a fault – with Patriarch Bartholomew in this matter. So much so that they are putting souls at risk. But if that is their strategy, so be it.

            The other possibility is that Moscow is simply minding its own business, taking the autocephaly of all the other local churches very seriously (Moscow has adhered to a much stronger concept of autocephaly than the Phanar) and minding its own business, letting the chips fall where Jesus flings ’em. That is very Russian. It has nothing to lose by promoting its traditional version of Orthodoxy (admittedly with ecumenist hiccups here and there) at home and abroad. It is building Russian Orthodox communities in many different regions abroad.

            This is all to the propagation of the Gospel. Constantinople is invited to do the same, it doesn’t have to be a competition. Whatever furthers Orthodoxy is a good thing, no?

            And God will sort the rest of it out.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Misha, I believe you hit the nail right on the head.

            • Peter A. Papoutsis says

              First, Orthodoxy should not and must not be tied to a nationality, and second the various “Rome” theories are just that.

              Right now I really don’t care that much, but when the day comes, and it will come, when the Russian state does something against Orthodoxy will the ROC have the strength to stand up to the state? I hope so.

              As for the rest I actually agree with George let the title of EP go to Jerusalem and let’s start caring about the Gospel and forget about this Rome or that Rome as all this “Rome” stuff is irrelevant.


              • Peter,

                Some Greeks are just jealous of what the MP is accomplishing. That is understandable. But I have never heard Moscow tout itself as “Third Rome”. All that I have seen is that the MP leads its own local church in the motherland and in its overseas representations, building, evangelizing, providing assistance in the diaspora.

                The real question you should be asking yourself is why would Moscow want to claim “Third Rome” status if that meant claiming protos status or “spiritual leadership” of all Orthodox Christians? The MP may (wisely) not be interested in making that claim, and here’s why:

                The largest Orthodox local church in the world, by far, is the Russian Orthodox Church. Inside and outside Russia it has well over 100 million adherents under its omophor, close to 90 million in the RF alone.

                Moreover, the Church of Russia has the respect and deference in a sort of leadership of most of the Slavic local churches (Bulgaria, Serbia, etc), excepting only really the Ukrainian schismatics.

                If you count all the “Greek” oriented Orthodox, you get only a small fraction of this total demographic. I mean by that the Phanar, Athens, Crete, Jerusalem, Alexandria and (truth be told) Antioch. Yet even Antioch seems to be trying to steer some third course in the present divergence.

                What I am trying to say is that, Antioch aside, the MP either has de jure or de facto leadership of most all of Orthodoxy that seems to have any interest in remaining Orthodox and not becoming Uniate.

                The Sicilians have a saying, “Don’t demand what you can’t take.”. Why should Moscow claim “Third Rome” status if that means claiming the First Throne? Does it not serve Moscow’s purpose much more comfortably if the First Throne is vacant, as it is now?

                As we speak, an uncondemned heresiarch sits on the First Throne of Orthodoxy. A heresiarch that no one is really paying much attention to outside of Greek circles. He can say anything he wants to, bark orders, call councils, whirl like a dervish. The Russians can afford to ignore him so long as they do not claim the First Throne. They already have everything they could possibly want. What’s the hurry?

                Let Bartholomew further humiliate, isolate and discredit himself. The only thing that might be able to save these little rat dogs from their own stupidity is if Moscow were to claim Third Rome status. But I don’t believe Moscow is willing to be that generous and make the sacrifices that would take. Why should they? Antioch is next at bat according to the diptychs. And that is wise. Live and let die.

                They are powerless really to do much that disadvantages Russia. In case you haven’t noticed, Trump is in the White House and so the great Western adventure that Bart thought he might play a part in is on indefinite hold. The Ukies find themselves surrounded by Trump, Putin and (soon) Rightists in control of the fracturing constituent states of what was once the EU. NATO as well is turning into a hollow shell. Which is easier, make peace and trade with Russia and the US on a state by state basis, or contribute more and more of each European state’s GDP to prop up an institution whose raison d’etre vanished without a trace in 1991?

                Oh, the times they are a changin’!

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Again, Misha, you bring out things about this debate regarding Russia that are eerily prescient. It’ll take me some time to digest it but there you go. Thanks.

                • A few questions Misha.

                  Do you believe our Lord cares about or needs a location for his churches first, second, or third Rome, or anything for that matter from men with nice tall crowns, other than promoting the Gospels? All this power play bullshit is for politicians, and demons. I pray I’m wrong, and this just the way of the world, but how is MP, much different, than EP, when the only difference is they dip from different wells?

                  Yes the EP loves rubbing shoulders with western powers, his new friend the Pope, and proceeding with meetings that he shouldn’t. BUT! You will never convince me that Putin, or the deceased Castro is someone that the MP should show such loving favor to either. Truth be told, if Putin did not want Kirill as MP, would he be? The truth is the truth, if EP is not worthy of his position, and is as you say a “Heresiarch rat dog” why is MP, NOT, speaking out to the truth about our first among equals? Does he not care for his Greek Orthodox brothers and sisters, and churches within? Nationalism, and jurisdictions, trump the truth, and salvation? I suppose no one wants to rock the boat. Is this how Holy people behave? Were the Apostles, Holy Fathers, and our Saints afraid to rock the boat, with the truth? Perhaps too much power to lose, for our MP and EP eh? TOO MUCH TO LOSE INDEED!

                  • Dino,

                    For better or worse, I will say this:

                    I doubt Putin interfered in any way with the choice of Pat. Kirill as successor to Pat. Alexei. By and large, the Church has been unloosed by the government since the time of Gorbachev, about 1988. Putin may have some influence through personal relationships with this or that hierarch, but Putin is a friend of the Church and has no reason to take a hand in particular offices inasmuch as the ROC seems to be pointed in the right direction, moving toward tradition. Kirill was seen as a moderate conservative, by Russian standards. But the ROC leadership is in the process of rethinking its prior ecumenism and ecclessiology. Met. Hilarion of Volokalamsk, in particular, was quite Western and ecumenically oriented. Yet he has revised some of his prior remarks and statements. The Fr. Longin incident really got their attention.

                    As to the Greeks, it is a Russian habit to mind ones own business. Now, that business may reach further than one would project in the West. But since it is not his responsibility according to the diptychs as they now are configured to “call to order”, so to speak, and since doing so would put the ROC “off balance”; i.e., trying to accomplish something for which the strategic ground has not been prepared, I don’t see them claiming Third Rome status any time soon. De facto is good enough for the indefinite future. You are asking the Russians to save the Greeks from themselves. That’s a tall order. Sounds more like a trap, quicksand.

                    Never hold hands with a jumper.

                    • Never hold hands with a jumper. Love it, and I will steal that one from you! Agreed Russians do mind their own business. My father spoke Russian, and never missed an opportunity to converse with any Russian he would bump into to. Back thirty years ago, most were Soviet Jews, that were allowed to come here. My father found them a bit odd, very cold and dry, until they figured you had no agenda, other than to befriend. Then the veil opened, and you were family. My father thought it was the stripping of their Jewish identity, because of overt anti-semitism, on top of the anti religion mantra in the Soviet Union, that brought on this behavior. Don’t know if this behavior crosses over to Russian Orthodox Christians.

                      Now I am not asking Russians to save Greeks from ourselves. I’m saying, IF, OUR, First Among Equals, is in Heresy, and a rat dog as you stated. Should not the MP, having the majority of Orthodoxy under his belt speak out, against heresy, and save Orthodoxy, not Greeks, from going into a second Great Schism? I would, if MP. So either it’s not as bad as you make it, or he not worthy of his crown/Mitre, or worse case scenario, his crown is all he cares for, and would risk nothing to lose it.

                    • Almost forgot Misha. You did not answer my straight forward question:

                      If Putin did not want Patriarch Kirill, now, or anytime in the future, to continue as MP, would he remain MP?
                      The honest answer is Putin controls all of Russia, which of course includes the Russian Orthodox Church. Now I could be disrespectful, like your rat dog reference, and bring up many in Russian clergy used to be informants for the KGB, (which of course Putin was part of) to gain rank in the Soviet controlled Orthodox Church, but that is the past. Only MP can speak to that.

                      The million dollar question is, since Putin in complete control of Russia,(NEW TSAR) and MP must never cross Putin, who would really become the leader of the Orthodox Church, if Moscow became Third Rome?

                    • “The honest answer is Putin controls all of Russia, which of course includes the Russian Orthodox Church.”

                      Putin does not control the Russian Orthodox Church. They have a convergence of interests, but he has no power to influence doctrine and I am not aware that he has any power to influence anything more than lower level appointments. But I do not believe he has any desire to do so or, more importantly, need to do so, given his policies. Your question would be relevant if another leader was in charge of the Russian state and did not endorse Putin’s policy of Russian Nationalism (but not imperialism), Orthodoxy and Sovereign Democracy (formerly known as Autocracy).

                      In the meantime, the ROC is doing precisely the right thing. It is absorbing as much power and influence in Russian society as possible, and exercising such power and influence to test its reality, so that it need not be too concerned with any un-Russian tendencies in a successor to Putin.

                      I think at this point if Putin directly challenged the Church on some matter of doctrine or morality that the Church would likely stand firm. Now, if true repression were resumed like under the Bolsheviks, then it would be hard for anyone to stand up and another ukase facilitating outside leadership would be in order. But Putin was likely approving of Pat. Kirill’s meeting with the Pope as a means of political outreach to the West. Fr. Longin’s protest turned that whole matter around and likely influenced the fact that Russia did not attend the fiasco at Crete.

                      With Trump in office, the politics surrounding that changed as well. Really, there’s nothing much for the Church and state to disagree on in Russia at this point.

  10. Matthew Panchisin says

    Dear George,

    Do keep in mind that Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI often walk hand in hand regarding Islam along with the Orthodox ecumenist bishops, which is exceedingly sad.

    Some years ago when Benedict visited Jerusalem he pointed to the common figure of Abraham for the three great monotheistic religion to embrace.

    “I have come to Jerusalem on a journey of faith. I thank God for this occasion to meet you as the Bishop of Rome and Successor of the Apostle Peter, but also as a child of Abraham, by whom “all the families of the earth find blessing” (Gen 12:3; cf. Rom 4:16-17). I assure you of the Church’s ardent desire to cooperate for the well-being of the human family. She firmly believes that the fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham is universal in scope, embracing all men and women regardless of provenance or social status.

    The presentation of a replacement for the sake of an false earthly peace is a far cry from the apostolic tradition of preaching Christ crucified and risen.

    Saint Paul reminds the faithful, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”

    Misha, some say that within the papal institution the complete apostasy is has been in motion for sometime now. All we can do is watch them do these things for they won’t listen.

    In Christ,

    Matthew Panchisin

    • George Michalopulos says

      True enough. I still view Benedict through the prism of his Regensburg Address at the onset of his papacy.

      • Peter A. Papoutsis says

        I think Pope Benedict is in prison in the Vatican and that Francis is what traditional Catholics call an anti-Pope.


        • George Michalopulos says

          Peter, I’m beginning to think that Rod Dreher has been offering the wrong “Benedict Option”. Maybe a better Benedict Option would be for Benedict to come out of retirement, declare that his pontificate is still valid (because he was removed by an uncanonical cabal of liberal cardinals) and join the Orthodox Churches (dropping the Filioque). He would then lead a huge remnant of orthodox/traditionalist Catholics as the Bishop of Rome. The diptychs would be restored if nothing else.

          Anyway, I put this out in the public domain for any gifted science fiction writer to dress up as a neat, alternate-history novel. What say?

          • I have some guarded respect for Pope Benedict, but the move from convinced arch-heresiarch to “first among equals” would be a bridge to far. Better he should live in an Orthodox monastery and devote the rest of his life to critiquing the writings of St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas from the perspective of the Eastern Fathers, especially Palamas(!).

            If you want an Orthodox bishop of Rome to again be protos, appoint an Orthodox bishop of Rome, preferably a monk from Athos.

  11. Joseph Lipper says

    Russia has an estimated Muslim population of 12 to 15%. One in eight Russians are probably Muslim. At the same time, over 50% of Russia identifies itself as Christian, and in Moscow the number is higher. Yes, you hear about Putin having a keen interest in defeating terrorism, but you never hear him talk about Muslim terrorism, or banning Muslims. Putin went to Iran and made peace with Ayatollah Khomeini. Putin personally presented him an ancient and valuable copy of the Koran.

    Russia is way more tolerant of Islam than Europe, and especially the U.S. In Europe there might be a Muslim population of 7%. The U.S. might have a Muslim population of 1%. Putin must roll his eyes.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Joseph, I often wonder about those numbers, specifically how one identifies as a “Russian”. Like the United States, the Russian Empire had a European racial core. This core grew out of Muscovy was overwhelmingly Slav with admixtures of Balts, Finns, Teutons and it came to dominate indigenous peoples such as the Tatars, Khazaks, Uzbeks, Khazars, etc, the majority of whom were Moslem but who, like the American Indians and Mestizos of the Southwest (as well as the Southern and Central European immigrants who came through Ellis Island), now identify as American.

      I would be willing to be educated about how many who identify as both Russian and Moslem are of Turkic or indigenous origin.

      Having said that, in my walkabouts in Moscow last Summer, I saw quite a few women wearing the hijab and it was fairly easy to identify Moslem men from Slavs based on their physiognomy. We were told that because of all the construction going on in Moscow, thousands of these men migrated to Moscow to work on these sites. Unlike what I hear about from my relatives in Europe (not only Greece but France and Italy as well), there seemed to be no problems with these guest-workers. They went about their business and caused no trouble that I could see.

      This may be because the Russians are not as cucked as the Western Europeans. Any thoughts on this would be most welcome.

    • “Russia is way more tolerant of Islam than Europe, and especially the U.S.”

      The current Chechen leader Kadyrov has basically outlawed Salafism (Islamism/jihadism). He understands the stakes.

      Russia had a war with Chechen Muslim separatists in the 2000’s:

      If you look through it all, it becomes clear that Russians decided that they simply could not live with Islamism (Salafism). They either neuter it (Sufism) or kill it. They had to wage a brutal war in Chechnya that Amnesty International tended to view as “genocide” in order to convince the Chechens that separatist jihad is a bad idea. Finally, Kadyrov arose after a number of other leaders were killed. Russia simply was not going to give up strategic territory, no matter who happened to be living on it at the moment. Stalin had previously deported the entire Chechen nation, which was later allowed to resettle.

      Kadyrov realized that he had to tame his people or they would be exterminated. So he tamed them.

      That’s how you deal with Islamism.

      • Joseph Lipper says


        The Chechnya conflicts have been treated by Russia as primarily nationalist and separatist uprisings, not as a war against Islam. Russia has also dealt with nationalist and separatist uprisings in predominately Christian countries such as Georgia and Ukraine. The break up of the Soviet Union has been a difficult pill for the Russian Federation to swallow.

        Remember that Muslims will never forget the “Holy War” crusades ordered by the Pope in 1095 against Islam. Shall we call that Christian terrorism?
        That is most certainly how many Muslims see it.

        • Joseph,

          From Russia’s perspective, the separatist wars were “nationalistic” only insofar as Chechens constitute a separate ethnic group with some declared right to self-determination. They weren’t fighting over race. They proclaimed an Emirate and declared jihad against Russia. The problem Westerners have in dealing with Islam is that they tend to intellectually separate “church and state”. Muslims, regardless of their “nationality”, generally do not. There was a time when some tried. One can look at the Baathist parties that ruled in places that were pan-Arab socialists intent on suppressing religions divisions.

          Those days are over.

          Chechens declared jihad against Russia to establish a Muslim Chechen state on Russian territory. Russia crushed it mercilessly. That was a good thing and perhaps an example for the rest of us to follow. Furthermore, what Russia refused to do was let Islam define itself. Russia has simply redefined Salafist/jihadist/sharia-ist Islam as “extreme” and insisted that only Sufist Islam, an Islam focusing on Islamic mysticism and the inner struggle for self-mastery and enlightenment, is the only true Islam. That is reflected in the internal policy of the Russian Federation and in the Grozny fatwa described in the article about Kadyrov I cited. It is a constant refrain in Russia, insisted upon by the Putin government, that Muslim leaders agree to denounce “extremism”.

          What they are being forced to denounce is actually normative Sunni Islam in favor of its Persian inspired mystical aspect or variant.

          As to the Crusades, the Muslims are welcome to see them however they wish. Islam spread by the sword out of Arabia and conquered the Middle East early on. They can hardly complain when Christians try to retake it. I mean, they’re welcome to, but it should fall on deaf ears. Islam is a false religion, the work of the devil. Any attempt to defend it is evil. The Russians are not defending Islam as the four great Sunni Muslim jurists of the early centuries defined it. They are insisting that it be redefined in favor of a neutered variant. Putin’s genius was in demanding that if Muslims want to claim that Islam is a religion of peace, that they embrace Sufism as true Islam and reject Salafism.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Misha, regarding the Crusades, I agree. The idea that they were an offensive operation is belied by the historical facts.

            • Joseph Lipper says

              George, how about what the crusaders did to Constantinople, was that terrorism?

              • Terrorism is a tactic of jihad:

                Quran (3:151) – “Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority”.

                Quran (5:33) – “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement”

                Quran (8:12) – “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them” No reasonable person would interpret this to mean a spiritual struggle. The targets of violence are “those who disbelieve” – further defined in the next verse (13) as “defy and disobey Allah.” Nothing is said about self-defense. In fact, the verses in sura 8 were narrated shortly after a battle provoked by Muhammad, who had been trying to attack a lightly-armed caravan to steal goods belonging to other people.

                Quran (9:29) – “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”

                Hadith expand on this, for example:

                Sahih Bukhari (52:220) – Allah’s Apostle said… “I have been made victorious with terror”

                Sahih Bukhari (52:44) – A man came to Allah’s Apostle and said, “Instruct me as to such a deed as equals Jihad (in reward).” He replied, “I do not find such a deed.”

                Terrorism is acting in such a way, usually with such ferocity, that it inspires terror in the heart of ones enemies, civilian or military. We are not at war with the tactic of terrorism and terrorism may well be useful to us, as might torture.

                We are at war with Islam. Not “militant Islam”, not “extremist Islam” and not “Islamism”, which is just a way of referring to the fact that true Islam is a political ideology as well as what we in the West think of as a “religion”.

                We are, rather, at war with Islam and every Muslim is an enemy of Christ by definition. Sugar coating it won’t make it go away.

                Neutering Islam is a tactic as well. Probably a good tactic. We need to neuter it as much and for as long as possible, certainly long enough to reduce the Muslim population in what was Christian Europe and America.

                I assume that the devil will use much of that Sunni Islam which persists as a tool of the antichrist in the eschaton. According to Sunni eschatology, their Issa al-masih (Jesus) and/or their Mahdi (rightly guided one) will come to slaughter the Jews in the end time. Christian eschatology states that Christ will return and defend the Jews and Christians in the final battle. It does not take a genius to figure out who inspired Islamic eschatology.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Joseph, I am going to write someday soon I hope, a brief history of the Fourth Crusade.

                For our purposes right now, the inside skinny is this:

                1. The dispossessed Byzantine prince went to Venice and asked for help to be restored to his throne.

                2. None of the Crusaders wanted to go to Constantinople.

                3. He promised them oodles of money plus the resources of the Byzantine Navy.

                4. Henry Dandalo, the Doge of Venice signed off on the venture (because the Byzantines owed him lots of money).

                5. The rest of the Crusaders reluctantly went thinking that they would be well-treated, given a lot of money and resources and then head off for Jerusalem.

                That’s the back story.

          • Joseph Lipper says

            Misha, you seem to be making a distinction between a peaceful Islam and a non-peaceful Islam. So are you saying that Islam can be peaceful?

            Also, you refer to Sufism as a neutered Islam. I realize that this is how many of the Islamicists who want to violently wipe Sufism off the face of earth may see it. But you, why do you, like the Islamicist, also refer to it this way?

            • Well, Joseph, the two questions are certainly related. First, Islam is a false religion, a lie. God did not inspire Muhammad to write what he wrote. And to the extent that it contradicts Christianity, which it does, it is satanic. The Quran explicitly denies the Trinity, Incarnation, Crucifixion and Resurrection, for instance. There is no salvation in Islam, no theosis, only damnation.

              However, there were efforts to neutralize Islam and “take a sad song, and make it better”, so to speak. As I have tried to point out here, the foremost proponents of these efforts were the Persians who were already monotheistic (but quasi-dualistic) Zoroastrians when Islam befell them.

              They saw that Islam was really just an effort by an illiterate Arab to create an “Arab religion” to set beside Judaism and Christinity to embetter the Arabs and soothe their pride. But pride cometh before a fall and the devil either inspired Islam from the beginning or hijacked that movement at some point during Muhammad’s life. Either way, some of what he preached was diabolical and it sought to replace Christianity which is, in itself, a satanic activity.

              The Persians sought to invent a mystical, inner-focused Islam from some of what they found in stories surrounding Muhammad and stories they themselves later made up. Even a broken clock is right twice a day and occasionally he may have had some insightful thoughts that later Sufis expanded upon. Also, they simply created a lot of stuff and attributed it to him.

              Real Islam, to the extent that there is a normative Sunnism, for example, is a combination of the inner and outer life. There are the outer pillars of Islam and shariah, as well as jihad which is sort of a sixth pillar and, if legally declared, an obligation. Yet Muhammad himself is quoted as having stated upon return from battle that they were returning from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad. “Jihad” literally means “struggle”, much like “askesis”. What he was saying was that militant expansion is of less importance than inner “submission” to the will of “Allah”, the being he worshipped as a god.

              On that basis, and the basis of other stories attributed to him, the early Persian mystics created Sufism. It is not divorced from shariah – a Sufi is expected to abide by the external law of Islam – but it is focused on inner spiritual development. In this there are parallels with Christianity and other mystical traditions.

              I refer to Sufism as a neutered Islam because I take it as a given that it is a matter of the utmost importance to neuter Islam from its “fullness”. What the “Islamists” are waging – the jihad and the imposition of shariah as widely as it can be done, by persuasion and violence, by any means necessary, is true Islam. That is what Muhammad intended, that is what the early Muslims set out to do, that is why they conquered as much territory as they did early on, that is why they left a bloodbath in Northern India when they invaded – that is real, true honest-to-God Islam. Islam is straight from the bowels of the devil. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

              Yet, it is also the religion of a large number of human beings and it has a lighter side to it. Evil has no ontological substance, it is simply a glitch or twisting of the good. So nothing, in and of itself, is purely evil – certainly not Islam. The line between good and evil lies in the heart of man and Islam is largely evil because of its purpose and convictions. Yet God did not abandon even Muslims and so to the extent that Muhammad mimicked the Jews and Christians, Islam has some considerable good in it as well.

              The vital thing is to suppress the exportation and imposition of shariah and the waging of jihad as holy war. If Muslims want to voluntarily abide by shariah in their own homes or in Muslim countries, we can live with that until they are converted. But if they want to wage jihad in all directions to impose shariah and subject all people to Islamic government, then we have to kill them. It’s not any more complicated than that.

              So better to persuade or coerce them into practicing Sufism as the only true Islam than letting them stoke the fires of a violent ideology which is just going to get them and a lot of other people killed.

            • Peter Millman says

              Hi Joseph,
              Would you mind if I take a crack at your question? My answer is there are literally millions of peaceful Muslims. There have been at least eight Muslims who have won the Noble Peace Prize.

              There is a Catholic peace activist by the name of Mairead Maguire who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977. She says that one of her heroes and role models is the late Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, the Muslim Gandhi. There are many Muslim peace activists and organizations. The late Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and Shaquille O’Neal are all examples of peaceful Muslims. The Koran does not advocate violence; those who preach forced conversions and the implementation of Sharia law have perverted Islam. Millions of Muslims unequivocally reject terrorism in all its variations. We must eliminate Islamophobia. I personally have met hundreds of peaceful, gentle Muslims who love our country.

  12. “All of this moves me to thank God that we have no institution of the papacy. ”

    Yes; it’s a great point in favor of the Orthodox view. If the Bishop of Rome had not divorced himself from his brother Bishops, he would have had peers to counsel him and keep him in line, and something like this could never have happened.

    Backgrounder for Orthodox wondering how Francis became Pope in the first place:

  13. Joseph Lipper says

    As Great Lent approaches, in the words we chant and sing from Psalm 137 for Sunday’s vigil, I am reminded of that Christian terrorism we practice:

    Blessed is he who takes his infants and dashes them against the stones. Alleluiah!

    Wishing you all the blessings of Great Lent. Please forgive me, a sinner.