Oh, This is Rich

In the spirit of charity during the upcoming Holy Week, I am trying mightily to keep the snark to a minimum. But seriously, if there was any indication at all that the Archons are a superfluous organization, this is it. Sorry, but they should have learned their lesson two months ago in which they hosted a virtual town hall only to see it explode in their faces.

And what did they expect? I realize that to be an Archon one has to be an accomplished man-of-the-world, a businessman or some such captain of industry. But don’t they have any decent lawyers among them who could take a few classes in canon law? Or renowned historians who have actually studied history as opposed to the bedtime stories their grandmothers told them when they were toddlers?

OK, in the spirit of bearing one another’s burdens, I’ll do the heavy lifting free of charge. The Patriarchate of Constantinople possesses no exclusive right to “barbarian” lands in the diaspora. Even if we grant (for the sake of argument) the claims of Canon 28 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council (Chalcedon for short), the “barbarian lands” that were allocated to the Ecumenical City were clearly enumerated. For the record, these three provinces were “Asia, Thrace, and Cappadocia”, all of which were contiguous to Constantinople. And that’s all.

* * *

Excerpt:  “It is unfortunate that our Russian brothers did not listen to our appeal, which we made repeatedly with much heartache, not to destroy the canonicity of the Orthodox Church in Korea. It is a great pity and a scandal to the local faithful that, under the pretext of their disagreement with the Ecumenical Patriarchate on the issue of Autocephaly for the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, the Moscow Patriarchate has established an Exarchate and Diocese within the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the Far East and throughout East Asia. . .”





  1. Austin Martin says

    I am so sick of the Mother Churches playing conquistador with the diaspora. Just because you stick your flag in the ground first doesn’t mean you can call dibs for the continent. The EP’s claim about Korea is the same the OCA makes about North America. None of this is conciliatory or brotherly — it’s just a land grab with missionaries.

    And anyway, Russia has had a church in North Korea for several years.

    • This parish in North Korea was built with the assistance of the Metropolis of Korea, and the MP (using the power of the Russian Embassy in Pyeongyang) just went in there and consecrated it, with no respect towards the integrity of the Korean Metropolis. At the very least, it can be seen as a “joint venture,” but the MP is using that as part of their “claim” to the Korean peninsula.

      • That’s a bit of a one-sided look at the situation Brandon. Although it was consecrated by the MP, the event couldn’t have been attended by the EP, as the Korean Orthodox Church (EP) is a South Korean mission, and as such the North Korean government did not allow priests from SK into NK for fear of espionage. Even if the MP wanted to do a joint-consecration they wouldn’t have been allowed to. In fact, if the North Korean mission had been more associated with the South Korea metropolis they probably wouldn’t have been able to build a church in NK in the first place.

    • Tim R. Mortiss says

      I am a member of a GOA parish. I was a Presbyterian for 66 years, though I did a lot of ‘fellow traveling’ with the Orthodox over the years, as I sometimes put it.

      I am Anglo, with some Scottish. My paternal side comes from British Columbia, in the 1930s. My maternal side is US English for many many generations.

      My point? Simple: I am not in any ‘diaspora”. Take it from me.

    • This isn’t about claiming a continent. The EP was the only Orthodox presence in Korea for decades, with the MP trying to push its way back in with the illicit ROCOR Mission at first some 20 years ago, (nobody has told me how accepting a defrocked and excommunicated priest from Korea or Indonesia is ok) and now with this new MP “Diocese” of Korea. What is even more heartwrenching is that the Archbishop (Theophan) was the Russian hieromonk who served in the Metropolis of Korea for over ten years as the priest to the Slavophone community under the EP. Even after Archbishop Theophan was made a Bishop (HE Ambrosios was one of the bishops serving at his elevation in Russia), he continued to visit the Metropolis, serving Liturgy (welcomed with open arms by HE Sotirios AND Ambrosios). I received Holy Communion from him once, and he was always seen as a brother and part of the Metropolis. Now he comes not as a brother.

      The Church in North Korea was established with the assistance of the Metropolis of Korea, along with the contributions of various individuals and groups. The MP just went in there and consecrated it, claiming it without notifying the Metropolis or respecting the Metropolis. This was their other way to ‘stake a claim” on the Korean peninsula.

      I think that if there is already an established Orthodox presence somewhere, then NO OTHER CHURCH should “set up shop” there. If they want to help out, they can, just as the MP did once upon a time when they sent Archbishop Theophan to help the Metropolis of Korea, send helpers or money or whatever. Whatever one thinks of the mess in the Diaspora, what the MP is doing in Korea is wrong, even if they might be right elsewhere.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Brandon, I agree with you. Where there is an “established Orthodox presence somewhere, NO OTHER CHURCH should set up shop.” Unfortunately, the CP has no “presence.” When Bartholomew invaded another bishop’s territory and communed with schematics, he became schismatic. Until he repents, he is a ghost going about his business as if he were still alive in the Church. He’s not. How do I know? Because none of the Local Churches have come out against the MP for going into Korea and the remaining Pentarchy, i.e. Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem (minus Rome who like Constantinople is schismatic) recently met without him. – The Church is moving forward without him.

        • No other Church has broken Communion with the EP. Just because the MP says (and some random people on the internet) that the EP is a “ghost” doesn’t make it so. Concelebrations continue with the other Local Churches as usual (Benelux had one recently which included Antioch and Serbian clergy I believe). Are they too, “schismatics?”

          • Gail Sheppard says

            The same Antioch and Serbia who jointly said, “The dangerous state of the Orthodox world, created by the situation in Ukraine, cannot continue, without the emergence of a permanent division between all members of the Orthodox Church, which would bring harm to the fullness of the Orthodox world and its witness in the world today.”? – Give it time, Brandon. Give it time.

            • I don’t think the other Local Churches would allow it to happen. The Archbishop of Cyprus has taken the initiative to mend fences throughout the Church (he has gotten Antioch and Jerusalem talking again, and no doubt he is in touch with the MP and EP as well). It should be the EP that is doing it, but that is how it is right now.

              You avoided my question, though. Are Antioch and Serbia schismatic? They commune with the EP and concelebrate, as do the other Churches. Using your reasoning (and the MP’s, although they have had to walk the “schismatic” talk back because they received resistance from Russians with ties to Mt. Athos and St. Anthony’s in Arizona among other places) the rest of the Church has joined the “schism” because they continue to commune with the EP.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                Brandon, I can’t reply to your question because I don’t know the particulars. Provide the links demonstrating that Antioch and Serbia are concelebrating with the EP.

                • https://www.romfea.news/inter-orthodox-co-liturgy-in-rotterdam-the-netherlands/


                  These are just two links. Maybe there is no Patriarchal concelebrations, but out in the Diaspora, it is still going on (apparently with the tacit permission of both Patriarchs at least, as they have not said anything to the contrary).

                  Are you saying that these people are schismatic? How can Serbia or Antioch be half schismatic, half not?

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    In response to your question, the official position of the Serbian Church was this:

                    “In a recently released statement from the Serbian Church, it is recommended that hierarchs and clergy abstain from serving with clergy of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, as representatives of that Patriarchate have concelebrated with the Ukrainian schismatics. Accordingly, most Serbian hierarchs in America and Canada have instructed their clergy not to concelebrate with Constantinople clergy, His Grace Bishop Maxim of the Western American Diocese being the only exception.” http://orthochristian.com/120051.html

                    You’ve got to appreciate what Bartholomew did to the Orthodox Church. Even the media recognized it was the biggest breach since 1054. It’s thrown us all into chaos.

                    No one wants schism. At the point when the Sunday of Orthodoxy rolled around, we were only a few months into this crisis. The previous February, I attended a service at a Greek monastery where a ROCOR metropolitan was present. He did not serve, as he has done in the past, with men whom he considers to be his brothers, as well as his good friends. Though he was there, some things had to be done differently. I’m not well versed enough on these things to tell you what they were, and I don’t speak Greek so I couldn’t follow along, but they later talked about it not being “business as usual.”

                    I don’t know what happened in Belgium. Apparently, plans were made and dignitaries were to attend. Maybe they couldn’t back out so they just stood there. I have no idea.

                    I do believe that what Bishop Maxim said about the Sunday of Orthodoxy was done out of economy, though. At that juncture, we were all still holding out hope that Bartholomew would recognize his errors. Again, no one WANTS a schism, Brandon. No one. If it takes our Hierarchs a few moments to catch their breath and figure out what to do next, it’s understandable. But something must happen, Brandon. We cannot have our Patriarchs running amuck.

                    Please understand that none of us are beating up on you. We realize you’re in the same position we are. Until our Hierarchs make our direction clear, we can do nothing but speculate, which frankly puts us at odds with one another. I DO hope our Hierarchs realize what a burden this has been and continues to be. We need them to show us the way and soon.

                    Have a blessed Pascha, Brandon.

              • Brandon,
                Gail Sheppard says
                April 23, 2019 at 12:53 am
                “…Provide the links demonstrating that Antioch and Serbia are concelebrating with the EP.”

                Yes, I am asking you too, to provide the links of the Benelux church concelebrating with Antioch and Serbian Churches.
                Benelux Archbishop Athenagoras Peckstad of Brussels has been a syncretistic person at least before he became Bishop. I think he is even more ecumenistic and philo-Papist than Bartholomew.
                Concelebrating with Athenagoras means concelebrating with Bartholomew.
                Gratefully waiting for the links…

  2. Greatly Saddened says

    Just a friendly reminder … it is and should “always” be about “Christ,” first and foremost!
    A most blessed Palm Sunday to all!

  3. Many people mention Canon 28 but it seems they have not read it, carefully.
    See The Rudder, by D.Cummings 1957, pp.271-276.

    Canon 28 (4th Ecum.Synod) itself, written some 1600 years ago, does not state that the Ecumenical Patriarch will be based in Constantinople until the end of this world!
    It mentions that it was THEN done on account of the city being the imperial capital (page 271).
    This is no more the case. that city is not the capital of the country, and the country Turkey has relatively very few Orthodox inhabitants.

    And why does an “Ecumenical Patriarch” have to be in the capital of the country?
    On Page 273 of The Rudder Saint Nikodemos explains:
    ” The Bishop of Constantinople ought to receive privileges of authority because various Patriarchs and Prelates used to come to the Emperor to beg for his help in their exigencies, and it was necessary for them first to meet the Bishop of Constantinople, … to lend them assistance, and through him they were enabled to approach the Emperor…”

    Bartholomew just cannot accept the facts, Constantinople is not the Imperial capital of the Christians any more. In fact, Orthodox christians now live in many countries like Greece, Russia, Serbia, USA etc. They Orthodox PEOPLE and clergy of those countries should elect on “coordinating” Bishop, call him Archbishop or Patriarch, in the capital of the each country. He will be absolutely equal to all other bishops AND will help them to meet with the government of the country as it was done 1600 years ago. Period.

  4. Whether or not one gives credence to the claims of the EP in “the diaspora,” there is a context that is particular to the Metropolis of Korea. For its ENTIRE Orthodox history, there was only one Church, one “jurisdiction.” From 1900-1946, the Moscow Patriarchate was there. The MP Mission was expelled due to Cold War politics (the Russian Church was seen acting as an arm of the KGB, which sadly it did at times). So from 1946 until the Korean War, there was nobody taking care of the Orthodox Christians there (the only Korean priest was taken by the North Koreans and never seen again). The Greek Army Chaplain found the scattered flock and tended to them. There was no Church building, NOTHING. The Greek Army built them a temporary Church. It was because of this good will and loving care, combined with the bitterness towards Russia felt by the South Koreans for helping North Korea that the Korean faithful UNANIMOUSLY decided to officially petition the Ecumenical Patriarchate to receive them (even if they wanted to return to the MP that would have been impossible, as the South Korean government would not have allowed it; and the Church of Japan was a Non-starter as well, for anyone familiar with Korean-Japanese relations). So from 1953ish until the present day, the Korean Church has been under the EP.

    So for its whole history, the Korean Church has lived the canonical norm of one bishop/jurisdiction, one city/territory. In fact, the Metropolis of Korea is one of the few places in the Diaspora where the canonical order is upheld. It is THAT reality that HE Ambrosios has been trying to protect. READ THE WHOLE INTERVIEW. Since the Fall of the USSR, the MP has been trying to reclaim Korea, because they see it as theirs.

    The truth, is that the Slavophone Community is already taken care of, and their liturgical and cultural needs are met. After 1991, many Russians went to Korea for economic reasons. HE Sotirios, the first Metropolitan of Korea (now of Pisidia) learned Slavonic so he could serve the Liturgy in Slavonic for them. He loved them and took care of them (he does the same now for the thousands of Russians living in Turkey under his care now) formally asked the MP for a priest, and there was a Russian hieromonk serving Liturgy in Slavonic and they have their own parish, St. Maxims (after St. Maxim the Greek). After this Hieromonk left Korea to return to Russia (he was elevated to Bishop), HE Sotirios tried recruit a new priest from Russia, but they would not send one. So the EP sent a Ukrainian priest, Father Roman (a great man). Again, all their Spiritual needs are met.

    Why does the MP need to be in Korea? There is no SPIRITUAL need for them to be there. They have repeatedly attempted to set up a Church in Korea, with little success (ROCOR set up an illicit Mission in the south, with a defrocked and excommunicated priest from the Korean Metropolis, just like Indonesia).

    The Russian Community itself in Korea has resisted the MP’s attempts to do this. In fact, most of the Russians in Korea have not joined the new MP structure set up now, Because of the good will and love that HE Sotirios and Ambrosios have developed with the Russian community. The Metropolis of Korea is TRULY a place where EVERYONE has their Spiritual needs met. It isn’t for the Greeks, or the Russians, it is for the Koreans and anyone who comes. It is a jewel in the Diaspora, and the MP is now undermining it.

    No matter what you think about the EP, the Metropolis of Korea is its own thing. HE Sotirios is greatly loved by the Russian community in Korea and Turkey. HE Ambrosios has continued the work HE Sotirios started.

    How do I know this? Because I was baptized in the Metropolis of Korea and have deep ties there. Forgive me, but do any of you even know what is going on there? Or is there such hardness of heart and antipathy because it is “under the EP.”

    Look past the Political garbage.

    • Let me summarize:

      Brandon: “Russian Church … arm of the KGB … Russia … helping North Korea … Slavophone Community is already taken care of … ROCOR set up an illicit Mission in the south … EP sent a Ukrainian priest, Father Roman (a great man) … Metropolis of Korea … is a jewel in the Diaspora … such hardness of heart and antipathy because it is “under the EP.” … Ambrosios [president of the National Council of Churches in Korea] has continued the work HE Sotirios started

    • Friend I would agree with you that at local level is as you say and if Phanar remained Orthodox you would be totally correct. I fear the korean church is a victim of wider events as USA church was in 1917. And you are illustrating the tragedy of Orthodoxy today thst needs sorting
      Here in Veliko Tarnovo Bulgaria we had for two yrs korean students student at university here who apart from solving the mysteries in korean of the direction booklet of my korean air conditioning??,, were devout Orthodox. Deeply so. And great people.
      I just raise one point. They brought to my attention that our acapella worship was new to them!!!!!! as in the Seoul Cathedral they have sakallarides and harmonium. I was shocked at several levels, not just as Orthodox believer but at the insult to korean Culture this showed. Let alone to western Culture too.
      We need a general Council to bring the Church into 21St century and put barbarians lands etc to one side and talk reality.

    • Claes vanOldenphatt says

      Austin, please don’t drag the very historically-uncontroversial and yet modest claims of the OCA into this. The Autocephaly declared in its 1970 Tomos does not make untoward demands of foreign Exarchates in North America, but only declares the OCA as a fully-formed Local Church with no foreign head, able to care for the spiritual needs of all Orthodox people who come to it. But under local civil law the OCA may not make legal claim to churches which do not voluntarily come into it.
      Also the OCA has always held out possibility of joining the Ecumenical Patriarchate if its identity and mission are respected and supported within that structure.
      And Brandon, who wrote:
      “…defrocked and excommunicated priest from the Korean Metropolis, just like Indonesia).”
      Which priest are you talking about in Indonesia? I know Fr. Daniel Byantoro is neither defrocked or excommunicated. Were you thinking of someone else?

      • Father Daniel (I will still call him Father, as every other local Church recognizes him as such, and I don’t know him personally so I won’t “take a side”) was a part of the EP, and left under shall we say, “controversial” circumstances (ROCOR’s taking of the EP’s Churches themselves is another matter. That I will denounce). ROCOR has had the very unfortunate habit of receiving defrocked and excommunicated clergy from the EP (these clergy can simply wave the bloody shirt of “Greek chauvinism” and “Ethnophylitism” and be received sympathetically). How this conforms to the canonical order has not been explained to me. The EP and ROCOR Indonesian Missions are hostile to each other and there are mutual excommunications on both sides.

        • Claes vanOldenphatt says

          Brandon, you will be held accountable for insinuating malfeasance of a priest of Christ. I know the man of whom you speak and know exactly the circumstances of his decampment from the omophore of Metr. Nikitas, who interfered untowardly in the mission efforts of his priest. Fr. Daniel found it impossible to continue his work under this Metropolitan (who since has been reassigned to the See of Berkeley and the PAOI, keeping the Dardanelles) and transferred to ROCOR where he continues to pour out his lifeblood for the faithful of Indonesia.
          I also know the priest who has been placed in charge of the Indonesian parishes that belong to the EP. I would say that Fr. Daniel’s lifelong record stands up well compared to anyone’s.

    • Brandon

      Out of curiosity I looked up the EP cathedral in Seoul. They have nice pews and organs. Probably to accommodate local Korean Buddhist traditions 😉


      • Cute. Have you ever attended a Divine Liturgy in Korea? Here, let me help you: https://www.youtube.com/user/KoreaOrthodox

        Here is their youtube channel.

      • Local buddhist tradition. Pews and organs??????? U lost me. See my post about korean students who were in Bulgaria.
        It’s greek american influence as in Albania. The church is in a total mess so we will destroy it’s worship.. Good one. I’m just a DIM guy but do not get it aesthetically or in any other way. Long may I remain DIM.
        Why is it us Greeks who do this.

      • MARTIN I presume you are being ironic?I hope so!! Re pews, organ and buddhist tradition!! ?

        • Nikos: ” I presume you are being ironic?”

          You presume correctly. BTW, the photo shows that Korean Buddhists know what is the solemnity and reverence, prostrations and they do not have pews.

          Traditional Orthodox worship should appeal more to them than EP neo-Greek customs.

    • Hello, Brandon!

      You say that the “Metropolis of Korea is one of the few places in the Diaspora where the canonical order is upheld.” This is simply not true. On May 28, 2008, the EP appointed Ambrosios “Metropolitan of Korea and _Exarch of Japan_.” The Orthodox Church of Japan, as everybody knows, is an autonomous Metropolitanate of the MP (since 1880). In other words, H.E. Ambrosios has been laying claim to a church and territory that do not belong to his jurisdiction. For context, the Church of Japan is several times the size of the EP Church in Korea. Is this not uncanonical? Could not one see this as the EP’s message to the MP that they intend to do in Japan what they did in Korea (and Estonia. And now Ukraine))?

      Secondly, the received story at the EP’s Korea website, in an article written by Ambrosios, is that the faithful of South Korea voted unanimously to abandon the Russian Church and go under the EP. South Korea in those days was a harshly dictatorial country. Not to criticize; these were difficult times. Nevertheless, do we know whether this was a free vote? Moreover, and more importantly, did the MP ever agree to having its flock, which had been established in the late 1800s, taken away from it, as a permanent state of affairs? Was it consulted?

      Thirdly, H.E. Ambrosios does not make a lot of sense when, on the one hand, he justifies the South Koreans’ abandonment of the MP, because “the Russians” were allied with the North, yet he expresses dismay that the MP established an ecclesiastical presence in the North. There’s something inconsistent in this thinking. From what I know, the founding of the Pyongyang church was all at the initiative of Kim Jong-Il, an admirer of Russian forms and ritual. He had in fact been born in Russia, to where his parents escaped during the Japanese occupation. Russians and Koreans do go back some…

      • HE Ambrosios has not done anything in Japan, because he doesn’t want to cause a scandal there (disputed claims are not the same as an actual parish). He acknowledges that the Church of Japan’s status is disputed. I have heard that there is a Greek Church in Japan (I don’t know how true that is) but it is not part of the Metropolis of Korea.

        As for how Korea came to be under the EP. There is no reason to think it wasn’t a free vote. The Korean faithful rejected returning to the MP rather forcefully (I would say a unanimous vote is clear) and obviously, the Church of Japan was impossible as an alternative. What could the MP have possibly done? Force itself on the Korean people? Were the Korean faithful supposed to wait until 1991 when the Soviet Union fell?

        The Metropolis of Korea contributed to the building of that parish, as the Canonical Jurisdiction in Korea. The MP went in there and consecrated it without any consultation or cooperation. I suppose if you have the “Payback is a %$#@” mentality, then that was fine. I happen to think that is not fine. Two wrongs don’t make a right (whatever the wrong is).

        • “HE Ambrosios has not done anything in Japan.” He has been laying claim to it in his very title and maintains he has “every right to be active in Japan.” Why? Perhaps his inaction in Japan is more a function of impotence than innocence.

          “There is no reason to think it wasn’t a free vote.” Really? South Korea in those days was not a free place. I would be surprised if it was a free vote. The North gets a lot of bad press, but the dictatorial actions of the South against its own people, but even in places like Vietnam, have gotten swept under the rug. Like I said, I am not about to judge; they were difficult, confused times. Be all that as it may, did the MP agree to this arrangement?

          On Pyongyang, Ambrosios cannot have it both ways. He uses very polarizing Cold War rhetoric to justify his own existence in South Korea (“They do not forget that the accursed division of South and North Korea and the tragic account of the Korean civil war was largely a consequence of Russian politics [Yes, yes, it was all Russia’s fault]…If we were to compare the relationship between Korea and Greece with that of Korea and Russia, we would say that Koreans recognize that the Greeks gave their blood for the freedom of their country. On the other hand, the Russians, with the alliance of the North Koreans and the Chinese shed the blood of South Koreans and caused many tribulations that remain to the present day”), then somehow thinks he is entitled to be in charge of a project between the two “bad guy” allies. Given his polarizing attitude, he cannot really expect that, because his Metropolis made a contribution to the project, that it automatically is his. As a project, that Church looks Russian from top to bottom, which is what the DPRK leader wanted.

  5. George Michalopulos says

    Brandon, thank you for this excellent summation of the history of Orthodox Christianity on the Korean peninsula.

    Having said that, it misses the point; several points actually. Let me explain: first of all, the ecclesiology of Orthodoxy is not top-down but bottom-up (or both at times). It’s seemingly chaotic. Exhibit A of this is the Americas. While the multi-jurisdictional nature is not as neat as we would like, it’s not lacking in grace.

    Secondly, you omit any reference to any canon/procedure/protocol which categorically states that non-Orthodox lands belong ipso facto to Cpole. That’s wise that you did so because there are none. Using your own history, that Korea was originally part of the Russian Mission but that this mission dried up because of the Communist regime and subsequent Korean War, this describes what happened in North America with the near-destruction of the old Metropolia (likewise an archdiocese of the ROC). Before 1917, the EP recognized Russia’s claim on North America and even thanked the ROC for its pastoral care over Greek immigrants.

    Thought experiment: had the Bolsheviks not destroyed the old order, would the EP (and other Old World patriarchates) continued as before? Just wondering. Admittedly, Korea was somewhat different in that the Russian mission had been obliterated therefore a case could be made that as it being terra incognita, any patriarchate could missionize it.

    Third, and most important, despite the picture which you paint about the genuine love and care for the Koreans and native Slavs by the Greek bishops you mention (and God bless them for it), what makes you think that things will always be the same? If anything, the present Ukrainian mess has exposed the present phanariote regime as a rogue enterprise that has no compunction against acting capriciously. Case in point is the unilateral tearing up of the original tomos of transfer of Kiev to Moscow. That would be Exhibit A. Exhibit B is the unilateral ending of the Russian Exarchate for Western Europe. Whereas Ukraine had taken months to accomplish, the abolition of the Russian Exarchate blindsided everyone.

    The problem of course is the re-imagining of Constantinople as an Eastern papacy, one which behaves in a rogue fashion. What we are seeing in Korean is a countervailing reaction to such capriciousness. These are unfortunate side-effects which must be understood as inevitable. Let’s not forget, at the end of the day, what Patriarch Bartholomew did in Ukraine, is illegally normalize the ordinations of charlatans and brigands as bishops and priests when there had never been any valid ordinations and thus no Apostolic Succession. Their rites are meaningless (at best) and their sacraments are devoid of grace. This means that any priest and/or bishop who cooperates with them “drinks from the same cup” and becomes schismatic.

    Let me be blunt: I have it on good authority that there are bishops in the Ecumenical Patriarchate who were not on board with what Bartholomew did in Ukraine and refuse to serve with him. Let me be even more blunt: we are talking about schism and anybody who serves with a schismatic bishop becomes himself a schismatic.

    This is why Korea is important. Not because the inhabitants of the Korean peninsula were not being properly cared for in a pastoral fashion by Greek bishops but because those bishops themselves are suffering from the self-inflicted wounds which the Phanar has imposed on Orthodoxy as a whole.

    Truthfully, it now makes sense why five weeks ago there were no concelebrations with GOA priests and bishops in North America. Regardless, let us pray that this does not last.

    • Not everyone in the EP agrees with what happened in Ukraine. I agree with the Church of Cyprus (and Albania) on this issue, and both Churches have summed up the position of the “loyal opposition.” One can love their Patriarch or Bishop and not agree with everything they do, much like one can love their own father and disagree with them at times. This isn’t an either or proposition.

      The treatment of Metropolitan Onuphry and Archbishop Jean was terrible. I still don’t understand it. But that doesn’t give the MP leave to do the same thing to the EP. Metropolitan Onuphry is the Bishop of Ukraine. Metropolitan Ambrosios is the Bishop of Korea. BOTH should be respected as such. The MP is using this crisis to “settle old scores” and “reclaim” territory that they believe the EP stole from them.

      “Payback is a %(*%(*&” is found nowhere in the Gospel, and yet this is how the MP is acting.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        You think Metropolitan Ambrosios is coming from a position that deserves respect? I’m not even sure he is coming from a place of sanity. This is the most bizarre account I think I have ever read. Even the interviewer is taken aback. https://theorthodoxworld.com/exclusive-how-the-moscow-patriarchate-tramples-on-church-canons-and-undermines-orthodox-unity-in-korea/

        • What is so bizarre about it?

        • Yes Gail,
          it seems Ambrosios does not know what he is saying,
          he is simply “His Master’s Voice”.
          He says,
          “Moreover, the decision of the Fourth Pan-Orthodox Conference for the Orthodox Diaspora at the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambesy (June 6-13, 2009), which was signed by all Orthodox Churches, including His Beatitude Kyrill, Patriarch of Moscow, called for the restoration of the canonical order of the Ancient Church.”

          He is a Bishop and ignores the history of the Church?
          The ancient church had equal Bishops only!

        • Gail, just one repulsive and vile quote:

          “members of the Patriarchate of Moscow are deliberately stressing the friendship between the two countries and what unites the two peoples in order to justify their predatory disposition. Yet, many Koreans, particularly older ones, do not forget what they suffered from Communist Russia. ”

          This is coming from a jurisdiction that in 1920s sided with the Bolsheviks persecuting Orthodox in Russia.

        • George Michalopulos says

          To be truthful, I received this interview several days ago and after reading the first paragraph, I tossed it aside, believing it to be nonsensical. (Like so much other things that come from the Archons, which is nothing more than a propaganda arm of the Phanar; think of MSNBC/CNN and the Democrat Party.)

          I was wrong to give it such short shrift. Had I plowed on, I would have read that this bishop is off the rails. He has absolutely no right to state that the “Third Rome” theory is “satanic”. At worst, it’s speculation, not heresy and it won’t be ruled as heresy (or dogma) unless and until a valid Council proclaims it as such. This is Ecclesiology 101. That this bishop doesn’t realize that means that he’s either completely ill-educated or mendacious.

          Regardless, it raises serious questions about Brandon’s characterizations of his archpastorate as being benign and loved by the people. If I heard my bishop use this word about anything at all, I’d run the other way. Indeed, as a member of the GOA and now the OCA, I have rarely heard the word “heretic” or “heretical” pass from the lips of any bishop I have known. That’s because that’s a strong word and anybody who has spiritual discernment knows to be very careful when judging another man and his words (even if they are adjudged as heretics and heretical).

          To go a step further and say that such-and-such a position is “satanic” is several bridges too far. This is my critique of this bishop’s level of education at the very least.

          Let us however, examine his criticism of the Third Rome theory in a cursory manner (for the time being). There is no impediment in Orthodox eschatology for believing in the Third Rome theory per se. If there was, then the whole “New Rome” and even “Rome” concept must be thrown under the bus. It can’t however because according to received eschatology, “Rome” is the “restrainer” spoken of by St Paul who holds back the reign of Antichrist. And to do so would ipso facto invalidate all of Constantinople’s claims to anything at all.

          This can’t be stressed enough: only when the Restrainer is removed will this unfortunate individual be revealed as it is only Romanitas which can do this. Put another way, we can’t understand eschatology without recourse to the office of Rome itself (however one defines “Rome”). That would be like trying to understand American jurisprudence without recourse to the Constitution –it can’t be done. “Rome” and “Antichrist” are two sides of the same coin. (Again, according to Orthodox ecclesiology, otherwise, Pat Bartholomew would completely drop the “New Rome” locution from his title.)

          Hence, as far as Orthodoxy is concerned, the Restrainer has always been viewed as the Roman polity. The only question is which polity is it we are talking about: Rome which fell in AD 476, Constantinople which fell in 1453 or –and this is important (since the Antichrist did not arise in 1453)–Moscow in 1917?

          Now please note: this does not mean that Moscow necessarily was the Third Rome, after all, the Antichrist did not arise in 1918 (although certainly an anti-Christian system has arisen). Does this mean that the years 1917-1991 were a type of tribulation or an interregnum so that a God-pleasing emperor will arise in due time and reestablish the restraining power? Or was the end of Moscow/Third Rome done but we are in the midst of a lull before the Antichrist arises?

          Regardless, the question that must be answered is which city therefore was the Third Rome? Neither London, Paris, Vienna or Washington, DC would qualify (although DC is built on seven hills) because none of them were Orthodox cities nor were they ruled by an Orthodox prince. Nor were any the seat of a world power that viewed itself as the continuation of Romanitas.

          Moscow on the other hand did fit the bill in all these particulars. In addition, it was proclaimed as such by St Philotheus of Pskov. While it has not been dogmatized neither has it been anathematized. Met Ambrose’s characterization therefore is most unfortunate in this regard. And yes, it does give me pause about his overall benevolence.

          Lord forgive me.

          • The specter of Third Rome is a straw man. The MP does not talk about Third Rome. It has no intention of challenging the order of the Diptychs. Such projects are futile in our day and age.

            • Joseph Lipper says

              The Russian Orthodox Church is undeniably blossoming in great power and glory. The ROC is represented all over the world, on every continent, even Antarctica. Russkiy Mir is a reality. There is currently no other Local Church that has so much influence in the world. This is in no doubt helped by the close relations of the ROC with the government of the Russian Federation. It is said that Vladimir Putin wants an “Orthodox Vatican” at Trinity St. Sergius Lavra to be built:


              Although the Moscow Patriarchate may not actually talk about “Third Rome”, it’s hard not to visualize this idea manifesting itself. Now that the MP no longer commemorates “New Rome”, there is the undeniable question of who will be “first among equals?” None of the ancient Middle Eastern Patriarchates are in much better circumstances than Constantinople is. So, perhaps the ROC will soon look to crown itself an “emperor” to finally claim status as the “Third Rome”. It’s all very ambitious.

              • The BBC is British govt. propaganda. They’ve always hated Russia, because they can’t control her, and so say ridiculous things about her to strike fear in the hearts of those weak-minded or downtrodden Orthodox beholden the West. I don’t pay it much attention. The polity and consciousness of Orthodoxy does not allow for the emergence of an Orthodox Vatican, no matter how powerful a local church might be. Besides, if the MP is as close to the Russian govt. as you say, then we’re OK, because state doctrine is all about multipolarity in world matters. At most, Russkiy Mir is a regionalist doctrine, definitely not a globalist one.

          • Rhonda Dodson says

            The only people that ever speak about “Third Rome” ref the MP are those that just won’t let it go. Only a few Russian weirdos ever spoke seriously about it & they have long since gone. Now we seem to have a rash of new anti-MP weirdos that just won’t let it go. The MP has no intention of reordering the diptychs & is content in its place. If now only the patriarch of Constantinople would be content in his place of “first in honor among equals” & stop trying to upend & morph his actual position into something that never was.

          • I know I said I was bowing out, but as this is your blog, I will make this reply to you as my truly final posting:

            I speak about HE Ambrosios as someone who knows him. He knows my family, I have confessed to him, received spiritual counsel and communed from him. Nobody is universally loved, but he has continued the work of HE Sotirios (who is GREATLY loved in the Korean Church by all) He has very strong opinions on this particular matter, as he has been in the Orthodox Metropolis for YEARS. I imagine repeatedly pleading with the MP not to divide your Church and then when they go and do that anyway would create some bitterness. I am trying not to think negatively about certain Hierarchs of the MP, particularly Metropolitan Hilarion, who until this crisis, was a man I greatly respected and enjoyed reading his translated writings. I don’t think Patriarch Kyrill is a bad man either. I also happen to like HAH Bartholomew (I have met him, and I didn’t see a monster) Perhaps EVERYONE should be given the benefit of the doubt, as feelings are raw all over.

            As you know, saints were not infallible, especially when it comes to political things. I will just mention one famous example, the disagreement between St. Paisios and St. Porphyrios over the End Times.

            The people within the EP (GOA, Korea, et al) are Orthodox Christians trying to live a Christian life (same in the MP). They are brothers and sisters. This is Ecclesial Politics. The only reason I posted at all was because it was in regards to the Metropolis of Korea, a place I know a lot about. It is being treated as a pawn in this sick political game. Maybe the MP is right, Maybe the EP is right. There are holy bishops and priests in the EP today, right now: Doing the work of the Gospel. There are laity doing the same.

            I have no stomach for political factionalism. I see each Bishop as his own man, who should be judged individually (as each Bishop is the shepherd of his flock). I don’t bother much about what Constantinople does (as it was in the days of old, most people didn’t pay much attention to their Patriarch at all. The BISHOP is where you should look, and Christ above all). No doubt it is the same in Russia and elsewhere. If your Bishop is Orthodox, and your Spiritual Father is Orthodox, why look elsewhere?

            At any rate, this will truly be my last post. I ask forgiveness from anyone who I may have offended. Anyone can have the last word.

            A Blessed Holy Week to all, and may the Light of Christ guide us all.

      • ” “Payback is a %(*%(*&” is found nowhere in the Gospel, and yet this is how the MP is acting.”

        Neither do we find anywhere in the Gospel that a city by the name of Constantinople will have the throne of an “Ecumenical” Patriarch” UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD?
        That throne was created (canon 28) because the city was THEN the capital of the country (Empire). So, where do we read that Bartholomew can give orders to other countries like Korea etc?
        Where does the Gospel mention that if you baptize somebody you are his Master, he belongs to you, you will order him his whole life, intimidating him by phrases like “the Mother Church…”?

  6. Very well put George.

  7. Dear Brandon I sympathize with you very much.
    Having said that, my opinion is that what happens in Korea is just the tip of the iceberg,
    or if you prefer the leaves in a large forrest. To completely appreciate what happens in the small leaves of one tree, you have to study the total forrest learning learning geology, chemistry, geography, gardening etc.
    In our case the parameters are History, Egoism, Politics, Economy, Canon Law and so on.
    To appreciate the situation one has to read the History of the Church
    starting with the oldest book by Eusebius, ca. 324AD, (translated by G.A.Williamson)
    then a comprehensive recent one e.g. like the one by Stephanides or other.
    The ancient Church had EQUAL brotherly Bishops. None of them was spiritual boss over the other Bishops. The “mother Church” was in Jerusalem.
    Then as they needed to gather and sort out problems together they chose to gather in the big city of the area. The Bishop of that city became a de-facto kind of coordinator, but always an equal brother.
    Later, the bishops of the country needed to go to the Emperor (nowadays King or President) for some help.
    The Bishop of the capital became a kind of assistant, mediator or coordinator for the other Bishops who wanted to see the emperor.
    Now we come to annum 2019, when Constantinople is no more a capital, Turkey is not a Christian country. If a Bishop say in Korea needs the help of the Korean President, there is no point going to Bartholomew for mediation.
    However, as is the human nature (explained by St.John Chrysostom), Bartholomew does not want to let go the special role there say 1000 years ago. He wants to be the big Boss. He may be impressed by the Glory of the Pope. St. John Chrysostom said that the Glory is a very strong temptation for the Bishop.

    The Greek Army Chaplain in Korea you mention belonged to the independent Church of Greece. How does that entitle the EP to talk about Korea being “his” territory?
    Why cannot Korea be an independent Church? Her first Bishops may come from foreign

    I guess the MP is simply reacting so because Bartholomew wants to play the big boss, just like the “infallible” Pope. We are not Papists , and do not want to have such Bishops. We want bishops with real brotherly love.
    The real solution to Korea’s Church must be solved by the Orthodox people there.
    Their Church belongs first to Christ and then to themselves, not to Bartholomew, not to Cyrill.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Very eloquently put.

    • The Orthodox People in Korea did “solve it.” They love the EP and want nothing to do with Ecclesial Politics.

      The MP’s “reaction” is totally counter to the point they are making. How is the solution to division, more division?

      • Brandon: “The Orthodox People in Korea did “solve it.” They love the EP and want nothing to do with Ecclesial Politics.”

        So why do you worry? The EP places will be full, and nobody will show up at MP. Problem solved.

        • Because it shouldn’t be like that. You obviously have no appreciation of the pain this has caused to many people in Korea. Archbishop Theophan was seen as a brother and a friend, and now he has come to divide the Church in Korea, when he served it so lovingly for YEARS. Is your heart so hard that you can’t even show the least bit of compassion for those under the EP who had NO involvement in these decisions, and who only want to preserve their communities, live an Orthodox life, and devotion to the Spiritual Fathers. What was done to Metropolitan Onuphry was wrong, and now the MP is doing the same to the Metropolis of Korea. Real people and real communities are hurt by these “decisions” made. Makes the OCA look better and better as the months pass.

        • Martin says
          April 22, 2019 at 11:46 pm
          Brandon: “The Orthodox People in Korea did “solve it.” They love the EP and want nothing to do with Ecclesial Politics.”

          So why do you worry? The EP places will be full, and nobody will show up at MP. Problem solved.

          Exactly Martin!

          At the of the day the laity, the people, have a say whether they want a certain Patriarch or not. Indeed, read the New Testament how they elected Bishops.

          And so, in Korea, let the people decide whether they want:
          -A Patriarch who donates the “holy Koran” or another who does not.
          -A Patriarch who, in absentia(!) excommunicates one of his Theologians because the latter spoke against a Bishop who preached unorthodox things.

          Let’s wait and see what the Korean people will do.

      • Joseph Lipper says

        “How is the solution to division, more division?”

        For as St. Paul asks, “Is Christ divided?”

        We can see that the division of Moscow from Constantinople is not a real schism. The EP still commemorates Patriarch Kyrill, and thus the unity and hierarchal order of the Church is still preserved. In Korea and elsewhere, Russians are still welcome at EP parishes. Importantly, the recent meeting of the Primates in Cyprus underscored not a rebuke to anyone, but rather an affirmation “that opinions may differ, but the Orthodox Church remains One and shining with the Grace of the Lord”.

  8. Claes vanOldenphatt says

    A friend of mine, who holds a doctorate in Church History wrote this:
    “Korea is a complicated issue, north and south, war, etc.. However, China is clearer, yet Fener played a sly game there. Before reincorporation of HK into PRC they hastily opened up an office in HK and tried to argue that China now belongs to Fener, ignoring the centuries old presence of Russian Church there with dozens of parishes, including cathedrals and (sainted!) bishops!”

    He isn’t known as ‘Black Bart’ for nothing.

    • As I said before: Where there is already an Orthodox presence, NOBODY else should go there.

      Again: Even if the MP is right everywhere else, they are wrong in Korea.

      “Payback is a *O%R%&*%” is nowhere to be found in the Gospel.

      • Matthew Panchisin says

        Dear Brandon,

        A schismatic presence is not an Orthodox presence, the E.P. is a schismatic who has created much turmoil. However Orthodox Christians continue to pray that he and his supporting Bishops have a change of heart, so there is the Orthodox presence, for peace.

        • One Patriarchate is not the final word in the Orthodox Church, fortunately.

          Metropolitan Onuphry is the Bishop of Ukraine.

          The Ecumenical Patriarchate is NOT schismatic (as the rest of the Orthodox world is in Communion with it still).

          Neither the EP or MP have ANY RIGHT to tell the rest of the Orthodox world what to do and think.

          Perhaps your Spiritual Father has told you to not commune in EP Churches. Fine, ok. But that doesn’t apply to EVERYBODY, contrary to what the MP may think (and they are not the Patriarch of All Russians EVERYWHERE).

          As I said, the OCA is looking more and more attractive the longer this garbage goes on.

      • Brandon: “Payback is a *O%R%&*%” is nowhere to be found in the Gospel.”

        It is not a payback. It is making Orthodox service available to those who know or feel what EP is about. Many do not become Orthodox or even leave Orthodoxy, because EP scandalizes them, unless they discover that EP became a ruse.

        • If the MP wants to send an emergency Russian priest serving out of the Russian Embassy/Consulate for those “objectors” than I guess you could argue that. But that isn’t what is happening here. The MP is trying to set up its own structures, pushing aside the EP and threatening to divide a long existing Orthodox Metropolis. How is that a good thing? If what was done in Ukraine was so wrong, why duplicate it in other parts of the world to prove a point or stick it to the EP?

        • The Phanar scandalises at all levels, from destruction of worship, poor church governance, delusional thinking of another age, pompous ( well not alone there) but supremely pompous language and style and now Catholic ecclesiology. And blind Essex to modern reality except in conference jargon speak

  9. Greatly Saddened says

    Please excuse me, but can someone please be kind enough and explain to me where “Christ” fits in to all this, I much rather not say. Feel free to fill in the blank yourselves.

    Unfortunately, all it seems to be is a big power grab and that’s all! Just like a bunch of immature children! How sad!

    • It is very sad. It is geopolitics and territorial squabbling masquerading as canonical concern. Both the MP and EP have hurt each other and disrespected each other, and so the hangover from the 20th Century horror lingers on.

      People say the MP didn’t have a choice. They did have a choice. They could have taken the example of Patriarch John of Antioch (who as far as I know DID NOT tell his flock that they couldn’t receive the Holy Fire or commune in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher) and not involve the laity. They could have broken Communion at the Ecclesial level ONLY, suspended participation in everything, and use their weight to force a Pan-Orthodox Synod, with or without the EP’s involvement. Instead, they used this crisis to “settle old scores” and retake what they think is theirs. Instead of the Gospel, they chose to play a Real life version of “Risk” and make their moves.

      The “schismatic” rhetoric is hollow, as they are cherry picking EP areas that have the “right opinion” on Ukraine (how is it coherent to declare Mt. Athos in schism, except for St. Pantelemon’s, who also commemorate HAH, not to mention St. Anthony’s in Arizona).

      I don’t like what was done in Ukraine. I think the EP’s intervention could have been done in a good way, as the EP should be the mediator in such disputes. But not like that. And so we are where we are. People with an axe to grind against the EP have used this crisis for their own POLITICAL agendas. On the flip side, those who disdain the MP now have their excuse to air their anti-Russian prejudice. The venting of over a 100 years of bile and grievance, with Ukraine (once again in its history) being used as a proxy and pawn.

      Nothing to do with the Gospel. Anyone who sows division in the body of Christ will have to answer for it before Him, no matter who they are (EP or MP or WHOEVER).

    • He fit in OnTHE CROSS AS ALWAYS with the Chief priests playing their roll.

  10. Matthew Panchisin says

    Dear Greatly Saddened,

    If you really think the Russian Orthodox should be seen as immature children, then you should grow just a little bit so you can gather a glimpse of how Christ fits into all of this.

  11. Rhonda Dodson says

    Ref the main article on the hypocrisy…
    Archons are not only predominant in their fields; they are also donors of LARGE financial gifts. IOW one buys oneself an “arcon-ship”. ‘Nuf said…

    But on to a greater point…the CP (Bartholomew), the Archons & those devoted to him do not see any hypocrisy in all of these ordeals around the globe ” ‘cuz he’s the EP”. I have read several articles over the past 2-3 months, mostly written by Metropolitans very devoted to Constantinople, declaring that those canons ref no jurisdiction over another’s territory do NOT apply to the “Mother Church” (Constantinople), but rather only to the “daughter Churches”; thus Constantinople in their eyes has not violated any canons while just about everyone else has because they have not recognized the CP’s “right” to do what he did in the Ukraine. Such authors have been Job Getcha (of “first without equals” fame), Emmanuel of France, Hierotheos Vlachos.

    According to Vlachos, his own Local-daughter Church of Greece cannot even think about analyzing the CP’s actions, whether via a committee or assembly of bishops or synod! Thus, as another Greek (from Greece) cleric wrote, the Local-daughter Church of Greece should immediately recognize the autocephaly of the OCU–‘cuz Constantinople…

    To me it is amazing how the pro-Constantinople side can declare how the Roman pontiff did not have this type of power or authority almost 1,000 years ago, but the patriarch of Constantinople does today. Seriously as long as we’re fighting this neo-papal attitude, how can a schism NOT occur eventually?

    • The Moscow Patriarchate could have taken the leadership role here. By doing what I outlined before: Limiting the break in Communion ala Antioch and forcing a Pan-Orthodox Synod. They chose to take advantage of this crisis to “retake” what they say is theirs (causing further chaos in the Diaspora) and paralyze the Pan-Orthodox process by their position towards the EP (how can a Pan-Orthodox synod possibly occur now with all of the animosity that has blown up as a result of this?)

      I don’t understand what either Patriarchate is thinking (EP or MP). The actions of both are hurting communities and people, and then they wring their hands and talk about “the Canons.” Unacceptable to me.

    • What is more FOR HEAVEN SAKE WE GOT TWO POPES ALREADY. !!!!! (B and F) Oh well it will be BB and F.

  12. At any rate, I will take my leave of these discussions and this blog. It is Holy Week, and I don’t want to argue anymore about this mess (anywhere and with anyone). Have the last word if you like.

    Remember the people who are hurt by all of this. The Church is not a street gang. There is no “side,” and those who speak such language do no service to the Gospel.

    A Blessed Holy Week to all.

  13. Greatly Saddened says

    Dear Mr. Panchisin,
    I would like to thank you so much for your ever so kind words. I wasn’t referring to anyone in particular, but rather speaking in general terms. Wishing you a most blessed Holy Week and a most blessed Holy Resurrection as well!

  14. Matthew Panchisin says

    Dear Greatly Saddened,

    Please forgive me, apparently I misunderstood you. I thought that you actually meant that the Russian Orthodox Church is immature which is a rather absurd and difficult notion to understand here, hence my comments. Well, that can happen via internet communications combined with my quick to react disposition it seems.

    Have a blessed Holy week and joyous Pascha as well!