An Upside Down United Apostolic Church

“Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the Chairman of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations, stated: “I don’t want to predict how events will develop, but if the Patriarchate of Alexandria is on the side of the schism, then, of course, we will probably have to create parishes for our believers, because they will not be able to take communion in the churches of the Patriarchate of Alexandria.”

If Russia moves into Alexandria’s territory, we’re going to start seeing the uncanonical mess we have here in the States, where multiple Churches are in the same territory.  This is not easy to undo,  making unity a distant memory. 

If we’re not “one united apostolic church,” will changing the creed be next?

The end result is shaping up to be another Ukraine with two factions, both claiming to be the canonical Church, at war with one another. 

To make matters more interesting, our friends at OrthoChristian report “that an open letter from 27 African Orthodox priests from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia was published in which the signatories express their disagreement with their Patriarch’s decision to recognize the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” and to commemorate its primate, Epiphany Dumenko. . .  The day after the letter was published, OrthoChristian was informed by Fr George Maximov, a missionary priest who is in contact with several African priests, that the priests were already facing threats of sanctions from their hierarchs, including the cutting off of their salaries, suspension in their priestly ministries, and excommunication.  A few days later, OrthoChristian was informed by one of the signatories that they were already suspended from serving. However, this priest, and others on social media, have stated that they will continue to stand with the canonical Church in Ukraine despite any threats or punishments.”

This is like having to watch a bad movie over again.  We know how this thing is going to play out and it isn’t pretty.

[Editor’s note: In the meantime, if you want to support any of the indigenous Orthodox priests and parishes in Africa (and I strongly urge you to do so), be sure all your contributions go directly to them and not the non-African bishops who are notorious for taking their cut right off the top. Might I suggest Orthodox Africa?]



About GShep


  1. I hope that the MP is just staking its position that is a negotiable one. Hopefully such an action will stop the rush to support Patriarch Bartholemew. But most importantly I hope it will inspire the other church leaders to recognize the severity of the problem and get into action and stop waiting for others to do something. In the meantime, Bartholemew is itching to make trouble in North Macedonia, Montenego, the Czech Church, and anywhere else that will enhance his power and glory.

    • I want to address everybody here. A good friend in Athens,a believer, has said to me that all this is politics by another name. That is leaves people in a spiritual void. That people are SICK of the entire lot of it and do not find Christ in any of it,Russian or Greek. .
      They are treated and regarded as so many Dead Souls ( Gogol)  to be bought and sold. He says that we all may get a surprise when these dead souls look up and say, ‘no thank you to it all ‘ and demand a shopping mail to go to on a Sunday morning,  so they can be normal human beings  and leave this ‘ dead baggage ‘ behind for the history book. 

      • I see nobody comments on my comment.   But it is true, the ordinary believer is SICKENED and tired of it all. They live in the real world and can see the pathetic make believe of Phanar, like an elderly  rouέ living in past delusions. It’s all about power .   BUT the are fast tiring of it all. Wanting a church that addresses THEIR ISSUES OF TODAY IN THEIR LIVES. And of CHRIST.  I fear we too caught up in it all to be missing that.  A bit like yr democratic party and impeachment.  Right or wrong, it’s irrelevant to the needs and wishes of the electorate . When is the Church going to resume normal service?

        • Nikos,
          “When is the Church going to resume normal service?”

          I’ll tell you one practical way:
          When they find a holy hieromonk who does NOT want to become bishop like Saint John Chrysostom. Then they will likewise literally kidnap him, and make him Archbishop/Patriarch!
          That man will REALLY be interested in the work of God, not the throne and glory.
          Mind you, there are quite a few of those holy men but not enough Hierarchs want to “discover” them and promote to Bishops. You see, they will be “dangerous”.

          And because not many Hierarchs lie this solution, it is the turn of the laity to speak up.


    • Peter: “I hope that the MP is just staking its position that is a negotiable one. ”
      One can negotiate the borders of jurisdictions. But can one negotiate the borders of the Church and meaning of priesthood?

  2. Bartholomew will never reverse course or admit to his abominations. The Eucharist must be protected. I stand with Rusdia.

  3. Antiochene Son says

    This is incredibly sad, and makes it difficult to maintain full support for Russia in this conflict. Everyone is just grabbing for their own pieces at this point.
    Jerusalem and Antioch have been out of communion over a single church founded by Jerusalem in Antiochian territory, ostensibly to serve “their” people in Antiochian territory. But Russia is now doing the same thing in multiple territories.
    At this point it would be more honest if Russia did declare that those churches are now graceless, because then they would have an argument to be doing this. But thus far they maintain there is grace in Constantinople, Greece, and Alexandria’s sacraments, so they must stop erecting parishes in the territory of other churches which it still recognizes, albeit not with shared communion.
    This stuff about “our (Russian) believers” is very dangerous. If they live in Africa they are Alexandria’s flock, regardless of where they were born.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      What a mess.

    • George Michalopulos says

      AS, you may be right in the abstract but it’s too late in the day for that.  One side cannot be expected to fight by Marquis of Queensbury rules while the other side is hitting below the belt.

      • Antiochene Son says

        I see Russia has agreed to the synaxis in Jordan. That is good. If Bartholomew won’t go, he looks bad because he will dialogue with anyone except his brothers. 

    • Antiochene Son: “difficult to maintain full support for Russia in this conflict.”

      There is a deeper issue than Russian jurisdictional “interests”. If Russia did not exist, this deep issue would not change. Can one bishop become first without equals,can this bishop make lapse or fraudulent clergymen right, by issuing a declaration? What is next, selling indulgences, imposing interdictions on wayward countries, defining new dogmas ex cathedra?
      Russia happens to be the largest and strongest Orthodox country, if she did not exist, perhaps the burden of resistance would fall on Romania or Serbia.

      • Antiochene Son says

        Russia is 100% in the right where it comes to Bart’s meddling, but if their response is to then meddle in other churches themselves, that is wrong and does not improve the situation. 

        • Antiochene Son 

          “Russia is 100% in the right where it comes to Bart’s meddling, but if their response is to then meddle in other churches themselves, that is wrong and does not improve the situation.”

          In other words you are saying that PM should do nothing for its own people and leave them at the mercy of Theodore?We are either ONE Church or TWO Churches. If we are ONE then Bart. cannot do things unilaterally like a Pope. Thus we are defacto TWO churches pro-Bart. and con-. If we are TWO churches then the Russian people in Africa need their Church.

          So, AS, forgive me if I am wrong, but it seems that the first part of your sentence is not compatible by the second one. If Bart. is wrong then MP is entitled to take correction measures for Bart’s wrong doing affecting Russian people in Africa.

          Please explain/clarify your view. 

        • Antiochene Son: “if their response is to then meddle in other churches themselves, that is wrong ”
          They are not meddling, they are providing church to those who are not willing to submit to EP.

          • Like the provision of autocephaly of OCU for those Ukrainians who did not wish to submit to Moscow.

            • Theodoros: “Like the provision of autocephaly of OCU for those Ukrainians who did not wish to submit to Moscow.”
              EP is going astray. Open you eyes.

    • AS,
      I think if we give in to Bartholomew he will make us RC kind of slaves.
      His is carrying out the plan by the mason Metaxakis and Athenagoras.

    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

      As i told you Moscow was not to be trusted. The EP and the MP are both wrong snd their lolitics over their own glory and being controlled by their respective goverments is not just dividing the Church but desecrating it. A pox on borh of them. They are both ruining and desecrating the Church and the Eucharist. Lord have mercy, please save us from our stupidity and sins.
      Peter A. Papoutsis 

      • Peter, you have a good point.
        But, St.John Chrysostom new about the HUGE temptation of the Bishop which he described as a very beautiful young woman which is exactly (as you say) the Glory.
        Because of that fear, Chrysostom refused to become Bishop, and was literally kidnapped to the Cathedral, they swiftly put the mitre on him and cried “Axios, Worthy!”

        So both MP and EP and EVERY other Bishop on earth has this Glory temptation, per definition. But they are not all just as strong to resist that temptation.

        In our case, it seem certain that MP is the lesser of the two evils.
        Because as Chrysostom says, we need to have a Bishop!
        If you want two quick examples:

        MP has not gifted the “Holy Quran”
        and neither has he excommunicated the famous theologian N.Sotiropoulos for criticising anti-christian words of an Archbishop.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Peter, just a note: I was talking with my Bishop one Sunday after Liturgy expressing my hope that he would speak out and give his flock guidance.  He said he would when the time was right.  This is a man whom I love and respect deeply.  
        He finished by telling me I put too much trust in him.  I blurted out, “I don’t trust you at all.”. Not sure where that came from but I feel no reason to roll the statement back. 
        “Bishops die, yayas (babushkas, sittis) live  forever”

  4. Having the Patriarchate of Alexandria in control of the entire African continent is nonsensical and non-historical. It was another invention of Metaxakis. Historically the African Church consisted of the Church who claimed men such as Tertillian, Cyprian, Augustine. It encompassed Carthage and Tunisia and the rest of northwest Africa. Alexandria encompassed Egypt, Sudan and the African Horn. No canon gives the entire continent of Africa to the Alexandrian bishop, the continent was appropriate by Meletios to himself the same way he took the greek-american parishes for himself.  There is no way a small contingent of Greeks whose addresses are in mainland Greece are capable of evangelizing the second largest (both geographically and population wise) continent on earth.

    • Correct. The Free-Mason Metaxakis (of thrice wretched memory) did untold damage to the Church. Bartholomew may be worse (if that is conceivable). I fully support what Russia must do on the African continent.

    • Gus,Mikhail,Michael,Gail,
      I am with all of you.

      It appears the root of the problem is the human weakness towards the beautiful female, Gloria, the Glory. It takes a real Saint to withstand Glory.
      The canons of the Church were wisely made to address specific problems. However the Glory Factor has distorted the application of (some) canons for the personal “benefit” of some persons, usually Bishops.

      In our case, application of Canon 28 (4th E.S) has been distorted. Please read carefully and then read the interpretation by St.Nicodeme. The tangible purpose was to facilitate the visits of remote Bishops when they wanted to go to the Head of State and ask for some assistance.

      It is clear that from the time of Christ and beginning of the Church, one came ultimately face to face with the officials of the State.
      It is still the same, whether an Orthodox Church is in “Orthodox”(?) Greece, or in non-christian China.

      Canon 28 shows that all Bishops were equal. The Bishop in Constantinople (and not in Jerusalem, the real Mother of Churches) had a special coordinating function ONLY BECAUSE he was based in the same city as the Head of State.Period. When the Emperor of was still in Rome then the Bishop of Rome had this function.

      Now, many centuries later, neither Rome, nor Istanbul is the Capital of the Oikoumene, the Huge State.

      As we have discussed this before, if we really want to apply the real spirit and interpretation of Canon 28, then:
      -All Bishops would be absolutely equal.
      -In every parish the congregation would decide what language(s) to use in the services.
      -The priests in the parish would be elected also by the people.
      -Each large city or province would have one Bishop elected also by the people.
      -The Bishop in the capital of the country (e.g.Washington D.C., or Paris, France etc) would be a coordinator to take the local Bishops to see the Head of State (e.g.POTUS) and ask for specific assistance.
      -All the bishops in the world would meet to discuss general or dogmatic problems etc.

      If one person wants to play th big Pope, then we are in deadlock.

    • Antiochene Son says

      Why not? Russia has a legitimate claim to the Americas because of Saint Herman’s mission to coastal Alaska.
      Alexandria ought to be run by the native population (as should Jerusalem), but that’s a separate matter from the jurisdictional claim. Arabs only took over Antioch in the 19th century, so it can happen. The restoration of the Copts to communion would be a massive game changer. 

      • The Russian Church historically having legitimate jurisdiction over North America (not unrefuted by Greeks who had unaffiliated parishes establishes here) very legitimately handed over that jurisdiction to the Orthodox Church in America, to whom they gave a Tomos of Autocephaly. Patr. Athenagoras had given his blessing for the American clergy to seek that Tomos from Moscow, but apparently he didn’t think they’d get it.  

    • Pat Reardon says

      Having the Patriarchate of Alexandria in control of the entire African continent is nonsensical and non-historical.
      Placing Carthage under the authority of Alexandria was, and is, a silly idea.
      Egypt and Africa were always two different things, even more different than Greece Italy.

  5. Michael Bauman says

    It is easy to come to the conclusion that the entire Partiarchal system is a useless relic of the Roman Empire.  Quite possibly it has always done more harm than good.  
    I am not certain that is correct but easy to go there

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Well, something’s not working!

    • Michael I am coming to conclusion that each church needs a synod with a ruling bishop elected for say four to  five yrs,  which is a sensible length of time and that of most  elected governments. And not Patriarch. 
      How we elect bishops also needs to be examined.  For all the criticism that will be levelled at what I say, all I can say as Gail, ‘that it ain’t working now’. And a system that reflected the Roman empire,East  and West, not fit for purpose in 2020, except for those living in dream land …. HALLO MR BART, BUT in all due fairness, He not only one. 

  6. Fr Patrick B O’Grady says

    I hold that the ancient pentarchy has been in abeyance as the mode of ecclesiastical governance and intra Orthodox relations (i.e., among the Local Churches) since the collapse of the romaiosynē and symphonia and until a properly constituted synod of ALL our bishops is convened. The reality is pastoral, not “canonical.” The sooner our shepherds deal with this, the better. Since Old Rome is out, and (the shadow of) New Rome and (the ghost of) Alexandria are tainted with schism, why not Patr Youhanna X of Antioch joining forces with others to “git ‘er done.”

    • Gail Sheppard says

      Because of Antioch’s dispute with Jerusalem, I wonder if Antioch will feel comfortable with Jerusalem calling a council.

    • Matthew Panchisin says

      Dear Father Patrick and Michael,

      I think your are right, “thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” has no earthly geographical territories to Lord over, working for or with the political powers at hand, it seems like such an empty endeavor. Who cares who is first among the Bishops as some do these days, “First without Equals”, “Third Rome” “Princes of the Church” etc., it all seems quite off key to me. Meanwhile people thirst and I thank God for His never ending love and patience no matter what the circumstances may be. In the mean time (for some) we can weep with much joy, there are so many good canonical Bishops and Priests doing the will of the Lord God Almighty.

      “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.”

      “Let all things be done decently and in order.”

      Fishers of Men – Continuing the Apostolic work which is the Apostolic Tradition.

      • I agree with much in this blog but while we argue over the placement of the  deck chairs,  de- christianization goes on apace. In Canada the % who regard Christmas as a religious holiday is now 10% CF 28% in 1988.
        I read Bartholomaios interview re Elpidophoros and its a Fantasy land interview from another world.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Sounds good to me!

    • Pat Reardon says

      why not Patr Youhanna X of Antioch joining forces with others to “git ‘er done.”
      I sure wish this were possible.

  7. Any instability that Africa will experience will squarely rest on the shoulders of the Patriach. If it comes to a point where none of this is reversed, then we (indigenous Africans) welcome any jurisdiction that is faithful to the Orthodox Faith. We also reject any appearance of unity that is not based on Truth.
    Patriach Theodore II had a choice, and he went for one that has nothing to do with Orthodoxy in Africa. He further gloated that the MP would never sever communion with him. He made this decision with only a few Greek bishops, outside a synod. Let all the faithful jurisdictions come, so that Orthodoxy can grow in this continent. When all is sorted, we will look back at these events and see the hand of God in them.
    Word on the vine also says that a half of the Priests in Dar-El-Salaam is rejecting the local hierachy. Would we rather they join uncanonical groups, or be shepherded by an Orthodox jurisdiction?

    • George Michalopulos says

      Very well said, Cathy.  Very well said.
      Several years ago, I was told that if any Orthodox in America wanted to help African Orthodox parishes, that they should send their money directly to the parishes and not to the Greek-dominated dioceses.

    • Cathy,
      you are absolutely right. I am Greek but I am first Orthodox, and I have to admit you are right.
      By the way I would lile to ask you if you have heard something similar to this:
      About 5-7 years ago I watched (on YouTube) a liturgy Patr.Theodore celebrated somewhere in Central Africa, I can’t remember where. He made a homily to the local people (via an interpreter?) and talked for about 10-15 minutes. In his homily he did not mention the word Christ NOT EVEN ONCE, but he mentioned the Alexandria Patriarchate MANY TIMES, you know words like “we love you very much”. However the one thing he mentioned MOST TIMES was like “Don’t forget our Patriarchate,  don’t forget our Patriarchate!”
      I thought how strange! What does THAT mean? And so many times?

      What was the core message of his homily? THAT.
      Is that an indirect petition that you must assist Al.Patr. financially or what?

      My question to you Cathy is whether you have heard this particular homily of his, or something similar. I am speaking from memory and I would like to make sure.

  8. Antiochene Son says

    Maybe parishes ought to start augmenting every divine liturgy with the rubrics for The Increase of Love. 

  9. “Does the Phanar possess an exclusive right to convene a Pan-Orthodox Council?
    Should all Local Churches gather at it to determine the truth?”

    • His much-vaunted ‘exclusive right’ aside, one cannot help but wonder how those who hold to this novel absurdity seem so content to abide his refusal to do so.
      Their fear of their house of cards crumbling is palpable.

  10. They would syncretize with monophysites but not Western Trinitarian Christians? The Moscow and Antioch patriarchs would do us a favor if they joined the monophysites, showing they, too, are proto-muslim semi-Christians, following the hideous path scorched my Nesselrode when he sent Uspensky to de-Hellenize the Antiochians and almost Jerusalem, eventually spawning the Ba’ath Part of Michel Aflaq, Saddam and Assad. That is why the Russians turned to satanic syncretism of monphysite Skoptosy circumcision, Zoroastrian toll houses and mir obsinas. That is how the nigrasiates brought their miaphysitic communism to bloody Greece where the Ignatieff Comitazis left off. 

    • With all due respect, Mark, is this English that you have written?  Too much inside tennis for me.  I haven’t the foggiest what you are talking about.  Not much clearer than gibberish to the uninitiated.
      Christ is born.

      • Methinks he speaketh Grenglish.
        Probably learned it from Grendel.

        • Solitary Priest says

          With all due respect, Brendan, better not to feed the troll. I think that is same chap who suggested that Native Americans are Turks(not that it would make any differance if they were; we aren’t racists[most of us, that is]).
          But before I sign out of posting here, I feel it necessary to correct you on your apparent misunderstanding of one of my posts. I never said a living person couldn’t work a miracle. I meant to imply that one should not REFER to a living person as a Saint. I had the bad experience with the late Pantaleimon Mitropoulos of Boston. I almost got sucked into that cult back in the 80’s. People considered Pantaleimon to be a living Saint. It turned out that he was a lying con- artist, but he and his cultist followers hurt families and caused division in parishes. I’m ready to respect any man, but I will never blindly follow a living person again.

          • Cheers

          • Solitary Priest 
            “I meant to imply that one should not REFER to a living person as a Saint. “

            However St. Paul does refer to the living baptized persons of the church persons as saints (ἃγιοι) thirty eight (38 !) times in the epistles.

        • As a greek it’s not greekish but crapish. A mixture of anti bulgarian, anti Slav nationalism and hate. As for western Christian Orthodoxy, well I really would not like to ask but would guess most are Arians 

      • lexcaritas 

        “With all due respect, Mark, is this English that you have written?  Too much inside tennis for me.  I haven’t the foggiest what you are talking about. “

        I haven’t either, and I was afraid I was the only one!

    • George Michalopulos says

      That’s ridiculous.  The Byzantines were far more pro-Islamic than “pro-Christian” in the run-up to the fall of Constantinople.  “Better the Sultan’s turban than the Pope’s mitre” went the famous refrain.

      • Matthew Panchisin says

        The Serbian Orthodox have a similar saying, “Better the Sultan’s turban than the Pope’s mitre”.

        A good friend explained to me that at the root of it is the understanding that the Sultan couldn’t meddle in the Orthodox faith as the Popes could and would.

        • Matthew Panchisin 

          “A good friend explained to me that at the root of it is the understanding that the Sultan couldn’t meddle in the Orthodox faith as the Popes could and would.”
          A further analysis suggests the Sultan is Muslim
          but the Pope pretends he is Christian and can cheat you.
          It is like having two strange animals in your farm,
          a clear-cut wolf and a sheep which is really a wolf in sheep’s skin.
          You will let the “sheep” come closer to you and to your children! 

        • Better the Rus Omophorion than Phanar’s turncoat.

          • George Michalopulos says

            Regrettably, I must agree with you.  At the end of the day, all we have is the Gospel.  And we are warned by John the Evangelist to not follow anyone who preaches “another gospel”.   I’m sorry to say this, but papalism is another gospel.  

        • Alitheia1875 says

          The Sultan ceded authhority over the island of Lemnos to the Venetians. The Venetians only had to pay tribute to the Sultan and they still would have made a profit. But the Venetians tried to convert the people of Lemnos to Roman Catholicism. The Lemnians then sent a delegation to the Sultan and said better the Sultan;s turban to the Pope’s crown. The Sultan kicked the Venetians out of Lemnos.

      • Nelly Remples says

        It was the Nesselrode-Uspensky acolytes that promoted the bolshevist anti-“Imperialist” view that the oppressive use of the Greek language forced the Arabs to become  first monophysite then muslim. Jones (JTS59) debunks this as purely communistic in motivation.

    • Oh my, Mark Pappas….spoken like a true Phanariote.

    • Antiochene Son says

      All the middle eastern states we have destroyed were better off as Baathists than what came after. 

      • Bill Kanazis says

        Alois Bruner, the nazi butcher of the Balkans died as a house guest of the Assads. The problem is not Islam, but Islamofascism. Nazi war criminals hid in Latin and Arab lands, fomenting nazi-like movements there.

  11. Look, people.  The establishment of Orthodox Churches — really Orthodox Churches  — in regions whose churches had once been Orthodox but, having abandoned certain elements of Orthodoxy’s historically continuous canons, universal order and Holy Tradition,  had ceased to be so, has occurred before, as witness the ongoing presence of non-Chalcedonian, Roman Catholic and Protestant communities in the midst of Orthodox jurisdictions and regions.
    The Russian church’s prospective response in this regard reflects a great sadness, and yet its the lesser of evils.

  12. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today by The Associated Press in The National Herald.
    Russian Orthodox Church Cuts Ties with Alexandria Patriarch
    By Associated Press 
    December 27, 2019

  13. It’s important to recall that true apostles and bishops are correctable, as Paul stood up to and corrected Peter (Galatians 2: 11-13):
    “11 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed;12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision.13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.”
    Unchecked by Paul, Peter’s hypocrisy could have caused a schism. And St Peter’s humility allowed him to be corrected by St Paul. 

    Making parallels to our modern inter-Orthodox drama, we have the bishops in C’ple, Athens, and Alexandria who are in grave error, yet who are unwilling to be (unable to be? who lack sufficient humility to be able to be?) corrected by their brother bishops. 

    Per Paul’s guidance in Galatians, one can certainly draw the conclusion that these men are not true bishops. 

    Thank God for the unwavering commitment to Christ and to His Church that we see from Patriarch Kyrill and from those bishops who maintain truth and communion with him. 

    A blessed Nativity season to all, whether you already celebrated on Dec. 25 (new style) or will soon celebrate on Dec. 25 (old style)!

    • They won’t be corrected by ‘mere slavs’.  
      Ethnophyletism is a heresy that afflicts those other peoples, never Greeks. 

      • Greek is a universal language, hence never phyletist

        • Athens and Alexandria support Constantinople because Bartholomew “is the head of our race”.
          No. Never phyletist.   😉

          • George Michalopulos says

            Perish the thought!

            Just curious though, would the Greek bishops consider the Africans who make up the majority of the Church of Alexandria “our race” well?

            Tee hee.

          • Conne Rekopas says

            That is because the so-called West has perverted Sacred Hellenism into Profane Helladism because it perceives itself incompatible with the former and wishes to use the latter as an imperial masthead.

            • Michael Bauman says

              Sorry, there is no such thing as sacred Hellenism. The holiness/sacredness of a particular culture is not a “thing in itself”. The holiness/sacredness of a particular culture is wholly dependent on the people and communities living in now.

              IMO the Turks squeezed that grapefruit dry along time ago. That preserved the Church in a more or less desiccated state but she can only come to life with when re-vitalized in a living culture and people who wants to be in union with Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

              • Like in Russia?

                • Michael Bauman says

                  I don’t hold to the idea of Holy Russia either.  Even if their was a spiritual flowering in a certain culture at a certain, and no doubt there was, it is an icon.  The romanticizing of them actually robs them of their grace.  It is like thinking of a favorite, even wonder working icon of the Theotokos as she, herself. 
                  It is close to becoming idolatrous. 

                  • I don’t think I am romanticising Russia.
                    But the Church does seem to be coming to life there
                    in a way in which the West has long ceased to believe;
                    which is, I think, why the West seems to want to destroy it.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Indeed. When people say “Holy Rus'” they mean it in the same way that one used to say “Great Antioch” or say today “Great Britain”.

                      Do I think that Russia is intrinsically holy? Sin is sin and we are all sinners and our works are as filthy rags. But we do live in the physical plane and Russia is “holy” to the extent that the West is now a cesspool of government mandated depravity.

                      It is in this sense that we are to understand “sacred Hellenism” in my humble opinion.

                    • Err… Actually, Great Britain is not the name of the state, which is: “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”.
                      Great Britain is simply the biggest island in the archipelago,
                      so named in contrast to Lesser Britain (or Brittany) in France.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      Right you are, Brendan. It would be like a Palestinian saying, “I don’t support the Church because the Church is in America and America is part of the West,” which frankly a Palestinian would never do because they’re not that stupid.

                      It’s ignorant not to support the Church wherever it is, including Russia.

                      That people don’t support Putin because he is committed to protecting the Church is equally ludicrous if you love the Church.

                      People have to get over this “Russia, Russia, Russia” thing (“Marsha, Marsha, Marsha”). The cold war is over. The Soviets are gone. Those of us who have been to Russia have seen it with our own eyes. Is Russia going to act in their own best interest? Of course, as we do in ours. However, there are no geographic boundaries when it comes to the Church. We need to support the Church especially in parts of the world where it is flourishing. . . even in Russa.

                    • George Comney says

                      The Patriach of Jerusalem lived in Constantinople until Nesselrode sent Uspensky to de-Hellenize the Antiochians and almost Jerusalem (eventually causing Michel Aflaq to found the Assad-Saddam Ba’ath party). It was the same Porphyry Uspensky who exposed the Sulphur fraud of the Holy Fire. It was the same Nesselrode who beat out Capo d’Istria. Uspensky and Kapustin went to buy up Jerusalem properties now under ROCOR to prevent Moses Montefiore (the Jewish Tositsas) doing so on behalf of the British. In February 8, 1993, the other patriarchs decided to temporarily suspend relations with the Jerusalem Patriarch and dismiss two bishops who acted as his deputies and defrock five priests for challenging the authority of the Ecumenical Patriarch. Yet in April, 1990 Diodoros swindled Russian Jewish settlers by having Mardos Matossian sell them lands he was not allowed to sell and then denying their claim. Irineos wrote Arafat on July 17, 2001, stating, “You are aware of the sentiments of disgust and disrespect that all the Holy Sepulchre fathers are feeling for the descendants of the crucifiers of our Lord… actual crucifiers of your people, Sionists Jewish conquerors of the Holy Land of Palestine.” The supposed Patriarchs of Jerusalem and Antioch should be deported to Magog Muscovy – and the Aramean descendants of the original Christians, should be given full control over Holy Sites in the Holy Land.   See: Theofanis Stavrou, Middle East Journal, 1963, pp. 91-103; Lucien Fray; Derek Hopwood 1969

                  • Matthew Panchisin says

                    Dear Michael,
                    Do you hold to the idea of referencing ‘Mount Athos’ as the Holy Mountain as the Greeks and all Orthodox Christians (that I know) traditionally do? Consider that likewise ‘Holy Russia is an ascetical reference of ‘the heart’ in nature, the Saints doing Gods will.
                    Anyway, you have a much different perspective, see Metropolitan Hilarion’s remarks, perhaps you will understand why some think your comments, to mention just a few, “The holiness/sacredness of a particular culture is wholly dependent on the people and communities living in now” “The romanticizing of them actually robs them of their grace.” are so very strange.
                    “As sons and daughters of the Russian Orthodox Church, we are all citizens of Holy Russia. When we speak of Holy Russia, we are not talking about the Russian Federation or any civil society on earth; rather, it is a way of life that has been passed down to us through the centuries by such great saints of the Russian Land as the Holy Great Prince Vladimir and Great Princess Olga, Venerable Sergius of Radonezh, Job of Pochaev, Seraphim of Sarov, and more recently, the countless New Martyrs and Confessors of the 20th century. These saints are our ancestors, and we must look to them for instruction on how to bravely confess the Faith, even when facing persecution. There is no achievement in simply calling oneself “Russian:” in order to be a genuine Russian, one must first become Orthodox and live a life in the Church, as did our forebears, the founders of Holy Russia!”
                    Metropolitan Hilarion

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      Matthew, good question.  I have certainly used the term.  Mt. Athos is somewhat different.   The  monks there  have more influence over the life of the place but it still comes down to living the Tradition.  The physical island itself may very well be sanctified. It probably is.  I suspect that it has a holy energy that is independent of the current monks.  A living altar so to speak.
                      Holy Rus as a iconic description of the heart of Old Russia is probably accurate. As “a thing in itself” no. 
                      Hellenism is in a different category.  It’s that …ism part.  Any …ism is an ideology and will become an idol very quickly.  No ideology can be sacred.  They are all lies.  
                      My observation of the use of term since I have been Orthodox is nothing good.
                      It artificially cuts people off from the Church and the people who use it most, refuse to go in themselves.  The Pharisees come to mind.  That is my experience. 

              • Jim Geplin says

                While he was not first, Georges Florovsky used the term “Sacred Hellenism” profusely. Which is why the ruskins dumped him and he died as a priest of the ecumenical Patriarchus

            • Conne, Michael et al,

              being Greek I’ll do my best to support my fellow-country-woman Conne, I think that:

              – by sacred Hellenism she means like Greek ChurchFathers

              – by profane Helladism she means the majority of the current Greek generation. (I’ve said it, and clearly too.)

              Honestly, if we are real Orthodox Christians, we do not care about ethnicity because there is no passport control in paradise.

              Regarding the Greek language, let us talk TECHNICALLY and not sentimentally or ethnically:

              Greek  has been saved for ever on this age on Earth by being the de facto language of the Bible N.T. AND O.T translated by wise Hebrew Fathers and the original Hebrew text was lost.  Every student and researcher of the bible knows that in case of doubt one has to go to the Greek text for an answer.

              It is also remarkable that God (nothing is done by accident) has “economized” things in such a way that the ultimate language of the Bible is Greek, i.e. not even Hebrew the language of the original people of God!

              Now, why Greek language, from the technical point of view? 

              Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam, one of Europe’s most famous and influential scholars,  said in his book “Praise of Folly” or the attached letter to Sir Thomas More that:
              It is very difficult to forge a text written in Greek or Latin.

              Finally Greek has a kind of “redundant” precision which you can verify by the following test which I have found somewhere:

              Write, on a piece od paper the following phrase e.g.:

              “A small red lion killed a big white tiger”

              Then write the translation to ancient or PURE modern Greek” e.g.:

              “Μικρός ἐρυθρός λέων ἐφόνευσε μέγαν λευκόν τίγριν”

              Then take the scissors and cut the words of each phrase separately and shuffle them on the table (alternative you can put them in arbitrary sequence.

              Now ask an englishman/American to read and understand the shuffled English sentence. No way!

              Next, ask a Greek person to read the shuffled Greek sentence. No problem, whatever sequence he uses. The meaning is exactly the same, the killer was a small red lion etc.

              Now can you find (m)any languages which can do that? 

              Some uses of this are,

              -translate a foreign language into Greek using the original  word sequence, e.g. when the foreigner speaks very slowly.

              -Change the order of words as needed in poetry.

              • Yes because greek is inflected language.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Ioannis, I am not nor will I ever deny the essential nature of the Greek language nor the Greek Fathers.  Those are a core part of the Church as are the Staertz of Russia, the Syrian saints, etc 
                None of that is properly identified by the ideological term Hellenism. 
                It is bag with too much trash and too many holes in it to any longer carry anything useful.  
                Any sacredness that it may once have signified was a product of the Church not the other way around.  That is the essential error.
                It has become an idol not unlike when the Protestants talk about Sola Scriptura. 
                For those of us who are late to the field of labor, the maimed, the halt and the lame can seem like an impossible hurdle and we will always be profane.
                In the dome of my Byzantine style parish, around the icon of the Panocrator, is written in three languages the Jesus Prayer. Greek because it is the New Testament language, Arabic because it is the language of the founders of our Holy Temple, and English because it is the language of the land in which we dwell.  That is a triangle within a circle. A very stable form. 
                If you wish, you can make the rather tortured point that the whole thing is the product of “Sacred Hellenism” historically and culturally but that ignores the person in the icon: The I Am.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Michael, speaking as an Hellene myself, I am mortified by what passes for “Hellenism” vis-à-vis this entire discussion. The 79th St/Nat’l Herald understanding of Greek Orthodoxy is best encapsulated as a low-class Zorba-the-Greek type of ecclesiology.

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    Ah, yes and Kanzantzakis was a through Nietschean Nihilist.  Corrupt Hellenism for sure.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Indeed.  Kazantzakis was seduced by much of the worst of the Western intellectual tradition.  Good writer though as well as story-teller.  As was Tolstoy for that matter. 
                      The older I get and the more decrepit Western secularism is, the less I am impressed with it.  Speaking as someone who is far from holy myself, it seems to me that Orthodoxy has not only the best theology but a humanistic narrative which has the greatest explanatory power.  (And by “humanistic” I mean theanthropic.)

                    • Indeed.

                • Michael,
                  I totally agree with you. I did not mean to say that Hellenism is sacred. Far from it, think of the twelve gods the Hellenes had. What I did mean to say was that what Conne tacitly meant by “sacred Hellenism” where the Greek Fathers of the Church.Not more, not less.
                  You know as some Elder has said, every forrest has good and bad flowers. Or, in the same way, another Elder said, “everybody is better than me in a certain quality”. So what I have described are the strong points of the Greek language. A bad quality is probably the bad learning curve. The safety of redundant stability/precision (like a table with 5 or more legs), comes at a cost, ie more learning time is required.

              • Ioannis: “Now can you find (m)any languages which can do that? ”

                Slavic languages are like that. An example in Russian, for “a boy reads a book”:

                Мальчик читает книгу. Книгу читает мальчик , etc …

                All are correct, the only difference is that what is first is more important. The trick is that мальчик is in Nominative, книга is in Dative, читать is in third person singular.

                I find Greek more precise, almost surgical, Slavic more fluid and personal.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Thank you Martin for this insight.  FWIW, Greek used to have a dative case as well but it’s in abeyance.  Today, Greek has only four cases (nominative, genitive, accusative and vocative).  Ancient Greek had seven cases, which allowed for more precision.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    I believe on Lithuanian today has seven cases.  Some linguists thus think that Lithuanian is the oldest Indo-European language, others think Welsh.  

                    Greek could be except that the differences between ancient, medieval, and the two modern forms are very discontinuous.  Almost like Old English vs modern English.

                    I dunno, any thoughts?

                    • Mary Temins says
                    • I once attended a linguistics lecture where the speaker wrote some text (in Latin script) on the blackboard and asked the audience to identify the language in which it was written. Nobody got it right, though the two closest guesses were Latin and Tokharian, the latter of which I guessed. The title of the text read: ‘Ejus Ekwoskwe’; which, once we had been told the tongue was ‘Proto-Indo-European’, we were able to read as ‘The Sheep and The Horse’ – think ‘ewe’, ‘equus’ and ‘que’ – and decipher the whole tale.

                    • George I think there is a kinda continuity in the changes of the Greek language in the few millenia of its life.
                      This is not only because changes in one area or big city were gradual, BUT also because many areas had their own “dialect” (in a way like the Germanic language family), and linguistic changes occured in a different order and/or tempo (there was no phone or internet then).
                      So, if you put all these changing “dialects” above each other on a timeline, then you see overlapping gradual changes and you get a sort of “continuum” in the total language.
                      An extreme example, if you NOW go to some villages on Crete or Cyprus you may still hear almost ancient forms of some words.    

                    • That is a magnificent graphic, Mary;
                      though Galatian seems to be missing from the Celtic branches.

                    • Allegedly, during WWII, when the Brits wanted to contact the Greek Resistance, they parachuted in (or landed from submarines) bright young classical scholars who wandered about hailing everyone they met with their Erasmian pronunciation. The only people who had the faintest idea what they were talking about (apart from a few old villagers in remote mountains) were German Officers who had had a similar education, by whom they were interviewed on capture.

                    • “I believe on Lithuanian today has seven cases. ”
                      Polish and Slavonic have seven cases. A peculiar case is Russian – it misses Vocative, but retains it in religious speech – like “Bozhe” (O God)

                  • That is a magnificent graphic, Mary

                • Martin, you are right.

                  Actually maybe it is more accurate to correct my question as follows:

                  “Now can you find (m)any OTHER ANCIENT languages which can do that? ”

                  The reason is, suppose we can nowadays create/generate a PERFECT language, having the precision and redundancy of Greek and the simplicity of Esperanto etc, would it then be a good idea to translate the whole bible from Greek to the new “perfect” language? I suppose not, because in case of doubt one would lile to go back to the “original” Greek text. So, we are stuck with ANCIENT Greek because it was best THEN.

                  Please do not take this as a chauvinism of the modern Greeks, but just a real technical/linguistic discussion. 

                  Regarding the ethnicity thing, I personally admit that the Russians and the Slavs near Greece are far better Orthodox Christians than the Greeks. Maybe the Faith is inversely proportional to riches. 

                • bulgarian is in between with object  and subject case  in abeyance, apart from masculine words. But english I find now the most confusing language at times as having no cases or grammar today really, position of words and context, above all, is all. 
                  I am told my english is dense as many will gather!!  as I am used to inflected ( and phonetic) languages. 

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Also, English has the greatest number of irregular verbs if I recall. (Turkish only has one irregular verb.)

                  • English is an analytic language
                    It has grammar and case and gender. However these are generally signified by auxiliary words rather than by word endings. It is an easy language in which to acquire basic communication skills, but it is difficult to acquire a mastery in speaking and writing. There is more than one written standard. For example, there is Standard English and there is Scottish Standard English, not to mention American (US) Standard English etc. Tere are also class-overtones to consider. As George Bernard Shaw observed: “English is a language in which no native speaker can utter two syllables without being despised by another native speaker”. He, of course, was Irish – but from the Anglo Ascendancy.

                    • Veras Coltroupis says

                      English is an ever-changing analogic ad-hoc language that keeps changing meaning, best for commerce. Greek and German are strict real languages that retain meaning, best for scholarship. In the USA, Anglo ascendancy mostly between the end of the Civil War until the Spanish American War. Ellis Island, 1892-1954 was the Roman Catholic ascendancy. Some time about the turn of the century (2000) Catholics became the majority of the USA, if you count “lapsed” Catholics who didn’t convert to other faiths.

                    • Veras: “English is an ever-changing analogic ad-hoc language that keeps changing meaning, best for commerce.”
                      ‘Business English’ is precisely what you say. ‘Technical English’ ditto. However, as I mention above, there are many other varieties; and the mutually intelligible great literary standards of English, Scottish and American English were anchored for centuries (and in many ways still are) by the King James Bible and the works of William Shakespeare – in much the same way as the Greek New Testament held Koine Greek together for nearly two millenia. The vocabularies may expand, but the basic structures hold true.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Brendan, that’s not fair! Shakespeare was probably the greatest writer of any language in the entire history of the world!

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      Then there’s this sort of English:

                    • What is not fair, George?

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Shakespeare! Using him as a comparison. (I intended to respond to someone else. Please forgive me.)

                    • No problem. You had me puzzled.

  14. “It was Phanar that urged Ukrainian authorities to ask for Tomos”

  15. As a greek it’s not Greeks but crap. A mixture of anti bulgarian, anti Slav nationalism and hate. As for western Christian Orthodoxy, well I really would not like to ask but would guess most are Arians 

    • In Christ there is neither Jew or Greek, Slave or Free. End of!!   All the rest is human vanity that will be brought down. 

  16. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from December 26th, from Orthodox Christianity, on the OCL Facebook website.
    Source: Orthodox Christianity

    • George Michalopulos says

      Well, I suppose that when one door closes, another (Muscovite) door opens.

      • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

        Right you are, George.

        I hope the Patriarchate of Moscow devises some form of “emergency” rescue for those priests so cavalierly, uncanonically, and unconscionably punished for expressing a rather mild, principled dissent from the unilateral decision of their patriarch, who betrayed Metropolitan Onuphry and the only authentic, canonical Church in Ukraine.

        This is no longer a friendly Orthodox game of “softball.”

        • George Michalopulos says

          Indeed. I think HH Kirill should just throw out the lifeline to these African priests ASAP.

        • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster and George,
          actually what Theodore is doing is the “Bartholomew discipline paradigm” which started a couple of decades ago in Phanarion, and is now spreading to the Alexandria P. and possibly to Cyprus:
          The first well known case was the case of the Greek veteran theologian Nik. Sotiropoulos. He criticized an Archbishop for saying anti-christian things. Bartholomew swiftly excommunicated Mr. Sotiropoulos and indeed in absentia without the possibility of defending himself!  
          The name of (their) game is: Blind discipline.
          I’ll underline George’s opinion:
          HH Kirill should just throw out the lifeline to these African priests ASAP.

      • Martin Gorlaks says

        Forget Magog Muscovy. Khodorkovsky is right to want to make freedom loving Novgorod the capital again

        • George Michalopulos says

          Khodorovsky was one of the worst of the oligarchs.  A plunderer supreme.  

          Folks, between 1991-2000 (the Yeltsin years), the Harvard Boys instituted “shock therapy” on the former Soviet Union.  Hardship was unbearable.   Over $1,000,000,000 (that’s trillion) was plundered from Russia during that time.  Khodorovsky was one of their accomplices.

          Putin was right to put him in prison. 

          • George during those robbery yrs a Russian doctor friend in Moscow earnt $5 A MONTH in his hospital .  Boris did taxi driving to put food on the table. 
            I experienced some of this up front on visits as i brought money etc to help.  

  17. Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster and George,
    actually what Theodore is doing is the “Bartholomew discipline paradigm” which started a couple of decades ago in Phanarion, and is now spreading to the Alexandria P. and possibly to Cyprus:
    The first well known case was the case of the Greek veteran theologian Nik. Sotiropoulos. He criticized an Archbishop for saying anti-christian things. Bartholomew swiftly excommunicated Mr. Sotiropoulos and indeed in absentia without the possibility of defending himself!  
    The name of (their) game is: Blind discipline.
    I’ll underline George’s opinion:
    HH Kirill should just throw out the lifeline to these African priests ASAP.

  18. George Michalopulos says

    Baron, you are putting the cart before the horse on several different levels. I’ll make it easy for you: if Cpole believes that all Churches are “sister Churches” (as per the Cretan Robber Council protocols) then it cannot into another “sister Church’s” territory. Period. It did so in the Ukraine.

    Hence, everything that follows in your argument is illegitimate. Indeed, your entire argumentation is akin to this: Man A invades Man B’s house, occupying it and raping Man B’s wife. Man B is thrown out of his house. He goes to the authorities to seek respite but the authority is under Man A (or refuses to take up the case because it fears Man A). What is his remedy? Basically to alert the other neighbors that Man is a rogue. And then round up a posse.

    In any event, for your to call Moscow a “fifth rate patriarchy” makes me wonder about your grasp on reality, further making me question your entire thesis.

  19. ‘…the sole right to call a synod and the right to grand AND revoke autocephaly.’

    Which canons grant these rights to Constantinople?

  20. Gail Sheppard says

    Moscow is invading the territory of a bishop who no longer exists in their mind so how could one argue they’re invading? They warned Bartholomew. The whole Church warned Bartholomew not to go into Ukraine. Surely you don’t expect Russia to play by rules when another bishop is running amuck in their territory? You have to have a level playing field, where everyone is following the same rules or the rules become unimportant.

  21. George Michalopulos says

    Yeah, I think the Phanar should revoke Russia’s autocephaly.  That will go over like a lead balloon.

    • There was an Orthodox Church and an Ecumenical Council before there was a Constantinople, far less an Ecumenical Patriarch. The Phanar would do well to remember that.

  22. Baron,
    Your rambling on here about supposed rights (nowhere to be found in any canon) only serve to confirm the suspicions of many.
    Just as papal claims arose gradually, not from any canon or conciliar agreement but from an accepted deference and respect (largely earned in the earlier centuries, I might add) that was gradually solidified into a sort of unilateral ‘quasi-codified tradition’, so also are the claims you have made here.  And just as our (former) papist brethren found that asserting this ‘quasi-codified tradition’ served them well in their purpose of wielding power over others, so it is today with the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
    You tell us we need to read more.  We also might ask what you have reading.  Have you been reading the canons or those canonized Saints who have expounded upon their meaning?  Or have you been reading what are essentially the same rehashed arguments that gradually led up to the many errors of papist ‘ecclesiology’ in the Roman fashion?  I gather you have not read the originals, for if you had done so it would be quite evident to you that there is an uncanny resemblance between them and those being employed to justify the current intransigence of the archbishop of Constantinople.
    As to the other things you have written, I have little doubt that they are possible (such is the will to power), though not with the results you suggest.
    My question to you and others who share your view is this:  Even if we were to accept the assertion (false though it is) that only the ‘Ecumenical’ Patriarch can call a council, why doesn’t he do so in order to restore peace among the Churches?  Does he trust in the power of God?  What is it that he really cares about?

    • George Michalopulos says

      Very cogent analysis, Brian.
      It makes me wonder what’s in the water in Istanbul.  Whatever it is must be hallucinogenic.

  23. Gail Sheppard says

    Daft is apt.

  24. George Michalopulos says

    For sh!ts & grins, here is a short video clip of BoJo reciting from the Iliad.