Orthodoxy and Monarchy

OK, that’s kind of a stretch but the older I get, the more I see patterns or narratives (if you will) in history.

One of the artifacts of history that fascinates me is just how enduring monarchy is. I believe it is ingrained in the DNA of mankind. I can’t prove it mind you but there just seems to be something “there”.

Anyway, it’s ironic that there are no extant Orthodox royal houses presently. At the same time, it’s hard to escape the Orthodox angle from some of the royal houses that are extant. I’m speaking primarily of Great Britain and Spain. Of course, if you go back far enough, all royal houses have Orthodox ancestry, whether it be Byzantine or Russian. And even the Russian nobility as well as royalty had significant Byzantine ancestry in their bloodlines.

It really shouldn’t surprise us. There is a seriousness to dynastic monarchy that republicanism cannot replicate. And Orthodoxy is presently the only serious expression of Christendom that exists (in my opinion). So, it didn’t surprise me that Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, went to lay a wreath at the tomb of his great-grandmother, Alice of Battenburg, Princess Alice of Greece and Denmark (the mother of HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, William’s grandfather).

Rumors abound that Philip has been received back into the Orthodox Church some twenty years ago. His son, the Prince of Wales likewise is a regular pilgrim to Mt Athos and it is whispered that he is a catechumen. Whether either of these rumors are true or not, both men paid respects to their mother (and grandmother respectively) in years past. And now, William does so as well.

And why not? Princess Alice is quite possibly a saint (as was her aunt, the Grand Duchess Elizabeth the New-martyr). Given that I’m getting ready to go to Russia on pilgrimage for the centenary of the brutal execution of the Tsar-martyr, his wife and children, I can’t help but think that perhaps the grand republican experiment is coming to a close. Clearly, there was nothing salutary about it for Russia and the rest of Eastern Europe. I dunno, I’m thinking aloud here. Certainly if the left gets its way here in America we’ll go from being a constitutional republic to a banana republic. And then what?

Regardless, hurrah to Prince William and may Princess Alice’s memory be eternal!

Many thanks to the ever-delightful Byzantine, Texas for providing the photo and attached story.


  1. Zalas Fovascufis says

    You really need to move to Russia and drink up on that Pollonium while the Skoptozy Russians circumcise your women.

    • John Sakelaris says

      Those who support the “hate-Russia” narrative need to give us specific goals they would seek concerning Russia. Are their goals to have a regime change? Ukraine back in charge of the ethnic Russian population of Crimea?

      And then these “hate-Russia” folks then need to give us some specific plans for achieving those goals. Think sanctions alone will do it? Dream on. Believe that the Ukrainians alone will push Russia out of Crimea if we give the Ukraine government more military goods? Again, dream on. Are you ready to personally storm the beaches of Crimea or to send a family member to do so? Think there are millions of western Europeans ready to send their kids against Russia? No way.

      Has Russia, under good leaders or bad, ever surrendered land inhabited by ethnic Russians to nationalities to its west? The Swedes in 1708, the French in 1812, and the Germans in 1941-1945 all learned some harsh lessons.

      I hope that improved relations will occur next week when George visits Russia and Trump meets Putin in Finland.

  2. Michael Bauman says

    George, as has been posted here by both me and Greatly Saddened, there is an Orthodox monarch now, King David of the Krou chieftains of the Cote’ d’Ivorie. Small kingdom to be sure but real. Journey to Orthodoxy has more. I do not know if his is an inherited monarchy or not though.

    Nonetheless, monarchy at its best is an icon of the Kingship of our Lord. It is not a good in and off itself. It is not salvific. It is not intrinsically Orthodox. Government in general is part of our “garment of skins” given by God to protect us from our worst selves. Most of the time government does not rise to even that low level of function however. Nothing about government should be romanticized as you persist in doing.

    That being the case it is not prudent for the Church to identify with the state. The idea of ‘synergy’ is, IMO, a drastic mistake and an epic failure. We should not long for it as it is an acid on the Church. Our kingdom is not of this world.

  3. Linda Albert, says

    The only king I could trust, besides our Lord, would be Aragorn, son of Arathorn.

    • We have to trust priests and bishops with our very souls even though they are fallible men. A lot of Christianity is about getting over trust and fear issues even in cases where you have good reasons to distrust and fear. The paranoia in the Orthodox world about political and religious corruption is a disfiguring blight. Of course there is actual corruption and a rush to embrace sin in many quarters of the Church and we must fight it with everything we have. But our Lord wins in the end and we do not die so there is nothing to fear. “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Rev 21:8)

  4. Symphonia was a creation of the Church Fathers, and explication of the Gospel. Vladimir Moss has an excellent, very well researched article on Orthodoxy and the Monarchy. The bottom line is that, while other forms of government may or may not be tolerable, monarchy is specifically approved by the Church Fathers and “polyarchy”, including democracy, is explicitly rejected.

    Either we are or are not the Church of Holy Tradition embodied in the consensus of the Fathers of the Church.


    For a pseudo-Orthodox, modernist-heterodox alternative perspective:


    • Abouna Michel says

      O, yeah. I forgot. The Fathers rejected all the democracies of the patristic era in favor of monarchies. Remind me again, exactly which democracies were they?

      • George Michalopulos says

        Fr, although they say that “the Greeks have a word for it”, in this one instance, we don’t. There is no word for “republic” in the Greek language. Instead, the word is translated as “democracy”. There are differences here more than simple nuance. In Greek, demos = people and kratia = government.

        In Latin however res = thing and publica = public. Hence, “republic” means “the public thing”, essentially the “rule of law”.

        Now most ancient Greek city-states were republics as properly understood but by the time of the Church Fathers, none still existed. Is it possible therefore that the Fathers noted this and inferred that such “democracies” were untenable? I ask this in good faith. If anybody can shed light on this I would be most grateful.

        • M. Stankovich says

          It does make you wonder, however, what Plato had in mind with his Τόμος [volume] Πολιτεία [Politeia] (or Πολιτεία, Τόμος), which has always been translated as “Plato’s Republic.”

          Likewise, Aristotle had settled on the word πολιτεία to describe “government” and “forms of government” [“αἱ τέτταρες πολιτεία,” “ὅπου μὴ νόμοι ἄρχουσιν οὐκ ἔστι πολιτεία”]; administration of government” [“ἄγειν τὴν πολιτεία”]; “polity/civil polity” [“ἥτις ἂν πολιτεία συμφέρῃ”]; and “free common-wealth” [“καλεῖται πολιτεία”] in his Politics and Aesthetics. I believe that in both cases, πολιτεία is the classic foundation for which this country relies, for example, to pledge allegiance through the proxy of the flag: “and to the Republic for which it stands,” but this was not my point. My point, George the Greek, was don’t sell yourself short.

          • George Michalopulos says

            “Republic” I believe is a mistranslation. It should be “polity”.

            Another reason why “republic” is wrong is because Plato believed in the Philosopher-king. Republics ad a rule have no king.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says

          That settles it. If there is no word in Greek for something, it doesn’t exist. Thus our “republic” was doomed from the beginning, on this ground alone. The “Fathers” views would just be the icing on the cake.

      • Abouna,

        Actually, the Fathers were well acquainted with Greek democracy and explicitly rejected it as a viable form of Christian governance:

        * * *

        The Holy Fathers and Church writers of this period unanimously supported the monarchical order, and condemned democracy for religious reasons. Thus Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea wrote: “The example of monarchical rule there is a source of strength to him. This is something granted to man alone of the creatures of the earth by the universal King. The basic principle of kingly authority is the establishment of a single source of authority to which everything is subject. Monarchy is superior to every other constitution and form of government. For polyarchy, where everyone competes on equal terms, is really anarchy and discord. This is why there is one God, not two or three or even more. Polytheism is strictly atheism. There is one King, and His Word and royal law are one.”

        The Holy Fathers agreed with Eusebius. Thus St. Gregory the Theologian wrote: “The three most ancient opinions about God are atheism (or anarchy), polytheism (or polyarchy), and monotheism (or monarchy). The children of Greece played with the first two; let us leave them to their games. For anarchy is disorder: and polyarchy implies factious division, and therefore anarchy and disorder. Both these lead in the same direction – to disorder; and disorder leads to disintegration; for disorder is the prelude to disintegration. What we honour is monarchy…” – http://www.orthodoxchristianbooks.com/articles/273/must-an-orthodox-christian-be-a-monarchist/

        * * *

        And it’s not a few Fathers. You will search the Fathers in vain for an endorsement of democracy. I’ve never seen such a quote or passage.

    • Mike Myers says


    • GLFarmer says

      I found some of the other articles at OrthodoxChristianBooks to be more interesting. He also believes “that the key to the resurrection of Holy Russia, and therefore to the salvation of millions around the world, lies in the fall of the heretical and apostate Moscow Patriarchate”. Seems an odd fellow to me.

    • M. Stankovich says

      Holy Cow! A red letter day this is! I distinctly recall sitting at my father-in-law’s kitchen table, August, 2016, and responding to you, Scott, that the word συμφωνία [from the word συμφωνέω] was a Patristic term, and to use it in descriptions of civil government was improper and denigrated the implied transcendence. You basically told me I was an idiot. Please, allow me to reward you for your Googled persistence and change of heart.

      I would caution you, however, that a handful of quotes by (mainly) obscure Fathers, that seem to offer authority limited to a specific context, hardly strike me as a “consensus of the Fathers of the Church.” I believe that is the point Abouna Michael is making, and it is a fair one.

  5. One just needs to look at how modern people respond to celebrities as opposed to elected representatives. It may be misplaced but there is something visceral about Monarchy that Republicanism cannot imitate. At its best Republicanism is dry and uninspiring but there is nothing like having a king or emperor who embodies the identity and focus of a nation. Is it perfect? No, but I agree that Monarchy will and needs to come back to a greater or lesser extent.

  6. Estonian Slovak says

    Is this filth really necessary? And just as we are about to celebrate the 100 Anniversary of the Royal Martyrs? Look, I’m a Ukrainian who nevertheless venerates the New Martyrs of Russia.

  7. Monk James Silver says

    Our Lord Jesus Christ, corroborated by many of the prophecies preceding His incarnation and sometimes even limited by St Paul’s writings. tells us that there is only one real kingdom, and that it is not of this world.

    Just today, we read that slaves who becomes Christians are spiritually liberated from their earthly masters only to become slaves of Christ, and that free people who become Christians spiritually enslave themselves to Christ.

    So let’s all take a lesson here, and not support an earthly monarchy or any other form of government which would separate us from Christ.

    The days of monarchy — especially absolute monarchy — are long over. It’s my personal opinion that the American experiment in government by a democratic republic is the best this world can offer. In spite of one major and several minor disruptions, our American Constitution has stood firm for nearly two-and-a-half centuries. That’s a record!

    And thanks be to God!

  8. George Osborne says

    Has no one on this blog studied history? For the very, very few good, kind, and godly monarchs, there have been scores, myriads of tyrants and despots. You have romanticized monarchy to the point of ridiculousness. Has it occurred to anyone that the Church Fathers are not not infallible? Theologically, maybe, okay but in their day there was a viable democracy anywhere on earth. Common guys get over all the romanticized claptrap! Gee!!

    • George Michalopulos says

      Mr Osborne, I must protest. There have been far more good monarch than there have been republican tyrants.

      Don’t fall into the trap that because we here in America have been (mostly) happy with our republicanism that this is the norm. It is not. For one thing, America is essentially an island surrounded by two gigantic oceans and on the landward side two weak countries. For another, we have a decentralized power structure not only on the Federal level but between the Federal and the States. We have also been able to control (until recently anyway) the demographic makeup of this land. A makeup which favors republicanism and self-reliance.

      I could go on. And will in due time.

      Having said that, our republican experience can easily be washed away given the right conditions.

      • George Osborne says

        George, now I must protest. The only really valid point I think you make is that there is nothing to historically compare to monarchy since that has been the prevalent system of government since the inception of any organized civilization. In the estimable “Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies ,” there is an excellent discussion of how and more importantly, why centralized civilizations arise. Short answer: soldiers become necessary to protect the farmers; armies are hierarchical (leadership); this gives rise to a supreme leader. Plus collusion of religion to cement their position of theological legitimacy by often ascribing god-like qualities or outright divinity to the supreme leader. Personally, I don’t think you would last 3 days in a monarchy because as soon as your exhibited your conservative, libertarian “rights”, you would wind up in a nice, cozy (but probably damp) cell in the Bastille or Tower…or worst case scenario if your religion was not exactly right, tied to a stake. 🙂 Nope, you’d never make it, my friend!

        • George Michalopulos says

          In evolutionary circles, Jared Diamond is viewed in the same, contemptuous light that the late, not-great Stephen Jay Gould is.

          That aside, hierarchy is hard wired into the human genome.

          You may be right about my fate? under a monarchic system but seriously, the only significant republics that are of any longevity (to enable us to make a comparison) are the ancient Greek republics (none of which lasted), Rome (which devolved into a monarchy) and Switzerland (going on 8 centuries now).

          What I’m trying to say is that these exceptions prove the rule.

          • George Osborne says

            Tut, tut, and sniff, George. Frankly, I like Diamond and think he is more right than wrong. Some scholars don’t like his approach because it doesn’t fit the accepted sociological or anthropological academic narrative but that doesn’t negate his very valid insights. Now Gould is a different matter! My rebuttal to you would be that, yes, democracy is an exception but only because it is a relatively recent phenomenon on the world timeline, say 200-250 years or so? Maybe in the west from the time of the Synod Of Whitby and the Magna Carta as a starting point? The concept of parliamentary democracy was spread throughout the world by British colonial expansionism and has generally taken root in the last 200 years. I don’t see any people, anywhere seriously advocating a return to absolutist monarchial rule…except a few nut cases in Russia who have really forgotten what the “good ole days” of Tsarist despots was like. However, I do see many people yearning for freedom. Maybe I misestimated my guess regarding your “time before incarceration”? Six weeks at the outside? 🙂

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            George, where is your long-promised disquisition on evolution? I can’t wait!

            • George Michalopulos says

              I need some time. Really. Hopefully sometime soon. There’s just so much on my non-Monomakhos plate. Hence, my desire to win the lottery.

  9. Gail Sheppard says

    I think George would have made a good monarch.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Now you’re being cheeky!

    • Gail, George already is a monarch! We threading in his kingdom. Question is what does that make you in this kingdom. Don’t want to take queen away from his wife but you would be at least 3rd in command, chief of staff, Bishop Tikhon the patriarch of Monomakhos, minister of the Justice of course Michael Stankovich, Billy court jester, Michael Bauman Secretary of State, Misha defense department and head of propaganda. Cy head of food and drug department. I don’t know where others or I would fit in but leave myself open to ridicule. Long live King George!

      • George Michalopulos says

        Dino, STOP IT! I’m a nobody!

        Y’all however are what makes this blog tick. And I thank you for it.

        • Well George better than being, Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkle Norman Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs.

          George never say you are nobody,”But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”(Matthew 10:30)

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Yes, Dino, we are indeed, “threading in his kingdom.” I agree with all your selections but I’m too flighty to be chief of staff. I think YOU should take that role. I want to be the muse. George, can I be the muse?

        • George Michalopulos says

          I agree, Dino would make an excellent chief of staff. You can be the muse.

          In all seriousness, I’d much rather be Commandant of the Praetorian Guard in the Trump Administration (after we we arrest all the liberals in Congress and declare the United States to be empire.)

          • I accept, better than I imagined. Now George, a dash of pleasure to go with your justice? Well better sharpen that blade and have a spare, things will get bloody. Arrests will not suffice.

  10. Beryl Wells Hamilton says

    “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” Proverbs 21:1. The recently forged peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia is GREAT news for the people of those countries, for the Horn of Africa, for Orthodoxy, and for the world The peace agreement had its start when the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church hosted a WCC delegation. This speaks to the vital role our Orthodox leaders have in not only working for, but effecting peace around the world. Glory to GOD!

    “The positive effects of the Ethiopian-Eritrean peace can also spread beyond the immediate region by creating structural opportunities for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development’s (IGAD) other members of Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, and Kenya to seize in enhancing their comprehensive integration with one another.

    “With South Sudan on the brink of peace following extensive diplomatic efforts by Ethiopia, Sudan, and Uganda, now might be the time for the Greater Horn of Africa region to finally overcome its history of conflict & poverty and collectively work together to forge a new future. The greatest impediment to that happening has just been removed following the Ethiopian-Eritrean peace announcement, so it wouldn’t be amiss to suggest that all of those countries might be about to embark on a new and exciting era spearheaded by PM Abiy and his reformist vision.”

  11. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the Arab News website.

    100 years on, Orthodox Church split over executed tsar’s remains
    Updated 13 July 2018
    July 13, 2018 04:00


  12. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty website.

    Slain Russian Tsar, Family Commemorated On 100th Anniversary Of Executions
    Last Updated: July 17, 2018 15:15 GMT


  13. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from yesterday on the Interfax Religion website.

    16 July 2018, 12:23
    Remains found near Yekaterinburg belong to Nicholas II, family – Russian Investigative Committee (updated)


  14. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from last Thursday on the Hello Monaco website.

    Event Calendar – 12 July, 2018 – News


  15. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Orthodox Christianity website.

    Monaco, July 18, 2018


  16. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from Tuesday on the Orthodox Christianity website.

    Ekaterinburg, July 17, 2018


  17. Greatly Saddened says

    Below please find an article from today on the Orthodox Christianity website.

    Andrew Could
    Orthodox Arts Journal


  18. OCA AAC Update says

    Interesting notes from the OCA’s All-American Council (currently underway)

    *Total annual revenues have fallen from $3.1 million in 2008, to $2.1 million in 2017.
    *$300,000 donated in bequests in the past three years has been used on: redesigning the website, fixing the roof in Syosset; replacing the windows, carpet, front door of Syosset; and renovating the Moscow apartment for the rector of St. Catherine’s.
    *Program and Ministry funding cut from $668,509 in 2008, to $222,784 in 2017.
    *Money gathered in 2017 under the “Stewards of the OCA” to help fund youth, education, music, chaplaincy, missions, and humanitarian aid, was $69,000.
    *All Chancery staff (including Chancellor John Jillions and Secretary Eric Tosi) were asked by Met. Tikhon to resign. There is a current restructure underway of all staff positions in the Chancery.
    *Number of OCA Staff in 2006: 35 (compensation total $1.9 million); number in 2018: 11.5 (compensation total $1.84 million).
    *Snapshot of 2017 annual diocesan giving (now proportional giving instead of per-head tax, aka assessment). Dioceses on average proportionately give 35-38% to OCA headquarters. Diocese of the Midwest $426,922, Diocese of the West $268,381, Diocese of the South $248,681, Diocese of NY/NJ $211,038, Diocese of Eastern PA $159,783, Diocese of Western PA $151,968, Diocese of New England $145,420, Diocese of Alaska $51,794; Albania Archdiocese $27,100, Bulgarian Diocese $10,000, Romanian Episcopate $36,000, Archdiocese of Mexico $0, Archdiocese of Canada $0.

    • *All Chancery staff (including Chancellor John Jillions and Secretary Eric Tosi) were asked by Met. Tikhon to resign.

      Interesting indeed! I wonder where this is headed.

      • Billy Jack Sunday says


        Interesting indeed! I wonder where this is headed.

        I very much thought the same upon reading this news

        If both the OCA and GOA are struggling major with funds, I wonder how the Antiochian jurisdiction here in America is doing financially?

    • Constantinos says

      The church isn’t tithing. Humanitarian aid and missions should have been according to the tithing pimps 210,000, The total staff of 11.5 received an average of $160,000 each.

    • OCA AAC Update says

      What the OCA really should be doing is taking a long, hard, honest look at how the Diocese boundaries are geographically drawn. Anyone can see from the membership numbers and financial assessments over the past several years, that the teeny, tiny dioceses of Western PA, Eastern PA, NY/NJ, and New England, should all be combined into one Diocese of New England. Those dioceses barely even pull enough money to pay their archbishops’ annual salaries. So while I appreciate Met. Tikhon’s attempt to restructure the Chancery, he is falling into the same trap as many corporations and bureaucracies do, which is to mistakenly downsize staff before downsizing a bloated administration.